Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eat to Live

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)

Dated this day is the Traditional Chinese Dumpling Festival (Zong Zi- Traditional Chinese food). Here are some photos on the dumplings that I took (...and ate) during this year's Dumpling Festival:

Zong Zi sold at Sunday Market

My family's Dumplings
Foreground: Dumplings with meat, Background: Dumpling with groundnuts and red bean (Dao Sa)

Zong Zi is a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. It is meant to honor Qu Yuan (340-278 BC.), the pioneer poet of ancient China.

Below is an excerpt that I found through the net:

"Qu Yuan was a famous poet who was also concerned about the fate of his government.

Qu Yuan (Source: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately his stature aroused the jealousy of the king, who banished him to a remote area.

The poet despaired of the government and its policies. When the state's capital was captured by enemies, he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River (on May 5th according to the Chinese lunar calendar).

The Chinese people felt this loss deeply, as he was a much beloved poet. Local folk searched for him in the river, meanwhile dropping dumplings of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves into the river in order to keep the fishes from attacking Qu Yuan's body.

Since that time, it has been customary on this day to enjoy Zong Zi dumplings as a memorial to the patriotic poet."

Similarly, Jesus Christ was under constant criticisms from the Jewish community (The Pharisees) during His ministry. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the old testament- by making the ultimate sacrifice for our sins on the cross. But it didn't end just that way, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day! His death and resurrection conquered over both sin and death. Through faith in Him, can we then have eternal life with Him in Heaven. He will come again one day where there will be no more tears and sadness, (Isaiah 25:8) 'He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.'

There was once a quote from a Christian wallpaper stating: "At the heart of the story stands the cross of Christ where evil did its worst and met its match." -John Wenham.

Below is another article written by the evangelist Billy Graham:

"Over the years I have talked to thousands of people who have asked me how to find their way to God. Some have sat in church pews all their lives but never come to personally know God. Others have sought for ultimate meaning in all sorts of ways but never found the peace of mind for which they were searching. Some simply realize that there is something vital missing in their lives.

The Bible teaches that this sense of lostness is rooted in the fact that we live in a fallen world in which we are all handicapped by a sin nature: we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And despite our best efforts we are unable to remove the haunting weight of guilt that separates us from our Creator.

God sent his Son to solve our dilemma. "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ made the way to God for us by his death on the Cross. He purchased our salvation by the shedding of his blood. His death and resurrection made a new and everlasting covenant between God and humanity.

Jesus told his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). He did not merely point the way to God. He himself claimed to be the only way to the Father and the source of eternal truth and life.

The way to God is through personal faith in Jesus Christ. Intellectual acceptance of Christ is not enough. You must come to him determined to turn from what displeases him, with a total trust in Christ's saving power for you.

Christ promises those who turn to him: "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed from death to life" (John 5:24).
Today you can come to him by surrendering your life and heart to Christ. The Bible says: "To all who received him (Jesus Christ), to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

Right where you are you can pray something like this: "Lord, I know that I have sinned and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me and rose from the dead. I invite you into my life to be my Lord and Savior."

If you sincerely put your faith in Christ, God promises not only to forgive you, but also to receive you into his family. It's the greatest discovery you will ever make!"

Till then, take care and God bless.

Jesus loves you! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Of Pollens and Petals

"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.'

-1 Peter 1:24-25-

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to once again divide the photos taken with my 450D and my friend's (Kiu--thanks a million!) 350D in respective post. In this post, I'm going to emphasize mainly on flowers and several techniques which may come in handy if you plan to do macro (close-up) photography.

It all began on a beautiful Tuesday morning when the sunlight was just at its right brilliance and the thick clouds hovering over my campus. 'This is the best time', I thought. So I grabbed my 450D and ran down from my room, hoping to capture 'rare' photos of my campus. I walked the whole campus and took these (There are lots more, of course, other than flowers, and I'll upload them in my later posts):

Taken with 18-55mm IS Canon lens f 3.5-5.6

The photos below are taken with a Canon 350D (borrowed):

Taken with 18-200mm IS Canon USM lens

Some useful guides for macro photography:

1) Try to get a macro lens with IS (Image Stabilizer), combo with a high mega pixed SLR.

2) Choose an ideal time of the day to take shots. The best time is usually early in the morning when the sunlight is just right, not too bright and not too dim.

3) Get as close as possible to the target, depending on your lens' focus range.

4) Watch out for your ISO, exposure, shutter priority, photo mode (e.g. portrait), and most importantly, your aperture setting. A wider aperture (decreases in number e.g. f 2.8) gives you a blurry background, and vice versa for a smaller aperture.

5) Hold your SLR as stable as possible, a tripod is best used here.

6) Select the best angle to capture your target.

Please feel free to leave any comments or ideas.

Till then, I'll update my blog once I've got the time (though on holiday, there are activities going on). Take care and God bless.

Jesus loves you! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why 450D?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

The two weeks long exam had finally came to an end last Friday. What a relieve we all had! After taking some farewell photos (out of the excitement, some friends volunteered (they actually did earlier) to be thrown into the pond--their wishes came through), I went to watch Angels and Demons which was released a day before. My mind raced back to the DaVinci Code. I was expecting its sequel to be much the same--not so action-packed. But boy! Angels and Demons sure is a good one! I gave it a:

8.0/10 for its opening
8.0/10 for its storyline

9.0/10 for its plot (It was totally unexpected!)

8.0/10 for its script

8.0/10 for its acting

8.0/10 for its cameratography

9.5/10 for its next-scene-expectancy

Overall Score: 8.4/10

This movie is mainly based on a conspiracy theme and it should be watched for entertainment purpose only. It's really worth the time and money. Coming up next: Transformers 2 and Terminator: Salvation! Bring it on!

Here are some photos based on the incidents that took place after my last paper (chronological order):

This is not all....

I borrowed my friend's Canon 350D and set it to Sports Mode (for quick-still shots) and grab the opportunity to take these for remembrance. Reminder: The characters in the photos below did it according to their free will (volunteered) and not under forceful actions.

Ramesh (in dark red shirt): "What? You're gonna throw me in now?"

Others carrying him: "Oh yeah!"

Ramesh: "Gently....gently..."

Others: "There you go!"

Ramesh: "Whoa!?"

"Aaarrgghh....... rrrooooaaarr....." raging monster climbing out from his lair

Peace out, bro

Next 'super candidate': Vicky

Vicky: "I'm coming home!"

This photo (above) could have won 'The Defying-Gravity-Pose of the Year Award' and 'The Best Human-Throw Award'

Vicky: "Simply refreshing!"

I went to my Christian Fellowship for the last time during my foundation year that night. It was really a touching moment. I felt excited and sad at the same time. Excited to go home and sad to leave my friends and fellowship (everyone!). I'll miss you guys! And thanks so much for the farewell gifts and dinner too!

I arrived home last Saturday night. Kuching has again changed since the past 4 months. High raised buildings are seen and familiar sights come in view. I'm currently updating my net profiles that I missed during my last few weeks.

If you read my second last post before this, I mentioned that I'll upload more photos I took with my Canon 450D and make my review on it. However, after gathering my photos up, I found out that they were too 'numerous' to be uploaded. So I'll divide them according to my posts.

Firstly in this post, I'm going to make my point of view on my Canon 450D.

So why buy a Canon 450D instead of waiting for the 500D or perhaps 50D or perhaps even other brands?

First-- the Brand.

Canon is a world famous brand and it is not only famous for its printers, but also for its cameras--particularly its SLRs. Wherever you go, you'll probably see a Canon Marketing or Service shop nearby. You will have less trouble to send your camera or products for service. Furthermore, it is a necessity for dSLR users to have a Canon shop nearby to buy lenses and other accessories. In all, CONVENIENCE empowers everything.

Second--Cheaper Body, Higher Quality Lenses and Images

The Canon 450D is almost compatible with all of these lenses (basically every one of them)

....which means that you are paying less for the body (SLR digital camera) and investing more on the lenses (Canon). The lens is more important than its body. The lenses determine the image blurity and fineness. Unless you want a super fine image, it's recommended that you get a higher Mega Pixed camera, such as the 50D or even the Mark Series which have price tags ranging from RM5000 - RM10,000. Canon lenses are also famous for their IS function (Image Stabilizer). It is an additional bonus for Canon SLR users. You can take a shot at everything with satisfactory. The 450D body is also compatible with most of the Canon lenses (other brands also), from EFS to EF lenses.


As I'm new to using SLR camera, I bought the 450D as it is considered as one of the best starter SLR camera. It is user friendly and easy to handle. After taking a few shots, you would find it rather easy to use besides getting familiarise with its functions. I was actually considering the Nikon D90 but it is much more expensive and after making some comparison (reviews and Canon users videos in the net), I finally decided to invest the extra money (I bought mine for RM2700+) in lenses rather than buying a RM4,000 camera straight. The Nikon D90 focus more on its new video capture function and handling, and though the release of 500D is just around the corner, I still chose the 450D as my primary selection. I felt that it is good enough.

Hope that the picture below can give you a much clearer review:

12.2 Megapixel, a DIGIC III Imaging Processor, a 3.0" crystal clear LCD screen, live-view mode, noise reduction function, self sensor cleaning system, Max. 3.5 fps, up to 13 manual functions, 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec. shutter speed, ISO ranged from auto to 1600, aperture up too f 1.4 (depending on the lens you use), compatible with all EF-S and EF lenses, light and easy to carry around, and many more

(Please visit here)

I think that's all for now. Coming up, I'm gonna upload the photos I took using my 450D and write about the differences in lenses.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank mom and dad as well as my siblings for their support and help throughout my foundation year. Above all, praise God for His guidance all along. His grace is indeed sufficient.

Till then, take care and God bless.