Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas

This is for all those who didn't know it already - CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU ARE SICK IS NO FUN!!!! *lols* Espesh because my relatives were in town and I was so looking forward to it.... then when they came, all my dad and I did was spray them with viruses. Sighz...

But we had a lovely Christmas gathering of my schoolmates in my house and most of my relatives (on dad's side).

And we cousins watched Avatar! Oh my, it was the bestest movie ever!!! Awesome cinematography. And I was amused at how they depicted the 'aliens' with the same markings as the aboriginals in Australia. Alas, the aboriginals story did not end as happily as Avatar's!

Ooh... and the bestest Christmas dinner I can ever remember having! With Christmas turkey and stuffing and ham and all the goodies cooked by my cousins and auntie and uncle! Yums yums yums!!!

I'll update more later... I just stopped here to update beacuse I'm just so not in a working mood! *lols*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to help?

Did you ever meet someone where you just gave up on helping them? Because no matter what you do, it just doesn't seem to make a difference?

I've got a few cases like that right now... and I honestly don't know what to do. I think I can carry on a while longer. But I'm coming to the point where I cry out to God in frustration, "I just don't know what to do next!"

There is someone I know who just doesn't seem to understand what people say. I actually asked another mutual friend once, "Err... does this person have a mental deficiency?".

I wasn't being rude - it was a genuine question! But it didn't take too long for me to realise that that just couldn't be; the person's speech reflected someone of normal intelligence; this person just seemed insensitive to other people's reactions and feelings.

So then I thought maybe the person had Asperger's - the disorder often seen as 'a milder form of autism' where a person does approach people and talks but doesn't seem to read social cues such as boredom, irritation etc. on the part of the listener.

But then I realised that, even KNOWING someone has Asperger's, what can I do about it? And does it make a difference if I 'try to help' someone with Asperger's? Does it help THEM any? Or is it just for the benefit of the people around them; that they irritate others less?

Such a sad state of affairs; as far as I'm aware, there is no 'cure' for Asperger's anymore than there is for autism. The only thing one can do is teach them social skills so that they are more socially acceptable and less isolated. :(

Another area that's pretty hard to deal with is depression. I'm not talking about the blues... I'm talking about an extreme heaviness that brings a normal, articulate, capable person into such a state that their voice is flat, they feel tired all the time, they lose interest in everything and they can't seem to shake themselves out of it.

Neither am I talking about being with a friend like this for days, weeks or even months - if you can't cope with a friend who is like this for that relatively moderate period of time, you do need to review why you got into this friendship in the first place and whether it's worth keeping.

Because somewhere underneath this depression is still the same friend you once knew with the same characteristics and personality that you loved; it's just masked for a while and can appear if you wait just a little while longer. If you don't think it's worth waiting for, there probably wasn't much to the friendship to begin with.

But I know some individuals who have been depressed for years. Oh boy, is that ever difficult! And sadly, people who have been depressed that long don't seem to realise anymore that they are depressed - they're too used to waking up to a grey sky (even when it's blue and sun-shiny to others) and to feeling tired and hopeless to realise that it isn't normal.

There is no point trying to shake someone out of depression; I'm pretty cautious about doing that anyway. When someone appears to be holding on just by a thin piece of thread, you don't shake the thread too vigorously lest it snap!

People with depression don't seem to hear speech. They seem locked in a grey bubble which reason cannot pierce. If a person with depression talks, they seem to go round and round the same issue, remaining oblivious to the 'facts' that you try to tell them that seem obvious to you.

They're not interested in any activities because they're tired all the time and as far as you can tell, everything is 'tasteless' to them. There are no 'colours' in life.

One friend that I knew who had depression, thankfully came out of it by becoming very interested in a new hobby. To my delight, it brought new friends along her path, a new purpose and reason in her being, and before I expected it, she was striding confidently upon life's path again.

Oh that all friends with depression could reach that happy state to freedom!

Perhaps at the end of the day, what helps is to know that we are not 'saviors'. There is a Savior, and He is all these people need. Perhaps it's time we withdraw our bumbling hands stretched out to lift, aid, guide, and sometimes (truthfully!) slapping, and begin to lift them in prayer for our friends.

After all, today - you stumble. Tomorrow - perhaps I will. And I pray that when I do, you will pary for me; even as I pray for you today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What Happens To Them?

Went to watch Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in it wif my movie kaki - Michelle. Verdict? Somewhat, though not totally, lame. Humour misplaced. Somehow Jim Carrey has to add these little quirks to make things 'funny' but after a while, they just get annoying.

One part of the movie was really good though. You know that, in the story that Charles Dickens wrote, the Ghost of Christmas Present pulls aside his robe, and concealed in his robes are two wretched children, so disfigured by misery and suffering that they hardly look human? The boy is called 'Ignorance' and the girl is called 'Want'?

In this Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, the boy 'Ignorance' spins round and becomes an adult man coming at him with a knife (meant to personify a criminal) and roars, "Are there no prisons?" mockingly towards Scrooge before prison bars fall around him, caging him in.

And the girl 'Want' spins round and becomes an adult woman dressed provocatively (meant to peronify a prostitute) and she also mockingly jeers, "Are there no workhouses?" before laughing hysterically, and wound in a straitjacket, ends up in a mental institution.

That really caught my attention. It brought to my memory something which I had read before. Remember the shelter that I visited in Cambodia for child prostitutes? Well, the lady who started the centre called AFESIP said that, sometimes, by the time they rescue the children, the children have lost their minds because of the torment and torture they've gone through. The children can be 8, 9, 10 years old by the time they're rescued, but they'd already spent a few years being raped repeatedly day after day, and by the time they came in to the shelter, they didn't make sense.

All the children could do was give sweet, but empty smiles. When they talk, the words don't add up. They've lost all reason. Truly, what Jim Carrey personified, is what is in their future when they're too old to be taken care of in this shelter, which after all, is only to rehabilitate child prostitutes until they are old enough to work.

As for what the movie showed happening to the boy - well, today I was reading this article :- http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=2&aid=173876

It's about kids who have 'aged-out' of the foster care system. At 18 years old, the Government assumes these kids are 'adults' and they are no longer taken care of as foster kids. What happens to them then? Shockingly, the report said, in America, within 2 years of ageing out of the system, 25% end up in prison. 20% end up homeless.

Are you surprised? Shocked? Why should you be? Our kids in Malaysia still stay at home with Mummy and Daddy at 18 years old and receive allowances. These are kids who don't have any foundation of love, nurturing and support thrown out onto the streets at 18 to start their adult lives and expected to live them right.

Still so many kids on this road of hopelessness... what can we do to make a difference? And do we even care?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Put-downs

There is a Christian teenage book that I have that's a story about a girl who goes to a youth group where the leader seems to make a lot of put-downs and the whole atmosphere of the youth group seems to be about out-smarting someone else by putting him/her down more than she can put you.

Of course in the end, the youth leader repents and everyone takes a pledge to watch their language and behave in a godly way. Honestly, I found the youth group scenes so distasteful that I don't pick up that book as much as other books. It made me cringe to read about how hurt the youths were when other youths hurled insults at them in the name of 'fun'.

But here's the funny thing... I realised that amongst some of the youth groups in M'sia, there is this culture of 'put each other down'. Normally the older ones are the most practised at doing it, so it's considered 'smart', it's considered 'funny' and it's the 'popular' thing to do.

I guess I find it uncomfortable because I learnt something totally different. When I was in CHC Singapore, we were taught to encourage each other. We would write notes, letters, call each other etc.

Putting each other down with our words was not encouraged at all - in fact, you could get hauled up pretty sternly for doing that!

When I returned to Malaysia, I soon got used to the fact that the 'encourage each other' thing was not a popular practise in Malaysia. That was fine with me; I mean, we are more reserved, right? Different country, different culture. No problem.

But put each other down instead? I couldn't wrap my head around that one. Where did the principle of 'love one another' fall in with 'insult one another'?

I could certainly understand if the teasing is interspersed with moments of encouragement - and caution was taken to see that one didn't go too far. But I didn't see that. I saw defensive walls being put up and younger ones learning to be as quick and as hurtful as the older ones in order to survive the culture.

Soon I realised something... this wasn't a 'youth' problem, it was an 'everyone's problem. True, the adults didn't put each other down. Well, except for some.... but those are in the minority.

They still didn't practise the 'encourage each other' ... in fact, one lady in my church often gets praised for being encouraging. To me, it's not so much that she is encouraging (although she is) as much as compared to the DIScouragement of other people, the difference is so glaringly obvious!

But what I found instead in Malaysia was put-downs at other people. Put-downs towards the government, put-downs towards Christian leadership (sadly enough, yes, in some churches), put-downs towards bosses....

And I looked round and feel sad...

Slander is slander. I don't care if the slander is directed against a politician... to accuse someone by saying "He did it" without knowing FOR SURE he did it (and I don't care if all evidence points to that; if you didn't see it happen, you don't know if it DID happen) IS SLANDER. And since when did the Bible say, "Slander is okay if it is directed towards politicians"?

Is it MORE okay to be nasty towards your boss and bad-mouth him in front of your other church members when you yam cha just because he is a boss? Show me the passage that says, "Thou mayeth speak evil of thy boss simply because he is a boss", and I'll give you a nice, fat red packet!

When Hannah Yeoh came to our church and spoke about the nasty things said to her and spoken against her, I couldn't help but think, "That's normal for Malaysians." We've not learnt to guard our tongues, let alone be encouraging. Is this the way we Christians show ourselves to be salt and light to the world? By being just like everyone else, slandering and bad-mouthing and putting down and being discouraging?

Jesus said that the world would know that He is with us because we love one another. I don't know about you - but I think putting up walls so you won't get hurt by someone else's words is not the best way to learn to 'love one another'.

So perhaps the young people are just learning from the adults that put-downs are good, 'adult' and the in-thing to do. Or perhaps they're just following their peers. Whatever. At the age of youth, one has the mind of an adult and can think for himself.

The Bible tells us to control our tongues. Let's try this basic thing even as we aim to be the glorious bride, even as we say, "These are the last days and we need to shine in this world." Let's learn to guard unity in the Body of Christ. It is so important as the days get darker.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Ms. Mackenzie Phillips

Dear Ms. Mackenzie Phillips,

You don't know me, and I don't know you, but I've read your story. You and I will never cross paths; at least, I don't think so. So I'm just going to write these words to tell you what I think of you here on my blog, and maybe someday, some wind will blow these words across your path and, I hope, give you encouragement to go on.

I just want to say to you, Ms. Mackenzie, that you are brave. You are brave for coming out with your story of incest. You are brave to admit that in the end, you gave up, and seemingly 'consented' to it. You are brave to tell your story to the whole world so that everyone can know. You are so brave!

You are brave for daring to do this whilst your family is still around to say, "She is lying." You are brave to face a world of critical faces and pointing fingers who will sneer derisively, "She wanted it". You are brave to confront the memories and demons and nightmares of the past. You are so, so brave!

And I hope you will learn one day, that when you lift up the head that has been bowed in shame for so long, that the eyes watching you from the same person whose ears are listening to your story, are not filled with derision and disgust. I hope you see the acceptance and the sadness reflected in those eyes at a child's betrayal. I hope you hear gentle words of affirmation of the pain that you've gone through, and words to say that you are believed and will be supported through the days of healing.

I wish you strength to bear the cries of, "She's lying!" and "She asked for it!". I wish you comfort and peace when the memories rush in and beat at your mind until you scream for relief. I wish you the knowing that there are many like you who are caught in the same web of pain who are too ashamed to stand up and say, "That happened to me, and I need help because I don't know how to break free."

May your voice continue to resonate loud and strong to tell the world that, "This happens". May your voice carry so that other victims, other survivors can hear and look up in amazement that someone has finally spoken, and follow. May your voice cause governments and agencies, ministries and leaders to hear and form the policies that will protect the generations of children to come.

You are brave to be the first one to step out. God bless you, and I mean that with all my heart.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Holidays Again

It's that time of the year again.... Holidays with cheerful music playing in the background all the way through to Chinese New Year.

It's a really happy time of the year for many. I think I've mentioned a few times though that it can be a pretty lonely time for those who are from broken families.

Seeing happy families shopping together, and eating together, and just the whole 'family-orientation' of the holidays can be pretty tough to stomach. Despite all the resolutions to 'stand strong and stay positive', one's facade tends to crack during the long stretch of winter hols.

I remember once somebody saying to me cheerfully, "Well, stay busy and you won't have time to feel sad!"

I shot back, very truthfully, "I do! Why do you think I organize so many events with the orphanage kids during the holidays?"

Well, it's kinda harder this year because I've taken a sabbatical from my volunteer work and all 'other' work, really. Somehow I'm dreading the days ahead without enough activities to keep me from thinking or feeling too much.

I remember the song...

For every broken heart in need of mending
For every lonely child who needs befriending
For every time the innocent should ever need defending
That's why He came

That's why He came
For all the lost and lonely
That's why He came
For all the questions only love explains
And so that when we need Him
We can call upon His Name
That's why He came

That's why Jesus came... and that's why we celebrate Christmas. It's good to know and good to remember... It means so much more this holiday season than any other.

Codependency

Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. They may be particularly helpful to newcomers.

Denial Patterns:
I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.


Low Self Esteem Patterns:
I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.


Compliance Patterns:
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
I accept sex when I want love.


Control Patterns:
I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wait

One of the reasons why I took a sabbatical this year was because I find it almost impossible to sit quietly. I'm someone who loves to dash around doing fifty projects at one time... stop briefly to breathlessly gasp out how busy I am... and then running off to yet another appointment/ task/ activity.

Like Martha, I cannot conceive how Mary can sit quietly at the Master's feet when there's SO MUCH TO DO! Of course, I've long learnt that the 'so much to do' is only in my eyes... lots of people in the same situation look around and say, "Hmm... NOTHING TO DO."

The Lord showed me that He has been developing in me the ability to wait recently...

Recently something happened that made me cross. I rarely get truly angry... If and when I yell at the top of my voice, that means I've already tolerated something a number of times and just can't take it anymore!

In my exasperation, my natural tendency wanted to grumble and nag. But I felt the inner voice of the Spirit say, "Wait."

I was like, "OK, God, I wait... then I scold, okay?!"

And again, the Spirit said, "Wait."

I waited. And then I began to see....

I began to see that the thing that I was cross about was such a small thing. In contrast, whilst focussing on that small thing, I had missed the big and beautiful things that had been happening and growing and developing. The Spirit pointed out in His quiet, gentle manner all the beautiful things that had bloomed and blossomed around the little small 'imperfection'.

And when I went home still a little cross but more calm and thought back, I realised how true that was. I began to see even more beautiful things that had begun unfolding.

And I realised too that the little thing that I was cross about... well, I'm a well-known 'picky' and 'fussy' person. Imperfections that I notice are rarely noticed by others!

And more, I didn't even know if I was right that it WAS an imperfection.

There were more decisions to be made this week, and each time, I feel that quiet voice saying, "Wait." I can do that now. I'm not in such a rush to dash about everywhere and create 'messes' that God has to undo!

There is a decision that is on my mind this morning... Soon I will have to arrive at a decision, of course... but the still, small voice of the Spirit again says, "Wait."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christians - tax issues

Discussing casually with other tax agents on this matter - nobody has a conclusive answer to give, because here in Malaysia, it's never been a contended issue before.

These are the arguments for and against that I can think of ... I'd appreciate feedback from other members of the accounting community :-

For:-
1) Malaysia follows UK tax law. In the UK, by case law, offerings taken up for pastors/ ministers etc. ARE taxable.

2) The offering is derived in the office of a minister - ie. it is given BECAUSE he/ she is a pastor/ minister.

Against:- 1) Love offerings are unsolicited gifts. Gifts in Malaysia are not taxable as it is a capital receipt. In the USA, love offerings that are unsolicited and given as a token of love, generosity etc. are NOT taxable.

2) We, the church members, are not claiming a tax-deductible receipt on love offerings given. Why should the pastor/ minister have to pay tax when what we give is out of our net-tax income?

Interesting, isn't it?

I was pretty shocked to hear from a friend of mine that a Christian organization that she works with was penalised by IRB for not paying the witholding tax in the two occassions given below:-

1) Not witholding the tax on offerings given to foreign speakers who came to her organization to teach

The Christian organization is not a church - it is registered as a company limited by guarantee.

Foreign speakers will come off and on to teach for a few days (less than a week), and normally the organization will give the speakers an offering before they leave.

It was held by IRB that the witholding tax should have been witheld and remitted to IRB within 30 days of the offering being given to the speaker.

Now, the question is - does that mean all offerings given by all churches to foreign preachers (missionaries, evangelists, apostles etc.) who come to preach at their church should be subject to witholding tax as well?

2) Not witholding the tax on 'royalties' from sale of CD's of messages by foreign speakers

The Christian organization was given permission by the foreign speakers to duplicate and distribute CD's of the messages they had preached. Part of the offering for the speakers was listed as 'royalties' (remember that 'offerings' were witholding taxable?).

It was held by IRB that the witholding tax on royalty payments (although there weren't, strictly speaking, royalties to pay!) should have been witheld and remitted to IRB.

So does that mean that even though permission has been given by foreign speakers to churches they preach in to copy and distribute their messages without royalty payments, churches must remit the witholding tax on 'royalties' on those messages to IRB?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Singapore FOT

Going to Singapore always says 'home' to me. I was so happy to be able to join the Singapore convention. Truly God gave my dad the wisdom to insist that I get my passport done on the 28th of August. When we reached the passport office, they told me that it would take ONE MONTH to get my passport done as it was a new passport that I had (unwittingly!) destroyed.

And we were leaving for Singapore on the 29th of September! Oy vey! Imagine if I was even one day late. After days of badgering the passport office, the poor reluctant officer, just back from Hari Raya hols admitted, "Ya, you boleh collect on 28th lah... sebab kita pun ada deadline kan...."

Phew! I collected my passport and zoomed back to KL by plane the evening of the 28th!

We travelled by van on the 29th. It was sooooo fun travelling with Sue Jan because we could yak about dance non-stop. Then... not very far from KL.... our van tyre blew! All we hear was "Boop!" and the next thing we knew, the van was swerving left and right. Uncle Mak was like, sooooo cool; he kept the van steady as it swerved and we got to the side of the road.

Okay, so Sue Jan and I were not exactly freaked... we were more like, "Ooh! Puncture! Puncture! Wah!!! Soooo exciting!! Take photo! Take photo!" Maturity flew out the window! *lols*

Anyway, yeah, poor van tyre was gone case. Out of nowhere these two Indian guys came up to our van and offered to fix the tyre. So, no choice right? Okay lor... We put our suitcases on the road since we didn't have an 'emergency triangle' and Auntie Mayya waved a scarf bee-yew-ti-fully to signal to other drivers that there was an accident and to pass us by.

When the tyre was fixed, the Indian guys wanted to charge us RM100. Like, what?! Finally they agreed to 'settle' for RM50. Uncle Mak drove us to Seremban where we got the tyres professionally fixed (and Pst David told Pst Irene to get BOTH back tyres fixed, just in case!!!) and then we went on our way again.

Smooth ride... till we got to Singapore immigration. Had a small hiccup where poor Auntie Mayya had to go for interview because they couldn't read her passport thru the machine.

We were running pretty late by then... we went straight to the YWCA, did very fast showers, and rushed down for dinner.

Oh yeah, and on the way to dinner, we learnt that the Singaporeans have the strangest sense of humour... we passed a construction site with the weirdest 'safety' signs... most of it in verse. Something like "If you die, someone will cry". I so have to get Sue Jan to put up the piccies of the signs!

Dinner was on a ship that's tied to the dock. That should be the coolest thing ever, right? Did I happen to mention I get sea sick?! Auntie Mayya affirmed that I HAD turned green, just before I decided to abandon ship. Stumbled all the way up to dry ground and struggled not to BARF. Yeurck!

Really liked the ship though! The menu had like the weirdest items... all based on the Bible. Sue Jan and Auntie Mayya were in hysterics over "Joshua and Caleb's minced meat" or something like that!! Auntie Mayya spent the rest of dinner re-naming dishes!

We celebrated Pastor David's birthday too :> The Singaporeans bought a choccie cake. Very delish ... it was finished by the next afternoon!

The next day was spent decorating the YWCA hall. The Singaporeans bought lots of fruits and for the first time we saw veggie at the Feast - cucumbers and tomatoes and celery etc. etc.! Cute lers! And jagung too, which Auntie Mayya spread out artistically over the front of the stage.

There were very few musicians/ singers this trip. Thank God all our team are multi-taskers and multi-talented (except me! XP). Sue Jan led the dance team, Pst Kim did worship leading and backup, Pst Irene did backup and preaching, Auntie Mayya played the violin and the keyboard, and Uncle Mak was the awesome-st of all - he drove the van, did the sound system, and played the keyboard and drums!

Well, Uncle Mak did try to teach me to do the sound system. This is how successfully I learnt how to operate the sound - at one point during a session, Sue Jan came to me and said, "Auntie Mayya's violin no sound". So I was like, "I know how to do! Uncle Mak teach ady!" and I pushed the volume up a bit.

From stage we could see Auntie Mayya shaking her head. So I pushed it up a bit more. Still no go. I pushed it up to max volume. Uh-uh. Finally Sue Jan said, "Must be wrong one lah... try this one." This time, Auntie Mayya nodded okay.

About twenty mins later Uncle Mak rushed down from the stage and came panting into the sound room. I squeaked, "I put full volume ady, Uncle Mak!"

Uncle Mak pushed a button, and, still panting, said, "It's on mute." Sigh.... Boy, am I useful (not!).

Throughout the sessions, God honoured the longing of the Singaporeans for Him. Even though I was right at the back of the hall in the sound room, I could feel His presence descend upon the people so strongly. The messages that God gave for them were words of comfort and healing. It was awesome.

I'm sure they were truly blessed by the message of the Feast of Tabernacles since most of them didn't know what is the Feast about.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More on AFESIP Cambodia...

I love this comment by Somaly Mam, former child prostitute and founder of AFESIP Cambodia which helps rescue child prostitutes:- "You've suffered what you've suffered. Now you take that pain and you help others."

This article about AFESIP Cambodia, written by a lady reporter who lost her own husband to terrorists, details so well the pain and suffering that the child sex slaves of Cambodia, and around the world, suffer:- http://www.vitalvoices.org/files/docs/Glamour%20article%20on%20Cambodia%20and%20Somaly%20Mam%20SEP06.pdf

Monday, September 14, 2009

Best-est celebration

Oh my goodness, I had the most awesome birthday celebration yesterday! God, why do You always do these beautiful, loving, surprising things for me, just when I feel tired and down-ish? I love You!!!!

Auntie Wai Wha took me and a few other birthday ppl - Auntie Ean her family, Auntie Sylvia and her family and Auntie Wai Wha's family and Pst Kim and Uncle Mak also came and Sue Jan too - and we went to Bangsar Tea House which is a lovely, quiet, serene place.

Of course not so quiet and serene once everyone got going! *lols*

Uncle Mak brought his laptop and showed us the NZ photos. I had LOTS of food (I did! I ate it! I did sooooooo!!!!) and was terribly full! I was really grateful to the waitress for clearing the ... uhm.... bowls with some ... uhm.... well, I couldn't finish ALL the food right?! Sure got some excess left, right?! Luckily she cleared it because the 'aunties' were threatening to wait until I finished!

Pst Kim bought a big choccie cake from Secret Recipe - yummies!

Ooh... and I was SHOWERED with prezzies yesterday! Lots and lots of prezzies from Pst Kim and Uncle Mak (*biggest hugs*) and they were my FAVOURITE prezzies too - 3 DVD's of musicals, Wormy the furry worm, choccies amongst others.... Book from Timothy by a great author (so happy!!!!!), prezzie from A. Ean.... *sigh*

And a big, big celebration from Auntie Wai Wha as the cream over everything (as if I wasn't spoiled enough!)

I can't remember the last time someone arranged a celebration like this for me... I was so touched! It was just too sweet. I am blessed with wonderful friends...

*happiest smile*

Friday, September 4, 2009

Helping Women Survivors of War

Me birthday coming soon :> and so is Christmas. This year, think of the great alternatives there are out there to buying presents from a normal store.... Women for Women International helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives and one of ...the ways they do this is by selling the products made by these women survivors. Buying their products can be one of the ways you help make a difference in their lives.

This is a link to their online store:- http://www.womenforwomen.org/help-women/online-store-supporting-women.php

This is a letter from a woman in Congo detailing her ordeal
Furaha Mirindi, 34, single mother of seven
"I am from Kavumu. I got married when I was 15 years old and he was 18. We did not have an official ceremony, but we lived together as a married coupled. Together we had 6 children. While I had no formal educational training and cannot read and write, I successfully ran a small business selling peanuts and palm oil to feed my family before we were directly affected by the war.

In 2002, there was a great deal of insecurity in Kavumu. My family left the village for a more secure place nearby. The village chief gave us temporary refuge. The first night we spent in the new house, we were attacked. There were more than six military men that entered the house that night. My mother, my younger sister and my sister-in-law were all raped. I was raped by at least three of them. I cannot remember. I was numb. I tried to stop them, not only because I did not want to be invaded, but I did not want them to rape me in front of my children. In my struggle with them, they hit me on my right eye, which is now damaged. After the incident, I spent six months in the hospital because of my eye and other injuries. In addition to the physical damages of the rape, I got pregnant. I gave birth without even realizing it. At the time I was in so much pain physically and emotionally that I could not distinguish the pain from my eye and the rape from the pain of giving birth. The child had to be forced out of me because I did not have the courage or the energy to push. Ironically, the child is born with a damaged left eye, similar to the damage of my right eye. The doctor says it is because the position I was in during the eight months I was in the hospital. It seems like a curse to me.

My husband supported me throughout the time I was in the hospital. He sold all of our possessions to pay for my medical bills. But he left sometime after the child was born. He left me because he simply could not deal with the cost of the aftermath. The burdens were too heavy for him to carry. He told me that I had made him poor. The little girl I gave birth to after the rape is always sick. She needs more than we can provide. Although we were not officially married and he had never paid the customary bride fees, before he left me he went to my family and paid the bride fees and told them that he was returning their daughter. He said that he no longer has the means and resources to continue to support me.

My little girl is now one and a half years old. She cannot walk, crawl or sit up. I came to Bukavu with the hope that the Centre for Handicapped Children would take this child and treat her and provide for her. I am not able to attend to her needs. I love my baby even though she is a product of being brutally raped. I would like for her to have a normal childhood, to be like other children, and to one day walk and play. The Centre did not take my baby they only take handicapped orphans. I hope to find an opportunity to care for my children, all of them. I feel like I have no value. When I see my child crying because she is hungry and there is nothing that I can do about it, it's painful. It hurts at the core of my being. Every day is more and more difficult, especially with this baby. While I am no longer active in a church like I used to be, I continue to put my faith in God. I have to believe that I will one day reconstruct my life and provide for my children and perhaps find a husband again."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Effects of Prostitution

I was sharing with a friend of mine about the organization I visited in Cambodia once. And this friend of mine, a truly wonderfully kind person, said, "You have to understand - for these women in poor countries, prostitution is their only way to earn money. At least they have a way to get some income."

I've heard that from so many people.... And once upon a time, I echoed the same sentiments. "Well, at least they have a job. Otherwise they would starve."

I guess everything changed when I became a Christian and really understood what sex was meant for - a union that God meant between husbands and wives. And that the effects of sleeping with someone that you are not tied to, as a husband or a wife, were severe.

I am NOT shaking a wagging finger of, "You wicked man/ woman for having sex outside marriage" to any prostitute. I would not and never will, because I have met many of them. I have talked to them.

And maybe that's why, I feel such a deep pity for what they go through on the streets.

I wonder if my friends who tell me so seriously, "At least they have a way to get some income" know any prostitutes at all? Are there any of them who have friends amongst the 'Women of the Night', gigolos or transvestites?

Because prostitution is not the normal sexual activity between husband and wife.

I searched through the Net to see if I could find anything on the effects of prostitution on a woman. This is what I found (I've edited for brevity)...


"Health Effects of Prostitution, Janice G. Raymond

The health consequences to women from prostitution are the same injuries and infections suffered by women who are subjected to other forms of violence against women. The physical health consequences include: injury (bruises, broken bones, black eyes, concussions). A 1994 study conducted with 68 women in Minneapolis/St.Paul who had been prostituted for at least six months found that half the women had been physically assaulted by their purchasers, and a third of these experienced purchaser assaults at least several times a year. 23% of those assaulted were beaten severely enough to have suffered broken bones. Two experienced violence so vicious that they were beaten into a coma. Furthermore, 90% of the women in this study had experienced violence in their personal relationships resulting in miscarriage, stabbing, loss of consciousness, and head injuries (Parriott, Health Experiences of Twin Cities Women Used in Prostitution).

The sex of prostitution is physically harmful to women in prostitution. STDs (including HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, human papilloma virus, and syphilis) are alarmingly high among women in prostitution. Only 15 % of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had never contracted one of the STDs, not including AIDS, most injurious to health (chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrheal, herpes). General gynecological problems, but in particular chronic pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), plague women in prostitution.. The Minneapolis/St. Paul study reported that 31% of the women interviewed had experienced at least one episode of PID which accounts for most of the serious illness associated with STD infection. Among these women, there was also a high incidence of positive pap smears, several times greater than the Minnesota Department of Health’s cervical cancer screening program for low and middle income women. More STD episodes can increase the risk of cervical cancer.

Another physical effect of prostitution is unwanted pregnancy and miscarriage. Over two-thirds of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had an average of three pregnancies during their time in prostitution, which they attempted to bring to term. Other health effects include irritable bowel syndrome, as well as partial and permanent disability.

The emotional health consequences of prostitution include severe trauma, stress, depression, anxiety, self-medication through alcohol and drug abuse; and eating disorders. Almost all the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study categorized themselves as chemically-addicted. Crack cocaine and alcohol were used most frequently. Ultimately, women in prostitution are also at special risk for self-mutilation, suicide and homicide. 46% of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had attempted suicide, and 19% had tried to harm themselves physically in other ways.

More succinctly, women in prostitution suffer the same broken bones, concussions, STDs, chronic pelvic pain, and extreme stress and trauma that women who have been battered, raped and sexually abused endure. In fact, the case can be made that women in prostitution -- because they are subject to being battered, raped and sexually abused all at the same time over an extensive period of time -- suffer these health consequences more intensively and consistently. For example, in another survey of 55 victims/survivors of prostitution who used the services of the Council for Prostitution Alternative in Portland, Oregon, 78% were victims of rape by pimps and male buyers an average of 49 times a year; 84% were the victims of aggravated assault and were thus horribly beaten, often requiring emergency room attention and hospitalization; 53% were victims of sexual abuse and torture; and 27% were mutilated (Documentation available from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives)."

So, you tell me - prostitution is the only option for these women and therefore we should let the violence and degradation continue?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

China Blue




I was watching a documentary called China Blue yesterday. It's about Chinese migrant workers in a jeans-making factory.

In this factory, the workers work from 8a.m. to 2a.m., 7 days a week making jeans. At night they cram into dormitories housing 12 workers a dorm.

All their meals and dorm rent are deducated form their salaries. And as little Jasmine - the 17 year old worker in the show says - they earn 'half a yuan an hour' - about RM0.20.

Little Jasmine doesn't dare fall sick in case she is fired from work. She struggles to stay awake as day after day she works till the wee hours of the morning.

I thought about all the times I'd gone with my friends to buy cheap jeans. Actually, all my jeans are really cheap - none of them cost more than RM30+. We joke a lot about China-quality products as we browse through the shelves and say to one another with a shudder, "Wah... they pay the workers so little in China, that's why the clothes so cheap." Then we silently give thanks that we were not born in China, and continue browsing.

I really didn't realise though how much the Chinese migrant workers suffer nor how little they actually earn - that their pay is so miserly, it would be better for them to beg here in Malaysia. I'm sure our homeless earn more than RM0.20 per hour from begging! Malaysians are kind people.

There was even a little 14 year old girl working in the factory - small and sweet-faced. She has to work instead of study in order to earn money for her family back home in the village. Will her life be just that - scrimping and saving and working like a slave to "send money home to my family"?

Little Jasmine went to sleep in her dormitory with all her clothes and even her marshmallow jacket on just to keep warm. Bet the factory doesn't pay for heating in order to save money.

As the boss of the factory ruefully admits, the prices dealers are willing to pay are so low, he has to make his workers work long hours and pay them a pittance in order to make any profit at all.

What can be done to make a difference? I believe nothing will change as long as an affluent world shuts our eyes to the needs of others just so we can have our own happiness and comforts.

And it's no use saying, "It's a good thing there are these kind of factories at all, otherwise life would be even harder for those in China."

Yes, life could be harder - but life could be made easier too if we as a society are willing to pay a fair price for goods. It would mean that we would have less material things, but isn't it worth it to move over a little bit and give up a little bit so that every human being can have a decent life?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And I Will Run To You


Kandysile is the beautiful girl in the upper right hand corner

I will never forget the last time I heard this song...

It was on the Oprah show and Oprah was visiting an orphanage in South Africa. They brought out a beautiful little 11 year old girl called Kandysile to Oprah. Kandysile kept her beautiful head down the entire time....

The orphanage director explained that, when Kandysile's parents died of AIDS, neighbourhood men came into her house and raped her every night. She kept her head down because she felt so much shame at what had happened.

But when they did a follow-up on Kandysile, this beautiful little girl sang this song...

I was so surprised to hear an Australian song coming out from this little girl's lips :> But it brought tears to my eyes to see how Daddy God had taken this broken little girl into His arms and was healing her....

Your eyes are on the sparrow
And Your hands they comfort me
From the ends of the earth
To the depths of my heart
Let Your mercy and strength be seen

You called me to Your purpose
As angels understand
For Your glory
May You draw all men
As Your love and grace demand

And I will run to You
To Your words of truth
Not by might, not by power
But by the Spirit of God
Yes, I will run the race
Till I see Your face
Oh Let me live in the glory
Of Your grace

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What will her future be?

I was lying awake thinking about this little girl this morning. She was rescued from a house when she was just 6 years old. Her mom was in the house too ... a house strewn with animal faeces, old and rotting food, cigarette butts, cockroaches ... And this little girl in a corner wearing a dirty diaper (at 6 years old) ... She couldn't speak and she couln't walk... she was only 43 pounds.. a 'profoundly neglecetd' child, as they termed her.

When they took her to hospital, they said she was just like a wild little animal - kicked and grunted - and would only feed from a bottle because she couldn't feed herself.

The welfare department had been alerted about this child before and had visited but deemed nothing was needed... until it was too late.

The foster family who eventually took her in set up a website - http://danisstory.org/ - and I was just browsing through the photos but it made me sad to see her eyes. Even grown up, her eyes look empty.

I wonder if she'll ever be normal. I didn't know malnourishment and neglect could produce such terrible results.... I've met neglected children and abused children, including those who've become what we term 'terencat akal' due to abuse... But just plain neglected... this child has turned out like this.

I wonder what will happen to her.


At 6 years old after being rescued and cleaned up in hospital.


Fostered and then adopted.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bali Blessing

Kekekekekeke... that's what I call Ovira! She is a Bali Blessing - because she comes from Bali lah! And she has been such a blessing to us.

Last Sunday I went to her church in Bali. Wow! It is like a fortress! Like the kubu I've seen in India - huge and made out of stone. We actually asked her whether or not it was a fort before or built like that and she said, "No lah... we built it lah."

You guys have GOT to see it to believe it!! It is humongous! And the hall....!!! They even have a dancers' room with costumes and a barre and mirrors all the way down one side... sighz....

But the ultimate?

When we walked in, they had already started the first song. And seeing the worshippers standing on stage - I saw something I have never seen before... what it means to worship God with ALL our being.

There was a deep, deep hunger that consumed them totally.

It's kind of, like... we always sing "With all our hearts" and "With our whole being" but part of the 'God-hole' in our lives has already been filled ... with things... with people... We're already satisfied, and only the remaining part is hungry for God.

I am challenged by what it means to be TRULY hungry for God.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free Laura Ling and Euna Lee



It's definitely a fortunate and blessed thing that because of Lisa, Laura's older sister, more people can be mobilized to clamour for the release of Laura and Euna.

They've been sentenced to 12 years in a labour camp. My prayer is that they will never see the inside of one because I doubt two young girls from America would be able to endure the treatment they'd receive at the camp and emerge with their health unscathed.

Just looking at the photo above - this girl has tried to do good in this world... It's heartbreaking to see her suffering this way.

Because of this, her parents have come together. They divorced when she was 7 years old and she chose to live with her dad. The family's circumstances weren't well-off; she put herself through college with her earnings. She started working in TV when she was 16, auditioning herself to get the spot.

With a choice to live a glamour-puss life, she chose to make a difference. And it is beautiful to see that lives she has touched are now coming back to say, "Lisa, you don't know me, but I support you. You're gonna make it through this."

I started this week thinking the world is an ugly place of despair. But there are beautiful things about it too - not the least of which, we're not as alone as we think.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lisa Ling


This is one of my favourite correspondents of all time because she covers the topics that matter to me - women, children, abuse, war .... Her website on http://www.lisaling.com/ has posts on these issues and links to related organizations helping these affected people.

Recently her sister Laura Ling was imprisoned in North Korea along with another journalist. Praying for God's mercy upon her sister and the other correspondent Eura Lee. May they be delivered and may the families know God's awesome grace and compassion in their lives.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Careless Words

When I was younger, before I became a Christian, I could be pretty vicious with my words, sometimes driving my classmates to tears.

One of the things which told me really that God had changed me was when I got really mad with somebody and wanted to retort... only to find that I couldn't! I had lost that ability to be cruel and unkind with my words.

But I soon found that to be a disadvantage! Even when someone would hurl a put-down at me, and I knew I could give one just as vicious back, I couldn't because something in me thought, "How will that person feel if I say this? I'm so hurt because this person just said ***, and I don't want this person to be as hurt as I am."

Crazy, isn't it?

Sometimes even in the Kingdom of God, the more 'meek and mild' you are, the more people choose to tear you down with words. To mock and make fun of you. Nobody is fool enough to make fun of those whom they know can turn around and tear them to pieces verbally, but yeah, pick on the one who will never turn around and hurt you.

That made for a lot of times in tears in the bedroom where nobody sees. And angry cries of, "God, why can't I be just as mean? Why can't I give to them as good as they give me? Why must I try to be like Jesus, if they aren't? After all, they are Christians too!"

God doesn't ever tell me anything about the other person. All He'll remind me is, Jesus never once retorted out of hurt and anger. Never once, even though the most vicious accusations and lies were thrown at Him. Even though He was mocked on the cross whilst dying for these ungrateful people!

And God reminded me too, that someday I will have to give account for every careless word spoken. I! I will have to give account! Not the other person or this person or that person... but I! So no matter what, I had to guard my own tongue.

In the Book of James it said that anyone who thinks he has religion but doesn't control his own tongue is deceiving himself, and his religion is useless. I had to jolly well try to take control of myself and not retort in anger.

It's not an easy road. I wish I could take the easier road, but that's not the way my Savior took when He said, "Come, follow Me."

Monday, June 1, 2009

One Lonely Life

This song came from one of my favourite musicals of all time - Who Will Call Him King of Kings by Claire Cloninger. But as I'm narrating from memory, it may be wrong ;>

It's a beautiful song but I can't find a recording of it anymore. The words just resonate in my heart and I think it will be the song many others have in theirs...

One lonely life
One broken heart
Lost without meaning
Or purpose or call

One lonely life
Where can I turn?
And do I matter
At all?

Oh God, are You there?
Do You hear, do You care?
The future's too lonely
To face on my own

Oh God, are You there?
And could You really care?
About one lonely life
Alone?

In the musical it was sung by the slave girl who was telling people's fortunes by being possessed by a spirit. The Apostle Paul set her free (it's a story from the Bible :> If you'd like the full story, do ask me and I'll message it to you). After she is no longer demon-possessed, her slave owner does not want her anymore because she is "useless to me! Without your gift, you are worth nothing!"

In time the former slave girl hears about Jesus, hears that He loves her and thinks her so important and so worthy of His love that He is willing to die on the cross for her sins to set her free. And she asks Jesus to come into her heart and fill that loneliness within; that hungry thirsting to be loved and valued that all people have.

My prayer for you, and my wish for you, is that you too, may know that Jesus loves you, that He values you and that you are worth so much to Him that He was willing to die on the cross for you so that you could be set free from the Law of Sin and Death. May you too know this great love that is available to you anytime.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's a privilege

Sue Ann posted this quote from her ushers' leader on her blog "We tend to elevate the sacrifices of serving God more than the honour of serving Him."

It reminded me of something...

One day in church before prayer meeting, Unc. Mak in his usual polite way said, "Thanks for helping out" to me as I was passing by.

I replied with a grin, "Thanks for serving week after week after week, Uncle Mak."

And without hesitation, or thinking about it first, Uncle Mak said sweetly with a nod, "Oh, it's a privilege."

I remember those words arrested me in my tracks. Not just the sincerity of the words but the heart that is behind the words ... and most of all the truth of those words... just ... I don't know.... walloped me on the head, I suppose!

How true it is that it is our privilege to serve our wonderful God! Just the privilege of serving the most awesome person ever is something others would give much for! And after all He has done for us, can we do less?

Since then those words resonate through my mind whenever I'm tempted to be self-satisfied for serving. I hear the words again, "It's a privilege!"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trust

Such a simple concept!

It can sound so cool to teens to be able to say stuff like, "I don't trust my parents."

When I hear that it makes me think, "Yes, you do. You trust that they will come home tonight. You trust that YOU have a home when you go home tonight. You trust that there will be food on the table for dinner. You trust that they will take care of your basic needs."

I don't say it out loud because I know what they mean - they're thinking of stuff like not trusting that their parents will understand them, not trusting that they won't be nagged at, not trusting that their parents will believe them over their oh-so-angelic-looking younger siblings....

But something so basic as just being able to go home can mean such a lot.

I had a little friend in Singapore - just Sec 1 when I was Sec 4. This little friend came up very agitated one day to confide about why she wasn't getting enough sleep at night. Loan sharks were at her apartment door banging and making a big hoo-ha each night, trying to claim the loans her dad had taken out for his gambling habit.

One of the things she said in a bitter voice too old for her age was, "I'm so disappointed in my daddy. He promised he wasn't going to gamble anymore."

She had to go out to work again as she had had to do in the past to help her mom with normal expenses.

What a basic issue - just being able to trust that your daddy will not gamble so YOU don't have to work, will not borrow from loan sharks so they won't terrorize your family and you can get a good sleep at night.

If you can't trust your family, who can you trust? That's a thought that rings through my mind often.

What a blessing to me that there is an answer - "I will never leave you nor forsake you"

Monday, April 27, 2009

TOD Jumble Sale!


This is Caleb with his balloon doggie in a heart. He was arranging it in strange positions earlier...


I thought this was the prettiest booth of all - this is Auntie Carmen's flower booth.


That's Michelle in pink selling organic healthy stuff. Jennifer is in the behind her selling earrings and necklaces she made herself. And right at the back - Michelle with her clothing line!


This is the majorly jumbly section with everyone selling lots and lots of stuff!


Err... Benjamin is just in the piccie! *grin* These are the 'lepak'ers in the lepak corner waiting for the ladies to finish their shopping!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Give them Me"

I'd been feeling uncommonly drained lately. More than once I would cry out in my heart when I saw someone with a need, "Lord, I have nothing left to give."

Last Sunday I was in Pst Roderick Tay's church and Pst Roderick himself preached. It was really tough for him to preach because of the stroke he had gone through.

But God spoke to me through this part of the message - Pst Roderick shared that one day he faced a crowd of 40,000 people and he told God, "Lord, even if I gave $1 to each person here, I would not have enough in my bank account to give to all of them. Lord, I have nothing to give them."

And God spoke to him and said, "Give them Me".

Give them Me - give them Jesus!

And Pst Roderick Tay called up the people for prayer and many were healed by God's power.

What a powerful thing to remember and it was a refreshing to my spirit. It was as if God had whispered directly to my ear the answer I needed, "Gillian, give them Me. Give them Jesus."

"I Wish You Jesus" by Scott Wesley Brown

I could wish you joy and peace
To last a whole life long.
I could wish you sunshine
Or a cheerful little song.
Or wish you all the happiness
That this life could bring;
But I wish you Jesus, more than anything.

I could wish you leaves of gold
And may your path be smooth.
I could wish you treasures
Or that all your dreams come true.
And I could wish you paradise
That every day be spring;
But I wish you Jesus, more than anything.

'Cause when I wish you Jesus,
I've wished you everything.

Desna's wedding

Went for the wedding of an ex-classmate of mine called Desna last Saturday. I don't remember how on earth we got to know each other so well in Sec 4 - she was quiet and so was I! We went through Sec 3 barely saying a word to each other because she was right across the room from me.

But somehow we did get to know each other and became good friends :> And her friendship really brightened up Sec 4 for me - I remember I went to her house to stay over and she came out with me when my parents visited....

And now she's all grown up and married :> God bless you abundantly, girl!


Signing the marriage certificate


Hubby putting wedding ring onto Desna's finger


Sealed with a kiss!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mentoring

One of my friends (let's call her X) MSN'd me just now to say that she is going to be mentoring someone. I'm really proud of X for doing so. The person X is mentoring is someone that some of the 'older' Christians have been talking about needing mentoring, but whom none of us (except for friend X) has sufficient a burden for to want to do so.

Mentoring isn't easy. It's a thankless task, filled with tears... and moments of deep joy too :>. There are days when if not for the love of God burning in our hearts, we would give up on the people God gave us to mentor. And that's a wrong thing to do, because to reject someone who has bucket-loads of rejection issues can turn the person away from God for a long, long time.

It's not a duty to take up lightly 'because nobody else wants to do it'. Depend on it, God loves the person enough that in the right time, at the right place, He will send the person a mentor.

I've mentored someone who reminded me of a horse the way the person kicked. But the person still needed love and attention and guidance just as we all do. And in moments of exasperation, the person would remind me by seeking me out again.

Nothing beats the 'highs' .... when someone is still loving God years later... when someone gives a revelation that God gave them in their own quiet time.... when somebody shares a growth in their walk with God that they achieved themselves.... These are moments when the tears of joy in the heart soothe all the pain and scars. It's all worth it.

And after all... this is what Jesus said, "Do you love Me? Feed My sheep".

Friday, April 3, 2009

Be Still

Are those words hard for you? They are for me! People think my life is boring (*ahem*!) because it is filled with work, volunteer work and church.

Nowadays they would find it even more boring, because I've emptied my schedule of everything except the basic things needed - church and work.

Was looking at Darlene Zschech's website (thanks for e recommendation, Nadine!) and seeing her work with the less-fortunate children of the world made me feel like running out and helping again.

But I also know that this rest time is ordained by God for me to build on Him my solid foundation. To grow my roots strong in Him.

Lately I've been waking up to worship music resonating in my spirit and my mind. It's beautiful to wake up and I never know what song is going to be there when I wake! Sometimes it quite catches me by surprise.

I learnt after becoming a Young Adult, that it is easy to go through Youth days thinking you know God but not really knowing Him at all. Youth days are filled with youth group meetings, school Christian Fellowship, serving in different ministries, hanging out with church friends, reaching out to your non-believer classmates, youth camp .... and lots of hype-y things that can keep you so busy, you forget to grow your own relationship with God. You forget to take time out away from the noise and bustle just to spend time with Him in your own Quiet Place.

And then you become a Young Adult and all the busy-ness falls away because you are so busy at work that you have no more time to serve. And that's when you realise how strong your own 'roots' and foundation are.

I've seen so many fall away at this stage. Speaking from experience, I believe sometimes it's just the sheer disappointment of finding out that all the hours you spend 'serving' meant nothing in terms of building your own relationship with God.

So it's time to grow roots - feed on the Word of God, spend time in one-to-One worship - get ready. Because when the busy times come again, without a solid foundation in God, I will lose hold of Him. And I never want that to happen again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Update

Updates on my friend, Ean Nee, who was in ICU.

Yeap, WAS in ICU! She came out on the 17th! Praise God! What is even better, this time, she did NOT go back into ICU!

She was conscious by evening after we prayed for her and her fits and seizures were greatly reduced.

She is beginning to recognise people, learning to walk and talk again! And this from the girl whom the doctors gave up on because they didn't know what was wrong nor what treatment to give to her!

Truly God is an AWESOME God!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sue Ann

Was juz reading her bloggie....

This is my memory of Sue Ann....

When I first came to TOD (I mean to really 'stay' in TOD, lah - I've been 'visitor' since 1998) in July 2003, I was quite used to seeing some of the people like P. Kim and Eunice and A. Ean etc. etc. as I would normally drop in whenever I was in KL.

But it felt at first as if I was still a visitor. U know what I mean? Kinda like, there would be polite smiles and queries as to your health, but not a feeling of being part of a family yet.

Sue Ann was different. I remember in about the second week I came, Sue Ann came up with a big friendly smile and immediately talked to me as if I was just a normal member of this TOD 'family'. She treated me as if I belonged.

I felt so warm and wanted at that stage.

I will never forget that welcome nor the way she makes people feel comfy all the time. SA, I miss u! Looking forward to you coming home, dear.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Family Day

I am going to e-mooooooooooo....

My church is having Family Day.

Whoopee.

Family walkathon. Family outing. Family games.

Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! I dun have fam-blyyyyyyy.......... *sobs*

Everyone got mother, father, brother, sister except meeeeeeeeeeeee..... *emos* *emos*

*sulks*

P.S. *lawls* For those who are getting confused, it's not that I'm an orphan or anything lah... it's just that my family isn't going to be coming to Family Day coz they're not Christians, let alone TOD'ites.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My friend's doggie



Yeeeeee!!! Sorry-ler, I HAVE to upload my friend Ovira's doggie picture into my blog! I so ger-rrrrraaaammms this dog! Look at that face! He looks like he is smiling! His name is Moka-Chan!

Gerrrrraaaaammmmmssss lerrrrr!!!

See more pics of Moka - http://simpleexperiences.blogspot.com/2009/03/gill-gill-gillian-d.html

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Embryonic stem cell research

The debate on embryonic stem cell research is an interesting one to me.

The controversy is simply this :- the research uses human embryonic stem cells. Upon extraction of the stem cells, the embryo will die.

Those who are pro-research argue (very truly) that the embryos were going to be thrown into the garbage can anyway. These are human embryos made by fertility clinics which were not used.

They also argue that early tests show they hold promise in the treatment of degenerative diseases.

Those who are anti-research say that it is nothing short of murder.

So who is right?

I think for those of us (including myself) who perceive gestation as being the beginning of a human life, we would agree that this is murder.

But on the other hand, it can't be argued that the embryo was going to be destroyed anyway, and wouldn't it be better, therefore - more noble, if you will - for the embryo to be sacrificed for a good cause rather than be unceremoniously 'dumped'?

What do you think?

Financial crisis

Been a bit worried lately.... I won't say 'a lot worried' because I try to keep a balance. No point worrying over what I can't control, rite?

Have been calculating and re-calculating finances .... and asking God why my friends had to all decide to get married this year ....*lols*. No, just kidding - it's a happy thing to see them get married :>

It's strenuous doing mental math in my head everytime I want to make a purchase, but on the good side - I've better control over my finances than ever before.

And I've seen God's provision to cover 'worry-areas' - like sponsorship, and monthly expenses etc. Truly He has been very good to me during this period :>

One thing about being an auditor; you can't hide your financial status from me :> I know whether or not u'll be able to pay my fees, not just this year, but in the next following 5 years or so! That adds to the worry....

But I find that God has been good to us in my office to tide us through and to send clients when things start to look gloomy again.

I don't know how long this financial crisis is going to last ... it doesn't look promising till at least late 2010. And that's an optimistic projection!

But I believe that I will come out still able to say "God's been good to me".

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Mummy, I love you!"

I was just thinking about someone I know who seems really uncomfortable with being told, "I love you!" But I have to admit, that's pretty hypocrital, because I don't feel comfortable with it either! At the back of my mind, I'm always thinking - 'If you really knew me, would you still say 'I love you'?'

On the way back to Singapore on my last trip, a mother with her two little girls sat next to me on the bus. The mom sat in front and would turn around off and on with little admonishments, like "Don't kick the lady in front of you!" "Jie jie, don't tease mei mei!"

And in the midst of all these frequent little 'reminders', the youngest girl cheerfully chirped, "Mummy, I love you!"

The mother said, "I..." and then cleared her throat, "I love you too!"

It made me smile. What a sweet reminder thru all the nagging and fuss and worry - Mummy, I love you!

No matter how, no matter what, no matter when.

Only children can say that with total openness and u know they want nothing from you. How beautiful and how wonderful - if only we could all say that too!

Ean Nee

I went home last weekend mainly because I wanted to visit an ex-classmate of mine.

My school (or one of my schools, anyway!) had a kindergarten, a primary school and a secondary school all in the same compound. So most of us have seen each other grow through losing our baby teeth, wearing training bras, taking our first major exams all the way to dignified maturity... (ahem!)

This classmate of mine called Ean Nee is currently in ICU in General Hospital. She's been in ICU for 2 months now. She was originally in Pantai, but when the medical bills got too high (read: 6 figures!!!), she had to be transferred out to GH.

So that's where she is now.

Classmates of mine have stayed in touch through Facebook to keep updated on her progress. Christian classmates have gone in to pray for her and we keep praying for her.

So I went with another classmate and met up with another 6 classmates during visiting hours on Saturday. We tried to sneak in as a group but got caught *lols*.

So we patiently waited outside. Finally I went in with two Christian classmates. Ean Nee was in a coma - she normally is - and lately she's been having fits.

At first I really was intimidated by all the tubes and stuff. But then I looked at my friends and said, "Let's pray for her?" and they agreed. So I laid hands on her as did my classmates and began to pray out loud for her. Immediately I felt warmth and confidence sweep over me and I began to pray strongly for her healing.

When I left I touched her cheek and told her 'goodbye'.

It's kind of funny because the last time I was in GH ICU in Penang, I remember I was terrified by another friend's condition. She was also in a coma, also having fits... and I remember that when I visited her, I felt all faith leave me and for once, I was face to face with the reality of my faith - and I found that I DIDN'T have faith!

That Sunday I cried and cried during altar call - it was my first confrontation with the reality of God to me. I found myself crying out, "God, who are You"? And I had been a Christian for about ten years by then!

But this time was different. I believe part of the reason is because of all the hospital visitations. Like David with the bears and the lions before he stoned Goliath, it had been training time for me.

And when I started to pray, I found faith started to flow. Before I prayed, I honestly did not feel faith!

Thank You God for this journey of faith.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perfect Ballet Body

People wonder why I still dance ballet. It's actually as simple as physically I am more suited for ballet than any other dance.

I have:-

1) long legs with the knee to bottom of foot being longer than hip joint to knee
2) naturally arched feet
3) at least two first toes of the same length
4) swayback legs (my knees 'dissapear' when I straighten my legs)
5) short torso
6) long neck
7) natural elevation (ie. I can jump and get some distance off the floor!)

Unfortunately, I also have:-

1) an extremely chunky body (enuff said!)
2) square shoulders that are wider than hips (sloping shoulders are ideal in ballet, and the width should be about the same as the hips)
3) weak ankles (they wobble like mad en pointe!)

The ideal ballet body measured from the top of the head to the tail bone should measure about the same as the tail bone to the floor. Too bad my legs aren't THAT long, but they're okay anyway.

I found out from someone called David Kinsella who made documentaries on Russian dancers that the perfect ballet body is calculated by:-

1) Taking your height in cm (I'm 5ft 3in, therefore 160 cm)
2) Deducting the number 127 from the number (160 - 127)
3) That is your ideal weight in kgs (my ideal weight is 33kgs!)

Now that's totally crazy!

But it does help to explain why anorexia and bulimia are ever present in the ballet world.

"A dancer's body is her instrument." Any dance student who has studied dance for a number of years can recite that phrase. Over the years it would have been drummed into her over and over and over again by her dance teacher.

Every week she would have worn a pair of thights and a leotard, stood in a studio surrounded by mirrors and have every part of her body from her head to her toes scrutinized. Every part of her physique needs to be perfect and perfectly aligned and positioned for her to master the difficult moves required in ballet.

If I were to hazard a guess as to why being thin becomes so important to the dancer, I'd say it would be because it's the easiest part of her to 'control'! Mastering any step takes months of careful and constant practise, training any part of the body to obey one's instruction takes years!

In contrast, losing weight is easy and quick - dancers burn tons of calories in a dance class and the discipline honed through years of ballet makes denying oneself easy. And always, in ballet, weight loss is met with approval from peers and teachers alike.

The rest of the world may cry out, "You're too thin! You're too pale!" but the ballet world approves of thinness, and pale features with dark eyes are prized in order to give the 'ethreal' look that classical ballet dancers are trying to project (something less prized in today's more 'contemporary' world as demonstrated in movies like Centrestage!).

(to be continued)

Friday, February 6, 2009

My friend Chew

I have a kwazy friend.

This kwazy friend of mine only has 1 kidney. So does she think to herself, "I must take extra good care of myself in case I get infection etc."? No, she does not.

My kwazy friend thought to herself, "Someone needs part of my liver! I will donate my liver to her!"

Sigh!!!!!!!!!!

That's Chew for you.... The Bible says, 'Greater love hath no man than this - that a man lay down his life for his friend'. I really see the living example of that in my friend. Even though she is not a Christian but this is a true act of real love.

Read her story here :- http://www.hoongling.blogspot.com/

Chew, I'm so proud of you, but u give us heart attacks lah, worrying about you! After u have to donate ur heart to us, den u know! *muaks*!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ups and Downs of an Orphanage Drama Project

It's been quite a journey since we started this project.

The plan of this project was simple -

... We would use a ready-made drama written by a friend of mine called A.

... Our kids from different Homes would be the supporting cast.

... The main cast would be supplied by A, as they have performed the drama before.

... We would have a Boot Camp a week before the performance to practise the different scenes for the drama.

... Meanwhile, we would provide dance and music classes for the kids from the Homes so that they could perform their little back-up pieces in the drama.


Simple? Not when you're working with orphanage kids!

So far we have had -

... 2 kids kicked out from two Homes

... 2 kids who were threatened to be kicked out but who made it through (phew!)

... 1 kid who was supposed to go home, but didn't make it home :(

... 1 of the Homes called up to say that because of something-something-something, therefore they would no longer allow BOTH boys and girls to participate; I had to choose one or the other!

... My friend A pulled out of the project just before CNY


It reached a point where frankly, you couldn't startle me anymore! I was beyond being shocked or freaked out by anything... I was too tired!

But one thing God did - He surrounded me during this time with men and women of God who stood up to be counted - who said they would be there and shoulder the burden with me. And they did....

And friends who weren't able to participate, gave their verbal support and encouragement when I was weary from the journey....

For all these things, thank You, God. You never let me forget - this project is in Your hands.

And a big thank you to all my friends who stood by me and are standing by me and for all your support... You guys have refreshed me and strengthened me. Love u too!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"When u know how much I love you..."

One of the things I really struggle with is jealousy and envy....

I hope that surprises some of you! *lols* I hope it's not that obvious!

It feels to me often that people are better than me, and I get really competitive and try to be better than them.... but I fail....

This is something I really started desperately calling out to God to address in my life. I didn't want to feel jealous of people around me anymore!

And then God softly whispered to me, "When you know how much I love you, and how much I accept you, you won't feel jealous and envious anymore."

That was such a surprise and a revelation to me!

When I examined my heart I realised the Lord was right. In my heart, I didn't feel loved and accepted by Him. I always felt I was not good enough and that feeling made me jealous and envious of those around me who seemed to me 'good enough'.

So I asked Him to show me, again, how much He loved me and accepted me.

And my God is unfolding His love to me every day since.

I love you too, God!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Like oil running over....

Lord, I've poured out until I have nothing left ... My jar is dry ...

Fill me up again, Lord, so that I can go out and pour Your oil once more ....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Be Magnified

Everyone is talking about the Economic Crisis lately... everyone's anxious.

I was too. But God has been steadily reminding me of His love and faithfulness ....

This was one of my tender God's reminders:-

[Verse 1]
I have made You too small in my eyes
Oh Lord, forgive me
And I have believed in a lie
That You are unable to help me.
But now, Oh Lord, I see my wrong
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong
And in my eyes and with my song
Oh Lord, be magnified

[Chorus:]
Be magnified, Oh Lord
You are highly exalted
And there is nothing You can't do
Oh Lord, my eyes are on You
Be magnified,
Oh Lord, be magnified

[Verse 2]
I have leaned on the wisdom of men
Oh Lord, please forgive me
And I have responded to them
Instead of Your light and Your mercy
But now, Oh Lord, I see my wrong
Heal my heart and show yourself strong
And in my eyes and in my song
Oh Lord be magnified

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year 2009



Oh my goodness, this picture was so adorable, I absolutely had to 'lift' it from Bobo's blog (thanks Bo!)

I don't have many pix of me wif frens - camera shy lah!

This is our New Year par-tee at Avis' house (thanks for organizing it, hon! And to all e other YA comm too!). Soooooooo nice! First time in years that I didn't just sleep thru the New Year countdown!