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 nubiangraphics.com and vanityfair.com

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A true spirit of giving!

I left a comment on John Hobbins' blog, and got an unexpected (but truly pleasant) email from David Ker.

David has worked for more than a decade as a Bible translator (my hats off to him!), and has seen first hand the results of producing a lot of materials but not distributing it. He's now embarked on a mission - to bring this material into the hands of people who need it the most.

Watch this video - It's inspiring, and the kids remind me of how I was, many years ago, firm in my innocent belief in Christ...



I face this same frustration when working in Voxbiblia as well - It feels horrible, knowing that you have access to a huge wealth of information, but being unable to distribute it. Not that we don't want to, but copyright issues make it so difficult to. And yet, the money that Bible translators earn is well worth the sweat, tears, research and precision that they've poured into translating the Scripture. What a bind! :/

Break the boundaries, empower others with the ability to use what is already there!

Shoo! I'm too busy for you!

So, at this point of time, I'm currently working for two companies, organizing an event and (I'm supposed to) fulfill my course requirements. I've been ignoring the last one, because it's not graded yet and I'm uh, procrastinating.

Today, I realized that I've recently adopted this "Go away! I'm too busy to talk to you" attitude to people who aren't particularly high on my 'important' list. Or maybe this attitude has always been there, but is now just emphasized by my seemingly busy schedule. It usually doesn't show to my customers or close friends, but it gets blatantly obvious when it comes to me 'doing someone a favour'.

But if I take two steps back and look at it objectively, I'm not that busy. I still have time to eat, to read and reply some Facebook messages, and sometimes even to read some comics and manga for a good laugh! Rather, I realized that it's my arrogance that gives me this attitude. What arrogance? To put it bluntly, it's the "my time is more valuable than yours - beg me and I might talk to you" arrogance.

Horrible, isn't it? And I used to think that "all these busy CEOs are so rude! They always sound so busy on the phone, and hang up at the first possible instant!" So, it was very much to my dismay when I realized that I was doing exactly the same thing. And I'm not even a CEO.

Horrors. I think it's time for me to take a peg or two down, and start being more humble, and having humility.

humble adjective

Click to hear the UK pronunciation of this wordClick to hear the US pronunciation of this word/ˈhʌm.bl ̩/
not proud or not believing that you are important

humility noun

Click to hear the UK pronunciation of this wordClick to hear the US pronunciation of this word/hjuːˈmɪl.ɪ.ti//-ə.t ̬i/ [U]
the quality of not being proud because you are conscious of your bad qualities

I think that a common fear is that "not believing that you are important" equates to a lack of self-confidence, making a person no more than a doormat. Turns out that's not true. Being humble or having humility is a virtue. It means putting others first, and means that you have confidence in your abilities and your talents. It doesn't mean that you believe you are better than everyone else. It just simply means that you will forge ahead and do the best that you can.

Interesting concept, isn't it? I find it a difficult concept to grapple with, and constantly find myself bordering the line of being too self-depreciatory, or too 'humble' to the point of being arrogant. As the picture above so accurately says, too much humility can turn to pride. Interestingly enough, having humility is a quality that has been mentioned quite a number of times in the Bible. I found this great post by Doug Brittan that talks about humility in the Bible. Will upload it as a Voxbiblia Album later :)

So.. it's time to start practicing this virtue more....

Picture from Inspirationfalls.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So i finally made my own SLR camera!

For those of you who know me, you'd also know (or suspect) that I'm a rather disorganized person. [Personally, I beg to differ - I called it organized mess :P] So when I couldn't find my camera today, I decided to make one!

Turns out it's a little complicated to do, and takes quite nimble fingers to accomplish, but the great side is that it's really really cheap to do. In fact, you can do it with just 20kr, though from experience a $5 USD would probably work better.

How did I do it? Well, take a peep at this video here, recommended by Peek! (Thanks Peek for the cool heads up!)




And then I found my trusty ole canon IXUS 110 IS compact camera,
and decided to take a photo of it :P

Unfortunately, it's a rather shabby, crumbly version of Mijonju's posh version. I did say it takes nimble fingers, didn't I? ;P

Okay, fine, so maybe it doesn't work as well as an SLR camera should,
but it's still pretty cool. And when else can you say "I made my own SLR with just $5!"? :P

Just some tips in case you're thinking of doing this too:
- Use the largest note that you have. Yes, even $50, if you have the cash to spare.
Unless you're very confident of having nimble fingers, don't try this with a $2 note.
- If possible, use a US dollar note. It's long, it's bigger than the Swedish Kroner and Singapore dollar, and it's cheap ;P This means that you won't have to fold the note to adjust for the size, which makes the folding a lot less painful and confusing. (You can trim down the dollar note with a scissors, but do that only
if you're feeling rich. And don't tell the government that you're defacing their property.)
- Use a crisp new note. Otherwise, you're going to start wondering which were the lines you folded. And the end product also looks nicer :D

That's it! Make your own SLR Camera now! :) And if you do, drop me a picture of your new DIY SLR camera :D Let's compare models! :P

[idle musings] Despite being relatively experienced in the art of origami (paper folding), it took me an hour or two to get this down pat. Yet the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth in just 6 days, with all its beauty and intricacy. Either the Bible's lying, or He's got really quick and nimble fingers! [/idle musings]

Friday, October 22, 2010

God is like a cigarette...?

... Is he?

Or rather, do we simply treat God like a cigarette?

I tried to stop smoking for the last 2 days. It was pure torture.

Now first, let me clarify - I'm not a heavy smoker. I smoke on average 3-7 sticks a day, which is too little to even go on a nicotine patch even if I wanted to. But over the last 2 days, I realized that smoking is as much a psychological reliance as a nicotine drain. The only thing that kept me going for the 2 days was really the encouragement and support of my friends, but when the stress kicked in, I simply gave in to the want for a puff (which I didn't really need).

This made me remember a comment that my friend made several years back:
"Isn't God just something that people 'use' when they need something to rely on?"
I remember instinctively arguing back, only to end my discourse with a stammer. Why do we so desperately want to believe in God? Any god, for that matter. Most people who claim to be atheists are actually agnostics, because a part of them still wishes that there was something out there to rely on.

Tell me, friends: When things are going bad, isn't it wonderful to be able to feel that someone is watching over us? That someone loves us, no matter how bad we are? When life is beautiful, don't we (occasionally) want someone to share this joy with? To feel that someone is walking beside you along the twisted, narrow path? That someone is there to shoulder your sorrow and double your happiness?

Isn't that the reason why we're all, somehow, looking for love?

So maybe my title is wrong. Maybe God isn't like a cigarette.

Maybe He's better.

But. Is there a God? Or is He just something we create because we need something to rely on?


Graphics taken from http://weird-funnythings.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Counting my blessings






There are times in my life when I sit down and start counting my blessings, and I realize that I've got to be the most blessed person in the world.

Coming to Sweden, I never dreamt I'd make any friends here, much less close friends whom I truly treasure, love being with, love working with. These people have held me up when I was falling, cared for me when I was down at out, kept me going when I couldn't hold my head up, and lent me a shoulder when I needed it most. But more than that, they have shared my joys, tolerated my childishness, withstood my tantrums and have made my life here whole.

I sat thinking about about the past 10 months here, and had this urge to start writing down the ways in which I've been blessed, and the memories that I hold dear to me. After writing for almost 2 hours, I realized that I couldn't finish writing them down, even though I only wrote the key highlights of each incident, and skipped a lot of beautiful memories in between. I'm truly blessed.

But the more I wrote, the more reluctant I was to post this up here. It's rather selfish of me, but I didn't want to publish the private memories I had with my friends on this particular blog. It didn't feel quite right. So I shifted it over to another blog, but decided to leave this excerpt here as my way of saying thank you to the wonderful people who have made the past few weeks of my life so memorable:

Do you remember...

... when we started on SMUS? The team came together in less than a week - a team more than I could ever hope for or dream of. Not knowing whether it would be possible, we all decided to give it a shot in the dark. Within weeks, we started to firm up our plans. I feel so privileged to be able to 'lead' this team, despite my inexperience and incapability. More than just working for this event, you guys have supported me. Not only the SMUS team, but all the people that have heard about this event and have helped to spread it so far. Lennart, Gunilla, Therése, Andreas, Stefan, Brian, Gustav, Olle, Oscar, Jessica... So many people who have heard about it and are trying to support it in whatever way they can! It has made me want to work harder, to pour more energy into this project, to try. I still don't know whether we'll make it, or whether the camp participants will love it, or if anyone will even sign up for it. But what I do know for sure - this journey that we've undertaken is already worth it, even before we've run half the race.
Because you guys made it worthwhile.

And this is only a small bit of the precious memories that I've had in the past few weeks! Again I say, I'm truly blessed.

So, my friends, thank you for believing in me, for overlooking my mistakes, for just being there. It's because of you guys that I can keep running this race.

[random musings] It's times like this when I can't help but wonder why I doubt the existence of God. It's as though God's sent an angel to watch over me, to make sure that there's always someone/something there for me to fall back on whenever I'm hitting my limit. Some people call it chance, others call it luck, but isn't luck just the world's way of denying God's existence? [/random musings]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweden's good product design - The invisible helmet

So, I happened to come across Sweden's invisible helmet.

Yes, you heard me right. An invisible helmet.

Pretty neat stuff ain't it? I wouldn't, however, bet my life on this thing. Especially not for $3000!! Looking at the crash test in the video, it looks like the user would have to worry more about the head rebounding and the neck snapping, but I guess that's still better than not wearing a helmet!

So here's kudos to good product design! Now to wait for the motorcycle helmet version to appear...

Days when you feel like strangling your customer...

For those of you that have just arrived at this blog, here's a little about what I do: As part of my entrepreneurship learning journey under the NUS Overseas College in Stockholm, I'm an intern at two startup companies in Sweden, Voxbiblia and Load Impact. Both are pretty cool companies, and I love the learning and variety get while working both jobs.

One of the things that I do (and love doing) is customer support. I love receiving an angry mail, and turning the customer into a happy and satisfied one. That being said, you can't always get a satisfied customer at the end of the day. You can appease your customer, you can lose a customer, but you can't always get them to leave with a glowing smile on their face. Those are the days that leave me feeling down. Then there are the customers where you have to try, really try to keep from strangling. I was reading Chris Tilling's blog, and while I don't know how true this story is, it's worth a good laugh!

"This is a true story from the Word Perfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department. Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the Word Perfect organization for 'Termination without Cause'.

Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee ...:

Operator:
'Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?'

Caller:
'Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect.'

Operator:
'What sort of trouble??'

Caller:
'Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.'

Operator:
'Went away?'

Caller:
'They disappeared.'

Operator:
'Hmm So what does your screen look like now?'

Caller:
'Nothing.'

Operator:
'Nothing??'

Caller:
'It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type.'

Operator:
'Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out??'

Caller:
'How do I tell?'

Operator:
'Can you see the C: prompt on the screen??'

Caller:
'What's a sea-prompt?'

Operator:
'Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?'

Caller:
'There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type.'

Operator:
'Does your monitor have a power indicator??'

Caller:
'What's a monitor?'

Operator:
'It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.
Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on??'

Caller:
'I don't know.'

Operator:
'Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??'

Caller:
'Yes, I think so.'

Operator:
'Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall.

Caller:
'Yes, it is.'

Operator:
'When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one??'

Caller:
'No.'

Operator:
'Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.'

Caller:
'Okay, here it is.'

Operator:
'Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer.'

Caller:
'I can't reach.'

Operator:
'Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is??'

Caller:
'No.'

Operator:
'Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over??'

Caller:
'Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark.'

Operator:
'Dark??'

Caller:
'Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.'

Operator:
'Well, turn on the office light then.'

Caller:
'I can't.'

Operator:
'No? Why not??'

Caller:
'Because there's a power failure.'

Operator:
'A power......... A power failure? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now.
Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in??'

Caller:
'Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.'

Operator:
'Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.'

Caller:
'Really? Is it that bad?'

Operator:
'Yes, I'm afraid it is.'

Caller:
'Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them??'

Operator:
'Tell them you're too f---ing stupid to own a computer!!!!!'
Kids, don't do this at home! :P

Pictures @ Södra Latin! Don't miss it! :)

I promised pictures, didn't I? :) So here they are! We only managed to get 4 decent pictures due to the lighting, and 2 are rather grainy. But that's where my photoshop skills are limited to, so please bear with them!

I must remember to borrow a good dSLR for the next presentation we make!

So these are the photos that my 'fanclub team members' took while I was presenting at Södra Latins Gymnasium. If you're from Södra Latin and managed to spot yourself in any of the photos, please go to our Facebook page and tag yourself on the photo! We'd love to know who you are :) And for those who were present but didn't manage to get yourself in the photo, tag yourself in the background anyway :P Or send a pretty pic of yourself to our email, and we'll do a collage of all you wonderful people! :)


Lennart kindly introducing us to the audience!
And what an inspiring audience they are! (Yes, they're inspiring - they recharged my energy!)

Do you spot yourself? If you do, tag yourself on our Facebook page! :D

Uh. So that's me. It's amazing to see that no one's fallen asleep (yet) with me at the mic! *grins*

Meet the SMUS team! Char isn't here though - but we'll put up more pics with pics of us! (We're starting to call ourselves 'the smusies' - do you think that makes us sound like druggies? :P)

I know all my friends in Singapore are wondering "Why are Swedes all so pretty/handsome??" :P Jealous? Come over to Sweden and see the wonderful 'scenery' for yourself! :D

Friday, October 15, 2010

Södra Latin, you guys rock! :D

I just came back from a wonderful presentation to Södra Latin Gymnasium. No, it's not a gym. Gymnasium is Swedish for High School. And, my friends, this was one bunch of high schoolers that I'll never forget.

I went there feeling rather nervous - I mean, a presentation to 400 students is no laughing matter, and this would be the first time we would begin our official publicity of StartMeUp@Stockholm (SMUS). I was scared! What if they don't like me? What if they all fall asleep? But as we walked towards the school, my whole team was so supportive and encouraging, it felt like the sky could fall down and they'd hold it up for me :P Thanks team! :)

A little background on whom we were presenting to - A few of the students in Södra Latin organize these weekly Friday get-togethers, to show off their talents and skills while spending time together for 30 minutes. This was the crowd that we were supposed to reveal SMUS to(mostly specializing in the Arts). 400 of them.

So we were ushered into this amazing auditorium - It was cozy, seemingly small, but so beautiful! It reminded me of the chapel back in my high school in Singapore, Methodist Girls' School. It felt like home.

Then one of the students did her sound check for the solo she was going to sing later. A beautiful piece that (I believe) she composed. Her melodic voice trickled into the air, her crystal clear tones accompanied by the plucking of her guitar filling the auditorium. Mesmerizing. I wish I'd gotten the opportunity to speak to her afterwards, but unfortunately, I didn't get the chance.
But to the talented artiste who gave a beautiful solo, if you do somehow get to read this - Thank you! With that one song, all my fears were washed away. And if you are reading this, please drop me a mail so I can thank you in person! I'd love to feature your song on my blog and/or our SMUS website :)

Then came rehearsals for the dance team, which did a great shindig to the song 'Let's Dance' by Lady Gaga. It was at that moment that I felt like I was being transported right back to my high school days, where I'd watch my talented friend do her thing on stage. I whooped and cheered like the rest of them, and felt several years of 'grown-up-ness' drop away in that one instant. I was sixteen again :P (All goes to show that you don't need botox to stay young!)

11 o'clock came. We glanced towards the doors closing us in this surreal sanctuary and got a shock. People were queuing up outside! It was like fans waiting to enter a rock concert, or people waiting to get into a popular club on Friday night! I was stunned. When they opened the doors, the students flooded in, scrambling to get a seat with the best view possible. It didn't matter if they had to sit on the floor - They just wanted in! The air was pulsating with an energy that I haven't felt in a long time (or maybe it was just the music blasting through their fantastic sound system) - The excitement emanating from the students was infectious.

"Gooood morgon, Södra Latin!!"

Students cheered, lights flashed, and the entire auditorium came alive.

And before I knew it, it was our turn to go up to speak.

"Tjena!" (Yo! in Swedish) said I with my English/Mandarin accent, to the amusement of my patient audience.

But they were nice people, not holding a grudge against me mutilating their language. And I was off, talking about StartMeUp@Stockholm.

I've never spoken to a more wonderful and responsive crowd than these youths before. They were amazing! They actually looked like they wanted to listen. All the tiredness from sleepless nights and working 20 hour days melted away, and I was rejuvenated by their overwhelming response.

We ended the presentation and continued to watch their programme, enjoying every split second of it. The atmosphere, their enthusiasm, their joy. It recharged me. I left the auditorium brimming with renewed hope.

We sat down for a meeting with their principal, Lennart Kågestam, afterwards. I felt like thanking him profusely, over and over. Lennart has played an important role since the initiation of StartMeUp@Stockholm. Enthusiastic and supportive, always offering whatever help he can give. Thanks Lennart! We couldn't do this without you! (I wonder... did being around such wonderful students gave him such enthusiasm, or was it the other way around? ;)

I couldn't help grinning for hours after that! Södra Latin, you rock! :D

And lastly, I have God to thank. It's not very Swedish of me, this part of my post. But when I first decided to step up as the 'leader' of this amazing SMUS team, I decided to dedicate this project to Him. And He's been good, every step of the way!

(Pictures will be posted up when I get it! Watch out for them!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things women should stop saying to men

So, after writing my post Dear God, you might want to reconsider your strategy, I did some blog catching up and discovered the Manslater post on Julie Ferwerda's blog! (Thanks Julie for your superb posts!)



It's funny how women like to give indirect answers, and have this knack of asking questions that are simply impossible to answer, isn't it? So here's the top 3 questions that we girls should never ask a man, and guys (and other gals) should just run away when they hear these questions :P

"Do I look fat in this?" This question is an absolute nono. If the guy replies "Absolutely not! You look fine!", the woman would just say "You're just lying to make me feel better". But if the guy replies "Erm, well, maybe you should try something else", the woman gets all upset anyway.

"Would you like me to cook dinner for you tonight?" Ahh, that's another trick question. Say 'yes', and and you might get a "But I'm always cooking! I'm tired!" reply, but say 'no' and you'll definitely get a "So you don't like my cooking??" response.

"What's wrong? I know something's wrong." You just can't get out of this one - if you say nothing's wrong, she complains you don't confide in her. And there really might be nothing wrong!

But I wonder why we don't ask God such questions. Instead, we seem to take an accusatory stance when it comes to communicating with God. I wonder what He would say...

"Why did you make me fat?"
God: Because I think you're beautiful that way.

"Why didn't food just drop from the sky?"
God: They used to, but you guys kinda messed up when you ate the fruit from that forbidden tree...

"Why does everything go wrong? Why can't everything be perfect?"
God: So that you can grow, be stronger, and really appreciate the good things I've given you in life! And also because you ate the fruit from that forbidden tree....

"Aww, stop harping on it God. It's eaten. It's not like we can spit it out now..."

[random thoughts] If we do think that way, do we really love God? Or is He just someone whom we want around so we have someone to blame and lean on? [/random thoughts]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear God, you might want to reconsider your strategy!

"I don't want to be the first to sms him/her all the time.. What if I sound too interested?"

Sounds familiar? I know of quite a few people who play that game. It's a power play in the game of relationships - wanting to feel wanted while not wanting to show that you're overly interested in another person. It's a "If I show that I love you more, maybe you'll lose interest in me and start to take me for granted" or a "What if he/she starts to find me annoying, and stops talking to me??" thing.

For some, it continues all the way through the relationship, even after you have affirmed your mutual feelings for each other. For others, this game's only played in the initial flirting/dating/getting-to-know stage. And I guess, if I'm to be really honest, I sometimes play that game too.

But do we really need to play this game? What's wrong with showing affection when you want to? Are we just too proud to show that we're needy? Are we going to play this game all our lives?

Imagine if God decided to start playing this game. You'd never know if He really loved you, so you'd want his affection and try to gain his attention more. Effective, right? But no, He decided to say "I love you unconditionally. All the time. Forever and always. I'll even prove that by sending my son down to die as payment for what you've done wrong. It's irreversible, and I know that, but I do love you, so I'll do it anyway."

Maybe that's the reason why we take Him for granted, and only go bawling to him when we need help.

Dear God,

You might want to reconsider your strategy of showing your affection. I'm not sure your "I love you unconditionally" strategy is working out too well. You might want to consider playing this little game, called the "maybe I love you" game. It seems to work out for some people, so maybe it'll work for you too.

Best
Chris

You think?

Why you should NOT get a PhD

So The Atlantic Wire published a post about whether it's worth getting into debt to go to Yale(Thanks Charles for the tip!), and concluded that YES - Yale is worth the money you pay to go in, even if you have to go into debt!

Strange, don't you think, how schools and universities have become so commercialized that people don't judge it by the content that it provides to students, but by the network and branding of the school. Similarly, many people, when employed, are not judged by their potential and abilities, but by that piece of paper stating which school you've graduated from.

How many of us buy into this "school branding" theory? Does graduating from a good university (or even graduating at all) really speak of the quality of a person? Why should it? Why do so many people spend years pursuing this 'paper chase', in order to land a comfortable job? I've even heard of this guy who keeps taking degree after degree, just to add to that (already) long string of letters after his name...

Then again, HR people would say that they have just too many applicants, and the fastest way of sorting them out would be to first look at the paper qualifications of a person. But I say - If you're willing to spend so many extra years of your prime chasing after a piece of paper, you can't be that smart :P In fact, a professor of mine used to say that PhD stands for Permanent Head Damage, and I think that, in some ways, that's quite true! (PHD students, please don't kill me!) Let me substantiate why:

The academic world is very different from the working world. Unless you intend to be a professor of sorts and forever stay within the academic world, a PhD would be useless. Why? Because if you intend to step into the reality of the working world, there's so much more than 'just having knowledge'. After all, in today's day and age, there's Google. And Wikipedia. With just a few taps on the keyboard, everyone knows everything.

On the other hand, there's being street smart. And the successful execution of ideas. Without these, ideas - no matter how brilliant - are useless. How many researchers have managed to arrive at great technologies, only to find that they do not have the skills to bring these ideas into the market? (I'm not saying it's bad to be a researcher, by the way - I'm just trying to show how being locked up in a academic environment might not be so healthy for people. So researchers, please keep researching! You're doing great work! Just remember to step outside your lab once in a while to get a fresh breath of air :P)

Higher education also tends to lock people's minds into a certain way of thinking. Granted, these thoughts have been proven to work over the years, but these thoughts are also what tends to place people 'in the box'. To me, schools are like factory outlets: Everyone comes out looking like they've been imprinted with roughly the same circuit board, with a few tweaks to suit the current environment.

But back to university branding. Is going to Yale so important for your career? What if, by going to an obscure university, you learn far more in terms of content and applicability than what you get from going to a branded university? Would you go to that university? Why do we perceive Ivy League schools to be of such high value (and pay obscene sums of money to get there), when what we really get out of it is really the same (or maybe even worse) than what you might get out of a humble local university? Granted, these schools are prestigious because being accepted means you have a certain level of intelligence, but then the value added to a person is no credit to the universities anyway.

Is getting a piece of paper from a prestigious school really that great?

[random thoughts] And what of church branding? Do we need to have a great music team, comfy seats and a first class sound system to package the church and attract people to come? Isn't the core essence of church, God? And shouldn't the key focus of a church be spent on nurturing and rooting people in God's will? Why all this glitz and glamour surrounding churches then? Wouldn't this money be better spent in outreach and fostering the growth of its people? [/random thoughts]

Picture courtesy of zazzle.co.uk
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