Friday, December 26, 2003

The Yam children's Christmas dinner party was a hit! Haha... it was great to have the four of us take over the kitchen, and everything turned out great!

It was great to get together as a(n extended) family again to spend time with one another... and I certainly got to feed my mah-jongg craving this Christmas too! Haha... I guess the weird genes of the Yam family most likely come from my mom's side, which makes it technically a "Choi" thing... we had a lot of fun until 2.30 am playing 4 rounds of mah-jongg while listening to our parents sing karaoke and dance (ballroom =p) in the small living room... haha... it's so funny. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!

It's been quite a hectic Christmas holiday especially given my limited number of free days this year, and having to take care of various things for work...

I finally got to take a breather at a weird time today: waiting for the rest of my party to arrive at the restaurant for our occasional "cousins' get-together". It was finally a time where I could just sit, reflect, and praise Him for his unceasing strength, blessings, grace, and love, and especially for his ultimate sacrifice that frees us from the consequence of sinfulness...

Christmas service at church tonight was quite unexpected -- I knew there was a big production going on but I didn't expect an orchestra in addition to the mass choir... it was all pretty cool, and quite amazing. It's an awesome feeling to praise together in a large setting... I'm definitely looking forward to it at Urbana. =)

This year has also been really nice just to hang out with my family. That's the beauty of having 3 siblings... we can play mahjongg or Scrabble together without having to find extra people... or in the spirit of the Yam family, we can just be weird together. [We come home from bubble tea tonight at 12.30 and our dad just finished making some fish soup.] Haha... it's great. =)

Merry Christmas everyone. =)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
-- Isaiah 9:6



Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Ah... the annual Christmas "booking" game. I've switched from Excel to Palm Desktop software this year, haha.

This is also the first year that I have to find time after work to meet up with people who are back in town, not to mention consider how busy work is in the next week and a half... and it has been doubly difficult because time is even more limited since I'm leaving for Urbana on the 26th and I'm gone until the 3rd...

Crazy!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Oh Toronto...



I haven't gone skating at Nathan Phillips Square since high school... and there were surprisingly relatively few people there tonight! Coupled with the warmer than seasonal weather, it was a beautiful night! =)

On an aside, I was just randomly thinking today... technology has definitely brought the world closer together... communications are so much easier to keep in touch with people whom we've lost touch... but the most significant medium is neither email nor instant messaging, but rather, Google. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

So, now that CFA level 1 is over... what next?

Talks of CA.CBV are in the air... are there any takers?? But it's all a result of my upbringing: you can never have enough education. =p

Haha... although, it *is* nice to take it easy again now, not having to study after work. SO... maybe I'll find some time to have some "parties"... sophisticated ones only, of course. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

No time! No time! Can't believe there is only like... 2 weeks until Christmas! I have so much work to do before that... and I just kind of started another client today too...

Haha, as a result of last week's machine hours, I think I've readjusted my sleeping schedule to 2am... although, I'm not completely sure whether I had shifted it earlier than 2am for real anyway... =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

All finished! Haha, we'll see how it goes... results come out early February or something like that. I've been so disorganized with the CFA -- didn't meticulously look over the examination ticket and instructions, leisurely walked to the centre prior to the exam, didn't have my ziploc bag to hold my personal belongings... and if it weren't for Jonathan, I may not have had brought my calculator into the exam centre. =p

SO thankful this week is finally done with -- it was crazy at work, and I was trying to put in as many hours as possible studying -- "machine hours" are a lot harder at work when there is no real downtime to take power naps, but praise God for carrying me through it!

After the exam, we spent the rest of the day winding down watching the Leafs game (probably the first game that I've watched (almost) in its entirety), and playing an intense game of Scrabble over James Bond "Die Another Day". It was just nice to relax... at least for now before I have to catch up on a lot of work that I've backlogged from two weeks ago...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Ah!!! NEED TO STUDY!!!

CFA exam is on Saturday... doesn't help that this week is a busy one at work!!!

This week has been going back to university "machine hours"... which I have been sustaining somehow all by His strength...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

"Praise God praise God praise God!"

and "Thank you thank you thank you" for the many congratulations that I've received today! [To me, it is still "today" because I have not yet slept. =p]

I found out that I passed the UFE (Uniform Evaluation) today, marking the passing of the last major hurdle in the path to becoming a Chartered Accountant... but anyway, I guess it was still a "not a big deal" type of day for me because (as I have written below,) I think I moved onto my "next stage in life" after coming back to Toronto. However, it was nice to get a day off of work and get woken up shortly after 12pm to a number of congratulatory phone calls. =)

But as usual, upon looking back, I am evergrateful for the very much support that I've received from all ends over these years, and am in awe when recognizing all these good gifts that come from Him, the Father of lights.

Especially regarding personal achievements, it remains a struggle to imitate Christ's humility, to
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. -- Philippians 2:3-4

Friday, November 28, 2003

Work has been busy enough so far, but not as bad as it could be -- still expecting much worse to come. =p But having to study on top of working is slightly more tiring than "usual"... so I guess that's why I haven't had too much time to reflect lately... well, really, it's my own fault for misprioritizing...

Some thoughts regarding "life back at home":

It hit me a few weeks ago that I am finally *here*. I have done *it*, achieved *it*.

What, exactly?

The concept of education, in which my parents submerged me at a very young age, and constantly throughout my upbringing: "If you don't get a good education, you won't get a good job!" Despite these constant reminders, my parents were great in that they never put any pressure on me... and it turned out well for me because I guess I possess the necessary discipline for self-directed learning in an environment with *very* much freedom.

So starting with elementary school, I took to their challenge and strove for excellence in academics (while staying well-rounded with multiple extra-curricular activities, of course =p). Come to think of it though, I guess I internalized this challenge very early on -- I don't really recall my parents having to really sit down with me to do homework or anything... And despite a little rut in middle school (the worst two years of my life at J.B. TYRRELL, =p ) I continued to develop this concept, and sought to strive for excellence in all that I did.

I thought it was pretty funny that, during university, my mom would call me every so often and constantly tell me to sleep more, go out more, go find a boyfriend... [haha =p] because I shouldn't study *too* much. Regardless though, the reality of now having graduated from university suddenly set in on that day, and having been blessed with a good job upon graduation, I realized that I am *here*.

Wow. What now? *This* is it? [Not that it didn't feel good -- as from my previous entries, I *am* looking forward to working and just life in general as an "adult." =p] But I guess it's normal to experience "graduation syndrome", and that's how it hit me... finally achieving what I have been striving for, for approximately 20 years...

It's exciting. =)

As much as I liked university, I am very excited to work, build new relationships, try to balance life, find spirituality in the bustling city... it's very exciting. And something to really embrace... =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

[Not really a blog of substance... =p]

When I was in elementary school, beginning to learn English and the *ways* of Canadians, I always thought it was funny how sportsplayers only had their last name on their back as an identifier -- funny because the names sounded so natural and normal... so good thing no Chinese people played professional sports (back then) because then, it would sound so weird! "Lau passes it to Kiang..." No, doesn't really work. =p

But now, after all these years, "Yam" (by itself) actually sounds *normal*... who would have known... =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

GO.... YAM!! =)




Haha... yes, that is my sister, Karen Yam!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Last Saturday, October 25th marked the eighty-seventh convocation for the conferment of degrees at the University of Waterloo. Like all other convocations, the ceremony was long and monotonous, except for the occasional holler and cheer by appreciating fans.

However, this convocation was unique because it conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa to Ms. Pamela Wallin. We then had the privilege to receive Pamela Wallins' address to the Convocation, which, as a broadcaster and journalist by trade, was *much* more engaging than any other Convocation address that I've heard before.

Her message wasn't really original -- by now, even before graduation, we would have already heard x number of generic "charges to anyone enterring society," and indeed, the Convocation started with a [very drawn-out and slow] message by the Chancellor (Mike Lazaridis, Founder, President and Co-CEO of RIM) about the virtues of integrity. [It was like he had just woken up. =p]

But at least, Pamela Wallin's address was engaging, unlike many other convocation addresses... I was going to try and remember what she said, but here is only a brief summary -- i can't remember exactly. =p

-------

Generally, with graduation comes freedom, and with freedom comes the burden of choice -- indeed graduates will be faced with many more choices, and in making those choices, the following are good guidelines to form a framework for decision-making:

1. Be a realist. "An optimist looks to the long run as what is important. A cynic thinks the long-run is irrelevant. A realist believes that what happens in the past determines the long run, and that you can choose what that long run will be like."

2. Character trumps knowledge -- how you treat people speaks louder than how smart you are.

3. "Be stupid." -- meaning, be open-minded. Allow room for other concepts or opinions or ways that are different from yours, and learn from them.

4. Success is how you adapt to your circumstances. Especially given our rapidly changing times, one must constantly reinvent oneself, so a successful person will be able to move along th environment.

-------

Anyway, again, these aren't really revolutionary concepts, but it *was* nice to hear them from a dynamic speaker.

On an unrelated topic, I hope this blog will change the Google ads off of the "relationship problems" topic, e.g., "Save the marriage!" "Relationship saver" "Stop divorce now". Really, the blog was only about clicking... =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

O Canada...

It's kind of funny that when autumn rolls around, I often hear talk (usually about endeavours of Chinese parents) about [fung yip tun / feng ye tuan] -- roughly translated into: leaf tours. My parents actually went on one for the first time this year, taking a bus to Muskoka for the sole purpose of viewing leaves. Upon their return, my mom likened it to driving on the DVP...

Personally, I think the best leaves are on the Bayview Extension. =p

On an unrelated topic, pursuant to my friend Ina's blog re: "clicking", I would like to post this response:

I believe in clicking. =) This does not mean that I do not believe in the commitment and follow-through part though -- on the contrary, I believe that "agape" love is the only love that a relationship *should* exhibit. So to decipher through the different thoughts, I think this is an issue of a normative theory vs. a positive theory, where a positive theory outlines an empirical, practical viewpoint of what actually *happens*, whereas a normative theory outlines how a relationship *ought to* operate.

Starting with the normative theory, I believe that God created love as defined by himself -- unconditional, selfless, sacrificial -- He chose to love us first. Similarly, in a relationship, I think it *should* also be a rational choice to love the other party-- a choice that is not deterred by irrational emotions or circumstances. So can arranged marriages work? I think they can, as long as the parties fully commit to their relationship and work on it.

Onto to the "positive" side, I think that society has perhaps "watered down" love to be based more emotions, and I think it is true that in general, we are more non-committal than historical peoples. However, our society has given us the freedom to choose whoever we would like to "test" as a potential spouse, which can based on any number of factors or standards we choose. So to assist our choice, here is where I think "clicking" comes into play [yes, finally, my point. =p]

Clicking, to me, is simply a preliminary gauge of compatibility, the initial attraction that draws people together. Although it is not necessary (see above re: arranged marriages), it is part of today's times. Definitely though, it is not an end-all... from the "clicking" part, will two people understand how they jive, and see what activities or things in general they can pursue together to really become part of one another's lives and find God's will for them together. Without the clicking part, I think it is difficult to find the ways in which two people can grow together.

In summary, I think clicking is an important start to two people's journey together -- a journey that involves a lot of exploration and searching -- so without a general level of compatability and similar interests, I think it is very, very difficult. Again, I reiterate that ultimately, the goal is to find "agape" love, as love is *supposed* to be. =)

Thoughts? Comments? May the floodgates be opened. =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Finally went out to a client today -- it was fun. =) This is one of the aspects of being an auditor that I enjoy very much: being able to go outside (i.e., not get cooped up in an office all day) and talk to new people and learn about new businesses.

Get to sleep in too, because the client is in Markham... very nice. =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

So thus commences my "career" -- I've been back home for two weeks now, the first week going through training and this week doing "real" work.

As much as I am enjoying myself, (and I am!) I guess it is kind of surreal to think that I am achieving what I used to dream about in junior high and high school. Always part of the keen group, we planned our courses for all of high school going into grade nine... of course, there were annual adjustments, but that's just a fact of life -- you make your assessments and choices, and when new information comes, you incorporate them into your assessments: Bayes' theorem in Stats. [Haha... been studying for CFA.] I guess change was just something that I dealt with without really thinking about it.

As for work, it's been nice. =) It's exciting to try the challenges of balancing work with life -- the fun of meeting up with people lunch, or dinner or drinks after work, to be part of the rigourously-timed GO-train culture [hurry up! i've only got six minutes!] and enjoy whatever else in the remaining time [TSO!]. Perhaps I am still enchanted with working full-time... I'll reassess myself after busy season. [But then again, I always *have* been the workaholic, machine-type... =p]

I especially look forward to developing my skill set as a "senior": the first level of supervisory, I suppose. In any case, to me, it's cool understand the significance of this position not only for functional purposes (i.e., to complete an audit), but also in the development and growth of staff, where interpersonal relationships are of utmost importance, coupled with technical and soft skills development. It's exciting to build on my foundations that I learned being a leader in extra-curricular activities -- and not only that -- if CCF didn't have so many activities to necessitate strict time management, I think I would have much harder time now --> so yes, make sure you make use of school to also develop your soft skills too... !

In the end, the concepts of leadership, mentorship, teaching... and also of time management and organization... they are the same regardless of a corporate or a Christian context. Next... to see where I fit in the church...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I can't believe how tired I was -- slept for over 17 hours -- I haven't done that since third year, I think.

Anyway, again, my classmates and I just got back from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. Our ports of call were San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Martin, Netherlands-Antilles; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

San Juan is a quaint, historic city, and we took a walking tour around Old San Juan. The main interest points were La Fortelezza, which was originally constructed as a fort, but which is now used as the residence of the governor of Puerto Rico; and the Castille, which was the real fort which was constructed after La Fortelezza was found to be in a bad location for its purposes.

St. Martin / St. Maarten is a resort town -- very small, but has really nice beaches, so many high-end resorts are there. We went snorkelling here, and walked around the French side. St. Martin is interesting: half is owned by the Netherlands, half is owned by France.

St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and we mainly went snorkelling here... there were a LOT of fish! And since many tourists come here, the fish are not afraid of humans, and will swim up to us, so it was pretty cool to swim around schools of fish.

Nassau, Bahamas doesn't really need to be explained... high-end resort town, including the Atlantis Resort. We had the opportunity to visit Atlantis... it's huge and very nice! Very much like those big Las Vegas hotels, but with much better beaches, and an awesome water slide. Potential spot for our next vacation... =p

When we were not on shore, the cruise ship had a lot to do – the Explorer of the Seas has capacity for 3,114 passengers, and boasts an ice-skating rink and a rock-climbing wall. In the evenings, after the after-dinner entertainment, we were either people-watching in the Royal Promenade CafĂ©, dancing in the Chamber nightclub (when they weren't playing songs from the 70's =p), or in the Dizzy's nightclub, enjoying the Latin / Jazz band while watching people salsa / latin dance.

The average age on the Explorer would be the 40's… so the entertainment and music were mainly geared towards that age group, which made some things kind of boring. Good thing for Dizzy's nightclub, and ultimately, our companionship.

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

I'M BACK!

Cruise was awesome -- very good time with my classmates, and got a nice (controlled) tan.

More to come... very tired right now... =p

Until next time... tired...

Saturday, September 20, 2003

PACKING IS SO [MAH FAAN]!!!

Very, very tired... there is way too much stuff in my room from moving back home... no time no time!

Haha... off on vacation with my classmates on a celebratory, post-UFE cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Ina has a nice summary of our ports of call. =p Will be back in a week! =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Waterloo, I bid thee farewell... and I guess yesterday was a good day as any to experience what will probably be the last of my "machine mode" days -- the days are so much more difficult in full-time... and the body does not get any younger. =p

I will miss Waterloo. The barbeque yesterday reminded me about the community of believers that is there... this community that has been a major source of my growth over the past five years... this fellowship that never ceases to amaze me by seeing how much God has blessed it abundantly -- the number of ministries and the size of the events that are prepared, all by students (!) who juggle many, many other things at the same time… and the act of serving and how rewarding it is when we surrender our lives in service – I just saw how much I have neglected this area in the past few months… This fellowship will likely be the most dynamic fellowship that I have been a part of... whose members enthusiastically seek to strive for spiritual maturity to become men and women of God, and whose members are among the most talented people I know...

I will miss it all. But back at home lay challenges that we are destined to encounter, and whatever we have learned in the comfort of that community, we are to apply it elsewhere and to teach it to others -- no gift is useful if it is not shared... and the difficulty level is augmented as we need to juggle full-time jobs (!!) with everything else. And as daunting these challenges appear, God does not give us more than we can handle – and if he has given much more than we think is manageable, it is humbling to know that he does that only because he is willing to entrust us with those things… and all we really need to do is demonstrate faith.

But Waterloo, I will be back every so often to re-experience a glimpse of this community… And location has never changed how much care about people…

So until next time, this is (still the same) Gladys Yam. =)

Monday, September 15, 2003

T minus 1!!

Finally, the (first) day of the Uniform Final Evaluation has come -- essentially, the culmination of our university career!

Well, really, we just want to get it over with... this study period has been long enough. =p

Good luck, all... =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.
Joyce: The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. -- Zephaniah 3:17

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD ;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

-- Psalm 95:1-7

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

UFE studying is coming along -- actually, getting tired of studying, and want to just get it over with! (One more week to go!) But I'm enjoying my remaining time in Waterloo though...

I woke up at 6:30 for some reason this morning, and managed to catch the sunrise:



So pretty, so peaceful, so nice. =)

It's also kind of amazing how I can manage to do stuff when i'm half asleep and without glasses. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Change. Uncertainty. As much as we, as humans, hate it, there is no avoiding it.

For me, I think the first real encounter with change was in grade four when a good friend moved away. Fortunately, my friends and I were able to continue enjoying the rest of our elementary school careers after only a short grieving period. After changing schools a couple of times, we encountered Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in Chemistry. ["No duh… what kind of principle is that??"] And now in Masters of Accounting, we had an entire course devoted to Change Management.

One of the more interesting articles that we read was Surfing the Edge of Chaos by Richard Tanner Pascale, Mark Milleman, ad Linda Gioja. This article parallels the dynamics of survival by complex adaptive systems with those of organizations. Although the focus is different, I think the principles are also applicable to individuals. The most noteworthy one:

Equilibrium is a precursor to death

"What do you mean??" was my first reaction, especially considering the intended topic of this blog. In Chemistry, we learned that all reactions tend towards the equilibrium state; finding balance or equilibrium is often the objective to most efficiently utilize resources.

The authors argue their case based on a law of cybernetics, which states that survival of any organism depends on its capacity to cultivate, and not just tolerate, variety in its internal structure. For example, fish in the ocean are subject to many threats and variation, but are more robust as a result. Compare those fish to fish in aquariums, which are much more sensitive to the slightest disturbances.

Thus, yes, equilibrium is an objective, but not an end goal. To be able to cultivate variety in an equilibrium state means that we must not only be adaptive to change, but actively embrace it. As my friend Sherrie says, (who is on the more extreme end of the "embrace" spectrum,) "Life is about change: change means progress, and progress means that life is not stagnant. I certainly don't want to live a stagnant life."

Our comfortable lives now are only a result of *some* generation of individuals who decided to pursue a better life abroad. Consistent with the principle of the markets, the higher returns require the higher risks – and definitely, not only referring monetary or tangible rewards – think of the risks that people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Martin Luther took, and their effective rewards.

Although death as a result is a huge exaggeration for individuals, the significance of being averse to change is emphasized.

Looking to Scripture, nowhere does it indicate that we are to be happy where we are. In fact, complacency is one of the greatest dangers that we are to avoid. Instead, we are to constantly develop, mature, and transform ourselves [Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 12:2].

And even though uncertainties are inevitable along the way, we are comforted by his promise to guide us:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
-- Proverbs 3:5-6


Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Regularity, what a concept.

After having training in Toronto for 2 weeks, and currently adhering to a regular study schedule, it feels nice to go into a routine and just prepare for the UFE, which is on September 16-18... so that is coming up *very* quickly!! In any case, it has been quite nice... I guess to me, the UFE is just like any other final examination, and that's a good thing, because I *love* finals. Haha...

I *have* been sleeping early too! Usually, no later than 2am, which is quite significant! This brings me back to my pre-university days! Haha, it feels good to be regular though. =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Praise God. =)

It's this time of year again... if you know what I'm referring to. =p

In any case, I guess this is supposedly also kind of a "big year," with graduation, UFE, and whatnot... and yes, I praise God for bringing me through these five years of development. But as these five years draw to a close, these accomplishments were not the significant things that touched me today...

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from an old friend in Toronto. We were never really that close, and we didn't talk very much throughout my university life, but there were those times before when I guess I took some time to listen to his ranting and helped him figure some stuff out. It is humbling to see that he remembers and still appreciated little things like that... it has been very encouraging to receive simple notes from a number of people... much more appreciated than any gift I could ask for.

I am not proud of the many friendships with which God has blessed me over all these years...

But I am in awe from seeing how God has worked throughout all of my friendships, to know that people are touched and inspired and challenged not by my prompting or wisdom, but by His guidance and work... it is truly amazing to know that it is God who has used me in my weaknesses, and to be blessed with seeing the many fruits of his work.

It has been nice to hear from many old friends back in Toronto, and I look forward to going home and reconnecting from where we left off. And to a select audience, you know who you are, it does not mean that I will disconnect my friendships here, but that God will continue to challenge you in many different ways... as He continues to challenge me in many different ways in my new, old environment...

Praise God. =)

"Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises,
He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
-- Hosea 6:3

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

test test testing the new blogger interface -- i guess i haven't been here for a *long* time! =)

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Yes, indeed, convocation was fun on Saturday... thanks to all who came out, especially if you came from afar! =)

Even though convocation is intended as a celebration of academic achievement, it was a significant reminder to me of God's grace... of the many, many blessings that he has bestowed on me: beautiful weather =), opportunity to study, strength to get through the program, wonderful family, fun and caring friends, a community of believers... all despite my sinful human nature... our God is indeed an awesome God. =)

Here is my family [yes, I know, my siblings and I all don't look alike =p] and a sample of accountants: 3 more months to go, and we shall reconvene in October! =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.




Monday, June 09, 2003

What excites me?

I don't know, actually, I can't really pinpoint it. For one thing, I *really* do not care about my birthday... and really, very few significant events excite me... except that I started to jump up and down when I found a classic Stabilo Boss highlighter at Grand & Toy last term... so I don't know. =p

Hm... about anniversaries... I think it's interesting to see how different people regard them. [And maybe you can enlighten me, Sherrie] but I wouldn't be bothered to celebrate subannual anniversaries! Haha... [Sherrie: I just think your 9-month blog entry was funny... =p]

I suppose my analysis is as follows:

Birthdays, anniversaries all celebrate history: the completion of milestones, but yet the journey does not end. Besides, I don't particularly wish to celebrate aging. =p The few events that *do* excite me are perhaps just the celebrations of completion, for example:

ARCT Convocation - the end of I-don't-know-how-many-years-of-piano-practising and perhaps the development of expression and passion...

CCF Grad Dinner - the end of a short period where God has developed my spiritual walk and molded me into his servant, where I have been taught by many people and where I hope to have impacted others...

and finally:

My B.Math Convocation - the end of 4 years of post-secondary education has quickly come to an end, and I invite you to come join me this Saturday, June 14 @ 12pm outside the Student Life Centre at the University of Waterloo for pictures...

Hopefully it will be as fun as stationery! =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

I guess it's about time for an update... a summary of my going-ons in the past month:

April 20 - 27: Dominican Republic was a nice break, and it was fun to just hang out with my classmates for a week on the beach. =) Aside from the fun, it was awesome to see huge and beautiful God's creation... the expanse of the sea, the calming crashes of waves along the shore, the cool evening air... this hardly captures the scene, but I guess we can all imagine... =)

April 28 and on: Back to Waterloo for accounting UFE training before class on May 5. For whatever reason, I was *extremely* looking forward to training [really, no sarcasm there.] I was not at all sleepy despite my lack of sleep! Mainly because the topic for the first day was Assurance, and I knew I really need a brush-up of my technical skills in that area.

I know I often complain about my class (of accountants) being too keen... and they *are*!!! At the same time, I know it is something to really cherish. I mean, what could be a better study environment? Everyone's keenness is a natural motivator: everyone collectively creating an environment where a positive work ethic [*no* one is ever late for class... *everyone* does all the assigned readings in preparation for class...] and competence (technical, verbal, written, analytical) are respected, where everyone mutually encourages one another as we all proceed towards the UFE... even if it's out of fear of falling behind, it is a motivation just to be in this class. =p

Although it's only been a month since our last vacation, we're already planning our post-UFE cruise. [UFE is September 16, 17, 18.] My classmate scared me the other day: "You know what, in four months, we'll be on a cruise!"

Aiya... huge reality check for me. I am nowhere near being technically competent and able to succinctly write cases to pass the UFE! As a result, machine-mode has been engaged... for the next 3 and a half months... haha...

Of course, I know that my source of strength comes from God alone. No way could I sustain 20+ hour days on my own. =p

The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
— Psalm 29:11

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Yes, yes, yes, I am back!

Sorry I didn't really get many chances to blog over this past week...

In case you don't know from where I'm coming back, I went to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for a week with my classmates!

I *just* got back, but I have to get back to Waterloo tonight, and take care of some other stuff, like tuition... ugh... errands... =p so give me some time to update, please? =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Hey hey hey, quick blog...

Haven't had a chance to use internet, but will try to soon...

Trying to keep myself as white as possible, but that wasn't too effective since we played tennis at 12 noon today!!

Crazy? Yes.

Anyway...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

One more exam to go! But it's going to be a crazy week just making sure I take care of all my errands and living arrangement preparations before I leave on Friday and come back for training on April 28...

Here's an interesting article that I read today... well, maybe only especially interesting to me. =p

[excerpted]

We like to walk and talk, study says
By Roma Luciw, Globe and Mail Update

When it comes to cellphones, Canadians are among the world’s chattiest.

According to a study issued Monday by Ericsson Canada Inc., only the long-winded Americans ramble more than we do, logging an average 29 minutes a day on their mobile phones.

Meanwhile, Canadians spend an average of 19 daily minutes on their cellphones, well above the global average of 16 minutes. (Worldwide results were gathered from Brazil, China, Japan, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the U.S.)

Still, the Ericsson research shows that Canadians favour landline phones over mobiles by a large margin, spending 103 minutes a day on the fixed-line phones. The global average was 68 minutes a day on land phones.

More than half of Canadians, 56 per cent, own a mobile phone, compared with a global average of 68 per cent. Sweden topped the list of cellphone nations, with 93 per cent of Swedes owning a mobile phone.

Canadians spend an average of $41 a bill on their cellphones, lower than a global tally of $60. In comparison, Canadians dish out $50 a month on their regular phones and $34 a month for Internet access.
...

Anyway, my only reaction is: 19 minutes?? That's *nothing*!! =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam

Saturday, April 05, 2003

What a day... actually, what a week. It's been one of those really long weeks... I can't believe management project was only 3 days ago — it feels like it was at least a couple of weeks ago. I guess time just stands still when we're having fun studying for finals... LOL =p

On an aside, I went to the passport office with a friend today because we both needed to renew our passports. Having been cautioned with a personal horror story, [two Fridays ago, Vonne went to get hers done and the process took upwards of 6 hours, (?!?)] we decided to trek out early and get there by 8:45, when the office opened. Duration of process: in and out in 45 minutes. Nice! So the moral of the story is, if you want to get your passport done quickly, go early in an ice storm. Also, on the way back, I thought this was worth capturing:



I tell you! Icicles are really hazardous! They're scary! =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Completed! I must say, I was quite impressed with our management group, turning around our 30% project in a couple of days... I would estimate the number of productive hours that we spent on writing the report and preparing the presentation to be less than 24 hours. =p Yesterday, Teresa's house was basically the "management project house"... her housemate is in our class too. Typical of accountants — this looks like a typical audit team. =p




But now that our management project is complete, we have now finished all of the work for this term, which means that I am back into final exams mode.... [sigh]... finals, oh finals... how I enjoy thee...!! LOL... Back to my home away from home away from home in DC! =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, March 24, 2003

CCF Grad Dinner... typical of the fellowship: a couple weeks of hard work leading to many recent late/sleepless nights in preparation for the night that, in my opinion, epitomizes the essence of the Chinese Christian Fellowship.

Haha, also typical of the fellowship, I'm sure all of the hundreds of photos have already been transferred to computer and uploaded by now. =p [sorry for my untimely blog -- it's been busy...]

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 1:3-6


Although main objective of night is to honour this year's graduates for their many different roles in our lives, in the end, it is inevitable that we direct our attention to the sovereign God who put us here, together, in the first place. God has formed this fellowship for his purpose, and as a body of Christ, we each play a different part in it. As a fellowship, we've stuck together through many things, and grad dinner is one of these perhaps rare nights when we just rejoice:

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. —1 Corinthians 12:26


And so, we praise God for his providence, for his perfect plan, for having let us experience one another's lives, for developing some of our friendships that may soon dissipate, and others that will last a lifetime — all that will last an eternity. Although it is difficult to say whether we have successfully achieved what a fellowship should be, that has been our goal... and of course, that goal does not stop here, and we (grads) henceforth challenge the undergrads to carry on the vision and the good news... =)

To make this night possible, *many* people were behind the scenes [literally, behind the camera, behind the computer workstations]... and I think they were extremely underappreciated... so many thanks to:

Pearl — amazing job... aren't you glad the chaos has come to an end??

Dennis, Yu-ling — very good directors, both of you! and excellent job on the movie! Dennis: sorry if us actors drove you crazy with our silliness [well, especially Tim, haha] during filming =p

Alexis, Johny, Mike, Patty, Waiki, and other honorary residents of the Westcourt house Grad Dinner headquarters — I know you all practically lived there last week! Hope you guys finally caught up on sleep. =)

Alex, Candy, Dan, Deb, Genuine, Jeff, Raph, Sophia, Steph, Tania, and many many more that I'm sure I missed — I know how busy everyone has been this term, and all of your time is greatly appreciated! =)

"I thank God each time I think of you..."

Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Mentorship and Leadership... Just a couple of topics that have been on my mind lately, what with the outset of the University of Waterloo Chinese Christian Fellowship elections subcommittee...

Signs of age -- discussions of the fellowship: the future direction of the fellowship, how we are to carry the vision out, and with what resources would we employ to fulfill the vision...

Resources, undoubtedly, being people.

It never ceases to amaze me -- the talent with which God has blessed our fellowship. It is somewhat mindboggling to fully grasp the extent of manpower that the fellowship requires and utilises to complete the many initiatives that it establishes. To name a few, weekly Friday night programs that cater to 100+ people, a number of various small groups that meet weekly, once a term productions including refreshments for upwards to 400 people... all on top of our normal academic careers and personal lives. Incredible. Definitely, nothing could happen without the strength of God; we would not be able to accomplish anything.

Practically speaking, however, it would be impossible to start everything from scratch. I mean, whatever learning curve we pick up should be transferred to the next generation -- a sensible concept whether it be explained in terms of the environment (reuse and recycle!), management efficiency (eliminate non-value-added and redundant activities), economics (reduce fixed costs), or whatnot.

Anyway, my point is that as a fellowship, we are continuously in training, equipping the future leaders of the fellowship. Which brings me to my main topic: Who is a leader? What makes a person a leader?

Sure, a gesture such as the undertaking of an initiative rings a clear message. What about age? I know that age itself does not necessarily say anything in particular. Nonetheless, I think it is a reality [whether you choose to accept it or not] that "seniors" (i.e., 3rd year and on?), at least, are automatically perceived as leaders. The question is, then, do perceptions of someone affect how he/she chooses to *be*?

As always, extremities are never desirable. On one hand, we are not to be as callous as to go about our own ways without regard to what people think at all. On the other, we are not to be as easily influenced as to lack any personal conviction. The balance? "...make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." —Romans 14:13. It would be ignorant to avoid perceptions of oneself; at the very minimum, one should examine one's conduct, that it not cause others to stumble. However, what people perceive and thus take as examples of leadership will be retained and carried on. Ultimately, one must think hard of the question of choosing to accept these perceptions, and resultingly, choosing to adopt the role of a leader. I do not think it is a question to be ignored -- ignorance is unacceptable.

On a recent car ride home, we were challenged to think about people who have made us up -- those who have spent time to mentor, influence, and nurture our growth. I know that who I am today is greatly attributed to their time and care. Although it is easy to just be grateful for them, the next logical question is, For whom have you had the honour to mentor, to influence, to nurture *their* growth?

I know that my mentors have been a true blessing in my life, and I have learned much from them. As with all of God's gifts, however, I think that they are to be used. The parable of the talents [Matt. 25:14-30] / ten minas [Luke 19:14-27] illustrates that we are to invest with whatever God has entrusted us; it would only be selfish to receive his gifts for ourselves and keep it at that.

Now that I'm in my last year, at times I have been regarded as "ancient" in the fellowship [but I still challenge anyone to DDR anyday! =p], I think I have more or less adopted a role as a leader. As much as I have tried to challenge some of the younger ones in the fellowship, it has been a two-way street, which has been cool. =) I do not agree that only mentors can influence us; I think any number of people can challenge us and make us think, and I have learned much from many people younger than me.

Notwithstanding the pragmatic issue of training, I think mentorship stems out of love, that we want to expend the energy to build up a fellow brother or sister. Indeed, it is a privilege to be allowed into someone else's life, to know that they honestly consider my opinions and advices... and most gratifyingly, to the point where I can reach out to the person, not "below" me as a mentee, but alongside as a peer -- a beginning of a lifelong partnership to carry on the good work until the day of completion.

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

An article that my sister brought to my attention a little while back. Well, at least it was amusing to us. =p

I yam what I yam

Today's question, brought to you by Knight-Ridder news agency is: What's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? First, potatoes are tubers. Sweet potatoes are roots. Also, U.S. growers would like for all of us to stop writing two words for sweet potatoes. They insist the proper spelling is sweetpotato — one word. There was no word on whether Dan Quail would add an "e" or not.

A real yam is grown primarily in Africa and the Caribbean, and is darker on the outside, pure white inside. The sweet potato is copper-coloured with a golden-red flesh. The confusion began when slaves compared the sweet potato with the "nyamis" of their homeland. Nyamis became yams, and the two terms became interchangeable. The confusion continues today as the duo are often mislabelled.

The original article in the Toronto Star

Until next time, this is Gladys YAM.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Well, to continue some analysis of Les Miserables, I am sure it is apparent to all, but I thought it was cool how the theme of grace constantly prevailed over the law...

Despite the righteousness that comes with abiding with the law: "You have done your duty, nothing more," in the end, the law cannot prevail over grace:

And must I now begin to doubt,
Who never doubted all these years?
My heart is stone and still it trembles
The world I have known is lost in shadow.
Is he from heaven or from hell?
And does he know
That granting me my life today
This man has killed me even so?
...
It is either Valjean or Javert!


And what of the final statement,
"To love another person is to see the face of God."?

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
–– Matthew 26:40

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Peace.

It has been a while since I have experienced peace in our apartment -- my roommates have left Waterloo for reading week. Not that I don't enjoy the [yeet lau] loud fun when it *is* here, but it is definitely nice to once in a while recline from my usual whirlwind of activities, throw on some jazz tunes, and reflect...

Les Miserables

Definitely my favourite musical. I used to, and still do, empathize with the character of Eponine, the tragic heroine who does not win the heart of her guy. I've always loved "On My Own" due to its relability, although right now, I can't say I really pine for anyone in particular... =p Anyway, the point of this reflection is not about relationships...

If I were to sum up the musical in one word, it would be grace. No doubt, it was writen with such a theme in mind, but the following are just a few extracts of my analyses...

Contrary to the functionings of the world, not everything is about what we deserve... Yes, the world is unfair; he did not deserve to be ostracized by society when he tried to look for a normal job, but after the Bishop of Digne treated him kindly, Valjean stepped back and asked, "Why? Why are you so nice to me?" To which the bishop replied,

But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man.


Following the Bishop's challenge, Valjean decides to turn from his old self. No, actually, more than that: he kills his old self and begins anew. Easier said than done, I know, but with a complete change in attitude and mindset towards his new goal, obstacles *will* be overcome.

[more to come]

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Good morning. =)

Oh, the joys of online courses: supplemental in-class sessions on Saturdays at 9:30am.

I'm in a lab in Carl Pollock Hall... I cannot get over how nice this lab is!!

Anyway, back to work...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Sorry, I've been busy with various things, as usual... This is a cheap post, actually; it's not written by me, but I thought it was interesting and it also goes back to the initial topic of this blog: BALANCE. =)

-----

Keeping the balance in your life
By Rick Warren

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” —Luke 2:52 (NIV)

The Law of Balance is built into our universe. For things to function properly there must be equilibrium.

For example …

… The Earth doesn't vibrate when it rotates because it is balanced on its axis. And we neither freeze to death nor burn up because we are just the right distance from the sun.

… Nature exists in balanced ecosystems. God has built checks and balances into nature that keep the food chain in order.

… In Architecture, the stress on a building must be balanced or it will collapse.

… The Human Body works best when our systems are balanced. Imbalance is called "illness.” Restoring balance is called "healing.”

One of the most common problems I see are people living imbalanced lives. It’s a disease with many symptoms but the same root cause. You can become imbalanced with anything - working, eating, sleeping, playing, TV, sex …etc.

The fact is - many people tend to pay more attention to their PUBLIC lives and neglect their PRIVATE side. Like poor photographs, they are overexposed and underdeveloped.

The results of imbalance are always the same: frustration and fatigue. Like imbalanced tires, you wear out quickly. Imbalance unchecked eventually leads to burnout.

A number of years ago, Dr. Charles Garfield did a landmark study on "Peak Performers"- those who were leaders in their respective fields. One of the common denominators of peak performers was that - contrary to popular myth - they were not single minded workaholics but rather balanced
individuals.

The most balanced person who ever lived was Jesus Christ. In one translation, the Bible says he "grew intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.” (Luke 2:52)

How would you rate yourself in these four categories of growth?
Is there balance in your life or have you neglected one or more of these key areas?

Let me challenge you to do a personal check-up this week:

- Am I mentally sharper than 5 years ago? Why not?
- Will I do anything about it?
- Am I frequently complaining of fatigue or poor health?
What's my plan to change?
- Am I developing the spiritual side of my life? What am I doing
to better understand God and his purpose for my life?
- Am I cultivating meaningful relationships where support is
given and received?
- Who can count on me as a genuine friend?

-PDL-

Copyright 2002 by Rick Warren.
Rick Warren is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Agism.

Or, if you prefer, ageism; both spellings are acceptable.

“Prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group.” [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]. Based on empirical occurrence, I mainly try to address the discrimination of maturity against younger age groups.

It is a concept that I never knew existed until now; when I was younger I seldom had the privilege of dealing with many of my elders to be on the receiving end of any discrimination. Either that, or I was never possessed such strength of character to be resentful of any subordinate treatment due to my age.

It appears that younger age groups have had to endure the judgement that they are less mature or even immature solely because they are younger. From this assumption stems the argument that maturity is not solely dependent on one’s age.

And I agree.

Maturity, (I think) an elusive concept that we attempt to achieve in our years, does not possess a causal relationship to age. An associated relationship though, perhaps. [Herein kicks in my statistical background. =P] However, to explore this issue, “maturity” must first be defined…

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Back to normal...

Well, this term is not *quite* as normal. So far, Masters of Accounting has been interesting, to say the least. Everything seems to be in disarray: the online registration system has been down so we could not check our schedules in time for class, coursenotes will not be available until next week while we need to prepare for class, the finance component of the electronic system often has discrepancies... Generally, we don't really know what we're doing . =P

On an aside, it is sad to see the state of our "technologically advanced school." It makes me wonder where the list of management letter points, as a result of the annual audit, has disappeared to.

Coming from a pretty lax fall term (save the learning of full courses before the finals; I have not slacked so badly before in my life!) and the "Play hard!" component of my personal maxim, it does not feel like Masters at all, especially since I have been accustomed to taking six courses as my normal courseload.

(As usual,) I think I overestimated the amount of time we had for Masters (the notion that this Masters is of minimal value still exists...), but things are slowly forming up. The amount of readings that we need to do prior to each class is incredible, and having to endure through 3-hour lectures for *all* of our courses is *quite* onerous...

Hello coffee.... "oh sweet elixir..." =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Happy New Year!

I like pancakes!

Especially at 1:30am! =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.