Quotes from The Little Prince

I once let my dad borrow The Little Prince and told him to read it. After he finished and gave it back to me, I asked him, “So what’d you think?” The first thing he said was, “I don’t get it.”

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t read books and hasn’t read The Little Prince, I would advise you to take 2-3 hours and read it. Read it before you become a grown-up. In fact, you can read it online for free.

From Chapter 1:

Whenever I met one of [the grown-ups] who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:

“That is a hat.”

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

From Chapter 4:

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

RE Mental Set Failure

This past Sabbath I taught a lesson on “Taming the Tongue” to my J1 students. For the mental set, I thought I would ask the students to recall anything that another person said (preferably also present in the classroom) that for one reason or another, sticks in their mind, good or bad. The point of this exercise was to demonstrate that our words can have a deep impression, perhaps one we would never expect them to have when we are speaking them.

I thought it was a pretty good idea, but unfortunately it was an utter failure. No one could remember anything that stuck in their minds, except for inconsequential dialogue that occurred recently.

I’m hoping the reason for this is because I phrased the question poorly. In retrospect, I could’ve tried phrasing the prompt as “Think of something that anyone in this room has said that has made a lasting impression in your mind,” but I have a feeling this would’ve been ineffective as well. Does this require too much thought for J1 students? Or maybe their experiences are still too limited? Or maybe they’re too shallow and don’t give careful thought to what people are saying?…hopefully that’s not the case!

In any case, I have much to learn in becoming an effective RE teacher.

Brother MG

Brother MG and his wife JW began truthseeking at East Bay, according to my memory, about a year ago. They experienced many blessings and graces from God, both receiving the Holy Spirit before being baptized. JW received the Holy Spirit first and was baptized during last year’s spring ESSC. MG received the Holy Spirit several months ago and a special baptism was scheduled for him, since his health was deteriorating.

Today, I was informed that brother MG was called back by the Lord in the afternoon.

I did not have too many conversations with MG, but each one was enlightening and caused me to reflect. Sometimes a new believer’s faith reminds us what faith and spiritual cultivation should be. We were talking about our personal Bible reading, and I think I said something along the lines of how sometimes Bible reading can become dull at times, but we need to keep at it because all of God’s word is useful for teaching and there are a lot of interesting things, etc. MG said something that made me thank God while also causing me to feel a little shame.

Oh, the Bible keeps itself interesting! Everyday before I read it, it’s like, “What am I going to learn today?”

During the short period of time after his baptism and before his health took a turn for the worse, we had always said that we should get lunch during the week, because we both work in the same city. We even exchanged phone numbers, but for whatever reason – preoccupation, laziness, being in a rush – I did not call him and ate at my desk as usual. Even after I heard he had been admitted into a hospital a few weeks back, I always thought there would be a time when we would have lunch. After the East Bay picnic last Sunday, several members stopped by the hospital to visit him. He was so happy to see us since he was unable to go to church for some time. One of the things he said to me was, “We’re still on for lunch though!”

Brother MG, looks like we’ll have to rain-check for when we enter the heavenly kingdom. I pray that I may make it there to meet you. It will be a feast to look forward to.

Body Worlds Vital Exhibit

This past Friday I went to the San Jose Tech Museum (The Tech) with my sister, brother-in-law and dad to see the Body Worlds Vital exhibit. It was my first time going to this sort of exhibit on the human body and it was really fascinating and inspiring on two levels.

The first level was actually a conviction in intelligent design. As I read various descriptions and summaries on certain muscles, the nervous system, circulatory system, and digestive system, I was just so amazed at how truly, every part of the body, down to the smallest blood vessel, serves a purpose. So much is going on in everyday actions like breathing. The body contains a myriad of systems and sub-systems that all work to accomplish a specific task that contributes to the general well-being of the entire body. This is engineering and design at its finest. To me, the complexity and thoroughness of the human body (and life in general) points to the notion that there was and is a creator and designer. As my sister once said to me, the notion that all of this came to be through sheer chance and probability is harder to believe than the idea that someone was behind it all. I realize the evolution vs. intelligent design debate is a rather touchy one, but I’m not trying to specifically convince or refute anyone. These were just my overriding impressions from the exhibit.

On the second level of fascination and amazement, I became inspired to be more active in maintaining and taking care of my body, which basically translates to eating healthier and exercising more. One of the objectives of the exhibit was to motivate people to fight the sedentary lifestyle that humans have become accustomed to, and to be more active. Regular exercise helps fight aging and a good diet keeps the internals running optimally and cleanly. Being able to see our innards (which was both intriguing and grotesque) allowed me to realize just how much an effect (whether positive or negative) diet and exercise can have on our bodies.

This also reminded me of 1 Tim 4:8 – “for bodily exercise profits little, but godliness is profitable for all things.” If now I feel that physical exercise is so important, how much more important is exercising ourselves toward godliness?

Forking

I am contemplating forking this blog into two. On the one hand, I would like to blog more about geeky stuff like web development, information studies with a UX focus (prospective graduate studies!), and technology in general. These are posts that I would want more people to read for mutual learning/discussion and simply for developing my own understanding of such topics. On the other hand, I want to continue writing more personal, reflective, and spiritual entries which I would feel less comfortable opening up to all of the internet.

At first I thought that having two blogs would somehow indicate that I’m living two lives or something, which typically is viewed as negative (when was the last time you had a positive reaction to someone who “lived a double or two-faced life?”) Another thought was that if I separate out all of my spiritual posts from the public-facing blog just because it doesn’t quite fit with the geek stuff, is that in any small degree a form of not acknowledging Christ before men? But then again, these two directions aren’t conflicting at all (at least, I don’t think they are); they would just represent two distinct, but not conflicting, aspects of who I am.

So what’s stopping me now from doing this? Pathetically, petty things like what name should I give to each blog? What URL should I use? And one less-pathetic concern: How should I secure the blog that’s intended for a more private audience? Should I just make one and only send the URL to certain people? Should I just make every post password-protected?

Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome!

In any case, these questions need to be deferred until next month or later, because as it turns out, things are quite busy in February with responsibilities and appointments. For example, I am getting a crown on my birthday. A dental crown.

One thing I miss about college

When people ask me if I like working more than going to school, I don’t have a certain answer. They are completely different in multiple ways and I like somethings and hate some things about both.

But one thing I really miss about college is the social life. I wasn’t really that outgoing or involved with many groups at all, but I miss just “chilling” with my groups of friends. I miss being able to just call people spontaneously to see if they want to eat, meet at the library or a friend’s apartment to study, and even make jello. In college, generally all of your friends are close by.

But in “the real world,” people are more spread out. Even if a bunch of us live in the bay area – the bay area is big! Any friend that I’d want to hang out with lives at least a 25 minute drive away. Calling someone 5 minutes before dinner is no longer feasible. And studying together? Those who are working either don’t have a reason to study, or they prefer studying on their own because trying to coordinate some sort of study group and meet up place that requires planning and driving is simply too much trouble and too much overhead. And most of all, people are usually busy, especially in the bay area. Trying to coordinate a mutual gathering with more than 3 people becomes such an involved affair. (I do live literally 2 minutes away from my sister and brother-in-law, and we do meet up together regularly, but the dynamic is kind of different, and understandably married couples want and need their privacy).

Obviously there can be a deep sense of community at work too, but for me that’s not really the case, mostly because the people I work with are much older than me and have their own families. Sometimes I think I would enjoy “work culture” more in a smaller and younger group; maybe something to consider after grad school.

I guess this post can be summarized in one sentence: Some days I feel kind of lonely. Some days, especially recently, I feel very lonely.

Attitude Towards “Our” Money

Today a friend asked me something related to receiving monetary gifts from church members. It got me thinking a little.

When I started working, I could finally say that I had my own money. And because I have my own money, I can spend it however I like. No more asking my parents if I can buy this or that, if this is cheap enough or too expensive, etc. If I want to buy fruit snacks, I can buy them without any grief.

Now what if I received money as a gift? For me, I would think twice about how I spend this money. I would be afraid to waste it and would want to ensure I spend it on something worthwhile. And depending on who I received the gift from, I may be even more cautious and reserved. Even though the money becomes my money, somehow the source of the gift influences how carefully I spend it. I don’t know if there’s an explicit social rule that says you should spend money from friends more wisely/carefully than money that you make, but there seems to be something not quite right if your best friend graciously gives you $20 and the next day you tell him, “I ate McDonalds for every meal!”

Anyways, this thought process made me realize that our money, and everything else we have, is ultimately from God. He is the source of our prosperity and abundance. David acknowledged this when he and the Israelites offered their treasures for the construction of the temple. Paul also reminds us, “What do you have that you did not receive?” If we have the attitude that our money is really a gift from God, how would that affect the decisions we make about using it, whether in small or great amounts?

Life itself is such a precious gift because for Christians, it is infused with the hope of salvation. This hope that was given to us was purchased with the blood of Christ. Knowing this, should we not live our lives carefully and thoughtfully? Should we not walk worthy of our calling? Should not our conduct be worthy of the gospel?