Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Bridal Cave

The Cheah family and I went to the Bridal Cave in Camdenton, Missouri. The Bridal Cave is the third most scenic cave in the U.S. The sights were absolutely amazing. At the innermost part of the cave-tour (the cave still goes on but not the tour), the guide turned off all the lights and there was…total darkness. According to the guide, no matter how long we let our eyes acclimatize to the total darkness, we will not see anything. That was quite an experience.

This Baby: A Christmas Celebration

I was sitting in church and the idea of making a Christmas video came to me. I immediately knew that I have to use my favorite Christmas song, This Baby by Steven Curtis Chapman. At first, I thought I would use photos of Derrick (my newest nephew) as the baby star, and photos of Timothy (my sort-of-godbrother) as the boy star of the video. But as I thought of it, I couldn’t figure out how I can make random photos fit together to form a Christmas theme. Aside from that, a video consisting of numerous photos of one baby is only interesting to the baby’s parents and grandparents, not very exciting for the rest of us. In the end, I decided to set that idea aside. My alternative idea was to use photos of missionaries and their work.

One time, I was with a group of friends from church, and one of the girls mentioned that she just came back from a missions conference and that Heidi Baker spoke at that conference. Another girl quickly responded in awe that Heidi Baker was at that conference. And I was sitting there wondering, “Who in the world is Heidi Baker?” I later found out that she and her husband are missionaries in Mozambique. Their ministry is called Iris Ministries and their website has numerous photos. So that’s where I went for the photos to form my Christmas theme video.

I remember once, a friend mentioned that she couldn’t imagine a Christmas without snow. When I told her that half the world “celebrates” Christmas without snow, that was like an “aha-duh” moment for her! I guess when you’re living in a first world country surrounded by images of traditions, gifts, evergreens, wreaths, poinsettias and carols, you don’t really think of what Christmas is like for the rest of the world. As I was working on this video and examining the photos, I realized that I too don’t know what Christmas is like for half the people of this world.

Bersih: Episode 2



I had planned to rework my original Bersih rally video. That was my very first iMovie project and it wasn’t very good. I love the music though, but I couldn’t figure out the Ken Burns effect or the transitions then, so the video consisted of mostly static still photos. Somewhere along the way of editing it, it morphed into a totally new video with new music and mostly new photos.

My brother was telling me that, since I’m such an expert now, I should start a tips and hints category for iMovie enthusiasts…hahaha. I don’t know about hints and tips for iMovie but I definitely have some ideas about the way I will capture photos in the future:
1. The higher the resolution the better. That will optimize the use of the Ken Burns effects. And with a high resolution photo, the overall photo composition does not really matter, because I can zoom in wherever I want for the video.
2. Macro (close-up) photos are no good. Because there’s no way to work around something that takes up the whole photo.
3. Large landscape photos are good. Nice “oh wow” effects.
4. People photos are good, especially photos where the people’s expressions can be seen.
5. Photos of people in action are good (e.g., walking, working, getting hit by water cannon and tear gas).

The day I slammed the door on an old man…

The Center was located in an affluent commercial area with numerous offices and businesses. It was located on the second floor, so we did not get visitors who would walk in out of nowhere. But there was this old man who occasionally walked up the flights of stairs to the Center with his two assistants. During Chinese New Year, he handed out angpows. Sometimes, he gave out cheap toys to the kids. And every time, he drilled me as to why a university graduate would want to spend her time teaching children with disabilities. A harmless and curious visitor who wanted to do good deeds, I thought.

Then one day, this old man came on his own to the Center. This time, his assistants did not come with him. He was standing between the door and the table where I was having one-on-one with my student. As usual, he started questioning me about my reasons for pursuing this line of work. I was slightly annoyed that he kept wanting to talk about that issue. All I wanted was for him to leave the room so that I could start my session with my student. The conversation went something like this:

Old Man (OM): But you are a university graduate, I’m sure there are better jobs out there.

Me: This is what I want to do. Besides I’m also pursuing further study in special education.

OM: But they (the kids) are “cacat” (handicapped). What’s the point of spending your time here with them? Go find something better to do.

Me: But they can still learn. And I want to do this.

OM: They are useless to society. They have no value.

Me: That’s not true! They are valuable. Their parents love them. God loves them.

OM: Better send them to hell!

Me: You have to leave now. I have to teach my students (Closed the door on the old man).


Few days later, my boss, the director of the Center who was also a parent of one of my students, came to talk to me. The old man told her that I “slammed” the door on him. He explained to her that he was questioning me about my single status and I got upset by that so I threw him out of the room. My boss thought that that behavior was totally out of character for me. I told her what the old man said, and her eyes popped open with disbelief. Anyway, she said she would talk to the old man.

I was really upset that day but as I thought over the situation, I realized he was not just an ignorant old man. This old man took his time and energy to slowly walk up those many steps to come into the Center to curse my students. I’m glad I slammed the door him. Ever since that time, the old man never came visiting.

iMovie: Moving beyond still photos

My iMovie projects have primarily been made up of still photos. But I knew that I’ll have to learn to edit videos eventually. So when the iMovie bug bit tonight, I gave videos a try. Unfortunately, I don’t have a big library of home videos, just some random clips I took here and there. After some trial and errors, here’s my very first almost-a-video project!

Photos and videos taken at Glen Onoko Falls (Jim Thorpe, PA)
Music: I Believe (by Kokia)

Will write for free stuff!

Last week I got an email from the Shoewallet.com company. I bought a shoewallet from them that’s probably how I ended up being in the mailing list. The first part of their email was about a special 10% discount, which I thought isn’t such a big deal. Besides, the shoewallet that I have is well-made and from the looks of it, it will probably last the whole of my running “career”. But the email continued on and I read this:

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Free Shoewallet Offer

Did you know your word of mouth is what continues to help active people learn that our Shoewallets are available to solve their headaches of where to carry cash, keys, ID, credit cards while on the go? Help us build the momentum by talking about us at Amazon.com, Facebook, Myspace, Squidoo, Blogs, Newsletters, Health & Wellness programs at work, etc.

*When you do, just send us the link(s) where you talked about us. Be sure to include your Shipping address and we’ll immediately send you a Free Shoewallet at $0.00 charge.

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I’ll definitely write something for a free shoewallet. I quickly took a picture of the shoewallet attached to my shoe, uploaded the photo, and then wrote this and posted on this blog. I sent the link of my blog to the shoewallet company and they replied almost immediately that they’ll send the free shoewallet the next day!

I still can’t get over this free shoewallet offer. It’s like it’s too good to be true. But here it is – the free shoewallet. It arrived today and it’s on its way to my Tai-Lo in Malaysia: a non-surprise Christmas gift.

Jingle Bell 5K Run – 35:31!!!

It was windy and subfreezing cold. I had on 3 shirts, fleece pants, hat and gloves. For this race, I decided I won’t listen to the iPod. During my last 5K race, I couldn’t consciously pay attention to the music, all I could think of was “run, run, don’t stop, don’t stop, why did I sign up for this?”

Since I ran this same course last year, I was prepared for the hills. I was also determined to run continuously (no walking allowed) during this race. In the end, I did walk for several seconds at the water stop (running and drinking from a cup can be very tricky), but other than that I ran the whole way and completed the race with a new personal record!