Monday, October 29, 2012

C-ute's controversial video on Hitler

The wikipedia page for my favourite J-pop music group C-ute has been updated and there is more information about the group now. One thing that caught my attention was about a controversy the group had in a television programme in which they play acted Hitler. I went to source the video on youtube and have presented it below


Apparently, Hitler is not such a recognised figure amongst students in Japan. But what is funny about this video is how characteristic it is of Japanese culture to 'cutify' everything. Think of how the Japanese have come up with everything cute - from Pokemon to Hello Kitty. Why, even Hitler, the baddest man in history can be caricatured as 'Uncle Hitler', and talked about as if he was a cute and lovable figure.

Ironically, Francis Xavier, the person who brought Christianity to Japan is a much more recognised figure even though Christians only make less than 1% of Japanese population.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Finding my strength and confidence in God; CBS session on Daniel 3 - Responding to persecution; The Christian response to evil and suffering

I have been angst very much throughout the semester about the tension headache I have been experiencing. I don't feel that I am 100% in my condition, and I feel that it is affecting my ability to study well for the law examination. I do hope to recover from this tension headache soon. What I fear is that i might be a chronic condition that may last for years, or even a lifetime. I have looked up on the internet for information regarding this condition, and I saw comments by one internet user who said that she has had a tension headache for at least 2 years now. And I certainly wouldn't like to be afflicted with another difficult condition in addition to the tinnitus and hearing impairments that I am already suffering from.

I suppose I just wish to find a sense of peace in life. And I think the only true source of peace comes from God. In the sense, everything in life might be turning out wrongly - there might be illness, disabilities, pain, suffering, sadness, loss of love ones etc. And there might be no explanation for all these misery. We might even lose our mind and become mad. But what can be the source of true peace amidst the chaos, what one can hold onto with conviction, is that there is a good God who loves each and everyone of us, and he has a plan amidst all these sadness that afflicts us as we reside in this mortal realm. And it is only from God can we find true peace. One may possess many good things - health, wealth, intelligence, family, friends. But even with these, a man is angst constantly because he can place no security that these things would be taken away from him in life. The vicissitude of life can take away these things in the glimpse of an eye, and bring travails of hardship. And if one profess his source of strength in these mortal resources, he would see that his security is limited and fragile.

Let us hold steadfast to the surety that comes from the promise of God, that he is a good and loving God, and he shall have a plan, a plan to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)


For the Central Bible Study Discussion that I had for the Varsity Christian Fellowship on Wednesday, we went through the story of Daniel 3. One aspect of the discussion was about reflecting about how we as Christians would respond in the midst of persecution. In the narrative, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego quite boldly responded that they would not obey the king's command to bow down to the lump of gold, even if God were not to save them from the king's hand when he throws them into the fiery furnace. In the story of Daniel 3, God intervened and the 3 individuals did not die when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. However, as our VCF CBS facilitator points out, many Christian Martyrs died for their faith during the roman empire. And I know of the story of Stephen, a character in the bible who was stoned to death in the bible. All of the apostles except James died martyrs. In the sense, God does not save his followers from death from persecution all the time. But as how the 3 hebrews in Daniel 3 responded, even if it were the case that God does not save us from danger, they would not succumb to persecution. I remember having a similar discussion on the same point in Daniel 3 in my church's discussion group about how God can respond when his followers are put in danger. We used a material by Philip Yancey, and he elegantly express how God can "save us from the fire, through the fire, or with the fire".

I think that Christians are not persecuted as much in Singapore. Most professors are atheist I believe, but the ones I have encountered have generally been quite respectful towards listening to the opposing viewpoints of Christians on matters such as the objectivity of values and on the debate regarding Penal Code s377A legislation criminalizing homosexual activities. Some atheist students might be more quite strident in their view point and would condescendingly laugh off the position from Christian viewpoints.They seem to think that their position is the only correct one and they would frame their proposition as facts and not as opinion. I would offer my own counter perspective without referencing too much to Christianity. I guess I try to show that there are different viewpoints held by different people, and their viewpoints are not necessarily the correct one.

But another type of persecution that can cause a Christian to fall away from his faith are not those by men, but tragedies and sufferings from misfortune in life. I know of quite a number of Christian friends who experience much ordeals in their lives. They come from broken and poor families, they suffer from debilitating diseases and mental illnesses, they experience loss of love ones. In church, I see individuals who suffer from quite debilitating lifetime diseases such as autism, down-syndrome, and blindness. I can see that some are quite angry at God. A friend that I have in DG frequently rails at God for the misery that he experiences in life. He remains in the faith, albeit quite disappointed at God. I too am rather disappointed at God for my predicaments in life, especially for the tinnitus and hearing difficulties that I sustained after a loud concert 2 years ago, and perhaps for the difficulties that I have in my social life and in finding a relationship with a girl due to Asperger's Syndrome. Recently, I heard of a Christian classmate in SAJC whose Dad died due to the negligence of the hospital doctor in not referring him for treatment when he went to consult the doctor. It is a rather sudden and unfortunate event. And there are some other Christians around me who suffer from their respective plights.

I do find such times rather testing on my faith. Seeing suffering around me, and having to suffer myself. It is times like these where I feel the pinch of the atheist's argument that the reason for such suffering is simply due to the fact that God does not exist. I find it hard to square the absence of an answer of one's prayer for healing with certain promise in the bible by God that he would answer our prayer. I asked my CBS facilitator, Yvonne, how we should console a fellow human being who was undergoing suffering in life. She admitted that it was not easy to give an explanation that would be emotionally satisfying. She told us of her experience in which a girl asked her about why she was undergoing so much sadness in life such as the death of her father, and Yvonne somberly replied, "God isn't fair, is he?", and the girl cried her hearts out because of all the emotions she had been repressing in order to conform to the stereotype of Christian serenity and peace which had been continually affirmed by the people around her.

I am not sure whether such an answer is therapeutic or correct, at least not for me. I would like a truthful answer that comes from the bible. And the only answer that I can come up with is that we live in a fallen world due to the sin of Adam, and that while Christians live on earth, we too will be smitten our respective afflictions. As how I have heard it in some readings I have encountered, each of us have our cross to bear. I wish there were a better answer. I wish prayers would work as effective as how it is presented to in the bible. I think that the atheist overstate their conclusion when they say that the existence of suffering and evil disproves the existence of God. I agree with the position presented by the Christian apologist, William Lane Criag, that human beings are too limited to find a sufficient reason for the existence of suffering, and this does not mean that God does not have a plan for it. I suppose the Christian answer on this is that this is a broken and fallen world where there is evil and suffering, but that an individual's time on in the mortal is temporal, and that what exist in the eternal afterlife is perfect. Thus, it is worth reminding ourselves not to become too attached with the world and to lose sight of the eternal. But Christianity is not like Buddhism which advocates a complete detachment to things and to relieve oneself of all concept of good and evil. Christianity acknowledges the presence of good and evil, and that evil and suffering is bad to the human condition. But all these are due to the fallen nature of creation due to original sin. And thus, as Christians, we should seek to alleviate these as much as possible. And God sustains the world despite its fallen nature. Humanity is preserved throughout the ages, and there are things which are good and periods of happiness which we can find joy in and reprief from suffering. But we must certainly have perspective of the significance of these good things and not place them above everything else.

Conan Gets Revenge On Chinese Rip-Off Show "Da Peng"


How does one get back at the Chinese for infringing copyright? That's right, you infringe upon their copyright! As Conan O'Brien, my favourite American show host, ingeniously shows here in this video.

Friday, October 26, 2012

J Pop Star - You Kikkawa

It's been quite some while since I listened to J-pop songs. One of the channel that was recommended on my youtube account was this channel featuring the music of You Kikkawa. I clicked on this song while previewing the channel, and I would say I am hooked on this song. I have listened to it 3 times consecutively now. The girl is cute and beautiful, she has a nice voice, the song is catchy, the dance is cute, and the video is overall very nice. She certainly has the talent to make it out as a soloist in the music industry.

I looked up for more information online about this J-pop musician. Apparently, she is a member of Hello Project, the same music company that produces my favourite J-pop music groups like Buono and C-ute.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A reflection on the property of intelligence

Sometimes, I think that the concept of intelligence is just a social construct and that there isn’t really a concept of intelligence. It seemed to me that one’s consciousness is all there is to one’s state of beinghood in the world, and the concept of intelligence seems strange to me in the sense it seems like an external trait that affects the notion of consciousness and his individuality. But the concept of intelligence is one that is acknowledeged by people in this world, or those around me. Even the likes of very intelligent people like Bertrand Russell recognize this property of intelligence and acknowledge amongst themselves that one of their kind is smarter than the others. There is the likes of IQ test developed by intelligent people working in the field of psychometry.

I suppose there is some fallacy in the way I attribute my sense of awareness from my consciousness as that representing all other human beings, and identify other human being based on the experience from my own consciousness. But this consciousness that I have is dependent on the physiological construct that compose my being, one of them being intelligence which is based on the structure of my brain. And I think that my experience from my consciousness is the representation of that which is experienced by all other human beings such as I. Thus, when I see behavior of the kind that is different from mine, I think of such behavior as unnatural, because I am puzzled as to how such a being with a consciousness such as mine would have behaved in such a manner.

But is there any reason to make an evaluation of other human beings based on my own personhood? Intuitively to me, I know that I am constraint in making such an attribution of the nature of my conscious experience to other human beings around me. It seems obvious from my observation of fellow human beings around me who act in a way that would not naturally engender based on the nature of my personhood that they must be possessing a different sort of physical constitution that causes them to act in such a manner. They are behaviors which are natural to the respective individuals because of the way they are made or ‘wired’ to be. I can only speculate what it is like if I assume the identity of other people. How would I think or feel if I were someone else? Is this state of consciousness that I feel really representative of the nature of being human?
 
Well, it would be really interesting if I could assume the beinghood of other people and conduct a comparative study of the experience of consciousness of various individuals. Given the nature of my personhood, whereby I have a social deficit disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome, I don’t think I would make such a good reference point from which to evaluate or speculate on the nature of the experience of consciousness of other individuals. But if I may guess, the ordinary person without Asperger’s Syndrome (or to use the psychology terminology, the “Neurotypicals”) is less introspective in nature. They are not stucked in a “in the mind” sort of feeling that I experience. They feel much more responsive to the external stimulus around them in the world. This helps them to connect to one another better.
 
Now, another trait that affects the consciousness which would make for interesting comparison is intelligence. Intelligence is an attribute that is melded into one’s consciousness. If I were not intelligent enough to be employed to the task at hand, things around me would seem confusing. I would not be able to comprehend what is being taught. I would find it difficult to work out the solution to a problem. And if I were intelligent, the subject matter to which my mind is applied to would seem apparent/obvious to my state of consciousness, such that one thinks that the subject is of such fundamentality in nature as how parallel lines are said to never meet, or that one plus one gives two. The person who is comprehending might not be able to give an explanation to why the comprehension for him is of such intuitiveness in nature. All he can identify with is this ‘sensation’ of comprehension, of knowing how to go about doing things.

Asperger Syndrome people

I recently viewed two videos of people with Aspergers. The first features a young teenage boy in his speech therapy class who has asperger. The severity of his Asperger condition is more than mine. I relate to his rather awkward and perhaps irritating behavior somewhat. I must have displayed such characteristic in such vivid forms when I was in high school as well. In the sense, there is a certain social obliviousness in the way that he talks which is not very tactful. Seeing this video of a boy from another culture geographically and ethnically far from mine (he is probably a jew from his name Dean Aviram), it makes me wonder at the similarities in human disabilities that afflicts people of disparate cultures. The human condition is very much similar isn't it? In the sense that people of different ethnicities and culture are afflicted with a biology that predispose them to conditions and syndromes shows the similarity in the characteristics of our humanhood.

The second video is of the creator of the hand-held game Pokemon. His name is Satoshi Tajiri. I used to play pokemon when I was around primary 3 on my gameboy. It is interesting to learn that he has Aspergers too. Other purported famous people with Aspergers includes Bill Gates and Albert Einstein. I suppose there might be a case to make for neuro-diversity, and Asperger's Syndrome should be viewed not as a disability, but a human condition that is produced by nature, or by God, because there is a valuable function to which this condition contributes to humanity. It is inspirational to me that a person with Asperger's Syndrome, Vernon L Smith, had achieved a nobel prize in economics. In the youtube video of Satoshi Tajiri above, there is this comment by a youtube user who says that he heard that people with Asperger's Syndrome is associated with an individual's creative abilities, and Satoshi Tajiri's creative capabilities is due to him having this condition. I don't think that this is true for all individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, but it is true that there are human beings with quite immense creative potentials and intellect who have this condition, and it is said that their capabilities is due to them having this condition which gives them a certain mind that is suited for the conception of such intellectual products.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Study on Sikhism

While I was having lunch at school one day with several peers of mine, I saw this Indian girl praying before her meal. I asked her whether she was a Christian to which she replied that she was a Sikh. I commented that I did not know that Sikhs prayed before having their meal.

I read up a little about this religion on the internet this afternoon. Apparently, it is a monotheistic religion that features a creator God. And I had thought that only the Abrahamic religions were monotheistic. I wonder whether its scriptural text, the Gurū Granth Sāhib, would share similar story of creation as that in the Abrahamic religion of Adam and Eve. I wonder whether Sikhism would feature a theology based on history, or on philosophy.

It is truly the case that religion is a strongly group-based activity and one finds himself adhering in a particular religion that he finds his culture around him subscribing to. See my entry here featuring an atheist video alleging that adherence to religion is a cultural phenomenon. Now, I would like to think that an intelligent and educated population would be less disposed towards the more mythological religions. I suppose this is true to a certain extent. But I know of a neighbour who is in the law school that I am in who still partakes in the ancestral paper burning colloquial taoist rituals. Heck, US Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which seems to me like a cult religion that is deft of possible serious substantiation by an intelligent person. Yet, it seems to me that mankind has not come to a conclusive position on which religion is the truth despite all the intellectual energy that has been put into it. I wonder whether an objective position can be reached in this or whether mankind is truly stuck in a quagmire of inconclusive evidences regarding the truth of religion.

I am not sure whether Sikhism possess a strong intellectual foundation to its religion. I would like to think that the law students around me are more critical than the average person in the way they approach the subject of religion. So when I see this Indian girl who is quite devout to the Sikh religion, I question whether there is a critical attitude towards religion amongst the intellectual class, or are people even at the top rungs of society still very much a follower of the cultural background that they come from. Shouldn't intelligent people in such fields of society have applied their minds to considering the truth of their religion, and also the truth of Christianity? I suppose given the very hectic schedule of the everyday life of a person, it is hard to conduct such investigation. And thus, religious affiliation remains very much a cultural phenomenon even at a field where there are many intelligent people.

Church Sermon : Mark 10:35-45

Today's church sermon by Pastor Richard Chiu was on the passage where James and John asked Jesus to sit them on his left and right when Jesus' glory comes. Pastor Chiu talks about how such a request by the disciples were misplaced. Despite having known Jesus and followed him for a long time, they still had the prevailing mentality catered towards worldly desires of being accomplished and being placed in important positions. What was interesting in the sermon was Pastor Chiu's highlighting of the significance of Jesus' words when he said “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”, and James and John quite foolishly replied that they could. The drink, in biblical allusion, is a reference to God's wrath, and Jesus' cup to drink is the suffering that he has to bear.

Pastor Chiu talks about how we request from God of things to fulfill our personal desires, and he included two examples of such request which rings with an intimate semblance to what I actually ask for - As a student, I have asked of God to help me get A's for the examinations. And in my approach towards relationship, I have asked of God to make certain girls I am attracted to to like me. I know, it sounds like silly prayers, in part perhaps manipulative of the free will of other human beings. And when I prayed such prayers, I asked of God that he would gently correct me if I am praying foolish prayers. I suppose the words of Pastor Chiu today is a very direct message from God that I am indeed praying foolish prayers. Pastor Chiu points out the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the Lord's prayer, which was a supplication simply for one's sustenance and that the Lord's will be done. Even Jesus, who is one with the Father, submits himself to the Father's will before the cross. I do feel that God is speaking to me in today's sermon message by Pastor Chiu because I have been pretty much making such request for the past few months when I pray to God. And since the sermon message speaks so directly to me that what I am doing is wrong, I suppose I shall not pray such prayers? I suppose I shall simply pray such prayers as the Lord's prayer, asking for being provided for my daily needs and that God's will be done.

The take-home message from today's sermon is that even though God can do all things, that doesn't mean that he will indulge all our requests. And Pastor Chiu says that as Christians, we can expect to suffer for our faith in this life.

Youtube Video - Dear Believer Why Do You Believe


I came across this video from a blog entry in this blog titled "the respectful atheist". It is quite a beautiful video featuring the diversity of religions across geography and cultures. When I observe the many religions around me in society, I have the same intuitive sentiment that is highlighted in this video about how one can believe that there is any substantive truth to any religion, or if one's adherence to his religion is simply a product of his cultural background. What would make my belief in Christianity any more unique as a Muslim person in Islam? I think the christian apologetic Alister McGrath gives a insightful answer to this line argument by the atheist in a book of his I read titled "The Dawkin's Delusion". McGrath acknowledges that group-based affiliation due to one's cultural background is a characteristic feature in the way religions are sustained and propagated. But it begs the question to then allege that Christians are deluded in their beliefs. To be rational in one's evaluation of the veracity of Christianity, it is important to consider the evidence in favor of Christianity, and the complex beliefs and practices of actual Christians. Indeed, one part in which this video has failed to take into account is the substantive quality of the argument in support of the veracity of a religion. In my opinion, the argument for the truth behind Christianity is more compelling than theistic versions of other religions. I chuckled when I saw an short excerpt of William Lane Craig featuring shortly in the video and the narrator saying that one of the characteristics of religion is that it has its apologists arguing for the veracity of its religion. But this would be begging the question and be too convenient a way of dismissing the substantive quality of a religion by simply labelling arguments for the truth of a religion as a cultural phenomenon. There is an extent to which this argument of construing features of religion as cultural construct becomes incredible. It oversimplifies the background for the existence of that religion. And for Christianity, which is one of the few theistic religions, the basis for its existence is founded upon empirical premises such as the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, the veracity of which would qualify or disqualify the religion.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Write-in to sundown festival concert organisers to feedback on the safety of noise level of concerts

I just sent an email to sundown festival concert organisers at contact@sundownfestival.sg to feedback on to take measures to ensure safety of concert-goers when it comes to the noise level of the concert. I suffer from tinnitus (a persistent ringing noise in my ear when I am in a relatively quiet environment) and some hearing loss after I attended a sundown festival concert in 2010. It has been quite a trial for me in life with hearing loss and affects my life in quite a negative manner. I have not sought any legal action regarding this issue because it is foremost very expensive to get legal consultation on the issue, and secondly, I don't think I have much chance of succeeding in legal action in a personal capacity against an organisation that would have the money to field a powerful legal team against my suit. But I hope that I can make a positive difference by feedbacking on my personal experience and ensuring that other concert-goers in the future do not sustain similar harm as I have. Below is my message to sundown festival organisers.

Dear organisers of sundown festival,

I would like to feedback on a safety issue regarding the concert sound level used at sundown festivals. I sustained tinnitus and hearing impairments after attending a sundown festival concert 2010. It is my concern for other concert-goers that they do not suffer from the same fate that I did. It is my feedback that sundown festival organisers should monitor the sound levels of sundown festival concerts to ensure that the noise level are within safe levels, or provide concert-goers with earplugs, such as those dispensable kinds, if noise level at the concert would be of unsafe levels.

Regards,
Samuel Tee

Friday, October 19, 2012

Asking God for the gifts of intelligence and wisdom; On finding a relationship



I would really like God to bless me with intelligence and wisdom such as that which he gave to Jesus, Solomon, and Daniel. There are many of such wise men in the bible, and in the schemes of the entire earth, these men would be considered the wisest amongst their kind. Now, I do see that in this day and age, there are also those who are wise, and those who are fools. And why is it the case that there is one and the other? Because God has made them so. Now, such traits belongs to the divine God. And he can give and take away as he pleases. I believe that he gives such traits to those whom he loves more. But God also gives intelligence and wisdom to those who hates or denies him. I mean, if it were the case that only those who love God would receive the gift of intelligence and wisdom, then it would be the case that the elites in society would all be Christians. As it is, we see that in society, there are very many people in high positions who are not Christians. They have a good mind, but they simply are not Christians. In law school, the dean listers are composed of both Christians and non-christians. So it is the case that God has endowed one and the other with traits of intelligence and wisdom.

Now, the traits of intelligence and wisdom is one that can be given by God, at any point of stage in an individual’s life. He might have been considered stupid and a fool for previous occasions in his life, but God would just need to say the word “Be intelligent and wise” and the person would immediately be as such as is said. I mean, I don’t think that intelligence and wisdom is a fixed and rigid trait that is determined by one’s individuality due to his genetics or his family upbringing, but I think that these traits can be given by God to anybody at any point of time in his life, and then he would be good at what he does.

Now, I know that God has given intelligence and wisdom to people around me in law school, and I see the likes of some individuals who are very much brilliant in their mental faculties. They have excellent comprehension abilities and able to think out solutions to problems, and have many other gifts of the intellect. I feel that perhaps, I may be lacking in this gift of the intellect. That is why I am doing so poorly in law school. And what I need is not just to work hard, but also to receive the gift of intellect and wisdom from God. Because without intellect and wisdom, it is difficult to accomplish good things in fields requiring intellect and wisdom.

And I certainly pray that God would grant me these gifts of the mind. And God will certainly give me these traits, wouldn’t he? After all, it is said in James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”.

Well, I suppose the passage qualifies that the man who ask must not doubt. Honestly, I wish that God would still give the gift of wisdom and intelligence even if the man has doubt. I wish that God’s giving of the gift of intelligence and wisdom would not need to premise upon the man’s faith. For example, we may ask our parents for something that we want, and have a lingering doubt over whether they would comply to our wishes. But their giving of the things that we request for does not depend so much upon whether we believe sincerely whether they would obtain those things we have requested for. They give us good gifts simply because they love us as their children very much.

But well, God has placed this condition upon one’s prayers for wisdom. And I shall comply. And I really hope that God would give me this gift which I ask him for – the gift of intelligence and wisdom. Now, I want to say that I think that these traits are good for an individual. But they should not be placed beyond their proper position. Ultimately, we should still love God whatever the circumstances of our lives may be. If we turn out dumb and fools, we should still love God. If we have much trouble and hassles in life, we should still love God. And I think it dangerous if we desire anything to the extent that it would affect our faith in God if we do not receive the thing we ask for. We might even succumb to asking demons for such things, or place our trust on our own humanistic efforts to secure the provisions of such goods. But this is folly – to trade our salvation for temporal gifts. Even gifts of intelligence and wisdom, though being traits greatly esteemed and desired, have to be put in their proper place. For me, I shall only ask of these things from God.

I am not sure whether I am doubting here, but I would like to say that even if I do not receive these gifts, even if I should once again do badly for my law school examination for this semester, I want to love God and be a faithful Christian in my life. I want to do my very best for my law school studies. It seems to me now that life would be good for me if I do well in law school, get a good job in society, and be able to earn enough money to support myself and my parents financially. I do hope to get married as well and have children. But it would take a miracle in this aspect of my life. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and it is already very difficult for me to find a relationship because no girls like me due to my aloof nature. It would also be very difficult if I cannot function well in a relationship or in a married life due to this condition. As such, I do not clamour for anything regarding a relationship more than what God would have me have. This is an area of life in which I cannot profess too much of my own inclination for without the blessings of God, I would not be able to do well on my own. I get by on the provisions of God in this aspect of my life. I suppose in every aspect of my life, I should also lean upon the provisions and guidance of God.

On the diversity of human capabilities and abilities



I was walking to school in the morning today, and saw some grass cutters cutting the grasses of the botanic gardens. Grass cutters are human beings too, and they have a function to play in society by maintaining the grasses and trimming them to a suitable length. It is the case that some individuals in life find themselves employed to such task. Society requires the likes of such roles for its smooth functioning. Grasses don’t cut themselves. Rubbish do not clear by themselves. Money don’t deposit themselves in the cashier. Buses and taxis don’t drive by themselves. All these are done by human beings. Without individuals who would do these tasks, our society would be less livable than it is. I see this appointment of roles to the various tasks in society as the handiwork of God. He has created all individuals with varying gifts and abilities so that through such diversity, human societies can function and improve over the ages. It seems to me that someone must have planned out how these various traits and attributes come to be in society so that there can be a pluralism of roles in society for everyone to serve one another in their varying roles capacities. From the greatest to the least, all human beings were created with an eye to their appointment in their various roles in society. There will be the elites, the likes of those who will be called to lead the country, the intellectual class who have the insight to how society should develop and improve, the professional classes such as the doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists. There are the technical blue collar working class such as clerks, sales personnels, factory workers. Then, there are the artisan classes such as celebrities, musicians, designers. And there is at the lowest rung of societies the low-skilled workers such as cleaners, road sweepers, grass cutters, construction workers. Now, we can readily see that society would not work if everyone were one or the other. And although it is the case that those in high roles are esteemed by the likes of those in society, yet if it were the case that all were bornt with such capabilities, how much poorer society would be. How would the machinery of society function if there were not those employed to the manual undertakings of society? If all wanted to be elite, who shall carry out the instructions that are set in place?

To each his role in life, and to do them in service of his fellow human beings in society and around the world. Elites must serve the people with the roles they have been given in their life. As much has been given to them, so much would be expected of them. And for those who have been placed in lesser position, they should accept their stakes in society and apply themselves heartfully in service to those that God has placed above them. They should not be a rebellious population against their leaders, for God has placed authority above them to rule them.

I usually worry that I am not clever enough to be in the role that I find myself in. After a rather tough first year at law school, I wonder whether I was truly meant to be in this institution. I suppose God has a plan for me, and there is a divine reason why he has placed me in law school. Now, I am not doing well in school, and I suppose it might truly be the case that I would not do well in this endeavour, but I believe that God has a plan for me even if I should do badly in school. 

If I should have to be the ‘cleaner’ of society, I suppose that God has placed me there in such a capacity to serve those around me, and I would not be bitter about the plight that I am in. It seems like I haven’t been gifted with the capabilities and talents necessary to do the job of a lawyer. My mental capability is much too primitive to give me the ability to succeed in this domain. I do not understand the readings that I am assigned to. And I would have liked to think that I could have gotten a hang of law school once I find out how, but slowly every day, I am beginning to think that I have to reckon with the notion that I am not smart enough to be in this field. When I am in church, I see the likes of individuals who are less intelligent than I am. And I know that they would not be able to do things as I am able to. And if they shall be placed in certain roles, they shall not be able to adequately fulfill what is expected of them. Now then, I shall have to acknowledge that there may be a limitation to my capabilities, and I am afraid that I am not possessing such capabilities as would allow me to function well in the field of law. 

Somehow, I feel that I would not be in this difficult position had I been more abiding in God. I have asked trouble for myself by striving out in life on my own and thinking I shall get by without God. When I studied hard in my junior college days, I left God out in my endeavours, thinking that I must not have God as a crutch because it is only by my own humanistic endeavour that I shall be able to secure good results. And I worked myself most certainly harder than many others, and exceeded what was natural for myself. Then, I did reasonably well in the A levels by securing A’s in Physics, Mathematics, Economics, and Project Work, while scoring B’s in Chemistry, General Paper, and Chinese, and a pass grade in H3 Game theory and Competition. But had I leaned upon God throughout my walk in life, and done only what was natural for myself, I would perhaps have done poorly in my academics such that I would not have been able to get into law school. And perhaps, I might be spared the difficult predicament that I am in. For by my humanistic efforts, I have built myself up to where I am, and it would then only be by my own humanistic efforts that I shall sustain this edifice. And I am afraid I don’t have any energy left to the undertaking. There is such a sharp limitation that I am in experience with, one that imposes on my mind such difficulty of comprehension of the materials that I encounter. When it comes to reading law materials, I am virtually dyslexic. I can’t piece together anything coherent in my mind.

Perhaps God was trying to tell me that the study of law is not for me when I failed to get into NUS law school when I first applied for it. Perhaps I have been rebellious in the way I responded when I initially failed to get into law school, and I must have charged God with not loving me enough to give me my wishes. And I clamour that I may be able to join the ranks of the elite. And thus, I tried once again my bid at entering law school and indeed succeed. But perhaps, I have extended myself, and place myself in a place where I was not supposed to be. And had I not been rebellious, God would have exempted me from the rut that I find myself caught up in. But I did ask God that I wish that my entering to law school be his will when I applied to get into law school the second time, and I asked that God forbids me to be accepted into law school if it truly be not his will.

I suppose I may have to reckon that I am simply not meant for this discourse in law. I have tried so hard, and am on the brink of giving up. I really wished I could have done otherwise, but if it is truly so hard for me to get a hang of law school, I suppose I will have to reckon with the possibility that perhaps this is not a field which I was supposed to be in. 

I wish I could have known that I would experience such difficulties in law studies. I would have considered doing something else. But as it is, I did not know that I would so inept at this field of studies, and have enrolled myself into it. For my mind is much too primitive to be able to be employed in this field. Now then, I shall not be in rebellion. I shall not clamour against God again. For what good will come if I shall exert myself to such measures to succeed? “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it”. And what lies ahead would be a lifetime in a career which I might find myself unsuited for. I shall pray to God about this, and ask for his guidance in every step of my life. If it should be the case that a course in the legal fraternity is not for me, and God would have me flunk the law school examinations, let it be so. For there is a path that is planned for me, for every individual in the hands of God, and I shall not have to worry about my fate. He shall give me my “daily bread”. And whatever the case that I shall find my employment in, if it shall be the will of God, I shall gladly accept it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Buono! - hoshi no hitsuji tachi

One of my Japanese favourite songs of all time by one of my favourite Japanese bands, Buono! There is a nostalgic feel to it whenever I listen to this song, as if I had known this song since my childhood. I wonder why the tune seems so familiar to me, like a person recalling a lullaby sung to him as a child.

video

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Things which gets me down in life

Life is not easy. There are so many things in my life which gets me down. I think I experience trials and hardship more than that experienced by the ordinary man. Foremost, I have such difficulties in my social relationships with people around me. It is of quite an abnormal kind that I don't observe other people having. I can sit by with a group of people in social setting and remain awkwardly quiet, unfriendly, and aloof. And while the chatters and banters are exchanged and traded, there I am straining over knowing what is going on and knowing what to say. At the end of the day, people would usually form the impression that I am weird. And from the way they interact with me thereafter, the effect formed from their impression of me is quite palpable. Apparently, there is a name to this condition. It is called Asperger's Syndrome and I was diagnosed with it after a very difficult social experience in the Scouts while I was in St Joseph's Institution.

Another thing which really gets me down is my hearing difficulties. I don't hear as well as I used to. I sustained some hearing impairments after attending a loud concert called the Sundown Festival in August 2010 at the Resort World Sentosa. After that, I experienced Tinnitus, and I up till today, I have trouble hearing what people are saying when there is just a little bit of background noise. It is frustrating and kind of like a nightmare to me in life. I think I would have to live the rest of my life with this difficulty and it upsets me. When I have to ask people to repeat several times and yet not be able to make out what they are trying to say, it upsets me, and I know that it would be irritating to people if I have to ask them to repeat what they said several times. One of the things that really showcase my difficulty is that I find it hard to know what the cashier behind the counter is saying when I am ordering my food. I can't make out the price to which she or he is asking for. Another is in a social situation when I am talking to another person, and there is a lot of background sounds. I have to explain myself as having hearing difficulties and not being able to make out what the person is speaking to me.

These are things which really affects the core of my psyche, such that when I am in experience of these problems, my sense of peace and stability is truly affected and my mind is caught in a whirl. I truly cannot maintain a facade of stoicism when I reckon with these problems of mine. These problems affects my ability to conduct myself functionally in society.

I wish to find my peace in God, because I know that with God, there is hope that he can help me in my difficulties, or that he can give me the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). But it angst me that my problems do not go away even though I ask and plead with God to take them away from me. I have laid in bed throughout the night, in anxious prayers that God would heal me and take away my problems from me, and that all will be well the following morning. But the morning comes, and my problems remain. It causes me much grief.

I don't think I can find any peace on my own. There are the likes of human philosophies from the stoics or the Buddhist who think that inner peace can be obtained by the inculcation of some philosophy. All these are deceptive. There is no true peace that can be obtained from these vain philosophies. But God can grant peace. He can heal our infirmities, and grant us anything we want and all that which is God. This is a God who created the universe, he is infinitely powerful and almighty. No problems are too big for him. Even if he does not take away all our problems, he can grant us that peace which transcends all understanding and that shall make our lives easier even with all the problems that abounds.

I am not sure why God doesn't seem to be answering my prayer. Some may say that I have not enough faith, or that I am praying in a wrong manner, or that I am sinful. And all these are likely true. But I don't think I shall beat myself over it. I think God is more gracious than that. It is by his goodness and graciousness that he gives good gifts, like a father who cares for his son. We don't say that the son obtained good things from the father because he was a good child, but simply out of the gratuitous provision of the father. I suppose that God might have other plans in not answering my prayer in the way I want it answered, and in his wisdom, he wills things. Otherwise, he might be asking me to wait and that he will answer my prayers in time to come. Perhaps even, I might be in a test such as Job in the bible, and in this time of trial, I must remain faithful till the end. Compared to the trials of Job, mine pales in comparison. Yet, I haven't remained as steadfast as Job did. I have these involuntary utterances at the moment that started during my school term break in June, such that I utter "There is no God", or "God is dead", or "I hate God" on occasions. I don't endorse any of these things which comes from my involuntary utterances, and I think that God will understand this predicament that I am facing and would not deem me as having cursed him. But I have on numerous occasion grumbled against God and told myself that God probably doesn't exist. But God certainly exists, and he does hear my prayers. But I really don't know why he is not answering them. I wish he would tell me why.

Ultimately, I shall have to content with my plight. There are many people who have it worse than I do. I know of several friends of mine in my discipleship group in church with greater difficulties in life. Yet, I have seen a serenity in the way they approach life. It is a serenity that can only come from God. In all their trials, they have remained steadfast in their faith in God, despite having been tested most assiduously. In my troubles and trials, I suppose it helps me identify with the difficulties of those around me and me sympathetic to those with difficulties. These people surpass me when it comes to faith in God.

Perhaps, God is trying to tell me not to be too attached to this imperfect world. My life here, along with all its troubles and ills is, temporary. It is easy for someone to get caught up with things of the world if experiences no trials or hardships in life. Ultimately, everyone on earth die, whether he be wise or fool, rich or poor, well-reputed or unknown, beautiful or ugly, esteemed or despised, intelligent or retarded, abled or disabled etc...But there is eternity which lies in the hereafter, where all infirmities would be cured, all tears would be wiped away. And while we remain here on earth, we shall bear patiently with our afflictions, and count our blessings.

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