Friday, 30 May 2014

Response to University Acceptance

"The proud mission of those who have been able to receive education must be to serve, in seen and unseen ways, the lives of those who have not had this opportunity." - Daisaku Ikeda

Countdown Widgets

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Response to awesomeness has been on my bookmarks bar for a few years but I haven't read the blog for quite a while... Reading it today reminded me of how easy it is to find joy in our lives! I've always thought myself as an optimistic person, but the author of this blog puts me to shame! :P For the fun of it, I'll just share 5 awesome things that happened to me in the month of May!

1. Trip to Langkawi with my awesome friends. The best(and only) high school grad trip! Made new friends, tried out many things for the first time(chilling at a waterfall, jet-ski island hopping, parasailing, banana-boating, riding a scooter, dozing off on a hammock, swimming in a lake, walking beside cows) with great company!:') #langkaki

2. Affordable Art Fair with Visual Art classmates. I think I forgot how much I enjoy spending time with these people. They are fun, crazy and artsy, and I'm always super comfortable around them cos they're just as weird as I am;D Plus, the works at AAF were so good! Will definitely keep myself updated with a few of my favourite artists in AAF.

3. Trip to (somewhere near) Ipoh. Wasn't a vacation but I managed to learn so much from this trip and really reflected upon my own faith. Also got super inspired by my seniors in faith who relentlessly put their faith into action through kosen-rufu.

4. NUS FASS open house. Special thanks to the random geography senior(didn't manage to catch his name) who explained everything that I needed to know. Was so bloody confused by the whole bidding system and university matters and I am super grateful that he helped to explain everything even though I told him I wasn't interested in taking geography from the start. Hoping that all seniors are as helpful:)

5. Balik Kampung by GUI at Bottle Tree Park. Super thankful for this bunch of eco-friendly, peace-loving volunteers! Balik Kampung is a beautiful place and I love walking in the small stream to the compulsory reflection session. They even provide lunch for all volunteers that are made with organic veggies and spices from their gardens!

Bonus: Revisiting after 1 year++!(Probably even longer than that) If it wasn't for this blog, this post wouldn't even exist. Awesome!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Response to The Neighbourhood & Happiness Ranking(by countries)

"Happiness is figurative; I'm happy 'cause of me, doesn't matter where I'm living." - 'West Coast', The Neighbourhood.

Got really inspired by this song by The Neighbourhood. Not my favourite song from them(WDYWFM is). Anyway this line really just stuck out and immediately reminded me of the happiness ranking(by countries). It should also be noted that Singapore is ranked as one of the lowest developed countries. It's funny how the happy countries are those that are considered 'developing'. Actually, it's not really funny. Given that happiness is the ultimate goal of living, does it mean that development is less than ideal? Of course, the rankings are probably only true to a certain extent, but I have heard many people around me expressing their distaste for the hectic and boring life of Singapore. I never got why though. We are so goddamned blessed. If you're a Singaporean reading this, was there ever a time when you had to worry about not having enough to eat, not having a shelter over your head, or not having healthcare facilities in your proximity? Highly unlikely. Of course, for our country to move forward, it is probably important for us to compare with countries that are doing better instead of those who are not as developed... But are we sacrificing other (es.p non-material factors) that are far more important?

Wanted this post to be longer but I'm not really in the mood for writing. Just finished my presentation on Social Impact Bond with the division that I only had approx. 1 day to do because I took leave to go to Malaysia.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Response to Consequentialism(Robin Hood and The Outsider/The Stranger)

The ends justify the means. According to Wikipedia, this phrase encapsulates the theory of Consequentialism. Meaning the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct, i.e. the method of achieving a particular result doesn't really matter. I guess this does make sense to a certain extent as it is important to consider one's true intention in any matter. BUT, What is the ideal 'end'? 'End' here, as I interpret it, is probably like, the ultimate goal, which can be happiness for all humanity, gender equality, income equality, etc.

You know what, screw this. What is right or wrong? This question reminds me of the book 'The Outsider', or 'The Stranger', by Albert Camus. It is the first philosophical book that I have ever read and of course, it blew me away and catalyzed the workings of my brain(which wasn't being active despite numerous generalized and superficial TOK lectures. If you do not decipher this as sarcasm, we can't be friends). As readers, we'd naturally judge Mersault with accordance to our own principles and perspective(which is exactly the trap that Camus is setting as the author and thus shows the flaw of our society ridden in ourselves and hence why this is a bloody brilliant book).

Very often, when I think about philosophical questions(to the best I can at least) and common society issues, I come to the same conclusion: Perspectives. Everyone has their own perspective, okay some may decide to follow how a certain religion or philosopher views things, or have similar thoughts to others but the main point is that perspectives are subjective. And I've always felt that this is also the main reason why there are conflicts in our world. Well, obviously, if people are able to come to the same consensus, we wouldn't have so many problems now. Not saying that having many different perspectives is bad; diversity is extremely important. I was referring more to the essence of these different perspectives.

This brings me to my example of Robin Hood. I don't know much about this guy, except that he robbed from the rich and gave those stolen money to the poor. According to Wikipedia, he is a "heroic outlaw". I know I shouldn't be referring to Wiki so much 'cos it's probably not the most accurate source available but just to give you a glimpse of how the general audience views him. Also because it is extremely accessible of course. I personally like the phrase "heroic outlaw", it gives Robin Hood this extra sense of heroism given the context of Medieval times where the rich are barbarians who couldn't care less for the poor(Caution: dubious accuracy. This is my own impression and I can't be bothered to research to verify this). The term 'outlaw' brings me back to 'The Outsider'/'The Stranger' again(If you read this book you will know why I made the connection). How fair is the 'law'? And what do we make of the word 'justice'? Okay this is a large and unfamiliar topic to me so this shall wait.

Anyways, Mr Hood is a fine example of consequentialism. He commits the crime of robbery for the benefit of the poor. It's like how it's not legal for aid workers to secretly bring in say, food supplies into North Korea to save them from starvation. Hoorays. Sure, in the poor's perspective, this is awesome; this is right! But what about the rich barbarians? I'm quite sure they weren't too pleased about having their money stolen; probably thought it was very wrong of Mr Hood to take their money like that.

Let me link this to governance. For me, the government is either on the rich man's side, or the poor man's side. Feel free to disagree and say that I'm being a little extreme but yeah, this is my opinion. And I'm definitely for the poor man's side because the rich needs to care less about possessing money before we can even talk about peace and equality. Just putting out the food on the table! Although I would think that the rich people wouldn't like to give out the money that they've worked hard for. Back to the importance of humanism and compassion once again! And as usual, I have diverted away from my original topic. Sigh.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Follow-up on Veganism

A really good Vegan-101 video. 15 minutes into the video and this guy has made more sense than what our culture has been telling us for years. Watch at least 20 minutes of this video and I promise it'll will do you good. I also love how this guy calls eggs "hen period" hahaha.

P.S. I kinda teared up at the last bit when the cow ran in the field.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Response to change in diet

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I'm thinking of becoming a lacto-vegetarian. And I just ate McDonald's yesterday. Okay. I have no excuses. But after watching this video, I'm quite sure I'm turning 100% vegan.

I know this isn't this most updated video, and I know it's not representative of all farmers, but like I said before, I don't want to take away anymore lives. I know that many of these farm animals wouldn't even be born into the world without consumers' demand for meat but what is the point of giving life and then knowing that it will be subjected to forced deaths? For these farmers, they are probably just more concerned about their own livelihoods than to care about how an animal, that is totally not related to him, is suffering and that's, sadly, human nature. It's normal to be selfish when you're not having enough to survive(though I'm not saying that it's right) But as someone who is not put into such an extreme situation, I don't want to be saying that this(cruelty and killing) is okay(by demanding for meat).

Seriously though, why do we eat meat when we can survive just as fine(in fact, even better) with plants alone? Our change in diet is the most necessary yet neglected paradigm shift that is needed for a more compassionate Earth.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Response to MH370

Inspired by the MH370 incident. In no means disrespecting the victims of this somber event. Hope I'm not offending anyone. It simply sparked me to write these two fictional scenarios because up till today, I don't think anyone really knows what happened to MH370. 

Version 1
“I’ll settle for one-fifty,” said the Captain, “And the rest of the crew gets one each. Deal?”

“Deal.” And the line went off.

239. It was surprising how many people want to just ‘disappear’ from the realms of the Earth. “Is it that difficult for anyone to disappear into thin air?” The Captain wondered. The tickets to this flight weren’t cheap at all. He felt compelled to leave the pilot seat to see the boarding passengers. Why did they need such obscurity?

Erasing these unnecessary thoughts, the Captain ran through the plan for the twenty-fourth time in his head: Fly the plane as per normal, wait for signal to cut off communications, ignore attempts of contact, follow the script provided if necessary, land the plane at targeted meeting point, and alight with passengers. Simple and straightforward. Doesn’t matter if GPS is installed within the plane. Doesn’t matter if the blackbox ever gets retrieved. No dead bodies will be found because there will not be any. If the plan ever gets cracked, the passengers would have safely made their way into the shadows already.

As nervous as the Captain was, he was also excited to be part of this big plan. He haven’t felt this way since his very first flight. By the end of this he would be more than one and a half million richer. The only reason why he agreed to this was because it meant that he would not need to fly an airplane ever again. He had no baggage; no family, an unsubstantial amount of friends, and a few debts he would not mind leaving behind. Given the bad economy, it did not take a lot to convince his young and ambitious crew either.  

The plan went on without any glitches and for no reason at all, the Captain announced, “Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," and then put on the yellow life jacket that equipped him with a new life.

Version 2
“I’ll settle for two mil.,” said the Captain, “Deal?”

“Deal.” And the line went off.

239. It was crazy how many people would spend money to take a suicide flight. “Rich people are sure screwed up,” The Captain thought. Well, to be fair, he was not that sane himself. But he needed the money for Sarah’s surgery. “Better me than her”, he was definite about this.

Bringing himself back to reality, the Captain ran through the plan for the twenty-fourth time in his head. Fly the plane as per normal, wait for signal to cut off communications, ignore attempts of contact, follow the script provided if necessary, and dive. Simple and straightforward. Doesn’t matter if GPS is installed within the plane. Doesn’t matter if the blackbox ever gets retrieved. If the plan ever gets cracked, our lives would have completely disengaged from our dead bodies already.

The plan went on without any glitches and to signal the finale, the Captain announced, “Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," and then made one last prayer for Sarah before the black sea swallowed the vehicle into its trudging currents.