“2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church.”
3 John 2-5

Another beautiful birthday greeting.

It is wonderful to be prayed for, especially when you have run out of words.

A very lovely poem that David sent me on my birthday. I’m all for shining. Not in terms of material possession or accolade but as a person. Shine like stars. Inspire hope. Reflect God. Too many people don’t.

Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure about you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

26 while 26

July 28, 2008

So I’m 27.  I’m officially in my late 20s, which is kinda funny because people always assume that I am older than I am and most of the time I feel older than I am.  On some level, I’m actually surprised that I’m only 27.  (Although my mother keeps telling me that I should think about settling down yada yada.  Urg.)  I was feeling pretty nochalant about my birthday this year and wasn’t in a particularly festive mood.  I cancelled my usual 100-people-on-the-invite-list party at the last minute and turned down the celebrations a couple of notches.  It turned out to be an brilliant idea.  Quality time with my favourite people make me incredibly happy. 

Anyway, here’s a list of 26 things that happened while I was 26. 

  1. I realised that blood runs thicker than water and my folks are pretty cool. 
  2. I thought very very very very very seriously about why I am Christian.  I realised that being Christian is so fundamental to who I am that I don’t really know what it means not to be one. 
  3. I also thought seriously about why I go to church.  The reasons were far less compelling.
  4. I learnt the meaning of the word “cancer”.  It used to be just a word.
  5. I gave my first eulogy.  It is not an experience I care to repeat too often.  The smell of lilies reminds me of funerals.  I used to like lilies.  I don’t anymore.
  6. I got more intentional about spending more time with the people who are important to me.  A very good decision.
  7. I changed jobs.  My colleagues are amazing.  They have no idea how much they’ve kept my sanity alive in a really roller-coaster year.  It’s also great to be back in the city.  Buona Vista was getting lame.
  8. I went through 1 box of namecards within the first 4-5 months of being on the job.  Never happened before.  Not even when I was in International Relations.  “Networking” stopped being a cold, evil word and is actually kinda fun.
  9. I stopped leading a cell group.  I thought it would be something that I would do forever.  Apparently not.  Also stepped down from all my ministry commitments.  ALL.  I don’t know how I feel about that yet.  That said, the last 4+++ years have given me people skills I never knew I had.
  10. I went to San Francisco and decided that it is on my list of cities to move to.  Jackie’s flatmate (whose name I don’t remember) made me the best hot chocolate I drank all year.
  11. I went back to Cambodia.  I now speak enough Khmer (about 3 sentences worth) to handle dispensary on my own if the medication comes in tablets and need to be taken 3 times a day.  Haha.  I’m going again in a couple of weeks.
  12. I went back to Perhentian.  Yay!  I would have enjoyed the trip more if I didn’t have the damn flu.
  13. I found an awesome apple crumble recipe.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good and simple recipe that you can make from memory!  Today, I improvised with strawberry jam and a grill oven.  It still tasted decent.  I was very surprised. 
  14. I reconciled.  If it is important to me, I will always fight for it.  However, there were instances where I did not reconcile and still don’t feel particularly compelled to.  Enough said.
  15. I drank a lot less alcohol but way too much coffee.  You got to pick your poison.
  16. I sang at a wedding for the first time.  And forgot the words.  Oops.
  17. I took part in my first 10km race and completed it without dying.  I’m plotting my next race because I can’t seem to get motivated to train without a goal.  Oh dear.
  18. I started running for fun.  Running along the San Diego waterfront as the sun was setting will go down as one of the best moments of the last 12 months.
  19. I got allergic conjunctivitis and a weird bubble thing developed on my eye.  Very gross.  This is why you must always clean your contact lens properly.
  20. I developed a love for ramen.  I used to think it was an expensive version of instant noodles.  But I think it appeals to the Cantonese in me that loves a good soup.  *yum*
  21. I changed perfume.  Okay.  I know that sounds bimbotic but I am seriously picky about my perfume.
  22. I got asked “are you local” a lot.  It amuses me.  I don’t have an accent, do I?!  (Maybe that’s the problem.)
  23. I blogged a lot more.  I should be more disciplined about it but hey, it’s MY blog and I’ll write about whatever the hell I want.  Writing is fun.
  24. I became a lot more straight-talking and no-holds-barred.  Less diplomatic and less afraid to offend.  I missed that part of me which I seemed to have left in Melbourne.  Unfortunately, I also became a lot more cynical.
  25. I spent much more time outdoors.  Rollerblading, picnics, open air cinema, running, walking, building sandcastles, drinking coffee (or beer)…  Very nice.  Weird tans.  Not so nice.
  26. All things said, I realised that I am incredibly blessed.  A deep sense of satisfaction in one’s soul is not something to scoff at.

What a year!  Bring on 27!  🙂

Night at the museum

July 26, 2008

Check out these awesome photos from my night out at the National Museum!!

Mad props to the good people at The Electric Canvas!!

The Electric Canvas:  Sydney-based lighting effects company that specialises in large-scale light projections on historic buildings. Specially for the Night Festival, they will be transforming the façades of the National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum into elaborate works of art.”

Totally worth seeing.  Very pretty.  I liked the scribbly one the best.  🙂

Edit:  The Night Festival was an awesome idea.  I had a whole heap of fun.  Chinese puppets doing wushu, lying on the grass watching Hairspray, scribbles on the National Museum, attempting drinks at Timbre, sneaking out to the Peranakan Museum, flowers all over the Art Museum, deciding that getting ice cream at MacDonalds was a far better idea than pretending to be pretentious and starting at art I don’t understand, getting home tired and happy and 27. 

Life is good.  🙂

Tier 1

July 23, 2008

At a party last night, I was introduced as an “old friend”. I could tell that the person who I was being introduced to was looking for a less nebulous frame of reference but I liked how no more context was needed. It was sufficient for him to know that the friendship had stood the test of time and moved beyond its functional description. I wasn’t a classmate or a colleague or in the same cell group. I am defined by the strength of our friendship and not its context. No further explanation required.

I know I’ve been blessed far beyond I deserve in friend department and so this got me thinking a couple of ongoing conversations I’ve been having about friendship. In particular about Tier 1 friends. The people you can stand enough to hang around. The ones who can stand you long enough to hang around. The ones who you worry irrationally about when they travel.  The ones you picture at your wedding (before you can even begin to fathom the groom!).  The ones who will be godparents to your children.  The ones whose parents you will visit at Chinese New Year.  The ones who bring out a side of you few people do – the playful, childlike side; the crazy, neurotic, ranty side; the vulnerable, heartbroken side. The ones who make your eyes light up when they enter the room, who brighten up the worse of days, who understand without words.  The ones you can call at 4am in the morning (and have).  The ones you will always be there for, no questions asked.  The ones who know the difference between you needing a hug or a bop on the head.  The ones who dare to challenge, to rebuke, to reprimand you even though they know how foul a temper you have.  The ones you would actually listen to.   The ones who will diffuse, mediate, catalyse.  The ones who you will pray for even when you have lost the ability to pray for yourself.  The ones who you always know are praying for you.  The ones you fight like dogs with sometimes but the ones you will always apologise to because the friendship is more important to you than being right. The ones who you can say “I love you” to without it sounding like a come on or totally corny. 

The drop to Tier 2 (and worse) is pretty far.  Those are the relationships you would be generous with but only as long as the value-proposition to you makes sense.  And when it doesn’t, you smile and make a mental note that the relationship has hit a plateau.  No need to be sentimental or a bitch about it.  Just not Tier 1.  And membership has its privileges. 

The chap at the party yesterday probed a little bit more.
“How long have you known him?”
“More than 10 years.”
“Wow. That’s long.”
I didn’t think it was so I just smiled.
“You can tell a lot about a person who has old friends.”
I smiled again.
“Yes, you can.”

You are Tier 1.

Too young to hold on and too old to just break free and run. Urg.
(I absolutely love Jeff Buckley but his music is so depressing.)

Dino

July 22, 2008

Meet my new colleague (who deflates every couple of days). 

My office is pretty awesome!  🙂