Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another Year Older

I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.

My birthday wish, I suppose, is not one of a material nature. I yearn for wisdom - not knowledge, but a deeper understanding and maturity in thought.

I'm really blessed to have good friends in my life - albeit a small pool, but numbers don't matter in these sort of things.

10 April, 10.23pm. The light in my room was turned off - something which I hadn't done before I left for the shower. Sigh, "those two people next door."; the folks in the adjacent bunk had once came into my room to turn off the light while I was out. Nothing significantly wrong with that, though I'd prefer if they did not trespass in such a manner. I opened the door, and I saw 2 back-lit figures in the room, one sitting on my bed, the other standing behind it - the effect of it was not unlike that of the photographical term contre-jour, but I digress. That bothered me, and my mind spurned such thoughts: what the hell are the two of you doing in my room; not only do you turn off my light, now you're trying to scare me? As I inched towards the light switch, a deep voice boomed behind me. It was familiar, yet I couldn't see how that should happen. It was S from my previous section. Flick. And I was surprised. S, CL, JX, Sgt P and PS YK were all in the room, and a small yellow (unmistakably cake-containing) box sat on a chair in the middle of the room.

Thanks for the surprise, it really made my day (which was otherwise a boring one).

12 April, night. Kilo (it's atmosphere and food) was great, but the company was greater.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Side Effects

We are both victims and exploiters of the system.

In Soderbergh's Side Effects, there is a faint line between antagonists and protagonists. Everyone's morally ambivalent, everyone is driven by the same desires. Rooney Mara's performance as the seemingly depressed Emily is stellar - one cannot predict how insidiously her character would play out, only that it would. Likewise, Jude Law's Jonathan fits perfectly into that calculative and scheming world, where profit and vengeance collude.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Person's Conscience

‘Scout’, said Atticus, ‘when summer comes you’ll have to keep your head above far worse things… it’s not fair for you and Jem, I know that, but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down - well, all I can say is, when you and Jem are grown, maybe you’ll look back on this with some compassion and some feeling that I didn’t let you down. This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience – scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.’

‘Atticus, you must be wrong…’

‘How’s that?’

‘Well most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong…’

‘They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,’ said Atticus, ‘but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.’

Thursday, March 07, 2013

2 Weeks

"It's like a worker's dormitory," I said, half-jokingly to CL.

10am, the warm morning light is diffused - that doesn't make the room any cooler. Nor do the small ceiling fans that whittle away incessantly (don't get me wrong, I rather have them do that than suffer the blazing heat of Brunei).

I'm lying on a grey double-deck bunk bed, and many more surround me - there are 2 rows of beds that face each other, 16 beds or so in each row. I'm lucky to have a fan near me, its far warmer sleeping below. The bed sheets are familiar, I think to myself. They are the same blue ones that are used in every Singaporean army camp. At least they seem clean - no dubious stains on them. I sit back up, its tiring to read while lying down, and I observe the narrow artery of the bunk. That grey concrete walkway, whose dark grey veins no one notices - surely that can allow for no more than 3 franticly rushing individuals (its always about rushing here and there in the army). Yet that isn't an issue on this day, or on many other days as well - most people are out in the Borneo jungle. The only proof of their frantic rush is the stuff left lying around: toiletries above their narrow green cabinets, footwear tossed about the tight space between every 2 beds.

I needed a break from A Clockwork Orange - Nadsat was really pissing me off. Or perhaps I was getting drowsy from it, I can't be sure. I looked up and stared at the pitched roof, and the wooden structural beams caught my eye. They were painted a disgusting shade of brown - why couldn't the builders have simply varnished the wood to allow the natural grains to shine through. It would definitely make the space less depressing. And then I stared at what was behind me: meshed screens, chock full of exoskeletons.

And then I thought to myself, this would be home for two weeks.

Free Will vs. Determinism

While I was in Brunei, someone posed me this question: Is there truly free will in Christianity, especially when it is God who dictates what is right and wrong, and punishes 'wrong-doers'? This is roughly what I answered him with:

I believe that while God is all knowing - every choice we make is known to Him, we are still granted the ability to choose, regardless of whether there are any internal or external factors contributing to that choice. The ability to choose, in spite of one's circumstances or the number of choices available is what I define as free will.

Absolute right and wrong is dictated by God, assuming that He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, and both of them exist as possibilities that we must constantly choose between.

We are given the free will to choose between them, as well as a myriad of options that fall between what is defined as absolutely right or wrong. This choice is granted to us because of two reasons: 1. We are created in His image - that is to say that choice is an attribute of God that we are granted. 2. Complete love is reciprocative - not only does God love us, but He desires us to love Him as well - therein lies the necessity for our free will, that we consciously choose to follow Him, and therefore sacrifice for Him as He did for us, rather than being mere mindless beings.

As Anthony Burgess put it, "When a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man."

And while mankind may be deemed a fallen creature, he is not without the ability of discernment - it is one thing to know what is moral, it is another to choose to follow it. We were created in His image, and possess godly characteristics inherently as a result, in spite of our sinful nature. This inherent knowledge of good and evil is further guided by information and guidelines offered to guide discernment and choice - they exist in the written word of God.

Yes, I do subscribe to the Arminianism school of thought when it comes to free will in the Christian context. And my thoughts are a little messy - I am no philosopher.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Forest Pond House

Image Credit: ArchDaily & Ben Blossom

Follies of any sort are almost extinct, especially in pragmatic Singapore. All we do is work work work, busy busy and busy ourselves. And that's an especially awful notion to contemplate, especially when more often than not, we simply hate what we're doing.

I guess that's why I'm so drawn to this project. It's sheer simplicity (both in form and function) make it so endearing. It's the perfect spot to escape from reality, especially when one has a Monet-worthy view to gaze at. I suppose that's what it's like to live within, or near the Botanic Gardens. I love how it frames up, and highlights what I suppose would be the loveliest views of the garden.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Breathing Space


















Its quite ironic that I should have to retreat to a densely populated city to seek solace, but I did, and it was wonderful.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Christmas

2012 Christmas C6 Card Front

"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed" - Matthew 2:10

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ernest et celestine

I have no idea what the characters are saying in the dialogue, but it seems so cute!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Doodling II

Winchester Cathedral eYellowstone River Man

It isn't quite doodling to sketch based on images from a magazine (Nat Geo Traveler), is it?

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