Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

December 2003 Archives

Lord of the Rings

Faith and I wear double rings on our ring finger. One of which is our wedding ring and the other the ring we gave each other while we were courting. I think I lost my pair.

The thing about playing basketball is that you have to remove all unnecessary accessories. My pre-balling routine consists of taking off my watch and my rings, lest I gouge someone’s eyes out while going up for a rebound. I usually thread my lanyard through the two rings and my watch.

They weren’t there when I returned. Honestly, I don’t know if I even brought them to the court in my bag. I started searching frantically in drawers and any horizontal surface I might have placed them on. Didn’t find them.

I braced myself for a tongue-lashing and told Faith that I had lost them, hoping she had kept them. I was half-freaking out at this point. She helped me look for them for a bit. When it was more or less clear that they couldn’t be found, she looked at me, held my shoulders and said “it’s ok”. It wasn’t said in a sarcastic or hurtful manner. She really wanted me to know that it was ok. That it wasn’t my fault.

Continue reading Lord of the Rings »

Soaking in the Sunset

If I had to choose one companion to go photo-shooting with, it’d be PB. There’s a sense of serenity in his pictures that I love so much.

Taking Flight

And there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai, of the sons of the giant, and they were subdued. There was war again with the Philistines, and Elhanan son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and each foot. He also was born to the giant. And when he reproached and defied Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, slew him. These were born to the giant clan in Gath, and they fell by the hands of David and his servants. - 1 Chronicles 20:4-8

The historical account in the Chronicles of Israel reaches a climax, where the “mighty men of David” are named and their exploits proclaimed. It is an interesting read, especially after having watched The Lord of the Rings. But it is hard not to parallel their lives with mine.

Where they go from victory unto victory, I seem to struggle with the same issues year after year. I set my feet to climb, but more often than not find myself flat out on my butt at the foot of the mountain. My human nature refuses to die.

Continue reading Taking Flight »

Final Sprint

So many things to do. Year end church services and choir performances. Then beginning of the year celebrations - more singing.

It is a time when I instinctively want to just kick back and contemplate, yet am unable to. It’s the same every year. The milestones fly by. Buried under a to-do list the weight of a telephone book, we let them. Soon too many milestones pass us by and we’re left catching up on the news of our life.

You think that’s what retirement’s for? You’ll probably be too busy then too. So take some time between the foam parties and fireworks to think over the year that will be no more.

And pray for the people in Iran. I don’t care what your political ideology is or what religion you hold in your heart. People are dying there. The least you could give them is some thought.

Scrap thought. Turn it to action. Donate.

Some Singaporean Lovin'

After Vanessa discovered Redemption (a fitting name for the discovery), I was hard-pressed to find another Singaporean web design codey. That is, until Karen sprung a comment on one of my posts.

Finally, a Singaporean concerned with the usage of typography.

White Christmas

Being a newly married couple, we didn’t have plans for Christmas. We didn’t know what to do or whose family’s to be at. Good thing we had Ralph and Ai who were newly weds too. They came over and we watched the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring. Mason joined it too. It felt good to have some semblance of a family affair.

It occurred to me that it has been four years since I spent Christmas in Singapore. I had the fortune of experiencing Orchard Road on Christmas Eve. I nearly suffocated in the pushing, shoving and elbowing of a million last-minute shoppers.

Come to think of it, it was not much different from Thanksgiving Day shopping back in Arizona. We’d queue up at five in the morning waiting for Best Buy to open. There’d already be a line led by some sale fanatic who had been there since Valentine’s. Everyone would have their product catalogue in hand; five hundred people eyeing twenty DVD-players going for a song. Hell - literally - would break loose when the doors were opened. There would be people tramping on other people, colliding trolleys and babies crying. Oh wait, that’s the sound of a college student who only managed to get his hands on 19 compact-flash cards.

Why am I reminiscing? Min called. In the short time we talked and wished each other Merry Christmas, I relived my time there. It was odd being on the other side of the telephone conversation.

Round Peg Square Hole

Well we’re back. We had ourselves a whale of a time. Faith said that it was the perfect duration for a honeymoon. It was just long enough to make her miss home.

It’s our first Christmas Eve in our new home. We opened one of the many bottles of dessert wine her close friends gave to us as a wedding preset. We’re slouched on the couch watching Pirates of the Carribean, my Christmas present from Ralph and Ai.

After a small glass of wine each and thirty two and a half minutes of the movie, we’re heading for bed. Our heads feel like they’re throbbing to the techno beat of the devil. Now we remember why we hardly drink alcohol, even if it is our favourite iced wines.

Think we’re not cut out for orthodox romance.

Late Start

I read somewhere that the honeymoon evolved from some tribal practice where the bridegroom was given a month’s supply of sweet mead. How that became a tour around the world is beyond me.

When I was young I found out that my parents went to Taiwan for their honeymoon and I remember thinking that it was such a nearby country. Times have changed and now popular honeymoon destinations for Singaporeans include obscure parts of Europe, and for the budget-conscious, Australia.

Well Faith and I have always seemed to go against the tide. We’re off on our honeymoon in a few hours time, a good five months after the wedding. We’ll be spending a full day and night on Sentosa.

It isn’t much, but it’s everything to us.

Collectively Individualistic

I found myself wandering in town yesterday. Faith had gone to attend the wedding dinner of a colleague. Somehow I felt so lost without her on a rainy night. I took a bus to nowhere in particular, to see nothing in particular. I landed in Funan Center in an attempt to relive the life of a schoolboy fascinated by the latest computer games. But this time the enthusiasm seemed dimmed.

It made me think about where the line ended for two who had become one. Was I socially inept now that I have come to depend on her constant companionship?

Maybe it was the heavy rain that made me feel out of sorts, or the fact that I was suffering the effects of a lingering flu. On any normal day, I would be hitting the basketball courts whenever Faith wasn’t free to hear me crack lame jokes or expound my theories on why every year feels shorter when we get older.

The rain prevented me from heading to the usual hideout and I found myself so utterly inadequate, so incomplete. There is always the fear that I am a reduced version of who I used to be, but I know that it is because I have tasted life with her, and settling for anything else would be a compromise I couldn’t live with.

You could call me handicapped. Or it could be I’m still madly in love with the girl I married.

Unopposed

I hurt my thumb pretty bad when a kid fouled me hard on a jumpshot. It’s swollen to the point I can’t bend it much.

It’s amazing how much we use the thumb. I’m having difficulty pulling up my own underpants. Too much information, I know.

Living with My Childhood Sweetheart

She’s sitting beside me ripping her CDs into mp3s. Being a music teacher, she has lots of kiddie songs which she sings along to while iTunes does its work in the background. She adds her own molotov cocktail of a Russian accent into old Singaporean community-building (brainwashing) songs.

We laugh and I tell her I love her. The words seem so inadequate for so wonderously childlike a moment.

Making Ends Meet

Cremation is such an abrupt end, and the people who attend one are left to scramble around, picking up pieces of themselves in an attempt to piece together the life of the person that has just departed. It is just too much for a person - any person - to condense the meaning of an entire life - however brief - into a single moment. I don’t think our psyches were meant to endure such sudden and complete closures. It almost feels like someone slammed the book shut upon reaching the end of a chapter.

Love Never Fails

It’s such a controversial statement isn’t it? It seems almost ironic that it is one of the most used Bible verses in marriages, and probably in a large number of marriages that actually go on to fail. It is easy to sink in the mire of despair and dismiss the whole “love crap” along with childhood tales of Santa and the Easter Bunny.

After watching the movie Love Actually, its prologue points us very poignantly to the fact that love actually is all around us in a myriad of forms. It just need not take on the form that you desire.

It is our job then, to hold on to what we have whilst continuing to seek that which may yet be. It is an enlightening thought - that none of the messages sent by the passengers on the ill-fated 9-11 flights were ones of hate or revenge, but ones of love. If you wait till then, you’d have missed out on life.

Like most movies, Love Actually takes you through the dumps and ends in a triumph, complete with happy music. The lovers unite - well some of them anyway. The others find love that had always been there, however agonisingly unorthodox an end to their fairy tale.

Truth is, love never fails. The end of the world is marked by the Bridegroom coming for His bride. We all have that to look forward to.

Going On Before

He taught me how to roll up those home-made cigarettes when I was a child. He and I would sit at the table and rolled up a stash of them which he would keep in a small tin that once held mints. I remember what he said then, about how smoking was bad for me and that I should never develop a habit of it like he did.

He was a large-set man who had a gruff layman-ish voice that rumbled like thunder. It made him sound like he was always angry with something. I guess it was his voice coupled with his native tongue of Hokkien, which was a rougher-sounding dialect of Chinese.

Naturally, as the small runt in the family, I was afraid of him. Not that he’d ever be mad at me. On the contrary, he always spoke to me in a gentler, softer tone. I remember his laughter well.

Like many fathers he was seldom at home. He worked till the early hours of the morning, when he would return with packets of food for everyone. We would all wake up and join in the almost nightly feast. It really sucked to be the one who slept through it all. I made it a point to wake up and participate in the family affair. They were my family, in every sense of the word.

I was odd that I called him “uncle” while I called his wife “mama” and his children “kor kor or jie jie” (brother or sister in Hokkien). I lived as a member of his household the first seven years of my life. He, if anyone, deserved to be called “father”.

Continue reading Going On Before »

Infiltration

It becomes harder to think clearly, love purely, forgive cleanly and drink freely. Small things have been getting me irritated and competitive streaks I didn’t know I had surface. I know that there is something beautiful about fellow Christians gathering from different countries and worshipping together. I also know that Satan would do anything to spoil it.

I know that he is stronger than I. I need to pray. Do pray for me.

Online Outside

I’m currently attending the 12th Christian Conference on Service at the Apollo Novotel. Amongst other things (which is a fine, fine site), I am helping out by providing the conference with WiFi internet access and a LAN network of 2 Macs and 2 PCs.

Being the Best

I’m not one who really likes weblog popularity contests, but I had to intervene. I voted for Krisalis as Singapore’s Best Weblog. She’s plenty funny, crafty (in the art-and-craft sense of the word) and is very much as interesting in real life as she is on her blog.

There are many good Singaporean blogs not voted for yet. The technologically zelded Vantan, the instapunded political Andrea, the Zired-out A L, the extremely travelled Faith or the succinct Vaya.

I voted for Kris because it was easier to vote from a pull-down menu than to type out a URI for a new nomination. I would’ve voted for any of the above. They’re all great.

The best part is that none of them have “Vote for Me!” or any variation of the desperate plea in any of their posts.

Making the Prayer Mine

“There, in the quiet of that late hour, I said to the Holy Spirit, ‘My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated You like a servant. When I wanted You I called for You; when I was about to engage in some work I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task. I have kept You in the place of a servant. I have sought to use You only as a willing servant to help me in my self-appointed and chosen work. I shall do so no more. Just now I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind the eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take tthis body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is your body from this moment on. Help Yourself to it. Thank You, my Lord, I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans twelve and one You said “Acceptable unto God.” Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me. We now belong to each other.’”

Dale shared the prayer of Dr. Walter L Wilson with us yesterday. Dale and Helen are staying at our home, having arrived a few days before the 12th Christian Conference on Service that will be held at the Novotel Apollo.

The prayer strikes a chord within me, and I find myself in the same place as Walter Wilson. I have often treated the Holy Spirit like a slave to my own wants and needs, however altruistic or noble they might have been.

I want to be His servant. May God grant me the strength.

Hit and Miss

For those of you who have lived overseas and returned home.

Do you miss the new home you left because it was a place that made you miss your old home?

Waiting On You

The road seems so very long. I’ve sent out job application after application and littered cyberspace with email attachments of my résumé but nothing seems to come through. Where once I thought I had quite the spiffy résumé, my sense of self-worth has taken a beating.

Depression looms on the corner as I spend day after day with Holden Caufield. The negative things become more apparent to me: a hairline the recedes faster than Californian flora in a forest fire. Basketball is the one place I escape to on an almost daily basis, but the monsoon season has meant fewer outdoorsy days, effectively closing the door to my parallel universe.

But I know in my heart that these times come for a reason. Like numerous times before I know that it is in these times I need to yearn for God’s presence in my life; in my waiting. My trust in the strength of my own arm fails, and I know that my hopes lies only in Him.

“I lift my eyes up unto the hills; from whence shall come my help? My help is from the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)

My Lord, I wait. Show me Your way.

In Your time.

Non-Fiction?

What if the conspiracy theories I dreamed were true?

It may have been an American tank that fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.

« November 2003
Main Index
Archives
January 2004 »