=700= Word: Conflict

Recently, there are a lot of conflict around me and I have been observing a few things.

Very often, both parties think that they are right. In conflict, most people don’t even consider the option that they might be wrong. One person will be angry over something and the other will be angry with the first person because it was such a trivial thing to be angry over. Very often, people leave certain parts of the argument out, because it is considered as trivial to themselves, but you might surprise yourself when you discover how pivotal those parts are in the conflict.

Most people refuse to say sorry or even just talking it out due to pride. A person dignity seems to be tied quite closely to whether they are in the right or not. I want to refute that! It is not! To be fair, I am not a stranger to this, I also struggle to apologise or make up whenever I fight with someone. However, is pride really worth that much? I can almost predict, if you are so prideful, you will be losing friends very often. I am not saying that you are always wrong, but I am saying to be wise about things. Is being right really that important? Not to mention that as humans we make mistakes so often, could it really just be your fault? Even if it isn’t, is it worth that much?

Most conflicts don’t start with just that disagreement that caused the fall out. Whenever people find that the issue the other party is angry with is trivial, it is good to think of other reasons why he might be angry. Very often, there are other acts that led up to the fall out. Most likely, you have already irritated the other party before that and that disagreement was the last straw.

Most arguments against reconciling are usually emotional and not logical. “He did so much, so whatever I did isn’t counted ah?” “If I say sorry, he will just step over my head and take advantage of me!” “Why is he treating me like this when he knows that I am the most hardworking?” Familiar? Very often we need to sit down to talk to someone and think about things rationally. Perhaps you are just angry because of something totally different.

Kudos to the people that puts in effort to resolve the conflict! Really! It isn’t easy to walk up to someone you were once close to, to break the awkward Cold War with a heart of reconciliation. Good job, you guys are the bigger man/woman.

-Kelvin-

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=699= Music: Wakin Chau & Chinese Music

Haha, so the news was that I attended Wakin Chau’s concert last week with my mum. I was actually more looking forward to Joanna Dong’s pre show than his concert. I guess, I was just expecting an old man singing old songs in an old style. Not that it is bad, but that was what I was expecting; eighties/nineties sound, an extremely clear voice.

Turns out, when he opened the concert with his 有没有那么一首歌会染你想起我, I was blown away! The song was so full with the saxophone adding such a nice colour! His voice was incredible. Not only was his voice controlled and clear, when he wants to have grit in his voice, whenever he sings “有没有…” he can do it! It was so rock! I love it!

He also had such a nice charisma on stage, knowing what to say and what jokes to crack. It was very nice to be in the national stadium and just enjoying myself with this amazing singer!

I only knew about 2-3 songs in the set list, but I was entertained by every single song. From the songs from old wuxia dramas to the nice ballads, he killed it! It was just amazing! Of course I was very excited whenever I hear Jonathan Lee’s songs!

One thing I realised about his voice was that it had this canto accent! Like even though he was clearly singing Chinese, it seems as though phrases like, “爱你够不够多,爱你够不够好” just has this accent that made me think that he was singing canto.

After the concert I was checking out this song, 其实不想走. The concert ended with this song, it was really dope. It started really slow, then they went double time and it was very cool! I checked out the original song, they did not go to double time at all! So cool, I wonder how did the decision of going into double time come about. Could it be someone just, “hey maybe we can try playing it double time!” Then he was, “WHOA, it sounds great!”

It was very interesting to know that even though the song may be very old, it still has new life when played today.

I then bought his best of album, 1987-2002. You will be surprised to hear how dated his songs are! HAHA! I would really love to have a live concert 2018 version. I want! HAHA! Just so we can hear the modern updates to the old songs.

I actually have a slight pet peeve when it comes to Chinese music. I do get a bit irritated when people tell me that Chinese music has not progressed. It is people like Wakin Chau that I can prove that Chinese music has come a long way!

You listen to Wakin Chau’s album and you can hear all the funny eccentricities of old Chinese music production. Things like using funny percussion in their songs. It is almost a given. I have been hearing songs from Jonathan Lee, Liang Wen Fu and Wakin Chau and all three have the same funny percussions that we would not even consider using in our tracks.

You will also hear very funny mixing techniques like have one guitar part be cut to the left for one note, then get cut to the right for the other note. Things that we would definitely not do today because it sound funny and distracting.

You will hear the kick drum pretty high pitched! Wonder why? From what I know, the old analog recording do not hold Low lows and high highs very well. So very often Engineers have to high pass the track before going into tape. In fact because there were so many limitations to analog recordings that almost everything gets high passed before the master.

However such “dated” tracks are still beloved to many because it was the best or most interesting sounding tracks to them back then.

I remember buying the Beatles album and I was finding it VERY hard to listen to it. Sometimes all the vocals will be on one side and all the instruments on the other. I was thinking of how much better music sound now. Then I had an epiphany; stereo music was probably the most interesting music back then! Being able to hear things panned was probably very cool for the consumers back then!

Can you imagine being in the era when stereo mixing first come out Just think of how much people were experimenting with panning instruments left and right! Can you imagine a world without any set rules on panning instruments? How cool is that!

Now when I play Wakin Chau’s music, I guess it is fair to compare to the more modern sounding tracks of that era, Michael Jackson for example. Old Jackson 5 tracks also had its funny panning eccentricities, but it was definitely more modern. However, I would argue that Wakin Chau’s tracks may not lose in terms of it being modern sounding. They were experimenting then too, perhaps adding their own flavour on top of what they try to learn from English music. The fact that I can say that Chinese music of that era sounds like this (funny mixing decisions and funny sounding percussion) means that the Chinese industry has already defined a certain sound during that era.

Today Chinese music sound very modern. Every track is almost mixed the same way. Drums are recorded with close mic-ing and panned according to their position like the drumset, either in drummer or audience perspective. Guitars panned to the side. Lead vocal in the middle. Etc etc. Perhaps learning from English music, we now also have a wide variety of Chinese music of every genre. Rap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballad, Rock just to name a few. However, I think that we as Chinese have a unique quality of our own in our music. Our Chinese music somehow captures a few things A LOT better than western music. I think our music captures youthful spirit and emotional heartbreak very well!

I have yet to find an English band/singers that would bring me on an emotional or sentimental journey as well as Chinese bands/Singers do. Perhaps I am a bit biased because I am Chinese myself! HAHA!

I wonder how the music industry would progress 30 years later. I wonder how dated will the tracks that I love sound next to the modern tracks of 30 years later. Will it be a huge difference? I wonder!

Lord, thank you for blessing me with so much!

-Kelvin-

=698= Word: God is Good

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

His patience for me blows me away. If I were the one that had to bear my stubbornness, my weakness, my flaws, my ugliness, oh Gosh, I would have just stopped.

I remember the time when I said the words, “I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”

I wonder how God can take the hurt and still ask for my forgiveness.

Have you ever lost a friend? Has any of your friendships gone stale? Has it ever gotten to a point when you have no idea how to approach your Friend anymore?

My relationship with God has gone stale. Not because of Him, but because I keep withdrawing myself out. Still he pursues me. It may have been years, but he never stops.

He gets angry with me, when I stop obeying his word and walk away from Him. Why don’t I have the sense to draw closer to Him?

God, for all the heartache I have given you, please don’t give up on me. You know me. I love you Father, please teach me to run away.

Help me Lord.

-Amen-

=697= Word: Valid

Recently, there are quite a few incidents that have been irritating me.

One in particular was me getting into trouble because I threw trash over the gate of the rubbish dump instead of opening the gate and throwing it inside because I was rushing for time and I got caught by my FSM. My superior wanted an explanation so that he can help me. However, after giving the explanation, my superior told me that my explanation was not valid, because the fact that I could throw it, means that I was close enough to open the gate. He then added that he won’t be able to help me even if he wanted to. To that, I just want to say that he was full of crap.

Let me explain why.

Whenever someone does something wrong, most of the time, the intention will justify that someone. Even if it doesn’t wipe clear of his wrong doing, perhaps it would lighten the punishment.

His point was that throwing the trash over won’t save much time. Opening the gate and throwing it wouldn’t waste too much time. That was why my explanation wasn’t valid. However, let me then ask you, what is a valid explanation then?

The fact of the matter was that I was really in a hurry. I simply threw it to save time and because it was convenient. My intention to throw the trash over like that is the truth. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t truth. Seriously, if you can tell me that whenever you are late and in a hurry that you don’t accidentally leave something behind or do something to save time, I am sure you will be lying.

Whenever a person is in a hurry, he doesn’t have time to think and he would miss out certain things. Just because you don’t think it makes sense, doesn’t mean it is not true.

I mean seriously. What kind of explanation did you want?

“Oh, my superior told me to do it!”

“Someone pointed a gun at my head and told me he would shoot me and my dog!”

“The gate was spoiled so I threw it over!”

Like come on, a mistake was made and I was speaking the truth. You telling me it is invalid doesn’t make it any less true. I am not going to lie just to get out of trouble.

Of course I am not saying that he doesn’t have a point. It is true that I did not have a proper rationale to throw it. It was really just because it was time-saving and convenient. I am not annoyed by that. I am annoyed by the fact that he told me that even if he wanted to help he won’t be able to. That was a big fat lie.

So what would be helping?

Talking to my superior for me, telling him about my character and performance and that it was just a one time mistake.

To try and lighten my punishment.

To tell him about what I have been doing so far and that I have been good all these while.

To think of ways to explain to soften the blow.

There are many ways to help me even if my reasoning doesn’t make sense to you or that my reasoning doesn’t justify my actions, but no, he was just lazy.

I think of the days when people commit something that is even more serious than my issue and the old superior stood up for him to protect him. He had to do certain things for his actions of course, but he had his superior’s support and protection.

This guy is just lazy and don’t want trouble for himself. Goodness. He needs to grow up.

Nevertheless, I praise God for His favour. The issue resolved simply and it was handled very well. My wonderful CSM helped me to talk to him. I apologised for my actions and all and my FSM was very kind to me.

I guess I was just angry that my direct superior did not bother to help me and left me to handle the issue myself. Thank God for my CSM. He really saw me through. He talked to me, understood my situation. Told me how I should act. Told me what to say. He even talked to my FSM on my behalf to lighten my punishment.

To my CSM, you are the kind of leader that I want to become! 🙂

-Kelvin-

=696= Word: Heartache

My heart ached when I heard about how ministry have been doing. I hear of close friends struggling to do their jobs. I hear of how messy things were. I hear of how sad the strength was.

Lord, it has been a great sabbatical. I have found so many new things to explore and do. I have done so much and learned quite a bit about myself. Do you want me back?

I don’t think I can do what I did previously. It will be too tiring and I will burn out again. Lord, I am not sure. I am uncomfortable stepping back in. I am inexperienced. I am only starting to find momentum again.

Lord, burden my heart. Burden my heart for what burdens your’s. Help me. Be my direction.

=694= Reflections: Indonesia 2018

To see my shots of my Indonesia trip, please do click here.

Wow, just wow. I am simply blown away by how amazing the land of Indonesia was. I agreed to go to Indonesia with my platoon mates just because I wanted to have a bit of fun! HAHA. I had no expectation to how nice Indonesia would be. All I was expecting was cheap food. I think I was just expecting it to be similar to Malaysia.

Upon reaching Surabaya, the airport reminded me of Langkawi’s. Then we slowly travelled up to Bromo. We had a simple lunch then we began the ascent to our homestay. On the road up, Gosh, the view was incredible. I don’t have any photos to show because we were moving and my camera has horrible rolling shutter. Oh and that the view the next day would blow all the previous shots away.

Subsequently, near the homestay, we walked up to see the view. It was great. Like I would want a photo with my face inside great, AHAHA. Then we had really good basso there.

All these for 20k, which was slightly lesser than $2 SGD.

Then during dinner, I started to realise how cheap the food was. Nasi goreng on average was 20k. Beef steak was 40k. I would then eventually almost stopped considering how expensive each meal was, because each meal was very affordable.

We then saw the stars. It was crazy beautiful. As there were few lights around, the stars were all very easily seen, even with the naked eye. Lance then brought out my tripod and we tried astrophotography for almost two hours. Finally I was able to shoot the Milky Way after so many years of trying. It was crazy nice! 🙂

We then had a short rest before our hike to Bromo the next day. The homestay didn’t have a heater so it was crazy cold at 9 degrees. We woke up at 3am, sat in the Jeep and went down to the Bromo viewing point. The sunrise was dope! HAHA! I actually took a time-lapse of the sunrise, but a lot of shots were a bit soft, so I didn’t think it was up to par, hence I didn’t release it.

Oh there were many of these shops where they sell instant noodles and hot drinks for people to warm up. I bought a cup of Milo and I still think that that cup of Milo was probably one the best I ever had. Even after having my Milo, it was still crazy cold, so I bought this face mask to cover my nose with for 20k.

We then took the Jeep again down to the bottom of Bromo where we had quite a long walk up and it was extremely dusty. Bromo had stairs up the crater and there were barricades for safety there too, but to reach the very top, you have to walk past the safety barricade and walk up the slanted path. I just had to go to this trip with the wrong shoes. It was extremely scary as I could fall into the crater on one side and I could fall and get minced to bits by rocks on the other. It was scary, but nevertheless worth it! 🙂 the view up there was breath taking.

We then went back to our homestay to clean up and travel to Ijen. Our hotel at Ijen was really nice! The wifi was good and the food! Oh the food! Nasi goreng has rice, chicken, crackers, eggs, tomato and cucumber only for 20k! :O it was so good we all had second round that day!

So good that I forgot to take a photo before eating it!

The hike up to Ijen was even earlier than Bromo because of the blue flames. We began our ascent at 12am. Rented gas masks and started to walk up. The first few kilometres were great. It was crazy steep, but it was packed with people, so there was no lack of light. It wasn’t that cold either, so the only tough part of the hike was getting use to the thin air. We reached the rest stop and had a rest and some hot drinks.

Our guide told us that we were left with 300 metres of steep hike and 700 metres of flat walk. So we were rather happy about that, thinking that we were very close to the crater.

Then the cold wind came. We could hear the merciless wind beating hard on the rocks and trees. The temperature started getting way cold. I put on the jacket I put away previously. Then we could smell the sulphur. We then put on our gas masks and we went down into the crater. That surprised all of us. We were all wondering why do we need to go down when we reach the peak of the crater already. Turns out, to see the blue flames, you need to go closer to the crater. The route down was steep and extremely rocky and slippery. I actually fell several times, but since it was dark, I didn’t really feel scared; I couldn’t really see ahead.

The sulphur was crazy. Whenever the wind blows it our way, we would tear, cry, mucus out and cough. Not to mention, we actually stayed at the bottom of the crater for quite a long period of time too. Sadly, we couldn’t really see the blue flames due to the smoke. We then wanted to go up because the sulphur was insufferable.

However, we were not able to move up because at that point in time, many people were rushing down, because the sun was almost up and soon they won’t be able to see the blue flames. Hence we were stuck on the route up the crater, freezing our fingers off. When the sun came up, the view blew me away. Everything from the rocks, to the lake, to the skies was beautiful. It was really very nice.

The hike down was really quite something. As there were small pebbles on the path, the route down was VERY slippery. Even being careful, I still slip on every steep road down. There were people that slipped and couldn’t control their speed down, only to grab on to the bush to stop themselves. Eventually, my friends interlocked their arms with mine to help me down. Thank God! AHAHA.

We then went back to our hotel to wash up. My shoes were covered with dirt and ash. My jeans and jacket was smelly.

We then finally travelled down to Bali. To be honest, I didn’t really spend a lot of time in Bali, cause we took a day to explore Nusa Penida.

We reached Bali and we just went to explore the night market. It was nice! The food was SOOO cheap! I could buy like sweet and salty fried snacks for like $2 SGD? It was amazing!

Then we had seafood for dinner. We are live lobster, fish, prawns and squid and everyone only paid less than $15 SGD per person! It was very nice!

Just look at the food!

Nusa Penida was as pretty if not prettier than some Australia’s coastal attractions. Just look at all the shots!

It was really fun, we rode motorcycles down to the waterfall. Had some really nice time. My friend wanted a photo with a stranger so I helped. Fish and chips was nice! It was really worth getting a bit sun burned for it.

We then returned and I bought a singlet and shorts to wear for the trip. It was nice!

We then spent the last day shopping for some souvenirs for home. Our guide brought us around and I managed to buy some nice stuff for home and friends.

It was a very fun trip. I will definitely be back to Indonesia. HAHA! 🙂

-Kelvin-