How To Be An American Ninja (Or, An Ode To Death By Dodgeball)

From Wikipedia: “A ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び?) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included: espionagesabotageinfiltrationassassination and guerrilla warfare.[1] Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed “dishonorable” and “beneath” the samuraicaste, who observed strict rules about honor and combat…”[

I blame the Americans. Without the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and GI Joe (they get a couple ninjas to serve in the US army), and That Whole Hugely-Entertaining-But-Completely-Torturing-Japanese-History-To-Death American Ninja Warriors our kids would not all want to be ninjas. I mean, lookit:

This is Work, People. (pic from 2paragraphs.com)

This is Work, People. (pic from 2paragraphs.com)

I realise you might not recognise my daughter under all that hair. (pic from Youtube.com)

(pic from Youtube.com)

Yup, and here the rockstars at the newly-renovated Ryze Trampoline Park:

Why, yes, he jumped from the other rope sack

Why, yes, he jumped from the other rope sack

IMG_5471 IMG_5480   IMG_5472 IMG_5473 IMG_5485 IMG_5484

Xena Warrior Princess – no, scratch that, we aren’t allowed to call her Princess, she currently goes by Queen Elsa (seriously – because Queen Elsa has powers and runs a country) – has about 4-5 serious meltdowns in this place on average, per 1 hour session, now the Ninja Pit is up. This is because she gets really, really angry when she can’t do the stunts.

Oh, and I need to qualify another thing about her accepted moniker – Rockstar and boys in general are not allowed to refer to her as such. To all boys, she is Little Miss Rockstar. Only girls may address her Highness as the Queen. This is because boys do not have the respect for Queen Elsa that girls do. (Which is actually true – you can almost hear Rockstar’s Sniff Of Disdain when he so much as looks at anything Frozen.)

IMG_5468 IMG_5438 IMG_5432   IMG_5465

Guess how he's getting down from there.

Guess how he’s getting down from there.

This – right here this – is why good people end up sending their kids to this Place of Torture For Hapless Dads. I name it such because there used to be a Dodgeball pit here. Every so often some poor dad decides to be all on-the-ball Cool Fun Dad and steps into the Dodgeball arena……. Whereupon all the kids predictably turn on him.

Fresh Meat For The Lions! Let’s annihilate The Dad! Fun! This is because as a Cool Fun Dad On Your Day Off From Work you kinda have to swallow it when kids hurl balls at your head as hard as their skinny little arms’ll let them. Usually, they won’t even be your kids. Usually also, when a Mum goes in, none of the kids really dare to go after her because she’s probably going to scold everyone for throwing balls in the dodgeball pit. “It. Doesn’t Matter. What. Dodgeball. Issabout. No. Throwing.

An interesting observation about social practice and parenting in Hong Kong, lots more dads are the ones away working and when they get back the kids take advantage 😀 The mums are more likely to be the – Don’t You Dare Hit My Child With A Ball. You Want To Die Issit? – and the – Son. Daughter. No Throwing Things. Don’t You Dare Throw Balls. You Want To Die Issit?  – Parents. (This paragraph was audited by Rockstar. A Dodgeball veteran, he has pronounced this “completely true.”)

We’ll call this an Ode To The Dads, Some Of Whom Were Also Responsible For Foam Pits Being Shut Down When They Attempted Trampoline Jumps And Lost Their IPhones And Watches In There.

Alas, we knew them well.

But What A Way To Go.

But What A Way To Go.

 

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Of Planets Plenty And Pleasant (A Kennedy School Year 4 Show)

150 kids on stage… 10 new songs to learn with stage directions and choreographed movements… 2 weeks to prepare, following Chinese New Year break and a rescheduled Sports Day….. It’s not les Miserables, iiiiiitttt’s the Kennedy School Year 4 Show to kick off their next learning unit: Sharing The Environment.

Planet Plenty on the left, Planet Pleasant on the right

Planet Plenty on the left, Planet Pleasant on the right

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, was a certain Planet, aptly named Plenty. The inhabitants “lived for today”, staying up late as much as they wanted, driving around in their cars and rocket ships, with a swimming pool in every yard.

One day, Planet Plenty’s king has an epiphany: “What’s going on, my lawn’s all brown?” When the animals start dying and the lion kings petition the human king, they know they have to do something.

Rockstar: Cos all their animals died except the lion king. 

Me: ?? There were like, 3 lions? Maybe more?

Rockstar: <shrugs> KingS. The animal kingdom’s not the same as the humans, they can have more than one king. 

Me: You guys just make this up along the way, don’t you.

Rockstar: <not looking up> O-or, there’s Google.   

The Royal Scientists had some chim (deep) lines in the play…

The Royal Scientists explaining about carbon dioxide from emissions

The Royal Scientists explaining carbon dioxide from emissions (sorry ah, I really like their facial expressions in this one… That means however, other people’s children’s faces on the blog… I took the picture on my cellphone, of one of the pics displayed around the school..)

Like so...

Like so… (And there goes the king about his business behind Rockstar)

(Drop me a line if the shot of the Scientists is not ok, it’ll be gone in a flash…)

And Rockstar….

Rockstar the gangsta rapper homeless hippie alien narrator

Rockstar the gangsta rapper homeless hippie alien narrator

He was Narrator #17. I don’t know how many narrators there were in the whole play,  he said the kids could choose speaking or non-speaking parts (really love this about the school – in this sense there is no vying for a top role, anyone who wants to speak will get some lines, and there’s no pressure for kids to speak or not; Rockstar chose to have a speaking role, and it was nice to see some of his friends who have had stage fright in the past in speaking roles too.

With more pressure or competition I’m not sure Rockstar and some of his friends would’ve enjoyed their little start at “public speaking” – he’s really not a competitive kid, nor the sort who enjoys a spotlight (his sister, on the other hand… :D) Narrators can choose whether to dress as Residents of the Planet Plenty, or Pleasantites. Rockstar being Rockstar said no way is he ever wearing anything posh. Since his best buddies were all hippies or cyclists, even more so.

Speaking of costumes.

IMG_4717 IMG_4730

Rockstar’s came from an old Halloween costume…. and a Zara girls’ cardigan (which I was careful to remove the labels from as well, when I chopped off the sleeves).

But there’s a little sidestory behind his bling (recycled rubber Ryze bracelets and that Peace chain):

IMG_4727 IMG_4710

Firstly, that one with the green cord is not Rockstar’s, it’s his friend’s – the mums were thinking to take metal cutters to the chains those big Peace signs came with; but when I tried to do it Rockstar said don’t bother –

He fine wit da bling-bling (Pic of Fabolous from telegraph.co.uk)

He fine wit da bling (Pic of Fabolous from telegraph.co.uk)

Thing with the costumes was, while the kids had 2 weeks to learn the material for the show, the mums had *just* maybe half that time to source clothes for their kids, because they wear all the stuff to rehearse and do the show preliminarily for kids in other years in the school. This is where I invoke the Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood of Mums Whose Kids Need To Get Stuff And Fast. One of my mum friends cottoned on the Peace signs – at 9am in some market place, no less – and that’s how we all wit da bling. There is just no way you can easily go it alone, sourcing all the stuff kids “need” (money has nothing to do with it, it’s all about the cool and your kid’s idea of cool is not likely to also be yours) without sharing the load of sourcing stuff with some mum friends.

Kid with retro aviators and long blond hair has my vote for Best Costume Ever though

Kid With Retro Aviators And Long Blond Hair has my vote for Best Costume Ever though; and as for the decadent Inhabitants of Plenty, I like the coral blazer with the gold chain.

Wonder where they got the blazer, I don’t think tailored clothes come cheap, so non-basic  coloured (i.e. harder to reuse) tailored clothes for kids to me are quite decadent. So Plenty. He’s even got shoulder pads. So I wouldn’t be surprised if some mum altered that for their kid in the two weeks we had.

Remember this one couple Halloweens ago where Rockstar's friend went as Geronimo Stilton? His mum tailored that jacket herself...

Remember this one couple Halloweens ago where Rockstar’s friend went as Geronimo Stilton? His mum tailored the green jacket herself…

Rockstar goes to school with the COOL kids…

Re Best Dressed Hippie Kid, was thinking Wow This Kid Really Looks Like One Of The Original Charlie’s Angels. And then much later Rockstar happened to mention the long blond hair is a wig, and that’s one of his buddies under those flowing locks.

Me: That’s (Rockstar’s buddy’s name)?!

Rockstar: Yeah. I know. Everybody thought he should’ve been a shepherd. We kept asking, ‘You’d get to carry a big stick. Why don’t you be a shepherd?’ 

Me: ? You mean…. like…….. Moses? 

Rockstar: Yeah! He gets to wave the stick, and……..!

pic from shows.sights-sounds.com

pic from shows.sights-sounds.com

Me: Um, different storyline?

Rockstars: <ignores> No more swimming lessons. Done. 

Me: I thought you liked swimming lessons. 

Rockstar: Huh. Yeah, but… that would be so cool with the water, like the Force or something. Right Miss?

Miss: Elsa! I want Elsa! <starts doing the ice-ray motion>

pic from Disney.wikia.com

pic from Disney.wikia.com

OH……Kay.

This plot, the inhabitants of Planet Plenty lead an environmentally irresponsible life that ruins their planet, and to save it they travel to Planet Pleasant, to learn from the Pleasantites (who reuse, reduce, recycle, ride bikes instead of joyride around in their rockets).

Rockstar in the playground a little later with one of his good friends, dressed as a cyclist (whose jersey however is personalised with his own name in back :)

Rockstar in the playground a little later with one of his good friends, dressed as a cyclist (whose jersey however is personalised with his own name in back :)

Bunch of Rockstar’s friends (himself included) enjoyed the lively singing and dancing. Wait. Rockstar doesn’t singWasn’t too long ago, I watched Rockstar stand up on that same stage amongst a smaller group, and…. totally kayu. Not move. Forget he was supposed to have some actions along with the words to the song they were singing. I once put Rockstar in a local music creativity class because I remembered playdates where his friends would be doing whole dance sequences, whereas Rockstar didn’t really like to sing unless he’d forgotten it was actual singing.

But wow, now lookit.

OMG. He's singing, he's actually singing - and with gusto - in this one!

OMG. He’s singing, he’s actually singing – and with gusto – in this one

There’s kids who ride, dance or cartwheel across the stage with newly-acquired cycling/ dancing/ gymnastics skills (all the better to not let those extra classes go to waste – last Chinese Assembly some kids showed off martial arts skills as well as fluency in Chinese too)… and there’s usually rapping or beat-boxing too.

And this. Recycled bottles and things as musical instruments. Yes they really used them in the show.

And this. Recycled bottles and things as musical instruments. Yes they really played those giant water bottles as part of the show.

In about 45 minutes, 10 songs, choreographed routines and various Science facts and figures (not to mention comic relief), Planet Plenty is saved.

Lots more dancing and singing. The Ends.

Back to class...

Back to class (because Business As Usual)…

Encore:

Around the school and leading up to the hall are the kids’ pictures – before performing for parents, they do the shows for the other year bands as well. That means the kids always get some extra entertaining “lessons” by watching each other, in addition to passing the artwork and photographs as they go about their school day…

IMG_5041 IMG_5047 IMG_5048   IMG_5042-2  

Oh yeah and this is some other Year 4 kid's classwork.

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“Blog Post. Done.”

I have a bunch of stuff written in pieces, none completed, and I told Rockstar I didn’t have anything to post yet. He recommended these Scratch projects for your viewing pleasure, that he came by in the course of looking for inspiration for his schoolwork (yes, the Year 4s have started on Scratch).

In his words: “Blog post. Done.” (Hit command+R if you don’t see the windows; it’s my first time embedding Scratch :P)

(Link here)

Kids have the most amazing imaginations and creativity. They make egg carton ATM machines and Fashion Week Runway-Worthy outfits from recycled papers and plastic bags and bottle caps and what-not. They have imaginary careers (oh wait, some of us do that too :D). They make imaginary friends*. (Uh…)

Also, Rockstar had a public service message (seriously):

You Are What You Do. <ominous clap of thunder> (and link here)

(Isn’t this hilarious? Rockstar says one (or both) were done by an 11 year old kid “at least he said he was 11, in one of the video’s comments”)

 

ps: *Rockstar’s imaginary friends were aliens named Zippety and Yeeka; the Miss has haughtily declared her friends aren’t imaginary, her friends are real.

They’re real animals. They have real birthday parties.

Remember when the Miss did this to Rockstar's breakfast when he wasn't looking?

Remember when Rockstar couldn’t eat his snack because of the party?

…And they call her on their cellphones for real conversations. 

pic from mentalfloss.com

Yup, these are the things our kids grow up with these days, turning our children to lives of  crime and nail polish -pic from mentalfloss.com

The Miss takes calls from a fish she met in Margaret River last Christmas. Like I’m smart enough to make this stuff up.

 

 

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