Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Australian International Music Festival

Here's wishing the boys luck as they perform this afternoon at the 2010 Australian International Music Festival at the Sydney Opera House.


I just bought more than 10 books for slightly more than .......

.........$20.00.  Yes, that's in Singapore Dollars and I did write TWENTY, not two hundred. 5 of the books are hard cover.  They range from literary works and literary criticism to religion and mythology.  All these books for $20!!! 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fin to limb evolution clue found

Here's an article on research into the evolution of limbs for our fishy ancestor.

Click here

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hungry Ghosts Festival

Is this the preparation to the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts?

 But isn't the Hungry Ghosts' Month in August?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We and the North Koreans

See this and ask yourselves honestly if this is not pathetic.  We should then reflect on our own religious beliefs and ask ourselves if we are not similar to a large extent to the North Koreans.

Click here to view the video 

EDIT [21 June 2012]:
The video has been removed from youtube.  I wish I had saved it and posted it here separately.  It's about a US eye surgeon who went to North Korea to treat 100 people with blindness that is treatable by simple surgery.  The bandages over their eyes were removed in a large hall, one by one, and most of them reacted with tears of gratitude but not for the surgeon. They were only grateful to their "dear leader".  One by one of them would go to a portrait of their leader and make obeisance before the portrait and they would vow loyalty and devotion.  It was too frighteningly familiar to me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mannequins in Iran have to undergo mastectomy

How true is this?  Here's a pic. The poor mannequins look pretty despondent.

My sources:

The original photograph is from an Arabic website. Sorry, there are no English translations:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why do I get angry when God is insulted?

I remember listening to a talk by an atheist who said the most monstrous things about God.  But every word of accusation he uttered against God was perfectly true.  He called God, among other things, a homicidal, infanticidal ethnic cleanser.  I knew enough of my Old Testament to know that every word was true.  But I could feel my anger rising within me as he continued his just tirade against God.

Why do I feel anger?  The truth is we all feel anger because deep down, we know God is INCAPABLE of reacting to the insults of the atheist.  We pretend that he will deal with blasphemers in his own time but we all know that's a lie.  We know there are enough examples of God striking dead people who did far less offensive things against his glory but these are examples that only appear in the Bible and there is not a single instance of it in real life.

We also feel anger because the insult is in a sense directed against us personally.  The atheist is saying that we're DUMB.  We kneel and serve a being who can't do a thing against the atheist's scurrilous taunts.  Every Sunday, I play my instrument in church in praise of a supposed Creator who is powerless against the reasoning of a mere atheist.  My pride is hurt and I direct my anger at the atheist.

Do we really believe in God?  If we did, we shouldn't feel the slightest anger.  Surely God must at least be able to fend for himself?  We should blind ourselves to reality and pretend that God still strikes like the omnipotent being he's supposed to be in Scriptures.

But most believers who claim to truly believe in God are outraged at the things some strident atheists say.  They feel a need to protect God who is otherwise defenceless against the attacks.  In doing that, they are exposing their lack of belief.

An overloaded bike

Look what I found!  A bike that's really cluttered with everything imaginable.

Breakfast on a lovely Saturday morning

This is what I had - pongal.  It's really delicious.

We also ordered:

rawa torsay



We of course had our favourite masala tea.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What really goes into our food

Do we really know what goes into the food we eat?  I found this lorry parked in front of the food centre at Newton Circus early this morning.  The driver unloaded some of the goods from his lorry and delivered them to the food stall owners at the food centre.  Notice that the goods are mainly sauces used in the food we eat.  Notice also that these sauces appear homemade - they are kept in label-less containers.  Are they safe for consumption?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Have I embraced atheism again?

In an email exchange with my elder brother (my only sibling), he asked me if I had embraced atheism again.  And it all had to do with a question I asked him in an earlier email: "What is your basis for taking the 66 books of the Bible to be the Word of God?"

He did not answer my question and when I asked him a second time, he shot that question at me.  Have I again embraced atheism?  The question is really peculiar in that it treats atheism as if it were a religion.  You can't embrace atheism any more than you can embrace afairyism (the absence of a belief in fairies) or aleprechaunism (the lack of belief in leprechauns).  We are all afairyists, aleprechaunists and aSantaClausists but it would sound weird if someone talks of embracing afairyism or aSantaClausism.

My question remains unanswered: "What is your basis for taking the 66 books of the Bible to be the Word of God?"  Perhaps my brother knew I was well-versed in the canon of Scriptures and the history of the canon and he knew better than to give me grossly incorrect answers a la Josh McDowell which a child of ten can easily debunk.

This is a question most believers would rather leave unanswered.  It's really a can of worms waiting to be opened.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flash flood in Central Singapore

I was out for an early morning breakfast and bike ride when I got caught in a terrific thunderstorm.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A quiet Sunday

A lovely vegetarian breakfast on a quiet Sunday morning.

This is poori.

And this is paper torsay.

This is what I had, masala torsay:

This drink is masala tea (yes, it's all masala, isn't it?):

Masala tea tastes a bit like tea with curry powder in it but it's quite refreshing.

For lunch, I had something really healthy - rojak (salad) from Old Airport Road:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nasi padang breakfast

This is the sort of breakfast that will chase away morning blues - something simple and yet absolutely scrumptious.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vegetarian breakfast

Paper torsay at Komala's. Had it with masala tea.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The shocking things my kids said to me after church.

As I've said in my earlier entry, I took my kids to church (my wife happened to be abroad) so that they could help out in setting up the musicians' corner but when we arrived in church, Sarah and Yeow Chong had done all the tough work, leaving my kids with nothing to do except to take pics.

My kids were baptised when they were infants. They used to go to Sunday School but lately, we all stopped going to church until last year when I found Indra on facebook, chatted with him and decided to join the Wind Ensemble.  And I've played at EVERY single AVAILABLE service whenever the wind ensemble performed including two services on holy days and in other Methodist churches too such as ordination services and the recent 125th anniversary service at Paya Lebar and soon, at St Andrew's for the service by the National Council of Churches.  I have suddenly become "devout" but my wife and kids hardly go to church at all.

My kids were at church this evening, the second Sunday after Whitsunday and the reading was taken from Luke 22.  I noticed during the sermon from the musicians' corner that my son seemed to be reading the Bible during the sermon.  That was just right.  My kids' Bible knowledge is somewhat elementary and a reading of the Holy Bible can't possibly do my son any harm.  Or so I thought.  My daughter, on the other hand, was reading a novel.  I had to have a word with her later. 

After service, we went for dinner.  I had a window seat (it always makes my day when I get a window seat in any restaurant - I know I sound like an animal in captivity) and I took a pic through the window and since this is primarily a picture blog, here's the pic (it's badly taken because of the reflection from the glass):

I then got my favourite soft-shelled crab in black pepper sauce (here's another pic):

I thought it was time to talk to my daughter.  I told her that I saw her reading a novel during sermon.  That's not appropriate, I said.  She replied that she saw me reading a book too.  But I did it surreptitiously whereas she was reading her novel rather openly.  I told her to read the Bible next time if she was bored just as my son did.

Immediately, my son replied that he did not only read Luke 22 but the corresponding reports of the Last Supper in the other 3 Gospels.  He said he was amused that the pastor claimed in the sermon that scholars have suggested that Jesus served 4 separate cups.  He said that was because the accounts in all four gospels were so contradictory that the only way out was to pretend that there were 4 separate cups served by Jesus.  Even then, it was impossible to reconcile the contradictions even if you had 4 separate cups and he went into the details of the contradictions.  I interrupted him and asked if the "apparent contradictions" could very well have been only the result of different styles of reporting by four different people.  He explained to me why that was impossible by going into minute details which I really didn't have time for.  It's amazing, he said, how anyone could read the 4 different versions and not come to the only possible conclusion that at least 3 of the evangelists had to be wrong.  The church was foolish, he continued.  It should have chosen only one gospel and banned the other three.  That way, you won't have silly contradictions and inconsistencies.

I told him that we should just look at Luke 22 as the passover feast that Jesus had with his disciples and this harks back to the Passover of Exodus.  Forget the details but just remember that Jesus is the Passover Lamb.

But, said my son, the Last Supper was only a Passover feast according to the first 3 Gospels. 

I told him, showing off my knowledge, that they were called the Synoptic Gospels.

In John's Gospel, he continued, ignoring me, the Passover feast was only to be eaten after Jesus' crucifixion.

Who says that?  I demanded.

John himself, he replied.  They were hurrying with the crucifixion because they had to eat the Passover feast that evening.  Which means, John was either wrong and the feast Jesus had with his disciples was the Passover feast or the first three evangelists were wrong and the Last Supper could not have been the Passover feast.  But of course the church can always pretend that there were two different nights on which one could eat the Passover feast but the Jews aren't going to give in on that one.

Next time, I told him, just read a novel like your sister!  And I continued eating my soft-shelled crab with relish.  Do I look like I care if the Last Supper was a Passover Feast and if the Synoptic gospels were right and John wrong or John right and the other three wrong?  The less one thinks of these things, the better one's faith becomes.  "Thou shalt not think" would have been a useful commandment.

Are coloured glasses safe?

Click on this and read it for yourself.

McDonald's recall of glasses

Little India

View of Little India at 8.50am

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Delicious Nasi Lemak

Took the kids to their favourite nasi lemak joint (wife's abroad)

There's nothing special about the nasi lemak but it's really delicious.  It's possibly the chilli that makes all the difference.  But it can't just be the chilli alone; it's got to be more than that. And it goes so well with a mug of root beer float. A simple but scrumptious fare that's reminiscent of the sort of food I used to eat in a typical Malaysian coffee shop.

Friday, June 4, 2010

So, I really am participating in the Czech Clarinet Festival!

I finally emailed last night my application to participate in the clarinet festival in a music conservatory in the Czech Republic.  

Under "Musical studies: (Conservatory, University, etc)", I wrote "Not applicable".  My silly wife asked me to write ABRSM Graded exams and Trinity College Certificate just so they could have a good laugh at the other end.

I had to give a list of my repertoire (there was space for 4 pieces) which I'll have to perform and this is what I wrote:

1. Schumann's Fantastiestucke (1st movement)

2. Heinrich Baermann's Clarinet Septet (Adagio)

3. Lutoslawski's Dance Preludes (No. 2)

4. Donizetti's Concertino in B-flat (1st movement)

I was smart not to be overly ambitious but I still have to practise the pieces!  Of course I'm going to be a disgrace at the conservatory but I don't want to be a total disgrace!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nasi lemak

Breakfast at Telok Blangah.  I got this from a Malay stall and it's quite good.