13 January 2013

Close enough to hear God breathe

This book first appears to me as a disconnected and difficult to follow book. But after a few chapters into the book, I begin to appreciate the masterly way in which Greg weaves in a few stories and scriptures into one correlated whole. I must admit it took a while to savor and appreciate this wonderfully intimate work. This is a book to be read slowly, letting the pages sipped through and the characters come alive.

I especially like his chapters on The Beauty of a Broken Mirror, Chocolate Rosebuds, Striking off the Chains and Plastic Pop Bottles. Greg’s human episodes brings out his points vividly and poignantly. In these pages, I see God’s love for us in a very real and touching way. For Greg to write in this way, he must have an intimate and experiential knowledge of God, especially on God’s love, the sheer pleasure of redeeming something others can only see as junk (pg 134) – that’s God all over.

I would strongly recommend this book to those who want to grow in experiencing God’s love for us. 

5 October 2012

Nearing Home - Billy Graham

Nearing Home - Life, Faith and Finishing well by Billy Graham.

This is a great book by the elderly Billy Graham, written by an elderly, for the elderlies, inspiring the elderlies
to live a meaningful and purposeful life, at their station of life.

Though I'm not exactly an elderly person yet, I thoroughly enjoyedand benefitted from the wealth of wisdom found in the pages of this wonderfully written book. It inspires me to live on purposefully. It reminded me to be thankful for what I had already achieved. And I felt that it prepares me for the future as an elderly person,
giving me a realistic feel to what life is like as an elderly and what things you need to prepare ahead - e.g. like a living will.

What I like too is that it has a good balance of both scriptural verses and modern day quotations. These are good compass points for those preparing for their life ahead.

Overall, a good inspirational read, and I would recommend it to all who wants to be well prepared as they face their golden years.

9 May 2012

Going Deep

This is the second book that I got from the Book Sneeze people. It was a great service and good book offer from them, but unfortunately, I cannot say the same for this book, Going Deep: Becoming a Person of Influence by Gordon MacDonald.

This book looks attractive in design and title, but as I read it, I was turned off by the diary style that the author took in writing this book. The big ideas are slow to surface from the many details of the diary style. Many chapters into the book, and I am still left wondering where all these is taking me and I just gave up reading. At the end  of the day, this  book is good for those with patience and who can slowly trace the themes and plots leisurely. For the similar topic, I would recommend Edmund Chan's "Growing Deep in God", which is better.

I have since moved on and am reading from iPad with iBook app and the eBrary, a National Library electronic resource. Recently downloaded the free version of George Mueller's biography and was indeed touched by his comments to take the statements of promises in prayer at face value and not to limit it by our lack of faith.

More to come later on.

22 March 2012

School Holidays - a time of rest and re-creation

After 10 weeks of my first term this year, the school holidays are finally here again. Three weeks of nothing much to do lies ahead of me.

Well, not really nothing much to do. The 1st week (this week) was filled up for me by my employers. It was briefing on Tuesday, talks and workshops on Wednesday, workshop on Thursday and followed by another full day training on Friday. My only real full break is in week 2 and 3 where I am spared from any training or meetings.

Training sessions are supposed to be fun. But when its conducted by the management, the fun somehow disappears and we slogged through it occupying ourselves by looking at our timepieces. Still, there are nuggets of wisdom here and there to be found.

2 nuggets surfaced for me. The 1st is by Andrew Goh, the speaker for our session - his quote struck a deep chord with me: If you look at the cost, you will not see the value behind it. If you look at the value, you will not see the cost. This speaks to me for so often I only see the costs and ignore the value of the matter, especially in things like bringing up my kids. That RWS ticket costs supersedes the family time value :-(

Secondly, while attending the aircon maintenance workshop, I learnt that there are a few other parts of the split air conditioner unit that I can dismantle and clean, i.e. drain tray, roller coil. Yes, something to be learnt.

I looked forward to next week's trip to Sumatra too. It's been a few years since I last went back to do mission work and it will be exciting to do mentoring with the cousins.

Thank God for such holidays. If not for them, life will be too cramped and teachers like us will never have a chance to spread our wings and find the other side of us.

Till the next holiday. That's another 10 weeks away.

15 February 2012

Total Defence Day

15 Feb is the day where schools here celebrate Total Defence Day. It was also the day where we surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 and a reminder from the ruling Government never to let it happen again. This latter part is a bit missing in my school today, but I guess they would have heard it many times in their Secondary School.

For us, the day was celebrated (a misnomer) with static displays and game stations from SAF, Police, SCDF and us. The crowd puller were the games part where they had something similar to paintball. The firing range, night vision experience and the rhino joy rides were also very popular.

I visited the stations at the Sports Hall and was quite refreshing to see the advanced weapon systems now. I had the opportunity to try on the latest SBO (very heavy) and SAW guns. The combat rations and full pack were also much improved.

While the stations and games were informative, I felt that the interactions were insufficient. It would be great to have more items for the students to try and experience. Perhaps more 4D type of experiences in the Auditorium and more hands-on experiences would be good. Next year, hopefully we can invite the Air force and then Navy for the year after to give a different feel.

Having more items may pique the interests of our students, but they have still a long way to go to touch their hearts. A good TD day should aim to spur them to want to defend our nation. The emotions part should be touched too. But that will be most challenging.

8 February 2012

Season of DISC tests

This is the season where we rushed out to complete the DISC Personality Profiling for our students by March. It is quite hectic as when you are explaining, no one bothers to listen to you, and once they start, they would all screamed and want you to help them out over everything. There is only one teacher to 40 crying students with snail-slow desktops and lagging internet connections.

Once they are done, it is our turn to be bogged down reading and explaining their graphs to them. We are to watch out for the overdrive, under-drive and transition patterns and flagged these to the Class Advisors for further follow up.

It is a good tool but unfortunately few students pay any attention to it. Few see the value of it and click the buttons flippantly resulting in many weird patterns and false alarm patterns. What a pity! We are throwing pearls to swines again.

A better way would be to use a cheaper pen-paper version and to explain in detail for those who are interested. Unfortunately, our school has bought into the system and use DISC to flag out students with crisis patterns. I feel that the results may not be very accurate as they do not take it seriously. Also, these crisis patterns are a secondary result of DISC, not the main product of who they are and how they can best relate to each other.

19 January 2012

Scolded by Student

I was scolded by my student yesterday in class for not releasing his group to go for break. And, man it hurts.

It was 9.34am (lesson ends at 10) and they have done their work. They were getting restless but it is still way too early to release them for break and I do not want to set a precedence on what is only the 2nd week of term. Then this Chinese boy scolded me behind my back while I was with the group next to them. It was a Malay word for pig which is uncalled for and derogatory.

I approached him to soothe things out and explain the situation. He did not want to listen and insisted on me being unfair and that he would tone down his words and actions. There was no point in continuing on in such a scenario especially with the rest of them watching. I told the group to wait till 9.40 and continued with discussions with the next group.

At 9.40 sharp, I return to them and tell them it is alright to leave now. This chap just walk off angrily with the rest of his team. Sigh. What a way to start the new term!

Our students are now delicate beings. They looked tough on the outside but are easily angered and possible of violent behaviours. They are also quick to catch on your words and hold you to whatever you have said.

For the rest of the day, I was affected by his words. My esteem also took a blow. I could take 'revenge' on his grades, but that is too personal and childish. In times like these, it is good to be reminded of my calling and be true to it. Whatever it takes. And hang in there.

Please intervene and help change the situation for the better Lord. Grant me strength to cope and be firm and fair.

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