2012: God has been good.

I’m writing this, and because I naturally write at the end of the year.

How was 2012?

It seemed like a very long year that ended very quickly.

I know, a contradiction, but life is just full of them anyway. Not an issue for me. I began 2012 as a Year 1, Sem 2 student. I was just starting out. And 1 year on, I am about to go for exchange. Plans did change along the way, from National Chengchi Uni to National Chiaotung. But it was okay, the idea was to get into Taiwan and study there for a while. And now, I’m at the verge of it. I am excited, but I am also dreading how it will be like to leave home for a few months.

2012 was… quite the journey of God’s Grace.

If entering WKW was God’s grace, then His grace certainly didn’t stop there. It extended to helping me do well (better, actually), sem after sem. My GPA kept on increasing, despite how difficult its seemed. Every sem proved to be more challenging than the last, every revision seemed more half-hearted and it seemed like I had to keep on mustering more and more motivation to do the simplest revision or what. I was scared stiff of the prospect of not doing well. Yet in spite of my inadequacies and my lack of motivation, lack of everything, God proved to me once again He can provide. He provided me the grade that I set as a bare minimum in order to get an iPad. I lacked so much motivation I had to use an iPad to motivate myself. But in short, it was definitely God’s doing. I admit I worked a lot this semester, but you never know.

Another thing was the IPPT. I am always very bad at SBJ, but somehow by the miracle of God I jumped 220cm and passed my previous cycle. I have never passed SBJ since secondary school. I am here at the same juncture again, once I recover from my sore throat I will continue to train and I trust that God will provide once more.

God is able to take the little that you have, multiply it to His abundance and feed you.

A period of testing.

In so many ways, I was stretched. Stretched to handle school work, church, design. The load was so overwhelming in so many ways and along the way I had to let go of some things. The week in and outs of the 2nd sem was much heavier even without my ci club stuff. As a result by the time the exams were around the corner, I was already quite drained by then. That was when I knew I really needed some help from above to tide me through. And God did. I am just so glad He brought me through.

New experiences. New people. 

2012 was a time when I finally got to be a DJ. Got to know a good friend who’s flown back to Canada now. Left the design work I’ve been taking on. Applied and got in to NCTU. But a lot more goes on beneath. And I am thankful that God has given me someone in cell who understands where I come from. I guess in many ways we are also learning from one another, and to be honest 2012 would not be the same without this great guy I come to know in cell. I may not have a mentor, but I have a dear brother who understands (and whom I can understand). I also got to know TGIF on a much greater and deeper measure this time around because now everyone takes turns to lead the cell and we’re all learning much from one another.

So many things have happened in 2012. I wish I can be the kind of person who will say ‘I can’t wait for 2013/2012 was awesome’. But nope, I’m too realistic to say things like that. I just wanna consolidate everything that has happened this year and say that thru it all, God is Good.

2012 was a tough year.

A lot of challenges, a lot of changes, but a lot of growth as well. And God has not left me to my lonely self, and he gave me someone to care deeply for. I got to know myself more, to feel more, to go beyond the surface of things, to encounter people.

In 2012, I learnt to live a bit more. I learn to speak less, to feel more. I learnt to look at someone in the eye and let them tell me about themselves. I learnt to stop talking, to start listening to people. It’s baby steps, but it’s in the right direction. It’s an emotional year for me. I’ve learnt to let go of some things, and hold on more tightly to others. To the things that actually matter.

A year when God decided to show himself in so many ways, from my IPPT to my exam results, to providing me a special brother to speak into my life. 2012 was a tough year, but its not without Christ. It was a year with the Lord.

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How to relate to an introvert.

Introverts are the quiet people. They are the socially awkward, the people who stand at the side lines. The people who rarely express what they feel or think. They are the most misunderstood kind of people around. They are just like me.

People often mistake introverts as aloof people. People who don’t think, don’t care. People who are ‘just like that’. Nah.

They care deeply. They think, in fact, sometimes, too much. They love and care. They love and care too much sometimes to tell you about it. They feel that words can be so cheapening at times. And their perceived difference between them and the world stops them from reaching out into the world. And honestly they don’t have to. They can live fine in their own world. They obviously don’t see the need to be in YOUR world. Why should they?

And they are not ‘just like that’. Most of them have stories to tell. Whether they tell you or not is another thing. And if they don’t, don’t feel bad. And if they do, it’s probably because you are an introvert as well, as opposed to you being a ‘good listener’ or whatever shit you think you are.

And people have the worst ways to ‘helping’ introverts open up. And the worst way to help an introvert is to force him to do what he hates. Which is to open up. Huh? Then how?

The best thing you can do is nothing. I am dead serious.

Of course I don’t mean non-action. I mean doing things with an intensity, but not with a direction. For example, being authentic, but with absolutely no aim for the person in mind. Caring for the person, but not so to make him or her achieve your ‘intended objectives’ for him.

For introverts, it can actually be very tiring to meet people, especially if they are in large groups. By large I mean like more than 1 person. When you’re tired, the last thing you wanna do is to meet with people and do things that make you more tired. And of course it will be worse if meeting people is part of your life, and is something obligatory.

To understand them, you need to not assume that you know them or that you know how to approach them. Especially if you’re the diametrically opposite of them. It’s not about being personal, being strategic, saying this and doing that. You need to stop saying, stop doing; shut up, sit down.

I know; when I’m feeling low, every single kindhearted ‘are you okay ah?’ is the most jarring thing an introvert has to endure. And it adds to the pressure because I have to conform to social norms and say ‘yeah i’m okay, no worries’. Why do you want to make me tell another lie?

I’ll much rather you look at me knowingly in the eye, tell me you care, that even if there’s nothing you can do, you can still be there. Confess to me that you know nothing about what i am feeling right now. Let me know how real you want to be. And let me have the final say if I wanna open up to you. I need to trust you first. And trust is not earned with action, it is earned through relation. And not everyone can get to me. It’s a fact.

For instance, I can be happy with a certain group of people, but they will never understand what gets me down. They can even see me gloomy, get curious and all, but I will never tell them why I am like that. Because the language they speak is not the same when I am sad. When things are churning in my head, they are a convoluted mess. They are indecipherable.

And I won’t waste your time and mine by telling you what’s in the inner most of my heart. I will rather lie to you and tell you I am fine. I am so convinced of your inability to understand me, that I will blatantly lie in your face.

But that’s how introverts roll.

We are like that. We are damn stubborn people. There are phases of our lives that we just know we cannot share with everyone. And until we find someone we can trust, we will rather remain in a emotional stasis until someone worthwhile comes along.

things to thank Him for

Actually I have a lot to thank God for.

I was thinking after today’s run. The sem is over for about a week now. Things have more or less settled. Settled to the lack of activity (which is such a huge blessing). I am going to Taiwan again. In about a months’ time.

Perhaps I still need a bit more time. To get my heart together again. I’m not sure if I am ready to leave. There’s quite a bit of things I still wanna do. But as I reflect on what I’ve wanted (and needed) to do, I feel there’s a lot I can thank God for. 

I remember I desperately needed to find a replacement tutor for myself during the few months, so I can take my tuition boy back when I return. I found them both, one is my uni friend, the other my sec school friend. Found. I thought it would be very hard to find it, but I did. Thank you Lord.

For the longest time I’ve been meaning to speak and share life with people, and during the most… I would say, one of the more dramatic school years of my time, in my time of need, God sent someone who will listen and speak into my life, even as I was transiting out of a major phase of my life. Thank you Lord.

Even as the sem closes, I need to ramp up my fitness and pass that IPPT again. Today I took a mock test myself at the stadium. It had been raining for the past few evenings but I told God I will need today to be okay so I can run. And He did. I got an encouraging result, and for that, Thank you Lord.

Time and time again I have doubt and trusted in His providence. I am and will always be in need; I make no claim to be self-sufficient. The recent incidents have proven to me that I am not really in control, but that’s not a bad thing after all.

I guess, in life, however long or short it can be, it’s important to hold His hands and let Him walk us through.

WKWSCI Module Review (Part 3)

Hey guys, I’ve finally made it to (another) end of a craaazy semester. Every sem is like that. adrealine-charged, full of things to be grateful for. I’ll reserve the yakking for another longer post, but let’s get down to reviewing the semester.

And… as usual for convenience sake I will make these posts culmulative by posting all the past mods up as well! 🙂

— Y2 S1 —-

CS2007: Communication Theories and History (CORE)

In every semester there’s GOT to be a module like this. This is the equivalent of CS0201, CS2008 in terms of work load, pressure and effort needed. It’s a challenge because of the sheer amount of information to process; this mod feels like a 6AU module taken at a 3AU credit level. But as a reward you learn a lot of useful comm theories from many brillant old men, some of which are useful enough to be taken out for an intellectual drive to show off to your non-WKW friends. In fact this mod is so amazing (in both good and bad ways), its the rite of passage of all WKW students. It’s the slap in the face for everyone who thinks WKW is very easy. Just tell them, “You take 207 and tell me lah.” Yep, that good.

CS0900: Communication Strategies for Sustainability and Social Change (CORE)

This module didn’t leave a very good impression in my mind from the beginning because we simply didn’t know there’s such a module. It’s the hidden ninja that popped out of nowhere and says ‘hey, sorry man, you’ve gotta take me muahahahaha.’. Not a good first impression. The workload wasn’t too bad, but there projects were certainly not welcomed by many of us. They had too high a weightage and the rubrics for the entire course, including the administration just didn’t cut it for us. Coursework wise it’s easier than CS0201; perhaps if it wasn’t for the suddenness of its introduction to us, we might find it worthwhile. You learn about how to communicate for a more sustainable life. Or something like that.

CS2023: Publication Design

Publication Design was actually a good course overall. I believe many of us learnt the most out of this course, and even though there was work to do every week, it managed to be fun enough for me not to mind doing it. And being a freelancer outside, it sure benefitted me to take this course, since I finally got to ‘learn’ design from a real person other than from videos or books. The instructor’s logic and taste, while can be really difficult to comprehend (as a person) at times, is still pretty solid. Many of the things he said were true, and correct. And of course, the open book exam means you probably only need to practise flipping for your notes only. One of the most enjoyable mods in WKW I’ve taken.

CS2065: Radio Practicum

Radio Prac is a dream for me, because I’ve always wanted to try out being a DJ. It’s good exposure for someone who wants to talk into the mic; whether people listen to you or not; that’s another question altogether. But still it’s a good experience to be a DJ. I think that’s the most valuable takeaway for me. Another one depends on your role in Radio Fusion; I was a web director, and in the few months I revamped the website, learnt a hell out of HTML coding (the copy and paste kind though), and I guess that allowed me a crash self-taught course in website design. But workload wise, this is really really an easy course to take. No grades, no exams, just AUs to give away.

CS2058: Integrated Marketing Communication

I must admit I am probably the worst student to ever comment on this, because I’ve hardly attended any of the lectures (due to the very early timing), and among other reasons haha. But… Okay. The exam paper is easy, because somehow everyone would have prepared the script before hand. The only thing the exam really tests you on, is your memory skills. Shan’t comment further.

— Y1 S2 —

CS2008: Fundamentals of Research (CORE)

This one of the nail biting courses I took due to the sheer amount of work we needed to do. There’s a term long research assignment whereby we have to submit sections of the impending research paper to submit every 2-3 weeks for a measly 3% of our grades. Not to mention the free labour we had to commit to ‘contribute’ to the school’s pool of knowledge and to ‘help pull up our grades’. On the bright side, however, you will learn how to write a proper APA format research paper that you can use for the rest of your uni life.

CS2002: Information Literacy (CORE)

Hmm, this is a course where I would have traded a bit of the professor’s niceness with more teaching efficacy. I have to admit I don’t really know much about this course other than cramming with the textbook, which, isn’t all that engaging after all. This course has a very very nice lecturer, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch much balls during the lectures. Very little work, except for a term paper that you have to work in groups to complete. My group just had to rush it thru cos we had tonnes of other mods’ work to do.

CS2006: Visual Literacy (CORE)

THIS is the holy grail of WKW. The module some had been waiting for with bated anticipation, while others simply cringe at the thought of it. It’s basically a practical course with little to no help rendered. It’s a time where you are thrown to the deep end of the pool and given to your own devices to save yourself. Our tutors are professional and helpful, and they know a huge deal. But much of the work, the concepts and your own. And of course your wonderful friends at WKW will be willing to help as well.

This is a course where hard work might not necessarily pay off in letter grades, but in activating an endearing passion for broadcast. This course included a 3 minute music video that you have to conceptualise and carry out filming on your own (with your group), It’s gonna be tiring, troublesome and very time consuming. BUT, at the end of the day, you will be more than amazed at the quality of work you and your friends can create. It’s worth the effort. This is a wonderful course.

CS0203: Media In Singapore (CORE)

If I may be blunt here, this course is all about this awesome lecturer / media scholar / celebrity called CHERIAN GEORGE. If you haven’t heard him teach before, you will not realise how awesome this professor is. You will willingly wake up at 7am, travel across the island JUST to listen to him teach. His critique of Singapore Media (Jounalism) is unparalleled by almost any lecturer you’ve heard before. Ask us WKW seniors about him, and we will tell you he’s good; if not one of the best in NTU. Or Singapore. I shan’t spoil it for you, but if you’re heading to WKW, you can be assured your choice is right, partially due to lecturers like Cherian George.

— Y1 S1 —

CS0201: Foundation of Communication Studies (CORE)

This mod really changed the way I saw my world. It worked like a mirror + magnifying glass. It alerted me to the way I treated people, the way I talked, and listened. It challenged me to be more serious when listening, more careful when speaking, more aware of relationships.

CS0204: Basic Media Writing (CORE)

BMW threw me into the sea of media writing. Just like any non-swimmer learning how to swim, everyone had to figure what kind of writing worked for them. As much as you have a ‘standard’ style to write, everyone writes with their own style and opinions. It’s like swimming; once you get it, you won’t forget how to write a good piece of news story, brochure or press release.

CS2005: Speech and Argumentation (CORE)

Among all the courses, this one stood out as one of the most time consuming one. But looking back, it helped me become a wee bit more confident when I speak, and I can only imagine the benefits when I do presentations in future.

這就是我 me

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