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!