Wednesday, 27 June 2007

28 more days with longer sunshine. Woohoo!

It's always nicer to step out of the office when the sun is still shining.
How odd to be watching the Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and realising that there is a pirate lord in Singapore.

Even funnier to see him being played by a Hong Kong actor famous for cool action movies when I was growing up.

Yes, I know that the movie is merely a figment of one's imagination, but it was still pretty surreal to see Hollywood's depiction of Singapore, albeit who knows how long ago.

A few things I learnt about Singapore from Pirates:
  1. Singapore looks like the Asian version of Venice.
  2. The pirate lord of Singapore speaks English in a distinctive Hong Kong accent.
  3. Singapore's actually such an important city it warrants its own pirate lord, as does Tokyo, Paris and what looks like Saudi Arabia or something like that.
  4. Singaporeans then wore corsets (ok, that was learnt from Pirates 1)
Seriously though, third time around and Pirates still hasn't failed to entertain. How could it? It had Johnny Depp!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Can I just say that I love working for God.

John Howard's declaration of a national emergency in response to the aboriginal sexual abuse crisis has just sparked off a whole bunch of work for me.

That's largely because the Adventist Church actually has something to say about it, and is even organising the first ever national convention for indigenous women to address this very issue.

This also means writing releases from an angle that would make what the Church has to say relevant, timely and newsworthy. And then pitching it to the main journalists in the hope that they will pick up the story and think it worthy of a write-up.

I've done the writing part. I've also done the pitching part. The only thing left to do is wait and hope that someone, anyone, will actually pick up the story.

I've just spent the last half hour or so trying to think up of other people I can send the stories to, other things (save groveling) that I could possible do that will put my piece of news in the mainstream media.

To be honest, I started fretting.

And that was when it hit me. A voice clear as day in my head that said this, "This is up to me now. You've done all you can. You will know if I want your news to spread depending on whether I convict the journalists to pick up the story. If your story doesn't get picked up, maybe it just isn't the right time or the kind of exposure I want the church to have. Leave it to me."

I love it when I know that God's in charge.
This is a fascinating country.

Less than six months ago, reports in the papers were all about the fact that Australia is experiencing the worst drought in 100 years.

Water restrictions were high, with four minute showers and the prohibition of watering of plants and washing of cars enforced in some areas. The water supplies for farmers were going to be cut and predictions were all around that food prices were going to soar due to limited supplies.

It was so severe that the Adventist Church even declared a national day of prayer for rain.

Fast forward to June and we have reports of storms never ever experienced in the past 30 years. There's been some serious flooding and a gigantic cargo ship run aground. I don't even remember what it's like to sit and soak in the warm sunshine anymore.

It's been pouring more or less non-stop for the last three weeks. In the beginning, the amount of water gushing down from the skies was enough to make me wonder where all the water was coming from.

I've also given up trying to wash my car because there really isn't a point. It's raining heaps again today.

I'd be the first to admit that yes, the rain is inconvenient. But yet at the same time, it's heartening to know that the dam levels have risen, we may have a little bit more water, the rain is bringing relief to most people and I can't help but hope, it's also helping the drought-stricken farmers.

And I wonder, did the prayers work?

Monday, 25 June 2007

I called this old lady up this afternoon wanting to interview her about this wonderful community project she was doing.

She's been collecting blankets, clothes and various items for homeless people as well as children in Africa and I thought it'd be a neat little story to feature in her local newspaper. So I made the call, wanting to find out a little more in order to write up a media release.

Within the first few minutes of the conversation, I found out that the local paper has actually already done a news article on her, which meant that the phone call pretty much should have ended then.

However, the dear old lady just kept talking and going on a whole variety of tangents. So much so that I've sure I've pretty much been introduced to all the Seventh-day Adventists in the greater Brisbane area, as well as gain more than enough insight into what she does, why she does it, how she does it, who helps her and everything else I did not really need to know.

But she was a lovely lady, and I didn't have the heart to be rude or hang up on her. Besides, there was no way I was going to get a word in anyway. She just kept talking and talking. It was amazing. I never knew a person could have that much to say to a total stranger on the phone.

She finally hung up 15 minutes later, but not without telling me, "God bless you my darling. I've been wanting to talk to someone today and you called. It's so nice to talk to you."

What can you say after that?

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Incidents like the Melbourne shooting a couple of days ago make you wonder whether it's worth it to be a good Samaritan sometimes.

If the lawyer, Brendan, had gone about minding his own business when he saw a scuffle, he would probably be alive by now.

But the thing is, how do you walk on by? How can you pass a man obviously physically abusing a woman and pretend to ignore it?

Brendan did what any decent human being should have done, and tragically paid with his life.

And now they're hunting the shooter (who belongs to a bikie gang) and some politicians are calling for all bikie gangs to be outlawed.

I'll be the first to admit that I do feel a bit scared when I see a bunch of leather-clad, bearded man hanging around with their Harley-Davidsons, but honestly, how does it make sense for all bikie gangs to be outlawed simply because one of them happened to have killed someone in an incident that did not even have something to do with bikie gangs?

I mean, what if the shooter happened to be an accountant? Should we then call for all accountants to be outlawed?

What if the shooter was a, well, highly stressed policeman who was having a really bad day? Should we therefore remove the entire police force?

I'm not pro- or anti-bike gangs, but the logic of the recent argument baffles me.

It's tragic that Brendan died. I know that bikie gangs have a bad reputation.

But to push for one's personal agenda by jumping on a recent incident that is only slightly remotely related? That's just pushing it a bit too far.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

This is really starting to annoy me.

I'd been using Yahoo! Briefcase to store my pdf files so that it acts somewhat like my online portfolio of all the articles that I've written and got published. In theory, this provides a URL for each pdf file, making it easy for me to share my documents with others.

Unfortunately, it's extremely temperamental at the best of times.

As exhibited in the last post, files may or may not be downloaded by others, depending on Yahoo!'s mood. The URLs are highly volatile, choosing to work at times, and not at others.

Does anybody know of any other free storage sites that I can upload my pdf files on to since Yahoo! is obviously doing such a terrible job?
Does this mean I'm famous?

Considering the magazine does have a limited number of audience, I think not.

Although, I did receive a call from the youth department in the Greater Sydney region asking if I would not mind giving a presentation about "Communicating to the iPod generation" to youth workers some time next month.

I shudder to think what pearls of wisdom I would actually have...

Monday, 18 June 2007

I've recently got to thinking about climate change and its impact on Christians.

I've personally had a burden for the environment since my teenage years, trying to support recycling, the reduction of energy consumption and the likes, as best as I could. I'm not talking tying one self to the tree kind of activities, but just simple things one can do to reduce one's impact on the world.

But is this a Christian response, or a personal response?

The reason why I wonder this is because there are many non-Christians out there who are doing wonderful things advocating for the environment.

And on the contrary, there are plenty of Christians whose lifestyles and habits reflect a lack of care and concern for the limited resources that are available to them.

Should not Christians be the better stewards for a world that was bestowed to them by God?

Or maybe it's because of a Christian belief that Jesus will return soon, the world will end and so we don't really need to worry about limited resources because by the time they run out we will all be in heaven?

I don't know. And it frustrates me.

It frustrates me because I don't know whether I'm a closet tree-hugger who happens to be Christian, or I'm just stuck in a climate of general apathy.

It frustrates me because not knowing means not knowing how best to communicate the need to care for our environment.

It frustrates me because I wonder if the little bit that I'm doing is actually going to make a difference when the rest of the world acts otherwise.

It frustrates me because I'm not sure if my actions are futile, meaningless or perhaps stupid.

And I guess it frustrates me because I don't feel that enough people care.

But should anyone?

Friday, 15 June 2007

This is so hilarious I actually found myself laughing out loud in my office.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

There was once a backyard in the city. An ordinary backyard, grass, clothesline, a tree stump, the likes.

Then the owner of the house that was attached to the backyard started having dreams. He was after all a country boy trapped in the city.

First he started a small vegetable garden, growing peas, tomatoes and cucumber. Then he got more ambitious.

He spent many a night sawing, cutting and hammering away. One day, this appeared.

A few weeks later, tenants moved in.

They brought country-boy-who-was-trapped-in-the-city plenty of joy. A few months later, they brought country-boy-who-was-trapped-in-the-city plenty of eggs.

Even his girlfriend who was raised in the city and had only ever lived in the city started getting won over. "They are rather cute," she thought.

In the same backyard however, was a less than cute little Pomeranian that belonged to a housemate. It was harmless, but loved barking.

It did leave the chickens alone and was in fact just a tad afraid of the chickens, who were after all slightly bigger than him.

So they lived peacefully in the same backyard, largely ignoring each other.

Until country-boy-who-was-trapped-in-the-city had to go away for a convention, leaving his girlfriend to look after the chickens.

She braved it all. From changing the water to scooping chicken poop out of the food container, she braved it all. She was after all becoming rather attached to the chickens herself.

What she was not prepared for however, was an image that would leave her traumatised for the rest of her life.

When she was changing the water one day, said barking dog started sniffing a chicken rather closely. In fact, he simply followed the chickens wherever they went.

"Strange," she thought, but continued changing the water.

And that was when it happened. Said dog got on its hind legs behind the chicken and started trying to mate with it.

She was horrified. Images of chick-pups flashed before her as she yelled at the dog to get away.

The dog scurried off, but not without looking forlornly at the chickens.

When she returned the next day to let the chickens out of the cage, he started committing the unmentionable again.

She left the animals alone for the morning, and could only hope that nothing untoward happened to the chickens.

Today, however, she came across this that would perhaps save the chickens forever...

Carrot turns one tomorrow.

One year with her has made me like her even more. She's just such a fabulous car to drive and I think I want to grow old with her.

In all seriousness though, after one year on the road, I've come to realise one thing.

There are a lot of bullies on the road.

I'll be honest and admit that I'm kind of a stickler for the rules. I'm not a very confident driver and as such prefer to stick to the speed limit just so that firstly, I do not get booked and secondly, I simply believe it's safer for me.

The trouble with that though is that nobody else in the entire city of Sydney seems to drive at the speed limit.

Under normal circumstances, I'm left alone in the left lane to putt-putt up the road while everybody else overtakes me. However, when there is only one lane on the road, things get just a tad hairy.

Almost every time I'm driving in a one lane road and have a car behind me, it will invariably be right up my boot, which basically means if I were to brake suddenly, I will undoubtedly get rammed in from behind.

Why do people tailgate?

Tailgating does not make me go faster. It makes me more nervous, which means I've got a higher chance of getting into an accident, which will involve them since they're basically right there behind me.

But every time I have a car behind me that cannot overtake me, I get tailgated.

Whatever happened to following at a safe distance?

Whatever happened to respecting others?

Whatever happened to being safe?

Are we all really in that much of a hurry that 10 minutes make such a big difference?

Friday, 8 June 2007

It started with a baby boy (no, this is not a post about me being pregnant) who met a baby girl (this is also not a post about baby romance) while on holidays in the Sunshine Coast.

They played together, shared toys together and naturally, shared germs together.

Baby boy was sick the week before. Baby girl got sick that Sunday. So sick her birthday party that afternoon had to be canceled.

On Tuesday, baby girl's uncle got so sick, he was rushed to the emergency ward.

A week later, also on a Tuesday, baby girl's uncle's girlfriend also got sick. She was throwing up and suffering from major stomach cramps and at one point of time, her entire body got extremely tingly and numb.

She was also stripped of all energy, walking a few steps took her breath away. Naturally she was bedridden for one day and under "house arrest" the next.

That sickie was me.
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