Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cuppa storm

A different sort of storm brewed in my cup today; a soothing, blackcurrant one. Check out the matching teaset my sis sent me last Christmas. Makes me want a pair of classy Manolos.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breathing in the Tempest

Just thinking of calmly and objectively evaluating the squall of emotion that has rocked this fragile paper sailboat for the last fortnight threatens to send dark clouds looming again. Yet even the fist of angry thunder is a mere ache compared to unrelenting reminders of insufficiency and loss. In the blackness of the night when not even stars dare shine revelations of an ordered world, there is nothing but the terrible beauty that breathes wretchedness and demands breath. That I would rather be struck by lightning than never knowing when I will have to do battle with the same daemon that lurks and creeps in the shadows throughout the passage of time; watching, waiting. The soldier stays alert, readied to face the onslaught, yet at the back of the mind, a wish of final surrender and of yearning release. Why work to enforce the buttress each day and each moment when in the end, the lacerations beneath the armour do not heal and new wounds slash deep though the shield may appear intact.

I believe the worst of desolation has passed... for now. In the warm promise of dawn, the overwhelmed paperboat is lifted and dried out by the same wind that previously turned its face against it. The melancholy is forgotten as the faint stars disappear from sight. The wind moves the stricken clouds, gently nudges the beaten beach and bears a lone albatross that has too passed through the storm.The journey continues.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Punctuate

You may or may not realize that I have opted to remove the punctuation suffixes and/or suffices (the Internet can't seem to make up its mind which plural is correct) from my blog title.

Note: If you're reading this from my Facebook notes, all my notes are automatically transferred from my blog.

I think if one is willing enough to avail oneself to competent written communication, full-stops should prove an adequate companion. Having said that, it would be an anti-climax for a writer to declare "Alas" in woe and not punctuate the emotion with a (!). Just imagine Isaiah deadpanned, in the presence of the Almighty, oscillating in a robotic buzz , "Woe is me. Woe is me." Buzz. Buzz. It just wouldn't work.

Disclaimer: I did say, "I think" and "should" instead of must. It is not to say that exclamation and question marks are not welcomed. I am not a punctuationist.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Animal Farm; it could happen to us

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Chapter 1

All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings. Chapter 6
  

No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. Chapter 10

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thinking aloud

  •  ON BAKUN:- When one reads articles on Government funded (read: tax payers) projects like this one on the Bakun Project it is really disheartening that the relevant people in authority are so stupid, for want of a better word.
  • ON VOTING:- Who cares about my vote right? BN (National Line; current ruling government) will just say it's one vote in the whole of Sarawak and they certainly don't need it as they can count on buying votes and rigging ballots.
  • ON BN VS. PKR:- I'm not actually anti-BN (even though it may certainly sound like it) but I'm not pro-PKR (People's Justice Party) either. In as much as BN has floundered and blundered its way for the last 50 odd years and has until only recently treated the common citizen worse than clueless water buffalo, I don't see PKR doing much either except vocally supporting their 5-minutes of fame hungry de facto leader. Maybe the good stuff just doesn't make the news.
  • ON THE GOOD GUYS:- As with any coalition, the bad guys make the news more than the good. I personally know of politicians from BOTH ends who are actually taking steps to secure fairer treatment of the rakyat. I would like them to step up to the public eye more.
  • ON PRINCIPLES:- What I am against is double standards, corruption and worse still, the pathetic attempts at concealing or excusing said corruption. It's one thing to have obviously corrupt people leading us; it's another to have cowardly, stupid people backing the obviously corrupt.
  • ON FANFARE:- Most Malaysian politicians (note: not all) love the pomp and circumstance that come packaged in the latest Mercedes product. Thank goodness for checks and balances provided by the real world outside their hierarchical cocoon (read here and here).
  • ON THE NEP:- When I say I'm against double standards, I'm not talking about Malay rights here; in my view the New Economic Policy (NEP) has succeeded only in dividing the Malays themselves; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. All the NEP does for non-bumi folk is to make official what we have known and lived through all along. The Bumi(s) can KEEP the NEP. That is the least of my worries.
  • ON GRASSROOTS:- A sudden lightbulb in my head! I believe that Malaysians should write in monthly to their local MP bringing to light at least one issue that is bugging them. Let's pretend that our MP is unfortunately, completely ignorant of the outside world and that we are tasked with floating revelations their way.
  • ON STUPID COMMENTS:- Ooops, did I floating? I guess I did since "some people" can say the Rajang has reached 'stable' levels when boats are beached, sediment is affecting the river bed and people can WALK across the Rajang. These airheads are the same people who will thick-headedly and stubbornly insist that water levels are stable when the Rajang dries up completely. Maybe the Egyptians too were building a dam when Moses crossed the sea eh?
  • ON BUYING POWER:- Does the Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank) Governor feel nothing that the dirty dollars traded bear her signature?
  • ON BEING SARAWAKIAN:- I may not wade in the Rajang anymore or eat sago worms or literally scalp an enemy. I may prefer grapes to mangosteen and dream in English and not Iban or Chinese. I don't need to wave my Sarawak equivalent keris around to punctuate my identity.  
  • ON MY STAND:- I pledge not to party but to State and my affiliations are not to name(s) but to policy; I do not support titles but creeds; I do not support talk but the walk; I do not support promises but results; I do not measure success by statistics but by human impact; I do not heed what is said but what remains unsaid. I take everything with a bag of salt.   

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh

I have a headache.
It's raining so I can't go for my run.
I'm hungry.
I'm tetchy.
I'm grumpy.
The day is awful.
Did I mention that I have a headache. Might even be a MIGRAINE.
URGH!
.
.
.
.
Amazing source of Grumpy T-rex

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Psalm 37:4

"Delight yourself in the LORD
and He will give you the desires of your heart"

does NOT mean

"Be happy with Jesus
and He will give you a boyfriend."

Hello??!! Doesn't it follow if you truly delight in God, that your desire will be... guess what? God.

Bakun Damned

The people of East Malaysia are holding their breath as flooding of the Bakun Dam commences. Coupled with the burning season, this promised land has already dried up.

The mammoth monument is supposedly the tallest concrete-faced rockfill in the world and the largest in Asia outside China. Before you whoop for joy and stupidly holler "Malaysia Boleh!" consider that China is approximately 7 times the size of Sarawak and is embedded in the world's largest Continent, compared to the island of Borneo. I am horrified. Environmentalists have spoken against it. Has there been a charter to address these issues? Do the leaders wonder what will happen if the dam bursts? If the Malaysian Government and associated ministers had consistently demanded high-quality goods then maybe my fears may be allayed but where relatives are given preference over merit, there is little to hope for.

Will the mighty Rajang one day turn into the drain of the Klang River?

Thank you Malaya, for giving us Bakun Dam. Thank you for leaders who enjoy free electricity from our Dam in the name of power. Thank you for raiding our villagers and having scant regard for the culture and way of life and worth of our natives; our bumiputera. Thank you for destroying our flora and fauna and our water catchment areas. Thank you if the cure for cancer were lost in the demolition of our virgin forests. Thank you for hoarding the profits of our produce and leaving Sarawak to subsist on the negligible amount you carve out for us in your budget plans. Thank you for propagating that the only jungle worth having is a concrete one. Thank you for the stagnant reminder of why East Malaysians continue to hold West Malaysia at arm's length.

Speaking from my line of work, I do not believe that West Malaysians should be afforded any right of Court in Sabah & Sarawak, ad hoc or otherwise. I do nevertheless salute the Malayan Bar Council for its apparent independence, commended efficiency and strict adherence to the health of justice. Unfortunately, the Bar Council cannot prevent injustice in every circumstance. It cannot watch each member or prevent every shady deal. At the risk of increasing efficiency and expanding pioneering areas, Sarawak may lose her affability and the foreseen influx of unchecked injustice into our legal system would be too great. West Malaysians have to be told; they do not have it all. And if they ask why, just point to the Bakun Dam.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unhinged

As a general rule, songs are a display of emotion so to that end, I usually do not fault the song or the singer even if I may not completely agree with the lyrics. "Christian songs" however, especially songs that we are expected to sing as a congregation, is to me, more than a preference of selective emotion, but a declaration of the gospel and our Christian faith.

Please note that the following songs come from artists who have also penned other songs with excellent theology. This exercise is not intended to rubbish the songs out there or to diss the worship leader who chose the songs but an attempt to force us to listen to the lyrics and digest their literal meaning (even if the intention behind the lyrics may have been good) and not just head-bob to a good tune.

Based on the aforementioned stand, I find the following songs especially hard to stomach and sing because of the lyrics in italics:-

1) Above all (Michael W. Smith)
Contention:- As much as I dislike the phrase "like a rose trampled on the ground" because it reminds me too much of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" from Batman Forever, the line I find most offensive is "You took the fall, and thought of me, above all."

Reason:- The lyics appear to mean that at the Cross, Jesus thought of me above all, not God the Father or Holy Spirit or His Will or His Name or His Glory or the Trinity. Humans have a wonderful way of making everything about them and/or centre around them.

2) Christmas isn't Christmas
Contention:- "Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts."

Reason:- I believe the work of a transformed life begins with God the Father electing, God the Son dying for the elect and God the Holy Spirit convicting. So no, I don't believe that "Christmas" in its Christian meaning begins deep inside me. Further, the Bible states, "No one seeks God, all have turned away." Even our hearts have turned away so no amount of fuzzy feelings Christmas presents bring can turn that stone heart around unless it starts outside us.

3) Majesty (Delirious/ Steve Green/ Jason Morant)
Contention:- "Knowing that I'm your desire."

Reason:- See (1) above. Me me me me me. This verse alone is enough to put me off singing in church.

================
I think three is enough for now. I don't know what I'm irked more by; drivers who don't signal or Christian songs with poorly constructed lyrics.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cravings II

I had a cup of black tea and 2 crackers for breakfast (healthy).

Found myself wishing the crackers came with cottage cheese, cracked black pepper and chives. While you're at it, please throw in a couple of lightly toasted pikelets with a generous slab of creamy peanut butter, a thick, sweet waffle with butter and maple syrup, about 3 crepes topped with lemon and sugar, pink guava juice or green, if you've run out of pink, a bowl of Post cereal (honey bunches of oats with almonds) and to finish off, a pint of Ben&Jerry's Half Baked. I won't reject a bowl of seedless grapes either.

Thanks.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Munch... Chant.. Hate.

Otherwise referred to as Eat. Pray. Love.

Why are the foundational principles behind Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling novel turned Julia Robert's film so successful? I haven't read the book or watched the film and do not intend to but from the book and movie reviews I've mentally collected, the plot appears to have hit that generally specific core of human emotion. I also find it intriguing that the three chosen title verbs powerfully affect the bedrock of what it means to be human both in its negative implications and positive far-reaching effects. Each qualification is in and of itself rather boring; eat being a biological function, pray a religious one and love? Well, love is something Walt Disney conjured up over pumpkin pie.

Apply it in life's context however, and we find that "eat" umbrellas the ugly pandemic of obesity and anorexia, "pray" is something even the non-religious take part in and "love?" Love is something Hollywood banks on to maintain its Beverly Hills lifestyle. Maybe that was stretching it a bit, what I meant was the promise of love for what better way to keep audiences addicted and floating back for more than to have them keep hoping?

The truth is, we all want to eat, pray and love. We just want to do it on our terms. I would love to be able to dig into a 500g, inch-think, medium-rare, lightly seasoned and sealed, Wagyu steak, served with textured mashed potato mixed with 4 cheeses, salad (hold the tomatoes) with garlic-herb croutons and a drizzle of EVOO as well as a side dish of juicy Portebello mushrooms with a nut, sage, lime and olive stuffing, without having to worry about the calories, cholesterol, cardiac arrest, expanding waistline, laps round the pool and daily crunches I will have to do to return to status quo. In reality, only the superhuman among us with that enviable and elusive high metabolic rate rest easy. The rest of normal humanity will be huffing on treadmills trying to fit into "the average" size 6 (size 4 in the U.S.). We are a world culture obsessed with eating, the effects of eating, how not to eat, how to eat well, how to eat right for your blood type, how to overcome wanting to eat, how to have my cake and eat it albeit slowly with a gastric bypass. We savour our food with a lust for more; the same lust that carves out greed and gluttony.We don't love our eat.

What about pray? Everyone prays. Even the Atheist prays. I'm sure there is an least one devout Atheist out there who shouts, "For God's sake!" at some point in the day. We pray we won't be late for that all important function. We pray there won't be a strike this year (keep praying). We pray that we will get that job, that car, that girl. We bring our little wishlists to Heaven's throne but don't acknowledge the Giver. We want to keep receiving the perks of living in God's created world (because then it'll be easy to blame someone when things go wrong) but refuse to follow the housekeeping rules. I wonder if God installed a 'default' prayer mode into our system to remind us that there is Someone out there beyond our minute world and its finite timeline. Everytime we pray, we can either choose to ignore that we have just referred to Someone outside ourselves (as most of us do) or we can pause and wonder why is it we do pray. Maybe you're a lunatic or you're trying to make yourself feel better by lying to yourself. Either that, or there is a possibility that beyond the world as you know it, there is a God that cannot but attract our prayers, whether we believe in Him or not. Do you love who you pray to?

Love is too complex to explain on a Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Between the lines

The Malaysian Prime Minster was recently applauded for stating the obvious at the recent MCA general assembly. For those not in the know, MCA is the Chinese faction in the current ruling government's coalition.

According to the Star, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak emphatically stated that Malaysian Chinese were not immigrants and had been loyal to the nation for the past three to five generations.

As much as I do appreciate the gesture which puts him in a far better light than his carpet-sweeping counterparts, the fact that he even had to clarify that the Chinese were not immigrants beggars belief and shows up at best the comical and at worst the absurd situation of Malaysian racial politics. Do the Chinese really need to be told that they belong? Perhaps the statement was necessary to ally voters in the next election, or to beseech would-be homecoming Malaysians, or on a more noble scale, to make public his principles. What he did not say however, was that such statements made were sedition.

(Note: I really do not care for the Sedition Act or its heavy consequences (such as custodial sentences) except that in Malaysia it appears that the threat of executing the same is not by the merit or force of the allegation, but by which race it affects.)

I believe what the Prime Minister could do to truly support his convictions (if they indeed are) is to make that speech as emphatically at the next UMNO general meeting, the Malay faction of the coalition, considering the direction from whence grew forth the accusations. I would also kindly ask him to remind his followers that sedition cuts both ways although I seriously doubt that he will.

In fact, when I watched the news, I was considerably annoyed that whilst he mentioned that the Chinese were immigrants 5 generations ago, he made no comparison to the Malay or Indian communities who were also immigrants at some point in history. It really doesn't matter when. In reality the only true bumipteras are the ethnic groups of neither Malay, Chinese or Indian and if we want to take this debate back to Paleolithic times then all of us should be tip-toeing round this blessed island in case the Paleolithic Man arises and reclaims his territory.

The proof shall be in the pudding but right now the pudding's black.  Tanah tumpah darahku, dude. Paid in blood.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Can't see the wood for the tree?

The scratch art below was inspired during a Tim Chester site visit.



The meaning was lost on some when I conducted a test run so I decided to save everyone the mental hernia and just explain it. It is all too easy to miss the wood around us when we're staring at a tree. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture of unimaginable dimension when we're caught up in the daily grind. That I am righteous in Christ, before God, is sometimes taken for granted, overlooked or missed altogether when faced with a really bad hair day, even when I'm wearing orange.

Gimp-ing to conclusion

Am trying to comprehend GIMP2 and failing miserably.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Renaming

Someone asked me, "Why must Malaysia have the word 'Malay' in it? Isn't that unfair?"

Brain progression:-

If we joined the words Malaya with Sabah and Sarawak what else can we get? No, you can't get rid of m-a-l-a-y from the word because it's what the Peninsular is called. It's like asking for a reason why India sounds like i-n-d-i-a-n even though there are other races living there.

So, common denominator of Sabah and Sarawak is "Sa."

Option 1
"Sa" means "ones" in numerical terms as in, "What is 432?" Answer: four hundreds, three tens and two ones.

Ones-Malaya. One Malaya. Sounds like.... One Malaysia.

The irony!
I guess maybe our Prime Minister had the same idea given our 1Malaysia political programme.

Really, Malaysia could've saved a lot more money if they had taken time to conduct a branding brainstorm.

I hope they're planning to offer equal-opportunity, non-discriminatory perks to Malaysians CURRENTLY living in Malaysia since they're so eager to RETRIEVE overseas Malaysians to enhance the talent pool. Yoo hoo???? Or do I need to go overseas first to benefit from this nation building exercise?

Option 2
Would people be happier if "Sa" were given literal preference? Hmm...

Samalaya

Sounds like, "Samalah ya?" (translation: It's the same innit?)

I guess we have our answer.

Inked

I can't decide on which horse tat to get. Google offers too many and I only have one right shoulder blade. Why is this sounding more and more like a Tweet? I refuse to subscribe to Tweet. I refuse to use "tweet" as a verb unless in reference to birds or chickens. Are chickens birds?

Thousand knives

These days trees are fashioned less into spears to gut man and more into paper to shred him. Keep the thumb of malice chilled and spurred. Leave survivors tormented, tortured, undead and sub-living.

Have employers ever been sued over a papercut?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The truth of the matter is...


Everyone harbours the secret hope that "everything will work out." Unfortunately, as Michael Learns to Rock would have it, for many, it will be 25 minutes too late.

Treasure & Thorns

Isn't it a wonder that apart from Jesus, my greatest treasure is my biggest thorn? That which I will fight and change for is also that which distracts me from the unseen work for my Heavenly Father. That which I willingly labour for competes with the toil of sowing and reaping that is before me. That I may lay down my life for such treasure surely contradicts any supposed full surrender of my life to Christ. My biggest thorn. Paul asked for it to be removed 3 times. God's answer remains the same for us both. I trust it will be given; His grace for His work.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I verily believe...

that the contents of this blog could possibly secure me a place in Business Psychology Postgraduate Studies or at the very least gives me a stab at becoming a human lab rat for psychology-related experiments.

I find it strange and amusing that in affidavits (legal documents where people state their side of the story) everyone has to state that the facts they submit are verily believed to be true but does it ever mention the state of mind of the said person? Can a schizophrenic submit an Affidavit? Can a person with Multiple-Personality Disorder? Can a Paranoid Narcissist? Can an OCD liar?

"I verily believe that everything in this Affidavit will be untruths because I am a compulsive liar."

Now is that the truth or a lie? For if it were truth then the above statement would be a lie but if it were a lie, the reverse of every subsequent statement may not necessarily add up to truth.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Changing moments

Realities change. Every day. Every minute of every day. Every second of every minute. You don't even have to watch the stock market go through its compulsive daily seizures and read about the lives that are carried along in its frenzied wake to take notice of change. Change. We hardly dare embrace her yet are eager to be enticed in the same breath. Change, alluring indeed. We all want to know her charms, her promises, her touch, her elevated anticipations. We all want to bask in her approval and seek solace in her whispers of fulfillment and possible satisfaction yet few find her because few truly search for her though many may dream.

Change, some deride will come regardless so why search for something that will come in its own time? The irony of change for some is that it never seems to well, change. Expectations for some are as predictable as the seasons, routine, safe, with a degree of assumed understanding, boring. You finish high school. You go to college. Get a job. Get married. Have a baby. What if I really enjoy being a chicken farmer in Anchorage and who cares that chickens can't survive there?

Change cannot reveal what change is not allowed to. If I were spinning on my axis in equal tangent, distance, speed and whatever other quantum physics may come up with, in relation to every other person in the world, even though I may change within my axis, if everything else were altered accordingly, then, though the change may have occured, the impact of the change is never felt as every other equation still adds up. That's the problem with expectations. It expects that presuppositions will be naturally absorbed by the other's axis which will then make the necessary adjustments and realign itself accordingly.

Yes, realities change. The reality we once shared is no longer the reality I live in which means it can no longer be the reality you can live in, even if you may want to.

BMI = Body Mass Index = Big Middle Institution

I am a lousy dieter with no long-term self-control. Thank goodness for that actually or else I might actually achieve my goal of being 45 kilos by just not eating. According to the International BMI I'm smack right in the middle of good health but according to the Asian BMI, I'm 0.1 points away from being oveweight and since us South-East Asians are generally kiasu and don't like ending up at the bottom (or looking like one), I guess something has to be done.

So I tried. This morning I had one mouth of whole grain toast and one cup of black tea. Success!

Then I went to work and someone had bought really nice, oily, yam cakes to share and I had TWO. Fail!