Cannon Bald Fellowship 2015


CANNON BALD FELLOWSHIP 2015The Cannon Bald Fellowship 2015 is the first fun and affordable Life Coaching, Networking and series of Developmental training programme designed to prepare and launch fellows towards a smoother journey in life.

This fellowship will begin on 5th March 2015.

Fellows will receive 20 hours of training in the following areas:

Training will be conducted weekly in the evening, 2000hrs – 2200hrs at A’Posh BizHub, #04-23, 1 Yishun Industrial St 1, S(768160).

Fellows will be required to clock 20 hours of assessed apprenticeship in one or more of the following areas that they have been trained in and will be renumerated for 10 hours of the apprenticeship.

All fellows will receive professional mentorship and FREE life coaching over a 12-month period upon successful sign up.

Participating in this fellowship requires a high time commitment and fellows are expected to be able to commit to complete the training sessions and apprenticeship.

CANNON BALD FELLOWSHIP 2015 TRAINER

To Apply

  • Minimum age of 21 years (Interested fellows below 21 will be assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Passionate about learning
  • Passionate about life
  • Open to sharing experiences

Interested fellows can email their CV and indicate their interest to whatsabd@gmail.com. Please put the email subject head as “Cannon Bald Fellowship 2015”. All applications must be received by 18 February 2015 at midnight.

Only successful applicants will be notified. A maximum of 15 fellows will start this fellowship. Applicants who are not successful will have an opportunity at the next fellowship.

A participation fee of SGD$1,000 is applicable upon successful application.

Teaching Across the Border


A few days ago (two days ago to be exact), my company, By Definition Pte Ltd had conducted a programme outside of Singapore. It was the first time that we have received such an invitation to run a programme that we normally conduct in Singapore, outside of the country.

Milestone for progress indeed for a company that only just recently turned 2 years old.

I’m not going to talk about how I think we can call ourselves, “Best in Singapore and JB!”, a line made famous by the comedic character, Phua Chu Kang but rather, I want to share the experience of teaching in a school in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Having studied and taught in Singapore schools all my life, this was a new experience for me and my company, By Definition Pte Ltd.

We received the request and invitation about a month ago through a fellow batchmate of mine from the Ship for South East Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) which I had been a Participating Youth in 2007 (This is why everyone should participate in an exchange programme!).

I didn’t have to think much and definitely would have taken up the invitation. It was an offer not to be missed!

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tanjung Datuk Pengerang, Johor

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tanjung Datuk Pengerang, Johor

The school was Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tanjung Datuk Pengerang Johor Bahru (Tanjung Datuk National Secondary School, Johor Bahru).

First thing I did was to research on how to get to that school.

The fastest way to get there is to travel by either:

  1. Bum Boat from Changi Village or
  2. Ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

BUT the bum boat will only leave if the maximum capacity of 12 passengers if filled up or as and when the boat pilot wants to leave. If there’s less than 12 passengers and you want to go, you’d have to pay for the remaining empty seats.

SO, that’s a NO-NO! Each person will cost you about $11. Cheap when you travel alone, but expensive when you have to pay for another 11 empty seats. 

Travel time is about 45mins – 1.5hrs by sea but it takes you directly to the Pengerang harbour, which is just minutes away from the school.

If you decide to take the ferry instead, there’s only TWO timings at which the ferry departs; 10:30hrs and 18:00hrs. 

My class is at 16:00hrs and I had a class earlier in the morning before that so there’s absolutely no way I could have gotten on the ferry.

Last thing for me to do is I could either ride my bike in and get myself lost and stranded for hours or call a cab OR if you were from SSEAYP, call your friend to help, which is why I’m ever so thankful I have met so many friends from this exchange programme.

The journey from the Malaysian Customs to the school via the fastest route takes you through 2 tolls and covers a distance of about 120-130km. Total time travelled is about 1.5hrs on a beautiful empty road.

I dare not think about how long it would have taken if there was heavy traffic.

Alternatively, one could also travel by bus to Kota Tinggi before switching to another bus to take you to Pengerang. The whole time travelled would take you about 4-5hrs.

So, let’s skip the journey and get to the class.

I was conducting a session to prepare the Debate team, Drama team and Public Speaker for a competition that they were taking part in, in ENGLISH! I thought I was going to teach them in Malay actually!

Teaching Malaysian Students!

Teaching Malaysian Students!

My friend cautioned and told me that I shouldn’t be too strict with them or they will be scared of me. I’m hardly scary and I’m hardly strict. Anyone who has seen me teach would probably say I’m very patient and extremely lenient, but I get the job done, and I get it done with happy faces (this is also probably why I was invited to give a talk on “Engaging Your Child, Successfully!” by a school that I taught at)

The students at this school were VERY DIFFERENT from students I’ve taught and classmates I grew up with in Secondary School.

They were extremely OBEDIENT, COOPERATIVE and PARTICIPATIVE and they were also pretty much very very silent. Didn’t talk that much and for any teacher teaching them, I think you’d probably agree to say that this is YOUR DREAM CLASS compared to the classes you teach in Singapore whereby your students will probably be talking so much, you end up trying to discipline them more than trying to teach. (Of course there are exceptions! Some teachers love noisy classes. I like it somewhat!)

The condition of the school is also very different from the schools we see in Singapore.

Buildings don’t look like it’s been maintained and the facilities would be best described as below-standard and probably wouldn’t pass the mark in Singapore BUT even with such amenities and facilities, this school was awarded ‘Best Secondary School outside of Johor Bahru town’!

It’s not the condition of the school and equipments that matter but the quality of the students that was developed and I would attribute the success of the school to the entire environment.

  1. Student:Teacher ratio per class (It was definitely less than 30!)
  2. Relaxed atmosphere (good view facing the sea)
  3. Natural environment surroundings (loads of trees)

I’m sure there’d be more things to attribute to like the type of occupation the parents are in. Either children of Towkays or Fishermen meaning that the students are able to relate what they learn in school in the textbooks to real life. 

What's not to love?

What’s not to love?

These are all important towards the development of a student because the personal experiences one is more often than not, the teacher. 

At the end of the day, I’m just glad that I was given this opportunity to teach outside of Singapore and I definitely look forward to more of such invitations.

Perhaps friends from Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Japan would like to extend an invitation to By Definition or Singa-sports Academy to conduct a programme in your school?

Let me know!

TO FAIL or TOEFL


This week I’m blogging quite a bit simply because I’m experiencing a lot of new things.

TODAY

I sat for my TOEFL test.

I swear I didn’t prepare for it until 6 hours before I was due to sit for the test. I had no idea what the test was about or how it was conducted. Some friends have told me how it was but I never bothered to check up further on it until 6 hours before the test.

I checked my email and realised the test would be at least 4 hours long!!!

Hence, I decided to check on the requirements and sample test questions to prepare myself for it (Don’t do this kids! I’ve been doing exams like this my whole life! Don’t study and just sit for it and I rarely get As)

So, the sample test questions took me close to 2hrs to complete and yeahhh… A LOT TO BE DONE!

So, when I finally sat for the test. 

I swear this was perhaps worst that GCE O Level exams. This was like sitting for the GCE O Level English paper, all within that 4 hours with just 10 minutes break.

Close Passage Questions – 2

Listening Comprehension – 2 or was it 3

Oral – 3

Essay Writing – 2

The worst part to me was the Oral test.

Just yesterday, I was judging kids for ‘Cakap Petah’ and the kids were given a minute to think and a minute to deliver their unprepared speech.

I was given 15-20 secs to think about an answer to a question based on what I had read and listened to and give my oral answer between 30 – 45 seconds!

PRESSURE I TELL YOU! 

At the end of it, I was just so glad I had made it through.

Now, I just hope I pass cause I really wanna go on that US State of Dept scholarship to the United States to study! 

Judging Cakap Petah 2013


Today, is another great day!

I was judging at National University of Singapore’s (NUS), Persatuan Bahasa Melayu Universiti Kebangsaan Singapura (PBMUKS) ‘Cakap Petah’ competition together with Haryani Othman (local celebrity) and Guy Ghazali (lawyer).

‘Cakap Petah’ competition is a Public Speaking competition with a unique format.

Students are first given a theme to talk about for 3 minutes. This is given prior to the competition and students are given a week to prepare for this, after their workshop (which I had conducted).

A week before competition

A week before competition

The theme for this year was ‘C.I.T.A’, Capai Impian Tinggi Angkasa. A literal translation in English would be ‘Reach For Your Dreams As High As Outerspace’. Sounds quite fun to have it translated, literally.

Having completed their 3 minutes speech, participants are then asked to select a card which includes a Proverb or ‘Peribahasa’. They are then given a minute to think through about the meaning and how it relates to their dreams before coming back out again to deliver their 1 minute speech.

So, having said that, there were 9 schools competing this morning.

It was very exciting to watch the students take to the stage to deliver their 3 minute speech. There were a few really outstanding orators and there were also a few who were extremely nervous. Well, that would be expected, especially if it was your first time on stage delivering a speech and facing a large audience.

I remember the first time I stepped up on stage to perform was when I was in K2 taking on the role of ‘The Big Bad Wolf’. The next time I got up on stage was to sing a Mandarin song with the rest of my classmates in Primary 2. I remember these events very clearly as they are memorable to me.

My mom had sewn my Big Bad Wolf costume from scratch, complete with the tail. Thank god for having a mom who’s a seamstress!

And how could anyone forget singing a Mandarin song on stage?

BUT the first time I faced the audience for the first time in my life to orate as an individual, was when I was in Primary 4 in a story-telling competition.

I remember I told the story of Rabbit and the Hare and had came in first place. How I had rehearsed almost every single night to memorize the story and also how to move about to bring my story to life, just like how some of the participants this morning had done so.

WHICH IS WHY, I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

The competition only allowed 3 winners and had there been another option, I would have wanted to give prizes for a few categories:

  • Most Props
  • Best-Dressed
  • Most Entertaining
  • Most Nervous
  • Most Awkward
  • Most Demure
  • Most Convicing

I could have easily given away those titles to every single one of them.

You don’t need to win an overall championship trophy, you just need to win something and it’s all in the name of fun and building up their self-confidence.

Perhaps, the organisers for the next ‘Cakap Petah’ might want to consider giving more prizes and changing the format to make it less stressful for the participants, we could have more entertainment prizes to be given away.

At the end of the day, I’m just passionate about kids and as how I teach in class, I like to be encouraging and motivating, and will try to find as many ways as possible to ensure everyone feels important and valued.

They just need that morale boost to know they have what it takes to do well in life 🙂

On a side-note, if your school/organisation is looking for Developmental/Cultural Programmes, you can contact me directly, abdillah@bydefinition.net. My company, By Definition Pte Ltd, conducts Developmental and Malay Cultural programmes to schools.

And if you are interested in something more Academic or Sports, do contact me at abdillah@singa-sports.com. My other company, Singa-sports Academy conducts Academic and Sports Mentoring programme. We have also been featured in BeritaonSuria and Berita Harian.

My Special Speech & Drama Class


This week, or rather, the past two days has definitely been enlightening for me.

It was The Security Guard yesterday and today, I had a very special boy in my Speech & Drama class.

I’ve been teaching Speech & Drama for about half a decade now (quite a feat I must say considering I jumped into this industry head first) and I’ve had great experiences all around throughout the entire time I’ve been doing this. During these years that I’ve  been teaching kids and training adults who join the industry, it never crossed my mind that some kids might have missed out on this opportunity to be involved in Speech & Drama programmes.

Today, I surprised myself when I volunteered to pick a class and then stepped in to realise that I had someone very special in my class.

This would be the first ever I have taught.

A STUDENT WHO IS WHEELCHAIR BOUND

At no point in my Speech & Drama career have I encountered such a situation nor had I ever been told about such an experience by other trainers whom I worked with.

Normal experiences would be usually be individuals with ADHD and recently, a new condition which I’m trying to figure out whereby someone would just literally, FREEZE (If you have any information on this, do email me at whatsabd@gmail.com)

Today marks a new experience in my life of teaching.

I wasn’t sure of what to do initially but decided to go “Naahhh… let me just teach as per normal”

And NORMAL he was!

He participated in EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY that I conducted!

From introductions to movements of the body, he did EVERY SINGLE ONE!

And he impressed me with his spirit and enthusiasm!

AND best of all, there were times during my class when he stepped up to take on a more leadership position to request his classmates to cooperate with me as they were getting out of hand. Everyone else in the class didn’t seem to care either that he was on a wheelchair. No discrimination either 🙂

This is definitely MY SPECIAL SPEECH & DRAMA CLASS and this just adds on to my list of experiences that I can share with my trainers and students!

And tomorrow, I look forward to my experience judging at ‘Cakap Petah’ competition organised by NUS PBMUKS held at Bukit Merah Library from 1000hrs to 1400hrs.

Thereafter, I will be giving a talk in the evening on how to ‘Ace Your Presentations!’.

Do check out the FB Events page here.

RATU Episode 3 Recap


This would officially be the first recap I’m doing of any RATU episode since I wasn’t around for the first two and thus, the only episode I managed to catch and have time to make comments on would be for this 3rd one.

This being the first one that I watched, I didn’t know what to expect and I have for the most part, avoided reading comments or posts that others may have uploaded about to not tarnish my viewpoints.

So, whatever you read here and from now onwards with regards to RATU is based on my observation as an audience who enjoys watching Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show (who doesn’t right?) and my experience and knowledge within the context of what the episode is about.

I’ll begin with the CATWALK.

I think the ladies need to slow it down and enjoy the time they have on the catwalk. They looked like they were rushing, probably that’s how I look like when I walk since EVERYONE who goes out and takes a walk with me says that of me.

Then again, perhaps the ladies were being rushed, although I hope not because the point of the catwalk is to let you show your stuff down that runway. 

So, in gist, a few things I hope to see in the next episode will be:

  • A more patient catwalk 
  • And perhaps each girl to develop their own style/personality on the catwalk 
  • FLIRT with the camera! 

Moving on next will be on the Silat segment.

I’m no national Silat exponent but I used to practise Silat when I was much younger and I didn’t think that the kind of Silat display that the girls performed did them justice. If anything, they looked like kids who decided to wear their parents oversized bathrobe and perform Silat moves after watching some Jackie Chan or Karate Kid movie.

I thought that it would have done them more justice if the ladies were given more time to show what they had cause it was just a bit too rushed during the individual Silat performances. It was the Seni segment but because it was so rushed, it didn’t look Seni enough, nor did it look Silat enough. 

Soccer next! 

Well, what can I say? They really were having fun! I had lots of fun watching them kick the ball around! Maybe if they were asked to juggle the ball, that would have been more fun to watch! Can’t imagine how it’d be like if they began heading the ball.

And last but not least, I’ll talk about their prepared comments.

I hope the ladies have watched and listened to how they sound and look like when they give their personal comments on the questions. These questions, aren’t thrown off the cuff and I’m sure the ladies would have had time to Prepare and Practice beforehand. 

I will be honest that I squirmed when I listened for fear that they would sound anything but natural. So, I shall not go into details but shall instead throw a few tips that I teach my own students. Since my company, By Definition, didn’t get the opportunity to sponsor free Public Speaking classes for the ladies, this is perhaps the best way for me to go about it.

  1. PREPARE once you receive the question.
  2. PRACTICE at least 3 times.

PREPARE

  • Conduct your own research for facts
  • Write down what you want to say. Take note on the length of time given to you. For such comments on TV, don’t take more than 20-30secs. That’s about 40-60 words.

PRACTICE

  • Practice at least 3 – 5 times to help you get the flow of words out easily.
  • Read it, Memorize it, Believe it, Deliver it.
  • No one is a better judge than yourself. So record yourself practicing and then listen to it. If you hate it, what more others.

Okay, those are just about what I can contribute based on what I observed. 

If there’s something that I wish I could control about the show, it definitely has to be the comments section.