Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thirty Minus One

Wow... it's been ages since I posted notes about my life's orchestra. Well, the tune has kinda been playing to a slow moody pace with intermittent staccatos here and there like...

Fantabulous trip to Halong Bay, Hanoi with dad and sis.

After 3 years, I finally found my new beau - Tim.

Very yummy-licious birthday lunch cooked by Nat

And my 28+1 (NOT 281!) birthday cake baked by Ash

Birthdays are milestones of life's journey. We can't help but stop, take stock and figure out what's next. This year's stock count didn't go down too well.

Well, I've been in Ipoh for a little more than a year now... the starting line of a long, daunting task of filling up dad's very big pair of shoes in the business. I have the perfect picture that says it all...

'nuff said!

For a city bumpkin with the pulse of rush hour madness running through my veins, living in Ipoh is like slamming the brakes of a Ferrari at 120mph. Whether the car cuts the corner and takes on a new direction OR skids right off the track to a grinding halt - the outcome is solely in the driver's hands.

But... through it all, I still believe that God is faithful and will not give up on me no matter how many times I've given up on Him. Behind my happy mask, a small voice is crying out desperately to regain control and I know He's listening.

The best birthday pressie I got this year is the devotional book - Give Me 40 Days. I'm excited and filled with expectation. I want to rediscover, rekindle and restore my first love for my Redeemer. I want the joy of the Lord that rejoices in every circumstance. I want clarity of purpose that is not about me but about Him. I want to worship my King freely with abandonment and extravagance.

So, how will the season of my twenties end? It starts with day 1 of 40...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Getting Into Perspective

Recently, I was racked in guilt and asked my sis if she ever felt bad about being born with a silver spoon in our mouth. She thought I'd finally blown it and gone nuts.

What started me on this guilt trip was that a colleague had to bang on the Education Board's doors to get into the right school and university so she wouldn't end up sewing shirt collars in a fabric factory while I got to pick and choose which private college/uni I wanted without ever taking it very seriously. Another experienced London by being a waitress for 6 months while I was sent to London for a holiday without having to pay a cent.

Ultimately, it was because of the mother of all comments "Aiya, you're the boss' daughter ma. We are ta kong chai only."

Even after my sister's shelling, it took me a while to struggle with my 'life of priviledge'. What did I do to deserve it and, worst of all, how much of it have I squandered without a care in the world? While I enjoyed this life of priviledge, it was ultimately at the expense of my dad's hard work.

Then, while I was walking my dog one sleepy morning, my perspective shifted to another angle just like that super cool scene in The Matrix. It's not about how I HAVE SPENT my life, rather how I WILL SPEND the rest of it.

Yes, I am different. Yes, I am priviledged. Yes, I have access to opportunities that others do not. Like Shakespeare said - "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players." The ultimate tragedy is for me to deny my character and waste my purpose in God's stageplay.

Then today, while munching on my chap fan lunch in a small little kampung, this treasure of truth hidden within the last few pages of Richard Branson's book - Screw It, Let's Do It was a surprise assurance and affirmation. It's an exerp from Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural speech when he was elected President of South Africa:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be fabulous, brilliant, talented, gorgeous? Actually, who are you not to be, you are a child of God and playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, like children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in every one of us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give people permission to do the same."

So, what are you doing on this stage?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christianity Has Its Priviledges... & Responsibilities?

Yesterday's experience was totally bizarre.

Was late to meet a friend in Jusco so just as I was turning in to the carpark, I whipped out my phone to ask him where he was. Lo and behold... right before me was an officer of the law. Alamak! Kena tangkap red handed.

The cop came up to me and said, "Cik... ini kesalahan besar tau? Kalau saya saman, mesti kena maksimum RM300 punya. So, saya tolong you dengan RM50 la, ok?" As usual I went on with my strings of "maaflah encik, last chance, tak buat lagi... etc"

The dude actually discounted from RM50 to RM30 and even down to RM20. I was late and really wanted to get it over with but I could tell he really didn't want to issue the saman to me. So I said, "Tak boleh la encik, saya tak boleh buat macam ini."

Then the cop actually asked me this, "Kenapa tak boleh buat macam ini?"

Last resort, this was my answer, "Encik, saya tak boleh buat macam ini kerana saya Christian la."

This... I must tell you. The cop paused a moment, looked at me and said this, "Oh... you Christian ka? Lain kali, cakap awal sikit la. Ok, pergi pergi."


This reminds me of another time when I was caught speeding on the Karak highway and was stopped. Actually, I got confession to make la... that time, not so principled, so I was prepared to give him RM50 ade. But then the guy saw my IC and said, "Hhhmmm... Christina... you ni Christian ka?" WAH! Bribing at this point was SO NOT gonna happen. So, I said yes and he let me go.

Which makes me think a bit. I often rant about how society holds Christians to a higher moral standard. For example, I've often heard these comments. "Christian also can bribe meh? Eeyer... he's so bad tempered on the road and say he's a Christian some more" etc etc. But you don't hear people saying, "Buddhist also can bribe meh? Eeyer... he's a Muslim but drive so aggressively."

I'm not saying that Christians can bribe or drive aggressively. Instead, I wonder why the same moral standard is not expected of others. Y'know what I mean? We Christians are perfectly clear that we are sinful no matter how hard we try and our forgiveness is purely by God's grace. So where did society get the notion that Christians are perfect?

With that thought in mind, I ask myself, if we have the priviledge of God's grace in our lives, then do we also have a greater responsibility to live up to the expectations of society's higher moral standards - hence, be God's witnesses in this world? I'm not saying God always lets us off the hook. We have to accept the fact that when we do wrong, we have to pay the consequences. If, by God's grace, He let's us off the hook... then it's a bonus for us. Otherwise, we must be prepared to face the music.

So, with priviledge comes responsibility? Hhhmmm... I'll need a little bit more time to ponder over this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It’s a pretty long way down from where I used to be and I can't really see the bottom either.

It's like falling into the ocean and sinking helplessly into a bottomless abyss when I can actually swim. There's a battle between my head that shouts "SWIM!" and my body that refuses to respond. I'm fully aware of where I am, where I should be and what I need to do to get there. Yet, there seems to be a kink somewhere along my synapses and my head can't communicate with my body. It's weird.

It's been going on for some time and I'd better snap outta this quick before I hit the bottom, which I've been warned - is not gonna be pretty.

How did I get from there to here? And so fast? This time... my resolute self is not working.

I think God decided to use Ziggy to teach me a lesson over the weekend in KL. He's been having major separation anxiety and barks like mad whenever I leave him - much to the annoyance of my dad and maybe neighbours.

Funnily, everytime I was exasperated to my wits' end trying to get him to shut up... a small voice in my heart kept saying - Just pray for him. Like I said before, the synapses won’t click and I just couldn't or refused to do it.

But finally, I got the synapses linked and uttered a short prayer for Ziggy. I'm sure y'all know what's next. Yeah, he's been an angel ever since… still yaps a bit occasionally but better. I am a little amused at how God has really gone out of His way to affirm that despite how far I've fallen, He's still just a prayer away... even if it’s for my dog.

So much has been happening at work and it has definitely eaten into me. After my much needed weekend in KL, I came back and realised what a horrible person I've become. There was no love, kindness, patience, grace, understanding... just a nasty, bitter b***h. An ugly person that I don't recognise.

But thank God for this weekend. It was good time away from Ipoh and good time with my closest friends. Friends who spend time to encourage me over coffee on a storming Sunday afternoon that's perfect for sleeping. Friends who try their very best to stay awake to pillowtalk some sense into my head. Friends who are always there, no questions asked. God given friends.

So yeah... it's been an awakening weekend graced by God. I guess it's time to start swimming.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's In My Genes

Jess met Alice the other day in church and somehow linked six degrees of separation to me. Alice said, "I remember Chris, she is very animated." Anyone reading this who knows me would most probably be rolling around laughing by now.

Yes, I can be quite comical at times. Okay... SOME times. Alright alright... Most, if not all, of the time, ok? Happy now? My mom called me a cartoon when I was a kid. As far as memory serves me, I've always liked making ppl laugh. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's tiring and sometimes it's just plain painful. But when a person laughs... it was worth it. Weird huh?

Which makes me wonder why I do it. I think it's in my genes. No, really. If you've met my family, you'll know what I mean. Since most of you never met my mom, here's a little glimpse at my family that raised the cartoon in me.

This happy couple...
This is actually my mom's 50th birthday. She'd just fully recovered from her first battle with colon cancer.

We invited the whole family, family friends, church friends... basically everybody to celebrate the victory with us.

Spawned these two rascals

This is actually some random shot my mom took of us and then we framed it up and gave it to dad as a birthday pressie. Haha... it's still on display at home. We scribbled some stuff on it. Dunno it you can see it.

As you would notice, my sis' hair has a funny colour. This was the tail end of her James Iha wannabe blonde top hair that shocked my parents into oblivion. Years later, I chopped off my hair to the spiky look and home-coloured it shocking red-pink. Dad almost had heart attack. Naturally, it was sis who did the bleaching and colouring. She's bad influence *tsk tsk tsk*

Lemon Meringue Pie
My mom baked her famous lemon meringue pie for one of my dad's birthday. Is my dad so happy 'cos his beloved wife slaved in the kitchen to bake this insanely tedious pie?

Not really. She always baked cakes for OTHER people's birthdays. Then my dad would come home, smell the wonderful freshly baked cake and just when he's about to pinch a piece. "Mike! That's for so-and-so's birthday! Don't touch!"

So this is like "Finally, she baked for ME!" Later on, my mom felt a little bit remorseful and everytime she baked, she'd pour out a small portion of dough to make a small, mini loaf for the family. Dad was happy with that.

My birthday

I quite remember this birthday 'cos I'd just woken up and walked downstairs groggily to find everyone sitting around the dining table, minding their own business and a nicely wrapped present on the table.

I think it was the year before, my 16th birthday, when my mom bought me my Ibanez acoustic guitar. I still play it today and it's priceless. Then this year they got me this killer Fender coiled sensor external pick-up. It totally rocked and was great for playing with the church band.

Mom's buddies

L-R: Auntie Hong Meng, mom, Auntie June, Auntie/Dr Helen.

Looks familiar? Guess who was the zanniest of the lot? They had a ladies group that did Bible Studies over tea. Syiok, right? Many a times, my sis and I wormed our way into these meetings to whack the goodies. Auntie June was my mom's best buddy. Mom probably spent more time with her in person and on the phone than with any one of us.

One buddy missing here is Auntie Lalita. She's my mom's wonderful prayer partner. After my mom passed away, she asked if she could have my mom's collection of prayer journals. You see, my mom wrote down every prayer request and wrote down the answered prayer in red in a column on the right. Needless to say, the right column was jammed full of red scribblings. I found them... there were at least 3 books. What an encouragement of God's faithfulness and Auntie Lalita cherished it very much.

Sweetheart Darling
This is Auntie June's daughter, my mom's god daughter and our god sister - Min Shen. This talented, funny, zanny, gifted little... well, maybe not so little anymore... 'girl' almost never came to be because some stupid doctor couldn't pick up a heartbeat during one of the routine pregnancy check ups. But, side by side... my mom and Aunty June prayed and cried, prayed and cried, and prayed and cried out to God some more.

She grew up in my house half of the time. My mom was ALWAYS feeding her until the time she learned to speak, the first thing she called my mom was - Aunty Mam Mam 'cos my mom was constantly asking her, "You want to mam mam (eat)?" When she was a toddler, we even fed her dried sotong. Haha!!! Oh crap... Auntie June and Min Shen don't know this! Oh well, now they know.

Every year, on her birthday, my mom would take Min Shen out on a date. It was amazing. You'd see this 5 year old kiddo joking and laughing with a 40 year old lady over cakes and desserts. Then she started calling my mom her 'sweetheart darling'. Kiddo... YOU are our sweetheart darling. Sis and I still try to take her out whenever we're in town. We're so proud to have this little sister who's grown into a fine young lady with a pet rabbit named Char Siew. Haha!!!

The last birthday...
This is the last birthday my mom celebrated. It was her 51st. She passed away about a week or 2 after.

She's wearing what we called the Paddington Bear hat. Sis got it for her since her hair didn't quite grow back after we stopped the chemo. Despite the pain and imminent death lurking just round the corner... my mom still smiled wide... always. Of course, her tea buddies celebrated with a spread of tea and cakes - and the two rascals still wormed their way through the treats.

It's in the genes
So you see... my zanny character is a colourful inheritence from these two wonderful people who are my parents. Laughter is the DNA of my family - peptides and nucleotides of loving experiences, double helixed into the person that I am today.

This is probably the most romantic picture I have of my parents. My dad was never very expressive in his affections. I don't remember ever seeing my parents walking hand in hand but their love was displayed in a wealth of invisible ways:

My parents hosted Christmas dinner every year. Dad would spend a bomb on roasted turkey, gammond ham and my mom would slave in the kitchen for hours to cook the sauces, salads and the rest of the feast. My mom remembered everyone's birthday by heart and she would have a personalised gift ready. I don't know how she did it. Walking around a shopping mall. she'd spot something nice for someone. Everywhere my parents went, they'd pick up stuff for friends and family back home. If anyone was in financial need, my dad always said, "Just take first." Oh, there is so much more.

So, everything that I am today, mostly the good and some of the bad, is inherited - either genetically or just by the blessedness of having been raised by mom and dad.

Next up... I'll try to post something on my extended family of aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews... all lah!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Future, Present & Past

I've just realised that I haven't posted anything in a looooonnnggg time. Most people have probably given up visiting my blog. Haha... but here's to the faithful who check in from time to time! So here's a little update about the future, present and past.

Well, one of the reasons why I've been ignoring my blog is because I've been hooked on Facebook. It's my virtual social land where I have an aquarium where my fish don't die (Scarlet died and Jade is sick), I have a pet dragon (not quite as cute as Ziggy though), my egg hatched into a poison frog and I've met many many old and new friends. So, yes I blame it on the social tool of the future.

Presently, I am addicted to Grey's Anatomy. The editors are evil I say... Satan's little minions; temptresses of entertainment gluttony. The end of every episode just strikes an auto-neuro response to start the next episode of complex surgeons fumbling into new ways to literally screw up their lives. Purely involuntary. Haha!!!

Putting the addiction aside, Grey's Anatomy has been good for me, in a sense that it has awoken this vocabulary wit that I've lost for some time now. Yeah, being stuck in Ipoh for 4 months kinda does that to you. No offense to Ipoh people but it is the truth of reality for me. Ho-hum conversations, small talk everytime I meet someone new, pointless corporate bickerings, futile fumbling Cantonese conversations... all have cumulatively massacred my usually perky mojo. Can't you tell? Yup, here's where I am, presently.

Well, I was supposed to post something about my past and I was gonna blog about my mom but I can't seem to upload the pictures and I gotta go home and play with Ziggy before I head off for dinner and movie with my CG. Oh well, another time then.

Catch y'all again in the future!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Hello everybody! Meet Ziggy! Just got him yesterday and he's cute little Mini Schnauzer. He doesn't quite fit my finicky requirements exactly... but he tugged really hard at my heart strings. Plus I've seen two of the pet shop lady's pups that have grown up beautifully.

I'm a little worried about his face markings 'cos it seems a little greyish but there's white fur underneath... so I guess it's slowly growing out. If all the grey parts turn white... he should be a really handsome dude.

Fella's really calm... was a bit of a nosey puppy in the car but after about half an hour, our friend nicely curled up into a ball to sleep all the way back to Ipoh. This is him a little lost in his new home.

Poor fellas was howling in the middle of the night yesterday. I guess he missed his siblings left in the petshop. So, picked him up and let him cuddle in my lap until he was reassured to go back into his play pen. Didn't hear a squeek from him since. Aaahhh... nice...

Quite smart fellow... he chewed up his newspaper lining when he first got into the playpen but after a few smacks... he stopped. Aaahhh... nice...

So, look out for more stories on Ziggy... coming soon =)