Monthly Archives: October 2006

A new approach

Well, after some reader feedback, I have decided to adopt a new style of writing.

I call it the first-line approach.

How it works is that you read every first line of each paragraph.

And basically you can work out what the entire post is about.

For those of you who like reading, you can read the rest of the paragraphs to get a clearer picture.

And you might have noted that I deviously wrote only one sentence per paragraph…

Which in essence means you must have read everything. Of course this is quite a short post, so did you read this second sentence?

Ah well, might as well add this

Haha. Well, this being the second of two posts today (which is Sunday to me as I havent gone to sleep since waking up Sunday morning although ironically both posts will be recorded as being written on Monday due to the technicality of time – past midnight – which is pretty much past my bedtime, meaning I’m going to be pretty tired tomorrow), I thought I would like to post the following quote.

“Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”

I think this quote best sums up the question some of you may be wondering about why this blog seems to have a Christian focus half of the time – I still do have my random moments about stuff in life, except that I havent had time to reflect on those with the pile of homework and all (there really is a lot of work, even at my maximum productiveness)

Let me add one last bit to it, for those of you who may understand it to reflect on.

“If you really believe that what you believe is really real, why do you act as if it is not real?”

I think that oftentimes, I fail to realise that. So I made a conscious decision that with this blog of mine, well I’m going to write what’s on my heart, which is utterly convinced of the truth of that which I write (random posts aside that is).

Anyways, there was another interesting quote which I picked up earlier this week from my camp.

“He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”

Disclaimer

It’s pretty late. I know I haven’t um got on with my daily posting. Blame it on that pile of work I was referring to. Photos are going to come later too.

Anyways, this is a disclaimer for the previous post. It seems that my ex-girlfriend has been getting quite a few calls regarding it. So I’ll just like to say a bit about what happened, without giving away too many of the details.

What was written in the previous post is the accumulation of quite a bit of my thoughts over the past two years or so, as I sought to search for the all pervading reason for BGRs nowadays.

I pinpointed it down to two factors, one being it a cultural fit-in kind of thing – it’s like everyone has a boyfriend or girlfirend and only a ‘loser’ will not have one; the other is the need for a void to be filled inside.

For my previous post, I chose to focus on the latter reason. The former reason is, well, although relevant, kind of a foolish reason for dating someone, so I don’t have much to say about it except that those people who are looking for someone for that reason, you better rethink your course of action.

Anyways, what I was looking to do was to question the necessity of having a partner at this point of life where marriage only looks a possiblity at the very least 6 years from now from my age(though this depends on the age of my readers). And so I answered with an emphatic “NO”. Because I felt that as much as the emotional pull of hormonal changes has to be recognised, you can blame it on my mental maturity that this isn’t really the appropriate age to be dating, especially as you can spend your time wisely making friends and getting to know other people without being tied down by time commitments, or seen as being tied down and thus less approachable.

So tackling this issue from my Christian background, and in light of certain events, I was looking to point out that well most people have this ‘void’ which they want to be filled – after all a void always looks to be filled – and that something better could fill it (for more details refer to previous post, just to make sure you’ve been reading).

And therefore this line of reasoning has actually been developed over the course of the past two years. The reason for my breakup can simply be traced back to the fact that well at that time I think I outgrew my infatuation. And I guess for months it was more the enjoyment of freedom (sorry Julie, hehe) that held me back from pursuing another relationship, rather than the reason developed in the previous post. But God has shown me a better path, for now.

So uh yes, the speculation may have been fun and all, but I hope this quashes some of that, being the spoilsport that I am.

Love and relationships, the Christ-like way

Whoa. So what are my credentials on this subject? Well, I don’t have a degree or anything but I certainly do have my trusty Bible and my trusty analytical brain.

I was going to post this sometime later, but a few things have hasten this post.

So here’s the main question I’ll try to address. When is it right to date?

We can answer this question from several angles. Firstly, I think dating has to be done with your parents’ consent. This is the key point. If your parents aren’t happy with it, then you should honour their wishes, which is a biblical command. After all, while you’re under their roof and fully dependent on them, you should obey them. What you choose to do with your life once you’re fully independent with a job and a house is up to you. But the readers of this post are more likely to be secondary students or college students so this does apply to you.

But parents shouldn’t meddle in our private lives is the counter argument I get. Well, here’s the situation. The bible commands us to be good witnesses to other people, and if we can’t even keep the basic command of obeying our parents, then the power of our witness is seriously undermined. Note that it is a command. It isn’t a plea. It isn’t advice. It’s a command.

But dont just blindly follow what the bible says. There is always a logical reason for it. And here’s one I can think of right now.

Relationships which begin before the age of 18 have a very low chance of surviving. Why? Because your tastes change over time. Before 18, in most cases, you won’t have the maturity to understand what you require in life. And dating, after all, should be done with a long term view of marriage. The fact is that the person you’re pouring out your life to should be your life partner. If not a lot of secrets will be flying about after you break up.

There are many other reasons why relationships before 18 dont last. One is a lack of understanding of what a relationship requires. One thing is time. While you’re still at school, you’re bound to what your parents ask you to do. That is to focus on your school work. Focus on church. Focus on Jesus. Not that very lovely girl sitting across the room.

Another reason is that there is a lack of understanding of the biblical view of relationships. Relationships are at all times to be Christ centered – He brings people together, not us. If not a relationship will never prosper. So if you have that nagging feeling that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, follow it! Who runs a red light, when there are huge busses and lorries driving past one either side? Very few of the lucky ones get through the mess, but many end up all banged up and well hung out to dry. Those that get through, get through by the mercy of God. Those that fail, still can turn to God who’ll pick them up and put them on their feet again. But why go to all that trouble?

Your parents, in most cases, understand this very well, plus the fact that they realise your priorities should be, and indeed are, your studies (after God that is). So listen to them and don’t get involved if they don’t approve.

But of course, people still go into relationships regardless. And rebel against their parents. Why? Here’s the number one reason: love. And I’m not going to be cynical about this. Everyone needs love, to be loved by somebody. But things go wrong when we invest our love in the wrong things.

“And now I will show you the most excellent way…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

The above excerpt is taken from 1 Corinthians. Some of you might know it from A Walk to Remember, where the passage was quoted at the end.

The love spoken about in that passage is, in one word, perfect, exemplified by God and Jesus. And now let’s apply some of those qualities of love to a BGR context.

Love does not envy. That’s a huge one. And this quality can be linked to that of love always trusts. In a relationship, the love between the parties should be full of trust, devoid of suspicion and envy. If you feel that creeping into a relationship, then well it’s best that both of you talk to each other and come up with a way to resolve it, otherwise this will tear the relationship apart. Because although relationships are never perfect, it is a goal to work towards too, a goal which is achievable when a couple is united through Jesus. I mean why do we have holy matrimonies after all? If you pay attention to the words next time, maybe you’ll understand what I mean.

Love always perseveres. This one’s interesting as well. The key word here would be always. If you truly love that girl or guy, then you should with absolute certainty look for a relationship where love perseveres, through the bad and good. Because when a relationship no longer has love, well I have nothing else to say. If there is even the slightest doubt that it will fail, then well, work it out between the both of you. If not..well I’ll leave it up to you to decide the outcome.

Love rejoices with the truth. I think this is a key quality. God is truth and so what He says is truth. Therefore, if we truly loved a person, we would do it in a Christ-like manner, following His guidelines. So that brings us back to the command of “Honour your parents”. Well if you love your parents, then honour them.

And this ties in to one final quality which I would like to point out. I think it’s an essential one in this argument. Love is not self seeking. The implications of this phrase, I believe, are huge. A lot of love we have today is very much self seeking. Love of money. Love of self – pleasure is good. Loving others in order to find that satisfaction and happiness you long for.

You know I sometimes wonder what God would say about BGRs and the breakups they cause nowadays. He would probably nod knowingly and say, “If only they understood how much I love them.”

Paul, who wrote quite a number of the letters of the New Testament was a smart man indeed. He would be in the same class as famous people we know like Hawkings, Von Neumann, Einstein, Newton. He had a breadth of understanding and a depth of knowledge very much unparalleled by his peers. But one thing he championed above all, and that was love. For such a smart man who could have argued his opponents flat down, he instead chose to focus on love. It says a lot about the importance of love. So much so that he prayed for the Ephesian church of his time – “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” – a prayer very much relevant today.

Because that’s how love works. The ultimate source of perfect love is God, whose love is so wide, so long, so high, so deep, that we can’t even possibly begin to grasp it. There is so much of it, that when we choose to receive it, we can’t contain all of it, so much it is that it overflows, whether into the life of a friend, or the life of someone more special. Those that seek love in other things will often meet a disappointing end, but love that comes from God is something special, that would make a relationship ever more meaningful I believe.

I know this argument isnt exhaustive, and I’m partly waffling, cause I’m certainly not very coherent so late at night. But i think with respect to when dating is alright, I really do want to point out important guidelines, like obeying what your parents have to say about it, and really understanding that a relationship is about love. And when those key characteristics aren’t present or aren’t being worked towards, you’re heading for disaster. Coupled with the fact that we’re pretty much undecided during our teenage years, yearning for a source of comfort and satisfaction and happiness, and attempting to find it in someone else, is well from a biblical perspective, foolish. But I’m not here to condemn; I only want to point out that there’s a better way.

So if this issue has become a stronghold in your life, something that’s really pulling you away from God, don’t try to justify it. Listen to that urging deep within you. The struggle is really within you. And it’s not unsurmountable. Because it’s is your conscious choice to struggle with that conflict of emotions. So open up your heart to what He has to say. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He’ll make your paths straights. When Solomon wrote that, I think it was a piece of timeless wisdom. Listen to what God has to say. I’ve found my joy in the Lord.

And He offers that to everyone as well.

Metamorphosis, October 23-25 2006

When we look at this word, we often associate it with the stage by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

Well, we decided to choose this theme for our camp this year, calling it Metamorphosis, with the tagline “My Life, My World”

And although it was quite a short camp – 3 days 2 nights – I think we were indeed blessed with a metamorphosis, or in the original Greek language, metamorphoo – which can be roughly translated to the word ‘transformation’

But let’s go back to the start.

The vision for this camp became a reality in September, whereby the camp was first officially announced and the registration forms released. October saw a more hectic schedule, especially in the last week or two when the committee had to work their socks off and pull a few late nighters in the last few days towards camp in order to ensure everything was in order. On the day itself, while everyone boarded the bus, which we intentionally asked to drive slower – hehe, sorry guys – , the committee got into the van and we started to complete a few last minute preparations, like the opening powerpoint, and the activity materials. Stayed up late during the camp nights to prepare for the next day as well, so we were pretty much occupied.

So yeah, that gives you an idea of the preparatory work and long hours.

The organisational aspect of camp itself came off good. We had nightly worship sessions, morning devotion times, afternoon activity periods, a morning movie, and generally lots of free time 🙂 I think it’s impossible to play beach soccer – so tiring. On the spiritual side of things, we got a tremendously positive response from the campers, and God was really present throughout, so thanks be to Him who makes all things possible. Had quite a nice time talking to other people as well 🙂

Anyways, I’ll post up a collage of pictures first opportunity I get. The camp pictures (and short clips) are scattered over several laptops, and we have so many they dont even fit on a DVD. So there’s going to be a lot of raking through to sort out pictures and the like. Don’t expect the collage anytime soon.

Adios! I have to go finish my pile of work now.

I’m backkkk!!

Anybody miss me? Hehe. That sounded quite big-headed.

Anyways, over the next few days, when i finally find the time amidst all the stacks of homework i have to complete, i shall write up a comprehensive post about my church youth camp, which was a really enjoyable and memorable experience, in addition to a post on the mechanics of dating in a Christian context.

In the meantime, having operated on an average of 4-5 hrs for the past three nights, I think I’m going to crash right NOW.

Cambridge

Well well. My ‘tests’ are now over.

So, what does it take to get into Cambridge?

After my pretty puzzling interview, and that extremely long Thinking Skills Assessment, I have arrived at this conclusion:

If you have Cambridge written all over you, you’ll get in no matter what you do (unless you really mess up the entrance examination, and even then…)

And if you are not Cambridge material, then you’ll never get in no matter what you do.

There it is. The secret of Cambridge.

Lol. Well, wait till my reply letter comes back sometime later – I have no idea when – before I make any further conclusions. Right now, I have a 50-50 chance, because I have no idea how their admissions process works.

Btw, someone mentioned to me today that there are 40 people applying for economics in Malaysia. And they’re only accepting around 8 – which is the 1-in-5 ratio that’s often quoted. So yeah, what is it with economics that everyone wants to do it?

I think I’ll stop at that.