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