Making Light of Things

June 2003 Archives

Seeing is Believing

I haven’t been actively looking for a job yet. Believe you me when I say that wedding preparations are a full-time job in itself. It has been a wonderful time so far, and God has graciously spared us from the royal family feuds that have plagued so many wedding-doers before us.

A job opportunity popped up for a short freelance photoshoot. It caught me totally off-guard as screen-names from IRC (Internet Relay Chat) quickly became voices on the mobile phone, and then real names and faces. It was even more surprising (closer to shocking actually) to learn that one of them lived a few houses down the road.

A game of ping-pong ensued as I struggled to find the confidence to shoot commercially. They needed me to shoot film - something I haven’t done since my teens. The photoshoot was to be done tomorrow - a notice of a little more than two days. When lighting equipment was mentioned I panicked. This small mound had become a hill, and the hill a mountain.

I stayed up the entire night reading up on commercial product photography, as well as the nuances in using film format. I even borrowed Evan’s Canon EOS 1 for a day. Spent the whole afternoon today shopping for paper that could be used as a backdrop. Heart still very much in my mouth, I prepped myself the best I could.

The text message came a few hours ago. The photoshoot got postphoned. I’m half-relieved that the pressure’s off for a while, and a little upset that it got me all riled up. The dominant feeling is one of thankfulness though. I’d never have learnt what I had over the last 48 hours if the heat wasn’t as high as it was.

The whole episode stirs up my intrigue while regard to approaching photography as a viable career option.

To Write a Life

I ventured a “passing remark” about becoming a full-time writer to my mother tonight, and she said she didn’t mind as long as I got a “real” job before that. Her reasons were that a writer needed something to write about. Some “real” experience.

I can’t say I fully agree with her. The more pressing danger for us in this generation is not having time to form coherent thoughts about life, rather than not having anything to do. Truth be told, the lack of blog updates the last few days was due to my having too many things to do, and not that I had nothing to write about.

Uncle Oliver and cousin Dylan came into Singapore from San Diego (where they live) a few hours ago. Whilst waiting for my uncle I could only imagine the immense task of travelling with a two-year-old and a ton of luggage on a 20+ hour flight. Uncle Oliver appeared at the gate alone with luggage in hand. I was half-afraid he had left his son inside a locker at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) just to save himself the hassle.

Dylan appeared a few meters behind. Let me correct that. A stroller appeared through the immigration counter. I could just see two small feet behind the stroller. When the tiny shoes went into a tippytoed position, a disproportionately large head and two eyes popped up over the top. Dylan looked every bit the seasoned traveller pushing his trolley. A really short seasoned traveller. He was coming out of a short transit in Japan.

I drove the both of them to my aunt’s place, where they will be putting up for the next two weeks. After carrying all the luggage up and playing with baby Dylan a bit, I had to head home for some shuteye. (ok you caught me blogging this entry, smartypants). Dylan’s eyes began to tear and he cried “kor kor”, which means older brother in our Chinese dialect.

Man, it was hard to leave. I’ve barely met the kid, but he trusted me enough to hold my hand and repeat words I spoke to him. It sucked that I had to leave, but parking laws in Singapore prohibited me from parking the car indefinitely in the loading / unloading zone. I left, but not without three rounds of goodbyes and hi-fives.

I’ll be back Dylan. Hang in there.


You said tonight that you were thankful that I didn’t view the marriage to come as something that would shackle me. I just wanted to tell you how blessed I feel that you have chosen me.

Being wed to you is a privilege that you have bestowed upon me. I am honoured to be chosen, by you, to love and protect you, and to spend all of my life learning about you.

I don’t want to miss you anymore.

Names and Faces

We’re almost done with the wedding cards. Yeah I know I probably said this some time ago, but wedding cards are the way they are - it’s never really over till it’s over. There are always names you forgot to write and faces you suddenly remember. The stress is multiplied when you realise that the elderly folks take offense should you fail to invite them to the Chinese wedding dinner. There is simply too many people to please and too much face (ours and our parents’) to save. At the back of your mind you know that one of the trillion moving parts will give way.

I know this is probably a precedent, but I’d like to open up the wedding (not the dinner for obvious reasons) invitation to those of you who are interested in attending it. Leave a comment below if you are, and I’ll see if a formal invitation’s in order.


Currently looking through the pictures I’ve taken of Tucson.

I miss you, Tucson.


We selected our photos today. As expected, we exceeded our allotment of 15 photos and had to pay for the extra five. If we had our way we would have traded in everything the wedding package consisted of for the whole set of photos.

It’s weird. Despite my love for photography, Faith and I don’t have that many pictures together. Seeing all 67 of them all neatly placed in an album sent neurons of happiness tingling up and down our spines.

The wedding’s about three weeks away. We’re frantically scrambling around hoping not to do anything that might result in familial rifts. Leaving someone out of the wedding dinner, addressing them the wrong way in the card, wearing the wrong colour on that day…we never can tell what would rub the wrong person the wrong way. Right now we’re just going to do our best, and if there are those who find fault in the minute details, we’re pretty much resigned to it. We’re practically running on vapour at the moment.

Pray for us. That we’ll remember the essence of the wedding. It’s not even our own union that lies at its core. It is the reflection we provide of Christ’s love for His bride the Church.

How Deep a Father’s Love

Many people asked me how I got my name. After all, Lucian’s an awfully rare name by any standards. Dad gave me this name. Trust me, if it were my choice, Lucian would be the farthest thing in my mind. It’s not even found in many books of baby-names. A push-cart selling those vanity name-plates in San Francisco once offered to custom-make me one because they advertised “we’ll have your name here or its free”.

Dad named me after a Ceylonese lay-preacher. Uncle Lucian’s still with us today, even though his health isn’t what it used to be. Dad still drives down to the hospital every evening to massage Uncle Lucian’s legs. It helps with the blood circulation and it wasn’t long before people started calling Dad “Uncle Lucian’s oxygen tank”.

We took Uncle Lucian out to dinner yesterday. Dad and I drove him back to the hospital, and Dad took time to change his clothes, as well as empty his urine-bag and stuff like that. Things that would normally make you wince, even just a little.

Maybe he didn’t know it, but Dad set an example for me yesterday night. His example gave me the resolve to love him to the same degree when age should catch up on him. Many parents talk to their children about filial piety while at the same time talking bad about their own parents. Dad doesn’t talk to us about how he wants us to treat him, but now I know how I want to treat him. Not just because he’s my father, but because he is who he is.

A Photographer's Vow

Inscribed upon my heart while watching you during our indoor photoshoot.

I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am that you’ve chosen me to be the photographer of your life; to capture every moment of your life on the canvas of my life. Though the photographer fires away, his flash illuminating the room at intervals, it is I who snaps away without ceasing. Every second every microsecond every nanosecond is captured, each one a still every one as vibrant as the last because you were born to live a life filled with endless colour. And I was born to chronicle it. I would marry you a thousand times, no, a million times over if it meant that I could run the replays of your life over and over; to feel your life rewriting mine.

Shoot Shooted Shot

Faith and I had our indoor photoshoot done tonight (we had not the funds to pay for the outdoor one as well).

I was initially rather apprehensive about it. To strike a “natural pose” is to accomplish the impossible. The very phrase is in itself an oxymoron. Why else would we call people who seem fake “poseurs”? Given a choice I’d much rather be natural and have a National Geographic photographer snap away in the same manner he would a gibbon or rhinocerous.

It didn’t take too long for me to start enjoying myself. For starters, Faith (who in her natural state already looks resplendent) looked like she could have stopped the stars in their orbit. Under the soft light of the set, I found myself already composing poetry in some futile attempt to capture the exceedingly abundant degree of beauty that stood before me.

Just a side-note for you guys: You’ll end up standing by the side A LOT. The photoshoot is an activity dominated by the bride. Heck, make that the wedding.

When I stood beside her for photos, the photographer actually asked us to tone down the smiling. I wasn’t smiling because I wanted to look good or anything. Just feeling Faith’s warmth beside me and knowing that it’s a feeling I’m privileged to have beside me my entire life sends my heart in throes of ecstasy. I almost burst trying to hold the joy in.

Six and a half hours later, we walked out and returned to our normal lives. I still had reddish hair and she had half a pound of hairspray on her head.

Deep Calls to Deep

It’s been two Sundays here in Singapore already. The children I carried in my arms not too long ago are now of not-so-carriable proportions. I’m thankful that they still remember me. There are some things different about church this time round though.

It doesn’t stem from my reacclimatisation - that has been relatively smooth. It is the memory of friends and spiritual siblings in the distant land that was home to me less than two weeks ago. I sit in church and sometimes wonder what they’re all doing that very moment.

There are no time zones in my musings. I imagine them sitting in the pews, chatting away, even though the reality will only take place fifteen hours later. There are not many of them because most of the college kids have returned home to nearby Phoenix or California for the summer vacations. There’s vacation Bible school to be planned out for, and summer jobs to be had.

It’s hard to describe how much I miss all of you. The reluctant fact that I’ll miss out on a large part of all your lives saddens me greatly. I want so much to be there, and yet here. I sometimes wish I could converge the paths of our lives and somehow live the two dimensions, both spatial and time. One can’t have too many soulmates, I say.

If any of you Tucsonans (present or past) are reading this, know that I miss you. Send my love to the children.

Can't Handle the Truth

There’s the chorus of an old hymn that goes,

“Count your blessings, count them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

We spent the whole day writing out names on the wedding invitations while concurrently constructing the list. It’s really amazing how many people have touched our lives in their own unique way over the course of our not-so-lengthy lives.

Our eyes are heavy and hands cramping, but the list is far from finished.

Sound of the Streets

Having enjoyed ownership of a car in Tucson, I’ve clean forgotten how crowded public transportation in Singapore can get. The heartbeat of the city is best felt by the pulse in its veins. Sitting in a bus headed downtown makes it seem like a gadzillion people always happen to be going where you’re going at the precise moment you decide to go.

The cacophony of noises overloads my hearing. Thanks to a flat battery on my iPod, I was treated to a myriad of sounds that just made me smile. On top of a million cellular phones ringing their own unique ringtones, there is the sound of a million different voices, each on trying to be heard over the din. Mind you, this is in a crowded bus where the next person’s face is barely two feet away from your own. Behind me stood a girl no more than twenty. She spoke with a half-baked accent that straddled back and forth from British and American. In the other corner Tamil was being spoken. Various Chinese dialects.

It’s quite amazing why we haven’t already gone mad.

Time and Space

Faith’s gonna be at a school camp for the next three days. Three days or nine months, one day away is one day too many. Come home soon dear.

Webbing Up

I’m probably the last of my kind. Living in Singapore where ownership of a cellular phone is commonplace, I spoke vehemently about how instant communication has made us less reliable. I thought I’d find a few others who thought like I did, and we’d all hold a mini-amish protest against the prevalance of the cellphone.

I sold out. With Dad using the home-phone for his business in the daytime, it has become close to impossible for friends to contact me. With a wedding coming up fast and needing some way for potential employers to contact me, I got myself a cellphone.

I had intially wanted the Sony Ericsson T68i with the Bluetooth function. It would have enabled me to sync with my powerbook for some really cool stuff with the Salling Clicker. It was on sale at $98 with the signing of a two-year plan. But Faith told me not to rush the purchase, and there is the unwritten law that technological devices always drop in price. The price shot up $300 and came bundled with a camera attachment I didn’t need. I ended up getting the Nokia 6610, which I think is a pretty cool set, even if there isn’t the Bluetooth functionality I would have enjoyed toying around with.

My number’s 91262795. Drop me a text message, those of you whom I’ve got to meet up with.

Flat Out

Faith and I are now the proud owners of our new home. After getting the keys this morning, we rushed down (Faith teaches in the afternoon) to take a look at the place.

We stood there for a while before churning out a cacophony of ideas. Where the reading corners would be; where we’d put up shelves for the huge collection of children’s books Faith has accumulated over the years; where to set up the Mac shrine etc.

It’s weird to think of ourselves as homeowners. In so many ways, we still act like children. I’m thankful for it though. The fact that we got together so early meant that we comfortable being our childhood selves with each other. We sing cartoon tunes from the eighties - from Denver the last dinosaur to Mask. Even now as I’m typing this, I hear Faith exclaim “Wondertwin powers activate!”. Apparently her sister and her stumbled upon the old cartoon on the Cartoon Network.

So here we are, having just taken out a loan of a few hundred thousand dollars over the next thirty years. The economic climate doesn’t look rosy, but God’s bigger than that.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement you guys have given me.

Sporadic Update

There have been so many things I wanted to blog about, but life without an always-on Internet (or simply one that works at home) has made me lose to many thoughts that would otherwise have intrigued you to no end. I’m currently sitting at a cafe that has its own Internet terminals. I’ve never liked coffee, prefering tea anyday, and the caffeine’s giving me delusions that my lack of updates here have changed the blogging world in some way, or affected your reading / surfing pleasure to a great degree. Of course it takes my healing factor a while to kick in and realise that the world goes on with or without me, despite my great need to hammer away at a keyboard into the vast vacumn of cyberspace for a good half-hour a day.

I’m still in the process of looking for a job, though listening to news on the streets leaves me in a state of dismay sometimes. Things don’t look good at all here, and I have friends that have remained unemployed for the better part of a year. With a wedding, a new house and renovations to look forward to, I realise that the girl I’m marrying has staked her entire life’s fortune on my ability to find work in the near future. So if you’re wondering how I’m pulling all this off, here’s the lowdown: I’m living off my fiancé. She’s pretty much blowing her entire savings on the wedding, the downpayment on the house and the renovations (if we’ve anything left). My parents are helping out wherever they can, but they’ve two more daughters still in school.

I’m not proud of being a sponge. (I can hear Faith insisting loudly that I’m not). If things went the way I wanted, I’d have the high-paying job and would be footing the bills all out of my own pocket. Like any ego-laden guy, I’d want nothing more than to take care of my lady. But life is never what we plan or what we expect. It’s not easy to hear the side-comments of “he doesn’t have any money” or “she’s paying for it all”, but circumstances are such that these are things I’ll just have to let bounce off a thickened skin.

No, she’s not pregnant. Truth be told, we’ve never even engaged in pregnancy-inducing activities. That’s for after marriage, and I want to tell my children the same. We’re getting married so “soon” because we’re not young anymore and we want a little together-time before having children.

I’ll admit that marriage is a little scary. Since I turned eleven and fell head-over-heels for her, I’ve had the path mentally mapped out. But the end of the path has always been marriage. Now with so many things like job-searching, money-making etc. thrown in, the future seems so blurred compared the clarity and resolve I had bringing this marriage to fruition. What is ahead lies in a shroud, and it has made us both more dependent on God for direction.

Right now I’m looking for a cellphone because my dad uses the home phone for his home-business. If my potential employers do decide to contact me, the home phone is probably the most impregnable route of communication. I only hope my small savings hold out till I find a job.

What kind of job? I hope to do some writing and web-design. Though I’m perfectly at home doing SQL and database stuff, it is not where I see myself spending my days and nights. So if you’re a journalist who knows of a job opening at a newspaper for a writer or a web-designer (I’d even do maintenance), email me.

If you’ve been reading me you know what I’m about. If you have a shoe that fits, throw it this way.

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