Wednesday, December 31, 2008


the last month of 2008 passed with a kind of 'calmed frenzy'. on one hand there was a lot of things going on, and on the other hand, i've found time to sit down, watch dvds (gossip girl OC lost), read lots of books (obama's audacity of hope, twilight x 4 books, tales of beedle the bard, chick lits), and journal about my year that has just passed and really think about how the Lord has been with me and that He has been faithful when i so do not deserve His faithfulness.

well, a good part of dec was spent in japan, one of my favourite countries in the world. it was my 2nd time in tokyo and hakone, and 1st time in kyoto. travelling free&easy with parents in a busy cosmopolitan city is no easy feat. and i'm glad i survived it with much prayer and trust in the Lord. :) sounds bad, but it really was. but the trip had many good things about it too. i really love japan and i basked in the things i love about it. and i got to shop one day in tokyo on my own, which i'm really really thankful for. and i got time to catch up with my sis after not seeing her for 5 months.


when i returned, suddenly, christmas concerts in Bethany was just literally around the corner! it was so packed that i hardly had time to breathe and decompress from the trip. and soon it was last minute revising of actions and lyrics, followed by rehearsals and all. when the concerts were finally over i felt a little sad, knowing that it will be my last time singing with the youth choir, whom i have grown to love a lot. well must always look forward to good things. so it's young adults' group and one voice in 2009. and many more years to come.

last minute christmas shopping and wrapping of gifts and writing of cards is always a tradition every year for me. well, 'cos i'm such a procrastinator. but christmas eve dinner with the family was a nice affair, as usual. this year we walloped 5 bottles of alcohol, probably a record.

christmas service and lunch at the shang this year was good! i really appreciated pastor's message that morning, in a world full of gloom and recession and global warming, it's always amazing to be reminded of the hope that we have in the Lord. :) and this christmas i'm extra happy because of my 2 friends D and D, who not only went for service and lunch, and also our annual gathering at joel's after lunch. and knowing that they enjoyed themselves and in fellowship with our friends from Bethany, and have been encouraged by the sharing session that we had and the songs we sang, is truly pure joy that the Lord brings to my heart. and that God answers prayers.

well before i know it, it's now the last hour of 2008. it's hard to summarize all i have here, because so much has happened over the year and i can safely declare that my year has been a really good one. i've been thoroughly blessed, well taken care of, provided for and so much more. i made it through my FYP, graduated, went into NIE, made new friends, grown in my faith, travelled so much and most of all, obama won the election! haha.

however, i know the world is in turmoil. and many events have happened that just shocks you to the core. natural disasters, always a common fixture. effects of global warming felt everywhere. political unrest in thailand, america, indonesia, japan, malaysia, zimbabwe, israel-gaza, taiwan. terror attacks in mumbai and the lost of a singaporean life. greedy CEOs begging for the people's money to save their companies while travelling in private jets. greedy man who cheated charities of billions of dollars. the collapse of once-powerful investment firms. retirees losing their pension funds within seconds.

well it's unthinkable, but a truly amazing thing that we can have hope despite all these. that we can trust that all is well, that we can rejoice with the truth, that God is with us. and that

"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

have a blessed year ahead. :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

twilight. :)

cast of twilight.
(l-r): rob (edward), elizabeth (esme), kellan (emmett), peter (carlisle),
nikki (rosalie), kristin (bella), ashley (alice), jackson (jasper),
cam (james), edi (laurent), taylor (jacob), rachelle (victoria)


now now. this is one of the best looking cast of a movie, ever. and young too! most of them are my age or younger. (darn i AM getting older.)

twilight has given me a lot to think about. and i know some people who come to this blog have not finished all 4 books, so i, being a good friend, shall not post spoilers. i shall collect my thoughts and post them in due time. so all you people who are still reading twilight-breaking dawn, read faster!

well, for the skeptics, the entire twilight saga actually offers much more than the teenage romance-vampire lusts-edward cullen fanatics. it raises questions on morality, mortality/immortality, free will, love, feminism, good vs evil etc. many profound questions can be asked, or at least, i asked. i like such stimulating books.

but of course, a handsome cast is always good. rob pattinson has definitely reached heart-throb status and i can understand. J and i often go light-headed seeing him in those gorgeous wayfarers and that dazzling half-smile. :) and it's good to mention that he reminds us of james dean, who's equally gorgeous.

this prompted vanity fair's contributing editor james wolcott to write:

"When Pattinson’s Edward emerges in the school parking lot, wearing sunglasses and slinging his arm around Bella, he’s the troubled 50s adolescent of fast cars and rebel cool reincarnated—the James Dean of the undead, with a jot of the Dylanesque."

ahhh, how true.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the liberal arts.

an article written by michael roth on huffington post struck me and made me think about the current state of singapore education's system, and our way-too-often-comparisons with the american education system.

i don't know if people (other than americans) know about the liberal arts colleges that america offers as an alternative to the conventional universities. my own understanding of these colleges and their curricula is limited, fueled only by the occasional mention of it on american television and movies. well this article attempts to summarize the benefits of a liberal arts education in the changing face of what the world demands of its educated citizens, prompted by the fact that many of the top brains that obama has chosen for his cabinet are schooled in the ways of liberal arts colleges.

well some months ago, the press reported that NUS was in talks to set up a new liberal arts college. well that's good news. any diversification of the education system is always good news. to step away from the one-track mind that the path to success in life is through the Os, As, and universities. i like especially the school of the arts, NUS high school, the sports school.

but more importantly, i wonder if the curricula of a liberal arts college, or at least its themes and visions can be applied at the secondary and JC levels of education. i wonder if we can attract our students to look beyond the facts, numbers, equations and grades. and focus on the why and how. the philosophies. psychology. sociology. the human aspects of what we study. the driving force behind inventions and scientific discoveries and great literary works and art (montmarte artists high and drunk on absthine does NOT count). to be able to teach the way DNA was discovered, and the tremendous impact it has on us even before delving into the names of the nitrogenous bases, the properties of DNA and the enzymes involved in DNA replication.

What's a Liberal Arts Education Good For?

Over the next few months, in homes across America, seventeen and eighteen-year-olds will be conferring with one another and with their parents about a life changing decision: What college to go to! After months of research, visits, and advice from "experts," these young men and women must now decide: Where will I be happy? Where will I make friends? Where will I get an education I can afford now, and an education that will remain valuable for years after graduation?

In this same time period, our government officials will be deciding where an investment in America's economic infrastructure will do the most good. Commentators from different political perspectives have often noted that one of the great advantages of America is its peerless higher education system. Although other sectors have diminished international roles, higher education in this country continues to inspire admiration around the globe. When politicians talk about this, they often emphasize the research output of large universities, but the focus should also be on American undergraduate liberal arts education. Liberal arts in the USA provide not only a pipeline of talented and prepared students to the great graduate schools, but also a model for life-long learning that other countries are beginning to emulate.

But in these challenging times, what's an education in the liberal arts good for?

Rather than pursuing business, technical or vocational training, some students (and their families) opt for a well-rounded learning experience. Liberal learning introduces them to books and the music, the science and the philosophy that form disciplined yet creative habits of mind that are not reducible to the material circumstances of one's life (though they may depend on those circumstances). There is a promise of freedom in the liberal arts education offered by America's most distinctive, selective, and demanding institutions; and it is no surprise that their graduates can be found disproportionately in leadership positions in politics, culture and the economy. A quick look at several members of President-elect Obama's leadership team can stand as an example of how those with a liberal arts education are shaping the future of our society.

What does liberal learning have to do with the harsh realities that our graduates are going to face after college? The development of the capacities for critical inquiry associated with liberal learning can be enormously practical because they become resources on which to draw for continual learning, for making decisions in one's life, and for making a difference in the world. Given the pace of technological and social change, it no longer makes sense to devote four years of higher education entirely to specific skills. Being ready on DAY ONE, may have sounded nice on the campaign trail, but being able to draw on one's education over a lifetime is much more practical (and precious). Post secondary education should help students to discover what they love to do, to get better at it, and to develop the ability to continue learning so that they become agents of change -- not victims of it.

A successful liberal arts education develops the capacity for innovation and for judgment. Those who can image how best to reconfigure existing resources and project future results will be the shapers of our economy and culture. We seldom get to have all the information we would like, but still we must act. The habits of mind developed in a liberal arts context often result in combinations of focus and flexibility that make for intelligent, and sometimes courageous risk taking for critical assessment of those risks.

The possibilities for free study, experimentation and risk taking need protection and cultivation. Looking around the world, we find no shortage of thugs who desecrate or murder those who seek to produce a more meaningful culture. And here at home we can easily see how mindless indifference to the contemporary arts and sciences facilitates the destruction of cultural memory and creative potential.

America's great universities and colleges must continue to offer a rigorous and innovative liberal arts education. A liberal education remains a resource years after graduation because it helps us to address problems and potential in our lives with passion, commitment and a sense of possibility. A liberal education teaches freedom by example, through the experience of free research, thinking and expression; and ideally, it inspires us to carry this example, this experience of meaningful freedom, from campus to community.

The American model of liberal arts education emphasizes freedom and experimentation as tools for students to develop meaningful ways of working after graduation. Many liberal arts students become innovators and productive risk takers, translating liberal arts ideals into effective, productive work in the world. That is what a liberal education is good for.

We were surprised last week to hear reports from several liberal arts colleges and universities that they had seen significant increases in 'early decision' applications. At Wesleyan, we were up almost 40%, an increase none of us on the staff would have predicted. Early decision applicants have already decided that if they are accepted at the one school to which they apply in the fall, they will attend that school the following year. Many of the highly selective schools like Wesleyan have robust financial aid programs, accepting students regardless of their ability to pay. In my next post, I'll write more about issues of affordability even with financial aid.

In these turbulent economic times, it appears that students want to know as quickly as possible if they are going to be able to attend their first choice school. Many of our talented high school seniors are doubtless deciding that the significant investment of time and money in a liberal arts education will give them the capacity for a sustainable and creative future. Perhaps they have something to teach us!

Friday, November 28, 2008

hello, gorgeous.

my newest friend.
the macbook 2.4 GHz intel core 2 duo, 4GB memory,
250GB hard drive and the glass multi-touch trackpad.

thursday was an interesting day. actually so was wednesday.

wed was a day of going back to NIE and getting a project done. then i met with C and D for some drinks at xin wang at siglap and laughed the entire afternoon away.

(which job allows me to be paid and have holidays for 1 month plus?)

thursday was a day of crowds, which left me with a splitting headache after it all. first was the insane charles&keith warehouse sale crowd which was already packed by 11am. all these singaporeans like no need to work like that. :| me and XH managed to get some really good bargains and headed for lunch with M near her new workplace. :) then i met up with the biochem boys to scour the IT fair at expo.

hence, hello my new best friend. :) it looks totally sleek and beautiful. and i'm so glad that V and i managed to convert 2 of the boys to mac. now they are the proud owners of the beautiful iMac desktops. and J went all crazy for the credit card roadshows, signing at least 4 new cards at different banks. and he carted home so many freebies that would surely make his mama proud. and my mama too. so head to the fair if you want freebies! contact J if you can't find the booths. :)

so a week of shopping means this week will be dedicated to many new books to read (some chick lits, obama's 1st book, bourdain's latest book etc.), new dvds to watch (alias s5, lost s3, some movies), a new laptop to explore, new CDs to listen to, a wardrobe to clean out and catching up on readings and prep for YC and christmas and songs to memorise for the concerts.

sounds like a plan.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

retail therapying.

ok so the batam trip didn't materialise. which was met with a half-hearted sadness, having spent many many dollars helping the singapore economy grow this weekend. (1 bag, 1 dress, 2 tops, 1 book, 1 magazine, 1 pair of shoes, 4 CDs - david cook, john coltrane, sting, johnny cash, 2 DVD TV boxsets, 2 movie DVDs). in my defense, 90% of my loot is discounted heavily. :)
anyways thanks to J our batam trip has been miraculously transformed to a paintball trip, a BBQ+wii+games+rock band overnighter. yay.

(just realised my 4 new CDs are really a strange mix. eclectic. sounds nicer.)

my service learning project is over! in the midst of the planning frenzy and all the last-minute drama, all my frustrations were replaced with joy and love for the sweet children i met over the course of the 2 days. and i admit i play favourites with children that are lovely and cute and sweet and some who say the darnest things.

(in response to a boy who was throwing tantrums at the reception area) this girl looked up nonchalantly from her drawing and colouring and remarked,
"i feel like throwing naughty children down the rubbish bin... and flush them down the toilet."

someone please slap me if i spend anymore money before my japan trip (with the exception of c&k warehouse sale).

and speaking of trips, berlin photos are here. :)

the brandenberg gate in its sun-shined glory. :)

yummy breakfast at a breakfast joint opposite the train station.

the amazing marble artwork on the pillars of the entrance to the Reichstag. the reichstag first housed the parliament of the german empire, before hitler wrecked havoc, overthrew the government, declared dictatorship and you know the rest. reichstag was burnt down to the ground during the nazi years and they rebuilt it.

the roof of the reichstag.

the inside of the dome. amazing architecture.

the glass roof of the dome on the reichstag building. so beautiful.

this is currywurst, everyone. german sausages with curry powder and tomato sauce. really really good. road-side and delish. :)

the WWII memorial. in the middle of the city.

an old church in the shopping district of berlin. it's partially destroyed by the war, bombed by the allied forces. they left the destroyed bits as they were, perhaps as a reminder of the horrors.

shian, my dear friend on attachment in berlin, showed us around and brought us around for good food and provided free accomm. :) and my banana beer, oh-so-good part 1.

this is oh-so-good part 2. pork knuckle! my travel mates and i were already dreaming of this, german beer and german sausages before we even came to germany. :) :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the end of madness!

the ground of the WWII memorial
berlin, germany

my semester is over! well short of one final comm skills lesson tmr, and 3 assignments to complete over the holidays, but still! i'm in the midst of the OC season 2 dvd marathon. boy, do i miss it. and i just finished studio 60 on the sunset strip on dvds. and the subtitles help with the rapid-fire dialogue, so i'm quite glad to bask in aaron sorkin's genius writing since the west wing ended.

well this holidays i'm looking forward to the sister being back from all her travels and finnish work and tell me all her stories. plus christmas! i love the songs for this year's concert, as always. and learning choreo for big dance numbers are always tiring but i shall press on and find my youthful energy again! there's also a batam trip, a japan trip, and a pending bangkok and hongkong trip. yay. with trips-planning comes thinking about past trips.

germany photos are akan datang!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


i'm becoming a huffingtonpost addict. my routine has become: open firefox, check gmail, check facebook, check huffingtonpost, check google news, check what day it is (for new TV episodes).

i remember starting to read huffpost back in 2006, when then-creator and exec-producer of brothers & sisters jon robin baitz used to blog there. then i discovered many actors and directors who also write there and how good they are! then i discovered huffpost's other sections which are such interesting reads. from fashion and style to entertainment to watchamacallit. then i discovered (after my west wing marathons) huffpost's left-leaning, bush-bashing tendencies.

then i discovered their amazing coverage (though lefty) of the elections. well that just about tops it all and made me go back and check everyday. also 'cos everyday sarah palin does something or says something so ridiculous that i have to go there for the videos.

anyways, now is all about senate races, prop 8, the congo civil unrest, the economy, the president-elect filling his administration, the GOP in tatters, palin talking about a 2012 run (you must be joking RIGHT?)


i'm supposed to be doing my final assignment for the semester. my cramps are getting the better of me, giving me an excuse to do rubbish things like surf huffpost and play traveler's IQ on facebook. and write rubbish here.


in the wake of the elections, i've been reading articles on michelle obama. i'm mesmerised by her not because she's pretty, but by her grace and poise. her intelligence (princeton and harvard), her love for her kids, for her husband. and most of all, her sense of style. :)

she has worn many pretty dresses that flatter her pear shape and are affordable. none of the $150,000 spree at saks 5th ave. i love that she mixes and matches separates, and even when the cameras are on her 24/7, she mixes them up and has no qualms wearing the same jacket with different bottoms and a different brooch. i love her Gap and H&M dresses (the first lady shops at H&M? like ME!), and the midrange Narciso Rodriguez and Maria Pinto.

her turquoise DNC dress by maria pinto, the view black&white dress by some label, her election night red and black shift dress by narciso rodriguez, her meeting-at-white-house red dress by maria pinto are just some of the amazing dresses she wears. avoiding the stuffy pantsuits of hillary clinton, the power suits of palin and laura bush or the dismal cheong sams of our PM Lee's wife, or the strange things that our first lady wears.

oh yes! and i love how she matches her daughter's clothes to hers and barack obama's tie colour. at the DNC, it was a mix of turquoise and purplish tones. on election night, it was black and red! it's so cute. and their daughters are cute.

anyway the net was abuzz with a debate over her red shift dress on election night. a red and black sleeveless narciso rodriguez shift dress with a black satin band criss-crossed at the waist, red spots splashed all over, black cardigan (it's fall!), kitten heels, and the prettiest loree rodkin earrings.

photo: Ron Sachs/Rex Features

some hate it. some love it. i love it.

for one it's super flattering. it shows her curves, her height, her toned legs and hides the midriff by illusion of black. the red and black are perfect colours for her skin tone, and the pattern is interesting! instead of settling for a boring number, she chose this amazing dress and played it up somemore with diamondy loree rodkin earrings. and she's comfortable. which shows a lot about what kind of person, mother, wife and first lady she is.

i love her! :) and to get to know her better i watched some of her videos online and her major DNC speech, which was amazing. it's true when barack obama says she is a better speaker than he is. she's a gifted public speaker and she speaks with emotion and heart. with the same passion and love that her husband has.

and another reason why i love huffpost. they have these slideshows of people/events and one series under obama slideshows is the obama PDA moments. and it's incredibly sweet and "aawwww". you can tell a lot from body language and it shows. their love for each other and their children is genuine and i suspect it is this love that keeps the president-elect grounded.

what great role models the world has now. :)

instyle's converage on michelle obama's style

huffpost's why all women should love michelle obama

huffpost's obama slideshows collection

oh before you think how the title of this post relates to, well, this post - renaissance is michelle obama's secret service codename. apt, ain't it?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

it's only for now.

avenue Q didn't disappoint. :)

the singing was on par with the original broadway cast recording and i think they did very well! the set was not as magnificent was the musicals i watched in US or london. maybe that's the problem with travelling companies.

SRT should really bring in wicked next. i'm sure everyone'll love it too. another heads up: CATS is coming next year. get your early bird tix now at 10% off!

well the past week passed really fast. and as i reflected on the year i realized 2008 was a really happening year! personally and in the world too. i wonder if i can say the same for my spiritual state.

anyways the media is still all over obama-darling and his new administration. i can't help but notice how chui he has become since his campaign, juxtaposed against how much his daughter has grown! well hope he doesn't age that much when he takes over the presidency, which is virtually impossible. look at the white hairs that have grown since PM Lee took office. and obama is gonna have so much more problems compared to the good life PM Lee has. plus the $3M-a-year paycheck.

i wonder if obama would do a speech when he comes to singapore next year for APEC meeting. hope he does. and hope there are tickets. if anyone on obama's administration happens to google this blog, come and give a speech on education!! :)

the line from the song "for now", last song on the avenue Q soundtrack, never sounded sweeter. :)

Only for now!
(For now there's life!)
Only for now!
(For now there's love!)
Only for now!
(For now there's work!)
For now there's happiness!
But only for now!
(For now discomfort!)
Only for now!
(For now there's friendship!)
Only for now (For now!)
Only for now!

Only for now! (Sex!)
Is only for now! (Your hair!)
Is only for now! (George Bush!)
Is only for now!

Don't stress,
Let life roll off your backs
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now!
- For Now, Avenue Q OST

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

change we can believe in.

12.05pm singapore time. November 5th 2008.

history was made. :) and america FINALLY gets it right.

i watched CNN and images of people in jubilation and in tears. and i'm looking forwawrd to the day where i can feel the same way about a candidate/party in singapore politics. that a barack obama of singapore will rise up and continue singapore's road to success and stability.

john mccain is giving his speech now. and i do admire him for his service to his country, his relentless perseverance going against all odds of bush, his age, and sarah palin. and i'm liking his speech and his humility. palin looks like she's gonna cry on stage. but i'm so glad she's not the VP. and his supporters for booing and all. stupid mccain supporters. please follow your leader's example of being a good sport! good speech, though. happy retirement senator mccain!

electoral college update: obama 333 - mccain 155. way above the 270 needed for vistory.


red, white and blue!

the American flag at the New York Stock Exchange
june 2007, New York City

it's election day in the US! and i celebrated by going to class. :) well also i've been carrying my "obama gets my vote!" pseudo-american idol badge, a obama'08 car decal on my car.

and as i decided what to wear this morning, i decided on a blue smocked dress, white shrug and a red necklace. mostly blue, mostly democrat. ok that was beside the point.

in less than 24 hours, we'll know who's leading the US and the world for the next 4 years. i chose this photo of the flag in front of the NYSE building on wall st., 'cos it's kinda fitting that the major issue in the race is our failing economy. OUR meaning the whole world.

it's super sad to see obama tearing while speaking at a rally after his grandmother passed away. at the back of my head, that west wing-US presidential race 08 connection lights up again. on the day of the elections, matt santos (who eventually won the race) lost his VP running mate, leo mcgarry to a massive heart attack. leo has been sick since the start of season 6, but recovered to continue his work for the president, then evetually joining the democratic ticket. ok not as uncanny as the rest, but you get my drift.

nope. not tempting fate.

but meanwhile, i shall pay tribute to my favorite president of all time, jed bartlet.
Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here.

I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?

One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.
- The West Wing, "The Midterms"

This quote has been giving me a headache since i first watched it. well maybe i'll ask pastor about it one day. besides the headache, he's probably the only president who has a nobel prize in economics before becoming president, can speak latin and has an IQ through the roof. well since he's fiction, barack obama probably is the best we can do. smart, intelligent and charismatic.

Monday, November 3, 2008

a little thing called tempting fate.

[The office staff watches the Senate start to vote on Mendoza's confirmation to the Supreme Court and begin celebrating. Bonnie starts handing around a bottle of champagne]

Toby: Put it down! Put it down!"
Bonnie: Toby!
Toby: No champagne.
Bonnie: We're just getting--
Toby: Put it down. Everyone in this room, let me have your attention! Please. The law of our land mandates that Presidential appointees be confirmed by a majority of the Senate, a majority being a total of half plus one for a total of what, Ginger?
Ginger: Fifty-one.
Toby: Fifty-one 'yea' votes is what we see on these screens BEFORE a drop of wine is swallowed! Because there's a little thing called what, Bonnie?
Bonnie: 'Tempting fate'?
Toby: 'Tempting fate' is what it's called. In the three months that this man has been on my radar screen, I have aged forty-eight years. This is MY day of jubilee, I will not have it screwed up by what, Bonnie?
Bonnie: By tempting fate.
Toby: By tempting fate! These things take patience. These things take skill. These things take luck. In the fifteen months we've been in office, what kind of luck have we had? Ginger?
Ginger: Bad luck.
Toby: [clears his throat and raises his eyebrows] What kind of luck?
Ginger: Very bad luck.
Toby: We've had very bad luck.
- The West Wing Season 1 "Six Meetings Before Lunch"


Here's hoping democrats do not get complacent, make voting errors and tempt fate before the election is called. and VOTE! whether you have to brave the snow, winds, rain, or sun.

I've been meaning to write something about the uncanny resemblance of the west wing's seasons 6-7 plots to the US presidential race 08 now reaching its climax and inevitable end. but the new york times beat me to it. and so did the sunday times, which published the NYT article on 2nd nov. well i'm glad people have noticed!!

in a manner of not tempting fate deliberately, in the west wing, the hispanic, democrat nominee won by just a few thousand votes in nevada, at 4am the day after election day. in the above scene, hispanic judge mendoza (also admiral adama in battlestar galactica) got his senate majority and was put on the supreme court. well, maybe, just maybe, fact will follow fiction.

no i'm not tempting fate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the demise of morals.

"i don't understand why they (young people) don't just ask their parents for money."
- some NTU girl, straits times 27th oct.

i was super appalled when i read the article. it was a piece about how the young people are not bothered by the current economic downturn. this young 20-year-old undergrad carries a $4000 LV bag among other branded goods. and sighs her way through the interview. when asked about how she felt with regards to her friends who have to work part-time jobs to earn extra cash, she sighed and told the reporter that line.

wow. every few years the young people of singapore will stir up some elitist comment like this and make me wonder if we are all forgoing our morals and integrity for material things. the last one i remember was the daughter of the MP who snubbed a jobless singaporean and asked him to get out her "elitist, uncaring" face. or something like that.

i got to thinking about my own set of values. and how it came about. i have done my fair share of sins when i was young. but ever since coming to know the Lord, i have set my values and morals on the Word of God. well it's a learning curve and a work in progress. but i'm thankful for this set of values that i have and try to abide by, for i know you should never look down on those who are "lesser" that you are. even if you do not have to work to get a nice LV bag because daddy pays for it, you should never tell your friends to ask their parents for money. money their parents may not even have for themselves.

humility is a hard thing to practise. and it's an even harder thing to learn. as educators, we are responsible for our students and to impart in them the knowledge that they need to go out into the world. to run the race with them and help them through every breathlessness, fall, sprain, stitch, pain and victory. but when it comes to the affective domain, how do we teach humility? empathy? creativity? loving kindness? care? honesty? integrity? how do we ensure that our students don't grow up to be soul-less, mindless thieves who don't give a crap about how other people might feel?

i know some are inclined to push this huge and heavy responsibility to the parents. and i do agree that parents play a very important in shaping their children's character from young. but does this let us teachers off the hook? don't think so. out of 24 hours, a child spends a third of it in school, under the care of teachers. so better share this responsibility. i don't quite like teachers who like to push the blame around, blaming everyone but themselves.

well this is such an incoherent post. well all i wanted to say actually was about that girl. and how i'm so sad with the demise of the moral values of our young people.


alright, the US elections provides me with endless entertainment and some of it is super hilarious, and some, really sweet. (: i'm almost halfway through obama's 2nd book and he's a great writer (much better than i am, as evident from this post).

and more than that, he's a great speaker and debater. i watched the final debate, and the final question on education. and he summarized his education plan in 5 points, elaborated on each point, then summarized all the points before his time was up. mccain tumbled through his incoherent points. during rebuttal, obama took mccain's incoherent ramblings, extracted out his main ideas, and did a similarities and differences comparison between his own education plan and mccain's ramblings. within minutes. and i was like WOW. he's super smart and a good talker. sounds like president josiah bartlet of the west wing huh.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

beyond what i am able.

on a ferryboat
en route: bainbridge island to downtown seattle, USA
may 2007

another trying week gone. and the Lord has graciously kept me and answered my desperate prayers for strength, wisdom, perspective and stillness. though i still get nerves for presentation, i can rejoice in the Lord's goodness and His presence.

i wish i could learn how to sail. there's something exciting yet therapeutic about hauling those ropes and tying knots and seeing the sails get caught in the wind. something about getting your sails to that prime position for the wind to carry your boat. something like of all the things we want to control, ultimately it is letting go and letting God lead us to wherever He has planned for us to go.

another week starts. less hectic, but still stressful nonetheless. looking forward to December while i prepare my heart for christmas and reflect on the year. and how comforting it is to know that.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13

Monday, October 13, 2008

beauty in the chaos.

the sun casts its beautiful colors before it retires for the night.
simei, singapore

sometimes i get pleasant surprises flipping through old, uncategorized photos. like this one. and it reminds me again of the goodness of the Lord, and the promises He gives, from day to day.

"Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The LORD’s name is to be praised.

The LORD is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens."
- Psalm 113:2-4

Friday, October 10, 2008

learning to breathe.

it's really nice to laugh again.

a long lunch with mr. v, mr. d, mr. j and ms. c led to 2 hours of laughing and getting-to-know-one-another and just chatting about life.

watching my favorite shows online again.
s offered great lines for rob lowe's character, sally field and calista flockhart.
set up a series of big arcs for the next 9 episodes in the first volume of the season - yay more flash forwards and new powers.
grey's anatomy
continued its soapy opera, which is my guilty pleasure.
continues to make me laugh and intrigued by the cases (which is amazing: the endless supply of amazing radical out-of-this-world medical mysteries).
private practice
is something i'm watching 'cos of addison the character and tim daly the actor. (:

i miss lost.

and the thing that makes me laugh these days: tina fe*y as sarah pa*lin. tina fe*y has the best and most spot-on impersonation of the veep candidate and she's hilarious! watching her exaggerate every wink, silly, dumb-"blonde", incoherent, incompetent, answer-evading move of sarah pa*lin is hilarious. she even talks like her and has the same twang. which i find the most annoying. tina fe*y is so gifted she totally deserves her Emmy.


well school is turning into madness. i'm trying to stay afloat in the midst of all of it. i am consciously reminding myself that my strength is not enough and not perfect for this, and by His grace and love, that my weakness is made perfect in HIS strength. and that wisdom is more important now than ever.

strength and wisdom. the subject of my prayers of late.

i just finished writing an article on Trust for the ypg website, and i'm very glad i did it. through the writing, i find myself even more convicted in my trust in the Lord that He will see me through my days. and these days are times i need it more than ever.

next week is madness week. i have something due EVERY DAY of the week. be it presentationS/teaching/assignmentS. and i know the only way to go through it and do it well is to keep my eyes, ears, heart and mind on the Lord and His Word. (:

mel shared this verse with me and i truly found it encouraging, so it shall be my verse of the week.

"I would have lost heart,
unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!"
- Psalm 27:13-14

Thursday, October 9, 2008

an open letter.

Dear McCain/Palin supporters,

please stop your personal attacks.
please stop your racist remarks.
please stop thinking that oba*ma is a terrorist.
please stop shouting "treason!" or (ob*ama is a)"terrorist!" at your rallies.
please stop pointing fingers at your fellow countrymen.
please stop laughing at someone (bi*den) who lost his family to an accident and choked up while speaking about it at a national debate.

and elisa*beth hasse*lback: you need to learn to control yourself on TV and stop trying to talk louder than 4 other ladies. your show is NOT a shouting match or an obam*a-bashing/anti-ob*ama republican convention.

you all need to stop before you turn this campaign into a racial bloodshed of hurtful words, ideas and violence. this is not world war III.

a concerned citizen of the world.


was reading a Newsweek article written by the dean of LKY school of public policy: how the american presidential campaign is the most undemocratic election around. because the 200 million odd voters vote for a president, he and his administration and policies will affect the 6.6 billion people living on this earth.

talk about irony.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the realization.

today i got the most hilarious text from F.

"How an airhead like Palin gets to be VP candidate is beyond me. Geez talk about clueless."

here's to hoping she gets bombed by Biden in the VP debates happening in less than 12hrs.


i really don't get it: why americans don't understand that if they do not help their banks tide over this financial crisis, they will suffer even more in the long run, even more than subprime and rising costs of living, when the economy cannot be recovered and we slip into another Great Depression.

considering how much money you have let bush spend in the middle east, fighting 2 futile wars and losing thousands of lives, this bailout plan is peanuts. just pass that da** bill and save your banks. and stop bickering for goodness' sake.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

when time resets.

in last week's season 5 opening episode of grey's anatomy, a car accident in a freak ice strom in seattle left 3 women shattered. one had to admit to her best friend that she has been sleeping with her best friend's husband. that cheating husband lost his ability to speak. the 3rd one lost her husband and she herself suffered a huge brain injury.

her brain injury now permanently resets her memory every 30 seconds to the time before the crash. every 30 seconds she asks her friends what happened, because she doesn't remember anything after the accident.

for awhile, her friends told her,
"you have been in a car accident."
"where's my husband?"
"he died."

until one time one of the doctors replied differently.
"he's on his way to the hospital. he's coming."

and for the next 20 seconds, she is happy. even when the truth is far from it.

and i got to thinking about time and memories. memories that we have is what makes life meaningful. purposeful. meredith grey's mother was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, and was trapped in the memories of her youth. she barely recognizes her own daughter, alienates everyone in her life. and i wonder if that is living.

this woman has her memory reset every 30 seconds. and even when her husband is dead, this information will only make her sad for 20 seconds. and now for the rest of her life, she has to be taken care of by other people till her brain is corrected, or till she dies.

and it reminds me that our human mind is central to all things. the way we live, think, act, behave, play, interact, love. the human mind has invented, engineered, created the things around us, gone to space, split the atom, harness the power of the sun, extend life expectancy, made cars that go at 300kmh, trains that travel at the speed of sound, sent probes to the far reaches of our galaxy.

yet it is also simply the gateway to a relationship with God and salvation, and also the gateway to sin and the clutches of the evil one. the mind is the mastermind behind man's sinful nature - tearing apart the world that He has created and falling away from the love of His Creator.

if our mind is at the crux of our living and existence, and when it is lost altogether, are we still living?

Friday, September 26, 2008

shall i compare thee to a summer's day?

the fading of a summer's day
coastline of santa barbara, california

as i was browsing around and searching for a poem to read and present in communication skills class, i came across several that left me pondering about literature and the use of poems to convey emotions and ideas and knowledge.

in the opening episode of this season of heroes, mohinder suresh narrates his usual epilogue consisting entirely the poem "the second coming" by yeats. and the poem is SO deep and full of meaning that i'm sure the average viewer will not bother to dissect. besides i have trouble relating the plot arcs that are set up in the episode to the poem.

anyway, the poem was way too scary and depressing so i didn't want to read that in class (although one classmate read something along the same lines). i went for the other extreme - love poems. (: and after looking through several by blake and all, i chose a sonnet by william shakespeare.

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

- Sonnet XVIII, William Shakespeare
it's a beautiful poem and i really like it. (: it makes me feel happy and warm.


the many lessons on metacognition, constructivism, educational psychology, philosophy of science and etc. have been leaving me with so many thoughts lately. sometimes i don't even know where to start. having thoughts is one thing, collecting them to put in a coherent manner is another.

let me sort out my life first.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

an alien vine, i am.

paris's one and only vineyard in the district of montmarte;
paris, france

pastor's pre-YAG seminar message on saturday has been on my mind since saturday. as i drive to school on my own everyday, it's the times that i have for myself. to escape from the realities of life and growing up into adulthood. to assume responsibilities and all that jazz.

well anyway something struck me (and all at ypg3-yag meeting) speechless.

"Yet I had planted you a noble vine,
a seed of highest quality.
How then have you turned before Me
Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?"

- Jeremiah 2:21

there were many instances recorded when we have failed. Jeremiah wrote this about Israel, Isaiah wrote this about Judah, Paul wrote this about the Corinthian church. these are 3 examples that i know of, which means there are many others.

but they all have the same idea. that we have been made in God's image. we are God's work, and He meant for us to be "a noble vine, and seeds of the highest quality", giving the best fruits, grapes. something along the way made us stumble and fall. we degenerate spiritually and fall away from God our Creator. and i'm suddenly made aware of this dire fact.

we forgot that we are meant to be partakers of the divine nature. that divine nature that God has placed in everyone of us. i'm constantly rebuked (by myself) when i see Pastor's life and work and ministry. i'm really thankful for his example and his willingness to help us correct our lives and teach and guide us to live the life God has planned for us. to always seek to imrpove our spiritual life and keep track of our walk with the Lord.

hence i'm really excited about the upcoming seminar. (:

Friday, September 12, 2008

democracy and education.

so it is widely known that singapore students excel in science and math, and often clinch top prizes at international competitions.

many countries seek to learn from singapore's education system.

so a delegation from the US came along, asking what is the secret to our success in educating our kids.

my brilliant professor quipped,

"we don't practice democracy."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

history lessons.

i realize that one of my i'm-too-busy-and-stressed coping mechanisms, among many others, is to write about my travels and look at my photos. plus i'm really looking forward to japan in december and wearing winter clothes again. (:

here are my snaps of berlin, germany. to help me cope with the 5-6 deadlines-a-week NIE life.

the very majestic brandenburg gate.
site of many historic moments of germany.
constructed in 1700s, it survived 2 world wars and is still standing tall in relatively good conditions. it was site of the armies allied forces marching to meet the nazis, part of the berlin wall separating east berlin from west berlin.

there's a fascinating story regarding the brandenburg gate, the french embassy in berlin and the french. the square surrounding the gate is called pariser platz, which means paris square.
the statue at the top of the gate is victoria, the goddess of victory, which replaced the goddess of peace after germany defeated france in the prussian war in 1800s. and victoria is fixing her gaze on the building on pariser platz that is the...

french embassy.
plus a similar statue rests on an arc in paris,
just a stone's throw away from the louvre.
the arc du tromphe du carroussel.

i love the greek columns.

a silky terrier (?) on our walking tour.
this little guy sits down and rests when our tour guide, rachel was telling us stories and historical facts. he got a little tired after awhile.

usually i forget why i take a photograph if it was something ordinary. but i never forgot this, 'cos it was where Hitler's bunker used to be. the very same bunker where he and his wife committed suicide by ingesting cynanide the day allied forces bombed berlin.

now, there are no remaining monuments or historical artifacts that are related to hitler existing. the bunker was destroyed along with everything he owned. to prevent neo-nazis from building a shrine or place of "worship". what was scary was that on his death anniversary last year, somebody threw rose petals all over this sidewalk.

peeking into the former air force headquarters of the nazi forces.
now the building is a government office, i think the ministry of tax.

standing in the former death strip,
a strip of land between the 2 walls of the berlin wall.
snipers and soldiers guard this strip 24/7 and shot anybody who tries to cross it.
of course, there were a few success escapes.
the stories we heard from our walking tour guide immensely interesting.
i really couldn't type them all out here.
i remember one involving a guy who traded a west berlin girl (he picked up and romanced) to free his girlfriend trapped in east berlin, only to be thrown into jail (both of them) 'cos the traded girl was the daughter of a high-ranking government official.
another involved driving a very short convertible under the barrier gates of checkpoint charlie (photo below).

of course, the events that led to the fall of the berlin wall were also SO fascinating, even though XH fell asleep. (: one guy's PR mistake led to the reunification of germany - is a story that should be made known to everyone.

checkpoint charlie.
a border crossing used by americans, allied forces and foreigners.
and no charlie is not the name of the guy that founded the checkpoint.
it's just the military alphabet thingy.
alpha, beta, charlie, delta.
this is the 3rd of 8 border crossings.

a monument for the mothers of soldiers who perished in the world wars.
with an open roof, the mother looks as if she's crying when it rains.

the berlin cathedral,
located on an island within berlin,
called museum island.
it's greenish tinge exterior reminds me of the statue of liberty.
well it was bombed by the allied forces during WWII, but is now restored.

the traffic light man!
a national campaign to get their children to observe traffic light rules,
they redesigned their traffic light man to this cute guy.
and then very smartly, launched all kinds of memorbilia and an official store.

the tv-tower of berlin.
my travel mates strike a pose.
don't know what the C sisters are doing. (:

this is AK, chilling out on a chair on the sidewalk,
while the girls check out a vintage store.
but it seems that they are leaving without us. hmmm.

Friday, August 29, 2008

lessons from the world.

meet charlie wilson.

as the democrat texas congressman in the 1980s and a member of the house appropriations committee, he planned, led and executed the biggest and most expensive covert operations which resulted in the end of the soviet-afghan war, and later the cold war.

honestly, you would think that the man who triggered the events that led to such an important historical moment would be remembered, but hardly any americans have heard of him till the movie, charlie wilson's war came out.

confession: i only bought the dvd 'cos i know it's directed by mike nichols, written by aaron sorkin and helmed by tom hanks, which ensured that it'll be a good movie.

but as with any good, well-written, well-shot movie, tv series or book, it taught me and enriched my knowledge of things that i normally would care less about.

so if you're curious, charlie wilson used black appropriations and secretly funded and aided the muja*hideen in afghanistan to drive away that soviets from their country. he got afghan neighbours of israel, pakistan to help with supplying of weapons and vehicles to aid the mujah*ideen. all in secret. he was driven by what he saw at the refugee camps, and frustrated with the CIA's lukewarm position on the war and not doing anything, and hence decided to take matters into his own hands, helped along by CIA middle-east expert and a texas wealthy socialite.

in the end, the once-weak and helpless muj*ahideen freedom fighters and afghan civilians now fought back with much ferocity, to the surprise of the soviets, forcing them to retreat and exit the country.

this marked the first of US foreign policy. funding the anti-communists. then after it is over, they just wash their hands of the blood and leave.

charlie wilson, after appropriating US$1billion for that war, now asks for a tiny fraction more to aid the afghans to rebuild their country. afghanistan was left in tatters. no schools, homes, roads, infrastructure.

the author of the book which the movie was based on, charlie wilson's war, said that this has led to a power vacuum in afghanistan. and this vacuum gave rise to the rise of the tali*ban and osa*ma bin lade*n. together with the weapons, money and military equipment left over from the cold war, the tal*iban was able to rise from the ashes to what it is today, inadvertently leading to the uprising of terrorism and 9/11.

it's really interesting to think about what america can learn from this and apply it to the wars it started in afghanistan and iraq now. which has prompted barack obama to talk about the withdrawal of troops slowly from mid-east and exiting from the region in a responsible manner; while bush is still wanting to send 10,000 more troops there.

it's also interesting to note the idea of freedom fighters. someone once told me, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". if you look from another perspective, aren't the suicide bombers who are killing US soldiers doing it to drive away the US from their lands, just like how the mujahideen were trying to drive away their soviet occupiers?


today in ST's review section, was an article from new york times. a sharp, insightful commentary on the rise of china and the continued diminishing of US as a global superpower. he compares arriving in dodgy, rundown la guardia airport in NYC and driving through the busy, dirty streets with rundown buildings of queens and manhattan to the big shiny spanking new beijing int'l aiport, getting to the clean beautiful city on the maglev train within an hour. which i can attest to 'cos i've experienced the shabbiness of la guardia and the shine of china's rising cosmopolitan cities.

the world is slowly showing america that it is no longer the superpower. russia's defiance with the georgia conflict, china's rapid rise, india's booming economy, singapore, tiny singapore, investing in its biggest corporations to save them from bankruptcy.

the writer ends by asserting that it's time for america to start rebuilding itself. to turn its attention, money and resources inwards and focus on the crumbling american society where millions have no access to quality education, healthcare, health insurance, in the midst of rising costs of living, high gas prices, the housing market going down, inflation and living under the threat of inadequate gun control and domestic terrorism.

the question: while america goes repair its wounds, is china prepared to assume the role of the global superpower? no doubt it is plagued with 10000 problems of its own. the poverty in its rural areas, the corruption, the backward social graces, the exploding population, the rebuilding of its inner cities and areas hit by disasters, the unrest in western china.

somehow i wish the UN would be the answer. a neutral organization where every country is represented, where everyone pools its resources to help one another. where everyone chips in to help an afflicted country. an organization empowered by every citizen of this world to look after them. like an international government. if we can have the olympics, the world bank, the european union, the hague, why can't the UN do its job?

if barack obama's rise to his clinching of the democratic presidential nomination teaches us anything, it is that any person can become who he/she wants to be, you just gotta defy all odds, exceed all expectations, and work your butt off.

if charlie wilson's war teaches us anything applicable and useful to our small lives, it is that every person is empowered to make a difference.

if i can teach you anything, it is that this difference we all make, can be as small as putting a smile on a friend's face, caring about another, loving one another in spite of our differences. while history does not have space for all of us to do something unprecedented and amazing, i know these things we do not only can change opinions, hearts, minds and lives, i know it's precious in God's sight. (:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

gloomy and quirky.

the next city to host the olympics. today's ST has an opinion written by neil humphreys which was hilarious. i love his writings. he takes a dig at the 8-min strange "quirky" presentation team GB did at the closing ceremony, david beckham (moving to LA, still promoting britain, and kicking the soccer ball really lamely into the field of volunteers), the dismal city infrastructure and congestion and human-traffic. oh well, china pulled it off against all odds and criticism. so i'm sure they can pull it off.

and meanwhile, in the midst of the 10000 deadlines i have in school, 10000 readings and assignments and having to travel to siberia everyday in the week, i dream about travelling again. (:

along river thames, on london bridge. (:

taking a break.
guess what we used to play indian poker - train tickets.
you gotta applaud our improvisation.

now that's NOT london bridge.
london bridge looks really ordinary (like our esplanade bridge).
this nice-looking one is tower bridge.

at big ben, and you see our conquests from absolute vintage.

from the fences of the parliament house. we stayed around to hear the big ben chime 7 times. (:

westminster abbey. we didn't go in though, a service was going on.

buckingham palace on a really gloomy wet day.
and they cancelled the changing of the guard ceremony. :(

so to entertain ourselves, we tried 1000 to fit all of us, a camera under an umbrella.
this was one of the only successful attempts. (:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the clock doesn't stop running.

many things happened a year ago, and it seems a long time ago; as opposed to time flies.

time, and life, continues. to live life, we must move on and let go of the past that threatens to grip us and keep us trapped in that bubble of the shoulda, woulda, coulda.

i was reading back my blogposts from those times and it was really a time where God's leading saw me through. prayers were answered and i sometimes forget that prayer works. it really does.

i see mr. and mrs. ho in church sometimes, and i recently said bye to them one sunday. and the 1-year anniversary of si qiu's homegoing was near and i was thinking about it quite often this month. i looked at them and i wonder what goes on in their hearts and minds. i look at siyu and i wonder if he misses his brother.

i wonder what kind of courage and faith it takes to reconcile with the Lord after such a heart-breaking event. to know and trust in His will and plan for all of us. to continue in the walk with the Lord, to run the race with more determination, resilience and certainty. to let go of anger, rage, blame and the questions that no one can answer.

"Instead of asking, "Why did it happen?"
Think of where it can lead you from here.
And as your pain is slowly easing,
You can find a greater reason
To live your life triumphant through the tears.

When answers aren't enough, there is Jesus.
He is more than just an answer to your prayer.
And your heart will find a safe and peaceful refuge
When answers aren't enough He is there.
He is there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

the olympics muses.

the olympic games have managed to do the unthinkable and impossible - make me feel proud to be a chinese-singaporean. i think such things are designed for such patriotic feelings to arise from deep inside; feelings that you never thought you had.

from the amazing, jaw-dropping opening ceremony to the slightly less exciting, but with moments of brilliance, closing ceremony. the hard work that china has brought to the table. the amount of energy and dedication of the more than a million volunteers at the games. a million!! that's 1/4 of our population.

(now how are we going to pull off the youth olympic games? am i the only one with scary doubts right now?)

it's really hard to imagine what goes on behind the scenes. the mayhem and chaos and confusion of tens of thousands of people. so many events, sports, athletes from 204 countries, their coaches, officials, VIPs, judges, umpires, volunteers, crowd control, ticketing, and you-know-the-list-goes-on-and-on.

hence, am very proud of china, beijing. a country that was closed to the world till recently. who rose from the depths of poverty and communism to its global economic and military superpower position today. a country where my grandparents were from.

and having visited china so many times, been to so many cities, china has been seriously misunderstood by the world, and these games was a great opportunity to show the world what it really is. but you really have to be there to feel it. to clear away pre-conceived notions of what it is, to broaden minds and seek to learn. the major cities of china are comparable to san francisco, london, rome, new york, los angeles, sydney and they are actually very hip! (: if you're on a budget, watch discovery travel and living.

however, no country is perfect and china is still laden with povertyand its many problems like education and sanitation in its rural areas (cynics: so is middle america, russia, eastern europe, africa, india). my mum likes to tell me stories of chinese athletes that she reads in the newspapers (fyi: she reads the newspapers cover to cover, including the NTUC/cold storage ads). and how the olympic gymnastics double rings apparatus gold medalist from china trained on 2 simple rings that his father installed on the door of their small small flat when he was young, because they were so poor. and how feng tianwei is going to use the money from the medal to pay for her mum's house in china.

these stories of resilience, dedication, discipline, filial piety, respect - some very chinese values, are really warm and hopeful. (: hope of a country on its rise towards a better future, much like america in the 80s and 90s. and they're catching up. fast.

i really appreciate the theme for the 2008 games - one world, one dream. and at least for 16 days in beijing and neighbouring cities, the people from all over the world, from as north as finland and russia to as south as argentina and south africa, to as remote as the islands of the south pacific, atlantic, indian oceans - they came and competed fairly and professionally, with the only yardstick they knew.

faster, higher, stronger. or citius, altius, fortius if you like latin. (:

i like that despite everything that's going on in the world, the georgia-russia conflict, the war in iraq and afghanistan, the human rights issues in darfur, the mayhem in pakistan, people from these countries stood side by side and showed great sportsmanship.

i wrote about the politicizing of the olympic games many months ago and i'm glad that it was all talk. geo*rge bu*sh and nic*hloas sark*ozy showed up after all, although i'm positive china couldn't care less if they attended or not. (:

onto my favorite swimmer of the moment (used to be ian thorpe many many years ago). mr. michael i-listen-to-my-ipod-and-jump-into-the-pool-and-break-7-world-records-then-go-eat-pizza phelps. i'm just really in awe of him and his neverending wingspan. but more than that, the unsung hero of the US swim team is jason lazek who brought home the bacon (ok gold) for the relay events and made phelps the hero that he is.

and feng tian wei. i almost bit off my nails and threw my pillow at the screen watching the table-tennis semis on tv. she, jiawei and wang yuegu put us on the medal tally. and only 87 countries out of the 204 that took part is on that tally. (:(: and i really don't care if they aren't born-and-bred singaporeans. i've seen chinese people play for US, croatia, netherlands, some african countries and many more. please open your eyes and look at our globalized world. (one world, one dream, remember? actually the better translation would be the same world, that same dream.)

i shall not spoil my nice blogpost by writing about the horrifying mediacorp-programme today in beijing and its incompetent, incoherent, stumbling-over-words, swearing female host. i've lost all faith in mediacorp local programming anyway.

4 years later, it's london 2012. and they have a very high standard set by the chinese to live up to. and i really wish them all the luck, 'cos i cannot imagine an olympic games held in that busy tight, crowded and gloomy city that is london.

meanwhile, there's the youth olympics to be concerned with. and hopefully it'll be just as good as beijing's.

Friday, August 22, 2008

the little red book.

i'm finally saying farewell to my passport which has served me well over the last 9.5 years. i can still remember heading to the old ICA building at geylang when i was in sec 2, needing my own passport to go on the band trip to perth, australia. my first time travelling without my parents, was exciting yet scary. it's a long story and i can still remember the details of my trip. performing, feeding camels, exploring the UWA campus, buying rubbish, feeding the swans, shopping on hay street, making friends with other band peeps from the 3/4 other schools we were travelling with.

well the travelling bug caught up with me as i grew older, obviously, having more spending power and being more aware of the world. my hole-puncher-punchered passport now has:-

22 malaysia chops (11 trips)
2 thailand chops (1 trip)
6 australia chops (3 trips)
1 australia visa
10 china chops (5 trips)
1 china visa
4 hongkong chops (2 trips)
the japan landing permission sticker and narita chop
2 korea chops (1 trip)
1 US student visa and department of homeland security exit chop
1 canada chop (which served for 2 trips into and out of canada)
1 london heathrow chop
1 berlin airport chop
2 paris chops
many invisible chops in the EU countries.

ok i shan't complain. i'm blessed with opportunities to travel and see the world. to learn and love people, culture, differences and history.

hopefully my new little red book will be filled with many other chops. and i'm super excited about my first chop to japan yay! (:(:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

morning madness.

today i took 1.5 hours to get from simei to NTU, instead of the usual 35minutes.

all because of a bus and motorcycle accident.

i was so pissed 'cos i left home 1 hr before class. thinking that i'll sure be earlier this time.

in the morning the entire singapore goes crazy. PIE alone has 3 separate jams.

so i was sitting in my car and i thought of things to be thankful for.

the trees and sights i never saw along the greeny areas of PIE.

the morning sun rising high.

the Lord's protection that surrounds me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

You are.

On the train from interlaken to luzern, switzerland.

You are -
holy, faithful
Savior, friend
all i'll ever need

every question's answer
every reason why
moving, yet still

"glory, hallelujah"
hope of peace on earth
alpha and omega

comfort, refuge
love personified
kindness, compassion

Lord on high
the way, the truth, the life
the Word made flesh
the bright morning star

You are.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

it's a beautiful night.

(National Space Science Data Center/NASA)

look at our beautiful earth at night. (:

what are we doing to it?

Monday, August 11, 2008

postcards from london.

london didn't live up to my lofty expectations. but thinking back, i think it was still quite enjoyable, save for the rain that fell lightly and continuously for 2 whole days. i'll always remember london for its vintage finds, prince william, the british accent, way too expensive tube tickets, musicals at west end and jamie bamber. (:

early morning rush hour at a king's cross platform.

blue skies and white fluffy clouds.

the grand and old atrium of the museum of natural history.

a cool afternoon for a stroll at hyde park/kensington gardens.

beach chairs dotting the greenery around the lake.

swans-a-gather at hyde park.

smile for Piccadilly circus! those yellow lots on the monopoly board.

somewhere around leicester square. home of west end.

saturday morning at portobello market. my kind of saturday. (:

home-made quiche, anyone?

tulips, my favorite flower. other than daisies.

the colors of portobello.

am currently in the middle of a battlestar galactica marathon. another smart and witty series, because i'm a geek, this is sci-fi and i love it. the show reached cult status, much like star trek (which i cannot appreciate) and lost (which i find so intriguing). within 2 weeks, i'm at the home stretch of its 4th and final season, with the 2nd half of the season airing next year. there's much to think about the issues raised by the show - politics, war, existentialism, religion, race, genocide, sexuality, violence and morality.