Tuesday, October 30, 2007


God, from recent experiences, could You be speaking to me about growing in balance?


Proverbs 18:17
"The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in His love; He will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.” (Zephaniah 3:17).

:) Thank You dear Lord. I feel very touched.
So, to continue from the previous post. Really want to thank God for the course today. :D The trainer's a Canadian, running his own consultancy... he saw my Bible on my desk as I was settling down, and he came over and shook my hand. Gosh. I was stunned - I had just sat down, and suddenly, this big burly Canadian comes over and shakes my hand in front of everyone... But found out that he's a Christian too! :D For a long, long time... in a church as well - in fact, he does the acoustic guitar in his own free time, and has already cut his own album. He gave me a free copy of his own album... w00t! Thank God! So shall listen to it - it's a LOT of songs he's written...

Then got to know more people... very interesting... we were all very quiet... I'm starting to think - seems like most software engineers and IT professionals tend to be very quiet. I wonder why... :P

Anyway, what I learnt in the course... very interesting... concepts of testing... methods, terminology, etc etc.

At the same time I was thinking about what Peter suggested to me the other day about modelling a programming language to be bug-free... "Why not implement something in programming like the electronic logic gates that I worked with last time? So that don't have to spend so much time debugging."

That got me thinking. Why in the world is a car so much more reliable than Windows? If a car were designed like Windows, it would crash at least 2 times a day, run 10 km to the litre, and need to be restarted at least 5 times a day.

So started thinking about the nature of logic gates. Then it struck me: The reason that electronic circuits are so much more predictable and testable than software programs is because electronic circuits are essentially functional in nature. That means, whatever you output will not affect the input. In other words, the circuit is linear. The number of possible states grows linearly.

But the moment you implement state in the electronic circuit (e.g. a flip-flop memory gate using NANDs), your circuit is already teetering on the brink of non-linearity. The possible number of states grow astronomically.

Then I asked myself, "Why don't I simply implement everything using 'virtual' logic gates then? Logically speaking, if you simply hard-code all desired states into your code and ignore all the unwanted states, then your program is essentially 100% verifiable."

Extrapolating the question further, why don't we simply grab our soldering irons and do everything in hardware? After all there are WWII computers that actually work as fast as modern supercomputers, because the WWII computers are hard-wired!

But I realised then that there's a tradeoff: flexibility versus predictability. If you hard-code (or wire), you lose all flexibility and programmability totally. But! If you make it extremely flexible, you make it extremely unpredictable.

One reason the Turing machine (the conceptual framework of modern digital computers) is so powerful as a computing machine is that by simple manipulation of a few states, you are able to compute ANYTHING that can be computed (given sufficient time). But that flexibility comes with a price.

Thus, it struck me that functional programming, which I've been looking into, by itself is not sufficient to eliminate bugs. In fact, it seems to be an inbuilt inevitability that you can't have the best of both worlds: flexibility and predictability. You need to balance.

So what can be done in the world of software engineering? Think it's one thing: Balance. If an application calls for absolute predictability, then hardcode it and eliminate all variables - you can't go wrong with a program that has only one possible outcome. But conversely, if it calls for a lot of flexibility, doing whatever the user wants to do, then you have to factor in for complexity.

Thing is, some programs do not need to be written with memory, just a series of conditional statements. Others need to be. It's a matter of applying the right programming paradigm for the right kind of application.

Perhaps there's a way to determine whether a program is linear or non-linear. Think I gotta read up about chaos theory again. If it's non-linear, then you have to resort to statistical testing - that's the best you can do.

Gee. Just geeky ramblings. :P But hope it helps some poor programmer out there one day... :P
Just came back from my first company-sponsored course. Keeping in mind what was shared in last week's Sub D 242... hee, was praying to God to help me have a hungry heart to learn as much as I can.

'Cos was doing some contemplation on the Christian being successful in the workplace, and WHY we WANT to be successful...

In spite of the rationalisations many of us are in danger of justifying materialistic desires... i think God does want us to work as best as we can, in the wisest and hardest way possible, for two very good reasons:

1. Christ, when He came to redeem us, didn't just come to redeem our souls. He came to redeem EVERY area of our lives. The depth of Redemption says two things: the depth of our depravity, brokenness and pitifulness, and the depth of His intense undying love for us.

So He intends to fully redeem the way that I work, the way that I study, the way that I eat, the way I talk, the way I walk... whoa. Was so amazed that He would love me so much even to the point of sending me people to give me advice to gel my hair (that was many years ago), dress more nicely, etc etc...

But realised that if He cares enough to count the hairs on your head and mine (though He might not replace them), He cares enough to help you grow in every area of your life - be it appearance, strength, attitude...

But I think we also choose to respond to whether we want Him to work out His full redemption in our lives. We respond, because we recognise His care for us, and because we love Him in return. Yeah, I know, that sounds so... "mercenary" - that we love God, because He first loved us. Makes our love sound so ... mercenary.

But well, that is exactly what the Bible says - we love, because He FIRST loved us. It's humbling, because we understand that even our deepest love, our deepest devotion, our deepest tears of repentance, have to first be washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.

And when you think about that... then, you realise the sheer depth of His mercy and grace. "For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."

Oh my! I've rambled all the way off-point... :P

2. Because we want to support God's people.

Acts 20:33-35
33I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

In short: Love God with everything in me (including my work), and love my neigbour as myself. 'Nuff said. :P

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Have just chatted with a friend... just want to thank God for the timely encouragement!

"be strong! i'm finding that nothing can stand in our way when we're with God
not even scary appraisals"

:D Amen!


This poem is so beautiful... just really want to share it with you. =)


The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many--which one would He choose?
Take me, cried the gold one, I'm shiny and bright,
I'm of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
I'll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your wine
And I'll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You.

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view.

Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear,
My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I'm sure I'll be happy Your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said,
But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.

I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is bigmouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. "There's work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you."

--Author Unknown

A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit
hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit
Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899)

After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Always take the lowest place, and the highest will be given to you, for high
structures require a solid foundation. The greatest, in the judgment of God,
are the least in their own opinion; the more worthy they are, the more
humility will be seen in them.
Thomas À Kempis (C. 1380-1471)

Humility is a divine veil that covers our good deeds and hides them from our
Climacus Saint John (570-649)

Humility is a most strange thing. The moment that you think you have
acquired it is just the moment you have lost it.
Bernard Meltzer

Humility is nothing but truth, while pride is nothing but lying.
Vincent De Paul (1580-1660)

Because Christ Jesus came to the world clothed in humility, he will always
be found among those who are clothed with humility. He will be found among
the humble people.
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Friday, October 26, 2007


I stumbled upon this blog, while blog-surfing just now. It was recommended by the Blogger team...

Basically, PostSecrets is about totally anonymous people posting their own personal secrets, some melancholic, some light-hearted, some hilarious, some heart-breaking, and so on.

From there, I sojourned on to PostSecret Community, which is a forum where people post their own secrets. Obviously they're anonymous.

As I pored through, I tried to figure out just what was so appealing about this website, that the Blogger people would publicize it. And why did people keep coming back to this blog?

And this word came to mind: Community.

People are hungering for true community. And they will go to wherever it can be found.

And on a separate thread, I was perusing Andrew's blog post on being salt and light in the cyber world. He said this:

With this understanding in how people are proliferating the Cyber world, I believe we (Christians) should and must stay relevant with these changes around us and to capitalise on the Internet as a powerful tool to reach, impact and influence.

What if the Church is able to engage people effectively in the way these politicians do.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

We need to take the pulpit out of the four walls of the church and into the world.

I was thinking... HOW? :) I was discussing that with Hong Teck many moons ago (such a lovely archaic phrase!) about using cyberspace to touch children's lives.

And I certainly do think that as it stands now, posting Christian articles on the Net (like this article haha), while blessing the Church, and is good in God's eyes...

We could bless the non-Christians too with our postings. :) After all, Christian articles should be some of the finest writings the world has ever seen. Think Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia half a century ago.

In fact, Tolkien and Lewis had discussed this very issue half a century ago about how to be salt and light in their area of expertise: Literature. One of them had been complaining about the deteriorating state of children's literature... and the other suggested: "Why don't we write our own fantasy novels too?"

And the main reason these two epics have conquered the hearts and minds of millions the world over today is because of the enduring values that both espouse (and won the adoration of geeks the world over... and LOTR is the scriptures of every geek who truly seeks! ;D)

Values such as faith, hope and love. Courage, chivalry, comradeship. Perseverance, pain and patience.

Eternal truths to "mortal men doomed to die".

Parables, not propaganda.

Of course, it helps a great deal that both used their God-given skills to the maximum extent. Stretched themselves fully.

Why am I writing all these? Because of today's sub-district 242. Alan shared with us about his business trip to Shanghai about a week ago, and he said that he learnt a LOT. A lot as in learning to learn.

He shared about faith - wanting to prosper - not as the world sees it, but wanting to prosper for the right reasons - to bless the church, to pastor people without relying on them for financial support so as not to burden them... (even though the Bible says that those who preach the gospel do have the right to be supported by their congregations...)

Also, he shared that in the end, we need to have a vision to want to do something for God. It is the heart of wanting to do something for God, AND the partnership and direction of God that together, we are His fellow co-workers in the specific visions that He has approportioned to each one of us accordingly.

It is the vision that compels us to attempt extraordinary things for God, though we are ordinary people.

As the Navigators love to say, "Ordinary people, Extraordinary God!"

And to quote him directly, we "pray like mad"! :D Because it is so beyond ourselves that we cannot do it at all without His help. In the land of giants, we need His help. I was reading Deuteronomy, and Moses was exhorting the people, before they crossed over into the Promised Land, not to be afraid of the giant people living there, because the Lord was with them.

And to trace what God has been doing in our lives to prepare us for whatever tasks He's given us.

And I believe God is incredibly pleased when we are willing to attempt extraordinarily difficult things, as He so directs. Because it shows that we have faith in HIM. And faith pleases God, no less.

Of course we cannot do it on our own. The Israelites tried taking Canaan on their own when God told them NOT to go in... and they got soundly owned as they fled all the way back to their camp.

What are some of the extraordinarily difficult things that He may be calling you and me to do today?

Like, set up an orphanage in Africa - and the best orphanage in Africa, no less?

Dream bigger!

Like, preaching the gospel to kings and presidents?

Gosh. I inwardly shiver when speaking to my manager, let alone my CEO... kings and governors? Lord, help me!

But He said we will do so!

Ok, it's very long here. But yeah, still masticating on what Alan shared. :) Night and God bless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Commentary on Section 377A

Read through PM Lee's speech on why the Government chose to keep the now-famous Section 377A in the new Penal Code.

And near the end of his speech, his concluding remarks caught my eyes:

"On issues of moral values, with consequences to the wider society, first we should also decide what is right for ourselves.

But secondly, before we are carried away by what other societies do, I think it's wiser for us to observe the impact of radical departures from traditional norms on early movers. These are changes which have very long lead times before the impact works through, before you see whether it's wise, unwise, is this positive? Does it help you to adapt better? Does it lead to a more successful, happier, more harmonious society?


We were right to uphold the family unit when Western countries went for experimental lifestyles in the 1960s - the hippies, free love, all the rage...

But I'm glad we did that because today, if you look at Western Europe, where marriage as an institution is dead, families have broken down, the majority of children are born out of wedlock and live in families where the father and the mother are not the husband and wife living together, bringing them up. And we've kept the way we are.

I think we have also been right to adapt, to accommodate homosexuals in our society, but not to allow or encourage activists to champion gay rights (as) they do in the West.

So I suggest, Mr Speaker, and I suggest to the Members of the House, we keep this balance, leave Section 377A alone.

I think there is space in Singapore and room for us to live harmoniously and practically all as Singapore citizens together."

Was thinking about this, and am glad that he spoke up in favour of keeping S377A.

Personally, I was thinking whether to sign the anti-repeal online petition... Decided not to in the end, 'cos had a lot of questions first.

Gosh! One of the bros wrote a very good post on this topic... do read it, it's thought-provoking. :) Haha, he puts it much more eloquently than I can.

Oh! Lots of things recently. Bought World In Conflict, a cool war game based on a hypothetical scenario where the USSR invades USA. Tried it - gosh, it's a good game - forces you to make quick tactical decisions on the spot. Realised I keep stalling - and thus losing - because of my hesitancy. Trained me well in situational awareness too. :P Very fun...

Work's getting heavier. Thanks to Joyce who messaged me a small SMS :) and for WZ's "Oy!" message haha...

Gosh, v tired now. :P Lord, sustain me! :) And keep me close to Your Word, Your Spirit, Your truth! In Jesus name amen!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Multitudes, Multitudes, in the Valley of Decision!

It's a cold rainy night as I write this. Such a cool and refreshing rain. :) Thank God for it...


Decision - whether to go for the Sub-D guitar course next month, so that I can help play guitar for CG, or for the HopeKids ministry retreat, which falls on the same day.

Decision - whether to wait first, or to explore further.

Decision - after discussing with my project team leader, whether to go on a company-posting to Vietnam.

Decision - to go for Botswana missions trip next year? $2K needed for the ticket...


Today my team leader gave me more feedback. He said that while my technical skills are very strong, and my comments during feedback sessions are "fantastic" (whoa thank God), and my strength is in seeing abstract concepts, I have to grow in this area: being more focused on my job scope, and showing more confidence in what I do know.

Something that he told me is that I shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, even when making decisions with confidence. Learn from my mistakes and move on.

I was thinking at that point - maybe God is really trying to help me grow in this area - both through my shepherd and my team leader.

And reflecting, I'm reminded (yes, not realised) that godly confidence requires humility - humility, and servanthood, because you demonstrate confidence, both for your own sake and for others' sakes. For if you lead, and you don't show outwards confidence, others who follow your directions will be affected.

Humility, for when you make decisions, as best as you know, as carefully as possible... you know that you will look foolish when you have confidently moved forward - only to find that the decision you made was wrong.

But if your conscience is clear, and you did your best, with the limited info you had, and you prayed too, including seeking wise and godly advice... then perhaps God may be allowing you to stumble to teach you humility, to know that you are weak without Him. :) Don't worry - He will help you up... but sometimes the best help you need is to be humbled first. :)

Thinking. Personally, for me, I really don't think I'm a confident person - but I need to be humble and deny myself the right to remain in my comfort zone, being passive. After all, who doesn't like a confident and capable servant, who is wise and knows what he/she is doing? Servant leadership requires that one be confident - especially in matters of the truth.

So it means denying my own feelings, and to be deliberately confident on the basis of what I know to be the truth, whether in work or in ministry, whether in defeat or in victory, whether in peace or in war.

And if I want to be a good and godly father next time, I'll definitely have to learn to make decisions now. For my future wife's and children's sake. :)

And for my future sheep too. And for my future ministry team too.

Lord. help me. You know that I so lack confidence, so lack decisiveness and firmness. But at least... thank You Lord that You have given me the courage to do what I know needs to be done. Hee. Even my team leader said that he thinks I have the courage to do what needs to be done... but I need to do it faster!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Great Saturday, thank God. :D

Bought my hearing aid batteries, had lunch with Jeannie - great time of fellowship, then shepherding with Peter, finally CG.

Oh. Chatted with Auntie Jane at the hearing aid shop, and haha, very encouraged by her. And she advised me to pray and ask God for His guidance - not only for myself, but also for the sister - that if it really is God's will to bring us together into a relationship, He'll speak to both of us in due time. Whoa. Very good advice - from a married mother some more haha.

I'd been praying for God to speak to me and guide me, but never had the idea of asking God to guide the sister too. Ah! God really works in wise and wonderful ways. :) And Auntie Jane shared this proverb with me from the Bible (which I had read the day before):
Proverbs 19:14
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

With that, she exhorted me to seek God's will, because God is able to provide me with the best companion for me in future. That, and another very good and encouraging piece of advice. But shall not write it down here. :)

Amen! :D

Peter and I went around Balestier Town area. So 80s, so nostalgic. :D We also took a look around Novena Church. They were having mass, and we overheard the priest humorously bantering with his flock - "Everyone arise - and let's sing a little bit faster, so that we don't fall asleep while singing." LOL!

CG - we listened to this lecture by the Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias - "Why Don't I Feel My Faith?" Good, thought-provoking lecture - and we shared our comments and thoughts about it.

Ok, tomorrow House of Prayer... =)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Just came back from a very long dinner with a dear friend. :D Thank God for this dear bro! :D Somehow, our talk always keep transiting to about relationships - and I think it's a good thing. Very blessed by his advice on many things. =) Haha... it's nice to have a friend who's also a mentor to you esp in areas you know much less about - like, say, BGR. ;)

So we talked about Proverbs 31 - the wife of noble character. Then he asked me, "What do you think is the Christian man's equivalent of Prov 31?"

That's a good question... hmmm! I brightly suggest to him that Prov chapter 31 is for the wife - and the other 30 chapters are for the man.

Well, he suggested that perhaps 1 Tim 3 is especially for those who want to be godly Christian men. Though in context it's more for those who want to be pastors, overseers, shepherds... it's also helpful for those who want to grow into the kind of godly character that makes it possible for a man to take care of his future wife.

And we discovered some very interesting insights into gender communication: the difference between Adam communicating with Eve, as compared to how the crafty serpent talked to Eve - patiently and smoothly and barefacedly... I remember what this bro shared with me: "If you can't teach your future wife God's Word well, the Devil will fill in the blanks for you!"

Whoa. And on the more personal side, after WZ's sharing, Song of Solomon 2:7b came to mind. So thankful to God for this dear bro's counsel. :)

Well, we ended up in City Hall's Starbucks till 11.50pm. Great time of hilariously lame jokes involving iPods, Kelvar, Chunnel diggers, film experts and Iraq... don't ask how we managed to string them all together in one go. Should make a podcast soon. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thanks so much Lord for the dinner with Kin Wee today. We were very blessed and refreshed by the time - am very inspired and encouraged by him! :D A long time of sharing, but it's really a great joy when you discover that someone else shares the same heartbeat as you :D

Lewis and Tolkien... ;)

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Pilgrim's Regress

Was studying my Bible today, the book of Deuteronomy (it's so much more digestible than the innumerable numbers in the book of Numbers haha), when this verse just caught my eye:

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deut 4:9)

That verse made me reflect on my walk with God, and take a look back, assessing my footprints in the sand. I saw how my new life has been marked by constant struggles to overcome and grow. And I saw how, when I decided to make the decision to obey God and seek Him through prayer and His Word, He helped me grow so much. I think I grow in spurts.

But something I also realised, after reflecting on the above verse, is that after I breakthrough in a particular area, I sometimes let the very Bible verse that helped me grow so much in the first place start slipping from my heart. And I start slipping back into disobedience and ignorance.

In Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Christiana and her companions, as they reach the very edge of the Celestial City, stumble upon two other pilgrims, Heedless and Too-bold, pitifully sleeping in an Enchanted Ground. And they refuse to wake up. Refuse to wake up? After all the many tears, turmoils and triumphs that these pilgrims went through so far, now they are sleeping?

Then said Christiana, "What is the meaning of this?" The guide said, "They talk in their sleep. If you strike them, beat them, or whatever else you do to them, they will answer you after this fashion ... 'When I awake I will seek it again.' ...
For this Enchanted Ground is one of the last refuges that the enemy to pilgrims has; wherefore it is, as you see, placed almost at the end of the way, and so it standeth against us with the more advantage. 'For when,' thinks the enemy, 'will these fools be so desirous to sit down, as when they are weary; and when so like to be weary, as when almost at their journey's end?' Therefore it is, I say, that the Enchanted Ground is placed so nigh to the Land Beulah and so near the end of their race. Wherefore let pilgrims look to themselves, lest it happen to them as it has done to these that, as you see, are fallen asleep, and none can wake them."

It's so hard to fight, and so easy to fall. But we must keep on fighting the good fight of the faith! "March on, my soul; be strong!" (Judges 5:21b) And for how long? "...until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." (2 Pet 1:19b)

Gee! My heart feels so much cleaner and more comforted emotionally after studying the Word today. How I really need the Word of God; how I really love the Word of God! :D It's really like a powerful lamp in a total blackout, it's like healing honey to my soul... it really is the best thing since (sliced) bread! :D Oh dear... I mustn't be ashamed to love the Word of God! Because... well, it's God's very words! :D Hee. Maybe I feel so loved whenever God speaks to me, because my Daddy in heaven knows that my love language is words. I feel His love deepest when He speaks to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dying to My Demandingness

Back from playing DOTA with the bros.

Reflecting on today... a lot of things this week actually.

We celebrated Jeannie's bday today as a CG. Blessed by her sharing, esp the one about how our lives are like rivers that go through various stages - from the mountain-tops of youth to the meandering deltas of senescence. :)

And Hopetots today.

Actually Hopetots was terrible for me at the start. I was very tired after having to complete some typing till 230 am the night before. And today the kids were on ultra-mode. So i really couldn't work up enough energy to be sanguine - thank God so much for Robert, who really is very natural at this. So I went off somewhere quiet to just catch a quick shut-eye and pray.

Hmm. There's more to this than just being tired. I snapped at two bros in class today actually. Then after leaving the classroom to take some time off, I reflected on what I had done. Then think God helped me take a sober look at what I had done, and more importantly, why I was acting emotional again.

When I'm very tired -> I become very emotional -> and thus become very demanding, demanding other people to be sensitive to my own needs. And this demanding spirit manifests itself in a very self-absorbed and self-pitying attitude.

Thank God. He helped me see how this is a pattern in my relationships with people, that stops others from drawing closer to me. And how this pattern has been manifesting itself in so many relationships over my whole life - saw many, many incidents where I started becoming very demanding and how this demandingness spoilt many friendships.

But now I see the truth, thank Jesus! "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

And I'm especially grateful to God that there was this time that I chose NOT to let my demandingness rule, but to stop, pray and wait. And I saw how my friendship with this friend grew much deeper. I still have that upset letter that I didn't give to this friend after all. And I'm so glad I didn't.

Apologized to the first bro, and asked him how he felt. He confirmed what I had reflected... but very grateful for his acceptance and forgiveness. Thank God for his magnanimous heart indeed - this is something i really need to learn from him, with my pettiness and all that.

SMSed an apology to the other bro, but I'm not sure how he felt... hesitant actually to ask him, because I think he'll need some time actually.

Reflected on it, and felt very fearful, because was so worried what would these two friends think of me. But remembered that this kind of anxiety is worldly sorrow, not godly sorrow that leads to repentance and produces no regret. This is how i recognize whether my sorrow is worldly or godly.

Then it struck me as I was walking back home. God had just tested me again to see how I would respond when I am tired and feeling very emotional.

And, I failed the test again.

But thanks be to God! I failed less badly this time. :)

So something I realised about how God tests me is that He really pops surprise tests. And He tests me so quietly that I have no idea that I'm being tested. THAT is the best kind of test - one that really reveals what is in my heart. Gee. Just like how He tested the Israelites in the dreadful desert till their faith and obedience were refined.

'Cos last wk, I had this feeling that God was going to pop a surprise test on me to see whether I'll pass the test of not falling into the sin of acting emotionally in the next 2 or 3 weeks. So the first wk, I was on watch.

Haha... my Daddy in heaven is much smarter than me - He waited till I forgot to watch, THEN He tested me when I was off my guard, so that He can help me see what is REALLY in my heart.

But now, yeah, reflecting, I see what kind of attitude I have in my heart... now I need to reflect what are the values that I actually carry in my heart that cause these attitudes to take root.

And this verse comes to mind: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many."

That is the verse I need to use to put my selfish demanding sinful nature to death. Every day. And with His help, I shall change to be the Yeu Ann that He wants me to be!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh God! Help me... there's simply so many things that I want to do - but have so much trouble prioritizing. Like typing encouragement emails to bless my dear bros and sisters, to do drawings to bless others' hearts, to spend quality time with others, to do little favours and errands... to strategize and implement for HopeTots... to enjoy little passions and hobbies... to do reading...

but i end up blog-surfing... and reading trivia on Wikipedia... and just feel melancholic at times...

and in the midst of it all this i remember something that i forgot: to spend quality time with the Lord in prayer.

then, these words of Martin Luther come into my mind: "I have so many things to do in a day, that I simply must begin the day with at least a few hours of prayer."

ah. i'm reminded that the tighter the time, the more sharply focussed i need to be. and i know that on my own i can't do it. i'm just too un-self-motivated, too phlegmatic and too passive.

but i remember that when i pray, in the midst of all the busyness and smoke and confusion of the 'battlefield of life', somehow He clears my mind to see clearly what to do, where to go, and when to go.

to pray, to pray and to pray.

Lord, there are so many things that i need to do today, that i simply must start the day in prayer.

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

ah. i think You are reminding me of what really counts - not the things i do, but the love behind all the things that i do.

Love God, and love His people. Didn't the Lord Jesus say that we shall remain in His love if we obey His command? And what is His command? To love each other as He has loved us.


Thank You Lord. I think my mind is much calmer and more peaceful now. Now I can sleep in peace - just like what Ps Jeff wrote in his blog. :D Amen and Hallelujah!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Implementing Functional Programming in Visual Basic 6

Was bathing just now, when I had this idea... as some of you may know by now, I've been doing my own research into FP techniques to eliminate, or at the least, minimize side-effects that every software engineer dreads.

Realised that VB6 has 3 features that make it possible to implement the following FP techniques:

1. Variables, once assigned to, cannot be changed. (This helps to eliminate any side-effects due to unintended state changes.)
2. Lists (Can be emulated by the good Collection class).
3. Recursion (VB6 has it)

While writing a program today, I discovered that one of the best things about the VB Collection class is that you don't have to worry about null objects being passed into an algorithm.

Let me explain - if I write:

Dim C as New Collection
Dim Item as Object
for each Item in C
next Item

Then even if C contains nothing i.e. its count is zero, you don't have to do any special handling unlike the case below:

Dim Item as Object
. (many, many, many lines of code later)
process(Item) - oops! You forgot to initialize Item... so your program crashes ... not at compile time, but at RUNTIME. :(

One of the lousiest disadvantages about object-oriented programming is that you normally require explicit instantiation, and sometimes, initialization of your objects. And more often than not, you discover your mistake only when you are running the application... at some especially embarrassing moment when you're demo-ing to your most important client.

Ok, about the immutable variables (or in FP terminology, symbols), to implement them in VB6, you can write:

Option Explicit

private m_Value as Variant
private IsAssigned as Boolean

' Attributes
public property Let Value(V as Variant)
if Not IsAssigned then
m_Value = V
IsAssigned = True
end if
end property
public property Get Value() as Variant
Value = m_Value
end property

The IsAssigned value is critical to ensure immutability of the symbol. And the Variant data type in VB6 is priceless for FP implementers - it makes life so much easier, since it can accept any data type (albeit at a significant performance price).

So, to exploit the benefit of immutable symbols and lists, we need to use recursion techniques, since iterative loops, a traditional staple of imperatives everywhere, technically are impossible in FP languages.

function F(C as Collection, S as FPSymbol) as FPSymbol
if C.Count = 0 then
' termination condition
T.Value = C.Item(0): C.Remove(0)
F = S.Value + F(C, T)
end if
end function

(For performance benefits, please try to do tail-end recursions as far as possible!)

As of now, I still haven't figured out how to implement higher-order functions and the classic Map, Reduce and Filter functions in VB6. But I think it should be relatively easy.

I believe the principles that I suggested above are easily implementable in any imperative language, which makes it convenient to use in current software projects. Plus, the great benefit is that you don't have to learn an entirely new functional language - which would probably be unacceptable in today's marketplaces.

Haha. Hopefully I can finally slay the dreaded Side-Effect Bugs once and for all. It might be possible, you know!

But even if you don't use the traditional FP paradigms in programming, just using immutable variables and/or collections can make a good difference in eliminating certain classes of bugs.

Friday, October 5, 2007

LAGQ Live!: Pachelbel's 'Loose' Canon

Listen to this! :D

Acts 27

The confidence of Paul even as a prisoner on a huge boat with two hundred-plus others in a storm. Lord, how did he get this confidence? If I were him, i would be v scared actually... From where did Paul get his courage and confidence, that even the commanding officer began to listen to him?


Thursday, October 4, 2007

BGR Seminar

Wow, such a good time at today's BGR seminar. :D Learnt a lot of interesting new things haha and thank God for the Q&A sessions - very helpful!

And also had a good time to catch up with Weizhu and Robert. :) Was looking around to see who are those who are 'hitched' already - or potentially... hahaha... alamak, sounds very voyeuristic. Haha...

Ok! Gotta sleep soon. Night, Lord.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's been a quiet two days. Been spending the time after work blog-surfing, reading Wikipedia and reading the book Social Intelligence. Fascinating stuff - I'll post more on it in due time.

Hmm. Just want to thank God for His grace. =) Today was a quiet day, but the weather was very beautiful. As I walked out of the building, I looked up to the skies, and was reminded that this is the day that He has made. So looked up to the skies and smiled my best smile as I could to my Daddy in heaven. :D Hee hee!

Been also reflecting on this verse the past few days: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

I've been reflecting on my being emotional - or 'emo'. Having been ticked off for that recently, I've come to see the value of maturity more and more - and also realised why I've been refusing to let go of this 'emo' side to me.

Personally, over the years, I've been pretty much put off (to put it mildly) by the idea of maturity. Somehow, it had this disgusting connotation that one day, you'd join the ranks of the 'mature', start putting on affected 'mature' mannerisms and act more seriously - which looked seriously senile to me.

And most of all, there seemed to be the sour smell of joylessness - that frightening, Alzhemier-like inability to take joy in a randomly-seen flower, smile at a child's smile, dance under the sky to God just because you could. Like how Jesus had knelt before his Father in child-like delight, saying:
Luke 10:21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

In the course of my ten years as a Christian I saw some people who started acting more serious and more "mature" - especially after they started serving more - and to me, they started looking more haggard and tired. Joyless, in the end. So inwardly, I told myself that I don't want to grow mature, if this is what maturity looks like. Wrinkly sourness that looks better on a dried prune than on a child of God!

But now, through the Word, some very good Christian books and the exhortations and examples of my dear family in Christ, God has been opening my eyes gradually to see what really is true maturity. And how I have let my mindset become biased, till I miss seeing the value of it.

I learnt that maturity is not always the same as growing old.

That there are mature people who have never grown old. And there are old people who have never grown mature.

And this phrase that I read from "The Life You've Always Wanted" melts the heart like a sorbet: "It may be that God is the most joyous being in the whole universe... For we all have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." True maturity is sweet, like a bottle of aged wine!

So something that struck me while I was reflecting on the above verse was the ordering of the words: "When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."1

Not, "I put childish ways behind me, then I became a man."

Metamorphosis to Maturity
Thus, I realised from this verse that true maturity must start from inwards. That is, the nature of someone growing in maturity requires a metamorphosis, like a caterpillar to a butterfly. Likewise, it's very very hard for someone who hasn't seen the value of maturity to live as a mature person, because his nature is still that of a child.

And something, someone, somehow, must produce that necessary metamorphosis in the heart, the soul, the spirit, the mind, in order to cause the child to grow into a man.

Values -> Attitudes -> Behaviours
In short, as the pyramidal diagram that Peter showed me regarding growth, behaviours result from attitudes, which in turn result from values. He took me on a rigorous examination of what really are the true values that I hold in my heart. Then he asked me to go back and think it over some more. "That's your homework to do for the week."

Think I have a better understanding now of the meaning and importance of maturity. A caterpillar can't fly - but a butterfly is able to. And they are one and the same creature. Maturity makes all the difference.

And how I can grow in biblical maturity in all its different aspects is to let the values and principles in the Bible take more and more root in my heart. To discard my old outdated and obsolete values (they never worked well in the first place) and to replace them with the shining pearls in God's Word.

And to let God bake me after I imbibe His words of wisdom. Bake me through repeated tests. James 1 - to consider it pure joy when I go through hard times... so that perseverance may complete its work in me, that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

And that I think God is telling me that He's really going to test me emotionally the next 2 or 3 weeks - that is why He's been speaking to me so clearly through many ways - and has finally confirmed it through His Word.

God! This is going to be tough, but prepare me anyway. This is BMT for the soul... because You know that I went through the same kind of test before, and didn't make it - almost gave up - but You pulled me out and saved me. And now You are pushing me back into the ring.

Sounds like a WWE wrestling match, but when You've got God the Father as the Referee, Jesus as your Tag-team Partner and the Holy Spirit as your Coach... Hee hee! It's going to be a hell of a wrestling match, but "no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And that is the true emotional maturity and solidness of confidence that I want as my ultimate prize in this life. Amen!

1:(Surprised, and especially so, since I don't think Paul was really writing a how-to-grow manual to the Corinthians, but rather, using that analogy as a passing mention - almost like it was one of those "everyday" statements with that inherent expectation that putting aside childish ways when you grow up is so expected. Similar to Jesus saying, "WHEN you fast..." since, according to Richard Foster, fasting was done so often by so many cultures that it was an expected cultural, if not religious, norm during Jesus' time.

But I daresay that today's increasingly liberalized cultures have pretty much discarded the idea of delayed gratification, what with the Shrine of the Golden Arches, and also the idea of "mature responsibilities", with the advent of the "Twixters" generation, raised by "helicopter" parents who hover super-protectingly over their proteges - "Spank them? OMG! You child abuser!!!". And it seems from East to West, North to South, from China to the USA (to a little red dot in between) - parenting is getting increasingly protective - till it reaches that point where the kids don't have a chance to practise living or thinking for themselves.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Myanmar's Sorrows

Just felt a lot of sadness when I read about the protests - and the suppression of the protests. Felt my spirit soar with hope for them, and sink with disappointment for them too. All so often, there are cries of injustice that rises to heaven, and they do not seem answered yet, while the wicked still rule the city.

I've been thinking of writing in to suggest that Singapore exercises sanctions against Myanmar, but I'm not sure whether that these sanctions would be a good idea. But I'm glad that BG George Yeo spoke out bluntly regarding the human-rights abuses that the Myanmarese rulers has committed against their people.

Think my fellow Singaporeans have been angrily protesting on The Online Citizen that Singapore hasn't done enough. I think yes, it's true, we could do so much more.

I guess it comes closer to home when you actually get to know people personally from there. I remember chatting with a student from Myanmar when I was back in JC in 1998, and I curiously asked him whether what I'd heard about the Myanmarese government was true.

A look of anger and disgust swept across his face immediately. In simple but clear English, he frowned, "They are bad people. Very bad, bad people."

"And what about Aung Sun Suu Kyi?"

His face immediately brightened up, and he smiled. "Oh! She is a good lady. We like her very much."

He wasn't being simplistic when he said that (since his English was limited), but rather, sharp and astute in his assessment. Especially so, since he was a very bright student, one of the top scholars in his country.

So I wonder if he was there that day during the protests when the security forces opened fire on them.


And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring...
And love is not the easy thing...
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got, they can't steal it
No they can't even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight...

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can't deny it
Can't sell it or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home...hard to know what it is if you never had one
Home...I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is

I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme...
(From U2's "Walk On")

Monday, October 1, 2007

Thank God for DOTA... :D

Had a very satisfying round of DOTA - satisfying for the other team. We were the Sentinel, and they were the Scourge.

Congratulated Yanjie, and he misheard "victory" as "big tree".

"Victory? Oh! I thought you said 'big tree'! I was so surprised, 'cos it was YOUR side that got the big tree - the one that we cut down..."

(Alamak. Yanjie, you damn funny lah.)

Anyway I'm also very thankful for this game, because after making a decision to see the value of situational awareness some time ago, I saw things in the way I played the game that I never saw before - e.g. doing very 'bobo' things like letting my enemies creep up on me, letting myself get 'sandwiched' between two more powerful heroes, etc.

For the first time, I was dissatisfied with myself, 'cos I know that I pulled my teammates down. And realised that while the bros in church are more gracious, the key principle here is that being self-aware of what I do helps me improve whatever I'm doing. And less annoying to my fellow game-players. And more 'street-cred', I think. :P

And hee, for the first time, I levelled up at the same rate as the other guys. No more lagging behind... till I cheonged too fast and got zapped to pieces. So finally learnt another important principle... be prudent and patient. I think Proverbs talks about this principle of being prudent and observant...

Whoa. The principles in the Bible also helps me improve my DOTA playing! :D God is so cool! Who says Bible not relevant to today's modern context? Haha...

I think DOTA's a good game to learn team and social principles I think. Actually, there's a lot more things that can be learnt, when I capture the value of opening my eyes and being more aware. =) Thank You Lord!

Social Intelligence

Daniel Goleman - Author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence

I went to Times Bookshop at Centrepoint to help my mum buy a gift, when I espied this book. It was very surprising, 'cos I was talking with Robert about that topic last night. So flipped through it and decided to buy it.

Just feel very thankful to Daddy for His gracious provision. It's just so ... timely. :D

From what I've read so far - it's a good book. Tentatively it gets me stamp of approval. 4 stars out of 5.

(Oh. A passing thought. Actually I expect half or three-quarters of what I'll read in this book to have already been taught me by my brothers and sisters in church over the past 10 years.)

And speaking from experience, the church really is the best place to grow in relationships - here, you have the freedom to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. Of course, if you keep on making the same mistakes, you get pushed, but even that pushing is in itself a huge act of love. In short, it's a laboratory for relationships. :)

I remember what Robert exhorted me when I told him that I'm a social "cripple":
"Yeu Ann! The Big Transformation has already been done in you. You've changed so much over the years... now what is left is the fine-tuning, the more delicate job. I can assure you that the big block has been done. The tumour has been removed. Now there's the little bits floating around in the bloodstream... that is why you feel that you are struggling more and more, that it gets harder and harder as the years go by. Because the bits become smaller and smaller."

And instantly, at that point, the words, "CHEMOTHERAPY", came to mind. And I realise that while Christ has removed the tumour from my heart, He, as the Wise Physician, still must put me through intensive chemo to purify my blood with painful chemicals till the cancer of sin is completely gone. (Hebrews 12:1-13) :)

That reminds me... there is this friend in church I have to urgently feedback to. This friend has halitosis. And it's not mild... it's bad. So I have to hurry up and let this friend know. Because... maybe it's not as extreme as saying "my friend's blood will be on my hands", but i think i can help this friend as one who also struggles with the same issues. A fellow sinner helping another fellow sinner. Umm umm! hope it goes well. Pray pray!