Archive for the 'Rants' Category

First post of 2010

Ah, welcome to the first year of the second decade of the twenty first century.

After three months of being in a post-ORD  semi-employed state, it is time to find full time work. Based on the job ads I’ve been looking at, it seems like a lot of the better jobs in life sciences ask for experienced personnel. Well, I have to start from somewhere. It is time for me to accumulate some experience in this field. Stepping stones, that’s the right thing to call it. Besides, having night classes alone for the next few years seems to be a waste of time if I am doing nothing in the day. I need money…

When I do take on full time work, I’ll really have to manage my time very, very wisely. There are so many things to juggle, so many things to prioritize. I do worry about that from time to time. I tend to throw everything into my primary task, and sometimes neglect the rest. I hope I do not end up neglecting the needs of the ministry.

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Another Cross Road

The end of NS is the beginning of another journey for me. Away from the sheltered bunkers of the army into the concrete jungle combined with harsh steel and sharp glass. Reality bites harder in real society.

I have begun part-time studies in Biotechnology. As a income source I have also done some locum work as a freelance phlebotomist. Unfortunately since my last assignment ended three weeks ago, I have no more work. It is time to find a new job.

I’m not getting a new job yet as I have not fully adjusted to student life. While I realize how important this venture is, I’m not fully immersed in the study mood. I should be making use of all the given time to study.

The biggest side effect is that I have no income. Not having any income is a painful thought. It pains me to see my bank account balance decreasing daily. Money, money, can be used for so many things.

My resolution is to find a job after this Legion camp in November. This camp is causing me endless headaches. There are also other issues to settle. Goodness, I’m not a full time church worker.

I must learn to manage my time better and stop this fear of not being able to cope overtake me. O Lord, make haste to help me!

SISPEC BSLC Week ??

The parable of the lost bayonet

The kingdom of heaven is like this: A company of trainees set off to train in the forests of Lim Chu Kang for three days. On the first day they performed the equipment check, and all was well. On the second day they performed the equipment check, and all was well. On the third day they failed to perform the equipment check, and all was well, until they were about to leave. As they were about to leave they discovered that a bayonet was missing. Hence they combed the forests, and the training grounds, and the encampment, for hours unto hours. After the third hour they finally located the missing bayonet. And all the troops rejoiced because they could go home, at last.

The story of the fool

From the same rabble of tired soldiers, there was a fool who misfired. How this happened, he does not like to say it in public, for it is quite stupid and embarrassing. The point is, he was given one extra duty to serve on a Sunday morning. The duty involved manning the telephone in the company office.

In the Swamps

After coming back from the forests of Lim Chu Kang, the company would set off to the swamps of Tengah. The swamp was nested between the Cemetary and the Air Base. There were no ghosts or zombies to molest the soldiers, but there were plagues of insects. It was disgusting to see them crawling infront of my face as I lay prone on the ground, screaming a fire control order at the top of my voice.

I was chewed out for being such a lousy commander. I’m starting to wonder if I should have opted to go elsewhere instead. These things scare me: Navigation, PT, battle drills, and the like. Maybe I am not cut out for such things. What am I to do? I don’t want my men to die because of me during a war.

In the meantime, you can see in their eyes contempt and disgust, when they have an uncapable commander leading them.

Nightmare Fighting Equipment

Nightmare Fighting Equipment (NFE) is commonly used by soldiers of all beliefs and creed. The purpose of these is to assuage fear. Common examples include cigarettes, alcohol, rosaries and stuffed toys.

This reminds me of a bad dream I had the other day. I dreamed that my computer got hacked.

Oh God, I don’t want to be here. But next week we are going back to the cursed island of Tekong, for a good four days. And I still need to pass one station for IPPT, if not I will fail this course and suffer in vain.

POP, come quick!

Anno MMVIII: 2007 After Action Review

Oh yes, it has been an interesting year. Here are some of the events.

July – Graduation

September – Enlistment into National Service

I managed to achieve some of my personal goals this year, but failed at some.

Goals 2007

  1. Ensure survival of Legion – success! but with mixed results..
  2. Continued Discernment – success!
  3. Survive in NS – success!
  4. Get rid of repeating sins – failed!

1. Ensure survival of Legion

It is fortunate that we managed to get more members in 2007. Better yet, they are at a good age, around 13 to 14. I hope the trend will continue this year. The bonds between the members are also quite strong, especially during the camp.

The thing is, I don’t want people to come for the wrong reasons. The Legion is not a social club, it is a ministry. To reinforce this, we must start enforcing discipline and order from now on. We have to act on it ourselves as well in order to set the standard.

The two main things I have planned this year is to revive the praesidium at Nativity. The adult praesidium and the parish priest are quite supportive. I hope we do not disappoint. Alas, my schedule is making it very difficult to fit in with the other members, but with God’s help I am sure we can come up with a plan. The second thing is the proposed young adults praesidium. It will be under the jurisdiction of the senior curia. Our aim is to retain the matured youths in the senior Legion in order to fulfill the purpose of the youth Legion, that is, to groom members for the work of the senior Legion.

2. Continued Discernment

I have continued my discernment under the guidance of Fr Gerard. That settles one of my goals, which was to find a Spiritual Director. I should resolve to see him more often.

I haven’t visited the local diocesan seminary in a long time. I think the last time was Good Friday? I can’t really remember. Neither did I attend any of their recollections or retreats this year.

I have reflected on other vocations other than the priesthood. I have great esteem for Marriage. My own parents are proof that it is such a great thing, that demands untiring sacrifice. Still, I am not interested in pursuing relationships. People tell me that I ought to date in order to discern better, but then I feel that it is futile. I’ve gone on dates, but I come back feeling empty. I don’t know, it seems like a day within His courts is better than days elsewhere.

My experiences at work and in the army has also convinced me the importance of the lay apostle. With so many opportunities to reach out, the laity have really no excuse. There are so many people in need of Christ, of some hope in their lives. Who will pick up a man who has fallen into the gutter by accident? It is the passer-by, the average joe, the man in the street. I will continue my work with the Legion to further understand the lay vocation better.

There are so many questions to consider. Should I apply for the seminary after I finish my army? Should I finish my studies first? And should I work after that? What do I work as? When do I stop? Maybe I should just forgo my studies and go apply for a job.

So many questions, but in God’s time there will be clear answers.

3. Survive in NS

Thank God I did not get maimed or crippled, yet. I didn’t get into much serious trouble, despite some close calls. I hope it stays that way, because I have already served one extra on a Sunday. No more! No more!

The Army has made me physically fitter than I was in school. Still, I miss the standard often. I struggle with my Standing Broad Jump. I cannot clear the Standard Obstacle Course. It makes me wonder if I’m cut out for soldiering. Should I push myself more or take it easy? There are so many ways to justify either course of action.

But I remember praying the night before I enlisted, that I hope to be a good soldier to defend the ruling party people of this country.
4. Get rid of repeating sins

Where my physical health is pretty all right, my spiritual health is failing. Every week it’s the same sins being confessed all over again. I have not tried hard enough.

But I have a whole year to keep working at it. I shall!

20 January 2008 – Short Update

Reader’s note: This was not supposed to be the first post of the year, but due to my lack of inspiration and time I will delay my intended post titled ‘Anno MMVIII: 2007 After Action Review’.

We had M203 and MATADOR live firing last Monday. It was fun, but we had to get up damn early. The damned rocket launcher was so damn heavy, I missed by a mile because I aimed too low. Plus, the optical sight almost destroyed my right eye. I think I would have gone blind if I was firing an RPG instead. But it was a good experience.

There was endurance run and fast march also. If not for the encouragement of my platoon guys, I wouldn’t have made it. Thanks guys!

Exercise GYPSY II was on Thursday at Mandai Reservoir. By the grace of God we managed to find all the checkpoints, with some help from other groups passing by. Carrying the signal set was not an easy task, even with rotation. Sigh, I need to work on my fitness.

Miraculously we had a Friday night bookout. It was the only thing we were all looking forward to the whole week. We had some 9 Div/Infantry Pride Day Exhibition at the Leaders’ Hall. There was a prize giving ceremony for Work Improvement Team Scheme. Some Corporal got the top prize and to top it off, Friday was his ORD day. It’s not everyday that you have a General hand your Certificate of Service and Pink IC to you. I swear, the sun was shining and the birds were singing, because somebody ORDed.

I went to Legion meeting at Maris Stella on Saturday, the first time in many months. It was good to be home. I had a long talk with a few of the young ones. Very fruitful.

I went to a talk conducted by the Family Life Society’s Nick Chui. I’ve known Nick for a while, and he is a good speaker. The talk was about the Holy Father’s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It was a fruitful talk, much needed spiritual input. After the talk I headed to Novena for the 5 pm devotion to Our Lady. I spent the evening walking around town after that.

I went to the 11 am Mass on Sunday, with my parents as usual. Argh, there was some visiting African priest who was singing during the homily. Best of all, the congregation was singing along with him. He was preaching something about Jesus being our walking stick. As expected, talked too much during the sign of peace, sang a funny ‘Go the Mass has ended’ at the final blessing. Damn, I should use the walking stick to give this guy a solid whack on the head. For a moment I thought Africa was the last bastion of conservatism and tradition. I think I made a mistake somewhere.

I went to meet with the Legion officers for a planning meeting regarding the Officers’ Camp in March. Goodness, there is so much to plan and prepare for. We are all very shocked. On a side note, Fr Francis Lee is agreeable with our plan to start a new young adult praesidium. Please pray for us that everything will go well.

Mother of Christ, O Star of the sea, pray for the wanderer, pray for me.

Block Leave Activities

Block Leave is going well!

I’ve been getting enough rest and recreation during the past week. On Wednesday I met up with Pei Suan for Dinner. It was good to see her since school ended.

On Thursday I had dinner with Cerelia. We met up with Kenneth, Jonathan, Constantine and Nicholas at Muddy Murphy’s. The special occasion was Kenneth’s enlistment on Friday. That place is terrible; overcharging like nobody’s business. Fine, their business is good but I digress. Five dollars for a small cup of tea!? Hell, I can buy the box for tea for half price! The most funny part was watching Kenneth in in dismay after paying two dollars and fifty cents for a little bag of Bacon Chips.

I had fun. Dear Cerelia, I hope you were not too shocked with the company that night. Then again everybody else would be shocked when hanging out with a bunch of trads.

The many outings on the weekdays were starting to get to me, so much so that I decided to spend Saturday afternoon alone. I went to Novena Church, to give thanksgiving to our Blessed Mother for letting me come back in one piece from the army. After that, I went to Holy Spirit Church to pray for the late Father David Thexeira, who passed away last Thursday.

Another reason for going there was to look for Father Gerard. He was transferred over. So yes, I managed to drop a hello, but he said he would only be free to see me after Christmas. Well I hope to see meet with him soon.

During this week I’ve gradually started on my preparation for the next phase of training. I have cleaned some of my equipment, such as my helmet. Unfortunately I have failed to drag myself out of bed for some PT. I think I’m going to get hell next week.

In the meantime I’ve also done some Christmas shopping. Apparently it’s supposed to be for Chinese New Year too. Oh crap, I’ve spent most of the budget already. Never mind; I rarely shop.

This Saturday will be a busy day. Perpetua and Robin are getting married. I will be assisting. I hope everything goes well.

Antebellum

Friday was my last day at work. Boss took us out to dinner at Central. We went to Wakashachiya. The restaurant was specializing in Nagoya cuisine. 美味しいです!The food was really good. A good place to go if you are willing to spend money. (And willing to queue.)
Spent Saturday slacking at home. I went to Joshua’s house for dinner and drinks.

Attended Curia on Sunday. Served the Chant Mass at St Peter and St Paul at five forty five pm. It was good. I tried ringing the bells. I never did sanctus bells before. Well it was a good experience.

I bought my stuff from the army market on Monday. I also made a new pair of glasses, just in case. Edward bought dinner that night. Ernest, Norman and Constantine were there too. We went to a Chinese restaurant in Keong Saik Street called Beijing Folk Restaurant (北京人餐馆) The barbeque buffet was $12 per head. It was fantastic. The beer was good too. We had Yanjing Beer.

I collected my glasses on Tuesday. I also got my hair cut. Why cut one’s hair when he can get it cut on Tekong? For one, it’s free; and it’s a proper haircut.

I did my last minute shopping today and my last minute packing too. I have never packed so many things into my backpack before. I hope I’m not the only one who is bringing in lots of stuff.

Well, wish me luck. Pray for me, dear friends. See you in two weeks!

employment ending, conscription commencing shortly….

Work ends on Friday. I will have Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get myself ready for National Service. Frankly, I’m not ready at all.

I have to get my stuff over the weekend. It’s going to be busy. So far I have accumulated one pair of white army socks and one tube of tiger balm muscle rub courtesy of John Sim. He was also kind enough to give me a tutorial on how to do the uniforms on Monday night.

Wednesday was stressful. I spent the whole workday doing setups for the customers from Comex. Everybody was quite stressed, a few tempers flared, even. I didn’t sell anything. Oh well, maybe they will come back tomorrow. Or next week when I’m no longer around.

Last Wednesday was a good day off. I went to watch Secret with Charmaine. I had not seen her in years. It was good to meet her once more. She is still the same quiet girl.

Next week I will join the ranks of several hundred recruits. The time has come.

20岁操劳

My 20th birthday was last week. My brother congratulated me by saying, ‘Happy birthday! Another day closer to death!’ Thanks a lot. I needed that reality check.

I had dinner with Pei Suan on Thursday night. She said I look very 操劳. Alfred said the same thing the next day when we went to see the Bourne Ultimatum.

Damn, my eyebags are getting worse. It’s all those late nights man, I should have seen this coming. At least my acne isn’t too bad. I really need to go to bed earlier. The army’s sleeping hours are going to kill me. And I haven’t been exercising since I started work. I’m going to die on the island of rubber plantations.

I’m 20 already, and I should reflect on my life during the past two decades. Today’s Office of Readings are very timely.

Exit light, enter night

Why the hell would I title this after a Metallica song, especially when I don’t listen to them? Because I hear this damn song everyday on the desktop demo set on display!

Now imagine listening to this song on loop, for a few hours. It was quite bad, so bad that my colleague was begging me to change the song. On the other hand, there are plenty of Chinese pop MVs on the demo set laptops to distract me.

There are plenty of girls passing by to look at also. We always keep our eyes peeled for a certain manager from a competing shop. She’s the bomb!

I’m quite satisfied with my last paycheck and commission, but seriously, work is beginning to take its toil. Each day I’m worrying about how to sell the sets at such ridiculously low prices while trying to achieve as high a commission as possible. I thought convincing customers to buy was bad enough. Now I need to worry about how much money I can make. Some customers are too much; they won’t even let me earn my living.

Maybe the next time you bargain, you’ll consider the livelihood of the salesman. It’s not easy being a salesman. Bloody idiots, bargain bargain bargain, you want me to eat dirt is it? I remember on more than one occasion:

Me: Sir, this software is going for 50% discount. You can purchase it at $50.

Customer: zha kor nia! (fifty dollars only!) Give me la!

Give me la?! I should be asking you to give me fifty dollars you piece of dung! I don’t even earn than much in a day!

Aunty Phyllis is right; I think I’m getting stressed. When she sees Mum in Church, she says that Mum says that I always look stressed. I don’t know, maybe it’s due to the fact that I always go to bed so late. Then again, why do my parents have to tell me stuff through other people? But I digress.

Need I be so worked up? Actually I enjoy this job better than my previous one. Hell, sitting in a cold office, it is a struggle to keep awake. With this sales job, I need not worry about dozing off. There is never a dull moment, unless of course it is a very quiet weekday.

I ran into Father David on my Friday off day. I said I would try to rush down for Sunday’s meeting as I was coming from work.

Father David: You know, it’s a sin to work on Sunday…

Me: Yes, but I don’t miss Mass.

Father David: But still….

Me: =P

And the Mass readings for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first reading read, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!’ The Gospel talked about the man hoarding wealth and not thinking of what happens when he dies.

I don’t want to turn out like that fool. Ever since I started work I haven’t been attending my daily Masses or going to Adoration as often. I know, I need to plan my time better, but it has been difficult. I have such lousy discipline, which is manifested by the fact that I’m typing this instead of going to bed. But really, I need to get this off my chest.

St Lucy of Syracuse, patron of salesmen, pray for us.

P.S Here’s how the song goes anyway:

Enter sandman – Metallica

Say your prayers little one
Dont forget, my son
To include everyone

Tuck you in, warm within
Keep you free from sin
Till the sandman he comes

Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
Off to never never land

Somethings wrong, shut the light
Heavy thoughts tonight
And they arent of snow white

Dreams of war, dreams of liars
Dreams of dragons fire
And of things that will bite

Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
Off to never never land

Now I lay me down to sleep
Pray the lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
Pray the lord my soul to take

Hush little baby, dont say a word
And never mind that noise you heard
Its just the beast under your bed,
In your closet, in your head

Exit light
Enter night
Grain of sand

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never never land


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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