Thursday, 27 October 2005

Rodney's thoughts on bugs and insect repellents had me giggling and wondering if he's spent far too much time by himself in the recording studio...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

New bracelets!

Made with venetian glass beads - my favourite type of beads *hint*

Can't simply have pretty sparkly bracelets, so decided to make a slightly more rugged looking one. Although looking at it, it looks more kiddish than anything...

What can I say? I like pretty colours....preeeetttty....

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

I would like to buy three dollars' worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul,
or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk,
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy,
not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb,
not a new birth.
I want about a pound of the eternal
in a paper sack.
I would like to buy three dollars' worth of God, please.
- Wilbur Reese -

[Thanks to an article by Valerie Phillips, entitled A Pound of the Eternal in a Paper Sack, found in the September 22 issue of the Adventist Review.]

Monday, 24 October 2005

Update: Photos can be viewed here.

Just the thought of it makes me want to break out in laughter:
Ever heard of a BuzzMob? If you're in Perth you can be part of a BuzzMob this Friday. Here are the details.

1st rule of Pillow Fight Club: Tell everyone you know about pillow fight club.

2nd rule of Pillow Fight Club: Tell everyone you don't know about pillow fight club.

3rd rule of Pillow Fight Club: If you turn up you must fight!

Flash time - 5.30pm Friday the 28th of October 2005. (this Friday)

Flash point - Outside the WA Art Gallery. There is an open space near the Perth train station overpass.

What to do - Bring a pillow concealed in a bag or backpack. Turn up at the Flashpoint a few minutes beforehand ie: 5.28 p.m·

At 5.30 p.m. the mob leaders will pull their pillows out, sound the battle cry and start the fight.

Join the fray. But please don't hit to hurt.

Afterwards, a whistle will sound, put your pillow away and disappear as if nothing has happened.

Help spread the word! You can register for receiving updates and for future events at

Never in the course of human history has one battle meant so little!
I just wish I was in Perth for this!

Alternatively, I really wish someone will be there with a camera!

[Thanks to Rodney for the post]

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Ever had all your precious bookmarks with your favourite websites wiped out? (That happened to me a few weeks ago, I'm still trying to retrieve all of them.)

Ever faced the frustration of wanting to visit a website, but unable to because you had it bookmarked on a different computer? (This happens to me constantly, since I surf the internet using at least two different computers, one at work, and another at home.)

This is where comes in.

An online bookmarking service, which means you can access your bookmarks using any computer in the world!

I've only just started using it (yes, you can call me slow), but so far, it's turning out to be one of the most brilliant things ever invented!

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Just a Minute, God

I had a desperate need to talk to God last night.

The culmination of different incidents and stresses over the course of the week had left me floundering, despairing and needing to feel God's arms around me. I knew the solution to my distress could be found in three simple things - music, meditation and the Bible.

My spirit needed repair. My soul needed healing. My entire being needed to be close to God once again. All I needed to do was to spend some time with God.

Instead, I chose to check my emails.

After all, I had spent the entire day in the city without an opportunity to check my inbox. There may be an important email lying in wait for me (the fact that I wasn't actually expecting an important email any time in the near future didn't matter).

"It's only eight in the evening," I rationalised. "I'll spend time with God in a few hours, when I'm ready to go to bed."

It was at that precise moment that God floored me.

How many times have I put off reading the Bible because I had more "important" things to do?

Daily prayer and the daily reading of God's word should be essential in my life. Instead, my daily routine consists of checking emails, watching TV, chatting with friends, pursuing my hobbies and reading anything but the Bible. Time with God is often relegated to the last agenda item of the day, and only if I'm not too tired.

How is it that the most important thing in my life has become the least important feature of my day?

I don't put off lunch just because I have to check my inbox.

I don't switch off the TV if House is showing just because I'm too exhausted.

Heck, I can even read a few chapters of Terry Pratchett before I go to bed.

But meditating and praying only happens if I have time to spare.

The Bible only gets read if I have energy to spare.

Why is it that we can make time for everything else that "has to get done", but when it comes to God, we take the liberty of bargaining?

The very source of our life. The very reason why we get to do the things we enjoy, and He gets left behind, placed below the very things He gave us. Sometimes, He even gets put off till the next day, because by the time we get to Him, we are too tired, too sleepy, and no longer have time.

How can we have time for everything else but God, the very giver of our lives?

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well," Jesus says in Matthew 6:33.

Seek first.

Not seek just before you go to bed.

Not seek after you have checked your emails, watched House on TV and made a pretty bead necklace.

Seek first.

I had a lovely time with God yesterday evening.

After he hit me with the epiphany, I spent the next hour or so sitting on my bed, Third Day playing in the background, meditating, writing, talking to Him and reading His Word. I unloaded, I pleaded, I chatted, I cried, I reconnected, and most of all, I healed.

Because as God often does, He immediately spoke to me in Jeremiah 17:7-8, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

I still have my wounds and my worries, but when you walk that little closer back to God, you feel that you can take on the world all over again.

I will still check my emails. I will still watch TV and I will most certainly continue to read voraciously.

But only after I spend time with God.

The others can be put off till later.

Thursday, 20 October 2005

November's National Geographic magazine features Seventh-day Adventists as "longevity all-stars".

I guess this means my instructions to friends to shoot me when I turn 50 may need to be slighty adjusted...

Monday, 17 October 2005

my brother just won a trip to France.

I'm envious.
Spent Satuday in the city attending the Global Leadership Summit, where I was bitterly disappointed. Not because it was bad (the speakers were actually really good), but because I thought the speakers would actually be present.

I mean, the speakers were Willow Creek authors the likes of Rick Warren! Turned out that it was merely a DVD broadcast of the speakers addressing the congregation in Willow Creek, USA. My groupie plans of taking photos with Rick and getting his autograph (not really actually. My groupie tendencies went out the window a few years ago) went swiftly out the window.

But the talks were funny, insightful, motivational and spiritual. It was particularly refreshing to attend "church' in a completely different setting, with people from various denominations.

Anyway, came home exhausted after listening to four 90 minutes lectures/sermons. Sat in front of the TV watching Helen of Troy, half-delirious from lack of sleep from the last week, and came up with what is probably my favourite creation so far.

I love this beading business.

The entire chain:

Found The Advertising Slogan Generator via Seth Godin's site.

Thought I may be able to come up with some cool slogan or something.

This is what I ended up with.

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

I guess it's back to the drawing block.

A quick search around various volunteer and NGO websites have revealed that I will be useless in South Asia.

No medical experience, no logistical know-how, no knowledge of developmental work...the list goes on.

That plan to do a post-grad in International Development Studies has to happen soon.

In the meantime, monetary donations will have to be the way to go.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way saying that monetary donations are bad. For those who lack any experience, providing the experts with the financial aid to help the victims is the best way thing one can do. I guess I was just looking, hoping, for something a little more practical.)

Here's a list of aid agencies that are conducting appeals, or to be completely biased, donate via my church's aid agency, the Adventist Development & Relief Agency.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

I feel horrible. I feel absolutely and completely horrible.

The reality of the South Asia earthquake finally hit me today. Watching the news, watching the people struggle to find loved ones buried beneath the rubble, watching them wait helplessly and hopelessly for the arrival of aid. Reading about the stories of loss, the stories of pain, the stories of anguish.

I just feel horrible.

Horrible for the people in South Asia as they struggle to come to terms with the earthquake that has devastated their lives. Horrible for not caring enough for these people in the first place. Horrible because I really don't know what to do.

Tens of thousands of people out there suffering and dying and I'm sitting in my room worrying about when and for how long I can go home for a holiday. How awful is that?

I feel so helpless. I really don't know what to do. I have no skills to actually physically help these people and it's frustrating me to the extreme right now. I mean, going there to write about what's happening isn't exactly going to save or help anybody right now.

But praying for them seems so...insignificant.

Giving money...just don't feel like I'm actually helping.

I want to go there and help the people, but I know I'm only going to be a hindrance more than anything.

So what can I do?

I'm so agitated right now...

Monday, 10 October 2005

Della's latest post nearly caused me to sputter my lunch all over the keyboard.
Jesus Sold

Jesus is being sold.

Not by Judas Iscariot for thirty silver pieces, but by an atheist on behalf of the church.

Angus Kinnaird, a "non-believing humanist", is the campaign manager behind the latest church marketing strategy to bring Jesus back into people's lives.

What is interesting about this latest attempt to bring Jesus to the masses is not the fact that it's conceptualised by an atheist or is a campaign that tries to engage the audience with a contemporary style. The television commercials, the website and the book that is mailed out to anyone who asks for it is extremely well produced, and brilliantly designed. But it's not the first time Christianity and Jesus have been "updated".

What is interesting are the results of the market research that drafted the rationale behind the campaign. It convinced Kinnaird, and the multi-denominational group of Australian churches behind the campaign, to leave the church and anything relating to organised religion, out of the picture.

"You can take or leave religion," says a young mother in one of the commercials that looks somewhat like a health insurance ad with its clean-cut, wide open spaces and happy family shots. "But I can't get away from the fact that a lot of what Jesus said makes sense."

That's the focus of the campaign - Jesus. Anything that even remotely looks like a church building, even religious symbols, anything that would remind someone of organised religion is left in the abyss.

According to Kinnaird, "The church was seen as the problem, not the solution."

But the research revealed that people saw value and power in what Jesus taught, such as peace, forgiveness and acknowledgment of the sin of pride. Some in the focus group even thought Jesus would be disgusted by the way the churches carried on.

People turned off by church.

Jesus disgusted by the church.

Isn't it sad that in order to target the "unchurched", we now have to take the church out of the picture?

Isn't it sad that research on current opinion revealed that people, even Christians, don't want to associate themselves with the church?

Is it like what Reggie McNeal observed, "A growing number of people are leaving the institutional church for a new reason. They are leaving not because they have lost faith. They are leaving to preserve their faith."

In all honesty, I won't be the first to jump up and defend the church when it is criticised. I'll probably be the one sitting at the back, nodding in agreement at the many things wrong with the church.

Too much hypocrisy.

Too much judging.

Too much legalism.

I will nod my head because I have been hurt several times by my "siblings in Christ" who prefer to tell me what I should or should not do rather than focus on the grace of God.

I will nod my head because I find the church is becoming more and more irrelevant in the way it relates to the lives of people who are still very much in touch with the world today.

I will nod my head because there are many things about the church that I am disillusioned by.

But I will not nod my head if someone asks me to take the church completely out of the picture.

It's true a relationship with God is not about how often someone goes to church. But going to church is very much a part of having a relationship with God. If we take the chuch out of the picture, what would happen to fellowship, support and a community that strengthens and enables fellow Christians to embark on projects that would glorify God?

It is depressing that there are so many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who do not want to have anything to do with the church because of what it has become. It is sad to find out that in order to attract people to God, a marketing campaign needed to distance itself from any association with church or practice of religion.

The church is an essential element to a growing relationship with God, but is slowly being phased out of people's lives because of its imperfection.

But imagine a world where all the rational-thinking, grace-loving, God-like people who are relevant to today's generation left the church.

The church will degenerate into an ugly, intolerant, embarrassing institution where God will most likely be misrepresented.

An entire network of Christian schools founded on the principles of God will not exist.

Healthcare and welfare systems based on the compassion of Christ will struggle to support themselves.

Developmental work in third world countries will be stunted.

Christians who are loving and true will find themselves stranded on an island, lacking a support network that existed because of relationships they've developed with fellow believers whom they've met in church.

Life for me will be completely different since it was through seminars and mission trips organised by the church that first developed my relationship with God. It was through a church-run institution that I got my qualifications and deepened my love for God. It was through church that I met people who became my close friends that supported me in times of wavering faith. It is because of the church that I'm able to put bread on the table and pay my bills.

The church needs to exist, and it needs to exist with Godly, relevant people.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but it did eventually get built. If everybody who have been hurt and disillusioned by the church, who see what needs to be changed, stays within the church, I believe we can make a difference.

It's a difference with results we may not even live to see, but it's a difference that we would have at least started on, a difference that may trigger a ripple effect and eventually change the way people see the church.

It's definitely a theory worth trying, instead of leaving the church to the vocal minority who mar it.

Click here to view the television commercials and to learn more about the "Jesus. All About Life"" campaign.

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Talk about six degrees of separation.

Met up with my friend Leanne last night and she told me a really bizarre story.

She was at a restaurant on the Central Coast (about an hour away from Sydney) with her boyfriend a few months ago when she noticed that a guy at the next table could not stop glancing at her. Having never seen him before, she merely attributed it to his lapse of sanity and continued with her dinner.

While waiting at the entrance of the restaurant as her boyfriend was settling the bill, the guy approaches her, smiling, hands outstretched and asked, "Melody right? I'm so-and-so." (I'm not hiding his name to protect his privacy. Leanne honestly forgot his name.)

Leanne gives him a confused look and said, "Huh? What? Which Melody do you mean?" (Please, don't ask why she asked such a strange question.)

Guy: "Melody Tan right? I'm so-and-so from Sanitarium."

Leanne: "Er, no...but I am friends with Melody."

Upon which the guy apologises and slinks back to his table, embarrassed, leaving behind a rather confused Leanne.

What are the chances of that?

Firstly, Leanne, although Chinese, does not look anything like me. It's not as if there was anything on Leanne that said we knew each other, or were even remotely associated with each other. Besides, she was eating in a restaurant an hour away from where I live. In an area I don't frequent.

How? How can you approach a complete stranger thinking that she was someone else, only to realise that she's actually friends with who you thought she was?

Thirdly, I don't think I know any guy working in Sanitarium. I've worked with people from Sanitarium, but the ones I've met were females. Although with my terrible memory, I'm not surprised if I'd simply forgotten. But still.

How bizarre.
You know how it is that when you've picked up something new, the novelty is there and the enthusiasm just overflows?

Well, that's me and beading at the moment. I just can't stop!

All my materials went back into the box yesterday evening though. I need to curb this addiction somewhat.

Tonight, I'm going to go back (or attempt to return) to my first love - writing.

All these ideas in my head waiting to burst forth. If only ideas and thoughts are as coherant as actual articles...

Wednesday, 5 October 2005

What I'd like to know is what were the zookeepers thinking, getting her hooked on the habit in the first place?
My First Creation!

Ambitious I am not.

So I started with a real simple bracelet that will be making its way to Singapore for my mum.

Then I started worrying about wrist sizes and ended up making another one that could potentially double up as a necklace.

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

I just had to share this.

There's only so much you can do with two holes or two cups so despite all the different famous faces dangling off the labels the ranges are not that different. So why pay $100 for something few people see, unless you are a rap singer who wears your undies on your hips and your jeans around your knees?
This paragraph had me giggling to myself in my office, especially since I happen to know a few people who try to imitate the rap singer look.
Having been recently associating with people who seem to have a chip on their shoulders about Muslims, this article in The Australian makes me want to make those folks read and digest it.

And that's the truth of it. Muslims are as much the victims of these terrible times as anyone else. Only more so. So it hardly helps to demonise Australian Muslims. That's as unreasonable and absurd as blaming every Catholic in Northern Ireland for IRA bombings. We should be uniting with every willing member of the Islamic communities, and most of them are desperate for our understanding and help.
Alas, for people so entrenched in their thinking, I doubt the article would change their minds about anything.

I really hope that the matter does not escalate with the latest Bali bombings though.

Yes, I can dream...

Monday, 3 October 2005

Part Two of photos taken during my Fiji trip, featuring the wedding and reception (which means you'll get to see more of the bride AND the groom) can be viewed here.

If you missed out on Part One, click here.
I always find it extremely healing to spend a certain amount of time alone.

Not so much hiding in a room by myself and not seeing anybody (although I do enjoy that at times too). But just being around people who don't know me, simply watching them, observing them and just absorbing life without having to give anything in return.

This long weekend has been really good for my psyche. It gave me the chance to reconnect with myself, to calm down, to simply live without worrying.

I had really enjoyed the past two months, going to Fiji, having friends visit, constantly being around people. But I guess it did take its toll on me.

With most of my friends away, this weekend became the perfect opportunity to simply be with well as pick up a potentially expensive hobby.

Went off to the Sydney Bead & Gem Show at Olympic Park yesterday to find out more about beading. It was like stepping into a huge bead shop. Ended up buying all these materials and beads to make my own jewellery, and spending a rather scary sum of money. But they were all at bargain prices and with what I bought, I don't think I'd need to visit a bead shop anytime in the near future!

Was an experience to be at the Olympic Park yesterday, what with it being the grand final day of the Rugby League as well. Everyone was in such a festive mood and there were orange and black (colours of the Tigers, one of the teams) streamers and balloons everywhere, and I mean everywhere. They were on the shop front, at the train station, along the road..everywhere!

It was a strangely nice experience to be amongst so many people and yet be completely alone.

Also spent time working on my scrapbook, collecting quotes and pictures, did some writing, worked on redecorating my room...being creative simply for myself.

I guess I'm ready to face the world again tomorrow.

Saturday, 1 October 2005

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book The Invitation
World Vision Australia makes some interesting points regarding the recent hike in petrol prices.


Isn't that a good thing? Haven't we all known for years that we need to slow our consumption of petrol to reduce fuel emissions and environmental degradation?

Did you know you can travel up to 50km for around 50 cents using an electric bike? Or that the Honda Civic Hybrid runs on a combination of electricity and petrol, using only 5.3 litres per 100 km?

Considering I'm possibly going to get my driver's licence before the end of the year *fingers crossed*, a hybrid car sounds very tempting indeed...
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