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Showing posts from April, 2017

How life should be

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Today's sermon was on Proverbs 3:1-8. I find that this passage is divided into four parts, each with what we are called to do, what we are to do and what will happen when we do: peaceful, successful, good and content.  (1) Do not forget God's teaching but to know it and obey it, and we will have long peaceful days My son, do not forget my teaching,     but let your heart keep my commandments,     for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.  (2) Keep steadfast love and faithfulness as a way of life in whatever we do and we will succeed wherever we will be Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;     bind them around your neck;      write them on the tablet of your heart.     So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.  (3) Trust in God, not self, not materially, not abilities, but put our security completely in God, and our paths with be the right and good paths Trust in the LORD with all your heart,     and do not le

Romancing the Chicks

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Romancing the Chicks by Mandaar Sukhtankar I received a recommendation from Amazon to try this book by Mandaar Sukhtandar who is an executive chef in The Park, Hyderabad and who was recently named Chef of the Year 2016 at The Times Food and Nightlife Awards. In reading the preview, I like his voice and what he wrote: "we spend a lifetime trying to satisfy our desires...(but) once we have it, do we really value it as much? In essence we need to let a bit of the desire remain in order to completely enjoy what we have." That to me is a very interesting way of putting it and it is indeed how I usually feel most of the time, not only in food but also especially in the mystery of things. Maybe that is why I love to learn and that when I learn, I learnt that there is really so much more to learn.  However, from a review I read in goodreads.com, with it being a collation of his newspaper articles into the book, it became a tad too disjointed and repetitive, that it's only a good

Which colours are you usually drawn to?

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I have not played much with fingernail polish in several years but I decided to get some today. And from one of the colours that I've chosen, I realised I am quite attracted to stuff in this deep cyan shade with a hex value of #34606f. My iPad and iPhone cases are somewhat in that shade as well.  pearlie

Wonderful Things of the World #4: Pumpkin Seeds

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Recently, I have been eating quite a lot of pumpkin seeds. They are tasty and they pack a punch of nutrients.  I got this list of benefits from  care2 Healthy Living : - Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, which helps promote sleep and fight depression.  - Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin, which aids in sleeping.  - Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.  - Pumpkin seeds are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper.  - They are a good source of vitamin K.  - High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.  - In a study of almost 400 men (age from 45-92) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found a correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.  - Pumpkin

Brainy books

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I have done so many sessions of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshops that I can do it my sleep. But I have been telling many stories about the brain, from the very, very little that I know, so much so that I think I should get some good books to read to spruce up my knowledge.  I think the brain is the most interesting organ and there is still so much to learn about it. I found these books and there are now in my Amazon wishlist. I will be getting a couple of them to read soon.  Do you have any to recommend? pearlie 

My Chinese Songs Playlist

With my latest project in learning and brushing up on my Mandarin, I spent some time listening to some Mandarin songs and ended with this new playlist that only has six songs to date - the playlist will grow as I add on to it. But I am just amazed that with just this short list itself, there are five languages being used: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Korean and English. And what more, with an artiste with a Malay-sounding name, Khalil. Other than my two all-time favourite oldies that I have blogged before, and one old Faye Wong cover song, the rest are pretty new. Don't ask me why I like them, they just sound good to me.  The lyrics that Apple Music use for these songs are all in Traditional Chinese, whereas I am learning the Simplified one, but I can still figure it out here and there, unless the song is too fast for me to catch up.  I can't really believe it, I am actually singing Mandarin songs looking at the lyrics.  pearlie

My Movie Binge

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We have a declared public holiday today and I decided to stay home to catch up on some things. I also managed to catch up on some movies that I have missed. In fact, I actually kind of had a movie binge.  Firstly, I watched La La Land. With it being so highly rated, and after winning so many awards, I was really looking forward to watch it. My verdict? A huge disappointment...big time. It started alright but by the time I got to the middle of the movie, it got so boring and so sluggish I couldn't finish it. I fast forwarded to the end, and I'm done with it. My good friend Wee Yin commented that in this epoch of superhero movies, the younger viewers may have found a musical refreshing. But we more senior ones who have watched much higher standard musicals like Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, or  even Fame, La La Land to us just do not make the cut.  La La Land  ★☆☆☆☆ Unsatisfied, I had to watch something good and decided on J.K. Rowling's Fanstastic Beasts and Where to Find T

The Perfect Wisdom of Our God

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A beautiful modern hymn with superb lyrics: The Perfect Wisdom of Our God by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty The perfect wisdom of our God,  Revealed in all the universe:  All things created by His hand,  And held together at His command.  He knows the mysteries of the seas,  The secrets of the stars are His;  He guides the planets on their way,  And turns the earth through another day.   The matchless wisdom of His ways,  That mark the path of righteousness;  His word a lamp unto my feet,  His Spirit teaching and guiding me.  And oh, the mystery of the cross,  That God should suffer for the lost  So that the fool might shame the wise,  And all the glory might go to Christ!   Oh grant me wisdom from above,  To pray for peace and cling to love,  And teach me humbly to receive  The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.  Each strand of sorrow has a place  Within this tapestry of grace;  So through the trials I choose to say:  “Your perfect will in your perfect way.” pearlie

A bowl of rice, miso soup and kimchi = happiness

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I had a simple bowl of rice, with miso soup and kimchi for dinner today. It was so yummy and satisfying.  pearlie 

Life is full of possibilities

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It's a farewell for one of my staff. It's sad to see him go. He has been a very good assistant and help. Wishing him all the best and that life is full of possibilities for him.  pearlie

My mom has a good sense of humour, unexpectedly, sometimes

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I texted my mom in Mandarin today, for the first time in our lives and she was impressed. (She has always been nagging me to learn up the language.) She couldn't reply me in Mandarin and wanted me to help her setup the Mandarin keyboard in her phone this evening, when we meet for dinner.  This was how our conversation went: She is so funny at times.  pearlie  Note: su dah sampai,  is Malay for "already arrived". 

The seven deadly sins of speaking

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I have blogged about this TedTalk  before  but this time I was reminded of it again. Julian Treasure spoke about the seven deadly sins of speaking: gossiping, being judgement all, negativity, complaining, making excuses, exaggeration and dogmatism.  I experienced it yesterday--someone spoke to me in a very judgmental tone--it's not a big issue but I didn't like it. I did want to let it go and get on with the day, with life but it kept bugging me, and it suddenly reminded me of this TedTalk.  He said, "What would the world be like if we were speaking powerfully to people who are listening consciously in environments which are actually fit for purpose." "Or to make that a bit larger, what would the world be like if we were creating sound consciously and consuming sound consciously and designing all our environments consciously for sound. That would be a world that does sound beautiful and one where understanding would be the norm. And that is an idea worth spreadin

We have a language-learning machine hidden in our brain?

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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner  I finally finished reading this book and it is a very, very good book. Highly recommended if you want to learn a new language. I find what Wyner says make perfect sense, and his learning strategy and ways workable.  He talks about "comprehensible input" and refers to the "language-learning machine hidden within the brain of every child." He says, "Kids don't learn their language from just any kind of language input. The only input that seems to matter is input that kids can understand. In linguistic circles, this is known as comprehensible input. The basic idea is this: kids need to understand the gist of what they hear in order to learn a language from it." If you try to learn languages in the way Wyner proposes, "you can feel your new language building itself in your mind. Instead of wasting your time on monotonous grammar drills, you're constantly encounter

A true elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son?

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The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller We are using this book in our Covenant Group bible study, studying the Prodigal Son parable in Luke 15:11-32. This book by a Timothy Keller is quite good but there is one interpretation of this passage we have not encountered before.  In my previous studies, I remember moving from a focus on the younger son to the elder son, a focus on the homecoming of the wayward to the selfish and unforgiving elder brother.  But Keller brings it even further. He posits a view that in this parable, there is an implied lesson on Jesus being the true elder brother, someone who woulf go all out to search and bring back the younger brother back to the father, back to the family.  While it is not unreasonable to have such a reading of the passage, can we go that way in proper exegesis of the passage? I want to try to get to the bottom of this.  pearlie 

Christ is risen indeed

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I finished reading Köstenberger's book, The Final Days of Jesus , and found it excellent as a companion to reading the Scripture on a day-to-day basis during the Holy Week. I have also concluded the daily readings everyday with the videos provided  here , with this video on the Resurrection Day: I will do this again next year, and make the passages of the Passion Week, of the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus the focus of my thought, meditation and commitment.  pearlie

From Comic Sans font to the Polyglot Gathering

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I woke up very early this morning at 6:30am and couldn't get back to sleep and I ended up spending the whole morning learning quite a lot of things.  I started going through my Anki decks like I do now every morning, and then I thought I'd check out my Facebook to see what's going on. It all began with this post from someone:  Read This Before You Ever Make Fun of Comic Sans Again . It's about how a dyslexic person found it easy to read with the Comic Sans font, though I now read that it may have been a hoax, I don't know. But I've always wondered what the dyslexics see when they read and so I began to google for some pictures but I was soon curious as to why and what is happening in the brain for the dyslexics.  This set me off on a trail of articles and videos. I won't make mention of the articles but these videos I watched were really interesting.  This one provides an answer to the question I had about what is happening in the brain for dyslexics. Here I

Can God die? What does it mean for God to die?

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In reading and meditating on the portion of Scriptures on Good Friday--the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, the Jewish trials, denial of Peter, the Roman trials, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus--I suddenly began to wonder and ask a question I realized I haven't asked before. Can God die?  Jesus is God and he died. I am not sure if that really answers the question. Let's say it does, but it then begs the next question.  What does it mean for God to die? I googled for any answers but could not find anyone that provides a good or satisfying one. This  article  by Veronica Neffinger, Crosswalk seems the best, but even then, she does not fully answer the question.  She says, "This is a question that can easily get into the deep waters of theology," and I wonder why haven't it been picked up by the scholars. Maybe it's me who have not come across them, and so if you do know of any good books on this, please let me know. Some explained that Jesus is both divine a

Psalm 118: a fitting psalm before the darkest hours

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I have been following Köstenberger's Final Days of Jesus  since Monday and I was at the Maundy Thursday section today: 1. The preparation for the Passover 2. The Final Passover 3. The Last Supper and Jesus’s Cleansing of His Community  4. The Farewell Discourse Begins  5. The Farewell Discourse Continues  6. Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denials  7. Jesus Issues Final Practical Commands  8. The Garden of Gethsemane I learnt that at the closing of the Last Supper , " the last meal that Jesus would eat with his disciples, the last meal that Jesus would eat in his pre-glorified body, and the final Passover meal of the old covenant", " Jesus and the disciples sing a hymn together and then depart toward the Mount of Olives. Jews traditionally sang Psalms 113–118 during the Passover celebration, culminating in Psalm 118, so it is very likely that this was the final hymn sung by Jesus and his disciples before leaving the upper room and walking to the garden of Gethsemane." If

Which language would you like to learn?

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I was reading some online articles on languages and I found this one quite interesting:  What is the Best Language to Learn? The article analyzed the languages based on different criteria including: - most widely spoken (Mandarin, Spanish, English) - most used for business (English, Mandarin, Japanese) - ease of learning, for native English speakers (Spanish, Portuguese, French) - most beautiful (French, Spanish, Italian) It looks like Mandarin is the language to learn, but the article claimed that even though Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world, it will not become global because it is mostly only spoken in one region. There may be some truth in that, but for me who live and work in that region, it make sense for me to learn and improve my command of that language. I have talked about the ease of learning languages  here , and I believe that being familiar with several languages across the categories would make it easier for us to pick up any languages of choice. B

A Thousand Words #200

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pearlie 

Farewell Lunch

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  My good friend at work will be leaving to join another company. All the best and good luck to you! pearlie

The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived

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The church I am attending now does not observe Lent and I forgot that it is Palm Sunday today. This makes me miss the more traditional churches I have attended before.  Therefore, it is good that I received an email from Crossway:  A Day-by-Day Guide to the Holy Week . It is to be followed along with Andreas J. Köstenberger's book.  The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor I have not read it yet, and it will be good to stall what I am reading right now and spent the week reading this in meditation on the final days of Jesus, the most important week of the most important person who ever lived.  As I began to read the Scripture passages, read the first chapters of the book and watched the video, we found that Jesus entered Jerusalem amidst people with high hopes and expectations. They wanted a political king to free them from the Roman Empire.  It was a very volatile situation. The people

Did your old school now look smaller to you?

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One of my friends was telling me that he visited his old school, which he has not set foot in the last ten years. I asked him if he felt that his school has somehow grown smaller. He readily agreed and stated that even the school street looked small to him now.  Now I know it's not just me. I felt that way when I decided to drive by my old school when I was in Klang one day.  Methodist Girl's School Klang It looked so much smaller. I remembered it as a grand place with its building blocks looming over me when I was there in my schooling days. Could it be that when we were in school, it was not just a building but we saw it as a force, an authority, governing and dominating a large part of our lives? But as we leave school, we see more of life and we see the bigger world? Or we could have just grown taller. pearlie 

Oh I'm so pleased with myself

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I am very pleased with my progress in my latest attempt to learn Mandarin. I found myself actually texting my language partner today in Mandarin without reverting to Google Translate, and that's something! It is a very simple small-talk kind of conversation, so simple that you might laugh at me, but I feel it's quite an accomplishment for me nonetheless.  There was more to the conversation but it went something like this: The Anki  HSK  decks I purchased are very helpful in helping me learn the characters, and I managed to learn up the 170 characters in HSK1 in just two weeks. But I must say that this was more of a revision for me since I've tried learning HSK1 with an earlier app I purchased: StickyStudy.  StickyStudy claims to be an  SRS  app but I feel that Anki is a better designed one with better time spacing between learning new cards and revising old cards for a more effective retention.  I did reload StickyStudy back into my phone and revised all the cards into the

What is trust when there is no transparency?

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People are usually secretive to begin with and when we have an organisation of people grouped together for a purpose, secrets abound.  The topic of transparency is quite widely talked about these days. But it is quite a complicated thing. And what more, in this era where we feel information is so easily attainable, most of us would expect that all information should to be made readily available.  But is that so? And is it wise to do so? We do feel frustrated when we are not able to think and decide when we are not given all the information, and yet we are expected to deliver. Can we ask and demand for it or do we accept the fact that we do not fall in the need-to-know-basis category? I found this article quite interesting:  Transparency - exactly what do you mean? I understand the need for secrecy when it comes to competition. The article says, "transparency calls for the balancing between openness of processes, financial performance, and decision-making vs. the secrecy required f

My April Book Haul

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I am quite pleased with the April Kindle deals. I have bought six books so far from  the non-fiction selection,  with two more I'm still considering.  I've started reading Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, and it feels like a really good read so far. I had planned to read a good fiction and have read the first few chapters of Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders , a historical fiction about the Great Plague in London but I couldn't help but get my hands on these more interesting non-fiction titles that I had to forgo it.  Ah...my book bliss moment. pearlie 

Memories

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My cousin brother texted us a copy of this really old photo of my maternal grandmother (front row, third from left) with my mom (front row, first from left), my aunt, and uncles.  Don't they look precious? Sadly, except for my mom, my uncle (second row, second from left) and my mom's cousin (second row, first from left) whom I do not know personally, all have passed on.  The photo was sent to our cousins-group-chat and we had a good time reminiscing and remembering our late grandma, parents, uncles and aunties.  pearlie 

Sermon series on Proverbs

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We have started a new series of sermons in CDPC Puchong on the book of Proverbs. And here are the planned topics and passages for the next six months.  I love the book of Proverbs and I really look forward to the sermon lessons. After all, the purpose of Proverbs is to know wisdom and to learn to fear the Lord as the beginning of knowing.  I remember reading a preaching commmetary on Proverbs and dug it out for a re-read.  Proverbs, Wisdom that Works by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.  I  reviewed  the book back in 2014. But with me being me, I'd have forgotten what I have read. Now that I am reading it again, I'm am blown away by the way Ortlund described the book of Proverbs.  If you haven't had a copy of this commentary, I would highly recommend you get one and read it.  pearlie 

Whatever we are, whoever we are, life is certainly tough

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"You Look Like That Girl..." by Lisa Jakub I started reading this book by Lisa Jakub and I couldn't put it down...until I was too exhausted and need to get to bed and sleep.  It gives a peek into the lives of actors and the entertainment industry and these portions of her writing caught me, making me see how different their lives may be from what we see.  We actors had always come into homes in an intimate way, showing up in the living room at the appointed time every week and making ourselves part of the family. But something was shifting. This ownership of celebrities, this stalkerish pseudo-journalism and entitlement was becoming standard. This was no longer an era in which the film industry could keep Rock Hudson’s sexuality or Marilyn Monroe’s addictions private. Now, every time a celebrity took her kids to the park or ordered a latte, there was a stealth photo of the event, complete with commentary that took a decidedly disparaging bent. Actors’ very souls belonged

The allure of learning a new language

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I am happy to report that I am still actively but slowly learning a new language, a topic that really fascinated me lately. I have already spent more than a couple of hundred ringgit on tools and materials. And I have spent quite a lot of time making flashcards in  Anki  and going through them everyday.  I did falter a little when someone questioned the importance of learning new languages. I did feel that it wasn't a very important thing to do or to have. After all, English is really all I need.  And so why am I spending so much of my time on it. It is also not advancing as fast as I hoped. I feel it is going so slowly and I want to rush it but I can't. I want to already own the language but I don't. I am still so much of a beginner. I don't seem to see myself ever speaking or writing in anything other than English.  So why am I doing it? I have always been fascinated with languages but it become a bit more serious somewhere at the end of last year and I am still at it