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Sabah, 29 Apr - 5 May 09 [06 May 2009|03:23pm]
This is starting to become like a travelogue. All I ever seem to update about are my overseas escapades. Perhaps, these are the highlights of my seemingly uneventful life? Perhaps, it is otherwise not easy to find a reason to share an inner world rich with emotions. Why would I even question what I update? I update as I wish to, and owe nobody else an answer. And why would I question my own questioning? Ahaha... enough... here goes...     

One thing about writing journals is that after penning down the experience, it seems to really put a closure to it. When my mind and soul are still wandering around Sabah with the people... But I guess it is time, before walking back into the corporate jungle again tomorrow. 

Day 1

I went for this trip without much expectations or preparations. After all, it is only Sabah, and it's with a huge group of people, 20 of them in all. In big groups, I simply disappear or follow the crowd most of the time. Moreover, the group has a knack for being super well-organised, and the itinerary was planned to the finest detail. The group is also nice enough to take very good care of one another. And I wasnt that close to them. Basically, it means that I could probably walk with my eyes half-closed, and survive the trip.

I didn't really pray about the trip, until the last hour. I did not stay up to pack, until the last hour. Literally. It was a miracle I could wake up at 6am and finish preparing and packing for the 7D6N trip, and was at the airport by 8am. Even at the airport, I was still stuck in my usual life, doing stuff for choir and other frens via handphone. It took me quite a while, the first 2 or 3 days in fact, to sorta uproot myself from the life I lead in Spore.

I was looking forward to going on the trip together with P, but having mentioned him a few times to other frens, it felt awkward seeing him again.  Our greeting was lukewarm, and strangely, despite the bond we had, we barely spoke to each other during the trip. Throughout the trip, I had already kinda struck the name off the list, for more reasons than one. We happened to msn just now, I asked him how the trip was great for him, and mentioned that we didnt really talk during the trip. He then said that I seemed to be having a great time with the gals, and he didnt want to disturb me. Weird, right? Do I seem so unapproachable... mmm... Maybe it's a cause and effect thingy. Anyway, on the last day of the trip, we found out we were both on leave the day after the trip. We were then sposed to watch some show together. However, this morning, he was uncontactable and, expectedly though, slept till noon time and it was too late for any shows. See, that's probably one of the thousand reasons... haha.
I have sidetracked too far. On Day 1, I sat beside Mr K for the 2-hour plane ride. He's a sweet boy... he talks loudly though, and the cute ang moh hunk beside him glared at him quite few times as he was trying to get some sleep. But Mr K did not notice, or did not care. He told me much about his life, which I was ok with listening to, except during the last part when I almost dozed off.

We finally completed the 2-hour ride and the plane touched down in Sabah. We arrived at the Marina Court Condo which would be our home for the next 6 days. The 5 gals took the level 2 condo unit which has 3 bedrooms, living room and kitchen. Unfortunately, we found out later that it was cockroach-infested, and killed quite a few over the next few days.

After checking in, we did a very grilling trek up the hill to have a bird's eye view of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I almost couldnt make it up the hill, it was about as bad at Bukit Timah trekking (yes, Im not a trekker). However, we finally made it, and it was satisfying watching the sunset from the hilltop. The walk downhill was much better with the nice company and jokes, the walk was actually pretty enjoyable.

Thereafter, we proceeded to Gaya Street and tried to local Bakuteh. The different innards come in different bowls. They tasted pretty alright, and the soup was fragrant. We then headed back for an early night. M became my roomie for 6 nights, and we are opposite in personalities. She is flamboyant and blunt. The truth is, I had difficulty liking her cos I felt she wasnt really nice to me. On the first night, I ended up falling asleep on couch in the living room.

Day 2

If the trip didnt sound all that great so far, it's gonna change for the better later on. We hired a coach on Day 2, and toured around the whole Sabah! We visited the oldest Catholic church in Sabah. One thing about this group is that they would automatically go into a prayerful mode in the church, and we had nice quiet time in the church for a while. Then, we took picts outside the awesome building.

We then went on to the training school for girls. It wasn't much, except that a group of special needs children came and said Hi to us. One of them was pretty PR, and he shook hands with every one of us. Another loitered around hesitantly. Until the last min. when she touched my arm and stretched out her hand to me shyly. I shook her hand, and she was so happy. There are such people who make u feel like u are a million dollars, and that u are special. I saw abit of myself in her, and felt really comfortable with her. Suddenly, I started to wonder whether it could be my vocation to work with such children, and turn my 'flaw' into a strength.

Next, we had a fantastic seafood lunch at Gayang. The Nonya fish, softshell crab were to die for. We pigged out like there as no tomorrow, as we did for most of the trip. (And sadly, I think I put on some kilos.) We then went to the beautiful beach at Shangri-La Resort and had a great time taking photos. After that, we went to Atmosphere, the revolving retaurant overlooking KK, Sabah, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset view and we sipped on our cocktails.

At night, the gals enjoyed icecream in back in the condo, and we all had an early night's sleep.

Day 3
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Nice Fri evening out with workmates [21 Mar 2009|04:24pm]
[ mood | content ]

Workmates, colleagues, department, officemates, I do not know exactly what to call them. Most of the time, i dont want much to do with most of them after office hours. Certainly, the idea of chilling out together with my big boss seems like an oxymoron.

However, we did chill out last night after an entertaining Dinner and Dance, during which we hardly communicated with one another. It was great fun hanging out late at night at Dempsy's Oosh. Open-air, gardenlike lounge under the stars. Big boss treated us to the drinks and finger food. For once, we saw one another as human beings, and just talked and enjoyed one another's company. No doubt, big boss still had most of the airtime. I think he's a gentlemanly, fatherly yet mischievous figure.

Most of all, I enjoyed being with the other young fellas from the office. All of whom are in their 20s, except one gal. They are nice gals and guys, and Im quite sure everyone enjoyed the rare and unexpected cosy night out together. The young guys who joined recently really changed the group dynamics.

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Melaka Escapade (...Cont') [21 Mar 2009|02:35pm]
(...there is a continuation!)

The bus journey there was a hectic one, and both my frens expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement. It took us 7.5 hours to get to Melaka, although the usual timing is 4 hours. We were stuck at the Tuas causeway for the longest time, the queue at M'sia custom was stuffy and packed (it was the first day of school holidays in spore), and we had to swop buses half-way. Apparently, the tour agency didnt inform us that it wasn't a direct, spore coach to Melaka. Many other changes were made without our knowledge as well.

However, I would say that I was secretly pleased with the long bus journey as I have always liked the process of travelling, the anticipation of going to another place. I am ok with the journey going on forever. It may sound slightly psycho, but it brings to mind the return flight from Beijing/Xi'an with my schoolmates in sec sch. I expressed aloud on the plane that I am ok with the plane ride going on forever, even as there was a turbulence going on. Not surprisingly, they said I was mad or something. I just didnt like the idea of the plane touching down at Changi Airport, and facing the reality of life again. Maybe it's the escapist mentality, as usual.

CY and I chit-chat for more than half the way along M'sia expressway. It was quite nice, although it seemed to me like CY always tries to give solutions to the things I speak about, even though I may not be looking for any. I think it probably comes with her being the eldest at home, and well-educated (... She has MBA.) It amazes me sometimes how many 1979s I have around me now. Some of them seem wiser, more self-composed and intelligent. Not that I am looking forward to ThaT age, honestly, apologies to any out there who are there and beyond. As we continued our conversation, ST slept on at the side. I think quite alot of our conversation about dreams and academic achievements were not of her interest. Anyway, then we slept some of the way too very blissfully (me only, I think) after getting our dose of the daily news.

That was a long talk about merely the journey there. Tsktsk. I believe Al would probably have falled asleep by now if I were relating it in real life. Do you think so?

Upon reaching, we had a sumptious, and our most expensive lunch at Secret Recipe at the largest shopping mall in Melaka. I would have to say (unfortunately) that I looked on with disdain (OMG is anyone else reading my blog) at the locals' dressing. Honestly, I can tell one's M'sian dressing from a distance away. I might be biased, but us walking down in shorts and berms in Orchard Road still look just slightly better. Maybe the dress style is just not to my taste. I had lamb stew for the first time! :) *slurp. And the 3 of us created a "meal and transport fund" where we pooled together a sum of money for the treasurer to monitor for shared costs thruout the trip.

We spent the whole afternoon shopping. And I was shopping madly, as if there was no tomorrow and the currency I changed would never run out. That proved otherwise very soon, and being also the treasurer of the group, I had to disembezzle the common fund towards the end of the trip (with permission of cos). However, I was happy to buy 2 pairs of shoes, many bdae cards for the choir, some necessary stuff from Watsons and 7 eleven at cheap prices.

Thereafter, we had a 'very localised' dinner at one of the small, family-run shops. The 4 dishes cost us just $3/pax. But I am not easy to please, and I would say I was pretty displeased with the lousy dinner we had. I thought the food sux and I didnt come to Melaka to eat at an unknown roadside stall. But my companions are easier on food and they liked it.

Following was a torturous, long search for our ulu, cheap hotel. We became disillusioned with the locals after a grand hotel security guard, taxi driver, cafe cashier, bakery shop assistant, passers-by all gave us conflicting directions to the elusive hotel. Finally, when we were lost in the middle of a dark, deserted street not knowing where else to go, the opportunist in me spotted a middle-aged, kind-looking Chinese couple coming out from their car and praying to a buddha. We would probably look to them like we are from the same village, I thought. I used my blur, helpless look and asked innocently for directions. After some confusion and uncertainty, they offered us a ride to look for the hotel, which was acutally somewhere near-by. :) That brought us to the door-step of our Citypark hotel. I thought later that the credit was not mine, I think God placed someone there to help us to our shelter for the night in a foreign land.

Happily, we checked into our hotel, and observed that we were given a room next to the stairway, and a double-bed room instead of 2 single beds. A tense discussion went on in deciding who would share the bed or have the single extra bed. Finally, I decided to be accommodating and left it to the 2 to fight it out. Which they did even till the 2nd night. I was happy enough to bathe and get into bed early before midnight, getting my 7 hours of beauty sleep, which i certainly do not get back in my spore life. My companions, nevertheless, had to tolerate my staying up till near midnight when they wanted lights-out at like 10.30 pm. Gosh.

Day 2

I woke up the earliest, took my own sweet time and said my morning prayers. My early morning toilet excursion took about 45 mins, unfortunately, to the expected grumblings of the people. ST had to skip her morning bath. We made it timely and comfortably for our half-day tour. After locating where we were, we discovered it was just a 8-min stroll to Equatorial hotel, the luxurious and most accessible one in Melaka. Silly us had walked 1 hour all over Melaka town the night before with our luggage looking for our hotel just this distance away. But we did know the town quite well by then.

The half-day tour was pure heavenly. We were fetched around in a comfy coach, and as you know by now, I really like travelling in coaches. I began to suspect that I probably like guided tours better, adventurous and rough-it-put though I thought I was. If it makes me that happy, why not just pay for guided tours in future?

We took a river cruise, and went from one sight to another, taking endless photos. The Nonya Heritage tour was really enlightening and deep. I have to mention that the tour agent swopped our trishaw ride (if you have the chance, do take the traditional trishaw ride there for sightseeing) with the Nonya Heritage tour without our knowing. I liked the delicious Nonya cuisine lunch, though.

By then, ST was on the verge of collapse. As you know, I am ever on-the-go on trips. From the past 2 or 3 travelling experiences, it seems that ST's stamina is only half of mine. Nevertheless, we continued to shop along Jonker walk in the afternoon and bought all the pineapple tarts there were, and other little things. We then chilled out at Geographer cafe, this really cool expatriates-filled shophouse that has a movie theme. Famous HK movies have been shot there before. I had an old and unsweet coconut for my drink, though.

We ended our tour of Jonker walk with the famous chicken rice balls, in a Chinese grand palace-like place. It was yummy with that juicy o-tah, kampong chicken and wantan soup. As ST was close to shutting down, we went back to the hotel at 8plus pm, after a final walk through Jonker's night market in the sunset. The ever-nice CY then offered to go with me shopping near our hotel, as it seemed too early to end our last night in Melaka.

I had started to like the local's simple, laid-back and unscheming ways. CY shared some stuff along the way, and expressed that she would never live in Melaka as it is still too haphazard and undeveloped for her. I bought a fren's bdae gift, and we both happily bought some magazines cheaply at the shopping mall before it closed.

We ended the night going to bed before midnight.

Day 3

Did I say that the ulu hotel's breakfast buffet really sux? There were only carbo dishes - fried noodles, porridge, nasi lemak, and no omelette or any other dishes. The watermelon had flies hovering above. The utensils were unclean. Pay peanuts and get monkies. But my companions, as usual, are easily satisfied eaters (which fully explains their sizes). ST could faint with joy just eating the plain porridge with peanuts and salted vege.

We continued shopping at the largest shopping mall in the morning. By then, I had certainly declared my financial status in the negative range. Did not purchase anything except a lovely pair of earrings on discount.

Thereafter, we kinda splitted ways to shop. After a while and due to some miscomm, there was a frantic search for the yours sincerely when I could not find the both of them. I remained calm and happily went to the local fastfood "Zaiker" to dabao my lunch and head back to the hotel to wait for them. I really like the beef burger and it is cheap. However, we bumped into one another again and ST was certainly worried sick. To tell the truth, it may be my communcation style or lack of, I do not get what there is to be so anxious about. My good ol' fren of cos did not think so, thinking forever that she is much responsible for my safety. I wouldnt say Im totally ungrateful for that. Being the fren, she also sacrificed her Canon camera for me from Day 2 onwards cos my own's battery had died. We enjoyed a variety of fastfood lunch, with Mac, Burger King and Zaiker.

We baded goodbye to ulu hotel and caught our bus back. This time round, it was a straight, luxurious, double-decker bus. We had a good time talking nonsense on it and in just 2.5 hours, we were already at the M'sia causeway, much to our surprise. Our mags in preparation for a long and boring journey did not come into use. We reached Goldenmile at exactly 4 hours. I bumped into my aunt and caught a car ride from her back home.

It was a short but very refreshing getaway. And certainly, I wasn't particularly anxious to get back to the workplace after that.
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Melaka Escapade [18 Mar 2009|01:06am]
Usually, the Day 2 of the accounts of my trips never materialises. So, I shall try and complete the account at one shot.

It has been a really great break thus far... a well-needed 4-day rest from work. I am aware that I will return to a schedule of madness, a disillusioned and emotional assistant, a boss who misunderstands me half the time and seems to see everything and everyone else as more important, and colleagues who forever appear and claim to be overloaded and yet leave on time everyday. That doesnt sound too nice, but perhaps spells out my current experience, biased or not, which explains why I really need a break. O well.

Day 1

As usual, I packed almost overnight. And this time round, the time was abit tight and I barely made it for the coach at 8.30 am. I did build in buffer though, and reached 15 mins before the departure time to check-in for all 3 of us. I would definitely say from this trip's experience that buffers are of utmost importance and are the make-or-break in times of emergency. Unbelievably to some people, I was the time-keeper of the grp, being the last the bathe at night and the first to wake up in the morning. I planned when everyone wakes up and the activities and timing for each, with my most accomodating travel companions. And I built in aloottt of buffer, hence we were always ahead of time. ;)

It was a lil awkward at first as CY and I don't exactly know each other. Yet, I do remember that she was an extremely nice gal, and someone I would like to know better. CY also happens to be S's ex big boss, which makes it weirder as S still seemed to treat her like one. However, throughout the trip, we gradually warmed up, and S is consistent in how she treats CY as compared to others. Indeed, she does not bow to 'authority', and she is just her and makes her point and stand, regardless of who the person is. That is something I like about her. I also observed that CY does not really have boundaries despite the hierachy.(TBC...)
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[05 Feb 2009|10:26pm]
Take the free personality test!


Dreamy Idealists are very cautious and therefore often appear shy and reserved to others. They share their rich emotional life and their passionate convictions with very few people. But one would be very much mistaken to judge them to be cool and reserved. They have a pronounced inner system of values and clear, honourable principles for which they are willing to sacrifice a great deal. Joan of Arc or Sir Galahad would have been good examples of this personality type. Dreamy Idealists are always at great pains to improve the world. They can be very considerate towards others and do a lot to support them and stand up for them. They are interested in their fellow beings, attentive and generous towards them. Once their enthusiasm for an issue or person is aroused, they can become tireless fighters.

For Dreamy Idealists, practical things are not really so important. They only busy themselves with mundane everyday demands when absolutely necessary. They tend to live according to the motto “the genius controls the chaos” - which is normally the case so that they often have a very successful academic career. They are less interested in details; they prefer to look at something as a whole. This means that they still have a good overview even when things start to become hectic. However, as a result, it can occasionally happen that Dreamy Idealists overlook something important. As they are very peace-loving, they tend not to openly show their dissatisfaction or annoyance but to bottle it up. Assertiveness is not one of their strong points; they hate conflicts and competition. Dreamy Idealists prefer to motivate others with their amicable and enthusiastic nature. Whoever has them as superior will never have to complain about not being given enough praise.

As at work, Dreamy Idealists are helpful and loyal friends and partners, persons of integrity. Obligations are absolutely sacred to them. The feelings of others are important to them and they love making other people happy. They are satisfied with just a small circle of friends; their need for social contact is not very marked as they also need a lot of time to themselves. Superfluous small talk is not their thing. If one wishes to be friends with them or have a relationship with them, one would have to share their world of thought and be willing to participate in profound discussions. If you manage that you will be rewarded with an exceptionally intensive, rich partnership. Due to their high demands on themselves and others, this personality type tends however to sometimes overload the relationship with romantic and idealistic ideas to such an extent that the partner feels overtaxed or inferior. Dreamy Idealists do not fall in love head over heels but when they do fall in love they want this to be a great, eternal love.

Dreamy Idealist at Work

As a Dreamy Idealist you are one of the introverted personality types. Therefore you prefer a quiet work environment where you can intensively deal with your responsibilities and are not disturbed by too many people and repeated distractions. You need a lot of time to dwell on your thoughts, to put them into words, and let your ideas take shape.

You are grateful for a certain measure of order and structure because they secure the time to achieve this so you can deal with one task after the other and not have to juggle a number of responsibilities at once - you don’t like that because it is important to you to deal with things thoroughly. Your capability to concentrate is unusually great and very often you become engrossed in something and forget everything around you - even to eat and drink.

Nevertheless, because you are very adaptable, congenial and interested in harmony and cooperation, you enjoy working together with others. A neighborhood that requires the ability to assert yourself and where direct confrontations are the order of the day is not your optimal environment. In order to permit you to fully develop your ability you need an environment that is as stress free as possible. If you can’t get that you soon suffer, because you take critique and negative feedback very personally.

Dreamy Idealist in Love

Fantasies, dreams, and ideals, play an important role in your life. In your heart, you carry visions of a better world where the wolf plays with the lamb, and the creeks carry milk and honey. Naturally, this also applies to the subject of love. You are absolutely convinced that your perfect other half with whom you can merge into the perfect oneness, exists somewhere in this world. You are obviously aware that this extraordinary gift won’t just land in your lap, but you are willing to wait for a long time and sacrifice a lot, if necessary, to reach this vital goal. “Per aspera ad astra,” or “Through the night to the light,” is your motto.

As all Idealists, you tend to raise your chosen partner up on a sky-high pedestal - especially at the beginning of a relationship. Essentially, you have excellent insight into human nature but when you are in love, you obviously throw all of that out the window. That can be the only explanation why you aren’t able to see even the smallest blemish on this person. “Idealizing” does not even begin to describe this process, „idolizing“ is probably closer to the truth. All the way up there on that pedestal, your partner is probably already getting dizzy and asking him/herself what he/she has done to deserve this unconditional adoration in the first place. But then, who would not like to see him-/herself mirrored as the perfect person in the eyes of a loving other?

On the other hand, it is a real challenge to meet your ideal of love and romance in everyday life. Sooner or later, you are going to be disappointed to find out that you haven’t gotten a hold of an angel nor a superman, but just a normal person with all the inherent strengths and weaknesses. Now the question is, can you love your partner as he/she is and not as you would like for him/her to be?

Fantasies, dreams, and ideals, play an important role in your life. In your heart, you carry visions of a better world where the wolf plays with the lamb, and the creeks carry milk and honey. Naturally, this also applies to the subject of love. You are absolutely convinced that your perfect other half with whom you can merge into the perfect oneness, exists somewhere in this world. You are obviously aware that this extraordinary gift won’t just land in your lap, but you are willing to wait for a long time and sacrifice a lot, if necessary, to reach this vital goal. “Per aspera ad astra,” or “Through the night to the light,” is your motto.

As all Idealists, you tend to raise your chosen partner up on a sky-high pedestal - especially at the beginning of a relationship. Essentially, you have excellent insight into human nature but when you are in love, you obviously throw all of that out the window. That can be the only explanation why you aren’t able to see even the smallest blemish on this person. “Idealizing” does not even begin to describe this process, „idolizing“ is probably closer to the truth. All the way up there on that pedestal, your partner is probably already getting dizzy and asking him/herself what he/she has done to deserve this unconditional adoration in the first place. But then, who would not like to see him-/herself mirrored as the perfect person in the eyes of a loving other?

On the other hand, it is a real challenge to meet your ideal of love and romance in everyday life. Sooner or later, you are going to be disappointed to find out that you haven’t gotten a hold of an angel nor a superman, but just a normal person with all the inherent strengths and weaknesses. Now the question is, can you love your partner as he/she is and not as you would like for him/her to be?

Most of the above sounds amazingly apt. What... no change in INFP profile since JC? Mm...
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Putien, China: 7 - 13 Dec 08 - Part I [17 Dec 2008|02:26am]
I decided to split my account into parts so that it is kinder to readers and less daunting for myself to complete. ;) After 7 days of speaking mandarin, another 2 excellent days of pure rest watching taiwan and HK dvd shows, and speaking only mandarin to C, I thought communicating in English would now elude me. Indeed, I realise now that it could be true that it is not easy to master both languages. After all, they are vastly different in styles. Yet, both can be so beautiful. Truly, sometimes, chinese words are few but ever so poetic and full of meaning that they evoke a feeling of sublime.

Unfortunately, my tainted impression of mainland Chinese in 2008 has caused me to sneer at the Chinese language at times, and my standard has plunged all the way downwards. When people somehow assume that I can cheena and can speak good Mandarin, I smile to acknowledge it, yet secretly fear really having to speak it and reveal that my mandarin sucks. I cannot comprehend, once again, why some people can feel proud of being bad in the chinese language. Although at times this year, I felt like that too, but merely to cover up my feeling of inadequacy in the language.

Anyway, the taiwan show I was watching was Cape No. 7, it is my favourite movie for now. How beautiful and romantic it is. *swoons* And I bought the dvd from Putien for S$2! And can watch it over and over again! hahaha

Ok, back to the main topic (yuan gui zhen ti), I think I would like to have a closure by writing about my trip after a glorious 11-day break from work, before returning to that working life again tomorrow. Sigh. In fact, it is in a mere few hours' time from now. I so looked forward to reminiscing about the wonderful trip by sorting out those beautiful photos, and stringing together a light-hearted and cheeky video for my whole family and extended family. But, *heart breaks...* I'm really cursed in this, I feel. This is the 2nd time my memory card vanished on 2 consecutive overseas trips. SIGH. The 1st time, I was robbed of it. The 2nd, it completely vanished from my usual safe-keeping place in my wallet. *weeps* I am still awaiting a miracle that it would pop up by itself somewhere, somehow.

Day 1
Being forever gung-ho in not needing sleep, I hung out with my choir after a glorious day of carolling at the old folks home in a pub till midnight. I had not packed, and my flight was at 6 am. I stayed up throughout the night and calmly packed what I needed. Thereafter, there was 5 mins left to sleep before I was supposed to wake up for the airport. However, having everything well-planned, I was ready to go timely. I have prayed pretty hard for my family members to really have a refreshing and enjoyable time on this trip, as well as for us to bond closer. After all, I was going on a family trip once again without my younger bro, whom Im close to and enjoy talking to.

I was still in my irritable tone on the journey to the airport and when we checked in our luggage. After that, I called my cousin G and we went to find them at the kopitiam. My mood swung in the opposite direction when I saw my extended family and cousin G. G warmly commented on my thin clothing and how she would lend her jacket to me. Then she passed her additional eggs and kaya toast to us. Such a darling, isn't she, I think the whole world would dote on her. Which, by the way, was true throughout the trip.

In fact, part of the reason why I drifted apart from G in our teens and young adulthood is cos of my feeling of inadequacy compared to her in these social skills. She is forever floating from one person to another and playing with this person's kid or another. And I feel I am simply not born like that. However, at this trip, I realised I can be fond of her and yet be able to control these feelings of envy. Many a time during this trip, I was tested in this. She was forever dressed up like a movie star, saying words of concern to everyone, being adorable, giving her opinions on matters. People ask for her opinions, break into applause when she sings, give her better gifts, etc etc. Human beings are not immune to jealousy. A couple of times, I noticed that even she cringed when, 1) her mom proclaimed to us if I were to bother to dress up and make up like her, I would definitely be prettier than her, 2) the audience melted at my ktv song and broke into a thunderous applause at the end of it. She immediately sang her heart out at her next song (and it sounded good). Anyway, this time round, I mastered the skill and truly saw her as my sis. Well, Im happy for her that she has her many gifts, and I am less bothered when people acknowledge her gifts and not mine, as I know I am not prone to revealing them. I know who I am, and i just want to be comfortable being me and giving me to others around. Be it cracking jokes, lending a listening ear, etc etc. I enjoy her genuine and compassionate nature, and learnt a few things from her. It was to the extent that I could even poke fun at her for getting her amount of attention.

Anyway, this trip rekindled our friendship. We had a great time catching up on the flight, and talked non-stop. Before long, she knew all the people in my life and scanned through all the potential guys I know. Haha. We also managed to catch up on our much needed sleep, so it was a good balance.

In a way, I was happy to leave my current life for a while to go to a faraway land. It was heartwarming to have the blessings of someone. But I would really prefer to simply leave whoever behind and go off. So that I could experience myself again, and get in touch with things like my family who are truly important.

It was a crowded reunion with hordes of China relatives rushing to and gushing after us at the airport. In no time, we were at the place where we were to spend our 7 days. There was no lift and we had to carry our luggage and climb up 7 storeys. It sounds horrible, but we did that daily and even got used to it. We even concluded to not have lift is good cos it forces people to exercise.

Before long, G and I were getting abit restless in the house as the relatives continued the elated welcomes and fussing and catching up. 10 mins after sitting down on the sofa, we were thinking of what else we young people could do. G being ever vocal indicated she wanted to go shopping then and she was getting bored. They then arranged for us 'kids' to go with pretty XJ and handsome A Li to the supermarket after dinner. It was fun talking to the young China people. A Li and I have some chemistry and I enjoyed talking to him. My other guy cousin ZP is only 13, but I realised he is such a young, articulate gentleman. Such a delight to talk to.

After strategising over sleeping places, I decided to assert my rights abit and insisted that I slept with mom downstairs and not alone at the attic. Dad then took the attic. However, I was booted out of my mom's room by my aunt, and ended up sleeping with G. Well, I realised I was not comfortable sleeping with someone else, as I needed some privacy and wanted to do my bedtime and morning prayers, yet did not want her to catch me praying. Wonder whether it would be the same if it was with someone else.

Day 2 to be continued...
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Gratitude [06 Sep 2008|03:30pm]
I realised that many have shifted blog spaces a few times since online journalling became a craze years ago. From being a space to share and update your personal life to friends and family, now it also provides a space to give your opinions on matters which you are not allowed to share or nobody is interested to hear in real life (it's more effective than Speaker's Corner, reaches a wider audience and you dont need a license!), showcase photography skills of scenery, food, etc, or glorious self-portrait shots, explore themes and issues of your interest, etc. It is much more convenient and has phased out personal webpage.

Anyway, here I am today still, using the online journal for the most fundamental purpose of writing about my life when I feel like it, with no photos, proper formating or language editing, even. Not even bothering to lock it or sieve out sensitive information or concern about advertisements plastered all over, or comparing one journal application to other available, newer and better ones. Not adaptable to the fast-changing world? Or rather, choosing not to follow the world of advance technology, ha! So who's still reading this old-fashioned blurty? Probably not many... ;P
So am I gonna change to make my blog more reader-friendly? More interesting and trendy? ... one should be glad I'm even taking time out to type this...!

Maybe I'm just not so much a homebody. I realised this last week when I spent almost the whole Sat at home. It was a tough period. Issues which I have always avoided sprouted freely, such as family relationships, my unhappiness at us having China tenants in our house without my agreement, disagreement between my brother and I, etc. However, I learnt to face these issues squarely and prayed for the ability to conquer them. To learn to be more loving and extending the Christian values I believe in and have been trying to incalcuate in myself to the ReAL wOrLd. Not just in church and with my church communities. Home is where the test is. And I am aware that they are watching my behaviour knowing that I am spending most of my time with the church.

Thankfully I could see these and I would say that I survived the test, though barely. Fully accepting oneself, I learnt, includes being comfortable with who you are in your most unguarded moments. For example and most usually, at home. It is to be happy with who you are in the middle of the night in solitude and silence.

Today, I would say it's about the 2nd time I am spending half a day or more at home. And I am starting to enjoy the personal time, abit too much I think. I am super happy having the time to sort out my photos, search for my fave worship songs on youtube and learn and practise the strumming patterns, read newspapers, blog, read. And having warm and close bonding time with loved ones is no longer an illusion, I can have that more and more with my mom and brother, etc. I could most probably swing to being a loner. Which is a pretty scary thought to me. Since 17, I still remember thinking this while lying on my sofa in the living room, I had stopped having personal time.

Anyway, I do realise that my post content seems de-sync from my post title. So after the inevitable random musing, here it goes, things which made me happy recently:

- Discovering by chance that my new cpu has an in-built XD card reader. Had lost the usb cord for my brand new 10 megapixels olympus camera, and spent the whole of last Sat searching for it in my room. Now I can upload my photos!

- Tidying up my whole room in the midst of searching for the usb cord which still cannot be found.

- Finding the fave diving t-shirt and 3/4 pants that were thought to be lost as mom misplaced them in my bro's wardrobe.

- Getting along with my colleagues, including the ex-pregnant gal I had a huge conflict with before. After retuning from Redang, one of my greatest sadness was still that my workplace is like an ice palace, and we didnt even eat lunch with one another. However, miraculously, He answered my prayer and I barely had a silo lunch these days since the 1st day I came back from the trip! This is despite that S whom I went to Redang with and who was my regular lunchmate (once a week) had left the organisation after our Redang trip (and I really miss her :(), and CC claims that it is too rushed for us to meet for lunch (:(). Now, at the very least we joke around and I feel more comfortable making my tongue-in-cheek, corny remarks at work ;) Thank God!

- The latest, passing my advance theory test yesterday! You may think this is nothing, but hey, I never felt so kan cheong about taking theory tests before. Somehow, this just doesnt come naturally to me maybe cos I dont really have a great interest in driving a car. I still prefer to be driven around! But despite these (and Im the kind who needs to like something to do well in it), I still managed to get past the advance theory test.

So there, more next time :)
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Ramble Rant [13 Aug 2008|01:13am]
Just a week ago, I could loudly, or rather silently, proclaim my great happiness. After my return from the Redang trip, my days were packed as usual. Despite the emptiness and loneliness felt sub-consciously, there was a sense of freedom from the concerns that plagued me before the trip. I may no longer have them to fill up my life, yet, I could finally focus on things which are real and important. Like, my work and colleagues, family, etc. Miraculous things happened during the trip which I have been wanting to share about, and more happened after I was back.

Even though I felt sad at the disappearance of my lunch kakis, S and C, I found new regular ones right after I returned from the trip, and we have had some good time together. Bosses responded to my mails and things moved ahead. There were affirmations and even the Dy who publicly named the importance of my work. This is something very much lacking in my daily office life cos my immediate boss places negligible focus on my work.

On Mon nite, I told dear P that life is really good. Work is working out, issues with frens were resolved, etc etc. On Thurs when I met Cr, I told her that I felt really happy cos everything seems to be going fine. Not that all's great, but I felt blessed with what I have. Only, she didn't hear nor share my happiness. And I felt this regret at not having someone who could really understand and share my joy. No doubt we need someone to share our sorrows, but we need someone to share our great happiness when we are feeling it as well.

Freedom to love and be loved is my greatest desire. I realised that that is when I feel truly happy. For now, at least.

I had hoped to stay happy for as long as possible, that the post-trip effects would not wear out. But now they are starting to. I am back to being some slave at work.

The wrong focus came back and filled my thoughts. It has been a struggle trying my darnest to shake it off.

Today, I kicked myself when I obviously avoided my boss on the way to work. She would have known I knew she was walking behind me. Yet, mornings are simply not the time I wish to talk to anybody. I did not want her to be reminded that I reach work this early and step into office that late. I didnt want her to catch me without make-up on, or before I say my morning prayers. I just would appreciate a little privacy in the very early morning, which is not mine to have, I realised. Upon stepping into office later on, I was sure she would have things to tell me as she always does. Yet, I received a call from prawngal who was sobbing incessantly. I went out to the stairway and tried to console her for sometime. I know she didnt mean to disturb my work, but she could not help it then.

The issues are re-opened again. After I thought that the saga had closed, with my patching up with prawngal and becoming a little closer to a certain party. A certain party's wounds are very raw everytime uncle appears, and imagining that things are fine is just a very mistaken thought. I saw that a certain party would be uncomfortable on national day, and was disappointed that she didnt share a word with me about it. Yet, she had an explosion with prawngal yesterday which resulted in the crying and the latter's quitting the choir today. And I am to once again keep mum about knowing this whole affair. I never knew keeping a secret could be that much a torture. And I really questioned myself on my motivation in the urge to plunge right into it, to resolve the issue and to heal the wounds. Yet, I had been burned very badly from doing so before the trip, and it was with great effort and a miracle that things worked out for me. I shouldnt be involved again. Yet, it pains me to see prawngal depart silently, and my not being able to share a certain party's sorrows. I need to, once again, put on a happy front in front of her, and avoid all talk that is even potentially deep or emotional. Yet, I am not someone who enjoys extended crappy conversations. Is my desire to share the sorrows a need to use this to close our distance in frenship? If that is so, then I would not do it.

I am mature and sensible, at least I am growing to be, I hope. I'll move according to His will. If He requires me to keep silent and act ignorant as the greatest favour and act of love, then that is what I would do. I take no credit and need no appreciation for this.
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Spiritual Check [15 Jun 2008|11:23pm]
Conversion Retreat

It was about time I took stock of where I was, and I was very in need of a 'retreat'. One in which I would not be serving, but a participant. It came timely before the LISS in which i would serve as a facil again, and I thought it could be for spiritual preparation. Initially, I was against the idea of the conversion retreat, as I felt I didnt need another conversion. I had my deep conversion experience in Bangkok last year, and I did not need to be converted again. And furthermore, it was strongly recommended by someone and I did not want to be influenced by the person.

However, eventually, I felt a calling to go for it as it offers a spiritual depth that I might be needing at the point of time. I managed to get CC, E and J to go, and was quite happy about it. Esp since CC is not Catholic. I was happy to go thru such a deep conversion experience together with her! I might usually not allow people into such areas of my life that require deep healing, as I may not prefer company.

I kept feeling it was my fault cos I took quite long with the preparation for the camp on Thurs morning. Hence I reached late and didnt have that impt mac breakfast with CC. Not only did I look forward to Mac breakfast, I thought it was a good time to hear about any apprehensions CC has, and to say a prayer together for strength to go through the retreat and for Him to reveal his healing love to us through it. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Feeling like I had a mission or responsibility to make my frens feel comfortable, I felt quite stressed initially. I kept wondering whether CC or E was bored, and whether J was ok. However, during the precious adoration time on the 1st day, He revealed to me to just allow Him to take care of things. He will take care of them and they will respond in His time. He wanted me to focus on my own journey.

On the 2nd day, I felt refreshed. I truly enjoyed the conversations with the people and the atmosphere of the place, and the deeply enriching talks by F W Goh. I felt I was in paradise, every second of the time there. I also enjoyed the little walk E and I had around the retreat centre sharing with each other about how it was not easy to apply to real life what we learnt at the talks. That night, at adoration, I sensed He was revealing to me my wrong-doings. In fact, He showed to me how disappointed He was that I proclaim myself as His child, yet my actions towards my parents hurt Him, cos it hurt them. Of all the revelations and miracles I claimed, my life did not show I was living in His light. What good then was all these amounting to? He asked me to purify the intentions behind every single thing I have been doing. Perhaps, most of them were not really done with the motivation of glorifying Him, but for the purpose of securing others' love for me. Hence, I twisted and turned to try and achieve and lock that love and acceptance with me. That prohibits me from doing His work cos I was more concerned about pleasing man than God. It was really humbling to learn all these, that my enlightened self after the Bangkok retreat really needed re-looking at. It broke down all my perceptions and beliefs in life which I had thought were right. Of cos, that made me feel lost.

Then, I had to reflect on all the hurts that pple had done to me. Something really uncomfortable came up, cos it was abt my dad. I dont know whether it was the holy spirit, but I had never thought of my dad in that way before, feeling guilty most of the time for the way I treat him. Other people came up, those who had really hurt me before, but i realised that they are really over and I no longer really habour anger or bitterness towards them. Someone in the current life is in the list though, and that made me feel quite uncomfortable. I really dislike having a secret to keep. Why must He make it so hard for me in this aspect? Why can't I share freely about this like others can? It makes things really awkward.

The next day at adoration, I prayed to be able to love others more genuinely. Yet, it was a struggle praying for it. I prayed for the strength to be able to continue building His ministry. Yet, I felt it was tiring and I no longer really had to motivation. I guess I might be experiencing burn-out like what some others have. I was feeling dry and unable to continue working on it. Then, I felt the revelation that I had to pray to truly experience His love. Without that water of life, I could not continue, cos I could not give to others what I did not have. Any acts of serving would just be ways of keeping myself accepted and could be for self-glorification cos of the praises and affirmations they bring me. My strengths are a blessing, yet such praises from people could be my down-fall. As what F W Goh said, we need not be affected by others' opinion of us. Others' praises merely affirm to us what we already know about ourselves.

Then I started praying very hard to truly be able to experience His love. As I have shared with many others, that was answered miraculously during the outpouring of the holy spirit. I truly surrendered myself and rested in the spirit twice. The 1st time, I had the feeling of a cool breeze washing over my body and purifying it. The 2nd time, I envisioned God's love right in front of me, amidst all the distractions of other people's opinion about me which I had to choose to ignore and put God first. It was a warming feeling.

I will build my life on the rock.

It was a truly victorious and free feeling at the end of the retreat.

Yet, someone was there at the closing. And the hurt was there again of the times the person visited during the retreat and didnt really come to us. I thought that if it was me, I would surely have prayed for the fren for the retreat. I thought of the others who msged me to find out how I was each day of the retreat, pple who cared. And it was disappointing that it seemed the person did not really.

Anyhow, I went straight to bdae celebration that night, and had a great time joking and sharing with the rest. I heard alot about the state of the person's r/s from a mutual fren. Then, that fren appeared, and I almost never talked to the fren at all. I did try to share about the conversion retreat experience, the fren being the one who recommended it to me. But the sharing was abit formal and awkward.

Since a long time ago, I knew and got the revelation that if I was not able to overcome it, it would really affect our frenship in time to come. Yet what could I do if I was just not really able to no matter how hard I tried?

Anyhow, I held on to His love. I had a most wonderful and unexpected chitchat with E on the phone the day after the retreat. Then we went for evening mass together, and had a sumptious chicken rice dinner. Then went for coffee. Chris joined us a while later and shared his multiple conversions during the retreat. Then we 3 went to the adoration room to pray after that. It felt really nice. I am truly thankful for the deep and new-found frenship with E. This one is truly soul-mate material. I shared about the ugliest things in my life.


To think of it now, LISS was a continuation of the faith journey. I went pretty unprepared, having not attended any intercessory preparation and skipped the welcome session. It seemed to me like I was not ready to serve this time round. Actually, I felt a calling to be an attached prayer warrior, instead of a facil. Cos I feel I have the gift of prayer, and I enjoy praying for people's needs, and express my love to others this way. And an attached prayer warrior gets to journey with a group of participants, and is involved in praying over for healing and outpouring. Yet, at the same time, I wanted to break out of my shell and improve my facilitation skills to reach out more to His pple. What exactly did He want me to do? Perhaps it was anything, as long as I lift it up to Him to work through me. Yet, I was a facil this time feeling like a prayer warrior. I felt painfully inadequate cos I am not the ra-ra kind and never had it easy getting a group of pple to open up. I dont really even fancy talking in a group myself. I did not feel I love my participants enough.

Yet, at the end of the day, I am glad each of them experienced Him in a different way, even though it is not in the dramatic way I desire. I desire to see them show the effects in physical ways to affirm myself. Yet, they did not really show it. Through it, I learnt to truly love pple I am naturally repelled by, which was one of my participants. At the end of it, I loved her the most, and her simplicity allowed me to experience His love through my free flow of praying over her and watching the gal transform. His ways are not mine, and I only desire to do according to His will for them, and love them the way He would. Not to satisfy myself. I am ready to continue to journey with them if needed.

I experienced Him myself also. During the reconc and adoration night, as I sat there, I had a vision of Him loving and being proud of me for who I am. His child tryng to serve His people. He wants me to do everything in life bearing this in mind, acting like someone who believes truly that He knows and loves me. Not hiding and in guilt or anger. He showed me the areas of my life that I need His help, and I prayed for Him to heal me in those areas. One was the r/s with the fren whom I find it difficult to forgive cos of the hurt the person was still causing me.

That day, another mutual fren had told me that next time if they go out w/o me, do not feel bad abt it cos that fren had said abt not being comfortable sharing about r/s problems with me around. That just goes to prove the point abt if I did not overcome it soon, it would affect our frenship. I had been keepng my distance and acting more like an enemy than a fren. Yet, all this time, i do care abt this person alot in my heart and still did alot of things to redeem for my unfrenly behaviour. That msg from the mutual fren hurt and I was in a down spirit for 1.5 days till LISS. The memories of our time at the retreat in dec came back even when I was at the retreat house. Yet, I cannot be selfish and I rather the person takes care of the problems than worry abt whether I was hurt abt not being included. That is easier said than done and I still felt sore abt it. This problem reflects many other similar problems with pple and many to come, and I just truly prayed for healing that such a scenerio will not occur again with anyone else to make things awkward.

The other area is the r/s with my parents, and how the vicious cycle hurt me all the time. I prayed hard for healing from this addiction of treating them in a way that makes me cower in guilt cos of my own pride.

I lifted these to Him, and He promised that He helps his children. I was asked to keep having faith. And to revel in this new life that He was revealed. I felt much lighter and the hope and fire to serve him came back again as I made a come-back to Him. All those times when I had done extraordinary things in His name after the Bangkok retreat flashed thru my mind, and I knew I was no longer doing these things. I felt the passion to serve Him again.

That pretty much sums up the intense spiritual journey recently.
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Mid-year check? [15 Jun 2008|10:41pm]
Just re-read some of my posts. And I am amazed at how time flies. To me, those incidents I described happened just yesterday. Has it really been 6 months?! My goodness, 2008 is really zooming by.

I was also surprised by the way I write. I guess I might have come to a point where there should be no need to glamourise my posts here or try to be funny, and tell all the 'ugly truths' there. Maybe that was more for my trashing out, and here was more for sharing. Only now, I feel there are no longer any restrictions in my sharing here.

2008 has really flown by thus far and I have been caught up with things most of the time. There hasnt been much time for keeping still. Perhaps I should re-look at my life and prioritise, and start working on things that really matter to me. That includes:

- Spending more quality time as a family
- Spending more quality with each family member- bonding with my mom, talking to my dad, sharing with bro and reaching out to him
- Helping out with household chores, esp beginning with ironing all my clothes and keeping my room clean
- Starting with counselling work on a regular basis
- Signing up for translation diploma
- Attending spiritual input sessions more regularly, e.g. livingstones or growth session
- Spending time with beloved frens
- Getting more exercise and into shape
- Making a commitment to be his light wherever I go and in whatever I do

Things I am thankful for over this span of time are:
- Learning to cope with workplace relationships, and overcoming my conflict with the ex-pregnant girl (a miracle in itself)
- Having moments of fun conversation and getting to know another colleague better, and being appreciative of the beautiful person she is
- Striking a rapport with the others in the office
- Getting closer to my church frens and loving each individual the more I get to know them
- Being surprised by different people confiding in me and knowing them better through this
- Drawing closer to other frens esp the cell grp ones
- Learning to love and be loved
- Feeling surrounded by pple I care about and having people who really make my life enjoyable outside working hours (but truly hoping working hours can be more meaningful and bearable)
- Fully letting go of past hurts (but struggling with present ones)
- Becoming stronger and more sensible in my outlook
- Walking closely with Him all through the way

Can't even write in complete sentances now? What has the world come to?
More upcoming in the next post...:)
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[04 Feb 2008|06:51pm]

You Are An ENFJ

The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed.

Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.

Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.

You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.

In love, you are very protective and supporting.

However, you do need to "feel special" - and it's quite easy for you to get jealous.

At work, you are a natural leader. You can help people discover their greatest potential.

You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

How you see yourself: Trusting, idealistic, and expressive

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Bossy, inappropriate, and loud

Weird one... don't think I became an E, nor shine in social situations, nor am a natural leader. Mmm...
However, think I have become more anal, organised and less messy over time with my job. More square and narrow-minded.. becoming like a govt servant! Eek. To think my boss called me "very responsible". Times have changed.

Whatever it is, I hope to become more Christlike and hone my abilities to serve Him through serving others better in all areas of life :)
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Overdue Reflections [14 Jan 2008|01:14am]
Leaving 2007 and stepping into 2008

2007 had been a special year, different from the past ones. It was a year of spiritual discovery, catching a glimpse and getting a grasp of my identity in Him. As the cliche saying goes, trials are blessings in disguise and all things happen for a reason. Yet, I still believe it takes tremendous determination, courage, trust and grace to come to terms with this in your times of trial. And He has given us the free will to choose whether to respond to His saving grace and efforts and attempts to mould us to be more like Him. Often times, we can barely do these alone. But it does involve often, if not always, personal conviction.

I am not typing a self-help or religious book here, but in fact, I do rejoice at the fact that I can now proclaim His name unabashedly and for no other reason except that I have to. It could turn out to be a personal testimony here of how 2007 had brought me closer or even to know Him for the first time.

2007 started off with me battered and struggling with myself in the areas of work, low self-esteem, disillusionment about r/ses, healing from past hurts that I had wanted to put behind. The first 6 months was hell in the area of work, being under a belittling superior that crushed my sense of self-worth to naught. Yet, no matter how bad things got, it was still undeniable that on the surface things might not have been that bad. I had my share of grooming by the organisation and was sent to many courses and became known as subject matter expert in the field I was dealing with, they even fought for me to be sent to the HK learning trip, we had our share of pay increments, superiors all the way 5 levels above were Christians with visions that inspired the organisation, till the end of the day the boss of my superior who recruited me seemed to believe in me. I made the best decision I could think of in my life to leave the dpt upon its corporatisation. It was a somewhat timely and graceful exit to a better place with continued staff benefits and further pay increments. And the best of all, I would think, is a new superior who at the very least recognises my strengths and contributions for a start.

Of course, that is not to say that the current place is paradise. In fact, the perpetuating thought is that it is probably not where He wants me to be in the long run. The role lacks potential for upward movement to say the least. There aren't many new things and skills to pick up. Nowhere is perfect and we are still finding our way.

Yet, I have the thought and habour a sense of hope that 2008 will be a year of discovering a direction to move towards. I do get the feeling that I am no more the uncertain and confused person who had completely no idea about her own strengths, believing secretly that she had none. What started as a seemingly mistaken path in taking the business degree does not mean the end of the road. In fact, smooth securing of a place in the NTU post grad translation course, my superiors kindly excusing me to pursue my interest to be a part-time counsellor for the organisation, and clearing all obstacles (application, written test, interview, etc) without much trouble rather miraculously in view of circumstances, could well be hints for the future. Will be doing the one-week counselling course this coming week. Had shared with A that I could end up an intepretator/translator and part-time counsellor (for extra wages or volunteery), or full-time counsellor and freelance translator. The practicality of these are still being deliberated. But it does seem instinctively like something I would enjoy and could more effortlessly contribute in.

Ever since starting work here, I had asked myself and Him often how I could possibly associate my current work with fulfilling His will. He had given some answers. I did get the strong prompting, nevertheless, that it is time to stop comparing with others and social expectations, to recognise own strengths and start putting them to use to serve others in response to His calling. And 2007 had been a good starting point in discovering what they are.

The turning point started with the Jesus Youth south east asia youth retreat in Thailand in May 07. It could have been a run-of-the-mill retreat to some others, but as I had shared, your mindset towards the retreat has much to do with what you will end up bringing away from it. It wasnt that the retreat was spectacular, but it was where I first experienced His love. After 5 mths of being stuck in the rut, I went in desperate seek for healing and answers. Talked to a Priest who is passionate about the youths and he gave advice and insight which helped me make one of the best decisions of my life. The Brother provided a different perspective, but deep healing where it was needed.

I came back burning to serve Him and to spread His good news to the country and SEA. Only, I was unused to walking in His light and felt more like a freak in a world that did not know me. I prayed very very hard for there to be a community I could walk together with, cos it seemed impossible to experience these alone and learn to put the inspirations to practice.

Returning from the retreat, it started the easier job applications and interviews, making the choice with the available offers, and the smooth transition into next place. Miraculously, without expecting at all, I gradually found the community I was seeking for in the church choir, and perhaps also with living stones. In His time and by His grace, everything fell into place and the few of us ended up kickstarting a bible study grp for the choir in an attempt to raise the spiritual level. The group of us then grew close as fellow journeyors, and the frenships formed have been priceless gifts to me. I started leading CGs, prayers, and getting to know them better. It wasn't an easy journey, taking in view my personality. For some reason, the little efforts I put in drew affirmations about gifts I never really thought about. Some thought I am intelligent, perceptive, caring, humble and a 'marvelous contributor to the choir', although I am quite certain I didnt really do as much as I could. Of course, these were unexpected rewards that helped in my plans for my future. He has said that when we utilise our gifts, He would give us more.

Although initially uncertain about helping out at LISS as a facil, being my shy nature, there happened to be a slot vacated and I was 'recommended' by a couple of fellow living stones pple. That was an amazing experience in learning to love and serve my brothers and sisters.

The last 6 months of 2007 might not have been a bed of roses totally, but it was a hopeful journey that brought with it many joys.

Xmas 07 forced me to come to face with and acknowledge my own sinfulness, and make a genuine commitment to change my ways. It was time I stopped living in perpetual guilt about something, and emerge into the 'light'. It was time I moved on and start doing His work. The pageant was a miracle in itself and I would never forget how the entire choir roped in to help with the props, stage, acting, singing in whatever ways possible. The love that was shown towards one another and Him could not be anything else but His grace. Of course, I acted as the angel and it was unnerving at first as I am known to be shy and I had no time to rehearse at home or memorise my lines, besides running the scene through my head often while travelling. Lifting it all to Him, the results were great and received many affirmations about the cute angel and 'good acting'. Acting had been one of my greatest interests in childhood, and I was glad these finally came to use.

Because of what 2007 had brought, I was intially apprehensive about what 2008 would bring. As pessimistic as I am, I did not truly believe good news can sustain or increase or even that they belong to me. There would be other trials to come. Yet, as days passed and I started reflecting and planning, I can feel the hope and joy that 2008 would bring further changes that would help me continue the walk with Him I only recently started. When we could trust in Him, He fulfills our heart's desires, protects us from all anxieties, gives us peace sets us free and helps us fly. I have made numerous resolutions in the area of health, personal devleopment, family, friends, church community, and lift these up to Him. Over the last week, I had been prompted more strongly that comparing with and admiring others is absolutely unnecessary and only serves to make me miserable for the umpteen time. From now on, I strive to make independant decisions aligned with my purposes in His will, and will learn not to look over my shoulder and lament at what others have or are doing. In gaining this 'independance', I know I would be grateful for the companions He would give to me along this journey.

And I hope I see you on the way.
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Love is Sacrifice [31 Dec 2007|01:55am]
Thank God for:

Reinforcing the message "Love is Sacrifice" which I learnt over Xmas this morning when I was at canteen duty with choir

Showing me that Love is Sacrifice, and willing me to make sacrifices

Bringing me home at the right time this evening

Giving me the wisdom and courage to follow His will and take a first step out of the ordinary

My dad prompting me to join in the conflict resolution

My not disobeying dad out of irritation, biasness and pride

My dad calling and cautioning my aunts on the importance of the meeting

My willingness to 'sacrifice' by not avoiding but confronting and stepping into the pile of deep mess and sh*t

Your being very much present with my aunts, mom and myself as we headed to older bro's place, and discussed our opinions and approach to take for the 'confrontation'

Enlightening and empowering us, esp my aunts, with the right perspective, attitude, wisdom, compassion, love, and charity in speaking the exact right words at the right time to them

My aunts' deep sharing of their own trials in their marriage lives

My mom having the wisdom and ability to keep her cool and listen

Showing all of us how fortunate and blessed we are in the current 'dismal' situation

Showing him the problem exisiting, and optimism in the midst of trial

Guiding her to a sense of hope and commitment to change

My plucking up the courage to give my 2 cents worth I hope could be of help to them

Overcoming my decade-long barrier, embarrassment and pride, and opening the gate to expressing my suppressed love for them

Realising that my 'sacrifice' became a reward to myself

Each of us coming out of the 'negotiation' as better people

Showing all of us hope, faith and love amidst complete darkness

Emptying us of inhibitions and appearances, and allowing the experience of real liberation and the joy that comes with it

My aunt confirming and letting me know the impt role I can play in this situation

My aunt being Your light and spreading Your word

Joining us all in prayers

Giving us a new beginning in 2008
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O Happy Days [28 Dec 2007|09:35pm]
A zillion things occured since the last update, and after jetsetjunkie's prompting, I guess it's time to take stock.

Firstly, let me start with the bible passage that struck me yesterday.
Rev 19:10-11
"As I fell down at his feet to worship him, he said to me, "Beware, I am like a servant like you and your brothers who utter the testimonies of Jesus (these testimonies of Jesus are proclaimed through the spirit of the prophets). Worship God alone."

...When will I worship Him alone, and be free from the opinions, behaviour and acceptance of others?
It has been a very tough struggle towards this.

Yesterday was a rare day I felt like just packing my bag and going home to sleep. Took a long 2-hr bus ride from office to home. And suddenly, after an earnest prayer, it just struck me how silly and futile and childish it is. Yes, to bemoan in a little corner hidden from the world is just that. To anticipate secretly for others to come to your rescue is that. But we need to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to be detached from it enough to see it all. Ultimately, the truth is the truth as it is, and one day, maybe someday or never, I would be healed completely to face it joyfully. For He has given us much joy and hope, and He conquers all when we worship Him alone. And in a secret corner in my heart, I habour no blame, wish the best, and yearn for complete healing.

Now to recount the wonderful days just passed:

Last Thurs
Spent a rare day at home, woke at noon. Wild wild wet with colleagues was out due to the heavy rain. Glad to spend some much desired for time with parents and bro, back from his 3-week Thailand NS training. That boy is growing into a real nice dude, u'll love that guy! Only, mm, maybe could do with more wit and sense of humour? :P Anyway, researched for a JB trip the next day, including transport, accomodation, places of interest. Invited Al over to catch Lil Ms Sunshine in the aftn. Had round 2 of ktv at my house. Cycled and jogged with her near her house in the evening.

All plans of doing constructive things like buying and wrapping xmas presents, writing xmas cards cos there was obviously no other time, did not happen obviously. And it was time to sleep for a last-min 2 day 1 night JB trip planned with a new friend the next day.

The usual waking up late and spending a bomb on cab fare (~$30) to get to Kranji mrt. Took bus 170. Wondered how new fren and I could communicate. Will there be things to talk about? Will we fight over where to go? Will I get silently angry? Will I have an outburst?

In the long cab ride (explains the fare), I prayed about it. Felt much calmer and knew that the morning was just the start of a wonderful trip ahead. I had to be sincerely willing to be frens (well, there are rank issues cos we work in the same govt), for to Him, all are equal amongst his children.

We arrived at JB and found our way to a nice, clean, cosy and economical hotel in the city centre. Amazingly and thankfully, she's superbly familiar with JB. She was also nice enough to follow my itinerary planned, which of cos, was jampacked with sightseeing, food hunting, shopping, etc over short 2 days. ;) Discovered she has quite a nice, bright, cheery and easy-going character. We lazed on the bed and chitchatted for hr plus before I shoved us out to travel to Kota Tinggi in the outskirts. And she obliged. Haha. However, it really broke the ice and I got to know her better in terms of her life philosophy, past relationships, interests, etc.

The cab ride was nice as the driver is a typical easy-going, down-to-earth and kind muslim. He talked on abt his life in JB, and previously in Spore, during the 1.5 hr ride, which was interesting to hear.

We reached and indulged in eating our ramly burgers. Then, I coaxed her into swimming in the waterfall even though she was embarrassed to be the only one there among the conservative muslims to wear a swimsuit. hahaha! We took many picts, and she's an amazing photographer. Had our waterfall massage, and silly photos. Rode our tubes down the wooden slides. Which seemed abit insecure, esp since I often turned backwards and bounced off the sides of the slide, to her endless laughter. Luckily, the malays are real nice and the guard really saves u at the end of the slide when you exit tumbling upside down.

Then, the same driver came back to fetch us. It was like a private tour. We talked about proton cars, etc on the ride back. He intro-ed us to Danga Bay, a must-visit in JB. And gave us much advice how not to be cheated.

A malay from a posh restaurant readily allowed us in to the washroom. We decided to settle in that restaurant, and had a sumptious grilled seafood and chicken dinner, with yumlicious nasi lemak. Man, I still remember the tastes today. Then, we cycled on a unique bike through the area, my idea again of cos.

It was hard getting a cab but we did eventually after she decided she was exhausted and abt to flop onto the ground and I was a good match to her in 'adventuring'. (Really, what did we do that was so tiring?)

We had our good long baths. I then attempted to read the local newspapers, something I always do abroad. Only to fall asleep cos I guess I too was tired.

She had a good deep sleep, and dreamt of me stealing her food. I had a nightmare of losing someone.

It was shopping day. We woke early and had buffet breakfast.

We then headed for a couple of sights, and then to town for shopping.

I bought all the intended gifts and nice stuff for beloved family members. And shoes for myself!

Then, we rushed to another shopping mall as I wanted to buy dvds.

We then settled at the KFC for dinner.

She again was exhausted as we spent the whole day walking. Prior to departure, she made us share a de-brief on the trip. It was good and affirming sharing our honest opinions about each other and the trip. Esp when we clarified some points and it was obvious we thought the same regarding some issues.

Then, I had to rush us realising that we were behind time (imagine, what has the world come to if I do the rushing? But hey, I behave well on trips ok, I believe R can testify to that too;). And of cos I enjoy doing the rushing. heh) Rushed to the hotel, packed, and I asked the hotel reception to call us a cab. Rushed to cab and to checkpoint. Alas, we got through to Spore efficiently, but upon reaching the Khatib mrt, there was no last bus for me. We were 25 mins too late. Hence, I had to spend another bomb taking midnight cab from Yishun to home.

All in all, it was a fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Having reached home at 2 am the night before, I struggled to get up after dear Ad did her due diligience to give a wake-up call at 7am. Honestly, I so want it to help, but there's the snooze. And I needed to say my morning prayers before the challenging day ahead.

Unfortunately, I let Ad down and couldn't make it for practice at 8.30 am. I was at choir loft early though and Ch was there. The 2 of them are back from Cambodia. Ch, is someone I had gotten close to over the past one year. She is soul-mate material, and is someone I love dearly. However, I fear all close, intimate frenships now. There is some unresolved personal issue that I really wish could be overcome. And I hope this frenship I treasure will not fall into the same category as the past ones which did not sustain. Well, I lift it to Him.

Anyway, we all sang our joyous mass, and had breakfast. And then, it was a bullet train, high pressure practice for the impending Xmas midnight mass, and our chop chop and everyone-get-to-work rehearsals for Xmas performance. I was playing the angel, and though was thrilled, was embarrassed about acting and wondering whether I had lost those acting skills from sec sch.

We sang our hearts out for the carols after skit and it was truly enjoyable. Then, Ch commented to me that it was "very good". I asked, what is very good (my singing?). She seemed puzzled as if I should know what she meant. She said my angel was very good. (...she's smart and had foresight of what was to come!) Mm.. okie.. was my understated reaction. Haha.

After that, it was evening time and I had to rush to a colleague's wedding. The thought that I had to sit with my boss at the table and put up some front felt draining to me. However, I eventually got to the dinner place and somehow, arrangement was screwed up and I was seated apart from them. Which was terrible but partly a relief. Haha. I don't know when talking to direct bosses could be fun. The only time was in NUS when I was still innocent and naive, when I genuinely liked her, and I didn't give 2 hoots about what others think, believing idealistically and passionately that I should behave as I wish (contradictory?).

It was Xmas eve. Had to go to office still and attend a couple of meetings, before Xmas dpt lunch. However, I woke and was energised after my morning prayer. The staff ranking meeting went satisfyingly well. I spoke up for my staff and got her a good ranking. Then, we had a fun time at the Xmas lunch chitchatting. I was aware that I was with a grp who were below my rank (we are really very rank-conscious here). However, I enjoyed it and heard a fellow xtian's testimony of how she survived a motorbike accident, and how she discoverd God then. it was amazing to discover that another one of them is "half a believer", and yet another really yearns to be a Xtian but is restricted from doing so. The 4 of us talked of watching The 10 Commandments together. :)

Then, we were off after the no-performance lunch (this dpt is not xtian). I intended to shop, but bumped into an ex-colleague and spent 2 hrs with her. She's really a sweetie and anyone around her feels her nice and xtian nature. However, there's something I intend to tell her, I dislike her questioning and undermining my actions and words. It doesn't help that Im hypersensitive about such issues. But well, mm, it's not easy to tell her but well, hope to find a chance to bring it in.

Then, i rushed with the xmas gifts. Was picked up at tanah merah and driven to my grandma's house for that dreaded yearly gathering. Well, bad to say, but I was super not dressed up, and dreaded the expected comments about my career, love life, weight, and then watching my same-age cousins stroll in with their expected, awe-inspiring make-up and dresses. There was once, nevertheless, during my elder bro's wedding, that Al's mom (haha) said I looked better than the 2 of them, though both are models and 1 is a Ms Universe top 10 finalist. But that was then u see, things have changed. haha.

Anyway, was super glad I could stay only 45 mins before rushing to church for final preparations. Scribbled all my xmas cards for choir pple at my grandma's house.

Xmas mass is worth a seperate entry in itself.

So long dudes and dudettes and my heartiest gratitude and congrats if you reached this point. Hahaha!

Merry xmas ;)
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[22 Oct 2007|02:38am]
In the crazy hours of the morning, before the start of a crazy week losing myself in crazy work, let me just jot down a few words here.

Shared with C today over dinner, after a satisfying gym workout, where I am today. Told her that as I got to know Him more and more, I am ever thankful that He has chosen to work in me. Indeed, He has been so good, I should cast all my worries and anxieties aside. These are some things to be thankful for:

- Parents' love dished out in their daily actions
- Prayed to overcome my fears of leading prayers for the beloved choir, for I really hope there can be spiritual growth in this grp of lovely pple, and the emptiness and lethargy drawn out from the way we have been singing. Easily led the grp in prayer before teh start of our practice today.
- Prayed to overcome my fears of singing aloud, for this is what I am sposed to do in the choir. I sang aloud as the only alto today. (xtreme...)
- Prayed to live a more holy life, starting from returning parents' love in actions. Cleaned up my room just now.
- Maybe it shows just how little I am at home. I disappear on weekdays, and cannot be found on weekends. Returned home on Sun at 10 pm, and mom said, "You're back home so early today?". Enjoyed a chill-out time, listening to my fave music in the air con room while cleaning up my room. Did facial mask. Read my fave books. Asked mom to help with clothes.
- Decided to visit eye doc on Tues. He will heal me in this...
- Gotten over the issue bothering me again for the past 1 week, 2 weekends. Prayed to get over it. The process is difficult and takes time, but in time I would no longer be bothered by it. No longer will I repeat the predictable behaviour and responses to the inevitable happenings around, no longer is the process nor the outcome of earth shatering influence. What someone said has dawned on me to ring true... and I thank her for it.

Things I need prayers about:
- Eye infection which hasn't gone away for 2 weeks
- Facing boss and colleague tmw. To resolve conflict between colleague and me in the boss' pressence.
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Meetings [13 Oct 2007|03:03pm]
Had a really good dinner with M and J yesterday. It has been a really long while since we have met, and at first, I was wondering how the dinner would turn out. M is still her same old self, enjoying her work now and losing her free hours (when not paktuo-ing) with RPGs. J is her witty and comfortable self. And as much as her, I have not felt so alive and connected to myself and life as it should be for some time, esp when I am working. I like the comfy feeling that we can be ourselves and share our lives. And I observed that J is yearning to go back to a Xtian community apart from having the crazy banking career dominating most of her waking hours. And also find her forthright, loud and witty self less intimidating now. J commented throughout the night that I look and feel different from the past, but couldn't really articulate what it was. Short of just asking her to state the obvious that I had indeed put on q abit over time, I asked her again what it was. "Darker.. wear specs..." (I am having eye infection) Then towards the end, she said with a nod of approval that I looked more sophisticated and my dressing was well-coordinated. In which I replied that it was my most casual clothing as yest was Fri. Hahaha!

Also had a nice afternoon tea with C on Sunday after church, choir pract and gym. The comfy talk beats many other activities I had in the week and weekend.

Indeed, frens are His gifts to us in the journey. Short of physically providing the love He has, He does this through others in our lives. And in our ever interwoven lives, by His grace, we too are His arms and feet to spread His love to others. Amidst each of our rat races, we can support one another and be reminders that there is indeed more to life than what is the immediate. This is so that we can remind ourselves to grow closer to who He wants us to be. Everything else, our careers and relationships etc, are in fact secondary and avenues for us to live out His will. Only then can we be empowered to have control, or allow Him to have control and work through us, instead of us being puppets manipulated by circumstances in our earthly lives.

I have said these words today which are in my mind and heart. And also because, rightfully or not, I feel disappointment again about something. Only He knows what it is. And perhaps I should spell it out. But that, I believe, would be to no avail. For perhaps, we have to learn to accept that some gifts are not meant to be. As much as other gifts are interrelated, and disassociation and associations are always challenges, only time and complete release could tell what gifts are in for us. And whichever it may be, may His will be done and His blessings be upon all our gifts, past, present and future in our lives.
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Career Test @ www.Actualme.com [07 Oct 2007|11:22pm]
J K, You are an Analytical Visionary
You know how to mix the "how" and the "why."

Your Communication Style

Creative Thinker

You love to think, logically and creatively. You are most productive at work when you are solving problems by analyzing specific situations or by creating multiple options. You're adept at strategic planning at the highest levels.

Sixth-Sense Awareness

You are very aware of what's happening around you and/or what's going to happen in the future. It's almost like you have a sixth sense. You see the forest where most people are looking at trees or clumps of trees. This gives you a vision toward which to direct people's energies and thought processes. When you do this, people are amazed and excited about following your vision and strategies.

You're also able to break the vision and strategies into workable components that are easy to understand because they are linear, logical and uncomplicated. You also always ask a very important question when you're thinking through the solutions: "What is missing or doesn't fit?" Others on the project are surprised when you question your own assumptions, facts and logic.

Leading Others

You have an unassuming manner in getting people to follow what you want them to do. Some of the reasons you're so successful at getting people to follow your vision and strategies are as follows:

1. Before you speak and ask others to do something, you have the whole project meticulously laid out so it makes sense and it's easy to follow;
2. You ask for input and genuinely try to accommodate the plan to what people suggest;
3. When problems arise, you can be very creative in finding, or assisting others in finding, optional ways to handle the situations
4. And, as a whole, your mannerisms and your ways of communicating are clear and personable.

Your Communication Skills

Your communication skills are exceptional. You have a way of making people very relaxed and open during a dialogue with you. You pick up the most salient points and nonverbal gestures during a conversation. Then, you imaginatively redirect them in along your own lines of thought so that people feel they have fully participated in the process.

Respecting Others’ Needs

The one thing you don't like to do is to push or cajole others into doing something they are resisting. Yes, the project must be finished, but not at the expense of other people's individual feelings or integrity. Your respect for the rights of others supersedes the immediate need to accomplish the goal as planned. You'll find a creative way to meet the challenge while including the personal preference of the individual. That's why people enjoy being on a team or project with you. It's also why many people follow you even though you don't like to think of yourself as a great leader.

Your Career Style

You as a career seeker

As a person who likes to analyze the world around you, your working style is naturally systematic, detail-oriented, and driven by the desire to solve problems and consider multiple options. You maintain an organized and predictable workspace, providing a sense of security that everything has its place and function. You have a talent for focusing on short-term solutions while always keeping in mind the long-term strategy. You deal with problems from both a logical and intuitive perspective. You would thrive in an environment of logical analysis; fields such as medical research, engineering, systems analysis or information technology, are careers that depend on precision and logic, satisfying your penchant for solving complex problems. More flexible, creative jobs such as architecture, teaching, journalism, and technical writing might also be suitable for someone with your thinking style.

Your communication style in the workplace

Your communication style is methodical and fact-oriented when dealing with concrete issues, but you also apply your visionary thought processes when looking for creative solutions. You tend to think before you speak and often back up your opinions with rational or historical arguments and facts. Your quiet, analytical manner enables you to function well on your own, but you are also inclined to be caring towards others and want to maintain a harmonious relationship with your colleagues. Your creative thinking patterns often help you find optional solutions to potential conflicts that others might not think of. When necessary, you use your ability to relate to people on a personal basis to generate an atmosphere of teamwork and cohesion among your coworkers.

Your strengths in the workplace

Coworkers appreciate the order you can bring to the workplace, such as knowing that they can always find the expenditure reports in a certain file. At the same time, your ability to think in patterns and understand how things relate to each other helps you bring a sense of vision and innovation to the workplace. Your coworkers know you can be counted on to look out for the common good by suggesting and following rules that keep everything fair for all. You will usually do what is right, even if it involves self-sacrifice. Any time a problem arises, your colleagues look to you to analyze the problem logically and impartially and to propose the most practical solution. They also appreciate your ability to be patient and understanding of others, as well as insightful and perceptive of their needs and motivations.

What to be careful of in the workplace

Be aware that not everybody around you is as careful as you are to be accurate in their everyday communications. In the presence of others, it would be a good idea to tone down your perfectionist tendencies and loosen up your expectations of others. In other words, keep your eye on the ultimate goal and don't sweat the details! Sometimes you tend to procrastinate about making certain decisions as you like to consider the relative merits of several options before deciding.

Communication Tips

People who have a predominantly Left-brain Abstractthinking style thrive on careful analysis of all pertinent factors before making any decisions. Their style is naturally systematic and detail-oriented, characterized by the pursuit of logic, predictability and discipline. They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. They tend to stick to the rules and stay within the confines of their orderly world.

When communicating with a Left-brain Abstract person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

You might find their passion for logical analysis to be ponderous or overly pedantic at times, but if you keep an open mind, their conclusions could be beneficial to you.
In situations where you must collaborate on a project or a plan, their tendency to stick to the rules can be limiting to your own creative visions. Present your optional ideas as logical alternatives worthy of consideration.
They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. Don't take this personally or assume they're arrogant. Remember that they're absorbing and processing information before they render an opinion.

They can be a valuable source of background or historical information, which you sometimes tend to overlook while you aim for the "big picture." Nevertheless, expect them to provide more details than you might care for.
People who have a predominantly Right-brain Concrete thinking style thrive on interacting with people and being the center of attention. They inspire others with their charm and warm personality. They can read other people very easily and use their intuitive skills to adapt effortlessly to changing situations. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions. They often speak without spending too much time thinking about what to say.

When communicating with a Right-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

At times, you might find their ebullient need to be the center of attention to be overpowering or annoying.
Like therapists, they can sometimes encourage you to open up and confide with them about personal problems or concerns you have. You're usually okay with this, as long as they don't pry too deeply or push their solutions too strongly.
As much as you think before you speak, they think by speaking. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions.
Even if they don't take logic or factual data into account, they may come up with innovative or imaginative ideas that are worthy of your consideration.
Since you both like to come up with ideas, the verbal interaction can be both personally rewarding and productive. They may not share your visionary creativity, but they often have an intuitive sense of what is most suited for you.
They can sometimes seem manipulative in getting their way. While you might find their personal charm and charisma irresistible, don't allow yourself to be swayed in a direction that you know is not right for you.
People who have a predominantly Left-brain Concrete thinking style are action-oriented and thrive on challenge. As movers of people and organizations, they enforce rules, focus on goals, meet deadlines, and demand immediate action. They typically avoid getting bogged down in details and want to go directly to the bottom line. They prefer short and easy action-items or conclusions. They are decisive people who want to get things done quickly and efficiently.

When communicating with a Left-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

You might find their style at times overbearing or in some cases, even intimidating. As a result, you're likely to interact with them only as much as absolutely necessary.
When it comes to solving problems, they view feelings or abstract concepts as intrusions that prevent them from reaching a firm conclusion. You'd be better off not allowing your feelings to become too much of an issue.
On the other hand, your feelings about certain situations are paramount to your comfort level, so don't be afraid to let them know how important that is to you.
There might be times that you will feel they are pushing too hard to get you to make a final decision. On the other hand, you might be struggling with all the options you're considering and could benefit from their decisive nature.
Don't be offended by their direct talk if it seems abrupt � they are goal-oriented people who know how to get things done.
When communicating with another Left-brain Concrete, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

Like you, they tend to be visionary thinkers who look at the big picture and try to understand how things relate to each other.
They value creative, inspirational options as much as you do. They can usually provide interesting alternatives that would be worth your while to consider. At times, however, you might become a bit irritated with their tendency to go off on tangents when you're trying to focus on a particular issue of concern.
With the tendency you both have to procrastinate while exploring your options, one of you will need to refocus your energies on making a decision when the need to accomplish something arises.
You are both open-minded and feelings-oriented. Together, you are likely to create a relaxed, low-key atmosphere based on trust and good rapport.
Remember to be patient with their quiet, reflective nature; just like you, they may be thinking of other options that are more suitable for you or for themselves.
Ultimately, you both need to feel comfortable with how your decisions fit into your world.
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random [30 Aug 2007|10:54pm]
Every day, the bible passage I read touches me. No wonder they call it the Word of life.

Today's was:

"Day and night we burdened and toiled so as not to be a burden to you. We had the right to act otherwise, but we wanted to give you an example."

"If anyone is not willing to work, neither should that one eat. ... In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, we command these people to work and earn their own living. And you, brothers and sisters, do not weary in doing what is right."

"If someone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note and do not have anything to do with him, so that he may be ashamed. However, do not treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother."

Just before I picked up the bible this morning, I had the prompting that He was telling me I did nothing wrong and shouldn't be afraid or guilty of what happened the day before. I was merely doing my job. I had the responsibility to do my job well at all times, and I shouldn't be ashamed of performing my role even if it should displease anyone. Furthermore, to think of it now, those attitude sux and they never have the courtesy to apologise for errors they make, they simply keep quiet. When it is not their error, they would bear no qualms to voice it out. And maybe it's here, or the same everywhere, but they look at who speaks louder and have greater power and behave differently towards those people. Maybe that is, perfectly human/layman behaviour.

We need to work for the results we want to have, not be passive and wait for others to initiate and do the talking/acting. Yet, it is tough sometimes in instances when it does not come naturally.

Hopefully, I can continue to strive more successfully to be who he wants me to be, and not "weary at doing what is right". Though sometimes I still question, what is right?? It is sometimes debatable.

A friend yesterday said that makes Christian life tougher than life should be. That is agreed, yet, it has its fruits. Gospel reading last Sun read, "He trains those whom He loves." That applies perfectly. Only, hope for the light at the end of the tunnel!

The friend also said, we condemn others who do not do "right". Theoretically, we really do not do that. What with the scene of the people who could not cast stones on the prostitute for they are themselves sinners, and other passages which tell us not to judge others. We are told here also "Do not treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." I realised how misunderstood we are, and speaking out what we believe serves as a self-reminder and an affirmation that that is reasonable and not 'extremist'.

Today, boss stood up for me at the meeting. Thank God for her and her cheerful disposition, and I really hope not to let her down but to meet and exceed her and their requirements. I learnt yesterday too through our casual meeting with 2 others that I had mistaken her in something which was decided by HR, not her, she did not even know about it. I may not be able to be the subject matter expertise for this role, but is seemingly the smallest prawn in the ocean of fish (which irritates me), but I am learning many other skills such as leading, planning, making decisions, etc. I have space here I could not dream to have in the previous place. And I hope He guides me to excel in what I do here, before perhaps moving on to be SME in another area such as translation.

In the meantime before I start on the translation post-grad course next year, I would take on the paracounselling course here and volunteer as a helper, so as not to waste the year. Good chance to figure out whether it is something I like to do as well. Only hope she would allow me to go for the 1-week training.

May He lead me on.

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Moved on moving on [11 Aug 2007|11:01am]
(I hear that some are having problems posting comments? Dont know what's wrong too, if you encounter probs, do let me know via sms or email, I shd see if I can do something about it..:))

Health Scare

This morning was yet another health scare. My concerned parents have been nagging me about the old injury on my foot blogged about months ago which still has not healed. Mom pokes at it every morning while waking me up. I know it sounds scary, and it got scarier with my mom's constant reminders that i should go do a check-up. In my more logical mind, I thought I was probably alright cos it doesnt look that bad to me, and I am not having other symptoms. Nevertheless, I decided to put my mind at ease and heed the advice to visit the doc this morning. I prayed about it in the early morning, while giving thanks for a great day I had yesterday and for everything else. He gave me the strength and courage to make my way out to the doc, while at the same time with a loud amd obvious warning, "Hey gal, start taking care of your diet. Have you noticed the many signs I have put around you all the time. You know your lifestyle of luxury. ... GIVE IT UP. Continue to eat, of cos, but cut out snacks, oily and sweet food, and exercise regularly. "

It is very tough. but if others can do it, why not I? I came back alright from the doc's visit, (thank God!) with the male doc seeming amused at my sposed over-anxiety. I found more posters about it, and even some very practical advice about keeping a healthy diet and lifestyle ( tips to cut fatty food, exercise regularly, reduce stress). So all those food that caused guilt should be avoided... and all nice food are in-edible! urghs. With the exception of once a week at most. So watch me and watch yourselves, people. Suddenly, I understand how those patients feel.

Yet, I thank God for it cos He's so great, to care for me to such detail. To smack me in the face early so that I can start keeping a clean and healthy diet and lifestyle now, plus slowly get back into shape! Wow! :D

Long weekend

Blissful, blissful long weekend. Ahhhhhhhhhh.......... I couldnt believe the peace and happiness I felt yesterday morning sitting at the bus-stop waiting to go sentosa to meet up with the LS pple. The morning sunshine, my own time ahead. No need to rush around and have time to even distance myself and reflect abt the work. (taboo!) I thought I probably enjoy holidays alone and not have to put up and adapt to different ppl. Yet, it is contradictory. When your personal time is packed with meeting pple, you wished you had time to nua and do everything you ever wanted to, like read all ur fave books and listen to all those wonderful songs you never have time for. Yet, when you are alone, like I am for most part of today, you wished to be with people. Crazy rite, tsk tsk.

Yesterday was a wonderful day out at Sentosa beach with the LS pple. Although initially, I had wondered whether I would really enjoy it, cos after all, I never particularly liked large group outings unless there is at least one person I am quite close to. And also, memories of past outings with them did not make it promising, there must be reasons I stopped going since abt a year ago? Yet, LISS had been an awesome experience, and Catholic/Christian communities are really a treasure... it is really great to journey together with people who share your faith.

It turned out great with half of them being newcomers to the community. Despite the external differences in personalities and unpredictable group dynamics, it was nice to remember that underneath the surface we all hold on to the same faith, and that was the root to greater empathy and care for one another. It was a nua-ing day as we strolled towards to beach, chitchatting. I enjoyed the morning sun and the happy and excited faces around as groups of friends and family came out to play on National Day. It was heartwarming to see parents with their toddlers, lovers, youngsters playing games, people with their pets. We had fun playing frisbee and all got sunburnt after that. Had a satisfying lunch at Subway. I shopped a little a vivo and bought a dress and pants after that. And we all caught the thrilling movie, Bourne Ultimate at night. It is rather intriguing, catch it! :)

After that, returned home with red-lobster P (after the sun burn) and J. Chatted with J abt the ministry she is trying to set up, the recent desaru trip, speaking in tongues, our enjoyable day at sentosa etc. Also kind of made up with Ja whose corny and insensitive jokes pissed me a few times during the outing, and the off-humour doesnt exactly make him popular with the rest. But I think he knew I was getting abit pissed, so the nice chat abt our work and leave and bosses during the ride home kinda reminded me that he is really rather nice a person. After all, I still remem his wise remark when we were in desaru, "it is the company that matters." (it is not ironic.)

After reaching home to a nice warm bath and hot soup, and a comfotable nua-ing time chatting with the rarely indulgent younger bro who was missed when he was away at Army (I have been seeing him abt 5 mins per week on Sats). I was reading papers and him, Harry Potter. He lent his music CDs as well, which I unfortunately fell asleep listening to. We wanted to call in Mac breakfast this morning, if not for my needing to see doc. I still cant reconcile the speed at which he is growing up. But am immensely proud at the fine young person he is becoming and the filial piety he shows to parents and niceness to people around. He is no kiddo anymore (to be bossed around by me or be influenced by my ideas) but increasingly with opinions of his own. But that makes it more challenging and interesting now I guess.

On Moving On

On a rare day of rest at home, I had the chance to surf the net (see, interrupted by dad again who broke my string of thoughts. I have an issue with communicating with him.. n being not pissed at him. God help.) and read about others' lives. I dont know if it is denial, that there are some things I did not like to read, and they still disturb me today.

They have been surfacing in my mind, whether or not consciously, ever since that outing with one and the sms exchange with another. Having to face things and relationships from the past made me wonder how much I have really changed. Am I in denial, or have I truly changed? How could I erase the past and pretend it never existed? How much of the person from almost a decade ago is the real me, and just how much can and should a person change? Do I, if given a choice, want to go back to the past and who I was before?

I believe I have considered these before, and I do not regret the journeys I have taken thus far to make me who I am today. These include all the pains and chains of envy, jealousy, insecurities, rejection, self doubts and self-loathe.

And yes, indeed, I have changed. And no, I do not wish to return to who I was before. After progessing to where I am today.

I have come to accept that there are some things I cannot change. Wherever I 'progress' to be, I have to be reminded that some things will always exist the way they do (even if i pretend that they are gone). And I have to adapt to that and co-exist. It may be the best way, to know that things are going well on the other side, and at the same time continue to treasure in my own way the things and people I still love.
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Growing and sustaining a new path [23 Jul 2007|08:20pm]
Another 1.5 months have passed. I am not really supposed to be here now in the office using the computer commonly shared by 10 pple (we have no individual internet access, hence my disappearance from MSN). How has it been?

It has been an amazing journey spiritually, and perhaps it is time to pen it down. Hereafter, I should publish my testimonials on the group website..!
He has led me well along the new path, and daily, I am challenged with how to better live life as an effective Christian. There are many things to learn.

1) Together with a few like-minded choirmates, who amazingly expressed the same sentiments as I did about the sprituality or complete lack of of our choir and the meaninglessness of our regular activities and singing, we decided to take a brave step and start a bible-sharing group for the choir, and take turns to lead it every Tuesday. Response has been good thus far and it has certainly progressed in deepening our frenships and understanding of the faith by learning and sharing with one another. I have always dreamt of a day I could do all these for Him, but never thought it could one day come true. And it did, almost too easily! One of the goals I came back with from the Thailand trip, which I shared with others but did not think it really possible, has been realised!

2) Burning with the desire and passion to serve, I did not shy away from helping out at LISS. But, not shying away is not expressive of my true, earnest desires to be His instrument. At first, I accepted my 'default' role as a prayer warrior (which role I also took last year, not so much out of desire to serve but for want of better things to do, although even then I experienced miracles I could not forget). But thought it was a waste cos I sense Him telling me to do more and go forth and spread His word. I continued being the laid back one turning up late for sessions and company I did not particularly enjoy. I did, nevertheless, expressed to the organiser that I was a little disappointed to be put as a prayer warrior again.

Towards the retreat, a facil dropped out unexpectedly and the organiser recommended for me to fill the role. After thinking hard abt it, I accepted the challenge. Facil? I am not good at contributing to and leading grp sharings, how could I possibly do it?? How could the grp's spritual experience at the milestone retreat depend on me (although obviously it was never me at work, i realised)? Was scared outta my wits the first sessions, although the experience forced me to be diligent in my prayer life in preparation for helping His people at the retreat.

Facing my participants, I didnt really know what to do as they were not kids, but intelligent, discerning young adults with much more ministry experience than me. What was I, an amatuer, to teach them? Furthermore, with my dear and extremely capable co-facil, I might as well just take a backseat. Yet, I knew He did not call me there to take a backseat.

After daily, diligent, earnest prayers, I grew truly concerned abt the spiritual lives of my dear participants. During the retreat and grp prayers, I prayed hard to carry out my 'duties' with the correct intentions and allow Him to work through me. I prayed hard to be able to genuinely love my participants to want to help them. True enough, miraculously, after the gals shared with me their deepest struggles, I grew to love and care for them immensely. THat love came not from me, but I believe is His love for them through me, that allowed me to do the healing and praying over for them.

The participants' testimonials after the retreat were amazing and touching. One saw familiar scenes of herself crying and thinking she was alone in her times of struggle, and the image of Jesus beside her in every scene unnoticed by her. Another saw herself in an open green field with Jesus sitting beside holding her hand. Another saw rays of light and Jesus in a white robe. (Y is He always in a white robe? Anyway, I think I need to see for myself)

Yesterday, one week after their LISS experiences, I was extremely touched to hear from them their experiences. One of the guys shared that he had over the week reconciled with his childhood friend who stole his gf 6 mths ago, for the fren had out of the blue taken the initiative to call him up. This was one of the issues he had shared with us for his healing session, as he confessed that he had been unable to forgive his fren. Another gal shared that over the week, she found out that the guy she had admired for 3 yrs has already gotten a GF. To her, it was a v low point, but to me, I thought "phew praise God". She had shared with us for her healing that she needed to know what to do with this guy who is not a xtian and often teases and undermines her faith practices, which made her lost for words/actions. She wondered whether she shd pursue the 'hot/cold' r/s. As I prayed for her, I prayed most sincerely for what was best for her, even though I didnt feel comfortable with the r/s. So the ans had surfaced for her v clearly. Another gal who has depressed and at a v low point b4 the retreat is extremely light-hearted and happy now. Time for a new life!

I also overcame my fears and built confidence in facilitating, i thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and these pple! I wanna join a facilitation network!

3) It left me, though, struggling to will myself to build on the faith. The one from the dark side prompts me at every opportunity ("Why dont u just believe in Fengshui, and focus on enjoying a gd life? Why care so much abt faith and helping other pple? Do you find yourself reaching any of the goals living in such a tough way?", "You are not good enough.", "You will never succeed, c'mon, dont even try." "If you believe in Him, you will lose control and land yourself real hard in a mess, and even the little faith you have now will be gone. I suggest you dont test your faith by trusting completely.", "Things will never work out", "You enjoy these things and you will continue to be chained by ur bad habits."). I know it cannot be by my own will and power. I told my participants, I understand that sometimes these promptings come hard on you, dont deliberate, raise SOS to ur facils and we will help you and pray for you. Yet, who is my SOS?

4) There is one part of my life I have not dared to entrust to Him, and I simply cant figure out what He wants. I know I am extremely blessed to be in this job with many benefits (bought 14 books using co. allowance, lying there to be read), when my ex colleagues are struggling with pay cuts in a sinking ship. Moving away was the best move I made. Pay increments/adjustments have occurred twice in 2 months. Boss is quite okie, and assistant is terrific. Yet, ever since that quibbling incident with a colleague, whom I have made myself forgive and treat nicely, things have not gone on too well. I wonder what is wrong and lacking? How to build better working r/ses? How to build better partnership with boss to bring out my own potential and contribute more effectively, so I can enjoy work more? How to work with dear assistant to bring out her best and still lead? Currently, petty quibblings and opinions by top management is making me feel real small and like doing junk work. My vision of developing many creative initiatives is not coming true as yet as I realised I was to be bogged down by many preceding procedures and boring things. Everything needs to be approved by multiple levels, and of cos, no one listens to a small fry like me. Then what's the point?
Is He telling me to leave it? I cant hear Him. What if He is?

If He is almightly, if He has everything under his feet, if He delivers His promises, if He has sealed us with his Holy Spirit, it would not be selective and He would help me with the work I have to face 5 days a week as well.
Or would You?

Yesterday, the priest said, "the prob is 90% of Catholics are passive, they do absolutely nothing. A Christian who does nothing is not a Christian. I encourage you to spend one hour in prayer daily and you will experience a trasnformation in your personal life, and the lives of those around you. If each of you do that, this church will be transformed into the most vibrant and dynamic church, not just in Spore, but in the world."

Haha, of cos there are implications if he says 'the world', what does it suggest abt the spirituality of most churches? Truth is, it is not easy for mere mortals to master up such strong self discipline. We are, after all, not nuns and priests whose main role and jobscope is to pray. We are faced with many distractions. All those times I plonked onto bed and fell right asleep, prob cos the alternative to that was to pray. All those times I diligently climbed outta bed at 5 am to pray, only to doze off 75% of the time. All those times I hid in the washroom saying my fervant prayers before facing another new day and ppl.

I would like to develop and have a routine prayer life (I do read the bible daily now, what strength it gives me!), all u Xtians out there, join me in the one-hour rule.....ask me the next time! (in a v nice way of cos, hehe)
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