Monday, October 30, 2006

Punkster Repackaged

A good friend of mine took this photo in Japan while doing a little shopping. She thinks I look a lot like that. Ha ha. Well, what can I say? One has to look like a punkster if one wants to be known as punkster. Right? Heh.

Still another close friend took the photo below while on a business trip to spain. Now THAT has got to be the biggest vending machine I have ever seen! This gigantus monster of a machine was spotted at a train station in Barcelona. According to my friend, it sells almost anything you could ever want in the middle of the night when there are no stores opened - Snacks, sweets, drinks, milk, even toothpaste! Now, this must be the 6th time I am re-writing this part of my blog as Firefox 2.0 keeps hanging on me halfway. Don’t believe Mozilla when they say that it should be bug free since it is the final release version. Come one now Mozilla, we expect much better of you than this. I have given up on trying to make it peacefully through one blog entry post and am writing this in Word instead.

Back to the vending bigamachine. You actually pay for your food via an ATM-like counter by the side. Now why don’t we have this in Singapore yet?! We could stock it up full of Twistees, Yam Yams, Collons, Tim Tams, Pokka fruit teas and what not! There could even be magazines (for when you have to wait 30 min for a friend), tissue paper (for those late night emergencies of the bowel kind), and handyplasts! (just in case you bang into a tree due to the poor visibility caused by the haze.) Man, we could even throw in a microwave machine and a freezer compartment for frozen packed food! And since the counter probably receives many loose change, it could double-up as a coin exchange machine too!

Now THAT’S what I call a convenience stall! (do I hear the 7-eleven bosses screaming “Kelong’ already??!) Ha Ha!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Educating the little girl at the window

On the topic of education, one of my tutors on my crit panel suggested I read this book Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window written by Japanese television personality Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. The story is based on Kuroyanagi's real-life childhood experience at Tomoe Gakuen, an alternative elementary school founded by educator Sosaku Kobayashi.

After being expelled from public school, it is at Tomoe Gakuen that Kuroyanagi is allowed to achieve her fullest potential and given the freedom to explore her suroundings and express herself to her heart's content.

Many young students I come into contact with these days don't like school. To them, the notion of learning brings about images of teachers who are there to make their lives miserable. That is definitely not always the case as I know many teacher friends who go out of their way to make learning valuable for their students. The reality is that many of these students, mindsets don't change. And many of these same students continue to go through life without realising even a fraction of the potential that they have within them.

Tomorrow I am having a crab treat for my BTSS tuition students. It's my way of telling them, it's ok if you didn't pass your Math in the end. What's more important is that you tried your best. And I know the four of them did. I am proud of them. We'll try harder next year. So if you guys are reading this, from the bottom of my heart, no matter what results you got, "I still believe in you." :)


Friday, October 27, 2006

Are WE the problem?

How much do you know about Autism? Not much I suppose. Neither did I until I decided to design a School for Autistic Students for my design thesis. I have been reading up some on this topic and the more I find out, the more I am convicted that the notion of a "special school" for autistic students is one that must be CHALLENGED very seriously.

The current notion that autistic people are "special" and hence need to be treated "specially" and have their own "special place" presupposes that anyone who is different should be segregated, and treated differently. We put them in "special schools", give them "special education" and treat them "specially" so that in many ways, we don't have to deal with them. Let the professionals handle them, we say. Put them in a school where they can learn at their own pace so that we too can learn at our own pace and not be bothered by them. While we are at it, let's make them feel so "special" that they will never forget how "special" they are.

Now hold on a minute. I am not saying that we deny their medical condition or pretend that they are the same as the rest of us and hence treat them indifferently. But perhaps as a community, in our enthusiasm (or lack of) to help them, we have decided that the best way to do that would be to contain them in specialised institutions who are trained to deal with them.

Hear me out. WHAT IF, we take it as our responsibility as a humane community, to learn how to live with them? WHAT IF, we learn how to go to school with them, to run in a race with them, to celebrate National Day, Teacher's Day and even Racial Harmony Day with them? WHAT IF, we could learn to appreciate how brilliant some of them could be at mathematics when we attend the same lessons as them? WHAT IF we still learn to help and encourage and make them part of our lives even though they have nothing to offer us in terms of brilliance?

Very often, it is easier to see someone different as inferior, troublesome or a problem. Sometimes, I think WE are the problem. We certainly can't change how they are. How about starting to change how WE are? Autism isn't the problem. Our inability to cope with it is. Let's all learn to do better.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Go Fly A Kite!

I was out with 2 very good buddies for dinner at Orchard yesterday. It was a good time of catching up on each other's lives, ending off with the usual talk about GIRLFRIENDS. Not that I am attached already, but when you reach my age, the topic about whether you have found your partner yet will somehow spring out from every possible corner and grab you whether you expect it or not. For example, our dinner discussion was one that I considered pleasant and affirming cos we decided to talk about it and we actually were affirmed coming out of the conversation.

In other situations, things might not turn out quite the same way. Take for example my Grandfather's birthday 2 nights ago. (Some parts are fabricated. I get to use my imagination on my blog. Ha ha.)

Auntie: "Wah, big boy already ah! Now so handsome already ah! Wah girl (looking at her daughter...) See, kor kor so handsome now! Coooome. Call kor kor!

Me: "Ermm... didn't you just see me like one month ago?"

Auntie: "Ha ha ha. Oooh. Yah hor, but still handsome lah."

Me: "So, I am more handsome than one month ago ah? Wah not bad leh." (things are surprisingly going very positively...)

Auntie: "Ha ha ha. Yah! More handsome now. (But before you know it...) So... Got girlfriend already???"

Me: "Don't have lah. Soon lah soon lah. (Smile shyly...) So where am I sitting ah?"

Ha ha. Ok, I must confess that the part about girlfriend was added in and I am not trying to make fun of my auntie. I do love her. But it is an all together possible situation don't you think??! And at such gatherings of relatives, it might happen up to 3-5 times a night!

I thank God that my brother and me have reached a stage where we are not bothered but such talk. Indeed, like my brother said, "What's the hurry?" Well, true to a certain extent. I guess we are both stable and self-assured enough to know that He who created us will bless at the right time. In the meanwhile, there are other important things in life to focus on.

I remember this illustration that I really appreciate. If 2 people go into a relationship and the nature of that relationship is that of a letter "A", meaning both people leaning and depending heavily on each other with their sole focus on each other, the relationship is unhealthy. When one person is down the other loses the support and crashes too. A healthy relationship should actually reflect the letter "H". This is where both parties lead stable lives and are able to help each other when one is down. Their focus is not so much on each other, but rather on living intentionally and building a stable and healthy life that maximises the potential that one has been blessed with.

At this point in my life, I do think that I am ready for a "H" relationship. But if you are not, then there is much value in waiting and building your life first. From a Christian perspective, take time to grow deep in God and learn how to love Him the way He wants you to. Pray that whoever your future partner is, he/she is taking time to do that too. I've learnt that that is the best thing you can ever do for your relationship - focus on growing into the person that will be the best for your future mate. Well, I guess that makes me pretty eligible doesn't it? Ha ha.

Still on the topic of family gatherings, here's something else that happened.
Cousin: (whispering suspiciously to her brother) "Who is that ah? What is his name ah? Hee hee.."

Dad: "Wah! You mean you don't remember who I am ah?! HOW CAN??! Cannot like that ah. I am Uncle Vincent!

Cousin: "Ah! Yes! Yah hor yah hor."

Dad: "So, where are you schooling now?"

Cousin: (talks briefly about school)

Dad: (to me) "So what is her name ah? I can't remember also."

Me: (to my bro beside me) "Eh, what is her name ah? I know start with 'S' one."

Bro: "Eh... Cindy? (start with S lah!)... Sindy? Shirley? Sherry? Sharlene? Shardonnay? (Start with SSSSSSS Lah!)

Me: "I think Shirleen is it?"

Bro: "Oh yah oh yah. I think it is."

Me: "Eh, you try to test and call her?!"

Bro: (silence)

Me: (messages Cousin 2...) "Eh... ask you ah, Shaun's sister is Shirleen is it?"

Cousin 2: (messages back...)"Aiyo! YAH! You mean you don't know they are brother and sister ah????!"

Me: "...*#$&^&! ...No lah! I know that they are brother and sister! Just want to confirm her name lah."

Cousin 2: "Oooo. Yah. Her name is Shirlyn. Not the way you spelled it."

Me: (loudly so Dad and bro can hear...) "Shirlyn! So are you and your brother in the same school?"

Cousin 1 aka Shirlyn: "Huh???! No lah. Just now we say liao mah. I Bukit Batok, he Bukit View!" (my bro chips in...) "Yah! wah lau eh, never listen properly ah?? So Shirlyn what CCA are you in?"

All Of Us: "GIRLS' BRIGADE LAH!!!! Just now say so many times liao!!!!!!!"

Ha ha ha. Talk about dysfunctional families. We had many good laughs that night. Though, on a more serious note, I did have a chance to talk with my uncle (Shirlyn's father) that night and found out from him that because of work, he is seldom at home with the kids. In fact, the kids are closer to their mother. He doesn't really know how they do in school or what their lives are like. But he provides for them the way he knows how to best. By continuing the business my grandfather started many years ago. Business is affected by the haze but life goes on. Seriously, at that moment, I felt the pain of the father's heart.

My uncle is not very educated and so he understands the value of a good education for his kids and tries his best to give it to them. Even at the cost of the long hours at work. I felt for him cos I know that given a choice, he would want to spend more time knowing his children. And being brought up in a typical chinese family, outwardly expressing one's love is not something done easily. I feel for him. And so I encourage all of you out there whose parents work long hours, appreciate them, cos they do it for you. Make an effort to let them know you appreciate their sacrifice and that you love them dearly.

Back to my dinner outing
with QS and YL. After dinner, we took a walk and ended up at Youth Park where I chanced upon these amazing flying creatures - Kites. Remote-controlled ones that is, with shiny LED lights forming an almost surreal trail wherever they floated, glided, soared.
Seeing it live in action, I hope to learn how to fly one of these someday. It is truely amazing watching them. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, the most flexible one being the Pro III.

Click on image to see more clearly

It was truly mesmirising watching these kites take to the air. With practice and more pratice, you can make the Pro III hover, rotate in mid air, nose dive, glide gracefully and doing many other stunts. Here's just an example of what these kites are capable of. You can also find more information at


Friday, October 20, 2006

Mooncake Festival

We had a smashing time organising the Archi Mooncake Festival 2007! Thnks to Hann for agreeing to our crazy idea to pull it off in a week, and for all the help from everyone especially Wen Hui, Keng San, Kelly, Eric and the rest of you whom I don't remember your names but am sincerely grateful. It was definitely a night where my eyes were opened to the GREAT talents we have in archi and id. I was very presently surprised. Great job guys! Here are the photos.

Download the pics HERE.


A Great Black Stallion

Every man/boy/guy/male has got a favourite car. My just happens to be black, sleek, handsome and is able to reach 100km/h in 4.6 secs with a top speed of 306 km/h. Let me introduce you to the breath-taking Audi R8 (road car). It packs a high-revving 420 bhp eight-cylinder engine, which delivers 309 kW (420 bhp) of power output. Peak torque is 430 Newton-metres from 4.500 to 6,000 rpm. Nevermind if you didn't understand what all the meant. Basically, it is one powerful car that looks GORGEOUS!!! This car is a production road car based on the 2003 Audi Le Mans Quattro concept car. Its 'R8' tag is however, inherited from the smashing Audi R8 (race car), a five time Le Mans winner. So, let me introduce you to the car of my dreams...

Check out more photos here. By the way, what you see on top is actually a 3D model from the R8 website, a fantastic example of a great flash site.

As I was saying, this is a DREAM car. I will never want to own it. Firstly, in Singapore, the road tax will kill you. So will the petrol costs and insurance. And if I ever had that much money, I would rather put it to better use. However, it is certainly a fine example of great craftsmanship!

I remember what my pastor taught me, "Live simply, so that others might simply live." Do I want to get all emotionally tangled up with a car? Getting all worked up with someone scratched it or if some careless drive banged into it? Most definitely not, since I know can be so capable of doing so. I would probably end up driving it as a status symbol, feeling all important because of my expensive beautiful car. Is that so wrong, some of you might wonder... Well, if you really think you could settle for you being defined by your material possesions, be my guest.

But I thought I would let you in on something better. You being defined by this person called Jesus who knows you better than you even know yourself, whose definition of you will never change, and hence your worth in Him and to Him will never also. Can I live without the R8? Of course.

Can I live without Jesus? Of course. But why then would life be worth living?


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Settled in

So, the BIG house moving occurred and we are finally more settled into our new home along Marine Parade. I was personally surprised at the amount of stuff I moved compared to my brother. Let's take a look at my new room with boxes, compared with my brother's.


So you see the difference? And that's not even all the boxes I have. Check out part 2 of my luggage in the dining room (now converted to major storeroom).

My brother will tell you that I'm the collector type, like my mum. I choose to think that I keep intelligently for a day where the stuff might come in handy. (There are a few occasions that has happened.) Ha ha. Would you believe me if I told you I still keep my Sec school and JC econs and Geography notes? Hmmm...

Anyway, here are a few more pics of the house in "moved-in" condition.

The toilet I share with my brother.

Our dining room and living room (sofa not in yet).

As I was packing my stuff back into the cupboards, I came across some of my sec school photos and homework that I did. It's funny how all these just seem a little wierd when you read them 10 years later. It certainly brought back some strange memories though. Heh. If you would humour me, I will put some of them up soon. I had a good laugh reading some of my early journal entries to my Sec 1 English school teacher. You probably would to. Ha ha. Reminded me of a time when I was innocent and still very "boy-boy" if you know what I mean.

In other news, Google buys Youtube for 1.65 billion! And there I was thinking, how would Google ever beat Youtube at the online video game? They came in later, have a smaller user base and "Google Video" just doesn't sound as right as "Youtube". Well, there's my answer. "We'll just buy em over!" Looks like critics who call Google the next Microsoft ain't that wrong after all.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Para Para

Ever heard of
para skiing, or para surfing?

Well, here's a new one. Para Manta Raying. Now, THAT looks like something that could kill you in the sea.

The things we come up with to have fun. Ha ha.


House Moving

It's a dread to move house. There is so much to pack, so many decisions of what to keep, what not to (in the end, I keep most and decide that I will only throw those that can't fit into my new room). Here's a picture of my room now....

My hurricane-runned-through room

My brother's room.

Boxes and boxes of books and more books!

Yet, it's kind of exciting. New place, new view, new facilities, the beach nearby, Parkway Parade down the road, Kenny's house just opposite. I was just thinking about my mixed feelings of moving, together with losing all my photos. I can sort of imagine how the residents who were relocated due to Singapore's early conservation efforts in places like Chinatown and Kampong Glam, must feel. The unsettling feeling of losing that which is familiar, that which is so much part of your memories.

It's not that you lose a part of yourself, but rather, you fear the loss of those memories. The memories that are precious to you. Losing them, would mean losing something that was once part of your life. And for people who have lost a dear friend or family, the feeling is more real than ever.

I believe memories are important to preserve. And more should be done to do it sensitively in a economically driven nation such as Singapore.

However, I have also learnt that there is a need to move on with life. I remember this quote, "Live your life as if it is your last day." Would you worry about all these if today was your last day on the earth? Probably not. If you were to see your life on the earth as but a tiny fraction of your life in eternity, then you realise that while memories are important, they are never really lost, neither will you be able to bring your photos and stuff along with you when you physically die.

I suddenly realise a little more what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 16:24, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." If Jesus were to ask me to drop everything today and go where He says, would I be ready to do so? Matthew 8:18-22 talks about the cost of following Jesus. "Let the dead bury the dead" he says. Indeed, to follow Him at all cost is a tough call. Yet, when you have experienced the reality of God in your life, it is not too difficult a decision to make. Do you know this Jesus that I am willing to give up all for? Go find out today.


Inspiring Craftsmanship from the Master Creator

I visited "The Art Of Cartier" Exhibition with a friend last Friday. (Cartier is the renowned French jeweler whose creations transcend jewellery into intricate pieces of art.) We happened to walk in after I remembered Hann reminding me to check out the Shigeru Ban pavilion and the new NSM extension designed by Mok Wei Wei opposite it at the re-opened National Museum of Singapore. I must say, the exhibition was literally breath-taking. For one, it is absolutely free. Yup, you don't have to pay anything to get in! Just be sure not to take anything out. All that glitter is not gold, but diamonds. And judging by the amount of diamonds in there, I bet there are invisible snipers aimed at everyone of us who go in (thought I saw a few red dots flying around).

Anyway, I wanted to say something about craftsmanship. What struck me about the exhibition was firstly the way the place was set up. Using ordinary bricks, each piece was stacked up in a diagonal interlocking manner that created an intricate backdrop for the jewels to be exhibited. The beauty of that was it was so intricately laid out, you kind of have the feeling that each brick was exquisitely placed there and belonged there. The same and more could be said about each jewellery. The fine attention to detail and the brilliantly creative ways the diamonds were laid out to form pieces of art to beholdm, spoke of a craftmanship that was par excellence.

I knew this could only come with a commitment of passion and dedication to years of practice and refinement. I was inspired. I thought about what kind of architect I wanted to be and I hope I can be one that reflects such skill and craftsmanship. Recently, I came across a few youtube performances of artistes whom I consider as craftsman of their own art. They are brilliant performers who constantly redefine creativity. Here they are.

A pity most of these songs tend to talk about wanting to have sex. Now, if there was an artiste who had such craftsmanship as these and wrote songs with healthier lyrics that still blew your mind, but in a less "I'm sexy you are sexy, let's get it on" way and a more "You are special, life's an adventure, live it to your fullest" kind of way, wouldn't that be just powerful?

As a Chrisitan, I am inspired to hone the craft and giftings that God has given me so that I can point more people to Him. The Bible tells us that all good gifts come from God. Isn't it only responsible then, that we make sure we live out these talents with a level of craftsmanship that reflects the genius of our master creator? Start today.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The LITTLE frustrations of life...

It's been terrible. First, I discover to my horror of horrors, that my Achi Year 3 Final Project digital files are missing from any of my digital stroage drives. That was one of my favourite projects and one which I put much effort into. I left my home this morning, instructing windows to do a search of all the drives for those precious files.

And when I thought that the worst had hit me, I came home and while trying to access my external harddisk, I see this message:- "ERROR. Drive is unreadable or corrupted.".............................................................

What can I say.... All my photos are in there. Let me say that again, ALL MY PHOTOS I HAVE EVER TAKEN IN THE LAST 6 YEARS of my life are in there!!!!!! Together with many other important stuff! No more australia photos, Lijiang photos, Chongqing photos, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, Shanghai, Beijing, Haerbin, Hanzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai exchange, Hangzhou, Great Wall of China, Tribe meetings, Tribe outings, Tribe camps, G12 Conferences, Friends' Birthday, MAAN, React, NYF, etc etc etc etc etc. All the memories. Gone.

I am praying for a miracle. These are really important to me. I think I might not be able to sleep tonight. WHY?!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, October 06, 2006

A panda writes....

I came across this cartoon while look through one of my friend's youtube favourites. I liked it straight away. It has everything I look for in a good show. Humor, cool effects and a good storyline! I started watching one and could not help searching for all the rest of the episodes trying to piece together the story until now! Ha ha... No wonder I have started to look like a panda recently. I think the animation teaches many good values that we can learn from - Learning to see the best in people, believing in the potential that one has (in God) and being like what God demonstrated for us in Nehemiah 9:17 - slow to anger and abounding in love.
Here's Part 1 of the latest episode of Avatar. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I have always been fascinated by cartoons and animes that have a certain "fantasy" element to them. They make me dream about what could be and amazes me at how limitless our imagination is. I used to have dreams when I was young, about myself being a silver hawk (the cartoon) or just being able to fly like superman. There was even one where I walked down the side of my flat from the 25th storey to retrieve a toy fire engine that my brother threw down!

But more than the fantasy dreams, I am reminded that I personally know a God who is even more imaginative and creative than all these! After all, He is the one who gave us the ability to start imagining in the first place! I always wonder what heaven would be like, since God is the ultimate creator. I have a hunch that it would be surprisingly breathless beyond our human imagination. Isn't that great?! Anyway, speaking about cartoons, here's a link (Part1 | Part 2) to a collection of old cartoon opening sequences that my brother compiled. Enjoy getting nostalgic. :)


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Punkster, Photographer, Parchitect, Politician?

There is so much to update, yet, I really feel very lazy to type leh. Ha ha. Here goes. Since the first round of the Young Preachers' Contest, I don't think i have said very much about my experience. Well, as you would have known, I did get in to the 2nd round via a wildcard entry. The 2nd round, I made sure I spent more time preparing and rehearsing. So, although I didn't finally make it to the finals, I enjoyed the preaching a lot more. I was more confident, more prepared, and definitely more convincing. Ha ha. The judges thought it was so much better than the last time round and liked a lot of what I did. Well, I realised the last time I felt really lousy after not getting in intially, was because I didn't think I gave my best. This time round, I did and knowing that made it a whole complete experience for me! Anyways, here are my 2 videos from the 2 rounds of preaching.



Some of you know that I was involved in this program with the National Youth Council called the National Youth Forum 2006. Last thursday marked the finale of the entire forum, though we still have our community projects to complete. This forum was initiated by NYC to give youths a platform to discuss issues close to their heart, and to have an opportunity to talk and dialogue with ministers and others who are involved in creating the policies that affect us in Singapore. All in all, it has been a really enriching and mind-stimulating time for me in this forum. The theme for this forum, "Take the lead, Be the change" was something that I connected with instantly and could share with the rest of the participants. I would strongly encourage anyone to join it if you are interested. The exposure and insight it gave me was tremendous. Check out my pic and my write-up here. My group's name is called Kulu Melingyu by the way. The name is actually a combination of 4 languages. (We belong to the multi-culturalism and multi-racialism group) See if you can guess what it means. Ha ha.

Anyway, the Finale was a blast and I got to wield my trusty old Canon Powershot G3 once again. Check out the power shots. Heh.

By the way, the food was excellent. The desserts were good to look at and even better to eat.

Look again and you will realise that the last dessert is really from Bakerzin. One of my favourites actually. We went there for a little while after the whole finale ended and I treated Kenneth and Ami to dessert and Evian. :)

Yups, the desserts look really good. But the main highlight for me that night was listening to Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan give his views on our projects. This is one man who is both perceptive and visionary. Though he spent all of 15 min talking to us, they WERE 15 min of gems. I asked myself if I could ine day inspire and influence others the way he did to me today. Why not?

How do I get there? I think it starts with having the right attitude towards learning. Always learn, from all situations and all circumstances. Make it what you breathe and what you eat. Never think yourself higher than someone else. There is always something we can learn from someone else. Finally, know your maker. I believe the only way we can live our life to its fullest is to know the person who created us, who fashioned us in each unique way. He alone knows how we can become the best of our potential. He alone knows. You have only one life. Live it intentionally.