Admin

It’s been some time, but i thought i should restate this – my blog has moved to http://redbeanjon.livejournal.com…till date i’ve been maintaining two blogs and some of the more lengthy posts are a hassle to copy and paste.  What’s more i realized that i’ve been blogging on the rush, so at times i’d simply forget to post it here on wordpress (such as the last few posts).

Everyone, pls update your links and bookmarks! =)

and so i’m composing this on my way to bugis to meet team velace for dinner. (in case you don’t know, that’s the group that did the tennis/sports wheelchair of which i was a part of in year 3) I must admit that i’ve had differences with some of them before, and i still do now, but seeing as all’s past i’d rather let bygones be bygones – especially so as some of them are really valued friends.

I’ve had quite a busy day today organising the necessary apparatus and going down to the lab supplies store in science to grab the necessary or top up the damaged/missing stuff for our project. As a result, the thoughts that really hit home over the past few days haven’t been able to be expressed in words (or in digital format, as the case may be) here. I’d also like to get it all out before i forget what i’ve had thought through and it becomes one of things that i’ve wanted to blog but didn’t get to it fast enough and as a result they never appeared here.

As some may know, i’m a rather impatient person. I may or may not like things done my way, but whether they are or not, i like efficiency almost to a fault. As you can guess, i’m the kind of person who would curse ans swear when met with traffic jams, late buses, etc. It’s rather ironic that i myself am late for the dinner appointment as i blog this.

Many times i’m impatient because they way things are happening are not the most efficient way of doing things. Other times i feel it’s a waste of my time, or like most of us i feel that what’s happening is going to make me late for something else or cause some form of incovenience. What i’ve regularly had to learn over the last 4 years (and evidently have still not learned now) is that..

1) Things happen for a reason. I’m sure quite a few of us have had the experience that if things had gone the way we wanted, they would have turned out much worse than they did. Sometimes we actually even notice that happens. I know this reason isn’t exactly the most convincing reason for being patient with whatever happens, but i can’t deny that it happens, no matter how infrequent. That being said, this reason is the weaker of the two and i don’t have anything other than circumstantial evidence to back it up. But this is my blog after all, and i’m just putting down my thoughts XD

2) Things happen in God’s time. This reason may not make sense to many of us, but the first reason is really a subset of this one. Those of us who share the same belief are familiar with the phrase ‘His ways are higher than ours’, but like me, fail to live such adages out. Perhaps a more relevant edition of the quote would be ‘His timing is higher/better than ours’. I find it difficult to see why we would have problems understanding this, but even more difficult to me is the understanding itself (what a paradox)! We are, after all, only 3-D..our God created the dimensions and is not confined by space nor time as we understand it. He is everywhere, everywhen, and perhaps every-‘even more than we can express’! Yet it is a constant struggle to realize in actuality that He has greater, bigger, more complete designs than we can ever perceive from our limited dimensional point of view.

I recently read a devotional that suggested that the question ‘How long?’ when posed to God is really an insult. It means we deem our perspectives higher than God’s (to say the least…there’s more to this, but i deem this to be the concept of it. check out http://www.atgodstable.com for more details!) And in a way, in this context, how true it is!

That being said, such thinking is no reason for lack of planning – that’s simply not using what God gave us, i.e. brains. (And we all know what happens to gifts that are not used ya? They get taken away!) But perhaps this provides a new perspective to certain things – maybe now we can view traffic jams as something that God planned. Hard to believe? How about a delay in your work? Or administration? Or experiments that don’t give us what results we want? It gives a totally new perspective, and perhaps would make people like me a little more understanding of what happens, rather than bitch about it (which is what i normally do).

Of course, this is only one perspective of patience that i’ve written on here – i’ve covered patience with regard to others before and i think my journey of discovery on patience is far from done.

After all, it is He who has to be patient with us all the time isn’t it?

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It’s the next day in school already, and i effectively spent the whole day running around getting admin done.  Despite what i posted earlier, i must say that i’m still human (at least the last time i checked) and so i’m not infalliable – all the while i was running around from lab to EA to lab to science to EA to lab (you get the idea) i was wondering why the administration stuff always seems to cause problems no matter what i do or how fast i get things done.  It always seems to be that some office involved somewhere in some small minute way will find a way to delay things.  Doesn’t help that i’m nursing a severe headache today and i really just want to get rid of it.  As much as i’m trying to understand the patience perspective that i mentioned about above, the natural instinct in me really wishes that things moved a lot smoother and i didn’t have to deal with the stress of the possibility of about 5k disappearing from my bank account come this august.

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.
PJ Plauger

I’ve been thinking, ironically, about changing the title of my blog.

Why?

Well it seems to imply that i am one of only a few who think.  Whether that is true or not leaves to be answered, as i evidently (and unfortunately for me) do not possess mental powers that allow me to peer into another’s mind (as much as i wish i do).  Regardless of the validity of that implication, it also leads to the subtle hint that i am perhaps superior in a certain way to others, an attitude which i deem to be completely valid do not wish to hold. (haha!)

So as much as i do think quite a bit, it doesn’t make me superior in any way regardless of whether other people do it or not.  It may make me more suitable for certain tasks, but that’s about it.  I also don’t really like it whenever people ask me whether i’ve had deep influences from Rene Decartes and upon careful scrutiny, one would realized that he didn’t say exactly that.  It is therefore not a quote, and no i don’t subscribe entirely to his philosophy.  Not entirely at least.

Away with the legal disclaimers!  I’d want to hear what you people in blogreaderland have to say – suggestions for blog names, whether they be something related to the way i think, something related to me as a person (you might know me solely through my blog or even in person) or something else representative of me, my blog, or my life as you understand it.  Leave it in my comments if you have any ideas!

And even though i would be decreasing my chances of getting comments, i have to be honest here – Of course i won’t necessarily be changing the blog title.  If it should turn out that nothing really catches my fancy, or if i think of something that really pwns the rest (which is highly unlikely) then i might use my own idea or not change the blog title at all.  It all depends.

So my fellow blogreaders, do leave your comments!  Be creative, and let’s see what churns up!  All suggestions are welcome (but no offensive or racist titles please)!

Tithing

I’ve always had a problem with tithing.

Oh no, i don’t mind the giving of it, that’s not what i meant.  I just didn’t understand why God would demand 10% of all that we earn, why He made it a commandment, and why He doesn’t accept I.O.U.s.

Perhaps i should explain myself a little bit more.  I know my God to be a loving God, who sometimes has to do things that He doesn’t like for our own good, very much like how a father disciplines a child not because he enjoying hearing the *thwap* on the child’s skin during physical punishment, but that he knows that the child needs enforced discipline at that age to get his/her priorities right.  Let me also say that i don’t condone excessive beating of a child, but sometimes such things should be done within limits.  I also got beated quite a bit as a child and i’d like to think i turned out fine.

But this view of God didn’t fit in well with a view of a God who commands that you give ten percent of your earnings to Him.  Such a God sounded bossy, selfish, greedy, and just like any other god who would demand sacrifices being burned on a regular basis.  The fact that we are commanded to tithe and then told that “God loves a cheerful giver” also doesn’t connect – if we have to be commanded to do something, it’s usually because we won’t really do it willingly.  It didn’t occur to me until recently that there really are a few reasons why we should tithe, and why we should give.  I’m not saying these are biblically proven, or even correct, but i think these are decent possibilities, rather in line with the character of God that i am certain with.  Of course there are practical reasons like “how else would we keep the church going?” but i’ve no need to debate about that because i think everyone can understand that – i refer more to the original context where the church had no problems to “keep going”  (if there was even a physical one at all) and everyone could simply pocket what they earned.

We can’t handle it.  The money i mean.  It’s as simple as that.  You know it and i know it, and even the greatest of men have professed that “the love of money is the root of all evil”.  Money is power, and power corrupts.  Just maybe, God commands us to give it because He knows that we will hoard and when we hoard it will rule over us, and become an obsession, to earn more and amass more, and etc etc etc.  So like in the discipline example previously, He doesn’t need the money, He doesn’t like the fact that He has to force us to give away a part of what we worked for, but just perhaps it’s for our own good.

It’s about perspective.  I’m not one of those people who often proclaim things like “I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without God’s help” because i believe God gave us brains and bodies for a reason – you can’t attribute EVERYTHING to “divine intervention”.  But i will concede this point: He made us.  And just as He gave us the ability to think and do things, He also gave us the ability to earn.  We did do the work, we did reap the harvest, thresh the grain, till the soil, sign the cheques, do the paperwork, lift the loads, write the essays, hit the books, blog the blogs, you name it.  We did it all.  But not without Him.  We didn’t sit back and left Him go “let the money be earned, and there was earnings and it was good”, but neither would we be able to do anything if He didn’t let us.  You think if God wanted you to stay at home, you really would be able to get out?  Look at Jonah.  Giving what we have back to Him is a part of signifying that He deserves some credit, that He has some say in the matter.

It’s also about priorities.  Note that the commandment also says that the ten percent is to be the firstfruits.  Not ten percent of what’s left after you’ve paid the car loan, house loan, school fees, new furniture, food, clothes, sundries, and a luxury dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town.  No, we are to give God first.  (Here i’d like to point out that some people have a problem with this – do we give before or after we deduct taxes?  I think we should give whichever we can.)  It’s the same reason why He doesn’t accept I.O.U.s – it just means that “hey God, you’re not that high a priority compared to other things, can i owe you first?  I’ll pay you back when i get the money, just hang in there a little longer ok?”  When we give God first, other things will fall into place as they should.  Who are we to doubt that ten percent of what we earn can do miracles when the young boy gave his five loaves and two fish – all he had?  Personal note:  this is just for me, but normally before getting anything rather costly i would think whether i can afford it here and now with what i already have – if i have to cut out from God’s portion, that’s idolatry.

Commencement was today, and in the valedictorian’s speech he mentioned something about how much of what we learn actually comes from helping other people and sharing out knowledge.  In a sense, what goes around comes around – and when i heard him say that i wondered, if i had helped people any more than i did, would anything be different?  How about if i helped people any less?  I couldn’t imagine either way, which is not to say that i’ve done a perfect job, but only that my imagination is limited.  I do agree though – when i help my peers, i gain new insights, but only proportional to the amount that i bother to probe.  I think the giving of my time is similar to tithing – when willingly done, we also benefit from it.  We learn that money really isn’t that big a deal (and i know of some people who are really poor but faithfully tithe too) but God is.  We also learn that giving begets blessing, because we give out of the little we have as compared to what excess we have. (remember the widow’s mite?)  But what is not similar is that i believe that God will bless you regardless of whether you tithe or not – just that if you do, your eyes would be opened and you will realize that you have been blessed with so much more.

Just because you’re happy or ecstatic, doesn’t give you the right to be inconsiderate.

I’m starting this post on the day after i landed back in singapore, but i think it’ll take quite a long post to describe everything, and so i won’t be putting everything in detail up here coz i’m lazy ^^;;;

Taiwan was great – first part was pure handball, and we returned with third place in the competition – not bad, considering we were prepared to get pwned by all the teams there.  So it was an achievement in itself and i’m glad i went for the training as well, because we learned a lot of new things.  And the way the people there play makes us look like kids.  I mean srsly. They can drift in midair and to a fadeaway shot into the far upper post corner of the goal.  Like WTF?!?!  There’s a lot to bring back and i only can hope that the experience made me stronger.  Of course there were the moments i was frustrated, and the moments where i screwed up.  I hope i held back the former, and that no one’s still pissed with me about the latter.

The later part we did quite a bit of sightseeing and only a little shopping (cause most of us underbudgeted for the trip) and even got to see the sunrise – which happens to rise there at approx 5am. >_<|||  Didn’t get to see any whales on the whalewatching boat, but they gave us a voucher to have a free ride the next time because of that – only thing is that i don’t think i’ll be back there anytime soon 😛  We also went rafting (and got burnt on our forearms and knees) while we battled the rapids and went through the river.  The journey down the river was quite slow because there hadn’t been any rain recently and so there was very very little water….most of the time the lifeguards had to pull/push us along with their motorboats. We are a lazy people ^^;;;

Back in Singapore, it’s returning to the mundane life.  As usual, one doesn’t feel like going back to work and everything, but i guess that’s part of life, that you have to do what you have to do.  I still have some friends that i’d like to meet up with before we disappear from each other’s life forever, caught up in the graduated world of work and finances, but i certainly do hope to go back to taiwan again – hopefully to play handball once more 🙂

Protected: Dear God

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Having spent slightly over a week in the Graduate Students’ Room in my lab and doing work here more or less all the time i’m supposed to, i really wish i could just tell the people here one thing:

Chill.

Honestly, the way they barge into the office as if there was some creepy mutated monster (think Doom3 or Quake4) was chasing after them, and the rapid banging of drawers and barking of instructions and hasty answering of phone indicates primarily one thing: you guys need to calm down.

Considering the amount of time one spends on their work(s), i’m really not surprised to see them all so agitated. Judging by most of their habits, they don’t seem to have very much of another life outside their work, and so they rushrushrush to get things done asap. It is really any surprise that they appear and behave rather grumpily most of the time, seeing that it’s only a rare few who know how to sit back and unwind. For the record, if what you’re doing the whole day is slacking then you don’t really need to find time to unwind and you don’t fall into the category of people that i’m talking about here. XD

I guess one of the more valuable lessons that one has to learn in his/her lifetime is how to balance the work and the time spent to relax, especially in the fast-paced society here.

In work news, we’re going to try and contact the prof personally now, because there’s no reply from him. It’s funny how people simply don’t reply mails, be it from colleagues or students. I’ve always wondered what the motivation for not checking or replying email would be, as it definitely has a most negative impression on the person who performs the inaction. I’m always reminded that in business dealings, if you’d don’t respond in time you’ve lost a deal.

So what gives, people? Anyone with any thoughts/explanation on how people just don’t reply emails?

Despite all the time i spend here, and all the things i get done, it still feels lonely.

I have a message to all the people out there in bloggerland who have blogged/are blogging/will be blogging/are reading blogposts about the “Ugly Singaporean” phenomenon. You know, the people who don’t move into the centre of the train when they board it, who get off the bus/train/escalator and then stand still only to cause a major sardine-packed jam in the people behind, the ones who throw litter around, or make a lot of noise in public places, or blow smoke into your face as you walk down the street, etc etc. You know how we always think “i don’t understand how they can be so inconsiderate” or stuff like that? Well let me first quantify that this didn’t happen to me today only, and that i’m honestly not pissed, it’s just that i think i’ve found something out that i’ve never put into words before.

NEWSFLASH! I have analysed the cause for one (1) full bus ride and come to this conclusion:

They don’t even know they’re doing it. Either that or they don’t care.

Let me present my case, starting off with a definition. From Dictionary.com:

ob·liv·i·on
1. the state of being completely forgotten or unknown: a former movie star now in oblivion.
2. the state of forgetting or of being oblivious: the oblivion of sleep.
3.
official disregard or overlooking of offenses; pardon; amnesty.

You see, the thing is that these people simply are unaware of their surroundings and the other people around them. (I refer of course, to the above definition number 2) They don’t know (or don’t care) that by swinging their umbrella they’re showering your pants with rainwater, or even hitting you in unmentionable areas. They don’t bother keeping their volume down because they don’t mind loud surroundings (i’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here) and thus assume that you don’t mind either. Or they litter because they don’t bother thinking about the effects that it might have on other people if they do so. Parents who don’t control their kids because they have no idea of the annoyance it might cause to some people. In other words, these people live in a world of their own and aren’t aware of what is going on around them, or alternatively, they’re so arrogant that they think the rest of the world is insignificant and thus they don’t care. But giving them the benefit of the doubt (though their actions are still inexcusable), they are simply oblivious to the world around them.

This is why i was very impressed when i went to Japan the last time. Nobody speaks on their mobile phones on the train or on public transport, and the phones are on silent so you don’t get unwanted ringtones sounding off. People look where they’re going, and greet you when you enter a shop. I walked down the shopping district in a rush once, and i didn’t get bumped into a single time, and i was really impressed – you go try that in orchard road without stopping and i guarantee you’ll have people bumping into you. I felt like a barbarian there, but i was treated like royalty, and i think Singapore has much to learn from the service sector over there.

That being said, i’d like to point out a few things on this matter as well.

One, i’m a singaporean too, so whatever i say that is in general, encompasses me as well. IF you’re not part of the group that i refer to (or maybe you are and you just don’t realize it – in which case if you might happen to fall into this group it’d be better just to learn from other’s or your own mistakes) then you’re safe.

Two, i never said all Singaporeans are like this: i merely pointed out that there are some who are, and now i shall make the statement that there are also some who aren’t – in fact, some of us (them) really are quite nice. But no one has a problem about those who are nice right? so if you’re reading this, do make an effort to openly appreciate those people who are. Give a smile to them on the MRT or something; no one’s gonna call you a pervert.

Three, it’s not always Singaporeans doing these things i know. But i speak only for those who are. Sure there are inconsiderate foreigners as well, but that’s their countries image they hold, not mine (ours).

And lastly? The whole Ugly Singaporean Phenomenon thing? It’s not really a phenomenon. It’s been around for ages. MESSAGE TO SINGAPOREANS: let’s help get rid of it please? Stop pushing to get on transports, rushing for sales, etc. Think about the next person. And think about how you’d like it if someone did it to you.
Update: CCH just pointed out to me that the word for “don’t care” is “apathy”.  So it’s either oblivion or apathy in place. heh.

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