Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The next stage

Almost 10 years ago I thought, "I might like to be a missionary." However, all I was allowed to do was tag along and observe when my dad went as the designated pharmacist during medical outreach. I was furious when I wasn't allowed to Myanmar or to Russia and disappointed when my visa failed to get passed in time for Serbia. On top of all that, I've always wanted to go to Mongolia. It always seemed like I wasn't ready. The trip to Myanmar happened when I was 14 so I guess my parents thought I was too young. The trip to Russia was denied me because my dad was worried I might get bombed. The trip to Serbia was a no go because of slow paperwork and etc. However, approaching my third year, it seems that maybe God thinks I'm now ready. I went to and am going to Sebuyau twice in a fortnight and I met Sarguul last night during Alpha Course. She's a student at Inti College and guess what? She's from Mongolia. I've already 'buddied up' with her and we're going to meet up and paint the town red and I'm going to learn Mongolian (she taught me two words; camel and horse but I can't seem to pronounce the word for man) and get this, her grandparents are proper nomads! She'll be here for 3 or 4 years so that means after my degree when I come back, she'll still be here! I hope to do a masters so that'll give me time to continue meeting up with her. She's amazing on the piano and knows all the pieces I want to learn by heart so I really salute her for that. I only hope I don't scare her by being over eager but as we both leave Kuching on the 15th, we have unofficially planned that I could take a 2 week trip with her to Mongolia! How so extremely cool is that??!! I haven't told my parents yet and this all happened last night so it might not come to pass at all but the thought of it is wondrous and oooooooh. If I can't afford to or am not allowed to go or it doesn't come to pass, I hope to be able to stay back in Kuching a few more days to go to Ulu Skrang, which is a community of Ibans living in longhouses. Either way, I don't think I'll be back in London too soon. There's just so much to do and so many doors have been opened in terms of mission work and experience. For the fame of God.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Deep waters

I was reminded that James and Gracie got married yesterday when Carly sent me an email. I guess Gracie now knows where James arranged their honeymoon to be...

I feel out of my depth here. The driving is fine although the car radio is not working. Initially I was really annoyed but upon reflection, it gives me more time to talk to God and less to listen to rubbish. I'm trying to figure out why I feel out of my depth here and I've come up with several reasons.

1. I can't call everyone by their first name. In London, it's acceptable to call even people 50 years older than me by their first name (except when I'm meeting my friends' parents then I start worrying about what to call them). Here everyone in my parents' (or as long as you're introduced to them as such) generation gets the title 'aunty' or 'uncle' in front of their name. It's a mark of respect and it's a humbling gesture to acknowledge that someone else knows much more than I do or is given far more credit than I am. However, it raises strange combinations. Ie 'Uncle' so-and-so is married to my friend. So how do I address them collectively? But then, I note wryly that some people will point out to me that I should treat them as individuals and not a 'collective.' There are no such grey areas in London hence, making it less complicated to voice opinions or 'override' official and unofficial opinion as we're treated as or given the impression that we are equals. Here, I'm always cautious that I give my elders the right of way cos I don't want to be branded as disrespectful or a 'hooligan' although it has crossed my mind to purposely pretend to be one just to aggravate the system and shake things up a bit.

2. Away from immediate 'parental guidance' I am free to make my own decisions ie buy a computer, host parties etc. But here, I'm not living in my house but my parents'. I'm not driving my car but my mum's. I'm spending my money but I'm not earning any. Independence has a different tone here and rarely do children move out until they get married. Even then, some opt to stay with their parents. It's not a bad thing to stay with parents but it just highlights the difference in the cultures I have lived and being familiar with one, the other is a world away. I like the community feel here, which is lacking in London but sometimes I just think to myself that people here are too close for comfort ie everyone knows everyone in this town. My mum gave a decided 'no' when I asked if I could drive a scooter to uni in the future instead of a car cos I wanted to save on gas and scooters are fun. She said that as a prospective lawyer, I couldn't let 'people' see me on a scooter. It's sound advice for a very common attitude but argh! I have a good mind to... to... to ride a buffalo into college if that's what it takes to show 'people' that what you drive doesn't matter. I should do that, shouldn't I? Ride a buffalo and park it next to some nice Toyota.

3. Finally, the lack of good, Christian reading material is should I use the word... suffocating? Yes, the Bible is our main source of hearing God's word in our time and yes, the Bible is the most important book and yes, compared to the Bible, all other books seem insignificant but good Christian books can help us to understand the Bible, to gain wisdom, to gain knowledge, to better know how to live for God and please Him and glorify Him. This is not to say that we only need good Christian books to open our eyes because the Holy Spirit does that but Christian authors such as John Piper, J I Packer, C S Lewis and Billy Graham to name but a few have studied and poured over the Bible concerning primary and secondary doctrinal issues and we can gain by learning from what they have learnt. I foresee that my earnings next year will be spent buying books in the UK so that I might have substantial resources. Why do I want so many books? Is it arrogant of me? Do I just want to know more than everyone else? No! In the Psalms, David prays that he might meditate on the law of the LORD, not that he might have lots of 'empty' knowledge of God but as a means to a more intimate relationship with God. If we want to know someone intimately, what do we do? We ask them questions, we prod their history, we remember things revealed to us, we spend time with them to build a friendship, we ask their friends and people who know them well or better than we do about them. We look through articles which might contain information about their achievements, we thoroughly investigate their likes and dislikes and can stand up for them when we hear falsehoods. I sound like a stalker :) Hahahaha. Just to let your minds be at ease, I have never stalked anyone on earth before before but there was a time in a galaxy far away... hahaha. So go get as many books as you can!

Sarah called a little while ago. It seems that tonight, I have not one, but two badminton partners!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sebuyau II

I'm going to Sebuyau again!!! It's this coming Saturday and Sunday, and I will be back in time for my church's first ever night time service aimed towards the youth of Kuching. I'm so excited! Flying snakes aside, Sarah's coming this time although I'm not sure that the same guys are going. I have compiled a short list of Iban words, which I need to put into a notepad and then maybe I'll be able to communicate in Iban. It was announced in church today that a team was going and immediately I planned to go. After service I asked Bryan if he was going and he said he wasn't sure and then he asked me and I was like' "Ye-ah." A no-brainer. Like I would say no. Fun! Fun! Fun! I'll know what to expect, how many pieces of clothing to bring etc. Unfortunately, there won't be any river bathing but there'll definitely be another lorry ride. Woo hoo!

I just came back from Ryan's birthday bash, Mac's son and he's one. There's a picture of him on Mac's blog. He (Ryan) has the biggest eyes on any baby I've ever seen (sorry if your babe has bigger eyes). I sort of mentioned to Alison that I had never seen such a large collection of babies in one room; there was Justin (Alison's kid), Sam, Ryan, Joshua and Livia. She looked at me and asked, "Are you calling my baby a collection?" Man, don't mess with new mums. They're a scary bunch of people.

Last night was birthday bash night for people born April-June. I baked, what I have called the Best Ever Debibo Choc Cheese Cake (Bed a.k.a Bad triple C); the richest cake I've made to date. I started at 11 and finished icing the cake at 4.30pm. It was finished off within minutes so I'm glad that I haven't lost my touch. Soo asked for the recipe but I couldn't give it to her because, as with my other cakes, the recipe was improvised.

About the affidavit I did... I don't know what possessed one of the lawyers to say it was 'very good' because the law in it needed rewriting. I have so much to learn and I'm thinking more and more each day that if I do come back here to work, I might quite like to be a judge or a baker. I finish my stint at the law firm at the end of the month and after that I might look for other experience ie working in the church, volunteering with admin etc. Will be going to the gym tomorrow and have managed to persuade Joshua to replace his physics tuition to leave tomorrow night to play badminton with me.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A 'quick' summary

I saw Crystal and Leo on Wednesday and we went to Wisma Saberkas to eat and chill and shop! I arrived early so I did some pre-meeting-friends shopping, which included me promising myself to return to a particular shop to buy pumps at only RM19.90! We ate at Hong Kong Noodle House and when Cryst and Leo first laid eyes on me (after 4 years), they gawked at me. Great. In fact, if they had been guys, it would have been downright rude (and they might have gotten lock-jawed), but they weren't so it was just incredibly uncomfortable for a while :) I had just come out of work so I was not in baggy trousers and t-shirt, which I would have worn if only. They haven't changed much, which is a relief as everything else seems to be. More cars in Kuching, more traffic jams, more buildings, more places to eat, more cholesterol potential... After lunch and catching up, during which we bumped into Erica, they went off to a cyber cafe while I went shopping in Nguikee. Met up with them a few minutes later and worked our way up the shopping complex. Ended up in a shop on the 5th or so floor where I bought a skirt. Went to Salvation Book store but I couldn't find the book I wanted, which was disappointing but the lady there told me that I should have a look at Crossway, which I will do in the future. We then ate rojak, ais kacang and Ngo Mi Teng at Stone Ice. I still think the ice kacang at Da-light is the best.

At night my family and I went to a restaurant to eat as my sis was going back the morning after. Eat, eat, eat. That's what I do the whole day... although it has to be said that I take my regular 5 portions of fruit a day, which is an improvement. We're probably going out to eat tonight again.

On Thursday I had to write up an application and supporting affidavit. Although not my first time, it was a first for the firm I am working in so naturally I was quite cautious. I received a 'very good.' Yay! Yay! Yay! Also have to do translation work because almost all the clients speak Malay (national language) or some other native tongue but the courts are held in English. My Malay is truly rusty. I know the words once someone mentions them to me but I can't seem to remember them myself.

Thursday evening, I gave Sarah a random call and asked if she wanted to watch Batman Begins, which at that point in time, was due to start in an hour. She said yes and so an hour later, we were sitting in Cineplex 4 at Riverside and I started clapping... By the way, if you ever go to Riverside Cineplex and are worried you can't see the screen because someone too tall is sitting in front of you (or is it only me with that problem?) choose rows M or N as they are elevated a good six inches or more above everyone else. I think Batman Begins is now my favourite Batman movie, followed by Batman Forever. BB is totally unlike the other 4 Batman movies, which is refreshing and the story line runs deeper than a rubber-clad flying rodent (yeah, yeah, I know that bats aren't rodents) and had enough philosophy in it to satisfy my mind. Christian Bale is awesome. Eyes, voice, teeth, cheekbones. There's something about some blue eyes that make them look almost transparent. The car, which looked more like a tank than a bullet is so much more substantial than the other sleeker models although someone told me that that part of the movie was entirely computer generated. I felt like it was a car I could drive and not just some prop for the movie. A 'real' car if you like. Katie Holmes wasn't too bad in it but I still think she belongs in Dawson's Creek. She couldn't even get away from the name - her on screen name was Rachel Dawes. Further, although Michael Caine is a brilliant and funny actor, I doubt anyone can take the old Alfred's part without sacrificing some elment of being Alfred. After the movie, we went to Jalan Song to eat. I had 3 satays and peanut sauce because they cost 30 sen each and I had RM1. Trying to curb spending especially after buying the skirt at Saberkas.

Drove with my eyes half shut this morning cos I was sleeeeepy. There are too many cars in Kuching and I find driving at 10km/hour much more tiring than driving at 100. Feel like 'doing something' tonight cos it's the weekend. Tomorrow night there'll be Birthday Bash and during the day I'll teach my bro how to make a chocolate cheesecake. Have eaten too much again today. Crystal said that she wished she had the determination of an aneroxic to curb eating. There wouldn't be much of me left if I lost too much weight. As it stands, there's isn't much of me here :)

Bathed the dogs again today and they screamed blue murder - or at least Troy did. Deuce is starting to realise that baths aren't as bad as they seem.

I'll try to get a prospectus for UNIMAS for my Masters next year. Am feeling slightly nervous coming back to Kuching 'for good.' The lifestyle is completely different, as are priorities and things people talk about. A friend of mine balked when I asked her if she had considered (mind you, considered, not determined) marriage to her boyfriend of 3 years. She's only a year younger than I and I assumed that it was a suitable question to ask. Apparently not. Even my hopes of becoming the old witch in a candy house, enticing kids with goodies and sweets seem dashed as candy will most definitely melt in Malaysia. I still want to go into full-time mission work and yet somehow I feel that focusing on getting a job after uni or wondering how I'm going to support myself and my family betrays that initial desire. If I had it my way, I would go live in the jungle and learn tribal languages and go hunting :) and share their lives and tell them the gospel, not just visit once every month or so. If I had it my way, I would say that there's too little time to be spent on worrying about the future because the future I am holding for may never arrive. Many people say, "Okay, if God comes back today, He comes back today. But if He doesn't, there's no harm working." True, afterall, God did tell the exiles to farm and work and get married and have kids. But I want so much more than that. I want so much more than getting a job and doing an 8 to 5, 5 days a week and go to church on Sundays and much more than what everyone expects; Get a degree in London, come back with lots of stories and recipes, get a 'respected' job, a car, be a 'young lady,' find a guy my parents (and the rest of the church... sigh...) approve of, happy wedding, settle down, a bigger car, kids, a couple more kids, driving kids to , school, tuition, swimming, resorts, complaining about kids to other parents, work and save so kids can go to England, complain to kids that I work and save my entire life so you can have a good education, wonder why kids don't want to come home after their degree (after all, you don't want to be so far from your parents do you?), pestering your kids for grandkids... ARRRRGH!!!!! I want to go against the grain. Urgh! I want to distort it and make it look like marble cake. But can I do that without ruffling any feathers? And if I ruffle feathers, should I feel guilty? Do I follow my duty or my heart or my head?

Anyway, thoughts aside, I'm doing quite well. My mum is frying fish again and I might get an early night to let my emotions resettle (like butter - you need to put it in the fridge to let it settle else the pastry might be too hard).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sebuyau

Went to Sebuyau for mission outreach over the weekend. It has nothing to do with 'Sebu' in Veggie tales. We rode in a van, went on a ferry and then took an express boat and coasted to this fishing village near the mouth of the river. Considering I was prepared to bathe in the river (although Aunty Janet mentioned that there would be air conditioning), our accomodation was almost luxurious and we did get air conditoning. In the afternoon we arrived, CJ, Jacob, Joel, Bryan and I went to 'evaluate' the area. Actually, we were 'forced' to leave the comfortable sofas and fan-blowned living room of Uncle Tan's shophouse. We walked a bit and came across an ais kacang and burger stall. So we had ais kacangs. Ais means ice and kacang means beans but you can opt not to have beans and still be left with something more than ice. There's actually a selection of chen chao (black jelly), pink sago, ideal milk, chendol (green slimy things that look like something Shrek would eat), sweetcorn and red beans. I always order mine without the beans. In the course of the meal, Jacob mentioned that he thought he saw a snake in the grass less than 3 metres from where we were sitting. Immediately, using CJ as a prop, I jumped up onto the bench. I think the guys thought I was playing and they found my phobia funny. I was still eyeing the aforementioned area closely after I sat down but suddenly I saw something brown leap out of the bush and I screamed and jumped onto the bench again. This time it was almost embarrassing as the rest of the team, which included 'proper' adults (who don't have phobias) was there eating ais kacang as well. It turned out to be a frog but I was so wired up that even if a cow had jumped out, I would have screamed. The silly boys continued teasing me well into the night. We had to travel on the back of a lorry to get to the village (which was the most fun thing ever) through quite a bit of brush and a quarry. CJ mentioned something about the area being famous for flying snakes and I gave him the dirtiest look I could muster. Besides unwelcome wildlife that I never had to encounter, the trip was awesome. I can't speak a word of Iban but I helped the ladies clean cups and kettles for drink while chatting to them in rusty Malay. The response from the villagers was very encouraging as they could have chosen to totally ignore us and not come to the meeting. Almost everyone came forward to be prayed for after the sermon and background music provided by CJ, Bryan and Jay became a performance on stage. By the way, CJ has a band in London called Sunday Magazine Jump.

The sky had stars in them and as the lorry bumped up and down the uneven road back to Sebuyau town, wind swept through our hair and the sweet smell of jungle leaves, fruits and flowers filled the air. At least that's what I thought. We braked a few times to avoid kittens becoming truck pancakes but nearly lost one of our own in the process; remember we were sitting behind the lorry.

Mission trips in Sarawak are never short of food. We had a mountain of prawns, fish, vegetable, noodles, cakes, biscuits etc etc... very well fed indeed. There's an upcoming trip to Ulu Skrang on 19th August and I will see if I can postpone my ticket so that I can go. Ulu Skrang will promise river bathing, crocodile spotting, maybe rainy weather, 30 people cramped in one room to sleep with a talking clock and snorers of all rhythm and rhyme and a very fulfilling time. I really hope I can go and that I learn some rudimentary Iban in time.

We came back today safely with fish, wild vegetables and fruits in tow. After lunch, I gymed, swimed, steamed and cleaned myself up.

When I'm participating in evangelistic events or catching up with my friends' lives or being part of a community here in Kuching, I sometimes think that there can be a part for me here too. I still do not know what the future holds. I'm slightly apprehensive, not because I don't think I'll like it but because I'm worried I'll make a wrong choice. I know God works through wrong choices all the time but although essentially, I have one life, I have two. Does that make sense to you? When I'm in London, I lead that life and my relationships and purposes in Kuching are on hold and vice versa. However, a time is coming when I will have to choose one or the other. I have been seeking God in this matter and it is painful. I have disregarded interests I might one day have or already have in both continents because I hope to say (with hindsight in the future) that I made the choice I made solely on what I felt God purposed for my life and in the direction He wanted to lead me rather than where I thought I would like to be more. Perhaps the way I'm tackling this is wrong. Perhaps following my heart is not the worst idea to follow through. Perhaps I shouldn't analyse everything and just go where my parents dictate me to go and consider that as God's will for me. Perhaps. But I don't want to look back and say 'What if?' I want to look back and say 'Because.'

Friday, June 17, 2005

Cream cheese 2

The quest for cream cheese continued. I ventured into:

1) Ting and Ting (St Mary's school roundabout)
2) Hak Hak (third shop on the left in India street from the old courthouse)
3) Khin Kueh Khiong (also India street)

Would you beleive it; 9 shops and no cream cheese. Apparently all the cream cheese in Kuching is stuck at the port and will only be in stock in a month's time. Unbelievable. So in the end, I had to resort to a whipped cream centre and chocolate topping; half for my homegroup and half for my parents' homegroup.

I think I have grown much more tan over the weeks despite ample amount of sunblock - my dad said SPF 15 is enough. In England where there was less sunshine, I used SPF 60! I finished my first bottle yesterday and am on to the second bottle, which is a different brand and smells weird. My right eye waters constantly and there are possible culprits; eye gel, moisturiser and sunscreen face lotion. Grrr. It's enough that I perspire bucketloads and look like a cooked lobster more than half the time, I don't need my eye ducts to go berserk as well. The sunglasses I bought makes Kuching look like London on a regular day :)

Am going for a weekend mission trip tomorrow and I can't wait! Can't wait! So excited! Hop on one foot. Hop on the other foot. Fidget fidget. Won't you like to sit next to me on the trip there! Fidget fidget. Swing legs. Hum hum.

Cream cheese

As mentioned in my last post, I decided to make an orange chocolate cake with orange cream cheese topping. I knew from the start that not every shop sold cream cheese as it is not a common Malaysian ingredient. However, 6 shops on, I still cannot find my cream cheese. I went to:

1) The cold storage in Hui Sing Garden
2) The supermarket opposite the cold storage
3) Upwell
4) Choice Daily
5) Everrise
6) Smart

3 out of the 6 shops usually sold 'things like that' ie English cooking stuff but this time round it seemed to me like all the cream cheese in Malaysia had suddenly disappeared. I wanted to go to this corner shop along India Street that sells wholesale baking ingredients to bakeries but i realised that I have no money :( i don't have money to pay for gas or cooking ingredients or dog food because my money's all tied up somewhere in the bank and can't be withdrawn. Annoying. Will have to do something about it next week. Although my mum is quite happy to let me use the car to go to court I feel that I need to contribute to gas money at the very least and it would be nice to have cash on hand to shop with instead of going to my dad. I'm 21 for crying out loud! I'm meant to be independent. No? So anyway, I'll be off to pick my bro in a bit and then mum and then gym and then the hunt for cream cheese continues. Let's hope I find some before tonight - homegroup is at 8 - else I'll have to improvise with whipped cream, which although equally fattening, does not taste as nice. I wish I could post pictures of my cake for you to see!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pineapples and superpowers

I like pineapples. I am told that eating lots of pineapple is good for me. They make my teeth squeak and grate against one another but they're good for me so I eat them. They occasionally make my lips itch but they're good for me so I eat them. They sometimes make me wonder whether I'm allergic to them but they're good for me so I eat them. They're good for me, or so I'm told. Maybe it has nothing to do with feeling like a goose surrounded by dainty, pretty ducklings. A very aggressive, bad tempered goose at that. I wonder if geese like pineapples.

Bathed the puppies today. Their first bath! Bathed their mum first so they could see how it was done. Troy was first. Cried all the way, like having a bath was the worst thing in the world. Had to cuddle him while I hosed him down and soaped him so ended up a bit wet. Deuce was next. Cried even louder and I had to put her on my knee to calm her down so I had to hose myself down as well to wash the soap of her. I could have just put her on the floor while she whined and cried and tried to break free from the chain but I didn't feel I could. The jeans needed washing anyway cos I fell down yesterday and the knees got covered in grass stains and mud.

Went shopping instead of the gym today and bought, among other things a 20cm springform cake tin! Yay! I told my mum she needed one ages ago but she never did get one so I took it upon myself to buy one. I feel like making cheesecake. Maybe a chocolate cheesecake. Maybe an oreos cheesecake. Maybe a German cheesecake. I don't know... Maybe I could make chocolate orange cake for homegroup on Friday. I'm at my dad's shop at the moment. Mum will pick me up at 4.30 and then we're going to Parkson for more shopping. I really need to get some productive work done.

I like being efficient. Kuching is very selamba; easy-going, relaxed, casual, laid back, slow. I'm not sure whether I'll like working here in the future. I told my dad last night that maybe being a lawyer or a judge wasn't the best job for me. I want to be a baker :) I don't think he agrees. I bake better than I study but being a lawyer is about arguing. I guess I can argue... spent half an hour on Sunday arguing with Chien Lok. Point of argument? Could I really taste food with the little finger on my right? I said yes, he said no. I won. We went round and round in circles and randomly brought in cloning, waxing, eating noodles through nostrils, English grammar, brain surgery and seeing with my hand to 'back' our arguments. Dexter and Alicia found it very funny. Victoria, who's about 10 said something I would have said at her age to me. Context: a few of us were sitting at table; Joshua, Dexter, Brian, Alicia, Chien Lok, Victoria and I. 4 boys, 3 girls. Nothing to it. She said, "Waaaah, you come back from London and so many boys want to sit with you!" It was so funny I exploded (with laughter) til Dexter had to tell me to keep quiet cos I was embarrassing them. Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahaha. HA!

Now a little bit about superpowers... China is emerging as a very strong economic force, which has prompted me to decide that I will once again take up Chinese lessons at Wu Siau Chinese school next year because if I do choose to go to China, I will need to speak Chinese, no?.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Puppies, sharks and the gym.

I smacked my alarm clock silent when it woke me up at 6.45am. I settled instead into dreaming that I took bus 11 (double decker) that strangely had doors like the 436 bus (bendy buses in London) - for those of you who are not from London, the two buses have different doors - and danced the "1-2-3 and 1-2-3 and" dance from the King and I with my brown shoes that I get blisters in. I woke up drowsily at 7.45am; I had planned to be out of the house by 8.15. Rushed to the bathroom but did a detour when I heard Deuce crying. My dad is trying to train Deuce and Troy from messing up the patio by sectioning the dogs off at night in one part of the carpark. Sally managed to jump over and Troy somehow climbed over but Deuce, being the smallest of the three, couldn't quite make it. Cuddled her for a bit and rocked her up and down (like putting a baby to sleep) before she quietened down and then we went in search of the other two dogs. After a happy reunion I rushed to the bathroom with 15 minutes less to spare. Didn't manage to have breakfast but chewed gum instead while driving to court. Had to cross a flyover and a bridge I had never crossed before before finding myself in unfamiliar territory - I seldom go over to this side of the Sarawak River (the river that cuts through Kuching - a bit like the Thames cutting through London) except for 'special' outings to the beach, resorts, hospital, library, Buntal seafood restaurant...

Anyway, I knew I had to get through 3 roundabouts. I passed the first one easily and was quite happy driving at breakneck speed. I was supposed to take the third exit in the second roundabout but I took the second one instead and it was the road to Bako! For those not from Kuching, Bako is very far away place where one of our many national parks is but not as far away as Sibuyau. I had to find a U-turn fast but the road had other plans and I had to drive for about 5 minutes before I found one. I eventually arrived at the courthouse 5 minutes before session. Went in but no one was there. I waited and waited and half thought that the parties had decided to change courts as all the courts - from magistrates to the high court - are in the same location but then I saw my boss' colleague... 15 minutes after the courthouse experienced a blackout. The generators provided sufficient light but there was no way the court could be in session. Anyway, the judge was still in chambers. My boss came in and jokingly said that I had jinxed the courthouse. Court was adjourned for 2 hours. I had to leave about noon to pick my mum up from school.

After that, we went to get my blood type tested. I thought a simple prick on the finger would do but the lady told me she wanted to take blood from my arm at which I balked and shrieked "No way!" I do not surrender my hand, limb or body to strangers unnecesarily for whatever purpose. She finally conceeded that a simpe prick on the finger would do. I shouted at the prick but not as hard as I would have liked because the lady who took my blood was pregnant and I didn't want her to come to any harm. I am a blood type O+. However, it seems like I might have to go back to be tested again as my mum is A and my dad is AB and because O is a double recessive gene, it doesn't seem to work out that I am a type O. If I am an O, I need an O from each of my parents. It means that my mum is an AO, A being the dominant gene hence, her A blood type. But my dad is an AB; the A and B blood gene is co-dominant (or so I'm told), they register equally, hence AB. So, where did my second O come from? My sister thinks maybe that's why I'm so weird. Even my genes are mixed up.

After lunch, I went to register at the Merdeka Palace gym! After the gym, I went to the swimming pool. I was the only one in the pool and I managed to psyche myself out so successfully that there was going to be a shark in the pool as soon as I put my head into the water and started swimming. I ended up paddling in the pool for a while thinking out loud logically how there could not possibly be a shark in the water. The pool is only 14 metres long and the deepest end is only 1.25m. Beneath the pool is the restaurant and as the pool is situated on the 8th floor, a shark wouldn't really be able to pop out of the sewers like Godzilla. All in all, the pool wouldn't really be able to hide a great white but I still had visions of me getting mauled by a shark that appeared out of the blue. There wasn't even a life guard on duty. When 2 little (emphasise little) ang mo (caucasian) kids came to play in the pool about 15-20 minutes later, I was finally able to swim. Swam a few laps to stretch my muscles and it felt gooood and no shark ever appeared.

Tomorrow I'm off to court again and the gym as well. I think it's going to be my weekly routine; work til lunch and then gym til dinner.

Passing the baton (from BK)

1. Total books owned, ever?
There are some books in the grey area ie do they belong to the family or do they belong to me? Books I have purchased/ given to me would amount to about 500... I think.

2. Last book I bought:
Pleasures of God by John Piper (as far as I can remember).

3. Last book I read:
The Psalms (the Bible) while I was waiting for the case to start in court today.

4. 5 books that mean a lot to me:
a) The Bible - the Word of God, the truth of God; words fail to describe how important it is in my life.

b) The Rainbow Garden - One of the books I read that inspired me to take up the call to go into 'full' time mission work in the near future. It is about one woman's life, conversion and mission to reach out to the children of Poland to tell them about Pan Jesus. I also became interested in the Polish language through this book

c) The Tribe of Tiger - feline stuff. It was either this or Portraits of Africa.

d) Disciplines of a Godly Woman - Oh, that I may have beauty that will last past my lifetime

e) Knowing God - because I don't want anything else compared to it

The books I have listed are by no means the only books that mean a lot to me but at this point in my life, they are the books that come to mind.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

My weekend

Thursday: I baked the most moist chocolate cinammon cake I've ever baked. Did some improvisions to the recipe because I didn't have A and had added too much X, Y, Z but everyone at my home group enjoyed it on Friday. My mum suggested that I take the cake mixer back to London with me so that I can do more baking :)

Saturday morning I saw Zhuriqa and Erma!!!! Zhu's gonna be going to Dublin come September so now I have a reason to go on a holiday to Ireland. We went to the Sugarbun by the Satok fly-over (of all places I hear my homies say) and I had a large salad for lunch. Came home and got ready to go to the Cheshire home for the mentally/ phisically handicapped with EYM to spend time with them watching Madagascar. Although I didn't really know how to interact with them except to laugh a lot and go "Wheeee" when I had to push one or the other round in their wheelchairs, I think I would like to go back and help out It would be a very new experience and I'm sure at the end of the day it would become more than just an experience. Saturday evening was Cheryl's 21st. I had given her her birthday present when I first saw her and I arrived overdressed because Yvonne chickened out of wearing an outfit I made her buy (we agreed to wear the tops we bought on Cheryl's 21st) when she visited in London *sigh* but at least Monique (whom I had not seen since fifth form) said I looked nice. I met 'Fad' at the party and we spent the pre-party period sneakily nibbling as many chipolatas (mini sausages) as possible. Sarah's the next one in our batch to turn 21 but that won't be til September.

Sunday; today; I wore a Bohemian style skirt to church which made me happy. I volunteered in helping out at Kid's club in the afternoon, a 3-hour, evangelistic, fun time filled with singing, games and craft work at my church for kids between 5 and 12. I was in the blue team and had (with my wonderful sense of perception no doubt) dressed myself in a blue top and matching blue trainers before I knew that I was in the blue team. I think I worked up a sweat more than the kids did. I kept on telling them to RUUNNNNN!!!!!!! I also discovered where the high court is and that using the bridge that links Pending to Petra Jaya incurs a RM1.50 toll tax.

Tonight I went to Parkson to window shop for clothes and I'm aways resigned to the fact that although I'm a size S in England, I'm a size L here :( even though height wise, people I thought were giants before seem to have shrunk in the heat. Oh well, size doesn't matter.

Next week from Monday to Friday, I will be in court. On Saturday morning, I will be following my church's rural envangelism team to Sibuyau. I only know two things about the place; one it is very hot and two, it is in the second division of Sarawak AND as I can't seem to find a map of it on the Internet with the limited time I have, it must be somewhere really small and far away... We will be driving and taking an express boat and shall return on Sunday evening.

On Monday I start work again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Leaving Neverland

Did LOADS today...
Went for an 'interview' for work and I start tomorrow. Law firm, paperwork, lots of reading, court on Monday. I'm so excited even though I seem to be inching away from Neverland. In truth, I looked for work to occupy my time; no one forced it upon me and after a period of time, even in 'Eutopia,' one would still like to be made useful and not let rust. I also finally bought myself a pair of long needed sunglasses, returning to the first shop I started out with after viewings in several other venues. Went swimming with my brother just now and spent some time appreciating bodies of all shapes and sizes. I think I'll add helping mum with the laundry, drawing two pictures of horses and being introduced to this food place, which serves pretty good bak kut teh and interesting manggo pudding. Mind you, it's not typical bak kut teh although you also get the option of sitting Japenese style on a wooden platform. For those in the area, it's in the block next to the one Eastmore Cafe is in, which is in front of Westmoore and it's called Go Fun Kee.

I'm slowly getting covered in red, stinging mosquito bites... and people wonder why I might prefer staying in London. I will be making a rich, dark chocolate fudge cake tonight for home fellowship group tomorrow. I'm starting to recognise Troy and Deuce more. Deuce has bigger eyes and is more apt to step into the food bowl, drain, go under the car... Troy is the yappy one. But as the idiom goes, all bark and no bite. Deuce is the one who usually chews on her older brother's ear. I think they'll be ready for their first wash on Saturday.

Okay, maybe I didn't do LOADS but I read the first few chapters of Ezekiel and I don't think I need Harry Potter to entertain me with fiction when reality is so much more exciting; creatures with four heads each, a throne made out of sapphires, a person who looks like bronze from the waist up and fire from the waist down, the list goes on and on. Isn't it amazing that this is the future the Bible promises us!!?? Or even better, that the future could be better than that?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I come from a glorious land

A glorious land I tell you,
Even though Christ is yet to come,
And when He does as I do trust,
What I think glorious could be slum.

But for the present,
None like this land,
In this world I know.

Even though I'm not a Dayak,
I do so want to kayak,
And swing from tree to tree,
And eat honey from the bees.

(To be fair, not everyone swings from tree to tree, in fact a lot of them drive SUVs and travel in business class but I'm so proud that I have people in my land who can swing from tree to tree I'm going to highlight it anyway.)

Even though I'm not a Malay,
Have you seen food they prepare??!!?? (Mmmmmm)
And the swift creation of ketupats,
Makes me think I know squat.

Even though I'm not an Indian,
A language of grand combination,
The elegance of saris,
Yet exquisite like fairies.

Now, I am Chinese,
A banana who speaks English,
Yet I'm proud of my heritage,
and gladly carry knowledge (passed down from generation to generation)
from the sage who likes cabbage. :)

I am proud to come from where I come from although I do not yet know that it is where I want to stay. I'm proud that people think we live in trees and travel from place to place by swimming like Robin Hood did, from Jerusalem to England in The Men in Tights although many people seem to huff and puff that people do not know where we live. I heard a story that a Brit thought Sarawak was near Scotland. Hahahahahahaha. You get a lot of humour through others' ignorance. It's good not to leave them there but a part of me wants to keep my world secluded from possible intervention. I like to tell people that I come from a Land of Headhunters and Hornbills even though the headhunter tradition has long gone and most hornbills are kept in Wildlife reserves. The only thing 'running' free now a days are snakes. Urgh. I like the fact that we have a 365 day long summer every year or 366 days in some years even though I think it's too hot. I like the rain because I think it's 'proper' rain here. Let's-go-running-in-it-and-get-absolutely-soaked sort of rain. A we-really-need-an-umbrella sort of rain. I like to pretend I'm a savage when I'm home in London. When the branches needed chopping and the grass needed cutting and the lawn-mower was broken, I gleefully picked up the axe left behind by Alex and began chopping at the grass. All I needed was some war paint. I was half inclined to let out a war yell but thought the better of it.

I would like to go to Sabah one day. I hear that the Muruts are one of the best horse riders in the world. I would like to go to Mongolia; I saw a Mongolian nomad rope a wild camel and ride it. I hear that the sky in Montana holds one of the most beautiful sights in the world and according to the film Madagascar, the stars at night are like a million helicopters. I have to go and fetch my brother now and 'return' to normal life but if I were a wild animal, I would like to be an orca.

Updates

Let's see:
The puppies, fat as butter, are teething and those little critters have sharp teeth. Deuce has fallen into the drain no less than 5 times this last week (she really is her father's daughter ie dim as a doorknob - but why are doorknobs dim?) and my mum and brother had to get up at 2.30am two night ago to scoop her out of the drain after a frantic Sally wouldn't let them sleep with her constant barking - I was too asleep to notice. I'm weaning them onto dog food as I think their teeth are doing my poor Sally's tits pain.

I still think the weather is too hot but as I could be living here forever, I had better get used to it. Am still drinking like a camel and pissing like a horse and as you might be able to tell, my not so subtle lack of constraint over fine language is due to the hot weather making me grumpy. I wish I could swear in Spanish...

My mother is making ngoh hiang in the kitchen. I promised Sarah I would make some for her when I get back to London. I've discovered that printing one shirt costs about RM50 but the cost price of one shirt if I were to print 100 shirts or more would be about RM10. Man... I really want to don my design, strut my style, live my life, bare my brand :) Maybe I'll use some t-shirt paint instead. I have yet to pick up my tennis racket but there really is no one to play with. My homies are grown up and working and taking care of babies and there's no one left in Never Never Land to play T-ball or B-ball or Bad ball. Come tomorrow I might have to start taking time out from Never Never Land myself if I get a job in a certain law firm. Never Never Land. Never say never cos one day I might have to eat my words.

"I'll never eat vegetables!"
"I'll never be able to drive!"
"I'll never lose my temper."
"I'll never eat that much again..."
"I'll never change."

I'm eating vegetables, boy am I eating vegetables and fruit. Lots of it.
I'm driving, aha, oh yeah, yup.
Lost my temper yesterday.
Ate too much chilled jelly fish today (and four slices of cucumber after I once said, "I'll never eat cucumber.")
I've changed.

I wish there was something else to talk about besides change. Hmmm... besides change and the future. Okay, I've got it, I'll talk about cost and the past. Get it? Cost? When do you get change? When you've paid the price for something and there's leftovers and that's change :) Maybe not necessarily the cost price but that's how much the thing cost. So, cost and history.

Cost: I haven't stopped paying.
History: A never ending story. My story will never end because I will live forever in Christ. I say that with the wide-eyed wonder of a child adults wonder will ever grow up. And since my story will never end, my history will never finish being told. An infinitive history I will have, although maybe not yet.

The sun is shining and I need to dry my smelly pillow in the sun - still???!!!??? Yes (with resignation), still.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Buses and trains - Bachelor girl

Hey Mom, why didn't you tell me?
Why didn't you teach me a thing or two?
You just let me go, out into the world,
You never thought to share what you knew.

CHORUS
So I walked under a bus,
I got hit by a train,
Keep fallin' in love,
Which is kind of the same,
I've sunk out at sea, crashed my car, gone insane,
And it felt so good, I wanna do it again.

Hey Mom, why didn't you warn me?
'Cause about boys there's something I should have known,
They're like chocolate cake, like cigarettes,
I know they're bad for me but I just can't leave 'em alone.
(CHORUS)

Hey Mom, since we're talkin',
What was it like when you were young?
Has the world changed or is still the same?
A man can kill and still be the sweetest fun.
(CHORUS)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Work, sleep, play...

My smelly pillow is sitting in the sun, I have yet to drive the car as I do not know where to go, I want to buy puppy food and puppy milk for the puppies, I want to work... I don't want to work, but if I don't work I will become bored and boredom is boring and tiring. I want to go out with my friends but they're busy or away in some other place. Maybe I should start planning trips to Rancang pool and Matang and the movies and etc. Then I'll be doing something. I want to find a shirt printer or whatever you call those people who print patterns onto T-shirts. I have created 2 designs so far (my agreed aim with Sarah was 3). One has "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD" on it. The other simply says, "Save your ass" and has Noah pushing a donkey into the ark; original, one of a kind, uniquely me. Every Monday is badminton night. Every other day I go to the gym and pool and sauna... or so I've planned. I've been here a week and it feels like I've been here a month. An unemployed person for a month... maybe I could paint the house or wash the car everyday. The puppies have started walking around and are brave enough to venture beyond the carpark - in Malaysia the dogs sleep outside. Their little waggy tails are very unlike their mother's long flowing one. They're probably going to end up looking like their dad. Deuce is definitely her father's daughter - unfortunately. She stepped into her food bowl to relieve herself. Maybe I could work voluntarily at the SSPCA.

Any news on your side? Here it's all about sizzling noodles, foreign languages and massaging armchairs. I want to watch Batman Begins.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Freaky Star Wars...

The first Star Wars quiz I took...
Take the quiz: "What Star Wars Character Are You?">
Anakin Skywalker
Watch out for your temper...it could get you into trouble the way it did Anakin. You have enormous potential to be a great Jedi, but stress has made the dark side seem that much more inviting...

The second Star Wars quiz I took (from a different quiz)...


Ooooh, coincidence? I think not.

Working

2nd day of Gawai and I'm working in my dad's pharmacy. Had a slice of apple for breakfast because everything else was too hot :P ie mee jawa (mmm) and laksa (mmmmm). The best way to sweat bucketloads is to eat either or in a non-air conditioned room. I feel sticky just thinking about it. Yeah, sticky. Malaysian weather is really humid, not just hot so it feels like a consistent pressure cooker. Am missing London weather... even the rain but the rain here's amazing. Gives new meaning to the phrase 'when it rains, it pours.' Had to soak my 'smelly pillow' in a tub of soapy water last night cos my dad is convinced my 'beloved' was the cause of my allergies. I've had my ol smelly since I was 3 so parting is NOT sweet sorrow. I felt responsible for 'drowning' it in soapy water and leaving it there overnight and I'll have to stand it in the sun to let it dry out the next two days so that'll be 3 nights without my pillow. However, when I first came back I thought my dad had chucked it so at least 3 days is better than none. Yup, 21 and I still have my smelly pillow :) Had to stop bringing it with me on the plane whenever we went travelling when I was 16 cos my dad thought it might stink the plane out. I don't think it's that bad but then I call it my smelly pillow. It's so nice and squidgy... and smelly.

Will be signing up to the Merdeka Palace gym some time soon. Sarah (Gosden), I'm keeping up my end of the deal and I have created 2 designs for those shirts! Will start tennis next month but til then I'll be swimming.

Hope everyone back home's finished with exams... results in a month, people! Hope you all'll still check up on my blog and thanks for emails. Really cheers up my day knowing I'm not totally deprived of London company.

This holiday back I'd like to travel a bit. I think trips to Singapore and Mulu caves have been considered. I'd also like to meet up with my homies. Give me an email or post a tag to tell me so. Calling all St3's: I hear that there's gonna be a reunion at Anna's place end of this month for all fifth formers of the year 2001 who know Anna Banana.

I need to develop my pics before I can scan them so please be patient.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Allergies

I might be allergic to my own Country's air. Ever since I got here my eyes, ears, nose, throat, tongue (basically my whole head from the neck up) have been at war with rashes, inflamation, puffiness, and etc, resulting in itchy everything and a very grumpy Deborah. To top it all off, the mosquitoes have been feasting on my blood - literally. I keep on seeing fat (obese) mosquitoes, who after having too much of my good, rich blood to drink, were hardly able to fly away and had to be content hovering centimetres from the floor in the ignorant bliss only a glutton could experience.

It's Gawai today! One of the bigger celebrations Sarawak celebrates and it's a time of feasting and visiting friends, only we're not visiting friends today because the Dayaks we know have either balik kampung (gone back to their villages/ hometown) or are not 'opening house' today. we might go tomorrow.

Terminology:
Gawai - The word Gawai means a ritual or festival.
Dayaks - A collective name for the natives races in Sarawak; the Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Murut and a few more.
Open house - a period of time where people go around visiting friends while packed like sardines into cars (not very legal but very fun). The friends we visit have in turn provided us with food, food and more food and drinks and we talk and we eat and we laugh and we chill :) Open house is the expected 'thing to do' regardless of festival ie Chinese New Year, Hari Raya (Malay New Year), Christmas or Gawai. Open house can last from a day to 15 days (Chinese New Year) as long as there is enough food to go around.
To read more about Gawai, go here.

Went to Aunty Janet and Nick's house yesternight and saw Gus! He's grown so much but he's still cute and soft and cuddly :) He looks something like this. Other than Gus, I had the yummiest manggoes and was served, among other things, pig ears and ladies' fingers :) Don't you wish you were all with me? Hehehehehehehe. Man, food here is unrivalled. Although the food was amazing, I still felt out of place. The party was divided mainly into 2 groups; the under 10s and the over 40s. I was stuck in the middle. Albeit grudgingly I have to admit that I wasn't the only one and there were one or two people I knew and chatted to but on the whole, it wasn't my scene. I talked to Jey for most of the night as Bryan (the other supposedly my age group person) was caught up hanging around with kids one third his age. In fact, he's more my brother's friend than he is mine. The one time we sort of talked, he asked me a question I had resigned myself to being asked, "So, do you have a boyfriend?" What else was I to do? I laughed. I laughed so hard because in a way it was a relief that some things don't change.

My brain is in such a kerfuffle, I really don't know what else to write. I've sent some of you postcards already and will be sending more soon. Any requests for pictures of men in loincloth? That's something we don't get in London very often except maybe occasionally (and very briefly it must be said) at Ascot or during the mad prequel to Big Brother. My mum tells me not to complain and so I shall hold my sun drenched head high and smile. As for my return to London, it is possible, although things have yet to be confirmed, that it shall be my last year. Work permits are hard to obtain and further education might prove too much of a strain financially. I think I had better get used to the weather here.