Friday, July 29, 2005
Those of you who knew my busy schedule for this week would be surprise to see this blog today plus a picture somemore! (Actually I still have 2 backup comics in my picture bank, and I drew this about a month ago, just haven’t got the time to sit down and write the related topic properly) I am really very encouraged when I finally see “3 comments” in my blog. Thanks, pals. Before I go to the topic proper, I just want to give a short update on the past 4 days, how time flies, these 4 days felt like months!
I finally finished all the hassle of buying my light fittings, hating them, calling up consumer rights to see if I can change my light fittings, wrote complaint email to the light fitting shop demanding to have just those light fittings that I have paid as deposit ($300) rather than having all 10 of them ($800 actual purchase). In the end, I still lose, but I think it is a better interior design now (as all things will work together for good for me in Christ), after I have went back to changed almost 80% of my own selection.
Also, within these short span of 4 days, I was given another project to do, adding up a total of 6 projects plus to be a member in one of the committees in my office! (3 to 4 is ideal, 5 my limit, 6 is beyond me! 7 is perfect but fit for God only!) Not sure to cry or to rejoice, guess some of you know what I mean. But I finally “broke down” as I really felt totally helpless, so much to do, so little time, so tired, so frustrated, and therefore today I wrote a long email to my boss, asking him to either reduce my workload or give me another assistant. (6 projects to be shared between myself and my present lovely assistant, even if I am superwoman, I doubt I can handle, I again reached my limit, and again, I sounded like a broken record, brought it up to my boss again, yet this time in an email. One thing I simply don’t understand, this felt like a vicious cycle, it happens every 3 months.) Still, I love what I am doing, except as I always say, the long hours associated with it. Papa God, help! Only You can!
While listening to my 2 favourite songs now, I shall start on the actual topic. The following is dedicated to 3 good friends of mine, they all play a part in my life, and they are getting married in the following 2 to 3 months. Friends, this picture is dedicated to you, hope you like it.
Among all 3, you are the one that I knew the longest since college. Really happy for you. We hardly meet up these days, yet I can always remember those days in school, how you stand up to talk in class, you will definitely straighten your skirt, tidy your hair before you attempt to talk, really look like what your present profession demands, I can almost imagine you standing in court, tidying your shirt and your hair, and the firm look on your face. Congratulation! May the days ahead be more beautiful, and most of all, my prayer for you is that you may come to know the greatest love of all, the love of Jesus!
It’s been a long time since we talk, though I always see you. I am really encouraged to see how you mature, how you grow, and the passion and love that comes forth from you. Though these days we hardly catch up, you will always be a dear sister to me. (I remembered I learnt this particular trick from you during practice, not sure if you still remember, how you use the tongue to move the cheek from the inside, and using the finger to touch the cheek on the outside side, to pretend as if it is your finger that pushes the cheek, not sure if you still remember? This needs a little demonstration, very hard to explain in words.)
I knew you from that memorable church camp about 3 years ago, where I met many dear friends whom I really cherished, that camp was really fun because of you people. It was an answer to a prayer of mine, and you are one of them, that is, to get to know friends who I can always share wonderful times together, by just being myself, nothing to hide, no need to talk about architecture, and these are my bible studies buddies.
You and your hushand-to-be sure make a lovely couple; the picture above was drawn imagining you both on a motorbike! Do you like it?
Congratulation, dear friends! Jesus loves you all deeply! May His love be the love that holds the marriage together!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Do take a rest in the midst of your busy schedule, enjoy Him a little for He cares for you. Why not spend a moment or 2 to enjoy the comics here and perhaps drop a comment or 2? Somehow, it seems all my friends who read my blog are all so shy to give any comment no matter how hard i hint at you? I think I also need to trust Him for your comments to come in too! Remember Jesus will surely carry you (me) through!
little lamb art
With a 9am to 6.30pm job (not to mention most of the time we work beyond that), I don’t have time to meet up my contractor face to face to discuss about the renovation of my flat except on a Saturday, and it had been so for the past few weeks. In the midst of all the hurly burly, there is always something funny that happens that sort of make people laugh and this is one of those incidents that happen, and that was yesterday.
At 7.45am, I was suddenly awoken by a vibration sound coming from my mobile phone. Over the other line was my contractor, “Are we meeting now? Where are you?” Rubbing my eyes with unbelief, I searched for a watch nearby to confirm the time and I was nearly shocked, thinking that my contractor was joking, because he is staying at Jurong, and my flat is at Yishun (that is really far apart for Singapore context), who in the world will arrange to meet at 7.30am, with no violent objection especially on a Saturday morning? I thought we meant to meet up face to face at 10.30am! Only then did I realize that he heard wrongly, as the pronunciation for 7.30am and 10.30am in mandarin do sound similar over the phone. However, we did manage to meet up at 8.30am. (The other reason for this “misunderstanding” was also the fact that I would normally visit my flat to see the progress at about 7.45am in the morning before I go to work, and to call my contactor at about 8plus to give him more instruction, therefore this also “blur” him up.)
Designing for my own flat, and myself being an architect by training, could be both exciting yet “scary”. Suddenly, my flat’s design becomes an art piece to the people around me and things to talk about, although they have not seen it, yet they seem to have such great expectation, that out of no where, undue pressure from friends was felt, it was like it was no longer enough just to satisfy myself anymore. Coupled with my mom and brother’s request and opinions (actually not too much, thank God), the stress seems tremendous. I caught myself, and realized I have fallen into the same trap again, of trying to meet people’s approval and expectation and forgot to enjoy the process.
Architects are treated like “kings” to suppliers of building related products. Suppliers will always try to make appointment with us so as to meet us face to face to introduce their products. Whatever we need, they would always try to please us, even bringing right to our doorstep big items such as water closets, chairs, tiles and light fittings when we demand them, and these products are mostly well-known European goods.
Yet this scenario did not seem to happen when it comes to my own flat. Running from one industrial park to another searching for the ideal, beautiful and inexpensive sanitary wares. Walking from one end of Balestier Road to the other end, looking into almost every shop that sell light fittings, and to finally come to the conclusion, most of the lights are from Taiwan, and any Italian light fitting will be 4 to 5 times more than imitation (Taiwan made).
This is not just confined to light fittings. For example, when it comes to tiles, we would normally choose European tiles for our projects, yet now, I have to make do with China tiles (pseudo Italian looking design). These tiles which we always try to avoid using for client, I ended up using without even questioning its porosity, unevenness, etc. What a joke!
There were even times when I felt like stating to these suppliers my profession to hopefully get a better product at a better price…. (I did that for the sanitary wares though.)
These are some of the crazy events of the last few weeks, and perhaps will be so for the next couple of weeks, while I start my shopping for furniture next. (I may continue to bore you all for the next couple of weeks on the progress of renovation!)
Yet in the midst of all this, I really need to be reminded again and again that my trust is in Him, and stop striving so hard, just simply rest in Him. After all, He is truly the Master Architect of the whole universe, and when I start seeing myself with Him in me designing, coordinating, everything seems to look easier. Cast all your (my) cares on Him for He cares for you (me) and He will surely carry you (me) through!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Not sure how many of you travel to work by train (MRT)? And how many actually travel either from one end of Singapore to the other end or from the top to the bottom? I am one of those. Most of the time, I enjoy my train ride, listening to my mp3 player with either some beautiful music or the ever familiar voice of my pastor, while I stand attentively on a lookout for a seat.
Based on my rough estimate, for every 4 trains that pass by the station I am boarding, there will be one which is totally empty, and I normally would wait a little longer and take one of those unless I am already running late. However, this does not occurs everyday, because I tend to be a bit late most of the days, and even when I am early, by the time I got unto one of those empty trains, I would still be late for work.
Yet, after several years of practice (working in town for the past 4 to 5 years), I have sort of master the skill of identifying polytechnic students who would alight 2 stations away from where I board. When I suspect that there is one of those in the same cabin, I would then try to subtly walk close to him and stand there, yet pretending as if I just happened to be there. Sad to say, my guess and strategy is only half the time correct.
Then what about the half? I would then see other passengers standing next to me, who board the train later than me, and yet able to get a seat much earlier than me! (Sob… What injustice!) There are even several occasions that I have to stand all the way to work. So some weird ideas came to me, I wish perhaps someone who is in charge of the MRT would read this, can we take queue number for train too? Then anyone who board a train which is fully occupied with no available empty seat, would be assigned the first available empty seat based on his queue number. Or else, I have another idea. Can we request each of those who has a seat, to indicate on a Lcd screen placed above each of the seats, the station that they are alighting, so that we can position ourselves and to be strategically stationed?
Anyway, these are some crazy ideas I had when I am on the train (but don’t you think they are quite creative?), occasionally dreaming away with my pastor’s voice in the background. Yet when at times I got a seat, you know what? The selfish nature of me would just want to pretend to sleep, just in case I see any pregnant woman standing, and I felt “obliged” to stand. This is me, your friend, my true nature, don’t be shocked, now you see more of my imperfection. Yet aren’t you glad that you have a friend who dares to show forth her weakness?
The fact is getting a seat and having half an hour nap on the train is very precious and valuable! And I did a quick calculation, minus all the walking to the station, the time we spend on the train or traveling is about an hour a day, and that is more than 4% of our daily life, and more than 6% of our awake time. Isn’t this time very precious? Then perhaps, we should do something really constructive during this time, take a nap, take a good rest, in preparation for a busy day ahead. Isn’t there a Chinese saying, a good rest is to allow us to travel even longer?
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Not sure any of you have read the children’s book “Daddy–Long-Leg”? Quite embarrassed to confess this, I actually read this book only when I was in secondary school. It was my Dad who bought it for me, and it was a Chinese version. Describing it a little here, it is a compilation of several letters written by an orphan to a very wealthy man (whom she had never met) who had kindly sponsored her for further education, the only condition was for her to write a letter to him every month, and yet not expecting any response from him. I loved the story, the cute little sketches in the book. This is one book that after I have read the Chinese version, I went to borrow the original English version. In fact, I could not remember the number of times I have reread this book. (I have the tendency to reread or re-watch anything I like for a couple of times.)
Just a few months back, I was caught by surprise to actually catch it on TV in the form of a Japanese animation, which later on, for the following couple of weeks, my mom faithfully recorded almost every episode for me, as it was shown during my working hours.
Being overwhelmed with excitement of knowing that it was made into an animation, I fervently checked the websites to see if there was any possibility of purchasing it. (Although to be honest, the animation is really not that great.) In the midst of doing so, I accidentally stumbled upon a website and read that there is a readaption of “Daddy-Long-Leg” into a movie in South Korea. I being an avert Korean drama fans, definitely could not wait for several couple of months before I could watch it in Singapore, and therefore I requested my dear colleague to kindly purchase the movie for me from China. (Legal one I think.)
Why is such a story ever so popular? Stories like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, have all become classic fairy tales, and despite the old fashioned storyline of always a poor young lady being saved by someone rich and powerful, people still love them. Or even stories like Superman and Spiderman, stories of heroes who gave their all to save their loved ones, aren’t these the “super” old fashion stories, and yet people still flock to the cinema to catch them?
I strongly believe that deep down within every heart, everyone yearns for someone who is strong and powerful, and yet able to identify with his weaknesses and failures in life. Therefore, you know what? I think if there are any further remakes of these fairy tales, I for one am sure that there will still be a huge number of followers for these shows, because they do give man some sort of short-term relief and comfort to the emptiness within. Yet I am grateful to know that there is truly a Daddy-in-heaven who is better than these heroes in the stories and is real!
And cheers, have a great week ahead cos He watches over you!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The renovation for my house has finally started and I have yet gone to take a look. Almost everyday, I have meeting after meeting, and some breathing time slots in between for me to sit down at my desk to catch up on the countless numbers of emails that flood my office outlook every hour. There are also colleagues that I must spend time with to get their help to get things done and also colleagues that I have got to chase after to get my things done. When I finally have time to sit down and start putting on my “design” cap, I got to get into the “flow” of it again, to revisit the design to see where I last left off, this will normally take sometime, and perhaps by the time some idea seems to be forth coming, it is almost time either for lunch or time to rush off for another meeting or to go home.
That’s how life is, in an architect’s life (I think, but I hope I am not the only one.) And this is one of those weeks, besides being so busy with work, there are also several prearranged personal appointments after office hour that one could not stay overtime to finish off the work. Thus, I ended up packing lunch to eat and work during lunch hour for the past few days.
Perhaps to many of you out there who are unfamiliar with the line I am in, we sometimes call what we are doing, “putting out fire”, architects are like firemen. Every week, there seems to be new crisis that arises, either in terms of authority or client’s requirement, or some suppliers delivered wrong stuff to construction site, or contractor constructed some elements wrongly etc. I could only hope that every construction work can always be smooth sailing, that is, having no crisis, but I have yet to see one.
However, despite of all this, spending time writing this journal could actually be quite therapeutic at moments such as this. In fact, I have brought back a stack of materials to read to prepare for a presentation on Friday, yet I have decided to put them aside (Jesus will take care of it), and write this, as I began to visualize all you dear friends out there who would faithfully open and read this blog even when you too are tied up with your work, (I know some of you actually open this blog everyday to check), thanks friends for being here to read my thoughts, and this actually gives me great strength and encouragement to carry on, not to disappoint any of you.
There is always time for us to sit down and take a little break to do something we like if we really want to, and being able to do this is such a great blessing in our everyday life! I hope when you are reading this, you too are having a little break from the hectic schedule ahead of you today, and this gives you a little encouragement too! Take a break!
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Do you like the slight change to the blog? I have been trying to find out how to add some simple background to the blog for quite sometime! I am a slower learner. I have attempted searching the web on how to change the background for a few weeks, even till past midnight for a couple of times, yet to no avail.
It is always interesting to note that many a times, the solution will find you out when you least tried to do it on your own. And this is one of those occasions again, that I stumbled on a website that taught one how to do it, even with a demo page that you can practice with side by side. This is what my pastor called “serendipity”, that is, making fortunate discoveries by accident. According to the dictionary, the word came from a Persian fairy tale about three princes of Serendip who kept making discoveries when they traveled.
Isn’t this so common in life? Just like I discover that there is such a thing as a blog one day in an article I read, and I was thinking to myself, “Hei, I can use that too!” And this is how this blog first came into being. Or another incident that happened recently, I received an email from a particular brand of product that asked its members to take part in a “Try and Buy” contest for a newly launched mp3 player, and I thought, “why not, no harm, just an email anyway.” And I won and got the chance to buy the mp3 player for 60% of the actual price after trying it, if I liked it. Or perhaps you too experienced this before. Maybe you had previously tried so hard, searching high and low for a lost item, and it seemed nowhere to be found, and then out of nowhere, you suddenly found that lost item.
At that moment, you might just felt you were actually at the right place at the right time. You felt Someone divine was holding your hands leading you every step of the way. You felt that Someone was there, putting little gifts along the pavement as you moved along, intending for you to discover them.
In fact, I believe life should be so all the time, if we would actually allow our eyes to be open, to see what we already have in life, how blessed we are. We have families, we have friends and the fact that you are reading this, means that you have access to the internet, perhaps even own the computer, able to read, and most likely able to write because you have been blessed to receive an education.
Anyway, guess this is enough of my babbling, time to go to bed. Still, I am so glad now that I have learnt how to add picture background to my blog, I shall change the background every now and then, dressing it up to create different “ambience”. Hope you like it too. Perhaps next time, another “serendipity” incident may happen again, I may learn to put in my own flash animation and post it online? Or anyone care to teach me?
Thursday, July 07, 2005
2 or 3 years ago, I happened to catch a group of 5 young men “Tension” performing a piece of A cappella cum rap for the song “Amazing Grace” on TV, and it blew me away, it was so beautiful! (I love A cappella, for it uses one of the best musical instruments in the world, our vocal cords, that God has given us to bring forth a “well-blended” song, which I never seem to master during my time in the choir.) So during one of my trips to China, I bought a compilation album of their songs. I enjoyed quite a number of the songs within, some of the songs still mean so much to me even after a year of listening to them. “My Angel” is one of them, and I hope it means just as much to you, if you would give this song an opportunity to express itself. (I tried my best to translate the beautiful lyrics into English, but if possible, read the original version, as the meaning may be diluted as a result of my translation.)
I am a “shy” David Tao’s fan, greatly admire his boldness and “frankness”, in terms of his music and attitude. However I am not one of those diehard fans. I only started enjoying his music about 3 years ago. I bought his recent controversial album. My personal opinion, many of his songs are not easy to digest on the first hearing, it takes time to enjoy and it grows better with each time you listen, just like a good tasting herbal soup, it lingers. “Love Can” is one of those. I remembered a couple of days ago, I was listening to it on my long walk home from the bus stop, I almost wanted to walk back and start my journey afresh to have another dose of the song. It is so warm hearted that it manages to put a smile on my face even after a long day’s work.
I shall not write too much, as nothing can evoke the same emotion till you hear it for yourself. Just one final word, I love these songs, for they are constant reminders of His great love towards me, being my everlasting Star, and giving me wings to fly! (They are not gospel songs.)
(Due to copyright reasons, I can only offer the lyrics and the links below, and hopefully if you have time to spare, do drop by those links and enjoy them. If you could not find the song in the list, you can try a page down or do a "search" within the same page to find. And if you like them, do buy them.)
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Mountains always look beautiful from the side you are standing, from afar, and the fields look greener too! Yet it doesn't mean that this side is not just as good, or perhaps, better! Look at you, the fact that you are alive today means that you are already blessed! However, whichever side you are, the Lord is there with you and takes care of you. Since He gives you a dream, He will lead you to fulfil it!
little lamb art
I believe everyone will ponder on the question “Is what I am doing now really what I want in life?” at one point or another. For me, it was architecture. It is a very long, tedious course, and to be honest, although I enjoy this job now, I would still advise all young people to really think through before stepping into it.
Architecture used to be a double degree course, which means, we had to pass one basic degree before we could move on to the next. Besides, we had to go through a 10-month job attachment between the two degrees, thus the entire process took 6 years to complete. (These days they shortened the process to 5 years with no year out attachment.)
As far as I could remember, I was a “high achiever” since teenager, that is, one who believed strongly that by sheer hard work and diligence, one could overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal in life. (Nowadays, I still fall into this trap occasionally.) It was only during my university life, that my theory of “hard work = good result” was completely overthrown. I saw peers putting in less effort getting great results. I saw peers who could not meet “datelines” (this is my prefer way of spelling it these days, because there is nothing to be “dead” about, so what if you miss the line, it’s not life and death!), yet extension of time was given to them while I struggled to get all completed on time! In those moments, I felt it was totally unfair and great injustice to the whole system of education!
I realized what amount of effort I put in does not correspond to the end result I envisioned to receive. It totally breaks Newton’s law of motion “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This was truly the first time in my life that I felt utterly defeated, almost giving up on myself, not knowing that this was in fact the road to success, as total abandonment of self achievement would actually produce more result than sheer hard work and self effort! (I only knew this later on in life.)
With great disappointment, after I have gotten my first degree, I began to look elsewhere, especially in areas where I thought I could excel. I left architecture totally. I went into teaching, thinking it was a nobler job than architect and it seemed a greener field! While serving as a teacher, there was this constant unrest and almost continual sadness and disappointment, not that I was not performing in my teaching career, just that there was this great emptiness within, as if something was missing and unfulfilled. Daily, I dragged my feet to work, and I was actually extremely sorry for those kids I was teaching, that they had me as their teacher. I am not putting down teaching here, just that I was not made for it, but I followed the general common trend (join the teaching career) and move on like everyone else was doing and I was miserable. (I still think teachers are noble! And it takes a special breed of people.)
I knew deep down in my heart, I wanted to go back and complete what I have left undone. This was the first time I really get down and have a good talk with PAPA on this issue, and for the first time, I asked Him to put a passion in me if I was to go back. And that He had to redeem all my wasted time of 1 year due to my own making!
I went back and I discovered that architecture was really quite fun after all. I no longer do it for others’ sake or for results; I do it as a personal enjoyment. Taking the view that since He put me back at it, He is held responsible for the end result. To cut the long story short, till today, I still thoroughly enjoy myself in this job except for the long hours. As for the “wasted” year, it is not so anymore when I looked back as it actually put me into the right perspective, a year of discovery, a precious life lesson learnt, that is, all things will always turn around for our good as He is always faithful!