Friday, December 28, 2007

I haven't blogged about my Christmas so here's a little something.

I must say it was quite nice spending it with the family. I don't really see them all that much, so I think it's very nice that I could spend some time with them. Christmas was a simple occasion for us. We went for service, which was actually really good, and then had a simple lunch, in preparation for a heavy dinner. The turkey was humongous, and we couldn't even finish half of it.

I learned that my sister and brother in law cook quite well. I also learned that the things they cook were very simple and didn't require as much preparations as the usual Chinese cuisine my mother is used to making. It's amazing what a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar can do to make cooking so easy. I guess I should learn a bit more. Bad thing about staying in hostels is that you never actually get a full kitchen to experiment.

In any case, although I didn't get any presents, which I'm actually perfectly fine with, it was a really swell Christmas for me. Let's not forget that Christmas isn't just about celebrating, drinking, christmas trees and lights, but always about loving, giving and sharing!

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Posted by Gerald at 12/28/2007 05:35:00 PM

Doing something...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sometimes you just feel like going and doing something seemingly outrageous!

At first, it seemed absolutely brilliant! I really wanted to get it done. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I COULDN'T due to some reasons.

Still, it was a somewhat good idea I think... and it could've been great if I'd got it done...

I would at least be happy that I did it...

But now I'd never know...

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Posted by Gerald at 12/23/2007 09:56:00 PM

The Finger

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

As a follow up on the previous post, I did an X-ray and the doctor said there are no bone fractures so it should be fine.

I was a bit curious as to whether this was a common thing, and if I could find out more about it. Googling it revealed some neat information.

Mallet Finger

So that's the name of the injury... "Mallet Finger"

Anyway, I guess the splint will be on the next few weeks at least.

Christmas is coming. One more week. I'm not one for Christmas shopping, or shopping of any kind... but I guess I've learned that it's nice to give someone a gift... especially on Christmas...

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Posted by Gerald at 12/19/2007 12:16:00 AM

Splinter on my finger

Monday, December 17, 2007

Injured my finger. According to the doctor it's a torn ligament.

Surprisingly it doesn't hurt.

Going for an X-ray tomorrow.

More updates then...

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Posted by Gerald at 12/17/2007 10:42:00 PM

The Meeting

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Met with Patrick. Talked about some stuff.

Short story: Focus on ministry now, everything else is secondary.

Long story: Apparently finding my place in ministry is different. I was taught that one has to try out a ministry before one can know if that's where they're called. Apparently for me that's not the case. I ought to already KNOW where I want to serve and what God's call is in my life and focus on it FIRST. I never thought about music ministry until he brought it up. It had some interesting possibilities, but I needed to know where God's calling for my life was first. In any case, that's what I'll be looking to do in the next month.

I've grown over the past year, and although it's not in great leaps and bounds, I'm quite happy that I've managed to grow spiritually these past few months. Apparently, it's not enough, but I'm still going spend more time with God. This month will be a time where I seriously ask Him to reveal to me a few things.

1) A vision and/or calling for my life.
2) How to walk closer to Him.
3) How to grow even more spiritually, faster by having more breakthroughs.

These aren't easy to come by, and I need it. It's not like I don't KNOW that I need these, I KNOW! I just don't know how to go about finding it, and how to distinguish that which is from God and that which isn't. There has to be a conviction on top of the decision, and I've made many decisions, and tried following them up with convictions, only to be told they were wrong in the first place. Where can you draw the line between conviction and stubbornness? It's a difficult question to answer really...

In any case, I really pray for God's wisdom and direction. I'm trying my best to seek Him, to learn what He has to say to me... and I pray that I'll find what I'm looking for these few weeks.

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Posted by Gerald at 12/11/2007 05:40:00 PM

Why does it seem like I'm wrong?

Monday, December 10, 2007

I try to listen to Your voice, doing what I hear and believing in Your word.

Why then does it seem that I am yet again, wrong? Why does it seem that I'm doing this on my own, and not together with You?

Help me...

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Posted by Gerald at 12/10/2007 03:07:00 AM

God's promise

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I can't help but post this as I was doing my quiet time.

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. Psalm 138:8

The Lord has promised that in all things regarding you, He has made perfect. This is not to say that we are perfect, or that all our circumstances are perfect, but that God has planned everything perfectly for us. It is a constant, ongoing process and we know we are walking in His will when we look back and see how we have matured over time, through His grace. Praise the Lord!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/29/2007 02:47:00 AM

Songs in my head

I've been waking up everyday with a song in my head these past few days, and sometimes even when I'm just walking. Perhaps it's a side effect of having thought about what songs we could do for Phoenix. It's pretty great though that the songs that DO stay are really nice songs. I wake up pretty often with worship songs going on and on in my head. It makes it really easy to get into God's presence every day. I wake up feeling more alive and energetic than I've ever been before!

Worship songs aside, some really nice songs have been running through my head too. One of them particularly, has managed to capture my attention, so much so that I've been singing and obsessing over this song for the past two days. I found the link to the mp3, but I don't think I'll post it up here. I DO have a Youtube link though.

Empty Decorations

I'm not embedding it because the video doesn't feature me.

If you don't know it already, it's the theme song for the Malaysian sitcom, Kopitiam that used to air some years back. It's a really catchy tune and the lyrics are really meaningful, especially because it really reflects how things are going right now. This song together with The Calling's Our Lives are really suitable for us as final years in Raffles Hall.

I'm really looking forward to an interesting week ahead. The future can be uncertain I guess, but if you walk close to God, He can make everything seem so bright. There's really a feeling that everything is going to be great!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/29/2007 02:21:00 AM

Random thoughts - Thanksgiving and Heroes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

While I certainly do not know the results of my papers so far, I am very grateful as I have a very good feeling about them. I worked hard and it seems to have finally paid off. After all, it IS the semester where I have only 3 modules.

There's still one more paper to go and I don't really know how it's going to go, but I'll work for it.

In all this, I must give thanks to God because He really saw me through this period. I've been closer to Him now and I've been spending so much time with Him that I find a lot of assurance in the things I do, simply because I rely on Him really. It seems like an easy statement to make, but it is actually that simple if you actually stop to think about it and DECIDE to practice it.

Anyway, Heroes Season 2 will be concluding soon, which is not to say that I'm very happy with that. The story seems lacking really, although the past few episodes have been, admittedly, exciting. It somehow didn't give me as good a feel as the previous season. I guess too much time were wasted on lousy plots which have little to do with the main story. Hopefully, things turn out better in the next season.

Got paid today. Banking it in tomorrow. Happy me!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/28/2007 02:51:00 AM

Exams Schedule

Saturday, November 24, 2007

26/11 CS3212 5:00 PM
27/11 GEK1002 9:00 AM
05/12 MNO1001 1:00 PM

There you have it. Do remember to pray for me.


Posted by Gerald at 11/24/2007 05:49:00 PM

Customising Models

Friday, November 23, 2007


Really cool. I'd like to be able to do something like that...

But then again, I'd much rather get my hands on a Full-Burst MG Strike Freedom first... *sigh*

Then back to work!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/23/2007 02:35:00 PM

10 000 visits to date!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Although my blog's been around for some time, I've finally reached a landmark of having been read 10000 times! Considering that the counter came only much later after I started blogging, there should relatively be more visits than that. Still, if I consider from the point I installed the counter, I'd say reaching 5 digits is pretty decent.

My blog isn't about some niche interest, or specific to any one issue or genre. It's a mixture of many different types of things, and since it's a PERSONAL blog, not to be narcissistic or anything, it's obviously about... me! It's a potpourri of issues and things which matter to me, or sometimes DON'T matter to me. It's about my ups and downs in life. It's about my likes and dislikes. My 'journalism' is far from perfect, and I'm ashamed to admit, even downright pathetic. Still one does ones best. I'm quite proud of this little place on the web I've carved for myself. It gives me a small sense of achievement.

In any case, it's still reading week. It's still exam time and there are things to study / do. Complacency would be the killer for me, so I better buck up. A short celebration in the form of a post is hardly wrong I guess, but one shouldn't take things too far no?

Back to work!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/20/2007 09:17:00 PM

A Lifestyle Pleasing to You

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sometimes, it's difficult trying to live a life that pleases God. If you stop to think about it, what kind of a life is that? My mindset has changed and is different now, but there are still remnants of the old mindset which are a little harder to change. Some of my more 'traditional' thinking isn't quite as relevant now, but perhaps some of the newer, more 'liberal' thinking has gone overboard.

The key I suppose is balance. I'm trying hard to live the kind of life that is still pleasing to God, that would bring glory to His name, but yet be relevant to society. The principle seems to be "be identifiable but not blindly indulgent" in contemporary culture. Still I sometimes question the kind of thinking I have.

In any case, I don't want to go into an extended debate on this issue. Let's just say that as I mature more and more in Christ, I hope to be able to arrive at a place where my thinking is totally conformed to the mind of Christ, or at least to a very great extent.

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Posted by Gerald at 11/17/2007 02:46:00 AM

Encouragement from the Word

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

As I read His word, I come across this verse which really encourages me.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold, From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

Is THIS a good thing? What would it take for it to happen? I really don't know, but if I treat this as every other area, then I think...

After all, God desires for us to have the good things in life...

"Do everything humanly possible, and leave the impossible to Him."

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Posted by Gerald at 11/14/2007 02:14:00 AM

That time of the year... AGAIN

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Exams coming again.

This time I'm not too worried. I need to buck up even more, but having not much of a heavy exam timetable is not helping.

Some things have been happening lately that makes me a bit unsure of what to do. I could very well just sit back and do nothing, but perhaps I really shouldn't. I don't know. I really wished there were SOME help on what I ought to do... if anything. Being unsure is really irritating.

Anyway, I think tomorrow's service will be exciting. Will try to get more rest for it tonight.

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Posted by Gerald at 11/10/2007 11:25:00 PM


Friday, November 02, 2007

Yes, if you're wondering about the lack of updates, it's largely because I'm swamped by work. I have many deadlines to meet and I've been doing what I can to complete the projects and assignments before the deadline. Thankfully, I've actually managed to progress quite a bit and hence I can afford a short hiatus to just put down a few thoughts.

I've been thinking lately about my future, what I want to do and all that. It's pretty exciting yet depressing at the same time, knowing that I'll be leaving studying for good in a couple of months and venture out into the working world. I'm all for progress, but it can be a little daunting to take such a big leap. Transitions are never easy, especially if you want to ensure that you take all the good positive things you've learned with you and try to leave all the bad behind. It's all in the process of growing up, I guess, but just because you know it happens to everyone doesn't make it any easier to face.

In any case, here's an interesting article I found. It's really insightful and definitely worth the read. Clickey. I'm definitely going to try to apply this as often as possible. Passion is a really good motivator.

The final years in hall have come together again to put up a little event to make hall life a little more exciting. ΤaλaΝΤο (Pronounced Ta-lan-tou) has been ongoing for a while and the preliminaries are over. The grand finale will take place this coming Monday. *shrug* The six grand finalists will be performing as will some of the final years. That means I have to finish all my work by this weekend, and THAT'S why I'm so busy... with so many things to submit.

Here's to a productive weekend and a great week ahead!

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Posted by Gerald at 11/02/2007 02:33:00 AM

Concert Final Verdict

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm guessing everyone's expecting some comments about concert since it's over. I don't really know or bother much with the opinions of others, but here's my 2 cents.

Since it's a musical, acting should logically come first. Admittedly, the cast were not perfect, and I'm guessing there are many criticisms from different parties. I personally believe that the acting was pretty good. I might be biased because I DID see how abysmally they performed at the initial stages of preparation, but I won't deny them the credit due to them. It was a job well done, and no matter what anyone else says, I truly think their acting was acceptable. Not perfect, but good nonetheless.

Who can deny the strength in this year's cast's ability to sing? Compared to ANY OTHER YEAR, I'd say this year the singing was as close to perfection as we can get. The music itself was pretty amazing, and the fact that the leads were really talented made it come out that much better. I'd give them a 9/10 minus one because of projection issues. Still, I can't get so many songs out of my head! Soundtrack please!

I don't think there was all that much dancing this year. What little they had though, was pretty astounding, although I'm unsure whether that was because of the costumes. Sad to say, I cannot help but feel this is the one area which could've been much much better. It was more than acceptable, we had the talent! It's just sad that we didn't manage to really capitalize on that. Still, this isn't a dance production, so we can't be having too high an expectation can we?

It was short and sweet. True, it's not perfect, and there were a few 'loopholes', but it was done not by a theatre major, or an experienced writer, but an ordinary student struggling with his ideals, ALONE. It might've been lacking in some areas, but it managed to carry the main theme across very well, and the writer's message was communicated clearly enough. That in itself is testimony of its strength.

Like singing, music was exceptional this year. We really did a good job in this department this year. 'Nuff said!

The sets were worryingly simple, but somehow managed to pull through with the help of very good lighting effects. It conveyed the correct setting where necessary, and that's all that really matters actually. Past sets teams might complain of the lack of quality, but I think the final effect was adequate if not acceptable.

When they were first revealed during Comm Hall runs, I was worried as it seemed utterly plain and dull. True, clothes at that setting were probably a dull white/gray/brown combination, but following that would've been disastrous. Thankfully, there were many different bright shades at the final show, which really spiced things up. I wouldn't say it was superb, but the costumes were certainly not shabby.

While it may seem that I approve of everything, it must be noted that there were MANY areas which could've been improved on. Projection was only one of them, something which were told to all cast members from the very beginning. Most of the things mentioned above are actually only at the 'acceptable' or 'barely adequate' level, and failed to really impress. The lack of a really STRONG scene was also a minus point, as people came away not really having any part of the show making a very lasting impression. Overall, I'd say it didn't turn out bad, but IMHO, it still wasn't the best that could've been achieved based on the talent we had. For this reason, I'd have to give it an above average rating.

Of course, these are just my opinions and thoughts about the concert, from my perspective.

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Posted by Gerald at 10/15/2007 03:21:00 PM

Passion for Visions

Friday, October 12, 2007

The past weekend was very exciting, with a lot of things being shared about the church vision. I think it's pretty amazing the amount of things that are being done in church. The various efforts by the different ministries in church are truly astounding. It's not just about the amount of money we use to help the community and all the people around, it's also the amount of EFFORT put in by the various members which really got me thinking.

Today's combine CG was really good, and pastor really shared his heart out. I was just thinking about this issue when he brought it up in his sharing. He didn't say anything about finances, which is what I guess we were expecting to hear with building fund around the corner. Instead, he talked about making a decision to serve and to be a participant in God's purpose for the church and for ourselves. It was short but very powerful.

I really felt that I was starting to be too comfortable where I am. I really ought to start considering doing more. It's not that I'm looking for things to 'fill up my time', but more of I really want to do more for God and to be in His service in any way possible.

I'm not really sure how yet, but I DO believe in doing whatever I can, whenever I can.

Hopefully, I'll start walking more and more towards the purpose He's called me to.

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Posted by Gerald at 10/12/2007 02:01:00 AM

Concert Update

Monday, October 08, 2007

Comm Hall week is over. A lot of things happened. At this point, I guess I'm looking forward to seeing how everything will turn out. As mentioned in my past two posts, It's been pretty much up and down for concert, with a very interesting climax last Friday. Apparently the first run was disastrous. Again, after much rebuking and encouragement, they managed to put up a spectacular second run. A lot of drama was involved, and I'm not sure if it's suitable to be shown here. Do ask if you want to know what happened exactly.

In any case, it's finally UCC week. There are many things which should happen and it's going to be a busy, tiring week for everyone. Still, I don't see why I can't look forward to an exciting show this weekend. I've seen what these bunch of people can do, and I have every faith in them that they can put up a good show. No one can deny that they've put in a lot of sweat and blood, and if nothing else, I believe in them.

Here's to a great show this weekend!

PS: Cast people, please do get rest so that you can be focussed this weekend.

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Posted by Gerald at 10/08/2007 04:19:00 PM

Concert Part Deux

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

After posting last night, I went down again to take a look see at how the Comm Hall run was going to be progressing. My initial fears were coming true... and I was worried... really worried...

The first run was horrible to say the least. I didn't even need to be watching them to know they did possibly one of their worst performances. There was absolutely no energy or projection and not a soul was remotely interested to watch. People who came for supper never once looked up to find out what was happening... it was THAT DEAD...

The run ended at about 12... and we were contemplating just going off. Things were NOT working out... and both me and JJ decided to talk to some people. Obviously, the stage manager was not happy. Apart from the dismal performance, sets had literally no sense of urgency in their sets changes. There would have to be another run, starting at approximately 1215 am.

As usual, we made the cast see how disappointed we all were. It wouldn't have been very appropriate to be pissed, but I really felt that they needed to wake up... Their director was absolutely devastated at the incredibly sub-par performance. He gave all of them his 2 cents and told them to do a better job this time.

And then they all drew together and did a 'cast whoosh'.

So the act began again, with some seniors watching from the front waiting to see how it would turn out. I had the intention of leaving if they didn't put up something decent.

Fortunately, I didn't have to. SOMEHOW they managed to pull together and really spike up the energy level. The whole act became alive and interesting, with many scenes done to the best I've ever seen ANY of them perform. They managed to build on each other's reactions and the result was something short of a miracle. I'd almost given up hope on them.

In any case, at the end of the run, the director was almost reduced to tears and we could see that they KNEW IT! They KNEW it was a good run, and I certainly hope they keep maintaining this level of energy and acting, because...


What this shows, is that they DO have the talent and ability to perform well. Now all that's left is to see if they can improve on the minor stuff and capitalize on this experience to continue performing at this level, or at an even HIGHER level. I'm pretty sure they could, if they ALL really wanted it and worked for it. All that remains to be seen is whether they can actually sustain their performance.

Concert is next weekend, things are finally looking up...

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Posted by Gerald at 10/03/2007 06:57:00 PM

Run up to concert

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Concert this year seems to be shaping up a little worryingly. I'm in no position to say anything, but it's always been an activity that I feel strongly for, and it's just been interesting to see how it has progressed this year. There were problems at the initial stage with many problems cropping up which was nobody's fault. The inability to form the entire CCC before the holidays was IMHO one of the biggest factors to the problems. I credit this more to the fact that we have a relatively 'less committed' batch taking over. The people who remained are really good, but as a whole, there just isn't enough manpower for them to be able to cover all the important roles necessary in hall.

In any case, Comm Hall run is ongoing this week. As of now, projection seems to be the biggest problem for cast. Sets wise, it's a bit worrying that a lot of sets are simply too 'big' to be put into the Comm Hall, making the run less efficient. Costumes have yet to come into the picture but that will change as the days progress. In fact, so many people have mid terms today from 830 to 930 that the run had to be pushed to 10. I'm assuming this means they'll be ending a little later than usual.

That aside, ticketing has been a slight headache as we're buying for a huge number of people. Fortunately, we still managed to procure relatively good seats, but it did come with a rather steep price.

In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing how things shape up. More updates are to come I imagine.

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Posted by Gerald at 10/02/2007 08:53:00 PM

Flurry of Freelancing

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It seems that I keep getting a lot of cool offers for freelance work. Not that I think I'm all that great, but it just goes to show that there really is demand for this type of thing.

I'm very keen and interested in web programming. It's really cool to look at your work and see the results of the effort you put in almost simultaneously. It's a very rewarding sort of thing to do and I feel that that's the direction I'd be heading to in the future.

That said, it's going to be a long tiring weekend, so that's all for this short random post. Going back for the holidays next weekend, so hopefully I finish the rest of my work by then.

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Posted by Gerald at 9/20/2007 02:56:00 PM


Sunday, September 16, 2007

I just caught Ratatouille recently, and I must say, Disney Pixar has done it again! If you haven't watched it, it's still showing and really worth the watch.

The show is about a little rat that just wants to cook. Remy turns out to be an amazing chef with a keen sense of smell. He is, however, a rat, and no sane person would let a rat in a kitchen.

The premise of the show is simple, and so is the rest of the plot. Watching the trailer would give you an idea of what the show is about. Fortunately, despite being relatively linear, the show is filled with a lot of interesting, detailed scenes which really flesh out the show. The scenes are laid out nicely and the dialogue is as witty as ever.

Some 'problems' I see with the film include the lack of development between the other protagonist and his love interest. Somehow, the concept of 'total loser gets the babe' seems a bit far-fetched. Then again, the whole premise of the show is really the same. There were many times I caught myself thinking "if this were real life..." It's not! Rats don't understand English and they carry diseases which kill. They're also not as cute as the show portrays them. Little kids might not be able to make that distinction (think Finding Nemo) and start having their parents get rats, or try to catch one themselves. White mice are bound to be in short supply with the potentially ensuing "rare a cute rat" craze.

Disney Pixar stays true to it's reputation of delivering wholesome family entertainment. The moral story is basically to not let being different be something that stops you from striving for your dreams. The audience certainly gets that message and the happy ending is bound to be welcome. It really reminded me somewhat of Cars, and they're both equally good IMHO.

So if you haven't watched this show, and you're wondering if you should, I'd recommend that you do. It's fun, it's cute and it'll capture your heart within 2 hours. Did I mention that it's also long enough to make it worth your money?

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Posted by Gerald at 9/16/2007 01:18:00 AM

Views on relationships

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I've always wondered why things seem so complicated sometimes. No, this isn't going to be an unhappy post, but more of a self reflection type of post.

Let's get it off my chest. The issue of relationships has been popping up very often recently. Conversations with people around me seem to indicate that my status is... 'surprising'.

I guess it needs to be said. I somehow just don't feel the motivation or urge to get attached. I'm just not looking. Of course, I'm open to the idea, and I can't say for sure what's going to happen in the weeks or months to come, but in no way am I feeling urgent about it. Perhaps I feel I'm not ready, or perhaps I just set too high a requirement (whether or not I consciously admit it). I'm doing pretty well as it is, and I'm enjoying what life has to offer everyday.

Sometimes I wonder if all those warnings about getting into relationships prematurely have gotten to me. I understand why it was all done, and I can see the logic behind telling us to watchful and to avoid such heartaches. However, as I look back, I realise that personally I haven't had very good relationships with people of the opposite sex, and by relationships, I mean friendships and the like. I just didn't know how to relate to them. There were many great friendships I could've had, but don't simply because I always kept my distance from people of the opposite sex. My mindset was that we can't be more than acquaintances if you were a girl.

Naturally, that perception has changed. I'm no longer so narrow minded, but I can't go back and change all those things.

In any case, maybe I'm just tired. Tired of thinking about finding that 'someone'. Tired of wondering if 'that person' suited me. Tired of the mixture of anticipation and dread if the relationship progressed. Tired of the emotional roller-coaster I'd experience. It takes effort, it takes patience, and it takes perseverance, and that's something that I think I'm not ready to sacrifice at this time.

I think I need a break from all this. I don't foresee myself staying this way, but at least for now... not having any of these worries is a relief.

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Posted by Gerald at 9/12/2007 03:48:00 AM

MSN Issues

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I've always wondered why everyone migrated over from ICQ to MSN a couple of years back. I liked ICQ, and the only pro I could see from MSN was the fact that it was fast. A few years down, MSN is now SO BUGGY that it hurts just to use it. It's riddled with connection issues, and it's SLOW as ever. ICQ had a lot of cool features which MSN had to emulate, and when it had 'successfully' done so, it turned out to be clunkier than ever.

Somehow, MSN seems to be having connection problems once every other week. Why everyone still insists on using it is beyond me. Losing the fastest means of communication within hall is frankly, irritating.

Moreover, the amount of memory such an application takes to run is astounding. Add the fact that it's laden with advertisements which you never ask for, Microsoft sure has gone out of its way to make this as difficult to use as possible.

But like everything Microsoft, people stick to it because of familiarity. It's too comfortable to start migrating away from something so familiar, and we're all resistant to change anyway. That explains why although I'd very much prefer GTalk (It's not only faster, it's a lot more lightweight and has less connection issues too), I still have my MSN. I'm looking forward to the day I can get rid of it totally, and that'll be the day mass migration takes place again... this time from MSN to GTalk.

So, what are you waiting for? If you're already on GTalk, add me at geraldchow[at]

MSN can go die!

Posted by Gerald at 9/09/2007 11:41:00 PM

Command and Conquer

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

To the original C&C fans, head down to this site to download the exclusive, original, FULL version of the very first C&C!

I remember playing this in MS-DOS, so it's a pretty old game admittedly. Still, it's really good and absolutely addictive. Downloading the ISO would be something worth your time!

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Posted by Gerald at 9/05/2007 03:52:00 PM

Are you challenged?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Life has never been better! I know that in the past, I've blogged about feeling down, or unhappy, or not as excited about life. Well, this period of my life has been almost the exact opposite! I think I'm finally experiencing the breakthrough I've been looking for. Life is once again exciting and there's so much to look forward to when I get up each morning. Spiritually, I think I've finally broken through to a new level, and I've never been this close to God before. My studies are doing fine and so are the various things I'm involved in.

It's as I'm in this position that I realise God has brought me here for a reason. The past few days, the cell has been doing really well, and I'm quite happy for it. I'm very burdened by the fact that I myself personally didn't manage to contribute to the growth of the cell, although I do what I can to facilitate and help out with friends. As things are beginning to happen, I felt God leading me to a place where I have to step out of my comfort zone... and it's not easy.

I know that this 'stepping out of your comfort zone' phrase is overused that it can be cliched, but I've never felt it more consciously than now. I've always been thinking about being 'practical' and doing only what I THINK I can manage, but that's just an excuse I've been using to stay in my comfort zone, doing the same things I've been doing over and over, day in and day out. I'm very comfortable with routines, and although some excitement once in a while is expected, I've very much been stuck in a rut because I've never strayed too far from the routines in my life.

I've settled a lot of things in my life these past few weeks. Things have been going swell, and I'm pretty sure the excitement is oozing out of the words written here. It's excitement coupled with many things to think about. These decisions aren't very small decisions... they're decisions which have an impact in my life, and the lives of those around me.

I've really been crying out to God everyday, asking Him whether this is His plan for me. There have been times I've been doubtful, and rightfully so because what I "THINK" God is telling me must be tested, but there have also been times when He reassures me, telling me that He will be with me if I walk this path.

The bible tells us that God looks not at your talent, or your abilities, but at the willingness of your heart. It's sometimes not so easy to determine what His calling for you really is, which is why this is not an easy thing for me. However, I am able to say now, that I'm willing to go where He leads me. If it's this path that I must thread, then I will walk with Him, with the assurance that He will be with me all the way.

I can truly, honestly and wholeheartedly say, that I'm willing...

Being challenged like this is an experience in itself. It's serious, but I somehow have the assurance that He'll see me through this... and I'm liking this closeness to Him!

Lord, help me, I pray, to follow You, and to fulfill Your calling for my life! Lead me not to the left or to the right, but to stay focus on the narrow gate, and to bring me to the place where I know and I KNOW I'm walking in your will. Amen.

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Posted by Gerald at 9/03/2007 03:39:00 AM

PC Gaming and me

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's funny. I've always thought I'd really be into gaming. Recently however, I've started to lose a lot of passion for this once extremely addictive past time.

It all started back a year or two ago. I've always tried playing a lot of cool games, and I enjoyed them even if I'm probably not as strong in any of them. Games like Warcraft 3 and Ragnarok Online seem to be the only two games I can remember in the past 2-3 years that ever really caught my attention. Till this day, I still do not see much attraction from most PC games on the market. There isn't a SINGLE game that I'm looking forward to release save one, and I'm not particularly worried about it.

It's either I've outgrown games, or the games that are released nowadays are totally unappealing to me.

I understand that a lot of focus have shifted to console gaming, which I'm really quite fine with. Final Fantasy is still one of the BEST series out there, and regardless of what anyone tells you, it's best enjoyed on a console. For the PC however, I've yet to find a game that can truly catch my attention with either its plot or gameplay. I gave C&C3 a try, but lost interest in it barely a week after. First Person Shooters (FPS) have been lost since Half-Life (although HL2 was not bad, multiplayability was an issue). I gave Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion a try only to also give up not too long after. Never Winter Nights 2 was riddled with problems from the release, and Heroes 5 lost it's charm to me. Halo for the PC didn't appeal to me much as I felt it was a souped-up, repackaged, Unreal Tournament. Bioshock, which was just released, seemed to gain a lot of good ratings, but I've yet to try it out, so I can't say much about it.

The point is, I tried to get back into gaming, but I ended up being disappointed and giving up half-way through just about all of them. There just wasn't enough 'pull' to keep me playing till the end. It might just be me being extremely picky or fickle, but I don't remember being this way when I used to play games. Moreover, I STILL don't feel that way even when I replay FF7 for the 8th or 9th time.

I must admit, the direction that gaming is going, both on the PC and on the console, isn't very appealing to me. I'm not a big fan of war games, so Medal of Honor and all the 'war' games including those console ones have ZERO appeal to me. Maybe I've just grown sick and tired of all the mindless shoot shoot shoot reflex games. Maybe I'm just looking for more intellectual stimulation instead of mindless violence. I'm also not very inclined to 'Sims' style games. I could sleep through playing Civilization, so those are out too.

So I tried re-playing old classics. I got a hold of really good old games, like LucasArts adventure games, and Prince of Persia. Surprisingly, those games seemed refreshing and addictive, but they ended pretty quickly because I sort of knew how to finish it already. That's the problem with point and click adventure games... there's simply very little replay value.

Fortunately, there's a brand new game coming to town. It's a remake of a LucasArts classic, and it comes in various episodes. Yes, I'm finally looking forward to ONE game, and it's none other than Sam n Max! I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint.

In the mean time, I'm keeping occupied with the occasional DotA game. PerfectWorld seemed like a good choice too, but it had better be released soon or risk losing a lot of potential players. All in all, perhaps it's a good thing gaming has become so tedious and uninteresting... at least I can concentrate on studying. Maybe my grades will improve...


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Posted by Gerald at 8/29/2007 03:25:00 PM

Motorola V3X Memory Card issue

Monday, August 20, 2007

So after using my 1 gig card on my phone for a while, I seem to encounter a slight problem with its usage. Every time I tried to copy a file into the phone / card, it complains with some 'writing' error. I was wondering if that card had a "write protect" button or setting I accidentally tripped.

Thankfully, I did a quick Google and found the source of the problem. It seems that 1 gig Sandisk MicroSD card can't accommodate more than a certain number of file names in the root. I formated the card to FAT32 (I believe the original was FAT) and transferred the files into folders, which made it easier to organise anyway.

Result: I can fully utilise my 1 gig card!

Things I wanted to put in? Indiana Jones theme in anticipation for the latest Indy movie coming out soon. It somehow amazed me a little that some people just don't know WHO or WHAT Indiana Jones is. Perhaps I AM getting just a bit older... either that or the young-ens are deprived. They couldn't even recognise R2-D2's beeps, calling it "Teletubbies".

Or perhaps it's just because I'm too geeky.

Anyway, my phone is working fine now, so I won't be complaining anymore.

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Posted by Gerald at 8/20/2007 02:02:00 PM

How Piracy is keeping Windows alive

Friday, August 17, 2007

There was a very interesting article I read today. It seems to explain a little about piracy, Microsoft and Linux.

I'm very inclined to agree with what's said.

Check it out here.

Not much to say except I more or less totally agree with the author.

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Posted by Gerald at 8/17/2007 01:34:00 AM

Web 2.0 social issues

Monday, August 13, 2007

I was at a bookstore a couple of days back and saw this little book which caught my attention. I don't remember exactly the title, but it was basically about the possible flaws and problems with Web 2.0. While I believe Web 2.0 isn't perfect, something about the book just didn't seem to add up for me. It concentrated on the social aspect of Web 2.0 rather than the technological aspect so I'm not looking at it from that perspective. The problems stated are 'social' or 'ethical' issues which I somewhat disagree with.

For starters, Web 2.0 refers to a change in the internet scene. Previously, it was all about content providers which supplied data in one direction; regular people accessing the internet for data got it from the 'source'. Web 2.0 however, places the ball in the court of the average internet user. It's a community based approach, and 'content' can be provided by any user. While Web 2.0 is referring specifically to the internet and the web-based communities as well as hosted services that surround it, there's also a 'broader perspective' with which one can view this strange phenomenon.

In the beginning, end users had to wait for the source to produce something before they could use or consume it. This happened just about everywhere, because unless manufacturers produced a brand new product, end users or consumers would not be able to see it. Let's say that as an end user I suddenly have this brilliant idea, but unlike the established manufacturers, do not have the ability to produce it. I could try to sell the idea to the manufacturer, but even then, it was technically still a one way flow of the ideas, with the manufacturer again being the one having the responsibility to produce better ideas and products. With this new community based approach, the end user or consumer community can effectively contribute towards an idea or project. This is the core for which Web 2.0 based software and products work on. Websites like Digg and Wikipedia rely on the collective community intelligence instead of just one person or entity.

The book I read basically focussed on one important aspect of Web 2.0 and expounds on why it is potentially problematic. The book gives an example of blogging, where every end user is now a journalist, without qualifications possibly, writing whatever they want about any topic out there. The problem is that with so many sub-standard blogs out there, one has to crawl through all the garbage in order to find the one or two rare gems that are actually good blogs worth the time reading, or so the book claims. It equates this to giving an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, and finding, finally, a Shakespearean piece somewhere.

While I can see where the author's coming from, there is a very significant difference that Web 2.0 has from that analogy. The main complaint seems to be that a very high percentage of those who contribute content in a Web 2.0 platform contribute rubbish. Substandard journalism or ideas without any verification plague the sea of information and without a body to determine the quality or validity of this content, it is inherently garbage. This seems like a valid complaint, until one takes into account the fact that this 'body' which determines whether or not the content is of a certain standard, consists ALSO of monkeys. Putting it into the monkey analogy, whether or not a 'product' is of Shakespearean standard would be determined by a monkey, or an entity comprising of monkeys as well. Furthermore, the only reason Shakespeare's pieces are recognised to be of high quality, is because the MAJORITY of consumers deem it to be so.

The fallacy here is to assume that group intelligence, that is the collective thoughts of the community, is lower than that of an exceptional individual, or group of individuals. While this may appear to be true, the Web 2.0 communities are by and large, scientific, inquisitive people who question everything critically and analytically. This very important trait makes the group intelligence actually much better than what any individual or smaller group can achieve.

This group intelligence is NOT the same as the mindless 'herd mentality' projected by certain groups. Ignorance is at the heart of this apparent stupidity of the group; They accept everything shared wholesale without critically thinking through each and every issue involved. When group intelligence is coupled with this kind of thinking, a robust platform for quality content is established.

The book expounds further about how Wikipedia is essentially a huge fallacy because there is no neutral governing body determining what goes in and what doesn't. The claim is that since any average user can make changes to it, it is therefore unreliable and 'garbage'. This is not quite true, because the MAJORITY of people listen to facts and reasons, not blatantly accept what is shown. Having millions of people patrol it makes it more reliable than any quality control 'body' can ever establish. Sure, you could try to change an entry in Wikipedia, which may be motivated by biasness, but who is to say that having a 'governing body' determine content would absolutely ensure that there would be no partiality or fallacies in the content? In the end, any unproven 'fact' would be viewed skeptically, and any verifiable fact would be accepted as mainstream, further increasing the collective intelligence.

Assuming in the worst case that collectively, people believed the 'wrong' thing, and evidence proving the contrary is found, then collectively, the community would 'learn' and adapt, because again, it's not about the size of the group, but the level of critical thinking that determines the intelligence level of a community.

Web 2.0 is an online realisation of democracy, where the majority has the right to determine and share content. The truth is, low quality content would be largely maligned and forgotten in the huge mass of other more interesting, quality content, contrary to what some people would like to believe. Sure, there are asinine content which interest a lot of people and become popular, but end users are not as stupid as to believe that every popular news or story or content is one with significance or of great quality. Sure, there are some important content which may slip through the cracks of the democratic system and remain buried never to be found. However, it is by and large a better system which promotes more quality content than a singular directional system. Plenty of established content providers have produced crap content before, and there's no doubt that plenty of average users managed to produce quality content.

Undoubtedly, having a governing body would impose responsibilities on them which need to be taken seriously, something that is largely ignored in the Web 2.0 platforms. This issue however, can be looked at from a different perspective. It is now throwing the responsibility of accepting or using content onto the end user's lap. This gives the consumer the prerogative to determine what he/she wants to accept / use. They have the right to ignore those things which they deem wrong or fallacious. It also helps when the reputation of any content provider in the community who contributes content which are 'garbage' drop drastically in the eyes of the community itself.

The long and short of it, is that the community takes care of itself, with democracy having the final say. You can't really force everyone to believe you're right when the whole world accepts that you're not, and you wouldn't be very wise to try.

So, is there really a big problem with Web 2.0? Perhaps my views are a little too optimistic or I might be overlooking some other aspect of it. I would be the first to admit that Web 2.0 isn't perfect. However, it seems to be a very solid platform and I'm more inclined to believe that in it. Like it or not though, it's here to stay, at least for a couple of years.

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Posted by Gerald at 8/13/2007 04:26:00 PM

Rag & Flag Day ~ Orientation 3

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Today is flag day, where all the NUS students go throughout the nation collecting donations for charity. Noble intentions indeed, until I realised that NUSSU happens to be one of the beneficiaries.

I have nothing against charitable acts, but it appalls me how completely ignorant and selfish NUSSU really is. Yes, they're the highest student body in the whole of NUS, but one really wonders whether they understand ALL aspects of university life to be making certain decisions. Don't they realise that deciding to hold an event externally is an undue strain financially on other student bodies? Do they not also realise that as much as they want to go 'outside' they should at least have rendered some form of help to the struggling student bodies that are forced to follow their whims?

I'm pretty sure they don't.

Accusations of my credentials would surely ensue. Criticism, however, should be noted constructively. To put it plainly:


Rag and flag is one of the most important events in NUS, though many will fail to see why. It may have started out with very good intentions, goals and visions, and I applaud the founders for such an event. Unfortunately, in recent years, it's become a debacle. Instead of the noble causes it stands for, it's now considered a hassle of a tradition in which STUDENTS largely couldn't care less for the things they're doing. Ask them the night before flagging if they can name even 3 of the beneficiaries for which they will be working hard for, and I'd bet 99 out of 100 would fail. They simply don't care.

It's about prestige and money. To NUSSU, a successful event like this would mean a good resume for their members, and lots of funding for their union. To the halls of residences, it's a way to show just how 'great' the hall is, ignoring the fact that thousands of dollars are thrown into the event and causing huge losses. The money would've been better off somewhere else. While there may be a few who actually still believe in the spirit of Rag and Flag, it's lost on the huge majority of students.

Students nowadays are selfish and narcissistic. A blatant generalisation perhaps, but by and large true nonetheless. Show me a student who cares for more than solely their own future or their own things and I'll show you a student with a vision for great things. They work hard, true, but only to improve their chances of 'success', defined in whatever way they want. I've met countless of people who couldn't give 2 hoots about helping others unless it's convenient and doesn't stretch beyond dropping that 10 cents into a tin can. There have been way too many articles about this issue so I won't embark on it.

I really wonder what rag and flag stands for to the students of NUS, and especially to the committee members of NUSSU. Prove me wrong, please, and show me that you're all actually DOING all this because you REALLY CARE for all those people in need, and not for some selfish reason. Prove me wrong by showing you actually want to help ALL student bodies, including halls and faculty clubs, to be able to put up excellent floats and performances for the public. Prove me wrong by doing SOMETHING apart from sitting on your high horse, telling everyone else what to do and ignoring cries for help financially or logistically. Most of all, show EVERYONE that you guys are not narcissistic blockheads looking for a good resume which reads "The one who brought Rag day out to Padang was me, me, ME, ME, ME! ME! ME!!!!111"

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Posted by Gerald at 8/07/2007 01:53:00 PM

Orientation 2

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ok, it's not exactly the slew of posts I thought it'd be. It's been way to hectic to actually have the time to sit down and write something decent.

As usual, a lot of interesting freshmen stories. Some nick names have cropped up, including banana / 'hor hor girl' and 'plaster', which seems kinda familiar IMHO. *shrug* There are also siblings, but they're all sisters, which explains why we don't bully them as much this year, or perhaps it's just that we're not that mean.

Orientation has been tiring, from Initiation to Courtroom Games, to Raffles Day. At this point, I've got a sunburn so bad, it would rival Dr Zoidberg. I guess being in the water is really bad since it washes off the sunblock and amplifies the damage done. =(

In any case, Raffles Day yesterday was uber fun, and rightfully so, because we worked for it. WWW and RHOC slam turned out pretty well, or at least much better than what we've seen previously. Interestingly enough, the freshmen seem quite enthusiastic about everything, often taking the initiative to go and hype themselves up, instead of waiting to be hyped. You could go as far as saying they're a tad bit crazy. Island princess turned out a tad bit scary. The 'crazy' year ones got too much into it that they did some things which cannot be mentioned up here. The drag queens turned out to be either a dominatrix, or an over-enthusiastic 'partner' to their 'ka kia'. A little disgusting, but as long as they enjoy themselves...

So keeping this post a little short, we're all recovering from the long day yesterday, and thankfully all made it back in once piece. Now the only problem is to survive the pain for the next few days...

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Posted by Gerald at 8/05/2007 12:06:00 PM

Hall Orientation 1

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Anticipating a slew of posts with regards to this year's orientation, I'm numbering this.

It's that time of year where all the freshmen come en masse to our hall. Nothing spectacular really, but it IS an opportunity to really have fun and everything. After all, it's the few times in the year where studies aren't a concern.

The big worry about orientation is the same its been every year, where people find it boring or uninteresting and start leaving. It's important for hall because this determines whether or not the batch would be united and strong, and determines if the hall can actually survive. While things look pretty OK so far, it's still too early to tell.

It's funny how as we grow older, we have to act more 'childish' to make things more exciting. That's just an observation. It DOES however seem to work pretty well. It makes people excited and enthusiastic, and I hope I get the chance to impact the freshmen positively so they are excited about hall.

Significant changes have been made to the way orientation is conducted, and I think that's a good sign. If people were more excited conducting the events, the participants would also be more excited. It's contagious. I intend to also be spontaneous, loud, excited and enthusiastic as a senior. It seems that having OGLs (leaders who also participate in the group and help hype the group up) is a better model than just having activity heads and a detached person-in-charge, at least that's how it looks.

In any case, it's just day one. Hopefully, everyone enjoys themselves enough to make this year an exciting year. Who knows? These batch might be the strongest we've seen yet. No harm hoping and fighting for that is there?

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Posted by Gerald at 7/28/2007 03:22:00 PM

Another personality thingy

Friday, July 20, 2007

So after making my post, I chance upon this blog, and HAPPENED to see that I was tagged... or meme-ed... whatever you call it.


So let's jump right in...

Name : Gerald (you don't need my full name)
Birth Date : Remember, remember the... (Think V for vendetta)
Current Status : Single, Available, Ignorant
Eye Colour : Brown
Hair Colour : Black, but not entirely...
Right or left : Right

My Heritage : Chinese
My Fears : Missing my calling
My weaknesses : Lack of motivation
My Perfect Pizza : Barbecue tender chicken with lots of onions

My thoughts first waking up : Why the hell is the damn fire alarm ringing?
My bedtime : 3 or thereabouts
My most missed memory: I'd rather not say... although I can say it didn't last long...

Pepsi or coke : Whichever's available
Single or group dates : Group for activities, single for heart to heart talks
Adidas or Nike : Whichever has the cheaper price or better shoe
Tea or Nestea : Again, whichever's available
Chocolate or Vanilla : Vanilla (I'm so plain)
Cappuccino or Coffee : Cappuccino (foamy is much better than plain)

Smoke : No.
Curse : No.
Take a shower : Regularly, and sometimes more often than necessary
Have a crush : I'm 22 going on 23. If this was a no... I'd be worried...
Think you've been in love : Yes.
Go to school : Yes.
Want to get married : Yes.
Believe in yourself : No. Believe in the One who has the power to help me, but not in my own abilities
Think you're a health freak : No, which is worrying...

Drank alcohol : Yes.
Gone to the mall : Yes.
Been on stage : Yes, many times.
Eaten sushi : Yes, although not as often as I'd like to...
Dyed your hair : Yes. In fact, there's a streak of colour now...

Played a stripping game : No.
Changed who you were to fit in : Changes for the better, yes, for the worse, no

To be married : 2x where x is more than 5

LAYER 9 : IN A GIRL (GUY).. (I'm supposed to change this to GIRL right?)
Best eye colour : Realistically, they should all be brown / black
Best hair colour : Black, perhaps highlighted to light brown
Short hair or long hair : Long, but shoulders are about as far as it should go

A minute ago : Reading blogs
Hour ago : Wrote a proposal as part time work
1 day ago : Exactly 24 hours ago, I was having lunch, but I was mostly shifting room
1 month ago : Back in KL helping out in my sister's wedding
1 Year ago : Enjoying the 3 months break like now

I love : God
I feel : bored
I hate : my failures
I hide : my innermost secrets
I miss: being young and care-free. (This one I also have to plagiarise ^_^)
I need : to draw closer to God

-Mei Kit
-Kelvin Leong (since he's so free)
-Hwa Chin (whom I know reads my blog)

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Posted by Gerald at 7/20/2007 12:34:00 PM

Collecting Junk

I just shifted my room recently, and I've found out just how much junk I have. The amount of useless paraphernalia some people have a tendency to keep is sometimes astounding.

Some of the cool things about moving or shifting is that you start finding a lot of things you thought you've already lost. It turns up and you're like "oh, so there's where you've been hiding all this while..." Some of these things are trivial, and you will even find yourself going "hey, I've lived long enough without it, I might as well just toss it." Others are monumentally important, and you feel really happy you found them back. Usually, these are objects with a lot of feelings attached to them...

In any case, there just seems to be too many things lying around which really ought to be thrown out. The art of 'throwing away' as my friend puts it, is something that can help remove a lot of clutter in the place we're in. For example, I know of this one guy who seems to find it really difficult to throw stuff away. While I understand that he's probably very sentimental and keeps a lot of things for memory, or is thrifty in that he won't toss something that might still be usable, the amount of stuff he has in a small little hostel room is simply astounding. Shifting has always been a huge problem for him, although he seldom complains.

I guess I really do get where he's coming from. Over the few years we've stayed on campus, it's safe to say that we've collected a sizable number of things. Again, some of them are merely representative of our experiences, like a heart-shaped dollar note from our first love, or a piece of a structure you painstakingly built for an event, while others are everyday objects you use. The latter would obviously need to be kept for practical reasons, but sometimes, I guess the former really needs to be tossed.

This somehow reminds me of Voldemort from Harry Potter (and the finale will be out tomorrow ^_^) in that he collects treasures for his triumphs. Somehow, these 'treasures' will actually be his downfall... or at least that's how it seems to be going.

Perhaps it is time to let go of some things, things that you're holding on to because deep in your heart, you're also still holding on to the feeling or memory. It might not be a bad idea to close a past chapter in your life and move on, and what better way to ensure you can do that than by cutting off the things which remind you of that incident. This is particularly for those not so happy memories you might have.

But then again, who's to say you can't move on and yet still keep fond memories of the past be it bitter or sweet. Perhaps you learned something through that experience, or it was a pleasant memory you'd like to look back to and reminisce once in a while. I know I still keep SOME things as memorabilia... especially those that mean the most to me.

Doesn't everyone do the same thing?

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Posted by Gerald at 7/20/2007 11:52:00 AM

Post Wedding

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So how has life been since the wedding? In a way, things haven't changed all that much, but things aren't exactly the same.

You see, when people get married, they leave their parents and are joined together and they become "one flesh". This basically means they are no longer two individuals, but are now considered a single entity. This has significant implications. For starters, they should now trust each other implicitly, which means that there is nothing between them that should be kept hidden. In essence, if something is known by one spouse, it should be a given that the other should also know it.

My sister is no longer just my sister. She's now married, and I can no longer consider her as separated from my brother in law. If I share one thing with her, it should be expected that he would know as well. While I know that he's a really great guy, I'm really not sure if I'm ready to bare everything to both him and her when I need someone to talk to. Besides, she should be going about his business now, not worry so much about what happens at the home she has now 'left'. No I'm not implying that she should forget all about the family, but inevitably, she has greater priorities now, and therefore, she ought to see to those priorities first.

I'm very happy for the both of them, and I do wish them all the best. I love the both of them, but I cannot draw as close to them now as I have previously with my sister. It is not because they cannot be trusted, but rather I feel that now, there are some things which can no longer be shared.

There are other implications, but I guess I haven't really thought about it yet. I don't think it's a bad or good thing, it's just a change which must be accepted.

The wedding itself was great, and I'm very happy for them. Perhaps I'll post up a bit more details on what happened another time...

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Posted by Gerald at 7/11/2007 02:11:00 AM

Things that happen

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Everything happens for a reason... or so I thought...

Sometimes, when things happen to you, perhaps you should just take it at face value and simply ignore it and pretend it didn't happen. Some things happen to you prompting you to make decisions which you regret, so it would seem wise to just shrug off what happened and carry on as if it didn't.

Sometimes, even though you may have thought through everything carefully and tried to do the best thing at that point, it somehow seems to turn out bad. You might have taken the time to really sit down and consider the options, but STILL make a foolish decision.

Sometimes, you happen to be the person who does this most of the time.

Sometimes, you wished for more wisdom.

Sometimes, you wished you weren't you...

Posted by Gerald at 7/05/2007 11:40:00 PM

Bad-nime Tech-sperience

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Here's a copy of an email I sent to AnimeTech:

Although I enjoy buying a lot of anime from your shops, I am terribly disappointed in your sales staff.

Today, I visited your Mid-Valley branch. I was very interested in getting the original Fate/Stay Night DVDs, especially after enquiring about the price. Unfortunately, your staff told me that it was sold out, which was perfectly fine.

I then asked her if she could check with your other outlets to see if they have any in stock, and if they did, if they could reserve it for me. She left and I continued browsing, and after some time, she came back informing me that the Sunway Pyramid branch and Centerpoint branch had a copy.

I asked her to reserve them for me, and left my contact number. She asked when I would be collecting, and I told her probably tomorrow or the day after.

Later in the day, I decided I couldn't wait and headed to Sunway Pyramid. On arrival, I enquired about my reservation only to find that that outlet too was sold out. Moreover, the only other branch which had a copy had already reserved it.

I asked as to why I had not been informed, but was told that since I specified that I would be collecting tomorrow, they had yet to inform me.

As a customer, I felt very cheated of my time and effort. I SPECIFICALLY enquired to find out if any branch still had a copy, and was INFORMED by YOUR STAFF that these two branches did, and that I had placed a reservation for a copy. She should not have misled me to believe that there was one when there was, in fact, none available.

Furthermore, the attitude of your staff in Sunway Pyramid was condascending and totally unhelpful. She was neither sympathetic nor apologetic. She did not even TRY to find out if there was any other way she could help me, or tell me when the next shipment would be coming.

I am a firm supporter of legitimate Anime sales and see your company as one of the few legitimate outlets where Malaysians can purchase quality original products. This incident has however, left me with a bitter feeling.

Your sales staff is your contact point between your company and your customers. It would be a shame if your company's good reputation is undermined by the impoliteness of your sales staff. A company of your reputation and stature should know better.

I feel that this matter needs to be brought to your attention. I hope that in future, incidents like this would not happen again, although I suspect you may be seeing significantly less of my patronage.

I'm being very nice in the email, although my actual feelings are more the likes of:

Now I know why I prefer downloading from the internet!

Posted by Gerald at 7/03/2007 08:12:00 PM

Of families, dinners and weddings

Monday, July 02, 2007

The past week or so has been rather hectic. Having a wedding is no joke, and I really underestimated the amount of preparation and time required to have everything running smoothly. My sister's been busy running everywhere making sure everything is perfect, and things haven't slowed down since. We went back to Sitiawan for a dinner on Saturday, rushed to Ipoh the next day for another dinner back there, then came back to KL this morning, only to see my sister and her 'husband' (well, technically not yet, but about there) rush off to meet some people to finalise some details for the actual wedding this coming weekend.

Me? I finally got my hands on a computer with an internet connection.

I liked my suit. I think it was a good fit and a good price. Surprisingly, I managed to get one off the shelf even though my build don't really suit my height.

Of course, the shining jewel of the weekend was the beautiful bride. I've never seen my sister so 'dressed up' before. I read the newspapers this morning, and there was a photo of some Miss Chinese Cheongsam something... seriously wondered why my sister never bothered to join; She would've crushed the opposition. (Or maybe her not so strong grasp of mandarin kept her away).

The collection of 'Ang Pows' (thanks to all the generous attendees), turned out to be an interesting event in itself. I guess it's practical to count up the amount and pay off the restaurant that very night itself so that we don't carry the burden of having quite a bit of cash on us. Still, it's not everyday you see such a huge stack of 50s, even if it disappears into the restaurants' cash registers seconds later.

So far, it's only been preliminary. The final hurdle will come this Saturday, and it's going to be a VERY LONG day. It's her day, so we'll all try to make it great for her.

Oh, my turn will not be coming soon in the unforeseeable future.

Posted by Gerald at 7/02/2007 02:13:00 PM

Letting go and letting God

Monday, June 18, 2007

This phrase certainly sounds like a cliche, but I've learnt that all the 'cliches' are actually very good learning points, if we actually take the time to sit down and reflect upon them.

Life is a very bumpy ride, with a lot of ups and downs, and plenty of monotonous straights in between. We can't help but think about certain things and worry over them; It's kind of our nature. Fortunately, sitting down thinking and twiddling your thumb alone will not help you solve your problem, but it would be effective if the worrying actually yielded action and change. That's where this cliched saying comes in.

If you stop to think about it, it's funny how we actually like to grab on to our problems and try to solve them with our own strength, and then blame God when we fail. The power behind this phrase lies in the fact that there are a LOT of things that we cannot control, and YET we end up being frustrated and worried over. Things like whether the weather would be good. Things like how the other party thinks or would respond. Things like what other people think about us, or how a scenario may be played out. The things which we CAN control, God expects us to do our best at managing it, but He DOESN'T ask that of things which we cannot control. These are the things we HAVE to LET GO.

To "do all the things we can do, and having done all else, to stand", is really something that isn't easy to do. Just as a student has studied hard for an exam, and has studied what he/she believes need to be studied, it is not easy to walk into the exam hall fully letting go and trusting in God, because he/she may never know if he/she might've missed some part or is unable to recall some information. We will always have our doubts and worries and reservations. This is where God needs to come into the picture.

I thank God that I've learned how to trust God more, even as He's been bringing me up to another level. My quiet time has never been more fulfilling, and I really feel that these few weeks I've been walking closer and closer with Him. This has resulted in me being able to simply trust Him in a lot of areas which I previously haven't been able to. I simply lay my worries, fears, doubts, uncertainties and reservations at His feet everyday, and even though I might sometimes pick them up unknowingly, I ALWAYS put it down again. This frees my mind to think about other things, to focus on things which I CAN do, instead of things which I have no control over.

Trusting God is not an easy thing. It gets harder as the thing you entrust to God gets more and more precious to you. Still, I've learned that you simply HAVE to do it, and it brings you much freedom. Let's put it this way, if this matter is God's will for you, it will work out right since you've done all you can, and you're putting your trust in Him. On the other hand, if things don't work out as you'd like, then that really isn't your fault... it's just probably God telling you His will is different, or the timing is off, or you need to hang in there a bit more.

I'll quote a verse which will help us see this clearly:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

I hope that God will continually help me to lean on Him, to trust in Him, and to free myself so that I can do more for Him. I pray that I will learn to always look to Him no matter the circumstances, and trust that His purpose will lead me to a better tomorrow.

Posted by Gerald at 6/18/2007 11:47:00 AM

Net rants

Sunday, June 17, 2007

As much as I hold my country in high regard, there are a good number of things which I seriously feel it is lacking, and that's to say their not even TRYING to improve. Right now, as I am typing this up, I'll mention that it took me a whole 15 minutes to get to this point, where I can actually write something to post. It's one of the biggest thing I dislike about coming back home. To put it succinctly,

Malaysia internet connectivity hasn't improved since the invention of the 56k modem.

To its credit, Malaysia was one of the first country to have internet connection in the region. Unfortunately, just like every other 'project' in the country, that's as far as it gets. Since then, we have progressed into 'broadband' internet, or so we thought.

The unfortunate fact is that service providers here couldn't care less about improving their service or actually offering services that benefit users. The only widespread broadband service in the country is Streamyx, which has a reputation for being extremely sluggish, bad support, less than satisfactory bandwidth and even worse uptime. It is unfortunately, one of the only available and affordable avenues for 'broadband' access in the country, and everyone has to subscribe to it, like it or not.

While I've been away in Singapore the past six years, the service has NOT improved at all. If anything, the years have made it worse, since they keep asking for more and more people to sign up for it, but do not upgrade the infrastructure to support the additional users, resulting in a bottleneck in connection speed for ALL users. God only knows where the money subscribers have been paying have gone to since it's obviously not used to increase the reliability and speed of these connections.

Personally, I'm using an alternative 'broadband' solution offered by Jaring called SOMA. To be perfectly honest, it's pathetic. I can't even get a decent connection to do my holiday assignments, let alone try an MMOG. Loading pages take ages, sometimes taking even longer than the good old 56k. Perhaps it has to do with the location of the wireless modem, but the fact is still that I cannot get a reliable connection when I need it.

The fact that a website like this exists goes to show that I'm not the only one having gripes. Most people would complain about Streamyx because it's the most widely available option. Unfortunately for me, the alternative doesn't seem all that great either.

Perhaps I'm just asking for too much. After all, I do use my campus connection when I'm in school. That cannot be compared to the connections in private homes. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure connections in private homes in Singapore are pretty decent, as there are rarely any disgruntled customers, at least when it comes to connection reliability. Competition in Singapore is open and has driven prices down yet increased the quality of services. I'd have hoped that Malaysia wouldn't be too far behind in this area. After all, we also have rival telco wars just like our neighbours down south.

Wishful thinking...

Posted by Gerald at 6/17/2007 04:50:00 PM

Expectation management & Knowing when to give up

Friday, June 15, 2007

You know there are times when you were thinking, hoping, expecting something, but then it ends up totally the opposite of what you thought? You know when you keep trying to be optimistic, to the point sometimes of being illogical, and then things turn out bad? You know when you sometimes tell yourself that it's a waste of time, but yet you somehow just try anyway, doing what you can and then things don't quite turn out the way you want them to?

I guess we all need better expectation management.

Having an optimistic point of view is great. I don't see why looking at the bright side of things can be a bad thing. And then there are those times when you keep trying and trying, hoping for the best, never giving up, persevering and pushing yourself, even to the point where you can no longer push yourself, and STILL not achieve success. I once saw this book entitled "Knowing when to give up", which although might initially seem a wrong mindset to have, might actually hold some merit if you delve deeper.

I know that pursuing your dreams is not a bad thing, and neither is picking yourself up everytime you fail. To "keep on keeping on" is a phrase I've heard so often, it's become cliched, and while I still believe it holds true, I think the context ought to be taken into consideration instead of blindly applying this principle.

If you have a dream which is from God, and you KNOW it came from God, then by all means pursue it because I never believe God will let you down. I don't think God will give you a vision and then not help you as you run for it. The principle of perseverence quite obviously applies here.

But what of the things which God may not speak to you about? What of things that you don't know whether or not to pursue? I know that God speaks to you about all things in life, but there have been times when you thought He was speaking, but you were wrong. Claiming that God wants us to be "the head and not the tail" and thinking that if you work hard even when God has not spoken to you, you can excel in ALL areas seems a bit far fetched. I don't propose to put a limitation on God, but it would be naive to think that you could excel in anything just because you want it to happen.

A good illustration would be our talents and abilities. Sure, we could try very very hard to sing. We could go for singing lessons, practice everyday, listen to as many songs as we can, train our vocals and breathing techniques etc., but as much as we may want to believe that we can, there are many of us who really truly can't. There are many people who even after years and years of vocal training cannot really hold a tune, or are naturally tone deaf, and no matter how hard you work, and that's not to say you haven't tried, you just CAN'T. Even if you eventually DID, don't you think you could've excelled in some OTHER area that would probably have taken less time and bring you to that place of success much earlier?

The point I'm making is not to have a defeatist attitude, but rather to CHOOSE the areas in which we want to excel in. Why bother trying to train your singing when God has not called you to sing (in that you have neither the annointing nor the talent)? Why bother trying to train in a given sport when no matter how hard you try, you just can't have the kind of capability some other people have, especially if God has not called you to it? Don't you think a gifted musician who has all the talent to play a musical instrument, but perhaps have much less to offer in terms of physical capacity would be unwise to spend his/her time to pursue sports and be just above average instead of using it to be a genius in music?

This brings me back to the point about pursuing a dream: You have to KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP, and that's when you find yourself pursuing a WRONG DREAM! Not everyone is called to the same field, although all are called to excellence. If you don't know which field you are called to, then as you try out each area, you have to be prepared to GIVE IT UP if you realise it's not for you.

To expect achievement and success when you're in this stage is premature. It would be detrimental as having a high expectation would undermine your self confidence if you fail. On the other hand, having too low expectations would not make you strive to do well. Hence, a balance must be struck between the two to ensure you can keep on keeping on.

So to bring all of it together, we really should know which area we are called to excel in, lest we end up pursuing something which is not from God and probably fail miserably despite our neverending perseverence. If we don't, then be prepared to give up certain things that aren't meant for you. It won't be easy, but it would be better in the long run.

I should know... I've been there...

Posted by Gerald at 6/15/2007 06:42:00 PM

Where's home?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm now back in Malaysia with my parents, planning for my sister's wedding. I guess you could say I'm 'home', although that may not be very accurate. I shall explore a little of what it means to be 'home'.

The initial reaction would be simply, "Where you're from." That's all fine and dandy until you realise 'from' is hard to define. I've often been asked this question, but I find it difficult to answer. I was born in Kuala Lumpur, but spent the most of my childhood in a little town called Sitiawan. After that, I spent two years in Kuantan, on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and the next five years (my teenage years) in Subang Jaya, just south of Kuala Lumpur. I went to study in Singapore and I've been there for the past six years, with at least four more to go, and that's just the beginning.

Obviously, "where you're from" isn't a very good way to define home. You COULD say it's simply "where your parents are", but that too poses a problem. Unlike most people whose parents stay put in one location, the nature of my father's job required him to transfer quite a number of times. Hence, we were required to move as and when he was posted to a new place. A year or two back, whilst I was studying in Singapore, my parents actually shifted to Thailand, and I literally had no 'home' in Malaysia. Would Thailand then be considered my "home"? I don't think so.

Another way to look at it was "where you spent your formative years", as in which place had the most impact in your life. This too is debatable, since most of my childhood (definitely formative years) were spend in one place, my teens (also formative) in another, and young adulthood (again transitional and hence I deem formative) in yet another. Where's home? I really don't know...

I guess in the end, 'home' is really where you feel most comfortable to let down your hair and simply be yourself. It can be where your parents are, but the environment may not be really familiar or 'homish'. It can be where your friends are, unless you don't have a place to go back to after your friends go back to their respective 'homes'. Ultimately, it would be perfect as a place where both these concepts are melded into one, which is thankfully, what I'm enjoying now.

Comfort at home, friends of old, and a celebration to be had! What more can I ask for? It's HOME!

Posted by Gerald at 6/13/2007 06:45:00 PM

Some interesting questions

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I was just thinking about the Emerge beauty pageant and manhunt... Some of the questions they posed are very interesting... Typical of beauty pageants, but it got me thinking as to how I'd answer if those questions were posed to me.

Question 1: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Answer: Quickness to obey. If I could be quick to obey what God tells me to do, I think life would be very easy to live. I'm trying my best, but then again, if I was already somewhere in this area, I doubt I'd need to try very hard. Change wouldn't be a big problem and I believe God will bring me very far.

Question 2: What is your most prized possession?
Answer: Although 99.99% of you would say something like 'your bible' (considering this was conducted in church no less) I would disagree. My most prized possession would be... my computer! The reason is simple; while you may have one bible as your most prized possession, with only ONE translation, I have the NKJV, and the NIV, and the New Living Translation, and the Good News Bible, and just about ANY translation there is out there. Furthermore, I have a full concordance, arguments on theology, apologetics and even sermons. It is my means of communication, where I can contact anyone in the world. It is the source of entertainment and information.
I love God's word, and I think the one thing that can provide that and more would be my most important possession.

Question 3: What is the first thing you'd do if you were elected president?
Answer: I'm not sure what I'd do if I were elected president of Singapore, but if I were in Malaysia, the first thing I'd do is make sure that NOONE is discriminated against because of their race, gender or religion. I'd abolish race based politics, race based social and education policies as well as ensure everyone gets an equal opportunity to excel in whatever area of the marketplace. Idealistic? Probably, but that doesn't mean I won't strive hard and fight for what I believe is right!

Question 4: What is the biggest problems youth face today?
Answer: This is a tough question. I don't really think there's any one biggest problem; they're all equally important. If I were to pick however, I'd say it's apathy. Apathy towards everything in life. I think youth in general are so negative that they don't seem to hold on to anything in life. They act as if nothing is worth pursuing, that life isn't worth living, that we're all doomed anyway, so why bother. They don't care about much things bigger than themselves, because they see no merit in pursuing it. They're lost, looking for hope, looking for someone to point them towards a direction so that they will have something to strive for, and if the church could only stand in that gap, revival would be here!

These were the few I remembered. Unfortunately, I left halfway through the Q&A, so I don't remember the rest. Still, it's quite an insight don't you think? Why not share your views?

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Posted by Gerald at 6/07/2007 02:19:00 AM

Emerge 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If you're wondering where I disappeared to the past few days, don't worry, I didn't abandon this place.

I was spending time with God.

Emerge 2007 was a spectacular conference, not so much because of the various activities that took place, but because God really revealed Himself to me throughout these four days. I took back a lot from the conference, and it was absolutely amazing.

The first session was about Shamgar, and about the power of One. It was about young people and aspirations, young people and dreams, and young people with the gospel. I took home the strength to believe that He has a great purpose for me.

Session two was about Jacob, and about how even though he was a supplanter, a schemer, a swindler, a trickster... despite ALL his flaws, he had ONE thing that really moved God; Spiritual Hunger. We have to continually hunger for Him, to love Him, to seek Him and to cling on to Him, and only by doing that will He respond. Jacob wrestled with God, refusing to let go of Him, until something happened. This is again talking about the brokenness of heart, and I'm really praying and holding on to God that I will continue to be broken before Him, and that this won't be a one off thing.

Session 3 was a presentation of the Cultural Mandate, which was kind of a rehash.

The fourth session talked about courage and perseverance. It's about having faith in Him, even though we may not have faith in ourselves. We have to always walk with God, seek after Him, go for the things which He calls us to go for, so that we can shine for Him in the marketplace. I took home the need to always do our best in what God has called us to do, and that would be something that requires faith in Him, because trials and obstacles are bound to come. However, it is important to remember to replace the "I" with Christ, so that He can use us. The cultural mandate cannot be fulfilled if we are not broken to Him!

The fifth session was unplanned, as God led us a different way from what was supposed to happen. The message was very simple. It's all about LOVE! The simple question of this: Jesus asks, "Do you love Me?", or rather, "Do you AGAPE Me?" The full importance of this statement can be found when John 21:15 is read. Jesus is not asking whether we philleo Him, but whether we agape Him. Agape is unconditional love, even despite trials and tribulations and rejection. I remember being asked before whether I'd be willing to die for Him, and the honest answer I gave back then was No, I don't think I had the faith for it. This time, I would say yes... because I DO agape Him.

The next session was evangelistic, and it was a simple message about how Jesus is light, and He is therefore th provider of life, the provider of vision, and the one who dispels darkness. The second point was very important to me.

Finally, the last session closed with a great message about the trumpet. The trumpet of God has been sounding since the time of Moses, to Joshua, to Samuel, to David, to the prophets like Elijah and Elisha, to Joel, to the angels, to Jesus, to Simon Peter, to Paul, to John, to the heroes of the faith like Martin Luther and John Wesley... Now the trumpet is in OUR hands. God gave it to us, what are we going to do with it? We ought to recognise the seasons we're in, and right now, it's Harvest Time!

The thing which really burdened me throughout the conference was my lack of vision. It's not that I don't have visions and goals and dreams, but I'm looking for one greater and higher than just 'achieving good results, get a good job etc'. I'm seeking God for something much bigger for me to run for. I still don't know yet what it is, but I'm not giving up on asking it from Him. I pray everyday that You show me what is it that You want me to do, to open my eyes and let me see the things which You have called me to. I'm not looking at my talents or my achievements, but to Your directions. This is the cry of my heart, that I can see the things which You ask me to go for!

I'm thankful for the many great things that have happen so far. I'm feeling really close to God now, so much closer than I've ever been before. This is truly a wonderful journey to have with Christ! Thank you Emerge 2007!

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Posted by Gerald at 6/05/2007 03:36:00 PM