Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Why do we make resolutions? Because we know we can be improved. Because we can, in the half-light, vaguely grasp what it might look like to be perfect. Because deep down, we realize that we were made for greater things. I'm not talking about being a top football or grade scorer or finding a cure for AIDS. We were made for a relationship with God; a perfect relationship without fear or judgment. Clearly we do not have that now and yet many of us refuse to acknowledge that for all our resolutions, on our own accord, away from God, we cannot do the one thing that really matters; improve.

By God's grace, I will endeavour to:

Swear less frequently.
Halt gossip.
Be kind in manner and speech.
Basically holding my tongue.

I could say I will try eat less chocolate but I know that won't be followed through.

By the way

If you want to see what I was up to my elbows in over the Christmas hols go here.

My true love gave to me (Kuching Special)

I did say I was working on something special the last few days. I believe for (real) Kuching people, it will prove a particularly sweet note. Sing to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas.
See below for a glossary.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

FIVE-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

7 red eyes, 6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

8 woh teahs, 7 red eyes, 6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

9 mee poks, 8 woh teahs, 7 red eyes, 6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

10 mangolimes, 9 mee poks, 8 woh teahs, 7 ed eyes, 6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

11 mee suas, 10 mangolimes, 9 mee poks, 8 woh teahs, 7 red eyes, 6 kampua mees, 5-layered teh-si-peng! 4 choki-chokis, 3 lui chas, 2 white ladies and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!


(Crescendo) On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....


12 Sarawak laksas
11 mee suas
10 mangolimes
9 mee poks
8 woh teahs
7 red eyes
6 kampua mees
5-layered teh-si-peng!
4 choki-chokis
3 lui chas
2 white ladies...

and a big bowl of char siu kolo mee!!!

===========================================

Glossary (not alphabetical):

Laksa: Bi hun (or mee hun, depending on dialect) cooked in sour/spicy coconut soup served with belacan and lime.

Belacan: Prawn paste

Mee sua: Traditional Foochow soup noodles. Especially popular among grandmothers to feed grandchildren because the long strings of noodles represent long life and long ties with family.

Mangolime: An ice blended drink served in a bowl. Has lime, chendol and jelly in it among other things.

Mee pok: Pok means 'flat' in Hokkien. self explanatory.

Woh teah: Pan fried meat dumplings eaten with garlic and soy sauce.

Red eye: Not conjunctivitis. A drink with sweetened milk, rose syrup and lychees thrown together. Hawker stalls' version of a mocktail.

Kampua mee: Another Foochow dish. Noodles tossed in sesame oil and garnished with pork and spring onions.

5-layered teh-si-peng: Iced milk tea with 5 layers. The best thing to hit Kuching since kolo mee.

Choki-choki: Poor man's version of chocolate mousse.

Lui cha: Chopped vegetables served with bitter soup.

White lady: Another road side mocktail. This time with pineapple and lychee.

Kolo mee: You are not a Kuchingite of you've not eaten Kolo mee. You are also not a Kuchingite if you don't know where the dinosaur rock is located.

On the eve of the eve

aM in tHe mIDdlE oF dOinG an aLL niGHteR aT a frIEnd's pLace aFTer plAYing TenNis And Am feEliNg WooZy... gOinG foR breAKfast thEN mAyBe tHIS wILl mAkE mOre SENse... SeE yOu aT nooN. SeeING TynG tHis eVEnInG FOr yEE saNG...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love is...

Context:
I had prepared an "Amazing Race" style treasure hunt for my brother's 12th birthday last Monday. I got them to count beans, shoot hoops, perform 'road blocks' and 'detours,' crack codes and eat food as part of the various challenges. One of the clues was from the ever popular nursery rhyme,

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
What is Humpty Dumpty?

You know you love someone when he shouts out, "Humpty Dumpty is a basketball!!!" and rushes off in the wrong direction with all the other teams following suit, leaving me to quickly intervene to prevent a catastrophe.

N.B: In case you didn't know, Humpty Dumpty is an egg and the clue was in the kitchen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Home again

I'm enjoying being home too much to talk much about it. Baking, sleeping and seeing friends have featured high on the agenda. Our fridge is full of gingerbread men and coloured icing of purple, green, blue, pink and white. I'll showcase them later. Cramming more fruit down my gut before setting back to KL is another past time I find myself indulging in. My brother's birthday is coming up and we're planning an Amazing Race style treasure hunt for him and his guests as well as giant floor puzzles. Hope the weather will hold; it's been raining everyday since I got here which makes for perfect sleeping weather but not very good driving conditions. Especially when my average speed has since increased from 70km/h to 90. That's KL influence for you.

I am working on a little Christmas surprise for my viewers. Be patient.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New hairstyle

Pa, in case you're reading this, I've changed my hair style. Am telling you first so you don't get a big shock, ya? Don't worry, I'll have my normal hair again when I go to work but until Christmas I'll look like that. See you at the airport...

<-----

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Great piss

I can't wait to go back to work. At least THEN when I'm thorough and pedantic and give suggestions, I have every right to dammit!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Attack of the sub

I woke up in a sweat in the early hours of this morning in the middle of talking to myself whilst standing on my bed frantically beating the air, brushing away something that wasn't there. Even when I turned on the light, my brain couldn't piece together why the floor was just as I had left it and wasn't covered in blue pythons which I was convinced had rained down from my closet.


Just another day then.


I'm still alive, although the number of times I have dreamt of almost dying should be enough to justify my idiosyncrasies.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'll be warm for Christmas

... and I'd be surprised if I weren't!
I live in Malaysia.
Chestnuts roaaasting...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eeaaarrrrggghh!!!!!!!

What's worse than finding one unpaired sock?

... ... ... ... ...

Finding FOUR unpaired socks!!!!!

Somebody shoot me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Presents :)


I received my first Christmas present today.
Thank you Raj!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Brain squeeze

I dreamt I was trying to squeeze out a pimple on my forehead.

I squeezed...

and squeezed...

and squeezed...

and more and more 'stuff' came out. I was thinking that it looked like the paste my grandma uses when she makes fishcake when it dawned on me that it didn't look like the 'stuff' that usually came out when I squeezed my pimples. Then the horrifying realization hit.

I had been squeezing my brain out.

I don't know what's more horrifying; that I was squeezing out my brain and felt no pain or that my brain looks like fishcake paste.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Epoxy epoch

You want to get out of a sticky situation
So you plan
And you plan
And you plan some more
And then you act on it
And you are on a roll to get to where you planned to go
And you keep rolling
And you think...
"This is great!!"
Then you reach the top or wherever it is you had set out to go
What happens when you succeed in getting to where you wanted to go to only to find that it's no less sticky at the top?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Church: factions and fractions

Conservative Charismatic.
Evangelical Anglican.
Reformed Catholic.

Any one of those combinations make you lift a brow?

Presbyterian priest. Catholic elder. Baptist Bishop.

Ever heard of those?

When we say, "I'm Methodist" or "I'm AOG (Assembly of God)," what exactly do we mean?

Can the AOG and the COE (Church of England) ever meet eye to eye?

I'll use my own church-going history as an example. I was born into a local evangelical church. Now that in itself is confusing isn't it? Aren't all churches meant to be evangelical? As far as I recall, Jesus didn't say, "You AOG, go make disciples" or "Hey Catholics, you're exempted from telling people about me." Further, my home church runs under a system of elders and deacons which sounds a bit Presbyterian to me and they don't baptise infants but does it mean I'm a Baptist? A Baptist, Presbyterian Evangelical. Gosh.

Anyway, I was part of an 'evangelical' church until I went over to London and got the biggest church culture shock of my life. I really thought the whole COE (Church of England) wasn't Christian because they weren't as exuberant in their singing or in expressing themselves. Maybe it was because I went to the UK instead of the States or Australia. The British bring their stiff upper lip into church as well... and that's fine... but it wasn't fine to me, not at that point in time anyway; I've since seen the error of my ways :p

So, after 5 years in a COE setting of modern hymns and academic Bible preaching, I get shifted back to Malaysia where I join an Anglican church. The last time I was in Malaysia before I went off to UK, Anglican used to be synonymous with the Protestant version of Catholic (think tradition, incense and an old man in funny clothes). However, it was recommended by a friend who was as concerned about getting solid and faithful Bible teaching as I was and he wasn't wrong.

I have spent 2 years in the same Anglican church. But it's not just Anglican, it's evangelical. And although it's not Baptist, infant baptism is optional and yes we have a bishopric but there's also a council and we hold general meetings. So what am I now? An Episcopal-Presbyterian, Anglican-Baptist Evangelical? The next thing you know I'll end up Protestant-Catholic :s

These days when people ask me what I am with regards to my religion, I pause for a very long while and then slowly say that I'm Christian. I think that's all people need to know. If that's not enough, they're not really interested in who I worship but who I hang with. There're no different brands of Christianity out there to choose from. There's no such thing as Holy Spirit Christianity or Academic Christianity or Charismatic Christianity or Bishop Christianity. There's just one brand; Jesus Christ.

If your brand is Jesus Christ through and through, it doesn't matter what material you use. If Jesus Christ is merely a director on the board whose opinions are consulted now and then and can be vetoed, (Sorry Jesus, you're wrong on that issue. We think you're 2,000 years behind) then your brand isn't Jesus Christ no matter how attractive or unattractive your programme and religious super star line-up is or how much money you've raised in tithing or how many countries you've sent the Gospel to. I say 'unattractive' because some are of the opinion that to be Christian means to be sombre and melancholic and wallowing in awareness of sin without grace.

The Charismatics can learn how to be devoted like the Catholics. The Catholics can learn how to place the Word of God as a Christian's highest authority like certain Evangelical groups. The Evangelicals can learn how to be more zealous like the AOGs. The AOGs can learn how to practice the quiet assurance of faithful COEs. The COEs can learn how to take God out of the academic box and experience His power, not just read about it.

So, what are you?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UPSR

My bro's first public exam results came out today. A milestone for him.

CONGRATULATIONS JONATHAN!!!!!

I'm very proud of you.

Remember that wisdom comes, not through studying nor by experience alone, but by the Word of the LORD, the source of all wisdom.

Love you
Y

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pig's tail soup

I'm tired.

I haven't been getting enough restful sleep lately.

Take last night for instance.

I dreamt that the friend I wanted to talk to had just arrived at the airport and was too tired to talk to me.

Then I dreamt that I was on my way to catch a train and was stopped by an annoying lady who grabbed my bag in a most unnecessary way. I tried to tell her that I had paid for my ticket in advance but she would have none of it. I bet she was one of those people who thought she could throw her weight around just because she's insecure. Just as I was about to pull my bag away from her grip and make a dash for the train, I woke up.

Am still cross at lady in my dream and am feeling tired and want my mum's pig's tail soup with sesame oil and extra boiled peanuts.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Butter prawns

Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns
Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns Butter prawns


Today just happens to be one of those days...

Where you go to bed feeling really sick and wake up feeling extremely hungry.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More dreams

I dreamt I missed my flight home for Christmas because I was greedy.

Firstly, I wanted to have more pastry than a friend who had accompanied me to the bakery. She was piling her tray high so I decided I would pile my tray high too... then came the job of having to finish a mountain of sugar pastry.

I was also frantically grabbing stamps with horse pictures on them from a biscuit tin because Eing wanted them to for whatever reason.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Death

I dream about death a lot. Possibly as an outcome of reading up on John's Gospel, Reformation History and have been influenced by the arrests in Malaysia made in the name of ISA, last night I dreamt that a Tudor-period, Christian, female minister in Malaysia was beheaded because her words were misinterpreted. At her trial, the board actually accepted that they had misinterpreted her words but that for the sake of peace, they had to behead her anyway. Possibly also because I've seen paintings depicting Jane Grey's execution, I dreamt that the minister had to put her head on a large wheel-like platform that looked like the scene set in "Hellboy II: Rise of the Golden Army" with her executioner standing in the middle. When the axe came down, I woke up. By the way, her name was Anne.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ice Cream

Thank to Tyng Yng's reminder, I'm off to get myself a 31% discount off a tub of Baskin Robbins. Woo hoo!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Taxing

Picked up 2 books on Tax Law today. Hopefully it'll help me score should any Tax trivia come my way. Oh, and it'll be useful for work too and to evade avoid mitigate my tax payments.

Watched Bangkok Dangerous with John T, John C and KJ. It was labelled 18PL but for a 'PL' it was disappointing. I wonder what that says about the kind of violence I am used to expecting or worse, expect.

Don't eat from the Claypot stall on the 3rd floor of Midvalley. All I got for my claypot noodle dish today was a lump of dark conflour syrup. Put it in the sun a while longer and you'll probably get industrial strength adhesive. Yuck. KJ reintroduced me to D'lish. Go try their caramel slice; Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Feeling moody. Maybe it's because am waiting for extra large pizza and Vanessa is beep-bopping gothic Christmas songs in the background...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wishes

Happy Birthday Pa.
I'm ok.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Testing


Is the deer running?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fear leads to Death

I was a very temperamental child. One day I would be teacher's pet and the next I would be in a stand-off involving a butcher's chopper and a wooden chair, with my sister; One day I would be defying my parents, rescuing rabid stray cats and the next day I would be poking cruelly at my blue and green birds through the birdcage with chopsticks.

My teenage years weren't that much better. They were mostly spent locked in my bedroom or talking to my dog, when I was home. I stopped dealing with issues in outbursts of rage and bottled everything up inside instead. You could say that I went from exploding to imploding; the magnitude was probably the same just that nit was well hidden.

College years were a test of my patience. Thankfully I had never been taught how to wield a sword or karate chop. I had to purchase bigger and more durable emotional bottles to store all my baggage and even that was filled to its cork.

There were moments when, forgetting to buy my bottles in time, I would explode; I can still see the wake of those explosions. There have been some, who like balm to a sting, have forgiven me my unholy anger. There have been others who continue to poke at the embers after the fire has died, inciting yet another volley of hate.

I don't think I ever learnt how to deal constructively with anger.

I can't imagine how God deals with it.

Actually, I know how He deals with it but it doesn't make sense.

How does Jesus dying on the cross take away His anger?

Shouldn't He be more angry that Jesus had to nail His glory for despicable, loathsome creatures who deserve to have limbs torn apart and brains splattered to a pulp?

Why didn't He just destroy us all?

In today's world, grace is pathetic, mercy is weak and love has been largely twisted into an ugly selfish form.

Can we truly comprehend God's grace? Can we really say we understand it?

If I did, my anger wouldn't be a problem in the light of the Cross and what Jesus has done for me. I would be able to forgive and forget transgressions as far as the east is from the west.

But I don't understand and I cannot comprehend. I can only trust that it is and will be my sanctification, as unintelligible and absurd and 'wicked' as it sounds for God to give Himself up for me, because grace is the only thing that can save me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fruitcake



For no raisin...


Just because you're Grape!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slurpy Flurry

I had another dream last night. Fresh from a dark-chocolate-with-real-orange-pieces crazed party at Becky's, I dreamt that McDonald's had a new ice-cream out called the Slurpy Sundae; rich vanilla ice-cream circled with thick and sweet tangerine sauce. I was dying to have one.

Three franchises later, my Slurpy Sundae was nowhere to be seen except on the illuminating boards behind some happy chappy's head as he hollers his welcome to McDonald's and I was very annoyed.

In my last attempt to get a Slurpy Sundae, the ice-cream machine of the said franchise broke down and I was on the verge of a nervous break down until one of the yellow shirted minions of McD offered me a free ice lemon tea as compensation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

T-Rex

I got chased by the T-Rex last night.

It was a beautiful day. People were lounging in the park. All of a sudden the sky turns grey, army tanks drive up and soldiers with awesomest bazookas come running up, strategically hiding in drains. We hear shouts of, "Everyone don't move! Stay still!"

I was wandering around with a long plastic bag filled with mentos and popcorn. All of a sudden I see this gynormous T-Rex running towards the little group of us in the park with his jaws flexed wide. For some reason he's running towards me!!!!! I fall flat on my back and he stops over me and all those Jurassic movies where the T-Rex nips off someone's head or leg keep running through my head and I'm lying there wondering if it'll hurt to die. He bends in close and I can see his grimy teeth smell his fish breath...

T-Rexes eat fish?

Then... he nozzles my popcorn bag and tosses it with his teeth.

That could have been my head...

And he wanders away playing with the flapping plastic bag in his snout and I lie there relieved, thinking I have escaped the dinosaur. I get up. He turns around. He realises that what he has in his snout is my popcorn bag and not my broken body.

He roars.

I scream.

He charges.

I run.

I run as fast as my tiny legs can take me and end up in some building where I'm running from room to room thinking that the doors will block the giant T-Rex's path. Miraculously the T-Rex shrinks as he charges after me until he is no more than 7 feet tall and I'm stuck in a chamber with lots of cooking gas tanks all around with nowhere to run. He closes in. I shut my eyes. In my heart I have already surrendered like some prey resigned to its fate that it almost reverently acknowledges the predator about to eat it.

I wake up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Arthur Hailey

I first came across Hailey when I was about 13 or 14 in my high school library. It was a very ordinary morning in a very ordinary day and he was standing around in the second row on the right, far back. Although mine was an all-girls school I wasn't surprised to see him there and he didn't appear too out of place either, leaning against his pal, King. Although we initially didn't seem the most compatible mix, we found that we had more in common than I thought and so begun a friendship... of sorts.

Hailey introduced me to evening news, forged passports, terrorism and even some pretty strong medicine. He also taught me what the word 'incoherent' meant, which I used with much finesse in my next examination. Instead of studying (or sleeping), we would be up til the wee hours of morning as he fed me 'ghost' stories and I would then be unable to fall asleep. So it was throughout high school until I left home and no longer saw him around.

Yesterday, 10 years after we first met, I met him again. He was older, crinklier and held a musty smell but his wit was still as sharp as we started down a mental journey to Peru.

As Arthur Hailey now sits in my bookshelf, I recollect all those moments when I readily missed first class to hide with him behind the shelves of books in the old library in my high school.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My God Is So Big

There's a song we used to sing in Sunday School:

My God is so big,
So strong and so mighty,
There's nothing my God cannot do... for you!

Have you ever wondered... what's in it for me?

I tell God I want to be broken but as I'm being broken, I find myself fighting Him all the way.

I tell God I want to forgive but I find more glee in satisfying Disdain and Contempt than in pleasing my Lord.

I tell God I want to stop being angry over whatever it is I'm angry about and I can feel myself getting angry just talking about being angry.

I tell God life is not going the way it should and then I twist life so that it goes even further from the direction it was meant to take, just because I think the paths I choose will get me to where I want to be.

Somewhere along the timeline of my life, 'my God' has been replaced with... me.

Mutiny.

The Bible speaks of many a time when Israel decides to live for herself and overthrows the kingship of God and ignores the warnings of His prophets. You don't have to read the Bible from start to finish to discover the result of mutiny. Death.

Am I in such eager anticipation to die that I can feel no fear of God in my heart? Can someone tell me what it is to fear God?

Am I still prescribing stubbornly to the 'me' sitting on the throne of my life?

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty.

My God.

The outcome doesn't matter. The punishment will fit the crime. Moments of doubt will appear to be either foolishness or times when the Evil One was making footholds. Even as flames may lick my fleshless feet and my clothes are singed with smoke, I will cling to my God with a truer cry than I can ever give in this life, in purer conviction than I can now comprehend; I'm Yours, save me.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Donkey See, Donkey Do

Yesterday was meant to be the start of a glorious self-proclaimed, much needed holiday and what do I do on my self-proclaimed holiday?

I work.

I work until I am immersed it in. A bomb could go off nearby and my sole concern would be to click the 'save as' button or to power up my lappy. I nearly missed my flight.

I sauntered into the departure lounge wondering where everybody was. Doh, they're already in the plane.

Once I touch down into Kuching, things seemed better. Less frazzled. It is good to be home. My brother, he's very cest la vie and that's good... for me. My mum is less worried about deadlines and more worried about the orange smear of pigeon poop that found its mark on the windscreen just as we shut the doors. My brother thinks the pigeon had pepperoni for dinner.

My dad tells me I need to eat more fibre. He says that everytime we sit at the table after dinner as he takes out a large orange and I shake my head. Everytime. He tells me that the white stuff on the orange segments is what I need. Why get in from the pharmacy at RM2 a tab when you can eat the whole orange for 50 cents? He doesn't believe in my mathematical ability. That's fine. I don't think I have much to believe in. I can score the lowest in class in maths tonight and I won't care; I'm home.

I do nothing... except send a few emails. A few work-related emails. It's a habit. I'm a workaholic. I'll work til I croak which I would have done had I not taken this break.

I am enjoying things that people do on holidays; 'do nothing' things. Like flipping through old photographs and eating Maggie Mee after midnight. My mum, she's very organised. Arranges the veggies according to colour variation and has them washed and cut up nicely. There was a time when she wasn't so organised and she could hide her After Eight mints in the bush of veg. But we always found them; my sister and I. The secret chocs were always in one of 2 places; the vegetable drawer or the Tupperware cupboard. Mums need to be more creative. I hid my diary, wrapped in plastic, behind the doghouse, in the soil. It got tedious after a while.

I am vain :)

I used to be such a charmer... SO pretty in my smocking and frills and socks pulled up to my knee... up til the age of 10. I even looked pretty in neon pink aerobics tights which I matched with a green T-shirt. Then it kind of went downhill from there.

Between the three siblings, we have about 2 good photos between us on full-view display. The rest, we hide behind other nick-knacks Grandma stuffed into the cabinet.

Even now as I go up to my bed - no bed before or after it has come close to holding the title my bed - I know it is time to pass it on. When I'm not home, it's my brother's bed so everytime I come home, he gets kicked out of his bed. The irony. It might mean that if I choose to work here, I may still not be home in the end. I cannot take away my brother's bed perpetually just because I don't have the means to identify a new one.

It's almost one. Dad went to bed at 10. If I don't go up soon, he'll come down and say, "Hey, remember to go to bed ya?" He always does that. We're habitual people, albeit our habits differ from person to person.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Foul Fowl

My mood is truly terrible today. Debzilla is about to break out of the mould and start throwing things and screaming expletives that will silence Gordon Ramsey.

I have wanted a holiday since last week.

I think maybe even God was shaking His mighty head at the rate my stubborn heart was hardening so He threw His mighty calender into operation and scheduled a 5-day holiday for me starting TODAY.

I fly home this afternoon and I will be back on Sunday night. I might be in a better mood then. But don't hold your breath.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bad

I've been in a bad mood today for various reasons. To top it off, I'm hungry.

Now I'm in a very bad mood.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

This song was banned from M'sia's YouTube.

Aqua - Cartoon Heroes lyrics

We are what we're supposed to be
Illusions of your fantasy
All dots and lines that speak and say
What we do is what you wish to do

We are the color symphony
We do the things you wanna see
Frame by frame, to the extreme

Our friends are so unreasonable
They do the unpredictable
All dots lines that speak and say
What we do is what you wish to do

It's all an orchestra of strings
Doin' unbelievable things
Frame by frame, to the extreme
One by one, we're makin' it fun

We are the Cartoon Heroes - oh-oh-oh
We are the ones who're gonna last forever
We came out of a crazy mind - oh-oh-oh
And walked out on a piece of paper

Here comes Spiderman, arachnophobian
Welcome to the toon town party
Here comes Superman, from never-neverland
Welcome to the toon town party

We learned to run at speed of light
And to fall down from any height
It's true, but just remember that
What we do is what you just can't do

And all the worlds of craziness
A bunch of stars that's chasing us
Frame by frame, to the extreme
One by one, we're makin' it fun

We are the Cartoon Heroes - oh-oh-oh
We are the ones who're gonna last forever
We came out of a crazy mind - oh-oh-oh
And walked out on a piece of paper

Here comes Spiderman, arachnophobian
Welcome to the toon town party
Here comes Superman, from never-neverland
Welcome to the toon town party

You think we're so mysterious
Don't take us all too serious
Be original, and remember that
What we do is what you just can't do


What we do is what you just can't do
What we do is what you just can't do
What we do is what you just can't do
What we do is what you just can't do

We are the Cartoon Heroes - oh-oh-oh
We are the ones who're gonna last forever
We came out of a crazy mind - oh-oh-oh
And walked out on a piece of paper

There's still more to come
And everyone will be
Welcomed at the
Toon - Toon
Town - Town
Party

Friday, October 03, 2008

Red Tape

I wanted to go to Myanmar when I was 14 to do mission work... but my dad said no.

I wanted to go to Russia when I was 18 to do mission work... but my dad said no.

I wanted to go to Serbia, again to do mission work, when I was 20... but immigration said no.

Sensing a theme here?

I wanted to join a Bible Training College in London after finished my law degree... but regulations said no. Then I got sent home to Malaysia.

I want to be a United Nations International Volunteer... but my age says I can't. Not for another year at least and I can always volunteer locally after all, volunteering is not about how 'glamourous' the job is but who you are serving.

All these things I want, I have not received.

Many things I never thought I would receive, I have been given in abundance.

God can use Red Tape to His glory as well.

Amazing grace.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pondering

It is possible for a to-do list to be too long.

It is possible for 24 hours to prove insufficient.

It is possible to have too much dim sum than one can handle.

It is possible to think of too much of any good thing.

It is possible to end up with the choice you had proclaimed, "Definitely not!" to.

It is possible for love to turn to hate.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The tenacity of a shopaholic

As Phua Chu Kang would say, "Don't play play ar..."

In my carefully laid out plans, I saw myself buying a pair of army trousers before heading to church to work. Murphy struck today, having being weighed down by other issues namely getting obese during the festive season.

Just as I exited the train station closest to my destination, the sky opened and poured down its contents on poor passers-by without umbrellas including yours truly. I paced up and down under a concrete bridge which held up the train tracks, gazing longingly in the direction of my army apparel. In the end, I chose to brave the patter and walked purposefully towards the little shop.

Given the picture I had in my mind about what I wanted to look like, there really was only ONE pair of slacks I could have gone for (as the little tent-shop was out of stock) but the shopper in me toyed around whilst hoping for inspiration which would allow me to pick up another pair justifiably. As I was browsing, the tent began to flood.

No way. I thought. I was dripping wet as it was and as if that weren't enough, now my shoes and socks would be sodden as well. I tried nipping here and there to avoid the water but Moses wasn't around to part it so I stood ankle deep in drain water looking through the wares. Finally, I decided that I would just go for it and asked for the price. Obstacle number 2.

The vendor put down his price of RM89 which was about RM60 more than what I wanted to hear. So I haggled.

I begged.

I looked at him beseechingly through my wet locks and dripping scarf.

I told him that I had run in the rain just to buy from his shop and that if he gave me a good deal I would return and buy more.

I said that I had been eyeing my army gear for a month and stopped short of wailing my woes to him.

We bargained.

I now have a pair of army trousers for RM38. Now I have to go home and hope they fit!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

For old time's sake

Treats of the early 90s. Inside, one will find a toy of some sort and a few miserly nuggets of unqualified chocolate or jelly; a child's epitome of cheap thrills. As a child I thought like a child indeed! These days, when I opened the packets and peer at their dismal contents, I now understand why my mother shook her head in disbelief as I squealed like an injured pig on the days when she refused to buy me a box of Tora. Perhaps one day, these boxes will bring me a small fortune as artifacts representing social history. A child's epitome of cheap thrills.

These were the 'treasures' Ding Dang had to offer. Surprisingly, although it falls under the cheapest of the lowest category of cheap thrills, its little blue box, offers more, dime for dime, than its more popular competitor, Tora.


On the left is Tora's version of those neon plastic bangles some wear, made famous by the ironic "Make Poverty History" campaigns. I call them ironic because in the process of making history poverty, the capitalists have garnered attention for themselves and the products the go on to sell and reap at a profit that can only be described by the truly poor, as stifling. Maggie Thatcher should be so proud.

On the right is Jojo's plastic toy car that can change into half a robot (the other half has to be bought in another Jojo box). Jojo was for the 'rich kids on the block.' Those whose parents could affod them the luxury of the large purple box as other kds looked on enviously. Or maybe they just screamed louder in the shops and their parents had more face to loose.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SMACC Blog!!!!

SMACC (my church) now has a new blog! Visit us at Hall of SMACC.

He's trying to kill me

I don't necessarily believe in karma.

I don't think I've ever been nasty to a nerd.

Last night I dreamt that the epitome of nerd was trying to kill me by squashing an elephant through the door of a spaceship with me trapped inside.

His name was Steve Urkel (see insert).

As a result, I am guarding against developing nerd-phobia.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Riding high

Whats better than passing the Bar? Yes, BETTER than passing the Bar...

Finding 7 books at a jumble sale totaling RM16.50. I nearly went into hysterics. Thank goodness there wasn't anyone to see me turn into a psychotic mess.

Picture of Dorian Grey - RM2.50 (I actually have another one in Kuching but one can never have too many copies of anything worth reading).

Anne of Ingleside (from the Anne of Green Gables series) - RM2.50

Bill Bryson; Notes from a Small Island - RM2.50

The Memory Keeper's Daughter - RM3.00

Quiver Full of Arrows - Jeffery Archer - RM2.00 (I have Jeffery Archer's entire work of short stories in one very thick book (several collections in all) but I also collect the collections themselves; 12 Red Herrings, A Twist in the Tale and To Cut a Long Story Short.

Kiss the Girls - James Patterson - RM2.00. From JP I also have Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, When the Wind Blows and Pop goes the Whistle.

Finally,the BIGGEST steal of the day was.....

Wild Swans by Jung Chang. Classic book - every person who calls himself or herself an avid reader must own it. The only copy I had before technically belongs to my mum so now I can say that I do own my own copy and for a mere RM2 (I believe it's selling in shops for at least RM40.00 minimum) it ended my book buying on a high.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I passed :)

Thank you God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

There's nothing else I can say.

There's nothing left to say.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Results

I'll know on Monday. Or so they tell me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Debbie/ Debby/ Debs/ Debster/ Debibo Likes...

I like giving presents and I like receiving presents (very much). Few things cheer me up the way an unexpected present does. So to all of you who have ever given me random presents, you really made a part of my day twinkle.

I try not to be overly possessive about my presents but casualties could arise...

Maybe one day someone will give me a car...

Or a horse...

But if you're completely stumped over what to get me and don't want to give me:

  • Bath products
  • Chocolate
  • Anything with horses on it
  • Books - I dont mind second, third or even fiftieth editions
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Carrot-walnut cake with butterscotch frosting
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Heirlooms
  • Flowers
  • Perfume - tricky this is
  • Eyeliner
  • Hong iu, tiger balm, athlete's rub, cap dua singa, cap tiga kaki or tokusen heat pads

A bowl of noodles from any corner shop will do.

Ruminating

If I had been born 9 months earlier, I would have been born a pig; 9 months later and I would have been a cow, at least in zodiac terms... or maybe not, given that the zodiac starts on the first day of Chinese New Year which in turn, is as predictable as whether your pizza will arrive with the unwanted add-on of hair stuck in the cheese. Bon apetit.

If I had drunk that extra (million) pint(s) of milk, I might have been taller and less sarcastic, not that tall people aren't sarcastic.

If I had scored higher at school, I might still be in London watching Australian soaps with Elena and Sarah, accompanied by a cup of marsala tea (with one sugar), whilst hugging a hot water bottle instead of gobbling roti tissue and apam balik and riding horseback in Mongolia. I can't choose; they're both fantastic options.

When I left London, I didn't want to leave. When I think of what God has given me here, I'm glad I didn't stay. That isn't to say I don't miss my friends.

How strange that my going away equipped me with skills, not needed in the place from where I learnt them but for a future I did not want.

If I had known that, it wouldn't have made coming here any easier - goes to show that knowing the future doesn't really help.

If I had not left London, I may not have known what it feels like to lack. Or what it feels like to give. Or to heal. Or to care for others going through the same cycle.

If I did not love horses, Mongolia would just be a cool name on the map.

If I had stayed at my old job, I might have lost my zeal for work.

If I never had my old job, I would not understand or sympathise with the full impact of the corporate sector on lives, life and lifestyle, Christian and otherwise.

If I had passed the first time round, I would not have had the time or opportunity to do what I'm doing now and I cannot imagine not doing what I'm doing now although at a point in time back, doing what I'm doing now would have been for someone else. Not me.

If I were born a boy, I would have cycled to China instead of sitting for my exam but, if I were a boy, I would not have met the people who got me thinking of cycling to China or the person who motivated my cycling there in the first place.

If I were a boy, little things that bring me happiness like chocolate and searching for an orange poncho to match my purple tights would not appeal to me. I have purple tights??

If God hadn't created the world, I wouldn't be here.

If God didn't choose me, Jesus didn't died for me.

If Jesus hadn't died for me, I would still be lost.

If I were still lost, I would not have written this entry.

If I understood the length and breadth of everything God has done for me, my face would not leave the floor. Unfortunately, I can hardly claim to know everything so if you can see my face, it means I don't know everything and am quite happy to admit that. There's no shame in not knowing everything. However, there is shame in knowing something and not doing anything about it, especially when you should be doing something about it.

Are you still not doing anything??

The 'ifs' in life will always happen. I'm not worried about the ifs anymore. It's how one handles the 'if.'

I'm concerned about the hows and to be prayerful about them.

You are not a 'what if' waiting to happen. You are and are, "Beautiful dah-ling!!" *hug & kiss* no matter how under-the-weather, out-of-luck or off-the-rails you feel.

Better is one day in [God's] courts than a thousand elsewhere. I will rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked; Psalms 84:10.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ticked off

Introduction: Oxpeckers are birds that 'peck' at the skin of cattle, removing (and eating) ticks and parasites and as a result are also commonly known as "tick birds" (imagine being named after your favourite dish - the chocolate lady...). However they are not adverse to pecking at other animals which includes rhinos, hippos and antelope, just to name a few. Their bird-fellow, the plover, actually takes this madness one step further and will hop into a crocodile's mouth to 'clean' it of rotting flesh which could otherwise damage the reptile's dental hygiene. This odd relationship is called a symbiosis, where both animals benefit; the animals get their daily grooming sessions and are free of pests that could cause skin irritation and the birds get fed.


Unfortunately, some of these birds become over zealous in their symbiotic task. Ticks which bury themselves in the animal's hide are attacked vehemently as if the bird is avenging itself for the humiliation of having let a parasite escape in the first place. As it is with nagging, the bird picks frantically at the issue and leaves open, torrid wounds on it's host's back who has to silently bear the brunt of its fanatic hitch hiker.

Now, for the moral story behind this fantastic exploration of the lives of parasite lovers.

An online journal I visit often enough one day decided to sport gravatars next to commentators' names. Sadly, my preset gravatar was not one which depicted my person and so I asked the host to at least change my aforementioned gravatar to a decent colour; it was a milky green colour (if it had been forest green, I might not even have embarked on my mission to eliminate it). I was told that I had to change the gravatar on my own so I went ahead and opened an account, selected a gravatar and presto, now I have a gravatar which, although may not be the next Picasso, Warhol or Saatchi, is still better than a generic pattern that says nothing about me.

Like the tick bird, I was determined to have a gravatar after my own heart and like the hippos, rhinos and cape buffaloes that have gone before him, my host now suffers from random comments on his journal, hardly linked to his post. You can see the effects of my semi-madness if you click here.

Contrary to what some might think, I am not angry and although the post title might suggest otherwise, remember that puns were made to be intended.

Pictures were obtained from guy-sports.org, scienceclarified.com and tc-pls.org

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving along

In the midst of waiting for results, drowning in uncertainty over which job I should apply for and the current political funfair complete with performing monkeys and chess pawns, today is a day worth celebrating - no, PKR has not taken over power yet...


Happy Birthday Ma.

There. Nice and understated. Just the way mum likes it.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Round the clock

Results will be churned out by the end of the month.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

*Jeng* *Jeng* *Jeng*

Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.
Exam results. Exam results. Exam results. Exam results.

Exam results shall be revealed on Monday.

Unless Malaysia stays true to her time-keeping skills.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tips from Archie

This (paraphrased) list was aimed at people 'in ministry,' defined here as people in full-time paid ministry but I think it can speak to Christians in general as well.

  • You are a Christian first; it is ok to leave ministry* if you have to, remaining a Christian is the most important thing.

  • Ministry is a privilege.

  • All ministry is personal.

  • Tell your spouse you love her/him. Often.

  • Don't be afraid of failing. If we are always consumed with the possibility of failing, we will never try anything new. Failure is the beginning of growth not the beginning of the end (italics my own).

  • Be generous with your money.

  • Have a hobby.

  • Give yourself personal projects. Work on 3 issues a year - one biblical, one ethical and one cultural. Sink your teeth into it. Take a big bite. Digest it.

  • Plan holidays. Take all your allocated holidays. Even if you don't need the time-out, your spouse might. Your children will.

  • Let your children serve alongside you when they can, if they want. Don't force them.

  • Not all shortcuts are bad! Learn how to make best use of resources and the Internet to help with sermon preparation.

  • Family appointments go in first.

  • Watch out for Unmet Expectations and learn how to deal with them.

  • Guilt is big; to overcome the guilt of non-evangelism, just do it.

  • Don't say to people that you are busy. You make yourself unapproachable.

  • Hospitality should be the norm, not an exception to the rule.

  • Be quick to apologize, in person and with sincerity.

  • Ministry is about getting alongside people.

  • Ministry takes time.

Keep your fridge stocked, linen clean and hinges well-oiled. If preparing a meal, enquire after food allergies and make notes for future reference. A spare toothbrush is always handy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Public Examination

NB: This is in no way a suggestion that one should not study for exams or that results completely do not matter. However, consider that even the brightest minds this world has seen were considered dunces at school.

Tomorrow my brother will sit for his first public exam - UPSR. I've just given him advice the way my parents advised me TWELVE years ago for the same exam. However, being away from home, my advice tends to be more practical, "Remember to bring enough pens, pencils, eraser, extra paper.." etc) rather than "Have you studied this and that yet?"

I believe that if you don't know something by the day before, just let it be and concentrate on what you do know. Of course there are the odd 'freak accidents' where the question you read just before entering the exam all appears, breaking smiles of jubilation on the blessed soul. Public exams seem like such menaces; they have a tendency to show one up as being less smart than society perceived the individual to be before the damning results are shown and intelligence is frustratingly rated according to how many As one can score.

Like everything else, public exams must be given their right place. Worship it and you potentially risk becoming either a self-righteous, narrow-minded bigot (if you score well) or a sorry state of a human being, wallowing in self-pity and low self-confidence (if you don't). Those are just the 2 extremes; most people fall in between. However, ignore it completely, and your lack of wisdom and shrewd calculation may thwart your desired career path, despite the genius that is clearly lurking behind your fallen modules.

Over the years, being the extremist that I am (to those to whom bells are ringing and red lights blazing, an extremist is NOT necessarily a fundamentalist you air brain!), I have had the 'pleasure' of experiencing both sheer carelessness and psychotic obsession over my exams but have lately somehow managed to find a satisfactory linear between the two and have come to a conclusion.

Not all learning is study. Not all study is learning. Learning is a process as is study but they focus on different things. Study is the development of any one topic, be it at a basic or advanced level ie "the study of Art History in Medieval England" whilst learning is the ability to internalise that studying. There's almost no point studying if one is not learning at the same time. If my goal when binging on Chemistry and History is only to regurgitate it in the exam and hope to score somewhere, I would have wasted 2 years of my secondary school life studying facts I never actually learn from.

Without going into a heated critique of the Malaysian state education system, I believe that whilst parents urge their children to study (and rightly so), children must be reminded that there is more to life than the number of As one banks in the archives; life does not end at High School Graduation. It is not to say that we shouldn't study or that we should sideline our studies - it is our responsibility as students to study whilst we are... students.

These days, scoring 12As is not the headline news it used to be. I do not know whether it is because the standard has been lowered or whether something in the water is at work, creating this phenomenon. What I am concerned about though, is how well-rounded that teenager is. Tertiary education is often away from the familiar surroundings and security of home. How will that 12A person (hereinafter referred to as "the Individual") cope with the stress of having to interact socially with people who are not of the same mould or to engage in intellectual combat with people who are racist, ageist, chauvinistic, liberal or orthodox, uncompromising, undiplomatic, aggressive and etc? What happens when someone challenges the Individual's beliefs, principles and foundations? Will the Individual have an answer ready or would 12 years of systematic regurgitation have dulled the mind, preventing it from engaging with anything outside a textbook?

I know straight A scorers who are in the same breath, masters of extra-curricular activities yet find it hard to make a simple reservation over the phone. Perhaps the Individual is naturally shy which is no fault by any measure but if the education system is geared to prepare us for a world which often does not follow the book, there are other things more important than the number of As one can score, which should be taught at school.

Ultimately, the real public exam comes, not from an unnamed who slashes his or her red pen through your chicken scribble essays but from society, work peers, colleagues, bosses and authorities, who give not a toss of the number of As you have bagged if you cannot reflect the expected standard and then exceed it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wherever the wind blows...

Malaysian rain is awesome. Mortals don't stand a chance against the insistence of pitter-patter powered by winds which blow in every direction except the one you want. Some modern Hercules must have aggrieved Aelous by opening the silver seal, letting loose the winds of Gog and Magog, sending them rushing helter-skelter across the Peninsular. The umbrella did not help.

In fact, holding the umbrella up in defiance merely made me appear all the more foolish as it was quite clear that the added stress of having to juggle an incompetent umbrella was paying off no dividends as bag, jeans, shoes and socks were soaked through.

Funnily enough, the Holy Spirit is a bit like that uncontrollable wind I wrestled with today. You don't know how long He'll go on hammering you for, you don't know from which direction or in which area of your life He'll hit you most, you don't know who will be most affected by His wisdom, you can't tell how much you'll be affected by His impact and any attempts of putting up umbrella shields only goes to show how unrivalled and unequivocal His claim is and will be and how finite and completely unprepared we are to face Him. All you know, is that if He wants you drenched, you'd better just call off that prior engagement and give in to the inevitable.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Refugees in exile

What thoughts come to mind when we think of the word "refugee"? Or "illegal immigrant"? Or "asylum seeker"? Do you even think of them as people?

People who need our help.

A waste of space.

People who have nowhere else to go to.

A waste of time.

People whose lives may be in danger.

A menace to society.

People who are trying to survive despite the odds.

An inconvenience.

People who have been separated from loved ones.

A statistic.

Didn't we all start somewhere? Didn't our parents? And our grandparents? Are we not exiles too?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Why?

Things which, if I had just accepted as fact, would have saved me a lot of trouble, stress and blood pressure:

1) You cannot square a circle - nibbling off the edges of a biscuit does not count.

2) Yes, superglue can really stick the skin of your fingers together.

3) Guys really don't care where they fart.

4) Bleach bleaches.

* The internet has its limitations.

** 100mb is NOT 100kb; and

***100MB is really too big a file to send over email. Do not try it. Do not attempt to try it. Do not even think about it. Else you will possibly end up with ulcers and a hernia trying to squeeze it through.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Clarification


Sometime between opening a cyber window and answering a phonecall, my blog was hijacked by an all-berry team of what could, in half light be nothing less than ginger, resulting in the previous post and a stunning revelation that someone obviously finds himself very good looking. I do however, concur with most of what Sam wrote and he has indeed been faithful in his yearly pilgrimage to Malaysia, pillaging nasi goreng USA, banana leaf rice and nasi kandar from terrified vendors who quake in their Japanese slippers and send whispers circulating in KLCC, "Fi, fie, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an English man," as he does his rounds. Nevertheless, I choose to reserve judgment as to who represents the better looking of the two until such a time when I am persuaded either way with chocolate, preferably Fairtrade, dark, with a 75% minimum cocoa content, but anything goes really. Haha.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Heroes

Well its time to give credit where credit is due. And that involved paying tribute to one Sam Allberry, our annual visitor at Smacc. His preaching and sense of humour is the best I've heard. And - let's face it - he's much better looking than Andrew Cheah.

Do check out his blog at www.allberry.blogspot.com

Starbucks: verb: as in "...to Starbucks"

The weight of air rubs heavy on my lids, at once bringing me back to winter in London and Prufrock's feline yellow fog. The clash and clamour of voices, once harsh with discord and dissention, fade together into a rhythmic rise and fall of notes and hums. My fingers rest in unison on a dog-eared, paperback copy of Jeremy Paxman somewhat uncertainly, as though rest might be taken from them at any given time. The digits unconsciously finger crumbs that have fallen a half-eaten almond biscotti, undecided. The burden of satisfying the senses hangs in tension even as Bacchus watches; eyes watch as cinnamon-cocoa liquid soaks in, creating dark waves tinged with an outline of double cream against the sandy treat, sending nostalgic memories through the olfactory glands and filling gaps left by the result of chemical bonding between flour (sifted twice) and unsalted butter. I allow myself to slide into that happy place where nestling into an olive green couch in the middle of a homogenous MNC arm is the safest place to be. The only missing piece in the perfect puzzle belongs to the deep pink, velvet, 'luxury Primark' socks Judith gave me for Christmas 5 years ago.

Just then, my head droops slightly as my neck flops forward and my knee jerks in spasmodic response, hitting the low edge of a scratched mahogany coffee table with a crack, sending both my weekly treat and tall, hazelnut, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and generously dusted with every spice offered on the rack, toppling clumsily into my lap.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Perjanjian Baru

Nak cakap dalam Bahasa Melayu pun susah, apatah lagi nak tulis? Tapi, jika nak mahir dalam sesuatu, kenalah bersunggun-sungguh belajar, kan? Apalah... saya dengar diri sendiri cakap pun dengar macam suara Doraemon je. Untuk orang yang tidak tahu, Doraemon adalah kartun Jepun yang telah ditafsirkan dalam bahasa Melayu. Namun demikian - hah, pandai juga saya guna "namun demikian" - hahaha - bunyi macam Doraemon atau tidak, saya akan terus mempelajari bahasa yang sepatutnya saya tahu, untuk dan supaya saya dapat menggunakanya dalam negara ini. Jika nak buat Majistret dekat Malaysia Timur, bahasa Inggeris sudah memadai, tak perlu bermati-matian mempelajari bahasa baru, tapi jika nak pergi Pasir Gudang dekat Malaysia Barat, kenalah cakap bahasa Melayu ni dan kenalah fasihkan? Apalah, orang tak hormat jika bahasa Melayu sini sana pun tak tahu. Nanti kena bulilah. Haiya...

Untuk memperbaiki kelancaran and meningkatkan tatabahasa saya, telahlah saya pergi membeli senaskah Perjanjian Baru. Wah, susah-susah untuk baca!!! Perkataan-perkataan yang telah saya 'kumpulkan' untuk membawa makna yang sama apabila digunakan dalam bahasa Melayu seperti "berkat," "rahmat" dan "kesejahteraan", membawa makna berlainan pula dalam bahasa Inggeris!! Remeh betul! Tetapi, saya akan berusaha kerana memang saya mahu fasih bertutur dalam bahasa negara sendiri walaupun diri sendiri tak pasti samada nak terus tinggal di sini ataupun tidak. Tuhan akan pertikaikanlah. Saya buat je apa Dia suruh.

English (direct-ish) translation - this should be fun...

To speak in Malay is hard, what more to write in it? However, if I want to be good at something, I had better learn it with due diligence, should I not? Oh dear... hearing myself speak is just like hearing the voice of Doraemon. For those not in the know, Doraemon is a Japanese cartoon dubbed into Malay. Nevertheless - hah, I'm so clever, I can even use words such as "nevertheless" - hahaha - whether I sound like Doraemon or not, I will continue learning this language that I should know anyway, for and so that I can use it in this country. If I want to be a Magistrate in East Malaysia, speaking English will be sufficient and I won't have to sweat blood trying to learn a new language however, if I want to be a Magistrate in Pasir Gudang in West Malaysia I will have to speak in Malay and shouldn't I then be fluent? People wouldn't respect you if you don't know this and that in Malay. You might get bullied. Oh man....

To improve my fluency and to increase my vocabulary, I went and bought a copy of the New Testament. Oh my goodness, it is so hard to read!!! The words that I have categorised to mean the same thing in Malay such as "grace," "mercy" and "peace" mean different things in English!! How troublesome. But I will keep striving because I do want to be fluent in the language of my own country even though I am yet unsure as to whether I wish to continue living here or not. It'll be up to God to consider it. I'll just do as I'm told.

She says... she means

Situation - They have just had a disagreement over his dog's involvement in the relationship and he is trying to coax her out of her dumbfounding sulkiness.

She says: No
She means: It's so obviously "yes" that I shouldn't even have to answer that question.

She says: Nothing
She means: Yes, it is a stonking big deal you oaf!!

She says: Yes
She means: The answer is so obviously "no" that if you really think it's "yes," I need to rethink our relationship status

She keeps silent
She means: Leave me alone. I need my space. But I want you to keep asking so that I feel like you need me.

BUT when he keeps silent, she thinks: He's being selfish and self-absorbed.

********
Presents - He asks "What do you want for Christmas?"

She says: Nothing
She means: I want you to read my mind and give me what I refuse to tell you because if I told you what I wanted it wouldn't be special anymore and if you get me the wrong gift it means you don't really know me.

********
Clothing

She says: I have nothing to wear!!!
She means: I can't wear that green dress to Natalie's party because Sasha will be there... because I met Sasha last Tuesday for tea.. because I don't want Sasha to think I only have one dress... because then I'll be known as the girl who only has one dress... and you don't want to be known as the guy who is going out with the girl with only one dress, do you?

She says: Do I look fat in this?
She means: Do you still find me attractive, a set of triplets, 300 stretch marks and 1kg of cheese later?

*********
Social

She says: Do you want to grab a coffee?
She means: Do you want to grab a coffee and NOT

"I want to have your babies"
"I love you" or
"Will you marry me?"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chucky's bride



So, these are my 'jellyfish scars.' I bought Bio Oil (one of those televised magic potions that supposedly solve every problem) today out of sheer desperation. On the bright side, what with wearing jeans all day, my skin will retun to their normal Snow White colour, although having said that, having 'pink and white' legs and toasted coloured arms are a tad uneven. But never mind, Bio Oil promises to smooth over uneven skin tone as well.

I received a present that came at a most opportune time recently. I'll blog about it later when I get more details from the crew 'behind-the-scenes.' Sometimes a hot bath solves every problem. Maybe it is because, just as my cashmere sweater shrunk in a hot cycle, so problems fade with the vapour that disappear into mist as you sink into the tub and give a sigh of unaffected satisfaction. "Ahhhhh..."

Binging on doldums

I may not be clinically depressed or certified bi-polar but I did live in my pyjamas (read: slept) from last Wednesday until Sunday afternoon with 2 brief intervals for instant noodles, a cup of coffee and one toilet break. I can tell you that it was certainly NOT restful by any standards; I was almost literally, dead bored. My creative gene had faded, my sense of adventure had dulled and I wished that the "Cat in the Hat" would come and rescue me but friends were busy and acquaintances, even busier. Cest la vie. It was constantly bucketing down, which only served to mock the state of my dry bank account and come Saturday, I hated everything about KL, and I mean everything.

I hate that since I came to KL, I don't have a home and people to come home to, I hate that I can't have a cat, dog or goldfish. I hate that there's no oven, microwave or even freakin' washing machine in the apartment because the landlady doesn't want one. I hate that accessibility seems to be a concept no one gets and I hate that I don't have a car. I hate that my room is so uncomfortably hot all the time and that for the first time in my life, cobwebs are actually a reality. I hate that my 'Facebook' friends are not really my friends at all and that when push comes to shove, most of them wouldn't give two hoots about me and frankly, I don't need friends like that. I mean, who needs friends when you have such a hoard of disdain for every other creature on this planet right?

I got angrier and angrier with each thought and as I started letting the hate simmer and brew, I started 'killing off' people I knew in my dreams. To me they weren't people anymore. Void of emotion and of feeling, each person I dreamt of was merely a fragment of my past whom I could slice and dice with a mace or sabre without thought or care of redemption.

I hate that I hated all these things that I hated and I told God. I wasn't waiting for answer. I wasn't expecting one. It happens often enough. Sometimes I get scared; like if I even open my mouth and dare talk to God after all the most morbid thoughts have taken hold, that God will just strike me dead if I had the audacity to then claim to be His child. There just comes a point in life when I get sick and tired of pretending to be someone nice and charming and helpful and I just want to snap, "Shit, I hate all this. Life sucks," without then having to deal with explaining why I think life is awful.

But that was last week. Today is the start of a new week. I have things to do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Going bananas


The photo shows 3 banana tree 'hearts' on a 5-foot way, waiting to be sold in a Philippino market at Kota Kinabalu. I always hold that hearts are precious things; they have such capacity to give yet the warmer the heart, the more it gives, somehow, the more vulnerable it becomes. The more it desires to share, the less is shared with it or perhaps the more it expects others to share with it...

My dad asked me the other day what my plans were for the future and though ostensibly vague, I gave him the best answer I could, "I'm praying about it." I know he's praying too. After all, I would be rather anxious if my eldest had no idea what she wanted to do with her life besides a statement that answers nothing.

My mind flutters from one idea to another, flirting with possibilities and desires, trying to balance between the 'can be' and 'has to be' whilst all along time is ticking.

I get bored easily and I can tell you that it's a horrible feeling. Boredom is neither contentment nor rest. Rather, it is the opposite, agitated, wild-eyed and often incoherent, jaded by luxury and lethargic in spirit. Perhaps it is a mere short circuit between neurons that I can find joy in the simplest things and am bored by things that bring supposed potential the world cannot get enough of. Yet at the same time, I want a slice of that pie, even if the pie may be floating somewhere in the sky.

There is a need to be creative and to exude that creativity. To curb it would be destructive and to ignore it, insanity, although to the everyday person, having one's bread and butter on the table is more important than dispersing, defining and redefining 'bread and butter' into as many concepts as possible.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mountain gazing

No, it's not this one. This is Bukit Kamunsa, which we climbed 2 days before the biggie. We literally ran stomping through it, after Maladdin told us that there were leeches about.


This is more like it...



By the way, we didn't quite make to to the peak. At 3.40am, with approximately another 1.5km to go, Angie and I decided to call it a day and before sunrise, we were nestled in our bunks like little animals, dreaming of catching squirrels (or at least, I was) instead of possibly being dashed to pieces on some rocky crag below (or enjoying the scenic beauty from the top). 87 out of 211 climbers made it to the peak that day. Angie wants to go back some time in the future to conquer the mountain. I'm more interested in whether the mountain guide will hold my hand again :p

Sea life

Sabah is known for its wonderful coasts, beautiful corals and fish that send a myriad of colours rippling across the shores. Besides the jellyfish that STUNG me and a dark green fish with a white spot on its back that kept BITING me, I saw...


It's called a clown fish, not a Nemo fish.


Swordfish looking rather uncomfortable.


People have often said that when there are dolphins around, sharks keep away.


Speaking of sharks, the next time you dip into sharks' fin soup, think of this.


However, the alternative of sea cucumber (sea slugs), whilst the cheaper and more eco-friendly version, looks far less appetising before succumbing to the wonderful skill of the iron chef.