Twenty-Twelve

So I guess I owe everyone a long report and explanation about what I’ve been doing for the last six months and why I haven’t posted a single article online for a while. Let’s get straight into it.

 

University

So the main thing that kept me from being able to blog was my uni routine. I’ll have to admit that third year provided the most amount of struggle for me: the amount of workload, the difficulty of the workload, and the sheer number of things I had to try and do outside of uni. After much stress and studying, I managed to get through this second semester, a little more bruised than in my previous years; but I suppose things are still going well for me academically.

 

My partake in CBS this semester was severely hindered by the unfortunate times of my lectures, namely having class during ALL the CBS talks and the like. I had a similar timetable in second year, can’t really remember what it was like back then, but I was still able to serve as a Bible Study leader (also despite not being to attend any leaders’ meetings). Yeah I suppose that was a struggle too, but it went reasonably well I think.

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Okay so moving on, I’ve been on holidays since mid-November. Here are some of my highlights in the holidays.

 

K-Pop Concert

Truly a night to remember, being my first Korean music concert and all. My last university exam was on that day (in the afternoon to be precise), so I was frantically rushing to the venue after my exam. My seats weren’t great (as you will soon see in the video below, but I had a blast watching all the different Korean artists perform and seeing all the wonderful stage production that other artists would normally never bother with. Koreans really do ante it up when it comes to stage production. Here is my fancam of my favourite performance of the night:

 

 

Terrigal Roadtrip

A week or two later I went on a roadtrip with some other people in my grade up to a nice beach house in Terrigal. We spent the three days there at the beach, playing games, jamming, and serving one another in preparing food and helping with washing up. It was a pretty cool experience getting to know the people our grade better. Props to the guys for doing most to all of the cooking; and to the girls for helping us clean up afterwards. This reminds me that I have some videos I need to upload from roadtrip…

 

My 21st

At the end of last year, I turned 21, had a nice Asian-themed party (to which very few people tried to honour the theme); but it was fun seeing all the people who managed to free up some time to drop by. Received some nice presents and some encouraging messages from a lot of people. I suppose I was a bit disappointed at the number of people who dropped out, even though they said they would come, I guess I’m not that important haha. But I was still glad at the number of people who did come. Still waiting on my photographer to upload photos haha, but in the meantime here’s my response video that I shot on my actual birthday:

 

 

One of the things I was really excited about for my birthday was getting an SLR. I’ve been testing it out heaps and trying to get the hang of taking good photos and editing them, not as a hardcore professional hobby, but more as a “I don’t just want a simple 1-second photo”; yeah. So my photo quality should be vastly better now.

New Years Eve

We had our (now) traditional CBS New Years party. But due to the sheer number of Christians in Commerce, we could only invite a select number of them to spend New Years with; the point of the party was to get to know one another better (something that is hard to do with a large group of people) and to also help pass on responsibility from our grade to the younger grades seeing as we are getting old and will be graduating soon. I gave a short talk on Acts 1, hoping to encourage not only the younger students, but all of us to step up and think hard about opportunities to evangelise since our freedom in university will soon be coming to an end. I believe I was the only one who stayed up all night, it was hard as usual but wasn’t impossible. Went to church the next morning and then had a few people chill over at my place in the afternoon. Here’s a photo of my grade (or the ones who could make it that night). This was taken with my new camera.

 

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Actually I realised that this photo is kind of pointless seeing as I already have one above of our grade on our roadtrip. I also snuck away to my church’s NYE party too that night, perhaps that photo should be more appropriate:

 

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Coastal Walk in the South

Early this year, I went down south for the first time and hiked (sort of) near some southern beaches. It was a good change of pace because most of our socials would always take place around where we live (in the north) because that’s where most of us reside. But for the sake of those who lived in the south, we thought it fair to venture down to where they lived and hang out with them there. Half the awesomeness of the day was in the walk and chatting with each other; the other half was in our luxurious crab dinner in Beverly Hills:

 

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^ I thought this was a pretty awesome photo xD

 

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Yeah I think that’s enough highlights for now.

 

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Looking to 2012

I suppose that as I come to this year, there is quite a lot to reflect and learn from last year. One of the things I want to change from last year is the way I do ministry. Last year, whilst dealing with a lot of administrative matters for church and CBS, I found that I had little time to build relationships with the people I was ministering to; I found that I didn’t know them as well as I have should and as a result it hindered my influence in encouraging them to grow in the love and knowledge of Christ. As a result, this year I’m going to try and focus less on admin matters, but put my time and energy into building relationships with the people under my care, and the people who do need to be cared for. I do hope that being freed to work on my relationships will help me to be a better witness for Christ to all my friends, particularly my non-Christian ones; that hopefully I’ll get opportunities to help explain to them what a relationship with Jesus is all about. That is my primary goal for this year.

 

Another thing I do want to work hard towards is defending the truth of the gospel, for fear that a lot of Christians lack the core truths and hence fail to understand what Christianity is all about. I’ve noted some ministries and churches in Sydney that may be preaching unsound doctrine; not things that are “completely” but where the truth is not evident for one reason or another. I know that it’s hard to correct a lie once it’s been implanted in someone’s mind, so I hope to be able to target these “untruths” before people root their beliefs firmly into them. And yes that will raise questions for me as to whether I know the truth or not; I hope to be able to address that concern soon in the coming weeks.

 

And of course lastly there’s university still to consider. My fourth year seems to be a bit more relaxed than last year. In a sense, you could say that this is my “second” 3rd year, because most of the courses I’m doing are just third year courses that I couldn’t fit into last year. As such, the courses I’m doing shouldn’t be difficult and so hopefully I will get that time and energy to focus on the goals I’ve listed above, as well as aim to get a graduate position in something. With my free time at uni, I hope to be able to meet up with some of you guys and to spend time getting to know you better, for the purpose of encouragement and edification (in case the objective wasn’t clear). We all need to ration our time carefully, so let’s use it as efficiently as we can.

 

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In the meantime I will be heading up to Hong Kong next week, for about 4 weeks. If you have something you want me to buy for you, please message me as soon as you can. Stay tuned for more posts and updates from Hong Kong. My next serious article will be on the theme of “Regret”, it shall be up soon.

Shine On

This post re-caps my series of events on Wednesday, 12th January 2011. Today some of us CBS people living near the Hills (and some others who did not) were going to spend time with a few people who were about to go back to work for the new year; and so today was kind of the last chance to have some fun with them. We has a bushwalk planned out, followed by a barbeque, and then other random stuff in the afternoon.

We all met up at Nat’s house in the morning, and though it threatened to rain most of the morning, we still decided to go ahead with our bush walk at Cumberland State Forest and we headed there around 12pm. We had lunch first and I helped barbeque up a bunch of meat that Seb and Steph(en) bought. There were spiders around the barbeque, which freaked a lot of the girls out. Most of the guys took this opportunity to exaggerate the fear, and also to capture the moment on camera. During this time, there were people playing the ukulele and others playing Uno.

We finished lunch around 3pm, somehow it went on longer than expected; and we finally went on a short bush walk. Seb continued to sing along to the ukulele, making up lyrics on the spot as he normally does, I’ll upload a 9 min video to Facebook in due time. The walk wasn’t too bad, but due to the moisture a lot of insects and stuff came out. There were webs here and then, and the girls again screamed for their dear life because they were just that scary.

Afterwards we goofed off in the community centre for a while and then went to the shops to get ice cream. We got back to Nat’s place and decided to have 25 inch pizzas from a nearby place (which is only in the Hills). A couple more people came over for dinner and we all shared two large 25 inch pizzas. I guess we must’ve overthought things and in fact it became a struggle for 13 people to finish two of those large pizzas. After the whole group had finished one off we were all pushing our stomachs up a hill. At the end of the night we had to make people take slices of pizza home.

Throughout the night we watched Bride Wars and The Dark Knight, whilst having some interesting conversation, which may or may not include sexist comments and stuff haha. It was a fun day and shows that you can have heaps of fun just doing simple things (even if the pizza was slightly expensive). However, that is not the main point of this post.

SHINee

Oh, no I didn’t?! At the same time that all of this was going on, there were many other people who had gathered in the city to find tickets for a concert to see SHINee. I guess it’s not just any ordinary concert, it was the first time any famous Asian star/group (I believe) has come to Sydney (not Aus) to perform. And so today was actually quite important for the Korean music industry. Today’s concert was to “test the waters” and see how responsive the Australian (or Sydney) people were to Korean music.

As such I had friends (link to a fan’s post below – I know you’re going write one Sharon) who put a lot of energy into getting tickets and then making the most of their opportunity to see their beloved SHINee. From what I gathered on Facebook after I got home, tickets were being donated by UNICEF for a cost of $50, most tickets were handed out beforehand, and at the last minute to the show, people got let in free (probably not to be repeated again). That is a decent cost to see people as famous as SHINee. And judging from hearing of the success of tonight’s concert, there will probably be another one next one; but the tickets might be more expensive next year.

A few people uploaded their videos as soon as they got home, and from what I could see, a lot of people had their cameras out the whole night. But that is to be assumed since it is extremely rare to get something like this in boring Sydney – this was the first major K-Pop ever, right? The Koreans had some expensive cameras flying around as well, so at they decided to capture the moment on film, though I don’t think they’ll use the footage from tonight too extensively; not much point I think.

Well that’s my simple report on something I didn’t even look deeply into; but I will admit I was very interested in going to see SHINee, even if I don’t know what their names are and I only know several songs. I said on my Facebook that I didn’t regret missing out on SHINee to enjoy a day out with friends and I still stand by that statement. Since I’m not familiar with SHINee’s work all that much, I wasn’t too devastated to have missed out on $50 tickets to their concert. The main thing that would’ve got me going was the fact that tickets were relatively cheap (I even had to chance to get free tickets off other friends as well, if I had asked), and so in a sense I had traded away this opportunity for friends, which isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong; somehow I can’t help but feel like sacrifices were made today haha. I didn’t lose much, but rather I gained something more important than watching 5 guys dancing to songs with poorly written English lyrics. “Oh no he didn’t?!”

But of course I would definitely go next year (almost added “again” but then realised I actually didn’t go haha). But yes I won’t miss out on the next opportunity. I just wished the Japanese weren’t as stingy as the Koreans – though I believe Sydney is full of anime sooks who don’t know anything about recent trends in Japan, let alone it’s music industry; it’d be a waste of them bringing bands like “UVERworld” or “the gazette”.

Link to a fangirl’s post will be here when it’s up. Right here

SMAC Camp 2010

I’ll try to keep this post relative to the length of our camp, which somehow seems to be getting shorter every year, or so it seems. Anyway I was at least glad this year I had a camera to take photos with; much better than last year with my pathetic phone camera, which did it’s job relatively well. Our theme for this year’s camp was “The True King of Israel” – though this was not the actual camp title, this one sounds better. We looked at the book of 1 Samuel and our speaker this year was one Benjamin Ho who graduated from Trinity Grammar and previously went to St Paul’s Anglican along with Kenny and Billy.

 

Friday

My personal Friday began with lunch when Jie came and picked up Jacky and me for camp. We went down to Carlingford Village and ate at Hong Kong de Cafe (as per usual). I lose of track of who owes me money now, we always have a problem when it comes to paying the bill; and then in light of the mid-sem break last week I have completely forgotten who owes me money; I’m more certain that I am owed money rather than the other way round.

 

Anyway after lunch we walked around Carlingford Court, bought a bar of dark chocolate from Coles (which we didn’t end up eating by the end of camp which kind of sucks) and then we went to pick up Jess and Marcus because we were asked to take them at the very last second – how troublesome! Anyway their company was much appreciated; we pumped a variety of music while Jie drove, guided by his GPS, music from Backstreet Boys to Girls’ Generation. Jess was partially annoyed at the way we’d sing some English songs with an Asian accent.

 

The car trip took about an hour and a bit. As we got to the camp site, there was a gate blocking our way. We drove up to it. It didn’t open. We tried to give Jess (the co-ordinator) a call but she didn’t pick up – inconvenient. So we drove back to a McDonald’s we saw a couple of minutes back. We took a quick toilet break but didn’t buy anything to eat. Then we finally found out that the gate was automatic, although for some reason it didn’t open when we drove up to it. Regardless, we drove back and saw Ken’s car go past us; everyone was catching up. We got back to the gate and after driving a little closer to it, it actually opened T.T” Bad luck. Ken still mysteriously showed up 10 minutes after us.

 

We mucked around for a while until the sun set.

 

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Skip the food (it wasn’t anything special, but it was prepared by like 2 people which is fairly amazing), we began our night session around 8:15pm, about 45 minutes late. Some of the tech equipment wasn’t set up entirely well stage-wise but that would have to be fixed the next morning. We had our intro and then our first talk. Our speaker, Ben, decided to give the Old Testament Bible readings by depicting them in a video with some actors. He picked UNSW as the stage haha! The New Testament Bible readings were done by Athena, as usual.

 

Oh I missed a bit, we played a game (that we’ve played too much now) which involved getting into groups of people and having a specified number of certain body parts touching the floor; some number of arms, feet, head, etc. I took the chance to grab more photos:

 

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After the night session we finally settled down in our rooms. Luckily there was wireless here so we YouTube-ed a bit until around 12:30am and then we slept.

 

 

The Campsite

Okay now we can move onto the camp site itself. It was disappointingly smaller than our normal camp venue, Point Wolstoncroft; I forget why we’re here this year. The cabins were quite small and cramped which wasn’t all too pleasant. They were cramped in that there was little floor space to put stuff down and actually walk around the room on.

 

Toilets were quite appalling although I will say that they were better than the KCC ones, the showers at least had hot hot water and were fairly large, and weren’t like bug-infested overnight. But this was not the only “controversy”. I am of course talking about the gender inequality in how the cabins were distributed. At the back of the camp there was a block which was obviously newer, it had air conditioning and the toilets were located inside the building. The girls were offered their “luxurious palace” while we were given the tight-spaced cabins with a toilet block that we had to walk out to. The girl’s rooms were significantly more spacious; significantly. Well of course I’m not pleased, it’s quite unfair that half the campers had better treatment than others. It would be awkward to put everyone inside that nicer block, yes, but everyone could have been fit into our cramped cabins; there was easily enough rooms and beds, the guys didn’t even fill up half the camp site. And it would not be awkward to put guys and girls into the same block, because there were four sets of rooms (A to D) which then led to 3-4 more rooms; clearly our dodgy block was sectioned off in a well manner such that there shouldn’t be any guy-girl tension. I’d argue the same way if the situation had been reversed and we had gotten the better dorms. I’m happy to have a less comfortable room if it creates equality. Besides, these physical barriers I’ve suggested are exactly the case with our pervious camp venue.

 

Other than the the camp site was quite small, nobody else was there so we sort of had the entire area to ourselves. There was like children’s play equipment which we all mucked around on (see the swings in the photo above) but that may be because it was more of a venue for primary school camps, rather than teen-adult camps T.T” There was a main hall where we had our talks and games and such, fitted with a table tennis table, and a pool table, which was quite a nice addition to things we could do for fun. Naturally everyone made good use of these facilities.

 

 

Saturday

To be continued…

Wedding Dress (English Version)

The last time I ever made a rant about translations was to do with anime; I forget which ones. I sadly would have never expected to see it in some songs. I’m going to keep this short and succinct.

 

 

Here we have the all new English rendition of the song Wedding Dress by Taeyang from Big Bang. The original was indeed a really good song. But for starters I think everyone should at least watch the original; pay particular attention to the lyrics, because that’s the central point when it comes to translations.

 

 

There’s been so much hype over the English version but after listening to it and the lyrics, I beg to sway away from joining the crowd in giving the song as much credit as Taeyang’s original. What the English version does well is keeping the beat and rhythm. The things we can omit from comparison obviously is the vocals because this after all is merely a cover song.

 

The rap bit. Okay, an interesting twist to the original; urbanizes the song so I’d give a thumbs up for that. It is of course the cover artists personalizing the song.

 

But there isn’t much else good about the English version. Lyrics. Biggest downfall was the lyrics. The translation was far from accurate. And as a result of making a cover version, they’ve lost the original meaning to the song, but I suppose if we compare the two songs, they probably do come from their own contexts: an American and a Korean background.

 

Taeyang’s original song tells a story of a love triangle where by our protagonist fails to get the girl. And I say “fail” rather than “lose” because our protagonist didn’t “lose” the girl, the girl originally “belonged” to the other guy. My take on the original was that the protagonist fell in love with a girl who was already with somebody else. And so the song is expressing how unfortunate is was for him to have not met her first (before the other guy), a little called “fate” perhaps. There is sorrow when the protagonist wishes the girl would not go with the other guy and a bit of hate because she never knew. I guess it’s just your typical story of falling for people that unfortunately are already “taken”.

 

Now turning to the English version, the story is completely different. Here we have protagonist fighting with the girl and so the girl leaves him for another man. The song expresses regret that he “let” her leave and how he wants her back. Your typical fail relationship story which is just so common in society now. The lyrics in the English conversation convey a picture of a relationship breaking up here; so either the protagonist or the girl did things bad towards one another which caused the break up. The protagonist would therefore rightly be at fault for the girl leaving him, probably deserved it too. And so the rest of the song is just him moping over how he screwed the relationship up; nothing special at all. How often do you hear a guy being sad because he was responsible for breaking something? Being a man is sucking up to your mistakes, acknowledging your fault, admitting the consequences and then moving on. Of course I draw too much from the lyrics that it was the guy’s fault. At the least, if there is constant conflict, then something isn’t working between two people. And it’s selfish for the guy to still want the girl despite the issues she has with him. So, she’s expected to marry the guy even though she has a problem with him, all because he “wants” her? Shameful. Chorus is just plain funny: “I can’t believe that you are not with me.” What, so the guy was like completely drunk when she left him? How can you not see a breakup when it’s so obvious: you fight, she leaves you, she wants to marry someone else. Hello, she’s gone; how could you not see that?

 

Well that’s enough said. There’s clearly a huge distinction between these two songs. While the English version was indeed impressively mixed and recorded, the lyrics don’t hold under the term “translation”. Taeyang’s version is easily unmatched and even at best I would rather call the English song a “rendition” rather than a “translation”.

 

If you want a good translation, here’s one that was done really early after the song came out. Of course it wasn’t recorded well, but the translations easily outmatch this new false hit: