Monday, December 22, 2008

Annual shut-down

*yawns* This is my annual shut-down time starting off!

And at the end of about six weeks of coughing, I am sure looking forward to it!

This Wednesday I'm going home to Penang. Looking soooooooo forward to it.

Yesterday Avis and I did a marathon. First, we were in church for Sunday service. I was as usual at the LCD ... and dis was not a good week, ppls! Enuff said! Those involved know why, and those not involved do not need to knows.

As it was I was on high nerves because Uncle Sam told me that he couldn't come for the Christmas Hospital Visitation. I guess I was really worn out trying to cope with work and having to get all e stuff done at the same time plus volunteer work because it was really hard for me to get my equilibrium after that.

Then the LCD incident.... oh mahns.... I kept kicking myself so I wouldn't start howling!

So a few rushing around last-minute thingies to get the Christmas Hospital Visitation and the Undercover Project stuff in order and we were ready to go! Chinese Church was the biggest contingent. Bless their hearts - they have hearts full of love for the suffering and unreached.

We went to the hospital and I was in the kidney failure ward. The mothers talked and talked .... you could see how tense and tired they were with all the worry....

We left there and picked up quick bites and drinks of orange crush from Mc.D's and then went to church to drop off those NOT going for the Undercover Project delivery.

When we got to Ti-Ratana we gave them the underwear we'd collected and the books that Uncle Sam had donated. Then we had a great time wandering around and talking to the kids.

After that we dropped back more people and after Unc. Paul and Auntie Vivien gave us a wonderful dinner (*hugs*!) we went off for volunteer work.

Phew-sies! All in all a great wrap-up to the year, but I'm thankful for a quiet Christmas coming up! I know there are Christmas outings and parties planned and New Year outings etc. but I'm ready to lie flat on my bed and catch up on some nonsensical reading ... and more importantly, just some prayer time.

I really want to know where 2009 is going. I feel so loved and assured now that I'm not somewhere out of church hanging by a thread all by myself, but part of the church in a ministry called by God. (Thanks Pst Bee Leng *huggles*) But where the direction is that missions dept is going, I have no idea. What I'm supposed to do in the volunteer work that I do, I have no idea. Nor in my work, my friends etc.

So it's going to be a quiet time of seeking God and resting my head so that I can look towards Him without a lot of worries and pre-occupations.

See you all next week!

St Francis of Assisi

Whilst in Italy, I visited Assisi. It was a quiet little town with a big monastery on a slope. I forgot all about it until today I was just thinking about the prayer of St Francis...

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Thought about it because... sometimes I get frustrated when "Person A so totally doesn't understand me." But I think that's beside the point, isn't it? The whole point is, do I try to understand them?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

C'est moi!

The Protector

As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.

INFJs place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk.

INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get "feelings" about things and intuitively understand them. As an extreme example, some INFJs report experiences of a psychic nature, such as getting strong feelings about there being a problem with a loved one, and discovering later that they were in a car accident. This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.

Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubborness and tendency to ignore other people's opinions. They believe that they're right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals.

INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be. This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.

In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition. INFJs can also be found in service-oriented professions. They are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks. The INFJ will either avoid such things, or else go to the other extreme and become enveloped in the details to the extent that they can no longer see the big picture. An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.

The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.


From Wikipedia:-
INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear vision, which they then execute decisively to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.

INFJs are quiet, private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Although very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner.

Accounting for 1–3% of the population, INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life, which they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions, and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well-liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types. However, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and so tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal this except to their closest companions. INFJs may "silently withdraw as a way of setting limits," rather than expressing their wounded feelings. This behavior may leave others confused and upset.

INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world, but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they could understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired. Yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Exam results

And the results are in!!!! Ta-daaaaaa... I fiiiinnnaaaaalllllllyyyyyy passed! Finito to all ICAEW exams! Phew!

Got my results during the BBQ at YA Camp and yelled loud enough for all the youths around me to hear.

A little bit sad tho that not all my friends got thru, but happy that many of them did. Thank you God!

It's a bit funny, but .... I think I miss my granny the most now when my results are out than any other time. She was so awfully proud of me when I was doing this qualification, and so excited that I had finished all my papers. I know she'd have been thrilled to hear that I passed, and I can just imagine her happy voice talking to me on the phone about it. But... she isn't around anymore.

Y'know, I was very surprised and very touched to find that she left me a locket. My dad and aunt say that that was my granny's most treasured possession. And she attached a little label to it in her own handwriting with my name on it. Can u imagine? I never knew my granny loved me that much.

YA Camp

Ha ha! Have been hopping about blogs reading what everyone says about youth camp. Everyone agrees it was awesome, and it definitely was!

I spent most of it pretty wet, due to a certain amount of ineptitude in pouring water safely from a kettle to a dispenser, but it was all good!

The youths were awesome as usual - one can never be bored around our church youths! They're a loveable crew!

The camp speaker was a friend of our youth leader and he was so all out in preaching the Word. U could see he was someone who had dedicated his life to God and God was using him to pour out into the lives of those around him. The testimonies were awesome! I was especially happy because there were a lot of examples in hospital ministry. Praying that means more ppl will sign up for the children hospital visitation ;> It's so funs, ppls!!!!

The youths were on e high rope and flying fox and it was great to see them so delighted wif it. We had one youth who refused to leave early with his parents until he completed the high rope course. It is sooooooo scarily high, manz. It freaked me out! I was so happy to be down on the ground!

I missed the pond rafting, but I heard three rafts disintegrated or somefing like dat. Ha ha! That means dat my Camp Believe 2007 still holds the record, becos ALL our rafts floated from beginning to end! I am sooooo proud of my orphanage kids!

Missed out on half the skits and songs too, but it is seriously amazing how talented e youths are. God has truly poured out talents into this coming generation to use for His glory! Hey, the best actresses, singers, dancers, artists, craftsmen etc. are in the church, okay!!! Y? Because we are anointed by God for His glory!

Met some new frens, and I have to say, this year's bunch of visitors were so sweet and quiet and good ... it made for a very peaceful, sweet camp, dis year! I thoroughly enjoyed de atmosphere. The less the competition, the more enjoyable the camp, me says! Everyone stays frens!

And I was overjoyed to get a chance to share the gospel wif some of the visitors and especially to watch the other leaders, too, share the gospel. And it was truly awesome to see some of the youths reach out to their relatives. U guys are sooooo cool!

This year was the record - two girls for the clinic, and more medication poured down the throats of the youths then any camp that I've been to before! Good grief! I am so glad God protected everyone from serious illnesses and injury!

And my most fixed memory of camp must be running around getting everyone to finish signing the cards for the advisors, the speakers, Pst Kim and U. Mak..... Phew!

So in summary....

.... I thank God for the camp committee - you guys did an awesome job! I am so proud of you all!

.... I thank God for the camp speaker - you rawk and u went all out! Thanks for making de difference!

.... I thank God for the weather - admit it, u guys, the rain added to the fun of camp! And God sure made sure that the rain didn't come when the youths were playing e fun stuff!

.... I thank God for the privilege of serving - I'm glad I didn't miss out on camp this year, God. Sick or not, camp is too good to miss!

.... I thank God for the messages preached - they spoke to my situation, and they impacted the youths.

.... I thank God for the youths - it is my joy and privilege to see u guys grow year on year! You have all changed so much to become stronger men and women of God, ready to be used by Him for His glory!

.... I thank God for the opportunity to plant seeds and share the toil with the others who are also planting the seeds. May they come to fruition, Lord.

.... I thank God for the chance to just worship - I can't remember worshipping U like that for, like, so so long.

.... I thank God for U. Mak and A. Kim. U guys show us how to live... not just talk and talk, but u walk the walk. I love you!

Most of all, I thank You God. You made all the difference. And I love YOU most of all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rumah Sayangan outing

















Oh isn't she the sweetest? This little girl was clinging to my arm most of the trip with the Rumah Sayangan children to Sg. Chongkak.

Little S was feeling bus sick after a pretty rollicky journey. She is so quiet she wouldn't tell us what is wrong... just overflowed with tears. She went to the side with a housemother and the next thing we knew she was bawling becos the Tiger Balm that the housemother gave her to make her feel better went into her eyes! Oh poor wee girl!

So for the rest of the day she hung on to my arm when eating.... going to the washroom.... walking around the campsite... and uh oh! ... when going in the v. cold river....

So now I'm hacking away ... pain in me right chest... but it was worth it! I had a wonderful time!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Personality test

Main Type
Overall Self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test


Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 5 Detachment |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||| 30%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||| 50%
Type 9 Calmness |||||| 30%
Your main type is 2
Your variant is social
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomorrow

When I was in University, I joined the Gospel Choir led by Vanessa Amoah. And Vanessa introduced me to this beautiful song that stayed with me all these years.

Jesus said
"Here I stand,
won't you please let me in?"
And you said
"I will... tomorrow"

Jesus said
"I am He
who supplies all your needs"
And you said
'I know... but tomorrow

Chorus:
Oh, tomorrow
I'll give my life tomorrow
I thought about today
But it's so much easier to say

Tomorrow
Who promised you tomorrow
Better choose the Lord today
For tomorrow very well might be
Too late.

Jesus said
"Here I stand
Won't you please take My hand?"
And you said
"I will ... tomorrow"

Jesus said
"I am He
Who supplies all your needs"
And you said
"I know... but tomorrow"

Chorus:
Oh, tomorrow
I'll give my life
Tomorrow
I thought about today,
But it's so much easier to say

Tomorrow
Who promised you tomorrow,
Better choose the Lord today
For tomorrow very well might be
Too late.

And who said
Tomorrow would ever come for you
Still you laugh and play
And continue on to say
'Tomorrow'
Forget about tomorrow
Won't you give
your life today
Please don't just turn and walk away

Tomorrow, tomorrow is not promised
Don't let this moment slip away
Your tomorrow could very well begin
Today

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Events

Christmas events with e orphanages! Yippee! Okay okay, so they're not all Christmas-based, but it's so near Christmas, it feels like it!

29/11/2008 Su Yin (*muaks* *muaks*! U're an absolute blessing, luvvy!) is organizing a end-of-e-year outing to Sg. Chongkak with kids from Rumah Sayangan

7/12/2008 Rumah Hope kids are going for the Malaysia Revival Songwriters Competition

10-13/12/2008 YA Camp with kids from.... one of e orphanages! Secret till camp!

21/12/2008 Christmas visit to the kids in General Hospital with Christmas gifts to cheer em up!

25/12/2008 Christmas visit to Ti-Ratana Orphanage and Anbu Illam with gifts from their wish list and new underwear that we're collecting for the children ;>

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Visit to AFESIP Cambodia


We rode in this tuk tuk


This is Tom Dy vocational centre for rescued child prostitutes from 16-25 years old.


The girls learn sewing.


They also learn simple typing. They desperately need typing teachers.


In their free time they learn simple arithmetic, reading and writing. It is difficult for them to learn sewing otherwise because of the measurements.


Here they are trained in hair-dressing and facials.


10 girls sleep in this room on mats on the floor!


These are the kids of some of the residents - some of them are pregnant when they come.


This is a painting drawn by one of the residents.


These are the girls who have died of AIDS at the Centre.


This is Kampong Cham centre for rescued child prostitutes from the ages of 6-16 years. The children go to school and study instead of learning vocational work.


They have simple sewing classes after school. Btw, only 2 of the sewing machines actually work!


They also do simple weaving.


This is where they have tuition but it is so hot in here because the roof is zinc and there is no fan.


This is where they sleep.

Sorry but as this is a public domain, I can't put up full frontal photos of the girls... I posted on Facebook though as that is more private.

It really was a special time... the girls are so sweet!

Fire at Ti-Ratana Orphanage


This is the little girl who passed away in the fire - she was only 6 years old and cute as a button!


She slept in the bottom bunk.


The entire room blazed up.


The children sleeping upstairs tumbled down this staircase.


Some of the children were calling thru the bars.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Take It To The Lord

My favourite song from Rizuan the Musical....

Take It To The Lord
Words & Music By Diana Wee

When you’re down under
And there’s no light to be seen
The dark clouds just don’t want to leave
Everyday is a struggle with burdens to bear
And you can’t go on anymore

Take it to the Lord in prayer
Lift up your burdens to Him
Cos even in our deepest struggle
We can be assured
He’s our God and He does hear our prayers

When friends betray you
And no one seems to care
People hurt and despise you
With sharp words attack you
And you can’t go on anymore

Cover him with love and prayer

A friend of mine asked if I'd heard what had happened to the pastor of a famous church.

I hadn't, but later I read the story.

This is what I think: Cover him with love and prayer.

Don't gossip about him.

Don't get hurt and discouraged and leave the church.

Somebody wrote once about my Pastor Sun. And I think sometimes people point fingers too quickly. But God will heal and restore. I know He will. He is a faithful God.

We may see the greatest restoration work that the Lord has done yet :> And what a testimony that will be!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Flooded with love

I was in such a funk last week :> I think it's the leftover adrenaline from all the hard days studying for exams. Ppl, you have not seen students study until you see the ICAEW students study! Imagine being in college from 7:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. and even then there are students who stay back until 2-something a.m.!

Anyway I remember moaning, "Lord, you know how You said we will reap what we sow? How come I sow encouragement but nobody encourage me one?"

Well, after that grumble, I was literally flooded with love and encouragement from so many friends! Filled to the top and overflowing :>

My God is so loving and so are my friends :>

Friday, July 25, 2008

Silenced By Your Love

Lurve this song! Someone said it is 'so normal'.... but I think what I love best about the song is that it gets 'real'. Sometimes songs with bombastically long complicated words don't sound 'real' anymore. This one sounds from the heart.

Verse 1
My heart Lord can grow cold,
And turn from You
And the flame deep within me,
Is barely burning bright
You're faithful and gentle, calling me home
Looking past beyond my failure,
You love me still and that is why

Chorus:-
I stand in awe of You,
I stand in awe at Your love
For Your love it covers me,
Like the waves cover the shore
Gently calling me,
Drawing me back to You Lord
Holding me close to Your heart
I am silenced, silenced by Your love.

Verse 2
My Father, and Savior, You're ever true
You sent Your Son to die,
And paid the price for me
I'm ever indebted to You my King
Now I lay my life before You,
With gratitude, my songs I'll sing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What They Got Right

I've seen a lot of people point accusing fingers at City Harvest Church. They point out all the things that CHC got 'wrong' - our dressing, our building, our 'youth-fulness', and goodness knows what else.

But there was something that CHC got very right - I always felt there as if I belonged. As if I was part of a loving family that really cared about me.

It didn't matter that I spent my time helping people who are 'disadvantaged'. It didn't matter that I acted 'old-fashioned'. I wasn't 'boring'. It was okay to be me. I never felt weird or out of place. There was always room for me.

I miss that so much.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Extent of Love

I received a thank you card today. The card made me smile not because of the card but because of the thought and the person behind the card. This person is a lovely person to do anything for, not just because the person always expresses gratitude, but because of who the person is.

It made me think about the things we do for people. To what extent would we go for somebody?

It's pretty easy to imagine jumping into a fire to save someone we love. Running to a car wreck to pull someone out. I know of the Sg. Chilling incident where youths jumped in to rescue one of the fathers who was swept away by the river, and five of them, including the father, perished.

But what if it was someone whom you had good reason to hate? Someone who had always been against you for some reason?

I was reading the autobiography of Phoolan Devi whose uncle stole property from her father so that they lived in terrible poverty. Who would beat her mother with a stick whilst her mother cowered, sent people to batter and rape Phoolan, and whose son later on went on to steal the only thing of value left to the family.

I read of another lady in South Africa whose child was taken away and murdered. Later on they took her husband and tortured him. Finally she was dragged to see her husband lying in pain burnt alive.

What if it was someone like that?

What if someone like that was caught dealing drugs, for instance? We all know the penalty in our country - death by hanging. At the very least, the rotan (cane).

What would we do? Would the bitterness and anger that we have at the person who hurt our mother, burnt our father and did his best to destroy us feel a sense of vindication and cold joy at the thought of him receiving his just rewards?

Or would we offer to stand in his place? Would we say "Set him free. I'll take the punishment." and accept the whips from the rotan or the rope around our necks knowing that all the time, the person who hurt you and your family was going off scot-free to enjoy life and that life abundantly?

What if he wasn't grateful? What if he sneered at you and told you what a fool you were and spat at you as you made your way to the punishment room? And you knew, you knew that at any moment you could halt all this and put him back into the place that you had rescued him from with just one word?

Crazy isn't it? But that's what my Jesus did.

He took my place and all of our places, even yours, at the cross. He endured beatings, heat, slappings by the very ones He came to save, was spat on, jeered at when He fell, and yet to the very last He said, "Father, forgive them."

Isn't it incredible to know how much He loves you and me?

Youtube

What do YOU think of Youtube?

Do you think it is it a right thing to use if we upload artists' work onto Youtube?

I was concerned about copyright when I saw that the people who uploaded music videos onto Youtube very often were not the artists' or the record companies themselves.

We tend to download their videos from Youtube onto our blogs.

Should we? What's your opinion?

Protests


I'm proud of this girl. It is not just that she protected the Olympic torch flame and kept smiling throughout the ordeal.

It is because she chose to say, "Most French people are very friendly" and refused to boycott French goods.

I salute this girl: Jin Jing.

Her remarks made her 'unpopular' amongst those who just a short moment ago hailed her as a hero.

Not so long ago, we had our own 'boycott'. We as a nation decided to emphasize that certain goods came from a certain country. Said certain country had offended some of us and we decided to show our displeasure by boycotting the goods of that nation.

Never mind that said nation's entrepeuneurs had already threatened to sue the one person who had done the deed that had set a particular group of people up in arms.

Never mind that said nation's government had apologized repeatedly to the world at large and emphasized that it did not agree with the one person's actions.

No, we must punish the entire nation by boycotting all their goods! That would teach them a lesson!

What a circus that was with red circles being put on certain goods to identify them as coming from said nation, and full-page advertisements taken out by companies whose parent company were in said nation pleading for understanding that 'we are really very Malaysian indeed and we think action A done by person B in the home country of our parent company is per-fect-ly DES-PI-CABLE!'

Listen, I do NOT condone the performance of a deed that in all good conscience serves no good purpose except to offend a particular people group. But neither do I condone punishing a country for the deeds of one of its people!

We teach children 'forgive and forget', 'be the bigger person' and 'just ignore them'. Why can't we do the same?

Monday, April 21, 2008

You

You
Make me smile
Sometimes you even make me laugh

I enjoy your MSN's
I like the way you always find a joke in everything
I admire and respect the way you stand up for our God

Don't get me wrong
I'm clear that you are and always will remain
A friend

But I want to say
Your friendship has challenged me
To a deeper relationship with God

Your probing questions
Make me think more deeply to make sure
I fully understand the subject we discuss

Your jokes and sense of humour have taught me
That being funny doesn't mean losing your dignity
In fact, it makes people respect you

Thanks for the insights
Into how you think and feel
I appreciate your openness

I've seen you live out
The obedience you preach
Thank you for mirroring the 'real' Christian life

Keep going strong, Man of God

(P.S. No, this blog is not dedicated to the person I wrote about in my previous blog. It's someone else :> )

Love languages

I found it interesting last week when I told someone "You know I love you" (teasingly, more than anything :> We're friends).

He jokingly replied, "You lie!"

And I was like, "Oi! I really do love you!" (with pretend sniffles thrown in!)

Whereupon he said, "Ya, I know. I can see when you comment on my blog."

I found that really interesting because, yeap, as a friend, I really love this guy. He is a rare jewel - a real man of God.

And it made me think of the 5 love languages of people.

Here is the link for the test:-http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/30sec.html#love

Basically the question that the test is trying to answer is, "How do you perceive you are loved?"

There are 5 different ways we 'feel' loved, and depending on who we are personality wise, the ways we feel loved are different.

These are through:-

1) Words of affirmation
2) Quality time
3) Receiving gifts
4) Acts of service
5) Physical touch

Word of affirmation can be compliments, encouragement etc.

Quality time is one of those 'REALLY listening, REALLY being there' things.

Gifts we all understand.

Acts of service can be little chores to help out.

Physical touch is probably the least 'Asian' way to show love - hugs, kisses etc.

How do YOU feel loved?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Find Us Faithful

So touched when Pst Bee Leng dedicated this song to me in her blog.

I have felt the call stronger than ever to rise up during this time.

Steve Green: Find Us Faithful
We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

CHORUS:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Friday, March 21, 2008

Calling 'names'

Something that I wrote about way back in Uni....

I wonder if we ever think about how cruel some of the words we throw at people are.

Just a thought....

Eg. have you ever thought how cruel it is to use 'bastard'? The reason for that is that there ARE children who are illegitimate in the world. And I personally know some. And so WHAT if they are? What are you implying when you question someone's legitimacy? Is it really funny to sneer at someone just because he/she is born out of wedlock?

I can tell you that if you called someone whom I know was born out of wedlock a 'bastard', I'd probably give you a bloody nose! Well, no I won't - I don't use my fists - but I would probably jump to the person's defence verbally anyway!

A second one which really, really makes me wince is 'mother f***er'. Oh man, if anyone were to use that around me....!!!

How can anyone NOT see how inanely cruel this is? There ARE some people in the world who are sexually abused by being lured into intercourse with their moms. OK. Fact. Let me be blunt. And when you throw this sneer around joyfully, how do you know it has not met its mark in someone who is desperately hurting from a lifetime of abuse? And don't scoff by telling me that its extremely rare and that it is highly unlikely the person you are freely naming as such is a victim - it is wantonly cruel to take that chance anyway!

Well, many may say I'm making mountains out of molehills, but I don't care!

Monday, March 17, 2008

India

So... fair warning first that I saw what I wanted to see in India, and it is not cheerful in any sense of the word :> The cheerful-lest part of it for me was me coming back to TOD and squeaking "Pst Irene, someday I wanna go India on mission trip with OM" and being encouraged by Pst Irene's reply. :>

Was there for just four nights and four days (yes, it is possible - I arrived late at night mah. Checked in at close to midnight.) Accounting conference. Fascinating stuff. We sit around and discuss how our clients are affected by the latest accounting policies and tax regulations ;>.

Anyway, when we arrived in the airport, the first thing you notice is that it is not one of the most developed airports you've visited. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, I started having breathing problems from the smog. There were little three wheeled motorised trishaws waiting around but we had transport to the hotel by car.

Along the way someone pointed out the lorries had signs at the back saying "Honk please". Apparently everyone in India takes that literally because there was a cacophony all the way back to the hotel.

And what was the first thing I noticed? Guys relieving themselves on almost every street we passed by (*wry look*). Asthmatic me also saw that there were very few pavements - everything was dry sand and dust, dust, dust everywhere.

The next day after having the tax meetings and audit meetings (don't ask!) the host firm took us on tour around New Delhi. Our hotel was on Embassy Road (btw, quick tip :- 5 star hotel vastly overpriced!!!).

Outside the gated buildings lining the sandy pavements were tents of very rough material. From the bus I could see families living inside the tents. There were pots of cooking oil outside on top of gas stoves often tended by women. Children wearing rather dirty clothes and covered by the dust of the streets played outside the tents.

Strange to say there were men sitting around and lying about everywhere.... be it on the pavements or in the middle of the roundabouts and road dividers. One couldn't help but wonder if there was insufficient employment for them.

Whenever the bus stopped, vendors and little children and women would knock on our bus windows asking us to buy things from them or just begging for money. It was a pretty heartbreaking sight.

The worst was seeing a mother beating a circus drum (there are many street circus children begging on the streets in exchange for tricks) whilst her little daughter who couldn't have been more than 5 turned somersaults on her little tummy in the middle of the hot tarmac road. More worryingly, cars and other vehicles were racing up and down the road whilst the little girl did her performance!

It is one thing to see street people located in one area of the city, but to see them everywhere on almost every road....

(continued tomorrow)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nepal

Someone was asking about Nepal. I remembered reading about the way Nepalese girls were abused and sold by their families in the Readers' Digest, so did a little Internet digging... and found this....

Call for Global Action to halt Nepalese women and girls trafficking
Surya B. Prasai
American Chronicle Biography

Surya B. Prasai
February 10, 2008

In South Asia, Nepal remains the top country that faces the brunt of global child and women trafficking.

The trafficking of girls from Nepal into India for the purpose of prostitution is already well chronicled by Nepalese and Indian media where they form part of the busy 'sex slave traffic'. Trafficking of women and girls has, in fact become a highly profitable business for those engaged in it. After Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan are the two other South Asian countries that have a high number of women being trafficked mainly to India, Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia for commercial sex and maid service work.

Why is Nepal facing the brunt of global child and women trafficking? Every year nearly 10,000 Nepalese women are trafficked to India´s four main cities, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore for bondage based commercial sex.

The areas used by traffickers to procure women and girls are the isolated districts of Nepal include Sindhupalchowk, Makwanpur, Dhading and Kavre, where there is, coincidentally, a high proliferation of HIV/AIDS figures. The population there is also largely illiterate. According to Amnesty International, in an April 1998 report, this exchange takes the form of poverty induced quick cash for ´goods´ where there is also the direct acquiescence or cooperation of state officials. The young women and girls are usually between the age of nine and 16.

Besides, another 6,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked to Hongkong, Thailand and the South East Asian countries as far as away as Taiwan. This new trend started only after 1995. The number of Nepalese girls being trafficked to the Middle East is also climbing sharply with nearly 7,000 having flown there in direct connivance of state police and other machinery, according to various source reports dealing with trafficking in women and prostitution in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to Tim McGirk "Nepal's Lost Daughters, 'India's soiled goods" (Nepal/India News, 27 January 1997) more than 200,000 Nepalese girls are involved in the Indian sex trade. The girls are bought for as little as $ 20 and later on sold or re-sold to Indian sex market agents for up to US$ 600. The price the girl commands is based on her beauty, physique and the demand for her type of service and willingness which the scrupulous cross border trafficking agents determine. The girls are usually funneled through a single route, Hetauda which is getting to be South Asia´s main corridor for commercial sex exploitation. According to CATW - Asia Pacific, all the trafficked Nepalese women and girls aged between 14-29 are put in debt bondage, and often have to service between 15-25 customers daily. They often have to work between 14-18 hours a day offering commercial sex for which they get paid nothing. Hong Kong is the second biggest sex market for trafficked Nepalese women according to CARW in its report ´Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific´.

It is only recently that the border authorities between India and Nepal have stepped up their vigilance to stop child and women trafficking. Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, all have a similar trend where child marriage is accepted and the young girls are married to the same individual if not a trafficking agent who then gets to be the first conduit in the fuelling route. Not only do many impoverished Nepali parents sell their young wives and daughters for as little as US$ 150 to the trafficking agents, some highly impoverished families even get their daughters booked in advanced to the trafficking agents. It is also known that many rural unemployed men, during the past 11 year civil conflict in Nepal, resorted to marrying at least two or three wives and sold them to the Indian brothers directly.

The other alarming fact of course is that Nepal has a unique cultural system known as "Deukis," whereby by rich zamindars (feudalistic agricultural families) having no children through a legally married wife, procure these young girls from poor rural Nepalese families and after initiating them into the household through the temple rites are taken as mistresses cum slave bonded laborers to produce offspring. Later on, as the girl gets to be over 30 years and grows older, she is forced into prostitution. There is no respite to what the poor Nepalese girl has to suffer on in life once initiated into this system. In 2007 according to a UN report, there werel nearly 30,000 deukis in Nepal compared to 1992, when there were 17,000 deuki girls according to Radhika Coomaraswamy in the UN Special Report on Violence against Women.

In India, the brothels are known as red light districts and the majority of Indian owners prefer the Nepali girls and women because they are culturally more liberal. They also work harder than the Indian girls and they have no family trace to report to on the girls welfare. Therefore, should the girl die of HIV/AIDs or suffer from any STI, there is no obligation to take care of her. It has been stated by various Indian NGOs that the girls often were locked up, starved, beaten, and burnt with cigarettes for not complying with the brothel owner or the customers´ needs. Some of the girls also had gone through ´training´ in being initiated into prostitution, which included constant exposure to pornographic films, tutorials in how to 'please' customers, repeated rapes, according to Soma Wadhwa in her noted article "For sale childhood," published in Outlook India published in 1998.


Even today, the open porous border between India and Nepal affords easy commercial pliability for sex transactions which also includes primarily trafficking of Nepalese women and girls. The nearly 1,740 mile-long open border between India and Nepal virtually remains unchecked since both countries authorities take it that it being an open border, there should be minimal security encumbrance for the hundreds of thousands of daily migrants and businessmen who travel across it. Both Indian and Nepalese border and immigration officials also acknowledge that trafficking in women and young girls is less risky than smuggling gold or narcotics. If the paper work is approved, the cleverer of the smugglers take a batch of six to 10 women across the border for less than US$ 10 each and they are forwarded onward to their end destination by other traffickers who form a complicated chain of ´human smuggling" until they end up at the brothel doors. It would be wrong to suggest that all police and immigration officials are corrupt in the route, but for those who are morally weak, the brothel owners pay just about one-tenth of the girl´s value to bribe them through. In the poor South Asian region, this is a big incentive to get things done even if it is illegal.

According to Asia Foundation, an American non-profit, there need to be regional programs to target the issue more broadly. The Foundation has supported policymakers, counter-trafficking practitioners, and vulnerable communities to plan and execute local, national, bilateral, and regional initiatives to combat human trafficking in 11 source, transit, and destination countries throughout Asia including Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, and Mongolia. The Foundation's counter-trafficking programs center on the achievement of four major strategic objectives: (1) Preventing human trafficking and exploitation; (2). Improving and institutionalizing systems for effective law enforcement and prosecution; (3) Enhancing services and protection for survivors of human trafficking; and (4) Developing and strengthening cross-border and regional coordination.

The sad fact is despite such well known institutions and others such as Human Rights Watch which has chronicled the legal and human rights violations in the act, Nepalese girls continue being trafficked and sold for prostitution in India. The victims are only abandoned when they become infected with HIV. For instance, of 218 Nepalese girls rescued in February 1996 from a Bombay police raid, 60-70% of them were HIV positive. This is only the tip of the iceberg, the figures are much larger of course.

Unless there is firmer cross-border action with involvement of international non-governmental organizations, it will be difficult for the governments of Nepal and India to solve the problem on their own. In fact, the exploitation of Nepalese women and girls may never end. According to Durga Ghimire, chairperson of a 98-NGO-strong pressure group National Network Groups Against Trafficking "For some there is too much easy money in it, for others there's nothing to be gained by lobbying for its abolition. But surely, for now, it can be monitored. Its magnitude can be lessened only if there is stronger national commitment from both ends." Mr. Gauri Pradhan of Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN), now a member of Nepal´s National Human Right Commission too has done some exploratory work in the field and believes that the closer collaboration between the two governments can only help solve the issue. Some Nepalese experts also believe that the low status afforded to the Nepalese girl-child is the main cause of all the worries.

Both in India and Nepal, there are hundreds of shelters that help in the rehabilitation of the girls who have been freed from the clutches of an imperiled existence. However, their work is not easy since most donor programs in Nepal do not have a built-in component to tackle child slavery and cross-border trafficking as part of Nepal´s post-transitional imitative after the past civil conflict that tore down most of the rural infrastructure. Similarly, relatives of the rescued girls generally don't want the girls back and the Nepal Government is left worrying on the further spread of HIV back in Nepal as many of the trafficked girls have contracted HIV while enslaved in India. There is definitely need for global action to halt the sad plight of Nepalese women and young girls trafficked abroad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Child Prostitutes in Cambodia

Spent Chinese New Year reading about Somaly Man and her work with the child prostitutes of Cambodia. She wrote about how nowadays, they start the children young - about 5/ 6 years old - because there is such a high demand for virgins. They are used for a week. When they are returned, they are sewn up without anaesthetic and sent out again.

Anyway, decided to visit the organization she has set up in Cambodia in December. This is an article about them....

"Girl, 6, embodies Cambodia's sex industry
By Dan Rivers
CNN

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- At an age when most children might be preparing for their first day of school, Srey, 6, already has undergone trauma that is almost unspeakable.

She was sold to a brothel by her parents when she was 5. It is not known how much her family got for Srey, but other girls talk of being sold for $100; one was sold for $10.

Before she was rescued, Srey endured months of abuse at the hands of pimps and sex tourists.

Passed from man to man, often drugged to make her compliant, Srey was a commodity at the heart of a massive, multimillion-dollar sex industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

"It is huge," said Mu Sochua, a former minister of women's and veteran's affairs who is an anti-sex trade activist.

The precise scale of Cambodia's sex trade is difficult to quantify. International organizations -- such as UNICEF, ECPAT and Save the Children -- say that anywhere from from 50,000 to 100,000 women and children are involved. An estimated 30 percent of the sex workers in Phnom Penh are under the age of 18, according to the United Nations. The actual figure may be much higher, activists say.

Global sex industry
Around the world, more than 1 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade each year, according to the U.S. State Department. The State Department believes Cambodia is a key transit and destination point in this trade.

"Trafficking for sexual exploitation also occurs within Cambodia's borders, from rural areas to the country's capital, Phnom Penh, and other secondary cities in the country," the State Department wrote in a 2006 report. "The Government of Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so."

Sochua said that with millions of Cambodians struggling to live on less than 50 cents a day, many women turn to the sex industry. Poverty is also often what drives parents to sell their child or themselves on the streets.

"Always a child is left behind, often a girl, who is preyed on by traffickers," Sochua added.

An unlikely savior
Srey was rescued from the life of a sex slave by Somaly Mam, a former prostitute who runs shelters for the victims of Cambodia's sex trade. Somaly has rescued 53 children, so far. Many of them have profound psychological trauma. Some clearly are mentally ill.

"A lot of them, when they arrive, have psychological problems ... very big problems. ... And they never have love by the people, by their parents," Somaly said.

One girl at Somaly's shelter appears especially disturbed. She was rescued after being imprisoned for two years in a cage, where she was repeatedly raped.

She needs psychiatric care, but there is none available. Somaly says she does her best to give this girl love and support, but that it's not easy with so many other needy children around.

Somaly herself suffered terrible ordeals when she worked the streets, including seeing her best friend murdered. She is determined to build something positive out of so much despair.

Her work has caught the attention of world leaders, celebrities and religious figures. Her office in Phnom Penh is adorned with photos of her meeting Pope John Paul II and messages of support from governments and charities.

Despite the attention, Somaly said the situation on the street is not getting better. Gang rapes of prostitutes are becoming more common, she said, and many of the attackers don't use condoms. Instead, they share a plastic bag.

"Poor women, they have been raped by eight, 10, 20, 25 men ... they hit them. They receive a lot of violence," she said.

HIV-AIDS also remains a persistent, though declining, problem among Cambodia's female sex workers.

About 20 percent of Cambodia's female sex workers are HIV-positive, according to Cambodia's Ministry of Health. This compares with the 39 percent of sex workers who tested positive in 1996, according to the Health Ministry.

To help sex workers transition to a more normal life, Somaly is hoping to expand her refuge in the countryside outside Phnom Penh, where former sex workers attend school and learn skills like weaving and sewing.

Asked what the future holds for Srey, Somaly stroked the girl's hair and paused.

Srey is HIV-positive, she said.

In such a poor country, without decent hospitals or medical care, Srey's future is bleak. Somaly just hopes she can make this girl's life bearable for as long as it lasts."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mud cookies

EXTREME poverty is forcing Haiti's poorest people to eat dirt.

Mud cookies - made from dirt, salt and vegetable shortening - have become popular among Haitians desperate to stave off hunger, the Associated Press reports.

The cookies - which are occasionally used by pregnant women and children as an antacid and source of calcium - have become a regular meal.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the most disadvantaged in the world.

Seventy-six per cent of the population lives on less than $2.25 a day, and 55 per cent live on less than $1.13 a day.

Chronic malnutrition is widespread and diarrhoea - an easily-preventable disease - kills one in five children under the age of five.

Haitian doctors have warned that relying on the mud cookies will lead to malnutrition.

“Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it,” said Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti’s health ministry.

The mud cookies sell for around five cents each, compared to 60 cents for two cups of rice.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Childhood dysfunction

I've noticed these past couple of months an increase in impatient, "Don't worry lah"'s from friends. It made me pull up short and reflect a bit on this 'worry-wart' trait. I know that one of the reasons why I worry has much to do with a fairly dysfunctional family. I got this off the Net:-


Children growing up in a dysfunctional family have been known to adopt one or more of six basic roles:

"The Good Child" – a child who assumes the parental role.

"The Problem Child" – the child who is blamed for most problems in spite of being the only emotionally honest one in the family.

"The Caretaker" – the one who takes responsibility for the emotional well-being of the family.

"The Lost Child" – the inconspicuous, quiet one, whose needs are often ignored or hidden.

"The Mascot" – uses comedy to divert attention away from the increasingly dysfunctional family system.

"The Mastermind" – the opportunist who capitalizes on the other family members' faults in order to get whatever he/she wants.

They may also:

think only of themselves to make up the difference of their childhoods. They're still learning the balance of self-love

distrust others

have difficulty expressing emotions

have low self-esteem or have a poor self image

have difficulty forming healthy relationships with others

feel angry, anxious, depressed, isolated from others, or unlovable

perpetuate dysfunctional behaviors in their other relationships (especially their children)

lack the ability to be playful, or childlike, and may "grow up too fast"



I definitely remember my role as "The Mascot" ... and in a sub-role, "The Caretaker". Always anxious, always keeping an eye out for trouble and trying to divert it....

Last night somebody retaliated pretty angrily when I tried to diffuse the situation with humour when I saw trouble brewing between him and someone else. The short reply which basically translated would mean "Mind your own business" was pretty well-deserved.

I think for this year, I'll be concentrating on remembering that the past is in the past and not in the present. That I no longer have to take up 'roles' but can just go on with my own life now, not worrying or caring overly much about others around me.

Sounds liberating :>

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008

Restarted my bloggie again. New Year and New Beginnings!