Thursday, 25 December 2003

I think this is probably the first time in which I've truly experienced a Christmas atmosphere. Granted, it's not a white Christmas, but this is ultimately a Western tradition and being in a Western country kind of helps to set the atmosphere.

This is what I call Christmas. With ALL the shops closed, Christmas is not about commercial activities, but staying home with loved ones and enjoying yourself. I guess it's kind of hard when you're not with your family, but my friends have certainly become the family that I'm missing here in England.

We're at Gabor's place now, cooking a Christmas lunch, with Christmas songs playing on the stereo. It's cold and windy outside, but warm in the house. There's a small Christmas tree that cannot hold the amount of presents we have under it, as well as the lollies, sweets and chocolates we have on it, and there's just a general feel of peace, joy and contentment.

Love...I've truly felt the Christmas experience...would be perfect if all my family and friends I've ever made were all with me, as well as some snowfall.

I can't wait for heaven.

Wednesday, 24 December 2003

I'm baaaack...absolutely knackered, but in one piece nonetheless.

Really don't know where to begin on my trip to Hungary. It has been a real eye-opening trip in the sense that I saw and experienced so many things that I really never thought I would.

Firstly, there is the unbelievable hospitality of the Hungarian people. Truly, they never go hungry in Hungary. My entire trip seemed to consist of one big neverending meal. Gabor's parents truly spoilt all of us with their warmth, love and genorosity.

Then there was the freezing cold. It never actually snowed on me, although of course I saw lots of snow still. The temperature ranged between -5 and never went above 2 degrees celcius, which meant that we were all wrapped up like Eskimos during the whole trip. But also meant breath-taking beauty of snow covered ground, white trees and a lovely romantic fog.

Central European architecture is distinctively different from anywhere else that I've been and once again, I have been exposed to a different sort of beauty. And the lovely countryside with its forests, hills and lakes...

For the first time in my life, I saw an entire lake frozen over, as well as an open-air ice-skating rink. For the first time in my life, I had a snowball fight and lay on the snow. For the first time in my life, I truly understood the meaning of Central European hospitality and tasted their absolutely delicious food.

I had a real wonderful trip.

And I have to add that today was the day that I fulfilled a promise I made to myself back in 1997 - I returned to the Tower of London.

Friday, 19 December 2003

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Stepped out of my dorm this morning and I literally gasped, thinking that it had snowed over the night. Turned out simply to be a thick layer of frost, which was rather hazardous to my heath as I had on shoes that weren't quite suited for ice. Radio has reported that it might jolly well snow either on Sunday or Monday, the day I get back from Hungary (and let's not forget the snow storm that happened a few days ago.)

...I may have a white Christmas yet.

Last day of work today, was quite sad, having to walk around saying goodbye to all the College staff. Got a little present from the College...a guidebook to the hidden secrets of Britain. Sweet gesture, although one wonders what am I supposed to do with it seeing that I'm leaving in little more than a week.

Pat gave me this really lovely cushion as well. Bright yellow with a big M cross-stiched in the middle and a tiny giraffe to its side.

Christmas is well and truly here...everybody's becoming really nice, presents being exhanged all over the place and people shopping like mad.

Looking forward to Vienna/Hungary, but not the 6am wake up call. Be back on Monday. Will write then!

Forget to mention, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is fantastic. Can't it be anything else? But as Maya says, now that it's come to the end, what else is there to look forward to? We both feel the hole in our hearts...

Thursday, 18 December 2003

been really hectic lately. last day of work tomorrow, and trying to tie up loose ends, especially after being sick, is an extremely busy task. have been working till rather late these last few days, but after tomorrow, there will be no more work!!

leaving for vienna/hungary early friday morning. was just informed that there has been a snow storm. jolly good.

oh oh oh! and in approx 3 hours, i will be catching the final installment of the lord of the rings trilogy!!! I can't wait!!!

Monday, 15 December 2003

i am sick. actually, i have been sick since thursday. all thanks to glen who gave the bug to me. or as he so aptly puts it, he did not so much as gave it to me as I took it from him. After all, he is too kind a person to give something as horrid as a flu bug to someone else.

I do question my sanity. His boss banned him from going to work for days because she was afraid of him spreading his bug around. Guisele had him under house arrest for the very same reason. That should have told me something about the bug. And still, I go over to their house twice in 3 days to visit them, and then stay up late till wee hours in the morning playing monopoly with friends.

Lack of sleep, lack of water, and to top it off, lovely English winter...I guess I deserved to get sick.

By the way, if any of you are planning to go watch Love Actually....DON'T. Played too much on the whole feel-good romantic comedy heartstrings. I admit, I was never one for romantic comedies, but I did kind of liked Notting Hill for its wit...Love Actually was just plain cheesy. So unless you really have nothing to watch and would like a good laugh, as well as watch a rubbish movie with a rather good cast, put your £5/A$10/S$8 (or however much it is to buy a movie ticket wherever you are) somewhere else.

On another note, I got a letter back from the UN. (I sent in an application to take their Competitive Recruitment Examinations Exercise in Singapore this February.) I was kindly rejected.

Back to the old drawing block....maybe this blog shall be renamed Tales of the Unemployed for next year...

Thursday, 11 December 2003

the beauty of moving to a new place is that I get an upgraded computer (finally, Windows XP!), a new 21-inch monitor (it's huge!), a much more pleasant environment...and all of 6 days to enjoy it before I stop work for good.

Not to mention the fact that I'm still surrounded by boxes and maintenance men drilling holes in walls...

Tuesday, 9 December 2003

Have I ever mentioned that the office I am working in used to be a WW2 army barrack? And that the foundations are now so weak that everything is tilted to one side? Filing cabinets automatically shut when they are opened not because of technology, but simply because of gravity.

Besides having to battle feelings of imbalance, there is a spot right in the corner of the building where if one jumps, the entire building shakes.

It is also home to a very happy family of mice. And every few paces, along the wall, you'll find piles of rat poison.

Not to mention that exactly a week ago today, I was rained on because the roof started leaking. After lunch, I returned to find a hole in the ceiling and bits of it strewn all over the floor. Divine intervention had me out, and not under the ceiling when that happened.

After more than a couple of years, we're finally changing offices and today is moving day. I don't know how long this is going to last, but as such, I have no computer access and have to resort to the computer labs at the moment. There is no work to be done except putting things into boxes and unpacking them at the other end.

Except...we're moving into another building at least 50 years old with rotten carpets and this time, if one were to jump on the 2nd level, people on the 1st floor will feel it.

I have no idea if the move is an improvement or not...

Thursday, 4 December 2003

what am i to do?

my boss just talked to me again about the possibility of me returning for another year. Sounds like she really wants me to come back. But I'm really not sure because somehow, I don't think I can afford to spend another year of my life as a volunteer. I need to start saving for the future, for the family, for my brother's further education...

But it's just oh so tempting....they're willing to wait for me till March 2004, have offered to pay for my airticket and dropped in the possibility that it may become a permanent position (hopefully she didn't mean permanent volunteer!).

I really would love to stay here for a tad longer. I've fallen in love with the English life. The easy access to plays and musicals, the thriving arts scene, the open-mindedness of the people, the historicity, the travelling, the beauty...and sometimes even the archaic systems. I have no wish to stay here for the rest of my life, but I could take England for a few more years.

Yet, I really do miss my friends back home and after being away for 4 years, maybe it's time I returned to strengthen the bonds I've had with them. And my family too. Everybody's been so patient with me and it amazes me how distance did not seem to cause me relationship with them to disintegrate. In fact, I feel more loved than ever by my friends and family and I want to spend more time with them.

But if I leave...I'll miss my friends here as well. I have made some unbelievably fantastic friends here and I want to be able to strengthen these bonds as well. A lot of them I've only gotten close to during the last 6 months and I would appreciate more time to get to know them better.

Of course, there're also the friends I left behind in Australia whom I miss terribly too and who are demanding that I return some time soon...

What am I to do????
ARGH!!! I just found out that it wasn't any simple body part that these two men shared together! Read it for yourself.
I am extremely impressed.

By Count of Monte Cristo and Frequency star Jim (or James) Caviezel to be exact.

Was watching this BBC documentary last night about religion and celebrities. The interview with Jim was really good and the answers he gave to the questions, as well as his obvious principles made me wish there were more actors/actresses like him around. Incredible faith in God and love for Him.

Religion and celluloid/mass media culture can mix, but very very rarely and only with a firm foundation in God's Word. But it can and I know that's where I'm heading. I was led to study Communication for a reason and I sincerely believe that God gave me the passion I have for writing and movies. And Jim has made me believe that it is possible to do so without compromising my faith.

When I make that movie with Kristin, I can only hope we'd find a group of actors/actresses with his principles.

On another note...I am not entirely sure if I should be appalled or amused by this.

I mean, what exactly did the ad say?

I'm looking to eat someone. Will you let me eat you?

And someone actually responded to that??? Not only that, but the victim actually shared the meal?!?!?! Honestly, I don't think I would be very much interested in eating any part of myself!

The world is a strange strange place...

Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Christmas has arrived early for me.

The Business and Communications department had a combined Christmas lunch today and towards the end of the meal, my boss went out of the restaurant, only to return with a huge package. She laid it down and started making a speech about how someone in the department would be leaving us soon.

After turning around trying to figure out who it was, it finally hit me that she was talking about me. I started wondering about my blond roots.

I was given a Samsonite suitcase!!! Which arrived just in time, seeing that my backpack has given way. Yup...all that backpacking around Europe has taken its toll and it's time my backpack is put to rest.

But the presents did not stop there...arrived back in the office to find a package sitting on my table waiting for me.

Dearest Maya, the cookies are an absolute delight. I am having trouble stopping myself from finishing them all at once. And the belt is simply gorgeous! You are a dear...

Friday, 28 November 2003

It was a truly beautiful sight, walking to work this morning.

There was a layer of frost over the green grassy lawn, the sun had just started to raise causing the place to be bathed in soft light which was enhanced by the light mist, the air was fresh and crisp, and there in the background stood the 19th century neo-Jacobean manor that is now the girls' dorm....

It really dawned on me how beautiful England really is.


Winter is well and truly here...
It is fascinating indeed that for someone who advocated living to excess - "nothing succeeds like excess", Wilde would write such a moralistic story as The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Despite his infamous flamboyant and outrageous lifestyle that seems to reflect a lack of boundaries, the richness of Dorian Gray in its tale of good and evil, truth and reality is great.

Oscar Wilde is a true lover of the Aesthetic Movement...but funny that despite loving beauty and pleasures, even he realised the need for certain rules and that all our actions would have repercussions.

As Trevor Baxter, who adapted the story into the play, said, "It is as though Oscar Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray, which shows the tragic end of [making a far-reaching aesthetic exploration of the mind], as a warning to himself."

Conscience or the Holy Spirit? I believe that they're one and the same and that it resides in all of us - even the worse of all of us. And as Dorian found out, it would catch up with us sooner or later. And the scary thought is that by the time it does, it may be too late.

When we ignore our conscience, choosing to chase our own pleasures to the extreme, we are just as likely to die painfully lonely and depressed, a broken man, like Dorian. Like Wilde.

And that is why God is a God of balance.

Thursday, 27 November 2003

I am going to watch the play The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde this evening!

Really excited about it.

Now, I need to stand that I do not completely agree with Oscar Wilde's wild ideas and obvious lack of spiritual leading, but he does make some important points. And he is a rather good writer...

Meanwhile, am trying not to go insane with the number of 18 year olds streaming through my office as they rush to have their portraits taken for the College yearbook. It's not that I detest them and am being a grumpy old lady (at the ripe old age of 23), it's just that when you're trying to work and you have a bunch of giggly girls standing next to you primping themselves, it kind of gets on your nerves.

Especially when you're on the phone and even after you say "I'm sorry, but it's really crowded in here and I can't hear you," they continue speaking at the top of their voices, laughing their heads off.

It's only a photo. Why get so excited?

Visions of myself aged 70, living in a scary old house with cats, cackling like an evil witch and scaring all the kids in the neighbourhood floods into mind...

Tuesday, 25 November 2003

Talk about temptation....

Had asked for a cheque for SGD$2612 as reimbursement for my Thailand and Hong Kong tour. Got the cheque back today...

FOR SGD$7570.62

Unfortunately, my conscience told me to return it....*sigh*

My conscience is making a poor woman out of me.

On another note...check out Reverend Fun.

Monday, 24 November 2003

Read this article on the Edge magazine (an Aussie Adventist youth mag), about whether Adventists should watch movies. It can be found here - Feature #2, entitled Celluloid Culture.

This is my response:

Should Adventists be watching movies? The influence in which celluloid culture has on individuals is seen to be highly damaging, especially for Seventh-day Adventist Christians. Movies, like many different elements of popular culture, are seen to be poisoning our minds, and to take an extreme view, would ultimately draw us away from God. As such, many believe we need to be different from everybody else, and not partake in the normal activities of people in the world.

As Andy Chee reminded us, “To be Adventist is to be very special, very different, called higher than any other calling on Earth…we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…”

When we made the decision to follow Christ, the changes made manifest in our beliefs, behaviour and principles are so obvious that anybody who comes into contact with us know that there is something different about us. The resolve not to drink, the decision not to go out on Friday evenings and most importantly, the peace that now resides in our hearts, stands out amongst our non-Adventist friends.

Andy suggests that these actions “of being legalistic, peculiar and alienated from society is something in which we as Adventists should be proud of.”

Unfortunately, it is precisely because of this pride, that we as Adventists have lost touch with the rest of the world.

When God said we are to be a peculiar people, did he really mean for us to be set utterly apart from the rest of world? Did He really envision us congregating within our own little Adventist community, patting our backs for not participating in certain activities, while frowning upon the “fornication of secular people”?

We have become such experts at being peculiar that we have been truly alienated from the rest of the world. We are so proud of being special, of being the remnant group with “the truth”, that we no longer remember the commission God gave us.

We are told to “be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain that hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15), but we are so focused on our rules that we no longer exude the hope and love of God.

Instead, Adventists are merely seen as the group of folks who do not watch movies, eat meat or do anything on a Saturday. Nobody is going to ask us to explain any hope we have in us, because what kind of hope is made manifest in our not knowing that hobbits have hairy feet?

We have most certainly succeeded in “beaming with the character of God so bright that sin hurts the watching sinner”. So much so that nobody wants to have anything to do with us anymore. Light of the world? We are so irrelevant to modern popular culture that even if we were bright neon billboard signs, people would still pass us by without so much as a glance.

It may be true that celluloid culture can have a bad influence, but it is a depiction of modern society. Art imitates life, or life imitates art? The answer is ultimately up to you, but it does not deny the fact that a lot of what we see on the small or big screen is about the world as we live in today. More often than not, it reflects the values, the opinions, and the viewpoint of people whom God has called us to share the Good News with.

I am not advocating that Adventists should swarm en masse to the cinemas upon reading this, devouring whatever movie that may be showing that evening. That is the reason why we were given the faculty for reasoning. But what I am suggesting is that maybe we should start to understand the world in which we live in a little better.

We need to know what other people live for, what they hope for, what they dream for and what they stand for. We were not only called to be light of the world, but salt of the earth. And the only way in which salt is effective, is if it were taken with the food in which it was mixed with – it requires mingling.

I love movies. I have been an avid moviegoer for as long as I can remember, and this interest of mine has not dampened my love for God. Friends know I am a Christian, and in fact, most have commented on the strengthening of relationship I have had with my God through the years. Has watching movies torn me away from God? Does the fact that I sit in the cinema with my non-Christian friends prove that I am somehow or other going to sway in where I stand with God?

Not every non-Christian is able to understand the going-ons of the Christian world. Tell them about sanctification, justification and my personal favourite, legalism, and they would either roll their eyes at you or look at you blankly and go, “sanc…what?”. Tell them why you choose not to go out on a Friday evening and at best, they would simply say, “Well, that’s your choice.” But all these are not relevant to them!

On the other hand, every Christian is equipped with the ability to understand the non-Christian world, since it is the very world in which we live in. The message of God’s grace is best shared in an environment in which the non-Christian is comfortable in. And that is where movies come in.

Movies are not just tools of entertainment, they are the most important instruments people use to make statements. It is through these statements that I have been able to understand how the world works and what people ache for. And it is through understanding the condition of the world that we are able to better relate and be more relevant to the very people we want to reach out to.

The Matrix Trilogies, Phonebooth, The Green Mile and countless other movies possesses a wealth of Christian undertones which when analysed, reflects the search all filmmakers make for God, perhaps on a subconscious level. And it is not simply movies with religious overtones that are helpful. Movies like Bowling for Columbine, The Thin Red Line and American History X make strong statements on society that can be actively discussed with friends who have absolutely no religious inclination.

Movies are part of pop culture. And pop culture reaches a great majority of people that evangelism never ever will. It brings us to the people. If Christians are able to better understand pop culture, it will equip us to reach out to more people than telling them the reason why we do not go out on a Friday night. Christianity is about building bridges, not walls.

Do not misunderstand me. I believe Ellen White had good reason to discourage us from going to the theatres. Taking her writing into context, theatres during her time were dens of iniquity. Cigarette smoke was rife, the environment was dubious and the content of most movies were unsuitable for a majority of audiences. I would not want to be anywhere near theatres if I were living in her time either.

I will also not dispute the fact that films can have a negative influence on us, and for young impressionable minds, that is extremely dangerous. And that is why God gave us wisdom. Wisdom to choose carefully what movies to watch, because there are good movies out there. And ultimately, if something has an ability to have a negative influence, it can just as well be used to have a positive one. If we had people who are able to review movies from a Christian point of view, imagine the kind of impact we could make.

When we know where we stand with God. When we know what thoughts and actions are pleasing to God. When we know what our principles are, choosing to watch movies is not going to take us any further away from God than if we chose not to speak with Him. God wants us to enjoy ourselves. And if we did so knowing full well that we are at peace with God, knowing what is right and wrong in the eyes of God, going to the cinemas will not dim the light He has placed in us. In fact, it may even make us saltier.
I thank God for the friends He gave me.

The emptiness you feel when a tragedy has happened back home while you are all alone in a foreign country with no family can be dreadfully frightening. The last few days had been absolutely horrid for me and things would have gotten much worse without the support and mere presence of my friends.

Guisele and Glen came by even though they knew they would be late for an antenatel class, and stayed with me again after the class till past midnight. She held me in her arms while I bawled my eyes out...and it really is extremely handy to have a friend who is studying to be a pastor, who can show you the love and grace of God when you thought impossible.

I had friends constantly checking up on me. Cards were given, text messages sent to my mobile, prayers were said, a cute soft teddy bear was received...and despite their other agendas, everything was put aside so that I could be supported.

I had never felt so loved before since I arrived in England.

Fanja, Anca, Guisele, Glen, Gabor, Adrian and Darren...strength was found through you and your prayers.

I thank you for the love and care you have showed me and I want you to know just how much I appreciate you.

Friday, 21 November 2003

my uncle (grandma's brother) had passed away....

what more can i say about death?

I didn't even get to say goodbye.

I'm tired...

Thursday, 20 November 2003

Now, do I choose

1. Mental problems

Which Band Should You Be In? by couplandesque
Your Name
Band NameStereophonics
TrademarkMental Problems
Love InterestVocalist From Another Band
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

2. Speaking with a foreign accent (possibly exotic)

Which Band Should You Be In? by couplandesque
Your Name
Band NameThe White Stripes
TrademarkForeign Accent
Love InterestThe Drummer
Created with quill18's MemeGen!


3. An affair with a well-known actor??? (read: ORLANDO BLOOM)

Which Band Should You Be In? by couplandesque
Your Name
Band NameYeah Yeah Yeahs
TrademarkDark-Rimmed "Emo" Glasses
Love InterestWell-Known Actor
Created with quill18's MemeGen!
This is really interesting reading. I really love the writing style and the statement it's making on modern society.

And it links to this really interesting game where one actually gets to run one's very own nation with the help of warped politics!

Yes...I'm in a mood to work today.

Tuesday, 18 November 2003

I had a horrible dream last night. War was happening and I had somehow volunteered to go to the front line to help out.

While in the bus on the way there, I realised that there were so many things that I hadn't done. Not things that I wanted to do, like skydive or travel to Greece or something like that, but that I hadn't told the people close to my heart just how much they really mean to me.

I was afraid that I would die, not because I didn't want to leave this world, but because there were so many things left unsaid, and things that I need to put right.

Only problem? I had run out of time.

To make matters worse, I couldn't even phone them because in my dream, I had forgotten to take money with me. I had left everybody without saying goodbye, and I was facing the prospect of never seeing them ever again.

Let me assure you that it is the most horrible feeling. To know that you have met some really special individuals along the way, but to never let them know just how they have touched your life. We like to live our life with our eyes half-open. We acknowledge that we have made really great friends, but it is incredible just how "un-often" we let them know that.

We live in a world of negativity. Things that are worth mentioning are those that hurt. Compliments get paid out...very occassionally.

Isn't it funny how often we seek approval, but never find it? But the minute we do something wrong, we have the whole world letting us know precisely what we should have or shouldn't have done? Ironically, we ourselves find it a challenge to tell people the better part of themselves, choosing to focus on the negative side of things instead.

And even if we don't dwell on the bad sides of life, we don't hardly make an effort to let others know just how much we appreciate them being in our lives. But the thing is, these are the people that matter to us. These are the people that make the world a better place to live in. Yet, we fail to even acknowledge what they have done in our lives.

I love my family. I love my friends. This may sound cliche, but without them, I would never have been able to go through different periods in my life. They were my source of strength and they are the sunshine of my life, as well as the pretty rainbow that I see after a stormy day.

And I don't want to leave this world, regretting the fact that I never told them how special they are to me.

Monday, 17 November 2003

I've got nothing more to say besides the fact that I have been absolutely and utterly charmed......

I had a great weekend.

Friday, 14 November 2003

isn't it amazing how one person's actions, or lack thereof, can determine your emotional state?

I hate the way my moods, to a certain extent, can be influenced by what other people do, or don't do. How is it that when I get ignored or looked over, I start questioning myself and my self-worth. And when the next day the very same person pays me the attention I wanted, the sun suddenly shines in my world again.

I like to think that I'm independent. I love my commitment-free life where I can simply pack up and go to wherever my heart desires, so long as I can financially afford it. I don't have to answer to anybody and I have no real responsibilities that somebody else cannot deal with.

And yet, it seems that no matter how independent one may be, one can never cut off bonds in which we share with other people. And that means that the actions of others is going to and will affect the way we view ourselves, the way we see the world, and the way we feel.

Not very independent now are we?

Tuesday, 11 November 2003

One of my biggest pet peeves? Christians who prefer to bash others over the head with religion, rather than stretch out a hand in the name of love. Christians who use God's name to dish out whatever vengeance they would like to see wrought on whoever they think have done them wrong. Christians who bring in God into a matter only to make another feel bad.

If I did not already know where I stood with God, what Sylvia said to me would have me hiding in my room for the rest of my life begging for forgiveness, terrified of burning in hell during judgement day.

Firstly, some background info:

Way back in August, while my boss was taking portrait photos of students during registration day, Sylvia comes and ask for a personal favour - she wanted my boss to take a photo of her family using the digital camera we were using. She was told to come back later in the afternoon.

I had no idea what had transpired since I was outside collecting questionnaires. But when Sylvia came back in the afternoon, my boss was out for lunch and hence I was roped in to take the photo, being the only other person who knew how to operate the digital camera. All I was told was to take the photo, and that my boss would take care of everything else.

With 300 other photos to deal with, as well as an impossible deadline, my boss forgot about the matter. Now Sylvia wants the photo. After spending hours searching for it on the computers, I have come to the conclusion that it is lost. I told her as much, apologising profusely, and this is what she told me:

"This is a really serious matter! How can something like this happen in this school, owned by the church? This is holy ground, I tell you, and things like this should not happen. Let me assure you that whoever lost the photo will have to answer to God and God is not happy about this! And you will know this on judgement day! This is my family photo and you cannot treat this matter lightly."

Firstly lady, if it is indeed holy ground, why do you have your shoes on?

Secondly, I am very certain you are able to afford even a cheap disposable camera that will give you at least 12 shots of your family, IN DIFFERENT POSES. And your family members live in the next town for goodness sake.

Thirdly, I would think it quite wise for you not to speak for God as to what he is and isn't happy about.

I admit that I probably should have taken better account of your photo, but I was never told to do anything else but to push the button on the camera. I have apologised and have never been anything but cordial in my dealings with you. I have tried to be understanding, but I have had enough.

Do not ever threaten me with my salvation. This is between me and my God, and has nothing to do with you. You are not God, neither are you his spokesperson. If I have to answer to God, let me speak with God on judgement day. In my opinion, you are merely using His name in vain and spiritually abusing me.

The photo is gone. Deal with it.

Friday, 7 November 2003

The sky was filled with brilliant colours last night as fireworks were repeatedly set off to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.

Found out that not only did Guy Fawkes fail at blowing up Parliament House, and hence King James, in London back in 1605, he was actually caught and burned. Hence all the fireworks and bonfires. Like I said, only in England. Was surprised there were no major fires or road accidents seeing that with the sun setting at 4.30pm, people had about 8 hours to do something stupid.

I know for one that Fanja and I were highly distracted by the fireworks colouring the night sky as we drove to the cinema last night. It was a lovely sight though. Especially since we drove by vast plains with no skyscrapers to block our view.

Had wanted to watch two movies last night. But after our first choice movie - Bad Boys 2, we quickly changed our minds.

The movie was simply filled with way too much unnecessary violence. It honestly felt like the film producers were simply looking for an excuse to blow things up and kill people highly graphically while flaunting Will Smith's good looks. And since the other choices we had were either horror or action, we went home instead.

Although now I wonder if the amount of violence in Bad Boys 2 is any indication of our rising insensitivity to death and destruction, as well as an insatiable thirst for blood and gore?

Thursday, 6 November 2003

Everybody can breathe easy now. My friends survived the dinner I prepared. It has been two days since the meal and nobody has showed signs of food poisoning of any sort and so I can safely say that I have managed not to kill my friends with the noodle dish I came up with.

Honestly though, I hardly did anything. I didn't cut the brocolli, carrots or mushrooms. Most of the time, I merely stood there yelling for stuff to be handed to me while I tried to stir the vegetables around or fry the Quorn pieces (tastes like chicken!). While boiling the noodles, it nearly overflowed which led to me screaming and Gabor rushing over to rescue me/the pot/the stove. Yup, without my friends, the kitchen would have either flooded over or burned down.

They loved it though. But I can assure you that there will be no repeat performance for a long long while.

In the meantime, the Royal Mail Strike is finally over. Maybe now I'll finally get my Dogma DVD.

Was such a drama trying to purchase the DVD. Searched all over Bracknell, Reading AND London and it was sold out everywhere! Finally was able to get it over the Virgin Megastore website, which assured me that there would be a 48 hour delivery. Only problem? The day I purchased it, the strikes started.

Am beginning to believe that I'm not meant to possess the DVD. Especially since they are estimating 2 weeks for the backlog of mail to clear...

Anyway, just had to mention (not that my brother surfs onto this website)


It's a "special" day in England today as well. Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night.

Only the English will run around setting off bonfires, fireworks and whatnots to commemorate the attempted assassination of the king back in 1605...and celebrate it in the name of the assassin.

Monday, 3 November 2003

This site needs a new name for next year! Submit suggestions here.
The first day of my domestication begins today. It is my turn to cook for my friends.

It's true that I've stepped into kitchens before. I've even helped friends chop up vegetables or boil water etc. But to actually cook a full meal to feed 3 other people? I am shuddering even at the thought of it.

I hate cooking.

To spend all that countless precious hours (ok, I'm exaggerating but you get the idea) chopping up green stuff, preparing ingredients and then putting it into a pot and having to wait some more...not to mention the spices and whatnots that you have to add...all that work!!!

Honestly - give me a sandwich any day. And I'm not lying when I say I'd rather starve than cook up a decent meal. The best I would do is 2-minute noodles. Quick, easy, good.

I cave in today and one can only hope nobody dies of food poisoning as a result.
Finally, after 11 months in England, I had my first celebrity-spotting experience.

Anca, Gabor, Ida and I went off to London yesterday to watch a musical. Which musical, we didn't have a clue. We just thought we'd rock up to Leicester Square and get a ticket for whatever musical which tickets we could afford.

What we ended up finding out was that Kevin Richardson (of the Backstreet Boys was starring as Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago.

Now, Ida and I were both Backstreet Boys fans back in the days when we were young (and yes, I am rather embarrassed to admit that I was a fan of a boyband, but I have to accept my past and I am now in counselling). In fact, it was because of them that we first got to know each other, but that's another story that I will not tell right now. Anyway, that helped us decide which musical to watch.

Chicago the musical is excellent. Not because of Kevin, but because of the quality of acting, dancing and singing involved. We were lucky, we somehow managed to get seats in the private box (gentlemen's boxes, they used to call them) by the side of the theatre and so we were really close to the stage.

Now I had actually watched Chicago the movie first and I was really impressed as to how faithful the movie was to the musical. Of course, several things were different because the musical is a stage production but I think that simply improved my experience with the musical. It was really good.

Superb synchronisation, brilliant choreography and impressive singing.

What I found really fantastic was the fact that the orchestra pit was not really in the pit, but actually up on stage and the musicians were as much involved in the musical as the actors were. The conductor was pulled into the storyline several times as an actor and the enthusiasm the musicans had for their music was excellent.

Anyway, after the musical, we went to the stage door because Ida really wanted to meet Kevin. I was skeptical as to whether it would really happen. But lo and behold, Kevin eventually turned up at the door to meet his fans.

And so, that was my celebrity-spotting experience in London.

And if anybody's wondering, the reason for this rather bland piece of writing is because I am absolutely exhausted. I have done too much walking and too little sleeping for the last few days and tiredness is fast catching up on me...

Excuse me while I pass out in front of the computer...

Friday, 31 October 2003

oh my gosh. i am absolutely shattered. Spent the last two days simply walking around London and my legs are now beginning to protest. Good to be just sitting down in front of the computer for this morning.

Gabor, Fanja, her brother and I went to Greenwich on Wednesday. Yup, the Greenwich where the Greenwich Mean Time comes from.

The Royal Observatory was set atop a hill and the walk up the hill was simply lovely. We had to walk past the National Maritime Museum, with its beautiful white pillars and then through this gorgeous autumnal park with orange-leafed trees and strolling families.

At the Royal Observatory, we were standing right in the middle of the eastern and western latitude of the entire world. Thought that was pretty cool. Even had a certificate to prove that I was there.

Walked around the museum which was full of telescopes, watches and clocks...hey, what did you expect?

Ida arrived on Wednesday evening and so the both of us went to London again yesterday. Ida, being more or less a Beatles fan, had to visit the Abbey Road Studios. Even took a photo of her crossing the now famous zebra crossing in front of the studio.

The studio was a hive of activity when we arrived there in the afternoon. There were so many guitar carrying musicians making their way into the studio. We kind of hung around outside for a bit hoping to catch sight of someone famous, but it was a futile attempt.

After two full days of sightseeing and shopping around London, I am honestly glad to be resting my feet for a while. Almost 24 hours of walking in 48 hours!! At least I know I'm developing my calves....

This afternoon, Gabor, Ida and I will most probably be going to Stonehenge (on Halloween day no less) and Salisbury.

At least he's driving, so less walking.

On another note (read: shameless self-promotion)...check out Edge magazine, under Features #1!

Wednesday, 29 October 2003

darn daylight savings time....because we have to turn our clocks back an hour on Sunday morning, the sun now sets at 4.30pm. It's dark even before I leave work!!! Thankfully, it still isn't THAT cold...
Just joined this online Asian Journalling Community - Rice Bowl Journals. Am amazed at the number of Singaporeans who are in the blogging business. Blogging has really taken off hasn't it?

Mid-semester break now, so College is pretty quiet. Not that it makes any difference for me since I still have to work. Fanja helped me dye my hair yesterday. Finally, I'm looking like the 23 year old that I am again, and not 60. Don't really like the colour - just some sort of dark brown/black - but hey, it's better than having all those grey all over.

Ida's coming to visit me tomorrow! She's this really sweet penpal from Sweden that I had from two years ago. Met her for the first time when I visited Sweden in May and now she's coming to visit me. Which means...I'll probably be gone again for a few days coz I'll be doing the touristy thing with her around England, particularly London.

Tuesday, 28 October 2003

I'm back! Had been a real whirlwind trip driving from one city in Holland to another. Met up with lots of Guisele's friends and her two sisters which was really nice. Was really interesting how one Dutch city is so different from another in terms of housing, architecture, layout etc.

Am won over by the Caribbean folks - warm, friendly, open, easy-going...and most definitely funny. Had a fantastic time chatting, laughing and eating with them. Oooh..the food...was really nice and surprisingly Asian-influenced.

Highlight of the trip came in the form of snowfall on Friday morning. Absolutely gorgeous. Was so excited I had to run out to the balcony in my PJs. Naturally didn't last really long outside, especially with the fact that I had just washed my hair and it was still damp.

But the sensation of having those small snowflakes landing on the palm of my hand is simply indescribable...

Wednesday, 22 October 2003

My article, well, one completely re-phrased paragraph, was published in London's Daily Telegraph! Entitled Hungry as Spectacle: David's Vein.

Also got it published in The Straits Times!

I think Edge magazine in Australia is contemplating putting it on their website. And Faith wants to use it for her radio show.

I'm beginning to like this writing business. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it may just be a one-off thing. Inspiration hits me once every few years...

On another note. I just booked my airticket to Hong Kong. Will be there from January 11-18 next year. I'm so excited! Granted, I'm actually there for work, but I'm still excited about the prospect of doing some sight-seeing during any free time I've got. It's just too bad that Rosa's not going to be there. Would be fun to have a local bring me around.

Also, I'm leaving tomorrow (5 in the morning no less) for Holland with Guisele to visit her sisters and friends. Really excited about it. Will be driving down to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais in France, then driving through Belgium to arrive in Arnhem.

Will be staying in Arnhem for a night and then making our way to Utrecht and then on Saturday and Sunday, we'll be in Rotterdam before making our way back to England.

There is of course the fact that Guisele is about 6 months pregnant which will make this trip rather...interesting. Can't believe Glen is entrusting his pregnant wife to me.

Write more when I get back on Monday!

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

An Audi TT is not a claustrophobe-friendly car.

Went out for dinner with Adrian, Darren and Fanja yesterday and we had to take Adrian's car. Adrian had sold his Mini Cooper recently. Yup, the really cute bright red car, with its checkered roof and two white stripes down the front, that brought us all to Scotland. In its place, he got a TT.

Of course, the guys had to sit in front. So Fanja and I ended up being squashed in the back with no leg room whatsoever. Well, Fanja being shorter, was actually rather comfortable. Me, I was facing the side of the car and my legs were where the handbrake should be. I also could do nothing but to crouch down. But whenever there was a bump, or when Adrian suddenly swerved my head came into contact with the roof anyway.

It also didn't help that the very second they closed the car doors, I started getting panic attacks. We ended up driving to the restaurant with the windows down even though it was freezing cold. Simply because I was feeling claustrophobic.

At least with so little space, I could easily reach out - wait, it didn't require much reaching out - to hit Adrian for doing something so stupid as to swap a Mini Cooper for a TT.

Monday, 20 October 2003

I was in London yesterday. Swept up by the media hoo-ha, I found myself making my way to Tower Bridge to gawk at an American. A so-called magician/illusionist who had willingly enclosed himself in a glass box. By the time I was there, he had already been suspended in midair and gone without food for 43 days.

David Blaine – Above the Below.

Maybe it was just a typical Saturday evening crowd on the bridge, packed with camera-toting tourists (none of which were Japanese), but the number of people – practically hundreds, certainly shocked me. All around, I heard the same words exclaimed, “Look, there he is!”

There were people pointing, people taking photos, people posing for photos and people simply standing there and staring. I stayed on the bridge for about 5 minutes, looking at the motionless body lying in the box.

The enclosure beneath the box, fenced off after all those hurled eggs, was full. The surrounding paths were also crowded with people who shrieked at Blaine. Whether it was of a hormonal female-groupie nature or a homicidal golf-ball hurling nature, I have no idea.

Suddenly, he moved. He actually sat up, turned around and waved weakly at the people behind him. The lady beside me immediately instructed her young daughter, “Quick, wave back at him! Wave!” There rose a chorus of encouraging shouts as well as a series of excited waving.

Amazing how a simple gesture by one starving person hanging in midair can generate so much reaction. Amazing how many people are interested in the condition of one man who wanted to be locked up in a glass box with just water for sustenance.

Thousands are expected to turn out today to watch Blaine’s exit, which will be broadcast on television and streamed to paying subscribers on the Internet. Sky One, which has been filming the whole thing, says a quarter of a million people will have seen Blaine for themselves by the time the box is lowered to the floor at 9.30pm.

In all honesty, I am ashamed to say that I contributed to that statistic. Not because I think Blaine wanting to prove through his stunt that “we can endure much more than we think we can”, is merely a publicity tool, or that it was an easy feat.

I am ashamed of the quarter of a million people, and the many more watching their TV or computer monitors.

Imagine our reaction if instead of a starving Blaine, we had a starving Ethiopian in the box. Or maybe a starving North Korean. Too far away? What about that hungry and homeless guy who begs at the train station you go to work from? What about…guess what? The choice is limitless because there are so many hungry people all around the world!

But do we see Mr. Starving Ethiopian on TV? Would we make that trip to the Orient to wave at Mr. Starving North Korean while he lay weakly on the floor? Would we pay to see Mr. Hungry and Homeless on the Internet?

Granted, if it does come to that, I am sure that countless of kind-hearted people out there would be making generous donations to help alleviate the pain and suffering of Mr. Whoever-is-Starving-and-in-the-Limelight. But that’s just it isn’t it? If it’s not in the limelight, we pretend it doesn’t exist.

David Blaine willingly starving himself is generating more media interest right now than the numerous of civilian Iraqis suffering from America’s search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Nine out of ten times, a mother would shield her child from watching on the news, heart-wrenching scenes of children dying from hunger.

And yet, we applaud Blaine for his incredible feat of endurance. But he had a choice. Our starving friends from the rest of the world don’t.

A spokesman for Sky One has revealed that “[Blaine, after his exit from the box] will then be put on a stretcher and taken to a private hospital,” where nutritional experts will begin his re-feeding programme and monitor his recovery for approximately one month.

I do not deny the fact that Blaine’s stunt poses real threats to his life. It poses a real threat to the Ethiopian and the North Korean too. And guess what? They do not always have a private hospital to go to after 44 days. They have no nutritional expert to monitor their recovery. And they do not usually go hungry for just 44 days. In fact, after months of starvation, they usually die.

Do I see tourists flocking to photograph this phenomena? Does the media even take coverage of such events?

No. Because it’s the harsh reality of life and none of us want to see it. We want to see Blaine. We want to see a man starving, but with the full knowledge that he will get help if his life was in any serious danger (Blaine’s medical team analyses his urine daily to check for kidney and liver failure and will intervene if he stops moving completely for two days).

And we want to call him a hero, for enduring such an ordeal. We forget that everyday, hundreds of others go through the same thing, without hope, without support, without encouragement. And we forget that some 2000 years ago. Jesus Christ not only fasted for forty days and forty nights, he had the devil to contend with after that.

Friday, 17 October 2003

i seem to be on a roll for strange thoughts today...while sitting in during the College's student forum today, a thought suddenly hit me.

I have been a rather unwilling participant in working here because of various of which was the fact that I sincerely feel like a hypocrite (that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one). But yeah, I'm doing PR work...don't they say all PR people lie?

So, I feel horrible about having to promote the College and entice students to come study here. The fact that I'm going to go to Thailand and Hong Kong in January 2004 to do just that is more or less eating me alive. I'm excited about the prospect of travelling, but I'm rather hesitant about the idea of promoting an organisation I don't fully believe in.

Then it hit me. A lot of the students who are already here are suffering...and one of the main reasons is because of the lack of funds the College has. No students = no money. No money = current students suffer.

If I were to be able to promote the College effectively and get students to come here, the College would have more money and hence be able to better the quality of life the students have here. And with more funds, everything else would improve as well!

I could look at it this way. I'm not so much working for the College as I am working to better the lives of the current students. Maybe.

And maybe, doing PR for the College isn't that bad after all....
this is how stream of consciousness works....

I just started reading Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men last night. Great book by the way. Only read the first chapter but shall we say, the way in which our dear Mr. George Bush won the elections were say the least. It's politics, true, but Michael Moore does it in a rather hilarious easy-to-read way it's great.

I'm actually now wanting to watch Bowling for Columbine.

Anyway, from there, I thought of another USA-bashing American friend I know...the one and only Kristin Dewey. I love that girl to bits (in a absolutely non-lesbian way of course, ahem.) Her "love" for her country absolutely astounds me, and is probably the main reason why we get along so well. Besides the fact that she practically thinks almost like me and shares my tastes, despite being raised halfway across the globe.

So, from Kristin, I begin to think about her recent "aquirement"....Chris. (And I sense that I will be receiving a threatening email from her soon for saying all this on my blogspot) I am curious about this boy. Who is this person who actually won my dear friend's heart? What is he like? It's annoying that one of my closest friend in the world has a boyfriend and I have no idea how this person who is so near to her heart is like. Maybe it's just a control thing. I want to know. So that I can hunt him down and torture him if he ever treats her wrong. (Chris, if you're reading this, consider yourself warned *smile*)

From Chris, I then move on to another mom. (have I ever mentioned that I know waaay too many Ch/Kris-es?) How she's always so supportive and understanding, even when her only daughter refuses to stay put in the country she was born in. I love my mom. And we're moving! By March 2004, our new home will be in the delightful, secluded ex-fishing village of Punggol.

I can't wait to move. Not because of where it is, which honestly, I'm not too excited about but I'm sure I'd get used to the idea of travelling forever to get to anywhere. I'm excited about designing the whole place, especially my room. It will reflect me as a person and have everything I love in there. I only developed my personality and started to know myself a few years ago and to have a room that will reflect that is extremely exciting to me. My old room was designed when I was 7. Think pink. Think childish. *shudder*

And then because of this whole identity business, I think back to this video Motherland that I saw yesterday evening. Interesting stuff. Searching for your ancestors through DNA testing and finding out where you came from. I spoke with one of the participants, Mark Anderson and gleaned from him his need for identity and sense of belonging...

Which led me to think about my own sense of belonging. Most Black-British people feel that they belong in Africa, which is fair enough since that's where their ancestors came from. My ancestors come from China...why don't I feel that I belong there? On the contrary...I feel more at home in the Western world. I am not white. I certainly don't look white. Half the time I don't think like a white, and yet...I feel like I belong more in a white society than in an Asian one. Why?

Besides, what encompasses belonging anyway? Acceptance? Personal comfort? An environment which reflects one's morals/ideals/principals/thoughts?

Am I just confused or am I just unsatisfied with what I've got?

Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Maybe it’s my sickness. Maybe it’s coz my walk with God hasn’t been that steady lately. But for the last few days, I have been beginning to doubt God and am terrified as to what my future holds.

Two more months and I’ll be making my way back to Singapore. I’m looking forward to meeting up with family and old friends. Then there’s the food and the cheap shopping…but to spend the rest of my life there? Shudder. The weather doesn’t agree with me. I get horrible sinus attacks and the lifestyle…well…maybe I’ve just been away too long. I don’t know.

I cannot imagine myself staying in Singapore for an extended period of time. Yet, it seems that God is calling me back to Singapore. And in accordance to my epiphany in July – I have said I would do God’s will, and if it entails returning to Singapore, I will do so.

My question now is, does God exist? What if He isn’t real? I’ve come to the conclusion that he wants me back in Singapore and so I’m not really fighting it because I want to do His will. But what if He isn’t real? I’m returning coz I tell myself I should trust God and God’s not going to make me hate my experience wherever I may be. And maybe he just wants me to return to Singapore to learn something.

And since my heart really lies overseas, He’ll eventually bring me away from Singapore. But what if He doesn’t? What if He isn’t even real and hence would not lead me away from Singapore and make me hate every single day of the rest of my life?

Working myself into a frenzy here. I’m scared half to death. I am extremely resistant to the idea of staying in Singapore for an indefinite period of time. I know that I should trust in God, but I still can’t help feeling scared because I honestly have no idea what my future holds for me. I don’t know what I’m going to do next year! What will my career be? Will I even get a job?

And yet…God seemed to already know that I would get to this point. My daily devotional reading for the day, courtesy of Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Life, said this:

God develops real peace within us, not by making things go the way we planned, but by allowing times of chaos and confusion. Anyone can be peaceful watching a beautiful sunset or relaxing on vacation. We learn real peace by choosing to trust God in circumstances in which we are tempted to worry or be afraid. Likewise, patience is developed in circumstances in which we’re forced to wait and are tempted to be angry or have a short fuse.

Peace – to trust that it will all work out when I return to Singapore. I don’t know how, but to simply have faith in God and trust that he would be there for me.

Patience – I want to know what my future would be like. But I just have to wait, and it will all be revealed…

Not easy....

Tuesday, 14 October 2003

i'm going to Thailand!!! well, at least I hope so....

There's a major Youth Congress that the church organised in Bangkok and I'm going to attend to promote the College. Some 2000 college aged kids expected to turn up, of course they're not going to pass up this opportunity to get in contact with some potential students.

Granted, my contract ends before then, but hey, a free trip to Thailand, practically all expenses paid. Of course I'm going to jump at the chance.

Everything's rather blurry at the moment though and I really have no idea what's going on. Where am I going to stay, how am I going to get to where I stay from the airport, what am I going to eat...but I'm sure it'll work out. All I know is that I'm going to send in the application form tomorrow and probably book an airticket within this week. woohoo!!

Only catch? I leave UK on the 28 December, arrive in Singapore on the 29, and then leave for Bangkok on the 30, not returning to Singapore until 5 January 2004. Talk about serious flying issues....and spending New Year's all alone. Well, with some 2000 strangers....

Wednesday, 8 October 2003

if i'm MIA for the next few's coz the flu bug finally got me.

everybody's been getting sick left, right and centre coz of the sudden drop in temperature (autumn is most definitely here) and i've been thinking that i've done pretty well fighting it.

well, i've just lost the battle...

Tuesday, 7 October 2003

Opening text:

Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass.

Though it'll go without saying ten minutes or so into these preceedings, View Askew would like to state that this film is from start to finish a work of comedic fantasy, not to be taken seriously. To insist that any of what follows is incendiary or inflammatory is to miss our intention and pass judgement; and passing judgement is reserved for God and God alone (this goes for you film critics too...just kidding).

So please before you think about hurting someone over this trifle of a film, remember: even God has a sense of humor. Just look at the Platypus.

Thank you and enjoy the show.

P.S. We sincerely apologize to all Platypus enthusiasts out there who are offended by that thoughtless comment about Platypi. We at View Askew respect the noble Platypus, and it is not our intention to slight these stupid creatures in any way.

Thank you again and enjoy the show

Today, I rant about the movie Dogma.

Yes, it's got a fair share of controversy, being obviously anti-Catholic. The show is a little too coarse for my liking and is extremely generous in its vocabulary, if you get what I mean. The movie has some theology that I am rather "iffy" about and can take God too lightly.

But the statement the film made is powerful.

This movie is not an attack on Catholics per se. On the Catholic Church maybe, but certainly not the folks who love and believe in God. The movie is not about faith in God. The movie is about the loss of God within religion. This movie is about how humans are more concerned about rituals, tradition, laws and how we behave rather than our relationship with God - it's an attack on organised religion.

Just have a read at some of the dialouge:

I have issues with anyone who treats faith as a burden instead of a blessing. You people don't celebrate your faith; you mourn it.

When are you people going to learn? It's not about who's right or wrong. No denomination's nailed it yet, and they never will because they're all too self-righteous to realize that it doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you have faith. Your hearts are in the right place, but your brains need to wake up.

I don't know how well these statements would come across if you haven't watched the movie, but there's lots more where those came from. And even more from the movie itself. Of course, you'd have to sift through some really dodgy ones but when you find a good quote, it's a gem.

And it makes its point in a light-hearted comedic way...great movie. Watch it.

Monday, 6 October 2003

so, i'm not entirely sure if this is even legit, but i got ambused by a reporter from the Reading Evening Post on Friday afternoon. Actually, come to think of it, I assume it's the Reading Evening Post coz I was in Reading and she said she was from the Evening Post...logic of a woman...nevermind...

she was doing a feature on "people who dress stylishly" and somehow, she had the impression that I fitted her criteria. (In case you're wondering, I was wearing an orange turtleneck jumper, denim jacket, this really cool reversible skirt that I bought in London and knee high boots - typical autumn not sure where she got that idea from.)

Unfortunately, I disappointed her bitterly when she asked me the following questions:

Reporter: "So, what is your favourite brand?"
Me: "Don't really have one, I just go into shops that look cool to me and pick whatever I want."
R: "And what brands are you wearing now?"
M: "Erm, dunno."

Then she starts picking at my clothes trying to find the clothes brand coz honestly, I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE BRAND OF CLOTHES I WEAR! I go for the look, not the brand....

R: "Where did you get your clothes from?"
M: "Well, Singapore, Australia, London..." (pointing to the respective article of clothing)

She stared at me in disbelief and then recovers, continuing...

R: "What is your favourite shop in Reading?"
M: "Don't have one really, seeing that I don't come here often..."
R: "What about your favourite TV programme?"
M: "Don't watch TV much really..."

I think she wanted to kill me then. But instead she smiled sweetly and thanked me politely and then this guy who was with her whips out his huge photographer camera and said he wanted to take a photo of me. Rrrriiiggghhhtttt...she didn't mention that before. Ended up standing in the high street of Reading posing for a photograph. He took a total of 4 photos, two full length and two mug shots...then, they left.

Don't even know whether they were truly from the Evening Post. Don't even know when the said article will be published. Don't know nuts. But if you end up seeing nude photos of me on the Internet, you'll know what I thought I was posing for...

Wednesday, 1 October 2003

The Little Prince is a classic tale of equal appeal to children and adults. On one level it is the story of an airman's discovery in the desert of a small boy from another planet - the Little Prince of the title - and his stories of intergalactic travel, while on the other hand it is a thought-provoking allegory of the human condition.

Such a small book - only 100 pages long - and yet the statements made are so powerful...

“In the evening I want you to put me under a glass dome. It is very cold here where you live. And rather uncomfortable. Now where I come from…”

Too late she interrupted herself. She had arrived as a seed. She could not have known anything about other worlds. Embarrassed at having been discovered preparing such a naïve lie, she coughed a couple of times so as to confuse the little prince.

So the little prince, in spite of the goodwill his love engendered towards her, came gradually to doubt her. He had taken words of no importance seriously and became very unhappy.

“I shouldn’t have listened to her,” he confided to me one day, “one should never listen to flowers. One must admire them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet, but I did not know how to enjoy her…

“…at that time I was unable to understand anything! I should have based my judgement upon deeds and not words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I should never have run away from her! I should have guessed at the affection behind her poor little tricks. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her.”

Unconditional love.

To look beyond the meaningless, flighty or untruthful words into the inner core of our souls. To realise that there is a hurting spirit inside most of us. To know that because God created us, we have a positive contribution to make on this every earth we live on.

And yet, when we hear certain words, when we hear certain stories, we forget that the person involved is still loved by God and still possesses the ability to make that same positive contribution. Our opinion of the person changes. Our judgemental spirit emerges. We forget the numerous good the person had done for us. We no longer see the positive side of the person and instead remain focussed on the mistakes, the wrongs, the bad.

To love anyway...

...besides, how often do words come out of our own mouths without thought? How often do we say things we think of no importance? The Hebrews believed that when we speak, the words we utter become living organisms that grows. And it does. Words are powerful tools in which we need to learn how to use carefully. What we say to people, no matter that we don't mean it, are going to create an impact on them.

A good impact? A bad impact? That is what we have to be careful about.
my mom will be proud of me. my friends will gasp in shock.

I will be working in the kitchen this evening.

before anybody gets too excited, I am not working in the cafeteria or cooking any English cuisine ("do those two words even go together?" I hear you say).

Once a week from 8-11pm, the lounge area in the boys' dorm converts into a cafe where people come to hang out, socialise and have some food. There is a kitchen area where milk shakes, paninis, waffles, cappuccinos, etc. are served.

In a moment of weakness (or insanity, however you wish to view it) I agreed to help out.

Now I pray that I won't kill anybody with the food I serve...I am on my way to domestication *gasps in horror*

By the way, the filming session went well yesterday evening. We just sat around, ate biscuits, drank juice and chatted about movies, horrible food and psychotic primary school teachers while the camera poked itself into our faces. And we got paid £30 at the end of an hours' worth of something I normally do with my friends anyway!

Nothing to it. Is this my first step to a career in Hollywood?

Monday, 29 September 2003

my life has become a sudden cycle of neverending stuff to do...

1. am still in the process of packing 75 boxes of college promotional material to be sent to the States. Doesn't help that there are very specific instructions as to how the boxes should be packed. You need a degree to know how to pack those things!

2. from a college where nothing happens, I am now in an institution where more than one interesting news event is happening in which I have to write an article about

3. have an assignment due for counselling class this thursday. hadn't realised the deadline was this near. ended up spending the whole of yesterday writing my assignment. at least it's done.

4. I NEED A JOB FOR NEXT YEAR!!!! Have been furiously sending in my CVs and filling up application packs for organisations all over the place...still haven't heard nothing back yet. Is my email working??

Have a filming session this evening. Haha. Sounds like a famous movie star. It's some church thing and they needed some extras and are paying £30 each. Hey, sounds like easy money to me to sit around for 2 hours pretending to look intelligent...

Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Kind of long, but it's worth it. A rather accurate depiction of the Christian walk...brought tears to my eyes.
I finally watched the Phantom of the Opera in a London West End theatre yesterday afternoon. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had my hesitation initially because I had fallen in love with the original soundtrack by Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. I was afraid I would be disappointed since this musical would not be performed by the original cast.

Far from it.

I was astounded, caught breathless, amazed, enriched and utterly awe-struck. The cast was fantastically talented, the props and costumes lavish, the songs and music perfect. What more can I say except that it was well worth a mere 15? And because the theatres were so small, as all London theatres are, even though I had a grand circle ticket (the 2nd cheapest ticket available), the actors weren’t mere dots in the distance. I could actually see the expressions on their faces. And I strongly believe that is the way it should be with theatre shows. Kept to a small number of people and yet accessible to the common man (and woman).

The musical was everything I imagined it to be and more. Having read the original story, listened to the soundtrack countless times, and exposed to various marketing/promotional items, I thought I had gained a pretty clear picture of how the musical would be. I was so wrong.

The sets were far better than I imagined it to be. The two scenes that impressed me the most were when the Phantom brought Christine to his home far below the opera house, how the stage director created a very realistic impression that they were descending into the depths and rowing through a lake, and of course, the famous chandelier scene.

The direction was fantastic. At various times, it honestly felt like we were part of the audience in the opera house in which the Phantom haunts. The Phantom terrorised us from behind, from above, from everywhere. It was an extremely rich experience, a truly magical moment and literally a dream come true for me.

Thursday, 18 September 2003

there are some perks to this job. i leave for Cornwall tomorrow morning with 89 other students for a weekend retreat at the Adventist campsite in Chapel Porth. The best bit of it all is that in exchange for being a photographer, I get to go on the trip for free! Woohoo!

really looking forward to visiting Tintagel, the believed birthplace of my dear King Arthur...yes, I am obsessed with the King Arthur legends. How can anyone not be?? (ok, don't answer that question)

right. time to get back to work. i am actually really busy today. surprise surprise.

Wednesday, 17 September 2003

i am working in a mad house. less than 15mins ago...

1. my boss and another colleague were doing a strange aerobic-dance routine to this really lively Mexican music

2. my other colleague was pottering around with a jug of milk looking extremely lost

3. my computer crashed 3 times in a matter of 3 hours

you can tell we get a lot of work done in this office...

Monday, 15 September 2003

isn't technology just fantastic? have been offline for the last few days coz the internet crashed, and now even though I'm able to surf, MSN messenger is somehow not responding to anything i do.

recently took up a counselling course. one of the few perks of working here is that i get to attend a class for free. And since the counselling class fits perfectly into my schedule, (one evening per week for 3.5 hours) why not? So after 9 months, I'm studying again. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep away from study for too long...

attended a rather interesting talk on Saturday afternoon. Did you know that the Seventh-day Adventist Church actually has a representative in the UN? Dr. Jonathan Gallagher came by to give a talk on the UN and Religious Freedom, have to say it was rather interesting. On top of it, the office in New York takes on interns every year, the next one starting in March/May 2004. Guess who is considering it?

It's not just the reputation of the UN, it's the thought of working in an environment where basic human rights are fought for, where I will be able to stand for what I believe and share it with the rest of the world. It's working for my beliefs without compromising my principles. Only's a volunteer position again...can I really afford it?

I'm tired of living on a volunteer stipend. I want a career. I want a proper job with real money. I want to be able to get my own place, live the life I want to live and not be dependent on the mercies of some institution that refuse to part with a stipend that's rightfully mine, a stipend that hardly pays for anything in the first place.

Although truthfully speaking, I would rather be volunteering with the UN office than here, and I have been asked to return for another year...

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

why do people change? why do we have this constant shifts in personalities, thoughts, ideas, principles that almost always ends up with lost friendships or bittersweet tears? we move on, and suddenly, when we look back, we realise we have left key people in our lives behind. Either because they have remained where we left them, or have taken a different direction altogether.

Walking the path of life can be so lonely sometimes, dotted only with temporary fellow travellers. You want a relationship to remain, to stay constant, but the only thing that is constant is change. And no two people ever go through the same change...

today i mourn the loss of a dear sweet friend. not because he has left the land of the living, but because he no longer is the person he used to be. it breaks my heart to see him now. he used to be so caring, so thoughtful, so sweet. He still is I guess, coz when I'm with him, I still see glimpses of the old him. But he is now on a different pathway of life...a path where only the toughest survive, a path where even friends put each other down instead of support, a path where one hides behind a mask of sarcasm, cynicism and general meanness just to avoid one's own unhappiness...

Monday, 8 September 2003

My weekend at Portsmouth was absolutely boring. First off, it was some kind of church conference meeting, so I got a whole bunch of pastors and important church workers sitting around in an auditorium congratulating themselves on increasing church membership, planting more churches, etc. etc. Which in itself is great, don't get me wrong. It's good to hear that the church is growing and that people are being converted and that church leaders are doing a great just isn't my cup of tea. If there's one thing I learnt from my weekend, it was that I don't think I'm made for working for the church. Going for conferences like that will kill me.

Pat, bless her heart, realised I was bored out of my wits and gave me Saturday afternoon off to wander around Portsmouth by myself. I loved it. Been too social lately and to be able to walk around a strange place by myself, where nobody knows me, where every corner I turn I see something new was a fantastic experience. I really felt revived, after beeing surrounded by familiar people and faces 24/7 for the last few weeks, it was great to be by myself.

Unfortunately, Portsmouth wasn't a terribly scenic place....the harbourside was alright, nothing special and the whole area was too industrial for me. The only highlight was probably Charles Dickens' birthplace, but the main problem is....I DON'T LIKE CHARLES DICKENS. And I'm saying this not because of who he is, but coz I just don't understand what's so great about his books! I've read books with far better imagery, language and plots....his stories are just too.....convenient.

Friday, 5 September 2003

i'm going to Portsmouth in a few hours!!!

Was just asked yesterday evening if I wanted to go to Portsmouth to do some promotional work for the College over the weekend. Hey, free transport, free accommodation, free food...all I have to do is stand there, smile and answer questions...A free weekend at the beach. Why in the world would I say no?

Wednesday, 3 September 2003

Rick Warren - The Purpose Driven Life:

You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it…God prescribed every single detail of your body.

He deliberately chose your race, the colour of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality…God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident.

God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose…Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose. Most amazing, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.

While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God’s purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

I've always wondered why I was born in Singapore and not Europe or something like that. More often than not, I have wondered why I was born the race I was. I wasn't happy because I wanted to be living in some Western country since that is where the mass media is at its most developed and most interesting...and yet, everything was God planned. Why am I dissatisfied with what God provided for me?

My blend of Asian and Western influence, coupled with my passion for writing and the mass media has a purpose. There is a reason why I was born the way I am (sarcastic, cynical and all), in the environment I am in...I will no longer wonder why, I will no longer complain. I will no longer be afraid as to what my future holds. Or at least I'll try not to.

I am content. I am at peace.

Tuesday, 2 September 2003

guess what!?!?! after more than a whole month, I got my write-up on Paris done!!!

Disclaimer: it's reallly long, so don't attempt to read it unless you have the time to do so! You can read it here.

Monday, 1 September 2003

i got a postcard from orlando bloom today. it was a Pirates of the Caribbean promo postcard with his photo on it. this is what it said:

Dearest love,

I am lonely at sea, the water here is tasteless & the girls on board are too dark. It's terrible without you...I fear I shall dehydrate...

missing you terribly,

love, Orlando Bloom

written in pink pen, and filled with love heart shapes no less...strangely, it had a Singapore stamp on it...

*sigh* I'm in love....HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Friday, 29 August 2003

am extremely flattered. afraid i can't deliver, but flattered nonetheless.

i got approached to help out with this new format saturday afternoon worship thingy happening at college. someone recommended me saying that i'd do a fantastic job with powerpoint presentations. so now i'm going to be in charge of coming up with inspirational, artistic, thematic, what-have-you powerpoint presentations every saturday arvo. honestly am still not entirely sure what it's all about, but i know that i agreed to help, and so now i've jumped into the deep end of the water. just hope i'd be able to do a good job. our first meeting is this evening, so i guess i'd know more details soon.

other than that...yesterday was extremely busy with registration. today hasn't been any better, but thankfully, despite the busyness, i'm not feeling stressed or anything. It's a good kind of busy. A kind of busy in which I know I'm being productive.

Scotland, by the way, was absolutely amazing. We drove more than a thousand miles in 4 days but it was just simply fantastic. The breathtaking scenery, hills, trees, lakes, castle ruins, sheep....not a single mile went by without me going "oh wow". It's a beautiful beautiful country...

Thursday, 21 August 2003

darn tagboard and its technical issues. it better get resolved by the time i'm back from Scotland. (miss getting love notes from celebrities)

nothing much to add...i'm more or less spiralling down towards depression again, Kristin and Maya would know why...although like before, i'm equally sure that i'll spring back up and am also aware that God is with me. Only thing is, it is so hard. But hey, lessons are learnt the best when it hurts. i'll get over it. the sun still shines...

...and i leave for Scotland tomorrow morning! (hopefully i'll more or less cheer up by then)

Wednesday, 20 August 2003

now, this doesn't happen very often. Was talking to one of the deans for the dorms yesterday and he suddenly looked at me and asked, "Did you get married recently?"

Caught totally off-guard, I stared blankly at him and finally said, "To who?" (lame answer I know, but that question was a first for me.)

Anyway, once the whole misunderstand was cleared up, with me showing him my lack of a ring no less, he told me that there was a wedding a few weeks ago and he saw me all dressed up. He put 2 and 2 together and got 5.

I leave it up to you to come up with the moral of the story.

Monday, 18 August 2003

having a gloriously boring day. Staff meeting day today...started at 9am, and looks set to go on all the way till 6pm. At least we have an extended 1.5hours lunchbreak. Whoopeee!!! *rolls eyes* Been sitting in a corner twiddling my thumbs, looking out the window at the leaves being blown by the wind the whole of this morning. Don't even try to ask me what the agenda was. Now, I have to go back and sit there for another 4 hours.

I'm going in prepared this time....I'm bringing in with me....drum roll please....The Gormenghast Trilogy Quite an interesting book, although it has taken me about 3 months to get to where I am now (which is less than a third of the book finished). Rather vivid Gothic imagery, very bleak and dark, and it's one of those books where you can put it down, forget about it for weeks, pick it up again and continue reading without much problem. Which was my case, that's why I'm taking months to finish it. By the way, there are 953 pages....which makes it similar in size to The Lord of the Rings, which is another book that I have yet to finish, and with the fact that it's currently lying on my bed in Singapore....I don't think I'm going to be finishing it till at least next year.

And before I forget, will be leaving this coming Friday morning for Scotland. Won't be back till Tuesday. So don't think that I've been abducted by aliens...AGAIN. Will be a Mini adventure. Driving up with Fanja, Adrian and Lynn in Adrian's Mini Cooper...going to be interesting, how we're all gonna fit.

Alright, time to continue my torment....

Friday, 15 August 2003

another weekend…except this one is going to be vastly different. Kristin’s enjoying Australia but suffering in Avondale with assignments (hee!), Nat’s somewhere in America right now dealing with troubled kids from Detroit, Nathan’s probably just landed in Canada and Cydknee leaves Saturday night to get married in Germany (she says no, but we all say yes, so there.)

Of course, I’ve still got a bunch of friends left to keep my company, but so many significant people gone…I really hate saying goodbyes. It seems that on the day in 2000 when I stepped on the plane to leave for Australia was the beginning of all my goodbyes.

Why do we always meet people, give them a piece of our emotional being, only to have to be separated again?

Why do I constantly subject myself to making temporal friendships that last only a year?

Why do I have to either leave friends behind, or get left behind, only to miss them terribly and be able to contact them only through emails and the odd phonecall?

Why do we never get used to saying goodbyes?

I miss you guys…all those in Singapore whom I’ve known for a huge part of my life, those in Australia whom I’ve drawn close to over the last three years, and all the others in various part of the world who have in one way or other touched my life in unspeakable ways.

Wednesday, 13 August 2003

This has gotta be one of the weirdest conversation I've had on MSN.

Maya: i didnt know it was so hard to search for a flight that goes to puerto rico. must take flight to miami and then to puerto rico.
Mel: you're going to puerto rico?!?!?!
Mel: tell ricky (Martin, the Latino singer who was in Singapore for a concert, which Maya went to, which is the reason for her obsession....actually, the obsession started a long time ago....) to pay for it man
Maya: if i go to puerto rico i have to stay on the streets
Mel: why?
Maya: bec with 2000odd SGD gone on airfare, what would I eat or sleep with??
Mel:save up for it
Maya: besides Ricky
Mel: you can sell your body hahahahahahahahaha since you're already sleeping on the streets
Maya: only to him, not to others, hahahaha
Mel: Dear Ricky, I'm looking to sell my body. Would you want to buy it? Love Maya
Maya: dear maya, i don't want to. save it. love, ricky. PS i dun like fat gals
Maya: Dear Ricky, BUGGER OFF!!! Love, Maya
Mel: Dear Ricky, you're not that skinny yourself. Love Mel. p.s: watch your back, i know where you live and i have connections with the mafia
Maya: Dear Mel, I am married to the mob, love Ricky
Mel: Dear Ricky, aaaahhh..easier to kill you then! love mel
Maya: Dear Maya, FINE i will pay for everything u want in San Juan, Puerto Rico, love Rikcy
Mel: Dear Ricky, good boy. Can you pay for me too? love mel
Maya: Dear Mel, I would but Maya wants to be alone with me, so I am sorry I can't. Love, Ricky
Maya: But she said I can send you to Antartica
Mel: Dear Maya, some friend you are. Love Mel
Mel: Dear Ricky, if that's the case, it's fine with me. Just pay for my trip to Greece and MAKE SURE ORLANDO BLOOM IS THERE. love mel
Maya: ............................Sorry, was occupied there with Maya. What did u say?
Mel: Dear Ricky, the mob is after you....Love, Mel
Maya: News Report: A couple is found dead after a mob attack. Belived to be Ricky Martin and his gf Maya Kassim. Police are investigating the case. We will bring you more updates of this tragic case
Mel: St Peter: Ricky, for fornicating with both gays and gals, you go to hell. Maya...well, Maya...what are we supposed to do about you?
Maya: Erm, i m a Muslim so can you send me back to Earth? Oh and Ricky too. We want to atone for our sins. So we will get married, and THEN fornicate.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...