Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bunyan


Offroad adventures
During an impromptu, unguided hike under a towering canopy, The Pilgrim's Progress came to mind. I had found myself doubting the faintly-marked, narrow trail that wound its way across a changing terrain - tree roots the width of my thigh, clay hills, muddy banks and ancient rocks - wondering if the route was outdated, tempted with each passing minute to search for another way besides the never-ending path we were on whenever alternative options looked easier or voices were heard through the trees.

Half-tumbling, half-stomping through the uncertain undergrowth, when we finally reached our journey's end it dawned that whether shadows threaten or our hearts embrace nature's beauty, if we pursue the path steadfastly, we will arrive at our destination.

Just as it was on the hike, so it is in life. I was reminded that though the earth's riches may beckon, and worldly wisdom captivates with her allure, though distractions may direct affections and energy elsewhere, and anxiety brings us low, all that is required in this Christian life is that I remain a faithful witness and helper, loving God and His church (what that looks like in practice is another story!).
 
There is no promise that the path will be free from burrs or creatures that sting and cause harm, yet there will be times when the path is showered with mercies abundant. Whatever our personal experiences, we walk humbly in the footprints of giants who have gone before us, knowing that even as our heart's yearning is for a distant future, the groaning itself is a gift, as we wait eagerly for redemption at the end of a long road of perseverance.   

James 1:4 
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Balancing flavours

Porcini mushrooms and pan seared scallops on charred fennel bulb.

If we put prejudices aside and give dislikes a second chance (in this case, fennel), we may surprise even ourselves with the outcome.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Getting there


To achieve balance, one needs to accept that falling multiple times is simply part of the process as we learn to find our feet on shaky ground. Failure does not characterise the fall.
There is joy yet to come.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Highland romance

 
With perseverance and grace, we may yet see the wreckage of our past redeemed in ruddy wonder.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dreaming again

Last night I dreamnt that I had to look after an albino baby koala. Whilst cradling it, I stepped into a glass elevator in a shopping mall, which then went up several floors, passing black and white geometric designs along the way.

I wonder if a dream interpreter will affirm that it means I'll have a white, Aussie baby during my climb up the corporate elevator in creative design.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The rise and fall

What an absentminded lot we are! How short-sighted and myopic! How disgustingly pig-headed and corruptible, selling our souls for measly fifty dollar bills and bags of rice planted with our own hands!

It is no wonder the wrath of Malayan titans settle on Fairland Sarawak, ready to rip her people to shreds, condemning us to an eternity of deserved derision for betraying indignant ignorami, too lofty and important to breathe humble reason, insistent that the blame lies at a door made of zinc, held up by rusting twine and resigned hopes.

It would appear that the rags-to-riches Cinderella story only works before midnight; when promises of bright lights are lapped up by stepchildren in a starry-eyed moment and the shattered dreams of an age ago are quickly forgotten. But as the chimes end and hands turn, dazed mice are left scrambling for pieces of broken pumpkin, after carriage wheels have crushed them into dirt.

Yet there are a precious few who have been willing to ignore the seemingly futile effort of creating a tidal bore and have crossed the road yet travelled, to lead by serving instead of requiring, to pioneer peace into a bruised heartland, to initiate wisdom without withholding, to restore without refrain.

To strangers who become family, this is our tanah tumpah darahku, ibu pertiwiku.

Lofty titans may eventually benefit from the hands of the meek, reaping what they did not sow, eating what they did not plough, but the real reward lies in forged friendships, woven kinship, widened perspective and renewed vision to nurture a nation still on its knees.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Going deep

At the moment my windows are frosted; 
laced with uncertainty, 
straining to catch a glimpse of what is to come, 
trying to enjoy the view.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Disappearing fruitcake


Between Johnnie Walker and Bebo Norman, I am feeling anxiety creep up again as an imminent deadline looms nearer. Perhaps it's time to face facts and sign up for therapy instead of mulling in the fermentation of my own addled mind and self-doubt.

On one hand it seems reasonable to doubt, right even, given that life is not about finding myself, or creating myself, despite what Taylor Swift wishes the masses to believe. Deliciously tempting as it is, however much I try to convince myself otherwise, people are not mere shadows in the night, a passing moment in a journey centered on me.

Although on paper, 2015 has been a year of unexpected highs, the year has left me emotionally tired. Drained and stripped bare with flesh tender and raw, from exposed wounds that time only hid but did not heal and suppressed memories, the superficial highs only remind me of locust years, of looking everywhere but where I know I should be looking; doing everything in my power, which adds up to insanity; a headless chicken run-around, getting more and more tangled in the weeds and thorns, the product of my hands.

Despite the choked-up season, the Gardener is still watching; carefully unwinding the weeds that hold branches back and replanting roots that have been dragged down in mire. Panic rises as self-reliance is peeled back every morning yet there is freedom in loosing what should never have taken hold in the first place. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Lessons in flour

Baking is both a relief and a lesson in self-belief. The time focused on following a recipe that requires figures that end in anything but "00" is time not spent working or worrying about work or pondering on the future.

In baking, it is ok to be flawed. That the baking paper is peeling away more cake than it is leaving behind can be rectified with a generous amount of cream and strategically placed decorations. That the frosting is not symmetrical is excused by artistic license instead of screaming amateur.

Baking engages the mind and brings dimension to learning. The importance of a good fridge that won't dry out the cream, a well-ventilated kitchen, proportionate kitchen islands and air-conditioning are all serious matters to consider when getting my own cinnamon-filled alcove "some day soon."

Above all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'm still standing even though the baking powder was accidentally left out.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

The art of dreaming

Not to be confused with Dreams, Wishful Thinking floats away in the breeze as another woolly notion takes its place. It drives no passion and generates no drive. It is seen in the smacking of lips for strawberry ice-cream topped with crushed peanuts but making no effort to taste. It is the catch in the eye as a shiny toy glides smoothly by but in the next minute forgotten as the DJ plays Miley's song.

Dreams on the other hand, burrow deep in jars of clay, germinating in hope, wrapping roots of emotion around fistfuls of desire whilst trying not to choke on self-deprecating fallacies. Far from being ever ready carebears of love and light, Dreams inch upwards in dogged perseverance, all the while anticipating failure, struggling to keep composure whilst thoughtless hands threaten to signal out its humble progress as hubris, shredding already tiny filaments of self-belief.

Dreams are no easy ambition to pursue, no easy road to travel, no pleasure cruise. Dreams are found in soiled hands, furrowed brow and a tested spirit, in questioning hearts, desperate conviction and limitless fulfillment.

Once in a while, Dreams may chance upon Wishful Thinking, wondering if life would be easier carefree and easygoing, but retrospective appreciation kicks it up a gear and drives Dreams off in a fluffy Bugatti.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gut feeling

After lying dormant for a while, I decided to refresh my Linkedin  citizenship here.

Irreverent and irrational, my opening remark to any would-be employer was:

Relishing out-of-the-box, steep learning curves, I want my mind stretched like Italian pizza dough. 

Going against the stereotypical grown-up professional, I still hold out for someone who understands that the true Italian pizza base, once worked through with yeast, is the pizza's real asset; versatile, resilient and able to bear much flavour (olives and pancetta anyone?) though simple-looking and unassuming. 

I also succeeded in making myself very hungry writing my own introduction. Ah, the power of suggestion.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Swimming

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
Charred wood of faces drift away then return,
Memories of smoke unfurl on a twig...

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
The arid air chokes out both the giver and the given,
Can't think clearly without a--

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
Light-headed, faint-hearted, what just happened?
Why can't I brea---

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
Grasping at unspoken ash from a past left dry, forgotten,
The dust is everywhere.

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
There is no end.

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
Charcoal stings spear eyes too dusted to turn,
Then a tear...

I'm swimming in the smoke of bridges I have burned,
So don't apologise,
I'm losing what I don't deserve.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

True mediocrity

Is achieving balance mediocre? Should balance be something to be achieved or is balance the final pit-stop for those who simply cannot continue to strive? Is excellence only found in the journey of those who speed on as crazed adrenaline junkies or can achievements be realised in the quiet, still moments of contentment?


Even now, success is an accident; neither by sheer force of will nor by talent nor imagination and it seems that where there is a will, there is but disappointment and faded dreams and falling short of expectations, even if they be self-inflicted.

In fleeing mediocrity, has something far more precious been left behind? In seeking contentment, has the one thing that can provide peace been overlooked? In pursuing grandeur, have eternal riches been abandoned, covered in dust?

Have I set my gaze too rigidly that I have forgotten that when I lose my first love, nothing else matters, even if I strive to shape perfection through flawed lenses?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Violation


The silent lie exposed, 
Her cloak is in tatters,
Her crowning glory, shorn,
Her open arms broken,
Her familiar embrace, cold,
Her joy humiliated,
Her power stripped away,
Her majesty diminished,
Her wonder, now decay.