Truth or the Perception of it

Simeon ben Gamliel said that the world relied on Justice, Harmony and Truth, with Truth being the imperative as there would be no Justice without Truth and any Harmony based on falsehood only buckles into acrimony and strife. Two thousand years later, is Truth still paramount? Or is the Perception of Truth adequate acquiescence given our finite existence, for Justice is zero-sum and an individual’s consciousness of Harmony can only last as long as one’s humanly body.

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Never will I leave u; never will I forsake u.

This passage brought a tear (or maybe a few more) while I was reading it on the bus last Friday. Excerpt from Adam Hamilton’s “Why?”:

This last Christmas our church delivered Christmas baskets to all of our worshipers who are currently unemployed. Each of our pastors and a number of our laypeople committed to deliver baskets. On Sunday after our 10:45 A.M. service, I sat down at m desk and began calling the list of persons I was delivering to. The first call was to a woman name “Carrie.” When she answered I said, “Carrie, this is Pastor Adam Hamilton from the Church of the Resurrection, and I was wondering if I could stop by to drop off a Christmas gift basket from the church. It is a small reminder that God has not forgotten you, and that God loves you. Would it be okay if I stopped by this afternoon to drop the basket off for you?” There was silence on the other end of the phone, and then I heard Carrie begin to cry.

I sought to console her, and after a few minutes, she pulled herself together, thanked me, and said she’d love for me to stop by. An hour later I stopped by her apartment. I presented her the basket, gave her a hug, and told her once again that my visit was a small reminder of God’s continued love for her. She said, “Can I tell you why I was crying when you called earlier?” She had a piece of paper in her hand. She said, “I was so discouraged this morning I could not even bring myself to go to church. I watched the service online today. As the service was ending I wrote this prayer,

Where and why? These are my questions. I looked around and see the ugly afteraffects of what God has given us. I am not blaming God, but I am asking, Where are you? I need you! I need help! And no matter how hard I try, I am not getting better. I say your will be done, but it is so hard. I’m not Jesus. I am so weak. I need a break. I need love, I need you Lord. Please, wrap your arms around me and give me your peace. Give me your strength, give me your hope. Let me want to believe and not fear.

She continued, “I had just finished writing this prayer asking for God to show me he still loved me and to wrap his arms around me when the phone rang. I was astounded when I heard your voice on the other end of the line! And then, the first words out of your mouth were ‘I’m calling to bring a gift from the church – a sign that God loves you and has not forgotten you.’ I was speechless; I have never had a prayer answered so quickly before.” I did not know I was answering her prayer. I was just dropping off a Christmas basket. But God had something more in mind.

I had the opportunity to be a messenger of God, Carrie found strength and encouragement, and I was blessed. We can’t always see God’s mysterious ways of working. We can’t always see what God is up to or how many people God prompts before finally someone says yes. But I believe God is constantly working like this. The task for us is to make ourselves available to God each day and to pay attention. By doing this we become the hands and voice of God for others and in this way God answers prayer and works in our world.

To: Whoever may be reading this,
Perhaps me re-posting this excerpt after it touched me is God’s way of using me to tell you that God has not forotten you and that He loves you very much. “Never will I leave u; never will I forsake u.”

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The Business of Relativity

The Business of Relativity

A State of Being Referenced

By Esmond Ng 05/06/10 © Copyright

Recently, there was an article suggesting that the strengthening of the Singapore dollar would not affect our exports. In the conventional school of thought, the appreciation of a country’s currency would naturally lead to its exports being comparatively more expensive for the importing country. However this article suggests that because of the stronger dollar, the inputs (which are mostly sourced internationally) into the export products become cheaper; thus not affecting our export costs and quantities.

We are not probating nor assailing the article’s point of view, but instead using it to bring up a relevant issue of relativity. When we try to make any sort of comparisons, the subject will always be relative to another matter. When we purchase our end-product inputs, what is our exchange rate to the source country? Is the other currency moving in the same direction too? Or is our appreciation really a true indication of more value?

If we are assessing exclusively, then whatever we are looking at will always be absolute for there is nothing else to benchmark against. Personally, a 1.0L automobile is a luxury to me. (Or any other affordable automobile for that matter of fact) However, once you put the subject next to a Mercedes or even a Bentley, the comparison immediately becomes obvious.

I boldly propose that Sun Tzu’s most renowned phrase has remained famous over the last 2,000 years precisely for the same reason. Without knowing who and what we are up against is surely tantamount to failure. How can we expect to compete with something that we are not aware of?

There are numerous tools and methodologies known for carrying out competitive analysis. Most of which almost always boil down to the same few principles with “Research” commonly being the first agenda as it sets the forward direction.

Who are our immediate competitors? What advantages do they have? Are there gaps that my business can thrive in? These are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg when accosted with the increasingly competitive arenas that our industries are in.

Then who do we reference ourselves against? If we are the top few market leaders, naturally our strategy would be to compare our strengths and weaknesses against the other top brands available. If we are closer to being a statistic in the sheer volume of companies doing the same replicable business, then we should seriously investigate into setting unique propositions and differentiating ourselves.

Only through thorough reflection and more reflection would we know how to capitalize on what we’ve got and where to improve ourselves where it most counts. The important thing here is knowing which other business(es) we are relative to. Talk to many people; experts and laymen. Talk to consultants if you have to. Finding out how you compare to the next better player will set you free.

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Look before you leap

I recently read in the papers about a really unfortunate incident that happened in Taiwan. A lady plagued by illness decided to take her own life by leaping off a building. The untoward circumstance was that she had landed on an innocent passerby; taking her life. Condolences and solace to the families. I’m not going to blog about who’s outcome deserving or not. But it got me thinking about writing something that we all do so often; leaping before looking.

Whether it be in love, career or daily choices, we all frequently make irrational rash decisions every now and then. All so repeatedly, we draw conclusions from ill-informed information based more on our foolhardy emotions. After which many we would deeply regret.

I’m guilty of falling into this emotive trap at times. I too have many contributions to this lamentable list of imbecilic mistakes. What’s worse is that we ofttimes hurt someone else in the process as well. Remember the Chinese phrase?

Direct translation would mean: “Spilled water can’t be retrieved.” What we do or say are simply irreversible. Once the damage is done, it’s done. I would like to take this chance to apologise to everyone that I have ever hurt directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.

Maybe it’ll do us all some good if we remind ourselves to really look and think, deliberate if we have to before we start leaping away again.

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Shopaholic?

Are you a shopaholic? Always buying things that you won’t even use later? Using money that you do not have yet? (e.g. Credit Cards) Here’s a little something just for you compulsive shoppers:

“There are people buying things that they don’t need,
to impress people that they don’t know,
with money that they don’t have.” ~ Unknown

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No Expectations

No Expectations

A dear told me some months back: “Do things without expectations, then you wouldn’t be disappointed when you don’t get reciprocal results.” Well, that seemed pretty amazing coming from her. Deliberated, mulled and surmised that it was true. You see, work = force x distance. So going the distance means one would have to work with force in variable extents. If you put in so much effort in something, you’d naturally expect certain returns. If not, you would not have otherwise humanly done it in the first place. As often as we would instead like it, these results can turn out rather dispiriting. Thus to avoid this dampening gloom, not expecting anything in exchange would be our safest bet!

Stuck with that for awhile but soon realized this objective way of doing things was just not mortally possible! The basic fallacy of this statement is it ignores the fact that we are mere flesh and blood; frail and fragile. Any other way to agree otherwise would devoid us of our creatural roots. We are all selfish to some degree or other. Don’t you agree?

How about unconditional Love? The Love of Jesus to His children? The Love of parents to their offsprings? Are we not capable of unconditional Love? Or does it just not really exist in our mundane and secular world? Are self-sacrifice and fairytales just meant for novels and movies? Yet again, some would beg to disagree. I for one would choose to believe. For even cubs to lions mean the world, what less our Loves to we?

Yes, we are self-seeking but also perishable. So why should the nice things we do for people be? Then you ask me: “Summation be, should we expect?”

Esmond’s Very Own Quote for May:

“Give as you would expect receive. And perchance, you’d be surprised with what you tenfold inherit.”
~ © Esmond Ng 09/05/06

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The Tests

The Tests

With the exception of some rare shibboleth individuals, most of us will sparsely embrace the idea of taking tests. Whether in school or in Life, tests present themselves as a really arduous and onerous experience!

However truth be that Life very much resembles tests. It places us in situations where there are just too much uncertainties and variables. Recollect the last time you were sitting for a paper. No matter how prepared you were, there were bound to be questions where you just could not comprehend or answer. What would your strategy be then? Spend every last second on that problem? Perhaps, the more fitting one would be to carry on with the paper and return to this botheration later.

Life is exactly like this. Whenever we run into a predicament, we spend countless nights in deliberation and end up being totally vexed. What we fail to see is that like the test, Life is time constrained. We only have a limited number of earthly hours and we all have an expiry date on our bodies. Why do we persist in using up all our resources solving the baffling encounter?

When one has tried adequately yet fall short of results, it is really time to move on. In Life, it’s the same. Carry on with the rest of your lives! There are really more things to savor and enjoy beyond the current slump you are in. I’m serious. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s absolutely not worth it foregoing the scorings on the rest of the paper for that one question?

Esmond’s very own quote for April:

“Life is like a test. When u hit a patch, move on to the rest and come back later!”
~ © Esmond Ng 03/04/06

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Moving On

My canoe once capsized and I found myself swimming for help. I swam for a long time only to comprehend I was on the same spot. The currents in the sea were keeping me stuck on the same spot! I struggled in frenzy but still, I was in the same spot. I wonder if I can let go. Let the currents carry me. Would I be somewhere else? Would the currents lead me to shore or wash me deeper into trouble?

“Sometimes the harder you try to move on, the easier it is for you to remain status quo.”
~ © Esmond Ng 10/12/05

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How to find Rainbows

Had another dear friend who used to leave this as her nick in MSN. “Everyone goes through storms before finding their Rainbows.” (Source: Unknown) I actually quite agree with that statement. Personally, I found it very encouraging and empowering especially if you’re feeling blue.

Then, I realized an exception to this. What happens if you didn’t go through any storms? What happens if you just happen to walk past one after the storms had past? Does it mean it’s any less of a Rainbow?

It’s human to err. More so, it’s human to neglect and take for granted the lovely things and people around us each and every second. Often, we don’t appreciate them until they’re no longer there. Sometimes, we don’t even see them at all!

There are more Rainbows amongst us than we think. A lot of the time, we get so fixated on wanting to make something a Rainbow, we fail to see the apparent ones around us. We get so resolute on creating a miracle with someone or something that we just can’t see the other marvels occurring besides us. Hence, Esmond’s very own quote for November:

“Question: How do you find the prettiest Rainbows?
Answer: By looking past and around them instead.”
~ © Esmond Ng 04/11/05

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Stupid People

I was pondering over Selina’s MSN nick today. “Nothing is fair in this stupid world!!!” Well, life’s really not fair to me. It’s a big bitch I must agree. However, stupid? I’m not too sure. It kept me really thinking. Hence, Esmond’s very own quote for September. It’s not meant to be targeted at anyone, just people in general. In fact, I fall into this category sometimes too.

“There isn’t anything stupid about this world, just people who choose to be.”
~ © Esmond Ng 02/09/05

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Fate vs Destiny vs Choice

I believe in Fate. Fate is what causes events to happen and brings people to meet. It is something we have little control over. We can always choose where to go or appear, but we wouldn’t have a clue what would happen or the people we get to meet when we’re there.

However, I choose not to believe in Destiny. There are those who lament they’re not meant to successful. They say that they’re destined to fail. They postulate that Prime Ministers are “born”, not made. That they need to be “born” with special skills, characteristics and luck. More often than not, they present tons of reasons or rather excuses for themselves. Such as complicated family backgrounds, lack of support or even name a friend’s influence! Firmly, I beg to differ. Simply because there exists such a thing called “Choice”.

Choice is something that accosts us each and every day. Whether we choose a red or white shirt, whether we eat noodles or rice; almost each and everything we do, we have a choice. There’s really no such thing as no choice. It’s just seems so because we sometimes choose the easier way out straight away!

Whilst we are at “Choice”, it can be elementary placed into two main categories. One, those already made and two, those that are yet to be made. A decision of the past is a sunk one. It doesn’t matter anymore if it was right or wrong. What’s done is done! There’s no way to “turn back the clock” as Johnny Hates Jazz suggests. What’s important are those that you can still control, the choices you have yet to make; the decisions that affect your future! That’s the sole reason I can think of why it’s called “Choice” and not “Chosen”.

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Walking

Nope, this is not a Johnnie Walker advert. In a way, it describes me pretty well. I like to take my time. Sitting by myself at the cafe, by the beach, et cetera.

“There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated… To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.”

~ Edward Abbey from “Walking” in The Journey Home

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A story about Grapes

Grapes are generally sweet and pleasant; the delicacy amongst the already palatable. However, around these gorgeous creations of God lie vines which tangle and twist; detesting and cumbersome.

I first heard of Grapevines some good 7 years ago. Little mentioned and quickly left forsaken. Yet yesterday, the power of Grapevines dawned on me like lightning strike. Loosely defined, it means the passage of information through channels of informal communication. Then I realized how easy it was for someone to find out something about me through yet another. Be it gossip or just innocent chat, the Grapevine does exist and has its place in our society.

How then can we managed this instrument to our advantage or diminish it’s damage to our reputation? One with a scheming mind will probably be a master at this. I believe that we ought to foremost know that our every movement and language is being watched constantly; whether we know it, like it or not. Like stealing honey from bees, we should be mindful of our actions and words. Someone, somewhere will hear of it! In order to enjoy the “grapes” instead of entangling in the “vines”, must we always be cautious and put up bulwarks? What society is this then, when we cannot freely express ourselves without worry? What has the world we live in become? It is scary, truly scary.

Esmond’s very own quote of the day:
“Good news travel, bad ones God Speed.”

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Your Moments – 911

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take. But by the moments that take your breath away.” Source: Unknown

How true. The overlooking view from the top of a subdued mountain. The serenity of nature. The first time your kite took flight. When first you heard “Daddy” from your child. The smiles you drew from your loved ones. The times you cherish together. The very love and mercy of God. How many times have you had your breath taken away this week? Remember them, for they are what you really live for.

911-Sept, 11. A special dedication towards the families, friends and loved ones of all those who were lost but now are found; in His loving hands. May God keep those who still hurt in His abundant love and grace. Amen. And till all wounds are healed, remember “your moments”.

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Your Arrows

Told to be by Eunice. (Thank you!)

Imagine this:

I give u 10 arrows, a bow and an empty field. Shoot these arrows anywhere u like onto the field. Take a minute to reflect. Read on only after u have decided where each ofyour arrows have landed. Where have all your arrows landed? Are they all over the place?

Now the reality. Each arrow represents 5 years of your life. If your arrows are all over the field, you will find your life a mess at the end. Unless you have targets to aim at, your life will always be a mess. Put goals in your life. That’s the only way to hit your targets!

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