Monday, October 31, 2005


These are people who are often hard to live with, for various reasons. Everyone's experience is different, as Leo Tolstoy writes in the first sentence of his book, 'Anna Karenina':

"Every happy family is alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

But I am inclined to believe that it is for this very reason that God puts us with (or even pits us against) our parents. If the obstacles to building strong relationships with our parents can be overcome, I doubt there are many higher hurdles awaiting us out there.

Dealing with parents is an exercise in learning patience, wisdom, love, forgiveness and grace, among other defining values of character. Sometimes it's like the U2 song 'With or Without You':

With or without you, with or without you
I can't live with or without you

(OK, I admit. The lyrics don't mean much. But the music is simply soaring. Do listen to it if you get the chance).

I realise that my parents are neither unreasonable nor ignorant, that they simply want the best for me. But sometimes this has the effect of the man who wanted to save the fish from drowning. The story goes, that he saw fish swimming in the sea. So he had pity on them, and pulled them onto the land to save them from drowning. Needless to say, they all died.

However, the parallel ends there. The man's intentions were good, but his understanding was seriously flawed. The difference is this: my parents intentions are good, and their understanding often beyond my comprehension. I am a fish, but not merely that; I am a fish destined one day to be a land animal.

It is as C.S. Lewis wrote in his 'Reflections on the Psalms.' He commented on how we find time so alien an entity (hence exclamations like "How time flies!" and "My, how you've grown!"), and goes on to say:

"It is as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal."

The argument that 'my parents are from another generation/era/epoch/universe' holds about as much water as a sieve. Rather, I am inclined to think that my parents look at me from 'the other side' -- they've been where I am (exact circumstances make no difference), and they want me to go further than they did. They are not detracting me from my path, but are helping me make the most of it.

Recently, I have learned that age and experience do bring with them certain depths of wisdom that cannot come with any amount of study and training. For instance, I know that it is common for most teenagers to consider as spiritually mature, those of their peers who seem to be 'deep,' i.e. saturated with much theological and Biblical knowledge. I was one of these, what with my relatively extensive reading.

But now I know that maturity goes beyond that, and it takes many failures and emotional blows to build character -- something that only comes with life, and life alone.

I suppose it's like Big Fish (the book and the movie), in which the son could never quite understand why his father never told him the 'truth' about his life, but resorted instead to legendary tales of marvellous deeds and experiences. But in the end, the son himself slowly assumes the role of storyteller, and the cycle begins again. Or so it seems.

What really happens, I think, is that the father's story becomes one with the son, and the legacy that's left behind is not so much the father's great feats and great failings, but the father himself.

And so, I will press on, and seek to love my parents more, knowing that one day I'll expect the same of my children.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dear Ming

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I don't really have the space to say what I want to say, so I'll let the following lyrics from the Pocahontas song 'If I Never Knew You' speak for me.

These words are not my own, but they serve to give voice to that which my heart wishes to say. May you find encouragement in them.

If I never knew you
If I never felt this love
I would have no inkling of
How precious life can be

And if I never held you
I would never have a clue
How at last I'd find in you
The missing part of me

In this world so full of fear
Full of rage and lies
I can see the truth so clear
In your eyes
So dry your eyes

And I'm so grateful to you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Lost forever
If I never knew you

If I never knew you
I'd be safe but half as real
Never knowing I could feel
A love so strong and true

I'm so grateful to you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Lost forever
If I never knew you

There's no moment I regret
Since the moment that we met
If our time has gone too fast
I've lived at last...

And If I never knew you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Empty as the sky
Never knowing why
Lost forever
If I never knew you

Abundant Life

concert, originally uploaded by mincaye.

Paradise Live was very much like the Planet Shakers' Nights of Fire concert in Kluang during the d'NA reunion there in early June, except this group was from the Paradise Community Church in (if I remember correctly) Adelaide, led by Pastor Matt Heins and Guy Sebastian.

What a pleasant surprise it was to bump into Sam there! And after the concert, another pleasant surprise to bump into Pei Wern and Pei Yi ;-)

I decided to experiment a little with this montage. Being a vertical succession of photos, I thought of doing a film-strip design, as you can see.

What I like most about it, is that it seems to capture the spirit of the moment better than other forms of montage, which serve to give an overall frozen picture.

(Should I experiment with my hair as well, maybe something like Pei Yi's orange streaks?)


lunch & renovare
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
It was quite an eventful day. Met Joshua for the 9 o'clock service (the uber-traditional one) at St Paul's Anglican Church, PJ. It was a good experience, and it also it reminded the first time I stepped into the sanctuary at St Paul's, for Aunty Irene's (Sam's Mum) funeral.

Matt SMS-ed me just as service ended, saying he would be at MPH Mid Valley until 1:45 p.m. I took the opportunity to meet him and his friends Rachel and Shim Ron for lunch at Delifrance (arriving via bus from the Bangsar LRT station).

After that, they left with their teacher for Pygmalion at the KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC), while I hopped on the Komuter to Seputeh to meet Sivin. He picked me up on the way back from the Bangsar Shopping Centre.

It was an afternoon well spent, talking about our various friends and recent developments in circles like d'NA and Emergent among others. Sivin also passed me the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible which I ordered some time ago via David Berry. RM 130, but I believe it's a good investment.

At about half-past four, Dad came to pick me up for the Paradise Live concert at church. But that's a story for my next entry.

After Sunset Mass

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Esther, Shen and her brother Sean (or is it Shawn/Shaun?) met up with me for Sunset Mass at St Francis Xavier, PJ (Denise's church) yesterday. It was for exposure to the more traditional forms of church, considering the fact that all of us come from Pentecostal backgrounds.

After Mass, we had dinner at the Ipoh Chicken Rice shop down the road. Esther shocked us all by downing about six saucers of chilli sauce (see bottom right pic).

It happens that Sean and I wore the same colours (bottom left), heheh...

Anyway, I finally know where Esther lives -- just down the road perpendicular to mine, in the same mini-taman. The world is indeed a small place.

Oh, and Esther had a rather bizarre encounter with accidental generosity at Mass. If you happen to speak to her, don't forget to bring this up ;-)


God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

Psalm 51 (vv. 1-10)

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

"Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, oh cleanse me from my sin"

--(from Psalm 51, performed by Jars of Clay)

Kyrie Eleison. Lord have mercy.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More Quizzes!

Thanks to Yen, who got me started on the Scary Quiz. The rest were from continued and sustained exploration, heh ;-)

You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

You Are a Martini

There's no other way to say it: you're a total lush.
You hold your liquor well, and you hold a lot of it!

You're a Shy Kisser

You *do* love to kiss, once your comfortable with it
And that means knowing the person you're kissing pretty well
You usually don't make the first move when it comes to making out
But you've got plenty of intensity in return

p.s. I based my answers for the Kissing Quiz on the only time I ever kissed someone on the mouth... *ahem*

Where there is love...

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
A few days ago, I bought The Mask of Zorro VCD, partly to see Anthony Hopkins behind the fox's mask (yes, 'zorro' is fox in Spanish), partly because the theme song came to my mind also a few days ago, and partly spurred by the recent release of the sequel, The Legend of Zorro.

Great movie; just as I remember watching it in Leisure Mall back in 1998. It was, in fact, the movie which proved to me that time can stand still in a cinema hall:

Back then, I would normally 'knock-out' automatically at 10-something; this movie lasted until midnight or so, and I hardly felt drowsy.

(However, time does not freeze in a concert hall, and I frequently find myself balancing precariously on the border of dreamland if I miss my pre-concert afternoon nap).

The theme song was written by James Horner and Will Jennings, and performed by by Marc Anthony and Tina Arena. It has one of the most beautiful bridge sequences I've ever heard in a song.

I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You

Moon so bright, night so fine,
Keep your heart here with mine
Life's a dream we are dreaming

Race the moon, catch the wind,
Ride the night to the end,
Seize the day, stand up for the light

I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do

Heroes rise, heroes fall,
Rise again, win it all,
In your heart, can't you feel the glory?

Through our joy, through our pain,
We can move worlds again
Take my hand, dance the dance with me

I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do
I will want nothing else to see me through
If I can spend my lifetime loving you

Though we know we will never come again
Where there is love, life begins
Over and over again

Save the night, save the day,
Save the love, come what may,
Love is worth everything we pay


L6BF and friends
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
In front of tables: Li-Shia and me

Beside tables: Kian Ti and Chun Hong

Behind tables, 1st row, L-R: Li Ling, Ching Yeng, Jinq Sien, Tsu Wern, Rebecca

2nd row, L-R: Wai Yin, Li Fah, Fiona, Raveena, Eileen, Len Yi, Yin Ching, Melody, Wan Ching, Kah Loong

3rd row, L-R: Phak Hoe, Jian Ting, Soo Ee, Yen Ching, Chooi Ling, Wai Loon, Vincent, Denise, Suzanne

Flanking us are Ms Jeyaselvi and Ms Jaya Karuppiah.

It was the last day of school yesterday, and Ching Yeng organised a potluck-style party cum birthday celebration for Jinq Sien (12 Oct) and Tsu Wern (28 Oct). Imagine our surprise when Ms Jaya told us her birthday was on the 24th!

Pn Hasnani was absent (giving birth very soon) and Mr Zainudin Dogi is fasting. Mr Kali had a meeting to attend, while Mr Leong was (if I'm not mistaken) out of the state also for some sort of meeting. (This was rather remarkable, as Mr Leong is virtually never absent from school).

It was really fun, and I think some of the highlights of the day were Phak Hoe's mother's lamb chops (cooked with red wine), which were reheated rather dramatically using an electric teppanyaki-style pan/grill...

...and the crazy Spicy Sushi game we played, in which the losers each round have to choose a piece of sushi at random and eat it, hoping it's not coated (on the underside) with wasabi!

When I woke up about 3 a.m. just now, it occurred to me that my Form Six class is probably the fourth closest group of friends I have, after the d'NAers, the V.I. Christian Union and my Standard Six class.

There is an air of togetherness and integration in L6BF -- even our desks are arranged in the form of a connected, somewhat circular, nucleus in the centre of the class, something I've never seen anywhere else before.

Actually, the idea for this arrangement was partly Mr Kali's, who wanted us seated in the manner of a university lecture hall (for that matter, everything about Mr Kali seems somehow connected with varsity).

Here's to Lower Six BF 2005, and soon-to-be Upper Six BF 2006!

Jino's Apple

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
'Apple' is the nickname Suzanne bestowed upon Jinq Sien (pic). Long story, but this is generally how it goes...

Some time back, I was talking to Jinq Sien (a.k.a. Jino) about putting some plants in the VEB room. Then the idea of a fruit basket came up; he suggested apples, to remove unpleasant odours (though I don't know if they really do).

Later that same day, Suzanne, Denise, Jino and I were in the room, and I brought up the subject of plants. It happens we were then discussing trees, and I mentioned (out of nowhere) "Jino suggested apples."

(Warning: NEVER transfer statements from one context to another).

Naturally, Suzanne and Denise thought that Jino suggested planting apple trees, and they burst out laughing like there was no tomorrow.

Anyway, the nickname somewhat fits him, as he's been given to quoting short lines of proverbial philosophy lately:

"Time and tide waits for no man."

"No matter how the wind howls, the mountain will not bow to it." (quoting the Emperor in Disney's Mulan, on his MSN display)

So, proverbs like "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" blend in seamlessly.

Perveen's Axe

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
This is why piano lessons are so fun.

Top photo:

Perveen beheading Mrs Chang with her 'axe.'

Bottom photo:

Perveen massaging Mrs Chang's shoulder with her 'axe.'

I know about massage chairs, but I wonder... has the massage axe been patented yet?

Enter Santiago

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
This is Suzanne's cricket, Santiago, one of the few survivors of the dissection table. You see, we were doing some insect preservation the other day, and had leftover crickets, so Suzanne decided to keep one of them.

He neither flies nor jumps, and is quite content standing still on human hands. This photo was taken en route to Times Square.

Eventually, it fell upon me to take him home for a day as Suzanne and Denise had to lug two large bags of Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth (our MUET holiday reading assignment) which they bought for the whole class.

By the way, Santiago is a field cricket, Gryllus pennsylvanicus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My funky inner hair colour

Tien brought this What's Your Funky Inner Hair Colour quiz to my attention just now; "lolz... this reminds me of dna," said she.

For those of you who have somehow successfully evaded the d'NAers' pervasive influence so far, here's some news for you: THERE'S NO ESCAPE THIS TIME, muahahahahahaha!!!

So, without further ado, I present the famous d'NA 'Rambut Funky' song (sung to the tune of the 'doo-dah' song):

Annette ada rambut funky
Rambut funky, rambut funky
Annette ada rambut funky
Cukup bergaya

Cukup bergaya, cukup bergaya
Annette ada rambut funky
Cukup bergaya

(Annette is the General Secretary of the Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Malaysia, and was one of the officers at d'NA Stage 1 in 2003)

Two years' worth of campers at the annual School Leavers' Camp have been plagued by this incessant melody, and we're poised for a third consecutive performance this December, as the School Leavers' Camp begins a day later than d'NA, and ends a day later. Yes-sirree, that means they'll be sandwiched within d'NA, with nowhere to run or hide, not even their dorms! Hahahahahahaha!!!

Anyway, back to the quiz. Here's my results:

Your Hair Should Be Purple

Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

Monday, October 24, 2005

But for Grace...

O God, forgive me. Forgive me.

These words sound so empty, after being uttered umpteen times. Does repentance mean anything to you anymore? Does it mean anything to me?

The trouble with sin is, it encroaches upon an empty mind and heart. When I've lost all purpose to live, I turn to vice. I give myself away to passing desires and passions of the flesh.

And then... I realise they're all illusions -- empty promises of joy and fulfillment. And yet, it's not like your promises seem stronger. No, they seem even more illusory.

How can I believe in something I cannot see? But yet I do. I am waiting and hoping for those promised words, but the wait only makes me weaker. Lord, save me from this temptation. Lead me not into the test. Abba. Father.

These words (Jars of Clay's 'Worlds Apart'), echo so much of what I feel somewhere deep inside:

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remains
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
battle between grace and pride
give up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain,
wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
this sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world apart

It's so empty. What kind of grace is this, that I claim to believe, and yet betray almost every day? And what kind of grace is this, that claims "You will give up on yourself before God ever will"? Why do you still pursue?

There is so much that is selfish and weak in me, none of which I can hide. And even the souls who share my burdens cannot lift them for me. No one can redeem this sin-soaked heart but you.

O God, I make this vow. It's 11:03 p.m., Monday October 24, 2005. Just an insignificant moment in an insignificant history. But if you can, and if you will, I give my world to you. Take it apart, God. So much better broken in you than 'whole' in me.

Bring me back to this post, this entry, O Father, from time to time, should I ever reach the brink of falling. Forgive me, God (I know you will). But what good is it if I am forgiven to no end, but just 'forgiveness'? You desire goodness within; I am evil, full of sin.

You're not finished with me... but this plan of yours, it's so vague. Why not squander everything? The whole problem is that God does not give up! If only you'd stop pursuing me, I could live this selfish, self-seeking life! But you don't.

Sooner or later, I will be broken with nothing left but you. Let it be sooner. Break me, God, break me. I will await those words patiently. Bring them swiftly, O God, and help me keep this vow. For as long as it takes, as long as you will.

Make me yours. Let me never forget. (Satan, go bite the dust). Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

All you'll own...

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I was thinking of this song the other day.

Colours of the Wind

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
Now can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high does the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

The last lines especially struck a deep chord within me. Reminded me of Jesus' words, "They have their reward in full."

If we consider all things as mere commodities to be used, rather than creations to be enjoyed, then our reward is in full. We will never experience the full joy inherent in their glory.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Got this from Shih Ying's blog. I did the 'test' twice, and got the same result both times.

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

These were the questions, followed by my answers (out of a multiple choice of six answers) in the first and second cases.

Q: What's your ideal internship?
A1: Working for a cause you feel strongly about
A2: Helping a professor do research

Q: Of these, what's your best subject in school?
A1: English
A2: English

Q: When it comes to work, you'd like:
A1: To spend more time thinking than working
A2: Helping people

Q: In class, you tend to be the one who:
A1: Has a different spin on ideas
A2: Has a different spin on ideas

Q: In your opinion, college is a time to:
A1: Discover something you're really interested in
A2: Experiment and express yourself

Q: You could never study something that:
A1: Had you sitting behind a desk all day
A2: Had you sitting behind a desk all day

I suppose it's due to my rather radical nature where school and studies are concerned. Indeed, I believe I would love philosophy, but when it comes to career, English Literature is still much closer to my heart.

If I had changed my best subject to Biology (which is my second best subject; my highest marks always come from English), and kept the others fairly same (i.e. either A1 or A2 answers), it would have resulted in a 'Doctor of Medicine.' Well, well... not far off the mark indeed!

The Green Room

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
So we did the photo shoot yesterday, during Mr Leong's lesson on 'Differentiation and Graphs with Asymptotes.' And I got the chance to try out some unusual stuff, like this picture, which was taken with a bilayer of green cellophane paper placed over the camera lens.

Puan Hasnani was absent, but she insisted that we carried on with the Classification exercise in the Bio lab, which called for the observation of several types of simple plants and animals.

Jinq Sien and I had a field time collecting ants and a spider for observation under the microscope, which duly amused Suzanne, Denise, Len Yi and several other classmates who came over to see our 'findings.'

After the audition (for which I believe you can get sufficient details from Denise's and Li-Shia's blogs), I gave my two remaining Rusks (yes, the Farley's Rusks) to Li-Shia, commenting that even the Sony Cybershot is slimmer than they.

Indeed, Keeshoore can really act, albeit with lots of his signature "dey-s" and "ma'cha-s" thrown in for good measure! Li-Shia and I also realised that Jinq Sien would be good in some of the scenarios used in the audition, what with his completely nonchalant look, heheh...

Within the last two days, Denise's friend Eunice and Pak Lah's wife Endon Mahmood, returned to the earth. I knew neither.

But as far as I do know, both left indelible marks, Endon on the nation and Eunice on Sri Hartamas; Endon's legacy includes her famous book, 'The Nyonya Kebaya,' while Eunice's includes the annual school magazine.

I cannot remember where I read these words, and I'm not sure if I've even remembered them correctly, but they resonated with me yesterday: "Why does the death of a person affect me? It is because I am involved with mankind." (Could it have been T.S. Eliot? I don't know).

It's been two weddings this year; Jeen & Andrew, Ui Min & Siew Woan. And three funerals related to people I know; Aunty Irene (Sam's mum), Soo Tian's grandfather, Eunice.

They shall remain in our hearts, for they are not dead yet. Though the mortal coil shall cease, they were 'immortals' whom we truly knew (as C.S. Lewis put it), and whom we shall know again when death's shadow is quenched forever by the Eternal Son.

On another note, I was looking through a recent post on Alwyn Lau's blog, with the heading question, "If God knew Adam and Eve were going to sin, why didn't He stop them?"

I found the following 'answers' (all of which are Alwyn's predictions/guesses of what the respective persons might say, judging from their perspectives on life) very amusing and quite true to the quoted personalities indeed.

Emergent Network: That idea didn't resonate with him

Emergent Network, II: He preferred a more authentic conversational approach

[only now do I realise the extent to which emergent has influenced my vocabulary, i.e. with words like 'resonate' and 'conversational']

Kia Meng: There are problems. There are mysteries. And there is God.

[typically philosophical, but captures a sense of divine mystery and awe]

Sivin Kit: Just random thoughts here... but I think God goes for redemptive, as opposed to merely preventive, solutions.

[definitely Sivin!]

Anyway, it's nearly 5.00 a.m. now, and I'll have to get ready for school in about an hour's time. (Slept quite early last night, hence my early 'session' here).

So I guess I'll be going off now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Going Bananas

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I had some fun with the banana today; just ask Denise, Li-Shia and/or virtually anyone in my class and/or the Christian Union.

Some time ago, Joan sent me the MP3 of the Jars of Clay song, 'Worlds Apart.' She said it wasn't on any of their albums. Not too long ago, I discovered it on their double-CD compilation, Furthermore.

Indeed, it wasn't on any of the studio albums as it was a live recording. Beautiful song, and I intend to add the compilation to my collection soon, when I am able to amass the money to do so.

Here's an excerpt I really like:

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remains
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
battle between grace and pride
give up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain,
wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
this sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world apart...

This classic song by Bread came to my mind in the afternoon, while I was walking in Leisure Mall.

(For Tian and Ming, whose hearts I long to beat with).


If a picture paints a thousand words
Then why can't I paint you?
The words will never show
The you I've come to know.

If a face could launch a thousand ships
Then where am I to go?
There's no one home but you
You're all that's left me to.

And when my love for life is running dry,
You come and pour yourself on me.

If a man could be two places at one time
I'd be with you.
Tomorrow and today
Beside you all the way.

If the world should stop revolving
Spinning slowly down to die.
I'd spend the end with you
And when the world was through,

Then one by one, the stars would all go out.
Then you and I would simply fly away.

An exercise in photography

mr leong
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Mr Leong needs to prepare a report for the school on his lessons with us in the Maths Computer Lab.

The random fun photos I took over the few lessons we had there aren't sufficient, so he intends to bring us in tomorrow for a 'photo shoot.'

Of course, it will all be staged, so this is where the exciting part comes in.

I was thinking of trying some peculiar, artsy angles, though the fluorescent lighting does pose some problems (it happens to be terrible lighting, and that's why flash photography is generally avoided where possible).

Kok Kin suggested wrapping the fluorescent tube with coloured translucent paper to give the room a 'yakuza' feel. (Green paper for the alien effect, maybe?)...

It'll be an interesting exercise nonetheless; see what we can do lah, I suppose ;-)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Challenging the Wind

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I liked today's Preteena column in The Star's Comics pullout.

You can click on the image for a larger view. The words in the frames, beginning with the centre-top, are:

1. "There! Perfection!"

2. "No one rakes a yard like me! I defy anyone to improve upon it!"


4. "You win."

I think it's pretty self-explanatory, heheh.

Haven't had many thoughts to blog about lately, but here are some snippets.

Scored an A for my Biology and an A- for General Studies. I'm especially proud of the essay section in Biology and Federal Government and Constitution section in General Studies, both for which I scored full marks.

I also believe the pattern my studies after Form Six is beginning to take shape. In general, I'm still on course to become a doctor. However, Linguistics/Literature and Biology are also waiting in the wings.

The mind is not functioning at peak levels now. Will retire soon, as it is likely the wisest thing I can do now. (Thanks Max Lucado).

Good night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Die in His Hands

While going through some ancient e-mail messages in my Yahoo!Mail just now, I discovered the following poem, which I wrote early this year (4 March) but only sent to the Phases and d'NA mailing lists.

Looking back, I am rather mystified as I cannot recall the exact circumstances that led me to write what I did. Nevertheless, I rather like its raw, driving nature, and it is reproduced here complete and unabridged.

Feel free to comment; I would really appreciate it.

Die in His Hands

"You're right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature... Damn and blast you! Go on, can't you? Get it over. Do what you like... God help me. God help me."
-- C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Like a drop in the ocean
The sun in the ocean
I fall into emptiness unknown
To my senses, to my hopes
To my dreams, to my fears.

Deserving to die
Yet dreaming to live
The only hope, the dying hope
A candle snuffed in the mid of day.
Tearing myself to pieces
Thrown onto the altar
Burnt as a sacrifice
Unto whom I do not know.

My blood drips from
The little slits I carved
With my knife;
A pretty wrist no longer
But scarred for life

Stupid impulses stay longer than well thought out plans
And the mosquito more potent than the blade of grass
Each bite, each cut, deeper and deeper
Into the heart of it all, where
The charred remains of life
Lie still untouched by the morning breeze.

Not fear of the morrow, but agony of the present
And regret for the past,
Driving me to the point of no return.

I wish to die, to die, perhaps never again to rise;
I will die, but only in his hands.

In the hands of my Creator, the one who breathes life into dust
Will I die, a death of countless days,
Christ, my suicide --
Die, to die, but only in his hands.
Die, and die
And die in his hands.

Of Batman cocktails and bad days

orange juice
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
It happened that while my parents were out last night, Kevin and Sara couldn't see eye to eye, and Sara began throwing some sort of tantrum. My grandmother and I had quite a hard time restraining her.

Eventually, though, I managed to divert her attention by suggesting we make a mocktail for my grandmother. We based our conconction on the 'Batman,' adding honey and pandan syrup to the original recipe of orange juice and grenadine syrup.

I didn't taste it, but my grandmother did say it was nice.

It occured to me that even I still end up in the doldrums now and then, in an isolated world from which I stare daggers at those who dare stare at me.

And it occured to me, that to cheer me up and bring me to my senses, my friends do for me what I did for my sister: divert my attention to something that will require the complete presence of my heart, mind and body.

It's not so much that we forget our grudges and grievances; it's just that, doing stuff together even if there's no particular reason, has a way of putting things back into perspective and awakening a sense of joy and purpose once again.

Speaking of drinks, I shall never forget the symbol in which God incarnate wrapped his mission of redemption, marking its culmination in his life, and setting the stage for its journey to the ends of the earth:

"This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Classroom Chaos

BF madness
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Post-exams, the average secondary school classroom is transformed into a zoo of sorts. As you can see from the pictures above, these are evidently characters you would hope never to meet in an alley in the dead of night.

Clockwise, from centre-right:

1. Li-Shia enjoying Cadbury Black Forest chocolate.

2. Me, Tinesh and Phak Hoe forming a 'massage train.'

3. Len Yi and Melody working on a Sudoku puzzle.

4. Chun Hong and Vincent messing up Li-Shia's hair, with a blurred Jinq Sien laughing away.

5. Vincent the hairstylist and his latest creation.

Mr Leong returned our Pure Maths papers to us today. It was a rather mixed feeling, to be the third-highest scorer in the form, but with only 66% at that.

Chun Hong is highest at 78%, and Vincent second at 70%; Kian Ti came in fourth in our class with 57%.

On the whole, though, it is good to have improved on my terrible monthly test performance (50%). And maybe, just maybe, I'm actually getting somewhere with this subject in which I often see no practical application.

We'll be getting our Chemistry marks soon. I promised to treat some of my friends to dinner if I scored anything more than 70%. Believe it or not, some are already planning the outing!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

More tags!

Now to see to the end of Li-Shia's tags.

Seven things you plan to do before you die
1. Bring joy to as many people as I can
2. Sky-dive and swim with sharks, whales and giant squids
3. Learn a wind instrument
4. Write a book and get it published
5. Meet Max Lucado (I owe him whatever writing skills I have)
6. Make some sort of impact in the biological and/or literary fields
7. Embark on a globetrotting adventure with the d'NAers

Seven things you can do
1. Write
2. Play the piano
3. Debate and extemporise
4. Take photographs
5. Sleep under a blanket on a hot Malaysian afternoon
6. Talk non-stop
7. Laugh

Seven celebrity crushes
(None that can register any weight against the slightest crush I've ever had for any real girl in my life)

Seven often-repeated words
1. Indeed
2. Greetings
3. For the heck of it
4. Quite so
5. Likewise
6. Ah
7. Ladies and Gentlemen (if ever I write a book on my experience in public speaking, this will be its title)

Seven physical traits you look for in the opposite sex
1. Well-managed hair
2. A sense of humour
3. Functioning vocal chords
4. Lips that can smile
5. Body temperature about 37 degrees Celsius
6. Average height -- not too tall nor too short
7. ... I really don't know lah; physical traits are very confusing!

Seven tags go to
1. Soo Tian
2. Su Lin
3. David Tan
4. Emily Yoon
5. Joan
6. Yen Yen
7. Tee Ming (if and when you have the time for this)

Three names you go by
1. Ben
2. Benjamin
3. Ben Laden

Three screen names you've had
1. Mortalis
2. Mincaye
3. Creationist

Three physical things you like about yourself
1. My height
2. My slender fingers
3. My incredible metabolism

Three physical things you don't like about yourself
1. My extreme thin-ness
2. My pimples
3. My hair, but only when it's messy

Three parts of your heritage
1. China
2. Eden
3. Heaven

Three things that scare you
1. The extinction of insects
2. Camera running out of battery life and/or memory space
3. Isolation from friends

Three drinks (alcoholic or non)
1. Lime juice
2. All kinds of tea
3. Bandung panas/ais

Three of your everyday essentials
1. Oxygen
2. Water
3. Pen and paper

Three things you are wearing right now
1. White t-shirt
2. Green shorts
3. Potion 9 hair conditioner

Three of your favourite movies
1. Patch Adams
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
3. Star Wars (the entire saga)

Two truths and a lie
1. I enjoy biology and the life sciences
2. I enjoy literature and the fine arts
3. I abhor movies and books

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you
1. I
2. really
3. dunno...

Three careers you are considering, or have considered
1. Doctor
2. Teacher
3. Biologist

Three ways that you are stereotypically a guy
1. I like wearing my hair short
2. I don't wear women's clothes
3. I don't wear make-up

Three people you would like to see take this quiz now
1. Soo Tian
2. Su Lin
3. Yen Yen

I started typing at 3:11 p.m., and finish now at 4:44 p.m. This goes to show just how difficult it is to respond to these tags.

Friday, October 07, 2005


christian union
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
From left; Li-Shia, Jack (in red), Jon Siao, Wilson, Jon Mah, Weng Ken (behind Jon Mah), Wai Yeng, Darren and me (in front of Darren). After CU meeting today.

Happy 19th birthday, Weng Ken!

Wilson said something during worship today that remains seared in my memory; he was quoting from Luke 19:40, on how imperative it is for us to worship God.

Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"

But [Jesus] said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise."

--The Message

In context of the text, Jesus says that praise will come anyway, and the Pharisees cannot stop it. But there are also implications for us. If we who can praise, do not do so, the glory will go to even such as the rocks.

John the Baptist himself rebuked the Jews by saying that God can raise children for himself out of the rocks, and does not depend on a race of so-called 'Sons of Abraham.'

On another note, I recalled something from the Lucado reading concerning the Emmaus-bound disciples. He wrote, "When forced to choose between battling Pilate and battling Satan, [Jesus] chose the battle we couldn't win."

The disciples did not realise then, that while Jesus seemed to be losing the obvious battle, he was really winning the invisible one.

How often are we shaken when things do not go our way... and yet, perhaps all this while God is working out the plans we could never accomplish, doing things we would never dream of.

Only in retrospect, from eternity's end someday, will we finally be able to see what the Father was truly up to everytime we were left in the cold, dark shadow of disappointment.

Yesterday, while flipping through C.S. Lewis, Poems, my eyes fell upon this deceptively simple poem. It is, in fact, quite profound, and rhymes very well indeed.

What the Bird Said Early in the Year

I heard in Addison's Walk a bird sing clear
'This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

'Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.

'This year time's nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

'This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

'This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

'Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! - the gates are drawn apart.'

Sticking through it all

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I watched Flightplan with my brother, Kevin, just now.

Simple plot, but well acted out. Among the top five movies I've seen this year; Batman Begins is still unrivalled.

At first, I had intended to draw parallels between Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster's character in the movie) and God, but eventually realised that she has more in common with us than with the Father.

I shall not elaborate my thoughts in too much detail, lest I spoil the surprises awaiting those of you who intend to watch the movie, so these are some general reflections.

One thing we have in common with Kyle is a mission or task to accomplish, else some kind of goal to aim for. Along the way, there will be many detractors; voices will whisper much sense, but bad sense. They will be logical, and much of the advice will be good. But it will not be what we need.

Sometimes we will have to depend on whatever vague glimpses we have of the truth, in order to carry on and not give in. Immediate sense and experience will often dictate otherwise, but the sentiment and values that are constantly built up within us must prevail.

In all things, we must be wise to use the gifts God has given us. Kyle is an aircraft engineer, and she uses all that she knows of the very aircraft she designed, to do what she had set out for.

One of the last lines uttered in the movie, was "She never gave up." Will we, at the end of our journeys, be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have run the race, I have kept the faith"?

Here, I am reminded of Steven Curtis Chapman's song 'Burn the Ships';

In the spring of 1519
A Spanish fleet set sail
Cortez told his sailors
This mission must not fail

On the eastern shore of Mexico
They landed with great dreams
But the hardships of the new world
Made them restless and weak

Quietly they whispered
"Let's go back to the life we knew"
But the one who led them there was saying

Burn the ships
We're here to stay
There's no way we could go back
Now that we've come this far by faith
Burn the ships
We've passed the point of no return
Our life is here so let the ships burn

May our ships burn, till the one thing that remains is a flame that continues to burn for the One who brought us here. A flame that burns both night and day, like the lampstand in the tabernacle.

"As I press on to take hold of that
For which Christ Jesus took hold of me"
-- S.C. Chapman, 'Hold on to Jesus'

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Operation: Dr M

Dr M, originally uploaded by mincaye.

Exactly a week ago, Tun Dr Mahathir paid a visit to the Victoria Institution. He was invited to give a speech and officiate the 'Sudut Pidato' or Speakers' Corner in the school (which is, in fact, a raised platform at the Pavilion).

I assembled a team to cover the event, and I believe they deserve due credit for a job well done. They are:

Denise, for interviewing Dr M and contacting the press
Li-Shia, for the one-of-a-kind angles, and patience
Phak Hoe, for taking care of the press despite hiccups we know all too well
Wai Loon, for the amazing photographs (he got what he came for, a photo with Dr M; bottom right)

Still pending are the reports by Jinq Sien and Kervindran.

In hindsight, it was a good choice not to blog last week, for I was angry and resentful. Mostly it was because of the attitude of the press, who simply had to barge in with inane questions on the Approved Permits and Anwar Ibrahim.

(Thanks Li-Shia, for straightening me out).

But I have forgiven them, and I have been forgiven by my teacher, Ms Jaya, for I had wounded her with a scathing SMS after the event, typed out of sheer frustration.

It happens that on Monday, I chose by random the story of the Emmaus-bound disciples for quiet time. And then, reading something Max Lucado wrote on that passage, I realised it was no fluke.

At this moment, I cannot remember Max's actual words, but they were along these lines: "When the world lets you down, trust in God."

Sounds so simple, and yet... I doubt there's a better way to put it. God wrote the story, and maybe that's why Jesus told the story of Messiah to those disciples; they had to learn that he was still in control.

I had hoped for a longer, more intimate interview with Dr M. I did not get it. Instead of being content with what I did have (which, as it turned out, was quite a lot in the way of pictures, videos and audio recordings), I coveted what I did not.

Indeed, in retrospect, I think the above photo speaks volumes that are only dawning upon me now.

In it are, among others, the Principal, our Parent-Teacher Association chairwoman, Datin Maimun (who organised the event), Li-Shia, the Tun's bodyguard cum personal aide, Mr Zainuddin Mahamood (photographer for the teachers and my Form 4 Biology teacher), Mr Nik Anuay (co-curricular senior assistant), Miss Shanti (esteemed English teacher) and a host of old boys including Dato Mustapha Ali, Dato Jaffar Indot and Mr Yusli Yusoff (of the KL Stock Exchange).

And for those few moments, they stood by the sidelines while four students (Denise, Mohan, Ikmal Hisham and I) had a four-on-one with the Tun. If that's not good enough, I don't know what is.

Indeed God is good, and before retiring for tonight, I would like to quote from Jars of Clay's liner notes in their latest album 'Redemption Songs.'

"We are a part of a brotherhood and sisterhood of believing, fused together by faith, and each of us given the very hard and good work of living our story out in reverence to and worship of the great story of the redemption of all things."

Tag, you're it!

phak hoe, originally uploaded by mincaye.

Since I slept at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday, and only woke up at 1:30 a.m. just now, I doubt I'll be able to sleep again after this. Am presently sending some photographs to Phak Hoe, some of which I've compiled above.

(The other day, a few of us took a few shots of Phak Hoe sleeping in class, and decided to churn a death-and-resurrection story out of it.)

Top left: Kah Loong and Jino performing the funeral

Bottom: Phak Hoe the deceased

Top right: The light of heaven descends upon the dead... life draws near!

Well, I've been tagged by Li-Shia, so here goes!

10 years ago

I was defeated for the first time in a term exam; Wei Jian beat me to the first place in class.

Also, I got to know Miss Teo Kim Wee, who was then my English and class teacher. She was the first of many teachers who made me the writer and speaker I am today.

5 years ago

I defeated the form in the term exam, though I daresay Alan always deserved that place (something he never got) for he was the most consistent of us all.

Got involved in the VI Christian Union, though it was unofficial; Edmund (Siew) and I were about the only first formers there then. This was the community that would shape my life most in the years ahead.

1 year ago

Tied at first place for the first time in my life; Jasvind and I scored the same amount of marks for our mid-year exam.

Led the Christian Union, and ended up realising that Vice Presidents can often be the real backbone. Sui-Jon was mine in the Seladang Editorial Board, and Darren in the CU; I was Ren Chung's in the Literary and Debating Society (VILADS).

Won the Debate Tournament at state level, with Danial, Dinesh, Kishan and Zer Ken. I remain very close to these guys, with the exception of Zer Ken (probably because he's a form younger than us); they are my closest friends after the d'NA, CU and some of my Standard 6 classmates.


I was officially installed as the new Editor-in-Chief of the Victorian Editorial Board during the Annual General Meeting.

Unfortunately, I inadvertently left my camera behind in the Lecture Theatre where we had the meeting.

5 snacks I enjoy

Gummies, nyonya kuih/desserts, cereals/muesli, Baskin Robbins ice-cream, Mars bars (there may be more, but these are some of them)

5 songs I know all the words to

Amazing Grace, Sanctuary Matt Redman's Blessed be Your Name, Bob Geldof's Do They Know It's Christmas, U2's 40.

I know large chunks of a number of U2 and Steven Curtis Chapman songs, and I think I know all the lyrics to Chapman's I Will be Here, but I can't recall the correct order of lines.

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars

Buy books/music CDs/concert tickets, go out for lunches and dinners with friends, journey around the world, support charity, publish a book.

5 places I would run away to

A friend's side, Seminari Theoloji Malaysia, a hillside, the sea, an empty field.

5 things I would never wear

Thongs, tube tops, skirts, high heels, rings in weird parts of the body.

5 favourite TV shows

Cheers, Friends, Kopitiam... I can't think of another; am not a TV person. Maybe the Transformers series.

Incidentally, I also love their theme songs, i.e. Where Everybody Knows Your Name, I'll be There for You, Empty Decorations.

5 bad habits

Impatience, procrastination, antisocial reclusiveness, stubbornness, self-absorption.

5 biggest joys

Taking photos, being with friends, writing, listening to good music, reading a good book.

I'll add one more: losing myself in nature.

5 favourite toys

Camera, discman... transformers, action figures, McDonald's Happy Meal toys. ;-)

5 fictional characters I would date

Maria (the prostitute in Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes), Irene Adler (the woman in the Sherlock Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia), Juliet... unfortunately, I don't read much fiction.

As for non-fiction... *ahem* adalah.

5 people I tag to do this

Soo Tian
Yen Yen
Su Lin

OK, I have to go now. It's 4:50 a.m. and Mum's called me up to sleep. Says staying up might upset my internal clock.

Was actually intending to attempt some Maths work before getting ready for school, though...

A note at 0310 hours

I enjoyed reading this.

Left my camera in school after the VEB Annual General Meeting yesterday. I do hope it's still there today.

Monday, October 03, 2005


broken gate
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
On Friday night, a bus driver apparently forgot the handbrakes, and sent his massive metal elephant crashing into my school's side gate.

It was on our way out of school after Saturday's Maths paper that we -- Chung Hong, Kah Loong, Tsu Wern and I -- beheld the carnage.

Having virtually finished our exams (with only MUET Writing left, which we did this morning), we couldn't resist posing for a totally crazy shot.

Two Upper-Six girls took this; unfortunately, Tsu Wern decided not to join us as making her way into the midst of the rubble would have been rather difficult.

So here we have, from left, Chun Hong, Kah Loong and me, raising fists of victory atop a 'Mount Everest' of sorts. Ah, the mad things little children do... sigh.

Anyway, here's to Li-Shia's friend, Wee Kee, who is leaving for Russia tonight, to begin his journey down the path of Hippocrates, and join the ranks of the healers of old.

All the best!

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by mincaye.
This is my declaration of dependence
This is my declaration of my need
This is my declaration of dependence
On the One who gave this life to me

--Steven Curtis Chapman--

Exactly a week ago, I wrote the following poem, which is the fruit of a bit of stomachache, a bit of insomnia, a bit of the 'Inspirational Piano Moods' cassette in the background... and a God who inspires.

It was the night of my grandmother's birthday dinner; my exams began the next day.

[Note: It's rather raw and mostly unpunctuated; I've decided to leave it in its original state so as to capture, as much as possible, what I felt that night]


It is not the time for words
For my lips are dry
But a time for listening
Not questioning how or why.
The pain that drives me to You
A burden so great only humility
Can bear its yoke
Repentance calls me back to the path
I once used to walk.
Where the chariots of fire await
To spur me on.
So much to do, that I must rest
I cannot sleep unless I pray
It is not for me, but you to say
For thou alone can bring me through the test
How deep does my weakness go
But the bottom of your love no depth will know
So grant, Lord, the promise of grace
Strength to keep running the race
Times of refreshing when I fall down
Perseverance to aim for the crown
To seek what is right and good
And purity to do what I should
I'm not quite there, still a work-in-progress
Sometimes inspired, but mostly a mess
Yet you keep moulding this clay
Till it becomes like you someday --
So I will not let go -- I'll hold on
Till the victory's won;
Never looking back, I'll follow you:
The ship is sunk, what else could I do?
The sun is down, and the stars
Sing their quiet song in the sky
It is not the time for words
Not for 'how's or 'why's
But only prayer ascending through the skies
Into the heavens -- a living sacrifice --
No less than all within me
My heart, my mind, my soul, my life.

Spring in September

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
The one on the left was taken on the slope facing the field, while the other was taken near the Pavilion, both on the morning of Friday, 9 September.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Sneeze freeze!

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
My cousin Leanne came back to Malaysia for a week's holiday in early September (she is presently doing her A-levels in Singapore on the ASEAN Scholarship).

We managed to meet up for dinner at Shakey's, Leisure Mall, during which we had some fun with the camera. (At this point, the camera's overexposure problem wasn't fixed yet).

Sara, my sister, took this shot, which is basically a sneeze broken up into its constituent 'frames,' beginning with my brother, Kevin (in red), and ending with Leanne on my right.

It was hilarious ;-)


Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Here's a whacked-out picture of Aaron playing the school museum's trombone, which the Science & Maths society borrowed some time ago for an experiment in polishing brass.

We have no idea how old the trombone is, but it still works, despite eons of dust-gathering on the museum floor!