After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.


Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

When Drawing Saves the Day

I found myself having to deal with a Primary class at Church today. I was heading to the toilet while deciding whether to help teach one of the Primary classes or attend the combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting. I passed by a class and saw Sherwayne and Brian having to deal with Sherwin, Denzel, Myra, Yong Ling, and Yong Hee. Sherwin alone took at least three Young Men to deal with the last time I remember teaching him. Couple him with Denzel and you have enough "potential energy" to tear the chapel into shreds. I stepped into the class.

It might be to do with my age, but I found myself taking the lead despite Brian doing the job previously. Nobody had a prepared lesson, so I decided to run through their two class rules pinned next to the whiteboard:

1. Be Reverent (sigh)
2. Show Respect for one another

Obviously, the need for Rule #1 had to be emphasized as many times as I have to go to the toilet on a school day. Game after game failed to calm the two boys down. Towards the end I finally decided to let them draw what they felt "reverence" looked like.

The girls were the first to get to work. I was lucky because I happened to have lots of scrap paper in the folder I bring to Church every Sunday, and I brought all my drawing pencils today. Each of them took a pencil and paper and started drawing reverent self portraits. Sherwin and Denzel, on the other hand, started entertaining themselves by creating objectionable material on the whiteboard. Boys will be boys, after all.

Eventually, Sherwin attempted to draw rainbows on his sheet of paper using one of my drawing pens (even I can't pull that off convincingly) while Denzel proceeded to draw dinosaurs on the whiteboard. Not exactly along the lines of my instructions, but at least they finally behaved. I joined Denzel at the whiteboard, though I just realized I mixed up Diplodocus with Plesiosaurus while naming a water-borne dinosaur (despite anything water-borne not actually being classified as a dinosaur). He later drew a T-Rex to fight with my Triceratops, Pokemon/Dualmasters style.

Looking around the room to see everyone glued to their work, I couldn't help but wonder if all people are inherently creative, and given the opportunity, will devotedly express themselves through the use of creative material. This may seem like a stupid statement when you observe all children, but when you look at some really "boring" grown ups, you may wonder what happened to their creative fires.

Last Sunday I gave "Art Lessons" to three of the Seow children after Church. Ryan came up to me asking for recommendations on sizes of drawing pens he should get. Meanwhile, Rachel and Renee who came to check on their older brother, decided to have a go at drawing. Of course, I was only too happy to give them some paper and pens to work with. I taught Rachel how to draw various objects such as flowers and other random things she wanted to learn. Renee decided to show me her artistic masterpiece of lines and lines and lines, all the while mentioning something to do with ABCs. She has a sweet way of talking about things in her own little world. While Rachel continued to draw, Renee eventually switched to cutting up the paper with my scissors. Watching her handle my Grace-gnawed scissors in an attempt to produce an odd shaped paper cutting she called a "telephone" was thoroughly entertaining.

In both instances I saw how children, when given drawing materials, will temporarily lose their desire to run around and scream, focusing instead on a piece of paper in a very impressive manner. Maybe I should learn how to teach Art to preschoolers. Combining my love for drawing and taking care of children of that age sounds like a good idea.

I have just discovered my latest favourite Hymn sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide, arranged by Barlow Bradford, taken from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir album Come, Come, Ye Saints.

The hymn is arranged with a highly Impressionistic feel, and the Music just blew me away. Not in the way of a John Williams-ish Fanfare, but in the way of an Out-of-this-world Sunset in an Ocean of Colours.

This is the sort of Music I recommend a serious listening to if you want to experience a mystical, alluring rendition of a beautifully written Hymn.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I attended the Global Social Innovators Forum today, organized by the Social Innovation Park. The event involves the gathering of various social entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss ways in which we, as entrepreneurs, can contribute to the social well-being of those around us. Knowing my recent interest in the area of Human Development, Mom called me while I was in KL just to ask if I wanted to attend it when she was invited by her niece to attend it.

Today was the first time I walked into a formal event fully aware that I was under dressed. I was not informed that the dress code was formal wear, so I showed up in my favourite blue checked shirt, baggy pants, and sneakers. Everyone else wore suits. I went there actually to volunteer to help out while being exposed to people whom Mom and I had hoped would share similar ideals as I currently do, but I ended up becoming a participant. That meant sitting in a room full of highly established entrepreneurs with an old mindset that all businesses are profit-driven and should therefore be burnt. On top of being under dressed. I could actually feel influence radiating from the people around me.

The first forum session featured four interesting panelists. Each had their own ideas and methods regarding social entrepreneurship, but seeing them discuss issues together, sowing the seeds of positive change through collaborative innovations, was a truly inspiring experience for me. There was Mrs Veronica Colondam from Indonesia who believes that the key to the future lies with the Youth (hence, her current mission deals with the problem of drug trafficking and abuse by teenagers in Indonesia). There was Mrs Pamela Hartigan, who believes that you have to put yourself in another's shoes before you can truly begin to understand how to help the needy. There was also Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Mayor of the North East District, who gave valuable insight on how the Singapore government deals with the country's social issues. And finally, perhaps the most popular panelist during that session, Mr Jet Li himself, a Hollywood Actor-turned Philantropist who put all movie projects at hold in 2008 to concentrate on his philantropist work.

To say that Jet Li radiated passion for his work like a noon day sun would be a grave understatement. Despite having to communicate through a translator, his excitement, motivation, and feelings instantly connected to all of us in the audience (that or my trip back to KL has brushed up my mandarin listening skills). He deeply believes that for social entrepreneurship to work, there has to be, in each of us, a belief in helping others. I liked his example that, if each person in China were to throw one piece of litter onto the ground, China would be a rubbish dump overnight. On the other hand, if each person in China were to pick up a piece of litter from the ground, they will have accomplished a month's work of a giant corporation overnight. Simply put, he believes in how each of us can contribute by society just by a little bit. A little bit from everyone adds up to an amazing potential to change lives for the better. To him, we will have acheived a perfect society the day helping others is infused in our lives the way breathing is. My favourite quote from him is the title of this post =)

Two more forum sessions followed, plus a workshop. I attended a workshop led by Mr Robert Chua, Founder & Chief Executive Office, Health and Lifestyle Broadcast Company Limited, and Mr Greg Walter, Founder & CEO, QPay Pte Ltd. The workshop answer three main questions:

1. What are the mindests that promote or inhibit successful innovation?

2. What leads innovation - social impact or business profits?

3. How can social consciousness give innovators a competitive edge?

It may seem that the third question paints the picture that social entrepreneurship is a profit-driven movement. However, the discussion cleared all my doubts of social entrepreneurship. I have emerged from today's Forum with the sweet assurance that all over the world, there are highly influential people ready to push for change we need. Both Mr Chua and Mr Walter gave me priceless advice and encouragement in response to a question I raised, advice I will take to heart. Both of them have inspired me in ways my brain working past bedtime cannot express in words.

I shall take that as a sign that it's time to bridle this newfound excitement and get some rest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Non-Spring Cleaning

I woke up 4 hours later than I wanted to today. Again. I know very well I should sleep way before 1am, and that waking up at 8am gives me a whole lot of time to make my day productive, but somehow I still find myself living in a different time zone. Holidays mess me up that well.

I dared not touch the sketchbook when I woke up this morning. I'm still waiting for the second wave of inspiration to hit me before I have another go at designing that logo. Instead, I sought the piano for some 抒情-ing. Yes, I have just campurised Chinese and English. I picked up Hector Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust," which Mom is learning in the Singapore Symphony Chorus. I attempted some parts of the orchestra on the piano, failing miserably. Before long I found myself playing fragments of the melody from The Girl From Ipanema in the wrong keys. I later scrambled to find that old book on Jazz Improvisation, plus a few books with my favourite sentimental songs. The arrangements for those sentimental songs were terrible. I tried out the Jazz improvisation after that, though I don't think I learnt much.

After brunch, I suddenly had this urge to clear out all the junk I accumulated over my two years in ACS Barker Road. Cupboards were emptied, drawers cleared, piles of paper reorganized, past year papers thrown out, and jewels from the past rediscovered. Jewels worth a few cents if you sell them to used paper collectors.

While I was back in KL, my family somehow reached the decision that the birthday decoration Germaine made for Ray should belong to me, and I found it on top of all my junk that needed clearing. Knowing that it can be used when the birthdays start rolling in next year, I had to find a place to keep it. I pulled out a drawer where I keep old letters from friends, and spent the next few minutes delightedly going through precious words from old friends, jewels which increase in value as the years go by.

Nothing beats receiving letters from friends. I found a whole bunch of letters from two past crushes I didn't think I'd get over at that time, smiling to myself while remembering those crazy days. There was a goodbye card from friends with a weird sense of humour that had me chuckling for a few seconds. All those spiritually inspiring letters from Sister Kate, my Seminary Teacher last year, were clumped here and there in the drawer as well. Realizing that I couldn't spend the rest of the day sitting with a drawer between my kneeds and reliving the past, I pushed the letters to one end of the drawer and placed the birthday decoration on the other. I truly hope all those drawings I give away have the same effect on their recepients as all those letters did on me.

It sure feels good clearing out old junk. Feeling organized brings a satisfaction in knowing that you have "control" over your life, especially when your heart keeps messing around with your brain. That feeling of running into old letters while clearing out old junk? Ahhhh......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let the Music Overwhelm

I have this urge to discuss something of intellectual nature, just to keep my brain active. I was advised to read a few books on philosophy if I intend to take Knowledge Inquiry in Junior College next year, but so far all I've been doing is drawing as fast as inspiration hits me.

I'm currently working on a few things apart from School Blues. I've been "hired" to design a logo for a small bit of cash. I have a fun idea to work with, but it's not working out yet. Then there's the upcoming Night in Bethlehem again. I've been asked to write a few piano transitions in between 6 songs. I roughly went through them this morning. Transitioning from G major to F major is taking me some time...

I got to check out the latest Simplified Chinese Triple Combination at the now-closed Church Distribution Centre today. There are now rather useful footnotes, plus the index has become a form of the Bible Dictionary as well. That means that Chinese definitions of Chinese Gospel terms can now be found, which I think will be useful. Mom has agreed to get me one =)

I caught myself whistling the tune to The Girl From Ipanema in the toilet of the General Office in school today. That was rather embarrassing. I found a piano & vocal score for the English version of The Girl From Ipanema from today. I got to peek at a sample of the first page. So far it looked like no jazz improvisation is required, so I may be able to play it provided I can play with the right feel (I'm too rooted in the classical playing style for my own good). I wonder if it's on sale here in Singapore? It might make a nice Christmas Present I can buy myself if I still find myself loving the song after a month.

Due to my current infatuation with Bossa Nova, I have an urge to learn the Samba. Not sure if I have the time and money though. Even if I do, I would appreciate it if there were friends to join me. It's kind of sad if you learn a dance but you can't use it at an actual Dance because nobody else knows it.

If I wake up tomorrow to find out that my blanket turned into a trillion dollars, I'll spend it all on Music and Dance lessons.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sublime Sensation

Hardly anything compares to feeling productive. Since the start of this week I've churned out 2 School Blues strips a day, and I already have ideas for two stories. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up, though. Ideas don't come easily.

Hardly anything compares to listening to Bossa Nova either. Put listening to Bossa Nova while drawing and feeling productive and you get a feeling like no other. Being a Music student to the core, I tried to listen out to what makes Bossa Nova Bossa Nova. I haven't detected anything particularly enlightening yet, but I realized how much I like it when the music does a short descending motive in three consecutive semitones. Meditation, a beatiful recommendation by Trent, is a perfect example.

Bossa Nova is lethal. While listening to the music, take in a deep breath, slowly let it all out, all the while keeping your eyes closed and envisioning the most breathtaking view of a shoreline you can imagine. When you open your eyes, see if you want to do anything else.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sketched this about two weeks ago, but I didn't have time to do the full drawing till today. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself when I sketched it.

It's no fun letting a girl mess with your heart, especially if you unavoidably find yourself offering it to her. The worst is her not even realizing what she's doing to you, unlike the comic above.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Food and Laughter

There's never a silent moment when you have Thanksgiving dinner with Shem on one side and Marion on the other.

Laughed my head off this evening. The Stake had Institute Enrollment along with a Thanksgiving Dinner today. The food was great, except that I had to be careful. I've gained 5kg since O Levels ended. Mom thinks I'm crazy to want to lose that 5kg. Okay, theoretically speaking, I should not have too much trouble converting all that food into useful muscle. However, if I start slackening in terms of physical activity after that, it's all just going to turn into fat. Theoretically speaking, fat is not useless either, but chances of me having to starve within the next few weeks are quite slim, so practically speaking, fat is useless. Furthermore, considering my plans to fulfill that "20 School Blues strips" goal by the end of this year, I think chances are high that whatever muscle I gain is going to turn into flabs.

Right, I have just spent 99 words justifying attempted weight loss. So much for being a guy.

The holidays are in full swing now. Both 'O' and 'A' Levels are over, so everyone's having a wild time. Except for the Polytechnic students, of course. I'm yet to produce a productive holiday schedule. I've pretty much nailed my next trip back to KL for driving lessons as well as to catch up with friends I hardly got to see the last time round. I just don't know what to do in Singapore until then. I'm just living for the day.

So far I know that I have to spend time working towards my Duty to God award for the Aaronic Priesthood. That should take up every waking moment actually, since I haven't even completed my Deacon manual. Today was my first step into doing Genealogy Work with Mom. We read the brief history of the origin of the Thongs. Not that skimpy bit of clothing, but my Mom's ancestry. Having done that, all I can say is that I hope I marry a wife whose grasp of Mandarin is at least as good as Mom's, because I might not survive Genealogy Work on my own. All those mandarin words, worsened by the fact that they're all in 繁体字 (traditional characters), do nothing but make my head spin. That's not to say that it wasn't fun, though. After a while I got a bit warmed up and began to interpret the records more clearly. Like Mom said, it's interesting when you take chinese characaters and break them down to find the meaning. It was even more interesting to read about various outstanding ancestors. If anyone wants to point a finger at me and scream "geek!", he or she can blame it on my lineage to a plethora of scholars. One ancestor had a whole paragraph of acheivements.

Ever heard of dangerous creative inspiration dangerous because it's for dangerous reasons? I've been struck again. That Serenade for Piano in G Major I started near the end of the exams is collecting dust, but I had this idea of making a Christmas decoration to match this. I didn't think I'd be spurred so soon, but it seems I am. Mom has already expressed hesitation, knowing the dangerous motivation that has driven me to such an infinitely insane intention, so I'm still wrestling with myself on whether I should go ahead or not. I need to talk to someone about this.

In the meantime, I'll most likely keep myself busy with Christmas songs on the piano in the evenings. Otherwise, my hands will itch for the cutting mat, loads of glue and murdered trees, and a whole lot of lost sleep.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Worth the RM45

I just arrived in Singapore a few hours ago.

For once, the bus ride back was no hassle at all. My last trip back to KL ended with a nightmare. Thank goodness for Hao Ran, Marion, and the KL Branch President. I might not have survived that trip without them to turn to during that disastrous evening.

This time round, I took a higher end coach from Bangsar. The price wasn't too much higher, but the service provided beats your average Puduraya bus hands down. Every seat had a screen in front, where you could choose to watch an assortment of movies, or listen to music. The only music they had, however, was about 300 songs worth of hits from the 80's and 90's. I was feeling rather adventurous, so I put the earphones on and randomly picked whatever song that had a title that caught my eye.

I found some songs I recognized and liked (didn't know the titles previously).
  • Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple (first heard the main tune sung by a friend when I was nine)
  • That Thing You Do by The Wonders (I love this song and associated it with a certain someone months back XD)
  • Smooth by Carlos Santana and Rod Steward
  • Kiss Me by Six Pence None the Richer (the song was featured in the movie She's All That which spurred me to draw nine School Blues strips in one day. I haven't hit that level of productivity since)
I have this unquenchable thirst for Bossa Nova. Recommendations, anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tahniah, Anda Telah Lulus!

I passed my driving theory test yesterday!

I had to answer 50 multiple choice questions on a computer, and the requirement to pass is a raw score of 42/50. I got 48. I know I lost one mark for mistaking the age we are allowed to have a licence, but I don't know where I lost the other mark. But hey, I did everything in Bahasa Malaysia!

I used to score rather decently in Bahasa Malaysia back in Tsun Jin, but moving to Singapore kind of deprived me of oppurtunities to retain whatever skills I had in Bahasa Malaysia. As a result, disjointed sentences spawn out of attempts to form something comprehensible in my head. However, during the times when I found myself speaking Bahasa Melayu in Singapore, instinct kicked in and I surprised even myself.

And that's how I survived a total of 12 hours of lessons in Malay, plus the test.

Dad shared with me what he read from a book on Accelerated Learning. It said that when you try to learn something completely through logic and reasoning, your brain has about 40-50 stimuli involved in the learning process. During subconscious learning, however, your brain has about 17 million stimuli involved in the learning process. Needless to say, I threw whatever I remembered about Bahasa Malaysia and went along with whatever I felt.

After the first hour of the theory lesson on driving etiquette, I had no trouble listening to the instructor's lecture. During this morning's theory lesson on the basics of a car, I was taking down notes in Bahasa Malaysia. During the first actual in-the-car lesson today, I was conversing with my instructor in Bahasa Malaysia without having to pause and construct sentences. Except that I have that robotic accent that comes from using Bahasa Baku that Irfan never ceases to point out when I try to speak the language.

I guess it goes to show that deep down inside, I have a Malaysian core.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Defense of a Culture

I had planned to post an update on my ball of a time in KL, but Irfan's recent post kicked a few gears in my head into motion.

Almost everybody knows Singapore for Singlish, as well as Malaysia for Manglish, though I've not heard of any controversy nor debate regarding Manglish (relak la, we're Malaysians after all). I am not uneducated, and I dare say that I am able to whip up rather decently accurate sentences in English, but I am as guilty as the classmate who never returned your eraser in Primary school when it comes to speaking broken English. In my case, I frequently speak a hybrid of Singlish and Manglish.

First, in response to the accusation that Singlish and Manglish are destroying the English language, consider what we call in English at this point in time. Do you seriously expect me to accept rendezvous and gourmet as English words? Now consider the history of English. If I threw you six hundred years into the past by means of a Time Machine, do you think your supposedly perfect English will be understood by the locals of the 1400s? Try reading some old manuscripts and tell me what's perfect English.

Oh, and what about Shakespeare? The famous writer made up his own words and transformed the English language. Didn't he destroy the language, then?

My point is that a language is bound to change over time. Change is the only certainty we have in the world of Man. A language is used as a tool to communicate with fellow human beings. Where one language fails to communicate a thought, feeling, or command, another language may be utilized to save the day. Once a realization that the former language does not possess that specific expression occurs, the grafting of a term from the latter language will follow. Thus, communication between Man is not hindered. Instead, it is enhanced. What's a language for if it's for preservation and not communication? Do you preserve your best pen in a glass case so that nobody uses it?

Consider this modern example: the telephone was first invented as a means of communication. Later, a handphone was invented to improve on the concept of a telephone. Later still, cameras, music players, video games, calendars, stopwatches and many other inventions were fused into the handphone. Instead of calling the end product a handphone-camera-musicplayer-videogamingdevice-calendar-stopwatch, we still call it a handphone. It's primary purpose? To make phone calls. Is that any different from a telephone? What we have now is a phone that is even more desirable due to its wider range of functions.

Now consider language. Let as assume that language was first invented so that commands could be communicated. Over time, language developed such that emotions could also be communicated, and so on. However, it appears that different languages have developed initially independently of each other over time. But are their functions equal? Yes. When two languages are exposed to each other, each side realizes its own inadequacies, and inevitably takes from the other side to make up for it. For example, a silent person learns from a talkative person that speaking up improves your chances of being heard, while a talkative person learns from a silent person that silence can have a more powerful effect than it initially seems.

English is a language that has integrated many terms from other languages. Isn't it amazing that, despite all the borrowing here and there, we still call it English?

Now, in local settings, Singlish has proved itself to be of great use. Why? By the sheer fact that it is still in use! If Singlish failed to allow locals to communicate, wouldn't it have been dropped? Our feelings and actions are largely affected by our cultural backgrounds. Hence, certain cultural terms may be needed for us as Singaporeans/Malaysians to communicate, but are not found in English. By fusing chinese or malay terms into English, locals have invented a more "effective" variant of English. Can English, on its own, provide the feeling that lah implies on a sentence?

Finally, what's Singapore without Singlish?
"Hey, I think Singlish is ruining the image of Singapore. It makes us seem like we have lower standards. Let's get rid of it."

"Yeah. While we're at it, let's get rid of everything else traditional that is holding back our development as a modern, developed nation in the world."

"Good idea. I'm sick of all those people who sell random traditional stuff on the pedestrian walkways in the city."

Then come the Western tourists.
"We're in Singapore! I wonder what's special about this place..."

"Wow! They speak just like us, their streets are just like us, and they act just like us! It feels just like home!"

"Wait, didn't we pay for this trip so that we could experience something new and unique?"

"You're right! Hey, you know what? I'm bored of Singapore already. Let's go to America. It's less hot there anyway."

"Sure. The exoticism I was hoping for doesn't seem to exist here. At least in Cambodia they speak in a language we can't understand."

"Why did we want to come to Singapore anyway?"

In short, there are three reasons why Singlish (or Manglish) should NOT be condemned:

1. With the change that globalization brings, "contamination" of the English language is inevitable anyway.

2. Singlish does improve communication between locals.

3. How are you going to sell yourself to the world as a unique little red dot if you throw away what makes you unique in the first place?

I'm taking the exam on driving laws tomorrow! In Malay! It's nothing short of a miracle that I've understood everything I've studied the past few days.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tsun Jin High School's Grad Night was two nights ago, and up till now I still have not been able to upload the photos. Something's wrong with the computer(s) I'm using (or just me). Oh well.

It was a blast going back to Tsun Jin to meet up with old friends one last time as a school. Some girls were funny enough to point out that I did not grow taller XD Oh well.

So many of them can drive now! Just after the Grad Night a bunch of my ex-classmates from 06 S1S1 decided to go out for some drinks at Station One. Chern Hui drove me there, where I enjoyed a decently priced Banana Split while watching my friends attempt Carlsberg.

At Grad Night itself, I (as expected) received an endless amount of surprised looks. They were just so surprised that I actually zoomed all the way back from Singapore for their graduation. I was pretty busy catching up with everyone that night. It was Yung Hui's birthday that night (we both can't believe the fact that I actually still remember it) so I gave her my best wishes, after which we talked for a bit. She's thinking of going into modelling and brushing up on her English. She told me about her ambition of becoming a translator a few months back, but I honestly didn't think she's still thinking about it. All I can say is when we were still classmates, I wouldn't even have dreamed that she has an interest in the English language.

We got to do the box Waltz after that. And that's also something I never would have imagined years back. The school was smart enough to provide classes for three dances in preparation for Grad Night/Prom, which are the Waltz, another dance in triple time, and a version of Rock 'N Roll I'm not familiar with (but the feel is just as Rock 'N Roll-ish). So for the first time in my life, I was on a dance floor where the music played only allowed partner dancing, which was awesome. I got to watch my old friends dance together, a scene that really seemed unimaginable before that night. I attempted the box waltz with a few friends, and spent the rest of the night talking. The only downside of the dance was that the school auditorium was too small, and too many people were camwhoring on the dance floor XD Well, it was their first dance ever, after all.

As a side note, I kind of wish the Stake Youth Dances in Singapore could be like that. Nobody really knows how to partner dance, which means we're all missing out on a very fun aspect of dancing. Dancing with a partner is fun because you learn to coordinate with different people throughout the dance, and being able to pull off stylish fluorishes with a partner to the music brings a unique sense of exhiliration. Messing up is just as fun too, as I observed that night (and experienced first hand at Orchid Ball hehe). The problem is that most of the Youth are just too shy to do partner dances. The Disco Rock workshop my dance teachers Brother and Sister Tan held for the Woodlands Ward Youth earlier this year was a disaster XD Brother Tan had to stop to reassure some of the Young Women that just because you dance with a guy it doesn't mean you're going to marry him >.< And then there was the Cha-cha workshop the Toa Payoh Ward Youth had that our Clementi Ward Youth was invited to join. It was a laugh, because everyone talked more than they danced, and we came out of the workshop without a clue how to Cha-cha. The selection of songs during the dances don't really favour partner dances anyway, but mostly likely because the DJs have been smart enough to know that the majority of the crowd aren't craving partner dances in the first place XD

Ok, I'm overusing the "XD" emoticon.

Anyway, I guess the point I failed to make was that the dance at Tsun Jin was a refreshing experience for me. It has me all fired up to go learn more social dances. I just need the money to start trickling in haha. Thankfully there's potential work for me at a certain upcoming Tuition Centre next January heh heh. Making cards is just not worth the time unless people are willing to pay $10 for a card.

I've got a busy week ahead. Hanging out with old friends while working towards a Driver's Licence is tiring.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanks to the Wonders of Blogger...

...despite supposedly not having access to the internet at the point in time at which this post appears online, I can still tell the world that at this point in time, I'm most likely sitting on a bus, losing a battle to keep her out of my mind for just a precious few seconds. Precious few seconds needed to let logic help me see reason.

All thoughts of her are blinding, and therein lies the danger.

Will I be able to overcome myself and keep a distance? That is the issue I'm most likely grappling with right now.

That or I'm sleeping on the bus.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I had an awesome time with the Clementi Ward Youth today when we had an unofficial outing at Orchard Road. Took lots of photos, but the camera stupidly runs on batteries when I connect the cable to transfer photos, and it has run out of battery before I was able to transfer the photos >.<

Was late for Grad Night after that. I just realized my ACS Barker Road days have come to a close. I'm too tired to ponder on this new stage of my education in Singapore, but all I can say is that Singapore is doing too good a job rooting me here, because deep down inside, I know I actually want to come back to Singapore as soon as possible when I make the trip back to KL tomorrow.

The four LDS Barker Boys who have hopefully left behind some sort of legacy in ACS Barker Road that has touched lives the way all Latter-Day Saints should.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's OVER!!!

Last paper today!!!

And her favourite song had a world tour in my head not even halfway into the paper

I seriously have issues with staying focused. Of all the weaknesses I had to have, it had to be a girl. They say that we are made with weaknesses that we have the potential to overcome, but I think mine is going to be a spiraling misadventure to last eons.

Went out with Irfan, Joel Lim, Marcus, and Jon Poh after that. We watched.... High School Musical 3. Yes, hard to believe for those who know my opinions of the High School Musical series. Joel Lim's a fan, and with nothing else better to watch (Quantum of Solace has received enough negative criticism to put me off, plus I'm not a fan of James Bond to begin with) we took the plunge. The experience of watching it wasn't too bad, since I sat next to Irfan who shares similar views on the overall cheesyness and cornyness that runs deep in High School Musical. Plus the obvious fact that they're lip-syncing and their voices are digitally manipulated. Shoot me for being a Musical "purist," but it gets to me.

So.... we had a good time chewing popcorn extra loudly during the emo moments (Joel Lim noticed) and guessing when the next cheesy song will butt in on a would-otherwise-have-been-a-quiet-moment in the movie. Surprisingly, the bunch of girls behind us were poking fun at the movie's cheesyness (especially in the opening scene, which has an underlying moral that you just shouldn't sing and dance in the middle of a basketball match). So it was fun.

Joel and I

Marcus and I

All of them

Grad night tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008


If, according to the Collins Dictionary, Beauty is defined as "the combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and mind," whereas Beautiful is defined as "possessing beauty,"

Then Beautiful does not even begin to describe her

Because bewilder, perplex, bedazzle, confound, mystify, mesmerize, and disorient are in the place of delight.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Simon Says

Stayed back after Church to entertain the Seow children again. I was on my way to the toilet after the Young Single Adults' Family Home Evening, and happened to glance into the nursery room where Marion was taking care of the four crazy kids. So I joined them.

I started reading to Renee and Rena while Marion read to Rachel. Ryan, being quite grown up already, was entertaining himself with toys. Renee was in a more hyper mood today than the previous times I had a go at taking care of her. She kept shouting out every now and then. Rena was particularly amused by my glasses. At first she just poked my glasses while I was reading to her, then started adjusting, and eventually (after Marion left) snatched it off and clambered over me for shoulder rides. I guess without an older girl present, she no longer had an example to follow XD

I decided to play Simon Says with them after they lost the reading mood. Renee climbed up some chairs and sat there instead of joining in the fun. Rachel was the no. 1 fan of the game, Rena a little distracted throughout the game, while Ryan was a good 'ol sporting older brother and joined them in the game.

At first I let them expend some energy that seemed on the verge of bursting out of them, so I did the usual "Simon says, stand up" and "Simon says, sit down," eventually turning to more tiring ones like "Simon says, stand on one foot" immediately followed by "Simon says, stand on the other foot." Eventually they were going on their knees, or standing on one foot and one hand, then bending backwards, and even doing half squats. Then I said "Simon says, grab a book!"

They each (excluding Renee, who decided to entertain herself on top of one of the cupboards) scrambled to grab a book. "Simon says, open your book!" Then I gave Rachel and Rena challenges like naming all the animals or colours they could see on the open page, or counting certain things. At one point I even ended up teaching Rachel the difference between insects and arachnids (yes, I was crazy enough to use the term 'arachnid') by comparing a butterfly with a spider, summing up the difference as the differing number of legs. I then got them to pick up two books, flip open a page for each book, and compare the two pictures they saw. Hehe... talk about preparing them for Social Studies Source-Based Questions in Secondary school. Rachel was able to point out all kinds of things, while Rena was a bit slower. When it came to my turn, I found myself staring at the two books and taking a great deal longer to "spot" differences.

To me, it was a manifestation of the beauty of simplicity. A child would quickly make simple statements that someone older would take for granted. However, I demonstrated that just because you're older it doesn't mean you get better at making simple statements. I would say that it reflects the fact the sometimes, we're just thinking too much.

And that is the beauty of simplicity. A simple answer that satisfies, yet does not require needless brain racking. Children are masters of simplicity. They are satisfied with simple answers, and often make simple statements that can still stimulate profound thoughts and inquiries in an adult mind. Thinking in these terms, it is not hard to see why we are told by Christ to "be as little children."

Their subdued energy level didn't stay there for long, and soon Rachel wanted a turn at being the one to say "Simon says,"

"Simon says, run around!"

Oh well.

"Simon says, laugh!"

And they all did it so naturally while I nearly choked between a giggle and a chuckle. It reminded me of an article I read way back. It stated that surveys have shown that a child laughs a substantial proportion more than an adult within a day. And we wonder why our days can get so gloomy every now and then! We can't even laugh when somebody tells us to!

Saturday, November 08, 2008


My computer died. Some system file appeared to have been corrupted. I think it was something to do with that cursed game Ern tried to install.

50 dollars to reformat! I don't think I can let him touch my computer ever again (this is not the first time I'm saying this). I don't know how he does it, but whenever he starts getting comfortable with my computer and starts downloading all sorts of crap, it dies.

Lost a bunch of my music, but thankfully, no photos. Forgot to back up my Music. Gah.


Friday, November 07, 2008


Marion and I surprised him by showing up at his doorstep this afternoon =)

Had to go to Nanyang Poly to find Marion. We bought a cake, wrote on the card I made for Ben, and made our way to surprise the birthday bestfriend.

Group shot with the cake
The card I made for Ben

The inside of the card. The pop-up thingy is a photo of me and Ben on one side, and a photo of Ben and Marion on the other. I wrote on one page, Marion wrote on the other.

Marion discovered that Ben's computer had a webcam that we could camwhore with. Tried to break our 111 photos record (my 18th birthday), but I guess Ben wasn't really up to it, so we only took about 70 plus. Haha. These two are my favourite.

This is so "the heroes"-ish.

60's Family Photo

Two more papers!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Two Posts Within an Hour is Probably Not a Good Sign

Mozart had a go at holding my sanity together with his piano concertos, but I think Mack Wilberg is doing a better job. The requiems he arranged have been played like a zillion times on my iTunes.

I think what I really need right now is a dog to talk to. To stroke and to pat and to love.

Talking to dogs helps me put things into perspective. Not even half of my worries I used to express to Simba each night back in KL would have bothered him. All he'd do is smile at me and cherish the love I have for him (and sniff for the food I might be hiding somewhere). Running my fingers through his fur is as good as smoothening out all my own tensions. Sitting on the bench spending the night monologuing in front of him, I learnt that if you've got a home, food, and someone who loves you, then nothing else really matters. Except maybe that occassional bath.

I guess that puts a mere Geography paper into perspective. It's nothing but potential (bad tasting) food to Simba.

This serious infatuation of mine, however, is yet to be put into perspective.

Pre-Human Geography Paper Stress

I need someone to tell me all the things I need to hear.

I need someone to tell me that all will be well.

I need someone to soothe away my fears.

I need someone to reassure me.

I need someone to slap me.

Because I'm counterproductively stressing out over tomorrow's paper!

Thank goodness O Levels are coming to a close soon, because she's been dancing at 240 beats per minute in my head the whole day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Post Music Paper Trauma

I haven't quite gotten over today's paper yet.

I lost a mark from carelessness. Yes, it happens to everyone, but being consciously aware of it right after handing in your paper is as good as digging your heart out with a Clarinet. I don't know exactly how that feels, but it's probably rather uncomfortable by all logical sense.

The first extract was some sort of English song, most likely taken from a Musical. I overlooked the question that required me to indicate a dynamic marking on the score. What made it worse was everyone else saying that was easy. The second extract was what I suspect to be one of Mozart's Piano Concertos. It was beautiful, and I'm really hoping I'll win back any marks lost elsewhere from that question.

For the next section, we were treated to Indian Classical Music, followed by an ever-interesting African piece. Then we had Japanese theatre (Kabuki). Someone actually burst out laughing. I suspect the music surprised the invigilator to some extent hehe. He won't see O Level Music in the same light again, that's for sure. The final extract was a Javanese Gamelan piece. I liked the Rebab part that came in. We hardly got to hear much of that instrument while studying Gamelan music in school.

The recording for our Prepared Listening section was a laugh. The strings actually weren't in tune at one point! The extract was taken from the Development section of the First Movement of Haydn's London Symphony (No. 104). I had to hold back a chuckle when the strings sounded funny. After the not-in-tune phrase they then lost their timing. You could tell the different instruments weren't entering together. I suspect it was a local recording hehe.

I have this sinking feeling about the paper, though. I was well aware that I was not up to my usual standard while taking the paper. So much for morale.

Chinese paper tomorrow, then Human Geography on Thursday. Gaaah. I've been heavily distracted since the start of the week. For infinitely obvious reasons for those who know. I really need to find something productive to do during the holidays after the exams, otherwise I'll sit around the house and day dream and rot. I had a bright idea this morning, but I forgot what it was. I think it was something to do with Chinese, of all crazy things.

Singapore is doing a good job rooting me here. I'm actually a little bit reluctant about going back to KL next week.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Orchid Ball!

After a long month of anticipation, Orchid Ball finally came on Friday. The greatest misadventure I ever had in Singapore thus far. My First Date. In the middle of O Levels.

My Date for that evening was Germaine Yee. I rushed home from the final Music lesson I'll ever have in ACS(BR), only to end up helping an old lady carry some groceries to a nearby block. Talk about having a sense of urgency =P Rushed home after that to get dressed. Mom came home just in time to see me off.

(looks at me for a moment)

"Hmmm... you should change that tie."


"It's too... formal..."

"But it's stripes!"

"Really, you should change it"

"I thought this goes well with my shirt."

"But it's just too formal for the occassion."

(opens the cupboard and pulls out all my ties)

"Here. This one looks better."

(proceeds to tie the casual knot for me)

"Thanks, Mom. Should I tuck in my shirt?"

"Hmm.... try tucking it in now."

(folded it in to see how it would look like)

"Yeah, I think it looks better this way."

(spent a couple of long seconds tucking in my shirt)

"Maybe you should put two drops of that perfume Ray got for me."


"Never mind lah. Just make sure you bring extra deoderant."

"Fine.... fine...."

(went to grab my stuff)

"Did you get her a thank you card?"

(stares at her with gaping jaw)

"Hmm... I've got no card for you to use..."

(starts rummaging around our stuff)

"Never mind, Mom, I'll just make one for her tomorrow."

I can't imagine how I'll live without Mom =P


I took the MRT and bus to her place, and I was remarkably met with a red light at every traffic light while I was on the bus. I promised to be at her place "by about six" and by the time I got off the bus it was about six ten. However, I bumped into Sister Yee along the way. She just got back from work, so I walked with her to the house. Germaine was almost done getting ready when we got there. I guess that justified me being a bit late, because if I were any earlier it would have been inappropriate for me to enter the house without her Mom around. I would have had to stand outside.

I expressed my thanks to Sister Yee for her permission to take Germaine to the Ball, and promised to bring her home by the given curfew. We then made our journey to the Stake Centre where the Orchid Ball was held.

We talked a lot along the way. From how our day went to school to our hobbies to our ambitions to English and eventually to Music. Yes, being myself, I was the ever-annoying "classical" musician.

"So... what kind of Music do you like?"

"Well, I used to like R&B back in Secondary School, but now I think I like Jazz the most, especially Michael Buble."

"Ooh! I like Jazz the most. Jazz was something I knew I would like straight away since the first time I listened to it. [first crime committed in the following sentence] It took me a while to acquire the taste for classical music, but Jazz was in an instant. So is there anything else you like listening to?"

"Bossa Nova."

"Oh yes, Bossa Nova is the best. It's really soothing."


"So which other Jazz artists do you listen to besides Michael Buble?"

*Grins* "Uhhh...."

"Have you heard of Nat King Cole? He's one of the best. I like his 'Unforgettable' the most."

(the conversation continued to a point where I managed to drag Romanticism in. Biggest crime ever.)

"My most favourite period of music was the 19th Century, where there was an Artistic movement known as Romanticism. It was a time where artists, poets, and musicians drew upon a great range of emotions and feelings to create their work, as well as using Nature as a source of inspiration."

"Ooh... Nature. That sounds interesting. I'd like to listen to music that was composed based on Nature."

"Well... unfortunately, I can't name any pieces that were composed after being inspired by Nature, but I can name a bunch of composers who wrote music during that time. Franz Liszt... Frederic Chopin... Brahms.... oh and Tchaikovsky. You might know Tchaikovsky. He wrote very well known pieces for Ballet."

"Oh? I don't think I know him. I'm not that into Ballet yet."

"That's okay. You're very likely to come across his Music in future while you're doing Ballet. He wrote the Nutcracker's Suite and Swan Lake."

"Oh ok."

"Yeah. What is really great about Tchaikovsky is the powerful emotions he portrays in his Music. My favourite is his Romeo and Juliet Concert Overture. You know how the story of Romeo and Juliet is like. The music is really moving. He did a good job on that one."

The conversation only got more and more embarassing.


At the Ball itself, we found ourselves a seat and proceeded with the food. I think I took too much brocolli haha. Didn't realize how much food I put onto my plate until we started eating. She taught me that I can actually eat the cereal prawn whole, which I attempted. It was....... interesting.

After dinner and much fellowshipping of investigators who turned up for the Ball (she's an awesome member-missionary), the games started. One of the games was where everyone tied a balloon to their ankles and danced to the music. When the music stopped, everyone had to go around an pop each others' balloons. We formed an alliance with Max, and had a wild time hopping about on one foot =P I got knocked out when somebody popped my balloon when the music was playing. D'oh!

It was finally time to dance and we hit the floor to a whole bunch of Rock N' Roll-ish songs at the beginning. Too bad we forgot most of our Rock N' Roll dance routine. I could only lead her through the Sweetheart, American Spin, and Slide to Back Hand Change before we were both simply spinning around and laughing. I guess I should have revised more than Social Studies before the Ball haha. The songs eventually changed to more upbeat stuff like the overplayed YMCA song, Grease Lightning etc. That was when everybody just bounced about and did the usual shaking around. Max was really 'on' and really spiced up the dance floor haha. Then came Ricky Martin and a bunch of cha-cha-able songs, to which we did the cha-cha. We attempted the Box Waltz at one point, but failed miserably. The music was too fast and of the wrong beat XD A couple more upbeat songs followed, including the macarena. Sister Heidi Lim sure partied to those songs haha. Our last dance was to Elvis Presley's Are You Lonesome Tonight, a very corny song to which we had our only slow dance.

We freshened up after that to take some photos before leaving.

Germaine and I

I think our colours complemented each other pretty well. Credits would go to Germaine for that =)

Both being family-lovers, we talked mostly about our families during the trip back. Definitely a better topic of conversation than Music haha.

I got to thank Brother and Sister Yee once more for allowing Germaine to go to the Ball with me, after which they gave me directions to get home as swiftly as possible.

Like all First Dates, something had to go wrong. I only found out something very embarassing had happened when I got home and Mom pointed it out. Oh well. I had a spectacular evening and that was that.

The only problem now is what to look forward to XD

4 papers this week.