Sunday, July 30, 2017

Learn why things are what they are

I have been using the Anki flashcard app for language, and it is very well suited for that, but when I read this article, Anki Tips: What I Learned Making 10,000 Flashcards, I created another deck entitled Learn Anything.  

The tips that the writer provided are very good ones, including the advice to put everything in one deck, regardless of topic. He quoted the theory of Hebbian learning - "neurons that fire together wire together" and that "mixing everything is superior". He says that when everything is carefully partitioned, we limit the opportunity serendipity, and that applying ideas across disciplines is precisely where the insights are likely to be most fertile.

He also advised to add whatever, anything that interest you, whether you think useful or not.  It can be anything you find interesting, any random thoughts, anything.

I have created my Learn Anything deck a week ago but it was empty until today. I was watching a criminal drama and the central topic was the Statute of Limitations, which one may find unfair to put a maximum limit of time to initiate legal proceedings. The drama did irritate me a bit because the limitation to the murder case was just missed by mere minutes and the murderer walks free even though there was clear evidence that was comfirmed minutes after the limitation period. 

I stopped the drama and did some reading in Wikipedia and thought hey, this could be my first Learn Anything entry.

And unknowing I did what the writer of the article implied as one of the most important tip: "Cards that answer the question “Why?” are more valuable than factual cards." It's easy to memorize the what but it is better to understand the why. And that was precisely what I put into that card entry, because I was more curious as to why should there be statute of limitations. If you are curious, check out its purpose here.

There you go, my first Learn Anything card when the writer already has 10,000 or more by now. But we all have to start somewhere. And now is good. 

I need to also build the habit of noticing things to add into my deck. There are so many things to learn and remember and connect.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

I fell in love with this song recently: A little braver

A Little Braver - New Empire (2014)

The chorus is lovely:

When it gets hard 
I get a little stronger now 
I get a little braver now 
And when it gets dark 
I get a little brighter now 
I get a little wiser now 
Before I give my heart away


Friday, July 28, 2017

4 Fingers Crispy Chicken

A colleague and I tried a new food outlet in out place of work: 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken. I do wonder why the name. 

We ordered 12 pieces of chicken wings. The wings are quite large and it turned out a little too much for me. 

It was quite good but I still prefer Kyo Chon though. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sigh...Toxic People - the bane of my life


I had another frustrating day with some toxic people today. I know I have blogged about it several times before and reading some of my older posts, I feel the same way today what I felt in 2014, especially on the eye-rolling part!

I re-posting it here, with slight changes though:

I find it very difficult to be in the presence of toxic people. And since the way I deal with things sometimes is to intellectualise it, I checked out quotations about them, but I found most quotes are not very kind.

These are the better ones (source:

People appear like angels until you hear them speak. You must not rush to judge people by the colour of their cloaks, but by the content of their words.
~ Israelmore Ayivor

Someone who smiles too much with you can sometimes frown too much with you at your back.
~ Michael Bassey Johnson

The biggest distraction in life to one's focus is often near locus standing people saying all hocus-pocus.
~ Anuj Somany

I try my best to keep an arm's length with toxic people, and whenever I can, to walk out of the room, trying hard not to roll my eyes. 

When I am in the thick of it however, it will be extremely hard to manage and it will definitely stress me out, especially when I cannot "leave".

Only that I really need to stop rolling my eyes. 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When and how to surrender when we are conditioned to fight?

I was reading Jeremiah 21 today and when I read these few verses, I have a question,

Jeremiah 21:8-10 (NLT)
"Tell all the people, 'This is what the LORD says: Take your choice of life or death! Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life! For I have decided to bring disaster and not good upon this city, says the LORD. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, and he will reduce it to ashes.'

I understand that God disciplines us to teach us to be mature, more so when we really needed the lesson, when we need to humble ourselves and accept it. 

However here in Jeremiah, God was telling his people to surrender to their enemy in order to live. God did warn them and gave them years and years of warning through the prophet Jeremiah to repent, but they did not turn away from the disobedience. They gave no heed to God and his commands and yielded their lives to other gods. 

And God is telling them to surrender and to be defeated. 

I suppose we are indeed brought up to hold on to what we think is ours, but if you think about it, what is ours? Doesn't everything belong to God? What we are, what we have and what we are trained and skilled in, all ultimately belongs to Him. 

But to surrender to an enemy? To give ourselves to what we know is bad? It is so against what we as human are being taught and conditioned to do. We are taught to fight and stand up for what is ours. 

Is it even right to give up our rights? How will we know that is what God wants from us?


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Thousand Words #205

This is a perfect image of my day today - 行东行西 haang4 dung1 haang4 sai1 (walk east walk west). 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A sermon on adultery

Today's sermon was from Proverbs 6:20-7:27 on a topic that is seldom preached in church: the subject of adultery. 

It comes with a title that says it all - Can a man scoop fire into his lap (an euphemism won't you say?) without his clothes being burned? (question in parentheses mine). 

The passage uses three imageries as to why one should not commit adultery:
1. A prostitute - the price of a prostiture for a night might be minimal but the cost of adultery is extremely high. 
2. Playing with Fire - one who puts fire into his own lap will surely get burned. You won't get away with it. 
3. A thief - it's sheer stupidity to commit adultery destroying marriages, and the stake is so high: you will lose honour, reputation, manhood and womanhood, life, future. 

It all boils down to our hearts, which is usually prone to evil and momentary pleasures. 

Pastor gave us eight pointers on how to have sexual purity:
1. Know that you have a sinful nature. Our hearts are wicked. We are weak. 
2. Keep God's word in our hearts to remind us. Live according to God's word in line with the Holy Spirit's leading.  
3. Delight in Christ. Have him as someone better and more delightful than sin. Jesus is wisdom, salvation, sanctification. 
4. Think noble thoughts. Stop fantasizing as it will surely lead us to fall into sin.  
5. Keep ourselves away from pornography.
6. Have good healthy hobbies.  
7. Have accountable and trusted friends and mentors.  8. Find sexual satisfaction from your spouse. 

Like what Joseph did when he literally ran from Potiphar's wife, stay faraway from tempting situations and if you find yourself in such a situation, run! 

It is too high a cost not to. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

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.


Friday, July 21, 2017

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. 



Thursday, July 20, 2017

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. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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...


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

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.  


Sunday, July 16, 2017

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.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

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. 


Friday, July 14, 2017

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. 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

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. 


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017


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. 


Monday, July 10, 2017

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?


Sunday, July 09, 2017

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


Saturday, July 08, 2017

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. 


Thursday, July 06, 2017

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. 


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

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. 


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

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


Monday, July 03, 2017

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?


Sunday, July 02, 2017

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. 


Saturday, July 01, 2017

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.