Gabriel's shared items

Monday, December 29, 2008


A documentary about life in the Palestinian territory... My heart goes out to the kids in the video. without a future, and in such a claustrophobic place. the video lets one into the psyche of the Palestinian people, and why they behave the way they do.

Also read about a physics professor, Ghassan Andoni at bir zeit university

It's impressive that they have such a decent maths and physics program despite being in the midst of the conflict and isolation.

Friday, December 26, 2008

why hughes hall sucks

because when I am unable to derive a and a+ when it is stated in a book that "the inverse expressions for a and a+ in terms of phi and pi are easy to derive but rarely needed", I have no where to turn to, and despite having taken the course the entire term, I do not yet know the answer, and it turns out that I require it to prove a set of important equivalence. damn it.

for my geeky friends

a couple of xkcd comics that made me laugh... tag if it made you laugh too...

Interview with David Marhsall

just stumbled across an interview with David Marshall on the web. Looks like minister's pay was already an issue way back in 1994.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

oh yes, a self reminder -

to bring the guitar bag and a tie back with me when i return

you know i'm bored when...

i start youtubing 'jingle bells' and posting the result here...

but that guy's kinda goood.

great circle of life in action

Comic Relief

Found a great website for comics, after xkcd - this.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

sick. and miserable

arh down with fever and headache just when i could least afford it. not able to sleep, yet not able to work.

left with two example classes and the project plan, and found that my supervisor is away in pueto rico. man. need to discuss the project with him and get him to sign the project plan.

plus trying to run the simulation on my own computer, as the simulation room is always locked. but having some difficulty setting it up. arh.

lord, when will i finally see rest???

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

why hughes hall sucks

because i get stuck on trivial matters like converting from SI units to Natural units, and there is no one that I can turn to to confirm, and I spend the whole night stuck at this when there is an entire particle physics example sheet i need to complete for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The term gone by

Wow, into the last weekend of term already.

Will be a really hectic end to the term, after an uncharacteristically relaxed 5th week with a few lectures canceled. Making up for it now with 4 supervisions to complete before I leave. But that's not all.

Stuff that needs to be done next week -
1) project proposal, bu 5 Dec
2) collecting payments, and tidying up cf accounts, including arranging for word alive payments and possible alteration of booking
3) planing games for houseparty
4) changing flight dates, maybe.

Work this term
Work has been good - it's not that I'm coping any better, but I am at the very least progressing through some parts of the course. Found several people to ask when stuck at stuff, and have very helpful supervisors. Would really like some time during the holidays to work and have them around, but I dont know if I might be in the mood to work when it's so cold, and when meals won't be that regular at college. Also there may be a fee for changing flight dates, will have to weigh these factors.

QFT, QCMFT, and particle physics are really nice courses. have really good lecturer for particle physics, and awesome supervisors for QFT and QCMFT. Glad to be given this opportunity to learn these subjects with the resources available, but kinda feel like I'm not making the most of it. I feel the urgency to learn as much as I can here while i have access to these resources, before I have to do it on my own if I go back home after this.

On the other hand, I can't wait for this hectic lifestyle to be over. Hope to enjoy the comfort of staying at one place permanently, and feel at home in it. Though I fear that the lack of resources may stifle, and that I'll miss the things I take for granted here when I'm back home - the space, freedom, and managing my own life.

yeah, just reflection arising from the anticipation of impending doom of the last week...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Schizophrenia that is America

I dont know about you, but while watching scenes of jubilation all over the world (even my friends at home are holding a party to celebrate Obama's victory) that the election of Obama into office has ignited, I can't help but wonder at the phenomenom of the schizophrenic organism that America is!

One moment, they elect a warmonger into office that carries out the collective desire of the people to unleash hell on their enemies, but alienanates the country from the rest of the world; and the next moment they elect a black man who becomes the darling of all the alienated people around the world. 

I am astounded at my own enthusiasm for Obama becoming president, and I reckon that is how many people in the world feel. I am personally hopeful that the progress of science will be facilitated with Obama in office, and I reckon that people all over the world have their own individual reasons for being enthusiastic at Obama being the president. It seems like he stands for the opposite of everything that is bad about America (and there are many things going wrong in America today), simply because he is black and having a black person as president itself represents such a radical change.   

It will be interesting to watch which of these expectations come to fulfillment in the end. It's not that I'm sceptical, but it is just inevitable that not all the expectations will be realised. 

Nevertheless, let's toast to the president of the world!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Fever

Whoa, I'm actually anxious about the US elections - anxious for Obama to win... When the first of the numbers showed Obama behind, I actually freaked at the thought of McCain being the next President. But the numbers has since changed, and it looks like Obama's now comfortably ahead. 

The figures as of 0105 GMT 5 Nov 08

Here's to the first Black President of the world's declining superpower!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A quick note

wanna revise fourier transform from the IB notes online...

Print out chapter 3 and 4...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First proper update from Cambridge

Yup, entering the third week of my last year here. and it's been quite good. 

Was nice - interesting taking the A380. Watched 3 shows - Prince Caspian, Hancock, and one more, cant remember. Interesting watching Prince Caspian - found some scenes familiar, while did not have any impression of others. Took me some time of figuring out where I watched it before, before i realised that had left it on while dozing off on the flight back from shanghai. 

have a very comfortable room this year, with a nice view of a garden. Fridge and sink in the room, while shared kitchen and toilet. So not bathing as often now :S

On top of 2 of 3 courses this year, and attending another 2 more maths courses.
Quantum field theory (on top ~ sorta)
Particle physics (on top ~ sorta)
Quantum condensed matter field theory (arh)
General relativity (maths)
Super symmetry (maths, nice)

There's a project work too that has not quite taken off yet, but hope that it'll work out soon.

Gainfully channeling my energies into a lot of christian stuff - CF (monday, friday nights), Focus (tuesday nights), Ciccu (saturday afternoons). Great to be serving productively. 

Doing the book of Luke now in focus, and John in CF. Good stuff.

Also taking up rowing - can't leave Cambridge without experiencing this for myself. Will be waking up real early on wednessday and thursday mornings. I wonder how long this will last.

No official kids this year, but have a singaporean fresher staying in the same house, and it's nice to be able to pop by someone's room to chill for a when i return. 

Cooked a few times, and went shopping once. It's been nice. 

Stress relieve
Also playing the Command and Conquer pack I brought from singapore. nice way to destress... finished zero hour, and now moving on to the original generals. started half life too! 

yup, that's the stuff that'll mark the sentiments of my last year here... quite well settled generally :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

rally -> slide -> 5 year lows.

Witnessed following piece of the BBC headlines change throughout the day...

And this graph explains it all...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Magnetization is still confusing,

but this is helping somewhat to clear the confusion.

And a history of magnetism.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stanford Computing Course

Whoa, I should check this out in detail sometime... SEE

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hm... just found that Ron Paul's good! Wonder what happened to his campaign.

A good essay


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Installing Eclipse C SDK on Debian.

Install latest version of java
generally following this guide.
but had to add contrib to source first and update it.
add contrib to etc/apt/sources.list;
apt-get update;
apt-get install java-packages;

Check this to configure the right version of java.

Found an easier alternative to installing java on debian.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

VMware, qemu - some websites.

Playing with linux on a vm now, using my external hard disk to house the new OS, and vmware to run it. Here are some good webpages...

Tutorial on creating a hard disk emulator for vmware

Wmware wiki
Vmware website

Qemu wiki
Qemu Download
Qemu Doc

And google's releasing chrome soon!

Friday, August 15, 2008

For the record - back from china

yup, back from the middle kingdom, and was it an enriching experience!

second time visiting china after 13 years (went there in 1995), spent 4 weeks - 2 camps in Beijing, 10 days in Jiangxi province at linchuan and ningxia, and another 5 days in shanghai.

In Beijing, visited great wall twice, the summer palace, as wells as all the city center attractions like the forbidden city and tian an men. Also saw the olympic venues on the way to the great wall, and saw Beijing being transformed from a chaotic construction site to the ordered end product.

In Jiangxi, visited a number of villages that were turned into tourist attractions - they collected a fee from the tourists, and were very neatly managed, but housed villagers going about their daily lives. Also visited jindezhen, the place that produced china.

In Shanghai, visited some shopping district, the bund, sun yat san's residence, and the water village. With Ling and aunty mavis showing me around...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another quick post from china

Just an update to jot down some interesting phenomena...

Came away from debriefing for camp one today. Went through ups and downs. It's interesting how we all have common feelings/sentiments when we are put through the same situation, down to the fact that all of us are showing pre-flu symptoms - that of the pain behind the nose, which I thought I was the only one to experience throughout my life. Thankfully there are medics among us who have miracle nasal sprays for this problem, and which I have just administered to myself as I'm typing. Must jot down it's name and effectiveness for future reference. Please pray for this nevertheless.

Also on another note, I've been on the great wall twice this camp. To ju yong guan with the hebei teachers, and to badaling with the rest of the isec teachers on our camp.

alright, internet time is quite limited... signing off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A quick picture

Us at the temple of heaven

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blogging from china!

Oohh... china does not block blogger afterall!

Hello from a dorm in beijing experimental high. It's been an interesting few days since landing on saturday. Very well looked after - fed well, good facilities (air con rooms!). Went to visit the forbidden city in the first day, visiting the temple of heaven in the second.

Got myself a chinese sim card for 80rmb, arh, havent got the number on me now, will post the no here sometime.

Air quality in beijing is interesting - there's a shroud of smog/mist that's hanging over the city all day, but it does not feel like pollution, it's more like an extended mist. Haven't seen the sun since we arrived... everything here is attributed to the olympics these days, and this is one of them.

yep, about all the interesting happenings since i arrived. hopefully moving out to hebei next week.

signing off......

Friday, June 27, 2008

off to china!

leaving for beijing tonight. gone for 7 weeks, will update here when i can. dont really know what to expect, but should be exciting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Shanghai Wishlist

a cap,
Pants, Cargo Pants,

Dress shoes,
Sports shoes.

coin purse,
Ruck sack,
Guitar bag

Mahjong set

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Travel Itinerary

I'll be home soon! :)

------ ------- ---- ---- ----- ------ -----
1. SQ 319 LONDON LHR 14JUN 6.30 PM Y / M OK 0

2. SQ 800 SINGAPORE 28JUN 1.10 AM Y / M OK 0

3. SQ 831 SHANGHAI 13AUG 2.30 PM Y / M OK 0

4. SQ 322 SINGAPORE 5OCT 11.30 PM Y / M OK 0

Saturday, May 31, 2008


It's called Coherentism.

I should also read up on Empiricism and Phenomenalism.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More musings - Gold

Can some economist enlighten me on exactly is happening???

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Whoa, this clip brings back fond memories... I've easily played this opening level a hundred times!

And looks like there's a totally standard way of completing the level - recall taking exactly the same route - heading straight for the ledge at the beginning of the game to pick up the rpg, and making the same falls at the ledge, then subsequently heading for the window into the secret room to pick up rpg ammo, steroids and the atomic health... could go on and on haha...


Never quite understood the lyrics to the opening song for "Malcom in the Middle"... This clip gives more meaning to that random song...

Sunday, May 18, 2008


argh. d4m|\| |-||-|.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The mystery of consciousness

what constitutes a consciousness? can consciousness be divided into components? where does this consciousness exist? what is an observer? is a consciousness necessarily implicated in an observation?

two intriguing phenomena associated with consciousness:
- that it routinely ceases when we sleep, and is able to come back on again. Is death simply a cessation of consciousness, and could it come back on again?
- this unreliable thing we base much judgment on - our memories. so unreliable yet so real.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Exploits of a mom"

Found this website on facebook. lol.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pride, and responsibility.

An excerpt from downing college's 2006 yearbook...

Every year when the examination results are published members of the Governing Body initially, and then the Education Committee, examine the results carefully to identify trends and strengths and weaknesses. It might be asked why we do this. It is partly due to a personal responsibility which we all feel following our own decisions to admit these students. But our sense of responsibility extends beyond whether we made the right decision, but extends to whether the potential which we initially identified, sometimes nearly two years before matriculation, has been fulfilled. Sometimes this is called ‘value-added’. This is a demeaning phrase, but one which has a core truth. For that is our purpose as an educational institution, to ensure that, by the environment we provide and the supervisions we give and the personal interaction with our students, we can show that we have added value to their Cambridge experience.

How I wished my college government had a similar creed. Instead of viewing mathmos as cash cows with no need for attention and maintenance.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Orbitury - Bike no.1.

Today saw the last straw... finally decided to retire my ol' bike when the back wheel spindle gave way on the way back from the cavendish. Invest in a new bike, got one with a lock for 90 pounds today. instead of a replacement wheel which would have cost me 15 pounds.

Spent quite a bit on this bike recently - 20 pounds for a new tire and inner tube, 5 pounds on new brake pads which i fitted myself. think bought it from alvin for 80 pounds initially. Served me 2.5 years. other things breaking down - screws sticking out from seat, making a hole in my pants; front wheel rim's been dented, causing the front breaks to be jerk to a stop when it meets the dent; someone attempted to cut my lock before, leaving it slightly breached.

Initially hoped to maintain this bike til the end of the year, and get a new bike when i return next year, so that I wont have to leave a new bike here over summer, when it deteriorates lots. but it looks like the bike's broken down much faster than I had hoped. Hope that this bike can last me the next year, or more, if I stayed here longer.

Here's to the memory of my first bike in cambridge...

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Musings

For final year Cambridge students, the Easter holidays are a time when studying for the tripos becomes the de facto activity. Surfing for news, and other forms of entertainment, also increases in frequency as it happens to be the most convenient way to regenerate study manna in the occurrence of study fatigue.

It feels like lately, the news has been dominated by stories of soaring grain/food, oil and gold/commodities prices; and of the gloomy outlook of US and British economies.

Just felt the urge to take some time off my work to consolidate some thoughts amidst this barrage of bleak news.

On food shortages
I recall a time when the world had too much food and farmers were paid to let their land lie fallow [EU 'Set-aside' policy, 1988; China, 2000]. Since then, I've had the impression that modern technology had led to the eradication of food shortages, and that the lack of food in isolated parts of the world (and by the poor) was simply a socio-economic problem stemming from uneven distribution of wealth, and not lack of actual food supplies.

So when I read the reports of increasing food prices due to shortages, I wondered where my original perception stood in light of these reports. Found the above links, and this press release from the European Commission, upon some googling.

Conclusion: it is indeed the case that our food supply is falling short of demand, and that this reversal in trend happened only as recent as last fall. And this has led to the nullification of the 'Set-aside' policy.

[A slightly unrelated link]

On food and oil

With oil prices rising relentlessly, it seems the strain on the food supply might be due to the switch to biofuels as an alternative source of energy.

Recall watching on the news back home an incident about a run on the supermarket for palm oil in Malaysia. Googled for 'Malaysia palm oil rush', and found a more recent incident.

Biofuels are also being made out of grain. And according to the article, if all the corn produced in the US were used to replace oil, it can only offset gasoline consumption by 15%. So it looks like there is enough food to fill our stomachs, but way too little to use on our fuel tanks too.

Even though it encroaches on our food supplies, the use of biofuels actually still seems very appealing - if only the mix of technology and economic pressures would turn desert wastelands that have too much sunshine into palm oil plantations that converted the sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel which we burn directly, we could bypass the redundant process of turning plants into fossil fuels when we burn them for fuel. Furthermore, what is the point of trying to solve fusion containment problems, plus figuring out how to extract the energy produced from the exceedingly hot reaction, when all we have to do is figure out the latter from our ready source of fusion energy - our sun, which is conveniently contained by it's own gravitational field?

[I recall in Pri 1, asking my teacher a similar question when I encountered two seemingly incompatible facts - why does Singapore, being an island surrounded by water, face water problems? The answer was that the water we were surrounded by wasn't potable (shame). Well, with technology, we have now made sea water potable. Hopefully, in the same way, technology could render today's hostile deserts cultivatable for biofuel producing crops.]

On oil and gold

Just trying to put the recent record gold prices in perspective.

On 2.67
I'm getting tired. I'll just let this article speak for itself :P

Also reading about the desperate situation the poor in Singapore are facing. Giving the excuse that such a topic is off limits for a Singaporean is probably a good way conclude this entry.

Lastly, a more far fetched speculation
Revelation 6

The Seals

1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

With that, i'm off to rest my head (on the pillow :P)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer plans

As the holidays ebb ever so quickly away, and the exams of Easter term loom near, so too are my plans for summer beginning to take shape.

Am trying to cram two major activities into my finite timetable this summer - a 6 week volunteer program to China (ISEC), and an 8 week internship at DSI.

The dates are more or less confirmed, and will be booking the air ticket soon.

June 17: Flying home from UK
June 18-27: Will try to clock a few days at work at DSI, but also need some time to prepare for the trip to china.
June 28 - Aug 7: ISEC.
Aug 7 - Aug 12: Visiting CK gugu and Ling in Shanghai. (Anyone reading this who happens to be free during this time and wants to tour Shanghai too, pls get in touch! :)
Aug 12 - Oct 3: Will be trying to clock another 7 weeks at DSI, and catching up with everyone!

Bracing myself for one hectic summer! And looking forward to accomplishing much. But first, the tripos :S

The pound hit fresh lows against the sg dollar - now 1 gbp is now worth 2.67 sgd! Need to buy my air tickets in dollars!

Monday, April 07, 2008


from switzerland...

Good getaway, a fitting pilgrimage for a physicist, to be undertaken once in the course of an undergraduate physicist's life...

Visited eisteinhaus (the house where Einstein lived) in Bern, and Cern in Geneva. Saw the Atlas experiment, the tunnel, the computing facility containing a huge server farm where the data from the experiment is processed, and where the web originated.

Also, switzerland has these very interesting playgrounds filled with very innovative toys (will try to post pics of the toys when i find the time)... no wonder they produce such geniuses!

For now, it's back to the books... Hope I'm more inspired from the visit :D

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Off to Switzerland!

Heading off to the land overflowing with chocolate in a whiles time, to see Einstein's patent office in Bern and the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

Here's my and will be contactable on my sg number.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Flashback to the 90's - Tiny Toons!

Found these retarded cartoons quite therapeutic to engage in in between periods of mugging...

...that's how it all begun :P

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The climax of Romans

Did Romans 11:33-36 during focus today. Doxology arising from the case of our salvation that Paul expounded upon up to that point (Romans chapter 1 - 11).

A doxology (from the Greek doxa, glory + logos, word or speaking) is a short hymn of praise to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns. The tradition derives from a similar practice in the Jewish synagogue.

Chapter 1-4: We are justified by grace through faith, not by our effort.
Chapter 5-8: Christ has conquered sin, to give us life.
Chapter 9-11: God has chosen us to be saved, and to share in Israel's blessings.

It was when the summery of the first 11 chapters of Romans was written out explicitly on the board did the meaning of the subsequent verses, the verses in chapter 12, fully hit me.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Romans 12:1-2

Was first convicted of the verse around sec 3, when examining what it really meant to worship God. I never really understood why the verse started with the word 'therefore', had seen it simply as a posh literary device, and i hardly thought more about what the words 'in view of God's mercy' were referring to. But today, having covered the book of Romans til this climax, I finally understand the train of argument, and that worship is a response to the entire circumstance that lead to our salvation.

So much for focus today.

Random Aside
I'm now addicted to salty snacks - machos, chips, and sweet drinks - coke, apple juice!


for some reason, i find the following series of pictures gravely hilarious:

i am so evil.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

oh crap... (Another shitty medical account)

quite literally. liquid crap.

not sure what i did to myself to induce this round of diarrhoea.

been evacuating water from my a*** all morning today. it's similar to the side effects i experienced when i downed 2 pints of milk at a go, except this time it has nothing to do with excess lactose.

Might possibly attribute the cause to eating crab sticks straight from the chopping board without cooking it, felt my hygiene conscience pricking when i did that, but before the foolishness of the action fully dawned upon to me, i had already consumed a whole handful of unsanitized crab sticks. found my stool getting softer over the week, culminating in this morning's episode.

Consulting a 4th year medic now over msn for diagnosis and possible treatment.

Treatment: just let the effects run it's course, and hydrate frequently to replenish excreted water.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


been blogging sparely the since i returned this year. After spending more than 2 years here, one rarely experiences anything new anymore...

...until yesterday...

thought i'd better update here to reassure everyone back home that i'm fine, and relate my own experience of the earthquake - the first time i had ever experienced one.

It was a very subtle sensation. Was lying on my bed, trying to fall asleep, when i felt the vibrations. recall wondering two thoughts that night...

"why does my bed feel like a massage chair? what's making it so unstable?" thought that my bed had suddenly became unstable, and i was somehow causing it to rock.

"which part of me was involuntarily shaking?" had thought it an interesting experience to be aware that i was shaking, yet not being able to pinpoint its exact origin.

The thoughts didn't last, and i soon found my conciousness returning to battle my receding slumber time.

I only found out the next morning that i had experienced an earthquake when sei mentioned it at lectures. found it quite amusing... other people recounted that it felt like a hallucination, and i thought that i would pass the experience off as that had i not found out that it was an earthquake.

Other Updates
speaking of sei, we'll be travelling to geneva on a weekend trip (4-7 Apr) to see the LHC!!! Would prob be spending the rest of the holidays mugging :(

Also, it's season of renewal here in cambridge... This time, I've relinquished my position on the temasek society com, to assume the position of treasurer in the cf com. Good opportunity to serve God, now having tasted what secular cambridge has to offer. Hoping to make it on isec this year too, just returned from the interview. It's strange how i'm actually so comfortable with being focused on serving God, without feeling like i'm missing out on anything outside.

yep, that's about it. I'm in one piece, and hope everyone back home is well too! :) Grace! sam! blog about cny leh... :P

Sunday, February 24, 2008


an old email sent to my home cg when i was newly posted to 46 SAR...

Hi, I feel the need to share my experience of being posted to 46 SAR with someone, both for the purpose of unloading my burden, and hopefully to edify (i don't know if it would) the people who hear it.

Last time in cell we when we shared about our week, I used to take it as time to break the ice, probably just to create conversation. Though I knew that it was supposed to be a time of sharing GOD's goodness so that we may glorify GOD and edify each other, and that it was a time we learnt of each other's problems and support each in prayer. But for a very long time, I never really had any problems and never really needed to depend on GOD, thus I never really needed prayer. That's why I never took such sharing seriously, and never thought much of other people's problems. But right now, I feel the need to share. Hopefully this mail would be like one of the 'how was your week' sharing.

In the past month, since my posting to 46 SAR, I've experienced a lot of (i would think) trials. I'll get to that later, maybe I'll narrate the events leading to my posting to give a better idea of the background.

Since I enlisted, I've been feeling that what I was going through was unneccessary, a waste of my time. I hated being made to do things I do not like to do, tasks which I deemed not worthy of my effort. In BMT, and even SMM (school of Military Medicine), each time I went through something tough, I fought it by trying to get each tough time (you may consider it trials) over and done with, by looking forward to the end: a bookout and eventually passing out of the school. i held on to the hope that I'd be posted somewhere good, perhaps even my old unit, I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel. Also, throughout my time there, I found my worth, and tried to counter the frustration that i was wasting my time by furthering my knowledge in certain areas, which was the way i've found satisfaction since my school days. In fact, I was rather successful in furthering my knowledge in programming in SMM. I met someone with the same interest, and there was some kind of synergy. My trophy when I left SMM was a minesweeper solver which we created in vb... (sorry, that's besides the point). But in order to satisfy myself this way, I needed to book out of camp regularly, and have sufficient free time in camp to work on the problems. Something which I will not have in 46 SAR.

Then when I was posted to 46 SAR, I was utterly depressed (probably every single person posted here experiences a period of depression). I did not know how to live with the prospect of 36 hours of book out time a week, minus the travel time to and from sungai gedong, and time I would need to rest and recuperate from the hectic training, and all the time to prepare to book in. The feeling was like that of someone pinning me down, such that there was no point struggling. That was when I learnt to stop struggling, maybe it was because I had resigned to my fate. But I had no choice but to let go of those things that I had found satisfaction in. Had I held on to it, the frustration of not being able to accomplish anything would be unbearable, killing. At the same time, I begun to realised that it was a time of trial, a refining process. Recalling the verse in James which we memorised in Sunday school, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I learnt to see GOD's purpose in my going through these trials and ask HIM for strength to go through it. Perhaps it was because I needed to find a reason for me going through it, it is simply too meaningless to go through this all these pain for nothing.

But even (or only) in the midst of all the uncertainty and fear, I was able to experience GOD's grace and mercy from the very first night I stepped into the camp. As I mentioned, the day I was posted to 46 SAR, I was very depressed, fearful of this new, unknown, notorious place. That very night, GOD sent me a very good friend, the son of a pastor, someone whom I've known since primary school and went to secondary school with. He came to see me, and it was such a relief to see someone familiar, a Christian brother. On the second night, he came to see me again, this time while I was sleeping, as he had came back very late from an out field exercise. Imagine what great comfort it is to wake up to the voice of a friend in the midst of such fear and uncertainty, it almost felt as if I had seen an angel!

Another testament of GOD's grace is the people he has put above and around me, I'm not sure how to describe it without going into the details of the hierarchy and stuff. I must thank GOD for granting me favour in the eyes of my superiors. Having said that, I hope that I won't do anything that will cause me to lose that favour. And so far, I've had a lot of time out of camp since I was posted to 46 SAR. First for an exercise, then i had my wisdom teeth extracted and had 1 week's MC, then there was national day, where we got to hang around at the national stadium, and now I have 2 days off for the weekend and national day burnt. However, I still have the feeling that all these are short-lived as National day is over, and i only have one set of 4 wisdom teeth, and that the actual training is about to commence. But I pray and trust that GOD will see me through, in ways I cannot see (though as I say this, I have my doubts too).

I've also learnt other things, think I shall share it some other time, as it is getting quite late. To end off, I have realised the need to rely on GOD, and the need to support each other in GOD. Would especially like to find out how Christopher and Rong Xiang are doing, maybe you would like to share what's been happening... I don't know if this is a kind of fad which will pass, but I hope to learn to constantly support and uphold each other. This is the only thing that is reliable in the midst of all the uncertainties.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

an interesting book


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Romans 5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
- relationship with God is absolutely secure.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
suffering -> perserverence -> character -> hope.
- suffering is purposeful.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- role of Holy Spirit is to give an experience of God's love, by teaching us the cross.

just some notes from focus tonight... really like the picture illustrating the first point.