Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

June 2002 Archives

Brotherhood

To my sister with whom I am enjoined not by blood but by Life.

It has been a long time since we’ve sat down and spoken, and I really treasured what we had tonight. I was reminded of how much you meant to me, and even though I don’t often show it, your presence lights up my heart.

Things have changed since our childhood days. As life would have it we no longer have time to write each other long, detailed letters sharing the inner workings of our heart and mind. These days we seem almost to busy to even share - be it by speech or by sheer affection, whether implicit or explicit. I often look at you from a distance and allow myself the luxury of nostalgia. Someone older and wiser once said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I feel that when I look upon you. Despite all that you’ve grown to be these years, I am comforted in the knowledge that I know you deep inside, and the young girl is still very much alive in you even today.

The prospect of not being able to see you looms over us as you plan to begin a life on foreign soil, and it weighs heavily on me. Though I know that there exists an affinity that transcends beyond the physical presence, its ethereal nature provides little solace. I know that my reaction is a sort of selfishness and that I should be enthusiastic for you.

I know that I will miss you in the time when you are gone. In this time whilst you are still here, I will treasure you.

And for all times, I love you. Blogger Comments x

The Cost of the Root

The love of money is the root of all evil, so the saying goes. As the majority of the world’s governments shifted from its more hierchical roots to the myriad of democratic variations we see today, capitalism has been the driving force of industry, and meritocracy its younger brother.

After the Enron scandal which cost many retirees their hard-earned savings, there comes in its wake the Worldcom fiasco. almost 4 billion dollars of false profits. Goodness knows how much investor confidence that brought, and how much money the unwitting average joe contributed to the accounting lie.

Somewhere, someone is getting rich. Very, very rich. The meeting of the G8 leaders in the Canadian Rockies resulted in a $1 billion debt writeoff for the African nations, which are stricken in poverty. Children are dying, families starving to death. The gout that has afflicted the ones living in abundance is but a slap in the face of the poor. Where is the humanity all these contemporary political ideologies would bring?

It is found in the pockets of the rich man. Or woman. Your “better” life has cost the poor and downtrodden a lifetime of being in want. Blogger Comments x

Customer Survey

Since my training in business schools have taught me the importance of customer feedback, I’ll just ask this one question:

Which one of the four colours on Tribolum do you use, and why?

Bear in mind that the sick green stylesheet has been replaced by a somewhat spiffier colour combination. Blogger Comments x

Another Place

Listening to Enya’s “May It Be” from the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack and looking through the pictures I took of Tucson takes me right back there and gives me a slight taste of how much I’ll miss her when I come back to Singapore for good next year. It’s only been a month and I feel like the mountains are calling me home.

Last thing I need is a singing nun / governess running across their peaks. Nay. Tucson is the land of the native Americans. The Red Indians. Not the white men. Blogger Comments x

A for Anna

She struggled. She fought. She gave it all she got. Her intense effort etched on her face, it was clear to all that she tried. But she lost.

First round. The whispers of her being a failure grow louder. Just a pretty face…no substance. What a shame.

These voices come in the general direction of people who have never had to live with half the pressure she faces on a day to day basis - people who have never had to silence hundreds and thousands of critics, or please an even larger number of fans.

You get an A for effort Anna, and that is so much more than I can say for many of us. Blogger Comments x

I Yam Who I Yam

Met up with Yammy and had a meal that consisted of a drink of barley. Sure-fire way to lose weight and save money at the same time. We watched the Korea vs Germany soccer match and I was quite miffed that the Germans won. It would have been nice to prolong the fairytale, even if the Germans played better.

Meeting Yammy tonight only proved one thing: I am every bit the introvert I thought I was. It’s funny meeting someone you know from an online source the first time. Face to face encounters are so much more intimdating as every nuance is scrutinised. It is no longer just what I type on the keyboard, but where I look, how I look, how I eat and so on. I apologise if I have been bad company. It just takes me some time to warm up to people.

The first signs that come with me getting comfortable with you is a whole barrage of insults in friendly banter. laughs Maybe it’s good you didn’t get to that part, Yammy. Blogger Comments x

Less Furniture

After hours of coding, I’ve finally gotten Tribolum tableless. For the less code-inclined ones out there, it simply means that the site should load a lot faster than before. For the slightly more code-inclined, it means content and style have been separated to a greater extent. Most of the time was spent tweaking little display issues with CSS, and until now I still don’t know how I solved it.

Ah, the intricacies of computer technology. Nothing solves problems like a good kick in the behind. Blogger Comments x

Keeping the Faith

One of the main problems faced by relationships everywhere is that of unfaithfulness, perceived or otherwise. I believe that it is an obstacle present in every relationship, and no one is spared from the wiles of our fickle heart. We often put ourselves in the agony of being hurt by a party we deem of as unfaithful, or bear the enormous weight of conscience’s struggle with the many what-ifs that are presented before us.

It is a problem that should never be tackled alone.

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiates 4:9-12

It is something that every human heart is susceptible to. Our hearts, designed the way they are, are often swept up by the emotions of the moment, caught up in the raptures of ecstasy, sometimes choosing it over the stable, less volatile nature of matured love. Acknowledge that you too could be unfaithful, and it will be easier to see why your partner chose the way they did.

I’m not condoning moral flippance, but neither do I think that self-righteousness is any better. The threat of unfaithfulness in a relationship is a stepping stone by which a couple can draw closer to each other, and to God, who loves us despite our own weaknesses. Understand him, so that he will tell you the inner-workings of his heart. Love her, so she well trust you with all of hers. Blogger Comments x

Anti-Carcinogenic

I saw a cluster of rainbow sprinkles in my nutella spread (a chocolate hazelnut spread for you unfortunate souls who have never tasted it) this morning. Never seen anything like that before, but I thought it was some amelioration that occurred due to refrigeration. After spreading it all over my slice of bread I looked closer and realised that they were ants. Tiny. Lots of them.

They didn’t have the bitter taste I thought they would have. Blogger Comments x

Face 2 Face

To be perfectly honest, it was somewhat easier blogging when I was physically in Arizona than it is now that I’m home in Singapore. The website originally served the purpose of communicating to people back home the everyday happenings or thoughts, a form of rapport that wasn’t as pushy as an email.

In some sense, it is harder to blog because of the physical form of accountability. The thousands of miles I used to be able to hide behind are no more, and the stark intensity of my intended honesty blinds me as now I stand too close to its white flame. Not that I’ve done anything to piss people off on purpose, but the little nuances that I makes me who I am no longer belong to that someone far away I was. It is not hard to contact me, nor is it hard to see me face to face anymore.

My thoughts remain open to you, dear reader, as they always have been all this time. I will not shirk back from that which I had originally purposed - to be as honest as I can be in the words that I type. I lay myself vulnerable to arrows of criticism and love alike, but I believe that it is here we find true life in what is essentially lifeless symbols of the English alphabet upon a screen.

I still find it hard to have someone stand behind me reading the things I type, but once I hit the publish button my words and hopes fly randomly unto the dark winds of a virtual sky.

Tell me if you’ve been out here reading all this while - the thick blackness of the cold medium too often makes me feel alone. Blogger Comments x

Living an Excerpt of a Life

My sister (the youngest) just passed what is in my mind a major milestone. She told me the magic words, “You should read this”. Not a newspaper article, or a magazine, but a book. After learning that I’ve not read “To Kill a Mockingbird”, she spoke those amazing words.

It’s mind-boggling how full of information our existence has become in the past few years. Never has humankind had to deal with the sort of information overflow that is present in our generation. We don’t read books, we read excerpts, summaries or reviews of books. Sometimes we even “read” the book from the blurb off the back of a videotape containing a poorly adapted motion picture somewhat loosely related to the story. We have become a people that skips past life. We don’t live it to the fullest. We don’t drink of its fullness. Fact is, you’re probably skimming over this right now. Just sort of getting the gist of it. Not feeling. Not truly knowing. Well, that is until you read this.

I will read “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Right after I’m done with “Tuesdays with Morrie”, “Husbands and Wives” and a little of “Contemporary Issues Facing Christians Today”. Blogger Comments x

Weighing In

Found one of those old school weighing machines at the old YMCA two days ago. You know, the ones that existed before the age of liquid crystal displays. It has the hand that points to the weight it deems you’re currently at.

I was pretty shocked to find that I weighed 70kg. That’s quite a bit more than the last time I weighed myself, even if it was a few years ago. Add to that the fact that Faith tells me I’ve put on some weight in places I didn’t choose to allocate.

I hope that it is my heart that has grown, and not my tummy. Blogger Comments x

Word of the Day

Today’s match between Brazil and England proved to be one of those mega-events that capable shifting schedules, stopping business and rearranging appointments. In my household it was an event of sufficient magnitude to warrant an inpromptu family outing. I managed to persuade Dad and my sister (the older of the two) to head downtown to watch the game with the rest of Singapore. Bear in mind that these two are hardly anyone’s definition of a soccer fan.

To my relief, Brazil won 2-1. It was a match played between a team that was methodical and stoic, and the other that has entertained us all these years by simply having fun out there. The English boasted the stingiest defence in the tournament. Though most of Singapore supports England because we grew up watching the English premier league, a few who were bold enough to wear the blue of Brazil wanted goals. The more the better. Brazil’s two goals were an eye-pleaser, whilst England’s single was a textbook goal that was a result of a defender’s error.

The win was a pyrrhic victory as Ronaldinho was awarded a red card for the slightest of tackles. He scored the second of Brazil’s goals, and was the supplier of the crucial pass to Rivaldo for the first.

I predict a Brazil - Spain final. Brazil will win that final in extra time. Blogger Comments x

Game Enough

I find it ridiculous that Italian football (soccer, to the few of you) club Perugia fired their player Ahn Jung Hwan.

They took his job not because of his incompetence, but for his competence. He scored the golden goal to eliminate the country of his employment so that his country - the one he was born in and grew up in - would advance to in its quest for the World Cup. While he was hailed as a national hero, his employer places the blame for Italy’s “early” exit squarely on him. Perugia chairman Luciano Gaucci did not blame the Italian players for the loss, or coach, but blamed this man who was doing his job.

Mr. Gaucci is also quoted saying, “Let him (Ahn) go back to Korea and earn 100 lire (USD $0.05) a month!”. Such shortsightedness. If Italian football is being run by people like him, we will soon see the downfall of one of the world’s football powerhouses. Blogger Comments x

For Drey and Yammy

I do not fully understand what is going on, but it is in times of pain where we need so much more support and prayer from the people around us. This poem is one of my favourites, and it’s for Drey and Yammy, both of whom are undergoing rough times.

Life, believe, is not a dream, So dark as sages say; Oft a little morning rain Foretells a pleasant day: Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, But these are transient all; If the shower will make the roses bloom, Oh, why lament its fall? Rapidly, merrily, Life’s sunny hours flit by, Gratefully, cheerily, Enjoy them as they fly. What though death at times steps in, And calls our Best away? What though Sorrow seems to win, O’er hope a heavy sway? Yet Hope again elastic springs, Unconquered, though she fell, Still buoyant are her golden wings, Still strong to bear us well. Manfuly, fearlessly, The day of trial bear, For gloriously, victoriously, Can courage quell despair! - Charlotte Brontë

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Polarity

For some strange reason, Faith was constantly getting static electricity zaps on contact with me today. I told her to stop being so negative. Blogger Comments x

Skylight at Suntec City

Been on a photo taking spree. I still need inspiration for my photo album. If you know of any good sites with great photo albums, drop the url here.

Skylight at Suntec City, Singapore
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Fingerprints

We went through some of the diskettes Erick left behind. They contained songs that he played on his synthesizer some time back. As we played them on the church keyboards I couldn’t help but almost feel his presence and how I miss it.

The songs play on, but no fingers touch the keys. He’s not sitting there, and his corny jokes are nowhere to be heard. I strum the guitar but am nowhere near the proficiency of Matthew, my cousin who is also down-under.

Come back fast you two. We’re all missing you. Blogger Comments x

I Aspire

How happy is he born or taught That serveth not another’s will, Whose armor is his honest thought, And simple truth his highest skill; Whose passions not his masters are; Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the world with care Of princes’ grace or vulgar breath; Who envies none whom chance doth raise, Or vice; who never understood The deepest wounds are given by praise, By rule of state but not of good; Who hath his life from rumours freed, Whose conscience is his strong retreat, Whose state can neither flatterers feed Nor ruins make accusers great; Who God doth late and early pray More of his grace than goods to send, And entertains the harmless day With a well-chosen book or friend. This man is free from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall, Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet hath all. - Sir Henry Wotton

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The Soul Provider

Why do males feel like they have to provide for their loved ones? Is it an innate quality, or a product of societal upbringing?

It’s been hard finding a job this time back due to circumstances beyond my control. While my sister has been amassing a small fortune, I’ve been slowly depleting whatever tiny resource I had to start with. It has always been in my nature to give generously to others, or to pay for their meals, and a weird feeling tugs inside me when I am unable to pay for my meals with Faith. She’s nice about it, of course, but it’s a feeling I’d rather not have hanging over my head.

I’m not certain if it’s out of pride or a need to be self-sufficient, or if it’s some Chinese trait that binds me so. I know that I’ve to learn the lesson of being in need and humbling myself to seek help if required. Somehow it’s not an easy lesson to learn.

I wonder how some people can live as parasites all their lives. There must have been a metamorphosis somewhere. Blogger Comments x

The Complexity of Simplicity

I went for lunch at a Japanese restaurant with my two aunts and kid cousin today. I’ve had an aversion to Japanese food ever since my job stint in Chicago, but that’s another story for another day.

It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with this kid cousin of mine. He’s nine, the age where no dream seems beyond reach. Though his family is relatively affluent, I’m thankful that he’s brought up well and not thoroughly spoilt. I guess the younger generation (me included) is spoilt to some extent, never having experienced the hardships our parents and their parents had to. Talking to a child helped me remember the child inside of me, and see how far we’ve fallen from those times of innocence.

This evening, Dad asked how the name Microsoft came about. My kid sister (she’s thirteen) jokingly asked why we had ten toes and not twelve, why we in Singapore felt the right way up even though we live at the equator…and so on. Though most would be fast to dismiss the questions of these young people are nonsensical, it’s a sad fact that many of us have lost our sense of curiosity. We hide behind intellectual theories and toy around with ideas we deem are at an appropriately lofty level, yet are unable to answer the simplest questions posed by the youngest inquisitor.

Let’s not fake it. There are so many things we do not yet know. Blogger Comments x

An Old Flame

Is it just me, or does Suzanna Hoff just makes you want to love her when you hear “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles? Blogger Comments x

For Her

There’ll come a day when things will be different. There’ll be fewer phone calls from me. I won’t chat with you over the Internet as much, or send you as many emails.

I’ll no longer be on the other side of the phone because I’ll be on the same side you are. I won’t be typing instant messages to you because I’ll be hugging you from behind as you type. I’ll be there, as your husband.

There won’t be any more need for goodbyes or see-you-laters. But there are some things which I don’t want to give you less of. I still want to write you letters with my own hand, or ask you how you are when I see you. I don’t ever want to stop telling you how much I thank God for you.

Blogger Comments x

Sweet Release

Getting married to Faith is just about the most natural thing to do. We’ve been together as a couple for a decade…yadda yadda. Yet the decision to marry wasn’t one I could make alone, nor could I just make the decision with Faith, but the approval of God was essential to the both of us.

The gaining of this approval has been one of the hardest things for me in recent weeks. The life which God has called me to live is neither conducive to marriage nor the bringing up of a family. It’s a pragmatic point of view, considering that a life of service usually means sacrifice, financially and otherwise. Initially I knew deep inside that Faith agreed to marry me because it was something that we’ve looked forward to so much of our lives. At times I felt that she couldn’t understand the dilemma within me - the desire to be a good normal family man and at the same time serving God, sometimes at the cost of forgoing providing for my family comfortably. I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to learn to let go of the idea of marriage in order for God to show me His way. Not mine. His.

The cost had seemed too great to bear, and many tears were wept as I agonized over the process of handing it all over to God. How could I give up my dreams and hopes of spending my entire life with the woman I had loved for so long? How could I ever look upon her as a normal friend should God call me to give her up? Would I be able to? Faith didn’t seem to grasp the full weight that fell on my heart. It was understandable that she wanted a family life that was in all respects adequately provided for. I couldn’t promise her that. I was afraid to promise her that. I made a decision to obey that to which I’ve been called, at any cost. I can’t even describe how hard it has been, not knowing if we’d eventually get married.

After much prayer she understood the risk which marrying me entailed. Her own relationship with God absolved, there was a liberation which both of us received. It was no longer us that mattered, but what He wanted. We knew then that God’s peace was upon us.

Someone in church passed me the book “Husbands and Wives”, an account of Christian husbands like C.S. Lewis and Issac Newton. It was then I knew.

We’re getting married. Next year, God willing. Blogger Comments x

New Frontiers

Faith’s sister was one who thought she’d never get married. You know those “I’m going to stay single forever” kinds. It took a few years of searching, but she finally found someone on earth who appreciates her brand of humour.

I’m kidding. She’s a great girl to be around and I’m glad that she has someone reliable to be there for her.

It was weird taking the elevator down with him though. I’ve taken that walk home alone so many, many times. No, it’s not an unpleasant experience. Just new. Something new, and something to be happy and thankful about. Blogger Comments x

Go the Extra Mile

I feel terrible.

My youngest sister asked me (via a proxy) late last night to send her to school this morning. I barked back and asked her to “take the bus like everybody else”.

I could give you the excuse that I was tired because I had spent the last few ours wrestling with code, or that I had to wake up really early in the morning, but in my heart I know that the only reason I have was that I had too little love within me.

I had expected her to wake me up this morning, but she never did. An empty bed. The thought of her going to the bus stop in the wee hours of the morning on a Saturday made my guilt weigh heavier than an off-season Shaquille O’Neal. I will apologise to her and ask if I can bring her to watch Spirit on Monday.

It is not to allay my guilt, but to start the work of showing more love - something which I haven’t been doing as well as I should have. Blogger Comments x

Learning

Believe it or not, I just figured out the difference between paddings and margins. That’s how mentally inept I am. Blogger Comments x

Know

Attended Christian Chen’s message on prophecies and the book of Revelations tonight, and it’s becoming clear to me how blind Christians as a whole have been. We’re told to keep watch, but we stay awake with our eyes closed.

9-11. The formation of the European Union. The conflict in the Middle East.

Christian Chen’s continuing this topic on Saturday night at Wilkie Terrace Christian Assembly (near Peace Center at Selegie Road, Singapore). Leave a comment if you wish to go. I think it’s important that all Christians find out where world events fit into the Biblical perspective.

Maranatha. Blogger Comments x

Cannibalism of the Spirit

A number of construction workers from China passed through our church recently, victims of unscrupulous Singaporean middlemen who refused them remuneration for their work.

These middlemen would go to China, offering men there a chance to work in Singapore for a fee. It would be their major break out of their poverty and a chance to earn more money. Upon receiving the fee, these middlemen would then process their work visas and have these workers come to Singapore, where they would be sold to construction companies as labour.

Having received two payments, one from the worker and another employers that required such labour, these middlemen would then starve out the Chinese workers, witholding the payment that is due them. After a period of non-payment, the Chinese workers would grow disgruntled and refuse to work for no pay. The middlemen would then place the blame on the workers’ refusal to work and have them shipped back home.

I am ashamed to be in the same country as these people. I am ashamed to be a fellow human being. How can one sleep at night knowing that his or her greed has destroyed another person’s life to the uttermost? How can you send someone home to their family in poverty and failure, because you wanted to make a quick buck?

Dreams, integrity and compassion are made of gold, and we have traded them for a wad of worthless paper. Blogger Comments x

Transitioning Phase

After a little tussle, I’ve Moveable Type installed and ready to rock. Thanks to D.W. for his offer to help me install it, but I finally latched on to an Internet connection that lasted more than the normal five minute intervals. I’ll be working on my photo album as soon as I can. I might move the entire blog to MT, but loyalty runs in my veins. Then again, so does the jealousy that comes from a deep desire to stay on the cutting edge of whatever’s out there. Blogger Comments x

Big Brudder

One of the changes I’ve experienced since coming back from Arizona is the implementation of the EzLink Card. It is a proximity card used for public transportation. Unlike the previous farecard system that required the commuter to insert the card into a card reader, fares are paid by tapping the EzLink card on the card reader once when boarding the bus or train, and again when alighting. That puts an end to the guesswork commuters have to do regarding the appropriate fare to pay. For others, it also means one can no longer pay the minimal fare and get away with it.

The thing that concerns me regarding the Ezlink card is the fact that in order to obtain one, an identification card number (similar to the States’ Social Security Number) is needed. This means that some form of tracking can be, and most probably is, taking place. It will not be hard to obtain information on an individual’s movements around the island of Singapore. Whilst I don’t indulge in any criminal activity worth tracking, I find the shroud of surveillance hanging over me discomforting, to say the least.

The Ezlink Card’s possible function as a tracking device is not explicitly communicated to the people who use the public transportation system here in Singapore, but one can be sure such information is invaluable, either from an incriminating standpoint or a purely economical one. Just as traffic on the Internet is up for grabs to whoever is willing to pay, the physical movement of the general public is lucrative for marketing research purposes. Demographic data is fine by me, but narrowing it down to an individual detail level…scary.

I have not gotten an EzLink Card as of yet, in part due to cautiousness, but largely due to laziness. If there are enough of you out there as paranoid as I, we could organise a great EzLink Card exchange, and screw the system. Blogger Comments x

Sifting Through The Sands Of Time

I met an old friend at the ugly monstrousity of a community center where the old basketball court once stood. We played ball for a bit, and then he asked an interesting question.

Are a lot of your friends getting married?
I then proceeded to tell him that I too was planning on tying the knot sometime next year. He looked at me in mock disappointment. It were as if he were betrayed by an old comrade who once-upon-a-time seemed reliable.

It strikes you suddenly. That things are no longer as simple as in days past. Friendship no longer has the same permeance and closeness that it once held. People once close now have their own little lives to deal with, and you have yours. I remember wishing things were the way they were, and somewhere along the way I’ve become resigned to the fact that change is inevitable.

I still miss old friends, and wonder how they’ve been doing all these years. I hope life doesn’t pass me by before I organise a huge campfire for us to tell our untold stories. Blogger Comments x

Bad Geographical Utterances

Mom celebrated her birthday. She kissed my aunt on the cheek to show her appreciation for my aunt’s organising the entire function. I was rather surprised at the show of affection.

Standing within earshot I said “French!”, referring to the type of greeting. It sounded like a command of sorts to my mom to do something which would incur the wrath of my dead ancestors, not to mention the resultant puking it would induce.

I gotta learn to keep my thoughts to myself. Blogger Comments x

The Paradigms of Instability

During the heavy promotion of the E.T. remake, we watched how Henry Thomas (the child star who acted as Elliot) got his job. Spielberg gave him the scenario of losing a make-believe friend and waited to see his portrayal of such a scene.

Elliot’s eyes welled up with tears. He wept, softly first, then uncontrollably. His pleas for the intruders to leave his friend alone made everyone forget that he was acting out of nothing at all. An amazing feat, even if an older actor had performed.

Much as I admire the skill needed to bring forth any message with such great emotion, I am sure that the task of separating one’s true self from the created is nothing short of gargantuan. How does one be so involved yet stay detached? The great yearning for the stage still runs in my blood can cries out to me from time to time, but I know that forcibly manipulating my emotions would eventually result in a rupturing of truth’s fragile fabric. Who would I be? Would I still be me? Would me still be me? I dare not risk my self.

I applaud the players who work long and hard to give us insight into lives we may never live. I wish we could treat them like the normal people they are. It is so much more than the burden of stardom we have placed on those who love the art. Blogger Comments x

Of Heroes and Villians

I’m not a Spielberg or a Lucas, but I’m getting there. This is my own picture of Spiderman as a baby, and Yoda. Both were taken with my cheapo digital camera, and edited with relatively low-tech software. Only picture rotation was used.

By the way, the Spidey baby’s the same one who drew a picture of me with wings. I’m starting to sound like an ad for sanitary pads.

NicNic as Spiderman

Darth Cheril

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Struggles Within

Church camp is over. It has not been easy.

I’m not talking about looking after the children, or about having to wake up early. It is the sobering nature of the messages that has hit home hard into my very being. Much was spoken about the end times, and how close we are to that day. The Middle-Eastern conflict and its biblical implications. The changes in world history, scientific discovery, and all their place in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. You might think it’s all very subjective. When it comes to Israel, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, the Bible is very specific. The coming of age and realisation of the spiritual reality is almost scary.

The greatest struggle for me revolved around my relationship between Faith and I. No, we didn’t have any argument. There has been no conflict whatsoever. Sometime recently we’ve grown more earthly. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s been working for some time. As we approach the issue of marriage we’ve become more pragmatic and less dependent on God.

I know the life that I’ve been called to live. It will be hard to have a family and still live that life. I do not want to amass wealth for a nest egg. I want to help the homeless at the cost of my family’s safety. I want…and yet I do not want. I’d much rather play it safe and do things the traditional way, but my life would just ebb into the smooth unruffled fabric of everyday life. When I hear about how near Christ’s second coming is, I know that I have to be faithful to my calling, and a dilemma within me arises.

These past few nights have been spent in tears and anguished prayer. I know that God wants me to give my relationship with Faith up unto Him, impending marriage and all. Somewhere, somehow God has been moved to the back while we were busy making plans. He wants first place in our hearts. My heart battles. “No” I cry. Faith means too much to me. I cannot find it within myself to disappoint both me and her by submitting both our futures to God who might very well change them beyond recognition.

But there is little time. Christ is coming back soon. I grit my teeth and decide to put God first. I pray for strength to make my decision endure. I have to live my life the way He wants me to. It doesn’t matter anymore whether I marry Faith or not. I know that His will has both our interests at heart. I tell Faith of the life I’m called to live. I tell her how precarious maintaining a family under those conditions would be. I tell her that I can go no other way.

She struggles with the fact that both our lives will never be the same. Two days pass and she smiles at me. She has chosen to live this life together with me. God will provide for us and our children (should we have any). But we’re not going to make a lot of money. We’re not going to drive big cars or live in big houses. In our weakness and frailty we ask that God takes our lives, and changes them to whatever He wants.

To Him be the glory. All of it. Blogger Comments x

Reaching for the Sky

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:1-9

Looking at one of the oldest accounts in the Bible, it seems like as a race, humankind haven’t gone very far. Much as I find skyscrapers and architecture beautiful, I cannot help but see the similarities between modern skyscrapers and the ancient tower of Babel. Both are done in the same spirit. To overcome God. To stand on our own two feet.

Contrary to what evolution suggests, it seems that mankind has undergone more of a degeneration than an evolution of any sort. Cancer and other diseases have gone on the rise in magnitudes greater than we can imagine. Morally, our society has decayed, and looks set to go down this path of self-destruction. Even though our scientific exploits are mind-boggling, I fear that we have advanced faster than we are able to handle. We have not thought hard about the consequences of our actions and our research. Our scientists do what they do simply because they can.

“Pride comes before a fall” the old proverb reads. The spirit of Babel lives on today, and with the advent of the Internet, the geographical barrier has come undone. The communication barrier imposed by God has all but been overcome. Mankind will get there, and God will be forced to move His hand again. Blogger Comments x

Murphy's Brown

It seems that mathematical constants seem to bend backwards to prove that Murphy’s Law stands. I had a tummyache today and rushed back to my room to use the bathroom. Of over a hundred rooms in this gigantic hotel, the housekeeping cart had to be right smack outside of mine. Blogger Comments x

Staying Connected

Finally found out that the Internet rates at the business center of this hotel is quite cheap. Blogger Comments x

Portrait

Here’s the picture NicNic drew.

Portrait drawn by NicNic
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Through the Eyes of a Child

He’s six. Told me last night that he’d draw a portrait of me when he got home. This morning I was handed a piece of paper, upon which was a pretty accurate graphic portrayal of who I was.

I’ve never had a portrait done before. Being rather camera-shy, I’ve few photographs of myself, save the few taken when Dad had an interest in photography, and when I was too young to know what a camera was.

I feel honoured, and very privileged that a child would take the time to draw me. I’ve made up my mind to frame up the picture, and it almost brings me to tears just to know that my life - however small it is - has affected another.

Kids don’t lie when they draw. I look into the mirror. I don’t think my ears are that big, but I could be wrong. Blogger Comments x

The Economics of Relationships

It is funny how lazy humans are. We naturally atrophy ourselves to the state of least resistance. We settle into our mundane routines because it requires the least effort from us. We seldom challenge the status quo, and allow ourselves to be controlled by external forces that in all honesty, aren’t all that unmoveable.

I found this to be true when it comes to relationships as well.

I was picking Faith up from work today, and had told her on the phone not to be late because it was hard to find any parking where she worked. Traffic was less congested than usual and I arrived there sooner than I would have expected. I looked around. No sign of Faith. I drove round and round, passing the entrance of her workplace (where she was supposed to wait for me) over and over, each time getting more agitated than the last. Though my irritation didn’t arise to the point of anger, I took special notice of my thoughts and feelings, and decided to trace its evolution.

Reminiscing back to the time when our relationship was still new, it seemed then that everything was rosy. Even if she were late for an appointment, I’d make up plausible excuses for her in my mind.

Maybe she was held up. Maybe something happened. I hope she’s all right.

My thoughts now were drastically different. Rather than giving her the benefit of doubt, I found myself going “here we go again”. It was neither constructive nor beneficial to our relationship. It is often these unspoken thoughts that devastate relationships the most. I consciously made it a point to revert back to the former train of thought.

This is my theory on relationship economics.

If two parties give each other the benefit of the doubt and are willing to love each other beyond what is just “fair and equitable”, there is enough leeway for the occasional circumstance where one of us gets slightly less lovable.

HimLeewayHer

Then we get lazy after a while and realise that we don’t really have to work that hard. So we move towards an equilibrium.

HimHer

This model requires the minimum effort to maintain a relationship. It does not allow much room for error. In situations where one party grows a little less lovable (eg. PMS, jealousy etc), cries of “you’re not being fair!” are often heard.

It soon atrophies to the third model, which results in a breakup.

HimDistanceHer

That’s my theory on the economics of relationships. I don’t know if it makes much sense to you, but I’m gonna try to stay model number one as much as I can. I know how unlovable I can be at times.

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