Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spare the rod

Things in the papers do not attract me too often. The same old stories feature in a similar cycle. Corruption, promises, hypocrisy, death, crime, perseverance, hope, insufficiency read like well, the news. Today whilst waiting for my take-a-way however, my eye caught the front page of a newspaper the name of which escapes me and the caption made me pause for thought which, in turn, led to this entry.

There is talk it seems of introducing caning in girls' schools and there are some strong proponents of the topic. They offer excuses reasons of why we should implement this form of punishment previously only used on guys, on the fairer of the sexes. Among them is the notion that girls in school are now as notorious as guys and so a heavier punishment should be meted out to curb this so called unlady-like behaviour.

There are so many flaws to that one argument that everything from the gender of the speaker to the colour of her lipstick in the photograph (if it were a 'she' and if she were wearing lipstick) eludes me. All I could focus on was this absurd notion of distorted gender qualification that has been running havoc since the time of Eve.

Let me start off by saying that I do not approve of caning in girls' schools. If I had a daughter in an all-girls school and caning were to be introduced into the disciplinarian system, I'd go so far to say that I would take my daughter out of that school. There are several reasons why I do not agree with the concept of inflicting serious corporeal punishment on girls but the main point is this:


They are girls.

I do not care that the world seems to think that we are improving when history proves that if anything, we are regressing. We are regressing because where once we accepted our mistakes and tried to learn from them, now we gloss over mistakes and call it progress. Women's lib did nothing beneficial for women. On the contrary, it took away a great deal of worth attached to a woman's role in family, the community and society. It forced women to stereotype themselves according to guidelines set by male standards, demean themselves to delusional doormats and deny their God-given inheritance as nurturers and comforters. In short, it succeeded in indoctrinating women and society to believe as truth, the very values it set out to rebuke. Perhaps women's lib meant for something else to happen but sin at grass root level dictates that there can only be one philosophy for the rebellious soul no matter how much sheen is applied.

Equality and worth are not intricately linked to the roles imposed on us, on what we do and how well it appears we do them and as much as Bentham would have us believe, our worth is worth far more than our use. Girls should not be let to believe that they can only find their worth in jobs that men do be it in the corporate or military world. Girls should not be led to assume that motherhood is worth less than a 5 figure, 9 to 5 job or that it is a pity and a shame to step away from the corporate ladder in order to raise a family. They should not think that wearing pinstripes is more important than cooking or that a baby along the way is a liability.

I am against treating girls like boys and women like men because we aren't boys or men. I'm not saying there's a double standard to be had. There's just one standard; God's.

God made men to lead their creation and sin messed that up. Men now use their God-given strength to abuse and harm instead of to protect, shield and guide the fairer of the sexes. Women on the other hand, instead of allowing men to lead them, demand that they take charge and instead of nurturing life and supporting men, they use their God-given charm to manipulate and deceive in order to get what they want. So what you get is the mash we have now; men oppressing women, and women, not just retaliating or reacting to being treated that way but also actively demanding that they be made 'equal' with men. The irony is, they are already equal, if only they stick to their roles.

The fact that they step out of their roles make them less than equal. I think this particular irony of life is almost best summed up in C.S Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Edmund is told that he will be made prince of Narnia if he obeys the Witch yet he is already actually a King.

Treating girls like boys just because they behave like boys will not solve the problem. Where boys strive on confrontation, the nature of girls is such that confrontation will only make them more defensive which, is hardly the outcome desired.

So, in a nutshell, I say NO to caning girls in schools.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cicak Competition 2007


My unsung hero is the 'nobody' who helped a blind man through the Masjid Jamek LRT station last Wednesday, the 'samseng' who hailed a taxi for another blind man from Jaya Supermarket, the lady who offered her seat to a pregnant woman on the train, the stranger who puts in a kind word on a gloomy day. You are my heroes. Your random acts of kindness are unfortunately rare enough to be celebrated when they do occur, not that they shouldn't be celebrated if they grow more frequent. I yearn for the day when each would honour his fellowman, not merely out of duty or for fear of sanction, but out of the inclination of his own heart. Yet, the desperate truth is that, even if we were all to be model citizens, we would still remain white washed tombs; decaying souls in a seemingly eutopic society, if we do not turn to the one who laid down His life for us and gave us the very Law to love our neighbour as ourselves.

I can't believe I won. But I'm glad that it was for something worthwhile. Something which doesn't just affect me but also the people I care about. Something which will hopefully inspire others to awareness of our social situation. Something which builds and edifies, which is not self-seeking but others-orientated, not puffed-up but humble and grateful and thankful. I wish Sarah could have been at Madam Kwan's today because today was about her and her strength - God's continuous strength in her and through her - and also cos it would have been many times more fun (not that it wasn't) but we will, fingers crossed be meeting up at Christmas now that I can afford to. Sarah is a practical example to me personally to believe and be convicted that truly, "It is no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me."

Just stop it and stuff it

Frustration happens when things don't go the way we predict.

When the scanner scans the same document twice after 253 pages and you have to scan the lot all over again.

When the photocopier breaks down just as a client arrives.

When the lights go out just as the client sits down.

When fingerprints are left on a pristine surface.

When you realise you've catered for a 3-day weekend but only have two to spare.

When you feel unready to shoulder more responsibility but realise you're the only one shouldering the responsibility.

When the map reads 'right' but your brains thinks 'left.'

When loud, horrible music plays in the field next to the hall where you're having an exam.

When you get a work assignment 5 minutes before leaving work.

When all you need to make your day better is a thick smoothie and you don't get it.

Sometimes it's easy to complain. No, I think I'll rephrase that - it is always easy to complain. We never think people are performing well enough and get worried that we'll get the stick for others' under performance. I try to be gracious about what I think are failures that consequently affect me because I have been offered grace by a lot of people whom God has put in my life. I try to offer up my anxiety to God every night. I try to start my day with His word so that my focus is in the right place. Sometimes it is so easy to be gracious. For times like that I am exceedingly thankful but for the most part I pray for grace to be able to give grace and to give it graciously.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More photos of the past week(s)

This made me feel like I was climbing Tibet.


My 'chipmunk' pose at Batu Caves.


Angie and the chipmunks take 2 (L-R) Angie, me, Yee Li

Kolo Mee in Wangsa Maju and it was pretty good. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was better than some of Kuching's own!


Shoe shoe is a dirty shoe, please go out and clean your shoe before I count to ten.

Sekinchan; the return

We all eat rice but how many of us actually know what rice plants look like; no, rice most certainly do not grow on trees!


I like this. Can't really explain why. Maybe it has something to do with being still and waiting...


Through a mouse's eyes...



Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stones will cry out

We went to the Caves today and were greeted by a huge, 'gold'-painted statue of some Hindu deity; God's mountains are defaced by shrines and images who are given credit for the very life that is sustained by God Himself and that brings a pang of anger, sorrow and sometimes hatred to the heart. I sometimes wish I had the desperation that Phinehas had in 'protecting' the name of the Lord, to overthrow the shrines and demolish the pots that hold incense of hated offerings.

There were people praying, people being prayed over and people praying for others. Most of those prayers were in vain; the only ones that weren't in vain were prayed to the real God, the only God, the Living and True God. The Bible may warn us about other follies such as love of money and sexual immorality but it speaks with disdain and contempt concerning idols fashioned by hands and worshipped as gods:

Isaiah 40:19-20
As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
A man too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot.
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not topple.

Isaiah 41:7
The craftsman encourages the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer
spurs on him who strikes the anvil.
He says of the welding, "It is good."
He nails down the idol so it will not topple.

Isaiah 41:22-24
"Bring in your idols to tell us
what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
tell us what the future holds,
so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
But you are less than nothing
and your works are utterly worthless;
he who chooses you is detestable.

Hosea 4:12
They consult a wooden idol
and are answered by a stick of wood

Revelations 9:20
...they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk

Part of me feels angry that people can be so blind and so ignorant to the truth. That a reasonable human being can stoop to worship an equally debased and fallen creature stupefies the mind and yet it is the practice all over the world; the image of God bows down before a rotting piece of wood and calls it Lord. Heinous is the act and heavy will be the judgment. Sometimes part of me wonders how God can tolerate such profanity. What a stench they must be in His presence. Who can stand the fullness of unquantified wrath that burns against them? What prevents Him from striking the idols and rebellion where they stand, turning them to instant rubble, smoke and ash? In the presence of His Holiness, even the children who go to the temples and worship idols are not safe from His wrath. Youth is no excuse for the sickening pang of judgment that awaits those young and old alike, who have rejected God for a god. Sometimes I get so angry that I wish that fire would rain and obliterate them and their worthless idols that mock God and His creation from the earth. How we should all fear that day when God comes in judgment! And how can we stand before Him claiming any merit of our own?

Even we who claim to follow Christ are only deceiving ourselves if we think we can possibly say to the Most Holy God,
"Yes God, I believe I deserve to go to Heaven because..
I had 567 communions;
'converted' 14 people;
read the 95 theses 95 times;
spoke in tongues 297 times;
performed 5 pilgrimages;
said 7,834 rosaries;
turned missionary for 54 years,
read the whole Old Testament 87 times;
bowed 523 times;
preached 819 times;
tithed 649 times;
sang in the church choir for 32 years;
refrained from meat for 6,835 Fridays;
only skipped church 32 times; and
faithfully prayed for exactly 74 'lost souls' during my lifetime. Oh and by the way, thank you Jesus for dying for me which helped me get a kick start and a push in the right direction along the way."

I get frustrated when people who claim to know Christ refuse to admit to Him all glory in their lives. Instead, they take some for themselves, giving themselves a pat on the back for doing good works and being pious when actually they rob God of what is rightfully due to Him. I don't care for long words or theological jargon but sometimes I care too little for the people who care not.

Anger is usually the first emotion that hits me and the emotion that stays the longest whenever something is displeasing hence why it is so strongly integrated within my reactions to situations. However, I am aware that anger does not win people to Christ so as much as I can, I limit it to vents and rants to close friends and my blog sphere. To God who knows my heart so well, I need not vent my frustration as He feels the insult more keenly than I ever will but I wonder at the heart of God; that He who is held in contempt by insignificant creatures of twisted and demented hearts can still be merciful to them, choose them, cleanse them and clothe them in His righteousness. When I say 'them' however, I also mean me. My folly is great, greater still if I see the wickedness of the world and blog about it but do nothing.

The idol worship in this land provokes a great sadness, sometimes dismay and often hopelessness - not knowing how to react or what to say - within me. It is my prayer that when the Holy Spirit stirs me to act, though it may seem socially unacceptable, morally bigoted and intellectually narrow-minded, though my heart may be burdened and my feet heavy, I will abide as I am compelled.

Don't get me wrong, I am not holding a 'holier-than-thou' position or a 'worse-than-thou' position for that matter rather, this is merely an outpouring of mind and soul of unfolding events, trying to make sense of the bigger picture and as I am moulded by the Potter and being equipped for His purposes, to be the best I can be and to run this race and although I cannot yet see the end nevertheless by the grace of God, I hold it in view.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Once again

It has been yet another week since I blogged and I am starting to wonder whether this will become a regular occurence. I suppose this is what it means to live in the 'real' world. It doesn't help that I'm a workoholic. Note that workoholic and studyholic are not the same thing :p I have in the last week, started eating oats for breakfast and am cutting down on my very expensive juice from Juice Works. Was actually contemplating stopping for a while but the juice is really THAT good. However, 2 days ago, a newbie to the job made my breakfast 'Banana Blast Off' and put in more ice than banana leaving me with a drip of a drink instead of a rich smoothie. That kind of helped me decide to send my loyal month-and-a-half long, 6-days-a-week patronage. Have also started walking/ jogging with two other colleagues around KLCC gardens; 3 rounds make that 3.6km.

Going to Batu Caves tomorrow!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Recap

It seems impossible to believe that my last blog post was on Monday. I used to mentally scoff at people who said they did not have time or energy or motivation or anything to write about and now it might seem like I have crossed over. To quickly recap, even tough the week has been a blur to me, the highlights of my weeks have been:

Shopping with Tyng Yng: Unless you are of strong constituton and do not grow weary over (groundless :p) whines and whinges of being 'fat,' shopping with me is not a good idea. Oh, unless of curse, you wish to develop that sough after constitution or seek patience and cultivate endurance. our shopping trip more or less went like this:
  • Found DREAM dress but... it made me look pregnant; Tyng Yng can vouch for that. Memo to myself; when I do get pregnant, I know I'll look amazing in that dress.
  • Felt depressed after looking pregnant in DREAM dress so made a beeline to Delicious and had way to much to eat (punishing myself).
  • Passed Phenomenon or was it Phenomenal(?). By chance, came across a dress which, although not my DREAM dress, gave me my DREAM shape. Unfortunately, it costs about half of what I have in my account so I couldn't possibly justify that although I came close to...
  • Got depressed again so made way to Secret Recipe to eat large slice of caramel cake.
  • By chance, walked by a store where things were going for 70% off! Found a dress, which although was neither my DREAM dress nor gave me my DREAM shape, was irrisistably at my DREAM price.
  • Bought it and wore it tonight (the day after) for formal find raising function which had a fashion show thrown in and vain as I am, I thought I looked better than half the models who were dressed in what looked like dyed burlap sacks.
  • Unfortunately, my DREAM priced dress kept getting stepped on because of its long train which means.... I now need to find my DREAM tailor.
So much for my week. I seem to be spending more and more time at work; might as well live there and bring along my mini marshmallows...

Also, my FIFTH floor apartment is ironically flooded. Reminds me of when the house in Oval got flooded and smelt like a stable for weeks.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Photos of the not too distant past

After the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research


Angie and the chipmunks...



She'll be coming round the mountains when she comes....


A moment to myself; actually trying to hide from the camera



Abseiling

Corrections

Today I found out that the amazing Bukit Tabur I climbed was only 1,200 feet and not the 1,200 metres I had previously been led to believe. So much for great expectations. I met a guy at work today whom I assumed was someone called Kevin (Hoong Wai is going to laugh when he reads this because I first thought he was Kevin too). His name is Azizul, he works in the same office I do and to date, he's one of the coolest guys I know, from the little I know of him, part of the reason being, he's even more out-doorsy than I am and has suggested mountain ranges for me to exert myself on. He likened my amazing Bukit Tabur climb to a stroll which I got a bit indignant over (inside anyway) but it made me want to go all out and hang off a cliff by my fingertips or something. On top of the crazy hours we work at the office, he's also a journalist, has opened my eyes to a whole list of 100 top adventure books by National Geographic Adventure (which I hope to start collecting and reading with my next paycheck), cycles, took time to show me that I could see Bukit Tabur East and West (I didn't know there was an East and West!!!) from my office, pointed out all the erratic serrated ridges and told me their names and showed me other mountain peaks which were half shrouded in fog and cloud. To top the list, he reads while he walks. :) If he were Christian, it would have been knockout before the blow even landed.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bukit Tabur

The view from the 'nearly halfway point.'

Our second climb was more fun than the first. I woke up late AGAIN to my chagrin (my body is demanding more sleep by compelling my hand to turn the alarm clock off in my sleep). Pictures to follow with hopefully funny and witty anecdotes attached but for the moment all I have to say, despite the cuts and subsequent bruises and the soles of both my shoes nearly falling off, I had an incredible time. Angie, May Yin and I laughed so much about so many things, most of it being each others' silliness (mostly mine... like the way I tried to climb up an overhanging rock and had my butt facing the camera ala Bridget Jones) and laughing releases endorphins to help me be positive and face the rest of the week.

I am really enjoying work at the moment despite having to take work home and often thinking, at the back of my mind, on how to advise clients. I enjoy the juice-a-day regime I have started the last month and found out that the girl who serves me each morning is a Christian; she thought I was 18!!! I am getting used to my new cubicle on the 41st floor. When I was a waitress on the 33rd floor in the Executive Floor Lounge of Hilton Hotel, I had thought that that was the highest I would ever go but I guess it's pretty cool being so high up except when the fire drill is run. I am making friends. I am learning how to get along with my keyboard. The week I was dreaming of bagels, David bought me a bagel. Although it wasn't the type of savoury bagel I was looking for (Malaysia doesn't have that) it was the thought that counted.

However, there has been an area of concern for me with regards to looking after myself; my body is trying to catch up on sleep I am not giving it. It has been one activity after another the last month with hardly any time to rest properly. It might catch up with me soon but even though I know it, I can't seem to stop. Tonight for example, I have work to go through so turning in early is out of the question. Tomorrow, my whole day is packed until evening when I can return home to complete the work before Monday morning. Come Monday morning, the work cycle continues and this Thursday, I'll be off to climb yet another mountain during the Deepavali (Hindu festival) public holiday break.

I climbed Bukit Tabur (pronouned Boo-kit Ta-boar) today. Standing at 1,200m, logic tells me I've climbed more today than the 1,000 feet of Bukit FRIM 2 weeks ago. Tabur means scattered in the Malay language. It's probably because the mountain range is 'scattered' across a vast expanse. I'm feeling a bit 'tabur-ed' at the moment. Cutting it fine. Running it thin.

Speaking of running, tomorrow, I'll be running in the Terry Fox Run (proceeds go towards Cancer Research). Be there.