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, 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.