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 +

lundi, décembre 31, 2007

 Countdown to 2008

(Photos are from the Eio camera.)

New years' eve was a hastily- organised affair which yours truly was assigned to look into. Thank goodness for online ordering - satay (and accoutrements), stingray, and chicken wings were ordered online, and the rest was easy to get from NTUC.

We nearly burned the church down - or something. Andy was supposed to get the BBQ pits, but he underestimated the heat from the coals, which melted the aluminium foil trays that he was using as the pits. Result? One burned church table. (!!! !!!)

The food was yummy though - after the initial sacrifices to the carbon god. Not many people came, either due to (1) other commitments to more funky countdown parties, or (2) too last minute. But there were enough people to finish the food, and enough people that it wasn't empty. All in all, it was a pretty good crowd size - not too few, not too many. Just nice.

After the cleanup, we all headed to United Square to play Monopoly (for no reason), but along the way, saw people on the overhead bridge. Realising that it was only 5 minutes away from the New Year, we went up to wait for the countdown as well - and managed to see the fireworks!

So that's where I spent the crossing over: atop the overhead bridge immediately outside United Square, looking at the fireworks with some of my cell group members. I think it was a fun way to spend New Years - without the massive crowd quotient.


Detour to the overhead bridge while
headed to starbucks to play...

Winners in sequence: Michelle, Ming, May, Tim, Jem (I think.)

Libellés :

[Countdown to 2008]
Sngs Alumni @ 31.12.07 { 0 comments }

dimanche, décembre 30, 2007

 Taylor Swift: Our Song & Teardrops on my Guitar

Somehow, country music always tells the best stories - versus, say, The Thong Song. (Who am I kidding? A dictionary has a better storyline than The Thong Song.)

"Our song is the slamming screen door,
Sneakin' out late, tapping on your window
When we're on the phone and you talk real slow
Cause it's late and your mama don't know
Our song is the way you laugh
The first date "man, I didn't kiss her, and I should have"
And when I got home ... before I said 'Amen'
Asking God if he could play it again"

The shiny, silver, glittery guitar is a little scary, but the tune's catchy, and the sentiment's cute. The other hit Swift has is "Teardrops on my Guitar", which was featured on MH's blog (4 Dec 07) a while back, but it's quite emo, so you can't listen to it too much.

Libellés :

[Taylor Swift: Our Song & Teardrops on my Guitar]
Sngs Alumni @ 30.12.07 { 0 comments }

samedi, décembre 29, 2007

 Abortion and Rape

[Note: Occasionally, one has to stand clearly on one side. I'm standing on the right on this one.]

Abortion is a massively controversial issue, and while I've been brought up to believe that the right to life is supposed to trump any unwanted pregnancy scenario (especially scenarios where premarital sex is concerned), I'm aware that there are circumstances which do make the decision to keep a child harder, such as in the case of rape or incest.

The most persuasive arguments I've heard FOR abortion are those which cut a line neatly between two types of pregnancies - one type which is "the victim's fault" - i.e. the girl had unprotected sex unwisely and now there's a baby along the way; and the other type which is not the mother's fault - i.e. in a rape or incest scenario, or when the child is deformed in the womb, or when there's a 99% chance of down syndrome.

In the case of the former, the general (moral) judgment is that the pregnancy was foolish, but the child should not be penalised for the stupidity of the parents, and the parents have to live with the consequences of their failure to use latex. (Idiots. And I'm not even going to start on the Heb 13:4/1 Cor 6:18 premarital sex lecture.)

The latter type of pregnancy is where the issue turns tricky - should the mother be penalised for something which she had no control over? Rape or the high possibility of deformity/disability fall into this category. Arguments in this corner generally pit the mother against her child - who has the larger "right to life"? Should the mother have her "regular" life back - which was one without the baby? Or should the baby be given a chance to live? Like I said, these are the arguments which are the most persuasive - that the mother should not be penalised for something that she had no control over - so the act of abortion is one which gives the mother power over the past action that she was powerless over (the rape or incest, or the "bad luck" to have a child born deformed or disabled in some way.)

I'm pro-life, and I'm glad to have found out that statistically speaking, most rape victims choose to keep their child. I'm also glad to have found some research which does support the argument against abortion.
a) IMMORAL: Most women still believe that it's immoral to abort.

b) DESTINY: Some women believe that their unplanned child may yet have some unknowable destiny to fulfil. [This is in the vein of Joseph, who told his prodigal, fratricidal brothers: "Am I in the place of God (to wreak vengeance?) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done..."] So in the same way, they do not wish to play God to that unborn child.

c) ULTIMATUM: Rape victims do not want to inflict the same kind of victimisation on someone else. (However, this argument could go both ways - the child has no choice but to be born, while at the same time, having no ability to exercise the option of abortion.)

d) OVERCOMING: I like this one the best - rape victims often feel that carrying the pregnancy to term, and giving birth will help them "conquer" the violent act - again, in the same way as Joseph.
(Steven Levitt has plenty to say on this issue (one whole chapter in Freakonomics, in fact), and I do agree theoretically with his correlation studies between lower crime and abortion, but hey, I do statistics too, and what's not to say that some other random factor (like cheaper cars and gas prices during the period of study) could have created his "miracle" cure or lower crime rates.)

And that's that.

A meta-discursive thought: I find it mildly disturbing that I feel apologetic for having a stance on this.

[Abortion and Rape]
Sngs Alumni @ 29.12.07 { 1 comments }

jeudi, décembre 27, 2007

 Potter Puppet Pals - Sing Song!

Libellés :

[Potter Puppet Pals - Sing Song!]
Sngs Alumni @ 27.12.07 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 26, 2007

 Christmas 2007

My Christmas this year was spent with a lovely little angel...

... and some other lovely people who make life brighter.
(1st row: Ben, Jon, Mich, Sharleen, Ade, May-Ann, Julian, Jeremy
2nd row: Andy, Tammi, Pastor, Minghui, Julius)

Libellés : ,

[Christmas 2007]
Sngs Alumni @ 26.12.07 { 1 comments }

dimanche, décembre 23, 2007

 My Deliverer Is Coming (Rich Mullins)

If you listen hard enough, you'll hear Michael W. Smith in the background.

[edited because the scrolly lyrics are annoying the something out of me.]

Libellés :

[My Deliverer Is Coming (Rich Mullins)]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.12.07 { 0 comments }

 I got carded

Some crazy kid bladed to my house and gave me a great morning, and a lovely hand-made Christmas card from the heart.

Awww... I love you very much too, girl.

Libellés :

[I got carded]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.12.07 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 19, 2007

 Ah, air travel, how we love/hate thee

(Although it doesn't really look like it, the domestic airport
was really gutted - completely black and skeletal.)

So while I was (un)happily stressed out with a burnt-down Medan airport while trying hard to get to Aceh in one piece with my laptop and camera weighing me down like nobody's business...

I missed out on being in yet another church-wide photo.

Libellés : ,

[Ah, air travel, how we love/hate thee]
Sngs Alumni @ 19.12.07 { 0 comments }

samedi, décembre 15, 2007

 Getting Out The Map

I don't really listen to the Indigo Girls, even though I know they're critically acclaimed indie artists - and country! However, the one song that I DO remember from them, I love - "Get Out The Map".

Get out the map get out the map
And lay your finger anywhere down

And why not? So some of my girlfriends and I are really getting the map out and taking a drive down under - the Great Ocean Road, no less.

We'll leave the figuring to those we pass
On our way out of town

Not so much, not really. We've pretty much figured out our accommodation and travel route, but hey, it's the vibe that matters, right?

I'm gonna clear my head
I'm gonna drink that sun
I'm gonna love you good and strong
While our love is good and young

Clear my head - much-needed check.
Drink that sun - check (with sunblock.)
Friends I love - check.
Love that's good and young - double check.

Carpe diem, girls. To us.

Libellés : ,

[Getting Out The Map]
Sngs Alumni @ 15.12.07 { 0 comments }

mercredi, décembre 12, 2007

 It takes one to know one

Some of you know, some of you don't know, that I've been having a rough time of it lately. I'm coming out to say it because I've been staying away from a lot of social activities, and it's starting to show (although in most circumstances, it's quite hard to tell, like if I attend church, or a wedding and show my face, even though I don't hang around for food and chit-chat - or sometimes even when I do.) Am I depressed? Maybe. Yes. I don't know. I don't feel like myself, but it's not like I don't laugh anymore (although I feel less like doing so than ever before), or feel like killing myself. I think. But I feel bad about myself most of the time now, and I'm not very sure why. (Please do not diagnose SAD on me.)

The bottom line is this: grad school is tough, and I'm not talking just about academics - and it's really bringing me down. Lorraine has been a really great source of support for me in this aspect, since she's also pursuing her PhD. We chat online, since she's in the UK, and tonight, what we concluded was this: it really does take a postgrad student to know what a postgrad goes through.

Does it look like I'm very free? Sure, sometimes I have time for coffee and the freedom to go to the gym when it's not so crowded, but really, my time is malleable, not devoid of things to do. So yes, on most days, I can sleep in a little, but really, do you burn as much midnight and pre-dawn oil as I do to make up for it? Do not presume to know my schedule. Do not presume I feel any less stress than you.

My time is not my own - and it is fully not my own. It is up to the whims and fancies of idiosyncratic professors, who think that they own you just because they pay you a whopping $8 an hour as a research assistant. So while you should technically be able to turn off your computers at 6pm everyday and go home, there's no telling what I have to do in order to get the monkey with the PhD off my back.

The other thing we concluded: postgrad studies is limbo-land: you're not fully employed, but neither are you really a student. You're in limbo, and nobody really, really, truly understands unless they're a grad student themself. Not a parent who used to go to grad school, not a fresh graduate, not a person thinking about going to grad school - no. It's hard being in this state of maybe - and I think it's this state that I feel most keenly right now, and which is bringing me down.

I used to have a full-time job, you know. With regular income, and the freedom to save and spend my money as I saw fit. Now, I scrimp and save, while my peers still enjoy that freedom. Some complain about the rising cost of living, or complain about the amount of money they earn. I want to scoff and turn away, and tell them to shut up, because they're not the ones earning nothing, and they're the ones with huge bank balances - but I hold my tongue and smile, because it is what I often do - and more often than people give me credit for.

But I do not begrudge them this financial freedom. I have never been a spendthrift, and it was my choice to return to the Ivory Tower, and it has occurred according to my choice of school and course. Circumstances surrounding my brother's education have dictated that the responsible thing for me to do was to pay my own way through grad school, and through prudent spending, I have been able to support myself, although not for much very longer. This frustrates me, as well as gives me a sense of urgency and desperation that I have not felt before.

I do not like being pressed.

The urgency increases when I find myself being offered opportunities which might not come again. Opportunities for job at research institutes. Think tanks. Opportunities that I have to turn down because I'm in limbo-land. Not really fully engaged, but not fully employed either. No, I'm sorry, I can't apply for that job because I would like to work part-time as I finish my dissertation. I don't suppose you have a part-time programme for workers? No, I don't think it would be wise for me to complete my dissertation on a part-time basis, not given the type of job description I see here. No, I'm sorry, I can't be your debate coach because I'm just not sure if I will be able to make it twice a week to your school. I might make it once a week, but it's got to be after 6pm. No, I'm sorry, 2pm is a little bit out of the question, I might be needed in school. The responsible thing would be to say no.

Responsibility sucks sometimes.

Systemic failure forms the rest of my lament. While circumstances have dictated where I should study, the system has failed me time and time again when we speak of subjects to study. The course I really wanted required too much in terms of pre-requisites (I would practically have to take another degree in order to qualify for consideration for the course.) My current course had me expelled - yes, expelled - from the school on nothing more than the accusations of a philandering professor, who misrepresented me to the school. I was not told of anything amiss, and the board sat and condemned me merrily without me being the wiser, until two months later when I stumbled upon this precious knowledge, by which time (of course), it was too late to do anything. I was not told of anything, and was given no warning. The professor in question was facing sexual allegations (never officially pursued), and later was not censured in any way. He was allowed to get away scott-free - but the damage to me was done, without apology. I carry the albatross around my neck, and hope that I will get to exact the pound of flesh (with fresh blood dripping off), but I have faint hope that the day will come to pass.

Once bitten, twice shy - I now face the arduous task of choosing my supervisor yet again, without the help of the school. For someone who was not an undergraduate at the school, this is not an easy task. Professors are a shy species, and do not talk willingly. The school will not, cannot, shall not, help. They cannot be bothered with you - students? You pay the bills.

Dante got it right - all hope abandon ye who enter here, where "here" is a dirty three letter school acronym which is often mistyped as NUT. Hell is other people, Mr. Satre eloquently put. What he didn't realise is that a lof of them work in NUT.

So yes, this has been bothering me to some extent. Not much, just about as much as it takes to make a person generally withdraw from most social activity for about a month and a half. Just about as much as it takes to have a person be okay with leaving her mobile phone at home and just walking away from it. Just enough to get her to turn off her MSN and go radio silent for weeks at a time.

Not much.

Not much at all.

Libellés : ,

[It takes one to know one]
Sngs Alumni @ 12.12.07 { 4 comments }

 Dancing in the Moonlight

dancing in the moonlight
everybody's feeling warm and bright
it's such a fine and natural sight
dancing in the moonlight

This is my favourite song.
But where's the moonlight and the people dancing in it???

Libellés :

[Dancing in the Moonlight]
Sngs Alumni @ 12.12.07 { 0 comments }

mardi, décembre 11, 2007

 Lonely Slippers

Libellés : , ,

[Lonely Slippers]
Sngs Alumni @ 11.12.07 { 0 comments }

lundi, décembre 10, 2007

 The Ultimate Goal

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get there
(and be paid money.)

Other times, I wonder if it's worth it.

The deeper I go, the dirtier the game is.

Libellés : ,

[The Ultimate Goal]
Sngs Alumni @ 10.12.07 { 0 comments }

mardi, décembre 04, 2007

 Banda Aceh: More Developed Than It Sounds

So we arrived, and the Medan domestic airport burned down the night before we arrived, which was quite exciting in theory - it was a pain to haul our luggage over to the Garuda office to find out what was happening. Strangely, the situation wasn't too bad - they seemed to have it all planned out, and nobody looked like they were fazed. The girls were joking that they were so used to calamity that it's part of life now, and they just get on with it.

This is the office from which I'm working out of: the World Vision Banda Aceh office. There are a couple of departments, some housed in different buildings further down along the road. Plenty of NGOs here - like Cambodia, UNDP, UNFPA, UN FAO, UNICEF, UNIFEM etc etc - slap a "UN" in front of anything and it's probably here as well. Not to mention the rest of the big development agencies - although most of them have executed their exit strategies (like WV did in Aug 2007), and have left mostly local staff to run their programmes from now on.

Sometimes buildings are just... buildings.
This part of Aceh did not get hit by the Tsunami.

The food is okay here. The good is really, really good, the bad is just crap fried in oil.

Getting lost while trying to navigate the Aceh street maze.

One of the health centres in which I am conducting research and interviews.

Libellés : , , ,

[Banda Aceh: More Developed Than It Sounds]
Sngs Alumni @ 4.12.07 { 0 comments }

dimanche, décembre 02, 2007

 Points of Information: Going to Aceh

  • I am headed to Aceh in a couple of hours on a project for school/work.
  • I wish it were one day later so I could attend my church's 70th Anniversary service and dinner. (I'm more disappointed than I let on.)
  • Pray that I meet good contacts over in Aceh, especially in World Vision (or other Christian affiliate groups.)
  • Pray that my cough/flu and my eye stye get better quickly, and that I'll be in good health over there.
  • Pray for good weather with me! Too much rain and too much sun would totally suck.
  • Pray that I'll get what I need, and that the Principal Investigator of the project will be pleased with my work.
  • Pray that I'll get adequate rest!
  • Pray for safety for me and my belongings! We're bringing a bunch of electronic stuff, and I'm bringing my lovely DLSR!
  • I'd like an opportunity to visit the rural areas (my prof says it's lovely), so pray I manage to fit it in somehow.
  • Pray for favour in the eyes of the authorities for me, my team and my project.
  • Safe flights, safe returns!

Stay safe, kids. Till the 9th.

Libellés : , ,

[Points of Information: Going to Aceh]
Sngs Alumni @ 2.12.07 { 0 comments }

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Stuff I'd Like
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