The one quote that baffles me

I began reading the book I bought yesterday, Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews and at the beginning, right in Chapter 3, I read something I can't figure out, however hard I tried to wrap my head round it, which I did try the whole day today. 

"...dreams are who you are when you’re too tired to be yourself."

What is the meaning of that? What am I when I'm too tired to be myself?

I still can't make out what's it's suppose to mean. Can you?


Two Promising Books

I haven't been reading much fiction lately but when I received an email from Amazon to check out its monthly deals before the month runs out, these two titles stood out for me. 

The first is a book about readers, reading and bookshops. And any books on readers, reading and bookshops would definitely interest me. The book cover alone is enough to draw me in. 

I clicked on the second book without realizing it's a book about the comfort women of Korea. I only got to know about them recently when I read about the history of Korea in Korea, The Impossible Country. The author here has weaved a story about a former sex slave, about life, loss, survival and triumph. Mike Honda who reviewed the book said, "Author William Andrews weaves a narrative that honors the 200,000 sex slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII, and brings to light this historical, systematic atrocity."

I am really looking forward to dig in. 

The Bookshop on the Corner, A Novel
by Jenny Colgan

Daughters of the Dragon, A Comfort Woman's Story
by William Andrews


Best time traveling episode ever

I love watching movies and TV dramas about time traveling but I think of all time traveling shows, this one from Doctor Who is by far the best and the scariest of them all, Don't Blink!


Speak Hokkien and Cantonese

My friend sent me this video which I thought was quite brilliant. I speak very, very little Hokkien but I can still make out some of the few words used by the speaker. 

This is the first Cantonese TED Talk that I listened to and it is a good thing. I plan to check them out and listen to more. 

It is decades now since I've listened to Cantonese sermons back when I was still in my family church. I didn't realize I miss it. 


Life's becoming routine but I like it

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. 
~ Mike Murdock

Most of life is routine - dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration you'll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street. 
~ Ben Nicholas

For pragmatic reasons, I love the routine. I love the structure of it. I love knowing that my days are free. I know where I'm going at night. I know my life is kind of orderly. I just like that better. 
~ Andrea Martin

I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do. 
~ Roald Dahl


Great teamwork!

I spent most of today getting ready for our company's Climbathon event. This is a really great and fun team to work together. And we made 60 people climb 12 floors of stairs!


Yummiest stewed lamb shank with only two ingredients

I brought my own lunch to work today and it was so good. The weird thing though is that I only used two ingredients to make it: a lamb shank and an onion. 

I put the lamb shank and the diced onion into the pressure cooker and cooked it for half an hour. Then I separate flesh from bone, remove the oils and pop it into the freezer. 

This morning, I brought it to work and placed it in the office fridge freezer. I reheated it in the microwave for 6 minutes, and it was the most delicious lunch I've had in the office in a long time. 

This made me remember one thing that Michael Pollan said in the last Coursera lecture I attended. 

He said that cooking isn't so complicated if we don't make it so. All you need to have in your home are these few basic ingredients: olive oil, onions, garlic, lemons, sugar, and salt. And as an Asian, adding soy sauce and oyster sauce would complete the list. 

All the time, I thought that the more ingredients I put in, the more complete the dish. But now I think differently. What's more important to me currently is to actually get back to cooking and so the easier and the simpler it is, the better. 

So with just some meat and an onion, how much simpler can it get. 


How a dog I don't have stopped a break-in to my house

Someone tried to break into our house at 5:45 this morning. But we got down just in time to avert it. My hubby got down to switch the porch lights back on, and the perpetrator ran away. 

This was how they tried to break in. I thank God we managed to stop them in time. 

But how I was woken up to realize what was happening is quite amazing I think. And I firmly believe that it was my God who woke me up to take care of the situation before it was too late. 

And with that, God certainly has a good sense of humour. Here's what happened:

Firstly, we don't have a dog. Having a dog in such a circumstance will be useful but we don't. 

But in that exact same time that morning, I dreamt I had one and it was barking frantically outside my house. I got down to open the door and when I did, my dog flew through the door railings towards my head and because of that I woke up with a jump. 

That was when I heard the grating noise downstairs and woke my hubby to check it out. 

Now you tell me God did not send me a dream dog to wake me up to chase the perpetrator away. 

And maybe it's time to get a real dog. 


Lord, purify my heart, correct me, discipline me

Our sermon this morning by Rev Wong Fong Yang is on Proverbs 3:11-12, entitled Do Not Despise the Lord's Discipline

We would normally accept discipline when we know we have done wrong and the Lord disciplines us, but it is when we have not done anything wrong, the Lord still disciplines us. Why?

The answer is pretty straight forward, though hard to take: it is because He loves us and wants to mature us.  If you imagine yourself not having gone through any difficult periods in your life, how would you have turned out to be? Not a very matured or nice person for that matter I'd say.

So be glad for the Father's discipline on us, his children, whom he loves. 

I was worship leading today and I picked Refiner's Fire as the song of response which was most appropriate. I had the privilege to have my former vocal teacher, Charity Lee, to be my back-up (what are the odds? We ended up attending the same church!). It was fulfilling to sing the song with her, calling out to God to purify and cleanse us. 

I found this video by Jeremy Passion and The Katinas who did an amazing job on the song. I kept listening to it over and over again as I work on this post. What a lovely interpretation of the song. 

Do take a listen. 


Walk and not faint


The floor scooped me up where I stood, and I blinked as it hit me.
~ M. Beth Bloom, Drain You  

I always thought fainting showed an inherent weakness of character, but I understood it now. It was an act of self-preservation. Confronted by emotion too extreme to handle, the body shuts down to keep from running around like a chicken with its head cut off, potentially injuring itself.  
~ Karen Marie Moning 

The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.  
~ Oswald Chambers 


About the Likert Scale

I learnt quite a lot about surveys today. It has been awhile since I've studied statistics. And on top of that, surveys also take into account psychology. With that, I find it is a very interesting topic. 

I have been using the phrase "Likert Scale" a lot only to find out now that it is based on a seminal article written by Rensis Likert in 1932: A Technique for the Measure of Attitudes

It is a long article. This other article would be a shorter one to get a summary of what is discussed. 

My take away from it is that the Likert Scale is ordinal and not interval in nature. 

Statistically speaking, an ordinal scale refer to a scale where the order of the values is what’s important and significant, but the differences between each one is not really known. 

Interval scales on the other hand are numeric scales in which we know not only the order, but also the exact differences between the values.

The Likert Scale is an ordinal one and as such we cannot use mean or average and standard deviations to analyze the results. The median and mode should be used instead but I do see many reports that use the average to analyze the data. 

The other thing that I learnt is about central tendency. I've always thought that it better to have an even level of values than odd, so that respondents do not always be neutral but decide between a positive or negative. 

An example of an even one is Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree as opposed to an odd one, Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree or Disagree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree. 

Now I am not so sure. It is true that in some areas, respondents are indeed neutral about it and forcing them to make a choice would reduce the accuracy of the survey results.

What do you think?


My May Book Haul

The non-fiction Kindle deals in Amazon isn't so great this month of May. There wasn't any that I took interest in, but I decided to take another look today and ended up with these three. I am quite happy with them. They look promising and  I hope they will turn out to be good reads. 

The History and Uncertaint Future of Handwriting
by Anne Trubek

Secrets from the Eating Lab
by Traci Mann, Ph.D

Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder, 2nd Edition
by Mary Wood Cornog


Naps are good for you

We have the day off today and for someone who never ever take a nap, I was napping away in the afternoon, and in the heat too, and thankfully I didn't get a headache as a result like I usually do after I sleep in the afternoon. 

Naps are supposed to be good for you, right?


Language and thinking - what's the connection?

As I drove to work this morning, I decided to return to my old habit of driving in silence to think and talk to myself. I have been listening to the radio too much lately anyway. 

And so I did just that - think and talk to myself as I commute. 

Midway through, I thought I should do it in Mandarin, since I need to get used to speaking in Mandarin anyway but I immediately got stuck. 

I couldn't do it. I couldn't think at all. I do not have enough knowledge or a fluency of the language to facilitate my thinking. This brought me to conclude that language and thinking is very, very closely connected. 

John W. Santrock in his book on psychology said that, "The relationship between language and thinking is an important question in psychology. Most agree that language (that is, words), plays an important role in memory and thinking...language determines the way we think."

Is that so?

Would you be able to think more effectively and deeply if you improve your command of your language? Is it true that if any one word does not exist for you, you will have no knowledge or understanding of that thing? And even if you have a picture of it, would you be able to articulate it well enough to explain it? 

I think it is debatable. 

So do what do you think is the role of language in thinking? Do we think using language, or do we only use language to express already made up thoughts?

Ah, I now have something new for me to find out and learn. 


Understanding the Brain

I stayed in during lunch today and I thought I'd check out Coursera to see if there is something interesting to learn. I have mentioned before that I am interested to learn more about the brain and I found this course. 

I signed up though the course is very long: a full 10-week course. The longest of all Coursera courses I've ever taken. 

The lecturer is Dr Peggy Mason, Professor of Neurobiology and she is actually quite funny and witty at times. I completed Week 1 during lunch today, I enjoyed listening to her and I learnt so much. 

It's going to be long and tedious but I am looking forward to the following 9 weeks. 


Did you know where the word "goodbye" came from?

My dad is someone who refuses to use the word "goodbye" and would prefer either "good night" or "see you again." 

This was brought up during our bible study today and we begin to then ask what is the meaning of the word anyway. 

It really surprised us to find out that goodbye is a contraction of God be with you

From the Wiktionary's section on its etymology, the word came from an earlier Godby, Godby'e, Godbwye, God b'w'y, God bwy yee, God buy you, God be wi' you, each a progressively shorter contraction of God be with you. Note the change of God to good by confusion with good morning, good day, etc. 

In that case, it's actually good to say goodbye, isn't it? I'd be wishing that God will be with you.