Friday, January 27, 2006


Short post: This screenie is PROOF that I STILL don't have more than 2MB. Maybe someone can tell me WHY...

Posted by Gerald at 1/27/2006 01:01:00 AM

CNY and people

It's almost here: The time of year when I go back to visit my grandmother and relatives and 'enjoy' the company of people. The time we singles smile the broadest to all the married people because we receive while they give. The time we eat until we don't know how to stop. The time we perform a lot of traditional practices when we may not even understand it's significance. Yes, it's Chinese New Year, and I'll be heading back home for a few days (Singapore doesn't give holidays) to celebrate it.

So since it's over the weekend, there won't be any weekend services. After all, it's one of the few times we stay home to celebrate and spend time with our family. Therefore, we had our service on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was fantastic! Pastor Kong really preached a great word that day, so I thought I'd share it with everyone.

Jesus worked a certain way when reaching out to the lost. Luke 10 shows us that when He sent people out, He'd ask them to do a few things, and in a certain order:
1) Bless them
Blessing them means to speak nicely, politely and be friendly!

2) Fellowship with them
Take the time to get to know them, spend time with them, relate to them!

3) Find a need to meet
Pray for them, meet their practical needs

4) Share the gospel
(Self explanatory)

These ought to be done in this order. Sadly we often do it the way WE want to do it, and it just makes things worse.

So what does this have to do with Chinese New Year? Not everyone gets along well with everyone, especially if you're meeting your extended families. There are bound to be friction and disputes, and during this period, it would be great if it didn't worsen, but in fact got resolved. How do we do it?

A very good place to start, is to stop being judgemental and critical of others. Accept everyone regardless of the kind of lifestyle they live. That doesn't mean you condone everything that person does, but we shouldn't be overly righteous and try to impose what we THINK righteousness is.

In life, there's a spectrum of things. On one end, we have some of the things which are undisputedly moral; things like peace, holiness, mercy, compassion... love... The other end consists of things we know and we know are immoral; like killing, stealing, lying, cheating... but in between that is a GREY area which has things that are AMORAL. These things are like fashion, style, culture, food. Do you think that if and only if you eat a certain type of food, then God counts you as righteous? Do you think that if and only if you wear a certain kind of clothes, obey certain customs, follow certain cultures, only then God will count you as righteous? Obviously not! These things are amoral. They are neither right or wrong... at least not in general.

The bible tells us that Christians should be the most liberated people on earth, simply because we should not be governed by doctrines which are not in the bible. Paul explains that the liberal Christians are the STRONG Christians, people who live by faith, not be what they can or cannot do. That's not the license to go and do whatever we want... but it is not right for the conservative to judge the more liberal ones for say, eating meat. Nor is it right for those who eat meat to look down on those who don't. We sin not when we DO these things, but when we DO them without faith. So a Christian who feels it is OK to drink wine and does so believing truly that wine is a gift from God and does NOT indulge in drunkedness does not sin against God, but a person who feels frightened or threatened that drinking is not unto God yet drinks, he/she is guilty of sin. It is not right or wrong, but faith; which is to do what you really believe in your heart!

Again I say, this is not a license to do what you please without remorse. A truly strong Christian who loves God would be wise not to let himself fall into bondage, which is what indulging too much in these things can lead to. We ought to be led by the Holy Spirit, but if He's not strong in you, how can you be led?

So don't act the Holy Spirit. Living by rules is easier than living in freedom, because when you have freedom, you also have responsibility. Based on this, we ought not to be too judgemental over other people. We may not condone the smoking habit of a relative, but that does not mean we can't love and accept the person who does. Bless them, fellowship with them, be there for them, and this CNY could just be the time you soften their hearts and bring them to Christ!

This is important even for non-Christians. People don't care how much you know till they know how much you care. Be less judgemental of the minor insignificant things (like food, dressing etc) and it would go a long way to improve relationships.

I'm trying my best to improve the ones I have, some are doing well... but that's another story.

Posted by Gerald at 1/27/2006 12:15:00 AM

Email accounts

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I just cleared up one of the email accounts I have which was overflowing with emails I never read. I have many email accounts, probably too many. I frequently check one or two, but the rest I check only occasionally. The truth is, I really thought about giving up on my current email, because it's small and the service isn't all that great. Gmail is so much better, but it's a pain to have to tell everyone since there are some people holding on to my current one which I don't even know but might want to contact me in the future. Plus, a great deal of people wouldn't even bother to note that I've changed emails. I get spammed like crazy on my current one, and it's getting quite irritating. Gmail has lots of spam too, but at least it has a huge inbox that I don't have to clean it every few days.

So let's count the number of email accoutns I have. 1 Hotmail, 1 Yahoo, 1 Gmail, 1 NUS account, 1 SOC account... that's FIVE. (And they wanted to have a Hall one too...) Not to mention some of them which I literally NEVER check anymore (Like Lycos =/) The main one I use is Hotmail (Which just happens to be the one with the SMALLEST space). The yahoo account is used to handle spam (although I wouldn't mind changing it to the Hotmail one except for the reasons mentioned above) whereas the Gmail account is used primarily for family emails (Since family members are one of the few who have that account). NUS account is for University administration emails naturally, and the SOC one for Faculty administration.

I'm stuck, stuck because even though I'd like to condense all of these into ONE account, or at least reduce the number of accounts I have, it's really difficult. Hotmail, being the main one which I check the most often, and which most people use to contact me, cannot contain all the information I want it to with such a small inbox. I want it to be the size of Gmail, but again, it's hard to migrate over because I don't like changing my email so much, particularly since a lot of old friends and acquantances whom I have not met for a very long time, have just this one contact of me. Changing over might mean losing in touch totally with them.

Solution? I thought of slowly migrating over, but the more people I meet, the more people come to take my current one as the main one. This has to stop I guess, if I'm serious about migrating. If not, I'd be stuck with Hotmail till goodness knows when... it wouldn't be so bad if they actually had plans to expand their size... I regret making it my main email, but it IS, so I have to live with it... at least for now.

I wonder how many people face the same problem. It's just like a phone number (more pertinent in Singapore I guess). Once you get a new number (or email) people instantly lose your contact, especially those people you don't meet often. I don't even know why I got so many different emails...

Yes, this is a rant! I just wished I had been smarter... then I wouldn't be in this predicament. We always wish we could go back and change those things, just like in a computer game. I wished I could click the 'Load' button and go back to where I was before... Well, we all wish we could, but it's obvious we can't... we can only hope that it can be remedied in the future... (Yes, I really do hope Hotmail finally wisens up and gives us our 1 GB of space! Even 100 MB would be great...)

*sigh* Microsoft *shrug*

Posted by Gerald at 1/24/2006 06:50:00 PM

What words can do

Words are powerful things that can make and break a person. The bible places a lot of emphasis on knowing when to say, what to say and how to say things. It is something that we all have to learn and grow from. Taming the tongue is one of the hardest thing a person should learn how to do. What Ps Kong said is true; It doesn't matter how presentable you are if the moment you open your mouth, whatever that comes out isn't pleasing to the ear. It's difficult to get past words, and that's the way people are. People have a tendency to hold on to your words, even if it wasn't in the way you meant it. This is when miscommunication and misunderstandings occur, and as I'm sure everyone is well aware, it causes a lot of conflicts and problems in a person's life.

ALWAY watch your mouth. Some of the things which shoot out from it unconsciously may be hurtful to a lot of people, causing resentment and the lost of respect. I learnt that the hard way. Be aware of what you are saying and the possible implications of what you say. Hold your tongue if necessary, even if you really feel you want to burst out. If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything. I'm not advocating that you just be a docile, quiet, spineless person, but if you speak in a manner or with words that infuriate and irritate people, how do you expect them to get your point or see things from your perspective? They'd be too blinded by their unhappiness with your words that whatever you say, even if it is valid, won't ever get to them.

I am no expert in communication or human relations. God knows I fail miserably many times. I speak when I shouldn't and I don't speak when I ought to. Noone's perfect, and I can only pray that I grow in this area too. I want to speak only that which is edifying. Not bootlicking in that I say things that aren't true, but boosting the confidence and giving people the courage to press on no matter the circumstances. I can be very critical at times, and I believe it's best to face a problem not run away from it, but I try my utmost best to correct it in the humblest (even if it's direct) manner... at least that's what I hope I can do.

And then there's God. I sometimes wonder why He's so cryptic, why He can't just come right out and say the things He wants me to do, the direction He wants me to head, what to do in order to solve my problems. I wished I knew specifically what He wants for me. At least then I can confess exactly what He wants and promises me everyday! I remember also what Ps Kong said about revelation. The pastor in his story heard from God, and prayed about it and felt peace in his heart. He went ahead with the mega project, but it flopped and he lost everything. When he went back to God and asked why, God said He told him what to do, just not when to do it. That was an eye opener for me. I can really identify with that. The question I have left is, what happened next? Did God bail him out and restore the same vision that He gave to the pastor, or did the pastor have to abandon that vision because He acted too soon? I don't know... I guess I never will... I can only pray and hope...

Posted by Gerald at 1/24/2006 01:29:00 AM

Temper control

Friday, January 20, 2006

Have you ever had anyone come up to you and tell you to "shut up 'cos you don't know anything?" I was a little shocked really... I was also quite pissed, but I kept it under wraps (quite an achievement for me) and now I'm ok. Still, it did get me to start thinking about handling situations like this.

To be truthful, I don't subscribe to that kind of mentality. Just because someone deems you 'inadequate' doesn't mean that person has the right to tell you to shut up. Everyone has their own niche, so what if I'm not a sportsperson who plays every single sport there is? So what if sports don't seem to be my first choice to fill my time? Does that make me a total idiot when it comes to sportsmanship? I guess to some people it does. I guess it doesn't matter to some people that even though you're not involved in it directly, you may have a valid point. I also guess that if and only if you are an 'expert' can you ever have a say in any matter.

I find it rude and uncouth. If I deemed everyone who doesn't make it into a university incapable of intellectual reasoning and thus tell them to one to shut up when it comes to an intellectual discussion, that would be totally unreasonable. True, I probably can claim I have a 'higher education', but that does not mean that any points that those people may raise are irrelevent. Let's draw a parallel since I'm probably more 'cultural' than sporty. If someone who has minimal musical 'knowledge' can I then tell that person to shut up when there's a discussion on the quality of a particular play or music piece because I'm "a better judge of music than you and therefore your views are all wrong because you know sh*t!" That is illogical, nonsensical and childish. I won't even bother to explain why.

I think there should be a lot of tact in dealing with these situations. I'm not exempting myself from this because I probably have that failing too (or a somewhat similar one), but if you really find that someone is uttering nonsense, then at least use your EXPERIENCE to reason with that person, not tell the person to just 'shut up'. Don't fall back on 'Holier than thou' statements to validate your point. It only marks you out as a childish person. If you truly have a greater knowledge in the area, prove it by reasoning, not by bringing the other person down.

On another totally unrelated note, I was also asked recently if a guy and a girl can be close but 'just friends'. In my opinion, it can happen, but under very specific circumstances. Usually, if they're friends and nothing happens but they get closer, I can almost guarantee that either party or both at one point or another had more than friendship in mind. It is if and ONLY if, the feelings were one sided and it led to a confrontation which was handled well by both parties that this special situation of a guy and girl just being close friends might possibly occur. Even then, it is probably only safe to assume that it will stay that way IF one of the two or BOTH get attached to different people.

I think it's good that people draw lines, but I also feel that instead of avoiding the person after a confrontation, both parties should talk it out so that both are clear about what the other party is looking for, and they ought to respect that. By avoiding the rejected party (in this case I'd reckon it's the guy, so this is for the girls), you DO paint a very clear picture that it's a NO with a capital 'N' and a capital 'O', but you also risk losing that friend. I don't think all guys are braindead and have absolutely no respect for what the girl wants, and it's not like they're unreasonable (although some probably are...). Talk to him and make it clear what you want, how it stands, what you'd like him to do (or more importantly, what NOT to do). If he likes you enough he will respect that... but if he doesn't he probably didn't like you all that much to begin with... or was liking you for the wrong reasons.

I don't claim to have the 'textbook answer'. It is your prerogative how you handle the situation (or for the one rejected, how you react to the situation). For me, I'd like it to happen this way, but I guess I can't always have my way... that's life! Tough huh?

No political postings from me today. I've read many recently and I'm saddened... it doesn't help that I literally can't do anything about it... or even if there was, I wouldn't know where to start. School starts in full swing soon, so I might not bother to look any further into it... or maybe I will...

Posted by Gerald at 1/20/2006 01:44:00 AM

Have I only just seen the light?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I just read a post which got me thinking... (read it here) I don't recall ever having being very interested in politics, but it really gets me to question what our leaders are doing. I also finally understand why my father spends hours and hours reading alternative news sources (like Malaysiakini). It also causes me to ask myself, what does it mean to be Malaysian? I suppose I will embark on yet another (possibly) controversial post, so please try to be a little open minded.

I grew up in Malaysia, and attended a national school from primary 1 all the way to form 5 (Upper secondary) after which I got a scholarship to study in Singapore. Even though I am Chinese, I am more proficient in English and Malay than my own mother tongue (Which many find appalling). I mixed with Malay, Chinese and Indian students in school, and we didn't have a race problem. I came from a pretty problematic school, with constant fights between rival gangs, each consisting largely of one particular race. However this did not affect the way I treated others of a different race. When I was young, I mixed around with everyone, but we were young and ignorant of racial differences. Everyday, I'd go out in the evening to play at the playground (or when we didn't have one nearby, on the road in front of my house) and I mixed with Malay and Indian kids too. We played Galah Panjang, football, rounders and even Kabadi together. I like Malay food, Indian food and Chinese food. Whenever people ask me where I'm from, and I tell them I'm from Malaysia, not Singapore, not China. I'm proud to call myself a Malaysian, but it's really sad when I read about things like this.

It amazes me how some people can be so blinded by personal pride that they can't bother to consider that perhaps what another person says might have *some* merit. I visited the article posted from Wikipedia (read it here) which happened to be the featured article today. I'm not about to blame our founding fathers of anything, because I understand why they made those decisions back then. However, there might just be a hint of truth to what Lee Kuan Yew was so concerned about back then. We can't change the past, but what we can do is to perhaps address the problems which plague the nation now. What I'm getting at is that even our founding fathers agreed that Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia should be reviewed some years later, but it hasn't been... and more than 40 years after independence there isn't even a consideration to 'perhaps' consider that this might be the best course of action.

Now before anyone starts hurling abuse and shouts of racism I would just like to point out one thing. If what the government has been doing for the past 40 years have failed to produce the results that they ought to (namely the NEP), isn't it only right that we might want to rethink the policies that are already in place now? I'm not advocating the removal of the special rights that the Bumiputeras have, but undoubtedly the way it is implemented is detrimental not only to the Bumiputeras but also the non-Bumiputeras. Even former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked that the Bumiputeras stopped relying on the system to help them through. It is obvious that he too sees that many of the Bumiputeras are abusing the system, resulting in a lackadaisal generation which lacks the spirit of excellence. If this can be overcome, then there is no problem really, because the system would be functioning as it ought to. This is unfortunately not quite the case. I say this only for the benefit of the Bumiputeras, because from my point of view, it is they who have the most to lose. By creating an environment where they are so taken care of, they don't see the need to go beyond the bare minimal. For the non-Bumiputeras, all the odds are stacked against them, and that is a very competitive environment which breeds excellence. Of course, the thing that matters most is the way each individual sees the situation. The question I pose then, is that in general (since government policies should reflect the good of the majority), do these individuals see it in the way I described? When the system fails to meet the target set (in this case for the Malays have a 30% equity share of the economy), is it the right thing to impose even more 'rights' so that they become even more laid back? I really feel the crux of the matter is summed up here.

Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don't oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non-Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn't it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved.

I'm not going to say that Malaysia sux. I still love my country, and I want the best for it. If only more people start seeing the bigger picture which will benefit everyone, then perhaps there will be a lot more hope for Malaysia.

Edit: A little something I stumbled across... evidently this affected other Malaysians too... Here's the link: Clickey

(Note: This article is a personal opinion which reflects my feelings on the matter. It is in no way a means of which to spread discord or incite racial or political hatred.)

Posted by Gerald at 1/18/2006 09:19:00 PM

Asian blogosphere

Monday, January 16, 2006

So I went through the first webcast lecture of my semester, and lo and behold, the first assignment given to us, was to write what we thought about blogs. Ironic because lately the Asian blogosphere is seriously interesting... or to quote from the New Straits Times™, "Even more dramatic than drama serials." I remember blogging about what I thought when it comes to blogs before. Read it here. Still, it's not a bad idea to revisit these issues especially since they came to light (again) recently. So what does this whole thing have to do with me? Nothing at the personal level, but the issues which arise from the situation are issues that are important for me as a blogger. Plus, I can think of it as research for that module I'm taking.

I first heard about this blogger some time back, can't remember when exactly. It piqued my interest in the sense I never thought of blogging at such a large scale. That was just her though, not me, so I largely ignored it. Then my friend introduced me to a few Malaysian blogs which were interesting reads, sort of like LimKitSiang's blog. (Also, I had the periodic links from our hall forum which tell of the current happenings back home) In the process of reading those blogs, I came across one which I felt drawn to somehow. This blog is pretty cool. It wasn't the layout (No offence but I think it's a bit messy, but that's his choice) or the name (although it IS interesting to note because he's not even Asian). I guess it was because he had a lot of similar interests (such as DotA, technical news and politics) and I liked his writing style. Checking through his posts, I found that he and the blogger mentioned above had some differences to settle. Reading further, I also found a lot of politics going on... all involving prominent bloggers in the region.

To summarise the situation, we have on one side, her and her loyal fans (largely Singaporean) and on the other we have her, him, her and all the other anti-XX people (check the links and backtrack a few posts to read about their views). To XX and her fans, the rest are just jealous of her 'fame', and to the anti-XX coalition, she's a childish, immature, insensitive, stuck-up online 'celebrity' that needs to be taught that the world revolves around more than just her. You can read up on the details yourselves.

The discussion forum for my module also brought this issue up... the title of which read "Blogs in Singapore are still immature." Note that being in NUS, it's a discussion involving educated people who will (hopefully) become the elite working class. I don't quite agree because I'm pretty sure there are plenty of blogs out there by Singaporeans which have a lot of mature insights... and it's not to say that XX doesn't occasionally point out some of them herself. What I do concur with is that online journalism (blogging basically) does not bring about severe repercussions like normal journalism... at most you get hate mail... or at least that's what more bloggers think. So they write what they want, pointing out what they feel without really caring if it's politically correct. Two differing point of views on this matter arises, one stating that "It's my blog, my private space, my diary and I can write what I want, when I want, how I want and if you don't like it get lost and don't read" whereas the other is that "It's defamation and insensitive and you should be sued etc." Which is the 'right' one? I'd go for neither, or rather right down the middle. I'd like to think of blogs as personal space to write about whatever one wants, about any issue, but taking into consideration that being public, they should be prepared for retaliation. A mature blogger (just like any mature journalist) would be a lot less emotional when writing about issues, especially sensitive ones like race or religion. IF a person wishes to write something derogatory about another person or persons, then they should be prepared for the consequences. If you can't handle the heat, then don't.

Fact: EVERYONE can access your blog unless you make it private, and private blogs are not the issue here, public ones are. Fact: What you write on your blog is perceived to be a reflection of who YOU are. Fact: Not everything you write is agreeable by everyone, especially if you're taking a non-conventional stand. Fact: Noone has a right to tell you what you can or cannot do, but then you don't have a right to tell others what they can or cannot do either. Fact: You can't convince everybody to see things the same way you do. Fact: People are easily swayed by opinions that seem right (Think Adolf Hitler and his charisma).

The bottomline: Be responsible over what you post. Sure, you can speak out against things which you feel strongly about, but it wouldn't hurt to be less emotional about it and see things from an objective point of view. It'll save you a lot of difficulties in long run. Does that mean you can't post your mind? Of course not. Just think about this; how would people perceive you as a blogger if your post was childish and emotional when it ought not to be? Want to keep posting that way? That's your prerogative... but don't complain if people start criticising you. If you're a big person, learn from those mistakes and move on. Similarly, to those who are on the prowl to take down other people because of their postings, cut them some slack. Occasional posts which may seem insensitive may actually just be a one off thing, not necessarily indicative of who the blogger actually is. Be more forgiving or simply ignore the ignorance of the young learning author.

I want to get one thing straight. I myself am an emotional person... I admit it. Some of my posts can be emotional or maybe even politically incorrect. I don't claim to be perfect... I'm still learning. I just hope that everyone in the Asian blogosphere does too...

Posted by Gerald at 1/16/2006 06:44:00 PM


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Well... it's finally at it's closure... the REAL closure...

I know I haven't been the best of company lately, so I apologise to those who had to put up with my not so cheery mood lately. I finally had the chance to tie up the loose ends... at least most of them...

I really do understand... and I'm glad you explained it to me... I was really feeling lost because I didn't fully get what happened... but now I do... At least to the extent that you've explained to me...

This may seem like a reiteration, but there's a need to say it I think: I really thank God for seeing me through, for sustaining me through this period. I thank you for being in my life... even though it was brief. I respect what you want, and I won't persist in pursuing this course. I know you might want to avoid me, but I assure you, there really is no need, for I understand now and will respect what you want... Although if you insist there really isn't much I can do. I really do hope that if nothing else, we can still be friends... and not just friends as in acquaintances, but true friends who can still share the joys and troubles of life; friends that can rely on each other in times of need. I'm truly glad that I met you. The time I spent with you has been some of the happiest, if not the happiest, time of my life... I really apologise for anything that I've ever done to hurt or make things difficult for you. I sincerely pray and wish for you to walk in joy and success in life regardless of what the circumstances, and I want you to know that I am still here as your friend if you ever need anything...

So I commit her again into Your hands, O Lord, and pray that You protect her and bless her every day of her life. Thank you, Lord.

To those still worried about me, don't. I'm fine, really! I'm sorry I worried you... but I think I've picked myself up. Thank God for His mercies!

Posted by Gerald at 1/14/2006 01:18:00 AM

Manga, Anime, Scanlations and Fansubs

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

So, what's all this about manga and anime? What the heck is manga and anime in the first place? To the uninformed, manga/anime is the most prevalent cultural export that comes from Japan. It's basically cartoons (manga being the printed comic version and anime being the animated version) that are typically characterised by huge eyes, cute faces and extremely inhuman proportions. But don't be fooled! While they may be cartoons, they aren't necessarily for kids, with some genres targetting mature audiences. The complexity and depth of some of these cartoons can be so great that it takes a lot of thinking to comprehend, something even 15 year olds may not be able to grasp. Produced in Japan, almost all manga and anime are in Japanese, licensed locally and largely enjoyed only by locals. However, places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have been importing and translating these products into Chinese. Largely unexposed, most of the western world had limited contact with such material until the internet came into the picture. (To find out more try Wiki Manga and Wiki Anime)

This is where scanlations and fansubs come in. Since most of the material is released in Japan and takes forever to reach western shores, a whole new community has spawned on the internet, dedicated solely to bringing a translated version to be enjoyed by those who do not understand Japanese. When this was initially done, the legal repercussions were less poignant. According to the Berne Convention (Read about it here and here) and international copyright laws, it was deemed 'legal' to translate works from a copyrighted source if it was unavailable in the distribution country under certain rules. (Although it's not blatantly stated. Read about it here) I'm not a law student, so I can't say that I understand fully the treaty and all the conditions it has to meet for such an act to be 'legal' (Hence the quotes), but the point is that as the internet became more and more saturated with such material, copyright issues creeped in. When only a few were doing it, the 'loss' wasn't so great and hence it wasn't really worth looking into. Now that the western world has been fully exposed, it seems that some people want to milk this cash cow for all it's worth. This results in companies such as Tokyopop, Viz, Funimation, Fox and even Cartoon Network buying up licenses to release both anime and manga in English resulting in scanlators and fansubbers dropping the work because of legal issues.

The problem however lies in the fact that when these companies buy the license for the manga/anime, they have one thing in mind, profit! For starters, many would agree that a series (both manga and anime) becomes popular BECAUSE there is a huge fanbase on the internet, brought about by the works of scanlators and fansubbers. Not that that's an excuse, but to the millions of fans of a particular series, it becomes a problem when companies take over and force the scanlation/fansubbing group to shut down but produce mediocre results for the consumer. To the fans, it's not that they don't want to pay for the material, it's just that it was free and the quality was good, but now it stinks and you have to fork out money for it, where's the logic in that? It's like going for a beta test of an MMORPG which is free but of great quality, but suddenly becomes trash when it turns P2P. It does not justify the quality of work that the author (mangaka) put in. Furthermore, manga and anime are released about once every week in Japan. Usually, with a scanlation / fansub group, it takes less than a week for the latest episode to be available, making it just about on par with the Japanese release. When it get's licensed right about half way through the series, fans are subjected to a rerun, with absolutely no way of avoiding the fact that they have to wait for the company to catch up. That could take up to years. (Think Dragonball). Even worse, these companies charge insane prices for their products. For example, I remember seeing a full volume manga by Tokyopop in Singapore going for about S$7, whereas the local Chinese translation was only going for about half the price (or maybe just a little more). Now I know that they may be imports, but why do I have to pay two different prices for the same material but in different languages?

No, I don't think it is wrong for these companies to buy the license for the manga or anime. It is good to want to bring it over to the English speaking world. But please, do quality translations so that fans no longer need to gripe (If you ever surf the internet and monitor scanlation/fansubbing groups you should get a glimpse of quality releases just by taking a peek) about such things. I also understand that as a company, there are bills to pay, and profit IS the main concern. Still, how can you expect people to not complain if there isn't a substantial reason WHY people should pay you so much? I appreciate the fact that unlike the music industry, these companies aren't as bloodthirsty in shutting down scanlation / fansubbing groups. I think they at least realise that these groups are the ones generating the huge fanbase which they reap the profits from. Also, most groups actually acquiese to licensing rights, halting production when it occurs and moving on to other projects. I'd say that I take my hats off to members of this community (Not you leechers ^_^). My short foray into the scanlating world was fun, and I realised that as a fan, I really wanted to share the joy of manga and anime with as many people as I could, and given the time, I'd like to make my comeback (provided I'm also doing a project I am interested in). Still, there's so many more facets to this community that one post is not enough. Perhaps another time...

Posted by Gerald at 1/10/2006 04:44:00 PM


Monday, January 09, 2006

On Saturday night I wasn't feeling too well. Vomitted and had diarrhoea... Great way to start the week. Luckily I have no classes on Monday, and Tuesday's a public holiday, which gives me time to recover. I had to skip Sunday service and Builder's Paradise. Weather these few days have been dreary, doesn't help liven up the mood. Still, I thank God for my friends who looked after me throughout yesterday... They got me food and medication. Thanks Zhu Yan, Bao Lei and Ee Ling. Don't know what would've happened if they weren't around.

I don't really have much to write now... so I guess I'll save it for another time. Nothing much worth writing about just now, so I think I'll leave it at that. My next post could have something to do with the scanlation / fansubbing world, so stay tuned.

Posted by Gerald at 1/09/2006 02:38:00 PM

What colour is my heart?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Not that it really matters, but for the fun of it...

Your Heart Is Pink

In relationships, you like to play innocent - even though you aren't.
Each time you fall in love, it's like falling for the first time.

Your flirting style: Coy

Your lucky first date: Picnic in the park

Your dream lover: Is both caring and dominant

What you bring to relationships: Romance

Posted by Gerald at 1/07/2006 11:59:00 AM

End of Holidays Ramblings

So the holidays are almost over, life will go back to studying and I'll be taking basic Chinese this semester. Considering I had absolutely no formal education in the language (or at least none that was tested) I think it can be pretty challenging. Good thing I have a lot of people to help teach me if I don't know a thing or two. I'm actually more interested in taking Japanese, but what kind of a Chinese would I be if I wasn't fluent at least conversationally, in Mandarin? Not that I absolutely HAVE to, but given a choice, I guess I've chosen to play catch up with just about everyone else and not be a 'banana'... Although I must admit that one semester of study may not improve my conversational skills all that much... prime example would be Ian. Not that his Chinese is bad, but well... it makes a difference when you speak it at home since you were young.

The past few days have been really cold. Rain isn't all that bad except when you go and watch your friends try to kick a ball all over a drenched field. Still, I guess a slight drizzle isn't all that bad if I have shoes and it's not muddy. It's quite cool and beats having the sun beating down on you... although that's definitely better than getting drenched from head to toe. Anyway, today was IHG soccer finals and we went down to go support our team. It was a pretty tense match, and I must admit that TH deserved to win; they were the better team. Still, we held out till extra time before conceding a goal. I think our guys did a terrific job and I have absolutely no complains. They did their best... that's what counts.

Poor Wen Jing had a pretty bad day I think. He successfully executed a sliding tackle only to have the attacker knee him in the face. He was rushed to the hospital and last I heard, he had stitches and was waiting for an MRI scan in the trauma ward at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I wished the team could've given him the good news that they won it for him so that at least it wouldn't be all that bad... but I guess things usually don't go the way you want them to. Usually when it rains, it pours! I think we should find a time to go visit him.

However, as I've learned today (or had it reinforced), life CONSISTS of testings. Which literally means that to LIVE, you have to go through trials. I know I'm not exactly one who can hold my head up no matter what... in fact I probably seem down most of the time, but I do know that I get over things pretty quick as compared to others. It's hard for me to hold on to things that are bad, I usually forget them after a while. The most important thing to me is that no matter what the experience, if nothing else, at least I hope I learn from it. I want to be stronger in many areas... in faith, discipline and most of all character, and I really pray that God helps me through as I walk with Him. I really cannot imagine life without Him, I wouldn't be ME if He wasn't in the picture, and for that I'm really grateful. Naked I came, naked I will go. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, but I will bless the name of the Lord at all times!

So, as the holidays draw to a close, what do I have to look forward to? Nothing much maybe, at least not as much as I'd have liked. Still, I trust God will see me through, for His ways are higher than mine, His thoughts higher than mine. I will trust in Him always.

Posted by Gerald at 1/07/2006 02:31:00 AM

The Aftermath

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Previous posts have been depressing... and quite a huge number of people actually expressed concern (most of which I didn't even know read my blog), so to put your worries to rest... I'm perfectly fine! I can't say it doesn't affect me because it does, but I guess I learn how to really just give it to God.

I really thank God for seeing me through. Sure the year ended not as well as I wanted it to, sure it's been difficult, and yes, it still hurts... but as I commit everything to Him and leave it to Him I know He will settle them for me... I guess to me it's just a 'could have been'... so I release it totally to Him. Who knows? Maybe He has someone else for me, or maybe He doesn't... God works in mysterious ways... but I'm not keeping any hopes... I will just trust in His plan for me... no matter what it is.

It wasn't a thoroughly enjoyable experience, but I'm grateful to have gone through it... Grateful because I learned some things about myself, and about life. Grateful to have met her because she's still a great friend. Grateful that she's doing fine, and grateful that in the end, we both came out OK.

This new year, if nothing else, I want to be thankful for all the things that I have been blessed with. I lay aside what is behind and I press on toward the upward call of God, so don't worry. The good thing about having a down year end, is that the only way to go for the next year is UP!

I had a great time with my council friends, and I'm really outdated about the happenings... but it was great to see everyone again, to really just hang out and chill and talk about anything and everything, to see how everyone has matured, to see all the challenges and success in thei lives, to remember the funny things we did together, to play silly games together... and although I'm not as close to them as people in hall, I'm still very grateful to have them as friends! I know I don't exactly have very good relationships with any of them (friend-wise), but they still open up to me and are really kind and sweet. So I'm awfully thankful to have such a great bunch of friends around... We should try to meet up more than just on big occasions.

Ever trouped about 40+ people to Suntec and tried to have lunch on a Sunday? It was difficult enough deciding on a place to eat, let alone finding a place which had that many vacancies... Ended up Pizza Hutting... right across Carl's Junior... which I still have yet to try... but I guess there's no rush... It'll always be there... I hope... >.<

Here's to a great 2006! May it be a blessed year for everyone!

Posted by Gerald at 1/01/2006 11:35:00 PM