Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still sick....

I just took a last trip to Blackebergs Gymnasium to thank the wonderful people there who have helped us to make SMUS possible. Per, Marie, Ismo and Hussein - thank you! This camp would not have been possible without your generosity and help!

Entering the building, I couldn't help but feel a sense of attachment to the place. Strange, because we spent just 3 days there. (the organizers slept over the night before, to prepare for the camp). But it felt welcoming, familiar and comfortable. And it brought back lots of lovely memories to mind. I miss the SMUSies - creative, enthusiastic and fun! We had an afterparty last weekend at my small cramped corridor, where we simply spent time talking and laughing. (And, for Therese, a good time shopping for food and baking lussebullar!)

Thank you, SMUSies, for these beautiful memories!

And to my SMUS team, Diana, Amelia, Charmain and James, THANK YOU! I loved the times we spent together, no matter how stressful they were. Thank you for your understanding, support and hard work. I will miss you guys.

And so, it seems like I've yet to recover from my SMUS-sickness....

Time is like fine grains of sand. Not matter how hard you try to grasp it, it still slips through your fingers...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians are elitists - That's why we speak 'Christianese'

Chris Tilling posted this up on his blog, and I felt it was a sad depiction of the Christian community, but true.

Just like geekspeak, Christians also seem to have their own lingo that we *must* use, not realizing that we often shut out other people in the process.

Remember the parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee?

Do we speak 'Christianese' because we are self-righteous?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Suicide bomber fail!

So yes, I know I'm not supposed to make light of the suicide attacks in Stockholm. I am, actually, rather shocked that this happened, because Stockholm has been such a peaceful city. Well, I suppose that with all the ruckus churned out by Sverigedemokraterna, Sweden's ranking on the hit list just had to rise by a few notches.

My first thought when I heard about the news (while having dinner with the awesome SMUSies during our afterparty) was - oh wow! My post "There's a bomb in Stockholm!" turned out to be a 'prophesy' after all..

And Volkswagen has even churned out a YouTube clip about the bombing attacks in record time! hahaha.. You gotta love these advertising people - They never fail to leverage on all the horrors happening in the world :P

And now, I've gotta try to clear my emails before getting to work, so friends and family know that I'm alive and kicking....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Define good and evil. And while you're at it, don't bother to be 'good' unless you're a Christian.

This was the opening theme song for The Unbeatables 3 (双天至尊3), one of Singapore's 'homemade' TV series that I grew up with and am actually very proud of. I mean, the series was first filmed in 1993, and the story line, cinematography and acting standard was actually what I deemed on par with many international films! Sadly, it seems that Singapore's acting scene took a turn for localized comedies, and local TV series have sort of lost its appeal to me nowadays.

But this song stuck with me through the years. Here's a little translation of a part of it:
I used to think that if things were not good, it's bad;
That if you weren't in the limelight, you'd have to exit the scene
Don't you think that if things weren't black, it's white
Because there simply is a grey region

My friend and I were having a mini debate over this several months back. What did one define as 'black' or 'white'? Who's to say that killing is wrong? Why is lying considered 'bad', and truth valued? What is the standard for right and wrong? Who set these standards?

I came to the personal conclusion that, for many (if not all) of us, religion is what sets the standard. Even if you're an atheist with no belief in God, the 'rules' of religion are what still governs many of us. It's what our laws are based upon, if not for the sake of 'going to heaven', then at least for the sake of maintaining peace within a society.

Having been born in a devoted Christian family, I've had the opportunity to learn about Christianity from a young age. As a kid, I had the warped impression that only Christians were good people - All other religions were bad, and it was our responsibility to be the 'salt of the earth' and spread the Good News to them about God's love. I'm ashamed to say that my behaviour wasn't exemplary (and still isn't today), but that my 'superiority as a Christian' simply resulted in me being a complete snob.

And what happens to those who those who are good but aren't Christians? Another friend once said "I have a wonderful grandfather. He's kind, caring, generous, honest and loving. But he's not a Christian. When I asked my pastor what happens to him when he dies, my pastor told me that he'd go to hell. It's just not right!"

It's because of this that my friend doesn't wish to believe in Christianity and hopes instead that the Bible is wrong - he simply doesn't want to believe that his grandfather cannot possibly be saved. After all, if he is a good man, has led a long and fulfilling (and some might even say blessed) life being a Buddhist, why should he even consider turning to another religion?

Julie's post, Wasted Love, brought me to recall this short story, for which I've not been able to fully find the answer to. In her post, she also remarked that

Obviously many of these people who are serving and laying down their lives for others are not “believers.” After all, they didn’t say the sinner’s prayer and they don’t go to church on Sunday. So here are my questions:
Is their extreme love for mankind a waste?
Will God still punish these people with the wicked?
Does God turn a blind eye to their love and refuse to reward them?
Did those who died in service of humanity give up their short lives in vain, only to be lost forever?

I have one more question to add - Is doing good a complete waste if you're not a Christian, since you'll just die and go to hell anyway? Who is it that defines 'good' and 'evil' anyway?

What do you think?

Does the bible not say :"There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? " James 4:12 [comment by Megan on Julie's blog post]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I've contracted a serious illness :/

RAWR! I just typed a whole post out when my laptop died, and took the entire post with it :/

But yes, I was typing about a serious illness that I've recently contracted - SMUS withdrawal symptoms.


Have you ever spent every waking hour thinking about something, and when it's finally over, an emptiness fills your heart and you're left wondering what is it that's so empty about your days?

That's what I've been feeling the past 2 days. SMUS has taken on such a huge role in my life over the past 3 months that now, with the camp over, a huge gaping hole has been left in its place.

To the wonderful SMUS participants - You guys rock! I loved your cheerfulness, your determination, your creativity and strength. You were the ones who made SMUS possible, who kept that energy and joy pulsing throughout the entire camp :) And you made every single second of organizing this event worthwhile. You inspired not only me, but all the helpers who followed you guys through the streets of Stockholm as well!

So what have they done to impress me this much? Well, let's take a quick peek at what each team did:

Team 1: Bambibjörnarnas
Now this team is a fantastic, talented, creative and absolutely wonderful team! Their idea was to sell customized bookmarks, in line with the spirit of Christmas. Throughout the night, they made preparations for the challenge, and set off early on Sunday morning with 11 bookmarks already sold on their online sales! When Jenny's sms came in telling me that they sold their first bookmark, I was so excited I couldn't sit still! (I was sadly unable to follow the teams on their challenges through the streets of Stockholm, and instead stayed in Blackebergs receiving all the juicy updates from our wonderful participants and helpers) Unfortunately, although their idea was fantastic, their street sales didn't flourish as well as hoped. But they didn't give up! Instead, the talented and creative team started selling Julmust and Pepperkakor to entice families to approach them and purchase their bookmarks, and sang and danced their way along the streets to attract all the passersby in Stockholm city center! In the midst of it all, the team bonded tremendously, and got to have lots of fun :) (at least, it seemed like you guys had fun - did you?)

Team 2: 2Cool
Oh yes, their idea really was too cool! They blew the judges away with their fantastic presentation skills, where Therese and Gustav ended up finishing each other's sentences 'like an old married couple' :P And their idea was so very simple - All they did was to sell ribbons which people could stick on their Christmas gifts to add a nice finishing touch to their presents. But these ribbons had a special meaning - all of the profits from the sales of the ribbons were donated to UNICEF. Yes, you heard me right there. All. The team didn't keep a cent - They took all they earned, and sent it straight to charity. I was touched, and very much impressed by this team. By the end of the challenge, the team had sold all 20 ribbons that Therese had painstakingly spent the night sewing for the challenge, and arrived back victorious. It was a pity that their last team mate, Malin Doyon (I have to mention the surname - there were 4 Malins at the camp!), fell sick and was unable to go out for the Challenge. But she camp right back during the evening, just to support her team and watch them at the final presentation! <3>

Team 3: Pental and Team 5: Little Masters
Both these teams came up with the same idea - They saw the snow (and there was a lot of it!), grabbed their shovels and said that they were going to shovel away for the entire challenge. And boy, did they shovel! Unfortunately, Pental lacked the luck (and girls!) that Little Masters had, and was unable to 'bring in the dough' after their days exhaustion. Little Masters, on the other hand, returned to Blackebergs Gymnasium shivering from the cold, but with their heads held high in triumph! After knocking on countless doors and trying different sales tactics, they finally emerged winners when they brought in a whopping 695kr after 5 hours of non-stop, back-breaking snow shoveling. The team initially started off requesting for a mere 50 kr for their services, but later went on to adjust their pricing strategies, and sold their hard work for as much as 175kr per customer. Kudos to both teams, for the hard work and raw energy that they poured into the Challenge! :D

Team 6: The Rockers
I love this team :) Not that I love any of the other teams less, mind you, but this team inspired me greatly with their hard work, determination and perseverance. And I loved their idea! The team came up with a nifty idea of being tour guides for tourists, specializing in the Gamla Stan region. But what was so special about their idea was the personal touch that they added to this tour - They wanted to give their customers a closer look behind the touristy glitz, and instead include their personal experiences and anecdotes of Stockholm as part of the tour! Personally, I'm someone who doesn't like to see the 'touristy sights', and would rather spend more time trying to absorb the culture of the place. So their idea really appealed to me. But their passion overwhelmed me. Close to midnight on the 4th Dec, I saw Felicia and Malin Friberg hard at work on the computer terminals - They were doing research and preparing brochures for their Challenge the next day. With all the professionalism that they could muster within the short timespan, they came up with a company logo, beautiful brochures, did their research and even had time for a quick Simpsons night before they went to bed! The next day, they marched the streets of Gamla Stan umpteen times, devised new strategies and sales techniques, and persevered all the way! Unfortunately, the weather made it difficult for them to sway customers to remain in the cold and participate in their tour - they ended up joining forces with Bambibjörnarnas and selling kanelbullars at the very end. But through it all, they impressed their facilitator and the judges, and were a great inspiration to all who heard about their efforts :) Don't give up guys! I still think your idea was fantastic, and you should try again during summer! :P

All too soon, though, the Challenge was over and the tired teams returned back to Blackebergs for their final presentation. To be honest, I didn't care that much about the amount of money they brought back - I cared about the learning journey that they had just been through. To my dear SMUS participants, I sincerely hope that all of you learnt a little bit more about entrepreneurship, made new friends, had new experiences and had fun during the 36 hours that we had together. Some of you have wonderful dreams and goals - Go out and make them reality, because I know you can! I hope that this camp has touched each and every one of you in a special way, and that all of you have built wonderful memories of the time we spent together. Keep in touch, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all again at the after party! :P

Through all of this, I have much to thank. Utbildningsförvarningen, for their constant support and wonderful partnership, Södra Latins Gymnasium and Blackebergs Gymnasium for their generous hospitality and kindness, as well as Swebus and Vitamin Well, for their generous support and for keeping the participants healthy! :P And of course, the facilitators, without whom the Challenge could not possibly have come to fruition!

But I also have one special group of people whom I want to thank - Thank you, SMUSies, for putting in so much work into organizing SMUS with me. It's been a joy working with all of you, and each of you have been vital in the success of SMUS. Thank you, for tolerating my high demands, my bad tempers, my crazy requests. I know I've not been the easiest person to work with, and I truly thank you for being there, for sharing this experience with me. Thank you, for supporting and uplifting this entire team. Thank you, for filling in for me when I could barely hold myself up anymore. All of you were wonderful and amazing, each so talented in your own special way. Love you guys much <3>

Although I've been an extreme critique of Christianity on this blog, I still have Him to thank for SMUS. Perhaps, if I were a better Christian, I would have been a better leader. Perhaps, if I was truly God's child, this event would have been a resounding success - far better than what I could ever imagine. But I still could not have done without His part in this event. Thank You, for putting wonderful people to surround, support and inspire me. All this was not mine to have or to give - I know that I'm worthless. But thank You, for making all this possible.

Pictures up when they are finally sorted! :P

Saturday, December 4, 2010

StartMeUp@Stockholm - Day 1 complete!

The big day has finally arrived!!

The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind of activity, but oh, ever so worthwhile!

Lugging in their overnight bagpacks across the snow-blanketed at 8.30 on a Saturday morning, with sleep still in their eyes, the SMUS participants trundled into Blackebergs Gymnasium - I was soooo impressed :) After several bites of breakfast, they got into their teams and started to discuss the ideas that they had collected over the week. Mikolaj Norek then set the camp off with a cool 2 hours of 'planning' activities, taking their ideas and solidifying it, turning them into feasible solutions that had the potential to be executed during the 20 hour challenge.

Then came an inspiring series of talks by Love Sahlin, Ted Valentin and Annika Lidne! Love's insight on how he started his business at 18 made me wish I'd spent those years of my life more wisely, and Ted Valentin's input on how to keep businesses simple was nothing but inspiring. Annika, Sweden's top female social media entrepreneur, complemented the mix with her vast knowledge and expertise while offering her sound advice to the group. Their experiences, combined, sparked off a series of questions from the young audience that was eager to learn more about what they should look out for when starting their own companies during the Q&A session. I never realized how stressful it was to be the moderator of a panel discussion, but I truly enjoyed the experience! I got the opportunity to catch Annika for a quick interview after that, and will post that up as soon as I can get the raw files into my computer :)

After a fika break, we were launched into an intensive 4 hour workshop by marketing and branding consultant, Stefan Melljö. It was amazing. During these 4 hours, the teams were swept through the basics of marketing and branding, and worked extensively with their ideas to arrive at interesting, exciting and creative business plans! All (including Stefan!) were left brain dead by the end of the workshop, their heads buzzing with ideas and stuffed with loads of new information. A good dinner soon revived their spirits, however, and before I knew it, the teams soon launched into self-initiated group discussions where they continued to build on their ideas!

As I took the time to talk to the teams and listen to their ideas, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement building up within me. It was amazing - Their creativity, enthusiasm and zeal were infectious, and kept all of us going past midnight. And in the midst of it all, they never failed to have fun :P The last I heard, one of the teams was about to have a short 'Simpsons night' before they drifted off to sleep! In just a few hours, they'll be up and about again, executing their ideas on the streets of Stockholm! :D

So here I am, 4.30am, recounting the day with what energy I have left. This post ain't well written, and it lacks what little linguistic abilities I usually try to display. But I wanted to pen down (or in this case, type down) these feelings before they evaporate into the few hours of sleep that I have left.

To the wonderful participants of SMUS 2010, THANK YOU for coming! I hope you enjoyed today, and I wish you the best of luck for your Challenge! I'm looking forward to your presentations tomorrow already! *keeps both fingers and toes crossed*

Before I end off this post, I'd like to make a special mention to the wonderful people at Blackebergs Gymnasium, without whom this camp couldn't have gone so smoothly. It was past office hours when we finally reached Blackebergs Gymnasium on Friday night (the SMUSies stayed over since Friday in order to get the place in shape for the event), yet the staff - Ismo and Hussein - waited patiently for us to get there, and took pains to run through the entire school system with us when we got there. I personally couldn't be more grateful! Thank you, Marie, Ismo and Hussein! :)

*excited for tomorrow*

Watch this space for more updates!!! :D:D:D

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SMUS Pre-camp @ Södra Latins Gymnasium!

So... Today marked the beginning of StartMeUp@Stockholm 2010, with our pre-camp at Södra Latins Gymnasium!

It was a grueling 4-5 hours, with me torturing the 21 participants and boring them to death, and I'm sure they now want to murder me and abandon the camp itself....

... But to be honest, I had fun. (Maybe even more fun than the participants, since I was the one torturing them :P) I loved seeing the wonderful, creative, ideas that the teams came up with, and had lots and lots of fun just getting to know them! (I hope that I'll still remember all your names next week! >.<)

So now, introducing the 6 SMUS Teams (I hope I got the names right - We were so busy packing up that I forgot to write them down!):
1 - Bambibjörnarnas
2 - 2Cool
3 - Pental
4 - Have you heard about TED?
5 - Little Masters
6 - The Rockers

Funky teams, huh? And what a dynamic bunch of people they are! Our game highlights of the day were the Marshmallow Challenge and the Toilet Paper Challenge - Team games which saw our participants really coming up with some cool, creative stuff :) I also got to learn that some of our participants are rather aggressive sellers and *ahem* not so innocent :P We also got a 'customer complaint' from one of our buyers during the Toilet Paper Challenge, which led to me showing this video about customer support:

To learn more about United's mistake, take a look at this link here:

It was interesting for me, because I'm currently doing customer support in Load Impact, and one of the most satisfying things I've experienced is making an angry customer happy. Even if it means losing a little money, a happy/loyal customer is 10 times more valuable than an upset customer in the long run! But the team still handled it very well anyway, and their negotiation skills are fantastic - They ended up making the most amount of money during the Toilet Paper Challenge! :D Kudos to the team!

Lots of interesting stuff also happened during the camp, and pictures will be posted up soon (to show you guys what you missed!). But meanwhile, here's the 'assignment' that we've thrown out to our 29 participants for the next week, to help you guys prepare for The 20 Hour Challenge:

- Start identifying needs in your everyday life. It can be anything as simple as "I need something to help me track down all my stuff!" or "There are so many beggars around - I need to do something that can help get them off the street!" Try to find about 3 each day (you can probably identify a lot more!), and just scribble them down in your notebook

- Next week, we're going to combine all these ideas in your teams, and you guys will select one idea, work on a solution to this idea, package it and sell it! By the end of the workshops, you will have a business plan :) Over the next 20 hours, you will then execute these business plans, and this time, instead of getting SMUS dollars, you make real money. So bear in mind that you only have 20 hours to execute your solution and make money - don't come up with a product that takes 10 years to develop and manufacture!

- During this one week, you can collaborate with your teammates and make as much preparations as you like. The only requirement is that you cannot take money from your parents/friends, and whatever money you do use will be deducted from your final earnings. Apart from that, you can beg/borrow/steal. Well, maybe not steal. But you get the idea. Oh. And no sex, drugs, or illegal stuff either :P

So what do you have to bring for the camp?
- Sleeping bags/jackets/stuff to keep warm!
- Clothes/toiletries etc... Don't forget your toothbrush!
- Enough money for breakfast/lunch on the 5th Dec

Drop me an sms/call if you have any questions!

And for those who are still interested in participating, it's not too late :P We do have a little bit of space left, so sms/call/email me at the details below NOW so we can try to squeeze you in!

See you next week!
+46 704 27 00 76

P.S: To participants, we'd really appreciate any feedback/comments to you guys might have to help us improve! Please let us know if we can get better in any way!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i don't love God, i just want to love Him

I read a short 'book' over the weekend. It was a sorta sappy love story about how the protagonist feared love, having been hurt so many times, only to realize that the handsome tall dude she met by chance was the one. Her sister, on the other hand, was on her way to getting her third marriage. She ended up ditching the wedding, realizing that she didn't love the guy - she just wanted to love him.

Then, it hit me.

I don't love God. I just want to love Him.

I want someone to rely on, someone to love, someone to be loved by.
Unconditionally, with no expectations, someone who'd forgive me no matter what.
I like the idea of having someone to lean on, someone to call upon when things get too tough.
I admire this God, who is willing to give up so much, willing to die for a worthless speck of dust like me
I look up to this God, filled with wisdom, a source of knowledge for all creation
I would like to learn from Him, be His understudy

Bluntly put, I want the advantages to Christianity, but not the 'relationship' it comes with.

Do I care about Him? Do I want Him? Do I love Him?

I've never once asked, when talking to Him, "Hey God, how're you doing? Is life up there fine? Is it really busy with everyone talking to you? Can you cope?"
I never show concern to him
Neither do I yearn from him when I'm having fun
I don't miss him when I'm out with my friends
I don't love Him
I love the idea of Him

I want to love Him
But I don't love Him

And yet He loves me

It's a one-sided relationship.
And such a relationship is the most painful one in the world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

When life sucks, suck back

It's the small things which make life worth living.

But what if its the small things that disappear?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

When I was young... posted an article about Things I wish I'd known when I was younger.

Amongst them were these:

Most of it doesn’t matter. So much of what I got excited about, anxious about, or wasted my time and energy on, turned out not to matter. There are only a few things that truly count for a happy life. I wish I had known to concentrate on those and ignore the rest.

If you make your work your life, you’re making your life into hard work. Like most people, I confused myself by looking at people like artists and musicians whose life’s “work” fills their time. That isn’t work. It’s who they are. Unless you have some overwhelming passion that also happens to allow you to earn a living doing it, always remember that work should be a means to an end: living an enjoyable life. Spend as little time on the means as possible consistent with achieving the end. Only idiots live to work.

Everything takes twice as long as you plan for and produces results about half as good as you hoped. There’s no reason to be downhearted about this. Just allow for it and move on.

However hard you try, you can’t avoid being yourself. Who else could you be? You can act and pretend, but the person acting and pretending is still you. And if you won’t accept yourself—and do the best you can with what you have—who then has any obligation to accept you?

The loudest noise in the world is the sound of people whining. Don’t add to it.

Being me, I naturally disagreed with 2 things:

I don't feel that the things I've gotten excited about, 'wasted' my time and energy on don't matter. From a big picture perspective, perhaps they don't. But in the lives of the people around me? Maybe. Maybe they won't remember it years from now either. But for that second, that minute, it did. And that's all that matters.

Work is my life. Perhaps, as he puts it, I'm an idiot. But I love my work (and even when it feels crap, all it takes is finding parts of it that I like to do it). And to me, that's enough reason for me to make it my life. It might not always be who I am (I don't exactly want to be known as 'the marketing guy' all my life), but it is what I enjoy doing. We spend 1/3 of our lives working. If we don't love it, then what's the point? I, for one, am not going to spend 1/3 of my life hating what I do! (But then again, that explains why I'm in office at 9pm! :P)

Then again, I'm just being my disagreeable grumpy self :D Or maybe it's because I'm too young :P I don't know, and honestly, it doesn't matter. It'll be great to have a 'textbook' to life which we can follow in order to lead the perfect life, but it's the imperfections that make life seem just perfect.

What say you?

Suddenly, I don't mind going to hell

Last Sunday's sermon was rather thought provoking. Here's the key thought of the week:

When we go to heaven, will we have to give up the things that we like here on earth?

And, by 'things we like', it can be quite a lot of things. For example, we might like to eat. A lot. Okay, so I'm a food person, but I mean, buffets are fun right? And despite the guilty tinge of "I gained too much calories", there's also this sense of immense satisfaction and pleasure at the same time. I don't mean to say that gorging yourself on food all day everyday is a good thing - it's bad for your health, in any case! But stuffing yourself with food once in a while *can* be a very gratifying experience.

Then again, gluttony is a sin. Oops. No more buffets in heaven. How devastating! (Does this mean, by the way, that chocolate is out of the equation too??) Or worse, since we will never be hungry or thirsty, does that mean we'll never get to eat again?? *horrors*

There's a lot of speculation about what we can or can't do in heaven, but one thing is pretty certain though - There will be no sin. There will be no sorrow or pain. Ever.

Sounds good, doesn't it? But hold on a second. Won't that just be absolutely boring? If we think about life and all its ups and downs, isn't it because we've experienced the bad that we can appreciate the good? And if we never sin because our new body just isn't made to sin, then won't we just be a new kind of robot?

I mean, we enjoy moments of being right with God now. But there are times when we break away from this intimacy with Him. And sometimes, we break away from Him on purpose. What happens if we aren't (or don't want to be) role model citizens on heaven? Actually, why do we sometimes have this desire to disobey God? Is it because Satan's minions are luring us away? When these temptations are gone, will we desire wholeheartedly for God? And if we all want to be role model citizens in heaven, aren't we just robots with no choice then?

Are we truly 'free' to bask in God's glory and beauty in heaven? If there is no temptation or freedom to choose to disobey, is this really free choice?

Another scary thought - What if, in the future, you can choose to experience only good or bad? Given that good will be boring and bad would be torturous, I guess I'd go for good. Actually, if I look at it from this perspective, suddenly this world feels like we've got the best of both worlds... literally.

What say you? Shout out your thoughts!

Images by

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

i think i bit off more than I could chew

Have you ever felt that feeling of excitement building up within you when an opportunity presents itself to you? That competitive feeling of "I want to do it!"?

I'm an extremely competitive person by nature. Mind you, that doesn't mean that I actually win or do well. I don't. (In fact, I kinda suck :/) But I like to try anyway, with that teensy weensy hope that someday I'll improve enough to actually do some good in my life.

But anyway, back to the point. Just over a month ago, we received a call asking if we wanted to do an event which would benefit Swedish high school students. I had wanted to work on something similar several months earlier, but dropped the idea because circumstances weren't favorable at the time. I decided to try to put together a team once more, half expecting a flat "no" from those whom I approached. To my surprise, each one of my 'top picks' (i know beggars can't be choosers, but i'm picky, ok??) responded enthusiastically and, within 3 days, the SMUS team was formed!

I have to clarify, though. I wasn't always the leader of the group. In fact, I had half a mind to take a back seat. At the time, I was attending extra entrepreneurship classes for my own learning. My schedule, although not jammed tight with activities, was packed loosely with work from both my companies and my school projects. With SMUS thrown into the equation, I'd be busy, but not that busy if I sat back and took it easy.

But see, I had that "butterflies-in-my-stomach" feeling. The "I wanna do it" itch. So after several days of contemplation, the itchy-fingered me quit my entrepreneurship module and took on the role of 'team leader'.

To be brutally honest, I'm not much of a leader.

In the last 50+ days, I've...
...done a lousy job of managing the team
...managed to piss off every single one of my team members at least once (and some, many times)
...been a grumpy, ungrateful grouch
...not updated my team as regularly as i should have, despite our weekly meetings
...neglected my work at Voxbiblia
...neglected my work at Load Impact

But over the last 50+ days, I've also...
...enjoyed the time i've spent with my team
...gotten the opportunity to see each of my team member's strengths and willpower
...learnt to (silently) appreciate all that my team has done
...found people whom I care about and trust
...been inspired by the Swedish students whom I've had the pleasure of meeting
...had the opportunity to get to know many fantastic people, most of them entrepreneurs

I think i've bitten off more than I can chew. Despite 20 hour workdays, there's still an ever-growing mountain of work to be accomplished. I'm ever grateful to both my companies for being so understanding and supportive. I'm lucky to have met people who are enthusiastic and willing to support and promote this event. And I'm very very blessed to have a team that hasn't ditched me despite me being an awful and inexperienced team leader.

I might be burning both ends of the candle (and probably the bit left in-between). And there have been times when I wish I could just sink into an endless sleep. But at the same time, I've learnt so much in the last 1-2 months. Given the chance to go back in time, I'd still choose do it all over again.

9 more days to the pre-camp! It's a scary thought. What if we can't live up to the expectations of our camp participants? What if we screw it all up during the pre-camp and everyone decides not to come for the camp itself? What if things just turn out horribly horribly wrong?

Yet, at the same time, i'm still grasping tightly to that thread of hope that everything will turn out fine.

It's like running a business, really. It's about chasing the dreams that you believe in. You never really know how its going to turn out. Or what to expect. Yet there's always this feeling of excitement. And so what if we fail? We can always try again. Life's not all about successes. It's about failing, learning to pick yourself up, trying again and becoming stronger in the process.

I've gained a new respect for non-profit workers. How do they do it?? How can they dedicate their lives to working for people who might never even throw a 'thank you' their way??

9 more days to pre-camp. Let's do it! :)

For some reason, this verse popped into my mind...

[silent thanksgiving] Thank You for reigning over this team. For holding the bits and pieces of me together during moments when my scraps have started to disintegrate and fall apart. Thank You for being my pillar of strength and support. For blessing me with the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. Despite my skepticism, disobedience and unworthiness. Some might say that You're but a figment of my imagination. Others might say 'where is He now that the camp is just a week away?". But I've dedicated this camp to You, even if it was just an 'experiment' on my part. No matter how it turns out, You're still in charge. And I already have to much to thank for.[/silent thanksgiving]

p.s: In case you're still wondering, the reason why i'm still at office is because i came back to do my work after the SIME event, received a flood of mails/calls, and before i knew it, i'd missed the last train. So i decided to stay on, work now, and catch my sleep later :P

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I want a coin-operated boy

Eergh. So sorry for the lack of updates friends - It's been one crazy week!

So here's a little post about my secret desire :P

My couchsurfing host introduced me to this song (amongst many others), and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

Isn't it true that we all want a 'coin-operated boy'? We want the world to work like clockwork, to revolve around us so that everything will work when we want it to. How many times have we traded in humans for machines, because it's just more convenient? Because the complications arising from human interaction are just too troublesome to live with?

There are lots of times when I wish I just lived in an automated world. Computers don't talk back. They're efficient. Obedient. Programmed to do things just the way you want it. Low maintenance.

Even though the human element of joy and initiative would be lacking.

Would we give up best, because it's more troublesome?
Would we settle for less, because it's more efficient?

[idle musings] Not believing in Christianity would be so much simpler, wouldn't it? We could do what we like, have no rules to obey, no fuss and no hassle. We just have to give up the joy of being with Him.

Which would you choose? [/idle musings]

More posts to come! :D

Lyrics to Coin-Operated Boy:

Coin operated boy
Sitting on the shelf he is just a toy
But i turn him on and he comes to life
Automatic joy
That is why i want a coin operated boy

Made of plastic and elastic
He is rugged and long-lasting
Who could ever ever ask for more
Love without complications galore

Coin operated boy
All the other real ones that i destroy
Cannot hold a candle to my new boy and i'll
Never let him go and i'll never be alone
Not with my coin operated boy......

This bridge was written to make you feel smittener
With my sad picture of girl getting bitterer
Can you extract me from my plastic fantasy
I didnt think so but im still convinceable
Will you persist even after i kiss you
Goodbye for the last time
Will you keep on trying to prove it?
I'm dying to lose it...
I want it
I want you
I want a coin operated boy

And if i had a star to wish on
For my life i cant imagine
Any flesh and blood could be his match
I can even take him in the bath

Coin operated boy
He may not be real experienced with girls
But i know he feels like a boy should feel
Isn't that the point?
That is why i want a
Coin operated boy
With his pretty coin operated voice
Saying that he loves me that he's thinking of me
Straight and to the point
That is why i want
A coin operated boy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pass on the love


*looks around*

Yes, I know no one missed me. But I had a fantabulous time the past 5 days in Dublin, despite the fact that it wasn't meant to be a pleasure trip.

It started off as a last-minute trip (for reasons which are a little too personal to discuss openly here) that, 5 days before leaving, I was prepared to tear up the plane tickets and ditch. In the end, I decided (as with many things) to leave it up to whether I could find a cheap place to crash for those few nights. I ended up couchsurfing.

I know many people would find the thought of staying with a random stranger dangerous, and I do agree. There are a lot of crazies out there, and staying with one isn't exactly the best way to make it out alive. But I don't regret the decision at all. My host was generous, warm, fun to be with and really lovely to be around.

Over the last 5 days, I...
...was introduced to a whole new world
...enjoyed seeing things from a fresh, new perspective
...exchanged thoughts, ideas and debates
...made a precious new friend

Oh, and I was brought to hell and back :P Literally. Well, then again, hell in this case is a superb pizza place that sells all sorts of devilish-sounding pizzas. They serve the best pizzas I've tasted in a long while! (I ate a serpent btw. If only I had one earlier, maybe we'd still be in the garden of Eden :P If you don't already know about the story of the serpent in the garden of Eden, check it out in Genesis 3 below. Apparently, they had legs or wings in the past...)

But what did I learn most from this trip? To pass on the love. Anyone here familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan? I used to read it and wonder - Who would be so nice to a beaten up guy whom they saw lying on the street? I would, perhaps, call an ambulance and let them take care of the rest. But to pay for his medical bills?? I don't think I have such a big heart.

Here's the full story for the Good Samaritan, for those interested:

Yet, over the last few days, I've experienced exactly this kind of generosity from a various number of people. My host offered me free lodging, spent time taking me around and even treated me to a few drinks/meals. When I lost my wallet on my way back, the kind lady at the counter issued me a bus ticket back to Stockholm for half the price. (Otherwise, I'd still be sleeping at Skavsta Airport at this moment!) Another lady readily took out money to help top up another passenger's bus fare, with no other request except for him to "pass on this favour to the next person who needed help". In all these cases, none of them asked for anything in return. I probably won't even get the chance to meet them again. It was purely out of a giving spirit.

Has someone treated you well recently?
Treated you to a drink, given you a lift home?
Or simply told you a joke that made you laugh?
Next time, instead of just saying thanks, how about passing the love on?
Make an effort - do the same.

Yes, you might have to spend that $10 that you 'saved' from getting that free drink
You might have to go out of your way and spend that few extra minutes
Not expecting anything back
But instead saying - "Just pass it on to the next person who needs it"
Don't you think that the world would be a much better, more beautiful place?

Genesis 3 - The serpent in the garden of Eden

[random musings] I sometimes wish the Bible would be more big on details. Like who wrote it, why, what was the circumstances surrounding it.. As though the Bible isn't thick enough already. Our mind would probably explode, and the Gospel would probably be thicker than an encyclopedia set, but at least the information would be there. Right now, it's so easy to read the Bible like it's a fiction book because so many events in it sound so surreal. Let's not even begin to talk about Genesis - Even the story about Jonah being swallowed by a huge sea creature sounds implausible. Wouldn't Jonah have been digested if he sat in another animal's stomach? Then again, as evolution so conveniently states, the characteristics of creatures have changed over time.. A huge creature with 4 stomachs (like a cow) could certainly have existed, and that could have accounted for it...

But, I digress. How can a human mind fathom so much information in the first place? I can barely begin to fully comprehend the written history of Singapore in depth (which, by the way, is only 45 years old), much less the history of the Bible, which covers details and stories that have been compiled and passed down through the ages. And why is it that we find it so much easier to affirm that what's written in history books is factual, and so quick to exclaim that the Bible is doctored fiction?

Okay, so my random musings are longer than usual this time round. It seems like 5 days has given me lots of time to think...[/random musings]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just for laughs :)

So, since I'll be away for the next few days and might not be able to blog, I thought I'd leave you guys with a few funny videos to cheer you up now that the dark winter months are arriving.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present... the 4 chord song!:

A little special sneak into English, Singlish and all the different accents... courtesy of Ruby Pan! :D (Warning: you might have to watch this a few times to understand this! If you still don't get it after that, let me know and I'll erm, try to explain it to you :P)

And finally, a little birthday song to my dear friend, whose birthday will be here in just 2 days:

Have a great week and weekend guys!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Glee! Where backstabbing, drugs and teenage sex rules!

A few days ago, I posted a clip about Glee's Season 1, with the Glee club dancing to Toxic, ending off with Jane Lynch's outraged "It's a Britney Speares sex riot!"

And then, I decided to (finally) watch Glee, and instantly got hooked.

This show is about dreams.
It's about your high school days, when everything was all about 'being cool' and having a place with the rest of the crowd. It's about love triangles, backstabbing and everything in between. It's about sacrifices, relationships and how sometimes fame and fortune can mean nothing when compared to passion and friendship.

Okay, so the number of extreme characters in this series makes it feel unrealistic at first glance, but bear with it (it gets relatively better as the story goes along), take a closer look and you'll find that there's so much hidden reality to it. And for some strange reason that I can't fathom, there are times when I find myself actually being touched by these strange characters.

And for a lack of any other better reason why you should watch Glee, there's this - these kids are talented.

[random thoughts]
Think back into your high school years -
Have you ever felt like a loser?
Like you didn't fit in anywhere?
Or maybe you were popular, but constantly felt pressured to portray an image that wasn't really you?
What if you were a geek?
What if you weren't pretty enough?
What if you're a 'minority'?

So what?

Isn't being happy enough?
[/random thoughts]

Halloween aftermath!

I somehow missed Halloween completely this year - it's the sad but true story of a girl who stayed in to sleep and recuperate from a week of little/no sleep :P

But I was reading Alan Knox's blog, and he was describing a list of 10 things that scared him, including vampires, werewolves and the like. I was about to glance pa
st it into the next blog when I read this line:
Masks. These are truly scary. I mean, the face on the outside is scary enough, but who knows what the face underneath looks like? The face underneath is the one that I’m scared of.
That hit me. I mean, sure, werewolves and vampires might kill you (if they exist), but I actually think they're kinda cool. I can totally relate to wanting to suck
people's blood :P But masks - this is what kills you while you're alive, stabs you in the back and leaves your writhing in agony without knowing what or why you got hit in the first place.

I find myself sliding behind masks all the time. I'm not very good at wearing them - my eyes normally do a good job of giving away how I feel. So here's a few masks that I most commonly use:

The Devil's Advocate
I probably use this mask the most. It gives me a confidence that I sometimes do not feel, and its strong front protects me fro
m all injuries that might occur in the process. Its fierce features are used to intimidate others who are around me, but the biggest backlash comes from being known as an unf
eeling, horrible person. Which I am, of course.

The Jester
This mask I use in front of relatives and people whom I want to like me. You see, my logic is - if I can't be smart and I can't be strong/powerful, then I can at least be the fool. Anything to make them laugh. Unfortunately, it sometimes doesn't turn out too well and people just get a huge shock instead...

Expressionless face
When someone catches m
e unaware or asks too personal a question, this filter mask instantly slides into place. Really useful when someone wants to probe into your personal secrets....

So there you have it - The top three masks that I find myself frequently using. I'm not proud of it, but they're facades that I find myself slipping into every day, to keep myself within my comfort zone. What about you? What masks to you wear?

But I'm wondering if, at the end of the day when I wipe off all my masks, this is who I see:

This - Just another twisted soul that's been mutilated through time.

[random musings] But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,but the LORD looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) How can God see my heart and still love me? That's just not possible... [/random musings]

Pictures thanks to,, and

Friday, October 29, 2010

"It's a Britney Spears sex riot!"

Okay, I really couldn't resist. I love hip hop dance, and I've a good friend who danced to this very same song in our college days, so it brought back lots of memories :D

Yes, I know. Seductive, complete with suggestive actions and almost obscene gestures. I especially love Jane Lynch's disgusted exclamation, "It's a Britney Spears sex riot!"

A lot of mainstream music videos these days showcase painfully thin singers wearing skin-tight leotards while 'shaking their booties'. When I was a kid, I remember my parents objecting that these videos were disturbing and bordering pornography. But now, such videos are considered the norm. It can't even have been 15 years since that time - what happened?

It's Adam and Eve all again, only now the fruit that provides (more) knowledge of good and evil has a name - The Internet. Gone were the days when TV broadcast channel signals could be blocked out and censored. No, the Internet provides access to everything. And it's cheap (I wouldn't purchase a broadcasting station to watch porn - would you?).

But even with the advent of the Internet, music and dance did not originally go hand in hand. Singers were singers - they didn't have to be dancers as well. People formed bands. They didn't form music-video troupes. But one guy came along and changed all that. He revolutionized the entire music industry and propelled it to where it is today.

And the award for the most phenomenal music and arts person (in my books) goes to....

Yes you guessed it. Michael Jackson. He was a genius. (And I actually think that at stages of his transformation, he was rather cute :P)
Before he came along, music videos could be compared to still photographs. Sure, you'd get to see the singers' lips move, but that was about it. The most movement that a music video got was the Stylistics (think line dance with stiff upper bodies, minimal arm gestures, and no more than two steps in any direction) - that was considered modern.

So, when Michael Jackson came along with his jaw-dropping moonwalk and superb dance moves, the world was thrown into chaos. People's minds were opened to a whole new way of music and video expression. Hip hop, R&B and dozens of other dance genres were spawned through the influence of one man. Of course, along with it came his trademark crotch-grabbing high pitched scream. Who on earth would think that grabbing your crotch and shrieking like a girl would prove to be this popular?

So, what's the point of this post? Absolutely nothing. I just saw that video and had the urge to put it up :P

Pictures thanks to and

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pornography, lust and homosexuality

Three things that we don't discuss in church - Pornography, lust and homosexuality.

This, plus a whole host of other dark and hidden secrets.

Julie Ferwerda wrote a heartbreaking post about how we're killing our brothers a few days back, and when I read it, I couldn't help but feel an immense sadness settle in my heart.

It's true, isn't it, how many of us keep our shameful truths to ourselves, being unwilling to share them with others, especially within the church community. Afraid of being looked down upon and condemned. It's so much easier to talk about the trials that we're facing now, such as the next big exam coming up, or the stress you're facing at work. And even if we do share these secrets with a trusted few, it still doesn't help us overcome it. If the other party can't relate, all they can say is that they will pray. And then comes the process of reporting your progress on how you're dealing with this problem. It's so easy to say "yes, I'm getting better" as compared to "no, I'm still struggling with it. In fact, it's worse now."

People want to hear success stories. If you're going to talk about what you're struggling with, you'd better be sure that you can stand up a few weeks/months later and talk about how you've overcome it. In fact, most people don't even talk about it until after the fact. They deal with these struggles on their own until, like a reformed addict, they can stand up and proclaim that they've 'kicked the habit' to solidify their reformation process. Then people come to congratulate him on his success. No one expects a relapse. No one expects that this person will fall back into the deep end. God has taken over, and there's nothing the devil can do to overturn this victory.

But it's not always like that. Relapses do happen. People do fall. Perhaps the 'disease' went into remission, perhaps a distraction came into your life for a period of time. Perhaps there was a temporary motivation that was strong enough to 'overcome' this sin. But then things just went awry. Maybe you fell in love. With the wrong person. And your world comes crashing down again. But this time, you can't stand up and say that you've fallen. No, it's gotta be a secret. Because to the rest of the Christian community, you've 'recovered', right?

Disease. Such an ugly word, isn't it? We call things like homosexuality and anorexia a disease, but do we really understand how much it hurts the person who is subjected to this label? To not only have to deal with hating yourself for being who you are, but to also have to cope with being given the diagnosis of 'suffering' from this 'disease'.

I felt a similar pressure when I tried to quit smoking. Yes, it's minor compared to the struggle which Julie's reader faced. But it was almost impossible to announce to the rest of the world that I had given up my attempt to quit and that I had started smoking again. I even felt the need to justify why I wanted to smoke. And the next thing that people wanted to know was: When are you going to quit again?

Yes, I fully understand that all this is well meant. People want to see you overcome your weaknesses. Friends want to rejoice with you when you grow stronger. They want to see you 'walking on the right path'. But how can we find a balance between encouraging a person to 'get better' (and what if they don't want to get better?), and discouraging a person from sharing their struggles in the first place?

Tell me, because I have no clue.

Image from Imagine Me & You
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