Friday, March 16, 2007

No Turning Back

She was a smart girl. So far she had little problem in understanding what her teachers would teach her in class. Even if she had problems, her tuition teachers would sort it out for her. But her real problem, she just discovered, wasn't in the books, and it certainly wasn't from school.

It was packing.

She hated packing. Whenever she packed, she'd never know where to stuff the shirts, the soap bars, pants, bible and stuff. She'd just envy her mother especially after seeing how capable she is in packing the bags. Her mom would just have enough space for almost everything necessary. How she folded it, how she packed it, squeezed it between the zips and shirts, compressing the bag slowly and steadily, and finally zipping it up into one nicely packed bag with everything inside. The question that she'd always ask her, "So how do I get the things back inside after taking it out?"

"That," her mom would reply suavely, "you figure it out yourself."

Maybe that was the real problem after all. It wasn't the process of packing that she mine about, it was the implications and the reason she packs that bothers her. Every time she packed, it was about going away. Going to somewhere new for something different for some time. Every time she had to zip up the bag with loads of clothes and soap, it hit her hard that she will be away from home. From the comfort of the bed, from the security of the family, from the voices of her parents, from the people that she loves, from the little things that make her smile and laugh.

Earlier on a friend called up to chat with her before she leaves. "Ready to go?"


Few weeks prior to her NS, she thought she was ready. She thought she was excited. She thought she was going to go for a 3 month summer camp. Her friends told her how fun it was. Flying fox was the best of it all! Don't miss it! Training is easy.. don't worry about it.. they don't torture you.. no no no, it's not a boot camp like the ones in Singapore.. don't worry!!

She thought she wasn't worried.

Maybe not.

Finally zipping up her bag, she sits down to take a breath. She is clearly aware that she has no chance to look back at what she will do. In another 12 hours, she will be on the bus to a camp far away from home, far away from the nearest city with a Jusco, far away from her nest and bed. She will be far in the physical distance, but never too far away from the people that upholds her in prayer.

She knows that very well. She's a clever girl after all, and she thought about that a long time ago.

That gave her some assurance, that no matter how bad things could be, there still will be someone that will never forget her. That at the back of her mind, she plopped her head on the bed and staring into the ceiling blankly, wondering what NS will mean to her in the next 3 months to come.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Best Words

The best words I've said to my parents since studying in Shah Alam:

"I'm coming home."

The next best?

"Wait for me. I'm on my way home."


"I've reached. Come pick me up!"

What follows, would be a hug, a nice shower, and the cozy bed.

It's good to be home.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Lady of Peace 3 - Voice of Her Thoughts

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I love seeing her work and think. It's much different from her usual self of fun, laughing, smiling, jumping around like a little puppy or fooling around like no one's business. It's just something so different, something so unusual about her. Seldom do you get such golden opportunity to see her being quiet or in the state of thoughtfulness, and that Sunday morning I had that chance apart from the times she studies in Pastor's house. (Caleb claims that when she studies she speaks in tongues.. I make no attempt to refute that)

We were supposed to write a letter to ourselves. It was meant to be a resolution or change that we desire in ourselves, and we were writing a new covenant to God about how we want to change or be changed. I finished mine in light speed of course - if not I wouldn't be here writing about how she was working.

Sitting against a wall, she was just deep in her own thoughts. Scribbling away in her trademark illegible handwriting, she kept writing and writing. Peeking over her shoulder in a split second, I could make out that she was kinda writing a 'poem' - again to my amaze and amuse - what it was about, only God and her knows.

Seeing her being quiet reminds me of how she, despite all the noise and laughter she makes and can make, has been a friend best in her quietest of ways. Sometimes many only see her as a girl who's fun and always smiling, but how many has seen her with her listening ears on and up?

At least I have.

Just recently during the Valentine's CA celebration, I partnered her for a duet. It was a song that we, Amanda and Caleb composed together for the occasion. It was about how a man was supposed to celebrate his Valentine's Day with a girl that he loved, and failing to do so, was weeping beside the road until a Man came up to him, pat him on the shoulder reassuringly and reminding him that He was the true Valentine.

Trust me, I regretted opening my mouth to sing. My voice was so bad, I was lousy at singing from birth, I was half panting as I sang since I haven't completely recovered from the mad rush upon reaching church at the nick of time, and.. it was just plain bad.

The worst part was that I killed Erin's song. She sang fantastically well, it was an angel's voice, but her partner killed it. Her ridiculously lame partner couldn't sing at all. Her lame partner can do anything except sing, and on that special night where she was supposed to sing he sang. (He as referring to me, definitely.)

I honestly felt terrible. I felt awful to spoil her song. During the post mortem meeting the folks tried to sound encouraging by not bringing up about how my voice spoiled the song, yet I could still sense their disappointment over the song. At least they did praise her about her superb voice. Feeling bad, I apologised to her. I told her that I was very very and truly sorry about spoiling her song, and reminded her that she still sounded terrifically good with or without the miserable back-up.

Her reply?

"I didn't say anything also! Why apologise?" Then she just trotted off in her typical girl-like way of walking.

Now I know what it's like to disappoint someone important to you.

It reminded me of what happened during our church's Christmas Carnival. I was supposed to do a Lame Dance for 30 seconds on stage, and I was dancing to the song Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and she was the one singing. After the bell rang, signalling us to start, all I heard was the crowd clapping for a good ten seconds. I looked at her, wondering what was going on. That wasn't what we planned.. Then she came in late and was a bit off the script.

Later on she told me that she forgot the lyrics. I sighed, but I couldn't blame her. There were a lot of people, the pressure on her was great, and besides she only had nothing more than 10 hours to practice. After all, I was the one that was supposed to do the whole 30 second show on my own, and the mere fact that she was more than willing to help, I should've been grateful. She asked whether I was disappointed, I denied, but she again insisted that I was and felt bad for the next whole hour.

Now I know what she felt back then.

But perhaps, the greater thing that I learned from that time, was how she never discouraged others no matter how bad they perform a certain task. She may have been equally disappointed as others, she may have wondered why she of all people a moron would want to sing with her, and even if that was what she thought or felt, she never revealed it. By nature, she has always been encouraging and inspiring people to continue to try harder and always give everything they do the best shot.

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Thursday night during CA I noticed something. Coming in late as she was ushering back in Akasia, she walked to the stage and crept up to every single person - except me, *sigh* - and whispered something into their ears. It didn't take me long to find out what she whispered to them really, because after engaging in a short and low-key conversation, the people that she talked to immediately - literally - smiled and was evidently more at ease. One by one she went behind them, asked them how were they doing, encouraged them by telling them that they were doing a wonderful job, and told them to keep it up. That was again, another first time I saw her doing things like that, and personally I felt that her doing made a big difference to the whole worship team on a whole.

Simply amazing.

Combining encouragement and forgiving, it would be grace. Exactly what she has been. The one true thing about her that sometimes just makes me stand from far in awe, is how she uses the simplest of things to make the most out of anything. As mentioned in an earlier post, it's nothing for her to make a million expressions out of her 2 eyes, round nose and small mouth. She can make an angry and cute face in the same time, she can frown until she laughs, and she can flash a Colgate-award-winning smile a split second after she scolds you.

But the best thing she could ever do for anyone, is to listen.

Though having the best voice in the world, though having the sweetest smile in INTEC, though being the most fantastic and brilliant girl in CA, it's just her to use neither of it to make a difference in the people around her. What she truly does to the CA is by being there for all of them. She may never have the best advice for people, she may never know what is best for a person when they are in trouble, but she surely knows that the best thing she could do for anyone in distress is to listen.

And when one is not in distress, all that it takes for them to keep moving forward and onward, is that little creeping behind their back, patting them on the shoulder, and whispering the simplest and yet most meaningful words into their ears, softly and gently. Careful to never push things down their will or force them out of misery, she never insists of having her way. Though there were times that she will want certain things desperately, with the typical noisy girl whining and begging, after a while if it's more about other people than herself, she was always ready to give in.

When I smsed her that my aunty told me how beautiful she was, she simply replied that she was more interested in the inner and spiritual beauty that would last, unlike the physical beauty that will fade. It never interests her. It took me a little while longer to understand that her beauty, though existed in outwardly, yet the truest of it can always be seen quietly in her deep state of thoughts, her powerful voice kept in her little body, and above it all her words that spells grace and life to those who hear it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Coming Soon

"Soldier Behind the Bronze Mask"
-In the military of Zanotopia, the story of a soldier that wears a half bronze mask and his inward struggle of how he chose to fight for the country and Her Princess in a same battle and yet facing different enemies.

"Lady of Peace 3"
-A fresh outlook at the dynamism and charm of the little girl and how she creates a positive influence to those around her. A true account of how she fuses her powerful voice and a sweet smile in encouraging people and creating a driving force behind the efforts laboured into CA.

"Sword and Scimtar"
-A friendship tested by the difference in ideologies and religion, standing the test of time and fire, the trials from within and the external forces.

"Tash's Letter"
-A final letter from Tash to her daughter, a final sequel of Her Little Glass Heart (January 2007) and When I was Asleep (February 2007)

In case you find this lame, just allow me to justify this as a way of reminding myself to not lose the ideas and inspirations behind the posts on this blog. (Yes, I know, some of it - or most of it, whatever you think - may be lame. But I'm doing my best)

Keep commenting and criticising it, and I'll keep improving. Thanks for your support, one way or the other. I'm entering the 3rd month of blogging, and it's been a journey that I've never looked back so far.

Shadows of Illusion

The roads that lead to my college are decorated with large trees all along the side of the road. Trees that have huge branches that are strong and yet sway at the wind, leaves that brush into a unique and natural harmony with the moving of air, and best of all the dark shadows that tell you how shady and comfortable it would be as soon as you step out of the bus into the shades of the trees.

Stepping under the shade may protect you from the sunlight, but it doesn't provide you the cool shade that you desire or expect. Often we think that since the shadow and shade is so 'dark' it means that it should be cooling, right? After all, it's the sunlight that makes us hot.

Little do we remember that heat can be disseminated and spreads in the form of waves from higher temperatures to areas of lower temperature. The shade may temporarily lower down the heat, but it doesn't stop the heat from travelling.


A nation that speaks of no problems in the media is not a problem-free nation.
A country that doesn't address crisises in the public is not a crisis-free country.
A society that chooses not to look at arising issues around us is not a harmonious society.

It is a nation that leaves in convinced-delusion. Living in a state that believes that the truth is based on what sources and information the higher authorities provide them with. It's reliable! It's true! It's correct! Why bother to investigate or look further into it? It's just a waste of time. No questions asked, no need to think about the authenticity of the source.

It is a country that leaves in shadows from the lights of truth. It is a country where the leaders choose to shy (not shun) away from the problems that are arising. Instead of tackling the problem bravely and head on, instead of consulting the professionals and intellectuals, in their folly and foolishness, in their disguise and ego, they proudly and arrogantly claim that 'Problems cease to exist in this nation!'. They make stifle the people who point out the mistakes. They demand apologies from those who speak up and spit it out. They fear for their position more than their nation they should be serving. They see no evil, the evil of illusion and lies.

It is a society that promotes superficial and artificial tolerance. It is a society that is made up of people who choose to put on masks of happiness and spectacles of racism to promote racial 'integration'. Not realising that the a superficial tolerance is nothing more than a functional relationship, it is stretched to the limit when the function served on either side starts to diminish. Little will they realise that a function only promotes necessary mutualism, and a necessary mutualistic relationship holds no assurance of a lasting bond that the nation can be built upon.

Problem with us is simple. We are living in shadows. We chose to live in shadows. It's just about time that we step out of our comfort zone of illusions and start facing realities. Reality is that we aren't doing very well as a nation. Our GDP is one thing, but what about human relations, fundamental of a country's political and social development? So what with the Economic Growth, if we can't deal with racial integration effectively, can we last long?

The day we wake up to the realisation that we've been living in illusion, that's the day that we will begin to prosper. The point of time we choose to either walk out of the shadows and step into the light, we will clearly see the truth that has always been in front and yet away from our sight.

The day will come, but when? The time is near, but will we be in time?

Shadows of illusions are comfortable. Only for a short period of time, and not for long. No one likes the scorching heat, but it is the sun that provides us the nutritions that we need. No one wants to burn under the sun, but it is the tanning of the skin that teaches us to appreciate the shelter of a home built on the foundation of true democracy and social liberty.

Perhaps it's just me. Perhaps it's just me and my over-sensitivity problem I inherited from my mom. Perhaps I'm just being a paranoid in my very Joash way. Fine then, just forget about this ridiculous post and move on.

But what if I'm right and you're wrong?