Monthly Archives: April 2012

the year is done (or so we think)

and today is sunday (okay technically monday)

and it has been two days since i last finished my last exam of university, year 1.

a most quick time has gone by, and flashed by mine eyes before i know so. time is ever the fleeting thief which gifts us with experience which we only know after it is gone.

as i finished my last paper i walked out of the LT with a strange oddness of feeling, one that is akin to the ORD feeling. i think i have grown accustomed to the endings of chapters as such: PSLE ending was big, but thats the largest ending i can recall in recent memory. a levels ending was no big deal, ord was no big deal. it just… happened. commissioning was different because it was a celebration of completion.

anyway here i stand now, on the edge of the holidays, where many fun things await, many things to give myself to. for i abide by the belief that man must live for something bigger, and have things to do.

year 1 was good. i managed to do decently well enough in grades but i guess the biggest thing thus far has been living in hall – it has been a refreshing exercise in self-control and self-discovery. in my great propensity to give myself over to institutions i find that i have been distinctly more reticent in this aspect: i have not given myself over to hall. previously i gave myself to BB (the 60th company will stand ever strong in the fortresses of my heart) which was totally worth it. but since then there have been many institutions which have appeared and made their mark but i have found that nothing else can compare with the totality that is Christ. it is difficult to say this without sounding hypocritical (a most common concern) but it is true. in Christ we find a completion and a perfection that no human institution can fulfill. which is also something i have learnt over the years.

but hall has been good to me. i have learnt much about being yourself and not needing to feed that urge to excel and to prove oneself the best – and i have found that i am content to be in the midst of things without necessarily craving the attention of the pedestal of ostensible ‘leadership’. i have found that true leadership is servanthood, whether is it secular or otherwise, and is a burden not easily borne. real leadership requires sacrifice, which if you are not prepared to take on, will spoil what you set out to do.

year 1 has been a year where my close friends go overseas to study. i must admit that i miss them dearly, even though it sounds rather unmanly to do so. but let it be known that the great warriors and notables of legend with whom i am so enamoured were all men of great emotion: King Arthur, Achilles, etc. in the knowledge that my friends are overseas and far far away i savor our friendships more. the geographical distances that separate us bear testament to the bonds of manly love that we share. when in the army one has a vague understanding of girls going overseas to study, and doctors deferring, but the reality of people flying overseas for long periods does not strike one as particularly apparent until it happens in year 1. and then you have people who go to different universities and courses and things like that, different majors, different classes. gone forever, i realise, are the times when your closest friends sat literally next to you, ate your honey stars, ran to buy ban mian and burn their throats eating it, and all sorts of things. now we are torn apart by the demands of the world. but there are things that bind boys that will forever be unbreakable… bonds which are manifested in things like basketball and The Avengers. one does not simply watch a bro show with anybody. And so to Linky, Koay, Lejon, and all the people left in singapore yet stuck in a different place, this is for you.

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pretty faces

As a young man, I have been thinking about life. As such I have come to the conclusion that beauty is truly a wonderful thing. However it is also potentially very dangerous. I say this with respect to girls in particular.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. True true. Everyone has a different standard of what a ‘pretty girl’ is.
Also they say that when you are looking for a life partner beauty is not important… Internal beauty and good character is the priority and a pretty face is a bonus.
However I am inclined to point out that first impressions really do count, no matter what people say. One is first attracted to a girl because one notices a visual aberration on the landscape, I.e. presence of aforementioned pretty girl. Hence we see that external beauty is necessary to some extent.
I would also like to point out that a pretty girl possesses a certain undefinable quality that simply draws the eye. There is no question that beauty is good. Rainbows and butterflies and freshly baked apple pies are all pleasing to the eye and the soul. Nonetheless the prettiness of a pretty girl goes beyond that: it is something that I don’t think one can get tired of. There is something very humanly emotional about it that I cannot yet comprehend.
And here we come to a quandary, where a pretty girl might hence dominate a poor boy’s waking thoughts. I do not speak of infatuation. Instead my point is that it is possible to decide that you might like a girl because she is pretty, then think to yourself that you are being shallow and hence should not like that girl. This is both unfair to you and the girl. Strange.
I am not sure what to make of this. Girls are strange creatures.

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nba awards season

nba awards season is upon us (the season ends in a week) and it is time to unveil my choices for the respective awards. here we go!

MVP: lebron james.

night in night out james singlehandedly gives the Heat a huge chance of winning each game. you dont see many bad games from lebron… even a cold stretch for lebron is an outstanding stretch for anyone else. bottom line is: if there was one player you would want on your team, who would it be?

coming in second i would have KEVIN LOVE as MVP runner up. because without him, the timberwolves would still be floundering in the bottom of the nba.

defensive player: tyson chandler.

okay yeah dwight howard is undoubtedly the best defender in the nba but this season he has been… lacklustre. chandler and howard have the same arguments: both their teams SUCK defensively as individuals (except iman shumpert who is a boss) but somehow both the knicks and the magic have amazing defensive statistics. gotta be a reason somewhere eh

rookie: kyrie irving

game winners and highest scoring and best shooter? just give it to him already… though i must say i am in love with kenneth faried, the Manimal. the dude is a hardcore destroyer

6th man: harden

aiyo what else is there to say. of course its harden

hmmm my choices all seem rather… mainstream but that’s the way it goes. how about some all-defense?

chandler/lebron/ibaka/tony allen/rondo

now for the exciting part. all nba team! 2 guards, 2 forwards, 1 center.

3rd team:

marc gasol (imo very underrated)

kevin garnett (my favourite player of all time and the lynchpin of the celtics)

pau gasol (the most skilled big man in the nba)

rajon rondo (imagine where the celtics would be without him)

tony parker (give him credit for the spurs no. 1 seed)

2nd team:

andrew bynum (finally he bankai)

kevin love (this guy is super monstrous. imagine if he could actually jump)

josh smith (keeping the hawks afloat and absolutely going mad. also there are no other forwards playing better for the season)

dwayne wade (nobody respects wade anymore)

russell westbrook (continuing his rampage over every other point guard)

1st team:

dwight howard (still better then bynum)

lebron (the MVP)

durant (this is the most wicked sick guy in the nba when it comes to getting buckets. absolutely amazing)

kobe (even though he missed a few games with injury? nobody else matches his production and the wins he gives you)

chris paul (gotta respect the man for bringing the clips into the playoffs as a top 4 seed)

 

now you might say… WHAT? where is carmelo? where is blake?

well… carmelo was foaming until woodson took over. blake wasn’t impressive this season… chris paul would have gotten the same results (i think) playing with david west as his starting power foward. might be better because of the pick and pop

and you might say… NO DERRICK ROSE?

derrick rose played barely two thirds of the season and the bulls were owning without him. rose is incredible and a seeing-is-believing player but this season i think he just didn’t play enough.

actually there are people who should be on the all-nba teams based on talent alone don’t you think.

for the sake of argument here are my all-nba-all-talent, hypothetical no injury and incredible seasons team:

1st: dwight/lebron/durant/kobe/wade

2nd: bynum/love/melo/rose/chris paul

3rd: cousins/aldridge/blake/westbrook/d-will

you don’t say. cousins? yeah the guy is a beast

but for the all highlights team… its gotta be 2 point guards at the guard spots. rose and rondo. rondo is incredible to watch, he is the most holy-what-did-he-just-do guy in the nba. rose is a highlight waiting to happen.

forwards gotta be lebron (duh) and JOSH SMITH. and at center the only appropriate person is dwight howard because of the sheer incredibleness of the dude.

i left out blake cos all he does is dunk (okay la give some chance) but i like to see epic dribble moves and some blocked shots more than dunks.

 

in other news, one test left. also updated ‘essays’ and ‘reading’.

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detaching oneself

i have come to a realization of sorts. once again it is about grades. i find myself unable to come to a single resolution about this very sticky topic which has profound implications on the rest of my life. there is a strange dichotomy right here, as there is in many different things. perhaps you are experiencing the same.

1) i recognize that grades will impact my job prospects versus in 10 years, i won’t be looking at my grades

you see, the whole point of the paper chase is to make money, is it not? this is what society has taught us, and it is true. qualifications = employability, no matter what they say about alternative methods and avenues of employment. my very realistic self is very aware of this. why else did i consider signing on in the army? one of the main reasons was that an army scholarship is relatively easy to acquire, which would then ease the financial burden on my parents (once again it comes back to money), and i would have a stable job, a.k.a. the iron rice bowl. not really related but you get the point. the bigger grades you get the better it looks… but at the same time people ultimately aren’t defined by their grades.

2a) being lazy and getting by versus fulfilling your potential.

let me first say that i might make some potentially very offensive remarks here. but let me also say that i hope these remarks are tempered by brutal honesty and i hope you will appreciate that.

i acknowledge the fact that i have been blessed with a good mind and natural ability in my chosen field of study (sounds so academic eh), and that this gift allows me to get by on very little effort. in raw stats it translates into a B+ average with minimal study, and A- with some effort. A is achieved only with significant effort which i am loath to put in. because i am a lazy bugger.

at the same time i am confronted with the reality that by dint of having this gift, i should not waste it and i should put in my best. but this is very tiring and i find that doing my best for the sake of fulfilling societal expectations and the whole you-got-to-own-because-you-can mantra is truly a mundane thing. if i had to put a sensation to it, it would be a dull grey monotone buzzing in your head, tasting of tepid water and with absolutely no smell. it is beyond irritating: it makes you feel dead, and unalive.

so what is one to do? i have found that i am guilty when i do not study and still do well.

then again when i do choose to put in effort, i get the A. but putting in effort is often a function of wanting to do well not because you are supposed to do well, but because you want to demonstrate that you have learned something and you are capable of high quality work. i find that my best work often is handed up to teachers who demonstrate a distinct interest in the work of their students and the ability of the students and who are engaged in helping their students polish up whatever skills they (the students) possess.

i cannot resolve this. i constantly float in the limbo between doing okay work just to get by, and doing good work.

then also i have noticed that my attitude towards grades is evident in many people.

a lot of people don’t actually like studying. who does? some do, but not many. but my question to everyone is what are you studying for? honestly i can tell you that i am studying for

a) a degree which is necessary for my job

b) content and skills knowledge to help me be effective at my job

c) an interest to some degree or other in english literature

and not much else. okay once again i am blessed in being one of the people for whom someone else pays the uni fees. i’m not complaining here. don’t get me wrong. i do not profess to be better than you. it is probably the case that your dogged determination (i am generalizing here) in chasing a high CAP or GPA elevates you over the slacker that i am. on moral grounds at least.

but my point is that a lot of people have disproportionate emotional attachment to their grades, and this translates into a lot.

i agree that there is an emotional investment in putting in a lot of effort into a module. after all, you put in the work, you will want to do well! but i think one should not place too much upon the result of a single module. foam is foam… i assure you that each and every failure that i experienced in every math class that i went to really hurt, even though i make a big joke of it. i put more effort into math than any other thing in my entire life of studying thus far (not that its a lot) and i didn’t get anything out of it.

i would make the argument that one must recognize the place that grades has in your life, and accord it a proportionate amount of emotional energy. i feel the pain when i don’t get an A on an essay which i put a lot of effort into. but on a paper which i did because i needed to hand it up, a B+ is like ‘meh’ and even if i get an A- it is more a relief than a victory. don’t judge me now for my grades. everyone has their own expectations and i make no apologies for mine (wow this sounds really arrogant. go ahead and judge me now)

but as with anything to do with grades, i reached the same conclusion.

go out and play! in the long long long run, its not the most important thing. just go out and take a chill pill and not be so concerned about it all. life is simple and we all should keep it that way.

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growing up

a friend of mine, among other friends of mine (who are in similar situations), says that she is going to graduate soon. i said she will reach a milestone soon. growing up!

and hence enter that ‘adult world’ of earning money, having a job, responsibility, having to conform to a schedule, not being able to plan your time any old how, etc, et…

this is very interesting.

last time we say, when we grow up, we will have freedom, we can do what we want

but as we grow up, we put on the fetters on responsibility, we can do less and less

but is it really the case?

as we grow up we have more freedom

to make the choice we really want. in narrowing our choices down to a single path we are exercising the ultimate freedom… to choose your own path. it takes a certain kind of knowledge to commit to something. i would argue that responsibility ultimately liberates you, because then you can go forth 101% with no remorse. like lebron on a drive to the hoop… NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE, you know? if you don’t know what i mean… here it is in all its terrible glory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-Ujn4MYyuU

 

yea so think about that. anyway tmr exams start (fo’ real) and it is time to do it