Sunday, December 10, 2006


For the upset stomachs, food poisonings, gastrics and other weird things happening to Lyn n my digestive systems.... dunno if it was the ice-cubes, too much beef or whatever...

entails the ability to change plans last minute and to be flexible as according to the situation. Also a license to be indecisive.

Very Good. Excellent.
To be said at every step of the journey. In all situations. And circumstances

You say it best. When you say nothing at all.
A very nice song takes on a new meaning as the trip goes on.

The typhoon with the Esplanade namesake decided to come along when we had found the perfect beach resort

Just whack
Just whack lah. Think so much for what? Whatever needs to be considered has been considered. Now make the decision based on whatever knowledge there is!

I raise you
too much beer n cards. I fold.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

by faith

got scolded "freaking hell" over msn today. And it wasn't jokingly. Don't think I deserved it. Don't know what to make of it.

A side of me says I should just totally ignore every form of contact. But it just feels so bitter.

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. - 1 Cor 7:28

haiz. why do we insist on looking for trouble? but hey, I don't regret it one bit. Because i believe God knows what's good for me and will provide accordingly. Just have to trust Him.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sleepless about upgrading

Sometimes I just wonder, is closing your eyes and automatically breathing in and out yet being somehow still conscious considered light-sleep? Because I seem to get into that state once in a while. Like now.

CS401 was such a sad flop. Had under 15min for the last question. Now I remember why I don't bother studying so much for anything anymore. It all boils down to one simple thing - I write too slowly. Which is such a horrible waste. For the exam system. Why bother to have so many insights and ideas if there's a lack of time with which to write them all down? They just wanna test fastest fingers first. Either that or just write down your very best points.

I had to cut off some details from that dialog between CSJ and LHL. Didn't write as much as I wanted to for the school bombing photograph consideration either. But for the Greatful Dead copyright case I tried my best to dish out the 'record of history' defence I gathered from that President Gerald Ford case study. How cunning of Cenite to post the judgement on that case immediately after the exam.

But oh well, my only really serious exam this year is over. CS411 is really non-muggable. Just insights, careful consideration of worldviews, observations, and open-mindedness. Hey I wish all my subjects were like that! But of course, there's a time for hard skills, technical knowledge, and convention-learning, and a time for "Wide-open debate and reflection on life in general".

ADM240 is like learning a new language. I didn't take it too well that the Prof Kate didn't exactly agree with the point of my presentation - because I refused to follow the conventional interpertation of some of the overt symbols in Picasso's Guernica... I basically pointed out that guessing the meaning of a painting was a very painful and vague experience - not something entirely wise to be doing in a art class eh? :)

I'm really feeling the pinch of the lack of Tuesday midweek church meetings, CF meetings in school with Mich and Sunday morning bible classes... I realise I have no self-discipline to do God's word on my own... gotta start waking up...

Here's a really insightful article from Today Nov 15 2006 Pearly pointed out to me (emphasis mine):

Wait longer for upgrading funds

'Naive' Opposition MPs 'misheard' PAP's message
Loh Chee

IT'S been more than six months since the General Election but Opposition MP Chiam See Tong has not forgotten the multi-million-dollar carrot offered by the People's Action Party (PAP). Yesterday, the Potong Pasir MP tabled a question in Parliament asking if the Government was willing to release 45 per cent of the $80 million it had promised for the upgrading of Housing Board estates in his constituency, since PAP candidate Sitoh Yih Pin had won 45 per cent of the vote.

However, even with the help of fellow Opposition MP Low Thia Khiang, Mr Chiam got nowhere with his request.

Saying that she was "puzzled" by his request, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu asked: "Does it mean that he should share his chair with Mr Sitoh, 55 per cent to 45 per cent, in this Parliament? And if we take the logic further, does it mean that he should also share his MP allowance with Mr Sitoh?"

Since residents in Potong Pasir did not elect Mr Sitoh, "they should not stand to benefit from any surpluses that are generated", she said.

But who approved such requests from PAP candidates, Mr Chiam asked.
Mr Low, Hougang MP and Workers' Party chief, then leapt to Mr Chiam's support.

"The surpluses are generated by the PAP and the people have no part in it?" he asked. "And don't forget, the people in Potong Pasir and Hougang also pay taxes and the Goods and Services Tax. Your justification's logic is selfish and partisan."

Mr Low said his Town Council had submitted a $140-million upgrading proposal to the Ministry of National Development (MND) and he was still waiting for a reply.

Hearing this, Mr Mah criticised Mr Chiam and Mr Low for their "selective hearing". He said it was made clear during the elections that the upgrading packages would be implemented only if the PAP candidates in the two Opposition wards were elected.

The two Opposition MPs were "very naive" for "only going for the good parts", he added.

"If you go on the Workers' Party's platform, you are not going to have enough money for upgrading, education, healthcare, and so on. When you vote for the PAP, you are not just voting for the goodies, for the package. You are also voting for all the parts of the package that comes together," he said.

1) Study the words in bold. We are being constantly reminded of this partisan, pork barrel politics. To unlock your own money, Singaporeans, you must vote PAP. Anybody else, and you'll have no access to your own money.

2) The blurred line between PAP and govt funds. PAP uses public funds like their own little piggy bank, dishing it out to their favourites and denying it to others. I especially like the exchange "The surpluses are generated by the PAP and the people have no part in it?" I wonder what the reply to that was.

3) We should have these kinds of proceedings telecast live on national TV. Not just highlights. This will get people to sit up, wake up and vote wisely.

Can you see the groundswell of discontent? Muaahahah

My brother introduced me to Deathnote the manga. Interesting read. He keeps talking about how its so Nietzsche as in "Might is right"... after Kira gets the power to kill anyone he begins to define what justice is... and by his own standards... and although initially he kills criminals after a while he kills anyone who opposes his hand of justice... Also, the Death God Ryuk is a very interesting personality... existentialist you'd say...

Heh. I found something that's like the conclusion of our whole CS401 ethics course:

If there is no God, all things are permissible - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

till next time,

Saturday, November 04, 2006

long overdue update

Well, the Camedia 5050 idea didn't pull through, the shop ended up being out of stock...

And I'm beginning to realise my blog has a much wider audience than I ever imagined...

Car Geek-speak ahead!-------------------------

Got caught by the car bug again recently. Been staring at Saturday Classifieds while waiting anxiously for my mom to confirm the office getting her a car... her boss is one tough nut to crack but I hope he'll agree... its just a matter of time and I have to be patient I guess.

Went to test drive the plain vanilla 1.6 Impreza the other day. My mom found it a little cramped in the back given its length was slightly bigger than our old Sunny. That's probably because of the boxer engine configuration. Also, It weighs over 1200kg due to the AWD mechanism and the 1.6 litre auto I tested felt quite underpowered. The only viable option would be the manual. So cramped interior, higher fuel consumption. The handling and roadholding is fantastic though... curves at corners at speed without a hunch... Steering feedback is good.

This is one car you'd choose with your heart, not your brain.

Looking to try out the amazingly cheap Lancer 1.6 over another weekend... its almost a good 7 or 8k cheaper and on paper has a larger interior. Also has an interesting CVT gearbox option and comes standard with more goodies like reverse sensors. Will keep you posted.

I'd like to gun for a manual but the way my mother drives the van sends shivers down my spine and I honestly worry about whether a manual car would last very long in her hands... there's absolutely no concept of engine break... its like there's this phobia of the engine stalling that's so paranoid that even when she approaches a red light at 50kph she'll just immediately free gear and start braking very hard... with that dangerous 'diving forward' feeling occuring frequently while stopping...

but then again its not like her braking is any more gradual when driving the auto car... LOL... that's why I wonder whether a CVT would build in any engine braking to help slow the car down gradually...


My interview with MOE is tomorrow afternoon. I have to miss the last CS401 lesson! *gasp* But I hope to do well and get a confirmation for GP at JC level straightaway...

Also, I'm planning to visit my dad in Cambodia over the holidays. We're looking at first or third week of December since Simon has a church mission trip on the 2nd week in nearby Vietnam. Any1 interested? the tickets are only about $70 per trip

------------- School matters

Quite a few things have happened: For CS411 a formal complaint has been made. Now I have my reservations about the way the course is being conducted and I do agree it is severely disorganized... Prof Javed has a lot of shaping up to fit into the way things work here... but I still feel that the subject matter covered was within my expectations...

I think he talked about the aims of specialist writing as in being specialist training to address imbalances in journalistic media coverage of specific issues like labour relations, against big business interests that are exploitative, women's rights, minority rights, and other areas that news values traditionally ignore... news values has a very short attention-span and is hopelessly myopic...a dominant-discourse driven value.... which is why many journalists are agenda driven...

yes I know these issues are being covered in world media but probably what is meant is that the aim of the course tries to provide a framework and some starting points and content for future venturing into such areas that should be covered...

And what's with all the philosophy stuff like Huntington, Francis Fukuyama, human rights and all that? It's quite simple. We need to examine and come from some moral, rational or philosophical background as to why these areas should be covered, to what effect, with what angle, and with what intended aim. And also to write sound editorials and commentaries.

I absolutely regret that media's role and purpose and what part it should play is not really discussed or debated (despite some attempts on the part of my classmates and myself to bring the matter up) but then we more or less can assume that these areas are to be covered and this course is working on that premise.

But once again, if you feel shortchanged, you can always seek redress. It is your right as a paying consumer of education, right?

It's coming to a close, and its been quite exciting... unfortunately I realise this is not a philosophy class and most people don't want to treat it as so... its just another place for people to look smart by citing big names and sounding scientific and credible by using frameworks and such to justify whatever they want... without critically debating and challenging the various frameworks that are presented us and coming out with our own... the FASS shadow looms again...

Even Cenite's worldview is gradually being exposed as the lessons begin to draw to a close... hah! He's been exposed. Everyone's entitled to his own views no doubt about it, but I thought he always says he never tries to show his own point or to influence us and has professional unbiasedness? :) well to be fair there isn't such a thing. I think the important part is to be honest about stating where you're coming from yet being as realistically unbiased as possible...and being critical in your approach to everything...

It's just like the "Struggle for the soul of Islam" talk with Prof. Esposito... very analytical, systematic, fluid and robust line of discussion and argument... and all the time I was trying to catch his worldview but I couldn't... because he was very strictly academic and so was the manner in which he addressed the topic... it was only when he said he had spoken before at Unitarian Churches that we understood... (even then I'm making a presumption that such churches only invite believers to speak)

What gives, as this phase of life leaves for the next? Not much really. Earning a salary is quite important, having less free time would be sad but inevitable, but, its just a different set of things of circumstances and working conditions that's all... we still have our longstanding areas of concern in family, church and close friends... but who knows what will happen next?

Because with freedom in Christ everything else only matters so much... and that is something worth celebrating...

Have you seen God's Kingdom? I've seen in... in the hearts of men and women who live selfless lives in Christ's name... I've seen it... in those who struggle against themselves and their tendencies to try and obey His commands... I've seen it... in those who willingly submit themselves to the circumstances God put them in, focusing rather on serving and loving those whom God puts around them than on what they want to do...

Lord keep me in thy Kingdom amongst your people both now and in eternity!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!

from Battle Hymn of the Republic

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Soyez béni, mon Dieu, qui donnez la souffrance comme un divin remède à nos impuretés...

It's from a poem by Charles Baudelaire, a 19th century sort of reactionary neo-classicist French chap.

Loosely translated as : Praise be to you, O God, who sends us suffering as a divine remedy for our impurities...

came across this fellow in my modern art history reading... entitled "Figures of Authority, Ciphers of Regression"... some anti-Regan rant kind of...and how art can be subverted through authoritarianism. Bleah.

I haven't blogged for quite a long while and I apologise to the faithful who still visit nevertheless... as you can see I've been under some sort of pain and anguish... should be over soon...

A few things I've settled. I'm going to finish my 21 days of NSF in June / July, and I've applied to be a teacher at JC level to hopefully teach GP, which I enjoy very much.

I bought my mother a new handphone not too many days ago too. I've been eyeing the Olympus C-5050 prosumer camera for quite some time now and I've found a 2nd-hand photography store that carries it. If its worth it I might just actually buy it! 1.8F-stop in a non-SLR is quite an achievement. Slight barrel distortion reported at the widest setting though...

What's on my mind now? This could well sum it up

Set me as a seal upon thine heart,
as a seal upon thine arm:
for love is strong as death;
jealousy is cruel as the grave:
the coals thereof are coals of fire,
which hath a most vehement flame.

-Song of Solomon 8:6

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pope Benedict's speech meets the media monster; was the Prophet Mohammed defamed?

I blame the media for quoting the Pope's words out of context. I blame the media for sensationalization. I blame the media for letting their news values get the better of their corporate and societal responsibility. I blame our general media system that emphasizes timeliness, competition and excitement over responsibility.

Not all the international media were guilty of these. At least some bothered to put the context in the body of their news articles - though that doesn't help the many people who only read headlines.

Our 411 Prof expressed disappointment at BBC's coverage - and I felt likewise.

What Pope Benedict was actually saying
The Pope's speech was about establishing a common ground from which there could be inter-faith dialog - that common ground of reason. The bulk of his speech was about how secularization had resulted in a divorce between faith and reason - that people were no longer supposed to talk about and try to understand God through reason. This he briefly touches on in what he calls 'the 3 stages of de-hellenization' - hellenization meaning Greek thought, philosophy and systems of seeing and understanding things.

Now personally I do not agree about whether it makes sense or it is even possible to be able to talk about God using a man-made and thus finite system of logic and reasoning - I suppose such endevours can, and should be done with several conditions in mind.

These systems would help to explain in human terms the way things work, but they would fall short and be insufficient. Thus,

1) We must do so with an acknowledgement of these systems' limitations and shortcomings

2) We must use these systems against a backdrop and basis of faith and in truth - being the revelation of truth via the scriptures with the illumination/conviction of the Holy Spirit.

3) Keeping a crucial biblical principle in mind - knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

Let's be reasonable dear Muslims - just like God is
That being said, the 'reason' that the Pope has been talking about as a backdrop seems universal and neutral enough to be a common ground from which to begin with - and that's a good start.

I do agree the Pope was being insensitive in the way he brought up the medieval quotation. However, he was trying to illustrate a point - a point that has extreme relevance in today's world. People are hijacking the Muslim faith to commit irrational - and hence, the Pope argues -unreasonable acts which are contrary to God's will. This ground of reason could be a way to combat this militant extremism.

How dare you define our faith
What a shame it is that the leader of another faith needs to try and point out deviations and problems with your own. Feel insulted? I understand. To be frank, the history of Christianity has had many episodes of such abuse by its leaders - many committed by that same authority pointing its fingers at Islam now. Many still abusing it now. But, apart from the bombings of abortion clinics (which I detest - let 'free will' reign - everyone shall have to answer for himself before God during the judgement) Christians don't go about blowing up people of other religions anymore. But at least we're honest with ourselves. We suck too.

But this is something Muslims need to settle amongst themselves. Should Bush intervene and promote freedom and democracy? Should the Pope engage the Muslims on a common ground in order to temper their militant deviations? I honestly don't know. Muslims already have a dark, mysterious view of Bush. Of the Pope? Conspiracy theories, unfounded or otherwise, abound.

Pacifying the Media Monster
The Pope was taken out of context. There is an outrage at the media reports. Pope apologises and regrets the outrage. I think this is a fair apology. In fact - he's kind of apologising for the way the media reported his words out of context.

Defamation test
I don't know what else they want the Pope to apologise for. The Pope has already shown his moral dignity by regretting the unhappiness and outrage at that part of his speech. If you want a recant of the statement

"show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached"


1) you'll need to prove the falsity of the Pope's quotation, that Prophet Muhammad did not command, in any of the holy texts, to spread the Muslim faith by the sword.

2) evil and inhuman have no objective test in a secular context - some people would classify homosexual behaviour and eating of animals and abortion as 'evil' or 'inhuman' - thus it is a matter of opinion that is based on a fact; this fair comment defense would fail only if you manage to prove its being based on a false statement as described in 1)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

9-11 6 years on

There have been several anniversaries in the past few days. The 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center Towers in New York was commemorated with the US President Bush saying that the war on terror was not a 'clash of civilizations' but rather 'the fight for civilization'.

Let us examine the shift in terminology.

If the West / Europe in general could be seen as a civilization, we are more or less convinced that it has an interest and will to fight the Islamic extremists propagating violent terror acts in the religion's name.

But some hard truths remain. The Islamic world, or civilization, if we take Huntington's paradigm, has not wholeheartedly and resolutely agreed that these elements in their civilization are a problem that need to be addressed. In spite of the condemnation of the attacks by most Islamic nations (most already implies problems of collective agreement on the state level) we must realise that the sub-state level is where all the action counts. As long as extreme variants of Islam continue to have a foothold amongst the populations of majority Muslim communities - the spreading of extreme doctrines and people who will obey them to their deaths will continue.

So Bush is, rather unfortunately, being idealistic when he says that all civilization, united in their agreement of the condemnation of extremist violent Islamic doctrine, is going to quash these fringe extremists together.

As long as a significant portion of the Islamic population is sympathetic to these extremists then it is still, a clash of civilizations.

How can we win Islamic civilization over? This grappling with religious extremism is something that has to be settled from within Islam. The learned men of the faith need to go back to the source, the Koran, as well as all the practices, doctrines, teachings, traditions and institutions that spring from it, and try to establish a common ground. Which are indigenous customs and traditions? Which are absolutely mandated by the writings of faith? What of fatwas? No longer should Muslim brothers and sisters be misled by false teachers who try to twist and turn Allah's authority to their own ends.

You realise how strange and offensive it is for an outsider Christian like myself to just merely comment on another faith? So no outside intervention from the West or Europe or secularists is going to help in this process. If Bush, without winning the Islamic civilization in general to his side, proceeds to war, then I fear that hardline strains of Islam will become more popular.

One can reason with another most of the time. But though faith is reasonable, faith cannot be reasoned with. If someone told you murdering thousands of people was going to bring God glory and you believed him nobody else would be able to reason with you. The only way would be to prove to you that this someone is not to be believed.

It's the false teachers - humans - who are spreading these teachings, that need to be stopped. So Muslim scholars, religious leaders and teachers need to sit down together. Islam as a religion is undergoing emancipation. From the politics of man, from abuse, from subversion, from false teaching. They have their work cut out.

What can non-Muslims do in the meantime? Forgive. Strengthen security and be vigilant. But don't play into Osama's hand. Continue to be open-minded. Have interfaith dialog. Public awareness. Mutual understanding. Dispell misconceptions. Agree to disagree. React firmly but humanely. Show mercy to those who have been misled. For charity will overcome all evil, even if this charity may be at times used against us. Let Muslims understand that in this 'us versus them' - its the world versus some people who hijack religion for their own ends.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

count your blessings name them 1 by 1

Can you believe it I rewrote this blog entry 5 times because of lack of focus, and at this point I've just kind of given up and I'm just gonna write what's been happening to me rather than some lengthy discussion on Islam or law or something like that.

CS411 has been quite interesting in terms of the content covered but unfortunately not in the way in which it's being approached... Human Rights critique due some time next week... Boy am I going to have an interesting time writing on this.... but the readings are lengthy...

Been very blessed - recently had a few ups and downs but the Lord has been my strength and joy. Christian brothers and sisters in and outside of church always make my walk more bearable. Questions and issues raised and debated... edification and understanding amongst us has improved... Still need to continually reach out to the rest of the brethen who are struggling or getting lost or disillusioned... so many of us... God help us all

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us - Heb 12:1

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

missing the heart of the problem

After 3 years of studying in the School of Communication and Information, I have lost my idealism in the line of work which I have been preparing myself academically for. It may have been because I had a rather ridiculous self-imposed ideal of journalism, objectivity and the search for truth – that here was something more than a trade – but rather a profession whose primary duty was to bind the human conscience and make us accountable for ourselves – from the most noble to the most depraved of deeds ever done with human hands.

But is my work truly making a difference? Are the business needs of pandering to the audience as espoused in the news values of proximity, relevance, human interest pushing aside the things that we ought to cover? And timeliness – that everything ought to be taken merely as a fleeting glance in the public eye – that people grow bored and tired of focusing on the same things and seek solace in finding some new distraction… is modern society’s greatest evil and we help to maintain it.

We come, we film the carnage or the disaster, we show it to the world, they get a knee-jerk reaction, they send help, it dies down and things go back to the way they were.

We failed to address the root of the problem.

Corrupt governments remain. Regimes that suppress human rights stay propped up. Economic poverty stays. Curtails on freedom continue.

We need political intervention and change of policy!

When we select our representatives in government we always ask: what’s in it for us?

Few ‘modern first-world’ governments dare risk the political capital and potential economic drawbacks of giving up their hold and positions of privilege in order to pursue principles of ensuring the well-being of their fellows around them. Can we blame them? They hold the values we hold.

I’m not saying advocacy journalism is futile. It is noble and has produced much fruit and those who believe whole-heartedly in a duty to document and record events ought to carry on their good work. Its immediacy and impact to shock the public conscience is unprecedented in our modern age. I’m just saying that, while it has a potential and does make a difference – the human conscience can still be numbed, distracted, and swayed and selfishness can still prevail and when that happens we ourselves risk being voyeuristic spectators to inhumanity and the newsmen and news companies exploiters of our fellow man’s misery.

Friday, August 25, 2006

entertainment license needed at government events?

The case of the missing cockles

where got 'hum' ?

I had so much respect for PM I found myself actually asking people if they really did serve mee siam with cockles in places I'd never been before...

1 person actually told me yes... (it was dz)

Most said PM was trying to be sarcastic in responding to Bak Chor Mee... but... Bak Chor Mee really IS served with liver... but to reply.... mee siam mai hum... an ingredient that doesn't exist in the dish in the first place.... is rather... inconsistent rather than sarcastic right?.... Just sounds... ridiculous... like dog without wings.

Unless he wanted us to laugh at his mistake rather than his rebuttal at mr brown...

First peanuts. Then Mee Siam Mai Hum. Could there be some other reality out there?

The case of the newspaper that transformed cockles into chilli

I got wind of this one from my dad who's working overseas... apparently the ST publishes PM's speech the next day and "mai hum" transforms into "mai hiam" (no chilli)

Did we all hear the PM wrongly? Those who have missed the important part please check it for yourself at mr brown's location...

Is the ST helping to cover-up for that rather illogical boo-boo on the PM's part? Why are they doing this? I mean, there's no threat to be had from publishing that the PM made a rather weird but nevertheless innocent mistake... and they still wanna help him pre-empt any possible loss of face for him.... Why can't they just publish facts and simply NOT publish things which are 'contrary to public order and stability'.... why change the facts... and pretend half of Singaporeans had their ears clogged up...

Why ST Why?

and after some ppl complain about why ST didn't report things as they had happened, the PMO comes out into the open: He meant... LAKSA... mai..... (ok nobody really cares anymore) ......

why don't I read ST anymore?


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

thinking aloud - the tudung thing

Are the charges of facism brought up by Berita Harian Malaysia tenable? It's hardly facism... but it got me thinking about the whole headdress thing... Shouldn't people have freedom of dress over themselves?

note: I agree that to expect OTHERS to dress according to your standards is wrong... like the demand for ALL female students at a Malaysian University not to wear sleeveless etc etc...

uniformed services are a different matter... its part of the job... but anyway, even in the ARMY Sikhs are allowed not to wear their beret (which is a standard part of the uniform) and Sikh motorcyclists don't wear helmets that are required by law... and yet female Muslims will be refused state-sponsored education because they are not allowed to wear their religious head-dress... is this a double standard I'm seeing?? Or a lack of political clout on the part of the Malay-Muslim community? Equality ought to be a matter of principle... not just who manages to muscle in...

don't be thrown off by the red-herring that the Muslim girls in question during the case had not reached puberty yet... this no-headdress policy is in force in all government schools including secondary level as well where puberty begins... it appears that there are cases where they are actually allowed to wear headdress but its typically done on the quiet... official stance is no headdress allowed as far as I know. It's too overt and not part of the school uniform.

I understand that the headdress requirement is not compulsory in all interpertations of Islam but then again its not really the state's business to go about standardising any particular religion right? Apparently the wearing of headscarf is at least preferred... so don't people with such convictions have their right too?

isn't freedom of religious expression guaranteed? (and wearing a headdress could hardly be construed to be a threat to public order to any reasonable person - a matter in which then the state according to its role would need to prevent)

How are we going to achieve mutual understanding and harmony if we alienate our fellow citizens in such a manner?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Truth according to pz: Truth is something you refuse to see and hear

Take us Father by Thy hand
and lead us to that fair land
Where joy shall not pass away

From danger keep us free
and our Comforter be
Lest we stray from the narrow way

Sojourning on and on
You're all we lean upon
For God He never shall fail

Take us Father by Thy hand
and lead us to that fair land
That place just beyond the vale.

That hope in Christ... so precious for us helpless souls... Keep Him in your thoughts always

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

freedom of expression?

What is freedom of expression?

Let's just engage in a theoretical discussion about what that would mean. 'Free' is a term to be used in a manner that you have to be 'free' of 'something'. It is not an attribute or state in and of itself like one says an apple is 'red'.

An apple could be 'red' but expression needs to be 'free' of 'something'

Some of you may see what this is leading to - even if we can be 'free' in our expression from government, as we have so far discussed - we are still not 'free' of many other factors - like money (money being more or less equated with power in modern society - airtime and services of media professionals aint cheap) and agendas (as Alexis pointed out). Newspaper reporters and news selection criteria themselves suffer from biases - as we already know.

Sidetrack - As journalists we ourselves have to grapple with these all the time as we select and present information. To be fair we ought to have disclaimers (eg for ST: You guys know who our shareholders are, so take what we say with a pinch of salt) but more often than not, sometimes mainstream press tends to pretend, and the rest of the population just believes, that they're presenting the objective viewpoint from nowhere and in a totally neutral manner.

So its hard to see how expression could be free of everything.

Even if - for argument's sake - all these market distortions were removed and all information and possible viewpoints were presented to the public equally, apart from suffering a bad dose of information overload, could the public freely judge for itself and sift through all this information? (Let's not talk about the standards against which people make these judgements for now - that's a matter of personal worldviews, values and personal ethics)

First of all, the members of the public would not be able to judge freely because they would still not be free of ignorance.

For instance, is it worthwhile for a layman to be exposed to the different medical positions on how HIV is transmitted? It would at best cause confusion, or worse, result in the adoption of activities that may increase the possibility of infection as empirical scientific medical research may have statistically proven. This is why journalists seek expert opinions on matters requiring in-depth knowledge and understanding and present the most reliable information.

Secondly, the public would still not be free of their own personal biases and social conditioning.
People will always have prejudices and stereotypes about anything deemed alien or unknown to them. Someone who hasn't studied much of Middle Eastern history, politics and sociology probably isn't going to be able to make a good decision on whether to send soldiers there and if so on which side.

And as history has shown, many people, even journalists ourselves, are guilty of being presumptious, jumping to conclusions, following the herd mentality and just not being critical enough about the things we see and yet pretending we already know all that there is to know.

So, people too can't freely discern for themselves what's true or not...

I'm sorry if this sounds very long-winded and sidetracked... but my point is that unless we define 'freedom' to be 'freedom from government' only... we risk deluding ourselves that we can be free from everything and hence espouse that mythical 'view from nowhere'....(objectivity?)

Of course, if you think the more viewpoints espoused means we get closer to the truth then every view from everywhere (omniscience) would be required.

(article till this point reproduced from CS401 media ethics discussion on freedom of expression)
God is the ultimate journalist. That's why He's able to pass judgement!


My 2cents - hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, July 31, 2006


argh this sucks I don't think its been 2 years but my iPod Shuffle's dead already. 1 day ago it kept failing to be recognized by all the computers I tried plugging it into. And today as I was plugging it out of my comp for the upteenth time the usb plug separated from the rest of the iPod. It's dead. 512MB. Dead. ARGHH why can't things be built to last?? STUPID.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

acuransx the foolish

FYP discussion between me and a friend leading to re-examination of values:

A: still no topic lah
R: !!
A: keep getting rejected by *****
R: i thought that u pitched some topics to *****?
R: even the media and religion thingy?
A: there were 2 rounds of that already
R: aiyohh
A: if only it were clear - wat were the guidelines for choosing a topic and scope
A: right now it just feels like its up to the fyp sup's interests or understanding of how wide or angled it would be
A: i'm quite disappointed lah
R: the media and religion kena rejected too?
A: keep refining... he keep insisting certain things arent worth it.... doesn't like our scope and approach... why r these ppl so 1-track? just like *****
A: well then have u tried the other journ profs?
A: who is he better to say that something is going to be more appealing to audiences than something else?
A: but anyway i sometimes feel i am in the wrong area of study
A: it is true audiences haf a short attention-span and want only the gist of everything
A: i only regret that i fooled myself into thinking it was something else.
A: cos i hate the restrictions that 'capturing audiences attention' or 'news relevance' imposes on me
A: if it were me, i'd rather write to make everybody read what i want to say. and convincingly too

In short, I want to define what ought to be newsworthy. HaahHAa...

People who say objectivity? there isn't any... The best they could strive for is balance or 'plurality of viewpoints' People who insist they can be objective are claiming to be espousing the viewpoint from nowhere - which doesn't exist. Shyam concedes with me on that :)

(sidetrack: Only God has the viewpoint from everywhere - the ultimate and only objective journalist in that sense)

But anyway the media industry just seems so... trivial... just like news, celebrities... it focuses on things that are here today and gone tomorrow and promote self-seeking, sensastionalism, gossip, controversy and all other kinds of rather unworthy distractions for people to spend their time and money on.

Maybe I'm too pessimistic. Maybe I'm just focusing on the negatives. But somehow I don't find my supposedly stated goal as a media worker any meaningful... apart from the fact that it pays the mortgage. But so many other jobs pay the mortgage too...

I still maintain that I like writing. I always will. Just that journalism isn't the same as writing. On that I was so mistaken. Does it give opportunities to write? Yes. But its stated intent of writing and impact on content is too great for me. I'm not just a writing machine no sir. I will write what I mean to write.


Why don't I just shut-up already and just get a job that pays the bills...

Ha. That's why I can never believe whole-heartedly in any job. Just Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Come live your life with me
Peter Cincotti

No one can buy tomorrow
No one can sell their sorrow
But when you look into my eyes
Darling, you'll always see

Love, I will give you love
Come live your life with me

We'll have our good times and even in sad times
With love we will find the way

Nothing else matters but loving each other
The way that we do today

Here in our world together
Love will go on forever
Warm in the shelter of my arms
Darling, you'll always be

Love, I will give you love
Come live your life with me

Here in our world together
Love will go on forever
Warm in the shelter of my arms
Darling, you'll always be

Love, I will give you love
Come live your life with me

slow n jazzy - to the opening theme of the Godfather...

nice music for a quiet night.....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Straits Times, why do ye speakth in parables? If income disparity has worsened, tell us plainly!

Another reason not to read / work in the local newspaper industry?

Perhaps so, my hapless SCI friends. And the MICA had the cheek to go around accusing mrbrown of 'distorting the truth'...

Truth twisted around and contorted is still arguably truth sometimes, but the June 29th headline treated all Singaporeans like complete idiots.

In the past it was a matter of reading the headline, and then the main text body of the article would tell you something else. But this time their window dressing was plain for all to see. Need I press any further?

After NKF we thought maybe the press after all did operate as something else other than a business (as some people would claim). But thinking about that, it does make perfect business sense that the ST would defend its reputation? So no ideals being upheld here. As Don Corleone would say - its not personal, its strictly business.

But I would suspect that, the effect of that whole NKF episode was that somehow public expectations of the press were changed or increased somewhat, at least maybe to certain sectors of the population. This was probably in tandem with an increasingly sophisticated readership.

Anyway, GE2006 and Gomezgate with its political implications came along and ST descended back into its former self. With increasing access to alternative media as well as large attendance at disappointingly covered opposition rallies I believe a growing number began to be disillusioned and skeptical about the mainstream press.

Now, the dust has settled. And yet ST pulls off yet another excellent stunt. Why such a headline? It would be very VERY hard for ST to argue that it was being responsible to the public and not being partisan in politics (the same accusation MICA threw at mrbrown) when they come up with such headlines that are twisted and contorted for some reason close to the point of self-contradiction.

Or do they have a duty to preserve at all costs public order, for fear that Singaporeans would riot and bang tables when they have learnt that the bottom 30% of people here got poorer?

I'm not advocating civil disobedience and quite honestly a bad report card as such would turn heads but won't start a riot.

The point here is - report the plain truth as it is. Don't go around twisting and turning on words like income and wages. What type of conclusion would people draw?

The public readership is becoming more sophisticated and politically-aware. ST needs to start coming clean and deliver what is being expected of it, lest business suffer.

Also, wouldn't it be a political nightmare for the government if people start getting fed up with the mainstream press and turn to alternative media for news and public debate - the latter being much more out of their control and influence than traditional media?

Wise-up ST. As far as I can see, you're not winning any hearts in the SCI fraternity or amongst the growing intelligentsia.

As an aside - now that we know - that the bottom 30% of household have actually been experiencing falling incomes - wouldn't it shake the foundations of a government that places almost all its legitimacy on being able to 'deliver the goods' and feed the people economically? The release of this information was nicely timed too - after GE.

Comeon, I'm sure things will look better with the casinos when they're finally done...

*blink blink*

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Unemployed life

Good. I no longer feel bad about not working this holidays. Been busy reading the 2-volume A History of Christianity by Latourette as well as Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

The latter book is a sort-of revisitation of my old JC arch enemy The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale which I did for A-level literature. It was a great act of foolhardiness that I went for the exam without having actually finished reading the text itself - and no doubt this wanton insult to Chaucer cost me my A.

But nevertheless I'm enjoying it tremendously now. If only I had appreciated it half as much as I do now back then...

Grammar and sentence construction getting a bit twisty and stretched out are we?

Like all lit texts there's a context of medieval Europe to be discovered in Chaucer. From their detailed astrology, fascination with the pagan Greek and Roman gods, the underlying theology and issues with the Christianity of their day... and so on. And all that soapy courtly love stories in between.

Btw, a great semi-final between Germany and Italy this morning. I watched from the 2nd half onwards. Nothing better than 2 evenly-matched sides, many close shaves and a SHOCKING 2 goal victory in the last 2 minutes of the post match 30min extra time period! Kudos!

God bless!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"if you don't like pushing paperwork, what do you like?"

That was the key phrase that stumped me as my supervisor enquired of me why I was quitting after a week on the job.

She got me on that one. There were so many answers I just didn't know where to begin.

Then it struck me. She was coming from an entirely different planet altogether. I was never meant for this job. So I politely came up with some self-depreciating comment about my incompetence with numbers and such (which isn't without basis by the way).

"Then how come you managed to last one month the last time you worked here?"

Well. The truth was it was a different supervisor who didn't just throw tonnes of greek at me and tell me hey - deadline in 2 days.

"Because the work last year was easy. I just keyed in things."

Also probably because last time I didn't get emails between 2am-4am in the morning about things to be done.

"I think I can't fit into the pace of work here, the work culture."

Indeed. I don't. Somehow I pity my friends who have careers or are about to have careers in lawyering, accounting, and all those kinds of specialist paperwork processors, always working around rules, legislations, legal frameworks, audit trails, tax complicance, going around and around in the bureaucracy.

But hey, maybe they find it a great challenge? Fair enough. Or hey - its just work. Yea so is driving the squeaky little van running around making deliveries.

Somehow maybe I'm very low-level material, but to me that's more fulfilling than figuring out how to justify putting 70% of this entity's support time into the German company's expense sheet. Nevermind whether or not 70% of the time was actually spent supporting the German company. Your job is to explain it away.

But of course, money ought to override all the most boring, redundant, ridiculous, unreasonable working conditions and supervisors and also dull away all the possibly unethical implications of your work right?

No wonder they paid me $9 an hour.

Too bad. I quit still. This work is not for me.

More things in life than corporate glamour, big money, expensive cars and suits and big lunches. I'm not going to numb myself half-dead just for all that.

Also, the last 2 full-time people who were here before me didn't last more than 3 months each either. So at least I know its not just me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the rat race

finished the internship. What a teary send-off.

I immediately got a position at some MNC I had worked in before. It's at SGX Tower 1. The corporate rat race. Every morning walking with the throngs of executives and what-nots in the underpass to shenton way.

The pay's good, but the pace of work terrifying.

Taxation is something totally new to me, but I'm just being slammed in headlong in the work and muddling about figuring things out as I go.

I fell ill yesterday and it got worse, so I left work early. I told my sup: I might be on MC tomorrow as I'm going to see the doc. Been having a fever runny nose for past few days. She was like "why don't you get a jab so you'll recover faster then you can come back tomorrow afternoon".

Also, "could you wait till next Monday to get sick because I'll be on leave then"

Who knows. I might not last more than the first week there. I'm learning too slowly and the only reason I can think I'm still there is that they have no other alternative.

I get emails from her at 3am in the morning. Terrifying. They really bleed for their nice suits and extravagant spending.

Anyway, I have 2 days of MC and I intend to actually take at least one day...

But guess what. I'm actually feeling bad about taking MC and thinking about that pile of stuff sitting there to be cleared...

This is a different kind of work experience compared to what I've had in my previous jobs...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Of the Devil and the Holy Spirit

Its been over a week since the car's gone. Well. Still getting used to it.

Right now I'm blogging during office hours in my office. That is so "evil".

Talk about evil. Tomorrow is 06-06-06. 666 if you like. Mark of the devil. Launch of the newest incarnation of that old movie "The Omen". Although as far as I remember from the previous movie I don't think that "devil's child" was actually born on the 6th of June 1966 or something. Nah that would have four 6s (6666) and that would be one 6 too many of what we're supposed to look out for as the mark of the devil.

Anyway as far as I remember from Revelations "666" is the mark of the devil on people who belong to Satan close to the last days of earth. I wonder how it was actually translated over from the original. But it definately isn't a date we're looking out for so launching The Omen on 06-06-06 is just mere hype and marketing gimmick.

A long rambling rant my typical blog entry tends to be, and I make no apologies. As you may have noticed I did try in my previous entries to mark out the different sections or topics by drawing "-----------------------------" lines but I have decided I shall no longer bother. After all, this is definately not newswriting or PR writing where I write to please somebody or catch someone's attention. Imagine the lengths writers compromise themselves just to achieve all that. So keep up if you can or skim through if you think you can catch the essence of what I'm trying to say with just a once-over. But you'd probably never have as much fun as I have writing all this nonsense :P

Internship is ending (salvation is at hand!) but then I have to start planning constructively what I want to do with the remainder of my holidays.

But, what have I learnt so far? Well, personally and spiritually, many things. Things about church and church activities and people, workplace, other Christians, non-Christians, people of varying denominations, other religions, and the struggle to live out Christ's command to "love God" and "love thy neighbour as thyself" at all areas wherever we can

My dream FYP would be to do a content analysis of all the recent movies based on Christian themes (Da Vinci Code, The Omen, Passion of the Christ) and some older ones like The Last Temptation of Christ) and the effects of these movies on audiences, Christians, non-Christians, people of other religions, etc

Another thing - I think I understand why I've been very weary to things like "the prompting of the Holy Spirit" in certain things like making decisions and so on - there is no Biblical basis for that. After praying make the decision to the best of your ability with humility and concern for others and in clear conscience before God and in God's name. God won't give you a sign or some feeling of what decision you should make.

Look at Acts 1. When they needed a replacement apostle, they chose amongst many to the best of their ability by testimony 2 of them just as well suited to the task and couldn't decide among them, so they prayed and cast lots. Notice even the apostles didn't pray and then the Holy Spirit whispered to them or gave them some 'feeling' that they should choose Matthias.

But that is the way many Christians are justifying their decisions! By assuming some feeling they have to be the Holy Spirit leading or prompting them to do something. There is no biblical basis for this.

Even if you quote me the account of Philip's witness to the Ethopian eunuch you must notice in the KJV Bible there were many terms used "angel of the Lord", "Spirit", "Spirit of the Lord" and not only that, that Spirit whisked Philip away after it was all over. And earlier in that passage they talk clearly and in distinct terms about the "Holy Ghost". So, a translation true to the original Greek uses different terms.

I know, in NIV all these different terms were simply changed to "Spirit" or "Holy Spirit" so ppl will simply think they all refer to the same thing. That's the problem with translations that are not literal. They read easily but also have interpretations embedded into them.

Are we sure we can just simply call them all the same thing just so we can justify our "Holy Spirit feeling" prompting us what to do? How do you know this actually is the Holy Spirit? The never says the Holy Spirit is some feeling...beware... what could it be then?

To sum up:
The Holy Spirit is NOT some subjective feeling you get after praying or something like that. He is the Comforter. He will teach all things (no not by speaking some stuff into your head - but to convict you of the truth of the scriptures as you read and learn about them and as you go about your daily life in light of them)

We have feelings and emotions because we are of God. But we MUSN'T claim these feelings to be the Holy Spirit because even in the Bible there is no basis.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? - Jeremiah 17:9

I'm open to counters so please feel free to post here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Farewell my car

It's official. The road tax is expired. Today is the day. Goodbye. Driving it to the Export Yard and taking the bus home...

Thank God for the 4 over years of enjoyment!

When we first got the car, it was over 2 years old and its mileage was 64000km. Today, its 7 years old and its mileage is about 189000km. It's gone as far as KL. It's gone as fast as 160km/h. It's been in 1 major accident which took out its trunk. But thank God nobody ever died in it.

But numbers cannot express the fun I've had cornering in this car. Be it expressway curves, 90-degree junctions - the new suspension tackles it all. Body roll is still quite bad because I didn't change the springs, and this car is after all front heavy, but the tyres never skid or slide. It has a very solid, rooted feeling at all times. Quite the other end of the world compared to those disgusting tip-toeing MPVs and SUV that almost topple over like vans and lorries.

It's also the end of an era. This 3-box shape doesn't appear much in new sedans anymore, neither do cars have such low bodylines nowadays as they grow taller, more bubbly and more rounded like overbloated goldfishes.

A 110bhp engine through a 4-speed auto pushing a 1040kg chassis is a reasonable power-to-weight ratio and fuel efficient too... yet it can provide a sufficient surge of power when the need arises too.

I've always liked its slim headlights at the front as well as the clean rearlamps configuration too.

From me and all those who've ever been in this car at one time or another - goodbye!

Thank God once again! :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Parrot Press and lame ducks

As a journalism student, I must say that the Singapore mainstream media never ceases to amaze me.

I have been TRUELY APPAULED by its coverage in the recent days. Everybody already knows that its coverage of the elections is biased, and anyone who has had any alternative exposure to the election either by attending opposition rallies or via the non-mainstream press would agree with me.

They already toed the government line with regards to the Gomez incident so fantastically enthusiatically, faithfully reiterating and presenting the relevant ministers' golden words. And gave it headline coverage for 3 entire days out of the 9 days of campaigning.

And many other things of which we have yet to do a content analysis.

Fast forward to the results. When it was announced on TV that PAP had 66.6% of all votes cast and PM Lee called it a strong mandate - I was laughing my head off.

Here was a case of sheer denial. Yes, you may have subsequently read the analysis by some political observers or academics on CNA or ST who go to the tune of '66.6% is very strong compared to the mandate given to the ruling party in most democratic countries'.
But hear me out. In these OTHER countries, are there:

1) a severe lack of non-ruling political parties and people standing up for elections?

2) walkover victories for almost 1/2 of the seats such that about only half of the people actually vote?

3) constant redrawing of district boundaries that people no longer know where they live although they haven't shifted house?

4) an Electoral Department that reports to the Prime Minister's Office (the PM is an elected person too - so isn't this a conflict of interest?)

5) a PARROT PRESS that doesn't give balanced coverage (as explained above)?

6) the ruling party, knowing that it will form the next government and control the budget, threatens people in opposition wards that they will be missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of funds allocation for the improvement of their estate?

So, thank you for staying with me through this mini-discussion, we have concluded that it hardly qualifies as a 'strong' mandate, given the context.
Zoom back to the results announcement. PM says its a strong mandate. (I thought the press was being a big cynical when in one of the inner pages the title went "PM gets his strong mandate") - perhaps refered to his self-delusion.

And the next day the parrot press resounds all over. Strong mandate! Strong mandate!

Anybody remembered that the 'suicide squad' opposition gang in AMK consisting of rookies caused the PM to actually get a lower percentage in his ward than the PAP average? (66.1% vs 66.6%)

and today, we have the best front page title yet -

"PAP picks up 81% of votes cast overseas"

"... On their own, the overseas voters registered 81 per cent support for the People's Action Party across the 16 constituencies contested - well above the 66.6 per cent that the ruling party received here.
Taken in isolation, they would have handed Potong Pasir to the PAP ( PAP 9, SDA 3) but given Nee Soon Central to the Workers' Party ( WP 2, PAP 1)"


Don't keep putting the percentage results of the 335 overseas voters against that of the 1 million+ voters at home!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

what a fix

Here's something really interesting.

It seems that the phrase "there will be consequences" is going to be considered criminal intimidation.

For that we'll have to wait and see during the trial should it happen.

The whole episode with the Department, according to one ruling party candidate, were a very evil attempt by Gomez to 'fix' the elections department. So when he says Gomez tried to 'fix' the Elections Department, he means Gomez is trying to criminally intimidate the Elections Department, or the staff member, whatever.

So tell me, why is it when some other candidate during a public rally in Raffles Place says he doesn't want to spend too much time 'fixing' the opposition candidates, he is not criminally intimidating anyone?

Is it a case of when this person says 'fix' he means just to 'fix' but when the word 'fix' is used by the earlier-mentioned party member the word 'fix' means to criminally intimidate?

Of course, we always give people the benefit of the doubt. So the rally speaker issued a 'clarification' and saying he's apologising if anyone was upset by his use of the word 'fix'.

That is noble.

But hey, so did Gomez.

So why the harsh reaction on him?

Oh well, he's in a 'fix' for trying to 'fix' the Department either that or somebody is trying to 'fix' him, so he'd better try to 'fix' himself or he'll never get out of this 'fix'ation with 'fix'........

Sunday, April 30, 2006

is it PAP? Government? PAP Government? PAP/Government? Government/PAP?

Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan reiterated yesterday that all opposition wards would get lift upgrading, just not as soon as People's Action Party (PAP) wards.

Blocks are chosen not just on the level of support for the PAP, but also on factors such as their age and whether the surrounding areas have been upgraded, he told reporters during a walkabout in Tampines St 81 with his team mates.

But he would choose a PAP ward over an opposition one because otherwise, "the PAP voters in that ward, they will look at me and say: 'What are you doing? I supported you... and now you're giving it to the opposition. They never supported it' ".

He was responding to comments by the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) in its Friday rally that the Government had a "one-country, two systems" policy which denied voters in opposition wards the same benefits as those in PAP wards.


The Sunday Times Apr 30 2006

THIS IS DISGUSTING. IF the PAP(read: the party itself!) were the ones paying or subsidising the upgrading this would be perfectly legitimate...

but the PAP ministers in their capacity in government when they handle the budget and funds of the people of Singapore shouldn't divert or bias the use of these budget allocations according to who supported them politically...

That's like taking everybody's money and redistributing it according to whom YOU fancy (ie those who voted for you)

I can't BELIEVE that they're so open about this and stating it publicly as a matter of fact.

It's a plan to cow people into voting for the incumbents so as not to lose out on such benefits that ought rightfully belong to them anyway.

The lines have been blurred between PAP, government, PAP government, PAP/government and government/PAP... the PAP acts like they own government, and all the resources that come with it... to do as they please...


Friday, April 14, 2006


I am so worried about my ability to write. It looks like 4 months in a rotten internship company has managed to accomplish what even 2.5 years in the SAF failed to do - turn me into a rotting heap of no-brain.

(Lame voice from the audience - "how do you know you weren't a no-brain back then in the army?")


I had so much problem putting together a coherent article for church youth publication that it dragged and dragged and dragged on and on. Maybe I didn't have the discipline to actually sit down properly to do it? And my first attempt at it was termed "disjointed"... a comment which I admit was rather fair. It seems to happen for anything I write in more than one sitting. Or perhaps it was because I had a lot of problem trying to focus the article clearly as it was a very open ended and broad sweep title - not a title even, but just a very broad idea.

What's the matter? Isn't an open topic much better to write on than a closed one? Shouldn't it be easier? But the problem with Christian writing is that its really easy to lose focus - given the all-encompassing and interlinked nature of Christianity itself. And I wanted to avoid end up repeating about salvation in the article which was, as far as I can gather, not its intended area although somehow I felt a little artificial about it.

Anyway, I've since been able to whip up a rewrite which my editor says is much better (I just plunged in and wrote single-mindedly) although now he's in Taiwan for his SAF sponsored pre-ORD honeymoon.

THERE - some whining done with.


I've been busy using all my free Caltex points to pay for my petrol since I got news of the impending car forced-sale order, but, strangely enough, it hasn't happened yet. So we're still driving the car for free as far as we're concerned. At this rate we'd probably finish using all the points in the card (that's about over $200 worth of free petrol)


Recently, M&M visited Saudi Arabia and the reigning monarch was very keen on getting some pointers on how to better run his kingdom ("his" here refering to the Saudi Crown Prince's). M&M tried tossing some rubbish out of his car while driving along a desert road, just to see what punitive action would result. It was a $1 fine (maybe US$1). Later on camera M&M remarked that "you don't keep a clean city by imposing a $1 fine - you do it by - ..."

At that point in time I was so certain he would say "a $500 fine" or "a $500 fine or CWO, or both"... but guess what he said -

"educating the people."

Maybe that's a a nice phrase for CWO. Who knows.


Look at the time I gotta go! Friday Vesper service and I'm meeting Fabian before that for dinner. Pray for us! Seeya!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Goodbye my car...

For some really ridiculous technicality of law the family household car now has to be sold. It's not a worth buy considering current car prices and COEs are so dirt cheap. Unless of course you want the security of being able to scrap the car in case of accident with no monetary loss to you (i.e. COE car).

It doesn't really matter what price I sell it at as long as its a little above scrap value. Here are the details if anyone is interested.

Scrap value
Open Market Value(OMV):
PARF Eligibility Expiry Date:
26 May 2009
PARF Rebate Amount:

COE rebate (Cat E)
QP Paid:
COE Rebate Amount:

So its scrap value as of April 06 is about 16k+11k=27k

If you do drive the car till its COE expiry in May 2009 you'll get back about 80% of OMV ($11.6k cash) after that.

Thus, the net cost of ownership is about $422 / month after factoring in this cash rebate, before considering interest charges from the finance company (usually about 2k on top of loan amount)

If nobody wants it (and that's probably the case - who wants to pay $600/mnth in installments for a 7-year-old car?) then it will be returned to the financier, auctioned off (probably at scrap value) and that would be the end of the matter

So there you have it. Goodbye. I will miss it. I thought it would have at least lasted till it 2009. But apparently God thinks otherwise.

It's not a problem. I've lived without a car before....... I don't even use it on a daily basis now anymore!

Anybody wanna stay hall with me next sem?

~God bless~


Sunday, March 26, 2006

One expensive boating trip

Saturday was my first Dragon Boat outing! It was church YF and 21 of us split into 2 boats for a quick crash course including drills on holding and synchronizing as well as how to use momentum to move the boat without touching the paddles!

Needless to say it was a super-xiong thing and I got crappy abrasions on my rowing arm at the part of the hand which grips the paddle. There were plenty of beautiful bodies including one whole gang of like, army or navy people with ripped washboard abs that sort of like emerged out of a cage under the nicoll highway! eeeewww! They were just taking the their paddles from the store but the fashion in which they moved (single file whereever they went) showed clearly they were on some form of training. Typical babes in tank tops stuff too.

But anyway, there was plenty to learn about team work and moving as part of the team as you can feel it when 1 person starts to slack (including the steersman who once sent the boat moving rapidly in circles)

The actual rowing action seems to be like some sort of ploughing or digging into the water and I think it might be a good way to train up the non-master arm (which in my case was pathetic as I found out) although I'm sure there's some gym exercise that sort of replicates it too (hence the reason competitive rowers goto the gym to train too)

But yeah, when you're at full swing the urge to give up and slack is always there - just like how I'm sure many a Christian brother or sister has at times felt - to either let little white sins creep in, to dwell a little longer on thoughts that you know ought not to be in your system.

Trust in Christ and push on!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fitting in.

Yesterday was my church's "Family games day" which included an afternoon of games and then a BBQ.

I had taken my class 4 heavy vehicle driving test earlier in the morning and failed it by hitting the curb on the way back into the test centre carpark.

Needless to say that made things very miserable and I had to spend most of my afternoon queuing up at BBTC to get another test date. But I guess if my driving is very unsafe then I deserve to have to practise more. Unlearning some of the bad habits is difficult and for long vehicles there are absolutely essential additional safety checks and 'best practices' that need to be adhered to.

I feel asleep after finally reaching home from some driving my mom here and there errands and ended up waking at 7 instead of 6 so by the time I got there the entire event was more or less over. Ruth had actually messaged me at 6 telling me that the food was running out but I guess I was too engrossed in sleeping.

Being late and not having participated in the games it felt sadly awkward to be there but I guess that's the punishment you get. I still feel too old for such like, fun motivational games and all that but hey that's probably just my character you're talking to someone to hates things like school camps and those kinds of things.

Perhaps I'm stuck-up or jaded or whatever. Or maybe its the social environment I don't feel comfortable with. Whatever.

But I want to not just leave it at whatever. Because I somehow feel compelled to at least make an effort to mix around more in church, going for mid-week and all that, and I know it's only natural people stick to their own clique and feel more comfortable to interact amongst themselves. We feel the same way too.

It's hard but sometimes I try my very best to talk to people but sometimes its difficult when you hit a blank wall on the other side or either that it's just polite conversation but then suddenly it's all over and that's it.

Do we really have to adopt the interests, lifestyles and behaviour of others just to fit in? I've never believed in that because I'm very sure Christ accepts every single individual the way he or she is. But to qualify that statement we need to try to talk, and sometimes I feel caught in between the 2 'groups' of people of my age in church. Why is my usher team leader always so skeptical about church things? He always seems to have a rebuttal to the pulpit after every sermon ... not that all preachers preach appropriately or contextualize correctly but such an attitude without paying attention to the essence of what was (or intended) is not healthy.

I'm not trying to play a you-fault-my-fault kind of thing, but with our conviction we need to always want to strive better and not let anyone, especially in our own church, be left behind, like some unwanted child. I feel like that sometimes. It can't be a case of our church being too big I'm sure.

To be honest I've always talked more and felt better accepted by the 'alternative group' in church and I'm thankful for that, but I want to try and interact more. So far with my brother Dom and the guys its been not bad and I also am thankful for that.

Ha - I sound like some really immature adolescent sorely lacking in the PR department... but I don't know - I rarely bother to say anything unless I feel it really matters. I've met too many people in life who are friendly, polite and talk much but then it ends there.

Could I really overcome this issue? I pray for the strength to do so. No the Bible isn't some self-help book on how to improve your social life. In fact, I don't even think its fair to say that we expect all members of a church to behave the same and like the same and do the same things. "To be of one mind in Christ" is not the same as being homogenous robots.

But I believe what the Bible, together with the grace of God and the Holy Spirit's conviction can do, is to see us through and sustain us till the end and in spite of such things. Such is the power of God that the impossible is possible (see how daunted I feel?)

I was about to sign off with a list of people I'd want to say hi to but I'd really hate to have inadvertedly left someone out.

Take care all you! Keep your eyes on the prize!

Here we have no continuing city; but we seek the one to come. - Hebrews 13:14

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


hey its been almost a month since I blogged! I am still alive you know!...

Work has been quite busy though we've been learning to take things in our stride and try to get the most out of it for ourselves... we know that's its quite a lost cause to do any real full time writing

But at least God has sent our godmother Doris to watch over us. She's meticulous and picky with work, but she stands up for us when the boss scolds us unreasonably. Part-time operations manager. What kind of a cost-cutting measure is this?

Also, staff turnover has been really high, 2 accounts people and 3 admin people have left... and this is an office of less than 7 people including 2 of us interns. Sad.

I don't want to go on about my boss and supervisor.

Also, Prof Brenda came to interview us just yesterday. Seems like nothing can be done given that the scope of operations of the company has little to do with us.

Just get the best out of it

Going for dinner

God bless!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

disaster after disaster at the speed of a commercial printer

my goodness...

admin stuff, list updating, then hardcore shifting of cabinets, furniture, years worth of magazine stores, and been learning all about publication the hard way. Wrong file formats, problems with crop marks, publications manager giving me all the lowdown on not leaving enough gaps and spaces, file resolution, and all that...

talk about being plunged headlong into all that printing stuff... and to top that off... doing it with Microsoft Publisher and not having any Adobe Acrobat Distiller or PDF maker...

what a nightmare.

Rearranged the furniture and partitions upteen times and the usual computer repair work...

I can't even write in proper sentences anymore.

Computer's Maxtor harddisks gone haywire again... refused to spin up (yes, even the new 160GB one). I just don't get what the problem is, loose cable? bus overclock?

recently the Seagate ones at the offices experienced the same problems too... wonder if its just a coincidence...

but things should be settling down by now... sales manager is gg to push for more articles... he's a great help...

hope the office gets the publication facilities soon

ROPE - Rely On Prayer Everyday

Kudos to all the ppl flying off to China!

Godspeed and safe trip. Enjoy yourselves!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Nong Li Xin Nian

Happy Lunar New Year to all you folks! A good excuse to go around visiting people as usual...

Just sent the car for servicing...

Argh the right CV boot of my car has a layer of rubber gone and its spouting grease again... sucks... (1 CV joint=$135)

Brake rotors are worn out... sucks... (1 set of rotors = $70)

Let's sit down and consider these after the holidays...

My brother's school refuses to let him take Chinese B for the O levels although he's been consistently getting E8.... dunno what want to save the school's face or something... sucks....

Long holiday for me today from work but it seems they're making LE test computers right now to see if they're working and she has no idea how to do it... this internship thing is getting from bad to worse we're doing practically admin and other irrelevant work all the time...

ARgh. Lord help us through this nonsense please!...

But nevertheless, thankfully we have a long holiday now. Kinda sleepy now cause I accompanied my mom to the market in the wee hours of the morning... Good night~

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Exploitus Maximus

Being an intern in my company is terrible. We are there as a cheaper alternative to temp staff. I've been so worn out I haven't had the energy to blog. The only difference in treatment from temp staff is that we get ADDITIONAL stuff like working on comic strips, advertorial, banner artwork and design, advertisements, webpages. Been working with the printing press and learning stuff about bleeding, pdfs and so on.

Actually, the stuff is quite useful on hindsight although as part of the entire package they kinda expect us to cover their admin and running around first priority. I just hope I gather enough working experience to be useful somehow. I'm learnin quite a lot of InDesign and playing with Webpages and Fireworks on my own right now heehee...


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

and they lived happily ever after, we pray

1st post of the new year...

So how's intern life in a 'children's mag'? getting used to it though I feel kinda cheated that there isn't even a computer that can run any sort of design or editing software that is production standard... the editing is actually outsourced completely to India...

doing weird marketing stuff instead... it's quite a small outfit where everyone sort of does everything... and the company is entering a new area to do with tuition centres... lots of saikang basically but its not that bad as our supervisor is trying her best to give us relevant things like poster design, interview... although the technical support and tools are still sorely lacking...

and we actually haven't had the time to sit down and meet the boss to talk about what we're really going to be doing that's relevant to our field in school...

right now I'm kinda not very pleased with having to contend with quite a bit of marketing stuff and I'm supposed to take over somebody else's job on tracking the response to some seminar event... oh well...

LE's very disappointed too but I think we'd just have to do things bit by bit and fight to do the tasks that are relevant to our field... we need to convince the boss to take back more editorial control of the magazine... I'm planning to go through as many past issues of the mag to find grammar, design insufficiencies and other things.

The standard of English isn't very good and in fact cumbersome at times. Must convince him such a standard doesn't stand a chance against Little Red Dot and What's Up? which are excellent Straits Times publications. Time to research on the competition...

Attended a church wedding on Saturday of Mervin my Sunday school teacher. Admittedly I had missed a lot of lessons in the later part of last year when they were doing Ephesians but I remember quite a bit of Daniel. It's interesting to hear what gets said, what's in the oath and we learnt a lot about the significance of the institution of marriage as an ordinance of God. The catered lunch reception was fantastic the chicken wings were excellent and there were brownies with Ice Cream... Mervin's 29... and I'm already 24... *nooooo!*

More recently organized an A53 outing and guess what - Carol and Shawn tried to apply for a flat hahaha~ who would have guessed. It was unsuccessful but both of them are doing great and I really wish them the very best. Also, somebody in our group bought an OSIM U-Zap... HAHAAHAHAHHA

and the usual yadda about which gym is better and discussing workouts while we wolf down Ribs at Cartel... after that... a midnight supper at Simpang too...

... the girls from our batch are all working people and suddenly I feel so much older.....

Really have to put in effort to finish the worksheet before this Sunday's bible class... Wing sure left us quite a bit of preparation to do... but I think it really helps how the class is closely related to sermon...

Till next post,

PS: Happy New Year.