Monday, March 27, 2006

Goodie Goodie Gumdrops



Saturday's Special Report painted a curious state of affairs in Hougang & Potong Pasir. It seemed to say: if you value an opposing voice full of mettle but weak in resources (and a consequential lack of comfort), vote opposition, but if you want a nice neighbourhood to live in, vote PAP.

Initially, I felt scandalized. How dare the PAP blatantly dangle upgrading carrots in their effort to solicit more votes. And they've been doing it for years! exclaimed a wide-eyed colleague dangling his imaginary tuber.

But what are elections really about? Why do people vote in a party at all? In other words, what is the politician supposed to offer and achieve for the people? Isn't he supposed to look after the welfare of his people and in that respect, hasn't the PAP done exactly that in ensuring that rubbish gets cleared and streets are well-lit at night? Going by this reasoning, it seems that the PAP certainly deserves to be voted for.

When I tried to press a friend as to why he would vote for the opposition, he failed to give me a satisfactory answer beyond the fact that we need an opposing voice. Instead he focused on how the PAP is oppressing any form of opposition and is crafty enough to shift the lines to their advantage. Perhaps, but we should be prudent in deciding whose voice we wish to represent us in parliament.

Another question: should Singapore aspire to Western states where values like freedom (of everything) and civil rights are championed as vocally as possible?

Food for thought this 27 Mar as S'poreans across the island receive their PP letters...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Heaven is Real



"The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless." (NIV) Psalm 84:11
One of the challenges I face as a Christian is sharing with others God's place in my life. After all, I'd be talking about someone who's invisible and scientifically unproven. But it's hard to keep good news to oneself. So just bear with me :)

Last thursday, I had a revelation: everything I do on earth is in preparation for the life after. It's not the first time I've heard this point being made, but somehow that night, it sank deep and true into me. Even the work that I do as a civil servant pushing pen and paper is somehow gearing me up for eternity.

Come friday, I awoke to what seemed like a most beautiful and cheery day :D

Though stress at work is high and challenges are demanding of late, I'm standing on solid ground, filled with an immense sense of confidence. It's difficult to break that down; all I say is, God is good.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

I heard a true story about a man who operated a drawbridge. At a certain time every afternoon, he raised the bridge for a ferryboat to go by, and then lowered it in time for a passenger train to cross over. He performed this task precisely, according to the clock.

One day, he brought his son to work so he could watch. As his father raised the bridge, the boy got excited and wanted to take a closer look. His father realized his son was missing and began looking for him. To his horror, his son had come dangerously close to the bridge's gears. Frantic, he wanted to go rescue him, but if he left the controls, he would not be back in time to lower the bridge for the approaching passenger train.

He faced a dilemma. If he lowered the bridge, his son would be killed. If he left it raised, hundreds of others would die. He knew what he had to do. With tears streaming down his face, he watched the passenger train roll by. On board, two women chatted over tea. Others were reading newspapers. All were totally unaware of what had just transpired. The man cried out, "Don't you realize that I just gave my son for you?" But they just continued on their way.

This story is a picture of what happened at the Cross. God gave up His beloved Son so that we might live. But most people don't give it a second thought. How about you? Are you conscious of the ultimate sacrifice God made on your behalf? Will you be sure to thank Him?

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to http://www.harvest.org. Copyright (c) 2006 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quaint & Tragic



Chamber concert yesterday was most enjoyable. VCH’s as cosy & familiar as ever, too bad SSO’s shifted over now. Amusingly, my seats were taken by the resident oboeist and his 2 sidekicks, so I’d take someone else’s seat.

Stravinsky’s Octet was a rather quaint and whimsical piece – he said he saw a group of musicians in a dream. And thus was born his first neo-classical work for fl, cla, 2 bsn, 2 tpt & 2 trb, inspired by Bach to take on a contrapuntal form. Commented to my L at the end of it, “We aren’t sure where it’s bringing us.”

Nielsen’s Little Suite was soothing – a little too soothing (

Complimentary Hungarian wine was served during the intermission, in celebration of Bartok’s 125th Anniversary.

The Divertimento was distinctly Bartok – with his trademark structure & symmetry – and had a tragic quality to it. Scored for string orchestra only but varied textures still abounded with many mood changes throughout all 3 parts – like the thoughts of someone finding hope in a place where it is scarce.

Been a while since I got to idle by the SG river while breathing in bumboat exhaust with someone in the background yelping, “Ice-cream, ice-cream!”    

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gramps



Ah Kong is 89yo this year - the DOB on his IC says [ ]-[ ]-1917.

Tonight I briefly traced Grandpa Ng's history:
Born circa 1917 in the year of the horse. As a teochew migrant, gramps arrived in SG at the age of 17yo. Became a sampan rower. But he couldn't get accustomed to the scorching heat here, so he switched to work in a rubber factory instead and eventually rose to become a supervisor. At 27yo, gramps married grams who was 17yo during the Japanese occupation.

In the 1950s, SG's rubber supply was affected to communist attacks and the factory had to close down (or so I gather from my brief internet search). Gramps and pals switched to selling sweets and cold drinks and he went on to set up his own provision shop - I recall grams telling an amusing tale of how my eldest uncle was appointed the stout guardian of the shop while Ah Kong and Ah Ma tended to other matters elsewhere.

Eventually closed down his shop to join his younger brother's business. 1970s saw him obtaining certification as a repairer of electrical appliances like radios and TVs. Retired circa 1980s with 10 glorious grown-up children and many more grandchildren to come :)

Happy birthday, gramps!

Bang Table

It's one of those nights when you trudge home, plonk yourself down and wonder why on earth you're feeling so exhausted. Just returned from a D&D full of the usual lucky draw & uninteresting entertainment galore. Sometimes you wonder why some people are so lucky as to win such fab prizes, but this time I didn't - just clapped and shared in their eager joy. On my right was Mr Wong bemoaning the lack of wine, on my left wasn't even an employee of ours.

Yup, it's been a year since my Tang Tang appearance, this year I got to humiliate myself bhangra-style *shake head to bopping beats*

Another near-hectic week at work with more lessons in how to craft effective emails - there should be awards for reading & replying to the most emails in a day. Alright, enough about work--

Lamented to ZH the other day how music seems rather absent in my life right now, particularly poignant considering my hornie past. His remark was tt a part of my brain's probably not being stimulated enough. Am going for an SSO chamber concert this sunday - Bartok Divertimento, here I come *somebody sneeze geek* Well I would have gone for Jason Mraz if I'd a free ticket...

Back at home, it's the same old same old, except it seems to be getting worse. All I can say is love and let love - wish I didn't have to bear someone else's burden but I do. God help me.

Oh glorious weekend!! G'night, everybody!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Trust me...



Subject: Complaint about Rats in AMK Central

Hi there,

I wish to complain about rats being present in AMK Central.

On the night of 13 Mar (mon) around 8pm, I was having dinner at the S11 Coffee Shop at Blk 711 along Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. I spotted at least 1 medium-sized rat running about on the floor because it ran over my shoes. This was near the Japanese stall and I noticed that the AMK Central upgrading is not completed yet and there is a construction area blocked off. Perhaps there are rats living in ratholes at this area. It is also unusual to see rats running about like this as they usually avoid humans in brightly lit areas.

As this is a popular eating outlet frequented by many people, I am seriously concerned about public health.

Please help to do something immediately about this situation. Thank you very much.


Regards,
XXX

NEA's reply:
Subject: Ref: WK631655847 : Foodshop - Rat/Fly/Roach at ANG MO KIO AVENUE 8

Ref: WK631655847

Dear Mr XXX,

Thank you for your feedback in respect of rats nuisance in coffeeshop.

Our officer will investigate the matter and reply to you shortly.

Please call me or email Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg again if NEA can be of further service.

Thank you for your time and interest.


Sincerely,
[officer contact removed]
National Environment Agency Call Centre

Our Environment -- We Care

NEA has yet to reply again, let's see how this goes.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Power Dressing



Visited ACM today for the "Power Dressing: Textiles for Rulers and Priests from the Chris Hall Collection".

Pretty interesting exhibit. For one, court officials of the Ming & Qing dynasty wore insignia badges to differentiate their ranks by using different animals, e.g. tiger, pheasant, mandarin duck etc.

Seeing the costumes dating back to 11C really makes one wonder about how far mankind has come.

WAHAHA!


Two Chinese Boys: Tong Hua & More...


Sorry, can't get enough of these 2 fellas - oozing with creativity & humour.

Apa Ini?


Korean Madness

Thank God

Some time in early 2004, I was writing my honours year thesis on knowledge management (that blasted topic) and was regularly meeting my supervisor and submitting my weekly drafts.

Was going through my old sms-es and found this one below:

"I went down on my knees and gave thanks to God when I saw ur 1st 2 pages. Yes! U finally gotten the art of writing! That is very clear! Reading the rest now."

Haha! Didn't get my 2nd upper but I thank God for such a dedicated supervisor.

Singapore GaGa




"Watching Tan Pin Pin's Singapore GaGa is like tuning in momentarily to all the background noises of the city that we seasoned urbanites are used to ignoring or blocking out altogether in our daily lives. For 55 minutes, the frequency changes, and all those things at the edge of our aural awareness swell into focus: from street buskers and racuous children, to musicians and music-makers that perhaps the ordinary Singaporean wouldn't encounter up close.

Pin Pin calls it a documentary, but this one doesn't need a narrator; the city narrates itself. Happily, it's not a production that sets out to define Singapore, and happily it evades all the definitions that would be imposed on it by The Powers That Be. You won't find cultural tokenism here, or jingoistic tableaux --- except for, well, see it for yourself.

No, relying on her own musings and observations, Pin Pin's woven together a soundscape that's at once so familiar, yet tells you something you didn't quite expect about the city. And always softly, subtly, respectfully."

Courtesy of Tym

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Week Past



Work's really picked up now, with THE project in full force. There's so much to do. Most interestingly, now that I've told my bosses my career aspirations, their expectations have changed and I need to change my mode of operation too. Admittedly, am feeling daunted by this challenge. Am learning to lean on Him more and more.

We've started a new cellgroup! Always interesting meeting new folks, esp. non-locals. Learned how chinese food actually is like in India (think masala fried rice) and how local dentists could be cheating the unsuspecting dentee.

Wanted to visit the IT show on friday after work, but found no kakis. And I also got advice from a church fren tt the best deals are actually found in heartland shops - applies to electrical appliances as well.

Everyone keeps asking me about my biathlon and I simply rattle out the same answer, "Oh, half the distance lor. My time was xx min and my mucus came out green with muck..." There's not much to it really - Just do it :)

Just attended Sharon & Zoggie's wedding service this afternoon. Never laughed so much before during a marriage solemnization, but the sermon did bring up valuable points for couples - communicate, compromise & cherish always. Was quite touched watching them recite their wedding vows. When will I ever get to say my wedding vows, I wondered. Oh, one day you will, someone seemed to whisper in my head.

Tonight's another night of bingeing MSG-laden food. Cheers to the newly weds! :D

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Insufferable

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Art of Listening



... is like bull-fighting. Of course, unlike the bloody sport, win-win is possible. Sigh...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The new web revolution



Check out these top 25 web coys to watch out for, many great business ideas. Read Business2.0: The Next Net 25

Scan through Youtube.com (do check out the hilarious lip-syncing duo, Dormitory Boys) and you'll feel the phenomenon known as the new web revolution, particularly consumer-contributed content - it's so easy to contribute, even if your english ain't tt great.

Flickr rocks!



For the Flickr enthusiasts, read read read...

USAToday.com: How Flickr came about.

Webmonkey.com: Ten Best Flickr Mashups

Geek-alert: check out documentation for Flickr's API and its most popular third-party wrappers

Hougang Bliss

Was at Bliss Restaurant @ Punggol Park on friday evening. Great for al fresco dining, good selection of wine in their cellar too.

Funniest moment: Waitress saw us mulling over which wine to choose and offered, "We have a wide selection of wine. Would you like to take a look at our cellar?" I glanced at the cellar 15m away, visible through the glass and blurted, "It's ok, we're too lazy." After a 5second guffaw, she corrected, "I mean through the menu." Chuckle.

Conversation topics revolved around singlehood and finding love. More wine, more laughter.

It's nice to just chill on a friday night.

wind beneath my wings



Woke up this morning and an irresistible urge to go blading greeted me. So I picked up my dusty K2's and after church, found my zipping along ECP, enjoying the warm sea breeze - alright, more like trying to remember how to blade/brake.

Made it from PA Sea Sport Centre to Fort Rd.

Must learn to relax more and ditch tt fear of falling.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I'm Normal

Caught Underworld: Evolution today. The ability to regenerate and recover quickly from wounds gives scriptwriters an excuse to allow the hero/heroine couple a moment of reprieve cum sexual release.

Been hearing so much about Brokeback to the point tt I almost don't want watch to it anymore. Concluded with a couple of frens tt whether gay or not, one can only be disturbed by the film only if there's something to ientify with.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Exercises in Futility?

In the kitchen the other night, I noticed my bro watching his near-immortal terrapin who's perpetually struggling in vain to climb out of the glass tank it's kept in. That's what futility looks like, I remark to my bro. But as an afterthought, I said tt it could also be pure persistence.

At work this week: Suffice it to say tt the total amount of effort expended in bringing something to fruition is more than the total real benefit in the greater scheme of things. Another exercise in futility? Why for do it, you ask. Well, being conservative, necessity has become our dearest motivator.

On a separate note, this analogy was offered to me: I own a car which I use to ferry passengers. One day the car breaks down and only after much unhappiness and frustration in censuring and goading the mechanic into action, the car is finally up and running - except tt a certain original part has been left out because the mechanic claims we're better off without it. In fact, my passengers seem to think so too. But the car was designed to function with the original part, therefore as a matter of principle, I insist on restoring tt original part. More haggling with the mechanic ensues.

Filial Piety

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