Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My heart is too full right now...

I don't know what was different about this year's Kiwanis camp... I don't know what was different about this group.

I remember before going to Camp Vision, I was really nervous about being small group leader. I always try to avoid it because I don't know how to talk to the youths. And then I read Paul's advice to just think of a topic and then keep trying until it works.

So armed with that, I went to camp. And... I had the best time ever. Because for once, I didn't sit there like a boring dumb-mute; for once, I talked to the youths whenever there was a break or we were just waiting around... It made for the best camp ever as the youths opened up and I felt a sense of closeness with my team that was so awesome, I never wanted camp to end.

Fast forward to Kiwanis camp, and I wasn't particularly looking forward to it as I had caught a bad cough. Also, I admit a slight prejudice because half the kids, in my eyes, come from 'okay' backgrounds. To me, that makes for a 'boring' camp.

The first night, I don't know what happened. We had a time of sharing amongst our small groups, and... One by one, the youths in my small group shared their dreams, and broke down in tears as they shared secret wishes and struggles in their lives. I didn't know what happened, I just flowed with it. We stayed long after the other groups left, just sharing and sharing.

After that, we had a debrief amongst all the volunteers, and I told the others, I didn't know what happened. Yuen Li the founder of Nomad who had been listening in to my small group's sharing said, "I know what happened... You guys were REALLY listening."

My group didn't stop there... They kept sharing throughout the camp. We were far from being a high-performing team; in fact, I felt really guilty because their games results were rather low! But by the last night, they all agreed, this group was so different from any group they'd ever experienced in camps. There was so much support and acceptance of each other.

And as they shared, and shared, I heard stories that shocked me at the struggles and trauma the youths were going through. I thought, after all, the youths are not from shelter homes.... Only a few of them are. Yet, the stories of the youths were equally on par with those who were from shelter homes, as they shared of divorce, parents who had passed away, poverty, low self-esteem, violence in the home..

When I came home, as ever, I stayed in touch with the youths on FB. And I got to know other youths better, who were also from 'normal' homes. And they too, opened up and shared their stories.

I don't really know why that is happening. But I feel as if my cup is so full of the pain these youths have gone through. I only wish I knew now how to steer them towards 'what's next'...

And a part of me wishes I could run under a table and just hide for a while for the pain is getting too much.


Friday, December 13, 2013

If I could wish...

... Then I would wish that you could be well again.

I don't know when you started not being well. I think you've not been well for as long as I could remember, but things were better last time. Yesterday you said, "Somebody is tapping the phone! They want to listen because I'm so important!" in that voice that veers on crazy that scares me.

I changed the subject as quick as I could. I did that a lot my last trip with you. I've learnt to navigate the route to speak about other subjects when the familiar rants come up of how someone is trying to kill you, someone else is trying to harm you...

I wish you could get well, but I don't know what to do. And I don't know if it's possible that you'll ever be.

But just now, what we have... It's good enough for me.

Adrienne's story

I met Adrienne at the Protect and Save the Children workshop on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse. There was something about her and her answers to the questions that the trainers would throw out to us that made me look over to her and wonder. She was so spot on with her replies. 

I kept in touch with her after the workshop ended... She is someone who is passionate about abused and trafficked women. 

I just returned from Kiwanis camp. And on the last day of camp, I saw this incredible sharing that she did on a public FB page that just amazed me....


'"Tell me something interesting about yourself"

"I accepted the apology I never got."

"What happened?"

"I was raped by my ex-boyfriend years ago. And I didn't realize till later. I didn't realize that I was a victim. The worst part of it was blaming myself. I did't realize how much it affected me until I finally come to terms with it. Only after I stop blaming my
self, I could move on. I accepted that it wasn't my fault. Getting off that was the hardest part. Getting off the hate I felt for myself. Getting off the guilt that I blamed myself for. I was such a different person then. I couldn't think straight, didnt know how i got through, all I know is that I was really lost for a few year. My perspective of things have changed now. Then things just changed, for the better. Now Ive come to terms with myself. And now I'm just living life. Happy."


"Did you ever confront him?"

"No."

"Why?"

"Its all in the past, and also because he doesn't know. I don't think he ever realized that my NO meant NO-not YES"'

I was just blown away by this brave, generous sharing. She shared with me that she wanted to help other victims be brave enough to reach out and share their story to someone who can help them too. 

It may not seem very generous to some people to share a story like this publicly. But there are cruel people out there who love to throw brickbats at survivors who dare to share their story. There is so much shame and fear of how others will judge you that wraps survivors in silence. To dare to share just for the chance that others may dare too... That is so 'wow'.

:) She was pretty surprised that I had guessed she was a survivor. I think it helps in the work I want to do to be able to hear.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I was here

Just like this song, "I wanna do something that matters... Something that says 'I was here'".

Friday, July 12, 2013

Don't make your career your life

'When people come to me and say, "I want to be just like you; the only thing I want in life is to sing," I tell them this: "Please don't make your career your life." Let it be your passion, let it bring you pleasure, but don't let it become your identity. You are so much more valuable than that.' Celine Dion

This resonated with me today. The work I do is so much a part of my life... And I realise that it's not 'balanced' if everything in my life is about one passion. It burns me out and I don't want the youths learning that it is okay to burn out by being totally leant on to the giving side... Because that is such a wrong message. It's basically suicide.

Life is so much more than that. I'm enjoying myself exploring the other parts that make me me. I'm enjoying coming alive and living each day with so much joy because I taste each day now. I want more. Because the way to inspire someone to live their life with love and passion, is to live my own life with love and passion. It is just that simple.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wisdom please!

What a day... So much is happening, I feel somewhat overwhelmed...

The Agape Vision committee met up yesterday and unanimously agreed that they are happy and excited about the transit home. Even Samantha came! So Avis and Jason will take a second look at the little apartment we've found, and if they agree too, we're taking it up next month and paying the deposit today! It feels so soon for us to start the transit home!

Kim Lang emailed today to say that I can come and volunteer at Dayspring in 2014 if I want... She is really kind and generous to allow it. But I said that I was waiting to hear if I've been accepted for the full-time option in the Masters in Counselling in 2014, so could she let me come in 2015 instead. I do wonder if I'm procrastinating, but another factor influencing me is that I want to ensure the transit home is secure before I leave for Singapore.

I was so incensed yesterday to find out from DE that the reason why nothing has happened with HH is because the Welfare Department lost his file!! That's crazy! No wonder he was never rescued. I wonder how he is... There is no follow-up at all. I don't know if he is safe, and nobody seems to care.

And today, I finally called M who was recommended to me by Haslinda. I told her about PS The Children's great Keeping Me Safe programme. She was like, "Yes yes! I need it for our children!" and then she told me about one of her girls whom they suspect from her behaviour has been sexually abused. M had no idea who to call or what to do... I thank God we were put together by Haslinda at the right time. I immediately called T at PSTC... Thank God for people who have the hearts to make a difference immediately!

Now looking at placement of a lonely, 'delinquent' kid for a friend.

I feel drained right now... I can only surrender everything to God and pray that in this whole mess, His will will prevail.

P.S. We got our transit home :) It will be great once it's done up! As for the 'delinquent' kid, Shelter promptly replied to ask for more details! <3 Homes like these RAWK!! and restore my faith in people who care!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nervous-citement!

I've written to Help Uni College to ask Dr. Anasu if I can take the full-time option for Masters in Counselling. She very graciously said I could as long as they are offering it.

A part of me thinks, I'm crazy! After all, I'm living a comfy, safe, secure life... Why on earth do I want to take this leap into the unknown?

Another part of me thinks, if I don't do this, will I someday be on my deathbed, and that time may be soon or it may be late!, and wish that I had had the courage to live my dreams? Regretting that I never made the difference that I declared I wanted to make when I was that little girl in primary school?

Now I'm waiting to hear if they are offering it full-time or part-time... And waiting to hear from Dayspring for their 'okay' to volunteer full-time after that.

And after that? Who knows...

We're right now looking for youths who want to live in the transit home so that we can open Agape Vision's first one. It seems so crazy to be doing this! But over the years, we've taken each step one by one... All the time never knowing if what we're doing would work out. And here we are today... 3 years from the time that we first started Agape Vision... Having completed 2 expeditions, 3 YLDs... Having touched, and hopefully empowered, 66 young lives for at least a minimum of 6 continuous months... Some for 2 years already!

It's just another step on in an already crazy life's journey that I am so blessed to be on.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Trauma Release Exercises

AsiaWorks Malaysia is offering a new program - TRE. I was pretty interested when I heard about it, because it was used for soldiers with PTSD before. But I was quite leery of attending another AW training - I'm scared of the training room now! ;P

It wasn't until Yasmin called me up and said, "You know what, I stepped out of the Guest Event and thought of you." that I explored it. She mentioned that it might be something that I could use in therapy with the youths.

I still don't understand much about it... I heard that there's shaking involved and that it relieves pain, but that's not what I'm looking for... I'm looking to see if it can help the youths to relieve the inner pain caused by the traumas they've gone through. Will this be useful in bringing them further along the journey of healing?

It reminds me of Vanitha's blog on drama therapy... How students, in movement, suddenly have body memories released into their conscious memory. I can understand that, because I find it true in dance... As you dance, movements give freedom to wordless memories stored inside your body to be released. It is why I love dance so much, even though sometimes, I want to dance alone, because it is impossible to lie when I dance. And I don't like showing much emotion in public! Like the line in the song, "The honesty's too much..."

I still don't know if I want to go for the certification programme, until I know more about it... But it's such a beautiful thing to see that the movement that I love can be transformed into a safe conduit for healing.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's right? What's wrong?

That's the question that has been on my mind a lot lately.

So much so that I happily proclaimed myself a renegade Christian!

So many lines are blurred for me now. I know people say, the Word of God is still where the lines are drawn for us. But I see cruelty coming out of the way Christians follow those lines...

Recently, a friend of mine posted this as her status on her FB wall:-

"If a transwoman is caught walking on the streets like any normal person, police can stop and request for sex, but if she does not give in, she will be forcefully caught and humiliated in public (and they love listening to her screams especially if she looks feminine and has a husky or masculine voice), and brought to jail... Once in jail, she will be forced to admit that it was... a mistake to "cross-dress" (they call it cross dress coz they do not see transwomen as women rather than men who cross dress in women's clothes regardless if she has breasts or a vagina), and if she is hesitant, of fulfilling their sexual favours, she will be beaten, they will step on her silicone boobs to intimidate her (because if the silicone pouch bursts, the silicone once touches your blood can be very fatal) or use the wooden club to stuff it in her anal hole... They will do much more gruesome things to make her feel pain and admit that she's Islam and had made a sin by cross dressing and she is willing to testify in court. Only then will they file a case. When she is brought upon court, no matter what she had suffered, she will be still guilty and will be charged for cross dressing in public even though some enactments mention "cross dressing for immoral purposes".... To prove immoral purposes, the police would claim they saw her standing in the streets and attending to men and calling out at them... Without any proof, that statement will be taken in as VALID....

If she had mentioned that she had suffered in jail when she was 1st detained, you can imagine what would happen to her in the next 6 months she would have to serve her jail sentence...

In the end, everybody only knows that she is a PONDAN/ BAPOK who had insulted her religion by defying God's words (which non of us have ever heard personally - and honestly) and that she deserved everything that she had received because she defied God and Islam...

This is not a made up story... Many cases have taken place and this is still going on... WHY? Because these authorities, politicians and officials are given the GREEN LIGHT to do so by the public because people are soooo ignorant and they do not care.

If today a transsexual were to tell someone that she had been sexually abused, nobody would care. They would think of ways to reason with her to point the blame on her for what she received. But if any guy, who tried to abuse or advance at a transsexual, was rejected by the transsexual, and if he injured her and said the transwoman came on to him and he injured her because he was disgusted by her, everyone would believe him...

So how do we altar this situation? When will all this cruelty STOP???

Do you know why is it important for YOU the public to care & support for us transsexuals? Do you see how important you are in creating a change?

Until then, we would have to just suffer silently. This is why transsexuals do not feel humiliated in doing sex work. For them, it is just a job and it is an earning. Nothing more. Nothing to do with love or pleasure. And if you are going to talk about dignity, what is dignity if you are made vulnerable to be sexually abused and insulted by anyone and everyone?

God didn't ask for this. God asked all to live in peace and harmony, and to love each other. God didn't create labels and stereotypes... MEN created these things. For those who know what we are facing and said they only wished they could support us but they are afraid of being looked down upon society, until when will you say this?

This is how we humans really are, aren't we? Hypocrites
..."


It is very strong and angry. And I understand why. I've talked to her and heard some of her story... And the stories of other transgenders and what they've gone through. It's hideous and ugly to listen to... And to know that their rights to just being safe are not accorded to them just because people know nobody cares, because society is often too busy disapproving of them to care.

It's funny that when I talk about it, people ask me questions like, "So do you think same-sex marriage is right or wrong?" "Do you agree with homosexuality?" I've seen gay friends being told that they are going to go to hell. I've heard of priests who do not allow people who are gay into their churches.

I don't get it. When someone is being abused, do I need to ask whether or not their lifestyle is right or wrong? Does it matter? Or should I check into the history and background of each person before deciding if they decide counselling, help, love, restoration, everything that they need to heal when they've been hurt? I know of 4 young boys who were sexually abused because they were effeminate, should I then proclaim them unworthy of help and attention because they are effeminate?

Do I tell someone, "You're going to hell!"? How is that the 'good news'? Do I forbid someone from entering a church? What gives me the right to do so? Luckily, I'm not 'clean' myself... It took me a very, very long time to feel 'clean', and even then, I struggle somedays.

I'm confused. The basis of what we believe is love, isn't it? How is condoning abuse, ignoring people, hurling insults, love?

 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Horrific truth



This video shows the horrific truth of what happens to children, girls, women who are sold into sex slavery.

I'm sometimes told by friends, "Gillian, you have to UNDERSTAND... Their families had no choice but to sell their children." as if that makes it okay for a child to be raped, tortured and eventually killed.

Please, I invite you to take a look, and then decide, should we 'understand', or should we do all we can so that kids don't need to go thru this torture and death anymore?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Secret Keeper

(This is just a rant blog!)

One thing which really stood out for me over last weekend was that I had become a secret keeper... And yet, my dream had been to help abused children someday reveal secrets. At which point did I choose to betray the children and my dreams by being a party to their silence, and in so doing, being a party to the turmoil and abuse never stopping?

Another thing that stood out for me was when a lady at our table, in discussing the measures that we could take after the workshop on child sexual abuse, said very loudly and confidently, "We should target children in the rural areas... The children in KL and places like that are very confident, they will surely tell someone if they are abused."

I protested, but she is a very confident person... She wasn't moved from her stand. It was as if she was saying that the only thing stopping children from revealing that they had been sexually abused was a lack of confidence. As if, it is so easy.

Sometimes, I feel frustrated because it isn't so easy as all that. Sometimes, I worry because I know that just telling a child, "You can always tell me." and "No one has the right to touch you." doesn't make a difference. The reason for their keeping secrets lies so much deeper than that. And until that worry-reason is removed, they are not going to tell, no matter how confident they are.

I wonder if this lady knows that the children are not 'weak'? They are not weak people who lack confidence and therefore are unable to tell. They are strong, because they can withstand so much pain and trauma and still not break. Of course, those who dare to tell someone and break free are stronger still.

I liked the video that they showed during the workshop, because it was of a typical 'good girl'. I got a bit frustrated when they shared a story about a girl who acts up, because I wanted to say, not all victims of abuse will act like that. I think of those I know - you cannot always tell from the outside that they are abused. Some are 'naughty' and some are 'good'.

Can I just say something about the quiet ones? This is what I want to say...

"You can't tell that they have been abused
They're not the ones who are dressing in short skirts, wearing loads of piercings, flaunting sexuality...
In fact sometimes, they wonder, how come the other girls
Are able to be sexual.
All they want to do is to cover up; and they do
In layers of clothing, long and loose
Wearing huge jackets on top of oversized t-shirts
In the vain hope that they will not appear sexually appealing;
And yet, the abuse doesn't stop.

You can't tell that they have been abused
They're the overachievers! They get the A's
They're the leaders, the team captains, the ones who sign up for every extracurricular activity there is in school...
You don't know.
They just don't want to go home.
In the school, they're safe.
In the school, they don't think of home.
In the school, they disassociate; as if they're two separate beings.
Do you think that's crazy? That's okay.
Their whole world is.

You can't tell that they have been abused
They are more than fine; they're shining stars and examples of 'normal'!
They don't act up and rebel.
They don't stand in the school corners and smoke.
They pass by unnoticed.
Their very whole being is used, proudly, as an example by their parents to say, "Look how 'good' and 'normal' we are."

Lean in a little closer... Look just beneath the sleeve...
Do you see it?
Do you see the faint red lines streaking downwards on her arm?
That's not the cutting of a normal teenage girl whose heart has been broken in a teenage relationship.
That's the cry of a girl who is frustrated because her voice cannot be heard.

Do you see that beneath the long loose sweaters and t-shirts
She has lost weight?
She's so fearful of what will happen later
She can't eat properly, because her stomach is always tied in knots.

Do you see that she's always volunteering somewhere
Always caring about other people around her?
She's anxious all the time that you will be safe.
She never is, but she's real good at taking care of everyone else.
It's her 'job'.

I wonder, will you ever see the quiet ones
Before they die?"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Together we can...

Incredible past 4 days!

First I met up with Avis to share with her about starting the transition Home and whether we could put it under Agape Vision... If that would be okay with her. It was so strange when she said, "You know, I drew a dreams collage last time... It was like a charity village... There was a school, a treatment centre, a... you know, everything!" :) We realised we were just taking the next step to both our dreams!

The funniest thing was when we talked about EA 2014. I told Avis, "I wasn't sure if you agreed with my suggestion of Nepal?" and Avis was like, "But Nepal was my idea!" "Err... No it wasn't... I'm the one who said EA 2014 should be in Nepal!" "No mah, remember I said they did art therapy with the sex trafficked women in Nepal." "Eh, I thot I am the one who said we should go to that centre that I know of that serves the sex trafficked women in Nepal?"

Just one of those incredible moments when you know there are no coincidences in life!

The next day, DE and I met up with the lady from Dayspring Singapore. Lovely, humble lady who was not a bit lordly and let-me-show-you-y but instead wanted to share ideas with us and hear our views and what we did too!

It was a wonderful, long chat, but the best part was that she said we could visit, only she would have to ask her governing committee if that was okay, in October. And she was welcoming when I asked her if I could volunteer for one year with Dayspring to learn how they run the centre, only she needs to ask her governing committee first too!

DE also shared that she had more therapists excited and willing to work on this project with us who had the same dream!

My weekend was spent in PS The Children training on Child Sexual Abuse, and it was wonderful but often times too much too... I always struggle after a while in PSTC trainings, but I love them! It was really interesting as they have added in new elements, and I met their new team.

But best of all? Just the first lunch alone, I shared about the transit Home, and Thency shared that PSTC has just developed a program for youths who are transiting to adulthood!

And when I shared about the residential counselling centre, they were willing to share their expertise... And I certainly can't imagine doing it without these wonderful people who already give their whole heart to children who've been sexually abused.

It was also good to share about the way I handled things, and have their input and corrections as well, so I know when I go offtrack.... Grateful for that.

Incredible co-creation few days... I love it! I'm so excited!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Reality

A girl who is sexually abused... and is 18 years old. Youths who are physically abused... and are 18 years old and above. Both cases cannot receive long-term care from Welfare Department.

The kick that I need to get moving. I am in the position of needing emergency care for youths who are too old to be taken away against their will, too  young to move out on their own.

Thank God for the right person at the right time... BOTH of us being the right people at the right time for each other. And we're moving. And she's interested in the centre for rehabilitating youths who've been severely abused too. Enough to go with me to study Dayspring in Singapore!

I'm excited!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Going through...

So a total shift from 'I have to stay here' to 'I can go out and live my dream'.

My Masters wasn't starting before 2014, so I thought of what I could do in the here and now... All the baby steps that I could go through. And I remembered Madeleine from PSTC telling me, "Go try out different counselling techniques and experience what they are like."

So, who can I call about this, right? And what about this whole area of 'being stuck' and not moving forward?

I called someone who I had volunteered together with... And someone who knew my dream and who had agreed one day to come in and talk to the girls when I set up my centre.

Our first session, we went through EA which was super-great as I was slumping in energy. And the session with the youths and volunteers flowed beautifully and greater than I had expected with ease.

And then we came to my dream.

So now, no shortcuts... Just walking right through every step of the way until I get there.

Thursday, May 16, 2013






God's reminder to me, thru the ministry of these beautiful soldiers of Christ, that the healing, the growth, the change, will never be complete without the message of Him and His healing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When you open...

And so the programme that I was looking for, that couldn't be found in North America, was just across the Causeway after all...

http://www.dayspring.org.sg/programmes.php

And it has so much that I wanted to do... Family counselling, pet therapy, art therapy, DANCE therapy... And there actually IS something called Emotional Regulation!

I'm not too sure that I want a residential setting for my kids, but on the other hand, I'm distressed at the number of cases where one perpetrator is taken away, and another crops up in the family. And with cases of girls who retract their statement, probably due to coercion by the moms.

So this is perfect... Wow...

I found out 2 things during this week... I found out that when you stop pushing something away and stop rejecting it, then disassociation also stops.

And I found out that when you are ready to accept and do something, everything will come to you.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Same Dream



I am so excited, listening to beautiful Glori Meldrum and her dream... And now only I learn that there is NO long-term facility for children who have been sexually abused in America. I love that she is looking at equine therapy (loves!!!!!!) and play therapy and letting the children know how special and loved they are!! Oh my gosh!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You're not worthy...

Receive a gift... give it away.

Take a holiday... 'I'm too busy'.

A task needs to be done... 'I'll do it!'

When you don't feel 'worthy', it makes it so hard to believe that you 'deserve' something. Things that other people take for granted - food, affection, breaks... All this, you can't have because you're not 'worthy'.

You keep working, and working, and working... And looking at all the people who are taking a short break, laughing and enjoying the companionship of others... And you feel a pang that used to be sharp, now dulled, 'knowing' that you can't have any of that.

So you trudge on... and on... and on... And life turns grey and meaningless, filled with drudgery, empty of joy and love and laughter and renewal of energy... because you are not 'worthy'.

And what makes you 'unworthy'? Who told you years ago that you don't deserve any of this? What voice whispered in your ear that because you are [fill in the blank], you are like a stepchild of this world, who needs to earn your way, just for the right to live here?

I don't know.

Sometimes, you don't need to wait until you 'understand' before you can change... Sometimes it's as simple as making the decision to do so ❤

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blackout!

It's so 'drama' in my country this elections!

The ruling party came into power again, and there are shrieks of 'cheating' and 'blackouts planned' and 'banglas (a really rude word for Bangladeshi!) as phantom voters'.

Here's my thot:-

"First time it really comes home to me - the difference between being 'victim' and 'responsible'. I think it's a waste of time blaming the ruling party, SPR, TNB, gawd knows who else... Moaning and complaining and sulking... Rather than:

1) Looking at the results, and ACCEPTING it (rather than refusing ownership by saying it is all somebody else's fault)

2) Looking at what needs to be changed; how can I do things differently

3) And take action!!

There IS a tomorrow!!!"

I got tremendously tired of the skewed way of thinking and seeing that people had after a while. I support candidates on both sides of the election - I find good people on either side. I see corruption and wrong happening on BOTH sides, and i see good and righteous stands on BOTH sides too!

People say, there were Bangladeshi workers who came to stand as voters. As a result, innocent people were shoved around, and one I know was beaten... Even though they are Malaysians.

People say, there were blackouts and fake ballot boxes came in. One of my friends who volunteered at the polling station said the same happened at hers. This morning she apologized - she was wrong, and it was legit. I encouraged her to say so publicly, because the rumours fly too quickly - the corrections and ownership of wrong words are slow.

People say, Barisan cheated! How else could they have won and Pakatan lost? They failed to see that the rallying cry and the votes for change were coming from the urban cities, where Pakatan won handsomely. The rural districts and friends I know, quietly cast their vote for Barisan, and celebrated quietly when they won.

People say, "It's HOPELESS!! There's no use trying!" At that point, I was disgusted enough to write the above post on FB.

No, I'm not a Pakatan supporter, but I am for a corruption-much-less (free is a dream, no?), well-run country WHICHEVER government comes in. And I think that's what Malaysians want - when I talk to Pakatan supporters, they're not totally sold on the party... They just don't want the ruling coalition to rule anymore, and they're tired of being cheated with leaks and a system that does not promote free speech.
 

It's so funny :) today I thought of the Perseverance Push! What if, instead of pushing through, we wail and cry and point our fingers at the blockers and say, "It's not faiiiirrrr!!! They're cheating!! It's impossible!! Teacher... You see him!!!" You get what I mean?

Push through to your dream, Malaysia! Don't say, "I don't want to contribute to my country for the next 5 years" (Yes! I've seen such comments! No doubt spoken out of emo-ness rather than a serious decision.) Say, "I'll contribute differently - I'll speak to more people. I'll share my vision and the vision of my party. I'll ensure victory the next time."

Be the difference! Someone rightly pointed out - you say the government is corrupt, but what about you? Do you offer bribes? Do you cheat on your tax returns? Do you obey the law and ensure others do too?

Care enough early! A lot of people only started to 'care' when election time came, which is way too late to make a difference. There was what - 3 weeks? And even then, their 'care' took the form of group complain sessions at the mamak stalls, rather than tangible support for their local candidate.

Give financially! If you believe in it, put your money where your mouth is! There were huge rallies practically up to election date - what if, the same supporters had given earlier? Pakatan could have reached more people in the rural areas with their dream before it was 'too late'.

I don't know how long it'll take some Malaysians to buck up again... But I do see what is wrong with my country now, and no, it's not just the government!

P.S. I hate my country being like this... I hate it I hate it I hate it. :'(

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Weaker I Get The Stronger I Become: Kelita Haverland at TEDxSunRiver

Incredible woman with unbelievable courage... A songwriter who dares to tell... A speaker who dares to inspire with her own story. Her life is a testimony to what God can create out of brokenness to His glory.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Over the age of consent

Recently a dear volunteer friend of mine stayed overnight for a conference. As ever, we caught up with stories of the kids we were serving, and stories of kids whom we used to serve and who have grown-up.

I was asking her, How much do children with Down Syndrome understand? For my church in Singapore has a service just for youths and adults with learning disabilities. She told me that it varies child to child.

I asked her if there had been any issues with her special kids. She was quiet a moment before she murmured that they had discovered a case of incest by father to intellectually disabled daughter. Her superior had lodged a report, but nothing had happened. Why? Because the intellectually disabled girl was 18 years old.

She sighed as she told how her superior had raged that if only the girl was under 18, she would take her into custody immediately. But her hands were tied.

Thankfully, mean though it sounds, the father passed away soon after. But how many more disabled 'adults' are denied the help they need just because they are of 'legal age'?

P.S. I was looking up people who can counsel this girl, and asked my friend if she would like me to refer her on... But my friend said the girl is fine. Is she? These things come back...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reposted from Rachel Coleman's blog...

"As we made our way from the school grounds to toward the road we noticed a young woman who was signing and then we noticed that the person with her put their own hands beneath hers as they replied. Miracle of miracles, it was Sylvia! Leah and I went over and began signing with her. She was pretty confused at first and asked for her translator. Then Sylvia put her hands on Leah’s and Leah told her, “I am Leah.” Sylvia touched Leah’s face and hair, and recognized her, “Leah? You have grown! Your hair is braided too.”


Sylvia told us that she is now in high school, she passed the tests and is now the very first deaf-blind student all of Ghana to enter high school. We congratulated her, talked a little more and then really had to go. We needed to pack, load the tro-tro and get to the airport. The rest of our Team had moved on without us, but it was okay. Leah and I said our goodbyes to Sylvia and then, I took my daughter’s hand and we walked down the dirt road to the street. My eyes were full of tears and I glanced over and noticed tears streaming down Leah’s cheeks. She was smiling.

I signed, “What is it?” She signed back, “Mom, she’s the proof. Sylvia is the evidence that anything is possible. She’s a deaf, blind, Ghanaian girl who is now in high school and plans to go to college. Mom, it’s not our circumstances that keep us from reaching our dreams. It’s our excuses that keep us from reaching our dreams.”"

Ever since I watched the video by Rachel Coleman about how she chose sign for her daughter, I've enjoyed reading what she says and does so much! What I love is the way she lives... Totally and completely, throwing herself into everything she does. There is an acceptance of what life has thrown to her with a daughter who is Deaf and another daughter with spinal bifida, an aggressive acceptance, not a passive one... One that makes life an adventure with herself in the bouncy, crazy, driver's seat, whilst making an awesome creation of what she is given.

I love her Foundation to those who are in similar circumstances and aren't as able to overcome challenges such as poverty because of circumstance. I love that she doesn't beat herself up over mistakes in the past, but accepts that she is human, laughs and cries, and moves on with a full life... Not discounting it because she has made mistakes.

God, I want that kind of living. Just to be Alive! No excuses!!

You know something... I was watching Somaly Mam being interviewed on Tyra Banks and the saddest thing ever was when she said, "I feel like I am dead inside." She is just going thru the motions, though she is making a humongous difference in the lives of trafficked girls. Abandoned, abused, raped, battered wife, sex trafficked victim... and now activist. She feels dead inside.

But to choose to be 'dead' when I have no reason to? No way! I'm breaking out to freedom.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fine... See you at the finish line!

My friend Kala, my very bestest volunteer friend, told me that she had shared with a guy who used to work in orphanages about my plans for a place for youths leaving the orphanages to stay.

The guy told her, "Tell your friend, 'good luck'. There are sooooo many obstacles...." etc. etc.

Fine! Let's see!


P.S. I just realised... I will be leaving early from CV for Std Chartered run this year... Which means, I'll miss breaking the board!!!! :D

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Anti-Pity Party

I love these!

From an interview with Dave Pelzer, A Child Called It:

"Are we talking about trauma or drama?" asks Pelzer, who has no respect for those who whine, keep wounds open and become therapy junkies. His recipe for happiness is to talk about your problems enough to get them in perspective, then move on. "You don't get over it, just accept."

From an interview with Somaly Mam, The Road of Lost Innocence:

"At the same time, when I come here to New York and I see the people—I met with some victims, some survivors, or some normal people. Some of them, they complain because they have been raped. Some of them really complain because the weather today is not good. It's too cold.

I just feel like they don't know how lucky they are to be here. You have been raped, but you have psychologists and other people helping you, you have law enforcement. You have many things. Why do you just sit and complain? Why don't you just recognize you've been raped and stand up and help others? Appreciate your life."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hate it!

I literally felt sick when I read this on someone's FB status... :

"I wonder if we will see this on the papers after the election:

BN ministers get pelted by rotten vegetables and eggs as they moved out of Putrajaya. Ex Prime Minister and current opposition leader Najis and other top echelons of the party namely, ex Minister of Uneducated People Moyeedin, porn star Dick Choi SL and Semi tarak Value did not make an appearance. On an unrelated matter, a suspicious mound of earth has mysteriously appeared overnight in the Gebeng industrial estate near Kuantan. Kak Ros' 30.11 ct diamond ring was discovered nearby."


She is someone who was in the AW Basic when I was staffing as a small group leader. She is a Catholic. I can't believe it. This is so horrid. I understand that people are upset with the ruling party... I do. But this is going a bit far, no?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In a perfect time

Dreams come true in the right time!

I wrote to DE about setting up a shelter hostel for youths who graduate from the Homes who have nowhere to go... Not all of them are as lucky as to have relatives out there willing and able to take them in. In some cases, even if they do, they will not be safe.

DE replied very enthusiastically, and amongst the things she said is,

"I have been asking the government ...the welfare depart to set up one... they have other things on their plate and this is not on their year plans or KIPs.

I personally think that we need to set up a 'transition home' as I call it for kids who leave home to further their studies or even those who start working. I would love to chat with you on this.


I and a friend of mine  will be willing to help you set it up. Infact Chris and I have been discussing this for the past 2 years.There maybe people who might be willing to help you  fund this project."

Awesome!! Not too soon... For then, the circumstances are not right. Not too late... For then, the dream will die. Always, in the perfect time!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kick-off EA M'sia 2013

The camp at Dusun Eco Resort was amazing... Beyond what we could have hoped for for a first meeting. Volunteers agreed that it is probably due to the 6 youth leaders who were strong in leading the rest of the Team and having them BE a team. They can even identify themselves as 'Agapians' by now ;>

Our tone for EA M'sia 2013 is very different... We set the bar high and keep it up there for the youths. It's a different approach. It doesn't mean we love the youths any less, but we want them to grow beyond what they did for 2012 and YLD.

Only one youth, I felt, shouldn't be promoted to Youth leader yet as she was not ready. And during the camp, when I thought she did not want to give feedback, I yelled at her. Partly, I wanted her to grow and speak up... Partly, I did not want the youths to think that it is okay not to give feedback, since Avis is emphasizing feedback this year.

She was upset after that, and another volunteer who talked to her admonished me that I shouldn't have done that, though she understood why I did. She said, "I notice that you're extra tough on the ones that you love." Yes, I am! There is such a different heart with those who've been with me for so long.

All my youths struggle with so much rejection and abuse of some form or another... It's tough to know what to say and do, when and how. God guide me please!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Road bump ahead!

My cell group leader, if I go back to CHC KL, is a lady and one of the key leaders in church. Before I even step back into cell group, I can feel the fear and resistance already.

What came out for me during the altar call in CHC Sg was a revelation of which area I had stumbled before... The people involved were women Christian leaders.

As there are no accidents in life, I believe it must be a time for breakthru! >.<

Monday, April 1, 2013

Back to You

Grateful to God for drawing me back to Him... Realising afresh after watching the drama at CHC Sg what Jesus has done to pay the price for me.

I sat next to a Sabah girl who is currently a student with SOT (School of Theology)... I felt so envious of her being able to attend CHC Sg and SOT too! That was my dream last time.

As ever, I began to whine, "Why God, don't you allow me to stay here in Singapore? Why did you send me back to KL?"

God's loving answer was, "Gillian, I didn't force you... It is your choice. Your ministry is in KL with the youths... You can choose to take up that ministry or to drop it and stay in Singapore."

I finally got it that God never once forced me to do what I am doing today. But it is a choice that I made; painful sometimes, but momentary...After this life, I can worship Him forever and be with my friends for all eternity anyway.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Don't fix..."

A loving reminder from Daddy God today, "I didn't send you here to 'fix' anyone... Just be a friend."

Timely and just what I need to know today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Building relationships in EA


We chose this primary/ secondary school as our project site for Expedition Agape Malaysia 2013... 5 rooms per school out of which only 3 are being used. It is out far in the Baray district of Kampong Thom.

There is a room designated for a library in the school, but there is nothing in it but dust and cobwebs! There are not even shelves!


Our friend who came with us asked, "Why do you only renovate this school... Why don't you travel to different places?" He did not understand that the foundation of what we do is to share love and build relationships. The youths will get to know the children and youths of this school as they teach, paint, learn together and get to know each other.

I was thinking this morning that, maybe if we all did something like this, then such genocides as Pol Pot's, Saddam's, the Armenians etc. would never have happened. Because then we'd know that we are all the same.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Abandonment

I started to read up on abandonment issues after growing frustrated. I'm on a fast track learning curve on how hurting people hurt people. Not that I should play the naive card... It's not as if I didn't do plenty of hurting others last time!

It is like going through an emotional roller coaster just to love and care for someone who has been so viciously hurt in this way. One article named 3 things that someone who cares for a person facing abandonment issues will need; I remember two - love and patience. The latter especially I am fast running out of!

Probably time for me to just stretch further and further until I grow into enough love, care and patience to take it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rivers of living water

Burnt dry... God pour out Your rivers of living water again... Let me be renewed in you.

Can't believe how far and how long the journeys have been... Without a selah time for rest.

Wrote to Ovira to let her know, I want to go back to Bali to Rock Church... Just spend time with You, God... Just rest and be refreshed in Your presence... Knowing that in You, I find my strength when I have none left.

Draw me closer, hidden under Your wings.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Simple message: Be Kind

It seems like God and the universe are bringing this message to me over and over again.

There were two particular recent cases where I was rather unkind to someone. In both the cases, after talking more with the person, I realise, the person has enough awful things going on in their life right at this moment. The last thing they need is another snotty-nosed mean girl being nasty to them.

Lesson to remember - be kind to everyone, because I never know what they're going thru behind the smiles.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A miracle

:> With RM70,000 at least to raise, just a few weeks ago, I got real calm and thought, "God, it has to be Your miracle next that happens... Because there's no way we can do this otherwise."

We had a meeting, and we had a target of RM2K EACH to raise per month! It sounded well nigh on impossible, and quite scary for the youths!

And looking at Avis and seeing how nervous she was getting, I prayed, "God, let the miracle come so that her faith in You is not shaken."

And so... God answered :>

With a group of gentlemen who don't know us, have only met Avis once, and yet told her, "We've already raised the funds for EA, you know...You can start whenever you want."

Oh wow! Truly, God is faithful!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A little bit more love

"Here's hoping that some day, in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and never more in real life," Anne Hathaway

Those are the words that Anne Hathaway spoke during her acceptance speech at the Oscars.

I love her words... It's my dream too... And I know deep down it's the hope of every heart.

Yet, not too long later, she said in another interview, that she was well award of the 'Hatha-haters'... Those who dislike her intensely and make cruel fun of her, especially her speeches full of love and light.

It makes me sad to see that. Why do some people live to squash out others' light? Why can't there be that little bit more love and acceptance in this world?

It never fails to make me laugh to realise how very much we are like one another... All of us with our frailties, our follibles, our silliness, sometimes taking ourselves too seriously, sometimes laughing with abandon... All wanting the same things... Just to be loved, to love, to have a dream, to succeed, to enjoy, to experience rest and peace.

So why not, one day, one person at a time, we just give and spread love and acceptance to one another?

Just last week, someone shared with me that she had just found out that she had a genetic disease that causes premature ageing... Despite her young age, her body is breaking down and she'll most likely not live the full span of her years. It brought home to me how precious this young friend of mine was... How much I cherished her as a person who gives her best and does her best in this world... How little time I had to enjoy being with her and sharing with her.

And that's what people are here for, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cruel

A rebuttal by a lady - S - from one of the universities has gone viral... I scroll down FB and I see so many posts of the video of her with the nastiest remarks and rants directed at her and condemning her.

It is scary! Really scary!

And I wonder if S is okay.... I wonder if she's all right wherever she is, or is she deeply hurt by the remarks thrown at her. It was just one incident, after all. ONE speech that, unfortunately, in today's day and age, someone video taped and posted online.

And I watched the video - I don't blame S for telling the girl 'Listen, listen, listen'... The girl seemed out of control to me the way she was ranting. I would have probably said, "Stop it, sit down!" And then a video of ME would have probably gone viral!

I think, what if a video camera was following each of us each day? Could any of us stand in the critical public eye?

Why is the world so cruel? Sometimes when watching Youtube, I will scroll down and read the comments... And very often, the comments are the nastiest and cruellest you could imagine. And I don't understand why and where these people come from. Is it okay to hurt others just because you feel like it? I daresay a lot of people will scoff at me as being oh-so-naive... But I don't think it's okay to be cruel. I think we need kindness and love in this world.

But most of all, I hope that S is okay... I hope friends and family who understand her will surround her at this time. She will need it. I wish and pray understanding, patience, kindness and love will spread in this world.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On the other side of the bridge

It's really scary to sit on the other side of the fence in our country nowadays! ;>

Before this, I would just keep quiet... It didn't seem worth it to go against popular opinion. Much more so because in the churches in Malaysia, a lot of persuasion is going on to choose in a certain way, and God help you if you choose differently. I know a few friends in Malaysian churches who only privately dared to tell me that they did not agree... None of them dared to say so in church! They would surely be fired down and who knows? probably excommunicated! *lols*

*sigh* I don't know what's going on in my country, honestly. I 'get' the frustration and the anger with the things that have gone wrong.... I do! I understand! I've seen the injustice too!

But I also see some policies are GOOD... not bad! I faced a roaring backlash for supporting GST... Yet, if GST is evaluated, it isn't a bad thing! Some of the ideas and plans are what Malaysians have lobbied for for years, yet when it is given by the present government, it is looked upon with great suspicion just because it IS given by the present government!

And I'm sometimes afraid when I see the rallies and upsets in the country... I'll be honest, a part of me thinks of the business side of things too! How our country's economy will be affected by all this adverse publicity!

I remember when Singapore had their elections, I couldn't understand the rage that I saw on FB either... Why they were so unhappy. Surely Singapore is an utopia on earth compared to many countries... Expensive for sure, but safe. Economically secure. Strong and sound policies. And yet, the people are unhappy.

I went to Cambodia and India in one year... I came home and (*figuratively*!) kissed the ground when I arrived! I was grateful, exceedingly grateful, for my country Malaysia.

I get that some reform must take place... and it IS taking place in the hands of those who choose to take up positions of power and responsibility to make real change.

Those who go and yell in the middle of a field with other yellow-coloured demonstraters... Do those make a change?

A letter to whomever

Recently I did an exercise together with the youths... All of us took a sheet of paper, and wrote a letter to whomever we wanted, imagining that we were writing this as our very last letter before we die. We could choose whom we wanted to send it to, and whatever we chose to say.

It turned out pretty emo! I wrote 'Dear family' and the first sentence I wrote was, "I'm sorry I've always been too busy to spend much time with you."

Very surprising and good wake-up call! So my New Year resolution - at least once a month with family.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I feel validated

Woke up at the ungodly hour of 2a.m. to a joyful *BARK!* from my sis' dog... *sigh*. I have little sleep nowadays because that canine sleeps the whole day and spends the night begging for 'play time please, Auntie Gillian!'

It wasn't a bad thing, as I wanted to catch my favourite TV series anyway, and here's the thing about me - if I wake up in the middle of the night, it takes a couple of hours minimum to go back to sleep.

So I woke up and turned on the TV. Funny twist in the show this time... A lady whose character I don't particulary like (too paranoid!) was acting as the victim of an assault.

For the first time ever, I heard someone else say, "** was too heavy... I couldn't move."

It felt validating to hear someone say that... Nobody I know has said the same.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Innocent child

Haven't been able to get Law and Order SVU lately... Maybe it's been discontinued from Hallmark.

Turned on the TV (in a bit of a weekend mood!) and chanced on a documentary on Maristka Hargitay.

Background: She is the main role in Law and Order SVU. She plays a cop in the special victims unit who was born out of rape. Totally love her tough, raw character. (To think about it, I love any character who is tough and raw!)

Most of all what struck a chord in me is that she was born out of rape. Although I know it's just a regular show with plots written by creators who don't necessarily have experience of what they're writing about. I remember a session where her mom rejected her with spitting cat rage. I watched it with full attention at that point.

I just want to know... A part of me wonders whether that pain and rejection will ever go. I spent my childhood watching L get whacked 10 times more severely and regularly than I ever did. I always wondered why. When I grew older, I just figured that no woman should ever keep a child born out of rape... the rage seems to grow in a woman's heart as the child grows.

And as I watched L grow and live, I wondered if the ups, the downs, the crazy turns, would ever cease. Was there peace down the road?

I'm grateful someone is willing to address this issue, even if it's on a silly tv show. I love seeing Martiska's character use pain to save other survivors.

I was interested to hear in Maritska's interview that so many women wrote to her, that eventually, she formed an organization called Joyful Heart which takes survivors of rape to retreats and experiences for healing. I love that so much!

I hope that's what is down the road...