Friday, December 30, 2011

We have done it!

Yes! I am happy to let everybody know that our family have completed reading the New Testament in the year 2011!!!! Horray!

We will start on the journey of Old Testament in the year 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Read through the Old Testament (2012) weekdays only!

Last year, I did a read through the New Testament plan for reading during the weekdays only. Our family is almost completed the reading of the New Testament in 2011. We are preparing ourselves for reading through the Old Testament in 2012 now.

I have created a reading plan, since those that are available are mostly for reading through the Old Testament for all the days of the year. I wanted one which only covers the weekdays of 2012.

So, I have to hand-craft it a little.

I am putting it up for anyone who is interested to read through the Old Testament in 2012. You can download a copy of it here.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A father's chronicle (Success)

I am doing a sharing tonight with some members of my extended family. We are looking into Proverbs 3. In the course of my preparation, I stumbled upon the question:

What is ‘success’ to you? How do you qualify a ‘successful life’?

So, I took some time to mull over this topic which I have tried to wrestle for quite a few times. None of those times, I recorded or put in writing my thoughts. I thought (after such a long recess from this blog) it is good to update you on what happened in my journey as a dad.

The first thing that I wanted to find out is what are the general areas which people are looking at when they do such an assessment. I chanced upon this poll. And in other forums, the area of family (including having a child) are also part of being part of attainment of success in life.

Ironically, getting a job one desire is only 21%. One would have expected higher rating since we spend most of our time in this area (clocking a minimum of a third of the day? and for some even more? Perhaps, if it is compounded with wealth and prestige is more like the rating that I was anticipating.)

Anyway, I am successful. In many ways and not just one dimension. Let me share with you how I came to this thankful realization.

I am doing some part-time studies now, and on Monday night, Yan brought the kids to my school to fetch me home. They waited for a couple of minutes. Gracia was the first to notice that I am walking down the flight of stairs. She anticipated my coming but sat at the cafe. When I finally appeared about 50 m from where they are waiting, both of my kids burst into a sprint!


With arms flung wide apart, and hair flown backwards due to the quick dash towards me, Gracia and Theophilus were the first to greet me after a long lecture. They gave me a big hug. They missed me. Yan followed closely and planted a peck on my cheek. We were not ashame to express our affections for each other in public. I planted a kiss on everyone of them and hoisted Gracia into my arms and carry her to the car.

This is not a drama. This is real life. It happens often in my life. Not something for me to take for granted. It is a precious thing. It is filed under 'Good memories' and 'Happy moments'.

So, yes, I agree with the poll 'Happiness' is an important ingredient to 'Success' (not just wealth and prestige). But what is 'Happiness'? Is being 'happy' equivalent to 'happiness'? This I have tried to wrestle for a while, and my current stand is that they are not immediately equivalent. While not trying to be vague, I am very thankful for the many blessings in my life - the people that God has planted to help me to grow.

I am successful (whether I do well at job or in my studies) and I am grateful to God for blessing me a little each day at a time.

Monday, August 01, 2011

A father's chronicle (A father's message from beyond the grave)

I came across this writing today, and I wanted to share it with you.

I often pondered the similar set of challenges: How could I communicate with my children when I move on to the after life. It is no secret to Yan - I kept a diary. A diary that I have written for my children. At one time, I wrote for Theophilus. I often felt that boys need more instructions (we never did figure things out till late in life and sometimes that could be too late). Along to way, Yan pointed out to me this folly and I began to write to Gracia too in my diary.

Most of the papers are writings of things of my life, happenings, lessons learnt, disappointment faced, discouraged encountered, joy found. I didn't want them to see a dad who has no struggles, worries and own fair share of lost-lessness. And if that peek at the cracks relieve them the pressure of aiming for the impossible in life, perhaps, I have helped them in a certain stretch of life.

I am inspired by Paul in this article (coincidentally, we share at least one thing in common - our first name is the same). A dad is forever... even after life.

To my children too, I hope to leave them words of instructions which I have raised them up with since they are in my arms: Love God and keep His commandments, for this is the sole duty of man.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A sad reading on cancer research, but is this still the current state of things?

I chanced upon an article here, which probably gotten its source of information from here.

This saddens me. This is an area of research that I wanted to do - cancer drug discovery using computer simulations. Anyhow, reading this article saddens me because it did reveal the capitalistic mindset of the 'real world'. Though, this is the nature of the 'real world' from a research company point of view, I am wonder are government bodies also doing something on this - i.e. capitalize on the research done and allow the public to benefit from it?

Extracting from the article (italics by me):

The DCA compound is not patented and not owned by any pharmaceutical company, and, therefore, would likely be an inexpensive drug to administer, says Michelakis, the Canada Research Chair in Pulmonary Hypertension and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program with Capital Health, one of Canada's largest health authorities.

However, as DCA is not patented, Michelakis is concerned that it may be difficult to find funding from private investors to test DCA in clinical trials. He is grateful for the support he has already received from publicly funded agencies, such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and he is hopeful such support will continue and allow him to conduct clinical trials of DCA on cancer patients.

At the end, our research should drive to save lives, that's why we studied and worked so hard in research. It has a social responsibility component.

Is it possible to alter Ant properties after they've been initialized?

I was working on an Ant script (yes, I am using maven2 too for other projects, but in this case I just want to use plain vanilla Ant script) and along the way came upon this need to change an Ant property after it has been initialized.

Did a bit of googling and came upon this forum discussion. Not a very bright and encouraging note at the end - essence being "No; property values, once set, cannot be changed. Attempts to do so will fail silently."

Well, guess what? I am not the kind who give up that easily.

Here are the steps (for contribution back to the community) to change an Ant property after it have been initiatlized. Snaplets of code for illustration purpose only.

Before we dive into codes, just some overview of the approach. I am using javascript within the Ant script to accomplish this. So, you will need to download dependency libraries. The one that is really needed is js.jar from from Mozilla and don't forget to grab also the bsf jar too. For more information, you should check the Ant user manual here (scroll to the table containing js.jar and follow the link). For my side, I have both bsf-all-3.1.jar and js-14.jar within the lib directory of ant. I am running Ant version 1.7.1 for this example.

OK, now that we have covered the basics, here goes:

<project name="myProject" default="myTarget">
<property name="message" value="Hello, me!"/>
<target name="myTarget">
    <echo message="${message}"/>
    <script language = "javascript"><![CDATA[
           myProject.setProperty("message", "Hello world!");
     <echo message="${message}"/>

The portion of code that changed the property value is highlighted. The output should be similar to this:

Buildfile: build.xml

          [echo] Hello, me!
          [echo] Hello world!

Total time: 0 seconds

Never give up so easily in life.... that's the lesson. Have fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Using Hotmail with Thunderbird 3

I came across a blog on this subject here. But the screens were in French (still useful). Thought I might do the community a favor if I post it now in English.

The settings are shown in the screenshots below. Picture speaks a thousand words. I have blanked out my information to protect the innocent (me). Click on the screenshots if they are too small, and it will show up bigger.

I did not use the Webmail add-on for Thunderbird (in fact, I tried it and it was not working too well to the point that I uninstalled Thunderbird and start from scratch again - giving it a last try before abandoning Thunderbird altogether).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Increasing disk size for virtualbox running Ubuntu

Yes, I am running Ubuntu in a VirtualBox, and have been refusing to upgrade to version 10.10 or even version 11, since I have no compelling reasons to do so (actually, I have good reason not to do so). However, end of last week, I hit to an issue with MySQL - a limitation that I will write in another blog entry.

Anyway, I did run out of disk space on my virtualbox guest. Came across a few web entries that discussed on how to overcome it, but most of them are applicable to Windows guest virtualbox setup.

Here are some of my attempts that didn't work out that well, and possible reasons:

1. Used Clonezilla

Use Clonezilla to back up the old VM and restore it into the new expanded disk.

Yup, I boot up my old version of Ubuntu using Clonezilla LiveCD and make a clone copy. Then boot up my new empty virtual image using Clonezilla LiveCD and tried to restore the image to the expanded disk image.

I was able to backup image of old Ubuntu VM, and managed to restore the image to the expanded VM volume, but when I boot up, it was not able to start up. This is due to GRUB loader. During the restoration of image, I briefly saw a message that there could be an issue since they detected GRUB and was not able to change to root to change some settings... I guess.

Failed (you might have better luck than me)

2. Use GPart 


Create an empty (larger diskspace disk) virtual disk using VirtualBox Virtual Media Manager. Attached the larger virtual disk to the SATA port 1 (the old smaller virtual disk on SATA port 0). Mount GPart LiveCD  and boot from it. Copy the old disk (/sda1) to the new disk (/sdb). Mark the new disk as bootable. Reboot with the new disk as primary (might also want to unmount the old disk).

No problem with the copy and paste using GPart. No problem with the flag "boot" for the new disk. Just didn't boot after when switch to primary boot disk!

Unknown. Still figuring it out.

Here is what worked for me.


I have the following:

1. Oracle VirtualBox 3.2.12 r68302
2. Ubuntu 9.10.2 (8 GB HD)

What I want to do is to add more hard disk space (increase to 16 GB HD).


1. Create a virtual disk of larger size
  •  Through Oracle VirtualBox GUI, select File > Virtual Media Manager > Actions > New
  • Fill up the 'Create New Virtual Disk' form
2. Open a command prompt and do:

C:\Documents and Settings\user\.VirtualBox\HardDisks>"C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe" clonehd "MyFirstSmallerDisk.vdi" "MyLargerSecondDisk.vdi" --existing

Oracle VM VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 3.2.12
(C) 2005-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Clone hard disk created in format 'VDI'. UUID: 2fe48578-ade7-48fa-873b-2245714074f5

(some of the information are scrumbled and replaced, especially those in blue. Replace the name of the vdi files appropriately)

This will clone the smaller virtual disk to the larger one.

3. Create a new VM through the Oracle VirtualBox GUI, select Machine > New
  • Enter a new name for this VM (e.g. "MyLargerSecondVM")
  • Choose Linux, Ubuntu for OS Type
  • Enter the memory size
  • Check "Boot Hard Disk" and select "Use existing hard disk" > "MyLargerSecondDisk.vdi"
4. Reboot the new VM ("MyLargerSecondVM") to see that things are still bootable and in order, but do note that the primary partition is still the same and has not been modified. The extra disk space has not been allocated yet.

5. Shutdown the VM after everything looks fine. Back up the VMs.
  • I copied all the files under "C:\Documents and Settings\user\.VirtualBox" to another secondary storage.

It is now time to resize the partition to fill up the entire new virtual disk.

6. Ensure that the boot order for the new VM ("MyLargerSecondVM") is (CD/DVD-ROM, Floppy, Hard disk) via Setting > System > Motherboard

7. Ensure that the GPart LiveCD is mounted. Setting > Storage > IDE Controller > CD/DVD Device > [select the gpart iso file, e.g. gparted-live-0.8.0-5.iso]

8. Reboot the VM ("MyLargerSecondVM")

9. Enlarge the primary boot partition. You might need to move the swap partition to the end of the disk before enlarging the primary boot partition. I did the changes in a series of small steps rather than applying all changes at one go. I actually hit to a slight problem initially if I will to consolidate all my steps.

10. Once the swap partition is moved to the end, and primary partition has been enlarged successfully, quit GPart and reboot. Remember to unmount the GPart LiveCD through Setting > Storage > IDE Controller > CD/DVD Device > [Select "Empty"]

11. Reboot "MyLargerSecondVM" and login. You can check that you have more disk space now. e.g.

% cd /
% df -k .

Good luck.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A father's chronicle (A song which still touches my heart)

Four years back, I blog on my kids' school orientation. The song was 'In whom I can trust'.

I want to include here two other clips which I found on this song. Yes, one of them is also filmed in Presbyterian Primary school.

This is the other clip that I came across which is taken one year after my son went into Pei Hwa. I guess, my son must be one of those singing it again....

I cannot underestimate the importance of immersing my kids into such environment, though I do hope that there are even more being done to showcase christian leadership in the school environment.

A little sober warning (Matthew 18:6):

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Let those who handle the lives of these little ones be careful and not do anything that might stumble them. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Restful moments

I am finally taking a break. To those who burden souls out there, may I share with you a song?

I was doing my regular run when this song was played on my player....

Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

3. See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A father's chronicles (Letters)

A friend introduced me to this song (Letter - Greetings to a 15 year old). I thought the lyrics are very beautiful. In many ways, it encompasses the gist of what I would also want to write to my kids. The good thing is that there is English subtitles, even though the song was sung in Japanese.

English Lyrics:
Dear you, who is reading this letter
I wonder where you are and what you are doing now
For me, who is 15 years old
there are worries of which I cannot speak
If this is a letter to my future self,
surely I can confide in myself
Now,it seems I'm being defeated
and I'm about to cry
For me,who's seemingly about to disappear
whose words should I believe in?
My one and only heart has been broken so many times
in the midst of this pain,
I live the present

Dear you, thank you
I have something i want to tell the 15 year old you
If you continue asking what you should do and where you should go,
you'll be able to see the answer
the rough sea of youth
maybe tough
but towards the shores of tomorrow,
row your boat of dreams

Now, don't be defeated
don't shed a tear
during these times when it seems like you're about to disappear
you should beleive in your own voice,
For me, as an adult,
when I'm hurt
there are still sleepless night
but I'm living the bittersweet present

There's meaning to everything in life,
so build your dreams without fear
(Keep on believe that)

It seems I'm being defeated
and I'm about to cry
For me, who's seemingly about to disappear
whose words should I believe in?
Don't be defeated,
don't shed a tear
during these times when it seems like you're about to disappear,
you should believe in your own voice
No matter what era we're in,
there's no running away from sorrow
So show your smile
and go on living the present
go on living the present

Dear you, who's reading this letter
I wish you happiness.

Japanese Lyrics:

Haikei kono tegami yonde iru anata wa 
Doko de nani o shite iru no darou
Juugo no boku ni wa dare ni mo 
Hanasenai nayami no tane ga aru no desu

Mirai no jibun ni atete kaku tegami nara
Kitto sunao ni uchiakerareru darou

Ima make sou de naki sou de kiete shimai sou na boku wa
Dare no kotoba o shinji arukeba ii no?
Hitotsu shikanai kono mune ga nando mo barabara ni warete
Kurushii naka de ima o ikite iru
Ima o ikite iru

Haikei arigatou juugo no anata ni tsutaetai koto ga aru no desu
Jibun towa nande doko e mukau beki ka toi tsudzukereba miete kuru

Areta seishun no umi wa kibishii keredo
Asu no kishibe e to yume no fune yo susume

Ima makenaide nakanaide kiete shimai sou na toki wa
Jibun no koe o shinji arukeba ii no
Otona no boku mo kizutsuite nemurenai yoru wa aru kedo
Nigakute amai ima o ikite iru

Jinsei no subete ni imi ga aru kara 
Osorezu ni anata no yume o sodatete
Keep on believing

Make sou de naki sou de kiete shimai sou na boku wa
Dare no kotoba o shinji arukeba ii no?
Aa makenaide nakanaide kiete shimai sou na toki wa
Jibun no koe o shinji arukeba ii no
Itsu no jidai mo kanashimi o sakete wa tourenai keredo
Egao o misete ima o ikite ikou
Ima o ikite ikou

Haikei kono tegami yonde iru anata ga
Shiawase na koto o negaimasu