Monday, December 26, 2011

NUS Module Review: SSA2218 / TS2238 – Singapore Film: Performance Of Identity

Workload: 2 hour lecture, 2 hour movie, 2 hour fortnightly tutorial.


Module Content:
Some movies entertain, some shock you into thinking differently about Singapore, some are just plain disgusting, some are really funny! Enjoy the spectrum of these movies which you might not have seen otherwise! The group work is by teams of 5, chosen based on tutorial groupings and which show you want to present on. If you're not taking it with a group of friends, who has the same tutorial timings, then be prepared to make new friends along the way. Sometimes, you get really good teammates. I had a teammate who is experienced in short film making, so the film part was easy.

Teaching Staff:
One of the most patient teachers I've seen and the only arts teacher I had outside of USP. Beautiful lady too!

Assessment Details:
The only hard thing is to score well in the module, with close to 200 people taking it, and the need to have lots of analytical mind involved in answering the papers, it is just not easy. But oh well, I enjoyed it cause I took this to S/U it.

Overall Experience & Feedback:
I like the module as in there is no need at all to read up after lectures, before lectures. Just pay attention during the lectures and enjoy the movies. Don’t worry about missing the movies too, cause most of them are available inside the NUS library. Most of them, so some of them are really hard to get, and you’ll have to fork out some time to see the movie on your own anyway, so better to stay back after lecture and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winner of NaNoWriMo!



This is the one moment I had been waiting for a whole month! 50k mark is passed. About 133 pages of Novel is done, and it is halfway through.

I'm quite lucky for being able to write it without exam pressure as I had only Japanese 1 exam, and I planned to S/U it. So there was a lot of free days in which I just devoted the days into the novel.

There was three periods in which I stopped for a few days through. The latest being because I became a Kapiya for Bante Kumara in Poh Ming Tse temple for 2 days and then join in his Adult Dharma Course Lite for 2 days.

It was a worthwhile use of my time, both at the ADC Lite and the novel writing. And today I also did a very brave thing. I felt so relieved and happy after doing it.

Anyway, the important thing to learn here is that mindfulness, meditation can be applied in daily life no matter what you are doing. And I am not writing consistently anymore as NaNoWriMo demands words over quality, and not to delete anything you wrote. Ah, well, there are somethings in life you cannot finish sharing. Here I shall finish the novel up by next semester, and then let it go, not going to write a sequel to it. I got to live my life now instead of 3 years ago! How much has I matured, yet still so immature. Haha.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sheldon has a girlfriend

Haha, the lastest episode of the Big Bang theory, The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition was the best one so far in the episode.

Thanks to that, I understand the psychology of a girl's mind more and really amazed by the ability of anyone, regardless of geek or nerd level, to have a girlfriend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NanoWriMo

Hey guys and gals,

It seems much easier to write on a blog than to write a novel. 50k words in a month! Now November's more than half finished and I am still only on the 20k mark, less than a quarter of the novel in chapters and getting tired of rushing so much, writing stuffs that I'm not sure anybody would read.

Maybe it's better to write here, not much people read this, but at least it's free and people don't mind reading this.

Ah, anyway my novel would be about My NUS Experience, Semester 1, 2008. I wanted to write down this to let those who are interested in coming into NUS (or Singapore to a certain extend) to know what NUS life is like. This can even be used for people to know what University life is like. It is a varsity novel, an autobiography written in my way. Sometimes I think I may had been too detailed in it. Using my gmail, blog, and facebook, I am reconstructing my past, bringing me back to 3+ years ago. It was not easy seeing all my mistakes and blunders and arrogant self back then.

Especially with this blog that is full of spelling mistakes. And I am not sure if anyone would bother to read this, this mundane boring life. Ok I'll do my best to put in my quirkiness inside it, however, there is a limit to how detailed I can make my novel to be without wasting too much words on it.

20k now and school has not yet started! Amazing! These past few weeks has been full of obstacles to writing:
Zen Conference
Cyberarts website
Now I only got Jap 1 to study for, that's good.
SPS Congress, IRCC presentation... etc...
Now after 24th, I'm going to be a Kapiya, so 2 more days gone.... ahhh. so many stuffs to do...

Nope, now I feel very very free. Much more so than previous semesters, as I am now not chasing any anime/shows/movies/games/NUSBS (ok, just a little on this) to catch up with and just mainly concentrating on writing. I am amazed by how much I can just write here and when I need to write the hard parts of my novel, I can procrastinate a lot.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Typicals of Semester 7 life

This is yet another post about updates on my life. I think that I had better post this up for the future me to be able to recall what it was like to live in NUS back in Semester 7. I am currently writing my NUS Experience, Semester 1, 2008. It will be a novel, kind of a memoir. And in order to write it, I had to refer to my past emails, this blog, calendars, pictures on facebook, diary, and my memory.

Looking back at my previous posts, I did wrote a lot during semester 1, making it easy for me to be able to reconstruct my experience back then. So realizing that recently I had not had a lot of posts for the year 2011, I do think that I had better record down some parts of my current life for easier reference in the future.

Btw, looking back at my old posts, I detected a lot of spelling errors. It seems that my English wasn't so well. A deserving B- I got indeed for my English module.

Now, let's see, we'll start from Monday. 8-10am, I had Japanese tutorial A, I missed a lot of the tutorials and really can't catch up anymore. 10am-12pm I was supposed to have group meeting in SPS too, mentoring Rong En's group. Then 2-6pm is the Singapore Film module. After 6pm, it is MDC time! I keep on asking people from SPS to come with me. I thought that having no night classes on Monday and more interested Buddhist in SPS is going to make a difference. But it seems that I had to continue being the lonely figure going for MDC then. Wonderful. Then they bring me back to Utown, where the dinner which was until 9pm (now 10pm), was skipped, and I had another meal to treat someone else. It is hard to keep track of how many meals you had already. So far I had treated: Cai Yu, Shan Shan, Barry, Chin Xia, Si Hao, Minh, Tzyh Haur, Hung, Yun Zhi, Chang Jian, my parents, NUSBS people, and various other people.

Tuesday, morning breakfast are from 7-10am. I missed a lot of these by now. So I'm taking 2 breakfasts when I could wake up in time for it. There is an even week tutorial of Singapore Film at 12pm-2pm, I was almost always late for this, except for today, when I had to present too! 4-6pm is the Japanese Class. So during the middle 2 hour, I had gone back to SPS to eat at the Science Canteen, stayed at the Central Library to read comic, or to catch up on sleep. 6pm onwards, there used to be nothing except for Door to Tibetan Buddhism every 2 weeks. However, after recess week, I got myself involved in the Random Walks in Science, so I as the Group Coordinator feels a bit more responsibility to attend the Tuesday nights talks and seminars from 7-8 or 9pm. However, I had previously signed up and paid for a Tai Chi class from 6:30-8pm, 6 sessions for $55. Therefore I do feel wasted if I do not go for the Tai Chi classes. Which ultimately was too basic for me anyway, the others in the classes are really beginners level and I am tired of having to wait for them to catch up. I was the only undergraduate there too. Just now I had my last class and I am not signing up for another session again. Just nicely that this would be Random Walks in Science's last Tuesday activity too, taking a break for the exams. And amongst all these, 3 weeks of these features NUS Interfaith Group giving talks from Christianity, Taoism, and Hinduism. The rest of the sessions got cancelled and thereafter I was kinda glad that I had less competition for Tuesday nights.

Wednesday morning, 8-10am, Japanese Tutorial B. This is the one I had rescheduled just to make sure I can make it for a meeting for SPS mentoring. Then 10:30am I have a meeting with Dr. Kuldip Singh, my FYP supervisor. We usually meet for half an hour to one hour, and I am still making very little progress on this, due to not doing much work on my part mostly. Man, if I want a good record, I do better behave myself. 2-4pm is Wednesday IS. There was quite a few weeks that there wasn't an IS going on for the year 1 SPS students, for they had experiments to do. My IS then contains: Chammika, the staff, John, me and Pang Long, the mentors, Er Ning, Pei Hwa, Kripa, Yithing, and Xipias as the students. No physics students in the module of Atoms to Molecules, so most of the time, my IS is quiet, with a lot of prodding before they would talk. Chammika had to take lots of control because there is a structured syllabus to cover, and the mentor's role are very very very limited. Sometimes, we don't need to talk for the whole IS. After 4pm, there is the Meditation Course from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Still hard to believe that I am the only one going from SPS. Maybe it is determined that I will not have a truly good spiritual friend from SPS who is also an avid Buddhist? Haiz... Now that the meditation course had finished, there is now a writing course by Jay Bernard 5-7pm, teaching us how to make poetry. It was she who introduced me to NaNoWriMo, moving me to write the novel I am writing now in a month. That is sooooo coooL! I must thank her later on today.

Then on Thursday, there an SPS meeting with Quang's group from 8-10am. After that, I come back to Utown and have the Cyberarts Class from 2-6pm. After the class, I go for Exploring Buddhism from 6:30pm-8pm. Met Kaellyn there too, who was doing research on Buddhism. This time around, the people attending it varies. A lot. This coming week, there will be a presentation on 100 years star ship. Amazing topic to attend by the Random Walks in Science too!

Friday, morning 10-11am Japanese tutorial C. I was getting used to memorizing the script 15 minutes before class. The rest of the day is free. I usually waste this day way until the fortnightly Dharma Circle, and sometimes I joined in the new MC's meeting, disrupting it a lot. So I do not wish to join in anymore of their meetings. Next up are the weekends.

My weekends are so varied. I think it is from the London experience, that I went for SPS NOC camp with Hannah once, and then gone to help Bro. Piya move the Minding Centre to a cheaper place with Katie, and also helped out NUSBS 33rd MC retreat, joining in a Meditation group that is super good and conducive, joined in Tzu Ching's activity, FGS Musical Night, IRCC, SBYM, Buddhist Youth Leaders Network, Fo Guang Shan Youth Dharma Camp, sleeping early, going to my uncle's home to visit my grandparents who were there at that time, visiting my fellow residential faculty's home or just spending most of the time at SPS, doing various stuffs. Stuffs that I usually do. Homework, dramas, socializing, missing someone... etc...

So that's about it. Upcoming is SPS Congress. Looking forward to the end of this semester and the beginning of my new life as an author. And I'm applying to MIT too. And Utown is really getting to be really nice! I'm loving it, despite it being so expensive. Look for more information about weekly and daily differences in facebook!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

FGS Musical Night 2011

I just came back from it and you’re going to get a real treat of pictures!

IMG_3899

First time I went to One Marina Boulevard and it was very cool! See the two girls in green over there?

IMG_3900

They guided me towards the Auditorium at level 7.

 

Going up the glass lifts:

IMG_3901

I got my free ticket from FGS, thanks to Nelson! There’s even my name at the back!

IMG_3904

IMG_3905

IMG_3902

There’s Hui Juan there too! Nicely showing me my seat.

 

IMG_3903

A lot of people!

 

IMG_3908IMG_3909IMG_3910

Performance started:

IMG_3911

These are little kids, 18 to 3 years old!

IMG_3912

And a cool dance below!

IMG_3913

I slept through the opening speech by the Guest of Honour, but for the performances, I was perked up.

The schedule started with Talking all that Jazz by FGS Youthians Dharma Class.

Then it’s the Welcome Speech by Ven. Jue Cheng, Abbess of Fo Guang Shan (Singapore/Malaysia), the same one in the Youth Dharma Camp!

The Guest of Honour…Dr. Janil Puthucheary, member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

Then I perked up for the video: vision of FGS Education and started to wear my glasses to read the things there. Not only has FGS University, it is going back down, to produce Sec, Primary and Kindergartens!

Finally the Sole Mio, by Harmonica and Electone solo. A nice starting of sunshine, followed by “Give” and “Appreciate Life” by FGS Children Dharma Class, Youthians Dharma Class and the Electone. The lyrics was super touching. It made me think of giving without expecting anything in return. Which should be my attitude towards all my friends. Non-conditional giving, non-conditional leading to non-attachments. And during the Lyrics for the second song, I realised how nice it was to be mindful of gratitude not just once per day (which is my current project in facebook, peer influenced by Carmen and Tiong Han…) but during every moment of waking life. It just touches me until I was crying… crying because I was appreciating the good things I have… the good friends that I have.

Then there’s 三好歌 by the little kids (18 months to 3 years old) you see above! I am really really impressed on the effectiveness of the Dharma on those kids that you can see directly with your own eyes.

The coolest thing of Harmonica performance, showing Baby Elephant Walk! Now I know the old baby shampoo with elephant song. Thanks to Singapore Broadway Harmonica Ensemble.

Jackson Teo, (cool singer of the old-type songs) sang 2 songs next. First one was about his love towards his wife. The lyrics is that he would choose her again in his next life. This is a very beautiful, cool love song that all couples should know! The second song is about Longing for Consolation, singing out the frustration of being not in love and placing hope on the pretty girl.

Next is the Children Dharma Class you see above, with a Dance Performance. Singing Gratitude Song. I cried again. It was soooo good. Touched, and finally knowing how to appreciate myself, to know and to tell myself that I appreciate how hard it is to keep me on being good, to make me adopting good habits. (Tai Chi, Meditation, doing homework, and Writing, early sleeping, early waking up, one good deed per day, one wise quote per day, one thing to be grateful about everyday, to not get angry easily, to be able to appear calm, no matter what deadlines I am facing, never showing stress on my face, to keep on supporting NUSBS, to keep on being normal, and not acting weird or crazy like last time, to be able to keep track of myself, not going overboard by cursing and shouting in anger and despair or falling in love again, not even in the slightest bit, in facing, almost everyday, the girl that rejected me, to be able to smile no matter what…, to be able to resist flirting with the other girls…) All these are not easy. And I appreciate how hard it has been for me. I forgive myself for the occasional slip and the temptation of the dark side to win over being so strong. I am placing a strict condition on myself. I am training myself very hard. Kudos for being able to keep on training and keep on being sane and not go weird people out. Kudos for juggling so much and yet remain relatively ok. I love you, myself. Thank you.

I was still full of tears when the 20 minutes intermission was announced.

IMG_3914IMG_3915

I hadn’t had dinner, so I scooped all these up! Haha thankful for them too! Found out that these were for VIPs later on, well, no one else was taking them anyway… I took 2 full plates. The amazing thing was that Ven. Jue Cheng recognised me! She got me to sit behind the VIPs and I didn’t speak much, mouth was too full of stuffs to stuff in.

A lot of FGS people recognise me too, and me getting used to seeing them more often now.

Came in a bit late later on, I came into the HNHK Harmonica Orchestra. Playing Ju Hua Tai, Romantic Guitar and Sway. All beautifully done and nicely captivating. I swayed along during Sway!

 IMG_3916

Then the Fo Guang FanYue Choir came and joined in, making this a wonderful way of singing with the Harmonica group. Kindle was nice, but I really like 佛光山之歌 where I sang along. Listened to it so many times now that I really really enjoy singing along!

IMG_3917IMG_3918

While keeping it all up, there was a girl who shared how the Dharma has changed her life. It was soooo nice and touching.. I think I cried here too.

And then they saved the best for the last: Pei Jie, a Malaysian singer of Buddhist Songs!

IMG_3919

We last saw him in the Youth Dharma Camp, and now he’s back with the exact same style of music presentation. The clapping, the talking, cheering, the joking, the asking us to sing along. The songs even! Haha. So I really can follow him through. Song of “Three Acts of Kindness”, Journey Medley, and Eyes.

 IMG_3920

Ok I cried again. Remembering the gratitude towards my parents and opening up my heart during Eyes… I can’t help but to sing along and cry. The ending was cool, they use this song as a backdrop while everyone who performed got on stage and sang the last few lines.IMG_3921

IMG_3922IMG_3923IMG_3924IMG_3925IMG_3926IMG_3927

There was a surprise ending where while everyone was on stage, the Venerables sang tribute to the Triple Gems song.

Then it was a good end. Venerable Jue Cheng even commented to them that it was a good job, and that they should come again, after completing homework requirements to join in FGS stuffs!

I met one of the FGS Presidents and he was telling me about this new idea, of TIBS and YAD to join in the IRCC and show the Nation how TIBS has a bigger role in Singapore. It will give the much needed publicity and attraction for people to know and join in the TIBS as we desperately need more manpower! Hope that the TIBS are able to do it!

IMG_3930

And at the ending scene, I got to buy 2 original CDs from Pei Jie and Jackson. Got their autographs too! image201110300001

 

image201110300002

 

image201110300003

Then as I was walking back, the group of Venerables were driving past and offered to drop me off at one of the MRT stations, City Hall. Venerable Jue Cheng indeed did recognised me… Haha.

So now I’m here, finishing this blog post and lovely captured most of it. Done.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Advices for people going to UK

Hi,

It seems that I've an entirely different reason to post online so often now. Loneliness.

Oh what shall I talk about this time? This becomes kinda like chatting with an old buddy. Just that the world is my friend. Part of metta? For sharing it all out?

Well, since I've some topics I want to settle and post about anyway, might as well start with the United Kingdom.

I've just recently came back from the UK and thus I should be able to recall all the things that I did in UK... and give them as advices.

First things first. It is expensive in the UK.

The biggest currency around, pounds. The most expensive things, I think is the food. Convert it back to Sing dollar, you'll need to times by 2, back to Malaysian Ringgit, you'll need to times by 5. And a typical sandwich can cost 2 pounds, with a minimal of 5 pounds to get a decent meal. Fast food seems to be the ones that is almost the same after you convert it, but it is much cheaper compared to the others. The food over at France is even more expensive!

However, since the currency is so big, other stuffs looks much much cheaper there. Books costs less than 10 pounds, having lots of discounts a lot of the time, with yard sales going as low as 1 pound or even 50 pence (decimal system)! Electronic stuffs looks much cheaper there too, numerically. I've brought my Nintendo DSi there with 3 Pokemon games!

The cheapest stuffs there has got to be Primark's. Also there’s the 20% VAT refund that one should get. It comes with an admin charge and only refunded in the airport, within 3 months of departure, and you can’t go back to UK for at least a year. So buy a lot of expensive stuffs, electronics etc, make it all in one bill, then it’s very very worth it to get the refund. The admin charge is per receipt.

Soooooo…… here are some tips to save on $$$$$

  • Bring a rice cooker: you can cook anything inside a rice cooker, from rice, to porridge, to noodles, to even stir-fry it (takes longer). Buy the small, one person size rice cooker to bring to UK. Reduce the amount of clothes you’re bringing. One week’s worth is good enough, the others, do laundry there. You’ll save 1-2 pounds per meal, and it adds up to a lot. I average about 1 pound per meal, cooking non-meat meals, and to any amount that I like. Sometimes bloated full.
  • Walk to most of the places: If you’re in London or Cambridge or Bristol, then the city/town is small and you can walk to most places in the vicinity to get your food, entertainment, and to the train or bus station that brings you to other parts of the UK. However, if you’re travelling from the Airport to the place you live, it is recommended that you go for the tube/local buses for the first time, especially with all those heavy luggage. If you Cab, you’ll incur a very very very heavy fare. Heavy especially if you count in the exchange rate. Tubing in London, you’ll need an Oyster card. It gives you discounts and thus it is worth it. For the Tubes in London, the fare is counted by Zones. Zone 1 is within the centre of the centre in London, flat fare throughout. So don’t tube if your destination is just 2-4 stations away, cause the distance from one station to another is so near that it is soooo not worth it to take the tube for that short distance. If you’re tubing from one end of Zone 1 to another, then it is worth it to take the Tube, and then walk the 2.5 hour walk (if you know the general direction) back to your starting point).
  • Book and Plan every weekend very early on if you plan to go for sightseeing on weekends. The buses are cheaper the earlier you book it. I booked a 42 pounds bus that goes overnight to Paris to and fro. The bus boards on ferry in the middle and then continues on to France. (Warning, you don’t get to sleep much, and don’t just give one weekend to Paris, give a week! Paris is a bit more smelly than London too, for not covering their drains.) If you drag on the bus buying thing to that day itself, then… Be prepared to pay about 5-20 times more the price that you could had have if you buy it online weeks earlier.
  • Have a credit card to be able to pay for stuffs online. It is really convenient to shop for tickets online. And many other stuffs too, they’ll just ship it to a UK address for free or some fee. (I got Pokemon Soul Silver shipped to me for free from GAME.uk and a free earphone that I’ve to pay the shipping fee of 3 pounds.) Also apply for the Sainsbury card or Tesco Card and keep on collecting the points for the groceries that you shop for. You can redeem the points nicely. Plus do bring your own plastic bag/ environmental bag, for they give extra points for that!

Secondly, travelling.

Megabus is one of the cheapest bus you can get. However, only National express has the trip from London to Paris. So go to their website and do your research well. Trains are almost always more expensive and less of a price variable. For Birmingham, the International Airport is directly connected to the train station that connects to the rest of UK and also the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) where Pokemon National Championship event had been held before. It is not the same as the main Birmingham City, so there’s some travelling involved. Bus or train, find it out online.

For Bristol, the main city is Bristol University. Not any other University. So do not stop and get down randomly anywhere. Always bring your handphone, camera and the charger for both too anywhere you go. Lest you become like me, who got low battery in my handphone and almost got lost in Bristol.

Next in Cambridge, the maps are nice to read, and the whole city’s the University, so do know which place you’re staying in and take your time to read the map, photograph it if needed. For Paris, their train is insanely low tech near the edge of Paris. You should press a button and lift the catch to the door to be open when it arrives at the station. Some station doesn’t even have a ticketing pass, so some of the people could had ride for free. Just don’t get caught.

Walk to the bus station first before you’re supposed to go there on the first day that you use the bus station for travelling. Especially in London, the Victoria train station is not directly connected to the Victoria Coach station, they are near, but not so near. (Made me miss one bus over that point, Bristol) So do walk there before boarding it for the first time. Record the time you need to walk there and then plan to reach there at least half an hour before departure. Just in case. For the London-Paris Bus, reach at least 1 hour before, or else you’ll be wasting so much more pounds. They’ll need to verify your ticket and passport and therefore you should not reach there at 9:55pm for a 10pm bus. (Like I did, and I made it for the 11pm bus, luckily there’s a 11pm bus! Paris) Also remember to bring your printed or mailed tickets to your trip. Not just the to, but also the back. (Not like me, forgetting to bring my back tickets…, having to rebuy it. Birmingham) So do buy your own ticket, you’ll feel more ownership and therefore will not likely to forget about it.

There’s also the bike for hire, Barclays in London. Do use it for one day (needs credit card) for one pound and save the walking time. But remember to dock in every 30 minutes or else get charged extra.

Thirdly, Safety:

Do not move out of your dwelling at night. Drunk people hang out at night and drunk people are scary. Not that they might steal/rob you but they most probably will shout at you. Be cool, avoid eye contact, be in a group and then you’re cool. But better not to hang out after 9 or 10pm. It’s not as safe as Singapore. Oh ya, and riots can happen suddenly. I just left the day before the riots would had stroke at the place I would go to.

Be aware of the people in bright daylight too. Especially those that dressed with a bright vest. It doesn’t mean that they are the authorities and thus trust-worthy. Don’t borrow money to anyone. Give it to a begger if you want, but don’t borrow money, not even when they offer you to keep their car keys, flash their identity card on you, etc… (20 pounds gone because of that, not upset, but still, worth to be vigilant ).

Don’t simply talk to strangers too, they are generally bigger sized than you are and thus may physically do some strange things that are not of Asian culture (rude even in our culture) so, until we got used to the Western culture, don’t simply talk and reveal of your tourist nature.

Fourthly, Weather:

It’s cold. No kidding cold. Even in Summer you’ll need jackets that are thicker than what you are used to wear in aircon rooms (even SPS room). Imagine Winter. Dreaded cold. Wear an inner vest, 2-3 layers of T-shirt, a thick, winter jacket, long enough scarf, and thick gloves, thick jeans, thick socks, good shoes, etc… and then you might feel just a bit cold outside. I dunno, dreading winter now. Haiz…


Also as a side note, Imperial College London has a Science Fiction Library and a Buddhist Society! Get to join them when you’re in Imperial! That’s all from me now. Have a nice trip to UK! Feel free to add a comment if you think I missed out something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chasing girls algorithm (What kind of wanna-be-lover are you?)

Here's an algorithm for chasing girls, I generally adhere to this. However, I rarely get to use it now, not wanting a girlfriend. Not that I ever did got one. Ok let's concentrate on the moves:
  • Find a girl, it should be someone you can talk to. A celebrity whom you got very little chance to meet out of the question then.
  • Talk to the girl, it should lead you to be able to talk to her again. So a one time talk to a pretty lady who's queuing behind you for food in the canteen doesn't count. Not if you can't get her phone no. or learn that you are in the same class/work/society/interest as her. A girl you meet regularly can count!
  • Be friends with the girl. Not just facebook friend, real friend as in you can be comfortable with each other, not having the nervous thinking of "what does she like?", "should I say/do this or that to impress her?" Be a friend with her for at least one year, to get to know her personality, habits and character from the idle talks you'll have as friends. Don't steer the conversation to one point or another just to gather the information, it'll be too forced and fake.
  • Make sure the girl is single and available. As in she doesn't have a boyfriend or a husband. Someone else chasing her doesn't count, well, unless you are have too low a self esteem. In fact, you should know this sometime in the first few meetings with her. It's to make sure you don't waste time and energy on something unethical. Also available is a key word. If she's single and do not wish to have a relationship, then you may melt her heart with your sincerity or wait until she is ready. Of course, you can remain friends with her if she has another significant one, just don't harbour second thoughts about her. Do not even think of a way to make her single again. She'll hate you for it once she finds out.
From this point on, it's more of a preference style, I'll tell you my style.
  1. Observe to see if the girl likes you more than a friend. If so, she might drops hints to you that a normal friend who's also a girl would not. So it's important to have more than one friend who is a girl. Sorry if it sound very manipulative. If there are those hints, start asking her out for more personal dates, instead of just hanging out with other mutual friends.
  2. If the girl doesn't drops hints, you can. See if she picks it up and respond. If she still treats you like normal, just start asking her out on personal dates then. Make her fall in love with you, etc... and then eventually, when the mood is right, confess. In confessing, be ready for rejection and acceptance. Remember, rejection means you can still be friends, if you don't make it too awkward to remain friends, but you'll have to root out the feelings you have for her, or else it'll be suffering on your part, and your friendship may suffer too, if you have a moment of weakness and broke the trust of "just friends". And acceptance maybe a worst fate. Acceptance means there's only 2 possible path from then on: Marriage or breakup. Of course marriage is not happily ever after, but requires constant effort to keep the relationship strong and healthy. A breakup is just a stronger version of rejection, with deeper attachments comes deeper hurts. Especially if you have to meet her again, almost everyday. You'll have to find something that is neutral to say and redefine the relationship to friends, which is not easy if you're used to being intimate with her. Sometimes the things you see might remind you of happier times in the past, it might make you realise that there'll be no way this will happen in the future again, therefore causing sorrow. Or you'll desire for the relationship to be salvaged and saved, and if you don't handle it well and solve the incompatibility that caused the breakup in the first place, then it is just making things worse.
  3. If for any reason, you do not wish to have a girlfriend, just ignore the hints that the girl drops for you, and do not initiate any hint dropping yourself. This is important so that you do not send mixed signals to the girl and avoid possible rejections that you'll have to otherwise do.
Also for a bit more details:
  1. I take the words of a girl literally, so if you say you're busy when I asked you out, I'll assume you're really busy. If you do that for each of the 20 times I asked you out, then I'll infer that you really don't like to hang out with me.
  2. If you really want me, but is just playing hard to get, giving the same excuses, I'll not be able to infer the hard to get part, and take it the same as point 1.
  3. I fall in love too easily. Just put me together with a pretty girl that I fancied, and I'll be trying to flirt with her within a few hours.
  4. I like to give the girl the authority and leadership role in defining the relationship. This is because I respect the girl's feelings and would not force anything that she doesn't like onto her.
  5. I do not have the courage to initiate holding hands with a girl even on a date due to point 4.
  6. When I chase a girl, I kept on asking for tips from various sources, therefore keeping an inconsistent standards of which is what on a relationship scale. One should have a consistent standard for which stage of the relationship is suitable for which actions to take. As a result, I mistook the action of giving a stuff bear as an acceptable close friends action, when it is inferred differently from the other side.
  7. I do tend to be shameless in asking questions like "do you like me?", "is this a date?", "what are we?". However, I tend to be shy to voice it out too, especially when I sense that this will be damaging to the friendship that we have.
Lastly, I do wish that parents would pass this kinda information on to their children before the child gets their hormones fired up to want to seek a significant other. Hmm... maybe with examples too. That would be very helpful instead of just a general guideline: be yourself, be friend with the girl first... Aye, and since you're not my child, I'm not sharing my examples here.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grateful 2

IMG_3620

2:
I'm grateful for the hospitality of Martin Henz and family for the open house today!
Good deeds done: mentioned NUSBS to a Cambodian exchange student.
Wise words: Go check out your future university before deciding to go there and study.
Meditation: yet to do
Writing: none
Homework: none
Tai Chi: nope, didn't do.

Grateful 1

 

IMG_3613

1:
I am grateful for Tzu Ching's wonderful event every 2nd and 4th Saturday night at Pasir Ris. It's my first time attending the event!
Good deeds done: Listen and learn more about the Dharma, Buddhism in Action.
Wise words: Even those who are interested in Buddhism needs the right conditions and encouragements to come and then to continue on.
Meditation: didn't do...
Writing: none
Homework: none
Tai Chi: nope, didn't do.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Intervarsity Youth Leadership Dharma Camp


The Intervarsity Youth Leadership Dharma Camp was held at Fo Guang Shan (FGS) on the 24th and 25th September 2011, after much preparation work by the Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Buddha Light International Association Singapore. NUSBS, NTUBS, NYPBS, SIMBB, NPBS joined in. The idea started a few months before, back to around February 2011.

FGS was inviting representatives from the various Tertiary Institution Buddhist Society (TIBS) in Singapore to come together for a tea in FGS to discuss about a camp that they were planning and wishes to invite the TIBS to make this part of our integral activity. That's the reason they invited us, the Presidents/Vice Presidents of the TIBS to come and be part of the organisers. My initial feelings for this is that this is too much, first Camp Lions, then Awaken Challenge, now comes this which involves the TIBS. Even through we have a Public Relations Director, it is too taxing for NUSBS (at least) to be able to send people to attend these events. Then, as I see that they are quite determined and made lots of preparations for this camp, including having the camp conducted in English, designing the T-shirt of the Camp (done by Nanyang Poly Buddhist Society), and making it free and just for 2 days, as well as asking us to put in the activities we want to be in there to make the camp ours too, and not something that is thrown in from outside. As I saw all that, I decided to suggest that we put in a leadership training and structural sharing inside it.

I've been to lots of AGMs/Anniversary/ Investiture of the all 6 of the TIBS now, and I've gathered enough maturity during the 1 year+ time I was going to all these to see that we can all benefit from each other's sharing of how we run our society. We all have the same structure of the Management Committee lasting only for 1 year, and we all have to study besides running the society. What came as a problem is our different schedules. We discussed about which is the best time to have this 2 days camp over a weekend to be. We happened to have stumbled upon holidays, avoiding exams and finally fixing it on September, after the AGM of NUSBS, NTUBS and NYPBS (all 3 would had relatively new MCs for 1-3 months). This is good too, to let the new MCs of the TIBS to get to know the people from other TIBS, to know that they are not alone in handling all these workload, and to train them up in terms of management skills, and structural sharing so that things can change immediately if required.

So the initial plan was for everyone in the MC of every TIBS to come together and have this camp. However, perhaps I was too harsh on NUSBS's side that I let the weekend be the end of our recess week (bad timing, as people tend to want to still study during this weekend and the previous 7 days wasn't enough), to fit in with everyone else. At least 3 other MC members in NUSBS stayed overnight, 8 MC came to the camp, making it 10 from NUSBS in total.

Well, then we had a meeting about once every 2 months from then on. I just missed one of the meetings there. (It was at Punggol, and I didn't mind the travelling distance) Still, I hadn't done the calligraphy over there yet. There was some effort from YAD (main organiser for the camp) to include the TIBS as facilitators and we even had a facilitator training. However, the facilitator from YAD themselves are more than sufficient in handling the camp. This is what I think can be improved on in the camp: How to involve more of the facilitators from the TIBS?

For the camp itself, in order to cater for the English speaking, they had 4-5 venerable specially flown into Singapore from various parts of the world to come and be our facilitator. Before that, I proposed for the TIBS to send in slides of how each Buddhist Society works, and we all did. I send in NUSBS's one for reference. It contains no picture, but there wasn't initiative to put them in from the latter people. And the venerable had a short briefing of what TIBS (that's our slides) is on Friday night before the camp itself and the venerable are not even familiar with Singapore and our situations! That is what I call as dedicated, super, nice, and cool. One of the YAD commented that the Venerable are really really good, in teaching, facilitating and everything. Looking back now, I think I agree too, there wasn't much of a constrain even with venerable handling most of the events. They let us talk enough!

Well, let's skip to the camp then. NUSBS and NTUBS booked a bus together to get to FGS, we had a good time interacting in the bus! I was, as always, the social mixer... We arrived early, earlier than 8:30am, the time for reporting. And so we had a good breakfast! I was amazed at NYPBS to bring 16 people to there! We were separated into 8 different groups, each containing about 10 people.

We participated in morning chanting, and had the Buddhist society: roles and responsibility talk first up. The conference room was just awesome! I like the style of the venerable conducting it, prompting us to think about our duties and then go back to the basic. That's the message for this activity: back to Dharma. Back to why are we doing this, why are we promoting Buddhism? It is to practise the Dharma. Even after Uni, even after we go back to our own countries, even after the year ends, and we step down from the MC. To let go. We even had a game session where we partner up and then say good things about our partner. It was easy for me. Too easy. Well there's a saying of Do good deeds, say good words, have good intentions. 做好事,说好话,存好心。Also we had a game where we grab the right thumb of our partner with our left hand and then try to grab the right thumb of our partner with our left hands. It teaches us to reflect: are we more focused on grabbing or on letting go. For me, I am more of being ignorant until the things had happened and then I see that I can't grab my partner's thumb (use her body to block me). I had to let go later on, because it becomes too hard, too not worthwhile seeking on, and time was running out.

The next activity is Buddhist Etiquette. It was nothing much I haven't learned before. However, I do relearn how to do a Mahayana half-bow, full prostration, and the FGS style of eating. This style of eating is to be brought over to our next session: luncheon. We had a chanting before the lunch, slow chant at that, but it was over within 10 minutes. I think it maybe even 5. Well, anyway, the eating style is that we get to have one main plate for dishes, one rice bowl and one soup bowl with only chopsticks. We had to eat in noble silence, and make as little noise as possible. First, we had to move the main plate to our front, and move the rice bowl from the right to the left, the soup bowl from the left to the right, criss-crossing them. And finish up all the food! I asked for more (by putting them back to original position). This is an efficient eating method, especially for hundreds, or thousands of people eating together at the same time. It lets us finish within half an hour. Also trains on our mindfulness.

After eating, we had some free time, where we see where are each of us going for the individual group sharing. Most of us had a temple tour, grouping by our Buddhist Societies. I do think that this can be improved upon, it should had been by the 8 groups of the camp. And later on, we had a good meditation session. Walking meditation first, followed by a sitting meditation. The teaching was nice, my meditation... not so good, still can't concentrate immediately, Meditation was from 1-2pm. Then the group sharing sessions began!

The group sharing is one of the best features of the camp! It features 5 groupings:
  1. Presidents/Vice Presidents, with focus on how to lead the society,
  2. Secretary/Welfare: Admin
  3. Treasurer: Finance
  4. Dharma/Public Relations: How to attract people
  5. Events/Publicity: How to improve events
Each groupings discusses on the problems and shares on the solutions. The venerable who facilitate each small group were very good too! They managed to give lots of relevant ideas and solutions for our problems. I was in the Secretary session as there wasn't a representative from NUSBS. In our group discussions, we shared on finance, membership, admin, interfaith, publicity, events, etc...It was a rather fruitful discussion from our end. The other groups shared lots of things too, the full minutes are complied by FGS, and will be send out soon.

Now the time has come for the Tea Zen session. It was the first time for me to use such a minimalistic design for making tea. Nice. Mindfulness during the whole process, of warming up the tea cups, cleaning the tea leaves, brewing for 40 seconds, pouring to the other tea pot, pouring into 2 cups for ourselves. Then the tasting tea part is to sip and breath out, sip and immerse your mouth with the tea, and then the 3rd sip is to feel the feeling of the tea going down our throat. I had a lousy time practising mindfulness then too. Haha. Too distracted. Well, we get to pour into the next 2 cups to exchange and share with our neighbours, left and right. Well the problem is that, we get to do the whole process 3 times. So by the second time, the cups would had already been contaminated by saliva... Oh well I didn't mind. (Strange for me, as I am sensitive to no saliva sharing.) Oh and before doing it for the 3rd time, we get to meditate a bit. I got to cool down and relax a bit too. This is to see what do we feel, tasting the tea after calming down a bit more.

We had the power point presentation sharing of our individual Buddhist Societies after that. That's really cool. Each person are given 3+2? minutes of sharing on their whole Buddhist Society. History, Objectives, Events, MC structure, problems, and solutions found. Really felt nice about this session. Mostly about this session! Haha. Dinner was afterwards, with the same style.

Then it's movie time! The movie was really nice! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113089/ Fluke (1995), explores about Karma and living life to the fullest. Letting go and the danger of greed, hatred and ignorance. The movie was 96 minutes long, and we had a 45 minutes good discussion afterwards with the venerable in charge of this. Cool one I say. Currently ranked the best activity so far. Really really nice analysis of the film in the lens of Buddhism. We all enjoyed it tremendously.

Next up is the candle light ceremony where it involves candles, chanting, offerings etc. The highlight of this I think is when we read Master Hsing Yun's night prayer. It was long and meaningful. Nicely composed overall, don't remember much other than these. Then it's supper time/shower time! Oh and before that, we had a photo session because 5 of NUSBS are leaving to go back to school to study and 4 of NUSBS are staying back. Good photo shoot!


Now on to supper time! I had a very nice chat with a few good people talking until very late... and then the next morning, we had a splendid breakfast, after a good morning chanting. We also cleaned up our sleeping quarters and getting ready for the next session, which is the sharing of the individual group discussions!

Then there was a session on Humanistic Buddhism? I wasn't paying much attention here, too sleepy...

And after that...we gone down and waved hello to the usual crowd of Sunday morning people, which is a lot I saw for FGS, nice... and then lunch. Finally we have some group structure, following the group to lunch and chatting with our respective groups! The next one is an introduction to Buddhist Hymns, and we had Buddhist Hymns songs, featuring a singer/composer who flew in from Malaysia just for this session! He grabbed every single minute he has! Austin Woo of Circle Media Group. Really nice songs! Speaks Chinese to the masses, so we had some fun time listening to the translation. I ranked this as the best so far now. FGS even gave us a copy of the songs CD & DVD each (that's right, 1 CD & 1 DVD)! AMazinG!

Next up, we had a 8 realisations of the great beings, http://www.drewking.com/8Great.htm. It was one of the best Dharma lessons, deeply making us spiritual! Ranked higher than the songs.

A tea break.

Now the cool stuffs starts to come in. 1 representative from each Buddhist Society comes up to the front, the panel discussion and we are to present on what's the future direction of our each Buddhist Societies. 3 Presidents came up, NUSBS was represented by me, NPBS by Angela. After some talk by the Venerable to wrap up the sharing session earlier on, there was a video of the new University by Fo Guang Shan. And then we all shared. I stated that I am just an ordinary member now, ex-VP, and therefore no power to set any new future direction for NUSBS, so I shared on NUSBS's 3 goals for this year:
  1. Grow in Dharma Knowledge amongst the MC.
  2. Maintain current active members, increase 20 more new faces as active members by the end of this year.
  3. New avenue of getting Dharma Knowledge.
After I shared, they asked me if I feel the umpt of these goals. I say, I'll support the MC as an active member and senior. Then the others shared. It is nice to see everyone going nicely forward!

And then before it all ends, I took the mike and shared on the long term goals of TIBS which I think we can decide upon, since we were all there then.

Long term goals for the next 10 years:
  1. To have the ex-committee members of all TIBS to continue contribute in any arena of Buddhist work even after graduation.
  2. To have the TIBS to be well managed, well financed, well publicised, events organised to be smooth and slick.
  3. All members of TIBS to be exposed to a good Dharma learning.
  4. TIBS and other Buddhist Organisations work together, so that the youths who are studying in any TI joins in TIBS, and then after graduation joins back the Buddhist Organisation to continue to contribute. (solves manpower shortage problem)
  5. Membership double every 5 years. (to address the declining Buddhist in Singapore)
  6. Active membership more than 50%.

Vision: Strong Buddhist Community, at least at TIBS level.

Short term goal (1 year)
  1. Get SPBS in the next Intervarsity Youth Dharma Camp,
  2. TIBS meditation retreat
  3. Sharing on the Standard Operating Procedure, list of temples, list of speakers, how to organise specific activities/events etc....
  4. Keep current membership pool. (not to reduce)
Then the camp ends, we got some cool souvenirs, NTUBS gives cheer, we all sing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WwafquXxUk Harmonize, and Charlie called for a cheer! Then we all eat steamboat and gone back. Discussions to be continued on facebook.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Samyutta nikaya 37 Connected discourses on Women:1& 2

1. Agreeable and disagreeable (1)

Bhikkhus, when a woman possesses five factors she is extremely disagreeable to a man. What five? She is not beautiful, not wealthy, not virtuous, she is lethargic, and she does not beget children. When a woman possesses these five factors she is extremely disagreeable to a man.

Bhikkhus, when a woman possesses five factors she is extremely agreeable to a man. What five? She is beautiful, wealthy, virtuous, she is clever and industrious, and she begets children. When a woman possesses these five factors she is extremely agreeable to a man.

2. Agreeable and disagreeable (2)

Bhikkhus, when a man possesses five factors he is extremely disagreeable to a woman. What five? He is not handsome, not wealthy, not virtuous, he is lethargic, and he does not beget children. When a man possesses these five factors he is extremely disagreeable to a woman.

Bhikkhus, when a man possesses five factors he is extremely agreeable to a woman. What five? He is handsome, wealthy, virtuous, he is clever and industrious, and he begets children. When a man possesses these five factors he is extremely agreeable to a woman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ever felt that life is just perfect?

I hadn't felt like this for almost a year now. Ah... such a nice feeling. Yet attached to this feeling I must not. Continue to live a balanced life, in the present moment I must.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Updates on my life

Hey guys and gals,

It has been a while since I've updated about my life here.

After coming back from the UK, I've been loving the things I've bought there. Pokemon games, Sonic screwdriver of Doctor Who, my red leather shoes, etc....

I've also selected 3 modules to enjoy other than my Final Year Project.
LAJ1201 JAPANESE 1
SSA2218/TS2238 SINGAPORE FILM : PERFORMANCE OF IDENTITY
UAR2201 CYBERART
PC4199 HONOURS PROJECT IN PHYSICS

These are my official modules. However, due to various other commitments, I've got a lot of other stuffs in my IVLE now.

SPS mentorship:
SP2171 DISCOVERING SCIENCE
SP2173 ATOMS TO MOLECULES
SP3173 INDEPENDENT STUDY MODULE

USP residential college (at Cinnamon College, Utown)
URC1013 USP Residential College Floors 10-13
USPRWS Random Walks in Science (new cool USP stuffs)

Previous commitment, now not anymore.... The one I missed the most... Haha.
NUSBS2010 NUSBS

So 10 modules up there in IVLE, just when I am feeling the slackest.... The most I had was 8 modules up there when I took 7 and a half modules. This breaks the record!

CAP: confirmed Second Class Upper. Sadly, but it's worth the fun. I still didn't choose to rerun. Double sadly? I shouldn't make NUSBS too dependent on me. I should let go. That's what I tell myself at least. Even through it is not entirely true.

Believe me, I've entertained this possibility, even wanted to make people persuade me to do it. But I didn't. I controlled myself, told people I don't want to run, make up various bunch of excuses and stuffs to make myself and others around me not to persuade me to rerun. I needed to stop. I needed to get out. The truth is I needed more space and time for myself to heal. Am still healing. Am still glad that I didn't rerun.

A lot of times when I interact with the Management Committee or go to the weekly activities, I see a lot of things that should have been done better, a lot of people that should have been there. These times makes me sad, and glad that I didn't run (again), but also makes me realize that I am placing too high a standard on them... possibly. That I should back up and not interfere again. Again and again. It's kinda like breaking up (although I've never experienced it before, not properly) in a relationship.... there are times when I feel like getting it back again. Many terrible times when I miss the good old, interesting, cool, vibrant, door to my best buddies: The nusbs email.

Tonight marks the start of their first MC retreat. I would have loved to be in there. Would have given a lot of things to be there. To share in their deepest secret, desire, wish, motivation, together. However, sadly I am not part of the 33rd Management Committee, I am not going to interfere with their bonding session. I am putting a closure to this. An end to my previously "would have"s. There is no need for me to crave for something that I cannot get. To attach to that craving too. No need to suffer more, again.

That's about all for now. I'll be able to talk much more freely here again from now on. What a nice feeling! Anything you want me to say, just comment.