Thursday, August 10, 2006

mainz 5 liverpool 0

did u see the ndp? kaira gong is great, such poise, such voice! i also remember the song i used to sing when i was young, 小人物的心声. also heard the national anthem and pledge being played again. last time we used to do it everyday in school, initially with pride, then with monotony. today i haven't sung it for some time, but when sang it at office during national day observance 2 days ago, haven't forgotten the song at all, and suddenly i feel proud again, wish i can sing it every day. life in the office, with all its politics and duplicity, and hearing the same messaging and discussions day in, day out, had demoralised me about whether i really love my country, but when i see the parade, i know i still do. the love is kinda an abstraction. and i haven't forgotten what i learnt when i was studying abroad, to treasure what i have at home that those who haven't been abroad take for granted and grumble about. so i do still love my country lah.

the first part of the parade wasn't v nice, but the second part, esp the combined schools contingent of 915 in strength, was v nice! full of colour, diversity and vibrancy. and the person who was interviewed, who explained what was going on, how everything was put together, is actually my cousin! these, by the way, are his children: my nieces and n ephews, aged 5 and 2. very lovable, although the younger one is a bit on the shy side. just celebrated my nephew's b/d 2 weeks ago. that time the father had to come to the party late, cos he was working late, preparing for ndp. aren't they cute?









the writer is doing conscription liability in ____________. he contributed this article to the blog in his personal capacity. he cannot be named to protect his identity.

Monday, July 31, 2006

germany 0 italy 2 aet (grosso 120, del piero 120)

was in an exceedingly bad mood when i went on saturday, cos of something someone said to me. after so long, must things still work out this way? can't that person give me a chance?! hadn't actually wanted to go, but had to collect money from people. collected as much as i could and then stormed off home. it wasn't the fault of those pple who i had to collect money from, but they had to bear the brunt of my anger. but it also caused me to actually qn wat for the past yr, i have really been doing all i did for. it's not dat i did at all, but was it worth it?

at home, was watching memoirs of a geisha on laptop. lovely acting by gong li, michelle yeoh & zhang ziyi, story setting, lovely story, considering that i had tried to read the book at borders but couldn't get past 250 pages after going to borders on 2 separate occasions & reading only that book the whole time i was there. considering that i did a class on japanese culture when i was studying (this is quite some time ago, can u blive dat some of my frens just graduated, others r about to START uni?) fiction set in reality, expressing & dramatising the tragedy of reality, yet ideals shine thru, & hopes can also become part of reality. interesting dat all 3 main actresses are chinese rather than japanese, & dat altho michelle yeoh gets a typical part, gong li & zhang ziyi switch parts, zhang ziyi plays a gentle & kind character, albeit one wif strong determination, while gong li plays a malicious & jealous character. at the end, i was v touched by the narrator's words: "but to learn of kindness, in a world of unkindness, these are not the memoirs of a geisha, or even a queen. they are memoirs of another kind."

it reminded me of wat i learnt in my 4 yrs of university: the imptce of kindness & gentleness, to make pple's lifes a bit better, to provide a better alternative to pple's immediate tendency to criticise & put down, & to aim to be the best in ur field no matter wat ur field is, to have hope. i did not start my university wif much hope or kindness. but cos of this i resolved to bring hope & kindness to others. coming back into reality of life in singapore has seen this been harder to do than i thought. but u must blive in urself, & blive in others. still, stimes it's hard to see in others wat u can't blive in urself. it even gets worse when u see others achieve wat u can't. but i still remember wat i had set out to do, to show kindness. a feminine quality, encapsulated in a masculine character in memoirs of a geisha, in the simplest deeds, of the richest buying a cup of sweet ice to the poorest.

the writer is doing conscription liability in ________. he contributed this article to the blog in his personal capacity. He cannot be named to protect his identity, cos freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. He has 318 days to go.

Monday, July 17, 2006

france 1 korea 1

today my colleagues said that i am feminine. i act like a girl. i am touchy. oversensitive. dun act macho and masculine. that's y people dun like me. dat's y girls dun like me. they treat me like a 姐妹, but they dun like me.

on the 1 hand, i try to be godly, to do what is said in the Bible. But many of the Bible's qualities would be what the world considers feminine: gentleness, kindness, patience, meekness, submissiveness, peaceability, love, forgiveness, people and relationship orientedness, sensitivity, meeting needs. Am I stereotyping here? Masculinity is associated with assertiveness, firmness, handling tasks, competition. these aren't exactly what the Bible is looking for.

And yet, I also recognise that I am petty, calculative, whiney, oversensitive, dunno how to be firm.
& i complain that I am fat!

Sigh.

the writer is doing conscription liability in _________. He contributed this article to the blog in his personal capacity. He cannot be named to protect his identity, cos freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. He has 332 days to go.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

france 1 italy 1 (zidane sent off 111)

meeting up wif frens from old days is always quite painful. i m v happy to see them again, & happy that they r successful, but somehow i always think they r more successful than me in their own field. many of them who graduated from overseas have moved on to take on big jobs wif big firms in the US and UK in law, management consultancy, economics and accountacy, some of them are coming back to Singapore but are still taking on these careers, my medicine frens are in their final year, about to graduate and go back to conscription liability as a captain and doctor, friends who are on scholarships are doing big stuff in their conscription liability in policy, engineering, technology, manpower, events management, intelligence and research, those without conscription liability - many of them are civil servants or going to be top ranking civil servants in the various government ministries, others are working in stat boards like EDB, PSA, MAS. Starting salaries for lawyers are $4000 in Singapore, GBP6000 in the UK, many others working in the UK are starting with a 5 digit salary - in pounds!

Me? I am doing conscription liability as a writer. This morning we went to Changi Naval Base, where a tour on board a ship, including a free lunch at a seafood restaurant, was organised for PSC scholars. Today, a colleague (very chio one!) asked me if I was a scholar. I said I was. But when she found out that I'm just a teacher who read history at LSE, she wasn't impressed.

well, sigh.

the writer is doing conscription liability in ___________. he contributed this article to the blog in his personal capacity. He cannot be named to protect his identity, because freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. He has 338 days to go.

Monday, July 10, 2006

czech republic 0 ghana 2

At work we were asked what makes us Singaporean. Well, the German philosopher Heidegger says that our identity is defined by the objects, senses and vocabulary around us. Indeed. HDB, PAP, MRT, hawker centres, Singlish, TIBS buses, GST, COE, prices rising, NS, all these are things that Singaporeans identify with and talk about, and topics by which when in a foreign land, one can identify a Singaporean from the myriads of Asians walking in the streets who come from all over the place. In Singapore, if u toked to a PR or foreigner, he would not be able to talk about these topics with the same depth and authenticity that a Singaporean can. I remember when I was in Washington and walked past a Chinese and I heard her say, "Wah...free 的 ah!" I immediately turned to my fren and said, "only a Singaporean would talk like that!" It also reminds me of a paragraph in George Eliot's Mill on the Floss, which talks about how as Tom and Maggie grew up, the landscape and ornaments of the house moulded their identity and memory, giving them that sense of attachment and nostalgia which both rooted and trapped their thoughts and actions even in adulthood.

But is our identity formed by our environment alone? Or is in innate? Is identity existential or essential? Is it inherent or chosen? Koreans borne and living in the US are American through and through. They eat sandwiches, play baseball, go drinking in pubs. Yet in 2002, when Korea played the US in the World Cup, they were divided over whether to support Korea or the US. Though they were never in Korea (no existence), they still felt an enigmatic sense of belonging to Korea because of their lineage and ethnicity. Is this invented or natural? Did their parents inculcate it to them, or do they feel this emotion simply because Koreanness is in their blood? Korea missed a penalty, the US scored 1st, but Korea equalised, & both made it to the round of 16. I suppose the Korean Americans must be the happiest.

the writer is doing conscription liability in ________. He contributed this article to the blog in his personal capacity. He cannot be named to protect his identity, cos freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. He has 339 days to go.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

liverpool 3 west ham 3

i think God is really teaching me what true humility really means, to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but to consider others better than yourselves, and to look at others' interests above your own. i thought i had learnt this & mastered this, but when put in a position of responsibility, i realise i still have to learn. over this week, i have spent much time doing a ppt presentation and then have it subjected to many many points to improve by the team, in which there were members much younger than me. when they gave their criticisms, i realise that they are very competent and talented.

i have much to learn to them. and everyone has been very patient, tolerant, and gracious to me. i could have been unhappy cos this can be quite "malu" to me, to have someone older and supposedly in a position of leadership be subjected to teaching by someone younger, but i realise that everything, talents & position are actually the result of grace, and the means by which we serve others. by learning from them, i also allow them to develop their management skills and self-confidence, it allows them to exercise their talents, so they are also built up by me being teachable. In the end, I was also blessed by my teaching. And they are leaders too. They are spending 2 months serving in the church, to disciple and be disciplied. I was graciously offered this too, but I know I can't, cos I have conscription liability. This means God has other plans for me in other areas, but since this people are at the right age and point in life, and have the availability and the heart, oh, may they be built-up to the maximum to realise their potential and consolidate their direction in life. I admire their competence, their commitment, & the maturity that is beyond their years.

Everyone is a leader. God is fair to everyone. He wants us all to work together. Oh, it had to take experience to teach me this. when i read the Purpose Driven Life it had not touched my heart at yet. If God remains in me I will bear much fruit, apart from Him I am nothing. But how good God is, that if we follow His Word, we will always be blessed, because His word is breathed by Himself, & its precepts are right, and it explains how as a church we should be united in love & common purpose. as I stay home & recover from sickness after being tired out by work, teach me to be humble and peaceable. teach me to be humble and peaceable again.

The wisdom that comes from above is pure, peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy & good fruit, impartial, sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

The writer is doing conscription liability in __________. He cannot be named to protect his identity, cos freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. He has 393 days to go.

Monday, May 01, 2006

chelsea win premiership

pple r always generous with me & i dunno how to reject them, but on the few occasions when i
attempt to be generous to them, they always decline. sigh.

today i felt pai seh and told her i really
couldn't continue to ride on her generosity...i think
my thin-skinned hurt her cos in the past i've accepted
her generosity and ate her snacks...it backfired, but
i really am confused...cannot allow pple to treat me
all the time.

yesterday my fren treated me and i said i'd treat her
back, and she chided me to just accept the treat
graciously and if i must be generous, pass on the
generosity to others. trouble is, every time i want to
be generous to another person, the person won't let me
do it. wanted to zap notes for a fren, was already
outside the shop, but my fren on the fone was so
adamant that it was not necessary that i couldn't go
ahead to do it.

also, am i pro-incumbent? i dun support incumbent politics!

the writer is doing conscription liability in ________. he contributed this article to the blog
in his personal capacity. he cannot be named to protect his identity, cos freedom
of speech is enshrined in the constitution. he has 411 days to go.