The wonderful possibilities

Here’s a glimpse of our future flat…

Photo courtesy of  http://sengkangzai.blogspot.sg/p/fernvale-rivergrove-snapshot.html

I am excited to see the construction finally starting! My flat is just beside Sengkang Riverside Park where the floating wetland is situated. I foresee lots of greenery for my eyes, migratory-bird spotting, cycling… good times enjoying the green spaces – just what we need after a hectic day at work. It would be just like the good ol’ childhood days when Mummy used to bring both Sarah and I to Bishan Park to play and feed the fishes in the pond.

I will also be able to watch a late night movie at the future Seletar Mall which is walking distance from my place and is slated to open in December 2014. Wheeeeeee..

When we get hungry, we could cycle to Jalan Kayu to enjoy some buffalo wings or roti prata! 😀

Thinking about the possible recreational activities and the peace we could enjoy with the greenery and nearby river, makes me happy and thankful (:

First attempt at stir-fried dou miao

Presenting my first attempt at stir-frying dou miao with carrots as one of the dishes for dinner… Prepared everything myself, including chopping the garlic and slicing the carrots.

*PRIDE*

It was surprisingly decent and edible! Received the nod of approval from DR and mummy wheeeeee!

my stir-fried dou miao

The joy of reconciliation

I had personally experienced the freedom and joy that came from reconciliation recently. It was a wonderful and liberating moment for all of us, I believe. The cracks that grew all faded away because of that moment when we made a pact not to allow disagreements to separate us.

As I write this, I am filled with thanksgiving.

If reconciliation can be so liberating between friends, what more a reconciliation with God, our Creator. Even more joy, even more liberating, even more wonderful!

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.

It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

(Psalm 133:1-3)

Why we need Jesus Christ

Repentance, according to C.S Lewis is “laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor…”

He continues, “… repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.”

And now, this is why we need Jesus, the perfectly good man (yet also God at the same time) in our imperfect lives: To help us, a bad (i.e. sinful) person to repent, to help us make right our wrongs, so that we may allow God to be restored as the centre of our lives. Having God in the centre of our lives has always been the original order of things.

Perhaps you may not think there’s a God. But believe me, when we cast our gaze on the azure blue skies or the fields of lavender or the rainbow after a downpour, one cannot help but admit there must be a God behind these wonderful things – for men are not capable of creating such magnificent yet gentle beauty. God exists. And we were all made to be with Him. That’s why we need Jesus Christ – the perfecter of our faith.

Singaporeans are happy?

When my colleague told me about the news that Singaporeans are among Asia’s happiest, I laughed.

What? One minute we were called the most emotionless country and at the next, we are a happy bunch. Look at the conflicting news reports here:

[Emotionless bunch] http://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-ranks-as-world%E2%80%99s-most-emotionless-society–survey-071151173.html

[Happy bunch] http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singaporeans-among-asias-happiest-says-social-media-survey

Contradictions. Contradictions. Contradictions.

Well, let’s find out how the report defined “happy”. Apparently for Singapore, we were very happy with a score of 518 on the index and Malaysia was trailing behind at 245. I don’t know how the index scale is like but it seems like the higher the score, the happier the country.

The survey done by the social innovation consultancy “tracks the use of predetermined words… by users of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and online forums” (Today Online, 20 Mar 2013). The list of words includes “thank you”, “the best”, “grateful”… etc – words that you associate with being in a state of happiness. This seems like “mood analytics” – a method used to track the mood of the people online by observing words used. But this method assumes that online users are able to express themselves in English effectively. And the limitation is that it does not take into account sarcasm.

This means, perhaps, other people in other Asian countries could be shouting “sedap!” or “terima kasih” online but these words were not captured by the text tracking system. Or perhaps, Singaporeans were actually saying “thank you ah, thanks for giving me so tons of homework/MRT breakdowns/ERP gantries!” *dripping in sarcasm* and then the text tracking system immediately concludes, “Hey, I see so many ‘thank yous’, Singaporeans must be HAPPY!”

So, I say, take this happiness report with a pinch of salt. It is not a reliable quantitative survey if it did not take into account cultural differences or tones of voice.

Perhaps, for a more accurate mood of Singapore, one can consider a working paper, “Singapore Social Health Project” by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) – http://www.nvpc.org.sg/Portals/0/Documents/Knowledge/Social%20Health%20Project/SSHP%20Report.pdf.