Thursday, 27 January 2005
Bridget Jones battles with it. We all hate Ally Mcbeal, because she doesn’t seem to possess it. In fact, practically every female on the face of the earth seem to have some kind of problem with it.
We may disagree on whether durians smell good. We may debate furiously on whether Sylvester Sim is more irritating than cute, but one thing unites the female of the species – weight. Or rather, the need to have less of it.
Let’s face it, unless we happen to fall into the category of girls who do not possess any body fat whatsoever except a high metabolism, we all wish we could lose some weight.
It’s unfair how often the media reminds me that I need to be slim and therefore “beautiful”. I cannot watch CSI in peace without being given the option of going to “Marie Claire Bodyline” or some other slimming centre. At least 5 times. Even if I had no complex about my weight, watching television would give me one!
Why can’t I eat my Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream without having a guilt trip?
Why can’t I buy a size “L” top without going into a panic attack?
Why can’t I go through a day without thinking that I should perhaps go on a diet?
I wonder sometimes how much of my desire to go on a diet stems from the fact that I’ve been virtually forced to do so.
“What, you’re not on a diet? That is amazing.” Friends would look at me in awe and comment, as if I had just told them I play tennis frequently with the Queen.
I walk into a pharmacy to get vitamins and wonder if I have stepped into a supermarket instead. Shelves of diet meals of sorts, as well as numerous slimming ads hit me before I even realise what’s going on.
Every actress worth anything have either written a book on how to eat right and stay slim, or is endorsing a slimming centre that will provide guaranteed results – “just look at me!”
Worse still the numerous new fad diets that spring out of nowhere once every few weeks. Dieting has become the new fashion craze. If you’re not on a diet of sorts, be it a grapefruit diet, a soup diet or the world-renowned Atkins diet, it would seem that you’re some kind of freak.
Personally, I’m thankful I can never go on an Atkins diet. Animal rights somehow seem to overrule my uncontrollable urge to lose weight. The heavy meat and fat eating can go out the window, thank you very much. I’m sticking to my animal-free food. Besides, I don’t really want to walk around permanently constipated with all that protein and no fibre!
Seriously, whatever happened to having a healthy balanced meal? No, let me rephrase that. Whatever happened to having a healthy balanced life?
We are all so used to quick results that we would do anything to lose weight in 2 weeks. But in the process, we deprive our bodies of much needed nutrients, kicking it into malnutrition or starvation mode with all sorts of strange diets. Sure, we lose the weight, but what else do we lose as well?
A life without having to worry that eating a pea would throw our grapefruit diet out of sync.
Besides, if these diets really did work, why is there a need to come up with a new one every so often?
Maybe it’s time to start embracing the fact that our bodies are all different, and possessing a body like a pre-pubescent boy is not the only way to look beautiful.
Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that if we wanted real results, we have to work hard to achieve it. Not simply consume tea leaves three times a day or something ridiculous like that.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m sticking to the tried and true routine of exercise and sensible eating.
Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia
Adventists in the tsunami-hit regions of Southern Asia and Southern Asia Pacific are now receiving direct aid from the Seventh-day Adventist Church to help rebuild their lives.
“Even though the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is already working extremely hard in the devastated areas, it is not in a position to direct assistance specifically to Adventists who are suffering from the tragedy,” said Pastor Laurie Evans, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific. “The destruction and trauma that this tidal wave has caused is just unbelievable. Our fellow church members in the area need all the help we can give them.”
Initial estimates have indicated that Adventists in the fishing villages in India and Sri Lanka have lost their homes and their only means of income as a result of the disaster. Hundreds of families have no means of replacing the boats and fishing nets that have been destroyed or washed out to sea, as well as the livestock that have drowned. The figures on the loss of life and damages are still pouring in from a disaster of such magnitude.
Some Adventist churches in India are feeding members who have lost everything three meals a day. More immediate aid is also needed to assist people in rebuilding their lives. Requests from the tsunami-affected area indicate that at least US$700,000 is needed in the Southern Asia region alone, to help in the purchase or repair of fishing nets and boats, to replace livestock and to rebuild thatched cottages in various villages.
Every worker of the Adventist church in India, including pastors, hospital workers, school workers and retirees have been asked to contribute a minimum of one day’s wages to the relief efforts and rehabilitation of the tsunami victims.
The Adventist Church in the South Pacific has also donated $75,000 to the Adventist churches in the Southern Asia and Southern Asia Pacific regions to help meet some immediate needs.
“The effect on these areas have been disastrous and their needs are pressing,” said Rodney Brady, Chief Financial Official of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific. “If anybody would like to help, they can send donations to the South Pacific Division or via their local church. Donations need to be clearly marked “Adventists and Tsunami” so that it does not get confused with donations made to ADRA. These donations are not tax deductible.”
Facts and Figures
Southern Asia Region
Southern Asia Pacific Region
- 5 church members died
- 100 families with damaged homes and fishing boats
- 9 church members died
- 70 families with homes destroyed
- 200 families with fishing boats and nets lost or destroyed
- 50 families with drowned livestock
- 60 churches along the coast destroyed or badly damaged
- There is an urgent need to provide basic food and supplies to members.
Send donations marked “Adventists and Tsunami” to:
South Pacific Division
Locked Bag 2014,
Wahroonga, NSW 2076
Cash, cheque and credit card donations are also accepted at local churches, conferences, unions or division offices, where facilities are available.
Tuesday, 25 January 2005
“Our aim has been to create a website that has the potential to change misconceptions about Seventh-day Adventists. As such, the website provides an overview of our beliefs and services using language free of jargon and a contemporary design,” says Jeanelle Isaacs, the church’s electronic media assistant.
The site has been redesigned to focus largely on the services that the church provides for the community. The new website has an easy to use interface, a new navigational system and a contemporary design.
“We hope to provide church members with an accessible resource so that they can share who they are, and what the church does, with their non-Adventist friends,” says Bruna Tawake, Communication and Public Relations director of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the South Pacific.
The launch has been actively promoted to various community groups such as health professionals, other Christians and educational institutions.
“The feedback we received when we first launched the website helped us shape the website to what it is now,” says Ms Tawake. “This is a work in progress. Visit adventist.org.au and let us know what you think.”
Stages two and three that will provide specific information for church members and church employees respectively, will be launched later in the year.
Sunday, 23 January 2005
Great writer, great thinker, great person. And I like her because she used to publish my work.
Welcome to the blogging world Kel!
She moved out of the dorm today to a house a few minutes away. Her new place has a fridge and a microwave. She has a bar fridge and a microwave in her dorm room.
Guess who got her extra fridge and microwave?
No more having to worry about food getting stolen or going bad! No more having to eat only canned food! No more having to wake up early to go to work so that I can have breakfast first!
Have I mentioned how much God has blessed me?
What have I done to deserve this? Hmmm...nothing. Then again, I did nothing to deserve Christ dying on the cross for me too.
Ah, the beauty of God. He loves and gives simply because He is.
Friday, 21 January 2005
My health cover is giving me a headache. I thought it was supposed to help me prevent one. Or at least reimburse me for having one. It's not doing anything except drive me up the wall. Not that I have a health cover yet because it is TOO CONFUSING FOR ME!
Please pray that I don't get into any major accidents before I get one.
Thank goodness for friends who are more familiar with such things. I think I now have a better idea as to which cover to take, and which company to take it with.
I've always thought after 4 years away from home, living by myself this time round is not going to be much different. How wrong I am.
I'm no longer a student, or a volunteer. I'm actually here working. Independent as independent can be.
I need to fend for myself. I am responsible for everything that happens to me. Granted HR at work is somewhat responsible for me while at work (and they have done a wonderful job caring for me), but I am basically left on my own.
No more mummy to sort out my finances, insurance, investments, bills, food, etc. etc.
This is turning out to be harder than I thought.
All I can say is, thank God for people who care for me and try to look after me. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by them.
Wednesday, 19 January 2005
I finally opened a bank account. Show me the money!
My new mobile number came today. (email me if you want it. Of course I won't publicise it here.)
Have put my name on the waiting list for a house in July.
Got my first article written today.
Now to decide on a health cover plan and get my driver's license.
Tuesday, 18 January 2005
Am honestly really enjoying work. Granted, it's only the second day, but everything is simply lovely.
My boss and colleagues came dancing, yes dancing, into my office today carrying a huge bouquet of orange gerberas and lilies. People stop to say hi and chat with me. I get smiles everywhere I go. There is always laughter in my department.
I am doing what I love. Organising events. Writing news articles. Doing interviews. Putting together documents that will soothe the anal-retentive side of me. My brain actually gets challenged. I am in a lovely comfortable environment.
All I can say is I thank God for giving me this job.
Monday, 17 January 2005
Thankfully I was given a ride by Letricia, my colleague. Goodness knows how I would be able to transport everything back otherwise.
The next challenge would be to actually cook it. Is anyone surprised that I copped out and bought stuff like bread, pasta, fruit and lots and lots of canned food? The cooking can start tomorrow. Right now, I'm postponing cooking and simply having grapes and a banana.
At least there are decent kitchens at work where I can cook and store food without being worried they get stolen.
Ah. First day at work.
Hardly got anything productive done actually. Was shown around the building and managed to successfully get lost and forget everybody's names almost immediately after. Thankfully I'm working with people I knew from before, so it saves me some embarrassment.
Thereupon which I had to sit in on a tele-meeting between the Communication Department, ADRA and Signs Publishing over in Melbourne, brainstorming on how to better publicise ADRA's tsunami-relief efforts.
Am extremely impressed as to how efficient everything is here. My nameplate has gone up. My computer system/email has all been set up. My phone/voicemail system has been more than ready. Besides the fact that I have to open a bank account, and that is my own fault, I believe I have successfully integrated into the whole South Pacific Division system!
Although it is rather strange to have an entire office all to myself. Stranger still that there is a departmental assistant (Letricia) who sometimes acts as my secretary. I am totally unused to not doing things myself.
But the best thing about everything? I get off work at 5.15pm. And with living a mere 10mins walk away, I suddenly have a lot more time to myself than I ever did when I was working for Citibank!
Sunday, 16 January 2005
At the gathering, I find out that Sharona's uncle is a Marketing lecturer at Avondale whom I have interviewed for a radio show before. And he is married to the sister of Ronald Townend, President of the Southeast Asia Union Mission in Singapore.
When you enter the Adventist world, you realise that everybody is interconnected.
It is amazing what wonderful people they are though. For the last few days, I have not once felt treated like an outsider while with the Thieles. Not even at the family gathering. And boy did I enjoy myself there.
The double-storyed house was gorgeous, built on the top of a hill with a backyard landscaped such that you felt like you were walking down a nice little garden path down the hill to a lovely sized swimming pool.
There was a cool breeze and beautiful sunshine while we enjoyed the abundant and delicious food - haystacks with fresh salad generously covered with avocado, a great variety of cheese, olives, pineapples and an excellent vegetarian sauce. Not to mention the wonderful fresh fruit salad mixed with a delicious custard tart and vanilla icecream.
I have been extremely blessed since I arrived, no thanks to Kristin (best friend), Chris (best friend's boyfriend), Sharona (best friend's boyfriend's sister), Gillian (their mother) and David (their father - whom Kristin introduced to me as Satan).
Where I could have been moping all homesick alone in my room, they have befriended me, taken me out, fed me and simply made me feel welcomed.
Now to face first day of work tomorrow.
Saturday, 15 January 2005
so I went shopping on Friday.
so I bought bedding and other stuff in order to actually make my room more like a...room.
Besides finding to my joy of joys that they sell all sorts of different Garnier products like they do in England (yes Faith, shampoo, body moisteriser, face products...the entire range) and then also realising they had a 30% discount at K-Mart for all bedding (which meant great savings on my bedsheets, pillow and quilt), I also managed to get other various stuff like hangers, a laundary basket, detergent and the works.
I get home, fully happy in the knowledge that I am probably almost settled in. Kristin helps me with my bedding while I hang all my clothes into my wardrobe, thankful that I am more or less moved in and no longer have to live out of a suitcase. I look around my room, rather pleased with myself when I realised...
I FORGOT TO BUY FOOD.
I truly, honest to goodness forgot that I needed to buy food. I have nothing. Zilch. Well, except some dried mushroom stems but they don't exactly constitute a meal do they?
I have gotten too used to eating out. I have gotten too used to having my mother buy all the food and constantly having a well-stocked fridge. Now I don't even have a fridge of my own. All I can do is put my food in the fridge and pray like crazy nobody steals it (sometimes, prayers don't get answered)...
But why should I be worried about food-stealing? I have nothing to be stolen!
Honestly though, I haven't had to worry about food since I arrived. I have been extremely well-fed for the last few days.
Kristin's boyfriend's family happened to be living less than 5 minutes away from me and on account of being her best friend, I have been more or less accepted into the family as well. They have fed me good and true and I am even going to some extended family gathering tomorrow where I'm sure more food awaits.
Sabbath was also worry-free since Waitara church which Mae (a fellow Avondale graduate who now works at the hospital and lives 10 minutes down the road) took me to had a decent Asian community that was more than willing to feed me silly.
And since Mae has an unbelievably kind heart, she has also donated a packet of So Good, some muesli bars, a packet of noodle as well as a bowl, plate and cup to me upon hearing my plight.
I am such a pathetic soul.
No wonder my mother worries about me fending for myself.
And in case you're wondering, I will be going groceries shopping on Monday evening.
Friday, 14 January 2005
My arrival was rather non-dramatic, no setting off alarms at the Charles Kingsford-Smith Airport and whatnot. Although the customs officer did peer curiously at my dried mushroom stems (it's my vegeterian ikan bilis/anchovies!) and furiously hugged my bolster. Not entirely sure what she thought I was smuggling.
Did not take too long to spot Colin, who then drove me straight to my workplace to say hi to the folks. Which turned out to be a huge reunion coz I went to Avondale with practically all of the people at my department.
The biggest surprise turned out to be the fact that I actually have my own (HUGE) office, with chairs for visitors and all. This is going to be fun.....
Next stop: nurses' residence at the Sydney Adventist Hospital right across the road. My home for the next 5 or 6 months till Kristin graduates, whereupon which we'll househunt together.
I am taken to my room where I find this huge cutout stating "Welcome Home Melody!" pasted on my door, and when I walked in, the room was filled with balloons. And then Kristin pops out of nowhere, scaring me out of my wits first before happiness took over.
The next few hours was spent hunting down friends who were in the area, as well as bumping into people I did not know was here. All this done while sleep deprived, confused and more or less running solely on adrenaline.
Bedtime turned out to be 9pm for me last night. So much for my plan to arrive on Thursday, in time for late night shopping. Which meant I went to bed in a sleeping bag on top of a bare mattress. Thank goodness it is summer right now.
The shopping begins in a few minutes...
Wednesday, 12 January 2005
Am looking forward to meeting up with friends whom I haven't seen for about 2 years.
Am looking forward to getting cheap bohemian clothes.
Am looking forward to fresh figs, cherries, strawberries and other delicious fruit.
Am looking forward to visiting the wonderful markets at The Rocks.
Am looking forward to my new job with the SPD.
Am looking forward to visiting the amazing numbers of secondhand bookshops.
Am looking forward to so many things typically Aussie.
Am not looking forward to saying goodbye.
Monday, 10 January 2005
Sunday, 9 January 2005
Wednesday, 5 January 2005
For the longest of time, I have been wanting to leave Singapore. To live and work in another country.
I prayed about it. I longed for it. I so badly wanted it.
I got it.
And now, I have a strange inertia about the whole thing. I'm trying to find the latest possible date that I can fly out to Sydney.
Suddenly, I find myself extremely reluctant to leave.
I have gotten comfortable here. I have gotten so much closer to my family. I have renewed old friendships. I have gained new ones. I have so many amazing and valuable relationships that I find extremely hard to let go off.
Things will never be the same again. Then again, things never remain the same. Why would this be any different?
I just know I'm going to miss my family and friends back here in Singapore so incredibly much.
Leaving is never an easy thing.