Saturday, December 31, 2005

Inward Looking, Forward Looking



'tis the season for making resolutions - and asking others what theirs are. Against my want for privacy, here's a couple (so ppl can hold me to them!):

1. Pick up the guitar - Yes, i've gone on enough about it, it's time to do something about it - which I did, albeit not enough. Perhaps I should aim to serenade some lucky gal on Valentine's...

2. Finish a biathlon - SG biathlon coming up in end-Mar, subject to work commitments. Meanwhile, brush up on swimming. Recent news on strong swimmers drowning not encouraging.

3. MAYBE pick up something new & exciting - Of late, I was struck by a sense of the mundaneness in my life. Now what would spice it up? Photography? Climbing? Trekking? Become a qualified lifeguard? Go on a mission trip? A new language? Visit Cambodia/India? So much I could do, so little time/money.



"Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Bouts of "downtime" aside, it's been a wonderful year - full of little joys and slowly but steadily growing with God. Things haven't been perfect, but I've counted my blessings (not tt it's numerable) and it's time to look forward to a new beginning with renewed resolve.

To you my reader, have a blessed new year :)



On the air: Jamie Cullum - High & Dry

Two jumps in a week, I bet you think that's pretty clever don't you boy.
Flying on your motorcycle, watching all the ground beneath you drop.
You'd kill yourself for recognition; kill yourself to never ever stop.
You broke another mirror; you're turning into something you are not.

Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry
Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry

Drying up in conversation, you will be the one who cannot talk.
All your insides fall to pieces, you just sit there wishing you could still make love
They're the ones who'll hate you when you think you've got the world all sussed out
They're the ones who'll spit at you. You will be the one screaming out.

Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry
Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry

It's the best thing that you've ever had, the best thing that you've ever, ever
had.
It's the best thing that you've ever had; the best thing you've had has gone away.

Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry
Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Musing

Courtesy of David Fawcett



"Man Going in the Other Direction" - That's often how I feel. Of course, each person's unique as individual... Bah! HUMBUG.



"For God's Sake Put Your Pyjamas On Jeffrey" - No comments.



"High-Powered Executive" - For Martin, remember the stupid commercial I bared all for?? :P



"Family Portrait" - My newfound commitment - my immediate one, mind you.



"I'm Going to Have to Turn the Page in a Minute Ron" - When was the last time you did something stupid or inane?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Extravagant Giving



By Max Lucado

We delight in giving our loved ones extravagant gifts, don't we? Especially at Christmas. Yes, we give gifts throughout the year- birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions-but at Christmas time, we put a little more effort into finding that extra special gift for that special person, or persons, in our lives.

An engagement ring. A family portrait. A special edition leather-bound book. A set of golf clubs. Diamond earrings. A puppy. Whatever the gift might be, we want it to be a bountiful expression of our love.

Maybe it has something to do with the lavishness of the gift that first Christmas morning, the extravagance of love that came in the form of a tiny, helpless newborn. Consider the gift for a moment, what Jesus really did. He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable.

He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. He could hold the universe in his palm but gave it up to float in the womb of a maiden.

He humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary's finger. The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier.

Why? Because that's what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. Your soul was more important than his blood. Your eternal life was more important than his earthly life. Your place in heaven was more important to him than his place in heaven, so he gave up his so you could have yours.

And that's what extravagant giving is all about-love, God's love, a love that knows no limits, no end. The Christmas kind of love. The type of love we are commanded to give to others: "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other" (John 13:34 NLT).

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cheers!


Around the dinner table
from Darren's Flickr page.

Monday, December 26, 2005

This Christmas

This year I endeavoured to show you, my loved ones - friends included - how much I appreciate you all in my life. Hope you like the cards; hope they've touched you in a special way.

One thing though, next year to prevent crampy-hand syndrome, I endeavour to write my cards in advance, instead of an hour just before the party starts... but it just isn't the same, is it?

Had a great time last night playing Rotten Apples, the adult version of Apples Junior - suffice it to say tt we'll never look at "my mom", "squirrels", "bert & ernie", "riding a horse" or "a pile of leaves" ever the same way again.

It's been 10 wonderful years since the Golden Times of 1996/1997. To all the bandees reading this, thanks for all the sweet memories. Let's keep up our annual traditions, otherwise Christmas just wouldn't be the same.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Love Ya

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I Held a Newborn Today

Visited new parents, Corn & Geryl, & their baby Ryan, weighing in at a hefty 3.510kg with glowing, blushed cheeks.

While Ryan was being breastfed, the rest of us conveniently went for dinner across the road. I asked him how it feels to be a father.

Corn: Still can't believe it.

Me: What? After 9 months and you still can't believe??

Corn: Yeah, 9 months passed so quickly.

*pause*

Me: I'd like to be a father one day.

Apparently none of the guys wanted to hold Ryan, mainly for fear of dropping him. But finally I plucked up courage, duly washed my hands and held him gingerly - enough to pose for 1 shot.

The usual ooh-ing and ah-ing over tiny hands & feet ensued.

A blessed family this is - an ultra-fast delivery of only an hour (4.30am check in, 5.25am baby's cries hello world) and a healthy baby.

Monday, December 19, 2005

10 Days of Green


Savouring a chilli tuna & cheese sandwich. Heavenly.


Farewell, field pack - gone through thick & thin, mountains & rivers, continent-hopping (Australia, Brunei & Taiwan).


Last parade.


Vacuum packed - courtesy of NYC.

Click for slideshow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Light of the World



A most wonderful candlelight service we had.

It began with a darkened hall while the leaders gathered in front to light their candles first. Then quickly the lighting spread and soon enough, the hall was a sea of candlelights - and raised camera-phones.

Felt very moved while singing Silent Night, as I remembered the reason for and the meaning of Christmas.

Gutenberg Project - Free eBooks


The Gutenberg Project


Thanks to ZH who introduced me to this online database of free eBooks - managed to download Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Narhia

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cast Away



Caught Cast Away last night on TV but I missed the last 30min because I was determined to catch up on much lost sleep. Though the theme of survival's been quite exploited, it's a gripping show nonetheless. Often I feel quite alone & I wonder if it's a process of finding myself. Perhaps tt's why I find my own "Wilson" in blogging.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Green Reflections i

Random incidents & thoughts from over the past week of ICT (BTW there's 1 more week to go):

Against One's Will - Among my army buddies, I'm reputed as a decent runner who loves running. One guy commented to me after completing our IPPT, "You know, I don't remember you being a runner during NSF days." I told him tt I only started doing the quarter & half marathons since end 2003. "Why the interest? Is it because there's no one forcing you to do it now?" I blinked before blurting my realization, "Probably."

From Fear to Roles - Oddly, I actually enjoyed the overnight exercise we had, in spite of pesky ants & mozzies, near-horlan-ing & sleep-deprivation. Guess one main reason's now tt we're all adults, instead of a culture of fear & command/obey, each of us are simply operating & cooperating in defined roles.

Fatigue & Temper - As usual, after exercise-cut, we headed back to camp to wash up and return our equipment. All were eager to book out & all were tired though some more so than others. Tempers flared over the seemingly trivial, but the rest of us simply raised an eyebrow. At first, I found it odd. But I later recalled that on wednesday evening, I was feeling mighty irritable myself - tired after a long day but had to remain for a briefing in church before catching the last train, eager to catch what little sleep I could yet having to endure a long commute.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

SMRT's Photo Phobia

Kennysia.com: Kenny gets into trouble briefly with SMRT.

Varanasi



NYTimes: City on the Ganges - Interesting photo journal on the Ganges River, a place of sacredness, of livelihood, & of life & death.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Back in Green

1st day of 2 weeks back in green and it's the same old, same old:

"Rush to wait, wait to rush." Buddies who seem pretty the same since NS days & still reminiscing incidents of yesteryear. Same bla attitude towards all things green, except us newer generation reservists seem a bit more "on" than the older ones.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

1hr50min Heh.

This year's winner - Amos Matui (Kenya) with 2:15:55. The men's world record is Paul Tergat (Kenya) with 2:04:55 in the Berlin Marathon on 28 Sep 2003. The 21K men's world record made just this year is 59:16 from Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) in Rotterdam. Bloody Kenyans got no lungs.

About 15min into the race, I was bewildered by the sound of applause coming from the front of the 21K running crowd. Then I realized why - the 42K pack-leaders were passing us by. It is truly inspiring watching them FLY by.

"You're running alone???" was the response I got when I told some cellgroup friends about today's race. One brother seemed unconvinced and had to ask me twice. Well, some people I would have been happy to see running aren't gonna show. But more significantly, I told them, "I'm running for myself what." Silence.

Probably takes 1 runner to know another. But feel alone I certainly did, seeing people run together in 2's or more. In the last few km, I struggled to maintain the pace while trying to catch up with others in front. Why am I doing this to myself, I thought. You're killing your knees. Give up, give up! But I simply blew my nose and flicked off that thought.

After cooling down, I came back to the finishing line to try to spot some champion runners. But instead of champion runners I saw ordinary folks ending their race with an obviously self-satisfied look of achievement while waving their arms triumphantly. Suddenly I realized why I'm doing this annual race - for Jesus, and for myself. I'm simply putting a talent to work.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wohoho

Been asking ppl their plans for Christmas this year: "the usual lor", "no plans yet", "drinking party!"

With each passing year, the signature tolls of Christmas bells and singing sleigh bells are increasingly muted by cynical snorts at countless Festive adverts while lamenting how that "magic in the air" has been replaced with wanton commercialization.

But there is something special about Christmas, and it's not about shopping sprees or great food (turducken sounds bizarre tho) or parties galore... or big exciting church celebrations even... But I'll spare you the lengthy exposition (and myself mind-wracking on a saturday morning).

This year I just want to celebrate 2 things:

One, family & friends. For shaping me into who I am today. For fun, peace, laughter, tears & joy.

Two, Christ. For that great gift of love to mankind.

Oh yes, in come the detractors who point out tt the real Christmas wasn't in December.

Whatever. Charles Dickens wrote in A Christmas Carol, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." Well written.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

$$$



Channel NewsAsia: Civil servants to get 1.75 month year-end bonus

1st Day of December

Kopi Joy!



Friendly colleague quietly shares her instant coffee collection - oh joy!

NS Joy!



Ed goes shopping at local eMart and "buys" sports singlet, 2 pairs of white socks, ear-plugs & 1 Victorinox Swiss Army knife - oh joy!

Colleague comments, "You guys so good, can get all these for free!"

Retort: "Yeah, but I gotta buy at least $3,000 worth of stuff."

Hand Art Joy!



Crazy Ed butts in with crazy colleague for handy pic - oh joy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stupid & Obstinate, But Still Inspired

With 1 week left to the SG (half-)marathon, decided to up the ante to over an hour for my evening run. Started at 6.30pm and everything went well for the next hour. Though I had at least another 25min to go on my planned route, I realized I was getting dehydrated and the sky was rapidly darkening.

After passing under CTE along YCK rd, decided to cut through a private estate across to AMK ave 5. I knew tt there was a shortcut somewhere, having been along it before, so there I was venturing along roads quite alien to me.

After winding through 6 junctions or so, my sense of direction was confused and I sought for distant landmarks to re-orientate myself. Not long after I came to a deadend backed by grass and further down, a dark grove of trees. The rumble of vehicles from beyond was encouraging. I skirted along the edge, but failed to find an opening. At one point, I ended up on large metal slabs covering a drain of some sort and found myself bobbing up and down. Bad idea, back onto tarmac I go.

Near-panicking, thoughts of dehydrating and fainting on the road crossed my mind. Cursed myself for such being stupidly adventurous. Eventually slowed to a quick walk to reduce water loss. I considered approaching residents for water and directions, but the big opulent houses looked too menacing and empty. I'm sure I can find my way.

Or so I thought. When I finally admitted to myself tt I was lost, I asked a lady walking the opposite way for directions. Her reply, "Wah, AMK ave 5 ah? That's some distance away." She did point me to YCK rd and even told me which way to go. I thanked her and quickened my pace.

And reach YCK rd, I did, except stupidly obstinate, I still was - decided to go the other way along my original planned route, thinking I wasn't far from ave 5. 10 minutes in and still along YCK rd, I was cursing myself again. Wondered if my family was worried by now; it was almost 2hrs since I left home. I imagined my parents driving around AMK, searching for me.

Eventually reaching home, I somehow expected a welcome burst of relief & worry. But my family was serenely going about dinner/household chores. What if I had died, I thought? They would be none the wiser.



After dinner, I chanced upon the latest issue of Pioneer mag lying on the kitchen table. Not a fan of this mag, but gotta take your hat off to this commando, doing a 250km foot race across the Gobi desert.

Oddly inspired, I am though. But better conquer YCK 1st before any desert.

5G SAF?

Irrevent & ultra funny: Encik Tan has something to say.

Quoted disclaimer:
"-Disclaimer aka cover our backside-
Encik Tan is currently a Sergeant Major in the Army. All the views stated here belongs to Encik Tan and him alone. This blog has absolutely no input whatsoever with regards to this article. In fact, we don't even know Encik Tan personally. We might have bump into each other on the streets or beo his daughter a few times, but that's about it."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

You're in Love

Wilson Philips

Open the door and come in
I'm so glad to see you my friend
Don't know how long it has been
Having those feelings again.

And now I see that you're so happy
And ooh, it just sets me free
And I'd like to see
Us as good of friends
As we used to be

[Chorus:]
Aah, my love, Aah
You're in love
That's the way
It should be
'Cause I want you to be happy
You're in love
And I know
That you're not in love with me
Ooh it's enough
For me to know
That you're in love
Now I'll let you go
'Cause I know
That you're in love

Sometimes it's hard to believe
That you're never coming back to me
I've had this dream that you'd always be by my side
Oh I could have died.

But now I see that you're so happy
And ooh, it just sets me free.
And I'd like to see
Us as good of friends
As we used to be

[Chorus]

I tried to find you but you were so far away
I was praying that fate would bring you back to me
Someday, someday, someday... Ooh, you're in love

Ooh it's enough
For me to know
That you're in love
Now I'll let you go
'Cause I know
That you're in love

[Fade]

Friday, November 25, 2005

What If?



How easy it is for me to doubt and to even curse God, yet I can't bring myself to.

How do I know He's there, listening & moving on my behalf? Why do I place so much belief in the invisible?

Faith, I guess.

Set in my ways? Perhaps. Am I set in the right way then? Because therein lies the key to an eternal prize.

Over the air: BBC Radio3 Late Junction

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Xmas @ Ikea

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Because I'm Bored of Running in AMK



After a rehash of the SR gardens route - albeit at 10pm - coupled with an AMK ave 10 extension, mom enquired where I could possibly run for 1 entire hour.

"Serangoon," I blurted, half-breathless & still dripping with sweat.

"So far??"

"Yeah, because I'm bored of running in AMK."

What an arrogant statement. Heh.

Eating in



Ooh, my v. 1st tiffin lunch.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Human Nature



Caught most of I am Sam last night except for the ending - decided to turn in at 1am. A most poignant study of human nature, I thought.

Through Sam's struggle to retain and subsequently regain custody of Lucy and the potrayals of the imperfect lives of each character, I'm reminded of how fragile man the emotional being is.

Great show.

Donating Sperm?



Read NYTimes: Hello, I'm Your Sister. Our Father Is Donor 150.

As I read this article, am reminded tt some time ago, a colleague posed a hypothetical question: Would I donate my sperm to a close female friend who is married & is unable to conceive?

Having never occurred to me before, I gave it some thought on the spot. My reply: I would be inclined to, but I belive tt the ability to procreate is a privilege from God. And my seed would contain a part of me, which I'm not sure whether giving it away would go against the order of things that God has intended for us.

Reading about these siblings borne of the same donor sperm and seeking out each other and their biological father simply sounds odd. But who am I to judge?

Interesting thought huh?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

1359



Gently awoken by the sensation of cool drool against my cheek. *slurp*

Flipping over to a dry spot, I could hear the muffled drilling from a nearby construction site above the soft humming of the air-conditioning. Tried to will myself to sleep but my mind protested - it's time to get up. Checked the time - 1359hrs - and chuckled for I had set my alarm for 1400hrs.

As I peeled the covers off, echoes of last night's overnight prayer meeting still buzzed in my head. "Heavenly Father Lord, thank you for a wonderful night," I muttered.

Lurched to the kitchen for morning hydration ritual of 2 cups of lukewarm water. Looked out the window and realized it was raining lightly. After closing the windows, plonked down onto the sofa to see dad snoozing in front of the tv. My stomach beckoned for sustenance. After rummaging in the kitchen, failed to find decent food, so decided to buy lunch from the market nearby.

As I strolled past the void deck of the block next to mine, I spied a Chinese funeral going on. Besides the usual setup, an elaborate altar was setup on the green, complete with pictures of at least 4 deities and a paper car and mansion meant for the departed to enjoy in Hades. Must be a rich family, I thought.

Lunch consisted of soya bean drink (60c), shredded chicken yellow noodles ($2) and some pastries ($1.70). Wanted hor fun instead of yellow noodle, but made no fuss about it. "Both can fill the tummy," I told the apologetic auntie. BTW I love S'pore food, did I ever tell you that?

While I read the papers and enjoyed my salty tau sar pia, mom asked me for help with her mock english exam. Yes, Ed the home-school engrish tuition teacher. You see, mom was chinese-educated and at sec 2, was learning "A for apple, B for boy..." She never got to complete her O levels because being the eldest daughter, she had to help out at home and girls weren't expected to be well-educated.

Alright, enough of lazy saturday rambling.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Running While Exploring



4 Dec beckons.

Ran for 60min today at a comfortably slow pace, 11km and 10km more to go (urgh). Decided to take yet another different route & ran over to Serangoon Gardens. Partly to avoid the busy evening's exhaust fumes, the other part to explore a different route.

Turned out to be quite an enjoyable run, despite the near-killer slope somewhere near Cardiff Grove - running along near-empty roads, peering into big houses of different designs, staring back at dogs lazing in the frontyards, taking in the smells of dinner being prepared.

Gotta keep running!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Retreat!

Department retreat yesterday & today.

1st day spent indoors: from serious work discussions to hilarious fits to serious moments of personal sharings, t'was a good day - a day dedicated to taking our minds off the daily grind of managing projects and clearing tasks to focus on big picture talk.

2nd day spent outdoors: had loads of fun under the sun. How often does the cubicle slave get to run around sentosa, play volleyball and ultimate frisbee while getting sunburnt? What's most amusing, though not entirely funny, were the many injuries and bodily aches afflicted from the activities.

Mental note to pick up beach volleyball - gotta get shades & learn how to not sprain thumb.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Woof



Chow Chow on the loose.

Monday, November 14, 2005

All I Need Is You



Hillsong United

Left my fear by the side of the road
Hear You speak
Won't let go
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray

Got every reason to be here again
Father's love that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord

One more day and it's not the same
Your Spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Saviour once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You're watching over me

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord

You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold
You hold

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Great Wedding and Too Many Men



Attended Teck Wee & Edna's wedding service today. T'was a most beautiful event & am truly happy for them. Seeing the video presentation of their past photos & how the couple's romance began made me realize how everything in their lives have been leading up to this faithful moment.

The service was short & sweet & it's the 1st time I saw Pst Derek doing solemnization. One advice he doled out to TW, "men must love their women a lot, but don't try to understand them." How true.

When I remarked to the bride tt I like attending wedding services because I find them v. meaningful, she point out that "they always preach the same message". Haha, true! But it's not the same, of course :)

Had dinner with 2 EFP pals, H & Gil, at Sofra, the turkish restaurant at Shaw Tower. Great food & lovely ambience, kinda romantic but not for 3 singletons pigging out. Coffee/tea followed at Bugis and H started lamenting how small her community is and how hard it is to find the right guy - she's dated so many guys, she's lost count.

One thing H surmised tt's remained in my mind, "she's a conservative person with a modern outlook looking for one of the same." Good luck, blurted Gil.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Say Ah



Lunchtime with colleagues at Beo Crescent. The day the air-con broke down... when I told my mom how pitiful we are, she replied, (paraphrased to english of coz) "Pitiful? How to compare with those slogging under the hot sun?"

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Exploring



After the boys ditched me & my dinner plans, decided to go exploring around Chinatown.

[more details later, bro wakes to sleep]

See pics here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Melaka Day 4: Home Sweet Home

[full post coming up]

Uneventful bus ride, tho I meet AMK auntie. Looking forward to home.



View all of 72 photos here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Melaka Day 3: Sights & Smells

9.30am Big breakfast after a brief jog at the gym (come on lah, with all tt stuffing, how to run half-marathon??) - we notice man-who-walks-with-mouth-open moving back & forth between his family's seats & the buffet counter like a bird feeding its young. After SS#5, it's back to vegetate in room with Far-flung Floyd who entertains a most matronly South African queen.



1pm 2 lazy butts finally muster up enough energy to cab over to Jalan Bunga Raya, a small road filled with bustling shophouses, interspersed with dark (some smelly) alleys.

Lotsa sights & smells: As we walked along in the mid-day heat, we passed many shops touting brightly coloured home decorations & a wide array of textiles, probably for locals in preparation for Hari Raya. The occasional confectionery with the ever-intoxicating aroma of fresh bakes. The coffee trader and its siren song of caffeinated products wafting across the street. Many Bata outlets for some odd reason. Countless scooters parked along the road.

As we stopped at 1 street corner, I spied from a distance - TAN KIM HOCK! Yes, as G puts it, we were tourists on the TKH pilgrimage & the sampling of its durian chendol which completes the Malacca tourist. But true to D's 'warning prior to the trip, when we finally tried it, the chendol standard really had dropped - to way way way down there.



3pm By the time we got genuinely hungry, most of the eateries were closed, so we trudged back up along the road to Discovery Cafe, a fav hangout for caucasian tourists. The place really is quite a hodge-podge of curiosities & knick-knacks of the past including an old transistor radio, chinese comics from the 1950s, old photos depicting the immediate area around the cafe before it built. Food was great, even though we weren't tt hungry, esp. its ice coffee.

4plus Lounging by the pool & listening to my Muvo, I was dozing off in the mildly warm breeze, while G turned pruney in the pool in a sliver of her sunlit section of the pool. Then it was back to vegetating in the hotel.



8pm Began our search for Peranakan food aka SS#6 at the Taman Melaka Raya area which is within walking distance of our hotel. But the streets with its many empty eateries were too quiet for our comfort & we eventually ducked into a North Indian restaurant where a family was already dining within. V. polite owner near-protested tt we'd ordered too much - thought the naan stuffed with onion & coriander was quite good. Truth be told, it didn't seem like a lot of food & we'd to rationalize ourselves into believing tt despite our bulging tummies *grin*

Eventually trudged back to the hotel in the cool of the night.