Nee Sern is...

really really sleepy

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ajahn Brahm's wisdom

"If something is a problem, by definition, it must have a solution. So focus on finding the solution(s). If something doesn't have a solution, it's not a problem. It's just a hindrance that you'll have to learn to live with."

Gems from Uncle Vijaya

Gem 1

Give your respect not only to Buddhist monks and nuns, but also to holy leaders of other religions. All are noble people who wish to make a better world for their followers.

Gem 2

A monk wears yellow robes, because the colour yellow represents a ripe mango that easily detaches from the tree; compare this to an unripe mango that, when plucked, refuses to detach from the mother, instead it causes much agony and pain when it tries to be detached. Thus yellow symbolizes the physical and mental readiness to lead an ascetic life free from the attachments of worldly pleasures.

Bend it like Beckham?

Ajahn Brahm says that in this world, there are two types of religions:
1) Those that bend the facts to fit the faith
2) Those that bend the faith to fit the facts

Buddhism is the second type. Faith is important in the beginning to cultivate a strong confidence and belief in the Buddhist teaching. It allows us to think "OK, this teaching looks good. I'll believe it for now."

But we must then start to examine it, study it, and dissect it to truly understand the teaching. Blind faith is never enough to fully benefit from the practice of Buddhism. Ehipassiko: Come And See. Examine for oneself what it truly is. Do not blindly accept just because some holy man has said it.

We can sum up the Buddhist teachings in 3 simple sentences that everyone should learn and follow:
1) Avoid Evil
2) Do Good
3) Purify The Mind

Indeed, it is as simple as 1-2-3!

Monday, May 29, 2006

I want a cookie

This animated feature from Dreamworks (same flers that brought us Shrek) may not live up to the insane humour found in the green ogre's tale, but it has enough warmth and heart, and lame jokes (both for kids and for the grown ups) to make up for it. Besides, the eye candy is amazing! Cute furry animals that talk are just so hillarious!

Favourites: the possum that plays....possum, the skunk that was fit with a cork and later on bombs the house, the little Hammy that is overcharged on caffeine, the cat that couldn't smell and fell in love with the skunk... my my! Bring the kids along and have a good laugh!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

So dark the con of man...

When a movie is made based on one of the most controversial and widely criticized novels in history of mankind, half the battle is already won. No matter what the movie critics say or write, chances are that 50% of the general population will watch the movie "out of curiosity". Another 30% who have actually read the book will want to see the characters and places described in the story being fleshed out on the silver screen. The remaining 20% are the ones who couldn't get a ticket for X-MEN III.

So what's the verdict? It's quite thankful that it's been a while since I read the book, so I forgot some of the twists, such as who is the true identity of the "Rector". So for a plot-driven movie, it holds up well. However, why must they explain everything in words?! At least, there are "recreated" visuals to aid us in imagining the world of the Roman wars and Pagan demise. The direction is messy and bland, with no chance for the audience to connect with the heroes. The scenes are so dark that sometimes I wonder if they decided to turn down the lights just to hide all the flaws of the movie. Even the much anticipated albino self flagelating monk Silas was forgettable. I mean, at least Darth Vader had more character in Star Wars 3!

Anyhow, I think that the story turned out much better on paper than on celluloid. For a plot that relies on the conspiracy theory, the countless explanations and wordiness of the script did not do much justice to the wasted talents of Tom Hanks and Ian McKellen.

TWO out of FIVE stars at most.

Monday, May 22, 2006

PCIC in Gohtong Jaya

I took a well-deserved break from work up to Gohtong Jaya for the INCOVAR PCIC - Programmers Creative and Innovative Camp. It was great to be back in the group of energetic and dynamic young leaders who are dedicated towards the shaping of a better Buddhist movement amongst youth.

I had a good chat session with Fred, Chee Onn and Alex, topics ranging from current frustrations in work to plans for the future, to philosophical talks about management and sociology.

The charades session proved to be a great activity for all of us. And I'm sure that it will be a repeated activity for future get-togethers.

The trip certainly renewed my faith in the Buddhist youth movement. Unfortunately, I'm now down with sore throat and aching muscles due to lack of sleep!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Communication breakdown...

Do you know how frustrating it is when your colleague and yourself do not speak the same language? That whatever you say is not understood by him, and whatever he says is not understood by you?

It gets nerve wrecking especially during a time of such high tension and difficulties. The project timeline is squeezed to the limit given the limitation faced in getting 2 foreign experts to consult the local team in a fairly new technology. While one of them had good communication aptitude, he had already gone off on another business trip. That leaves the remaining consultant who, unfortunately for some strange reason, has some kind of difficulty understanding simple English or simple explanations of key points during any technical discussion.

This kind of communication breakdown can only serve to disrupt the progress of the project. It jeapordizes the entire project team and has the potential to slow things down. Eventually, left unchecked, this communication breakdown will result in one very pissed foreigner who will vow never again to work with Malaysians.

On the other hand, this can be interpreted as one of the many challenges working in a multinational environment. Communication breakdown is bound to happen, given the fact that there are different nationalities working together under one roof. However, I have personally worked with colleagues from Thailand, Portugal, Indonesia, India, Taiwan and China, and sad to say, this is the first time I am feeling extremely frustrated.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sometimes I just don't understand...

Why is it so difficult to accept logical explanations?

Why must there be irrational behaviour?

Why are there so many unreasonable people in the world?

Why is it that everytime something bad happens, it's always my fault?


Monday, May 08, 2006

Stupid banks!

How not to be angry with these stupid banks? Bank Negara raise OPR by 25 basis points. The banks increase the stupid BLR by 0.25%.

And then they make a big fuss out of their increasing FD rates also. The problem is, it didn't increase by 0.25%. Instead, it only increase by a stupid 0.1%. And this is after Bank Negara raised the OPR 3 times, with corresponding increases in BLR! That's BLR 6% --> 6.75% within half a year. And FD? 3% --> 3.1%. Bravo stupid banks of Malaysia!