Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Oh my goodness, this is absolutely brilliant (as well as highly hilarious) - Microsoft ipod packaging parody.

Having been part of a marketing/advertising/promoting process before, it made me shudder as to how spot on this actually is.

[Thanks to Seth Goodin for the link.]

Monday, 27 February 2006

Test drove the Mitsubishi Colt on Friday and I think it may have just won itself a new convert.

Considering I don't know much about cars, the Colt drove really nicely and it was great that I ended up driving in near peak hour traffic, since that would be the kind of traffic conditions I'll have to contend with when I get a car.

Only drove through one red light (I'm serious) and changed lanes extremely abruptly once. Unfortunately didn't scare any pedestrians, much less hit them. But the car seemed to handle my rather sudden decision to go from the right lane to the left lane and take a sharp left turn at a short notice rather well.

Granted, it's the one and only car I've test driven so far, so I can't really compare it to anything else can I?

Thanks to all who responded to my call for help. Will probably have a look at the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris this Friday!

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Update: The Barina has been thrown out the window due to its rather bad reviews and also makes me rather nervous knowing that it doesn't offer ABS brakes. The smart...well...I've decided that it's probably a little over my budget. On the other hand, I've added another car to the list - the Ford Fiesta LX. Let's see what test-driving these cars will do to my decisions...

The time has arrived for me to buy a car *gasps*.

You would think it would be a fairly straightforward affair - choose a car, test drive it, buy it. Unfortunately, that doesn't take into consideration that I have got no experience with cars whatsoever.

Yes, I've driven about four different cars since first starting to learn how to drive. Sure, I've sat in my friends' cars, but I don't think that's quite enough. The last time my family had a car was when I was 17 and well, honestly? I never had any interest in cars back then. And since my father passed away about eight years ago, the only family member who could probably tell me a thing or two about cars is gone.

I'm utterly and thoroughly confused!

At least I've managed to narrow the choice down to three cars -

1. The smart forfour

This is probably the car that I really want to get, mainly because of its extremely environmentally-friendly nature. Not only is it friendly during its production, driving the car leaves me pretty guilt-free because of its low emissions.

It also only consumes about 5.6 litres of petrol per 100 kilometre (according to the Green Vehicle Guide).

Cost: approximately AUD$23,900

2. The Mitsubishi Colt

Although not as environmentally-friendly in its production, this car still ranks pretty high in the Green Vehicle Guide for its low emissions. I don't mind this car, except it's of course not as cute as the smart. But it comes in butterscotch yellow!

One slight drawback - it only comes in automatic and I would prefer to drive a manual car.

It also consumes 5.6 litres of petrol per 100 kilometre.

Cost: approximately AUD$18,990

3. The Holden Barina

(Yes, I have a weakness for yellow cars.)

The reason why this car is even in my list of options is because I can get it through work at a heavily discounted price. And well, that's about the only reason.

It's not particularly environmentally-friendly, although it's better than most. Fuel consumption isn't impressive at 6.9 litres of petrol per 100 kilometre either. The cost, however, makes this car rather appealing.

Cost: approximately AUD$14,490 (before discount)

Anybody with any ideas/advise/comments will be much appreciated.

By the way, I'll be getting a car through work (no matter which car I choose), terms and condistions state that I can only own the car for a maximum of five years.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006


I have to admit that as a writer, I have a fascination with words. It’s difficult not to be when my very livelihood depends on words. I like to learn new words and I even have a book solely dedicated to all sorts of quotes I’ve heard or read about.

But it’s not simply the fact that there are so many words in the world that intrigues me. It’s not because new words are constantly being invented (try telling your grandmother to “google” something. Chances are, all you’ll get is a blank stare), or the fact that old words take on new meanings as time goes by (it used to only refer to one’s mood when you say someone is gay). And it certainly isn’t that you have a completely different set of words, pronunciations and meanings when you learn a new language.

Words are beautiful because of that. But words are much more than that.

The thing is, words are immensely powerful. Words are what make ideas, thoughts and even things become reality.

When nineties boyband Boyzone covered the famous song first performed by the Bee Gees, singing that “It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away,” they’re probably using what was the most powerful weapon they possessed.

It’s never “only words”.

Think about it. What do you use to express your thoughts? How do you let someone know how you feel? Would you be able to convince your lecturer that you had indeed written an essay if you handed up several blank pieces of paper?

Words are extremely essential especially in modern day communication. Would I even be able to convey what I’m trying to say in this article without words? How else would I be able to present an idea to someone if I did not use words? I guess I could gesticulate wildly, but would you get exactly what I mean if I did not use the precise words that would so aptly say “the problem with him is that he had an extremely traumatic childhood experience with Madagascan lemurs”.

It’s amazing what words can do. Sometimes, we are afraid to say things because by even uttering a single word, we could be committing ourselves to waking up at 5 a.m. to volunteer for an event involving looking after thousands of screaming kids.

How many times have you given someone “your word”, or vehemently protested “I did not say that”?

What we say has an impact on the world around us. Without words, learning is next to impossible and secrets may very well forever remain hidden. Think of all the great quotes in the world, and even your favourite sayings and novels. Would they even exist to encourage and inspire if it weren’t for words?
What though the radiance which once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind
William Wordsworth’s Ode to the Intimations of Immortality is a beautiful poem that personally encourages me whenever I have to deal with the painful loss from death.

George Bernard Shaw, on the other hand, challenged me to stop complaining and make a difference in the world when he said, “people are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”

And perhaps the book that consists of a whole bunch of words that has the most profound impact for me is of course, the Bible. God’s very own words to us. And in the very words of the Bible, it says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Word.

Not just any word, but the Word.

The original Word that brings with it a means of communication, encouragement, inspiration and transforming even thoughts into reality.

The power. The strength.

The beginning and the end.

The Alpha and the Omega.



The Word.

Monday, 20 February 2006

I know that the story about Cheney shooting the lawyer is old news by now, but I recently found a site listing some of the quips that talkshow hosts have made about it and it is simply too hilarious not to mention.

"That's the big story over the weekend....Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-old lawyer. In fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his popularity is now at 92 percent."

"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt...making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird."
Thanks to Kevin for the link.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Now didn't this just hit the nail on the head.
We've created worship in which music is meant to stir the emotions but the soul is left unmoved, in which the words spoken are little more than manipulations of the heart. We have created cathartic experiences filled with weeping and dancing in the Spirit that leaves us with the sense that we have touched God but that fail to give us the sense that God has touched us. We run to churches where the message feels good and where we feel energized and uplifted--but never challenged or convicted.
I think I've been distracted by the neon lights so to speak.

Running around organising events. Chasing up news. Talking about God. Going to church. Working for the church. My goodness. How much more in God can one get?

But despite it all, a thought flitted through my head early this week. Well, it flitted through, then returned and took up residence.

"I don't feel God anymore." I talk about him. I read about him. I do stuff supposedly for him. But I don't actually feel him. And it's funny how all the peripheral activities just doesn't seem to draw me any closer to him.

I've taken to talking to him just that little bit more recently (which is an improvement from only talking to him before meals) and it's funny how much of a difference just that little bit of effort made. It's all about having a direct line of communication isn't it?

I don't think I'm quite there yet, although I did hear him rather audibly two days ago regarding my plans (or rather, busted plans) to apply for permanent residency in Australia.

And boy did that feel good.

I miss you God.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

First, church screws up website tagline. Then bloggers pass the story on. Then an unconfirmed rumour about the website starts that bloggers also pass on. Finally, everything is clarified by a simple phonecall to the church that sorted everything out.

My head is current whirling by all the implications and lessons learnt from just this one incident.
"...this all could have been avoided if the original blogger who noticed the wrong quote had just let them know instead of broadcasting to the world. He compared it to seeing pie on a friend's face and telling the whole room before you tell your friend. Sometimes we'd rather point and laugh than actually help somebody fix something...."
Isn't it amazing how little it takes for something to explode? The whole tagline incident happened within a day, and yet it must have been a very long day for all those involved.

But this is not a post about how amazing the technology of the Internet is. I'm sure we all know that. What I have to say is that I feel like I've had a pie thrown in my face.

How many times, especially as a blogger, have I fallen guilty of the very same thing? How many times have I noticed something wrong and decided to tell the world instead of trying to help fix it?

But as a blogger, a writer and a sometime journalist, where do I draw the line of writing about something because it needs to be told and writing about something because it's interesting but unnecessary? How do I tell the difference?

Writers needs stories to write. If we end up fixing the situation, do we not end up with no stories to tell?

Almost three years of blogging has taught me a few things, one of which is the fact that even in freedom comes limits. I may be free to say whatever I want, but I should limit myself to what I actually say. I guess it's called responsibility, as well as a moral obligation to God.

I'm not saying I haven't made mistakes. I've deleted posts and I'm sure I've got archived posts that should have been better left unpublished.

But I guess as bloggers, especially Christian bloggers, we really ought to watch what we say and ensure that we do it in a manner that helps others and makes Jesus proud.

After all, who knows who's reading your blog and whether whatever you say would come back and haunt you?

Monday, 13 February 2006

Ah...tis good to have your own home that isn't just a room in the dorms...

I'm still trying to settle into the beauty of not having to share a bathroom with ten thousand other girls and a kitchen with ten million cockroaches. It's gorgeous.

Granted, there were still a lot of things to sort out - cleaning the flat for one.

The apartment honestly looked like it hadn't been cleaned for weeks, if not months. I had to wipe away layers of dust off the interior of the flat, caked up dirt and soil from the windows and window-sills (the glass of the windows have even turned brown from lack of cleaning), spend hours wiping the extremely dirty and brown looking blinds, battle all sorts of living organisms and cocoons (I have no idea how many times I screamed)...it was shocking and left me amazed that I hadn't died after living in such filth for the last week.

Della reminded me that I should have taken photos of my squalid living conditions, but in my strange and unexplained desire to live in cleaniness, I forgot, so I'll leave it to your imaginations to conjure up the picture.

I mean, I still have cobwebs on some of the walls and bugs living on the ceiling. Buying cleaning detergents like toilet cleaner, anti-mould removal and multi-purpose cleaner yesterday left me delirious with joy.

And it's funny how pedantic you get when it's your own place you're cleaning. As well as how reluctant you are to step into the bathroom after you've cleaned it because it would only make it dirty.

Suddenly, I begin to empathise with my mother...

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

I can't breathe because my nose is blocked, everytime I walk I feel as if I've just ran a marathon and whenever I cough, I'm surprised my entire chest doesn't get coughed up with everything else.

I want my mummy *sniff*

At least I've had some really kind souls looking after me, providing me with nourishment and care.

But I still want my mummy...

Monday, 6 February 2006

back in Sydney, moved into a new flat (I'm no longer sharing a bathroom with ten thousand other girls!), have a stack of mail to clear, even more emails to go through and my flu has just gotten worse.

Friday, 3 February 2006

It's goodbye, farewell time once again. Strangely enough, no matter how many times it has been done, saying goodbye never gets any easier. It's hard to believe that I've been back in Singapore for six weeks now. Time certainly flew.

Isn't it funny how although you have six weeks to catch up with friends, when the last night comes, it still feels like you haven't met up enough? And because of that, running out of time meant meeting with four different groups of people from various social settings during one dinner yesterday night.

There was my friend from secondary school, three friends from junior college, Anca from England and my family. None of the groups knew the other (except my mother of course who has met most of my friends or at least seen photos), but it was the only way I could spend time with people I hold dearest to my heart at the same time.

Funnier that I bumped into yet another friend from another social group later in the evening after saying goodbye to the others.

Will be flying back to Australia tomorrow evening. Am not looking forward to saying goodbye. It's hard when you've got lives in two completely different countries. It's hard when you have people you hold dear to your heart in various countries. It's especially hard when you've got to say goodbye.
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