Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Fighting for Time...

I have not been blogging regularly for the past couple of months. It's not that I have nothing to blog - there are many issues swimming in my head at the moment that I wish I am able to put them into writing. It's just that I am too occupied with too many things in the seminary. Sometimes I wish I have 48 hours in a day; sometimes I wish I only need to sleep for 4 hours at night.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling rather depressed every time I walk into my office. When I see the piles of stuff on my desk, check my to-do-list, and be reminded of the many yet to be replied emails, I feel like drowning. Yet - my thesis student is crying for help; my M Theol student is also waiting to see me; and another D Theol thesis is waiting to be examined.

Fighting for time is a constant battle. Yet when we as lecturer are unable to give time to the students as a result of our tight schedule and workload, are we less pastoral? For example, my thesis student would like to see me urgently tomorrow. Yet my schedule for tomorrow looks like this:

9.00-10.30am - Travelling from Kuala Lumpur to the seminary
11.00-1.00pm - Community Chapel service
1.00-1.30pm - Lunch
1.30-4.30pm - Guided study for Readings in Greek for 2 students
4.30-7.00pm - Faculty Meeting
7.00-9.00pm - Faculty farewell dinner for my colleague who will be on sabbatical for a year beginning September

Looks like the only time I can see my thesis student is after 9.30pm, if I am still standing.

Am I less pastoral when there is simply no time to see my student and that he has to wait till 9.30pm to see me? By the time I head back to my apartment, it would most likely be after 10.30pm.....

19 comments:

yourshoeah said...

Speaking of which, who is a pastor to the pastors? Looks like its not only the students that are guilty of burning the candle both ends. -_-;;

Cannot say 'jia you' here, esp with the fire theme, but may the Shalom of God bring rest to you in the coming days.

Sceptics 不肖生 said...

hi sir, if you are married with kids,,then...lagi teruk leh...!! cant imagine

you better remain single,,,hehe

Kar Yong said...

Hi Yourshoeah,
Thanks for the encouraging note....

Kar Yong said...

Hi Sceptics,
Maybe getting married might be a better idea - then I can use marriage as a reason to cut down my workload. Someone once told me - I am single, so can take more work :-)

Steven Sim said...

Chapel service is too long - 2hours?

Meetings should be done in 1 hr.

Essentially, if a lecturer's job is to teach, you are only 3 hour productive on that day, granted if 3 of you really spend all 3 hours in quality teaching-learning. STM should do something about this lah.

Lecturers attending hours of meeting is taking away productivity time. God bless you!

Steven Sim

anthony said...

the meeting time looks long but it is not. we have sharing and prayer time from 4.30-5.00pm. the actual business runs for around 2 hours. that's because we do not meet every week, usually once a fortnight or once in 3 weeks. the items we have t discuss ranges from academic matters to students, to chapel, to TEE to alumni to library etc.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Steven,
Our weekly Thu chapel includes a short time of praise, intercession, sermon (interpreted into Chinese or English), and Eucharist. Usually, it lasts about 1.5 hours, but with the 30min in between chapel and meal times, it is essentially "dead" time.

It's just so happen for this semester, my thursdays are packed, more so if there is faculty meeting, like what Anthony has explained.

Lee Chee Keat said...

Noticing on the guided study on reading Greeks, I wonder whether there is any chance for me to do that if I want to do it next year. Better book you early before you get overloaded next year.

Edward Pothier said...

"sometimes I wish I only need to sleep for 4 hours at night"
Don't destroy your health by too little sleep. The race is a marathon, not a sprint!

A book I had read a number of years ago was a biography of the great Eastern Church Father and Doctor St. John Chrysostom by the Anglican theologian and church historian J.N.D. Kelly entitled Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom, Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995)

One particularly interesting description that Kelly gives of some of Chrysostom's ascetical spiritual practice for several years before he was ordained a deacon involved living in a cave outside Antioch and is as follows (with emphasis added by E.Pothier):

The punishing regimen to which John, by Palladios' account, subjected himself while shut up in his cave, though striking modern students as bizarre to the point of absurdity, was also entirely in keeping with everything we know about the practices of Syrian solitaries of that period. Denying oneself sleep, with its 'most sweet tyranny' was a highly prized form of self-mortification among them. Their supreme objective was, as far as possible, to commune with God continually, and any practice or indulgence that stood in the way of this was to be rigorously excluded. Thus any device that reduced sleep, or made the short periods of inevitable rest as uncomfortable as possible, was welcomed; the ideal, rarely of course achieved, was complete sleeplessness. (Kelly, GOLDEN MOUTH, p. 33.)

I suppose another alternative would be a devotion to St. Caffeine!


Edward Pothier

Sceptics 不肖生 said...

like that, i guess, budding NT scholar, got no time to sit back, relax, to read a book of interest,,,,

ironic...

blogpastor said...

I will pray for a wife for this good and busy man as there is no better solution than God's its not good for man to be alone, I will find him a suitable secretary.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Chee Keat,
My schedule for next year does not look any better than this year, unless I can be exempted from teaching an incampus class and a TEE class. I will be potentially having 3 M Theol students doing NT....

If there is sufficient demand, I may consider offering it as an elective.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Edward,

Thanks for your sharing. Yes, St Caffeine has been my constant companion all these years!

I have been lamenting about my workload for sometime already. The only way out is for us to stop accepting postgraduate students wishing to work on NT studies

Kar Yong said...

Dear Sceptic,

I still have time to read NT books and to be on top of schlarship in areas of my interest - but I have no time to sit back and relax and to enjoy life.....You think can pak tor ah?

Kar Yong said...

Hi Blogpastor,

Do continue to pray hard...you might just have your prayers answered soon!

Lee Chee Keat said...

hai....better expecting disappointment than hopeful:( Anyway, I wonder how would apostle Paul cope with this STM's rojak system...hai..

Kar Yong said...

Hi Chee Keat,

I did not mean to disappoint you. I am looking at things realistically. I almost collapsed last week.

How would Paul cope with STM? First, I suspect Paul would not approve of my extremely heavy workload. He would tell me to take care of my health (cf. 1 Tim 5:23). Secondly, he might just review my salary upward to reflect the heavy workload and the kind of expectation that are placed on my shoulders (cf. 2 Cor 9:4, 7-12, 13-14)

:-) haha.

Lee Chee Keat said...

Ok, sorry for not being so understanding. Yup, I would agree with you that Paul would think that way. Okla, will pray for you on this:)

Kar Yong said...

Thanks, Chee Keat. But let's keep the Greek Reading course open for the time being, although I cannot promise I would be able to offer it in 2010