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After two months of recceing, liaising, shortlisting and preparation, the dining etiquette workshop for Greenview Secondary School is finally here! I'm doubly excited because this marks my first foray as a vendor for grooming workshops in Singapore. This is definitely an added responsibility besides just being a trainer. 

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Grateful to be awarded the project by the school management, the dining etiquette is part of Greenview Secondary School's Learning Festival for all its 331 Secondary Three students. As the appointed vendor, I had to liaise with both the school teacher as well as the restaurant manager to ensure the dining portion was executed flawlessly.
 
As this was a large group of students, I had to break the classes up into two groups - with five classes on the first day and four classes on the second day. 

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Head down to Swensen's Tampines Mall we did in the chartered buses for each class. The senior restaurant manager Eric was obliging enough to cordon off the restaurant for our purpose and get his staff to report for duty earlier than the norm. Well, this was because our dining etiquette portion was to commence from 1000hrs and end by 1115hrs before the lunch-time crowd reaches.

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From the happy faces on the students, it was evident that all of them enjoyed this food excursion to Swensen's. More importantly, it gave them the opportunity to put into practice what they had just been taught - proper dining which includes how to order their food, using the right cutlery, creating small talk while waiting for the food to come, and the art of dining. 

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If you thought it was just one standard item for the students, you would have been mistaken. For the record, the students were treated to a sumptuous four-course meal comprising soup of the day, main entree (choose from breaded chicken or fish & chips), soft drink (choose from Coke and Fanta Grape) and dessert in the form of a single scoop of chocolate ice cream. Students who were vegetarian could choose from aglio olio spaghetti and arcata penne for their main entree.

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During my school days, dining etiquette was something only the upper class society could engage in, much less to mention getting schooled in the finer details of it. But it is now considered the norm for students to learn and be equipped with such finer lifeskills.

Bon appetite everybody!
 
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Perhaps one of the greatest characteristics of the human mind is the capacity for memory and strategic planning. Through the years, we incorporate experience that provides us with essential information for a successful existence. And our mind is a marvellous data mining machine which we can depend on for both good and bad times.

Remember the time when you were first scalded by the hot water despite the fact that you were told not to touch the kettle? I sure did. Remember the time when you fell sick because you played in the rain? Me too! Or how about the time when you ate too much chocolate only to get a terrible sore throat and acne outbreak the next day? I experienced that too!
 
Make the most of this gift that is innate in all of us. In the same vein, extend the same memory to your weight loss programmes. Take the time to note the circumstances that send you off course in your weight-management plan. Do they include having certain types of food in the kitchen cabinet or refrigerator at home? Or was it skipping a meal and then bingeing thereafter to keep up with the hunger pangs? Or did you stop by a certain bakery on the way home from work because of the allure of the cakes and bread? Or did you recall choosing a certain restaurant for a meal out?
 
Whatever has turned out to be a pitfall in the past can be a learning tool for the present and future. Once you identify the times, places, and events that have been a challenge in the past, you can begin to strategize ways to meet the challenge. Treat each episode as a learning experience. You won’t have to keep falling into the same holes. You can take different paths or build bridges. In other words, you can learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself if you could go back in time, how differently would you have approached the same situation?
 
It is easier to move beyond problems in life when you learn to associate them with unwanted results. When you look back and see things you did that made you unhappy, reflect on the connection between your choices and the results of those choices. Remember you are not a victim of circumstance. You have the right to choose. You can choose differently from what you chose in the past. You can take pitfalls and turn them into avenues for growth.
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