Tired but happy

I'm tired but happy.

It was a really long day today with back to back meetings but I'm happy with how the day went.

My colleague did say to me once that it seems to take very little to make me happy. 

I'm not sure if that's the case but now at this age, I think I have lowered down my life expectations. 

Life's not perfect but nonetheless, I feel I'm blessed and I'm thankful to God for it. 

Trust in the LORD, and do good; 
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
~ Psalm 37:3-4 (ESV)


Why Korean Dramas?

Like I have mentioned before, I have two good friends whom I chat often with, about Korean movies and dramas, and one of them said today that she doesn't want to watch any more dramas after "soooo many years of watching" (ten or more years probably).

I told her it wouldn't happen.

I had never understood why some people are so addicted to Korean dramas. 

Until I started watching one. 

And I would always blame my niece, and she'd always be amused by it. 

In short, what happened was she was at my house one day and I gave her the TV remote. She put on a Korean drama and the rest is history. 

That was in June 2016, and I've been hooked as a result for three years now. 

You have been warned. Don't start or you'll never stop. 

Why you may ask, like I did, would anyone be so addicted to Korean dramas?

I can now tell you why.

1. Their scriptwriters. They are really good storytellers. Sure they have familiar storylines but some are really ingenious ones. Two good examples are Defendant and Squad 38. You may say the latter is about a boring tax team (a tax team??!) but you'd never expect those multiple plot twists in every episode. 

2. The actors. The good ones are really good. Korean shows are more emotive and you can see and feel them as the character, not as the actor. And they do so well in character development that you'd want to vie for them, if you can, with your life. And you have to see the kids, their emotions, for example like Kim Kang Hoon here in Mr. Sunshine. 

3. The cinematography. Most of the dramas are produced like movies. Some of the scenes and set ups are really breathtaking. Look at these two scenes from Arthdal Chronicles. 

And I must include this one, my all-time favorite scene from 100 Days My Prince. 

4. Their themes. You sometimes get to learn about a particular theme or context or industry that the drama is based on. And they make them as real and as accurate as they can. One good example is the drama Cheese in the Trap. Even though the drama really got me very frustrated (some do, so pick and choose well), I learnt a lot about Self Victimisation as a psychological sickness. 

5. They're clean. I must say that I got tired of American shows with their frequent nudity and sex scenes. Korean dramas are mostly clean though some can get quite violent. 

6. They're not long. I know, I know. They are not short either. But comparing to the American ones that can last 10 seasons, hence 10 years, most Korean dramas are just 16, 20 or 24 one-hour episodes, and they are done. I'm not including those 50, or 60 or 100 over episodes ones. I never touch those. 

So thinking of giving them a try?


How to get rid of crickets?

Some crickets have somehow gotten into our bedroom and it wrecking havoc. They are so loud, it's hard to just ignore. 

And the irony is I've instinctively treated it as white noise...until my husband mentioned it. 

We tried hunting them out but the sound is so loud it's reverberated throughout the entire room. 

Any idea how to get rid of them?

Maybe the best way is get in a few female crickets...


You sure it's Coke Zero?

My three favorite caffeine fix: coffee, tea and Coke, Zero to be precise, since I'm cutting down on sugar.

Whenever we are at our favorite place with free flow of drinks, my son will go fill up our paper cups and I'd always ask, you sure this is Coke Zero? 

And he'd just give me that look. 

But when I didn't ask him that question today was when it mattered. 

He drank it and said, "This is not Coke Zero." 

Apparently, it was switched between the two and I drank half a cup of sugar-filled drink. 


Two and a half years, two languages

I wrote Five Interesting Things about Learning a Language and that was way back in February 2017.

Wow, how time has travelled. 

I wrote about these 5 things:
1. There are five sets of people on language acquisition: monolingual, bilingual, trilingual, multilingual and polyglot
2. There are five categories of languages on amount of time required to acquire them
3. We desire to learn a new language based on the prestige of the speaker
4. What it takes to acquire a new language to an intermediate level
5. Chinese is the hardest language in the world, in absolute terms, even for the Chinese themselves

Check it out here for the details. 

While I read the article again today, item 4 stood out for me. That section was about the length of time you need to acquire a new language and exactly how much time you need to invest on it.

And I said that, "I will only be able to dedicate an hour a day, at best, and (with that) it will take me three years to learn a new language."

I did not mention then that I was trying to learn two languages at one go - Korean and Mandarin. (I didn't want to say it for fear it will not last.)

I know some Mandarin, but I can't read or write it. 

And I know next to nothing when it comes to the Korean language. 

That was two and a half years ago, not yet three, and how do you think I have fared?

Not very good but not that bad either.

I can read some Mandarin, but still can't write. I blame it on the pinyin keyboard. And I still have not picked up the habit of speaking to my friends and colleagues in Mandarin. I am still sticking to what I'm comfortable with, English and Cantonese, and some Malay sometimes. 

I can understand what my Korean friends text me in simple Korean and I would reply them, in what I think that would sound weird to them. But what's important is that they actually understand me.

Not too bad, eh?

Two and a half years, two languages. 


Create in Me a Clean Heart

I was leading worship today, and with today's theme according to Psalm 51, I chose this song by Sovereign Grace and like most of their songs, it's timing is quite interesting. Take a listen. It's quite a good one.


My identity and meaning of life

I checked out today's reading in Paul David Tripp's New Morning Mercies and I loved it.

For someone who is always asking about meaning of life, I have to remind myself that in Christ, I don't have to, because I already have an identity and meaning of life. 


Chen of EXO, Flower

Two of my friends who are very into Korean movies and dramas are not, unlike me, into Korean music at all. 

I suppose it's because I love music a lot and even if I could not fully understand what they are singing, I still can appreciate their excellent vocals and music production, which I must say, is very good. 

I find that whilst most singers are just ok, this one is truly exceptional. Just take a listen to him here. Chen has a good clear voice with superb control.

Except that he sounds almost the same in this whole album that I cannot listen to more than three songs at any one time. 


Late but forgiven

My church pastor was asking me today what he could pray for me as I prepare for worship leading this Sunday.

My request was simple: "To have my mind set and centered on him. I have too much many things crowding out God."

And the funny thing, or not so funny thing rather, was that I had so many things in mind today that I totally forgot about music practice!

Oh no, oh no, oh no. 

Thankfully I didn't have a band involved like before. I have one keyboardist who was kind and gracious to forgive me and I still turned up for practice. 

Late but forgiven. 


From music to mercies

We have completed the book that we were using for our short devotion time during our Grace Notes weekly practice and after hunting quite a long while for a new book, we finally settled on this one.

New Morning Mercies, A Daily Gospel Devotional
by Paul David Tripp

It wasn't easy to find a good book. I had wanted to get one that is music related or one written with musicians in mind like this one were were using.

Crescendos and Diminuendos, Meditations for Musicians and Music Lovers
by Jack Coleman

Every chapter of this book is a short devotion based on an Italian musical term, e.g. Legato, Da Capo, Rallentando, etc. It was very well done and we enjoyed every reading in every practice. 

And so I had quite a high expectation for our next book but I couldn't find one that is both excellent and music related. 

I had to finally settle for one that is not based on music but on the grace and mercy of God. I

hope it will serve to help us focus on God every week when we come to practice and to sing. That would be what's most important, music related or not.


Do you mind map?

I use mind maps a lot to help me think.

In my IOS days, I have purchased a lot of apps but settled with MindNode5 which in my opinion is the best. I can't remember what all the other apps were. I had iThoughts and Total Recall and one more I think.

But I could not find MindNode in Android and so I need to hunt for a good alternative and settled with SimpleMind Pro. I got the PC version as well.

Why mind map works for me?

I suppose my brain does not work in a linear way. Stuff in my mind are all over the place and I sometimes have a lot of stuff hidden and forgotten. So I use mind maps to associate, connect and trigger my thoughts to help me think and put everything on paper, and in this case, an app.

I use to stick to paper but since I started using the PC version, it is meeting my needs. I do have the freedom to move things around and disconnect and reconnect as I see it in a bigger picture, which I can't do on paper.

Just that on paper, it looks much more visual and vivid, which I really like.

But sigh, we cannot have the cake and eat it too.


I went to watch Phantom of the Opera!

Melissa and I went to watch Phantom of the Opera today.

It was extremely well done. 

People were lining up to take pictures at the entrance and since we were early, we got in line as well. 

I googled "what to know before watching Phantom of the Opera" and what most people said was, "nothing! Just enjoy it fresh. And the plot is not complicated anyway." And that was what I did. I did not read any synopsis and did not even find out anything about the characters. It was only here that I see ah, there are three main characters: The Phantom, Christine Daae, and Raoul. 

We were not allowed to take any pictures during the play and so we took some before, during intermission and after.

We were early. By the time it started, the front seats were all filled. The back seats were sparsely occupied. Here is the first scene of the Opera de Paris, where old theatre items are to be auctioned. The huge iconic chandelier is the middle piece on stage. 

This was intermission. And the chandelier was lifted high onto the ceiling. The production and sets of the play was very well done, meticulous and very realistic. 

The curtain call. It was a great show. 

And I must mentioned that the tenor, Jonathan Roxmouth who played the part of The Phantom was very good. I was all enthralled and mesmerised when he sang The Music of the Night. 

And in his last scene was so moving I bet many teared. I almost did.  Well, a little.  

I found this YouTube video of him singing the same song in a recital, not a play. But it was just as good. Though here I don't quite like his breathing which I didn't notice in the play. 

But his control. Impeccable. His interpretation. Spot on. 

I could listen and watch him over and over again. 


From the heart of a loafer

I was randomly playing songs in my Apple Music when out of the thousand over songs I have, this was played and I had a nostalgic moment

This is a song by Sam Hui and to me it really showcases the beauty of the Cantonese language. Notice the wealth of meaning with the economy of words.

I like the song except for the part where he says life destines you, which of course I don't agree. I make my decisions in life and in Christ I decide and have life.

And the part on clear conscience and living a just life deserving greatest joy would make a good discussion because it doesn't happen. Who is to say your conscience is clear and your life is just to begin with.

For those who don't know the language, I found the translation here which I've added to the lyrics below.

Long ji sam seng
From the Heart of a Loafer

Nan fan zhan yu ga
It's hard to tell the true from the false
Yan min do him za
People's appearances are deceitful
Gei hui yau gung heong wing wa
Who will share in your glory
Sim bun sui dik bat fan ca 
Water droplets from the eaves is in one stream (meaning not willing to share success and wealth with others and only enjoy it alone)

Mou zi zheng lui wa 
I was as ignorant as a frog in a well
Tou mong tim sing ga
Hoping to find fame and fortune
Hoong dak yi muk gwong yu ma
Overeager and short-sighted
Sui liu gham nguk bin bai nga
Who knew my golden palace would become a wreck of failure

Ming lui yau si zhong sui yau
If life destines something for you, you will have it in the end
Ming lui mou si mok kheong khau
If life destines you never to have it, there is no point forcing it

Lui sing fung yu da
When lightning strikes, and thunder roars, and wind howls, and rain patters
Ho yung do ging pa
There is no need to be afraid
Sam gung jing bak bik mou ha
So long as your conscience is clear and your heart is just
Hang sin jik dak zui lok ya
The person who does good deserves the greatest joy

Ming lui yau si zhong sui yau
If life destines something for you, you will receive it in the end
Ming lui mou si mok kheong khau
If life destines you never to have it, there is no point forcing it

Yan bei hoi lui sa
People are as the sand of the sea
Mou yung do hin gwa
There is no point worrying too much
Gwan ho gin man tin lok ha
You see the sunset in the sky
Ming lei sik gan ci mou fa 
Fame and fortune disappear like that mist
Gwan ho gin man tin lok ha
You see the sunset in the sky
Ming lei sik gan ci mou fa 
Fame and fortune disappear like that mist


The heart won't let it go

Ever since I began using my Razer Phone 2, which I won in a lucky draw, it has now become the only device I use. 

And I had so many devices that I carry with me everywhere I go: the iPhone, the iPad and my Kindle Paperwhite.

I sold my iPhone two weeks ago. And I just sold my iPad an hour ago!

I have been using my Razer Phone for all that I need to do so much so that my iPad had been sitting on the shelf untouched for the longest time.

I do not like to see it unused. But my heart didn't want to let it go. 

But then I was thinking since nobody batted an eyelash when I put up my iPhone 6S for sale in mudah.my, I thought I'd just do the same with my iPad and see if there'd be any interest. 

I posted these shots. Not very attractive I know but believe it or not, I got 10 inquiries for it. 

I responded to the ones I was comfortable with and finally sold it to one of them. 

My head won. But my heart is aching.


God Allows Complaints

I was in KL Wesley on Sunday and found the sermon preached by Rev Dr T Jeyakumar very good. 

I was waiting for the church to probably put up the sermon in mp3 but all I found was a PDF sermon notes

He gave an expository sermon on Habakkuk 1 and here are some of his memorable statements. 
Habakkuk is not asking why evil but how long will God tolerate evil. He begins with faith, a questioning faith. He knows only God can put things right but why not as quickly as he wants it to. So many things God seems to be overlooking...He was disturbed how long will God tolerate evil. And how can more evil nation used to punish a less evil nation?
Is we don't point out of the sin of others we do them the greatest disservice and we mock the good news of God.
God will not abandon us. We are suffering not because we are abandoned but because he is disciplining us. 
For more, check it out here


The most difficult things to do in life

Today I realised I have overreacted and I made an apology to someone I felt I was unfair to. 

Then I came across this poster:

The superlatives may be overstating it but it definitely does feel like to apologise, to forgive and to forget are amongst the hardest things to do in life. 

And God knows I need practice, hence seventy times seven. 


Be careful when using search engines

"사람들은 검색창 앞에서 가장 진실해지거든.
People become very honest when they are in front of the search engine."
~ Search WWW

I began watching this Korean drama called Search WWW and found it really interesting. 

One of the good things about watching good Korean dramas is that you will end up learning something new. This is because their stories are usually set in a specific context and industry where you'd get a peek into how the world works in that context. 

Stories about a cleaning service, a publishing house, how a prison works, the court house, the airport, just to name a few. 

Search WWW is set in the context of a search engine company and after watching just the first episode, I've realised a few things. 

One of the characters in the drama said this and I find it so true: that we become our true selves when we use the search engines. 

What a scary thought. Whatever we do online is no secret. We may think that we are doing it all in privacy in our own room but everything we do online is accessible by goodness knows who. 

This made me wonder if the incognito mode in an internet browser would be a good idea but then I read somewhere that even that does not mean that we are entirely anonymous in the internet. 

We cannot stop using the internet. Just know that we can be observed when they find a reason to.