Sunday, June 26, 2005

you're not a Bible authority just because you're ang moh

Cai featured such a fascinating article by Oscar Wilde that I had to go read it for myself.

But oh well... its quite a weak case...

First of all, he thinks "charity creates a multitude of sins." He's trying to theorise some cause and effect relationship and thinks that charity is a means of the rich keeping the poor in their place. Hmm... I wonder, how many of you agree with this?

And mind you, here we speak of charity for its absolute own sake, in obedience to Christ's commands, rather than to chalk up a 'goodwill account' or to make people in debt to you or owe a favour.

Want an example of something that masquerades as charity? Just look at all the Aussies who said they wanted to withdraw the tsunami aid after the conviction of an Aussie drug trafficker by an Indonesian court. I'm not here to argue over the facts of the case presented, nor about religious bias (of the 3 judges 2 were Hindus and 1 was Christian I think - none were Muslims) but to show the hearts of some of them who said "let's take back the aid".

There's no such thing as realist "I scratch your back and you scratch mine" charity. It's not charity. Period. So, he hasn't actually proven how charity is the cause of evil except when its not charity.

And the second, more intellectual part. How Wilde believes that private property is the root of all evil. It is unfair too.

He says the ideal is the removal of private property (with Socialism) followed by the Individualism that would result. He 'predicted' correctly that if Socialism was Authoritarian it would result in Industrial Tyranny.

Finally, the part which actually appeared in cai's blog. So after private property is abolished, "true" Individualism will flourish, -

The true perfection of man lies, not
in what man has, but in what man is.

I can see how he brings the Bible into his idea, for Jesus taught many times about how a man's earthly possessions were like nothing and a useless measure of what he really had. I agree whole-heartedly that possessions hardly define a man. But when Christ spoke of perfection in God's eyes, it had absolutely nothing to do with what we did or could possibly do to make ourselves perfect, for we can do nothing about that. Christ was the only man on earth who lead a perfect, sinless life.

The problem here is the same, we keep blaming something else, we always keep blaming something else when we do bad or when we suffer and things go wrong. Here Wilde, using Socialism, attacks private property, saying it suppresses personality. What does he mean by personality? I can't actually pinpoint it from his article but it sounds like being totally self-expressive in everything.

And in the end, Christ is just someone who is telling you to "be thyself"... to express your own personality.

But that's a serious misreading. "Know thyself" - is to ask you to examine your soul, to realise your state of wickedness, your ghastly, greedy, selfish self and denial of truth. Jesus did not exactly mean it to be like, "discover the real you" or something likedat, he meant it for you to discover that the real you is wretched, selfish, sinful and going straight to Hell.

So, don't borrow words from the Bible to legitamise something you have to say. Even if you are Oscar Wilde.

And the account of the rich man who was sad when Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him, is not to show that private property is evil. It's to show that this guy was simply too attached to his worldly possessions! Instead of his possessions it could have been his wife, his family, his country, anything.

The fundamental mistake is Wilde attributes causation of evil to the wrong things!

And the account of the woman who anointed Jesus's feet with costly perfumes is not saying we should throw away all our possessions, but rather that we should be extravagant when praising God. Take note, she wasn't "developing her personality" but praising God!

Another serious error in this account is a misreading. The woman was not forgiven for the intensity of her love that caused the adultery, but for her repentence in washing of the feet with tears and wiping the feet with her hair.

It's obvious Wilde just skimms through the Bible and makes so many errorneous interpertations, so I think he's hardly someone who should (mis)quote it and mislead others.

Friday, June 24, 2005

sleepless in eunos

Haven't updated for quite a while, so here goes.

My bro just treated me n my mom to starbucks & I had tiramisu and some coffee... we actually chatted like 2 hours altogether with seafood and drinks... haha.

Encouraged my brother of how he should aim for his professor ambitions. And how I wanted to be a car journalist. Haha. He said he'd make me his driver when he's reached professor level. Yay I'm gonna have a job! We were also relating our working experiences. Small firm, big firm, government department. Similar and different in many ways.

Oh yes, I like my new job! Although I'm still terrible at small talk. I don't even know when people are making small talk and I just unknowingly cut them off. So lame man... Have this other temp from NTU also who's simply obsessed about doing OT... sometimes. And its not as brain-dead as I thought just keying in stuff you gotta do quite a bit of detective work when you see the invoices too.. yeah and as it goes things are still quite messy now. I don't know how but I became the filing person too so my table has lots of space taken up by files... top and bottom... and there's this huge conference room filled with boxes of files that we have to enter once in a while to dig out files... incredible.

There are also 3 NTU Business school interns... Biz Finance majors... 1 of them is trying to enter SMU, the other never turns up for lessons but still gets As and the last one... don't know much about him.

Took a walk to the Esplanade today during lunch. The weather was surprisingly clear and windy, and I had a great time staring into the sea (well, its not really the sea, just the bay, but you get the idea.)

But being a corporate rat is quite something. Thousands of people rushing in and out of the MRT. All walking rapidly. And during lunchtime the who place is simply crowded, which is why I tend to go for the 1pm lunch instead. YS msged me suddenly so I msged back and it seems she's working at some tour agency in Chinatown...

Also met BT for dinner last week at this ramen place... not bad... and they didn't yell 'maseh maseh' when we entered.

Madagascar was a disappointment. That's 1 great example of what I'd call a technically flawless but empty movie. Ok I know its just a cartoon but the story is like, ultra weak, the selection of songs was in terrible taste and jokes were absolutely lame. The dancing furry things with that king were like, urgh. The only thing I found cool were the penguins. And so what's the whole story about? Lions can eat sushi? I love New York? who knows? Let's have world peace and love, even the lions don't have to kill anymore! Yay!

Oh yeah, btw, iTunes sucks but iPod Shuffle is great. No battery issues although it's having problems with my buggy USB hub. But I really detest having to use iTunes. What a pain. But the Shuffle is REALLY portable and convenient so you won't regret it.

There's really so much to be thankful for, though the struggle continues. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? But live and walk in the Spirit, for though we may fall, He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1

May the Lord be with you always. Amen.

Monday, June 13, 2005

When all the world is young

When All the World Is Young

When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green,
And ev'ry goose a swan, lad,
And ev'ry lass a queen,
Then, Hey! for boot and saddle, lad,
And 'round the world away!
Young blood must have his course, lad,
And ev'ry dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown,
And all the sports are stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down,
Creep home and find your place there,
The sick and maimed among.
God grant you find one face there
You loved when you were young.

I sure miss blogging!!

May you be able to enjoy God's peace and Christ's hope in our trials and tests on this earth. Amen.

where is NTU going

Thinking back to the recent attempt to change NTU's name to 'Nantah', one can't help but speculate that its just the tip of the iceberg in a larger identity crisis our dear institution is facing.

NTU's mainstay used to be in engineering. Well, it still is, but a main problem is that much of Singapore's economy has moved on. There'll always be place for engineers in any industrialised nation, but the number of such local jobs is definately falling in line with global trends and relocation of industries across borders.

Nanyang Business School, one of the pillars of NTU, is facing stiff competition from SMU, especially now that it no longer has a monopoly over locally recognised accountancy degrees.

NUS also already has a head-start in the bio-sciences arena. And now, NTU, anxiously trying to find a new niche, is launching a no-holds-barred replication of humanities and theoretical science courses in order to have a wide-enough spectrum of courses to be considered a 'full-fledged' university.

Do we really need to go there? I know that the universities have been granted independence in most of their management and decision matters but is a head-on collision and replication of courses necessary? Is NTU trying to be the jack of all trades, having lost its past niches in providing practical education to the masses?

The stark reality of the open market is here to stay. Isn't it better to focus on our strengths and defend or build upon our existing core competencies rather than keep taking new shots in the dark at the next 'big-thing' in the market?

As much as a university is an entity grounded in practical considerations, it ought to transcend the mere economics of job prospects and qualification marketability. We all know how uncertain the economy is. One moment its the bio-sciences, the next its the hospitality industry, after that its the transport and communications and then its the integrated resorts. As a country we need to put our eggs in as many baskets as possible to ensure the populances' economic survival.

However, that is not the way a unversity ought to decide or chart its path of growth.

Ask any potential undergraduate where he intends to go. SMU is now the choice for most business aspirants, while a 'liberal arts' person would go for NUS's FASS. Theoretical sciences also belong in NUS (apart from a recent transmigration of staff into our School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences). People seeking a industry-specific, practically oriented education in engineering will choose NTU.

But the recent plethora of changes in curriculum reeks of confusion.

An all-rounded education isn't going to happen by making students take more general modules or expanding the different types of degree programmes offered. It only happens when internal core curriculum are overhauled and methods of assessment and teaching are re-oriented towards thinking, understanding and application. And where best to start than in its core competencies, pushing them to higher levels of engineering, R&D, and industry applicability.

We need to focus on our strengths and our practical orientation, in which we're losing badly to SMU amongst the business faculty. Otherwise, whichever way you look at it, NTU will just always end up playing second fiddle to some other entity.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

My monitor and I : quit!

Goodbye DBS

It's been slightly more than a month and one week since I began my DBS job. Guess what. I quit it. Somehow I feel that I'm wasting my time on one hand. On the other, it's been getting more and more stressful ever since I got switched over to another task which I have to handle by myself with little proper transitional training. Sulk at the office all day. So many things to handle and keep track. Honestly I don't know what's going on much of the time. It's like I discover so many new things that I'm supposed to do everyday. And I'm like, super-ultra disorganized at that, because I don't know what to do first (ie : the work never stops flowing and somehow I need to know what can be delayed and what can't in order to maintain some semblance of coping)

My supervisor's really nice and I did speak to her at on 2 occassions about this, but really, she's quite helpless as to putting me elsewhere, as she's already out of people herself. I guess that's a consequence of the high staff turnover due to use of excessive amounts of temps. After all, if even their problems and feedback and suggestions take a year to be addressed, how about mine :)

Of course, almost noone apart from my supervisor and my immediate colleages really have any idea of what's been going on, like my aunt's friend LaiKuen and LeeKiao, who gave me sad looks. I must be generating don't-know-what new gossips and suffering image re-evaluations. Whatever.

At least I haven't reached a point wherein I don't have a choice but to stay in such a job out of financial commitment.

It's something I paid for though. The employment agent "Success", which only made a lot of noise at me not serving 1 week's notice, deducted 1 week's pay as per the silly contract which I signed. Never even bothered to ask why I quit. Just called me to keep scolding me. In the first place, it wasn't even the agent that got me the job, I only had to sign on with it as a formality as DBS probably has some contract that all its temp staff must come through this agent though we were actually recommended directly from DBS staff themselves. But legally I did sign that paper. So there's nothing for me to feel indignated about. After all, it's just money.

This has been one experience. Don't work in such a place if you can help it. It's very unfortunate if you land a responsibility that's overloaded and the person who's supposed to help you transition is like, uh, can't be bothered and leaving you to chaos with an attitude that resembles "what, you mean you still can't understand how to do this? how come you're so stupid?"

But God's providene is really wonderful. My supervisor actually gave me another job recommendation on the same day after I quit! Amazing! It's a no-brainer data entry with some interesting perks I can't mention here...

Maybe I should just stay in peasant work. Come to think of it... next holidays I should go get a real education... a Class 4A license...

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

I'd promised jan i'd do an article with this heading. This is to pay tribute to my monitor the Philips 107S. It finally died, as in, there's no longer a screen image. No not one, not even the picture that pops up while you're adjusting the contrast and settings. I thought it must have lasted a good 10 years considering that so many changes in my life have happened yet it hasn't changed. I looked behind and saw its "date of manufacture" to be 1998. So it's only slightly older than my car. But nevertheless, as a victim of hardcore gaming and internet surfing and on-off nonsense courtesy of everyone in the house it has held up a pretty long 6 years.

I remember when my dad bought it. 17" was a big thing back then and it cost $439. By today's 17" CRT monitor standards its footprint is huge and long, probably because newer CRTs need a shorter depth and more integrated electronics. I remember it couldn't fit in the car boot of the Honda because the box was super-huge and had swaths of styrofoam and it had to go into the backseat. And I remember there was also once within 2 years that the on-off switch suddenly spoiled and my dad kept grumbling as he had to carry the whole thing to the repair centre to get it fixed. By the way he did drop it somehow and it has a nice scratch in the center of the screen which you'll notice from a canted angle.

It's now quite yellowed from its original beige colour and has been faithfully shifted in our last 2 housing relocations. Looks like its last stop is with the rag-and-bone man.

I was in Simlim yest with ol'Vanz and CTs looking at new monitors and CTs bought a new 17"Philips CRT @ $209. I was actually interested in a 17" LCD but the $399 models had no DVI input which I reckoned would be needed since I do expect my monitor to last at least 5 years and it'll need some "future proofing". But I think I should research more on things like response time, luminance, contrast ratio as these are new LCD specific display technology terms.

Anyway, the spare monitor from my mom's office is still working fine so there's no hurry.

I'm beginning to miss my old laptop already. Something's really weird about this HP notebook's keyboard. It somehow, impedes my typing. It's always like, lagging or something. Argh.

Sometimes I do look at myself and can't help but think I'm such a lazy selfish incompetent moron. How could I possibly be a good person? But though I doubt myself I never doubt Christ, to whom I attribute whatever goodness and gifts I could possibly ever have.

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
Before the second you turn back
Oh no, be strong
- U2 "Walk On"

To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, don't despair when you're down, or when the world thinks insignificant of you or when you feel yourself unworthy, miserable and downtrodden, and just for a moment, you feel lost and helpless in this life. Presevere in your struggle by faith, and with the eternal hope that is in Christ. Amen.

We love him, because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:19