Making Light of Things

May 2002 Archives

Still Greek to Me

Defiance. I’m assuming that’s what parents call the fiancé of their daughter in France where the word originated. Blogger Comments x

Toeing the Line

Planning a wedding can’t be that hard, can it?

Just sitting around, throwing names of faraway relatives and long-lost friends, the immensity of the task unfolds before my eyes. The most obvious aspect is the cost, and in the case of Chinese wedding dinners, the cost is nothing short of financially debilitating. I’m beginning to believe that the Chinese wedding dinner is a hurdle placed by our wiser ancestors to weed out couples that won’t last. The logistical arrangements and the sharing of the financial burden is enough to cause some extent of dissention between spouses-to-be. With the added constraint of not being as well-to-do as we’d like, we tread carefully on the territorial lines of who gets an invite and who doesn’t. Being the first-born son on both sides of the family means that the danger of ending up with an obscure pissed-off relative is higher than getting pricked while hugging an angry Saguaro.

Tread softly, for you tread on years of perfectly balanced familial ties.
I hear Yeats laughing as I walk the minefield conjured by generations past. Blogger Comments x

Sterner Stuff

I cannot help but continue to be amazed at the strength of character that has been displayed before me.

I’ve spent the last week driving my aunt to appointments with her doctors. She was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. In the past few half a year, I’ve had contact with people who have suffered from cancer. and am convinced that the people most fearful for their plights are those around them as opposed to the cancer patients themselves. I found myself asking “How are you feeling?” an inordinate number of times. It almost seemed like a subconscious reaction, rather then a deliberate display of concern. My aunt shows more poise throughout her chemotherapy sessions than any of us. She laughs, and tells us of how much hair has fallen the past few days.

God provides strength to those who are in need of it. His providence is both miraculous and uplifting as we look upon the transformed faces of those whom His hands have touched. Blogger Comments x

The Way Life Is

Had dinner with DW and Delwen tonight. It’s a weird feeling to meet another blogger face to face. Then there’s the issue of what to talk about. We’ve read each others’ blogs. We know what’s happening in each others’ lives. We’re aware of each others’ current thoughts.

The use of div tags, css and frames were what dominated tabletalk for the night. Sure, you can roll your eyeballs and call us geeks. We’ll respond heartily to the label. The endless debate between usability and aesthetics, html and flash will continue as long as computer geeks gather. It is what we do.

Then we return to our little cubicles in our little homes, and type it into our blogs. Blogger Comments x

Losing Control

I cannot remember if it was in a daydream or in my sleep. I dreamt that humans were born with a remote control through some freakish work of technology. A control so that parents can decide the best activities for their children. It would help prevent crime. The dream led on to the adults. Who would control them? The government didn’t have the right, the wisdom nor the integrity to make such a decision. In the dream there rose the cry, “Who is worthy of all control?” After some debate there arose only one answer that humankind agreed upon. God. God would make the right decisions. God knew what was best. We then took all our remote controls and handed it to God. He would determine our futures. He would save us from the mess of a future we put ourselves into.

God looked at the controls in all its high-tech gadgetry. It didn’t fit His hands. He couldn’t use it. We were all doomed to die in anarchy, in hopelessness and in despair.

Such is the stuff technological nightmares are made of. Blogger Comments x

Aim True

A friend asked me tonight if a decent guy were a thing too much to ask for. A guy who will stay faithful to you the rest of his days. A guy who won’t look at other women with lust in his heart. A guy who is willing to wait till after marriage for sex.

Looking at popular opinion and public statistics, not only does is this “dream guy” illusive, it seems almost unreasonable to expect one for a husband. As a result of the degeneration that has been taking place in society the past few decades, we are left with compromised ideals. We are told that fairy tales remain fairy tales, and that the family structure of yesterday no longer holds water in the more dynamic environment of today. With the divorce rate in the USA hovering at 50%, we can’t help but lower our expectations right?

It is a vicious cycle that spirals down to hell. Expect less so as to avoid disappointment, and you’ll soon find that reality plays down to its competition. Allow a man to cheat, and trust me, he will. The popular feminist counter-measure is nothing short of an embarassment to women’s intellect and resolve.

If men can play the field, so can we.
The men who are the real players are not hurt by this form of equality. On the contrary, it provides them a larger population to prey on, and ethically justifies their promiscuous lifestyle. The men that are hurt are the ones who actually wanted something serious out of their relationships. I don’t even have to tell you how it has impacted the children who have grown up watching adults around them exhibiting this lifestyle.

This same friend read my journals on my significant other and wondered if that were the norm. It’s only a small part of the entire picture. We’ve faced our own tempations, fought with each other, argued over our own issues and failed our own trials. Much as we desire to place God as the center of our relationship, our human frailty often kicks in and we find ourselves no better than the bottom rung of society’s moral standards.

Our relationship is far from perfect. But we’re not about to expect any less anytime soon. Blogger Comments x

A Different Plane

Guess what I did today? I watched Star Wars: Episode Two for the third time.

I’m a fan of Star Wars, but I’m not crazy. I watched it the first time because I was given free tickets. I watched it the second time because Spiderman had sold out. I watched it the third time because Faith had agreed to watch it with two of her students from school.

Childhood in Singapore has changed quite a bit from the time I was a kid. It has become more structured and rigid, and the concept of free time is non-existent as far as children in Singapore are concerned. Golf classes, violin lessons, speech and drama courses…the list goes on. I took a look at my kid cousin’s schedule and almost fainted. It was packed with enough rigour to make the CEO of an average-sized multinational company wince.

I remember being forced to take piano lessons as a child. I hid in the bathroom to avoid having to play arpeggios over and over. I hated the confrontation that would arise from my lack of practice. It didn’t help that the tummyache excuse only works the first time. In my mind I screamed to be set free from having to endure the monotony of the arduous training. I wanted out.

I regret my actions to some extent. In retrospect, I half-wish that my parents were more persistent in their decision to have me musically trained. Who knows what I would have been able to play today?

But I know too many children who are burdened by schoolbags heavier than themselves. Though I regret not being able to play the piano today, I’m thankful that my parents were lenient enough to allow my love for music to grow naturally. Had they forced me then, I would probably have rebelled and hated music just to spite the shackles that were placed on me. Today, I play the classical guitar recreationally. I play it for myself, and I’m content.

Bringing up a child is like flying a plane. Pull hard so that you know what stunts the plane is capable of pulling off, but don’t pull so hard as to break its wings. This can only be done through constant monitoring, and developing a deep understanding of the plane you fly, or the child you nurture for that matter.

I wish life were such that I could know my own child*. Not through parenting books or parent-teacher conferences. Not through what the nanny tells me. Just person to person. Human to human.

Nobody said flying a plane is easy. But it should be a load of fun in itself.

Beyond the Darth

Played good big brother today and brought my youngest sister (I have two) out for a movie. We had intended to watch Spiderman but it was sold out, so Attack of the Clones it was. This was my second time watching it, but since I was half asleep the first time, it cleared up a lot of the story for me.

Yes, yes, so I fell asleep whilst watching the highly anticipated Episode Two. And I’m not ashamed to say it either. I was suffering from jet lag, and honestly, the middle part of the movie dragged on big time. Last thing I needed to see was Natalie and Hayden doing a Simba courtship roll in the lush green grass. It’s one thing when cartoon characters try to be cheesily subtle about physical intimacy. George Lucas should have just stuck to the fireplace scene and foregone the frolicking.

I was better able to catch the subtleties of the dialogue this time round. I burst out laughing when Anakin whispered to Amidala his words of love…

I am in such agony….I cannot breathe
His breathing problem in the later episodes becomes his trademark.

We all know Jar Jar Binks should have died in Episode One. He single-handedly started the entire evil empire by using his new-found political position to suggest that emergency power be given to the Dark Lord of the Sith. He didn’t make Episode Four…so our wishes may yet be fulfilled. The greatest villain is not Emperor Palpatine, nor the insidious Jar Jar Binks.

Saruman the White, long haired or crew cut, is the villain of the new millenium.

Blogger Comments x

Taught for Naught

Read somewhere in today’s paper that British teachers worked longer hours than managers and other professionals. On top of that, many teachers in England resort to moonlighting in order to stay out of debt.

This is not news to any developed country on the face of the earth. The debacle between the teachers and the government of the United States has been going on for years. Though Singapore has yet to experience such an outburst from its teacher population, it is becoming evident that the teaching profession in Singapore is undergoing a lot of stress, much of which is unnecessary. As I blog this, Faith, who is a teacher, sits in the background still grading homework and writing progress reports. It’s past midnight.

The teacher used to be the most respected of professions. It didn’t seem too long ago when a lot of respect was given to one who passed knowledge down to the younger generation. Asian tradition elevates the teacher to a position equal to that of a parent, if not more so. Yet as we look upon the teaching profession today, how can anyone be expected to give it any respect when governments themselves ignore the basic day to day needs of teachers everywhere?

I have many friends who major in education with the noble intention of become an educator. They know the hours and are aware of the financial rewards, or lack of it. They want to change the world, a child at a time, and hope that somehow their lives will find meaning in their endeavours. I cannot even begin to stress the importance of the role that these people play in our society. It is possible to go through life without ever seeing a banker, a lawyer or a computer programmer. But it is not so with a teacher. For children everywhere, the word of the teacher is the gospel truth, and the seed of the future is sowed by these unappreciated people who toil night and day.

Wake up world. Quit worshipping the computer genius or business whizkids. Quit paying homage to the rich and famous. They would be nothing were it not for the teachers that had shaped them thus. Give credit where credit is due. And put your money where your mouth is. Blogger Comments x

Mini Web Terrorism

Any web surfer worth their weight in salt should be familiar with the term google-bombing. Though it started out as a harmless prank that was meant primarily to exploit’s search algorithms, it has become a increasingly popular activity.

Google-whacking, the predecessor to google-bombing, was an attempt to have a specified phrase generate only one solitary answer on a google search. Google-bombing, on the other hand, attempts to have a predetermined link (often the bombers own webpage) come up on the number one position in a google search on a particular phrase.

While some of these bombers claim to do what they do in order to test the algorithms behind search engines, it is little more than an exercise in ego-inflating. It achieves nothing constructive, and it messes up what is essentially a good web service for the rest of us. As long as there are mathematical assumptions in any given process, there will always be mechanical consistencies that can be exploited by people with too much time of their hands. It is scarcely reasonable to expect any set of algorithms to capture the breadth of diversity on the web, which is a product of our collective individualities (gotta love the oxymoron).

Just as in politics and almost every other aspect of life, it is easier to observe, criticise and act like a spoilt child. Stepping up to the plate and effecting change is so much harder, yet so much more essential if we’re going to see changes for the better. Blogger Comments x

Strike Three!

Abercrombie & Fitch did it again. First there was the huge commotion they caused by having nude models groping each other in their summer catalogue. Then there was the whole t-shirt fiasco that seemed derogatory towards the Asian population. So after pissing off the adults and the asians, A&F decides to move down the alphabet and target the children.

A&F recently started selling thongs for children. What’s more, A&F apparently used the same skilled copywriter. On some of the thongs it says “Eye Candy”, and “Wink Wink”. A&F’s spokesperson defended the thongs, saying “it’s cute and fun and sweet”. I’d suggest the FBI keep a close eye on this spokesperson. Sounds a little too peachy keen to me.

I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would voluntarily wear something that is essentially a wedgie. It’s not too hard to envision these thong-wearing folk having children. After all, children are the eventual reward for enduring those endless hours of thong-wearing, are they not? That must have been A&F’s target market. Add to the fact that Catholic churches are probably not going to touch on the subject of pedophiles anytime soon. The timing couldn’t be any better.

One can’t help but remember the good old days of Benetton and its controversial ads. Benetton’s ads provoked a few, and piqued some thoughts into issues society doesn’t dare bring to the surface. A&F is probably trying to do the same.

The thing is, I can’t remember the last time I saw another Benetton store. Blogger Comments x

Clash of the Titans

A delayed telecast of Sacremento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers. click Venus Williams vs Martina Hingis. Shaquille O’Neal dumps 13 straight points on the Kings, using his massive 350 pound body to physically shift anyone who would even venture a defensive thought against him. Venus swats Martina as she would a fly, sending her to her right, then to her left, then to her right again.

I cannot help but pity the physical underdog. It seems that professional sports has reached a plateau where superior physical attributes make all the difference. Few finesse players are left, and brute force seems to be flavour of the day. Combine that with untamed aggression and an oversized ego, and you have the champions of today. As Shaq gets in the face of his defender and mouths “No way, m*fer”, it seems that sports is becoming less and less about character building, and more about winning.

Winning. Raw carnage. Being the only one left standing. Kill them. Kill them all.

Sure, the sports rebel goes way back. Dennis Rodman. Charles Barkley. John McEnroe. They were the bad boys. Some loved them, some hated them. They’ve always been around, but not until the emergence of a certain Mike Tyson has the bad boy become the model to emulate.

Our children’s role model has changed. The paradigm of a successful person has shifted under our noses without stirring as much as a murmur. Much as I would like to rally a cry ala Braveheart or Spartacus, I only ask that we be aware of the things that permeate our lives and the lives of our children. Blogger Comments x

Language of a Previous English Colony

Coming back to Singapore after a short time away, I find myself more sensitive to the colourful nuances and subtle tastes that make it home. The racial diversity and relative youth of the country also means that Singapore’s four official languages are often found intertwining in an ever-changing fluid movement. We often mix phrases, utilise alternative grammatical structures, forming a language we have come to know as Singlish. It is a testament to the ingenuity of the human mind and its adaptability to different cultures and environments.

Found in a letterbox was the following flier (or flyer, depending on your level of ingenuity).


It is not hard to deduce that it is an advertisement for a swimming class, but we’ve all grown more cautious with the spate of pedophile activity going on. It doesn’t help that the next line reads


Singlish is amazing. The flier on the other hand, combines childlike boldness (this was sent to countless homes) and competence for a most hilarious effect. I love home. Even if the weather sucks right now. Blogger Comments x

The Point of No Return

Heard on BBC Radio today that a homosexual group in Australia was denied when they wore their rainbow sashes to Holy Communion in a Catholic church. In the light of recent accusations facing the Catholic church regarding the sexual molestations of children by Catholic priests, one cannot help but shake their heads at the holier-than-thou attitude exhibited by the deliberate exclusion.

We face an interesting dilemma regarding the issue of homosexuality. In recent times, many scientists, psychologists, geneticists and sociologists have managed to bring homosexuality forward as a mainstream lifestyle. Though some may still yet frown, most have learnt tolerance or partial acceptance of homosexuals in our society. And then there are others who proclaim public condemnation upon them, calling on the authority of God and man alike. As a Christian, it is easy to point to scripture and decry our own brand of judgement upon them. A violent crusade is hard to implement when we find our friends and family among the intended targets.

Let there be no doubt about this: Homosexuality is considered sin by Biblical standards. There are no two ways about it. At this, many Christian groups are fast to point the accusing finger. They forget that lying, stealing, lusting in one’s thoughts and heart are just as abominable to God. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is sexual promiscuity. Just because one is more socially acceptable than the other does not make it any more or less right in God’s eyes.

With the Bible as the standard, I cannot condone homosexuality, much as I feel their turmoil and pain. But I despise those who promote hatred. They look for scapegoats to alleviate the guilt of their more acceptable sins. Blogger Comments x


I never knew why Dad brought us. Every week we’d sit in the house-church that was really warm because there was no air-conditioning. We’d listen to the same preachers that we’ve been listening to for the past decade. We’d all expect messages we’ve heard before. Sunday nights. I could be out with my friends, or playing basketball. Dang, I’ve already spent the whole morning and afternoon in the church I go to, and I’ve got to give up my nights to attend Dad’s?

I never really understood Dad’s insistence until I had to bring my sister to church while I was in Tucson. The immense joy she brought me when she decided to go to church with me is something I cannot fully explain. On some level, it brings me joy because I want her to share in a large part of who I am, but on a deeper spiritual level it is the resurgence of hope. Looking at my mental snapshot of that moment in time, I understood Dad’s intentions. I chose to go tonight.

I sat in the back row, in the corner where I’ve sat for so many years. The people came in. The same people. In the same places. Except for a few new people who came in from overseas, nothing has changed. Except me. In my conscious decision to come tonight I saw things I wouldn’t have noticed. I would have been too grumpy to notice the forlorn smile that the couple two rows ahead of me wore when they looked at the children that sat behind them. I don’t think they had any children of their own. I prayed a silent prayer for them. The same preacher stood up to speak. Time has taken its toil on him. His message and joy remains the same, though his voice isn’t as resonant as it once was, or his legs as strong.

Dad looked back and found me sitting in my corner. He smiled. I now knew why. Blogger Comments x


I’m going to pick her up from work! Though she’s been really busy I cherish every moment I have. There’s a tingly feeling in the air, and even the most ordinary of chores is an infinite multiplicitous shower of blessing. I get to hold her hand. Blogger Comments x

Anyone Still There?

Had dinner with a few old friends last night. We’ve literally grown up together, and though having seen each other through so much of life, I feel a sense of distance that inevitably exists. Maybe it comes from having been abroad most of the year. I look at these familiar faces, and deep inside I know that…I know.

I know those faces, those smiles, those people. I’ve been part of their past, there in the times of their sorrows, their joys and their hopes. Whether or not I actively participated in all their moments, I was there. I am witness to the root of their lives. The intimacy of such a role drives out some of the detachment I feel, but not totally.

She’s changed, this sister who called me brother so very long ago. She was so young then, though a child old for her years. We sent little handwritten notes which I still keep dear to my heart. They chronicle the beautiful childlike love we shared then.

I look upon her now and wonder if she’s still the same girl I once knew. We no longer write, and she doesn’t read my thoughts here. Life has its way of sweeping us up and keeping us busy with the mundane and eventually inconsequential. Yet I want so much to reach out, yet I fear that I may find someone foreign to me. My heart cries out the words that Chauvelin uttered in The Scarlet Pimpernel,

Where’s the girl? Where’s the girl with the blaze in her eyes?
My heart trembles. I don’t know where everyone has gone. It looks like I sit here alone. I miss you. I miss you all, so very very much. Blogger Comments x

Fellowship of the Ring

Well I guess I should tell you guys the surprise I had in store. Though my efforts in misdirecting Faith to think that I was still in Tucson failed, she didn’t see that I had a backup surprise - I bought her a ring. It’s not an expensive ring, but it has a rock. The price seems to have me believe I bought quartz set on silver, but the saleswoman in Tucson told me otherwise, so I’ll trust her. This surprise wasn’t going to fail.

As we watched PowerPuff Girls (why you got a problem with that?) on telly, I took her hand and removed the ring which she wore. After some rather deft maneuvers I swapped the rings and slid it on her finger. Then I looked at her and asked the question: Will you marry me? She laughed and said: Of course. I smiled.

I took her other hand and put the old ring back on. Her brain couldn’t quite process it. Rings on both hands, and Mojo getting thumped by Bubbles. It took her a short while before she looked at her hands. She stared at me, half-shocked and surprised. Honestly, at the moment I couldn’t tell if she were angry, upset, or happy. She let off a silent squeal and wore a huge grin the rest of the day.

It’s probably not the most romantic of proposals, but it’s mine. It’s what we’ll tell our grandkids if we have any. Blogger Comments x

Our Daily Bread

Food is so engrained into the Singapore culture. Eating is an activity we look forward to - it is the place where many friendships are formed, family ties strengthened and lovers made. For those of us who, like myself, had the opportunity to live abroad and experience other cultures, coming home often means coming back to our favourite foods.

The first thing Min and I did when we got out of the airport was head for lunch. Never mind that we already had a lunch of sorts on the plane. Rock-hard buns were hardly real food. Dad and Mom were kind enough to acceed to our requests. We had fish soup and rice, one of my all-time favourite things.

Dad is a typical Asian father. He shows little or no emotion. The younger generation’s perspective of what a parent should be has changed radiacally the past few years, with the proliferation of western television. Many of us younger people have adopted the models we find in weekly sitcoms like Friends, Gilmore Girls, Seven Heaven, and sometimes find it hard to appreciate the nuances of our own culture.

What a pity. Most of our parents aren’t our best friends like Lorelei Gilmore is to her daughter. The more affluent youngsters try hard to forge friendships that revolve around expensive coffee places, hoping to find their Monicas or Chandlers that will be there every day. And yet others can’t understand why kissing is still a rather taboo activity when the Camdens of Seven Heaven do it so much despite their father being a minister. Many struggle and conclude that their parents don’t love them.

We sit down and Dad orders three bowls of fish soup and four bowls of rice (Mom wasn’t that hungry). Two bowls arrive first as the serving lady can only carry that much at a time. Dad distributes the food, and asks us to eat first while he waits for the other bowl to arrive. A small gesture, one would say, but it is all I need to know that Dad loves enough to put us all ahead of himself - and that says a lot more than what I’ve seen on TV. Blogger Comments x

Heat is Up

Guess my website didn’t automatically update like I hoped.

After a long and arduous 26 hours of air travel, I stepped out of the plane to be greeted by a wave of hot humid air. Some amount of effort is actually needed to suck the air into my lungs. Oh well, it also doesn’t help that I chose to go play basketball an hour after touchdown.

I’m back safely. I think I’ll update from the library tomorrow morning. The bitter taste of a dialup line is tedious, to say the least. Blogger Comments x

National Sport of Singapore

Control Tower of Changi Airport in Singapore

As the plane touched down on Singapore soil, we flew over Tanah Merah Country Club and its pristine golf course. Everything in Singapore is so pretty, the intention of the people who are behind land planning rather than any random natural beauty.

The plane taxied in the runway for a bit and we were all able to take a look at the Control Tower of Singapore’s Changi Airport, a major landmark that has stood for many years. A golf ball that sits atop the tee that is Singapore itself. It’s amazing how the officials at that time foresaw that golf was going to be a big factor in the everyday lives of affluent Singaporeans. Looking at it on a deeper level, Singapore is all about golf.

We spend most of our lives chasing down elusive small white dimpled balls. Upon reaching them, we simply take out our largest clubs and hit them as far away as we possible can, then walk after it again. Life here is an endless game of golf. Singapore’s always striving to be number one, and even when that is achieved, we still push on. I don’t have a beef with wanting to do well, but there should be a time when we knock the ball into the cup and head back to the clubhouse for a nice cool drink.

Here in Singapore, we have the tees and the fairways. The cup is something we’re told is there. No one’s ever seen it.

Blogger Comments x

A View

The sun rising over endless pastures of fluffy white. That’s a wonderful sight one can only see whilst flying on a plane. It’s a sight taken for granted by the millions who travel by air each day. It is a view never seen by those who lived before the age of aviation. Michaelangelo, Da Vinci and all of other great artists of ages before have never had the privilege to look above the clouds.

I looked closely, but found no traces of care-bears driving around in cloud-cars. Blogger Comments x

Fast Forward to Mordor

I’ve finally reached the end of LOTR: Return of the King, the last book in the trilogy by Tolkien. Though Tolkien’s language flows smoothly with the tranquility of the Elven rivers, it was an ordeal to reach the end of the book. It’s a great book, no question about it. These are the reasons why I took so long:

  • I chose to read it just before going to bed.
  • ‘cause Frodo was whining incessantly.
  • Mordor’s dark gloomy skies were really conducive for sleep.
  • Orcs have no character.
  • Neither Legolas nor Gimli were extremely interesting in this book.
  • This is too much for me to bear Sam…Frodo would complain.
  • he would be carried by Samwise Gamgee up the mountain.
  • Ents weren’t featured as vividly as in Book Two.
  • Please help me Sam….
  • Leave me here to die Sam…
  • and Samwise would actually help him.
  • Need water…I need water Sam….
  • Ergh.
  • I know I’m not giving credit to the weight of the ring he bears, but it gets tiring after 200 pages of complaints.


    Since Faith has already discovered my plot. I’ll let you guys in on this one. The first letters of all the bullet points read “I’m on the plane”.

    May 13th 11:46am

    Blogger Comments x

    Same Destination

    Watched the movie Changing Lanes starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck. It was almost like reading Thomas Hardy’s Convergence of the Twain, a poem written about the collision between the ill-fated Titanic and the iceberg that sunk it.

    The depth of the movie is intellectually stimulating. The two portray such different characters. Aflleck plays Gavin Banek, a lawyer who’ll do anything to get to the top, while Doyle Gipson (Jackson) is a father fighting for the custody of his children. Gavin represents the financially wealthy thug analogous to the giant corporations of today. Doyle represents the blue-collared worker. The ones who struggle to make it through to the next day. Gavin will do anything it takes, rationalising away his moral integrity, while Doyle stubbornly sticks to whatever principles he holds dear.

    It’s an intriguing show that starts of like a good vs evil, and then reveals to us what we already know - that despite our different intentions, we are all the beasts we feared we would be. Blogger Comments x

    The Vileness of Verisign

    I’m sure many of you have read, or glimpsed through it. How Verisign is evil. They stole’s domain, sold it before it expired, and told the owner to take a hike. Like most bad news that doesn’t strike too close to home, we sigh in exasperation, and just move on with our lives.

    Verisign has hit home this time. has received letters from Verisign saying that the domain name is expiring, and wants me to pay $30 by next week to keep it. As far as my own bank records show, is barely even close to its expiration date.

    Do yourself a favour. Listen to Ev, Jason and the many others for whom Verisign’s incompetence has affected. If should not be here come next week, leave your comments here, and I’ll tell you guys if or where I move. And don’t forget to transfer your own domains if you’re currently under Verisign. Blogger Comments x


    Oh well, the secret’s out. Faith found out that I was coming back Wednesday. My plan was to surprise her, but not lie to her. It was an exercise in misdirection, but I got cornered this morning.

    Promise me you’re not coming back this week!
    Brain froze. Couldn’t think up something fast enough. Caught.

    So now she’s skipping around with the ocassional woohoo! in her step. I even set up my blog to post future posts so that Tribolum would remain updated while I was on the plane in an attempt to have her think I was still on the ground. No surprise. No fun. But wait… Blogger Comments x

    No Higher Calling

    Down at your feet O Lord
    is the most high place.
    In your presence Lord
    I seek your face.
    I seek your face.

    There is no higher calling
    no greater honour
    than to bow and kneel before Your throne.
    I’m amazed at Your glory
    embraced by Your mercy.
    O Lord, I live to worship You.

    Just A Longer Wait With Thee

    This entry goes into my little corner for her.

    We’ve waited a long, long time to get married. Ten years. The past month or so our dreams came closer to their realisation, with us discussing the possibility of getting married over the summer when I got home. My heart thumped with anticipation. Sure, I was a little frightened, but the thought of me starting a new life with you was nothing short of exhilarating. We’d get the paperwork done, and hold the church wedding when I could afford it. Maybe a year later. I’d legally be your husband, and you’d be my wife. I’ve waited so long for this. I could almost taste it.

    After praying about it we came to the conclusion this morning that having the church wedding and legal paperwork together would somehow be more pleasing to God. There was a greater sense of peace that came with this decision, and at the same time it was a source of pain. It would mean that we’d have to wait at least another year. At least.

    Even though the dashing of the hopes we held these few weeks proved painful, it feels good that we are willing to do what is right in His eyes above our own wants. Your willingness to submit to God only reaffirms my determination to marry you some day. Thank you for not being bitter about having to wait, even though I know that it’s as hard on you as it is on me. On so many levels, I know what the Lord must feel like waiting for His bride to be ready for His reappearing.

    I want our marriage to be perfect - a small reflection of how Christ loves His church.


    After reading the aboved entry I find it reads rather incoherently, proving only what we already knew: blogging while having a huge headache is not the best idea. Here’s the main idea.

  • We wanted to be registered as a married couple this summer when I got home from school. The church wedding ceremony would be held at a later date when finances and circumstances were more suitable.
  • Our anticipation grew as we approached the realisation of this long-awaited dream
  • After praying about it, we gathered that it seemed more pleasing to God that we do the legal registration along with the church wedding
  • That would mean we would have to wait another year, at least
  • deep breath We decided to wait.
  • It seems a heavy price to pay for this lesson in obedience.
  • His ways are higher than our ways. I know that the dying to my own wants will make me a better husband, a better companion for her.
  • I press on, but only by His strength. The burden is too heavy for me to bear.
  • May 13th, 3:17am

    Blogger Comments x

    Secret of Munchkin Island

    I had a great time sitting in the Music building today. There were so many children running around, and the cuteness factor of the place was high enough to cheer even the most drab of days. A small blond boy playing with a water fountain he wasn’t tall enough to drink from. A small girl who had a dress that fanned out like an umbrella.

    I felt transported into a world where things where everything was larger the people around it. A land of little people all fascinated by the things around them. Mailboxes, trashcans, a piece of paper of the ground. It was an usual slice of heaven. Then I had a glimpse of the secret.

    A small girl with curly hair, dressed in a pink jumper smiled at me as her father carried her down the corridor. It was a enigmatic smile. She knew something that we didn’t. They all do. Blogger Comments x

    The Importance of Consistency

    In most aspects, I think I’m one of the most stubborn people I know with regards to small habits. I do things the same way every time because I find change unsettling, and it scares me.

    Just a small example: when I play basketball at the Recreation Center, I sit on the same chair to change into my shoes every time. Or my daily pack of Twix and a juice at the same time every morning at school.

    When I read Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Vern, I thought that Phileas Fogg (the main character) was pretty cool in the way he did things exactly the same all the time. Like clockwork. I wanted to be like clockwork.

    I did something different yesterday. For the first time in my life I propped my feet up while watching a movie at the theatre, after taking all necessary precautions not to dirty the seat of course. As fate would have it, I dropped my wallet there, and despite my best efforts today, was unable to retrieve it.

    I think I’ll just stick to the things I know that work.

    By the way, check out the new checkbox I put on Tribolum to manage the external links of my ramblings. Blogger Comments x


    Sister walks in all dressed and asks “So, are we going out?”

    Guess I’ve got to go shower. I smell of Java. Blogger Comments x

    More On Site Construction

    After tussling with some javascript, finally added a checkbox (see top right) for people who want their links displayed in this window, rather than having a new one open. What does this mean?

    More power to the people! Blogger Comments x

    Survival of the Fittest

    Believe it or not, there actually exists an online petition to change the name of the upcoming LOTR: The Two Towers because “the title is clearly meant to refer to the attacks on the World Trade Center” and that the idea is “morally repugnant”.

    I don’t subscribe much to Darwin’s theory of evolution, but there are some things I know I don’t want in the gene pool.

    Link via The Last Extremity. Blogger Comments x

    Anger Inducing Triboluminescence

    Seems like has gotten its very first hate-blog. Jake over at BlahStuff blogged that Tribolum has made him very angry for at least a couple of reasons, and wants his readers to guess them. Funny thing is he came here, read my request for feedback and gave none.

    Go ahead, click the link to his site and give him some love. By the way Jake, I am thinking of removing the right-click script. I was just toying with it the past two days. Blogger Comments x

    Return of the Clowns

    Ok, so Spiderman wasn’t the flop we all feared it would be (though I’m still pretty upset with the misinformation about the web-shooters). Return of the Clones received its first review, and it didn’t go well. Or at least that was from the perspective of the film experts at FoxNews.

    I’ve been alive long enough not to trust film critics. They seem to elevate themselves above the plebian crowd that is the rest of us, and bring word from the almighty god of films himself. While it is true that their word alone changes box-office statistics, most of us have learnt to take it with an acre of Utah’s salt flats. The major mistake when most people attempt to critique George Lucas’ new Star Wars endeavours is that they tend to compare one episode to the entire trilogy that they loved so well. Throw in feelings of nostalgia and the warm, fuzzy feeling of heyday, nothing short of a truly gargantuan effort would please them.

    However, the one thing I have to agree with the review is that the humans seemed rather artificial from the little I’ve seen from the trailers. But then again, Anakin (Hayden Christensen) eventually grows up to be a man clad in a huge black dress and a cheap plastic mask. Nothing natural about that either.

    At worst, Attack of the Clowns Clones is but a two hour long catwalk of unique fashion concepts. That’s pretty funky in itself. Blogger Comments x

    So Much to See, So Little Time

    Just received next season’s programme from UApresents, the University of Arizona’s cultural box-office. There are so many things I’d love to see, but due to budget constraints, a certain level of refrain has to be practiced, much to my dismay. The Chieftains, the Peking Opera, Blast! and the Emerson String Quartet are amongst the shows I have had to sacrifice.

    Looking on the bright side, I am going to watch Broadway musicals The Full Monty, Contact and Mama Mia!. On top of that, I get to hear John Williams (the guitarist, not the composer of Star Wars) himself. Next season looks to be pretty darn good.

    My sister’s taste are pretty different from mine, so she’s headed for three ballets. Coppelia by the Shanghai Ballet, Sleeping Beauty by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Romeo and Juliet by the Stuttgart Ballet. Throw in the supposedly splendid Tango Buenos Aires and you have yourself a pretty contented sister.

    The main highlight of next season (for myself at least) would be Les Misérables. Even though I’ve watched it twice, news of it coming here to Tucson is sweet music to my ears. It is like revisiting a long-time close friend or lover, one whom you’ve shared the most intimate of moments with. One with whom you’ve shared your heart. Ok, so all of you know I’m talking about my love affair with Eponine.

    Eponine! My heart flutters at the thought. Blogger Comments x

    Discovery of the Week

    Using your electric toothbrush and looking in your monitor will give you vertigo. Blogger Comments x

    On Site Construction

    Tinkered with the links page, so now it opens to the search bar. Not sure if it’s the best thing to use…but hey…it works. If you have any suggestions to improve the site, hit me. Blogger Comments x

    Werked Out

    Major work for the terribly hectic week is done! Can’t wait to take my new tripod out for a spin. Maybe now I can take night-time shots without the camera-shake. Blogger Comments x

    Putting Things Down in Numbers

    It’s one thing to work in groups and yet another to have to do a peer evaluation of every member within a group.

    Peer evaluations are usually done at the end of a project, and before the results of the project are returned. Tempers that have flared would have died down, and whatever bad blood would have been forgotten. Well, at least till the results come back. It is hard to place a numerical value to something so subjective. It would merely give the assessor a vague idea of what actually went on. Must admit though, that some idea is actually better than no idea at all.

    Being Asian somehow affects the way in which I do these evaluations. In a culture that puts so much value on family reputation and individual “face”, it is hard to belittle another person without feeling that some great crime has been committed. That another’s family name will be adversely affected by which bubble is shaded, or that there will be endless stories around campfires over all of the land about how this one individual was so treacherously maligned by a fellow teammate.

    I shade my bubbles carefully. Give credit where credit is due, and where there is blame, share it.

    Blogger Comments x

    An Alternative Viewpoint

    Cassandra Claire has a hilarious parody of the The Lord of the Rings. Here are drum roll the Secret Diaries. Blogger Comments x

    A Tangible Realisation of the Intangible

    As the school year (which ends with summer vacation) draws to a close, there is an ambivalence in the air.

    On one hand summer vacation is always a good thing. A great thing. Three whole months of doing whatever one might wish. For geeks like us, it’s three months of freedom to beef up our websites, learn new technologies, earn a little cash to fuel our need for expensive little gadgets while the rest of the world bakes in the glorious sunshine.

    Yet the end of the school year signals a close not only to school, but also to the many relationships that have been forged around it. Some friends graduate while others find jobs that require them to be far away. Some others head for graduate school. The strong metal jaws of time pry us apart, and we inevitably go our separate ways.

    I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a number of wonderful people this semester, and it saddens me to know that most of my relationships cannot be like that of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. We grow up, we move on, some may say without as much of a hint of regret. I find myself unable to stand before this plight stone-faced and emotionless, for the prospect of possibly never seeing these people again draws so very near.

    So to Michael, who heads north to work for the three blue men, I wish you godspeed. It has been an honour to know you, and to work alongside you. I have the feeling that our paths may yet cross again someday.

    To Pauline, who takes the burden of endless cheerfulness upon herself everyday. I’ll miss you. May you find the source of all joy, so that your heart will never grow weary again. Thank you for being so generous with your smiles and laughter.

    To Chau who aspires to be a modern-day Mother Teresa. May you always fly with His healing in your wings.

    There are so many more I could have known better and deeper. Though I regret not having done so, at the same time I am relieved. The burden of separation would have been too heavy to bear, and the grief too close to endure. Blogger Comments x

    Back After These Short Messages

    I’ve a bunch of emails to reply, and will do so as soon as I get a few things out of the way. (See Things to Do). I’m not ignoring any of you. smiles If I were I’d post it here. Blogger Comments x

    David and Goliath

    Thought Spiderman was a big deal?

    Jolly green giant’s bash is slated for 2003. Blogger Comments x

    Tweaks and Freaks

    For those among you that possess a keener eye, you’d have noticed a few changes in Tribolum.

    I’ve been tinkering with dynamic HTML scripts and decided that the terribly long sidebar had to go. Click on the heading you want to see and the sidebar will expand itself.

    Navigation-wise, you can right-click anywhere on the page and a navigation box will pop up.

    It’s one thing to be able to use technology. It’s another to be able to use it effectively. Tell me if the new changes conflict with any of your browsers, or any other detrimental effects.
    Blogger Comments x

    To a Sister

    Though I know that I had blogged with clear intentions, it seemed that my words had failed me, and the utterances of my hands betrayed that of my heart. I did not write in order to gain sympathy, or to score any popularity points. I wrote because I was amazed at how quickly I had forgotten my own teenage days, and how difficult I was back then.

    Your brother is hardly a model to follow after. You may have been too young to have known that your brother used to be in a gang, and hung out with people who did drugs. Or that your brother stole money because he was too afraid of being rejected had he asked for it. Or that your brother battles lust continually that has stained his soul for so long a time.

    If I had to recommend a person for you to look up to, I would have been the last person on my own list.

    I wrote because I wanted you to know that I care for you a great deal. That I constantly pray for you that you may not fall into the traps I did. I was ashamed to have been angry at you, because I had done things that were so much worse. I wrote a letter to Mom telling her that if I were a mother, I wouldn’t do things the way she did. That’s who I am.

    In the pits of my own heart I know that I am no one to tell anyone what to do. I constantly fear that the old me is still very much within me, and that even on a subconscious level I’ve not been a good brother unto you. The blanket that used to hang on the wall at Grandma’s place back in Muar had a picture of me carrying you on it. I remember often looking at it and wanting to be the best brother you could ever have.

    I know I’m far from it. I’m learning, even if very slowly. Be patient with me.

    Come home early. Be safe. Blogger Comments x

    Technological Migration

    I’m not much for change. Heck, I eat the same thing every day. And I don’t mind.

    It’s not the same with technology though. It’s rapid shifts can often leave one stranded in the no-man’s land of obsolescence, and it is in this realm I know that stubbornness and inertia towards change cannot survive. Or can it?

    The reason for my apprehension is Moveable Type’s barrage of new updates. Moveable Type is a blogging tool, much like Blogger and Greymatter. Unlike the other two, Blogger is an online blogging tool, and that means that its reliability is subject to the Blogger servers, whereas the other two tools are not.

    I believe in the old-school practice of loyalty between a business and its customer, but my experiences with consumer loyalty when it came to technology have not been especially fruitful. I was amongst the first to own a 3D graphics card by 3Dfx, which was eventually swallowed whole by computer graphics giant Nvidia. I wanted the Apple II to triumph over the PC. I lost out both times.

    Now that Phil has moved over to Moveable Type, I cannot help but question my own loyalty. Phil had always been Blogger’s largest unpaid advocate. His migration is a great loss.

    Unknown to most of you, I ran Moveable Type on Tribolum a long time ago when it first hit the blogging community. I decided to stick with Blogger because I wanted to support the ones who had first made my online journal writing so much easier. Is it possible to stand straight and still in the rapid currents of new technologies? Blogger Comments x

    A Massive Outcry

    Halfway through watching Spiderman the Movie, I could have sworn I heard the distant voices of a million true Spiderman fans all over the world crying,

    No!!!! That’s not how the web shooters work!!!!!
    Blogger Comments x

    Cooking Down A Storm

    The bitter taste rejection is one that I find hard swallow. One would think that I would be used to it by now, having waited four years before she finally reciprocated my feelings. Yet I found myself so full of anger when I was dealt a blow today.

    I had invited my sister to a potluck the Asian Bible Fellowship organised tonight. It was nothing “religious” in nature, just a normal dinner, a normal social event in which I thought she could meet some people more her age. People whom she could count on after I graduated and left Tucson for home. She chose instead to hang out with other people, despite my asking her one whole day in advance. My emotions ran amok right after she made the decision to my face, and I left seething, totally agitated by the fact that she cared so little for my feelings.

    I was angry when I drove home, thinking of all the things I had done for her and how little I expected in return, only to be disappointed. In my mind I even made resolutions not to speak to her just to show her my disapproval and agitation.

    It wasn’t fair. She wasn’t being fair at all.

    I wanted to blog all of this down the moment I came home still seething. Capture the moment while it’s still fresh, I thought. Maybe then she’ll read and find out what I really feel. Sure it was totally against what was intended to be, but at least I’d have let the steam out of my system. I had a right to get angry.

    Coming home, I realised that time had passed and that I had to prepare the food for the potluck, so blogging would just have to wait. Heating up the pasta I had prepared the day before took quite a bit of work as the amount of pasta was enough to feed a small army. Through this small workout I found myself slowly induced into a slow, cathartic state. The anger, bitterness and frustration had dissipated (most of it, anyway), and I remembered my own teenage years, and how I took the love of my own parents for granted. My sister’s actions were nowhere near as thoughtless and callous as mine had been back then. I had no right to be angry. No right whatsoever.

    It would be a lie to say that I’m not disappointed or frustrated. Or that I’m no longer angry, because to a much smaller extent, I still am. But I know that the self-preserving, egocentric me had to decrease, and that Christ had to establish His presence in all my thoughts and feelings - every part of my life and myself. I still hope that she’d see how much I want for her to come with me, but I know that it is a choice she has to make herself.

    Only God can move the human heart. My anger may probably coerce the actions I so desire from her, but only His love exhibited in my life can truly bring her to make a choice. I love her a lot. Even to the point of anger, but unless I love her with a selfless love - His love - I would not have loved her nearly enough.

    And that is what I fear. That I didn’t do all I could to show her how much Jesus Christ loves her.

    Update : After talking to my better, more sensible better half, I regained a lot more of my senses and casually asked my sister if she would want to come to church with me tomorrow.

    She said yes. Blogger Comments x

    Courage Under Fire

    Just came back from lunch with Kathryn, my friend who has been battling brain cancer the past three months. She’s in great shape and the doctors have taken her off the steroids they used to control the inflammation of her brain due to the radiation treatment she was undergoing. She’s all ready to return to school next semester, though she admits that being home with her two sons was a great experience, and that it was tempting to just forgo school and do that.

    Her strength in this entire ordeal is nothing short of admirable. I know many would have crumbled under the same circumstances. Sitting there in the radiology department with other patients she found time to make a few friends, and in their strength she found strength.

    She told us of a couple who have adopted 30 children thus far. All of them with terminal diseases. As of now 17 still stay with them, and 4 of them are battling cancer. The saddest part was that one of the four was the husband. Yet this lady still shines with happiness and a joy that is beyond this earth. I listen and can’t help but be baffled at the resilience of character. Where most would deem grief, this couple found joy. Their own lives gave Kathryn the strength to overlook her own difficulties.

    It was great seeing her again. God is really something. Blogger Comments x


    So many movies and television shows cover wedding-day jitters. The cold feet. The trembling hands. Like Chandler in Friends. Or countless movies starring Freddie Prinze Jr. contemporaries. You know that guy.

    I don’t think I’ve ever thought that I’d ever be in those shoes. I fell in love with her when I saw eleven and marriage has always been something that was in the plan. Yet fourteen years later (you can do the math), ten of which were spent in indescribable bliss of having her as my girlfriend, I find myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of what is before me. Marriage seems so huge. Such a big step. And many questions can’t help but cross our minds.

    What if we fail? What if it doesn’t work? What if… And in the span of minutes I turn into the Chandler we all laugh at on TV. Yet looking at it objectively, getting married is merely the next step. We’ve been together for a long enough time. Being married be that great an adjustment. We can do this….right?

    Yet marriage is a big deal. The joining of two lives brings about so many implications. To trivialise it as a signing of just another piece of paper would be belittling it. It is a huge step that requires much prayer and thought. I don’t want to go into anything this big without the God’s approval. I fear that I will fail because I will. But God never does. I place my trust, and the map of my life into His hands. Blogger Comments x

    A Bigger Slice of Life

    It’s amazing how sound and music and evoke so much emotion. I consider myself a regular blog reader, and there are quite a number of bloggers I feel a strong affinity to. Most of them are in my daily reads list. It’s an avenue where I get a glimpse of another life, another soul in what seems like an alternate universe. It is especially so when I’m pretty much isolated from all that is familiar to me here in Tucson Arizona. But reading in itself only transports us so far. I was amazed at how listening to a song placed on a link for background music brought me that much closer to a person I’ve never met. It almost seemed like I was actually there. Sharing music, sharing life.

    So I’ve decided to share a slice of music that affects my life in the most profound of ways. Keith Green’s music changed my life.

    To DW and Lainey, my comrades called to partake of His Cross. I hope this be your prayer as much as it is mine. Blogger Comments x

    Sequel to Geekdom

    I spent the whole morning coding my SQL database. I even got myself a shirt that reads

    SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0; 0 rows returned.

    Don’t have a clue? grins Blogger Comments x

    Male Order Barbie

    My Nameless Creation

    I think I’ve figured out a much asked question that gives us a more in-depth perspective into the female psyche. I think I have the answer to “Why are Barbie dolls fun?”, a secret most closely guarded by the female community.

    I’m hooked on heromachine. Someone save me. Or give my hero a cool name. Please. Blogger Comments x

    A Friend Indeed

    For those of you who sent your well-wishes and prayers to my friend Kathryn who was diagnosed with brain cancer back in February, thank you. It was a most beautiful display of the better side of humanity.

    She has been undergoing radiation treatment and some oral medication and is progressing very well. She is bent on losing weight as soon as the doctor clears her for some moderate exercise. Her spirits are high, and she is optimistic about returning to school next semester. Her only expressed regret so far is that she’ll be a semester behind the rest of us. In her words “it’s not going to be very fun” without us.

    We’re always here Kathryn. God willing, we’re always here.

    A group of friends and I will be meeting her this Friday for lunch, and if you’d like to tell her something from your own heart, just drop a note in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to print it out and pass her the message.
    Blogger Comments x

    A Day to Remember

    Every Truman Show or every EdTV has to have some major event that pulls their audiences together. The blogging couple Nick Pan and Pearl Pan are pregnant! (Yup, I believe that a married couple gets pregnant, not just the wife).

    It is a little cove of solace, a sunbeam of hope for the blogging community that has recently seen the ending of too many blogs, and the outpouring of too many grievances. Thanks for sharing the memories Nick and Pearl. God bless the two three of you. Blogger Comments x


    I asked her if she wanted to get married. I’ve asked her a million times before, but her reply this time?

    Yeah. I don’t mind.

    That’s probably when you know you’ve asked too many times and should just do it already. If only weddings didn’t cost that much. Blogger Comments x

    Practically Pigeonholing Prototypes

    It’s funny how as a child people were distinct individuals, each with their unique characteristics and mannerisms. It was always that aunt who spoke too loudly, or the granduncle who seemed too quiet. It was easier back then because our social circle was relatively small, and so we created these prototypes of people.

    As we grow older we no longer made new molds as generously as we used to. Rather, we started to try fitting new people who came into our lives into the already existing prototype molds. “This new person…he’s like that granduncle I have, only that he wears glasses”. In order to cope with the widening circle of people we know, we categorise them into the little plastic molds we already have in our bucket of toys. We become less generous in seeing people for exactly who they were, and took the easier, lazier approach of seeing them for who they were like, and believed them as such.

    It is hard to love the multiform universe of human nature and be amazed at the startling similarities amongst us at the same time.
    Blogger Comments x

    Humbling of the Shrew

    I’ve been reading sermons for my early morning lone breakfasts, and today’s sermon struck a disonant chord inside my inner self. Just as vanity is an almost universal trait borne by women, pride is borne by men.

    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritually intelligent worship. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God has dealt to each man a measure of faith.” Romans 12:1-3

    The sermon was about the Cross and church life. How often Christians have reduced the Church to a mere meeting of people, or an organisation that sometimes does charitable acts. There can be no church life unless there is the total sacrifice of self, and that is where I find myself so lacking.

    I do not write these words as one who is holier-than-thou, but as one who is reminded how less holy than anyone I am. As good as my intentions for serving in Church may seem, the struggle with pride goes on. There needs to be a total surrender, rather than an attempt to live up to Christian ideals.

    I fear not my lack of strength to surrender, but that I place my trust in the strength of my own fallible arm. Blogger Comments x

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