Awakening – Jews for Jesus

AWAKENING is an eye-opening documentary about the Jews in New York City who are passionate about Jesus like never before. It is the beginning of the prophecy of the 144,000 mentioned in the Book of Revelations in the New Testament of the Bible. I am sure this documentary will inspire Jews, Christians, and other people from around the world, with the movement possibly spreading to other major cities with both Jews and Gentiles present. It is about bringing the gospel to the hearts of the people who matter to God most – the Jews as God’s chosen people, as well as to the rest of the world – the Gentiles.

Carefully touching the challenges of evangelism in a cosmopolitan city like New York, the documentary reveals how Jews can be fulfilling the Great Commission in their own bold manner, sometimes in ways not seen in other Christian evangelism efforts. It is a testimony of the love of Christ being poured upon the streets by the children of God who are not ashamed of their identity, their culture, their roots, their race and their Savior. This film certainly answers what it means to be His salt and light in the world, and is a great example to many Christians to follow. The methods should not different; for we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation for those who believe (Romans 1:16).

Final Leg of Internship

The last leg of my internship was really busy. There was a deadline we had to work on and I worked for 12 hours for one of the days, doing up graphics in Photoshop and Illustrator. Also, my JavaScript/Jquery skills probably went up by a notch as I had to code many functions for the website to work. I did not expect myself to write so many lines of code! I helped my boss re-edit a short video piece. As it was towards the end of my internship, I began to consolidate my files and started to write some documentation to handover to my boss before I leave. At this point of time, many of the interns are leaving as well, and it was sad to see the office getting quieter. My boss could not bear me to leave, and he even considered sponsoring me to return to work for him in future. How undeserving I felt!

Here’s a quick summary list of the things I learnt in this internship:
– Technical skills: JQuery, HTML5 / CSS3, Pachube
– People skills: Working with other interns, satisfying the views of different people

Around NYC

As I was leaving, I packed my weekends with as many activities as I could. My friend visited me and we went for a trip down to Washington DC and Baltimore, and we did a road trip to Niagara Falls. DC is pretty amazing with so many free museums and monuments. The reason I wanted to check out Baltimore was because Marina Bay was modelled after the Inner Harbor, but it turned out to be quite disappointing. The road trip was the best as we popped by Buffalo for…Buffalo wings! Niagara Falls was cool as we could get down for a shower on the American side. We also went to Letchsworth State Park on the way back, the “grand canyon of the east”. Well there was one part where there was a canyon, but it is neither huge nor grand. The last two weekends I squeezed all the attractions which I haven’t seen, such as the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanic Gardens, Empire State Building, America Museum of Natural History and Guggenheim Museum. I also attended a concert by the Newsboys at Central Park and visited different churches. The final few days were busy meeting different people as final goodbye dinners, having exotic Mexican and French food, and having a final dinner with my boss.

I think I will miss sitting beside the East River below the Manhattan Bridge during lunch, listening to the trains passing by, looking at the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. On my final morning, I took the free Staten Island ferry for the third time and watched the sunset, breathed the cool 20 degree lower Manhattan morning rush hour breeze, before setting off for the airport.

Rough but Crowned with Goodness

The past week has been a rough one. Firstly my boss was rushing for a deadline on Friday to apply for a grant, hence we had to work extra hard everyday. On Thursday I worked for more than 12 hours till 11pm, skipping dinner even lol. I had to do many mockups of webpages and some infographics, HTML, CSS and video editing. It was also tough as in hectic times one gets worked up and hence causes minor arguements. But it was all good.

And then my arm old injury started to act up again. Can’t remember how I aggravated it, probably while stretching for exercise I think. and maybe because sitting too long at a computer is also not very good. Thus it kept getting twisted and I have to twist the muscle back. For two mornings it tormented me like a torn in the flesh. I woke up feeling dizzy on Thursday morning, as if I was very weak and my eyes couldn’t open. On Friday morning, my involuntary stretching while waking up twisted it while I was still lying on the bed, and it took me a while to twist is back. I was like speaking in tongues and trying to twist back my incapacitated arm for a long while. Felt like I was helpless and my right arm glued to the bed. All my blood and energy is like flowing to my arm and I was trembling…Finally I managed to twist it back. Praise God. But it acted up again while I was jumping from one pavement to another, and even while opening a heavy door! Argh. Jesus was bruised, cracked his arms on the cross, and by his stripes, I AM HEALED. His grace is sufficient in my weakness.

And on Saturday, my friend and I checked out Flushing for the alternative Chinatown and saw so many Chinese people, supermarkets, bubble tea and street food along the main street. They look out of place in a city like New York, but I felt right in place there. We went to eat a Chinese buffet with seafood at this restaurant called East Buffet. I ate two or three plates and I felt very full unusually. Then I went to the restroom, I thought I wanted to pee, then before I knew it, I had diarrhoea! It was disgusting…I think it was the lobsters or the crabs which were not fresh, cos usually I’m not allergic to anything. The bad thing was it cost $32 and I almost wanted to complain and ask for a refund, but I didn’t.

And another thing that happened was that my watch’s display cracked slightly. Grr. And I lost my laundry net at the Laundromat…usually I leave it there on top of the washing machine and it was fine, but this time someone took it! Argh.

But no weapon formed against me shall prosper! The enemy has been defeated! We are victorious!

At the same time everything else was happening, on Saturday NYC time, which is Sunday in Singapore, our rag and flag documentary was featured in The Sunday Times. It was really unmerited favour as I do not know how the reporters found out about it. Even though they did not quote my email interview and did not put our link, it was still good publicity. More to come! On Sunday, it was another awesome weekend of “Jesus be the center” at HillsongNYC!

Time flies, one more week and I’m back home. Although I still have a long list of things to do, I can’t wait to be back too.

Work, GoogleNYC, Forts

This month got busier as there were many meetings throughout the week. We met up with most of the people in the team, and managed to discuss some statistics and indices which we are interested to monitor for our website, and how to go about creating a suitable analysis or visualisation for all these data. To prepare for this, I played with the Pachube API to be able to create datastreams and push data unto it, and Pachube allows us to store all these data and output as a graph or various other means. It was interesting to be able to use my raw PHP and Javascript skills to push and get data from a server. I learnt how JSON and XML requests works, and how to use AJAX to interact with all these data. It was quite insightful.

After that, as we get closer to the website launch, I began to create HTML/CSS templates for our website. It was a tedious process to convert the design graphic into multi-browser compatible code, it can be quite a pain. We tried to rush a demo so that my boss can show something to grant organisations. Along the way, I learnt the basics of the newer HTML5 and CSS3, which is still pretty fresh to me. I am still having difficulty making it compatible with all browsers.

We also have some new people on our team, and I created a list of to-dos and agenda for a User Experience (UX) discussion. As our website is still pretty in the mockup stage, there were a lot of questions in my mind about where do things go and how to certain things work. Some of the questions could not be answered immediately, and we had 2 meetings to talk about them. The first meeting was a more generic one with the rest of the producers in the team, while the second meeting was a more in-depth meeting to talk about user interface, user friendliness and interactivity. An important component is to how social networking works and where should they be featured in the page. I also learnt how important it is to have “call to action” buttons and links, to motivate users to explore the page.

Google NYC

I visited the GoogleNYC office here in Manhattan for a meetup about their 20% projects. 20% is the time Google engineers set aside to do projects outside of their normal job scope, to test and experiment new stuff that they might be interested in. There were many tech-savvy people at the talk, and of course, Google always feed people with good food. The 3 speakers talked about Google Spreadsheets and Docs, and also about the Google Art Project ( It is interesting to see how the Google Maps and Street View technology was used to capture a virtual tour experience of a museum, allowing users to zoom in close to paintings and pictures. Very cool indeed! You do not need to visit the museum anymore!

Around NYC

The last few weekends, I visited a number of forts: Fort Jay in Governor’s Island, and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. It was nice to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, out of the island, into places which are more peaceful and quiet. I also visited the United Nations building and the Museum of Modern Art. There is a television broadcast studio branch of Trinity Broadcasting Network here, and I attended one of the recordings which was a Christian talkshow. It was very interesting to see how such a recording is done, with the cameras and the director’s prompting, and being part of the audience.

A typical day in the life of an intern in NYC

Work starts at 10am for my company, so usually I wake up at 9am, grab some breakfast, and take the subway to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) near downtown Brooklyn. As it is just past the peak hours, the train is not that crowded, but the frequency is not as good. Inside the train, there are all kinds of people, Caucasians, Asians, Mexicans, African Americans, Jews etc. It is quite an interesting multicultural sight that is different from Singapore.

Once at the office, a coffee a day keeps the sleep away. There’s free coffee provided at the green desk office in the morning, which has become my daily fix with coffeemate. My boss usually comes in slightly later, hence he assigns us work before by email or through the staff blog.

Around 1pm or 1.30pm, I will go for lunch. The not so cool thing about DUMBO neighborhood is that the food is kind of “atas” (up class) and most of the food is slightly expensive. There are a couple of nice deli/supermarkets that has salads, sushi (yes, Japanese sushi), sandwiches, burritos, paninis, rolls and heroes. (Rolls are like burgers while heroes are 6-inch sandwiches). One of the cheapest places to eat is Front St Pizza, which sells all kinds of Italian-American stuff from pastas, calzones, pinwheels and burgers. There are also a couple of shops which sell Spanish-American food, which is rice, beans and chicken or beef stew, and Cuban sandwiches. Usually I have lunch with one other intern, sometimes we walk around the Brooklyn Bridge Park for a breather, or just around the shops in the neighbourhood. I’ve also recently realised that Chinatown is just one subway stop from my workplace, hence it is a nice escape for bubble tea and Chinese food shops which sell $5 lunch as opposed to $8. And where else can you find Breadtalk-style pork floss bread and egg tarts and Malaysian beef jerky (which is Bak Kwa)?

After lunch, I am back to work in the office. The last two weeks were less busy. I was setting up WordPress for my boss website and integrating it with the current design, which wasn’t too difficult. I learnt how to do http 301 redirects too. I also sent numerous days fixing an email bug in the staff blog, reading up on facebook and twitter for journalists. There were also two meetings which we met up with the rest of the team and catch up with one another, discussing about tracking news events around the world. Also, the last few days I was working on Pachube through its API using PHP and JavaScript. I learnt a bit of Ajax forms, using JQuery, pretty cool and fun.
At about 6 or 7pm, I will usually summarize to my boss what I’ve done for the day, before heading out. Sometimes, on good days, my boss will bring us for a beer at the bar downstairs as it is happy hour before 7pm. We will have a drink and chill or talk about some work.

Around NYC

Independence Day weekend just passed, and we went to Hoboken in New Jersey to catch a glimpse of the July 4th fireworks along the Hudson River. It was a good view, and possibly less crowded than watching it from Manhattan. New Jersey is a neater and quieter side of the region, less urbanised and more open spaces. Liberty State Park has a nice view of the harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline. I also visited the Intrepid, which is an aircraft carrier, an air, space and science museum. It also includes a peep into the Concorde, and a submarine which once carried nuclear missiles during the Cold War. I also watched Mary Poppins, the Disney musical, with some other interns here, and it was really beautiful.

Recently, I started volunteering at HillsongNYC church, helping out in lyrics/slides projection during two of the Sunday services. Although the hours to volunteer are long (7 hours on a Sunday), it is an honour to serve in church, like a dream come true, and to be one of the few Asians around! The church services are held in a rented club space at Irving Plaza, and there are lines forming every week for the 4 services on Sundays.

I also volunteered for the NYC Relief Bus on Saturday morning. It is a bus which goes to a less well-off neighbourhood in New York City, such as Bronx and Harlem, to serve food, distribute clothes to the needy, and just to be there for the people, especially the not so rich ones and homeless people along the streets. Every Saturday morning for 4 hours, these volunteers will serve soup and bread, and there will be lines to receive extra clothing and a week’s supply of bread for individuals. It is really a blessing to be able to volunteer in such an effort to reach out to the poorer people in a congested city like New York.

Working in Brooklyn

16 June to 30 June 2011


The company is launching a new news website, and we are in the midst of preparing and the programmer is working on it. I was helping my boss to tidy up the press kit in Photoshop and PowerPoint and to convert it to a small size PDF suitable for online sharing.
I was finishing up my boss personal website, touching a bit of Jquery to add pagination and tabs onto the long webpages, as well as designing a new page for his book in Photoshop. He wanted a ‘theatre marquee’ kind of look, so I used Illustrator to draw out the shapes in perspective and exported to Photoshop later. I also had to play around with Jplayer to embed an audio player onto the webpages. It took me one extra day to integrate all these elements together into the book page which has many sections. Here is a screenshot of the finished webpage:

We met one of my boss’ partners and got introduced into this “internet-of-things” API called Pachube. It allows one to log data from various sources and output them into a data feed. I spent some time using PHP to play with the API to input and output data, it was pretty interesting. We intend to use this system to get data from all over the world for our website.
I also suggested to setup an internal staff blog for all the interns to share stuff, somewhat like a mini-news-group.
As part of the research regarding our website, I read up on twitter and facebook strategies, as well as finding news websites from Singapore and Malaysia, since I know them better, while other interns are collecting such websites from the rest of the world.
One of the days, our boss brought us on the field trip to watch PageOne, a documentary about the New York Times, behind the scenes of a newspaper and the possible future due to the expansion of the internet. It was a very interesting film which opened our eyes into the world behind journalism.

Around NYC

Summer is the time for parades in New York. I went to Coney Island with another intern, Hans, to see the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. One week later, I went to see the NYC Pride parade celebrating gay rights in Manhattan. Both parades were filled with many crazy people dressed in all kinds of costumes (or none). The Mermaid Parade had more interesting costumes especially with the ladies dressing like mermaids, while the Pride parade was part-march part-parade, as they celebrated the just-approved legalization of gay marriage in New York State. There were also many interesting vehicles and well-decorated floats, with music blasting from most of them, and dancing along the streets. It was indeed eye-opening.

Over the weeks, I also visited the many little parks within NYC, such as High Line Park, Washington Square, Union Square, Madison Square, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park and of course, Central Park. It is nice to see pockets of greenery where people like to read, lie on the grass and sunbathe. Americans definitely love the sun more than we do since summer is only once a year. However, summer also makes the trees all green like Singapore. I also took the ferry along the East River, which offered nice views of the Manhattan skyline.

I also went to catch the Owl City concert with a friend. It was awesome. There were 2 guest bands and he didn’t come till like 9pm, while it start at 7pm. It wasn’t very well promoted, hence it wasn’t full house. The lighting design was really really good, they had 3 circular truss, with small moving LED automated lights. They form like owl eyes, also look like heart shape. The circular shape of the truss created very cool effects on the backlighting, and it was used very effectively along with the colours and smoke. I love the lights! There was also a cool part which he did a duet with a rapper guy, and the rapper was actually a video projection on stage, synced with the audio and as if they were looking at each other. Amazing stuff.

I also went to a number of churches so far, Upper Manhattan Church of Christ, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Times Square Church, and of course, HillsongNYC.

Arriving in the Big Apple

11 June 2011

I arrived at JFK Airport in New York City on a cloudy drizzling Saturday morning. The weather was pretty cool at 19 degrees Celsius, one of the lows for summer. As I do not have a room to stay yet, I went to my boss’ apartment in Park Slope to stay for the time being. Since I’ve been NYC before, I had no problems navigating the complicated subway system, which is unlike Singapore’s friendly and clearly labelled one.

Park Slope is a nice slightly upper class neighbourhood with many nice brick houses and old stone churches in every other block. My boss’ apartment is quite big and he allowed me to coach surf. After making a few calls to various potential listings on craigslist, my boss kindly drove me around 3 houses to take a look. Actually, he was very nice, he actually helped me look at one house before I came, but he thought it wasn’t that good. The first two houses were in Bed-Stuy, and were in slightly dubious-looking areas. The rooms were nice, one was unfurnished and without a window, the other was large and came with a bed. However, the house is like hidden behind a long garden. The last house was in Kensingston and it was the best choice: the guy is subletting to me for 2 months as he was flying off, and is letting me use all his furniture: bed, study table and everything. It is a nice basement room, hence is kept cool for the summer, no aircon or fans needed. The best part is, it is just across the street the subway station exit.  Thus, without much ado, I accepted that apartment and moved in on Tuesday.

13 June 2011

My workplace is located in a cool neighbourhood called DUMBO: Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, just near the harbour. It is a very small office, with only 4 desks, but there are many interns. The first day of work at Armistice Media was a little more like orientation, listening to what was going on in the company, and talking to the various interns. Most of the interns were part-time, and there was a very professional guy doing the programming and he talk more computing lingo than I could understand. There was a meeting and I sat in, and we talked about plans for our upcoming website, Newsmotion. Working hours are very comfortable, about 10am – 7pm.

The next few days was spent working on my boss’ personal website, I helped to design a new background, and to transit all the leftover pages to the new design. It was quite simple work, and often involved trial and error, and also verifying to make sure my boss is satisfied with it. Also, it trained up my html handcoding skills which were a little raw as I was used to using Dreamweaver. I also assisted to do a press kit in Photoshop.

Around NYC

Given the few days I was here, I have not really travelled far. However as I was quite familiar with certain areas, hence I tried to explore areas which I have not been before. On Sunday, I went to meet Hans, one of the other interns here, at Upper West Manhattan Church of Christ, and then we went to visit a huge old church – Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I also went around Union Square, and visited HillsongNYC Church at Irving Plaza. At Union Square, there were a large group of people gathering around a street performance, in which a guy jumped over a girl standing up, and then jumped over like 5 girls later. It was amazing.

I love shopping at those mega superstores, like Target, K-mart, and Best Buy. They are cool places to buy groceries and whatever you may need.