Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teachers' Day Dinner & Dance

It was a riot! I saw a side of colleagues I would scarcely have imagined but it was all in good fun. Special thanks to Kel, Sheena and Bebe for the wonderful company, not to mention sterling driving from Bebe and pinpoint navigation from Neo.

Thanks Weiqiang for the excellent planning. =]

Kowloon Walled City

The Kowloon Walled City was located just outside Hong Kong, China during British rule. A former watchpost to protect the area against pirates, it was occupied by Japan during World War II and subsequently taken over by squatters after Japan’s surrender. Neither Britain nor China wanted responsibility for it, so it became its own lawless city.

Its population flourished for decades, with residents building labyrinthine corridors above the street level, which was clogged with trash. The buildings grew so tall that sunlight couldn’t reach the bottom levels and the entire city had to be illuminated with fluorescent lights. It was a place where brothels, casinos, opium dens, cocaine parlors, food courts serving dog meat and secret factories ran unmolested by authorities. It was finally torn down in 1993 after a mutual decision was made by British and Chinese authorities, who had finally grown wary of the unsanitary, anarchic city and its out-of-control population.

Gotham City anyone?

Made in India!


If you think the American economy is bad, take heart that it’s nowhere near the ultra-super-hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, once one of the richest countries in Africa. The country’s central bank has recently issued a Z$100 billion note (yes, Z$100,000,000,000). So, what would a Z$100 billion note buy you? About two loaves of bread (it won’t even get you lunch - you’d need at least Z$250 billion for lunch).

So far this year, the country ravaged by hyperinflation has been forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes in rapid succession. All of them are now almost worthless. has become common now for Zimbabweans to talk of their daily expenses in trillions (one trillion is 12 zeros).

Bizarre dispensers

Weird houses

Monday, August 25, 2008

Flying Gohs

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. I was glad to be minstered by these words in a song led by Jeannie on Friday. "In moments like these", I can still sing out a love song to Jesus.


As some of you may have already found out, Elaine, Joshua & Joycelyn have decided to leave Agape. Elaine's official reason was to follow her family, though I understand she was also struggling with other issues apart from that. Joshua & Joycelyn left even more suddenly, informing their ministry heads only three days before they were supposed to serve. Similarly, they quote God's instruction as the reason for them leaving, insisting that it had nothing to do with the closure of the Chinese ministry. Of all these I am not certain of the details, so I will only talk about the facts that I'm certain of.

The context of all this is to learn how we deal with hurt, and I hope by sharing this, we will all learn together the best way to handle hurt and conflict, so we don't fall into the enemy's trap.

I will not talk much about Elaine, because I am less clear of her reasons for leaving, but I will dwell more about Joshua & Joycelyn. According to them, they have been seeking God about their future in Agape for a while, even before the closure of the Chinese ministry. This may well be true, but I believe God is a God of order, and will not ask His people to leave haphazardly and in a manner that causes massive disruption to His ministries. Moreover, the Gohs have been avoiding all contact with me - verbal, SMS, phone calls, emails, MSN - for more than a month, to my growing frustration. It would have been easier to contact Mas Selamat and check his plans for Hari Raya. They were also leaving immediately after service when they would normally lunch with us, in addition to cutting back on their ministry commitments. All these, as we learnt in our latest ALG session on Handling Hurt, are signs of someone who has suffered a perceived injustice or hurt. They had chosen to choose the Avoid method of handling hurt, unfortunately the only lose-lose solution. As a result of this, church ministries were greatly affected, with the worship ministry having to look for a soundman and backup singer on the morning of service itself in Joshua's absence on 17 Aug.

Their haste in leaving, in most cases without even saying goodbye to friends, as well as the extent they went to to avoid contact with Agapeans, tells me that they must have been facing some issue that they were struggling with. As far as I know, they chose not to tell anyone about it, and have decided that leaving is the best way to resolve it. As the ALG learnt on Friday, this is one of the worst forms of avoidance, greatly affecting ministry and causing irreparabale damage to relationships. Hard work done over two years can be instantly forgotten.

I have been personally hurt by this episode, because the Gohs were people I trusted, and I feel my trust has been betrayed. When Joshua first came to Agape, I was advised against choosing him as an apprentice. At that time, I defended him vehemently, arguing that he had not been given a fair chance and that he was being pre-judged. I don't regret trusting in him, but I can't help but feeling like a fool. It would have been fine if their sudden departure had been a purely personal matter, affecting us on a personal level. God will heal all wounds, eventually. What I could not accept was the damage done to our ALG as a result of their actions.


As you know, we had an outing to Singapore Flyer on 10 Aug 2008, where 29 of us were there. Joshua & Joycelyn, with the help of Ben & CK, were in charge of this event. My efforts to contact them were also due to me wanting to find out how the preparations for the event were going. My trepidation was obvious, given this was the Professionals' first event. As I mentioned, they completely ignored me. As a result, on 10 Aug itself, I was still completely in the dark about what was going on. Only CK bothered to let me know what was going to happen.

To cut a long story short, many things went wrong, especially with the activities before the flight. I don't blame CK, because he was directed by Joshua & Joycelyn, as they were in charge. He did the best he could in the circumstances. The activities were generally served no objective other than to kill time, which was ironic because we were already struggling to get to the Flyer on time. Moreover, the activities did not consider the needs of our less mobile participants. I apologise for this unwise planning, as I could and should have taken the drastic step of cancelling the pre-Flyer activities, despite the risk of disappointing the Outing Committee. Obviously, I had no idea at that time that they were planning to leave. As a result of my inaction, many people were unhappy and correctly so. I have learnt that I need to make the correct decsion even if hurts people, or I will end up hurting even more.

Unfortunately, the debacle did not end there. The Gohs had assured me that they had already recceed the Flyer. The confusion with which I was greeted with suggested otherwise. They were unsure whether tickets should be collected or distributed, where to present the tickets etc. All this resulted in tempers flaring and unfortunate and untimely comments being aired. I was a guilty party as well. From this I have learnt to Respond (with thinking) and not React (without thinking). I raised my voice and made a reactive comment when I should have responded later when I had calmed down. I apologise for this as I really should be setting a positive example. Let's learn to respond to situations rather than react, even if it means responding later.

After the whole event, I again called the Gohs, who had left the Flyer immediately to avoid me. Joshua finally replied me to confirm that they were leaving. Ever broken up with someone via SMS? When that person won;t return your calls or emails? That's what that feels like. What made me more upset was after I mentioned that I intended to review what went wrong at the Flyer, I was told to treat it as "just an outing". For our ALG, this was more than "just an outing" - it was an invaluable opportunity to bond with one another, given we had only been together for three months, to celebrate our progress in that time. Unfortunately, they decided to put their personal hurts above our well-being by refusing to talk to me, damaging what could have been a really fun day out for all of us.

For all this, I apologise. I could and should have done something about it, and rest assured I am wiser for this episode. What I ask is for your forgiveness and trust that we will do a better job next time, and your patience as keep striving to improve. I hope you will give us another chance.


Allen prayed on 17 Aug before the service that we needed to forgive them and learn to bless them. I'm sorry, but that's really difficult for me. I feel betrayed because I had invested so much in their lives. But then I think of how Jesus must feel every time we sin: He feels betrayed, having invested His life to purchase our sins. Yet He chose to forgive us. I know what I must do. I have chosen to forgive and forget, through clearly that will take time. I hope you too will forgive us and forget our mistakes. Let's move on, stronger, more united and steadfast in Christ.

I appreciate God's timing of their departure as it provided a perfect, authentic case study for us when learning about handling hurts. Let us all learn to Agree when facing conflict - to settle things privately with people, and choosing to Respond rather than React. I have. Will you?

Magazine Page Layout Process

Thursday, August 21, 2008


My favourite font.
Georgia is a transitional serif typeface designed in 1993 by Matthew Carter and hinted by Tom Rickner for the Microsoft Corporation, as the serif companion to the first Microsoft sans serif screen font, Verdana. The initial version of the font was released on November 1, 1996 as part of the Core fonts for the Web collection. Later, it was bundled with Internet Explorer 4.0 supplemental font pack.

It is designed for clarity on a computer monitor even at small sizes, partially due to a relatively large x-height. The typeface is named after a tabloid headline titled "Alien heads found in Georgia." The Georgia typeface name is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.

The Georgia typeface shares many similarities with Times New Roman, though Georgia is noticeably larger than Times at the same point size. Times New Roman's characters are slightly narrower, having a more vertical axis. When one compensates for the size differences and disregards the differences in compression and spacing, the remaining differences are minimal. Overall, Georgia's serifs are slightly wider and have blunter, flatter ends, but on initial inspection many letterforms are difficult for a novice to distinguish between Georgia and Times New Roman. Figures (numerals) are an exception: Georgia uses text (old-style) figures whereas Times New Roman has lining figures.

Georgia was part of the core fonts for the Web package and is preinstalled by default on Apple Macintosh and Windows-based computers. It has found popular use as an alternative serif typeface to Times New Roman.

Enjet Enjet Semut

A self-deprecating look at our Singaporean Malays.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Terry Tate: Office Linebacker

We need more guys like him in the office. =]


Essentially, this theory held that the human body was filled with four basic substances, called four humours, or humors, which are in balance when a person is healthy. All diseases and disabilities resulted from an excess or deficit of one of these four humors. The four humors were identified as black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. Greeks and Romans, and the later Muslim and Western European medical establishments that adopted and adapted classical medical philosophy, believed that each of these humors would wax and wane in the body, depending on diet and activity. When a patient was suffering from a surplus or imbalance of one fluid, then his or her personality and physical health would be affected. This theory was closely related to the theory of the four elements: earth, fire, water and air - earth was predominantly present in the black bile, fire in the yellow bile, water in the phlegm, and all four elements were present in the blood.[1]

Theophrastus and others developed a set of characters based on the humors. Those with too much blood were sanguine. Those with too much phlegm were phlegmatic. Those with too much yellow bile were choleric, and those with too much black bile were melancholic. The idea of human personality based on humors contributed to the character comedies of Menander and, later, Plautus.

Through the neo-classical revival in Europe, the humor theory dominated medical practice, and the theory of humoral types made periodic appearances in drama. Such typically "eighteenth-century" practices as bleeding a sick person or applying hot cups to a person were, in fact, based on the humor theory of surpluses of fluids (blood and bile in those cases). Ben Jonson wrote humor plays, where types were based on their humoral complexion.

Additionally, because people believed that there were finite amounts of humors in the body, there were folk/medical beliefs that the loss of fluids was a form of death.
So when they talk about a sense of humor, you now know they really mean someone who is sanguine, or who possesses a lot of blood, one of the humors.

Personality test

Apparently, I am Phlegmatic Melancholic.
The Introvert | The Watcher/Thinker | The Pessimist

Phlegmatic - 35%
10 Strengths, 4 Weaknesses

Melancholic - 25%
2 Strengths, 8 Weaknesses

Sanguine - 20%
5 Strengths, 3 Weaknesses

Choleric - 18%
3 Strengths, 4 Weaknesses
The Phlegmatic's Emotions
Low-key personality
Easygoing and relaxed
Calm, cool and collected
Patient well balanced
Consistent life
Quiet but witty
Sympathetic and kind
Keeps emotions hidden
Happily reconciled to life
All-purpose person

The Phlegmatic As A Parent
Makes a good parent
Takes time for the children
Is not in a hurry
Can take the good with the bad
Doesn't get upset easily

The Phlegmatic At Work
Competent and steady
Peaceful and agreeable
Has administrative ability
Mediates problems
Avoids conflicts
Good under pressure
Finds the easy way

The Phlegmatic As a Friend
Easy to get along with
Pleasant and enjoyable
Good listener
Dry sense of humor
Enjoys watching people
Has many friends
Has compassion and concern
The Phlegmatic's Emotions
Fearful and worried
Avoids responsibility
Quiet will of iron
To shy and reticent
Too compromising

The Phlegmatic As A Parent
Lax on discipline
Doesn't organize home
Takes life to easy

The Phlegmatic At Work
Not goal oriented
Lacks self motivation
Hard to get moving
Resents being pushed
Lazy and careless
Discourages others
Would rather watch

The Phlegmatic As a Friend
Dampens enthusiasm
Stays uninvolved
Is not exciting
Indifferent to plans
Judges others
Sarcastic and teasing
Resists change
The PhlegMel

Of all the temperament blends, the PhlegMel is the most gracious, gentle, and quiet. He is rarely angry or hostile and almost never says anything for which he must apologize (mainly because he rarely says much). He never embarrasses himself or others, always does the proper thing, dresses simply, and is dependable and exact. He tends to have the spiritual gifts of mercy and help, and he is neat and organized in his working habits. Like any phlegmatic, he is handy around the house and as energy permits will keep his home in good repair. If he has a wife who recognizes his tendencies toward passivity (but tactfully waits for him to take the lead in their home), they will have a good family life and marriage. However, if she resents his reticence to lead and be aggressive, she may become discontented and foment marital strife. He may neglect the discipline necessary to help prepare his children for a productive, self-disciplined life and so "provoke his children to wrath" just as much as the angry tyrant whose unreasonable discipline makes them bitter.

The other weaknesses of this man revolve around fear, selfishness, negativism, criticism, and lack of self-image. Once a PhlegMel realizes that only his fears and negative feelings about himself keep him from succeeding, he is able to come out of his shell and become an effective man, husband, and father. Most PhlegMels are so afraid of over-extending themselves or getting over involved that they automatically refuse almost any kind of affiliation.

Personally I have never seen a PhlegMel over involved in anything – except in keeping from getting over involved. He must recognize that since he is not internally motivated, he definitely needs to accept more responsibility than he thinks he can fulfill, for that external stimulation will motivate him to greater achievement. All phlegmatics work well under pressure, but it must come from outside. His greatest source of motivation, of course, will be the power of the Holy Spirit.

Barnabas, the godly saint of the first-century church who accompanied the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey, was in all probability a PhlegMel. He was the man who gave half his goods to the early church to feed the poor, the man who contended with Paul over providing John Mark (his nephew) another chance to serve God by accompanying them on the second missionary journey. Although the contention became so sharp that Barnabas took his nephew and they proceeded on their journey by themselves, Paul later commended Mark saying, "He is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). Today we have the Gospel of Mark because faithful, dedicated, and gentle Barnabas was willing to help him over a hard place in his life. PhlegMels respond to the needs of others if they will just let themselves move out into the stream of life and work with people where they are.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Schools Digital Media Awards

Am doing this before November this year. Sounds quite interesting and can actually put my RadioPro skills to use, though I got D for that module. Have to use Audacity or ProTools to create a 3-min radio package on SOMETHING. Will worry about it in Term 4 lah. Will probably involve all the kentangs in my class and with Kalai's help, this should be fun.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The shit hits the fan

Alternative title: All hell breaks loose.

It's been coming for a while, but it finally boiled over last week. If you ever need a case study on why communication is important and considering people's needs, do approach me. I'd been trying for a month to talk to some people regarding issues in their life that concerned me, but I detected some obviously evasive action. NIL replies to SMSes, emails and missed calls for ONE WHOLE MONTH.

It was an accident waiting to happen, and it did. Despite my best efforts, I was not in the know, due to a infuriating lack of communication. Having advised the organiser to reconsider the activty, I had to step back and let them make the decision, otherwise they'd learn nothing from it. And so the activity suffered from a lack of time and consideration and the participants' needs.

To top it all off, I bore the brunt of the criticism, as I strived to protect the people from hurtful and demoralising comments. Ruined my day, but I'm still glad I did it. All this would be useless if the people now STILL do not communicate with me to review the event, but I did what I had to do.

I just hope that I find out at the end of the day that it was all my fault because of dodgy Starhub SMSes. I'd be incredibly relieved that I was the buffoon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

An open letter

Judging from your non-responsiveness to any communication from me, I believe this will be the last time you hear from me. I don't see a need for me to say anything else if you don't.

When I got an SMS from you thanking me for my leadership and blessing my ministry, it sounded terribly hollow.

It still remains a mystery to me why you would uproot yourself so haphazardly. Officially, the reason is divine intervention, but many things fly in the face of that reason. If truly God was behind this, why the secrecy? Why the avoidance? Why the tell-tale signs of a person greatly disturbed by something?

Ironically we are going to learn some of these things this Friday. Soon after the announcement of the closing of a ministry you were connected to, you started leaving service immediately after closing, when it was in your nature to stick around. You started to scale down your ministry commitments. You avoided my calls, SMSes and emails for over a month. Your actions were so obvious that people aside from me started to notice as well.

The main thing that gets me is, if this is from God, would God have wanted you to make so ignominous an exit, almost with a paper bag over your head - so ashamed are you to face your friends? Who am I to speak if it is truly God? So if you speak the truth, then I apologise unreservedly, to God and you.

However, the signs point to the fact that something or someone hurt you, or someone close to you, perhaps related to the above-mentioned ministry. I will never know, because you will never tell. I sincerely hope I am wrong about you, because if you would use God's name to lie about a personal reason for leaving, then I pray for God's mercy on you.

I must admit that I'm hurt by your actions. Ironically, we're teaching Handling Hurt, the final lesson in the ALG for Creating Community. Even more ironically, you were supposed to plan this lesson, but like all the other ministries, you dropped everything and left, something unlikely for God to allow you to do even if He were asking you to leave. I feel like I've been betrayed, despite the effort I've put in to your lives, that I don't even deserve a decent response or explanation. Again, is this what God would have you do?

For these reasons, I really doubt that your reasons are genuine, and that instead you are grappling with personal hurts that you've chosen to nurse and nurture. You've let it consume you to the extent that you'd put aside dear friends here and leave without saying anything to them.

Finally, for you to see the Sunday outing as "just an outing" was utterly irresponsible, and it showed. I even have to doubt a recce was even done (as I was informed); the chaos at the location was damning evidence of that. You may have seen it as your last hurrah, but how is that fair to the people who entrusted their time to you?

Words can't really describe the disappointment I feel after the effort I went through to defend you in front of others who tried to put you down. They said you were irresponsible, impatient, cunning, conniving, undependable and more. I defended you vehemently on countless occasions. Unfortunately, now I feel like a fool, for they have been proved right.

I hope God will make you learn your lessons about impatience and judgmentalism, or you will be condemned to repeat the lessons till you do.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Flixster Plot: Po the Panda is the laziest animal in all of the Valley of Peace, but unwittingly becomes the chosen one when enemies threaten their way of life.
My take: There are no words for awesomeness.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

United 1-0 Espanyol - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer testimonial

You are my Solskjaer, my Ole Solskjaer
You make me happy when skies are grey
And although Shearer was so much dearer
Don't take my Ole away

To the one and only Baby-Faced Assassin - such a devoted servant and the most well-spent 1.5m quid ever. We'll always remember THAT Nou Camp toe-poke, the Nottingham Forest super-sub quadruple and the self-sacrifice to squad rotation.

United 0-0 Juventus

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Rotten day

Got admonished for talking during Value Moments. We were discussing about what was being shared leh, but I guess we'd tell the kids the same thing - discuss later.

Then gave bad advice about letting the IT monitor know my password - bad move. Why didn't it occur to me? Sigh.

Monday, August 04, 2008


SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows, so you give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

MALAYSIAN BUMIPUTRAISM: You have two cows, the State takes one and gives it to your bumiputra neighbour. From the milk you sell from the remaining cow you buy a bull and mulitply your herd. The State takes 30 per cent of your herd as it grows and give them to your bumiputra neigbour. Your bumiputra neighbour has a kenduri each time they receive a cow.

UMNOPUTRAISM: The State takes 30 per cent of your herd and parks them in Switzerland in the name of some UMNO official or close relatives, friends and sons-in-law.

You employ mainly bumiputras to milk them. But both cows have been sent to the kenduri, so the State gives you more cows and write off the losses of the first two. After several kenduris later, you invite an American or German Corporation to turn around the losses. The Japanese have however already taken their two original cows back home to Japan.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A SWISS CORPORATION : You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINA CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.

A MALAYSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You signed a 40-year contract to supply milk at RM0.06 per litre. Then midway through, you raised the price to RM0.60 or you cut the supply. When the buyer agrees to the new price, you change your mind again and now want RM1.20.
The buyer decided you can keep the milk, who rather go look for milk that comes from recycled cows or the cow urine instead. At the end your two cows retire together with the Prime Minister.

A SINGAPOREAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Whenever prices of GST, ERP, PUB and kopi-si go up; one cow-peh and the other cow-bu.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Manchester United crest

Nichole Nordeman - Why

This is not Nichole, but this cover was used for an Easter video.

Making the ban(ner)

I am SO impressed by my class' artistic talent. In barely 2 hours and between 10 students helping out, we cut out all the letters for sticking on the banner, almost completed the pictures of racial harmony and the S'pore flag in crayon, and even found time to watch me lose in the aforementioned football tournament. Hats off to 5 Joy. =]
22 Jul 2008, 2220hrs
Our class is making a banner for NDP and I've assembled a elite team of art & design specialists to create it (me excluded). There's gonna be painting, scribbling, drawing, pasting, gluing and other messy verbs thrown all over the place.

I really enjoyed today hanging out with them and generating ideas for the banner. Just watching them interact with one another in their endearing Mat-nerisms made for quite an entertaining afternoon. Picking up a few Malay words from them here and there too.