Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Male papaya trees

'Male papaya trees'
Did you know there are such things as male papaya trees? My mom made that startling revelation unto me over lunch today!

In a papaya fruit, there are lots of seeds. These seeds will grow up to become male or female papaya trees. There's no way to tell when its still a seed, but after it has grown for a while and started flowering you'd know. How? Male papaya trees have flowers which grow out with a stem from the trunk, while female trees have flowers that grow directly on the trunk. Amazing. And male papaya trees have flowers and can be pollinated, but will produce no fruit. Strange huh and I thought trees were 'asexual'. Could this 'male papaya tree' actually be some mutation or variety of papaya tree? That somehow despite so much domestication its seeds still appear in the predominant 'female papaya tree'?

This is a question for...... Prof Benj!

Goodbye NSX
My schoolboy crush fantasy supercar - the Honda / Acura NSX is ceasing production soon - after 15 years on Honda's lineup. The end of an era... at least it retired with grace unlike being reincarnated into some monstrosity of a marketing gimmick like the current Skyline or Fairlady, which share only their namesake and nothing else with their illustrious predecessors.

Car shock absorbers - $800... to change or not to change in order to cure the dive/squat bouncy castle syndrome. Left filter light keeps coming off after a hit on the front skirt during an illegal U-turn. Super glue and good weather needed. I hope the springs will last at least another 3 years...

New school term
It's great to see good school mates again! 5-day week thanks to photojourn and my core media subject. Planned lots of extra-cirricular activities to motivate myself to go to school on otherwise 1 1/2 hour or 2 hour days!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Les Mundane

That's weird. An article I was working on halfway suddenly disappeared although I had saved a draft. What's going on here?

Went swimming on Wed and Fri. Am a little sunburnt now. Rainy season is ending. Second weekend in a row I have to go around Singapore counting lamposts for my mom. Awful for me and my poor car. And my mom is disorganized at planning routes. Heh. Can't make head or tail of the street directory. Recipe for disaster haha.

Got the car serviced. Finally changed the 2 rear tyres. The workshop replaced the tyre stems for me too. Cool. Now with excellent tyre grip my worn out suspension makes itself felt more when I corner hard. John says the front shocks (and I believe the rear) are leaking. That's why the dive and squat and wobbling keeps happening. $300 for front shocks replacement, up to $800 for the entire car including bushings and labour. $800. And I thought I could get the windows tinted. But this is much more urgent cause the car feels like a floating barge. And the springs are probably being massacred at a rapid rate with all that bouncing about. Or I could just corner real slowly. All the time. 6-year-old car, are you worth the money? Washed the car too.

Still haven't cashed my Citibank cheque yet. How troublesome. This coming Thursday there's gonna be a dinner with Ning Toh downtown. Maybe during then. Could collect my final one at the same time too.

I confess. Been doing guilty stuff recently. Felt horrid. My vile self, I could turn anything that's good horrible. Too much of anything. Obsession. Is bad. Bad for the soul. Clouds the light. Don't ever lose hope though, approach the Throne of Mercy in repentance. Even if you couldn't believe in yourself, believe and trust God and the Holy Spirit. Pray when temptations strike. I didn't, that's why I fell. Praise God for His mercy, that precious gift we handle with fear and trembling. Trust in Him alone - Him who keeps the universe in existence by His very Will.

Repent and thou shalt be saved:

What's repentance?

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.)
The verb "metamelomai" is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or
even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word
is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo,
meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge.
This verb, with (3) the cognate noun "metanoia", is used of true repentance, a
change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and
sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred
of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and
(4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way
of his commandments. The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of
pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he
apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares
him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an
apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1;

Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

A change of purpose in life. What's your purpose in life?

"...I once was lost
But now am found
was blind but now
I see..."

Amazing Grace! Amen!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


This photograph is from a 202 assignment I had last semester. I coloured off a few distracting elements but otherwise everything else is untouched. Yes, including my unprofessional flash and the slight reflection on the glass window. What do you think? Any suggestions for improvement? What's the point I'm trying to make?

Occupation : something to occupy you with

Work ended yesterday! HAhaha! I've been slacking at the office as there's literally nothing left to do and the workflow is very messy and confusing. I'm instructed to gather so-and-so document number and then it turns out like 90% of them are useless and can't be used to retrieve the invoice. And their filing is a horrendous mess some labelled by months, entities, and journal numbers...

The other temp keeps pinning me down trying to make me look slow and saying I am making mistakes up till my very last day. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind since I was leaving but I forgave him. For Christ's sake. Next Friday I'll be back to collect my cheque while I send my mom to Chinatown. So much for SGX Tower 1. Byebye, till next holiday perhaps. Between this and DBS, can't tell which is the better. But this one is a lot less stressful.

1 last week of break... tai-tai lifestyle of swimming, cycling, movies, books, waking up late and chauffering mom around. Fantastic. Oh yah I've got to wash the car and send it for servicing.

Praise the Lord for all blessings that are given us! Amen!

NKF - reality check

NKF "saga"

Long term
I had some strong reactions, but I guess in the end what's of utmost concern in the long term is whether the system in place that is supposed to regulate how public charity collections are utilised is sufficiently accountable. It's quite disappointing that it takes an ironic and extraordinary twist of a defamation suit gone wrong to expose all these details of bad practices. Granted, NKF is not your typical local charity in terms of size and amount of collections so I guess we can take this as a lesson and set higher regulatory standards. Another sound idea mooted by PM is that perhaps excess funds (if you ask me, the temptation of the millions stuck there was just too great) be redistributed to other charities under various umbrella organizations.

NKF board resignation
It's a wise move for the board to resign as this will salvage the NKF name which has been built with much hard work. At least in this move we know the board and government, which I'm sure played a significant hand in the decision, have the interests of the NKF charitable cause at heart and don't want it being pulled down utterly together with these revelations.

Dishonest? Criminal?
The revelations were a a public shocker for understandable reasons. For the typical man-on-the-street, the image of golden taps paid for by public donations is something that will stick. Most people have an expectation of a charity. And those revelations were definately not what they expected.

A charity is a business is a charity is a business
Some people I spoke to think that it the perks were alright. After all, top dollar for top talent. Perhaps we're forgetting that this is not a business or company and that money raised from charity is a COLLECTION and not an EARNING. If you ask me, there's something terribly wrong about pegging Mr Durai's 10-month bonus to his 'performance' of having raised lots of money. Don't get me wrong, efforts should be lauded and rewarded no doubt, but how do you draw the line? Seems like the board drew it at 10 months. Civil servants get 1 or 2 month bonus and everyone nags. 10 months. Come on. I FORGOT, DID ANYONE SHOW THE DONORS WHO DONATED MORE ANY APPRECIATION?

The terminology is disturbing though and is a reflection of what WF put it as "the blurring of the line between a business and a charity".

What change is this? For example, we need to pay the top management top dollar to generate as much donations as possible. The consideration of NKF as a "brand-name". I'd rather call it the spirit or ideal. To me, this is evil (yes! hahaha) marketing terminology and mindset taking over everywhere, even in how charities are run.

Mr Durai talks about how he built up the brand name etcetc and I know he has worked hard. Proud that you donated because you had a chance to win a condo or car? Entralled by the dangerous and exciting stunts that you decided to donate to help a needy kidney patient? Excellent marketing tactics don't you think? What's more the product you're selling is... without competition and based on sympathy! Sometimes I get carried away by the prizes and end up with heaps of guilt when I realise that SMS was actually from NKF.

I hear echos of "so what?" As long as we get the money pouring in, patients getting help, who cares what really motivated people to donate? You come down from your idealistic cloud high up there and wake up, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS!

Well, but I would never know your motivation to donate right? So I'd not comment and just take the money. I suspect that's what Durai and Co were thinking. Fine. After a while, the money swells up so rapidly beyond what they need and instead of distributing it to other charities (hey, they don't even have to be related - social causes, halfway houses, orphanages), they start to develop a sense of ownership over the funds (my talented marketing and promotion genius caused all these collections - they're mine!), and do all these guilt-ridden things.

How did we know they were guilt-ridden things? Because they tried to hide them! Lied about them. And arragont they were. Sued those who spoke out against them. Got away with it twice. Their head swelled. They tried it again against a party that always covers its back - the press. And SPH just replies with some casual blows and now the whole world knows their little secrets.

Moving on
1 thing that is clear is... there's lying and coverup going on. And no way is the public going to stand for that with their donations. I recommend an audit. Bring all expenditures and perks to light. They say they've done nothing wrong? Then be ready to be cleared and declared innocent, or else to face disgrace, or possible criminal litigation. They should come clean with the books - rather than let this cloud linger over the rest of their public life.

I think they learnt something the hard way - they're a charity, not a business. And its clear from public reaction that most people still distinguish a charity from a business. They didn't only donate to win that condo. Amen to that.

And government regulation regarding charities should be revamped. For charities beyond a certain size, more transparency.

As for the use of stunts and lucky draws to entice donors - I leave that to whichever is the source of your moral guidance.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Birthday Boi

My first birthday cake in a very long time! And I wished for my mom's salvation. If they had asked me I've have violently rejected but they actually sprung a birthday cake on me! And they arranged it on the day itself when I told SS! How nice my church friends are its been years since I've had any sort of party...

Climbing that Bukit Timah is no joke, the steep incline is so incredible the park actually puts a "no running" sign on the downslope.

Later went for dinner with my mom and brothers at No Signboard Seafood at esplanade! The fish cost $50 but was great.

Hmm... I'm already fully booked next week except for monday for dinners.... great! eating eating and more eating!

Thank God for all my friends who have touched my life in whatever ways! Amen!