Turn your eyes on no one else but Jesus

We sang this good ol' hymn in church today it is timely that I'm being reminded to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, to fully turn my eyes on him, on no one else, on nothing else, but on him alone. 

I found this excellent version of the hymn sung by Loyiso Bala, Neville D and Ivan Siegelaar.

  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

There is also this new version of the song by Nichole Nordeman that has also grown on me over the years. I listen to it whenever I need to remind myself to depend on God and God alone, whatever the circumstance. 


We seriously pigged the night out

A good friend and I really pigged ourselves out this round of meet-up.

First, we went to Ticklish at Seapark and had two servings of pork ribs and a skewer each of lean pork strips and caramelised pork belly. It was absolutely delicious. 

Then we went to Inside Scoop and as always, I ended with a scoop of Chempedak ice-cream and my friend, she had the Valrhona dark chocolate one. 

We still have loads to chat but the Inside Scoop outlet in Damansara was packed with customers and we didn't want to hog the table and so we decided to move on to SS2 for coffee. 

We spotted this foodtruck that sells Korean Bingsu, and it came with an upright grand Yamaha self-playing piano, which was awesome but alas, there weren't any tables or seats available. They should have had more tables for patrons. 

So we ended up in a mamak stall in SS2 and I had teh si kosong and my friend a glass of watermelon juice. 

It was a lovely evening of food and drink and catching with a good old friend. The next round, we will be off to Naughty Nuri's.  Can't wait to pig out again!


Wang Feng's Nowhere to Settle

It is good to talk music with this colleague of mine.  Where the last time he introduced me to my now favourite Bai Ann's What Brings Me to You, this time he brought up the artiste called Wang Feng and when I searched for his music, I fell in love with his Nowhere to Settle.


There is never too much memory


What are three things you will never have enough of (other than money of course)? For me they are clothe-hangers, underwear and memory.

I was helping a good friend to clear his notebook memory so that he can get it running again. This is because in favour of lightness, he purchased a notebook with only a little over 100G. That was a few years ago. I am not sure if there are still machines sold these days with so little memory. 

When I checked his notebook, about 40G were used in his Windows folder and 50G in his Apple folder. There is nothing I could do for him in the Windows folder, and I removed all his backup files in the Apple folder and that brought down usage from 100G to 70G. 

There is never too much memory. I wouldn't mind paying a little more for that extra memory in whatever devices I am using. 

With one exception: external hard drives. 

I wouldn't buy external hard drives with more than 500G, for now.  I would just buy more units if I needed more. That is because for example if the 1T unit becomes faulty, I would have lost all 1T worth of data. That would be something you wished wouldn't happen.


Here's how the French say it

Talking about learning foreign languages, which one can beat French in its unusual expressions: 

French people don’t “fall madly in love”…they “are struck by lightning” (Avoir un coup de foudre). 

A French person don’t “feel depressed”…they “have the cockroach” (Avoir le cafard).

French people don’t say “it drives me crazy”…they say “It’s taking my head” (Ca me prend la tête).

French people are not “stupid”…they “have the same IQ as an oyster” (Avoir le QI d’une huître).

French don’t “sleep in”…they “have a fat morning” (Faire la grasse matinée).


Do you talk to yourself?

I do that sometimes, and apparently it is good for you: The Benefits of Talking to Yourself

So just ignore those weird looks and just start talking to yourself, out loud. 

However, for me, I usually stop short at talking to myself when I am at work because my staff had turned to me before with an inquiring look, thinking I'm asking her something, and I would sheepishly tell her I'm only talking to myself. 


When people disappoint you


There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. 
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing to me is unexpected. No disappointment is unexpected - whether it's movies or people or relationships. I'm always ready for the punch directly between the eyes. So I get hurt, but I never get hurt. Happens all the time. 
~ Brian Grazer

There's always failure. And there's always disappointment. And there's always loss. But the secret is learning from the loss, and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums. 
~ Michael J. Fox

The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility. 
~ Thomas S.Manson 

Regret is not a proactive feeling. It is situated in disappointment, sorrow, even remorse. It merely wishes things were different without an act to cause a difference. However, repentance is different. Repentance is an admission of, hatred of, and turning away from sin before God. 
~ Monica Johnson

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
~ Colossians 3:23-25


What would you name your guinea pig?

My hubby sent me an article from Gizmodo about this organization called Portland Guinea Pig Rescue that requested for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to come up with names for their guinea pigs that are put up for adoption. 

The names that the AI came up with were brilliant and as what the writer termed them as so quintessentially guinea pig. 

This is my favourite: Popchop

Do click on the link above to check it out. 


Do you know how a sentence can end in five prepositions?

Five prepositions? Really?

I got this from Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, a book I'm finding difficult to read, but this is just brilliant:

Daddy trudges upstairs to Junior's bedroom to read him a bedtime story. Junior spots the book, scowls, and asks, "Daddy, what did you bring that book that I don't want to be read to out of up for?"


So many books waiting to be read

I am reading The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker but it is taking longer than I expected. It is not an easy book to read. And I have been purchasing many books in between and I'm hoping to start reading them but Pinker's book is still in the way. I need to finish it quickly. These books are waiting for me:

The God Who is There, Finding Your Place in God's Story
by D.A. Carson

The Parables of Jesus
by James Montgomery Boice

Cries from the Heart, Bringing God Near When He Feels So Far
by Ravi Zacharias 

Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts, Discovering Their Significance to You as a Christian
by Dr Richard Booker

Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God
by Paul Copan 

The Case for Christianity Answer Book
by Lee Strobel

The Goodness of God, Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering
by Randy Alcorn 


Christ is enough for me

I know I have blogged before on how I disagree with some of the lyrics of Hillsongs's Christ is Enough. I may have changed my mind but whatever it is, I needed the song today. 

I had to remind myself that Jesus is all I need and that I can definitely depend on him, one hundred percent. 


When is it time to give up?

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. 
~ Thomas A. Edison

Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. 
~ Joe Biden

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. 
~ Marilyn vos Savant

I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful. 
~ Marissa Mayer


Which is the preferred Chinese bible translation?

So much for trying to read a novel in Chinese, I should have just stuck to the Bible in Chinese. The beauty of it that I don't even have to read whole book, like a novel, or even whole chapters at any one time. 

A verse a day is good enough. 

Using the Tecarta bible app, they only have the Chinese Union Version available, which I have just purchased at only RM3.90. 

However, what is the preferred Chinese bible translation?


I'm seriously addicted to these language apps!

Clockwise from top left: StickyStudy Chinese (HSK Hanzi SRS Flashcard), AnkiMobile Flashcards, Clavis Sinica Xiezi HSK Levels 1-3, TrainChinese: Dictionary & Flashcards

Since I started getting more serious in learning Mandarin, I am now addicted to these apps! I cannot go by one day without using them. And that is amusing since I have always hated studying Chinese. 

The catalyst to it all is the Anki app. I uploaded 5 pre-built flashcards decks from Chinese Audio Flashcards and these flashcards worked for me because they come in sentences giving context to the words I'm learning. 

HSK Flashcard in Anki

I progressed so well with the decks that I re-downloaded the StickyStudy app to help me view it character by character and word by word as and when I like. I can't do that with Anki, with it being a true Spaced Repetition System (SRS) app, where you will only see the cards when it's time for you to see the card. You can't call it up by choice. 

HSK Vocabulary Cards in StickyStudy

I have also began to use a lot of TrainChinese which I find is the best of all Chinese dictionary apps. The free version allows you to keep two lists of words in flashcard form. I wonder if there is a word limit to the free version. 

Screenshots of TrainChinese

I blogged a few days ago about Chinese writing being at risk. About a week before reading that BBC article, I did start using a notebook to practice my Chinese writing, but I found carrying a physical book with me quite cumbersome. 

So me being me, I naturally went hunting and found the Clavis Sinica Chinese character trainer app. In just 2 days, I have already practiced and put to memory 153 characters, compared to just 22 words I have in my notebook after one week. 

The only thing I'm not happy with it is that the app has not been updated since 2012. I hope they will update it soon with the upcoming iOS 11. 

Screenshots of CS Xiezi Character Trainer

These apps are money well spent, since I am not taking any classes or hiring any teachers anyway. 

They only cost me:
- StickyStudy RM16.90/$4.99
- Anki RM104.90/$25
   HSK Flashcards RM45/$10 with 
   a promo-code
- TrainChinese is free but it comes with
   an annual subscription for premium use
- CS Xiezi HSK 1-3 RM16.90/$4.99
Total = RM183.70/$44.98


Hen Party!

Our good friend will be married off to Dublin very soon and so we held a (very tame) hen party for her and here we are, so happy for her and yet so sad she will soon be so faraway. 


Memrise is the app to go when learning a language

I had lunch with my colleague and we started chatting about language, which you know by now is my current favourite topic. 

In the course of our conversation, I recommended him to download Memrise as I find it the best app to begin learning a language. It is a good way to start and when you are more familiar with it, you can then begin to expand your resources to help your progress in the language.

But when he began his Mandarin deck in his Android phone, I was intrigued by how different and how much more interesting the interface is compared to the iOS version. How I wish we get the same in iOS!

The Android version has this thing which they called "Mems". It is something that you can upload to help you remember the word better, and these are provided by users themselves. 

Look at what this user did with the Chinese word 很好, which means "very good" or "very well". It is brilliant and so, so funny. Kudos to Kitwiggin!



How accurate is your home blood pressure monitor

It is a good practice to monitor your blood pressure at home but how accurate is your machine? 

I did some research and found this article from Harvard Health that provides some information on how to get more accurate readings from blood monitors at home: Some home blood pressure monitors aren't accurate.

They advice that, "the best device for most people is a device with an automatically inflating arm cuff and large digital readout for easy reading. To get the most accurate blood pressure readings at home, follow these steps:
  • Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and don’t smoke, during the 30 minutes before the test.
  • Sit quietly for five minutes with your back supported and feet on the floor.
  • When making the measurement, support your arm so your elbow is at the level of your heart.
  • Push your sleeves out of the way and wrap the cuff over bare skin.
  • Measure your blood pressure according to the machine’s instructions. Leave the deflated cuff in place, wait a minute, then take a second reading. If the readings are close, average them. If not, repeat again and average the three readings.
  • Don’t be too concerned if a reading is high. Relax for a few minutes and try again.
  • Keep a record of your blood pressure readings and the time of day they are made."

Is the Chinese writing at risk?

This was published in BBC recently and I found it very interesting: Will Smartphones Kill the Art of Chinese Handwriting

It claims that the Chinese handwriting is at risk because most people who text in Chinese now use the romanized Hanyu Pinyin keyboard to write and send text, and this may reduce the fluency of the written language of the Chinese. 

For example, if you want to send a text saying you'll be coming tomorrow, all you need to do is to type w m t h l and the keyboard will give you 我明天会来, which is exactly what I just did here. 

When I started learning Mandarin, I used the handwriting Chinese keyboard that requires me to write out the entire character before the keyboard will give me the word. This means I will need to know the exact strokes of the words. 

But recently, my colleague recommended me the romanized Hanyu Pinyin keyboard and I found it so easy to use because I no longer need to know exactly how to write the words. I only need to know how it looks like more or less. 

Therefore, I can identify with the BBC article and video. All because of the proliferation of smartphones, the Chinese writing may be at stake. 

However, this reminded me of a TED Talk I have seen before that asked the question if texting is killing language. 

John MacWhorter who is a renowned linguist claims that texting is an entirely new language altogether. I found it so interesting when he said that "texting is not writing at all. Humanity began with just speech...and in a traditional estimate, if humanity had existed for 24 hours, writing only came along at about 11:07pm."

He says that conversationally, we don't talk like we write. But if we can formally speak as we write, we should also then write as we speak and that is where texting comes into the picture. He claims that it is an entirely different language, a finger speech. 

However, I am not sure if this applies to Chinese, which is an isolating language, with a 1:1 relationship in its morpheme to meaning. In other words, there are no inflections in the Chinese language and how you speak is how you write, and it is also how you text. Therefore, in the modern world of texting, it may not be good news for the Chinese language. 

Or could it be what has always been just mere complaints of many over the decades and even centuries that never came true. These were shared by MacWhorton in his TED Talk:

As you can see, the worries over the centuries were uncalled for. Humanity changed and moved on and language in the same way gets adapted along the way. 

We may be using our languages differently across the years, but we will never be bereft of it.