Monday, June 27, 2005

Blazing Over

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I shot this on one of the mornings during the IBLP Basic Life Principles Seminar at the First Baptist Church, Petaling Jaya, earlier this month.

The sun was rising over the Chetawan Siamese Buddhist Temple next to the church, and the leaves formed a perfect canopy-frame to the picture.

Reminds me of those very monastic scenes of tranquility, if not for those high-rise apartments/buildings in the background...

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I had a rather peculiar experience last night.

Somehow a lot of me was stripped in conversation with a friend, and I was left to stand, naked in personality, in a void, a silence between the two of us.

But it was also a feeling of relief and freedom; getting there was very difficult, but once a person gets past the point of no return, the only way is forward.

This friend asked a probing question, and as I had pledged honesty, many secrets came out.

I am reminded of the classic dcTalk song 'In the Light,' from which I now quote the bridge and chorus:

Honesty becomes me
(There's nothing left to lose)
The secrets that did run me
(In Your Presence are defused)
Pride has no position
(And riches have no worth)
The fame that once did cover me
(Has been sentenced to this earth)
Has been sentenced to this earth

I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I wanna shine like the stars in the Heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my Salvation
'Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light

Honesty has indeed become me, and now two friends know. Only two; it used to be one. How the journey glimmers with hope afresh when you do not travel alone.

Thank you, my friend. You know who you are.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Golden Anniversary
Originally uploaded by mincaye.

My grandparents celebrated their Golden Anniversary last Saturday; yup, it's FIFTY years already!

We had one of those big Chinese dinners at the Li Yen restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton; some relatives were invited, including some of my mother's cousins and my grandfather's sole remaining sibling, a sister.

Group photo, L-R: Dad, me, Mum and Sara (my sister), Grandma, Grandpa, Kevin (brother), my uncle who lives in Singapore, and his daughter, Michelle.

The inset above is a picture of the yang chin player. Reminded me of that guitarist, about whom I composed a poem not too long ago (you can read it here). Both play in the background, though of course this guy gets a much more handsome pay than our street friend.

Interestingly, he hardly played Chinese music, if at all; instead, he mostly delivered renditions of familiar 'Western' tunes like Greensleeves and Clayderman's Triste Coeur.

Somewhere during the dinner, I thought of sharing a bit of Eliot's East Coker; I thought some poetry would suit the occasion. However, everyone looked so tired and full after the dinner, that I eventually decided not to waste the poem on distracted ears.

So here it is, anyway, an excerpt from the very last stave:

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A change of hands

Originally uploaded by mincaye.

This photo was taken at Shrooms Fusion Restaurant, KLCC (it's listed as one of Malaysia's Best Restaurants, and I cannot disagree!).

It was a special Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) Subscribers' reception/dinner cum meet the new Principal Conductor session.

Matthias Bamert, the new Swiss conductor, takes over from the orchestra's founding Dutch conductor, Kees Bakels, beginning this August with the 05/06 season.

It was a very intimate event; only about 40 subscribers were present, so Mr Bamert could go from table to table and chat with all of us. Conversations, in the deeper sense, are really nice ;-)

Seated, clockwise from the left, are: Poh Kim's mum, Poh Kim (MPO violinist), Colette, Rose (both enthusiasts since the very first season and music teachers), Matthias Bamert, Mum, me, and Daniel, a chartered marketer.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Originally uploaded by mincaye.

A little random piece. I'd intended to write something in prose, but one or two words sounded poetic, so I changed my approach.

This isn't poetry. It's just words strung around, non-prose. My feelings. Exactly as I felt when composing my latest TM Squared entry here.

City of Darkness

Sin, I was enjoying every bit of you,
Every morsel of pleasure and depravity
Deprived of the goodness of God,
Warped and twisted in the dance of evil,
When the call came.

The call
From a friend, whom I did not expect.
Round and round out of the abyss
Was I pulled, reeling from the shock,
Resting in the sanity that had spread
Its wings on me.

I'd turned from the dark side
Too many times already;
He knows me, and yet he calls me
His son.

The sunrise that draws the sinner
Is brighter and warmer than when it
Falls on the good.
It is also scorching, and painful.

Waves that fall do not refresh
That which is evil. No, mine is a baptism
Of fire, in which the water stinging
Will no longer sting.

As I draw nearer to the water's edge,
Preparing for the plunge,
I feel the might of sand bid me to stay;
But I am not he whose feet are covered
In the white powder of earth.

I am the kite, unfettered
Free to fly, to go where the wind may lead.
At times I tie myself to security
But the rope merely snaps, a loose cord it is.

Bono says,
Who's to know what it is will break you?
I know
It is God, the judge who will burn me
Who will send me into hell
And redeem whatever is left.

And the flame and the wind
And the kite and the bird
And the soul and the saviour
Are one.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by mincaye.

This is what my chickenpox-stricken body looks like.

I thought I'd take some photos as a memento by which to remember the occasion ;-)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dear Victoria

Originally uploaded by mincaye.

What has become of us?

[Star, Saturday 18 June 2005]

Form Three boy bashed up for being rude to seniors


KUALA LUMPUR: The bullying scourge has now hit one of the country’s premier schools – Victoria Institution here.

Six students from the school were questioned by Dang Wangi police yesterday over the assault of a Form Three boy.

Two 17-year-old Form Five students had attacked him in school about 10.30am on Thursday, leaving him bruised in the face and injured in the chest and stomach.

Dang Wangi Deputy OCPD Supt Mohd Rodzi Ismail said the 15-year-old boy was beaten up because of a “misunderstanding” between him and the two senior students.

“The two seniors were accompanying a sick schoolmate to the Red Crescent Room when they saw the boy jump queue.

“The seniors questioned the boy on his manners but he was rude to them, saying that it was none of their business, and ended up getting slapped by the seniors,” said Supt Mohd Rodzi.

He said the two seniors then pushed the boy into an empty classroom, where they repeatedly punched him.

“We have recorded statements from the victim, his alleged attackers as well as four witnesses,” Supt Mohd Rodzi said, adding that police have not made any arrest.

A source close to the boy’s family said the slim boy was merely 1.4m tall.

“Both the seniors are taller than the boy, and one of them was plump,” he said.

The source claimed that it was not the first incident of assault in VI, and that there were gangs in the school who used violence to force respect from junior pupils.

According to the source’s version of the incident, the Form Three boy was hauled up by a prefect on Wednesday for talking while queueing up to return to his classroom. He was told to report for detention class next Tuesday.

“But during break time on Thursday, a group of boys dragged him to an empty classroom.

“Two guarded the corridor, one stood at the door, and in the classroom one held his head while two others beat him up.

“The attack lasted about 30 minutes and after that the victim returned to his classroom without having his meal.

“The boy later related the incident to the prefect who had sent him for detention, and also identified the seniors who had ganged up on him,” he said.

However, police denied a prefect was involved and there was no mention that the victim had been sent for detention.

VI was established in 1893 after British administrators realised that the Federated Malay States government needed a good English school.

Local community leaders Kapitan China of Kuala Lumpur Yap Kwan Seng, Loke Yew and K. Tamboosamy Pillai supported the idea.

Among famous personalities who were schooled in VI are the Sultan of Brunei, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, YTL managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and former national badminton stars Misbun Sidek and brothers Razif and Jailani.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim said he had not received any report on the incident.

He expressed shock that such an incident could have taken place in a premier school.

The VI incident is the latest in a spate of reported assaults in schools.

A 13-year-old student of SM Agama Al-Maidah Addiniyyah in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, was assaulted by several students at the school hostel in April and last month.

Mohd Afiq Qusyairi Baharuddin is now warded at KL Hospital with spinal injuries.

In Seremban, eight students of SM Agama Dato’ Klana Petra Ma’amor were charged with killing Muhammad Farid Ibrahim, 16, in the boys’ hostel on March 28 last year.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

On Critical Realism...

On Tuesday, I was approached by Low Jun Fay (now School Vice-Captain, a year my senior), whom I've known since I was in the first form; he asked if I could write a science article for The Victorian (school magazine of the Victoria Institution). I obliged, and asked him about the deadline. He said, as soon as possible, and we agreed on next week.

Being somewhat grounded due to my chickenpox, I have been mulling the assignment over, and decided to do something original and unusual, rather than cover familiar territory, or worse, rip an article off the net.

A comment on critical realism immediately suggested itself, what with the recent spate of McLaren indoctrination via his book on hell, The Last Word and the Word After That. I thought of buying a book on the subject to get a better handle and some quotes, so I searched via Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the books listed there aren't stocked in Kinokuniya, MPH or Borders (a rare thing indeed), and to order via Amazon would take too long and cost too much.

Following a link on that site, I was led to the website for the Journal of Critical Realism, from which I can download free articles, including a number by Roy Bhaskar and Margaret Archer, some of its main proponents. I've printed out quite a number so far, which I shall scan for useful ideas to incorporate and develop in my 'paper.'

From a rough glance at those articles, I notice that this school of thought is very closely linked to ethics, Calvinist nonfoundationalism and absolute morality, representing a reaction against nihilistic postmodernism and empirical foundationalist science/theology alike. Two works that immediately came to mind in relation to this were C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man (addressing absolute virtue and values in society) and Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy (righteousness and morality in contemporary society).

It appears I shall be including them all in what I will consider, if successful, the literary magnum opus of my school days so far. These few days in quarantine at home I shall spend doing some 'research,' appropriating relevant portions and organising my thoughts in some sort of structure, before finally writing the article.

Off-hand, I will probably centre my article on the following:

- a case for nonfoundationalist science
- ethics, absolute values and what it means to be good
- transcendence and the logic of the supernatural

Admittedly, I'm not really sure I understand the third point, but I think it serves as a link between the first two: generally, nonfoundationalism paves the way for a more humble approach to the quest for knowledge, and reminds us that we don't know everything. This leads to the possibility -- or rather, the necessity -- of the supernatural. In turn, the presence of this transcendent force subjects us to a higher code of conduct on ethical and moral grounds.

Just some rough sketches and ideas. I don't know if the final product will live up to these ambitions. But I do know I will learn a lot along the way, and I hope to share some of this with the many readers of the magazine.

By the way, Mum said she also had German measles as a child, and how it reached a point in which she could hardly see, but could still feel and hear, her nanny. As I think of the suffering she must've gone through (Mum also had pneumonia sometime in the 90s), this chickenpox suddenly fades into insignificance. I thank God for her; much wisdom has the Father imparted through my mother, and much more love.

I just pray I will be a son who will be a living testimony to all she stands for, and the fulfilment of her dreams.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I, Mentor

I did that test on the BBC website once again, and this is how I fared:

(You can compare the results this time around with my first attempt, here)

Your answers suggest you are a Mentor

The four aspects that make up this personality type are:

Planner vs Spontaneous [I fluctuate here]
Ideas vs Facts [Especially after nonfoundationalist indoctrination]
Heart vs Head [The answer i keep getting, much to Tee Ming's bewilderment]
Extrovert vs Introvert [Very noisy and chatty, though not too social]

Summary of Mentors

Warm and lively people who focus on the needs of others
Bring people together and encourage group participation
Think of themselves as intelligent, outgoing and sensitive
May become overbearing in their quest for harmony

More about Mentors

Articulate, lively and enthusiastic, Mentors spend time and energy fostering relationships and encouraging personal growth in others. They are extremely sensitive to people's needs and play a central role in families and social groups.

Mentors have changed jobs least since leaving full-time education, according to a UK survey.

Mentors love to bring people together in harmony and enjoy busy, active lives. However, their warm nature may mean they have trouble making tough decisions that affect others negatively.

In situations where they can't use their talents or are unappreciated, Mentors may focus too much on the needs of others. Under extreme stress, Mentors may be troubled by unusually critical thoughts about themselves and others.

Mentors readily see the best traits in others, but may have trouble recognizing personality faults.

Mentor Careers

Mentors are often drawn to jobs where they can help people develop their potential.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Was great meeting up with Sivin this afternoon at KLCC. Sadly, didn't take any pictures even though I had my digicam with me :-(

We talked over various matters, including spiritual practice, the d'Nous Academy (d'NA), emergent (how can this topic not surface?) and d'NA prayer partnerships.

I don't have the time now, so I'll probably blog about it some other day.

Oh, and I may be down with chickenpox. Really not sure, but I have my suspicions.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Farewell to Shadowlands

montage sam
Originally uploaded by mincaye.

C.S. Lewis ends his masterpiece The Chronicles of Narnia with these words:

All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Yesterday, when I received the news from Nigel that Aunty Irene, Sam's Mum, bade farewell to Shadowlands, it came as a shock. OK, I don't get shocks; it was more of an unexpected twist, for though I knew she was ill, I had no idea it was cancer, and that she had fought so long (10 years!).

Immediately, messages were sent out to all the d'NAers via Circles and the Yahoo!Groups, and some also through SMS. Most received the news and responded either by SMS-ing or calling. Some of us, who lived nearby, went for the Wake at his house in Putrajaya.

Bottom Photo, L-R: Aaron (one of Sam's closest friends), Sam, Nigel, Tee Ming, Audrey, Ben, Yen and Alissa.

Inset: Izrin and Sam. Only last night did I find out that Izrin's bizarre name is the fusion of his parents' names, Issac and Irene.

Top Photo: Interior of St Paul's Anglican Church in Petaling Jaya, where the funeral service was held. The congregation sits facing east; incidentally, that is the direction from which Aslan (C.S. Lewis' Christ figure in Narnia) comes.

Audrey, Nigel and I were present at the funeral. Sivin wanted to come, but a break-in at his father-in-law's abruptly saw that plan off.

On the way back home, I received an SMS from Sam that reads as follows (rendered verbatim):

"Thanks alot ben. This means alot 2 me. I'm greatful 4 friends like you & the other DNA'ers."

Perhaps it was all we could offer, in silence, solidarity and prayer, to be one in God's Spirit, literally. And maybe for now, that is enough.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

On a different note, I am feeling very depressed and maybe even tormented lately. Having diarrhoea over the past few days didn't really help (though perhaps it did, in ways I do not yet understand).

Am looking forward with all my heart, to meeting Sivin tomorrow for lunch. There is much to be shared, much counsel to be sought.

Theological worldview... again

On the whole, I believe I'm far more interested in traditional spirituality than anything the last few centuries have cooked up; emergent aside, I may actually be a very devout Roman Catholic.

I took the test again, swinging my answers to what I feel sometimes, and scored as follows:

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Reformed Evangelical






What's your theological worldview?
created with

But that's not all. I took it yet again, this time being more conservative than my blatant Roman Catholic approach, and...

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Roman Catholic


Neo orthodox




Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My theological worldview, or something like it...

Saw this on Sivin's blog, and I took the quiz. So here are my results!

On the whole I am happy with the result, mainly that Roman Catholic and Neo Orthodox had high scores. (However, if you've read Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian trilogy, you'd realise that 'Neo' and 'Orthodox' have little in common, heheheh). Besides, I never considered myself remotely liberal.

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.



Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with

And here's Sivin's results:



Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical






What's your theological worldview?
created with


Will be travelling to Putrajaya after my engagement with Mensa later. Sam's mother just passed away this morning, and the Wake is at 8:00 p.m.

Funeral service at St Paul's Church in PJ, 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday).

See you around.

I, Innovator

Did this quiz on personality type, thanks to Tien. One of the best quizzes I've done; it seems quite well-researched. Do take the test; click here.

Your answers suggest you are an Innovator

The four aspects that make up this personality type are:

Spontaneous vs Planned-out
Ideas vs Facts
Heart vs Head
Extrovert vs Introvert

Summary of Innovators

Energetic and creative taking inspiration from everyone they meet
Enjoy flexible work environments with few rules and many opportunities for fun
Think of themselves as imaginative, sociable and sympathetic
May not think logically about their ideas

More about Innovators

Innovators are fun-loving, creative, sensitive people who enjoy developing their ideas by discussing them with others. This group supports the people around them and expects the same in return. Others are drawn to Innovators because of their love of life, caring nature and openness.

Innovators are most likely to say they do their best work when they start at the last minute, according to a UK survey.

Innovators are good at spotting opportunities and recognizing potential in people. Innovators put all their energy into new projects and their enthusiasm motivates others to support their plans.

In situations where they can’t use their talents or are unappreciated, Innovators may become rebellious and unfocused. Under extreme stress, Innovators may become preoccupied with meaningless details.

Innovators may over-extend themselves or put a night out with friends ahead of more pressing commitments.

Innovator Careers

Innovators are drawn to careers that require teaching or counselling, where they can work with and help encourage the development of others.

I'm Twenty-One!

I did this quiz thanks to Emily. Can't really disagree with the description ;-)

(But I'm NOT changing the name of my blog!)

You Are 21 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Wish list revised

Thanks Sivin and Tien for the feedback. I have revised the wish list, now listing books according to reading priority.

(Actually, this is more for my sake than that of my readers, so do pardon if it sounds to inwardly-focussed).

The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard (I have yet to finish this!)

The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis (MPH/Borders)
Jesus Asked - Conrad Gempf (Glad Sounds)
The Way of the Heart - Henri Nouwen (St Paul's)
Hearing God - Dallas Willard (SUFES)
Spirit of the Disciplines [and Celebration of Discipline] - Dallas Willard (SUFES)
Mealtimes with the Messiah - Conrad Gempf (Glad Sounds/SUFES)
Spiritual Leadership - J. Oswald Sanders (no idea where to get)
The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri (Kinokuniya)
Behold the Beauty of the Lord - Henri Nouwen (St Paul's)
Reading the Bible for the Love of God - Alan Reynolds (Glad Sounds)
The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman (Glad Sounds)

Wow... some 13 books! I wonder if I'll be able to pool together enough cash :-(

Friday, June 10, 2005

Something like a wish list

The following is a list of books I've shortlisted for reading this year. I certainly won't be able to finish some of them within the next few months, but I intend to explore all sooner or later.

For some of them, I've indicated the price and where I plan to buy. If anyone reading this knows of cheaper sources, I would be grateful if you could drop a comment to this entry.


p.s. I've also marked with an asterisk, books I'm extremely keen on reading.

Gary Chapman
The Five Love Languages [Glad Sounds]

Alan Reynolds
Reading the Bible for the Love of God [Glad Sounds]

Dallas Willard
Spirit of the Disciplines [Borders]
*Hearing God [Borders]

J. Oswald Sanders
Spiritual Guidance (d'NA assignment)

C.S. Lewis
*The Four Loves (RM 40) [MPH/Borders]

Conrad Gempf
*Jesus Asked (RM 30+) [Glad Sounds]

Henri Nouwen
*The Way of the Heart (RM 40) [Kinokuniya]
*Behold the Beauty of the Lord (RM 50) [Kinokuniya]

Dante Alighieri
The Divine Comedy (RM 71) [Kinokuniya]

Spirit Fruit

Originally uploaded by mincaye.

Whenever I think of Pierre-Joseph Redoute's painting Plums, I am reminded of true life, the kind of life that is abundant with the fruit of the Spirit.

Some days ago, it occured to me that this fruit is actually paradoxical in many ways, stubbornly standing out in a world that has no place for such fruit.

Love is not the absence of hate, but its presence in hate.

Joy is not the absence of grief, but the life that presses on in adversity.

Peace is not the absence of strife, but tranquility in its midst.

Patience is not the absence of restlessness, but a silence that transcends it.

Kindness is not the absence of cruelty, but a stubborn desire to overcome it.

Goodness is not the absence of evil, but a force that destroys it in a living being (something I remember from Yancey's Disappointment with God).

Faithfulness is not the absence of betrayal, but a loyalty that forgives even that.

Gentleness is not the absence of thunder, but a thunder that bides its time in love (from Max Lucado).

Self-control is not ascetism, but the confrontation of our worst fears in God's Spirit and the support of friends (thanks Soo Tian).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Matters of the Kingdom

Originally uploaded by mincaye.

Lately I've had many spurts of ideas, but never got down to actually writing any of them. So here are some thoughts I had after watching Kingdom of Heaven and Star Wars Episode III.

I've always found the economy of heaven to be a strange thing. Life doesn't balance out; rather than 'an eye for an eye,' it's your right cheek after your left. The rich are poor and vice versa. To him who has, more will be given, instead of equal distribution.

What would happen if Jesus taught economics at a university?

Something I read in a book (or was it an article somewhere) remains etched in my memory: in Star Wars, the aliens fill the background almost naturally.

These very aliens would have taken centrestage in a lesser film, but George Lucas created a world in which the aliens were the context, rather than the spotlight focus.

Now if only living God's righteousness, doing good and truly making the kingdom a reality, were the default modus operandi of Christians.

We speak highly of so-called 'heroes of the faith' like Mother Teresa; and yet, the sacrifice of such people should be the sacrifice of all, rather than a spectacular rarity.

Leon Bloy once wrote, "Any Christian who is not a hero is a pig."

Sunday, June 05, 2005


montage friends
Originally uploaded by mincaye.

Sometime ago, Michael W. Smith wrote a song entitled 'Friends' with his wife Deborah. It became one of the all-time greatest hits of Contemporary Christian Music.


Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes he’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
’cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
’cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
’cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

As I reflect on these words, I realise that truly, it is because of friends that I am still a Christian.

No amount of scientific proof, well-argued philosophy, historical evidence and personal testimony, can convey the Spirit of God in a 'more real' manner than the intimate relationship and experience of friendship -- true, godly friendship.

As the apostle John put it:

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

The large photo was a group shot taken after the Planet Shakers' 'Nights of Fire' concert in Kluang on Wednesday night, in which we d'NAers pointed in random directions. I must say, it turned out well!

And the one above, is that of me and my comrade in the Message and the Fight, Soo Tian. We will be resuming the TM Squared project within a week (the link is on the sidebar on the right, under the heading 'Hives'). So do look out for updates!

Within nine hours, I will be on my way to Tioman Island with my family. Returning on Wednesday morning. So until then, fare thee well!

Good night.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Originally uploaded by mincaye.

Playing a game of Scrabble with Kuhan (the second best Scrabbler of the Victoria Institution) during the Inter-School National Scrabble Tournament last weekend at Berjaya Times Square.

We'd watched Star Wars, and decided to match wits with each other behind the main arena where countless minds were cracking themselves many times over, staring at little green boards and beige tiles.

Anyway, I will be leaving for Kluang in a few hours' time, joining the d'NAers there, who already have a 24-hour head-start ahead of me (I stayed back to attend a session of the Basic Life Principles Seminar currently going on at the First Baptist Church, PJ).

In the photo, you will notice that size-wise, Ben vs. Kuhan is like Ben (Kenobi) vs. Yoda. Indeed I consider Kuhan my greatest mentor in the game, most probably because of the many hours we'd spent playing together last year.

And within 12 hours, I will be reunited with another 12 great people who represent a community I am honoured and humbled to be a part of. Collectively, they are the greatest mentors I have come to know.

All jedi knights have masters. Wise would they be to always be mindful of that.

Up Close and Personal

montage close-ups
Originally uploaded by mincaye.

Some of the most successful invertebrate shots in my collection.


The common beetle (still haven't identified species) at the Pinggiran Pelangi Camp, resting on Heikal Pinto's hand, with his face in the background.

His glasses simply enhance the 'blurred' background, contrasting the sharp foreground which is accented by the beetle's shiny body.


Dad took this shot. I found this rather large crab along the beach in Kuantan. Probably a male, as its pincers are of unequal size (usually one is larger to attract females).

Picking it up was easy and fun; after the experience with the spiky-legged beetles at camp, I learned that the best way to pick up an arthropod is by gripping the sides of its body. However, I wouldn't dare try this method on a scorpion!