Archive for March, 2007

My reflections on Acies 我对检阅典礼的感想

Our Lady of Mount Carmel City Curia and Junior Curia had their Acies on 25 April 2007. It was at the Church of St Peter and St Paul at 2pm. The event comprised of a procession into the church with the standards of the various praesidia and curiae. We then had the opening prayer and the rosary. Our Spiritual Director preached a short homily. After this we immediately began an individual consecration. Coming out in pairs, we placed our right hand on the vexillium and professed the words ‘我的母皇,我的母亲,我全属于你。我所有的一切都属于你。

After the individual consecration, the entire assembly consecrated themselves as a group. The Acies ended with a Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and procession of out the church. We then adjourned to the canteen for lunch.

“This Latin word, meaning as it does an army ranged in battle array, is appropriate to a ceremony in which the legionaries as a body assemble to renew their fealty to Mary, Queen of the Legion, and from her to receive strength and blessing for yet another year’s battle with the forces of evil.” 1

Every year, the Legionaries assemble together to consecrate themselves to Mary’s service. It is the most important function of a Legionary’s life. It is a MUST, to attend it. Based on my experience, those who fail to attend drop out very quickly. In fact, the handbook mentions:

“The essential idea of the Legion, upon which all else is built, is that of working in union with and in dependence on Mary, its Queen. The Acies is the solemn expression of that union and dependence, the renewal-individual and collective-of the legionary declaration of fealty. Hence it is manifest that any legionaries who can attend, and yet fail to do so, have little or none of the spirit of the Legion in them. The membership of such persons is not an asset to the Legion.”2

Every year I face the disappointment of having some of my members absent. But I also take comfort and derive great joy from the fact that the attendances are still quite good. In fact this year all of my members came (save for one) including the probationary members. I am well pleased.

But for us who have attended this event and presumably benefited, what lessons can we learn? The Latin word Acies also refers to ‘a sharp edge or poin’ of a sword, dagger, sickle. Therefore this reminds us that we are the battlefront of a war between good and evil. Between the Sacred and Profane, we are at the edge. This battle involves “The Legion of Mary and its opposing forces, secularism and irreligion”3

Do we take the renewal of vows seriously? To give our all for Our Lady? If we do not, we face defeat and dishonor. A soldier that does not put all his skills and resources to full use will be wiped out easily. How long will we waste our God-given talents? It is evident that there is no room for defectors, deserters and other cowards.

Still, I struggle sometimes and wonder why I am here in Legion when I can be else where doing other things. The feeling of not being appreciated is common to many members. Parents and friends ridicule us for ‘wasting time’ and ‘doing unconstructive things’.

But I believe that this Legion system is still relevant and can work out. Furthermore, we cannot let the blood of the martyrs go to waste. I have to push myself to work harder and stop slacking while others bleed.

Come brethren, throw off your worldly desires and serve Our Queen who promises great victory through Jesus! Together let us say, ‘My Queen and Mother, I am yours. Everything I have is yours!’

References:

The Legion of Mary Handbook

1Chapter 30, Functions, The Acies

2 Chapter 30, Functions, The Acies

3 Chapter 12, The External Aims of the Legion, In High enterprise for God, afternote by Father Aedan McGrath, S.S.C.

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Final Results

CL3100 PROTEOMICS                                                                           CM B 5
CL3101 DRUG DEVELOPMENT                                                           CM A 5
CL3102 STRUCTURAL & FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS                     CM C+ 4
CL3103 MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES     CM B 3
CL3104 PRINCIPLES OF CLINICAL TRIALS                                    CM A 2
CL3105 ESSENTIALS OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT                    CM B 3
CL4100 BIOPROCESS DESIGN                                                             CE DIST 2
CL4101 BIOSENSORS & BIOMEDICAL DEVICES                             CE A 2

With a final GPA of 2.740.

Wah kao, no A for Business Management. What a waste. And SFG, what a horrible stain.

It finally endeth.

Post-Polytechnic Education Activities

At last, school is out. What have I been up to since the last day of school? On the Thursday of the last paper the usual lot of gamers (Sans Arden; he had to finish his elective project) went to Parklane to play Dota. I met my 招募营营管组 section leaders in the evening.

The following Monday I met up with some of the class people to celebrate Yumei’s and Dominic’s birthday. We went to this Japanese restaurant next to United Square. Argh, I spent a lot of money that night. I wanted to go home and do my 招募营 reports but then I ended up staying for the night at Dominic’s house with the rest of them.

Some of them were on his bed (a very big one) playing Fatal Frame 3. The girls were scared silly. The rest of us were content with taking turns on Dominic’s marvellous computer.

The next day we went to Serrangoon Gardens for lunch and then ice cream at Haato. It’s not bad. You should try it next time.

The following days were spent watching Black Lagoon and Pumpkin Scissors. I also resumed my Legion meetings. The 招募营大组会议 was on 3 March. I have another one this Friday. Argh.

大型康乐 was last Saturday. It was good fun at Pasir Ris. It has been a long time since I went to the beach with good sun. The last time I went to Sentosa the weather was shit!

Oh yeah, I cut my hair at last. I decided that no one wants to hire a guy with hair like mine.

Bye bye long ah beng bangala hair

Hello reality

See how the hair of youth is cut off mechanically at my command. Yes, I decided to have my hair cut based on my determined will without protest.

And once again I’m standing at the crossroads.

This time I’m not going to waste any time. I’ve been looking for work to maintain my living expenses. Damn, applied to one company but they haven’t called me back. That’s it, I’ll call another one in the morning.

I went back to Fr Albert for Confession on Friday. He ended up preaching the same thing he many a hundred confessions ago. The good thing is he insisted on giving me some proper spiritual direction this time. The last time we tried it by email, but it got cut off somehow. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I can get my life in order.

In time to come.

3 years of polytechnic education: a post mortem

My three years of polytechnic education has come to an end. Within a few weeks I will be receiving my Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology. Ah, this will be the last time I take classes or examinations for a long time.

The aim of this piece of writing is to give some advice for those who will be entering the polytechnic, or are considering. I would also like to share what I have learnt during my three years of polytechnic education. I hope it will be useful to you.

What have I learnt over the past three years? I have learnt many things; like how to study and how to make friends. On the dark side, I have also learnt how to cheat and how to maneuver and manipulate people. Indeed, entering the polytechnic will force you to open your eyes. If you remain naïve, you will die. You will be forced to learn quickly.

But don’t let me scare you too much. When you enter first year, the most important thing is to get to know your class better. Try to have some fun. Don’t get into a clique too quickly. It tends to limit your network. Plus the politicking can get very messy.

If you were to observe in the next six months, the cliques will change very rapidly. By eighth week you should see rivals already. A little rivalry is healthy, but don’t let it consume you. Learn to be polite no matter what. It really helps. I have been relatively

Maybe you haven’t been touching the textbooks in the last three or four months but it’s time to snap out of it. Learn to keep up with your assignments. Do not do last minute work. Let me offer you some academic advice: If you have been doing last minute work in secondary school; forget that habit now! You were able to mug three months before O levels (or our A level friends) to get a decent result. I applaud you. But you will not enjoy this luxury if you want to do well.

Every test and project you do will contribute to your Grade Point Average, GPA. The GPA is like your aggregate from O levels. In NYP, the maximum is 4 out of 4. To those of you who intend to enter the local university, you need to have a GPA of at least 3.5. There will be much competition, so you better work your ass off.

If you are able to cultivate good study habits in your first year, you shouldn’t have a problem with getting good grades in your first semester. The first semester is quite important. The first semester will cover basics. You will need to apply what you have learnt in subsequent modules. Learn to be consistent. In polytechnic, consistency is key. Don’t be like me. I mucked up my first semester terribly and now I’m paying for it.

Normally you will be spending most of your time in school with classmates. Still, you might want to expand your circle of friends outside of class. Learn to be sociable. Though CCA is no longer considered for admission into the local university, it is still a good place to meet new people. Try to take part in activities such as forums and community service. If you want to join a CCA, join in Year One.

Don’t join too many clubs, it can be very taxing. At one point of time I was in THREE clubs. It was insane and my grades suffered.

Even if you put in 100% effort, you may not be appreciated. I had a friend from CCA who was like that. No doubt he has a stellar CCA record, people were quite afraid of him because of his enthusiasm. One day we had this activity and all the participants stood us up. The rest of us were quite amused but he was crushed, practically crumbling after that. Want to be safe? It’s quite simply, really. As the name of the TV show goes,’Curb your Enthusiasm’.

The CCA circle is not really big. Sometimes you will see certain people all the time. But don’t fall into the danger of being in a few places at once. Better to stand out in one place than not to be seen everywhere.

Some of you may fall in love, or at least be interested in members of the opposite sex (God forbid, the same sex!) This is very healthy and natural. But don’t rush into it. Get to know the other party better. Don’t bother looking for perfect partners; they do not exist. Even the best girl or guy will have a fault of some sort. In my first year I admired a classmate of mine. But she was not to be mine. Instead, she went out with this senior of ours. Eventually I realized that I could not tolerate her faults, even if I were to go out with her. Call it sour grapes if you must, but if things are too good to be true, they probably are. Love makes one blind.

Also, stay away from those who are taken. The feeling that you cannot be with him/her sucks completely, should the chance of anything happening be nil. If you want to go ahead with it, it’s at your own risk. Though there is still a chance of something happening, I always believe what goes around comes around. If karma does not come back to kick your backside, her angry boyfriend will.

By Year Two, you should be fairly well adjusted. You just need to keep the pace going. If you screwed up your first year, this is your last chance to do something about it. By Year Three it will be impossible to do anything. Don’t slack off. Learn to revise and finish your work on time. AND don’t do last minute work!!!

Most of the last minute work is due to procrastination. This is an Evil (with capital E). Learn to get rid of this habit. Sad to say, I have failed to get rid of it. Don’t follow in my steps.

In this year you should be taking things much more seriously. The challenge in Year Two will be juggling your schoolwork and other commitments. If you haven’t been swamped with projects already, they will be coming in really soon. Regarding projects, it is very critical to choose the right team. Don’t choose slackers who consistently don’t hand in work on time. He won’t have any qualms about dragging you and the rest of the team down. Make sure there are set deadlines and fairly proportioned work.

Industrial Attachment Program is also a good experience everybody should try to go through. I will write about this when I feel like it, or when someone asks for it.

Damn! I wish had someone to tell me all this before I started school!

Well it’s finally over. There’s no more school. No more exams. No more classes. No more practicals. No more projects (Thank God!)

But it also means no more playing Dota in the computer lab. No more cheap packed lunch. Or cheese sausages. No more mucking around in class. No more swearing duels with Arden. Or idle banter with Chris and Shakeila. I won’t have to hear Clement go, ‘Ian-san!’ or ‘Hey Catholic child!’

It was good to meet all of you, really. I hope all of you do well wherever you go. Keep in touch all right?


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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us