Thursday, September 30

1 month left.

Another milestone. 1 month left to the 'O's... whew how time flies. It's as good as a few days left. Have to hurry my revision... so far only completed Geography and Biology revision. Going to breeze through E Math and then go on to the remaining subjects... which I hope I'll be able to cover in time. Haven't attended school since Wednesday (actually Tuesday, but went for an hour only). Thursday (today) and Friday are marking days, then come the weekend, after which school resumes with the crucial final revision of our subjects... have to hurry... no more TIME! ARGH!

Tuesday, September 28

Word of Advice to any graduating Student

By the way, if you're a graduating student and reading this... DON'T try to go for JC if you CAN'T (academically)... you'll only be at the losing end if you end up struggling inside there and WORSE STILL - DROP OUT to Poly. and end up spending an equal or even HIGHER period of time in Poly. instead. It's not that only by going JC will you stand a better chance of getting rich because of a higher income - Poly. and even ITE students do make it as well. This is not some propaganda or something against JCs, but just a word of advice to those aspiring SMART wannabes who really can't make it at such a high level of education and would be better off at a slightly lower level.

As for me, I would rather get a job that i have PASSION in (not just the $$$) and not just aim for materialistic wealth like the majority of people work for. I want to come home RELAXED and REFRESHED, and not burdened out by the hectic RUSH of even a higher paid job. In class, likewise, I often am among the small group of RELAXED people who don't FREAK OUT at every small little result or detail. Yes, you have to be serious, but not SO much that your every jargon is all about your worries and the exams you just had.

You know, another thing is that I don't like to talk about exams just after it ends. What can you do to change it? By being foolish and squabbling about which of your answers in the exam are right, you are just DEMORALISING the other party and BURDENING and WORRYING yourself with the crazy, retarded BURDEN called the "UNCHANGEABLE"! So just let go of whatever bottled-up emotions you have and you will find that each day is more worth living for - not just to go to school and getting PSYCHED up over exams but, more importantly, building up an atmosphere of love and harmony among fellow students.

Then you can encourage each other in times of need, NOT pull down one another with your nonsensical GIBBERISH like "No, I assure you MY answer is correct one - Mr So-and-so say one, yours is wrong" or "What did you put for question 11b? I put 245, what you put?" or "How was the paper? Damn difficult right? Not easy hor?" or "Aiyah SURE fail one la, I yesterday never study at all leh". WHAT'S THE POINT OF SPOUTING ALL THIS USELESS GIBBER?!?!?! You are just DISCOURAGING one another indirectly and making each other more NERVOUS. Cut the crap!

Prelims over... now comes the REAL thing...

The prelims are just over and the REAL exam is just about to begin in about a month's time. Hate the stupid education policy of the 1st 3 months JC experience. Really biased towards the academically good students and leaves the rest lagging behind. Luckily they're stopping it in 2006 (this year's batch is the last intake). The problem lies with the different standards of the Prelim papers in different schools - so it's hard to gauge how well a student has done at the National level. For me, I don't really mind not going for that JC experience. Would rather spend the time having a temporary job or just slacking around (of course, but doing something useful at the same time). Still remember the solemn atmosphere when the 'O' Level MT Results were released in early August... most of the students fared badly... quite a number flunked it... I got a B4. Students are already so hard-pressed (some even crying) at this minor release of results... imagine what the ACTUAL day of results next year would bring to them. For me, I wouldn't TRY to go to a JC if my results were not good enough... Poly. would be quite OK. JC does create a stressful atmosphere, whether light or heavy, and I am unsure of how our school's students will cope if they enter a, say... presumably good one like Victoria JC or Temasek JC, or even Hwa Chong JC (IF anyone can enter that)... is it just a coincidence that more teenagers coming from JCs commit suicide, after all? IS IT? Well, as for my progress in my revision, one last chapter of Biology to go before I close and start on E Maths. Going to briefly skim through E Maths as most of the content are already foundational and just going to pay attention to the parts I am more unsure of. After that, I'll probably go on to Physics or Chemistry.

Wednesday, September 22

Did Jesus come to Kenya? Upclose & Personal Account

On 11 June this year, a man suddenly appeared before a vast crowd in Nairobi, Kenya, gathered to witness the miracle healings of Kenyan spiritual healer, Mary Akatsa. Instantly recognizing the tall, white-robed figure as “Jesus Christ”, the crowds fell down overcome with emotion. The editor of the Swahili edition of the Kenya Times, Job Mutungi, witnessed the event and wrote the article which we reproduce here.

Job Mutungi's Testimony

About 6,000 worshippers at Muslim Village, Kawangware, Nairobi, believe they saw Jesus Christ, in broad daylight last week. It may be hard to believe, but nothing will move them, because “Jesus” addressed them and assured them of a come-back, very soon.

The scene was at the Church of Bethlehem, where Mary Sinaida Akatsa conducts miracle prayers, praying for the sick, the blind, cripples, mad people, the barren and others facing all sorts of personal problems. On Saturday 4 June 1988 a big, bright star was sighted above the skies by worshippers. It was unusually brighter than ordinary stars. The time was 1 pm.

But on Saturday 11 June it was different. Worshippers were busy singing Mungu ni Mwema, a popular Swahili hymn, when Mary Akatsa interjected. She announced that God had spoken to her and told her to “await a miracle because a very important guest would be coming to give her a very vital message.” People 'braced themselves for the unknown’ while others stared blankly at her, their mouths agape with awe and bewilderment. Five minutes later, she asked those who were singing and dancing to stop as the long-awaited message had arrived. “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus of Nazareth!” went the loud whispers from the crowd as they raised up their hands in submission and divine welcome.

The tall figure of a barefooted white-robed and bearded man appeared from nowhere and stood in the middle of the crowd. He was walking slowly towards the new church building away from the tent. Mary walked with him, side by side. She tried to explain that 20 cripples had managed to walk again a few minutes ago because of the day’s blessings. But nobody, except perhaps a few, heard this. They were busy talking to “The Lord”.

I looked at my watch. It was 4.15 pm. Her voice was drowned by cries and loud moans of “Jesus! Jesu. Yeeesu! You have come. Welcome Jeesus! Wash our sins. Help us Jeesus!” For many, it was the last prayer. It appeared to them the “Son of Man” had at last fulfilled His promise of coming back to earth. They knelt down in emotional prayers in a frantic effort to save their souls at the 11th hour. A man lying near to me urinated in his trousers. But I stared back at the stranger in the meeting without blinking. Strange, sporadic light wafted on top of his turbaned head, his feet and his entire body.

The scene and mood of the worshippers reminded one of the Old Testament times of the Tower of Babel when languages became “confused” (Genesis Chapter 11). Everyone was murmuring something. Others were flat on the ground weeping uncontrollably in praise and worship, in total submission to the occasion. Mama Akatsa appealed for calm. But it was difficult. The “Holy Spirit” had descended. Yes, the vice and crime-infested slums of Kawangware had been transformed into ‘a holy ground’. The man whispered something to Akatsa for about two minutes. She later informed the crowd that the strange man would address them. In clear Swahili, which had no traces of accent, the strange man announced that the people of Kenya were blessed, especially those who had gathered at the venue that afternoon. He said Mary had an important mission to unify people of all races and tribes under the umbrella of God through Jesus.

“I implore you kindly to steadfastly hold on to your faith as the world will be no more. We are nearing the time for the reign of heaven. But before that I shall come back and bring a bucketful of blessings for all of you. Please respect Mary as she is a true representative of ‘The Most High’ ”, the man said and reminded the crowd to live to the teachings of the Bible. As the strange man was about to leave, two women left their seats and surged forward to where the man and Mary stood. They advanced towards him on their knees, tears streaming down their cheeks. “Shetani Rhihswaah!” the man told the two, and down to the ground they went with a thud, as the ancient Hebrew curse word sent echoes everywhere. The word was used 2,000 years ago to rebuke demons and evil spirits.

It took the crowd nearly 20 minutes to recover after the man left the meeting in a car belonging to a Mr Gurnam Singh, who offered to give him a lift. But it will probably take Mr Singh his lifetime to recover from the shock he got two minutes later. On reaching the bus terminus for KBS Route No 56, the man informed Mr Singh to stop the car as he wanted to alight and head for heaven. On getting out, he did not ascend. He walked a few paces beside the road and simply vanished into thin air. Several people who witnessed this were astonished by his mysterious disappearance.

A few minutes later, a worried Mr Singh came back panting like a cross-channel swimmer accompanied by a group of people from the bus stage, and narrated the strange development. Mary assured the meeting that “Jesus” had gone to heaven.

What baffled many was that Mary, while addressing the crowd in the presence of the strange man, had said the light drizzle being experienced then was to signify the presence of “Jesus”. She had also announced that there would be a heavy downpour later to signify that “Jesus” was back in his “Heavenly Throne”. And, as sure as hell, the rains came. There were floods all over town that evening that caught people unawares. Later, many were reluctant to leave the religious venue and had to be convinced to do so.

Back at Uhuru Park, Rev Bonnke was promising thousands of worshippers and millions of listeners during a live TV and radio transmission that God had, on Thursday, informed him that they would experience the presence of Jesus and great miracles on Saturday. Jesus did indeed come to Nairobi but in a different venue.

There is always a ‘resident’ photographer at Mary Akatsa’s meetings. He takes snapshots of various episodes and later sells them to worshippers at Shs 10 each. In the past, when bright stars appeared in broad daylight above Kawangware, there were only clouds and the blue sky in the photos he had taken. But this time, the photographer, known as Francis Kaburu, managed to take about six snapshots of the strange man, successfully. It is alleged that this may have been a hoax, after all. Already, reports have it that the person cited was a “Jinn” or a mysterious spirit, hence his mysterious disappearance. But Mary Akatsa discounts this contention: “This was Our Lord. He promised in the Bible to come back in different forms ... In any event he was born of a woman and lived on earth”, she said later. And the thousands who witnessed the episode concur with her entirely.

Mr Tofias Onyango, a Nairobi lawyer, is currently busy writing a book on Mary Akatsa’s miracles. He was within the church compound when “Jesus” came but inside a room 100 yards away from where the action was, preparing his manuscript. “So far, the only thing I have been able to witness is a bright star during daylight”, he says, and laments that he missed the “big miracle”.

© Kenya Times. First published in the Kenya Times, 22 June 1988.

Thursday, September 16

Superstitions - Genuine or fake?

Here is a collection of various slightly more thought-provoking superstitions I have chanced upon. I also explain whether I feel they are true or not, along with a short explanation why.

You will have bad luck if you do not stop the clock in the room where someone dies. - FAKE: There is no logical reasoning behind this statement - it probably originated because "time" had to be stopped when a person's "time" was up.

It's bad luck to say the word "pig" while fishing at sea. - FAKE: And just why can't I say the word "pig" at sea? Wouldn't saying "Babe", "Sow" or something of the like harm as well? Again, no logical or scientific reasoning able to prove this.

A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning. - GENUINE: As mirrors reflect light very well, it makes sense to cover them especially if they are near windows where lightning can be reflected - and probably cause a nasty shock (or even blindness!) to one looking at the mirror.

If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers. - GENUINE: True to a large extent, probably because you are used to the pencil (you have used the pencil in making notes, diagrams or doing homework) and are somewhat "inspired" by the pencil in the decision of your answers. But another question: "How about using the same pen?"

Place a hand in front of your mouth when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise. - FAKE: So many people have sneezed without covering their mouths at all. You mean that their souls have already escaped? Or are these people just all soulless wanderers now?

You sleep best with your head to the north and your feet to the south. - FAKE: If it made any sense, it would probably have something to do with the magnetic flux of the body (better for the body to face the head north and the feet south). I'm not sure about this one.

If you bite your tongue while eating, it is because you have recently told a lie. - FAKE: May seem somewhat true at first, I agree. But it has been proven that biting one's tongue is largely accidental, caused by the grinding of the tongue against the sharp surfaces of the teeth or by chewing too fast and not paying attention to one's eating.

A watermelon will grow in your stomach if you swallow a watermelon seed. - FAKE: A whole lot of comments! If this were true, I'd have pretty sunflowers growing inside my tummy since I recently ate sunflower seeds. If this were true, there'd be a flourishing orchard through my intestines - fruits like apples, oranges and grapes (grown from any seeds of these fruits I accidentally swallowed). If this were true...

One should always carry something made of wood so that when he mentions something he doesn't want to happen he touches the wood. - FAKE: Truly superstitious. Probably originated from the legend that touching wood will bring good luck and goodwill, warding off any evil at the same time.

Monday, September 13

Prelims are here... Chem/Bio Practical

Of all things a piece of liver that bubbles incessantly after reacting with some liquid chemical and rises to the top of the test-tube, nearly overflowing and exposing all its yellow excretory products in all its glory. That was the Biology Practical. The liver really stank. Hoobastank? No, Liverstank. Not only that, I broke a petri dish. It slipped out of my fingers like an eel and happily rolled to the edge of my table, giving me that "catch-me-if-you-can" look before hopping down to earth and getting smashed into smithereens. And it was smiling. No, just exaggerating. Anyway when it came to the part where we had to sketch some bean, it was just terrible 'cos I hadn't revised fully till that part about Reproduction in Plants yet. Next came the Chemistry portion. At one instance where we had to test what gas this certain Solution Q produced, the answer loomed just ahead of me. What other "popular" gas sends you rolling head over heels with its insane stench and knocks the living daylights (and nightlights) in you but ammonia, the infamous "stinker of the gases". Didn't really bother testing for it though I did. And it was ammonia anyway. What a stinking day... haha...

Tuesday, September 7

I am tired. Tired am I.

Yesh yesh, the prelims are next week. But I've become rather tired - quite quickly too - studying just Biology these past two days. Managed to complete only 5 chapters, though (plus revision with the Ten Year Series). Very VERY slow progress. And the rest of the subjects are still largely untouched. How am I going to scramble everything into my secluded mind in time. I really *puke* at the sight of memory-based subjects... there's so much to remember - all the fine details or dates that are just as likely to come out as the rest of the innocuous information. Subjects like Chinese (the vocabulary), Social Studies (those many boring chapters - mostly historical in nature and oh so many details), Geography Elective (though an Elective but dry, dull and dreary with all stuff like Agriculture and Manufacturing) and Biology (not only must I know my body but plants too? Plants have oh so many parts!). Even other subjects like Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry do not require such intensive memory skills but are more practical and have the you-either-know-it-or-not nature. Gosh, I better not type so much already... wasting my time (according to Mum)... catch you all sometime later - *gulp!* (I hope)

RE: Russian Hostage Crisis

You might have noticed something like the following going around MSN Messenger:

Fwd: Please add a rose (f) in front of your MSN nickname to show support for the hundreds of children injured or killed during the Russian hostage crisis. Copy this message and spread to all your contacts.

This is PROBABLY not a scam or anything like this - it may or may not be safe to add the rose. I have word that hackers may be using this "scam" to target accounts, but I'm not sure how they're going to go about doing it or even if it's possible. For now, add it at your own RISK.

CHC: N155 - CGL Angie's birthday!

Sunday, September 5

The Irony of Late Realisation

How ironic but real it is to slacken all through your early years of education and then realise (too late) of the urgency of getting good grades just a short time before the actual exam. I guess that's human nature - we tend to procrastinate things that we don't like to do or feel are less important that what we are currently getting our shoes into. After the exam, we then regret and realise that we should have studied earlier and not have slackened during our free time. It's an indescribable feeling and a terrible regret that everyone faces whether to a large extent or not. It's hard to persuade a student over the urgency of studying before time runs out and it's too late to do any revision. No one has found a solution to this irony yet... perhaps the only way of going through this "realisation" is experiencing it personally - the setbacks and the regrets. As for me, I'll go study now - don't want to be a regretter.

Wednesday, September 1

Absolutely NO time left... about 2 months!

There's absolutely no time left to slack around - the 'O's are just around the corner and I'm just about to bang head-first onto it. The teachers all seem much more nervous than the students even though the teachers are not the ones taking the exams. Enough with all the pressure I guess - allow students to take a breather especially when some of them are literally PORING through their books like water through soil. Yes, lazy pigs like ME (M-E!) ought to be revising now instead of doing up my blog so nicely and spending SO much time online like some people know (everyday in fact!). But anyway, I'm not placing my life on the lifeline just to get that certificate that everyone's rooting for - not that I don't care or give a damn about studying - but I feel that it is rather foolish to pin ALL your hopes and dreams on studying... and then when you don't get the results you expect (even though you wanted an A1 but got an A2 instead), you FREAK OUT and just go nuts, binge on tonnes of food, or just climb over that parapet outside your house and let go - to you know where. I'm going to be rather pleased with a subject that I know I'm rather weak in but manage to get an average grade...