Monday, May 30, 2005

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. - Eph 5:14

How are we today?

I'm really glad I got the subjects I wanted, although it's a 5-day week but I have no choice with regards to that, if I really am going to take photo-journalism I'll have to come to school everyday. None of my days starts before 10am heehee. But I think I'll have a serious problem with my tuition as I'll no longer have any free 2.5 hour blocks... I'm still contemplating giving it up... anyone want to take over Pri 1 & Pri 5 tuition job in Bedok? Contact me.

Thanks be to the Lord for my subject registration and this short little break from my work, its a welcome relief - although when I get back I'll be at a new post which has more data entry...

I had a long time friend who's now an air stewardess talk to me over MSN with regards to my Good News article - well... it's not that I like being complicated for the sake of it... the matter of the fact is that the truth is very simple...

God is the Creator of the Universe. As for us human beings we live and die but once on earth, and after that will go either to heaven or hell - and that's for eternity (can you actually fanthom such a 'timeframe'? eternity? forever and ever and ever. Wow.)

Technically no human that has lived on earth has been perfect. Sinless. And I'm not talking about breaking the law here, but not ever having done anything you know shouldn't have. Yes even the mere thinking of it. Anger. Hatred. Scheming. Unethical things. We all are like that, be it Christians or not. And born selfish in the heart are we, yes even as babies unfortunately.

Only 1 person who's ever been on earth can say otherwise. Jesus Christ. And you know why? Because He is God in human form! The only 1 who ever lived every single day of his 30 over years of life perfectly.

And yes, He died in our place when it should have been us perishing in hell with eternal torment. Because God is so ever perfect, he cannot tolerate our sin so the only way is through Christ paying on our behalf, only if we believe.

Why do I need all this? Ain't I happy with things the way they are now? That's because we live in a blinded shroud of half-truths, each having his own philosophy and reason and explanation for living. Even Confucious himself said that he didn't know enough about this life, let alone the next.

But this which you have just read is not some human's idea, it is the revelation of God Himself. Who but our Creator who created everything in the universe is fit to tell us what we're here for?

Will you take the leap of faith and believe? Or just continue searching on your own, subscribing to other theories and notions that change with the ebb and flow of the tide? Or just throw your hands up, say we'll never know for sure, and satisfy yourself temporarily from distraction to distraction? Now haven't we all been there before?....

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Dad visiting

Took a break from tuitions today. Sometimes I just feel so lazy. Had breakfast with mom. Going down to the airport to pick my dad up later.

Washed my car. Haven't done so for almost 3 months I think. One of those things that you keep procrastinating. You think "wah the pails of water are so heavy" or "it's going to rain anyway" - but it has been raining quite a lot recently, to justify my laziness a little.

There are SO many dings dangs and knocks and paint scrapes on my car its starting to look pimpled, if you stare up close, that is.

Hai... tell my brother not to eat so much cause we're having lunch in 1 1/2 hours time and then he runs to the room sulking wif teary eyes without saying a thing... I really don't know what to do... generation gap or something... or he's just like that... clam up and sulk and cry when he doesn't get his way... hai... really leave him in God's hands

At least after sulking he's packing his table now... to make way for another computer he intends to salvage from my mom's office. So many computers in the home network... wow... should I get a wireless LAN card or wireless USB adapter? Would USB have that irritating bottleneck or high CPU utilization? I doubt the office PC is USB 2.0 anyway...

Its interesting to know that the NTU PC loan repayment is 200/month after graduation interest free. And CPF payment for tuition fee has 1 yr grace period after graduation before start paying back. But this one charges interest right from the moment you draw it. Study loan leh... its considered a personal finance loan from DBS bank...

looks I won't be backpacking anytime soon after graduation. But nevertheless, be thankful for all that we have.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Good News

What is good news? That depends on who you ask, and the circumstances in which you ask. An anxious wife waiting for news of her husband during a war. An anxious husband waiting at the delivery room. An anxious student waiting for results. (HAHA). An anxious kidney patient for news of a transplant. And so on.

Before you switch off and start to just glance through the rest of this, think of the analogies I've given above. Sure, you may have been in one or more of the above situations before, and now its good and gone. But what is the ultimate good news that would apply to every single one of us, irregardless of our circumstances?

In all the situations you can think of, they are not finalities. As in, they aren't the be-all and end-all of the whole meaning of life's existence. But have you ever considered the greatest, final circumstance of every single human being, including your very self?

The circumstance that we are, ultimately, ashes to ashes, dust to dust? Whatever we do in the end comes to naught, and we take nothing with ourselves, not even our bodies, when we die?

Do you actually consider that? Aren't you anxious to know how this ultimate circumstance is going to be resolved? With finality and certainty?

If you are, the Gospel is indeed, going to be Good News to you. Don't be mistaken, its not a promise that you'd get rich, that you'd always be materially happy, healthy, or whatever. But the Good News being your reconciliation with God in Christ, who came to seek the 'lost sheep' that we all are, wondering and clueless on this earth, attaching our loyalties to vain, temporal things which are to perish anyway. Yes, even this very world itself (for all you 'heal the world' people).

For in Christ it is God's grace (kindness undeserved) that we may be in His presence in heaven when we leave this world as well as mercy (not giving punishment deserved) and forgiveness for all our selfish sins, transgressions, evil-doings and thoughts, the chief sin being denial or ignorance of God's commandments and God's ownership of the whole of existence.

Sound completely alien to you? Yea, all of us, including me, once lived in darkness not knowing Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Was the preceeding paragraph too much for you to swallow or stomach? Think about it, and typically you'd stubbornly refuse to yield. I spent many years in absolute denial. But if it even very slightly touches you then don't recoil in fear, but dare to ask and seek the truth. Ask any Christian you know or talk to me. For Christ has promised -

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8

When you seek the truth with your heart sincerely, I testify from my own experience, the Good News shall be as plain as the day before you. And as I always hold:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. - John 8:32

Thursday, May 12, 2005


hi my blog-surfing pals, how are things? It's going to be a week since I started work now, and time sure flies when you're doing a full-time job.

How do I like my job? Well, its okay...its simple enough although having to deal with human beings means you can expect weird and unreasonable people sometimes, although its when you encounter such people that you appreciate the people who are nice to you. My co-workers are well... generally nice people and my supervisor is great too.

I just found out that the NTU PC loan is a really great thing. After you graduate you can repay the whole thing in monthly $200 installments interest-free!

However, recently I've been feeling really discouraged with my tuition kids, both at the Care Centre and my private ones. It seems so really hard to teach things like English, oh how is an idealist to work in such circumstances where people have to see results? But nevermind, I'll just see how it goes. It does secure at least some money.

to TEH: Well done on the Civic bro. You won't regret it, at least compared to those dumb MPVs. Enjoy your car's fuel economy and power and excellent suspension. The ones on my car feel like they're floating all the time now. Corner like a pro and show them.

Just finished watching this 'documentary' on arts central about the Da Vinci code. To be fair the programme does mark out what are historical facts and locations versus events which are pure fiction. Also note how based on legend it is on. It is the suggested fictions based on either legends or alternative theories that feed the conspiracy theory that the Church altered or suppressed truth. The Gnostics were already crushed by the early church fathers during the 1st and 2nd century before the Roman Empire was Christianized, so in reality all the Church plots are just nice scandal stories. Just because a text is ancient doesn't mean its the Word of God. The Gnostics clearly stated they didn't like some parts of the Bible and had a lot of philosophy written in their gospels which means they are the word and ideas of men, not on equal footing with scripture that claims to be the Word of God.

Enjoy your holidays guys, and may the Lord be with you.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Memories are strange things aren't they? Recollections of things and thoughts that could have happened years and years ago, but then suddenly they could come back to you as fresh as though it has just happened.

That's why I believe that time isn't real, because by the presence of memories our consciousness does transcend time in that sense.

Memories seem to require certain triggers, and could come voluntarily or otherwise. Also, memories have to be recalled in thoughts rather than in timeframes, like "my first holiday" or something like that.

Blk 106
The earliest I could ever recall of childhood is staying in my grandmother's house in Bedok Reservoir Rd Blk 106. I stayed there with my slightly younger cousin Charles, better known as Wei-wei then. That's because both our parents were working and our grandparents looked after us during the daytime. In the evening our parents would come and take us home, though Charles' parents usually came later. Sometimes I'd insist on staying overnight at grandma's.

It's a pretty rare thing now, that grandparents would look after their grandchildren. I remember eating grandma's macaroni with meat and I'd always eat faster than my cousin in order to win the grand trophy prize of the empty 7-11 cup we finished drinking yesterday. ("Kam pui" in Cantonese) I also remember how grandpa once had a terrible accident by stepping and tripping on the "bundle" - of which I can't remember its proper name. Its basically a cloth bundle to put a baby inside that's attached to the ceiling by a spring and grandma would gently bounce it up and down with the spring to bring baby to sleep. Long time back, I don't know how but there were at least 5 unmarried uncles and aunts staying there together with my grandparents in the 3-room place, though they were rarely around in the day-time. And strangely enough, I don't remember much of Charles, but probably because after a while he stayed at home with the maid instead.

I remember aunt Mary as "lao yen ku cheh" (scold people auntie) because she was a really fierce teacher. My aunt Linying was a teacher too but I only remember her usually hogging the phone late at night. Aunt Kathy worked in a church and had certain weekdays at home and she and aunt Janet (who works in some nice office which is a bank) like to buy me stuff.

So for much of my later memories there I was usually alone at the house with grandma and grandpa, and remember spending my time doing silly stuff. One of them was climbing up my grandpa's dressing table to reach the top shelf and stick my hand into the mysterious secret drawer, which contained lots of my aunt's ancient children's story books. It was fun to see what story book you'd end up taking out to read. These were very old Enid Blyton stuff, like Marilyn Towers, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. And they were the complete unabridged versions too with terribly small print. I would spend as many hours as my tired eyes could take me into all the adventures, places, and investigations that the books took me to. I dare say the entire series was almost intact in those drawers!

Of course, I spent a lot of time watching TV too. A typical day of TV after school and homework would be 2 consecutive episodes of some silly SBC8 chinese drama serial rerun from 3.30 till about 5.30, after which there'll be cartoons and Sesame Street on SBC5

The school-bus man
I remember taking the school bus to school, which was ChongZheng Primary School in Tampines. It was white with a green stripe and had our school name painted on it and had no aircon. In those days it was quite special to see a bus with aircon and for SBS buses you'd see a nice sticker on the front of the windshield saying "AIRCON" and we'd be very happy to get in.

My stop was the furthest away from the school hence the Malay uncle who drives the bus would always come to my grandma's place to pick me up first and drop me off last. He was a nice friendly chap with whom I liked to play cards with. I'd always have those silly little cards containing pictures of cars, tanks, rockets, trains and ships which would show their weight, horsepower, speed and all that and we'd state a category and compete to see which of the next drawn card was higher. Because of that, I always stood in the front with him next to this huge stump of an engine block from which the gearstick protruded. Come to think of it now, I wonder how he managed to drive the bus while playing cards with me at the same time...

Primary School
There were a weird assortment of teachers there, and interesting too. Our principal was a Mr B. R. Sethi, a kindly old man whom I once saw again many many years later in Hougang loading up his groceries in his same old car, a grey Ford Laser. I always liked to take note of which teacher drove what car because it was an indicator of his or her presence in school. Ha! It was always fun to speculate that a particular teacher wasn't in school for the day, although it was exceedingly rare. A few years later a Miss Chan, driving a cute newer Toyota Starlet became our V-P and she was a very fierce woman. Very fierce indeed. Always scolding and terrorising the kids.

Oh but the real terrors in school back then were discipline masters. Our first one was this Mdm Cheong, a white-faced woman with permed hair who was plump and yet had this extremely fierce demeanor and always talked in a booming, terrifying voice. Her favourite phrase was "you watch out!" and we tried our best to avoid her, but if you couldn't you'd best greet her as you walk by and hope she doesn't think your hair too long and your uniform too untidy. She retired not so long after and rumors abound that she became a florist.

The next discipline master was "sen lao shi" (Mr Sim, I think) who was a very big-sized old man with a very dark complexion. He certainly had this grand old man father figure and rarely went about shouting and screaming, but when he was angry he spoke forcefully and we were all petrified too, but typically more out of guilt than fear. But mostly he was a kindly old man although I hardly spoke to him because my Mandarin was terrible. We know he smoked outside but he'd always put it out if he saw any pupils approaching.

I'm getting lazy now so I'll continue this another day :)

Car window shopping

I accuse ladies of wasting time window shopping, but hey, its the same here...

this is not going to be a "if i had 100k to spend on a car" kind of question... its just that I'd like to compare these rather varied large saloon cars and see which I'd prefer more.

The cars in mind:
Subaru Legacy B4 2.0i/2.0GT
Volvo S60 2.0T
Ford Mondeo 2.5V6
Honda Integra GSR
(Nissan Sunny B14 1.5A as reference)

There's no logic or common sense in my selection. I just feel like comparing these models because they catch my eye.

The first 3 cars are large sedans of relatively similar size and one can expect high levels of interior space and refinement. The GSR, of course, is my cult favourite grand-tourer coupe (after the demise of the B18C generation of 4-door Integras), which is what you should get if by the time you can afford a car you still don't have kids...

In the engine compartment, the 2.0GT kicks ass full-time with a cool twin-turbocharged 260PS and 343Nm torque. It's the highest speced amongst the contenders here so expect fuel consumption to follow suit. The other turbocharged baby is the low-pressure 2.0T with 180bhp and 240Nm while the 2.0i sports 180PS with 196Nm and the 2.5V6 a respectable 170bhp and 220Nm. The GSR clocks in at 160bhp and 191Nm. (1.5A= 105bhp,135Nm)

The Subaru models boast boxer-4 engines while the Volvo is an inline-5, and the sister Ford is a V6. The GSR is a classic inline-4 just like my old 1.5A. Of course, they all have the latest bangs and whistles in engine tech like variable valve timing and so on..., but it seems the 2.0i has to run on a very high compression ratio of 11.5 in order to achieve it (must buy higher octane petrol). There's no replacement for displacement and the V6 would be my pick if not for the fact that the money saved on its cheaper sticker price would be lost on higher road tax as its 500cc more than the rest here. The Volvo's low-pressure turbo seems interesting enough, sufficient torque to get things moving and yet not as much fuel consumption as the mad twin-turbo. Factor in the tax savings and it starts to look better...

But why can't we just be contented with the 105bhp? Well, for starters the old 1.5A is only 1020kg whereas the large saloons featured here are at least 1.4 tonnes... so it'll definately get sluggish if you don't have enough power and torque. If you factor in the weight the fact that the GSR is only slightly lower at 160bhp and yet its about 1.2 tonnes you'd realise its the coupe that still has the best power-to-weight ratio...

As for the automatic gearboxes (the sad reality of a traffic-jamed city), they're all 5-speed autos except for the 2.0i which is a shame considering that it would have been a worthwhile package with its an all-wheel-drive, which surely is a huge plus for cornering. The rest of the sedans are front-drivers.

It would have been nice to have cruise control, as well as a sunroof, and maybe xenon lights and the only nick-nack accessory I'd really want is tinted windows to keep out the heat. I would expect cars of such spec to come with alloys too.

So, what would I choose? The GSR unless someone else violently objects. Then it'll most likely be the Volvo S60 2.0T, which at least has a lower road tax and yet sufficient torque for a heavy body and together with an efficient 5-spd auto.

(1500cc=$870, 2000cc=$1500/yr, 2500cc=$2300/yr) Boy, pure money wasted for no other purpose than for government tax? Even the increased fuel consumption isn't going to cost that much more... No wonder everyone's driving cars with huge heavy bodies mated to special low-cc engines designed for Singapore... the result being sluggishly underpowered heavy cars which egoistic owners who compensate by stepping very very hard on the accelerator all day to make up for the lower cc... hence increasing petrol bills (which, btw, increases tax revenue too because 50% of the price of petrol is pure govt tax once again)

We really need to get rid of this really ridiculous system of taxation. It's totally lame and without basis. It undermines the quality of our cars and wastes a lot of petrol. It promotes wear and tear, but I know most drivers don't care because they change car every 3 years and don't care about the long term condition of their cars, just sell or scrap, which is a terrible mentality exacerbated by the scrap rebate system which was of course introduced by themselves in the first place for purposes of taxation.

Argh! To be born a car lover here is a curse! ARgh!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Smile :)

Had a nasty bout of mega computer playing...

Need for Speed Underground 2 - I have a Nissan 240SX with the real pop-up lamps and xenon lights! Fantastic acceleration and tyre burning antics galore as I drive around the city avoiding taxis mounting walkways looking to participate in races and mod shops galore. It's such a pity there's such a badly defined sense of 'coolness' of car which has to be 'ah-beng' like... I'd rather keep everything on the outside looking docile and yet have all the turbo mods inside, except for some small decales and windshield stickers with some dark window tinting. Recently bought a Peugeot 206... cute little thing. The graphics are fantastic and they're so detailed even though the whole thing takes place at night... although on my poor computer it kinda slows down when the screen gets crowded with other cars and with the smoke dust when we slide into the gravel... otherwise... fantastic driving dynamics!

The driving experience would be complete with a force-feedback USB steering wheel control with gearshift and paddles! Yeah! Then I won't be stuck to the 2 key limitation of my keyboard.

The Sims 2 is my old-time madness, now with the University addon. Oh well, shifted the old chums to a bigger house, but then I had the problem of having too much space with nothing to fill it with! Also, its tiring to have a big house and you'd have to walk so long just to get from the kitchen to the dining room and also up and down the stairs. Think I'll shift them down to a smaller house with a nice garden later!

Games are just games it seems, though they're worthwhile as long as you don't play em till you fall sick :)

If any of you has part-time work lobang of any kind, do contact this otherwise contented peasant.

For none of us liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's. - Romans 14:7-8

May God keep you always. Amen.

Jan's chivalry in a real world

Socially acceptable or appropriate conduct is something which is not governed by laws. This is mainly because the basis for such norms is dependent highly on the type of society and people that make it up.

In the past, it tends to be that societies were more uniform in culture, language and social upbringing hence they had common customs of which it is deemed to be appropriate.

If you have time, do take a look at one of my school assignment websites which was also co-authored by some other cs friends.

Cupid's cove: What women want

Chivalry used to be the protection of the weak and defenceless, which was what knights were supposed to do. After a while this evolved into behaving in a gentlemanly fashion towards ladies.
I think why people still have this vague notion of chivalry or gentlemanly behaviour is because its still quite popularised in common culture. Any narrative set in some distant past probably has some vague elements of chivalry, although we usually experience more of upper-class past culture.

Protection of the weak and defenceless. Women being weak and defenceless always sounds like a bad idea in modern society. Firstly, the world isn't so dangerous anymore (relatively speaking in developed nations). Secondly, the idea of equal rights, of being fair, means no discrimination or differenciation of behaviour on the basis of sex.

So what could it mean when a guy opens a door for you although you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself? What's he implying?? *Shudder*

You'd have to ask the guy himself because I'm not a mind reader. As for Jan, I don't buy his "why not be extra safe" mitigation as in the end he says that it's because this is the appropriate behaviour of differenciated genders.

I think perhaps some women think such behaviour awkward because they aren't used to it. And when they aren't used to it, they start to think that the person could be hitting on her, if she allows it'll send the wrong signals, so on and so forth.

What do I think? Well, I don't operate by any fixed rules on the matter. It depends on the circumstances I guess. And how well you can judge the situation, as to whether it's necessary and comfortable for her.

We no longer live in a world with strict and clear gender roles and boundaries. After all, our beloved leader did not so order that women should join the workforce so that they may be emancipated, but rather that our utility of labour may be maximised.

For those who continue to believe in chivalry to all women, carry on. For those who think it only appropriate for familiars or significant others, carry on. But what's most important is to perform when circumstance clearly requires it.