Friday, December 29, 2006

prc camp

oh. I'm very lagging in my top 10s. heck. I've been too busy with PRC camp and other stuff to blog about the past year. And, can I say that I'm seriously too lazy to blog about them?

Met up with liz, sarah & sond on tues. It was good. We laughed over our old school photos. I really miss secondary school days.

Which fast-fowards me to uni days. Results came out. And I'm actually disappointed. Graduation in less than 6months is actually eminent (this word looks odd). But, I can say that each semester has been such a joy. The friendships are such blessings from God.

PRC camp for the past 2 days has been really good. For some, Anntic is the camp to go. But for me, it'd always be PRC camp. Each year that I go for, it's a different thing. Year 1 was God's wake up call for me to quit wallowing in self-pity and to realise that the harvest field is there. Year 2 was really a challenge of trust in God, that He is in control of everything. This year, I just found it all peaceful. My group was the nuah kind. And they are so so sweet. The look on their faces when we gave them the cards that debs, weng seng & I wrote to them. gosh. so priceless. You could tell that they were touched. They started comparing cards, and it was very funny when one of the guys Wen Hao (the mark lookalike) asked why we wrote different stuff on the cards (so sweet rite, debs?).

Plus it's always nice to be with people I can just be myself. I'm very grateful for good co-group leaders. It's way too tiring to manage a group on one's own. Will post photos up when I get them. Sb, help me get from T or is it Tee?? Oh and debs, I got all their emails. will be starting a yahoogroup for them this weekend. I'm looking foward to 13 jan for the afterglow (sb!! our birthday plans!! haha)


Monday, December 25, 2006

2006 Lesson No. 8 - Work.

I got a whole lot more than what I had bargained for when I agreed to work at Pearson during my summer vacation. The one main thing I learnt was that working life ain't a bed of roses. I never could understand why people who used to serve so actively in church, would slowly fade from the scene when they entered the working world. I used to think they had chosen the chasing after the winds over God.

But experiencing a bit of it when I worked at Pearson, changed my entire perspective. Helping Emily with her Modern World History project (of which, I can proudly say I did the maps in that textbook. heh), made me experience real deadlines and the demands of various people from MOE to the authors. I got it easy. I could leave everyday at 5.25 pm to catch the bus back to Boon Lay. But Emily usually had to stay back to work overtime. Seeing her and the many others in the office who were rushing to meet very tight deadlines, made me realise that it's not really our call to decide how much to work. If there's work that needs to be done by a certain time, it has to be done by that time.

Temping at Pearson in the day, while having various cf meetings at night, made me realise that working life is tiring. It saps the life out of you. I had long talks with a few friends, and we realised that eventually it boils down to oneself. Yes, there will always be a never-ending workload. But we can actually choose how much to work, although it would be a tough choice.

I've also realised that if I don't start putting God first in my life now, it's going to be so much harder once I start to work. Reaching out, spending time with Him can easily fall to second, fifth even last place, if I don't begin and continue now.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

2006 Lesson No. 9 - Turning 21 in the family.

I turned 21 this year.

In my earlier reflections on turning 21, I wrote about my dad's 'reaction' in that immediate week. Close to a year later, there's been little things here and there that the dad has been loosening the strings that's rather sweet.

Like for example how I asked permission to go night cycling in May, across the far east (of Singapore. heh). My dad smsed: Take care. Then, less than a second later, he sent another: Take care and enjoy yourself.

Now, to do crazy things overnight, going on holidays overseas, I don't have to ask for permission. It's more of just telling them, to let them know where I am so that they won't have to worry. On hindsight, the really good thing about getting a handphone before entering university, is that the parents do not have the habit of calling you up to find out where you are, which I've noticed, annoys some of my friends.

In my teens, staying out late and hanging out with boys were the 2 main things to show that you were "cool". Now I roll my eyes and go "yeah, right. cool." Now that my age starts with 2-, I notice that I usually stay no later than 10pm when out with my friends. I try to get home before midnight, and usually reach home by 11pm. If given the option to stay out later for drinks, I'm always one of the first to throw in the towel and head home.

I've also come to realise that family is really important. While I was younger, I would try to spend as much time with friends. Family was secondary. I'm still no expert now, but I've since learnt to spend more time with my family. And actually enjoy it.

Had a talk with my mom in November, and it just hit home the importance of family. Even if the family can be annoying, but it's the one place people really know me for who I really am. Although 21 means indendence and freedom, I've realised complete freedom is not the doing whatever you want. Rather, it's living life responsibly that makes the people who love you, blessed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

2006 Lesson No. 10 - Of Money and Materialism

My travels to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia this year made me realise how materialistic I can be and how fortunate I am to be living in Singapore.

It started off with the HK trip and continued with the Bangkok trip. They were both great holidays. But it was the aftermath that made me wonder whether I was too much of a shopaholic. Granted I had saved a lot and worked at Pearson to fund myself for both trips. Plus I rationalized that the shopping clumped in those 2 trips alone was less than spending $100/month worth of shopping spread out in the entire year.

I felt the pinch more because my former employer delayed my pay check for 2 months, which meant I was seriously in debt for 2 months. And because of that, I had to live at the mercy of my parents who nagged no end. I deserved it though.

The money spent could have been better channelled to the church building fund, people who do not even have enough food to eat, let alone clothes to wear. And here I was adding more variations to a closet that's already too full. But lest you think I'm going to swing to the other extreme and be a hermit and adopt an austere lifestyle, I've come to realise that's not the solution. Whatever God has given, is a blessing. It's good to enjoy life. But, I've since learnt self-control. Before I go on shopping trips, like the recent one to KL, I don't overbuy. Set aside enough to reward myself, and save enough for more fruitful stuff like mission trips.

The KL trip showed me that Singapore is really blessed. I don't know why God would choose to bless us with a good geographical location that's safe from tsunamis, typhoons, earthquakes, etcs. I came back half a day later than planned, because the Malaysian train service was disrupted due to the floods in Johor. At first, I got a kick out the delay. How often can we say, "oh, my plans were disrupted because of a flood?"

While it's a novelty to me, I realised that it's a stark reality to many others. The ride home in the coach with plush red seats and air-conditioning was very comfortable. Too comfortable infact, to be peering out of the bus window to see this:

trees half-submerged, rivers bursting out of their seams, houses flooded, villagers rallying to push a car. I just read in the newspaper today that 60,000 people have been displaced in Johor because of the floods. 4 people have also died because of it. And while some of my friends thank God for great drainage systems in Singapore, it breaks my heart to be there and see that though the waters are shiny on the surface, a lot more lies beneath the calm.

I've also been realising slowly that I am too much of a pampered city girl. While we city folks can often laugh about how we would never survive on a camping trip out in the wilderness with no proper plumbing for any more than 2 days, I guess we often forget that these camping trips are a choice and not a lifestyle. The exco social action game at Anntic (VCF's Annual Teach-in Camp) made me realise the hard way that many of us (soon-to-be graduates) are going to be living a rather easy life.

By the second game station, I (a lowly Indian construction worker) soon realised that those 14 Bible verses that I spent 45 minutes memorising was only going to earn me a measely $5, while a high-flying graduate would only need to memorise 2 verses and be paid a whopping $800 for that. I whined to YanChang that it was unfair, and he was kind and let me work in installments (i.e memorise 3 verses at a shot).

In real life, I know that many would not be able to meet such nice employers. Although it was only a game, it brought home the message very hard to me that there are many others in society who slave and sweat so much, only to earn a few measely dollars. While many of us would be able to work in comfy air-con offices, and although we can gripe about the stress the work brings (which is very real), we would never know what it feels like to work so hard, only to receive $360 a month, with no time for entertainment and other luxuries.

I will always remember that day during the recent exams very vividly, when I was watching an episode of 7Swords on SCV. My dad told me to turn around, to see the Indian cleaner standing at our gate, looking on. 20 minutes later, as the credits ran, he was still standing there. And the sight of him broke my heart. There I was, sitting on my over-squashed but nevertheless still comfy sofa, watching my HK serial, while the cleaner had to stand outside and peer on.

I think when I start work, I need to remember these images and use money wisely for the glory of God's kingdom. With this lesson, I've got few answers but many questions.

Friday, December 22, 2006

where did I go wrong

my current earworm: How To Save A Life, by The Fray.
Courtesy of wei's blog and bluetooth technology. It's one of those songs that makes me sad instantly and puts me into a mulling melancholic mood... I guess that beats songs like the teeny bopper version of Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart (and the very next day you gave it away) that every single imaginable shopping centre and radio station has on repeat mode...I passed my earworm to poor jeelee =X

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

speaking of stuff that puts me in a melancholic mood.. I watched Casino Royale when I was in KL. Seeing Daniel Craig kick serious butt beats Pierce Brosnan sauntering in suave suits. It made me sad for the other half of the day. I think as I grow older mt heart gets softer. Jeelee and Val were saying they must be pretty hard-hearted.. I don't know actually. I actually felt sad after a Bond movie. To redeem myself, the movie shows Bond before his flambouyant cassanova ways. So, you get to meet the girl who broke his heart.

And so, yeah, I've grown older. Another year has passed, made new friends, gone for trips, got broken a few times, laughed lots, cried some. Was talking to Clement the other day online, and decided that I'd take a leaf out of his blog. Will post a 2006 Top 10. Clem's doing Top 10 moments of the year.. After lots of mulling, I decided that many of the issues I've gone through can't be pin-pointed to that one particular moment. It's been a journey. So, I'd be posting my Top 10 lessons of the year from tomorrow til 1 Jan. Some of the posts would explain my absence since the exams. So, there.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Facing exams and existentialism

the parents are away for a holiday with the little brother, the eldest is away at bedok camp, the other, at youth camp downstairs.

so last night was the first night I was home, all alone. Ithink it feels good.

this morning, I was roused from slumber at 6am by the alarm. I woke up dazed. My first thought was, "where am I?". after staring out of my window into the surrealness of the pitch black sky with the lone moon shining from my left, I finally deduced that I was at home. After which, I thought next, "what am I doing today?". after thinking for a long while, I suddenly remembered that I have one more exam today. I actually had to think. gah. must be yesterday's exam. oh wellz. there's only about 7and a half more hours to go...

Sunday, December 03, 2006


"Persistent prayer keeps bringing God and me together, with several important benefits. As I pour out my soul to God, I get it off my chest, so to speak, unloading some of my burden to One who can handle it better. Little by little, as I get to know God I learn that God has nothing in common with an unjust judge or a stingy neighbour, though at times it may seem so. What I learn from spending time with God then better equips me to discern what God wants me to do on earth, as well as my role in that plan."

"Like a child who quits badgering a parent, I have sometimes found that I get an answer to my persistent request after I have learned to without it. The answer then comes as a surprise, an unecpected gift of grace. I seek the gift, find instead the Giver, and eventually come away with the gift I no longer seek."

Philip Yancey's Prayer