Monday, 28 August 2006

Good news hardly travel, but bad news definitely travel fast.

It's funny how if you had written something accurate and well-researched with beautiful flowing prose, you would hardly get any acknowledgement of what you had done.

On the other hand, should you happen to be the editor of a newsletter and included something phrased slightly wrongly, or used a somewhat incorrect name or even written a sentence using rather interesting grammar, you will be more than certain to receive at least one email telling you of it.

To be fair, some of such emails I've received are still fairly encouraging in their nature and come in the form of constructive criticism. But the interesting thing is, most of the emails are usually curt and condescending, meant to ensure "you do not repeat the mistake". Occassionally, you may also be graced with a personal phonecall laced somewhat with abuse.

Why don't we ever stop to tell someone how much we appreciate them?

Why don't we ever pause to write an email providing some sort of encouragement for a work well done?

Instead, we choose to accuse, point fingers and mock.

In all honesty, I have received many heart-warming feedback from people mentioning their appreciation of things I have written. What sometimes grates me are those whom you don't ever hear from, except when they are in the mood of nit-picking. They concern themselves with minute, inconsequential little details that most people wouldn't even care about.

I guess it's just something all writers have to get used to. When you publish something for all the world to see, you have to be prepared to receive more criticism than appreciation.

People seem to get motivated only to point fingers, but not to give someone a pat on their back. People will envision to tell you how to do your job and will also believe they can do it better. People will believe that you are perfect and should you fall, provide you with only a thin blanket for cushioning.

In the writing business, no feedback is definitely good feedback. If what you says make sense, if what you've written happen to be completely accurate, you will never hear from anyone. If you ever get any feedback, you know it will generally be in some form of abuse.

That is why whenever I read a positive article about the church by a secular journalist or when I read a particular article that impresses me, I try to write an email of appreciation to the writer, just because I know how rare those letters come by. Those letters that I treasure and hold dear for support when everybody else seems out to take a piece of me.

Writing isn't a private affair when you get published. Don't ever do it without first a healthy dose of self-esteem or a network of friends who will be there to encourage you.

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Friday, 25 August 2006

Oh my goodness! Who would have thought I'd actually find this clip on YouTube?

I've always liked this clip when I was younger and Sesame Street was part of my daily diet. It's because of this very clip that help develop my lifelong attraction to crayons.

And now looking at the clip, I'm wondering if it somehow contributed to my love for the colour orange...

And the most bizarre thing was I was just talking about this clip a few days ago!

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"Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough," he says.

I got a call yesterday afternoon from Brentyn, who had borrowed my baby Carrot for the day, telling me that Carrot had received some scratches.


Here are Carrot's "scratches":

My poor baby Carrot has gotten into her first accident. Which miraculously did not involve me.

When I bought Carrot, I knew she was going to be hurt. After all, it's my very first car and I have only passed my driving test eight months ago. Who would have known her first accident would be caused by somebody else?

And who would have known it'll cost at least $7000 to get her doors replaced? The Toyota Yaris is a car with very expensive doors...thank goodness for insurance cover.

At least Brentyn's doing all he can to get Carrot fixed up and as good as new. The heart still hurts. But it's only a car right?

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Monday, 21 August 2006

Eight treadmills, music, and four guys with way too much time on their hands.

I couldn't help but watch hynoptically at this and wonder how long it took them to practice.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2006

"Be still and know that I am God," it says in the Bible and just how much that statement is ringing true to me right now.

The past month or so had been one crazy rollercoaster ride for me. What with my department's restructure and me subsequently taking on more responsibilities (the number of committees I'm in now is ridiculous, not to mention the number of meetings I have to attend. The thing about responsibilities and meetings is that they make you less efficient since work don't get done while you're in meetings!), my best friend's wedding (I just had to phrase it that way), friends visiting from Singapore, weekends away...I've hardly had time to breathe, much less sleep.

My social calendar went into overdrive in the last month, the amount of sleep I had been getting was slowly decreasing and even the time I had alone to myself at home became minimal. My housemate was starting to wonder if she was living alone.

And I'll be the first to admit that amidst all this hectic-ness and activity, I've lost the opportunities to be still. To be still and know that He is God. The quality and content of my blog entries would have been the other giveaway.

When your mind is cluttered with thoughts, activities, plans and whatnots, when you go to bed so tired all you do is mutter a quick prayer that gets lost along the way, when you lose the opportunity to simply sit and ponder about life, it's not surprising that you lose sight of God and the deep and profound thoughts He gives you.

It's not that I've lost that relationship with God. I still love Him. I still talk to Him. And I certainly know that He is still there with me - the amount of blessings He's given me over the past month is enough to convince me of that.

But I know I've neglected God. I've failed to be still to know Him. Know Him as my Father, my Counsellor, my Advisor, and the God whom I have discussions with and who provides me with insight into this thing called life.

I miss hanging out with you God. And I've only got myself to blame.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Part three of the "Born to be a star" series:

Rules of Engagement

Want to increase the profile of your church in the community, create a sense that it is a great place to be a part of and not spend a single cent on advertising?

Having your local media consistently report good news about your church will influence people to respond positively to invitations to your church and its various programs. And believe it or not, it can all be done for free.

It’s true that news in the papers, TV and radio are written by reporters. But it’s also true that a lot of them are written with the help of people just like you in the form of media releases.

Media releases are sent to reporters as a way of intriguing them and making them aware of a news event. It entices them into wanting to find out for themselves, either through attending the upcoming event or interviewing the individual featured on the release.

The good news is, you do not have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to write a media release. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules:
  • Entice the reader - Have the single most gripping point as near the beginning of your first paragraph as possible. It does not need to be clever or dramatic but should answer the “who”, “why”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “how” in approximately 25 words.
  • Inverted triangle rule -The most important points should be as near the top of your media release as possible. When editors run out of space, the last paragraphs of a news story are the first to go. Therefore write your media release in a descending order of importance like an inverted triangle, leaving information that can be omitted in the last paragraphs.
  • Include quotes -News articles are meant to give facts and the reporter should not be giving their own opinions or making subjective comments. However, opinions like, “This will be the best event the church has ever organised,” are often more interesting than the facts themselves and the best way to present such statements is by quoting someone.
  • Contact number -Include a number for the editor or reporter to contact you for further information.
  • Plan in advance - Give the media at least two weeks’ notice, if possible, of the upcoming event.
  • Keep it short - Media releases should only be a page long.
  • Follow up - It doesn’t hurt to call the editor or reporter and ask if they’ve received your media release and were interested in following-up on the story.
Writing media releases is also a matter of practice. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Why not start writing that media release for your local media now?

This is the third of a series entitled “Born to be a star” distributed to local church newsletters in Australia and New Zealand. Find out how to handle the media in the next entry.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2006

I had to laugh out loud while reading Defrag's Quote of the Week:
"I have one message today for the entire eBay community: we, the Postal Service, we love you. We love every buyer, every seller, every power seller."

US Postmaster General John E. Potter enthuses about the rise in business generated by online shopping.

You know, having the Postal Service care that passionately about you is a little creepy. Especially since they know where you live.
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Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Took off after work on Friday afternoon towards Cooma, Daniel's hometown, with four other friends for a weekend of snow adventures.

I had previously seen snow before, but had never really had much experience with it besides having it chucked at me, building a snowman, and touching it going "oooh, it's soft and cold..." Was therefore quite naturally really excited about going to Perisher Blue, a ski resort about 1.5 hours away from Cooma, where I was hoping to get some snowboarding action.

It was so much fun!

Took a two hour beginner lesson that saw me landing on my bum several times, but by the end of it, I more or less knew how to control the board and managed to get down a slope somewhat in a normal manner without too many accidents (that included crashing into people).

It was the weirdest sensation, having both your feet strapped into the board knowing that if you fall, the only way to do it without inflicting much pain upon yourself was to do it bum first. There was no putting one foot forward to break one's fall - it was literally all or nothing.

Had a really good time though. Especially once I got the hang of things and could actually kind of steer the board towards the direction I wanted to go. Unfortunately, am still too much of a chicken and start to panic whenever I felt I was going too fast and would simply force myself to come to a stop the only way I knew how - on my bum.

Was pretty much worn out by the end of the lesson and am actually still feeling a little sore in my arms and thighs from the amazing workout I got. Naturally, my bum is one big gigantic bruise at the moment, but I would do it all over again.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, snowboarding is great fun!

Flickr pictures from the trip.

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Tuesday, 1 August 2006

So, I was tagged by Maya about a month ago. But better late than never right?

Ten Interesting Facts About Melody

1. The Bee Gees were the main inspiration behind my name. More specifically, this song.

2. My first career choice (excluding the typical jobs one wanted to be as a child) was to be an archaeologist. Not quite, aka Lara Croft, but something along that lines. I nearly went to Manchester Uni to study that, but costs and God took me to Avondale to study Communication instead.

3. I hold a brown belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Not that I'd be able to defend myself like Jackie Chan would since I got my brown belt ten years ago and haven't practised since. I probably can't even kick past my head now.

4. I've dived the Great Barrier Reef, even though I don't hold a diving license. Witnessed one of the most beautiful sights in the world, the amazing colourful corals and the brightly coloured fish. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it because of interesting fact #5

5. I am slightly claustrophobic. Not enough to render me useless when I get into a lift, but if the lift stops moving and I don't hear the fan going, I start getting edgy. As long as I know I have an ample supply of oxygen, I'm good. Which is why I was highly uncomfortable diving because my nose was pinched and I could only breath the air that was strapped to my back through my mouth.

6. I've visited 18 different countries (and driven through one) besides Singapore. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Holland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji (drove through Belgium). Yes, I'm addicted to travelling.

7. I bungee-jumped when I was 18. I'm still waiting for the appropriate moment to go sky-diving. Hopefully before I become too old and become too much of a coward.

8. I've been a bridesmaid three times in three different countries. 2004 in Munich, Germany. 2005 in Fiji and 2006 in Australia. I am contemplating switching my career and hiring out my services as a professional bridesmaid around the world.

9. I didn't start wearing make-up till I was about 18. And my first foray into it involved being a goth. Naturally, it didn't work too well. I still hate wearing foundation, so I'm basically a face powder, blush and lip gloss kind of girl. Oh, and I was pretty much a tomboy till before 18 and have been mistaken for a boy several times before.

10. I am an introvert. Which is especially ironical since I'm in Public Relations. But given a choice, I would rather spend time with a select group of close friends than in a big party full of acquaintences. And I truly recharge be spending time alone.

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Hmm, I could use a bit of this at the moment.

Have been going for kickboxing classes for about four times now and I really feel like the most accident-prone person in the world.

Lesson 1 - returned home with completely dead arms for the next seven days.

Lesson 2 - returned home with a strange lump forming on my right shoulder, transforming me quite literally into Quasimodo for the next seven days.

Lesson 3 - the arms have gotten used to the torture, but I got elbowed in the mouth instead, causing my teeth to scrap off the skin on the inside of my lower lip.

Lesson 4 - somehow managed to land wrongly, ending up with a somewhat twisted knee and therefore am now walking with a strange limp.

Thanks to Anil Dash for the link.

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