Life is better than death. Love; greater than either…


Newtown Shootings – Thoughts From The Opposite Of The World
15 December, 2012, 10:28 am
Filed under: Love, Online news, People, Thoughts

Good morning.

My body clock’s alarm rang and I stirred this morning round about 7am. Reached for my iPhone as usual to check the time and saw two notifications from the NY Times App which accelerated my ability to awake fully. “22 People Dead” it said, “Shooting in the US” – I clicked through the Notifications to read the full details of how a young man walked into a school his mother was teaching in, shot his mother, shot her very young students, shot the Principal and other members of staff, before taking his own life.

This is nothing short of a tragedy.

As I reeled from the effects of the journalistic words of the NY Times article, I, like you, started thinking of reasons this could have happened. Was the young man’s mother overworked? Did he hate his mother for not being there for him? Did he misunderstand that his the care and attention that she showed her students brings home the bacon? Why are there still guns in public spaces in America? Is America the only Western Democracy to still allow weapons that freely? What are the solutions, if any, that can be deployed in this instance? An outright ban of weapons in the States? A witch-hunt of all young men whose mother teaches kindergarten?

As my mind raced ahead and came back to explore different rabbit holes of thinking, and raced ahead again, I have two solid points I keep coming back to:

1. Archaic Rules

The right to bear arms, I understand through my 30 years of experience watching Hollywood movies, is in the American Constitution. I bring you to the attention of (Wikipedia) why this amendment was made in the Constitution:

“In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

– deterring tyrannical government;
– repelling invasion;
– suppressing insurrection;
– facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
– participating in law enforcement;
– enabling the people to organize a militia system.

Besides “facilitating a natural right of self-defense” – I don’t see how carrying a handgun could, for example, deter a tyrannical government, or say repel an invasion in this day and age.

This, fundamentally, is an archaic rule for an archaic time. I am in no position to judge as I do not fully understand the workings of the American legal system, but, fundamentally, this, in my opinion, is an outdated ruling.

2. Weapons and Community

Another point I want to make is that weapons, if you want it to be effective, need to be owned and used in a safe, disciplined and regimented environment. The people of old (circa “right to bear arms” era) were bound by religious and cultural norms (not to say that that was particularly effective), martial arts students are bound by discipline and highly organised competition outlets of their power and skill, soldiers are trained to be highly respectful of their weapons and even gang members are bound by a strict code of conduct,. In all of these cases, access to a weapon is not given until the member of the particular community has reached a certain level of maturity and trust – sometimes taking decades of going through the checks and balances.

In modern life, these checks and balances are eroding. The family unit is breaking apart and there is minimal supervision given by parents. This is the fault of society and our own greed, culminating over the past century, addicted to accelerated growth. Being so engrossed in work, just to survive, is being used as an excuse by parents – “Day care will be good enough.” – “Surely the school will let me know when my child is misbehaving.” Sadly, when the warning bells sound, it might just be too late.

Do I think that guns are dangerous? Yes.
Do guns cut short people’s lives unnecessarily? Yes.

However, I don’t think that guns in itself are the problem here. If you take away the guns, there will be something else used – you don’t have to kill someone to take their life. What motivates a human being to murder another human being? Hate. Hate is the only thing that will motivate a person enough to even consider taking someone’s life. So if hate is the reason these shootings keep occurring  in whatever form it may be – hate of society, hate of “the system”, hate of people close to you, what is the solution?

Love
The opposite of hate. Love. Genuine love. Care. Concern. A genuine interest and desire to help, assist people. A selfless act, for the greater good. A sense of belonging, a sense of community and true communication – a sense of my voice matters in all this. A sense of contribution. A sense of actionable change, and a sense of, “Hey, I made this change happen.” These, and many others, acts and characteristics rooted in love, is the way forward.

This is the solution.



2011 So Far
7 May, 2011, 7:41 pm
Filed under: God, RanDom, Thoughts

Hello Blog!

A big thanks to Pam Song for encouraging me to start blogging again. My last post was in November and since then, many many things have happened. A lot of my time (and thought) have been spent at work and improving myself in my knowledge of both theoretical and practical elements of my work.

It’s been challenging at times but the company that I work for has always been open and extremely encouraging in my continued development. The people that I work for and work with have been extremely gracious and generous with both their words and actions. I have always been a firm believer that once you’re unhappy in your current job or career, you need to change it. We spend a substantial time at work and to be unhappy in your job is definitely most detrimental to both yourself and the company you’re working for – this will then feed a feedback cycle. The opposite is also true, the happier you are in your job (or any situation for that matter) the happier other people feel around you and the positive feedback cycle starts to manifest itself.

Spiritually, I have learnt the quiet power of prayer and how prayer needs to be the bedrock of your faith. Without prayer and indeed, focus, on God from a day-to-day basis, it is extremely easy, especially for young adults like myself, to lose sight of the spiritual ramifications of our actions. Everything in the world is shouting for us to forget about the spiritual realm, to focus on the now and the imminent; the foreseeable and the predictable. No rewards are given for actions done “in faith”, no accolades for speaking the future before inheriting it.

But the spiritual realm is the very thing that we need to think about, need to focus on and need to base our actions on. Without God, everything is meaningless.

Relationship wise, my now fiancée and myself are starting plans for a wedding early next year. We have set a date but pending the preparations, will start to slowly release the news to our friends and family. I proposed in February last year but the fiancée chose to slowly let the parents know. I did ask but only informally and never got a really definite answer. It’s tricky, its not like the movies where the guy meets the parents and asks for the hand of the daughter – movies like this do not reflect Asian family culture… at all.

Anyway, we’re now more set than ever to settle down in Sydney and doing all we can to work towards this goal.

I hope this little update appeases the blog-gods and I hope to start reviving the blog to reflect a more personal angle to my life – and to go back to my roots of compiling my blogs as an autobiography in the future 😉

Please leave a comment if you’re still reading this blog; if not do give me a Tweet and say hello.

Much love,
God bless.



Orphans
23 April, 2010, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Thoughts

I’ve had this idea of writing what it means to be an orphan few weeks back. I have no intention of offending anyone or whatever through this post; just wanna flesh out my ideas and see what other people might think about it.

I imagine a child going home after school and having no one to talk to about their day. No one to talk to about the conversation they had with the kid who sits next to them in class. Yes, there’s my guardian or grandparents or older sibling but no one really wants to hear that Jason got a new pencil case. Even if I told someone, what would they do? Parents instinctively provide the best for their children and want to setup their seeds to succeed in life. But not auntie, or grandpa or my guardian or the caretaker of the orphanage.

I’ve been to a few orphanages when I was younger, one in Sabah and one in KL, but the latter only to pick people up. You’ve seen the street children of India and the AIDS orphans of Africa. All these lives; no one to say, hey you know what? I’ll get you an even nicer pencil case than Jason’s. Nothing.

I guess for those of us who actually have parents or people who REALLY took care of us, we are blessed. Sometimes they call us Generation Y, sometimes they call us middle-class homes. Other times they call us spoilt brats – but for all the things we have we think of the things that we don’t have and how others go through life without it. I’m sure they cope and they find other outlets but the fact of the matter is its not natural and very real for some people; this emptiness – the void of a parental voice/guidance – genuine in love and generosity.

But of course, there’s always the flipside of the coin – there are some of us who CHOOSE not to talk to our parents. Too involved we say; too meddly. Too sad I say.

I don’t know; life is a tightrope of balance I guess and only when we visit the extremes we will find it easier to adjust the balancing bar.

God bless!



External Voices
13 March, 2010, 12:54 am
Filed under: Thoughts

As we ‘graduate’ into more mature adults, we all have internal conversations which kick in and help us navigate through situations we have been through. In babies & toddlers it includes basic physical functions like smiling, laughing, crying and hunger and aversion to pain and all that jazz.

As young adults, we have these too and most of the times when we’ve made up our minds, we don’t change it; we fight to the very end believing what we think is right.

We can’t see it ourselves though and if we are not careful and not have mentors or guides to smack us back into the right way of thinking, we will continue down this spiral of thought which we think is right but might not be right…

What is “right” anyway? I guess that’s the other ‘grey’ area. I will have different standards from you and you from the next person we meet. The ultimate escalation of this is played out in wars between countries. No one wants to budge and the one who ‘wins’ takes all the credit and fame and fortune. But sometimes the ‘losing’ country wins. Just because you are the loudest or the crudest or the most aggresive doesn’t make you the winner.

From an outsider’s point of view you will look extremely foolish, messed up in your thoughts and ultimately, wrong.

But back to my point of where differing people have differing standards. No two person has the exact same standards and this will only lead to conflict.

The thing here is to resolve a conflict with both parties THINKING that they have won. That’s the ideal isn’t it? In Chinese, there’s this saying which goes something like “leading the person down the stage”; loosely deciphered, it means to let the person realize their own foolishness and come down from their lofty stage of being, in their eyes, right.

Conversations from last night come to mind. The classic example of men vs women shopping. Men go straight to the shop they want to purchase stuff from where as girls get distracted. A friend commented that this is because men were evolutionarily hunters and women, gatherers. Men had to focus on the hunt and gauge if they had the skill and experience enough to bring down prey. Women on the other hand had to fling their choices far and wide just because of the nature of the greens.

With that story in mind, a lot of guys I’ve met along life are just that; they are hunters. They have an opinion and they stick to it tooth and nail. Females tend to congregate (crowd-source to the futurists) and comfort each other and give each other ideas.

I just have to say, the time and era for we as humans to just stick to a single way of thinking and a certain narrow mindedness is truly and thoroughly over. If we as humans (or specifically men) cannot take feedback and differing opinions in our stride, it will only cause a lot of hurt and pain to the ones closest to us. Of course, we are not called to be, termed in the loosest of ways, sissies, I’m just encouraging all of us to take inventory of our thought patterns, words and ultimately actions and continue to strive to be the best we can be.

And that sometimes may be ENTIRELY different from what we think we OUGHT to be thinking/saying/doing.

This is why, I cannot cannot cannot stress enough to have mentors and guides in our lives to put us in our place and to encourage us when we are down. These mentors ideally believe in you and will run with your ideas but when they see something going askew, they have the courage to pull us back on path. This is what modern society lacks.

With the advent of Google and Twitter where we can hear from the GREATS directly, we sometimes forget that only a person who truly cares for you speak what they really think. And usually one little “No, I don’t need to hear from you” can turn them completely off.

I guess I’ve flushed out all I want to or have to say about this topic. I find that it’s both sad & dangerous if our next generation (or even MY generation) runs fast but blindlessly and end up at the end of their lives disillusioned, disappointed and worst still, full of despair and bitterness.

Gah… Comments?

God bless!



CNY 2010
8 March, 2010, 10:44 am
Filed under: Thoughts

So the whirlwind that was the past few months have come and gone.

Much thoughts have been thunk & much actions have been actioned.


The highlight of the trip, well at least for me, was of course the commitment that I have shown & “brought to the table” to the girlfriend & her family. 🙂

It’s no easy task of course but at the end of the day, change is the only constant and our lives are too short to live ‘safely’.

Anyway, so it’s back to work and a re-focus on what’s important in my life right now and how I can achieve these goals.

Will blog about things I’ve learnt both spiritually and physically in the coming days, if not weeks. 🙂

God bless!



The Need To Impress
12 December, 2009, 10:46 pm
Filed under: God, Thoughts

When life takes you into a very long and often dark hole, people always revert to things that make themselves feel better.

Be it spending money, shopping (gaining material things), or elevating yourself and having internal conversations which make yourself feel better and then out of this often misplaced confidence linking to behaviour which puts people down (to elevate your own status).

This is somewhat ‘normal’ in today’s society. I see it a lot at work its usually the insecure people which cause the most dramas; little things will tick them off and if they don’t get their way, they whine and want to ‘complain’ to a more senior manager. This is all good unless the senior manager takes the side of the employee which further infuriates the customer/client and then they leave red-faced. But the thing is everyone wants to be heard and everyone will want to cause a ruckus to cover their already sensitive state of mind/emotions, insecurities and to deflect attention from the real issue.

Usually lots of things are said and its the reason behind those words and actions that need deciphering; not the words and actions itself. We live in a complicated world and people have a whole array of backgrounds. Some poor, some rich, some marginalised, some included, some good-looking and still others not quite.

But is it wrong to derive a sense of self-worth from all these things? These crutches? A whole array of people have crutches which prop them up in life, cars, houses, your net worth, family, friends; that’s why I think that the best people in life are the homeless. They have nothing to rely on but truly themselves, no possessions to feel good about themselves about and no solid goals or objectives to keep them going. They are just being themselves; but even then they could rely on being homeless as an identity.

I don’t know, my Dad always brought us up to be humble and not have a big head and I think he’s brought me up fine that way. It’s the truly confident and secure that do not need to shout and whine and cause a ruckus because honestly that will only let people see through you even more easily. If you are rich, there’s definitely going to be people who are richer than you and if you’re smart, there’s always someone smarter than you. It’s an endless cycle of up and down, above and below, that’s the hierarchy and nature of the human race.

Whatever your crutch is, I just ask you to examine it, be it your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/family/children/friends/career/possessions. Imagine your life without these things and if a tinge of sadness/hopelessness comes across you when you imagine life without it, maybe, just maybe you need to rethink your priorities and see if you can run the race without crutches.

Obviously being a Christian, my crutch is always and only going to be God. He is the only crutch that will get me through because He is God. All powerful, omnipresent, Creator of The Universe, all-loving God. He is immovable, indisputable and most importantly not going to disappear and crumble like other crutches. Wow!

God bless!



The Dentist!
30 October, 2009, 11:19 am
Filed under: Dental Health, Thoughts

This song popped up in my playlist just as I got back from the dentist. Don’t we have that moment sometimes? When you come back from something or are feeling something and then a song pops up and describes EXACTLY how you are feeling? Coincident much? I don’t know… Suppose a statistician would come up with the probability of that happening; I’m sure it would be small. But it happens.

Anyway, I visited Strathfield Dental Clinic today; wasn’t thinking much besides the fact that my friend, Claire’s a dentist there and I wanted to get rid of my annoying wisdom tooth for a while now. The girlfriend just had hers removed last week and besides the healing process, I figure the whole thing was do-able. 😀 I did check it when I went back sometime last year but the dentist then (a family friend) advised me not to go through with surgery because I was flying back to Sydney/Singapore in a few days time. She just advised that the area be kept clean, which I have and lately that gap has gotten tighter and tighter making cleaning harder than it used to be.

OK, so this is what I thought of wisdom tooth removal before today. Those who have gone before me have said  “I removed my wisdom tooth last week and I swelled up and bruised a little bit” and “I bit on the gauze to stop the bleeding” or words to that effect. Nobody told me that wisdom teeth can grow so near to nerves that that’s the primary reason they refer you to an oral surgeon. A normal tooth extraction is cheap but its when you get ‘upgraded’ to an oral surgeon that that’s where the costs start to soar. Cutting around bone (your teeth are attached to your jaw bones) and ‘making room’ so that they don’t severe your nerve. This nerve which usually runs down your jawline affects your lips and gum area. So another friendly dentist at Strathfield Dental Centre today told me you could lose feeling of your lips and then can’t feel an ulcer. The ulcer then turns into something serious and your gums start to go, etc etc. He was direct of course, as all doctors are, and I balked slightly, just slightly, enough to let him know, “OK, it’s time for you to say something positive”; he picked that up of course and said, “Oh, it only happens to one in a hundred thousand people” and we proceeded to change the subject.

So back to the thing, after having my X-Ray done (which lasted for 15 seconds); I could see my the x-ray of my oral orifice on an LCD screen IMMEDIATELY; I pity recent graduates of radiography; maybe you should’ve just taken a Photoshop course or design course ha! *slight balk* But anyway, I’m sure radiography goes deeper than this. 🙂

So I’ve got all four wisdom teeth and my top ones are looking OK. My bottom two ones are the problematic ones, my right one is vertically impacting and my left one hasn’t erupted yet being blocked by the maxillae next to it. Anyway, so I was focusing on my vertically impacting tooth because to me that’s obviously the ‘odd one out’ in my dento-gram but its almost touching a nerve and the dentists doesn’t seem to keen on removing it. They asked me if it was sore or anything and I just said I have a tight feeling in my teeth and they advised me to remove the top tooth instead so it won’t be pushing down on my impacting tooth. And it’s an easy job apparently. The left side is an easy job also and having that removed will probably free up my teeth a little bit.

So, the point of this blog is a lot of people going for professional help seem to know what the problem is with themselves/family/friends but post-consultation will have an outcome that might just be completely different to what they expect; especially with health and surgery-related options. The body is a complicated thing and what we think we know may not necessarily outweigh the risks in doing what you think is right. Obviously, with years these professionals have seen what their actions (and the actions of others) have come up with and I guess that’s why people tend to want second or third opinions. Professionals are trained to believe in themselves and drawing from their education and experience come up with a solution for their patients. Obviously this ‘cloud’ of experience following said professional will always be different.

I guess Claire was right when she told me last week that no one knows what to tell you until you get that x-ray done. Now its all clear and my options clear to me; I would need to weigh this out and think it over; my priorities have been changed. But then again, obviously if money (AUD4000 for oral surgeon!) and time (recovery period) were no problem, I would get what I wanted. But that’s life isn’t it? A constant triangular shaped battle of what we really want versus time versus money.

Thoughts? Comments?

God bless!