Archive for November, 2005

Catching up

I had a good time today catching with an old friend from primary school…it really was invigorating (wow big word from jon) and at the same time, amazing to see how we all have changed over time.  Granted that it’s been 10 years and all, but still…wow.

Did i mention i had a great time? =)

I heard this story sometime back….and it came back to me a few weeks ago, but in the midst of exams i thought i’d hold back some posts that i wanted to write so that i can concentrate on studies…

There was once a travelling pastor, who went on his “rounds” in the country.  Those were the days of horse-carriages and so evidently he was riding one (duh). As we went along a seaside cliff, he saw a hut with a few fishermen praying outside.  How he knew they were fishermen, i don’t know.  Perhaps their net was strung up to sun beside them, or maybe they had their buckets of fish nearby.  At any rate, he overheard them praying…

“You are three, we are three; have mercy on us.”

Now being an ordained minister, you can imagine the horror on his face when he heard that.  “No no no that’s not the way you should be praying!”, he quite literally yelled, waving his hands about his head as he jumped of the horse-carriage and ran toward them, although it was dangerous and very unbecoming of someone dressed in a preacher’s gown to do so in those days.  This obviously caught the fishermen’s attention, for more than one reason, and he then proceeded to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, “Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…”

It took a while, but the preacher was patient with them and they finally learned the prayer by heart, despite being uneducated men. And so the pastor left the scene of the humble hut and the three fishermen who were repeating the prayer so they could remember it, feeling that he had done something to guide them, and feeling mighty high about it.

A few days later, the pastor made his return journey past the seaside cliff, this time by ship.  He looked at the hut again, and saw the three fishermen waving to him.  So what else would he do but wave back, being a friendly chap himself.  And the fishermen waved bigger waves.  And so he waved back bigger waves.  (not the waves that were rocking the ship, mind you, those were big enough already)

To his surprise, suddenly the fishermen came running to him – on the water.  You would have heard his jaw hit the ground should you have been there.  They reached the boat, climbed in and asked the flabbergasted preacher, “Pastor, wees forgetten beautiful prayer.  Teach again?”

The pastor, after coming out of his shock, said, “Go back to the way you were praying”

My personal opinion on this story is the moral of it goes something like God sees your heart rather than your words.  Yet i know in part the controversy that i will spark in making that a statement.  I also know that what you say, what you do, will ultimately reflect what you really mean, no matter how good you are at hiding it.

Yes there may be a “right” way of doing things, and ideally we should follow that way.  But can you fault an uneducated person for not being able to physically read the Bible?  Here’s where i can hear myself saying “but there are other ways to learn the Bible, he can’t possible be devoid of ALL of them? Audio cassette? CD? Get someone to read for him?”  Well, surprise surprise, wouldn’t you know that i just happened to meet someone in EXACTLY those circumstances, right here on sunny singapore.  No longer will i say that it’s not possible.

But that guy, his dear old heart is burning, burning for more.  He can’t read, he can’t write, and there’s quite literally no way for him to learn anything.  I used to think “if you really want to, you can find a way”, but i think God has clamped my mouth shut on this case.  Yet i do know that he believes, and all he knows is that his God loves him.

So, right way or not, i’ll never look at it the same way again.  Yes, if it’s within means, i’d prefer to do it the “right” way.  But if it’s not done that way, i think i’ll let God handle it, i’m sure not one to say anything about it unless i’m supposed to.

Put Down The Duckie – Sesame Street

Ernie: Excuse me, Mr. Hoots
I hate to bug a busy bird
But I want to learn the sax
And I need a helpful word
I always get a silly squeak
When I play the blues

Hoots: Ernie, keep your cool
I’ll teach ya how to blow the sax
I think I dig your problem
It’s rubber, and it quacks
You’ll never find the skill you seek
Till you pay your dues

You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Yeah, you gotta leave the duck alone
You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
If you wanna play the saxophone!

You didn’t hear a word I said
You gotta get it through your head
Don’t be a stubborn cluck
Ernie, lay aside the duck!
I’ve learned a thing or two
From years of playing in a band
It’s hard to play a saxophone
With something in your hand
To be a fine musician
You’re gonna have to face the facts
Though you’re blessed with flying fingers
When you wanna wail, you’re stuck
What good are flying fingers
If they’re wrapped around a duck?
Change the toy’s position
If you wanna ace the sax!

You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Yeah, you gotta leave the duck alone
You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
If you wanna play the saxophone!

Don’t have to put it on a train
Don’t have to wash it down the drain
Don’t have to lock it in a drawer
Don’t have to shove it out the door
Don’t have to stuff it in your pocket
Or send it flyin’ in a rocket!
Don’t have to get it out of town!
Ernie, put the quacker down!

You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Yeah, you gotta leave the duck alone
You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
If you wanna play the saxophone!

Yup, silly songs from my childhood days…but if you wanna know the deeper meaning to it and why i’m blogging this song here, read on…else just enjoy the song =) Continue Reading »

(in a msn conversation with stef, sung to the tune of I will Survive)

At first i was afraid, i was petrified
Thinking thermo had to come around and *%#$ my life
With a lecturer called Mujumdar, and another called Chris Yap
I realised i don’t know how to study for ME2121

Go on now go, walk through the door
Sit in that seat in the middle of the exam hall
Open the paper, hope i don’t faint when i see the questions there
Stupid cycles made my brain all blur i draw till dunno where

I will survive, somehow survive!
Even though i’m saturated, feeling entrop-ized
I’ll sit through the paper till the time he says “stop writing” then
I’ll burst from my examinations into freedom land!

(music interlude)

So don’t you fret, don’t you abhor
Thermodynamics isn’t going to be such a chore
Just wait till 3pm tomorrow
Wipe your face from all the sorrow
Go have fun for one whole month and wait for approaching Sem4!

(music fades)

Gosh i am BORED. All the best to all those in ME doing thermody tmr…it’s our last paper, so jiayou!

Access Denied.

I remember in ACS(I), my Lit/English Language teacher used to have strict rules about keeping to the word limit (although she never faulted me for exceeding by at least 200 each time).  Her terminology was “excess denied”.

Today i have discovered a new concept.  It has to do with saturation point and entropy of a mental state.  This usually happens during the end of the exam period when you’re (case 1) too bored to do any more studying, (case 2) brain’s so packed with information that you can’t get anything else in, (case 3) mental organisation of information is in such a mess that nothing seems to make sense, or (case 4) any mixture of the above cases.

My brain is in permanent lockdown mode.  I feel retarded.

Not that it makes any difference i suppose. XD

Koffkoff

Just came back from dinner at a coffeeshop near my place, which was great because i love the food there, but unfortunately things like these have to happen once in a while, probably so that you’ll enjoy the place more when it doesn’t happen.

We sat at a table at which at one point of time an adjacent table became occupied with some smokers who were constantly blowing smoke in our direction, and in everyone else’s direction for that matter.

So the excellent venison on hot plate was accentuated by the occasional whiff of Marlboro Menthol Lite, visibly approaching us in our direction.  Kinda left me wondering when that law about “no smoking in public places such as bus stops and coffeeshops” is going to be implemented.

Let’s get this straight – i have nothing against smokers in general.  Some of my good friends are smokers.  Some of them are so nice that they actually make an effort not to smoke when i’m around (because i don’t smoke), or, failing which, they keep at a distance when they smoke and keep the smoke out of my personal space as much as possible.  One has even stopped smoking because of me.

What i have against is those smokers (specifically the ones i met at the coffeeshop) who have no regard for the people around them, and blow their cigarette smoke when they’re present in closely packed areas, unaware that other people are actually breathing in an assortment of nicotine, ash, and other chemical compounds that are scientifically proven to blacken your lung to the extent that you could probably mistake it for a giant lump of charcoal.  My personal opinion is that at the very least, you should be entitled to tell the person doing that (gently of course) that his smoke is disturbing people around him, but i doubt you’d get a civilised response in Singapore should you do that.  If you ask me, i honestly think you should have the right to extinguish the cigarette from afar with a high-pressure water-squirting device, thus making the smoker unable to continue, but i think that’s against the law. XD

At times like these, i really make no effort to show my discomfort with the smoke.  That earned me a few dirty looks from the smokers (who were evidently half-drunk) but i really didn’t care.  If you wanna live by the streets i’d gladly follow street rules, and i’d return the glare (which of course i didn’t because my family was there).  I’m sorry, but if it bothers me then it does, and in the sense of self-preservation to my lungs i would much rather express my discomfort (and disgust) rather than breathe in second-hand smoke and kill myself with brain cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, nose cancer, nicotine addiction and who knows what other weird chemicals that are entering your bloodstream (which by now has probably become a regular BioChem Lab).

So shame on you, the specific quintet of smokers that i met at the coffeeshop who were blowing smoke around.  You give the nicer smokers a bad name.

And to the non-smokers, don’t start.  Take it from me, it stinks.

Story-telling

Let me tell you a story.

It may not be an original one, but it’s a story nonetheless.  It’s a simple story, yet so complex.  Fiction, yet so real.  Merely words, but still so deep.

It’s a story about a person.  Someone as real as you or me.  He/she wakes up each day the same way we do, perhaps stones for a while before getting down to breakfast and washing up and all that stuff we do when the day’s just begun for anyone of us.  Maybe a newspaper or not.

Then it’s off to the day.  Meeting people, seeing people, doing what he/she has to do, but not necessarily wants to.  Sometimes there’s a small space of time in which he/she can be him/herself and that’s a relief, because it’s a time of relaxation without having to meet the demand of all the people around.  Sometimes even lunching with friends can be such a chore because there has to be a mask put up at times, things that would be deemed “inappropriate” simply because of culture and stereotypes have to be avoided.

Finally it’s over and we see our dear person go home.  But a house isn’t really a home, is it?  As Marius sang, empty chairs and empty tables.  There’s no one there to greet him/her or welcome him/her back.  There still are people around, somewhere in the house, and it isn’t all that big.  So he/she’s not really alone, but nobody said you have to be alone to feel lonely.  Settles down and starts doing his/her own things, and that goes on pretty much until the night’s deep and sleep beckons.

Sound familiar? I honestly don’t know where this story came from (if any one seems to have an inkling of why this is in my head at this point of time, please let me know), maybe it’s what i feel, though i can assure you that’s not the case for the majority of the description above.  Maybe it’s what you see in the mirror, in which case i want you to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe it’s the story of someone you know, or you will know, and i hope that you as a friend can do something about that plight.

Whatever it is, i believe that this story that i’ve just told is here for a reason…

You know, this is one of the rare times when it’s the exam period and i have no motivation whatsoever. (which of course explains the multiple posts today – everytime i take a break i blog because i’ve got nothing else to do except play games, and trust me, you don’t want me started.)  I mean, i want to study and do my best, but the drive isn’t there at all.  Each time i look some revision suddenly i become really drained.  Doesn’t help that the last two papers are the tough ones too.  As a result people like Chonghan have to put up with my constant disturbances over msn as i chat with him/them and attempt to put some information into the empty space i call my brain. 

I can envision people who are watching over me shaking their heads and going *tsk tsk* right now, thinking “jon, jon, jon, you should really be studying and putting in more effort.”  Yeah i know that, but i still don’t feel like it.  Sometimes it goes beyond what i feel like doing and i’m really quite scared that i don’t do well this sem (seeing as i mulled half the sem and played the other) but yet the supposed panic welling up inside isn’t manifesting itself like i want it to.  Been sleeping for up to 10 hours a night and yes, i know that’s crazy.  I think it’s crazy too, even while being an advocate of having a lot of sleep during the exams.  I just hope i’m not killing myself academically by getting so much sleep.

 And despite the sleep, i’m still tired and drained the next day.  I wonder what’s wrong with me at times.  I just finished a past year paper and i’m wondering whether it’s really how i did it or did i oversimplify things – that’s the problem with thermodynamics, there just seems to be so many ways to solve one question, but in the end only one answer/method is correct.  Sensors doesn’t kick off either, especially since i always disliked electric circuits.  Never understood why we ME students have to learn things like that, when in reality we don’t do things like that.  I’ve been offered the suggestion that our broad base of knowledge is what makes Mechanical Engineers so hire-able, being a Jack of all trades, but master of none.  Perhaps that’s true, but considering most of us ME students don’t end up in Mechanical Engineering jobs at all, i don’t see the point. XD

Maybe i’m just tired of the system that seems so unbalanced.  Maybe that’s part of my motivation to want to become a teacher.  MAYBE. yeah i’d make a great teacher, telling all the students that the system is wrong and teaching them how to make signs out of cardboard and parade around the school demanding for longer holidays.  Oh wait, that’s illegal here. darn. ;P

Considering i’m in the middle of exams and all, i’m quite surprised that my brain is still going on overdrive about non-academic things.  But that’s pretty normal i guess, as Jowull once put it, i’d be quite worried if i wasn’t thinking.  Only difference being that while in the normal school term days or even the holidays this would be a welcome distraction, now it’s an annoyance because i can’t seem to concentrate on doing what i need to do. 

I had a weird thought.  Maybe not so weird, seeing that we are supposed to give thanks in all situations.  But have you ever tried giving thanks for a horrible paper? A paper that was so hard that you couldn’t do it? A paper that you were likely to fail?  How would you put that thanksgiving to God? I don’t suppose many of us can do it while meaning it from our hearts.

Guess i just felt like ranting and so here it is.

PC1431?

The Laws of Infernal Dynamics
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The laws of infernal dynamics are an adage about the cursedness of the universe. The laws are as follows:

  1. An object in motion will be moving in the wrong direction.
  2. An object at rest will be in the wrong place.
  3. The energy required to move an object in the correct direction, or put it in the right place, will be more than you wish to expend but not so much as to make the task impossible.

See also Murphy’s law.

Cuter mouse!

Ok i found a much cuter mouse than the one i drew….but i can’t post it up.  So if you’re bored and you want to cheer yourself up or something (it’s a good laugh), click here to read a few comics of Pearls Before Swine!