Monday, October 31, 2005

Tottenham 1 Arsenal 1

real men cry. Yeah! Everyone needs an outlet for their emotions. But real men cry in private. In solitude, they find energy to recharge themselves, they seek God, for they cannot do anything without Him. Look at David. But in public, when it matters, they are a pillar of strength and sturdiness. Real men don't cry in public, they are brave & bold & face up to the situation. This does not mean that crying in public is left to the ladies. Ladies are as strong as men any day, but it is more socially acceptable for ladies to cry in public. Rather, as John Gray says, men are from Mars, women are from Venus, men should find their solace in solitude, women need to articulate their emotions. Girls don't like guys who whine. Therefore, I shall set my resolutions to be: seek God for strength in private (cos I really need it), seek God for strength in public (cos I really need it), but no more crying, and no more whining. Phil 2:14 says "do everything w/o complaining or arguing anyway."

anyway, today had lunch wif 2 frens from where I am doing my conscription (it's classified cos freedom of speech is enshrined in Singapore's constitution). will invite them to see my blog. they are very intellectual, v capable pple. I really look up to them. I am not intellectual. Compared to them, I am nothing. I smile when I think about what they say. They say I am intellectual like them, so it's all right for them to talk intellectual wif me. They say things like, "we need a moratorium on this topic," and, "when you are with intellectual people, be intellectual, when you are with people who are not, you must know how to modify your persona." I mean, Moratorium! That's a term used to denote a contractual delay in political/legal arguments. This is language that is satirical to say the least, in fact it goes as far as mock heroic. What u mean is, "change subject lah." Reminds me of when I once told someone to "refrain from bombastic and convoluted language when simple vocabulary will suffice," and he replied, "le gong si mi"

But I don't want to be known by my frens as intellectual. I suppose when my frens say I am intellectual, they mean well. At least 2 people have oreidi referred to me as "intellectual" on their blog. But is this what I really what I wanna be? No. I wanna be insightful, kind, warm, helpful, humble, patient, understanding, faithful, gentle, self-controlled. Intellect is a prerequisite for none of these things. God is a prerequisite for all of them. Reason makes man superior to the animal, but emotions makes man human, and longsuffering makes him divine. I'd rather combine head (wisdom not intellect) and heart (the ability to love, which is the centrepiece of God's 2 commandments) to try to obey God (obedience is better than sacrifice). There is a gap between desire and actuality, dat's y I need God. sigh.

Sigh. Nowadays if people say I am intellectual, or use some other synonym to describe me, I have to remind myself, "Remember what God taught you when you were overseas. There are lotsa people out there smarter than u, more hardworking than you, more capable than you, higher EQ than you. You only made it thru ur 4 years of study cos God helped you when you really mattered, and you still have many sub-standard essays on ur laptop to remind u of that. And intellectual enrichment should bring with it intellectual humility, not pride." But I eagerly desire the greater gifts. So I just smile at my friends, although I AM worried about my career prospects. Yes, very. Will I just stay a teacher forever? I mean, I want to rise in the civil service too. It's legitimate to aspire to rise. People believe I will rise. How do they know? On what basis. It depends on your performance in a level playing field. among my peers, I am one of the lowest. Most of them have a better deal than me, and are doing better than me. Over here where I do "what I am liable to do" (I use this phrase cos freedom of speech is enshrined in Singapore's constitution) my peers are handling much heavier and more challenging projects than I am oreidi. They liaise wif big people, including permanent secretaries, military generals, and ministers. They envision plans and formulate policies. What about me? Sigh. and even then I make mistakes by getting the numbers and bullets on documents well, faltering on bureaucratic protocol. When will I ever learn?

So I just smile when I think about the language they use. But I just hope I dun embarrass myself in the same way by acting intellectual & not realising it?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Middlesbrough 4 manchester united 1

Sigh.

Jesus Himself said, "You are my friends if You do what I command." Problem is, always find it so hard to obey God. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Simple obedience, w/o much questioning. Yesterday, BGR sermon, which I know me, more than anyone else, has to hear it, to remind me of the simple truths dat I always dun wanna listen. And I was reminded of the old fave song, "Draw me close to You." I cried as I sang the song, cos I noe dat if I really embrace God, all the loneliness and frustration will be gone, if I am really able to be His friend. But I find it very hard to obey, to meet the needs of my family and friends.

Yesterday I brought the tuition guys out for lunch, cos COOS sponsor us a celebration lunch, & after that they want me to teach them to play guitar, so I did. Taught them at MRT for 45 mins, then we asked them whether they wanna come to church, and 2 of them said they want. In the end 1 pull out, so disappointed, only 1 came, and I think he came more cos he still wanted to learn guitar after that. I dunno if anything in the sermon or worship registered, but I feel a bit ashamed of myself, sitting beside him, cryng during the worship, singing wif my eyes closed, going out for prayer (1st time I have ever done this in COOS, & wonder whether or not I did the right thing), and teasing Kim, perhaps going overboard again. Later on at dinner I thought I was very attention-seeking, realise that I am acting like a VERY VERY attention-seeking person, really cannot do that, luckily the people wif me were cell members, otherwise I would have made an enmity of everyone again. Wasn't very patient with teaching him, cos he kept asking about the notes and chords and couldn't press hard enuff. Luckily Pauline 姐 was very nice and tried to take over the situation, but she couldn't convince him to join the group of people his age. And I was disappointed the other guy didn't come, in the end, he pulled out at the last minute.

Well, all I wanted to do was to obey God. Why did it turn out so complicated? I invited the guy to church. I humbled myself about the BGR message. I tried to show love to the guys by teaching them. what went wrong? did evrything turn out right? Sigh. ! Must be on the day that this guy comes along (which is supposed to be a good thing), that I 破天荒, cry, go out for prayer, etc. I'd told myself not to do this any more. Guys don't cry. Grown men dun cry. And the SAF turns boys to men. If I dun become a man I'm wasting my time in the SAF. The SAF isn't a waste of time because they need the best of time to defend the country so that the economy can be prosperous...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

AJC

Sigh. For some reason my blog can't link, and I can't upload my foto onto the profile cos it's 2MB and it can't be more than 50KB. I am not tech savvy. Everytime I use the computer, or other tech, it just won't work. I upload a diskette into the computer, the document won't load, my friend takes the diskette, puts it in, and hey presto! the document comes out. This frustrates me. Well, I've spent 2 days wondering how to link and put photos. Even my brother, the tech savvy one, has given up. Mebbe some kind soul can help me. If not, this blog should be about me. There is no pressure to perform. It's ok to have a blog wif a photo as a posting instead of a profile (scroll down), and no links. It's gonna be me - lack of tech savviness, long writing, and all.

Anyway, today I had the chance to be nice to my colleagues. This is good, cos every day, I set out to mean to be nice to someone. Today I had lunch wif 2 of them, and paid for the taxi fare back to AJC. To most people it's a small thing, but to me, who tends to be very tight with my money, and tends to be laid back, I'm glad that in this small way I try to obey God. I'm also v glad that I was able to talk to my colleague more. Previously I thought he didn't like me. But today we managed to talk, in the same way NSmen should talk and relate, and for the last half hour, I even managed to talk to him about God. It was not easy to me to do that. I am not an assertive person. I am very shy, very thin-skinned, and introverted. I started asking him a contra-negative question - was he unhappy about having to attend chapel services when he was in ACJC. He surprised me by saying he didn't mind, cos he was a Christian - but he's not a Christian now. We then had a conversation in which I asked most of the questions and he gave most of his views. COOS has taught us to share Christ by asking challenging questions and seeing what questions they give - so I challenged his views about a generic God, institutionalised religion, life after death, faith and knowledge, etc etc. Unfortunately he's very knowledgable, he was a Christian b4. And he was ready to answer all my answers. Occasionally I plucked up the courage to say 1 or 2 things - u must have faith & deeds, u can never unnerstan God or you would be God, u can't rely simply on science & fate in life, wat about life after death. He said God is very narrow & possessive if He wants man to worship Him and he excludes eternal life to all those who don't believe in Him. I said that's cos He is God, and he said, that's why I cannot believe that a god would be lidat. Wat to do? I've tried my best. I hope, that like me, although he was very assertive in his rebuttal, will reflect on the challenge I attempted to give him. I really hope this is a seed that has been sown. And this took place in the sound room in AJC auditorium, where another propaganda seminar was going on, while the students were watching a video and watching a skit explaining why conscription is necessary in Singapore. Earlier on the NSF who was to give a speech today came up and I told him that he and I were also NSFs. He was surprised, cos we were not in uniform. He was even more surprised to find me 3 yrs older than him. My colleague said, cos I am lucky. Later a question was asked about whether it's fair for guys to have to stop their studies for 2 yrs for NS, will they forget what they studied. He said, well, it's part of NS, u haf to unless u can haf ur NS deferred to study 1st, like some lucky ones. Well, it's true I'm lucky in this way, but do u noe how much I respect pple like him? Who can overcome all those tuff training, inc jungle confidence courses in Brunei, overseas exercises in Taiwan and India, and become fit and tuff, wif strong leadership qualities and dependability? I'm now a clerk in Mindef, I haven't gone thru all these things, those people who have have developed skills and character that no 1 can take away. Cos Tuff times dun last but tuff pple do. Am I a tuff person? No, I think I'm v soft, and not v street-smart. It's something I must learn. I'm now learning it in an office - in Mindef, in a different way, and next time, put me in an outdoor setting, I dunno whether I can be a reliable field marshal like others. I really respect those who are commissioned officers, cos I noe I can never be. Those people would also haf no prob handling technology, after they have learnt to handle weapons and artillery in the SAF. But people always think the grass is greener on the other side. I am a realist, so I believe the grass is greener on the other side, but do you also know that unless you yourself trample on it, the grass is also green on your side?

SAJC

Today we went down to SAJC to do the Security Seminar. Frankly, the school is rather old, and it doesn't have state-of-the-art facilities like NJC or HCI, and I forgot to bring my pen and had to buy a green pen for the school bookshop, but then, I really liked the old boy who came back to give the talk. He was velly farnie & charismatic, he used a lot of slang & dialect like "siam", "jian fei", "boh chup," "buah song", and had all of us luffing. & then the COL, he was very good too - considering it's his 1st time, & wah, he's both an LTC & a lawyer in civilian life - how successful he must be. Like the white and blue school uniforms with the tie, but isn't it rather troublesome to have to wear a tie all the time? Anyway, today people in the office were very nice, I had lunch with my colleague at Clementi Central, a welcome departure from having it at Mindef all the time, and we had a really good time talking about Branch Heads, working in the civil service, etc etc, and she even treated me to fruit punch. Actually we had lunch there cos we didn't know where to go, and we didn't know that Harbourfront is so near SAJC, & missed the stop for the hawker centre at Dover, so ended up at my place of dwelling. When I got back, managed to talk, even if it was just for 2 - 3 minutes, wif 3 other colleagues. It takes quite a lot of effort for me to talk and to show interest in sustaining a conversation cos I am not a conversational person, & actually, when I talk to pple, it's not for socialising, but to build friendships & rapport, & hopefully, I can bring God's love & svc to them in some way. A lot of times it backfires & they end up meeting my needs instead. I remember God told me that He doesn't really care about what I've studied or where I've been, and really, when I come back, I see that it doesn't matter! What's most important is relationships, character, & svc. It's so hard to follow the verses that I set as the raison d'etre to my life when I was suffering & learning in the UK - "do nuttin out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature man, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. & being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself unto death on a cross." If only I could achieve that level of humility, service and love that Christ did. It's so hard, cos I'm basically egotistic, shy, and I still need to work on my interpersonal skills. But at least I toked to them, & managed to show love to my neighbour today when I met her on the way home. Last week when we went for the evangelism talk the guy was right, you must reach out to people in your community, around you, but then, it's my next-door neighbour, & I've only talked to her 2 or 3 times & can't remember her son's name! Actually, I tried to talk to her a bit, & u noe, obedience is better than sacrifice, & obedience realli works. From that simple conversation & concern about her son's exam, she asked me whether I would give her Pri 1 son tuition. Then she said she would think about it, & asked me to think about it too. If it comes thru I've got a job, w/o worrying about having to find a student next year. Then of course there's the issue that this kid's only P1, she's prob not going to pay me v much, like the $35 per hour I had last year. But I know the parents are not happy with this sum, & they don't want me back next year, even when I call to ask how their son did in the exam, they very curtly tell me they still do not know. Cell leader is right, & cell member is right (if they do read this, they know who they are), you are most blessed when you go out with the express intention of blessing the other person, u get blessed urself instead. hopefully, this will be the start of a fruitful relationship. My neighbour is v nice. she did say I must come over for coffee, and she's got DVDs to lend me, but u noe, I am thin-skinned, and pai seh, & we never actually got down to meeting up, & then it's hard for me to relate wif them cos she's a mother wif 2 young kids 6 & 7 & I'm a 23-year old guy who's "technically single but not available"! but anyway, hope it'll be good, & as each day passes, I'll be able to improve my relationships wif pple in the office. I realli started out badly, but then I've got to say that every day is a new day, & i must keep trying. Hopefully I will be able to identify and meet their needs skilfully and accurately.

Service to the Nation

Service to the Nation

Would you like to do your conscription liability where I am doing mine? This is a blog, so it's classified. Where everyday you switch on your computer and stare at propaganda (read: core values.) Everyday you are not only reminded of the need for a strong defence, (realist theory of international relations), the need for conscription (explains why I must until Jun 2007 be paid $348 per month), but you write stuff to remind everyone else that this is what they must do? The stuff is classified. Remember when you were in JC, and you received all those core values? If you're a guy, why conscription is important, and if you are a girl, how you should support your boyfriends, (how come nobody's supporting me, but don't worry, I don't need), and when you go in, doing surveys about your attitudes to conscription? Imagine being part of the organisation that conceives and writes those scripts, and conceptualises, administers and analyses the feedback, and looks at ways to improve attitudes towards conscription? Can't say anymore cos everything else is classified. Well, you don't have a choice, so you can be positive about it & try to learn as much as you can, get a chance to go down for as many seminars, workshops and forums as possible, watch how the big people do it, gain both academic and vocational knowledge, strengthen your general paper from reading the newspapers and online materials and gain experience in instructional material conceptualisation and analysis cos later I plan to teach (yeah, intend to teach as a job, at least 4 a few years), and they'll probably ask me to teach patriotism (read: National Education) thru the teaching of academic subjects. There's a great library well stocked, with authors like Chua Beng Huat, Michael Leifer, Warren Fernandez, Raj Vasil, etc etc. The best I've attended was the NE Storytelling Workshop, held at a hotel (yes, a hotel), where we ate 4 meals a day and learnt from professional storytellers how to tell stories (yes, I'm not kidding), the JCs, an NE Forum, (though it was held at a camp, and we didn't get to eat much food) and the visit to ISD Heritage Centre (where I really, Really, REALLY learnt a lot.) . There's better to come - there's a URA visit next month, and then an MOE seminar (& I think it's at a Country Club), and then visits to the polytechnics. Looking 4ward to all of them. oh well...Why am I not scared to write all this? Cos freedom is speech is enshrined in Singapore's constitution

Y this blog?

Why this blog?

Yes, you people will ask, why this blog? Why, when I'm not a diary-writing person, or the intensely reflective, contemplative kind of the person, but a solid, down-to-earth, pragmatic person? Well, cos I've been encouraged by coupla people to commit to writing a blog, especially after seeing their blogs. They write very well. (They know who they are.) Moreover, since I'm not an assertive or opinionated person, I think this is an avenue where I can articulate my views without worrying that I'm 咄咄逼人 or talkative, or insensitive, cos these are my experiences and my perceptions & I'm totally entitled to it, it's up to you whether you wish to be inspired or disgusted by them. Also, Singapore's supposed to have freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution. I should know, since I'm doing my NS in Central National Education Office. I'm going to see how free our freedom of speech really extends. Don't worry, there will not be anything racist or subversive. Third, I'm interested to see my views filtered through, cos there's a lot I can learn from a lot of people. We learn a lot everyday, as the Chinese say, 活到老, 学到老. Fourth, it's to train myself to be a little more opinionative. I tend not to form opinions, cos I think they are no use. When you form an opinion, you either veer to the left or the right of what the fact is, but a fact is a fact, and the fact speaks for itself, and an opinion is not likely to have an immediate impact on the fact, so what's the fact for? I know this is definitely a flawed argument, but it's my take on life.

Second question, why name the blog chelsea 5 manchester united 0? Well, I remember when I was still studying in the East (ie, faraway from everywhere), when Poyet scored in the 1st minute, Sutton in the 16th, Nicky Butt (who now plays for Birmingham) was sent off in the 24 minute, Berg scored an own goal in the 53rd minute, Poyet scored again in the 56th minute, and Morris finished off manchester united in the 81st minute. I've loved soccer and chelsea ever since, and I chose this score over manchester united 0 chelsea 3 (Dec 2001) and liverpool 1 chelsea 4 (october 2005) cos, if you do simple mathematics, the difference between 5 and 0 is 5 while the difference between the other 2 scores is 3! But I appreciate the 2nd score, when lampard scored from a penalty in the 27th minute, duff put a second in 43rd minute, cole on 63 minutes and then geremi took revenge for may 3, 2005, when william gallas deflected luis garcia's shot ONTO (as opposed to past) the goal line.

A blog is going to be very boring if my frens dun visit, comment and link, so this blog won't survive without my frens. So please contribute...I'll be v pleased, cos there's a lot I can learn from everyone. I'm new to the world of diary writing, but with the onset of globalisation, which means a borderless world with seamless communications throughout the globe, Singapore, given its geostrategic location and its lack of natural resources, will have to embrace it rather than avoid it to survive.