looking for baudrillard, boorstin, or eco?

dare to hope for what is good
instead of what is merely good enough.
Dead in sin | Saved by grace | Living in hope | Walking by faith | Surviving on a prayer

+ sola scriptura + sola gratia + solus Christus + sola fide + sola Deo gloria +

jeudi, décembre 30, 2004

 For Adeline

Thank you for sharing.

Daughters - John Mayer

I know a girl, she puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze, where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can to stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see - maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

(This tab, like all other John Mayer tabs, are finger-stretching exercises.)

[For Adeline]
Sngs Alumni @ 30.12.04 { 0 comments }

 Sec School S4V96 Gathering

I had a secondary school gathering at my place tonight. It's wonderful to see everyone again, and I know some people really took the effort to cancel or postpone appointments to make it down, which was really big of them.

Wenyin's supposed to send pictures, so I'll have to wait for them before I can post them.

[Sec School S4V96 Gathering]
Sngs Alumni @ 30.12.04 { 0 comments }

mardi, décembre 28, 2004

 Tsunami Relief

Dear all,

The Sri Lanka Embassy is collecting aid items such as:
- Clothes
- Blankets
- Tents
- Dry foodstuff such as rice, milk powder etc

These are in aid of the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.

They are appealing for contributions from members of the public. Should you
feel moved to contribute, the collection point is at:

Sri Lanka Embassy
#13- 07/12 Goldhill Plaza,
51 Newton Road, Singapore 308900
(For TRBC people, this is a stone's throw away from church, the circular building beside United Square)

Please donate soon as the containers are moving out this week.

God bless, and forward this appeal to your friends!

the south-east asia earthquake and tsunami
tsunami enquiry
tsunami missing persons
tsunami news updates
asha tsunami relief and rehab updates

[Tsunami Relief]
Sngs Alumni @ 28.12.04 { 0 comments }

lundi, décembre 27, 2004

 A Dan Brown Weekend

On Azhar's birthday this year, Vic asked me if I had read the runaway number 1 bestseller this year. Of course, he was talking about The Da Vinci Code. When I answered in the negative, he was surprised - like everyone else who asked me that question. I explained that judging from its home run on the bestseller lists all over the globe, I was sure that it would be a page-turner, and I am, if anything, a great turner of pages, meaning that I would not rest until I had finished the book. I couldn't afford to start something I had no time to finish.

And now I have. In the span of three days, I have finished reading The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress and Deception Point.

One recurring theme visits the conversations I've had with friends who have read the book: their amazement at reading how Dan Brown managed to patch together a solid plot with plausible sounding reasons behind paintings and sculptures and frescos (such as the " 'Cross Rome" hunt in Angels and Demons, the pseudo-authentic analyses of the pre- and post-1954 versions of Leonardo's Last Supper.) Of this, I am not particularly impressed - the large (and growing exponentially) body of literature which has emerged discrediting his "careful research" seems to suggest that he takes a rather healthy pinch of salt and poetic licence with regard to the Church and world history in general (enough has been said about this subject, you can find references here.)

Another thing which has bugged me a lot is the utter stupidity of the encryption programme explained in Digital Fortress. (Non-tech people, STOP READING HERE because this will bore the shit out of you.) This machine called TRANSLTR is supposed to be able to decrypt encrypted email through brute force, which means running all sequences of numbers and letters available depending on its encryption (64 bit encryption, 256 or 1024 etc) to read THE WORLD'S EMAIL, but some three-fingered Japanese programmer has just written a supposedly unbreakable encryption code - an encryption with a "rotating cleartext" - meaning that the text of the message changes ever-so-often, so TRANSLTR can't "brute force" through the encryption code. This is ridiculous. If the cleartext rotates, then you can NEVER know when you've truly decrypted the message, not even the original encryption method, since decryption of the message includes running the message you THINK has been decrypted through a dictionary to search for "word strings" that make sense. If the cleartext rotates, no strings are going to be found, so how are you going to know what you've decrypted is right or wrong? This bugs me as much as Swordfish, the other woeful pop-tech explaination source. (The movie was only saved by Hugh Jackman and his cute daughter for me. Never underestimate good casting, nor the Wolverine.)

Swordfish, starring the absolutely hot Hugh Jackman

Oh, and for your information, 64 bit doesn't mean 264, because BROWN NEVER SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT THE CHARACTER STRINGS, it's all implied that the strings are binary in nature. NO WAY. Alphanumeric passwords, anyone? That means 26 letters of the alphabet, plus 10 numbers = 36 to the power of (the number of digits in your password). Stupid assumption. (I hope my formula is right, I've forgotten a lot since programming 1101...)

His characters are also alarmingly two-dimensional. The women are always leggy and beautiful, and Brown (through his character Langdon) makes it a point to devote at least two pages (albeit spread out over one or two chapters) describing how it was incredible that these women had both brains and beauty in abundance. It's almost as if Brown himself is always being constantly surprised that the two are not complete opposite ends of the pole. The male protagonist is always strong, smart, funny ("wry humour" was the verb of choice for Deception Point), and they always have some kind of tragic lost-love story behind them (lover died from cancer, or they just fell out of love, or the situation is left angsty but open as Brown is too lazy to come up with a plausible scenario.) The villians are always power-hungry men who have "the best interest of the church/NASA/the government at heart" when plotting their conspiracy, and the gradual unravelling of the plot leads the reader into a moral crisis when the villian turns out to be the badly-misguided good guy. The villians who do the wet-work are always pawns, and always die in the end. There is always a highly-placed official who dies.

And it's always, always, always the person who helps out the protagonist the most who is the bad guy. In all four book, this has been consistent. (Highlight for the list of villians) Da Vinci Code - Sir Teabing, Angels and Demons - the carmelego, Deception Point - Pickering, Digital Fortress - Strathmore. Could you get anymore clichéd?

With Dan Brown and just S$17.99, you can! That amount buys you... a horrifying Sweet-Valley-High romantic ending where the boy and the girl get together at the end and make kissy faces at each other in romantic hotel rooms with excellent room service, all at the expense of some national government or other. (edited to add - I actually don't know how SVH romances normally end - I owned only one copy given to me on my birthday, and it was about Jessica running away from home. The ending was that she came home.)

So while it's true that his tapestry is wonderfully woven, instead of being made out of the finest silk, he uses some cheap import which (like papyrus on vinegar) disintegrates into mush with one stern stare. Brown is a lazy researcher who LIES about his "research" by putting a page in the front of his books titled "FACT" which states that all locations and ceremonies and societies mentioned in the book are real. All his novels are great 3-hour reads - if you care to totally suspend your disbelief (in the centre of an air-tight vaccum with opposable magnetic fields.)

[A Dan Brown Weekend]
Sngs Alumni @ 27.12.04 { 0 comments }

 PMO's Vocational Interest Profile: Me, circa 1997

As I have to matriculate in NTU tmrw, I had to dig out all my original certificates and other stuff from my very messy room (I'm still looking for my birth certificate, damned if I know where it is...) and I found something which an organisation sent to me after I went for their psychometric test.

According to the test, my primary code is SEA
R=Realistic (30)
S=Social (36)
I=Investigative (24)
E=Enterprising (33)
A=Artistic (31)
C=Conventional (25)

And according to them, the top 20 occupations they predict I'll be are:
1) Editor, Managing Newspaper
2) Special Education Director
3) Caseworker, Family
4) Community Organisation Director
5) Employee Welfare Manager
6) Home Economist
7) Research Director
8) Social Worker, Psychiatric
9) Substance Abuse Counsellor
10) Television Director
11) Cosmetologist

It's quite scary to see that this test is rather accurate - I have seriously thought about most of these jobs on these three sheets of paper - including all the jobs listed other secondary codings (SAE, ASE, AES etc...) The only one on the list I find puzzling is the number 11 - cosmetologist = beautician... I can conceive of make-up artist, but beautician? Maybe I should call Auntie Julie and ask to intern at her shop... :)

[PMO's Vocational Interest Profile: Me, circa 1997]
Sngs Alumni @ 27.12.04 { 0 comments }

samedi, décembre 25, 2004

 2004's Merry Christmas, Everyone!

And a BIG HUG to kwisties for giving this to me! I LOVE IT! And it was just released on November 4th 2004 too! A new new book!

The story is terrible, but the illustrations are excellent!

[2004's Merry Christmas, Everyone!]
Sngs Alumni @ 25.12.04 { 0 comments }

vendredi, décembre 24, 2004

 Walking the Tightrope

Yimei said: Listening to my sister talk on the phone reminds me of what Sijie said to me during Meta. We are a very caught generation. We are caught in between. We are in transition, there are needs in the future to be met, yet we are caught in the traditions of our previous generation. I think I quite agree with this. I feel that our generation is ready and willing to go out for missions. Have many friends who are willing to offer their lives for mission work. Yet many of our parents are caught in the "my children should work to support the family" tradition. I dun quite know how to explain this properly. Being in mission work doesn't mean that we would totally leave our family behind, it means that we have to live with a contented life. God will provide, God will take care of our families. And i think in future, if my children wanna go on mission work, i will give them my blessings.

I'm not sure how far I agree with this. I do think that there are more people of our generation ready and willing to go out to the mission field to serve full time, but generations will always be "caught" between the needs of the current generation and the expectation of the generation above them. I doubt that there ever was a generation so uncaring as to not want "the best" for their progeny, however misguided the notion turns out to be. I also doubt that there ever will be a generation as unselfish as to NOT want to retire in some relative comfort.

Living a contented life is not easy at all - not when everything around you is screaming that your life lack *something* (jewelry, bigger car, better house, shinier shoes, cleaner ears!) to make it complete. I guess the biggest hurdle is the faith one - how much do you need to know for sure that God's gonna be there when you walk the tightrope? Perfect Hebrews 11:1 example.

[Walking the Tightrope]
Sngs Alumni @ 24.12.04 { 0 comments }

jeudi, décembre 23, 2004

 The Ten Songs Challenge 2004

From Amanda:

1. Open up the music player on your computer.
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the “shuffle” command.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That’s right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It’s time for total musical honesty.
5. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
6. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don’t have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you’d like.

1. Dear God (Daniel O Connell)
2. Be Like Jesus (Kids Song)
3. Change Me (Kids Song)
4. Fire (Babyface and Des'ree)
5. Old Rugged Cross (Daniel O Connell)
6. Jazzy B (Bhangra)
7. Stuck On You (3T)
8. Unchained Melody !!!!!!!!! (Justin Guarini)
9. Punjabi MC (Bhangra)
10. Christmas Isn't Christmas (Myra)

To my defence, I did not know that Unchained Melody (what the F?!) was residing on my computer. I reformatted my computer last month, and I didn't bother putting the songs back into my harddisk. The Bhangra ones are there because my mom is learning Bhangra Belly-Dancing (yes, NOT KIDDING YOU) and wanted me to burn songs which she downloaded onto CDs. Kids songs are there because of the Children's Enrichment Camp 2004, and the other songs are my mother's line dancing songs which she also wanted me to burn.

In fact, the only song which is legitimately "mine" is the last one - Christmas Isn't Christmas by Myra, which can be downloaded legitimately online somewhere.

I guess this social experiment is a failure in terms of determining my "street cred", but a total success in finding out what I spend my time on the computer doing.

[The Ten Songs Challenge 2004]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.12.04 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 22, 2004

 I once took English Literature, but look where it's gotten me...

This post is dedicated to: SX, SE, Puden, Daniel and Eddie. May God grant you as delightful friends as yourselves when you're at my age.

A.M.A./M.A.J.J. (aka Who you calling "Aunty"?!) from Macbeth

Is this a white hair which I see before me,
The split-end toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A white hair of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the catcalls of heady church youth?

Drinking Chinese Medicine (aka "Good For You") from Hamlet, PoD

Oh, that this too too solid fat would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that Expressions had not fix'd
His prices so high against thy slaughter! O Fat! Fat!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the Diets of this world!
Die on't! ah fie! 'tis an endless chinese herb pot
That brews bad seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess its interior. That it should come to this!

No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear baby ham*,--
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.


* [baby pig = piglet] / [baby bull = bullet] / [baby ham = ?]

Don't ask me why, I just felt like it.

[I once took English Literature, but look where it's gotten me...]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.12.04 { 0 comments }

 Christmas: 2 days before the day

I think I need to go for a refresher in human resource management - only by the grace of God has this Christmas play gone so far, and only the grace of God has covered all the crappy mistakes I've made (and will continue to make) over this Christmas skit.

The thing about most christians active in church or para-church organisations is that they tend to revolve around the same bunch of very obliging persons. A good idea is always backed up by everyone, but when it comes down to the crunch, only a few people are there to actually do the work. When it's always the same few obliging people, brown-out or burn-out tends to occur. I think I've stressed Ben and Yimei out with the acting and the props, and poor Kenneth is busy juggling SGX and painting signboards, Pu Chuan is tying his hands up in knots tackling P.A. and lights at the same time (he needs to be an octopus to press and flick everything that I require of him), Claire Kevin and Ambrose are coming down for rehearsals which require a lot out of them (learning two new songs , and one with actions etc), and Marcus is nursing a cold while being stressed out by memorising his lines.

There has to be a better way to do all this.

[Christmas: 2 days before the day]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.12.04 { 0 comments }

 Sudden Realisation

... that it's not spelt KindergarDen, but KindergarTen.

(How do I find out whose fault this is?!)

[Sudden Realisation]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.12.04 { 0 comments }

dimanche, décembre 19, 2004

 Christmas: Part I-Cannot-Remember-Anymore

Tomorrow, we begin rehearsals for the Christmas play. It shouldn't be that difficult I think - I've been bitching about the lack of a person-in-charge for the longest time, but for the past week or so, I've been getting this feeling that it will all be okay, because God's in control.

It's a rather strange feeling, because I know I'm not handling things, or controlling how they function, I'm not chasing anyone for anything - and things seem to be just coasting along smoothly, and I'm not worried. In fact, I'm worried at how not-worried I seem to be! But I'm just getting this awesome that it's going to be okay, things are fine, just let God take control and it will all be just great.

It's a rather strange feeling to have, and I'm not really used to it - I always say "God's in control, so relax, don't worry, He's got it all covered," to people who are in charge of big events, but the thing about Christianity, and everything that you learn in it is that you never really KNOW until you experience it for yourself. God's provision in time of need, God's divine intervention when you desperately need a time-out, God's infinite love for you - all of us could talk till our throats were parched, our faces blue, (the cow jumped over the moon), but nobody will ever be as touched by words than by an experience with God.

So I guess this is my experience this Christmas: God doesn't need me. Who the * do I think I am?

Anyhow, if you're free, do come down to watch our little skit and videos - there are three altogether, plus a blooper reel (which may or may not materialise depending on my very efficient editor, Eddie - you should see the part which he edited - amazing! I was utterly blown away!)

Oh, and Michelle and Wei Lim got hitched today in Trinity Theological College! Great ceremony - short, and to the point, plus the homily was lovely - very personal, and very warm.

And another thing - a disappointment actually. You know the lovely nativity scene that they have down in Orchard Road? The ones with the solid paintings on them, with explanations beside them? It turns out that Jessie called me when I was in Thailand - I answered, but when she found out I was in Thailand, she just said "Enjoy yourself etc" and told me that we'd meet up when I came back. I spoke with her at the wedding today, and it turns out that she had wanted me to write the copy for the explanations! For Orchard Road! AND SHE DIDN'T ASK ME BECAUSE I WAS IN THAILAND! *shoots myself* I will not dwell on this.

[Christmas: Part I-Cannot-Remember-Anymore]
Sngs Alumni @ 19.12.04 { 0 comments }

samedi, décembre 18, 2004

 What does it take to get a legal VCD around here?

I've been working steadily towards owning a copy of the Out Of Sight DVD for the better part of this year, and I keep coming up with nothing. Nada. Zero. Kosong. I've been to both HMVs, to Tower Records, to some Sembawangs and some Gramaphones, but nothing. Everyone keeps pointing me towards the VCD rack, but I don't want no stinkin' VCD, I love this show, and I want it on DVD. But I succumbed anyway, because I just wanted to watch it, and bought the VCD on Thursday.

Boy, was that a $16.90 mistake. It was snipped beyond belief - scenes which made it onto Channel i didn't make it onto the VCD - what was that about? Not to mention that the beginning of the VCD had some really cheesy "XYZ Video" clip at the beginning, which leads me to believe that despite the official-looking green holographic sticker, the VCD is a dud from a certain prudish country up north. I know that all the green sticker means is that the show has passed the board of film censors, and is therefore allowed to be sold here, but the article I read also made sure to clarify that it was NOT a seal of authenticity.

So here I am, without the full version of the movie that I want to watch, and on VCD to boot. I've decided to give up the search, and do an Amazon instead, so if anyone is buying anything from Amazon anytime, leave me a message/ call me/ email me please.

What I want to know is how these illegal VCDs are being transported in (and in broad daylight too!), if the authorities are aware of the situation, and what are they doing about it?

"We anticipate that DVDs will soon take over VCDs in about half a year's time, so in the meantime we are sitting at the coffeeshop watching The Incredib... I mean, watching Channel i."

[What does it take to get a legal VCD around here?]
Sngs Alumni @ 18.12.04 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 15, 2004

 Movie Review: Watching Ocean's 12 over the ocean

Having a date with George Clooney in Malaysia simply means watching Ocean's 12 at 6 ringgit. Getting right to it, Ocean's 12 has sequelitis (is anyone surprised?) - it just isn't as slick as Ocean's 11.

Highlight for blank information CONTAINING SPOILERS.
1) Too many people. Just too many. Too little Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, George Clooney. Too little of EVERYBODY, and too much Catherine Zeta-Jones.
2) Too thin on plot. Why bother putting in the challenge? What's with LeMarc being Zeta-Jones's dad? Why isn't Andy Garcia more menacing? What happened to him anyway? Why didn't they take some more of his money? Why did he listen to The Night Fox?!? Why bother putting in Matt Damon and not using him? So who ratted the 11 out? Was it Frank, who got out in the end, or was it The Night Fox (who does a mean foxtrot)? Sounds like it was him since they showed that telephone scene, but with an Ocean story, you never really know, do you?
3) Too little information - they substituted storytelling for "intrigue". Just because you don't tell us events in the story, doesn't mean we're automatically interested and pulled in. Sometimes, all it makes us is confused. Too many improperly-positioned holes in the narrative, like a bad Britney outfit.
4) "Tess" pretending to be Julia Roberts?!? What the heck are they trying to pull?! And a cameo appearance by Bruce Willis?! Can it get anymore stupid?
5) Matt Damon's MOM is a cop?!
6) The real heist was pulled off-screen?! The meeting with LeMarc was so not cool - it's like a magician's soap trick: makes a fool of the audience, and this member is not liking it.
7) The cinematography differs quite a lot from Ocean's 11 - 11 was calm, slick, suave; 12 was NYPD blue and Blair Witch combined.
8) So it's called Ocean's 12. But did the addition just HAVE to be Tess/Julia Roberts?! Why her?
9) The whole Brad Pitt - Zeta-Jones wasn't really explained nor resolved, was it? So they hooked up. Then she found her dad and hugged him. Then? Miss motivation much?

It needed to be smooth, it needed to be slick, it needed to be Usual Suspects, Out of Sight and have Ocean's 11 type of editing and storytelling. It needed to be oh-too-cool-to-be-true, but it just wasn't, and even sexy sexy sexy George Clooney can't save it (though I enjoyed him running to Julia Roberts. Actually, come to think of it, did they even have a scene together besides at the end?!


[Movie Review: Watching Ocean's 12 over the ocean]
Sngs Alumni @ 15.12.04 { 0 comments }

mardi, décembre 14, 2004

 Christmas Part Deux: Let's get it started

Some people must have been praying for me, because I feel a lot more positive about the whole situation today. Today was also a really productive day for me - went to NTU to get my medical test done, had a chest x-ray at Jurong Point (why is it located at Boon Lay and not Jurong East?!), tried to give blood at Jurong East MRT (declined because of low blood pressure!), bought the PCK yellow boots ($11 from Rochor Centre) and hard hat ($3.80 to protect your head from cracking), then went back to church to put all the heavy stuff down (including video camera), checked the phone book to see which companies rented out wigs and where, found one which rented out PCK-like wigs, rented it, met Kiat to sign Stages documents, went back to church, did the filming, went for dinner at macs at 930pm. Phew. (What's on the agenda tmrw? A date with sexy, sexy, sexy George Clooney in Malaysia.) :)

I'm very tired, but I need to write that I'm so pleased that the three congregations' youth are working together quite well.

[Christmas Part Deux: Let's get it started]
Sngs Alumni @ 14.12.04 { 0 comments }

 Christmas, I just can't get it on

I've been pressured by the Christmas play for as long as I can remember. (Well, about two months now.) And now that timing is crucial, I find myself still stuck in a rut and unable to get my engine going. And when I get the engine going, it's like the wheels are simply churning the mud and not getting anywhere. Which, safe to say, simply sucks.

I think the not-working thing is finally getting to me.

We've got three scenes to film, and I've already completed two on Sunday - and let it be said that Chris Columbus is a very amazing man to be able to have shot not one, but two Harry Potter films with so many kids running around. I had two hours of filming one scene with five kids, and it.was.tiring. It's not that the kids aren't great, it's just that they get so wrapped up in the role-playing that they end up NOT role-playing at all. The scene which we shot was a typical bully-extorting-money scene, and one kid got very whiney that he didn't get picked to be the big gangster. We had already "promoted" him from being a victim to being the bully's right-hand man, but he still wasn't happy. (Can you say "DIVA"?) Then there was this other kid who kept on saying "I don't want to do this one, give (the role) to A or B," so in the end, frustrated that he didn't want the lines, I wound up giving the role to another kid, and I told this other kid that he could go off. He went off for 2 minutes, then came to sit down as we ran lines with the other kid, and then he looked at me and said (infuriatingly innocently) "Me leh?"

Of course I want to strangle him. (Have you MET me?)

The latter scene (scene 3) was a total hoot to shoot. It was with Shixuan and Ben, and anything with two people of that sort of character calibre will be magic. Totally different from shooting with the kids (which had a real possibility of ending up becoming just plain "shooting the kids"), Shixuan blew me away with her ability to memorise this whole chunk of script and regurgitate it wholesale - it must be all that O-level training, but damn, she was good. Due to their marvellous acting, we now have three location options for their scene - one on the steps leading to the church sanctuary, one outside the church, the other (my favourite one) is in the lift. I think I'll get Andy/Eddie to grab the lift images, I think they're the most novel.

Apart from the filming, there have been quite a number of hiccups in the planning which make me want to tear my eyes out and scream. One example just happened - my mom came down from her shower, and then asked me "Can you come and save the choir also?" - a reference to our far-from-stellar church performing group (which is really, really, really bad.) I looked up at her in confusion, and said "But the choir's not performing for Christmas." She (in disdain) "How do you know?" Me (in smug disbelief, if one can pull that off) "Because I'm the director of the play that's to be put up, and I didn't order the choir." (Commence hair-tearing now.)

Contrary to popular belief, I did not ask to be in charge. I did not vote myself into the camp. I did not want to be the go-to person on this. I wanted to have a nice, relaxing Christmas preparing for my new semester in a brand new school, located far, far away from civilisation. Now I'm stressed because I am coming to HATE the whole entire programme, which really sucks because I love Christmastime, I love the campy stuff that goes on in Orchard Road, I love the fake snow/bubbles that some shopping centres have that billow out on the street (see Tanglin Mall this year), I love the stupid swaying Christmas trees at the box junction outside The Heeren. If I pushed myself, I could almost say that I love the absolutely, completely obscene Christmas tree outside Borders. I do not want to start hating it all. But this programme, and the way that I'm procrastinating doing anything about it, is pissing me off, and there's not a damned thing that I can do.

It's a good thing Sunday rolled around, and Adeline basically geared me up to do the filming because I was liable to just sit on my fat ass and not do anything about anything. Last week, I took the script and screamed "I don't want to do this!" at it and threw it at the wall.

(Yes, I need help.)

[Christmas, I just can't get it on]
Sngs Alumni @ 14.12.04 { 0 comments }

samedi, décembre 11, 2004

 Car Accident!

Here I am, minding my own business, driving at a moderate speed, and this guy decides to jump out of his turning lane at Sin Min and right smack into yours truly, who is driving on a go-straight-only lane. Brilliant.

I get that the junction is tricky - you find yourself in it, and you panic because you want to go straight, not turn right (even though the turn is very easily reversible), but if you want to do something funky with the car, shouldn't you wait till the road is totally completely clear first? And check your blind spot?

Thank God that:
1) I wasn't hurt - the impact was taken fully on the driver's seat, and I could have been superbly badly injured.
2) I wasn't going too fast - had I been speeding, it would have been even more nasty - I'm pretty sure that the tire would have given out since the hubcap was kind of smashed in, and the driver's seat would have been crushed in more, and glass might have shattered and blood shed.
3) It happened close to home, on familiar terrain - so I knew at once where I was and what to do (call mom, of course.)

So again, my worthless, worthless life is spared by God for some inexplicable reason. The Jer 29:11 in my life will begin to uncover itself sometime soon, methinks.

NEW - Pictures:

Pieces of the hubcap were strewn quite a distance away

The front of the driver's seat took a lot of damage -
I couldn't open the front door and had to crawl in from the passenger's seat

Again, the damage wasn't too great because I wasn't going fast, maybe 60km/h. Don't speed, people!

[Car Accident!]
Sngs Alumni @ 11.12.04 { 0 comments }

jeudi, décembre 09, 2004

 Where art thou? And what art thou doing?

I have a friend who's been absent for some time. I just saw her last Sunday at a group gathering, but she hasn't been around for a while. I see her, and talk to her about nothing. When she smiles, her eyes are empty. To me, she hasn't been around for two years now.

We talk of meeting up often, but there's always something which gets in the way - most oftentimes, it's just work. Emails, hundreds of them by now, go unanswered, save the rare occasion where she hurriedly presses out a "Hey there, I'm busy, gotta go!" before disappearing for another quarter of the year.

I spoke with a mutual friend about this, and I was wondering aloud to him if I was being unfair in imposing my own value systems on her and expecting her to cherish the things that I do - time with friends, a good conversation over a great coffee in some ulu location, a good long email from a pal, et al. It's not that I don't understand her need to do well at work - she's been working longer than me, after all, in a much more nasty environment, but still, the amount of energy and time that she devotes to her work is just ridiculous. There are always going to be days where the old engine doesn't want to start, and you just want to go home immediately after work because you're just too damned pooped, but not to have time for anything but your VCR and your 7pm chinese serial... I'm just frustrated that she seems to be on a loop that she doesn't know she's in, but maybe she knows she's in the loop and she's happy to be in it.

This is different from the dilemma facing me and some of my peers now - should we just take that job that comes along, has semi-good career prospects and stick with it for the rest of our lives etc etc - this is about trying to maintain some semblance of a life outside of work - it takes up 8 hours of the 14 good "usable" hours of the day, but what about the other 6 hours?

I don't think I'm being unreasonable drawing the line between having your eyes extinguished and having them sparkle.

[Where art thou? And what art thou doing?]
Sngs Alumni @ 9.12.04 { 0 comments }

mardi, décembre 07, 2004

 So I'm not in a band, so what?

I recently told a friend that I had sold off my old guitar because I wanted to save up for a newer, better one - possibly a Taylor or a Takamine or a Gibson (if I was inclined towards the electric.) I'm eyeing a Taylor, which would cost close to a thousand dollars if I bought a medium-range one - well worth the money for the sound that it produces.

My friend, who is a pretty good guitarist, asked me a series of questions: was I planning on taking up serious guitar lessons? (No.) Was I joining a band? (No.) Was I playing regularly in church without amplification? (No.)

Then he asked incredulously, "Then what for you need a good guitar?"

Do I need to want to be Sheryl Crow (and not just wish it) and do everything in my power to walk that road towards guitar superstardom in order to justify the purchase of a $900 guitar? Does anyone who wants to buy a Mac want to run AutoCAD and FinalCut Pro on it? (I'm not dissing Mac fans, just extending the argument.) Does someone need to justify the desire to buy a good instrument with the desire to become an expert in it? Can't someone just get a good instrument and use it for rudimentary stuff while dreaming of bigger things? I didn't play so much on my lower end guitar because I didn't like it as much, so I wasn't inclined to picking it up and strumming whenever. So I got quite ticked off with the lousy logic behind his thinking and tuned out as I let him ramble on about the merits and demerits of some lower range guitars which don't produce as good a sound as a Taylor.

In other news, I'm just come home from a 6 day trip in Thailand. Pictures of Japan and Thailand up soon, I promise. I went parasailing! And braided my hair. (I should go to K-Box and sing Joss Stone songs.)

NEW - Pix of my hair! Before I unravel it tmrw.

YES, I've washed my hair every day that I've had this hairstyle.

Cost - SGD$10. Time taken - 1 hr of sitting at the beach.
Worth it? Yeah!
(it's braided, not dreadlocked btw.)

[So I'm not in a band, so what?]
Sngs Alumni @ 7.12.04 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 01, 2004

 VBS 2004 What Really Happened (narration for Finale)

Thomson Road Baptist Church
Rickshaw Rally 2004

26 November 2004
Sequence of Performance

Ready For The Race
Rush to Rest
K1 & K2
Change Me, Jesus
Rickshaw Rally

What Really Happened

A very, very long time ago, a race was run whose story was so legendary; its tale is still told today to children all over the world. One racer boasted to the other that he was faster than the other. So the other racer challenged him – whoever could run from one end of the forest to the other end fastest would be the king of the jungle racers.

On the day of the race, the boastful racer was full of confidence – he was sure that he could beat the other racer. After the starting gun went off, he decided to take a rest from racing. Needless to say, the boastful racer lost the race to the slow and steady racer.

Do you know who the two racers are now? They are the tortoise and the hare. But is that the real story? We went searching for Mr Hare, and he told us his side of the story.

P2-P4 children to walk in as this story is being narrated.

powerpoint with a rabbit face? Voiceover.
“You see, I was all ready for the race with the tortoise that morning. I can run really fast, so I was sure I could beat the tortoise to the finish line. I thought that the tortoise would be really scared at losing the race, and that he would be crying at the starting line. But he was smiling and singing this song. After I heard it, I couldn’t get it out of my head! It’s a song about running, and it goes something like this…”

Music starts & children sing “Ready For The Race”.

Powerpoint lyrics to be flashed to parents.


“The tortoise was so happy! He was singing and dancing to the song as his warm up to the race! Can you imagine – he thought he could beat me? Listen to some of the lyrics! “I am ready for the race, I have set a steady pace, I can run with all my might cos Jesus is by my side, and since I met him, he helps me go the extra mile”? Was he planning to cheat? Was this guy Jesus going to run beside him, then help him run the last mile of the race for him? He was singing to himself and telling himself that he could run with all his might because Jesus was running beside him? I poked him in his shell and told him “Hey, I thought this race was only between you and me – no third parties here. Tell Jesus, or whoever it is, not to race with us. And don’t cheat!”

powerpoint with rabbit face? Voiceover as P2-P4 file out and P1 file in.
The tortoise turned around and looked at the hare. “You mean you haven’t heard about Jesus?” he asked the Hare. “No,” the Hare replied. “I don’t know any Singapore idols.”

The tortoise laughed and said, “No, Jesus isn’t a Singapore idol, Jesus is my friend, and he wants to be everyone’s friend. You know what? He’s here, in the forest today! Perhaps, if you have time after our race, you can rush to meet him – when I’m sitting at his feet, I never want to leave – it’s so restful and peaceful there. Oh! There goes the starter’s gun! I’m off! See you at the finish line!”



[VBS 2004 What Really Happened (narration for Finale)]
Sngs Alumni @ 1.12.04 { 0 comments }

 Church Decor: Day 1 and 2

I've been spending a lot of time in church doing all sorts of stuff - this week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are devoted to decorating the church for Christmas, which is taking a lot more effort than I thought - mainly because I thought that Esther had it all worked out already. I didn't know that her workforce was mainly teenage kids who need slightly more supervision when it comes to arts and crafts.

It's been rather tricky to work around the new church facade. For one, there are almost no strong hooks or holds that we can use to string things up. The authorities have disallowed any form of nailing or permanent hooks anywhere in the building - although no one knows who exactly made the decision. This has resulted in some ingenuity on our part. We wanted to have a lovely curtain of stars and sparkles fall from somewhere. Not in the sanctuary? Then we put them out in the foyer, draping over the 2nd floor railing to the first floor. Voila! Instant Britney Spears like gypsy curtain - but in white, and much, much prettier. Nowhere to hang banners? We're going to hang shorter banners between lights - using the lights as bracing of course. (If they fall, then they should know that we actually NEED permanent hooks and bracing somewhere, or we'll just continue using stuff which shouldn't be used as bracing. Just now I just threw a bundle of parcel string over the roof to the ground floor to see just exactly how long we had to make the two strands of stars we were planning to drape in front of the church facade - and the bundle landed in a tree. In a neighbouring condominium. Should the Yankees sign me on or what?

I really do feel for Esther - she worked really hard on the decor for two whole days with a slew of workers, and they don't have very much to show for it. There's nothing to be done in a situation like hers I feel - only experience will tell you that certain colours will not work together, that certain cloths fall in a different way from clothes, that you have to take Singaporean weather into context when planning the exterior decor, that you have to think EVERYTHING through TWICE before you start delegating to less-than-apt workers, that you have to keep an eye on the budget, but not so close that you always end up with insufficient material - basically, you have to be OLD (rub it in) to know these things, so I guess she should be glad - this experience has shown her how youthful she is! :-) But I don't think that's too much of a comfort to her.

We'll be heading down to church again tmrw (my 13th consecutive day in church! I asked Pastor for pay today...heh) to do the decor, so if you're from TRBC and you're reading this, come on down to help - we're in the 4th floor (again) - I think that floor should be nicknamed "The Art Studio", the amount of creative work it's been seeing these couple of weeks.

[Church Decor: Day 1 and 2]
Sngs Alumni @ 1.12.04 { 0 comments }

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