Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spend Spend and Spend

It is sad what we are doing as a nation - this cannot continue forever - then what?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words - follow up to 'Sovereign Debt' post

This New York Times article is very helpful as it depicts the interconnectedness and scale of the European debt crisis. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are you Typical?

Learn to be content and appreciative with what you have been given....enjoy this short clip from National Geographics.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What a Blessed Day - our children's Profession of Faith

This is one of the greatest joy in our lives - to witness Hannah and David's profession of faith to Jesus Christ. Lord willing, they will also experience this joy and blessing for their own children - hmmm... that would make us grandparents!

As you can see in the video, we dedicated Ephesian 5: 1&2 as our parental blessings to Hannah and David. "Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and scarifice to God."

Our beloved pastor, Reverend Bob Drake, Senior Pastor of Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina led this joyous occassion.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Proverbs 22:26-27

Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.

These are difficult verses to live with but we must try - as a nation, we need to get this situation under control.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sovereign Debt - The Next Shoe to Drop....

I am a fan of Niall Ferguson - he is unique - Dr. Ferguson has expertise in history as well as economics.

Recently he was a speaker at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank based in Washington DC.

Allow Professor Ferguson to explain the implications and consequences of run-away sovereign debt in this speech titled "Fiscal Crises and Imperial Collapses: Historical Perspective on Current Predicaments" starting around 8:30 minute mark. This is important - I hope you view the speech video below.


This does not bode well for many countries - while Greece is currently in the news, our country is also in peril - as in Proverbs 22:7: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. We learn in Romans 13:8: Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

A picture paints a thousand words - click on this - US Debt Clock.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To whom much is given, much is expected - Luke 12:48

I recently came across this link - How Rich Are You? - "Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world. Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here's your chance to find out."

This is a simple exercise - enter what your earthly wages is (in US$, Euro Yen etc) and find out....

I was amazed!

For me, it helped me see things in perspective - how much more does one need when your needs of shelter, food, productive work, relationships with your love ones (God, family and friends) and health are already met?

Learning to find joy in contentment in this materialistic world is not easy - the usual keeping up with the Joneses and the ever tempting 'the grass is always greener elsewhere' syndrome can incessantly crowed out one's perspective.

I hope this resource can help you the way it helped me. As Jesus said in

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Calling versus Job


I am sure at some point in our lives, we struggled with the issue of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Certainly you have been asked or thought about this - do I want to be a doctor, policeman, musician, cook? We are constantly reminded of the fastest and strongest (Olympics and other sporting events), brightest (Geography Bee, Math competitions, AP/GRE/GMAT, various academic awards), and richest and most powerful (Forbes' Annual list of the wealthiest, incessant political campaigns). Yet there are some who plan their lives around being the best dressed (the annual Academy Awards or comparable) while others worked tirelessly to be nominated and hopefully win a Nobel prize. So depending on your worldview, these can be 'front burner' issues for many. Yet, it is my hope that your drive and determination to go after these things are put in the right context - ultimately you have to ask the question - who are you doing it for?

Growing up in Singapore, I certainly had my share of 'romanticizing' the above - it is only human. Our fallen nature causes us to see things in a certain way - not necessarily the way God intends for us. Yet, by His mercy and grace, things have a way of turning out. For many of us, we are perfectly content with our vocations (your calling and job are the same thing) for others, it may not be the case. You may be interested to hear and view John Piper's message titled Consider Your Calling.

Recently, we watched a movie called The Five People You Meet in Heaven. According to Wikipedia, the author, Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie) "recounts the life and death of a simple yet dignified old man, Eddie. After dying in a freak accident, Eddie finds himself in heaven where he encounters five people who have significantly affected his life, whether he realized at the time or not. Mitch Albom dedicates the book to his uncle Edward Beitchman. He says that he wants people like his uncle who felt unimportant here on earth to realize, finally, how much they mattered and how they were loved".

While I do not think heaven is as portrayed in this movie, I certainly learned something from it. For me, it was toward the end when Eddie's calling in his life was revealed to him. During his whole life, starting as a young lad until his death, Eddie worked in the maintenance department of an amusement park called Ruby Pier. He resented not being able to go to engineering school and, except for a short stint in the army at war, he always felt he hadn't accomplished much. His work day consisted of mundane yet important tasks like greasing the tracks and making sure the roller coaster rides were safe for all. But it was precisely his diligent and consistent good work that allowed patrons, who came to the amusement park, an enjoyable and wholesome time with their family. Eddie's calling in life was taking care of Ruby Pier - it took him a lifetime and his death to realize this.

My work at Montreat College is far from mundane (grading though is not my favorite thing to do but as educators, we need to assess student's work and grading is certainly an integral aspect). At Montreat, I am blessed to be able to live in a college community that is open about its faith, and strives to live it as well as promote it. For now, I am called to be here. I am not sure if this is my life's work but if it is, I certainly do not want to be like Eddie. Having recently received tenure at the college, I look forward to what God has planned for the college - we will be celebrating Montreat College's 100th Anniversary in 2016 - as well as starting a new program in information systems security.

Finding contentment and joy in one's life, in accordance to one's calling in life is a process. Some of us find it while many drift aimlessly from one thing to another. But there is good news - according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, reflect on this question - What is the chief end of man?

Again, depending on your background and situation, the answer may surprise you. When I learned of this many years ago, it was certainly a foreign concept. Not intuitive if I may say so. Yet, in God's mercy, grace and timing, I am living it (not always successfully, but nevertheless, with the Holy Spirit's help, inching closer and closer to it).

The answer is this: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Howard Fisher - February 3 2010

Howard, goodbye for now........

How could the life of a vibrant young man, 6 foot 5 inches, always with a big smile, and well liked and respected by students, staff and faculty be so suddenly taken away? This, and other questions, are no doubt in the minds of many in the Montreat community.

Life is fragile - death is a certainty (the exception being a rapture but that is for another post) - one day, no matter who you are, young or old, regardless of your background, your physical being will cease to exist. In Howard's case, in a paradoxical way, while we are deeply saddened by his passing away (it is still hard for us to accept that he is gone - we no longer can see Howard play goalie or see him on campus), we take comfort and rejoice that he is with his Savior, Jesus Christ. Howard's departure is untimely but he leaves his legacy and his impact in the lives he affected. What a joy it is to know this fine young man. I miss you Howard......

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

After the thaw.....

We are back to more normal temperatures - the snow we had was most unusual - we certainly enjoyed this special time. Hannah took most of these outdoor pictures. She is developing a good eye for pictures....


Near our backyard - the kids loves to explore there.


David's own winter wonderland.


There is a small cave behind the ice.


A great shot - looks like the branch is 'growing' ice.


I love this shot - nice angle and good depth perception.


The water from the stream is actually quite clean - the kids I am sure drank from it.


Another great shot.


We went skiing as part of the homeschooling group - the last time I did this recreation sport was about twenty years ago - I was very sore the next day!


David prefers to snow board - Hannah loves to ski.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

20th Wedding Anniversary

Can you believe that? Here's to another 20 year.....


After the movie, we went to Bone Fish Seafood Restaurant where one of my student works as a cook - we had a great time savoring delectable seafood!

Generous portion of New Zealand Mussels in Creamy Garlic and Tomato sauce.


Deep-Fried Calamari with Asian-inspired dipping sauce.


Scallops wrapped with bacon served on a bed of Mango chutney - just fabulous.


BANG-BANG Shrimp - a best seller at the restaurant.


We were glad to spend this special day together as a family. We started the celebration by going to a movie matinee (the last time we did that was 2 years ago - National Treasure 2) and watched AVATAR. What a blast - funky 3D glasses added much excitement and visual treats. The movie was long - about 2 hours and 45 minutes - of course we stayed for the credits!


AVATAR - Go see it....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

It's the Season - Merry Christmas to You - May All of Us experience the real peace that only Jesus Christ can offer.


Manger at the Cove, a retreat organization of Billy Graham.


A lot of work went into decorating this tree - it is easily 15 feet tall.


A magnificent fireplace with beautifully decorated mantle - we can feel the heat from the fire on our backs - it felt wonderful.


For the lady of the house......


You can never have enough of these.....


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She loved those shoes....


One of Hannah's favorite artist....


Ferrari - the closest thing to the real ones....


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David playing at a recent piano recital.


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Duet with her teacher during the recital concert.


It was a special night - we invited Bob and Ah Nan and their family to share our Christmas dinner.

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This is Bob's family inaugural Christmas Dinner.


We had hams over the years but this one is by far the tastiest!


We are thankful for this delicious bird.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

SNOW SNOW and more SNOW

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Gerda is thrilled about the snow - she grew up in Michigan where snow like this was a common occurrence during the winter months - me I am happy without the snow though today's snow is much appreciated.


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Walking to church (see below) - never imagine we get snowed in - our regular church about 25 minutes drive is canceled. Montreat EPC Presbyterian which is located in Montreat College is open for Sunday worship.


View from my office - background is Gaither Chapel where worship and chapel takes place. It is a mile from our home.


We live in the mountains - 3,500 feet above sea level - it is so pretty up here.


Lake Susan is 2 minutes walk from my office - in the past, we fished for rainbow trouts on the lake


Notice the ice forming


Pay attention to the sign!


Ice skating anyone?


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We probably received 15 inches of snow - look at the picnic table - for my Singaporean friends, the snow makes great ice-kachang!!! What is ice-kachang? See below for a clue....


Our front of the house covered with snow...


Snow-covered front, back, and centered.


Granny covered with snow - we fondly call our 1997 Toyota Camry because she is old but feisty - 235,200 miles (376,320 km) - can you beat that? We intend to keep her as long as she allows us to....


Getting ready - the outdoors is their playground....


Satisfied owner/builder of a fort....


The fort is complete.....


Lying on a bed of snow - he was born in Madison, Wisconsin - a snow tiger.


Ice-kachang anyone? (my Singaporean/Malaysian/Asian friends will know what it is) - see below for a clue.


Yummy!


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Video of David sledging and great view of Lake Susan.


David had the best time - he was flying in the air.


With more practice, he soon became good at it.


Look at those eyes - moments of fear and thrill all mixed together - no broken legs thankfully.


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See David in action - I hope he doesn't become a speed-junkie.


After sledging, we walked around Lake Susan and took pictures of the swans.


Look at this shot - the Sony Cybershot DSC-H20 takes great pictures at 10.1 megapixel as well as zoomable HD videos (unlike the Canons) - the sun shone on these Wood Ducks also called Mandarin Ducks just as I captured the shot. The water in the lake is crystal-clear.


Resting by the shore.


By the way, these are males - the female Wood Ducks are mostly dark brown and not as vibrant.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In the next few days....

Now that I am off - final exams done and grades submitted - I have the next few days set aside to update the blog. So pardon the 'dust' as I add content.....

By the way, we are snowed in - all is well - we have electricity and food - our regular church is canceled though we can walk to Montreat EPC tomorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Drew Morris Graduation

Congrats to Drew Morris - a day he should be very proud of - way to go Drew! I am sad to see him go (he won't be in my class next semester) - he is bright and a whiz with computers - I know he will do well.


So proud of Drew - he has graduated - best wishes to you Mr. Morris!!!


With Drew and his family, sister, dad, mom, and girlfriend.


Nice picture of Drew Morris, a graduate!


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Happy Graduates!!! High Definition video using my new camera - a Sony Cybershot DSC-H20.


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Video close-up of the family.