Chronicles of the Bus Buddy


**Updated 29 Sept: Rockstar says the school is starting Play Buddies – where the older kids can volunteer to help out on the younger kids’ playgrounds, organising games and stuff. Naturally, he and one or two of his friends have volunteered. Some of his friends have cute stories about having their little sisters’ friends as bus buddies…

A minor Rite of Passage at Rockstar’s school is the coming of age to get assigned a Bus Buddy. When you are a year 5 child at Kennedy (about 8 or 9 years old), you get assigned a “freshman” bus buddy, a year 1 child whom you pick up from his/her classroom and escort to their school bus. Now, I would assume this is good for the 4-5 year olds who are just starting out at a 900-student primary school, but what I didn’t realise was the positive impression the Bus Buddy Experience is leaving on Rockstar as the older child assigned a young charge.

Somewhat predictably, since Rockstar often gets seated next to newer/younger/shyer kids on the bus, he gets assigned a very quiet little boy, whom he observes is “small (not unlike himself), and quite cute”. Over the weeks that followed, Bus Buddy experiences would work its way into conversations. Little Bus Buddy finally started talking today. Little Bus Buddy especially started speaking up when Rockstar read his Thomas the Train library books to him. “Read it again!

Then, when friends were off sick, the older kids would occasionally get assigned their friends’ bus buddies as well. Is that hard, do they run off in different directions?

“No, I just ask each one to hold on to one of my bag straps and walk with me. Then they started talking to each other and didn’t stop the whole time so I didn’t even need to say anything.”

Most recently, saying Rockstar’s name right became a source of entertainment. Rockstar’s friends would ask Little Bus Buddy, “Say his name again?”

“Lion Rye.” <everyone melts>

Rockstar: You know Mum, I even drew it out for him. 

Me: You what?

Rockstar: I wrote it down and used arrows. “This is where the “R” goes. That’s where the “L” goes. They need to exchange places in my name.”

LBB: <nodding enthusiastically> Yes! Yes! I got it!

Rockstar: What’s my name again?

LBB: <triumphantly> Lion Rye!

Rockstar’s classmate: <calling over> Hey, did you get his name yet?

LBB: Yes! Lion Rye!!

Rockstar: It’s…. Ok, can you say “R”. Good, and can you say “L”. Yes, yes, and now my name.

LBB: Lion Rye!

Rockstar: <facepalms>

Rockstar’s classmate: It’s not a bad name. Why don’t you just get your mum to change your name.

Rockstar: Oh yah “Lion” is ok too. I could be a “Lion”.

LBB: <laughs delightedly><says Rockstar’s name correctly>

Which is how I came to hear about it. And about how Little Bus Buddy knows some really big words while still working on reading simpler ones (because Rockstar being Rockstar he took the Bus Buddies Are Also Reading Buddies bit really seriously and went on to do the homework readers after the library books – he says he had had Reading Buddy older kids come read with him during school hours when he was in the lower years too), how LBB is fairly newly from San Francisco and doesn’t speak much Chinese (despite looking fully Asian), how LBB assured him he knew “Malaysia (where Rockstar explained his parents were originally from) is a place on Earth”…..

Riding on the packed busy school bus is probably one of those things we don’t really notice…. Right until our kids tell us they really enjoy the little freshie kid they were assigned in the course of their regular Year 5 duties. One of those reminders that only a small part of education for our kids is about the books.

Oh, and this one's getting there with the Ham in Pocket goal too..

Oh, and this one’s getting there with the Ham in Pocket goal too..

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Happy International Day Of Peace


Rockstar’s school dress-up for International Day of Peace today… They were trying these on last night… I love that the schools regularly celebrate awareness days and get kids talking. Batik shirt hopefully doesn’t look like he should be on a beach sipping a drink with little umbrellas coming out of it…

Her Highness is…… not on a dress-up day that coincides with Rockstar’s school’s, but when Rockstar tried that on she wanted to try on something as well and I’d all but forgotten about the little Nyonya kebaya we got her and squirrelled away for awhile…

Rockstar: I love this, can I sleep in it?

Umm… Ok, if you don’t think the starched shirt feels stiff… Ultimate compliment, from Mr Fusspot.

Queen E: I love this, can I wear it for Halloween?

Umm… What?

She's uh... taken to Derpy Hamster Faces for poses... JD's taken to the fine art of the photobomb

She’s uh… taken to Derpy Hamster Faces for poses… JD’s taken to the fine art of the photobomb

And so we get to declare an international day of peace that fuels Rockstar’s friends’ introductions of themselves amongst each other – “My mum’s Japanese, my dad is half Danish and half English, so I’m a quarter English…”

ps: I’ve been away… in a laptop sense, really… My trusty little laptop has been seriously tied up for awhile, I had some stuff to do and I could do almost nothing else tech-related while running and downloading the stuff… 

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The Real Animals Behind Pokemon

You knew it had to happen… My little OCD thing about learning opportunities…   

So the whole Pokemon Go phenomenon has been chafing for awhile –  a game that Rockstar says “all” the kids are playing in school – how can the Pokemon People waste such a teaching opportunity??? (I mean, look at and all the coding schools that have sprouted out – and which revolve around teaching coding via computer games.)

And then Rockstar went to point out some of these animals are realOf course he did. So if you are one of the tens of thousands of parents out there who likely have lost your phone to your kid because of this game, let’s not totally waste that:


(This next one’s similar, but it’s got the theme song. Never heard the theme song before. It’s quite catchy <sorry> “Pokemon, gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all…”)


Thought that was all? NooOo.. There are also bragging rights involved. Apparently, some Pokemon can only be caught if you play this darn game in different continents.

These are the Bragging Rights 4. pic from

These are the Bragging Rights 4 (some kind of buffalo from North America, Mime inspired by the European arts, Asian duck, mutant Aussie kangaroo). pic from

Rockstar argued this one – apparently you cannot catch these things anywhere but in the said continents, but you can potentially hatch them anywhere. Lord knows if this is true because somewhere in the conversation about chalking up mileage with your phone in order to hatch eggs, I stopped caring. 😛

But oh, what a marketing ploy. These things seem to serve no real purpose, but actually they do – downloads and advertising and otherwise blatant glue-ing of people to their phones.

All those articles on parenting sites after Pokemon came out – Why Pokemon Is Bad, blah blah. Try telling your kid this when his whole class are collecting these ridiculous things. Do you really want to be the only parent who tells your kid “No Pokey”? (NOT to be confused by any wimp-out to do with “No Smokey” for eg)

How ’bout How Many Pokey Can You Identify As Inspired By Real Animals? And Can Real Animals Evolve Such Defense Mechanisms? Because well, you know, Mums always have to suck the fun out of everything justify especially to themselves, letting their kids play computer games that the parenting websites say they shouldn’t

Queen E asked recently how the angler fish produces light (symbiotic bacteria) and whether in real life animals produce electrical shocks. I didn’t even get to do anything about that because Rockstar gleefully took over. But he balked at How Bones Move Except With Muscle Attached because one thing led to another and Queen E ended up avidly watching 3 full videos in this series of Youtubes where the skinless carcass of a dog is being dissected. Here’s one (if you are at all squeamish don’t click this but it’s here to illustrate why if Her Highness sidelined in Gangsta Rap she would go by Miss Hardcore):


No, I have in fact never watched the dissection of a dog carcass until now (though I have watched my pets operated on while I was in primary school in Sandakan – the vet had a daughter who was in my tuition class and she would spend a lot of time after school helping in her parents’ clinic. Today she kicks butt as a surgeon in real life.) Anyway Queen E asked repeatedly over the last few weeks and finally I watched this thing with her to satisfy the curiosity (this is my OCD talking again). And then throughout I kept reminding her myself “This dog is already dead. Doctors do this so they get better at saving the live ones.”

Ever think about that? It’s true of so many things, you cannot possibly get good at something without awful hard work.

I was once told this story, about med students who were preparing to examine a cadaver. The teaching doctor famously stuck one finger in, and then appeared to withdraw it and lick it. The students were instructed to follow his movements. Very, very reluctantly they did, after which the teacher asked, “How many of you noticed I stuck my second finger in, but licked my third?”

That lesson probably stayed.

And I’ll take Pokemon Go any day.



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