Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thursday's child has far to go

Yesterday ended on a contemplative note; it was the end of the day, I was in a pharmacy having just had birthday dinner with a friend and was thinking about social justice when I saw a man steal a bottle of shampoo by hiding it under his shirt. I was half in shock, half tired and half scared (ok that's more than 2 halves but..). The worst part was I just stood there. I did nothing. I didn't call someone's attention to it. I hoped that someone else would notice and I was too scared to do anything. Coward. I can think about social welfare and wonder about injustice but when it's right in my face, I do nothing. I counted the cost. I didn't carry my cross.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Melting moment


About 2 weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to have my moment with my mug of hot chocolate on Genting Mountain. I did! And the best thing was, I had it with friends.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do not be ashamed of the Gospel

GOD GAVE US HIS SON (I AM NOT ASHAMED)

God gave us His Son - the sinless One to be sin for us
That we might be the righteousness of God
Your kingdom has come: we're being changed into Your likeness
Children of light, it's our time to arise

I am not ashamed: I know whom I've believed
For God Himself has come to me, now Jesus is my destiny
I know I am changed and all You've given me:
This hope, this love, this life - I can't deny Your power within me
So here I am - send me

Now we are in You and You have given us Your message
To tell the world: be reconciled to God
Your favour is here, in this day of salvation
Now is the time, let Your glory arise!

Purify us, Lord, so we're spotless and pure
And we hold out Your Word to this generation
How can they hear? And how can they believe?
How can they call on Your name unless we tell them?

Copyright Kate and Miles Simmonds 2002 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

Friday, October 26, 2007

The heel of the matter

My heels broke today. My nice heels. My fancy worker ones. On the way to the station. So I walked barefoot to the station. And up the stairs. And into the train. And I saw a girl reading a Bible. And I smiled. Cos there was another girl yesterday whom I saw reading the Bible. And I wanted to say at both instances, "Thank you for not being ashamed of the Gospel." She offered me her seat but I said I was ok. Maybe I should have said I was Christian. I wonder if she knew there was another Christian on that train. I walked barefoot past Juice Works to my office.

One of the assistants in the library at work insists that I have yet to return a book which I returned last week. I am not amused. Very not amused. In fact, very not amused is an understatement. I will try not to bear a grudge. If he asks one more time, I might have to pay the cost price of the book. And if I have to, I promise myself that I will buy my own set of dictionaries in whatever language I need and I will keep it under lock and key. I am reminded that my inadequacy and mistakes could cost someone else a lot more than lost sleep.

A co-worker and I prayed at work today. Right in the middle of the office. It felt good to be living in a parallel universe; to be in the world but not of it.

The cobbler couldn't fix my shoes. They're now sitting in a bin. I wonder if they feel useless.

If I were a man, I would find Gong Li fascinating. But what's to say that I don't already find her sensual?

The start of something new might begin come Thursday but I'll let you know if it does.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Worldly wisdom

The last two days have been packed back to back and tomorrow will be another day of the same. They have been packed not wholly because of work, but because for the last two days I have attended a 3-day long conference by Don Carson held in the evenings, which ends tomorrow. If you have yet to go, I do urge you to go.

Mentally, I am tired, physically, I am bruised (partly due to a minor incident in a van where my coccyx got hit hard and partly due to having to carry around a heavy laptop for work purposes) and emotionally I am, as always, hung in the balance; the possibility of me tethering over the edge is as likely as invisible wings sprouting, sending me soaring beyond probabilities. Spiritually however, I am, for the most part, content.

Last night I got into a conversation with someone who was giving me advice on how to live my life. He had wisdom. Wordly wisdom. He advised me to go into investment banking because, "That's where the money is." He reminded me that I had financial obligations to fulfil to my parents and brother. He discouraged me from pursuing Law because, "It brings no money" and he told me I needed to make up my mind. In some ways, he is right. I can't live as a fickle minded, unfocused person, gliding through life as if ripples don't matter and I do owe my parents a lot. However, the more he spoke, the more burdensome his words became and the more weight they seemed to carry. Within two hours, I was ready to buckle under the load of future anxiety, present uncertainty and past regret. It didn't help that at that point, we were driving through the ridiculously expensive Tropicana, where houses are all 5 times too big and look as though they came from different eras or from a life I was never and will never know or experience.

Like honey to the lips is God's word to the bitter. Like water to the tongue is His voice to the parched and thirsty. Like bread to the soul, does His word satisfy the hungry. By the time I went to hear Don Carson speak about Jesus yesterday, all I could think about was work, the time I was wasting sitting there and how much more weary the world looked. I don't even remember the exact words or phrases Don used - I wasn't even paying attention - but somehow, God's word spoke to my tired soul and by the end of the night I left refreshed and healed.

I asked God for new eyes last night although the eyes I want to replace are not my astigmatism ridden ones. I asked God to give me insight to His word and His call because I choose daily to heed no other. It is not easy. It hurts as I think of riches this world tempts me with because a part of me wants that badly but I want God desperately. It must seem like foolishness indeed to those who have yet to taste the peace that surpasses understanding for me to give up riches to follow my God (not that I have any riches to give up!) and I must seem like an idealistic, ignorant youth (I use the term youth loosely :p) to the seemingly wise and learned of the world. It is ironic that to the chaff, I am like chaff when I'm not.

I asked God to let me see the effect His word has on this world, to see the needy, to look for opportunities, to see people the way He sees them and to have the grace to love and graciousness to be so loved.

There has been an underlying 'calling' I have been sensing since POTs and I heard it again yesterday and today. I don't know how things will pan out but I think things will, practically speaking, look clearer in the next week or so as God gives me directions. Tyng Yng today found out that I can't find my way from the train station to a parked car even when I am given instructions 'live' by phone.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tumble dryer

I look forward to the day when a load of laundry will not bring about a guilty sigh as I begin the march to the launderette with my wallet. There was a time when I thought dry cleaning was for posh people and ironing was nothing out of the ordinary. But now, I dry clean a lot and wish that I could afford iron-free shirts. Maybe I should move so that I'll have more space to hang laundry and no have no convenient dry cleaner nearby. I look forward to the day when seeming drudgery becomes acceptable but by then, it might mean I would have finally 'grown up.' Whatever that means, I am trying to evade it.

There are people who accept everything life throws at them graciously. These are the people who look like they glide through life buoyed by a contentment and peace that arouses my curiousity. They look like they are secure in themselves... I might go to extend to say that I am almost completely insecure in myself but that I live vicariously through Christ in me. Even when I am 'quiet,' my mind races through a hundred different things and when I tell myself to, "Be quiet!" I wonder if either God's mirth bubbles or if His displeasure is awakened as I try become someone I am not, just because it looks more appropriate, more 'right,' more 'holy.' Sometimes I wonder why God surrounds me with 'quiet' people. People who look like they are constantly in the, "Be still and know that I am God" mode. People who as much as I sometimes want to be, know that I am not. I am more prone to running around in a field, trying to catch flickers of light through the clouds just because. Is it ignorance on my part or foolishness or abandonment of values which I should embrace but choose to ignore?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

1,000 feet



In preparation for our Kinabalu Conquest next year, Angie, May Yin and I climbed Bukit FRIM today. We realised that we were very unfit (a grandmother on a WALKING STICK could reach the top of the mountain and she stayed AHEAD of us...) and need more future training so in a fortnight's time we will be climbing Batu Caves. It might help if we did not stuff our faces with a lot of dim sum for breakfast.




Remember that DON CARSON will be speaking at Tropicana, PJ from this Monday-Wednesday. Go! Go! Go!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Going POT-ty

L-R: Jia Yin, Rosey, me and Esther.

Kai Lee and I; the stuff we got up to when the lights went out...


L-R: Kay Jin and Nobert


My small group; awesome bunch of people.




Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A burden in my heart, a burden lifted

Nehemiah 4:14
And I looked, and rose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses."

I have been to POTS (Professionals of Tomorrow) the last 5 days and things which have been hanging in the air, aimlessly drifting around in the space between my ears have somehow fallen into place, emotionally at least. I only ended up at POTS because Rosey said "Come! Come! Come!" and I said, "Ok," without giving much thought to why or what it was about. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.

One of the biggest issues I have grappled with in the last year is simply being in Malaysia. Putting Islamization, racial tension, the humidity and corruption aside, I have treated Malaysia like a pit-stop; a temporary place to pull-over before carrying on with other adventures in life. Whenever my parents mentioned work or long-term goals within a Malaysian context, frustration would bubble within as I felt cornered, a position I loathe being in and it didn't help that I felt that my parents were expecting things of me I didn't want to give; returning to Kuching for starters.

POTS helped me realise that I really do care for Malaysia as seemingly irreversibly problematic as it is. The first time we had to sing Negaraku in POTS, I couldn't bring myself to sing it. The words just weren't true for me. By the 3rd day however, the work and circumstances that God had been doing and had placed in my life began stirring and provoking my conscience and I had a lot of thinking and soul-searching to do which included the reality that Malaysia belongs to my Heavenly Father, it is my Father's world, and that every Malaysian is ours to claim in Christ regardless of race, creed or religion. By the 4th morning, through a passage in Nehemiah and another in Jeremiah 29, God lifted the biggest burden I have had since returning to Malaysia and now I can honestly say for as long as God leaves me in Malaysia, I will love her, defend her and ultimately stand up for Christ in this country whatever it takes and whatever it means. This is not some bravado or some impulsive proclamation riding the wave of a spiritual high. I say this with trembling because for months I have asked myself these questions,

"What am I willing to surrender?"
"How much am I willing to sacrifice for Christ in Malaysia?"
"Who am I willing to sacrifice for Christ?"

The last question was the hardest to answer. It is comparatively easier perhaps to give up part of yourself (for me anyway) and be self-abasing but can I say that I will be willing to give up someone else's life, job promotion, recognition or dignity because of my convictions? I know it sounds drastic, overly dramatic and such social implications by association probably wouldn't happen in my lifetime but it was a important issue for my conscience to tackle. Being the over-analysing thinker that I am, I left no one to chance; parents, family, church family, friends, workmates, even future relationships such as my spouse or children and have only recently come to the firm conclusion that, and I am not being fatalistic here, as God is sovereign, so God is in charge of the lives of the people I am concerned for. It is not that I have been released from responsibility of caring for and loving the people around me but I realise that each and every person I can think of has his or her own relationship with God and will be held accountable for their own actions. They have and will have their own walk and convictions to settle with the Creator King, which go into grounds that are not my call to make. In a nutshell, although I cannot hold a lackadaisical attitude towards the welfare of people possibly affected by the things I intend to do, God holds them in His hand and at the end of the day, I am accountable to God alone.

I do not know how long I will be left here. I do not know how this new burden for the people in Malaysia will relate to my desire to return to Mongolia or London. I do not know when I will stop feeling like an exile in my homeland. I do not know many things but one thing I know, echoing the song of the psalmist in Psalm 73:25-26,

Whom have I in Heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I
desire besides You,
My flesh and my heart fail;
But Gob is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Making moments

The leap of hope, the serenity of peacefulness, the pang of sorrow. I am not one to sit around and wait for moments to come to me. If I want to ride, I'll go in search of horses be it in Malaysia, Australia, Wales or Mongolia. If I want to have a random bus trip, I hop onto whichever bus comes my way and see where it might take me. Sure, there are some moments we can never foresee, some we will never be able to force without dire consequences and some yet which we never expected would happen to us but for the most part, I believe that if you want something to happen, make it happen. Moments can sometimes speak of eternal consequences like when I first accepted Christ into my life as my Saviour King. I remember aunty Mary and Cheryl and that tiny room that is no more in what used to be the main building in SIB, Kuching and am still gripped by the Person who first infected me with joy abounding. Emotionally, moments are strong creatures who outlast their more aggressive here-and-now counterparts. I think it's partly because moments live in memory and here-and-nows live in action.

Hot chocolate in Genting Highlands doesn't seem like a big deal but it's a moment I want to have. Whatever the moment may feel like, I am determined to sit somewhere on the mountain (even if it's on a concrete slab on the mountain) and sip hot chocolate and maybe feel the breeze whispering. So, I have bought my hot chocolate and will be bringing mini marshmallows in a sealable bag and a nice mug and hopefully, hot water will not be too hard to find. It seems too trivial but since life is made up of lots of little moments, I am determined to make the best out of mine.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Promises

I cannot promise to love you more,
I don't know that I can,
I cannot say I'll love you less,
I don't really know the man.
I cannot say I'll never leave,
Sometimes hearts are not that strong,
I cannot say I'll always be,
I don't even know where I belong.
I will never break your heart,
I don't know that to be true,
I don't know that I'll even try,
Salvage your soul broken in two.

I don't know how much we'll laugh,
Or how we'll cope through pain,
But whatever delights or haunts us both,
Will you stand by me in the rain?
I cannot say I'll love you forever,
Forever is just a song,
There'll be days that I don't want too,
Those days will seem too long.
All I can promise is my love for Christ,
So as I gaze into His eye,
I will still love you,
Above myself and I.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunburnt

I passed through my first work of week relatively unscathed; no partners have yet thrown me down 41 storeys of glass and steel-enforced concrete which is always good news. Some of them look like they could though, a thought which makes me nervous as I hurry back to my cubbyhole with my coffee. It is not that I'm a pushover but at this point in time, I would like as much legal experience as possible. It helps that everyone else wears those funny straight-up-and-down-cut things because when it becomes a uniform, stemming from duty rather than a want or desire, the dress code really does not seem to matter as much as it did before. Now, all I'm concerned about is making sure I have enough ironed cuffs for the next week. Those shirts are worked hard; on an average day (so far) I've gone home at 8.30pm.

Having said that, my social life has doubled since I started work, which the social butterfly in me thrives on. I met C for lunch, went for karaoke on Friday night and stumbled in at 5am, after 3 hours of sleep, A and I went to Sekinchan to photograph padi (rice) fields, walk in mud and watch dragonflies (pictures to follow). Padi field excursion was followed by beach trip to collect seashells, some of which I hope to make into a necklace. At 5.30pm, A and I met T for Tesco fever which, although resulted in happy purchases, also proved that Cadbury Highlights are harder to find than I originally thought. We also indulged in TGI Friday and I bought a Rubik cube to enhance my attempts at logic cultivation. Back home just before midnight and am VERY sunburnt.

Although knackered, I'm glad we went to the padi fields and beach today. A and I agree that Malaysia is beautiful if people only took the time to look. The sun was burning indelible marks on my skin, I wasn't looking my Sunday best and blisters were forming on my feet after having to walk barefoot through rock and dry grass but I was content. After a week of getting up at 6am and finding a balance between being responsible and paranoid, to be able to get away from the city and realize that I can still have my share of adventures was a relief. That I can yell into the breeze and have the comfort and solitude of nature there, supporting me, is truly God given.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sing your tiny heart out

Karaoke tomorrow. Red box. Buffet. A chance for my co-workers to see just how mad I am.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Private & confidential

The thing about working in a law firm is that I can't disclose stuff that's happened there and seeing as I now spend more time there than at home, I have fewer things to say... or fewer things I can say. I don't think less though... there're still people to see, people to meet, people to build and encourage, people to work with and work for, people to love.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Novelty

You know you're a corporate junkie when:
  • You get estatic when shown where office stationary is kept.
  • Your best friends are coffee, sugar and creamer.
  • Your outlandish striped shirt which you were worried would clash with everyone's sombre greys blend right in.... with the files.
  • You no longer care about what you wear as long as you're in a suit.
  • Lunchtime seems like a waste of time.
  • You think your boss is cool because he has an office all to himself.
  • You don't have an urge to blog or check emails whilst at work.
  • You cannot remember why you didn't want to be a corporate worker partly because you're too tired.
  • You get a kick out of the name of your printer.
  • The only time you see the sun is through the office window.
  • Spider solitaire doesn't tempt you as much as Civil Procedure.
  • Going back at 9pm seems too early.
  • One meal a day makes you full.
  • You dream of going to work and it's a good dream.
  • You get used to knowing nothing.
  • You think the IT guy is cute because he knows how to record voicemails.
  • You look at your phone ring without answering it because listening to it makes you tired.
  • Bed is for sleeping.
  • You get embarrassed when the photocopying machine rejects you.
  • Six hours is a LOT of sleep.
  • Saturday actually excites you.
  • Arranging a social on a Friday night makes you feel guilty.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hee hee

I only had 4 hours sleep last night; my body is trying to get used to waking up at 6am instead of sleeping at it; main point is that I am awake and have had my coffee fix. Cofffeeeeeee.....

Will probably be ridiculously early for work today but better early than late.

Newsflash!!!!!!! This year, Klang Valley Bible Conference's speaker will be DON CARSON. He will be speaking for three nights (Oct 22nd-24th, 8.15pm) on three passages concerning the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, admission free. He will also be conducting the Expository Preaching Seminar on Theology and Expository Preaching, cost: RM70. I strongly recommend everyone go to at least one talk. For more info, log on to KVBC's official website.