Growing a year older and feeling the years piling up

I woke up one year older today and I do feel the age piling up. I got out of bed, looked into the mirror and asked myself if I would want to turn back the clock and be 30 or even 20 again. 

The answer surprised even me. It was no, I don't. 

How so?

I felt that what I am today is what God has brought me through all the years. I won't compare myself with others as I won't say I've gone through much difficulties, though life is difficult enough at times. The Lord has his plan for each and every one of us, and then we are all woven into one tapestry of his grand Gospel plan. 

People say 40 is the new 20, 50 the new 30, 60 the new 40, but I don't believe in it; 40 is 40, 50 is 50, 60 is 60, period.

With age comes wisdom and truth, patience and understanding, learning and knowledge, maturity and self-mastery, compassion and empathy. 

I was indeed grousing and fussing about growing older and older but I realized today that I won't barter my age for youth. Not at all. I have gained so much through the years that it will be a loss if I were to turn the clock and be 20 or 30 again. 

God is good and he leads us each in our path to grow and mature in him. Life is not easy but even in difficult times, it is still good in the Lord.


Wonderful Things of the World #6: Aglio Olio

My colleague recommended me to Le Pont Boulangerie at Old Klang Road and I went there with my parents and brother's family this evening. 

The food was good, the alio aglio especially. 

What is more delightful than a simple plate of pasta, garlic and olive oil. 



I achieved my goal weight

It's official. 

I've reached my goal weight and I can ease up on my diet. I started calorie counting and watching what I eat for 10 months now and I have lost 10 kgs. 

Over the past week, many have said to me that I've lost a lot of weight and it's good to feel this sense of accomplishment. Losing weight is one of the more difficult things to achieve in life what with our susceptibility to instant gratification and I'm happy that I've persevered through. 

Now that I've reached my goal, I have been easing up on my food intake control but I am not used to it. I finished a whole serving of kimchi fried rice yesterday and I felt so full! And guilty too. 

Now I need to maintain my weight and that is a new challenge. 

However, my tummy is still showing and I suppose the only way to get rid of it is to get back to planking...or not. 


Five silent symptoms of stress

I have been falling sick quite frequently lately and it is unusual. A few people have already asked me if it was because of stress. 

I would quickly say no, but now I'm beginning to believe that I am stressed. 

I suppose I am stressed out without realizing it. I normally would take things in stride but I may have too much on my plate lately. 

Are there any silent symptoms of stress? I found these 5 silent symptoms. For the full article, check it out here

1. A sore jaw - resulting from grinding of teeth at night. Nope, I don't have it. 

2. Bad dreams - I don't have bad dreams but my dreams were quite weird. I don't remember them but I do remember having a weird feeling over them. 

3. Weekend headaches - I have them but not in the weekends. I had a whole day of headache yesterday. I popped some pills but they didn't work. 

4. Bleeding gums - my gums did not bleed but my nose did.

5. Sudden outbreak of acne - haha, this happens quite often. 

So maybe I do have a mild streak of stress going on at the moment. I need a break but the problem is I'd be more stressed out during my break when I know I should be in the office!

Oh dear...


Do you have a big heart?

It was about 20 years ago when someone used the word magnanimous on me. I did something, which I thought was the right thing to do and though I didn't think too much of it, this person commented that it was magnanimous for me to do so. 

The exchange stayed with me all these years. 

The word means:
- generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one's enemies.
high-minded; noble: a just and magnanimous ruler.
proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.: a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness.

The word originated probably from 1575–85, from the Latin word, magnanimus that means great-souled. It is equivalent to magn(us) magn- + anim(us) spirit, soul, mind + -us -ous. 

To me, the word means having a big heart, and I was tested in that way today. 

I met a person whom in my opinion is a toxic person. She was petty and vindictive. She wasn't very happy about something I had done, which I thought was such a small matter. I didn't even do anything wrong, it was just not to her expectations, and she reported me to a higher authority. And that without my knowledge, which I somehow came to know about. 

So, what do I do? 

It did plague my mind for awhile but then I refuse to let it steal my joy and cheer for the day.

To me, it is a decision for me to either have a big heart or a small heart. 

And I chose to have it big, to forgive and to bear no malice. It wasn't that difficult to do. 

But I do feel sorry for her and so I decided to spend time praying for her, for her heart to grow and expand so that she too will be magnanimous. So that she will learn to have a big heart. 


Shall I stop blogging?

I know I have thought about this many, many times over and blogged about it many times as well but I was seriously contemplating to stop blogging today.   

This is because I recently felt that writing a blogpost every day has become a very difficult thing to do. I find that I am struggling to find things to talk and blog about.  But why am I feeling that way?   

This one thing I know: I am spending less and less time thinking these days and I am not as introspective as before, and it is not a good thing.   

Therefore, it is good that I came across this article: Why You Should Blogging (Again)  

The writer of the article holds the opinion that: 
1. blogging facilitate powerful introspection 
2. blogging crystallizes thoughts and thought processes 
3. blogging improves your ability to express yourself 
4. people will enjoy your creation  

I fully agree with the first three points and with that I am more encouraged to persist to continue to blog daily. I also know that I will regret it if I stop, because I know it will be even more difficult for me to start blogging again. I have stopped before and it took me 5 years to get back to daily blogging! If I stop again this time, I can almost guarantee I will never get back to blogging.  

I am not too sure about the fourth point though, since I tend to ramble a lot these days.  

So there - I will still stick to it...for now.  


This bottomless pit of ours

Today's sermon was from Proverbs 6:12-19. What I found instructional was from v.16-19. 

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NLT)
There are six things the LORD hates- no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

I referred to Raymond Ortlund's Preaching the Bible Commentary on Proverbs and he says, "When the Old Testament uses this literary device (x // x + 1), as in “three // four” (Proverbs 30:18–19, 29–31) or “six // seven,” it is the last item in the list that matters most. The seventh thing the Lord hates, “one who sows discord among brothers,” is the key to understanding the other six things the Lord hates."

It is a saddest thing when strife and hatred exist in the family, where love is suppose to abound. Isn't it all because of the feeling of worthlessness and wickedness (v.12-15)?

We are selfish people, we only care for ourselves, we only want to only fulfill the desires of our own hearts, not realizing that the desires of our broken hearts is a bottomless pit. 

Until and unless we are filled with the love of God, whose steadfast love culminated in the giving of his Son for us on the cross, this bottomless pit of ours will never be filled.

It can only be filled with the everlasting love of God.


Confession time (not a very serious one)

Okay, I must come to a confession. 

If you have not already caught some hints here and there, I have recently caught on to the Korean drama bandwagon. I once did not understood why on earth would people get so addicted to these dramas, now I know why. 

And with that I began to appreciate the language, the music, the culture. Maybe it is also because I never knew much about the country and the people (though I did have a penchant to read stuff about the mysterious North Korea and I still do) but when I got to know more about them, through books, movies, TV and even a couple of Koreans I came to know, I became intrigued. 

Here is a song I kept listening to today. It's amazing I am beginning to appreciate rap but it's the haunting vocal part that I love. 


It's a happy day

I took the day off today to recharge myself and it was a very good and blessed day - one of those rare days where I felt really happy and blessed.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. 
~ Earl Nightingale

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. 
~ Marcel Proust

Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It's the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps. 
~ Sharon Draper

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
~ Romans 15:13 ESV

Thank you Lord for this blessed beautiful day. Amen. 


What is the meaning of my life?

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.
by Kevin de Young

I am a person who is always asking the same question my entire life and never finding the answer: what is the meaning and purpose of my life? 

And I found myself asking it again today, which is a good thing I found this book today.

I saw this book when I was at the Klang Valley Bible Conference last year but did not purchase it. So it's good that I came across it again today. Perfect timing as I am thinking it might give me some idea of an answer if not the full one. 


I found another language app

I was watching a video on languages in YouTube when I found out about this language app call HiNative

I just joined to check it out and it is quite interesting. 

Unlike that links you individually to language teachers or partners, i.e. people who wants to learn your language and you want to learn theirs, HiNative puts you in cauldron of native speakers where you can connect and ask questions. 

I am not sure how effective or useful it will be. Maybe it is good to find answers or to figure out that one word or phrase you keep hearing which you can't find the meaning of, but other than that, I am not sure how effective a language learning application this will be. 

But a good find nonetheless.



The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation. 
~ Charles Spurgeon

But it is the same with man as with the tree. The more he seeks to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthword, downword, into the dark, the deep - into evil.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The deceitfulness of the heart of man appears in no one thing so much as this of spiritual pride and self-righteousness. The subtlety of Satan appears in its height, in his managing persons with respect to this sin. And perhaps one reason may be that here he has most experience; he knows the way of its coming in; he is acquainted with the secret springs of it: it was his own sin. Experience gives vast advantage in leading souls, either in good or evil.
~ Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

Self-righteousness in retrospect is easy--also cheap.
~ Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

It takes one to know one. So I most probably am one myself. 


Why I watch movies and TV series over and over again

I am one person who watches movies and TV series over and over again; selected ones of course. 

But why do I do that?

To me, it's like having an old friend around. It gives me comfort, there are no surprises and the expected good feelings are guaranteed. 

That is why I love watching them over and over again.
I may have watched this one movie more than 30 times!

I do this when I need a good old friend. There aren't many who can spare the time these days, unlike during my younger days when we are all more carefree. 

Life is tougher now and I don't feel like adding to the burdens of another, and so like any other introverted person would prefer, I'd recluse myself in my own world and find it in my favourite movies and TV series. 

It does sound sad now doesn't it?


Fatty Bak Kut Teh/Fish Head

We have been going to the Lao Dao Pork Noodles restaurant so often we are banning it for a year. 

So where do we go for dinner on a weekend then? 

We found this place just by the Old Klang Road side and it serves really good steam fish and bak kut teh. We might make it our weekly haunt until our one-year ban is over. 

Fatty Bak Kut Teh
5 Jalan Klang Lama
Pusat Dagangan 3rd Mike Square
58100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 6pm-4am


When you can't figure out the tune in your head

We were on our way to lunch yesterday when my colleague yawned and she yawned the first 4 notes of a classical piece of music. 

Try as I might, using all the apps and websites I could find to try identify it, I couldn't figure out what music it was. 

It was really irritating!

I still couldn't get it out of my mind this morning and I had to ask a friend. I sent him the first 4 notes and he asked me to check out the concertos by Tchaikovsky. 

The amusing thing was that the first video I checked out in YouTube is the right one. 


Articulate 360

I needed to get some documents into an eLearning system and I was introduced to Articulate 360. I signed up for a free trial and found that it was so easy to use. 

It produces a very simple but elegant set of materials that would be more decent to the eyes and most probably would induce more people to read the documentation compared to if I were to load up a plain looking PDF. 

There is still a few things to figure but I do hope I get to purchase a license and start using it for real. 


Coincidence again?

I have mentioned before I get a lot of coincidences happening to me. I was at the right place at the right time and bumped into my ex-colleagues who came to the same place I was having lunch today. 

It was a good catching up with them. 


Why didn't Jesus calm the waves first before walking on it?

I was reading Matthew 14 and something struck me when I read this popular passage about Jesus walking on water. 

Matthew 14:24-33 (NLT)
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. 

In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!" 

But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!" 

Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water." 

"Yes, come," Jesus said. 

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.

"Save me, Lord!" he shouted. 

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. 

"You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" 

When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. 

"You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.

I never thought of it before but it suddenly dawned on me why didn't Jesus still the waves first before walking on water towards to disciples on the tossing boat? It may not be a full storm yet since Jesus and the disciples were having a conversion, albeit a frantic one on the disciples's side. 

An obvious answer will be to say that he wanted to teach the disciples a lesson and show them he is the Son of God. He has already calmed a storm before (Matt 8:23-27), and now on top of that walking on water would show more how the world is really in his hands.

But I thought maybe Jesus also has a fun streak in him. Hey, a storm? Wouldn't walking through it be fun too? 

Wouldn't it be like our version of a roller coaster, whizzing up and down, twirling and curling in loops in the safety of the carriage and laws of physics? 

Later in the evening, I led a short devotion at the beginning of our Grace Notes practice from Jack Coleman's Crescendos and Diminuendos, Meditations for Musicians and Music Lovers. I have chosen the chapter on legato for the devotion. 

Legato is to play music or sing a song in a smooth, sustained, and connected manner without any perceptible interruption between the notes. And if applied to life, we all want a smooth sailing life with minimum problems or issues, basically no storms in our lives. 

But wouldn't you think that would be a very boring life to live, as much as a full length of music in legato would be a boring piece to listen to, and actually quite difficult to play or sing and still make it interesting. 

We need to have some storms in our lives, some ups and downs. Sure, it will be difficult but don't forget, Jesus walks with us in it and we will in the safety of the carriage and the laws of physics


How's your walk with God today?

My reading was on Isaiah 65 today and it was a firm reminder for me that certainly spurred me to be serious about my relationship with God. 

The LORD says, "I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am!' to a nation that did not call on my name. 
~ Isaiah 65:1 (NLT)

How is your relationship with Jesus right now? Not how it was yesterday, not how it will be tomorrow, but how is it today?


Hymns with crazy chords and crazy timing

In my worship lead today, I happened to pick all hymns: two traditional, two modern and another in between. 

The traditional ones are simple enough to play and to sing: 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus and Great is Thy Faithfulness. 

But the modern ones, one has crazy chords...

...and the other crazy timing. 

It was challenging for the musicians and me but these lovely hymns bear the amazing richness of the word of God and the assurance of his saving grace. We just need to work harder to play and sing them. 

All glory be to God and God alone. Amen. 


Catching up with old friends

I attended Yee Hui and Lester's wedding dinner this evening and it was lovely catching up with old friends from Pantai Baptist Church and making new ones as well. 


My progress in learning Mandarin

It has been three months since I started on the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi/Chinese Proficiency Test) decks and today marks the day I complete all the HSK3 cards in my Anki deck. 

That will be a total of 617 characters, 600 words and 1800 Anki cards from HSK1 to 3. That is not too many but definitely a good start considering I've been attempting to learn Chinese my whole life. 

With this achievement, I first thought I'd stop here to just revise and practice writing the characters, which by the way is the toughest.

But now I think I should not stop but to proceed on at a slower pace. I did maximize my time to cover the Anki HSK1 to 3 decks in the shortest time possible and to complete that in 3 months is something for me to celebrate. 

But HSK4 comes with 447 characters, 600 words and 1200 Anki cards, bringing the accumulated total to 1064 characters, 1200 words and 3000 Anki cards. 

At a much slower pace, it will take me 9 months to complete HSK4. But when I do, I will be able to "discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers at a high standard."

I have so much to revise every day it is getting tough to find the time to complete my daily Anki cards requirement, let alone the Clavis Sinica app to practice my writing.

But that is the norm when it comes to language learning, isn't it?


How will we ever get rid of chain mail?

I must say I am not one who receive much chain mail, now gone digital, but when I do, I'd just smirk at my phone screen and delete it. 

I read somewhere that apparently, if you are one who frequently forward chain mail or text along, you'd end up getting a lot of it in return. 

But sometimes, when someone who is close to me send me such text, I'd run a check to confirm that it's a hoax, which it usually is, and reply with a message telling them to delete and not feed into the continuous life of the chain text, and in the mean time learning something while reading about it in 

Why do people send chain mails? Some do it to get people to send money them money, apparently that was what it was for when it was used for the first time (check out its history here). Some do it to get access to email addresses or phone numbers. But some just do it just for fun to see how far it will go. 

Whatever it is, when you get something suspicious, just do a search to see if you have been had. However, some are so blatantly glaring you'd know at the bat of an eye it's a hoax. 

Just ask yourself these questions, why would this person ever text you of all people asking you for money to bail him out, and even if he would, would he just send you a text?

Why would Facebook or WhatsApp send the person in the photo you are about to forward, money by how many times the photos is shared? What kind of business returns would they get? Aren't there better ways for them to perform their corporate social responsibility?

Be smart. Ignore chain mails. 


I do miss working with MS Excel

I spent quite a large part of my career in consulting and one of my favourite part of consulting work is data analysis and working with MS Excel. I did not have that kind of work anymore for a while now, until today. 

We ran a survey recently and I now have in my hands all the data I can run tables and pivot charts on. 

And what more, it was a quiet day today in the office with most still on leave in this Hari Raya season. So I got to stay in my seat for the whole time without anyone disturbing me to work on MS Excel to get an analysis report out. 

Such bliss; the simple things that make me happy. 


Great is Thy Faithfulness

I woke up with this song playing in my head, telling myself to fully have faith in the Almighty God who is ever so faithful. 

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.


The Kid from the Big Apple ★★★★☆

The Kid from the Big Apple (2016)

I've always wanted to watch this movie. It was a Malaysian production released during Chinese New Year in 2016 and since I don't go to the cinema much these days, I missed it.

The movie won several awards in the 7th Macau International Movie Festival and the 28th Malaysian Film Festival. The boon of the movie came from good performances from the two lead actors: Ti Lung, a renowned actor in the golden age of Hong Kong cinema of the 80s and 90s, it is good to see him again, and the new child actress Sarah Tan Qin Lin, though I could not believe her characterization of a kid who spent all her 9-10 years growing up in New York because she does not sound like a New Yorker at all.

My favourite scene was the short fighting scene by both the grandfather and the grand daughter (0:00:31 of this clip). My apologies as I was not able to find clips with English subtitles. 

But what I like most is this performance by Jayson Tan, who is a natural. 

And you can see from these clips why I think the girl is definitely not from New York. 


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