24 November 2008

Outing with my niece & nephew

It almost did not materialize, but I was glad to have listened to my wife and SMS my brother to say that we can fetch their kids. It was supposed to be a mini gathering, but my brother had a wedding dinner and were not able to make it. Their kids were free though and I didn't think further into driving by and fetching them until prompted by my wife (sigh, men never think hard enough ..) I rounded up my parents and asked them to take bus and meet us there at Anchorpoint, Xin Wang Cafe for dinner. They were glad to come.

It was a great time for the kids! Their 2 kids, now in Sec 1&2 with mine in primary 5&2 can, thankfully, still play together. For them, they are great in inventing games on their own in the car journey. They played push and squeeze on the turns, and boy, was the volume loud! After alighting you can see some bruises, but it was all in good clean fun.

My parents were all smiles. They cannot really communicate much with the rapidly growing teenager grandchildren, but in their hearts, they were just happy to be together. In the restaurant, one of them came up with a new game - passing on the funny action. One of them will start a funny action, and the rest will need to do the same and pass it on. It was fun to see my 2 young gals joining in enthusiastically while the teenager boy was a bit self-conscious and did not join in the more "sissy" actions. My parents don't know what's going on, but just join in to do the funny actions - and the kids roared in laughter seeing them participating.

Boys are like that in their early teens - quite conscious of themselves and searching for their identity. The other older girl took it quite well and scream and laughed heartily. As for my 2 girls, they are still very innocent and these things don't bother them.

It was great to have a family fun time like this. Thank you Lord.

23 November 2008

Anger and Sexual Sins

That was today's sermon main focus - anger and sexual sins. The speaker was saying that for most of us Christians in Singapore, these are the key issues, from the text, that we are facing in modern day society. I thought it was apt and can relate to it instantly.

Anger's source, he pointed out stems from our own root issues and expectations that were not dealt with. if we are angry with our child's lack of interest in doing their homework, it can be traced back to we not wanting to lose face when summoned by the class teacher to explain for our child's work.

Sexual sins are prevalent in society today. He quoted many statistics to bear out the truth. What is needed for us is godly repentance - i.e. to acknowledge that we have sinned, to have the godly remorse for it, and to turned away from sin into the right paths. For me, I think that these are good but we need one further step - community help from our brothers in the journey. We need one another to help keep watch over us. If not, we will fall back very easily.

Lord, deal with me thoroughly in these 2 areas. Let my life be holy and pleasing unto you so that you can use me to touch others and make my life count.

14 November 2008

My Bday

I'm 40++ this year. Sigh, growing older but not really wiser yet. It is getting scary as I approach the Big 50. And I haven't accomplish anything yet, still at slightly higher than entry level.

Nothing eventful happened though. Same round of classes from 0830 till 1230. Lunch ate Masala Dosa, nothing special. Managed to settle the next term's timetable arrangement in the afternoon. There was plenty of buzz on campus, probably the STOMP Aids thingy. We went to Lot One for Saba fish dinner. Nothing special again. The gals wanted to eat ice-cream, but I said don't need, got to save money.

Many of them sent me SMS and one email. My sis was the 1st, followed by bro-in-law & sis-in-law and my brother at night. My elder daughter was the 1st to greet me - she's ever the more sensible one. Any presents? No. My sis-in-law did talked about getting me a HP, which I reject outright. Not comfortable in receiving gifts from them though.

Well, there goes my Bday - not a very eventful day.

Why the big expectations anyway? It's just another day.

I've learnt that when people remembers you birthday, it somehow enlightens and makes you happier than if nobody remembers. My action point - start jotting down their birthdays and greet them. It'll brighten their day.

9 November 2008

Daily Catching of Students

It is now 3 weeks left to end of Semester, the time where we determine how many will pass or fail. When the date draws closer, we teachers are more worried than the students. They seem to be oblivious and have not a single tinge of care as to whether they pass or fail. It seems that the whole burden of their passing is on me the teacher, and I have to catch them to make sure they pass.

Sigh, how times have changed.

My days are now spent in their labs, during my free time, and praying hard that they will come to school so that I can ask them to do their assignment. On my hitlist, there is 9 more to catch in 3 weeks. And when they do come and are 'caught', some of them will bargain with me and asked to do it at home. Others will whine and asked why there is so much work to be done? It has became my fault that they now have much to do!

Well, the students are customers now and they are the "kings & queens" to be served. We are the expendable and very free teachers who know where they are and can chase them to do so. The prevailing atmosphere here is, it is like that. Just do it. Teach. Find them and get them to do it. Or quit.

Quit at 40+ years old? I may not be able to find another job now in these depressing times. That is my human fear. But beyond that, I need to remind myself of my purpose here and to hang on, even in tough times with tough students.

Today's Sermon Thoughts

Today's topic is on Growing Deep in God through tough times, 2 Cor.12:7-10. These are some random thoughts gleaned from today's sermon in church:

  • songs that ministered to me: "Still" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgob5afanUg, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Empower Me".
  • Coming to church is not coming to an event but to meet God.
  • Recessions are opportunities. Opportunities to show where we stand and opportunities to declare our faith to the watching world who have no hope for bad times.
  • What are my thorns in life? - struggling self esteem; keeping things in; sins; spouse; daughter seemingly unteachable ways.
  • Learn to surrender my life to God with child-like faith. Let God take over the controls of my life instead of sending Him into the servants room and wait to do my bidding.
  • Lean on Him not stand and fight on my own.
Reminded in a poignant way, His grace is sufficient for my needs. The word sufficient is in the future tense. Hence it was sufficient for Paul, for his generation, and for us too, in this 21st generation. Sufficient like the manna, He will provide grace for me daily, at the right amount daily.

Praise God!

8 November 2008

Computer Games

My 2 gals have been playing PC games daily. Non-stop. Alternating it with watching their favourite SCV channels 55 and 255 for daily entertainment and thrills in life. And it is driving me crazy.

In my adult mind, I know its not good for them. The game is addictive and their whole life just revolves Voodoominis, getting up to the next higher level, getting more cash in the Voodoominis world, and neglecting the things of greater value in the real life - like exercise, or general knowledge or spiritual values.

In this regard, I felt like a failure as a parent to guide them to what is good and stop them from going down the useless road of addictive games.

Most of the time, I let them be while I do my own web surfing or checking out the latest PC gadgets and tools. Now, I feel its time to limit their gaming and turn their attention to what really matters in life. Don't just let them be. Act on it - put a stop to it. They will just continue to happily play more and longer until someone say, "Stop!".

That's where I should come in.

Months ago. sigh.

What's so difficult about stopping them and guiding them?
1) I'm not around most of the time
2) wife doesn't do the limiting/guiding
3) I'm too tired after work to do it
4) I'm lazy and not persevering in this area sufficiently.
5) they have no better goals/objective in life to pursue
6) Its part of a greater spiritual warfare that we are all under

To pull out of this, it starts with the Spiritual part. Pray. Pray for guidance, for victory over these gaming temptations. Pray for solidarity at home to fight this battle.

Secondly, the personal part. I need to take leadership at home and own this problem. Set up some worthy goals for the gals.

Thirdly, organise the solution. Get it working. See it to the end. Set a meaningful goal to work towards. E.g. do an assigned homework, and then they can play for 1 hr.

Ok, get to it NOW.

7 November 2008

Bored students

I walked into the PC Lab and saw this today. Sigh. It is a typical reflection of our kids. Bored. Naughty. Looking for lame fun. Absolutely not a care of other classes.

Some student(s) has swung the screen string upwards right up to curl round the supporting peg. Without a ladder or long pole, it is almost impossible to uncurl it and to pull the screen down.

Get a ladder? The school estates dept will probably take a few weeks to sort out the approvals and I will end up with more frustrations over the senseless red-tape.

The best solution? Leave with the problem or get one of the students to climb up and uncurl it.

What did I do? I left it as it is, as shown in the picture. Did the students make any noise? no, nobody asked. The string will probably be in the same position for a few weeks - let's see how long it will be ;-)

Isn't it a nice analogy of our times in this school? Student vandals, school red-tapes, teachers gave up and make do. And we still get by with the kids passed and move on.

Yes, we will survive somehow.

2 November 2008

Soccer Player's Mentor

I am a MUFC soccer fan since the 90s. One of my current favourites is Park Ji-Sung. He does not always score nor is he high up in Ferguson's pecking order of wingers. I like him because he is Asian and an under-dog in big club MUFC.

One of Park's mentor is Guus Hiddink. This is Park's account of Guus' impact in his life...

"I was sitting alone in an empty locker room, left leg injured. I need to prove my worth when the opportunity is given. I look at my leg, powerless, and wonder why I had to get hurt in this moment. Then, Coach Hiddink appears out of nowhere with an interpretor and speaks to me in English. Not understanding, I stare at the interpretor.

"He says you have great mentality. With that kind of mental strength, you will become a great player."

"I was shocked. Before I could murmur the easy 'thank you' in English, he was gone. My heart was pounding. The coach always seemed to be so far away, but he came to me and told me I have great mentality. Somewhere inside, energy was rousing up."

"... Mentality. I have nothing else to boast, but one thing I could do is to never give up. I will endure all hardships, even if I would die from it. And I will keep this mentality."

"... In the entire World Cup, I played with those words ringing in my ears. With my mentality, I can become a great player. I kicked the ball and ran around the field clinging on to those words. For better or for worse, I am calm and quiet, so not many people take notice of me. But I was sure that Coach Hiddink would be looking at me and urging me to move on. This gave me courage."

"If it was not for Coach Hiddink, I would not be where I am now."

"With the words 'where I am now,' I am not referring to me becoming famous or being able to purchase a spacious condo for my parents. I am referring to the fact that I learned to love myself more."

"Within a minute, what Coach Hiddink said to me changed my life forever. I feel a bit shy thinking about what he would think after reading this, but he is my 'master' and I owe him everything and I won't be able to repay it in my lifetime."

After scoring the winner against Portugal in the World Cup to secure a place in the last 16, knocking Portugal out in the process, the first thing Park did was to run to Hiddink and gave him a bear hug.

This story encourages me to be an encourager. There are many youngsters out there waiting for me to ignite. And boy will they light up the world!

Some great PC tips to share

Recently, I have been reading quite a fair bit of PC mags. These are:
  • PC Magazine found at www.pcmag.com
  • PC World found at www.pcworld.com
  • PC Advisor found at www.pcadvisor.co.uk
  • CHIP
These are great stuff and have pick up some great tips, for e,g.

Way to go! More to come..

Changing CGs again

We are approaching the end of our IDT training and are asked to change CG/DGs. Sigh. Just when we have built up firm friendships with the newly included group, and now we are asked to re-group.

Sometimes I wonder whether the leaders know what they are doing? In the grander scheme of things, it may be a good thing to do. But what about our hard-formed relationships? How do we continue to foster them? Do we have the confidence to make new friends only to be dismantled a few years down the line?

The pastor preached that night that it was God's idea to move us into fruitfulness by multiplying. We will make new friends and share God's glory and grace with more new people. It makes sense for my mind but not for my heart.

Well, do I have alternatives?

One idea is to go with the flow and join a new CG. Another, is to form groups but outside the CG/DG structure. We will operate indefinitely for fellowship purposes, not necessarily following the duties of the church. But this may seem very rebellious for others to stomach.

Another possibility which I am toying with is to be just a CG member, but I do e-mentoring or face-face meet up with whoever is keen. In this way, our friendships will continue on a longer term independent of church's call for restructuring.

One way is to start with the Truthmedia.com work 1st and then extend it to my old mentorees.

Maybe that's what I will do..

Tests for Boasting

Am I boasting? How do we test? Today over the pulpit, pastor gave 4 ways to check ourselves:
1) Is it a fact or pure boasting?
2) Is it just the tip of the iceberg or the sum total of it?
3) Does it make my head swell when I say it?
4) What's the purpose of saying it?

These 4 gauges must be used together to determine whether we are boasting or purely just stating the facts.

True humility is rare and hard. Most of us un-consciously boast once a while. Today's sermon reminds me to live in humility, i.e. in such a way that what others see of me, is just the tip of the iceberg. In so doing, there is much depth and substance in my life.

But how hard it is...

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