Archive for April, 2008

Computer Game Analogy

Everyone here heard of the computer game Lemmings? The one where you, as a third party, had to help these bunch of incredibly stupid yet adorable green-haired, pale-skinned beings escape from one scene into another by using a myriad of abilities such as stopping movement, digging holes or paths, etc? I remember playing that game in my youth (which honestly wasn’t so long ago) and i remember being extremely exasperated at the immense stupidity of how they would walk directly into a hole in the ground (thus killing themselves, and me having to repeat the level) if i didn’t place someone to stop their movement in time.

Having grown older (but not by much, seeing as i still play the game), i realize it’s very much like the world we live in, and sad to say, the Church.

This was highlighted to me when a friend complained about the bidding scheme in NUS, that we actually had to bid for modules! Apparently she wanted all her modules mapped out for her. Though i didn’t say anything to her on the spot, i had a thought, that sometimes the Church behaves like that too – we just get fed with whatever our pastors speak. I thought it would be appropriate to cover this as we begin EpiOnline, that people will be reading. We do not profess to give the answers to everything, but i believe our purpose is to make our readers think.

It can be dangerous – too often we have heard stories (though none will be named here) about pastors who preach things that are explicitly deviant from the Bible. For the sake of legal concerns i will not mention any, but the core of the matter is not them, it is this:

Everything that we do must be supported by the Bible.

This is the danger that we’ve come up with – in the world today where scholarships lead you to a career path and plan your future out for you and is seen to be the best option available because you don’t have to think about anything, people who think are rare. Nobody weighs the words of someone in authority anymore, and the mentality is accentuated by those who went through army – don’t think, just listen to orders. It never occurs to them that their superiors could be wrong, and that the higher up in the food chain they are, the more thinking must be done because the cost is higher.

Everything, everything, must be based on proper authority, and the only unfailing one is God. What better way to base our decisions than to turn to the Bible?

Think, people, think. You don’t want to walk right into that hole that leads to hell, just because those above you in hierarchy didn’t place another lemming in front of the hole to stop you. It’s rather apt that Ravi Zacharias names his Podcast “Let My People Think”. Go google for him and check them out.

I leave you with this quote:

Beware the day when the Great God places a thinker upon this earth -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, why do you think he said that?

I’m not perfect.

I guess a lot of things have been affecting me these days, mainly to do with my faith.

At times i just feel very disillusioned.  I mean, i look around me and i really really really really don’t like what i see.  I’d like to think that it’s just me, but even if it’s just me it doesn’t make me feel any better.

You want to know what i see?

I see people who call and announce themselves as Christians in one way or another, behave not as such, and deny that their behaviour exists.  I would have thought that instead of outright denial at least one would consider one’s actions and think about what one has been doing.  Even if it’s not true, it’s definitely more beneficial to consider oneself inwardly first, rather than outright refuting that one knows that oneis right, especially when it’s something to do with one’s behaviour, because oftentimes people notice you more than you do.  If you just argued or thought “that’s not true, i know i pay more attention to self more than other people pay attention to me”, then you already have a personal example of what i mean.  I wish they’d stop arguing about who they profess to be, and just be what they say they are instead of having so many words about it.

I see people who are essentially hypocritical. I’d like to put it a better way, and i’m probably one of them, but i’m just telling you what i see and this is what i see.  I’m not exempted from judgement from anyone who wants to judge, and neither is anyone else. But if you really don’t behave the way you say you do and should (see above) then i think it should at least bug your conscience a little bit.  Of course, this can be manifested in many ways, from the very obvious actions vs words, or the not so obvious ones where actions lead to imply something that you outrightly don’t agree with.

I see people getting disheartened because of other people and it’s really not right.  How can it be that by professing to live the life, we push people away from God?  It’s supposed to be the other way around.  Yes i know that the world is supposed to hate us because it hated Jesus, but that’s in a different context.  Our lives are supposed to change all people, not just the ones we want to change for our own weird whims.  I’d put up something about people who don’t think and just either follow the crowd or simply do what hits them, but that’s for a separate post altogether – i’ll do it later as i have something already written up on that.

And it bothers me.  At times i really don’t feel like staying as a Christian, and i begin to understand why a certain wise man once said “I don’t hate your Christ, i hate your Christians”.  Yes i’m not perfect either, but i don’t profess to be, directly or indirectly.  No one listens to my words and that’s fine – i’d rather be in my place.

I realize, that after typing all that, that this blog is essentially just that – i’ve been saying a lot of things.  Have i been following them? Maybe, maybe not.  I know what i said, but i can’t keep track of all individual remarks or points made.  Perhaps people read this – i know a few who do.  I may have contradicted myself many times before, but it’s ok – i can be wrong.

I’m just not very happy working with people who like to argue back at every possible juncture, debate on every analogy put forward, and try to correct me at every point.  Analogies are used to illustrate a particular point, and none of them are perfect, anyone can argue against one, because an analogy is often an ideal construct that we use to do the illustration in a manner that would be effective.  But if you get the point, then there’s really no need to defend oneself – it’s so much easier to just swallow one’s pride and be quiet and possibly learn even more from the experience than to strike back, be stubborn, learn less than one could, and create a totally unnecessary negative impression of yourself in another.  I’m not perfect, and i’m no less a sinner than the next guy.

Sometimes i look at myself and it looks like i’m living a double life.  Makes me wonder if whether i believe that what i believe is worth holding on to in the first place.  But i guess i’ll take it one step at a time.

You people can be that way, and i hope you change, but if you don’t it’s ok, i know where i am.

The grouch i mean.

These days i find myself increasing intolerant of many things.  Despite all the rants one might have read on my blog, there was a great deal of pondering and introspection before i actually put them up.  Some of them i took down, and some of them i think i might have not even put up had i be in a clearer frame of mind.

Perhaps introspection isn’t perfect, and perhaps it will never be.  Hardly anything is anyway.

I keep thinking maybe i’m being too judgemental.  Maybe it’s just that i’m facing a lot of unknowns that pressure me and thus i feel the grump ease up inside me.  Maybe it’s the stress induced feelings that cause me to feel that way.  How can it be that i find things to be annoyances while seemingly everyone else laughs at them and finds them so very amusing and entertaining? In the crowd i do all i can to smile and take it light-heartedly, hoping no one will see the strain behind the smile and that whoever it is stops it soon before i crack. But after a whole lot of things cleared off from my back, i find myself still not being able to stomach the same things that happen.

People who make unnecessary noise, or make some sound of sorts blatantly loud.  People who start going all ecstatic and then lose control of themselves and stop using their brains.  People who just simply don’t think.  People who ask for instructions and then don’t follow them.  People who behave manja, whether deliberate or not.  People who are so full of themselves or who think they’re so damn bloody good.  I’ve blogged about so many things that i’ve clean forgotten some of them.  Some of these things i even found amusing at one point of time; i’m sorry to say that i don’t now.  Some of these i never found funny in any aspect, and i hope i never do.

Maybe it’s the inconsiderate aspect of it.  Maybe it’s the thoughtlessness of the act.  Maybe it’s the way it affects other people and the do-er doesn’t realize it.  Maybe it’s just plain stupidity and idiocy, or a lack of respect.  Maybe because i see it more these days than i used to (which is really weird because i haven’t been around at all).  Maybe it’s selfishness on the person’s part, or on mine.  I really don’t know why it irks me so, and part of me really doesn’t care – i just want to be rid of it somehow, even if it comes at some sort of cost (not necessary monetary).

But whatever it is, i think happiness is not an excuse for thoughtlessness, nor is ability an excuse for arrogance, nor is frustration an excuse for callousness of words, any more than the fact that i have a mouth justifies usage of insulting phrases to another party under all conditions.

It took just one person (and a family of turtles) to wake me up from that state and i hereby vow to be not so grouchy anymore.  If people want to be jerks i will let them be jerks until they really encroach upon my personal dignity and privacy, and then woe betide them for there be pwnage in the near future! Rawr!

Read on for more (not necessarily of the same thing)!

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I took a swim today, and as i enjoyed the slow pace as i sailed through the water, though mildly annoyed at how much water skills and stamina i had lost as it really was a very slow pace.

At one point of time i stopped and realized that there was no one in the pool but me. I enjoyed the serenity for a while…and then i suddenly felt like all my dreams seemed so small.

I want to become a teacher. I want to share what i believe in, what i know to the next generation, touching each life one by one, and watching them eventually grow up.  But suddenly that seems so small.

I want to be physically fit, that i will never have to depend on another to carry me, but be able to carry others along.  Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well, so that i can be a lighthouse to people around me, and make it matter to one more life at a time.  But that too seemed so small.

I want to be financially secure, and make my wife and family happy, that they will never have to worry about where the next meal is coming from, or whether we will still have the house a year from now, or whether we have to forgo things that we would greatly enjoy.  I want to give back to the family that raised me and make my parents and my little bro happy (and he will always be little to me, despite his protests) with what i can.  But that seemed even smaller.

And as i kicked off from the wall again, i realized i was like my many dreams – just one of many floating in the middle of the big blue swimming pool of life, pushed around by the waves from the wind or splashes from the entrance of other swimmers.  Sometimes totally disrupted by unruly people, sometimes allowed to carry on their way and finally reach the end as i eventually did.  But before they do, they still float about and they are small things in the swimming pool, just a drop of water or a lone swimmer.

But as a lone swimmer in the swimming pool is, they are unable to reach both the beginning and the end, and must travel over time and space to reach the end, where they will be realized.  You can possibly form a human chain (or a dream chain, as we are in the figurative here) and touch end to end of the swimming pool, but it takes considerable effort for each one and a significant number of people.  I only have a handful who are close and share my dreams; and i dare say we can only reach a third or less of the “pool”.

So my dreams continue to float….and they seem so small.

But one day they will reach.  I believe they will.  And even if they don’t i would have covered a little bit more distance in reaching it.  Maybe someone would continue from there, maybe not.  But i refuse to let something like that dash my dreams.  My dreams are for me to “swim” toward, for me to reach the end, and no one can blame me for trying.

One day perhaps i’ll touch the “end” and feel the “sun” upon my face, then end my “swim” and get out of the “pool”…but that someday is not today.

Today i “swim”.

And so i swam.

Good Morning

6.45am now and i haven’t slept.  A light mist hangs over whatever grass there is surrounding my block, and it looks serene, nearly peaceful.

wert.

Upon looking at the clouds and the feeling of humidity, i went to check today’s weather forecast online and this is what i got:

wert

(Any one notice anything weird with the figures there?)

No wonder everyone thinks the weather’s gone all topsy turvy. XD

Helping

I think it stupid to tell someone to “just do it” when he’s in need of help or something.

If he’s seeking for help, then it’s not like he hasn’t tried right? It’s like telling the starving poor that they really should eat else they’ll die of hunger.

I think it’s much more useful to ask what’s the problem and help him with it, than to pass statements like that and expect him to solve it himself, when he’s already tried.

I was in the middle of my philosophy essay for my term paper when i had a few thoughts and so i thought i’d just blog them here before i get back to my essay.  Would be a welcome update to the blog which has been lying fallow anyway.

I have a problem with a lot of people, as evidenced from my previous posts.  I don’t hate them, just the things they do, and one of those things are when they fight for every point in conversations.  It’s different when it’s a truthful disagreement, or a disagreement for a continuation and exploration of discussion in conversation, but i must admit that it’s a very fine line between being expressive and being downright rude and disagreeing for disagreements’ sake, just to prove that you can and you will win.

Which brings me to my next pet peeve; winning fights. I think one should choose the battles to fight, and not for the sake of winning alone, but also for doing the other person the most good one can.  Of course, that may be subjective, but there are some things that would clearly better a fellow friend to allow him to achieve potential.  Personally, i don’t have to be right all the time.  Neither will i press to fight for being the victor in an argument.  It’s different if it’s a competition, but some times i just see no point in arguing with people.  The best kind of victory in an argument? When you state your point and everyone else agrees with you and fights for you.  Believe me, the sense of satisfaction there is way better than exhausting yourself in a pointless debate where the other person refuses to let up and nothing gets done or agreed on.

Exams are coming up!  It’s the season where people start mugging and camping in places that cause undesirable smells in the vicinity.  It’s also the time where people start being inconsiderate to others around them, and/or start looking for shortcuts in getting things done, like asking for answers etc. 

In fact, i didn’t have to wait for exams to get that kind of requests – a particular someone had been asking me to borrow my term papers and assignments from a module i took so that he could “refer” to them.  I told him the questions would probably be different and he said they were the same. So i said i wasn’t going to give him my solutions because that would be cheating, but if he gave me his answers i could tell him where he went wrong in his assumptions.  Instead, he insisted that i gave him the answers and called me stupid and selfish when i refused flatly.  This coming from someone who has a second-upper class honours (him, not me), i think i now know how you managed to keep your grades there. Listen, if you’re reading this, i’m not here to help you to cheat.  I’ve seen you in action and stopped you more than once and i don’t like your “know-it-all” attitude that you take just because you cheat and get away with it.  I may not be able to do anything about you directly, but i don’t think i have to – what goes around comes around.

But back to the exams point.  Let’s try to make the exam season a little more pleasant for other people, but extending a helping hand (not cheating) to those who are in the same course/module as you.  Study together, help each other out legitimately.  Tell them off if they’re doing something ethically wrong.  But just because you’re having a hard time, doesn’t mean you can’t make it an easier time for yourself and other people at the same time by helping each other out. 

Not for dubious intentions though.  I know of people who would.

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I turned on my laptop and promptly got a BSOD and automatic shutdown.

Not that i wouldn’t have expected it, but it’s really not a good time for me to get it, what with all the exams and other submissions coming up. 

On top of that i did badly for my Philo essay and though it’s not really that good, i didn’t expect it to be that bad either.

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