Saturday, June 30, 2007

Twelve Reflections on the Psalms

Last night, I dreamt the d'NAers had a full scale reunion. One of us (could've been me) remarked, "We haven't had one like this in a long time."

It has just occurred to me that Andrew Abishegam said these same words regarding the upcoming VIOBA Gala Dinner in his reply to Mr Chung's e-mail last month.

* * * * *

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

--Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning--

though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.

Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

--Psalm 90:4-6,11-12 (NIV)

When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

--Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.

--Psalm 97:11-12 (NASB)

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.

--Psalm 101:3-4 (NASB)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

--Psalm 111:10 (NIV)

Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, "When will you comfort me?"

--Psalm 119:36-37,60,81-82 (NIV)

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

--Psalm 124:8 (NIV)

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

--Psalm 125:2 (NIV)

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!

--Psalm 133:1 (NIV)

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.

They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;

they have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.

Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

--Psalm 135:15-18 (NIV)

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labour in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.

--Psalm 127:1 (NIV)

* * * * *

The last psalm in this list especially resonates with me.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.

Father, over the next few years, build the house. Build our house, or else we labour in vain.

A Fulfilling Week of Farewells

Dr Leong was talking about this book called How the News Makes Us Dumb (or something to that effect). Somewhere in it the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was discussed.

The writer pointed out that it should be no surprise if the crucifixion wasn't widely recorded by ancient historians. As far as history/journalism is concerned, the crucifixion was just another execution. Malcolm Muggeridge said that if he were a journalist in Jesus' time, he would have been more eager to interview Pilate than report the death of Jesus.

And so Dr Leong said that often what is so-called 'newsworthy' probably won't matter much 200 years down the road. His example was that of the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (or any other PM for that matter). As soon as he became PM, his school days became important; his English teacher was transformed into an overnight celebrity; his scouting days put on a whole new significance.

We never really know what is truly important when it starts out. Only when it becomes important do we look back at its humble beginnings.

Back in school, especially in my Primary days, the newspaper was always cited as a treasure trove of information. We would be encouraged to baca akhbar to gain more knowledge about the world and also to improve our command of the language.

I now view that piece of advice with much skepticism, because the media is hardly the place for learning good language skills, and because it is often biased and sometimes totally misguided in its choice of article subjects. Truth be told, the media is about what's popular and what's current, not necessarily what's really important.

Today nobody talks about Pontius Pilate, and the name of Jesus Christ, a lowly carpenter who died a shameful death, outlives the names of both Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great put together.

* * * * *

After returning from Sabah last Wednesday, I was immediately hurled into a flurry of activity day after day. I started this week with a mild fever and sore throat but, thank God, I'm feeling much better now.

The work for the VIOBA is finally done; as a matter of fact, I thought some members of the committee would be at the Clubhouse to meet us today, but it was only me, Praba and Kian Ti. We'll keep in touch, nonetheless, as the journey's just begun.

University (finally) starts this Sunday, and it was a real blessing to be able to spend these last few days with close friends. Tee Ming's farewell last Saturday started off this 'final week' (which has been purposeful, as all final weeks tend to be; even Jesus'), and I met up with Form Six friends and classmates several times this week; in fact, Edmund, Alwyn and Lik Wen paid me a surprise visit on Monday!

Last night, I met up with these people:

The same ones I met on 25 August last year:

We're the official Association of Cherry Poppers a.k.a. debaters. ;-P

The usual place, the usual time, a.k.a. Chili's BSC at 8 p.m.

I'm glad to say that, despite the growing trend of shrinking dishes (and/or increasing prices) at several restaurants in the Klang Valley, Chili's still maintains its generous portions.

* * * * *

But above all I was very happy to be able to spend so much time with a certain girl who's bound for Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) all the way in the Land Below the Wind.

It's really going to be a new chapter in our lives, and, like Ofelia in the movie Pan's Labyrinth, we probably aren't prepared for what lies ahead. All we know is that God walks with us and that the next three years will be a time of breaking, humbling, revelation and learning.

Let us not fear any storms that may come our way, for with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm. ;-)

Lunch at Secret Recipe, KLCC, after the Choir Finals last Thursday. The Choir still owes us dinner for rushing back to school to get the namelist and piano scores.

I'm so proud of LS, who has been working hard on her swimming. Only three sessions ago she learnt the breaststroke, and today she swam non-stop from one end of the pool to the other! You're making tremendous progress!

Our last lunch (and most likely meal) together. Finally managed to try Pizza Hut's new Sensasi Sets.

I'm going to miss you so, so much.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Choice Made

It's been two weeks since my last entry. Quite a long time, I'd say, during which I went to Sabah and received news of my local university placing.

The Sabah trip completes my 'four corners' trek of Malaysia. In April I went to Singapore (OK, it's not Malaysia, but it's south enough to be considered South), then Mersing (East Coast) and Penang (North) in May, and finally Sabah (East Malaysia) in June.

I took many photos along the way, and I'm especially proud of some of them. I don't know when I'll be able to put them up here, though.

Last Saturday I shot Tee Ming's farewell party, and today I tried my hand at child photography as the 'official photographer' of my sister's 10th Birthday. So for the first time in my life I crawled all over Megakidz in Midvalley. Li-Shia, Kevin and Amanda crawled with me.

Tee Ming said the farewell photos were quite cacat compared to the Mersing ones. Of course, one reason could be that I immediately copied over all the pictures to her computer on the night itself, and so had no time to delete the failed ones. The Mersing pictures, however, have been carefully combed through so that only the good ones were kept.

And I've come to realise that some people are very good journalistic photographers. They can capture 'moments' very well. I suppose I'm not there yet; for that matter, I may never quite be. At least for now, photography for me is like painting. There must be time to compose; you could say I'm not a jazz photographer.

That is not to say I cannot capture moments. Some of the best Mersing shots were spur-of-the-moment shots, but they were all born of a place conducive emotionally and spiritually for photography--a place of inspiration where the heart of the photographer is on that rare wavelength along which any photo shot is a good photo.

I really must credit the Mersing success to the d'NAers, an amazing group of people who first inspired me to take photos, and to this day remain my favourite and best subjects. I guess the whole thing is reciprocal.

On the brighter side, I can say that within the past year (I acquired the SLR sometime in early July last year), I have shot pictures in virtually every category there is. I shall shortly put up the best pictures from each category on this site.

* * * * *

I guess I've made my choice.

As soon as I publish this post, I'll accept the offer online.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reflections on Psalms and Trains

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

--Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV)

May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
by the strength of your arm
preserve those condemned to die.

--Psalm 79:11 (NIV)

"But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices."

--Psalm 81:11-12

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

--Psalm 84:5,10 (NIV)

* * * * *

I love trains.

You can go anywhere, do anything you want. Even more so than with cars.

Be anyone you want.

"Then why are you still here?"

"Those weren't my trains."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Some reflections on the psalms

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

--Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

--Psalm 62:5-6 (NIV)

Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

--Psalm 65:4 (NIV)

But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"Let God be exalted!"

--Psalm 70:4 (NIV)

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Sometimes hope breaks through crappy days...

Catching you when you're not aware.

Some say it's being surprised by joy...

Others call it divine providence.

Times when some joys in life...

Are just too good not to be shared.

[There is] a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

--Ecclesiastes 3:7-8 (NIV)

But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love
for ever and ever.

I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

--Psalm 52:8-9 (NIV)

Friday, June 01, 2007

31st May

Fruity Fiesta
Sparkling Spirited

Pralines & Cream
Sweet Soft

Just like you