Monday, April 30, 2007

Pray for Pastor Koo

Hi guys,

I have heard from both Lydia and Joycelyn, and want to give credit to them for thinking of it, though I was considering it as well.

As we pray each day, please spend some time praying for Pastor Koo. I believe his message last Sunday was truly one from the heart. Let pray for him to continue to draw strength from God, for God's anointing to be upon him, his ministry and his family, and to give him the courage to address the issues that he alluded to in his

Having known him all these years, I know Pastor would never say something if he didn't feel strongly about it. For him to bring this up on Sunday and not at a leaders' meeting, for example, tells me how important this is, and how heavily this is weighing upon him.

Let's commit our time to praying for him and encouraging him when we can, on Sunday or by email etc.

Let's show him what we mean by agape love, and what it means to be a community and a church of Jesus Christ, as our name suggests.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Studying Law

UK Immigration Officer: Purpose of visit?

Visitor: I'm here to study law, sir.
Officer: You know, you must have a lot of lawyers in Singapore.

Visitor: Why do you say that?
Officer: Well, i've been here for a good twenty years, and I'd say 80% of Singaporeans I see here say they're here to read law.
Visitor: Oh, really? That's really something i never knew. Hard to believe in fact.
Officer: Just you watch, then. You just stand here until the next Singaporean comes along, and I'll bet he's here to read law.

*Visitor waits for 5 mins, Ah Beng comes to immigration counter*

Officer: Purpose of visit?
Ah Beng: Study lor.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Management vs Engineers

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost.

She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am."

The man below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.

"I am", replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well, answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything you've delayed my trip even more."

The man below responded, "You must be in management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "You don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems."

10 Tips for Freelance Writers by Laura J. Thompson

When I first decided to become a freelance writer, I didn't have any help at all. In fact, I was completely at a loss because the industry is very "hush-hush". You're expected to make it on your own - or not make it at all.

Of course, that is true of many industries because the secrets of the craft are well-kept by those who have already achieved success. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for talented newcomers to make it in the writing world. If you don't have guidance, you're bound to fall flat on your face. With that in mind, here are my top ten tips for freelance writers.

1. Always Get It In Writing

Verbal agreements may be legally binding in the United States, but they sure are hard to prove. He said---she said arguments are rarely successful in the courtroom, and if you don't have any witnesses to your agreement, it's almost as if it didn't happen.

If you're hoping to become a success as a freelance writer, you need to make all agreements in writing. A contract or service agreement is a great first step, but make sure that any additional agreements are likewise put to paper. Trust me: It'll save you months of heartache in the future.

2. Save Everything - No Matter What

You never know when you're going to need an e-mail or a contract or a first draft down the line, so get in the habit of saving everything for at least a year. My advice is to print everything from your computer and save the hardcopy in boxes or file cabinets in your office. Plastic totes are great for this purpose.

When you save everything, you always have a record of your progress and your communication. If a question is ever raised with a colleague or client, you'll have the proof in written form.

3. Open a Business Bank Account

When it comes to taxes or sorting out pay agreements, you won't want to separate your personal transactions from your business transactions. To avoid this confusion, open a business bank account and conduct all business through it alone.

You might also want to apply for a business credit card and open a retirement plan in the name of your business. Keeping business and personal transactions separate will make your life much easier.

4. Learn How to Say "No"

Just because you're in business as a freelance writer doesn't mean that you have to take every project that crosses your desk. In fact, many projects won't appeal to you at all - in which case, say "no"!

In my early days as a freelance writer, I took every project I could get my hands on. The result? I was depressed, overwrought and strung out. I couldn't handle the load and I was frustrated by the projects with which I didn't agree. You'll make more money if you filter each project through your heart and mind before saying "yes".

5. Give Yourself a Break

Freelance writing isn't like any other career in the world. If you were to write from the time you woke up until the time you went to bed, your brain would be mush in a matter of weeks. Instead, give yourself a healthy workday (eight or nine hours will suffice) and turn off the computer once you've reached your limit.

Burn-out is common among aspiring freelance writers, and if you don't give your mind and body a break, you'll lose the will to write at all. Beyond that, give yourself a vacation every few months. Go to the beach or a hotel or a favorite theme park and get writing off your mind for a few days.

6. Find Peace and Quiet

While some writers can work in the family room with the TV blaring, the washing machine running and the fan on high, most find this atmosphere a hindrance to creativity. As quickly as possible, find a location in your house that is quiet and free from distraction. A spare bedroom, a large closet or even a nook in the garage will work fine.

Tell your family that when you are working, you need to be left alone. If you have young children, take a break every couple of hours to play with them, and then go back to work. Your family will understand that you need to concentrate in order to be productive.

7. Make Time for Administrative Tasks

A self-employed freelance writer is different from an employee. You are not only responsible for writing for your clients, but you are also required to handle all of your administrative tasks. This eats up more of your time than you probably think, so leave a couple of hours every day for this purpose.

Remember also that you aren't paid for paperwork and banking, so adjust your prices accordingly. Most freelance writers work on actual projects an average of twenty-seven hours per week. This means that the other thirteen hours of your work week are spent on unpaid tasks.

8. Don't Let Your Guard Down

I made many mistakes early in my freelance writing career, but this was the worst. Be careful about how you handle your clients. If you become too friendly and make work more of a social event, they will walk all over you. Maintain professionalism in all that you do and don't be afraid to demand payment.

It's important that you don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of. If a client asks for additional time to pay or extra work for free, simply explain your policies regarding those issues and come to an agreement.

9. Give Yourself Reasonable Deadlines

Never promise a project before you think you'll be able to get it done. In fact, until you get a good idea of how fast you work, add three days to your most liberal estimate. If a client expects a project in three weeks, but gets it in two, he'll be thrilled! But if you promise it in two and you take three, you've probably just lost a client.

If, however, you run into a situation where you don't think you'll be able to finish by the deadline, simply talk to your client. Explain that you might take a few extra days, but that you've made it a top priority.

10. NEVER Work For Free

Even if you've never published anything in your life, you don't have to prove yourself to anyone. Working for free or severely discounted prices will only hurt your career. Come up with a few samples for your website that show off your talent and offer those pieces to your prospects, but never agree to write something for free. Ever!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

What a quirky funny family! Brings back memories of Matrix (Doris) and Muttley (Bowler Hat Guy). And Goob is just adorable as the perennial underachiever. Awww.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Jobs, jobs, jobs

For all those who think that you are in a rut.

1. My first job was working in an Orange Juice factory, but I got canned. I couldn't concentrate.

2. Then, I worked as a Lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.

3. After that, I tried to be a Tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it - mainly because it was a sew-sew job.

4. Next, I tried working in a Muffler Factory, but that was too exhausting.

5. Then,I tried to be a Chef - figured it would add a little spice to my life,
but I just didn't have the thyme.

6. I attempted to be a Deli Worker, but any way I sliced it I couldn't cut the mustard.

7. My best job was a Musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.

8. I studied a long time to become a Doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

9. Next, was a job in a Shoe Factory. I tried but I just didn't fit in.

10. I tried to be a photographer but I didn't get much exposure.

11. I became a Fisherman, although I was hooked I discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.

12. I managed to get a good job working for a Pool Maintenance Company, but the work was just too draining.

13. So then I got a job in a Workout Centre, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

14. After many years of trying to find steady work I finally got a job as a Historian - until I realized there was no future in it.

15. I was a chauffeur for awhile but didn't have the drive.

16. I became an undertaker but it was a dead-end job.

17. My last job was working in Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

18. SO, I TRIED RETIREMENT AND FOUND THAT I'M PERFECT FOR THE JOB. Man, do I enjoy it! And that's how I got to where I am today!

Dogs for adoption!

Got this SMS so thought I'd pass it on.

There's a pet shop in Joo Chiat that's closing down so they're giving away the following dogs:
Two huskies, one black Labrador, one Shitzu, one Huskie Terrier crossbreed.

If they aren't given away, they'll be put down.

Give Mariam a call at 97302064!

Phantom of the Opera

My second-ever musical and I must say it was a feast for the senses. Nothing earth-moving or life-changing, but I must say it was thoroughly enjoyable. The songs really stuck and the stage effects really opened my mind about how you can manipulate the stage to so engage the senses. From crashing chandelier to subterranean lake, masquerade ball to graveyard, the props were a sight to behold. The singing was a treat too, though I can't say the same for the wanna-be singers I had on my left and right. Spoiler sia.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pay rise

No lah, not about our ministers. But Minister Teo Chee Hean just announced a $50 pay hike for all NSFs. Why not during my time?! On top of that, he announced a 20% increase of reservist allowance of NS KAHs. Again, I miss out. Phooey.

Lipton tea-ser

How do you form 4 triangles with 6 spoons?

Clue: Think Egypt, Louvre.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

United 7-1 AS Roma

The demolition in all its glory.

George Carlin's Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four-and-a-half!" You're never thirty-six-and-a-half. You're four-and-a-half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life... you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. You BECOME 21. YES!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50, and your dreams are gone.

But wait! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100-and-a-half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100-and-a-half!



1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them".

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

And if you don't send this to at least 8 people - who cares? But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is Teaching Really Worth It?

(from a S'pore teacher's blog)

The following comments in no way represent my point of view. For now lah.

1) I hate waking up at the crack of dawn.

2) I hate collecting money from students. I hate having to count money collected from 40 students. I hate having to bring change of money to class. I hate it that 70% of my time with students involves collecting money from them. I hate it when people ask me why I can’t ask the admin staff which MOE has provided to every school to help with such mundane tasks. I hate explaining for the zillionth time that the admin staff in my school (and possibly in many schools) do not help teachers to collect money from students. They help the principal and vice-principal with their admin work, not teachers. Are we clear about that now?

Oh money is a pain, especially when 1/2 your students cannot afford the $70 the school wants. Then there is the $200 withdrawal from edusave. I have to collect the forms, then haunt the students when it turns out they don’t have that amount in their edusave accounts. If they can’t pay $70, what makes you think they can come out with $200 in cash? And the admin staff? Well, the only help I get is constant reminders that my students have not paid up.

3) I hate having to queue up at the copier to zap notes and worksheets for my students. I hate it that about 80+ teachers have to share two copier machines. So the queue is long, and a lot of negotiation goes on at the copier everyday as we decide who should let whom go first, who needs the notes more urgently, and who can clear the paper jam at the machine. I hate it that no one has invented a machine which can handle the copying load in a typical Singapore school so that it won’t break down every 3 days.

4) I hate it when, after beating ferocious colleagues at the copier and finally being able to zap the notes which I have painstakingly prepared for my students, I find them lying on the floor in the classroom later, with shoe prints on them. I hate it when I realise, once again, that teaching is often a thankless job.

5) I hate it when people think Teach Less Learn More means I have more free time. I hate explaining that there’s no such thing called Content Reduction. Tell me which school has experienced Content Reduction and I’ll transfer there. Our syllabus has not been cut, OK? We just move topics around. Hence we really don’t know how to teach less. Period.

6) I hate teaching National Education because I don’t know how to do it without sounding like Mao Zedong. And my students hate it when I so much as mention words like “history of Singapore” or “loyalty”. I think National Education is important but I don’t want to to teach it in such a direct way because my students tell me I’m brainwashing them and I hate to be a brainwasher.

Not to mention Sex education and moral education which the students regard as big jokes.

7)I hate having to keep a red pen in every one of my handbags, because I am constantly having to mark something. I hate bringing scripts with me everywhere I go. I hate it that my marking is never finished, even on the last day of the school year, because there just isn’t enough time for teachers to mark their students’ work, and because we have to do so many other non-teaching-related work. And I hate it when people ask me if my marking is done! I am never going to say yes. There are two types of marking - urgent ones (like exam papers and other important work) and non-urgent ones. Guess which gets pushed away when there are events to plan, carry out and other admin nonsense to do? Guess who suffers in the end?

8) New initiatives like bluesky, white space, TLLM, I&E, SEL, SL. All within a space of 3 years?! What do they think we teachers are? And everytime they introduce something, we have to go for workshops and training to learn about it. Then we are expected to go back to school and put it into practice immediately.

9) I hate it when during my work appraisal, my boss reminds me that teaching is my bread and butter and that I have to do it well, and then merrily gives me ten non-teaching projects to do. Why can’t I just concentrate on my bread and butter?

Yes and they imply that even though I carried out all the non-teaching projects, I am not doing enough for my form class because I do not call their parents enough. Well you try organising community work for the whole school on your own, running a CCA with no money to hire an instructor, organising inter-class competitions, holding enrichment camps and putting together public performances and finding the time to chat with 40 parents on a regular basis. And those are just the official things I do.

10) Rankings. I understand the need to be assessed. I understand the need to maybe give us a grade at the end of the year. But why the mixed messages? A - C grades mean vary levels of exceeding expectations. D grade, apparently, means meeting expectations. Yet, if you get a D grade, you do not get a performance bonus. Fair enough after all you are just meeting expectations. But if you get a D grade 3 times in a row, you need to be reassessed by ministry officials because it is not enough to meet expectations. Then you might get put on probation. This ranking is so stressful that I know of teachers who do not want to be promoted because after a certain level, you are expected to carry out initiatives that has impact on the cluster level (i.e.: impact about 13 schools) and really, how many teachers have the time or energy to do that on top of their normal workload? Oh and did I mention that you don’t actually get to know your grading (unless of course you are a D-grader)? The whole thing is shrouded in secrecy.


Charlotte, North Carolina.

A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued.. and WON!

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire" and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars lost in the "fires".

After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!!

With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.


This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

God of No Mercy

An European tourist was visiting a temple in Singapore when he noticed two statues, a man and a woman by the altar.

He asked the monk what was the significance of the two.

The monk explained that in the Chinese system of yin and yang, positives must always be balanced by negatives, and having the two statues ensures that the universal balance was maintained.

"This statue of the woman is the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan-Yin."

"What about the other one?" asked the tourist.

"This one is the God of No Mercy, Kuan-Yew."


CAVEAT: Joking only lah, OK?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Lookalikes! II

Didn't believe it so I tried it again. Slightly better results, I think.


This is embarrassing. Apparently I look like these guys. What's with the Jap dudes? And David Hasselhoff?!?!

Love not Change or Judge II

Just to add on a few things I learnt from Ps Koo's 1 Corinthians SOD class.

The Bible teaches us to judge people's actions but not their intentions. In other words, if you see Christians sinning openly, don't just read Matthew 7 and say that you have no business judging them. Look what 1 Cor 5:3 says:
"Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present."

Paul is saying that even though he is not in Corinth, he has already based his judgment on what he has heard from trustworthy sources.

So when we witness a sin first-hand, it is our duty to remind the sinner of his sin. If we find out about it from hearsay, please make the effort to corroborate this account with the person first before passing judgment, lest we become perpetuators of rumours and slander.

What then if ther person refuses to repent?
Paul asks mockingly in 1 Cor 6:5:
"I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?"

He is saying that we should refrain from involving ungodly mediators e.g. outside friends, the justice system, etc. to resolve our differences. Instead, we should do as Matthew 18:15-17 says:
"15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

Here, we have a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for intervention, each step more serious than the previous. Notice we should not escalate the whole thing by gossiping about it to people. We should instead settle it one-to-one. Failing which, we bring a few godly witnesses, which should include your leader to analyse the problem. If this fails to settle the issue, then Pastor will come into the
picture. If this perosn refuses to listen to the Church, then Pastor will decide the consequences. People have been allowed to leave the church before in situations like these due to their obstinacy.

Take note that this applies to you as well, as you could be in the wrong as well. Let's be open to godly counsel and humble when we are in the wrong.