Saturday, March 22, 2008

Via Dolorosa

i don't like you, but don't take it personally.

According to Alan Greenspan's new book, Richard Nixon was not just 'anti-semitic', he was anti-women, anti-hispanics, well, basically, anti-everyone else. the dislike was not personal. he just didn't like people. Some days, i feel like that, especially when i am in a crowded Mrt carriage, rubbing shoulders with sweaty strangers. the smell of our humanity can kill me.

i am not bothered by the grand evil schemes that people dream up, because they are so remote from my personal experience. it is the everyday encounters with people that get on my nerves. little things can be so annoying if they happen constantly, like handphones ringing in cinemas, human roadblocks on escalators and whiny voices. i can't stand women whining, because they sound just like me :P some days i fantasize that i live in South New Zealand, where the nearest human is 5mins helicopter.

Yesterday was Good Friday service in church, and once again, we were reminded that Jesus died the cruellest death possible to remove the weight of our sins. God, i cannot understand why You bother. this could only be done out of love, but to love such as us! to love the sloth, the glutton, the self-righteous, the complainers and the grump (like me). and most of the time, we are not even grateful. i mean, if i had my way, there would be no Noah's ark during the big flood.

sometimes there are really irritating, slap-able brats running around, and only their doting parents think they are cute. God's love reminds me of those parents, because i know myself, and worse, He knows me even better. He knows the dark thoughts in my heart, the careless words i say, and everything else more, and oddly enough, loves me anyway. He is endlessly patient with the faithless prayers i mouth, and all the times when i sing hymns without meaning a word. Then, because He remembers that i was made from dust, He says, "where sin increased, grace increased even more." (Romans 6). God! How could it be?

not that i am complaining. i could be the one stripped and whipped and nailed to the cross, so, honestly, i am very relieved to be spared. i just find this agape (love) incomprehensible. Dear Lord, i am completely, utterly floored by this

Amazing Grace.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

the last post on batam

ok, i finally got around to putting the pics of batam online. notice however that mine are extremely non-social. if you want the more personal pics, go and look at sminy's blog instead.

this is the view from the girls' villa. i don't think that my hp camera does the beauty of the place justice. the villa's balcony hangs right over the stormy grey sea, so you can admire the waves lapping on the rocks, even when indoors. why would anyone pay so much to go to the maldives? can things get much better than this?

i had a single room, where i was able to be as anti-social as i wanted to be. this is where i curl up to read whenever i want time out. since it rained so much, i seem to spend half of my holiday just lolling on this couch. rather miss it now. i can see the pool from here :)

we met an old friend in batam megamall. everyone wanted to take a picture with dear A&W bear. we all had rootbeer float. the funny thing is, when we had A&W in singapore, i never had rootbeer float, or ever ate much at A&W. see, things are precious only when they are hard to find :P

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rainy Holiday

why am i blogging again when i am at a beach resort? because it has been raining
and raining
and raining
and is still raining.
so, this is the only thing left to do :P

the poor guys are disappointed about missing the banana boat, but since i can't do any sea sports, i don't really care too much :P

slept reasonably well today, but i woke up sadly early, at 6.15am, which is 7.15am in singapore. it was already bright. why does the sun rise so early here? i tried to go back to sleep, but a whole tribe of korean aunties and uncles trooped heavily out to breakfast. a little later, the whole tribe trooped back after breakfast :( why do people get up so early when it is holiday?

today, the rest of us got pummelled and kneaded by the excellent masseuses in the spa. by the end of my treatment, i was so relaxed and lazy that i could only crawl back to my room and sleep again. the treatment rooms were rather strange though. the set up is a serious test of your faith. it was only after my massage that i realised that the walls are made of glass. i wonder if the people at the beach could see what goes on! probably least, i hope not...i mean, surely not!

i tried exploring the place despite the rain. there is a little spice garden, and nice wandering lanes along the beach. but i felt dreadfully silly carrying my umbrella around. besides, it is awfully cold. we all packed for the wrong climate. luckily i brought along a pair of long sleeves last minute. my room's air-conditioner is set at the maximum temperature - 30 degrees :P

i am never travelling with people who like to sing in public again :P yesterday we had a most strange experience. the lounge singer invited mel to sing, and unfortunately, she sang well. he got so inspired that he decided to make all of us by one! and so, tonny was up next, and then, amy went up to sing too! bloh and i were hauled up next, by our hair. she sang a song. there is no way i am going to sing in public when i am coughing so badly! and so, i had to offer to play the piano. he was very surprised, and funnier still, sang along when i performed. so, it was quite an experience. luckily the northpole gang is full of talented performers :P tonight if he is still around, we have decided that we are going to enter by another door and run away as fast as we could.

ok, now i am going to see if the rain has finally stopped. if not, it's back to the bed :P this is my kind of holiday :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Holiday

Why am i blogging when i am in a beach resort?

the simple reason is, it has been raining
and raining
and raining
and is still raining :(

the good folks of the north pole packed ourselves to a nice resort in Batam. our villas are right beside the tumultous sea, and this place isn't crowded at all, considering that it is school holidays now. in fact, this place is so laidback and comfortable that i am going to be selfish and not tell you where we are :P don't want this place packed with the holidaying crowd :P

since it is pouring, we have to find ways to amuse ourselves. so, i am here surfing the internet in front of the beach. Wayne and mel are playing pool. sminy and tonny are getting kneaded. the others are drinking by the bar...this is life :)

in a little while, we are going to have a kelong seafood dinner. and tomorrow, we plan to go and eat live seafood, you know, the kind which you pick out of the water, and throw into the frying pan right away.

now, if only it would stop raining. then we can go and fish for gong-gongs.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wabi Sabi

A barren tree in the dead of winter. but life would come back in spring.
i am not sure that i can fully explain wabi-sabi, but it seems to me to be the right way to live, not that i actually follow it. in fact, i am quite far from it, and that is why it is such an attractive idea to me.
it is a philosophy of simplicity in life, of not striving or struggling. wabi-sabi accepts that life is imperfect, and fleeting. with life inevitably comes decay. we cannot hold on to happy moments, but sadness does not last forever either. as such, one should move with the natural rhythm of life.
this term probably is of zen origins, but it is not very different from the attitude set out in Ecclesiastes (Old Testament). King Solomon too, observes that 'everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind'. we will return to dust, with all our dreams and aspirations, and all our griefs.
but don't get me wrong. i don't think this attitude is pessimistic at all. it is serene acceptance of what life offers us, and a refusal to strain too hard at things that are impermanent anyway, and trying to control what we cannot control.
and for the Christian, it means also that we submit ourselves to the will of God for what He wants to bring about in our lives, because as the psalmist says, 'all the days ordained for me are written in Your book before one of them came to be'.
i imagine that wabi-sabi cannot be achieved with effort. one would just be trying too hard. it is cultivated when we learn to let go. and peace comes from not struggling to change what we cannnot, letting ourselves flow unresistingly through the ups and downs in life, knowing that we are secure in the love of God, and we will meet Him one day. i suppose, all questions and complaints can wait until then.