Friday, April 28, 2006


Hello. Sorry for this really late update. I only have my computer during work hours and I should really be working those hours.. J Anyhow, I am almost done with my second week in Phnom Penh. It’s been quite alright for the most part of it.

Last week, I went to an ADP (Area Development Program) for a visit. I wasn’t as excited as I should be but thought yeah, it will be a cool experience. Whatever. (haha, talk about attitude problem.)

So, I started my journey on Weds to a remote village Central East of Cambodia to a District called Chulkiri. The work done by World Vision in that area is still at its starting phase and not much has been done. What I did there really was to follow the Community Development workers (CDW) around as they do their work. At that particular week, they were signing up children for Child sponsorship provided for by Support Offices such as World Vision Singapore. It was great to see it. I mean, there is a lot of background work that is not seen when a child gets sponsored. First, the CDWs had to ensure the villagers that they were not going to sell the children and that this was for the benefit of the village as a whole. Next, children had to be chosen based on their family background (they will not be accepted if they come from abusive parents). After the children are chosen, there begins the laborious process of signing up form filling. Necessary evils. We spent the whole day filling up forms. The nicest part of this must be the children doing something on the child introductory letter. The smaller children would have the palms traced and the older ones would draw something on the paper. Its really interesting to see how seriously the workers took this process, they made sure that the right hand was traced and joined the lines very carefully where they don’t meet. Wow… a lot of work if you ask me… The next day we went to a real village chief to have him endorse all these applications. A real village chief. J They all have the fatherly feel to them. Haha, he offered a house next to his and asked if I was interested. Awwww.

The other part of community work is the way we live. It’s amazing how bare can bare necessities be. Living conditions there aren’t the best. But it was enough. I slept in their best accommodation (the floor in the manager’s office) and they had bought fresh well water for me to shower in. It was quite funny really. The first day especially when I reached and was surrounded by men, I was a little embarrassed as it was after work hours and they were all taking their shower in front of me. Haha, I don’t think that there were self conscious at all, it was me just me. (I tried to walk away and keep myself occupied, I walked to the cook and there she was killing life fishes!!!. Gosh, I decided that watching men shower was a better sight.

In my 3 days there, I must have learnt a lot more about the male anatomy. I have a younger sis not brother and I am never one to peer into the underpants of all the little boys out there. Haha. But when one is in the village. You just can’t help it. The children almost unanimously do not have any clothes on and they just run around in front of you. It was really quite a sight to behold.

I hope you are not thinking that village life is quite horrible. It was in fact very pleasant. It is probably true that it doesn’t have the excitement of the cities, but there is a very pleasant simplicity that reigns. I am not sure that I can do with roosters waking me up at 5 in the morning all the time. (I was thinking about the 10 ways of eating them. Who cares about bird flu), the smell of the fresh grass coupled with the cow manure, pig defecation and rotting food…. But there is something special about seeing how human beings interact so closely with nature. We walked around, rode around during the sunset and watched the stars at night. Stars are called Dara, or Boo-gai ( if I heard rightly). Yup, though life in the village is hard work, people tend to be very simple and happy. I know that I can never be simple and happy. I can strive to be simple and happy but that in itself is not very simple is it…

Ok, so now I am back in Phnom Penh. I am finally not scared to walk around in that apartment at night. On the first night, I was so spooked that I switched on the lights the whole night. Haha. I am proud to say that I can walk around with no lights now. Hey, it’s a big achievement if you are laughing now. Just the other day, As I moved, I felt a presence move too, I was spooked, but I tried to face the fear, I am proud to tell you that what spooked me was my own reflection. Yeah I know, silly thing.

I am going for dinner tonight at a Regional staff house. He is a relatively new staff and together with a few staff, we are going to have dinner. Quite exciting. I am always psyched for dinner plans especially without my fish around. Talking about fish, he is now in the UK with his dad. I hope he will keep well. Traveling does funny things to his nose…

So what is on my mind lately, I am thinking about choices. I think that I am a little more settled with the fact that I have the ability to choose. Yeah, it sounds dumb. But for the longest time, I always feel afraid to make decisions because of its responsibilities. I can live with another’s decisions for me because I can blame them if it ends up bad.. But when one makes his/her own decisions, tough, you have to bear the brunt of it yourself. Not long ago, a friend here was talking about how I am fortunate because I have the liberty of choice. This is back at my head again. I had a talk with my boss earlier this week. Have I said that I feel very extreme feelings for her? She is a ESTJ, the complete opposite of me. Haha, I think that it is the love of God that binds us together. But that does not mean that it will be easy. I communicate way better when I am here in Phnom Penh, we do not have the barrier of distance that makes it even harder.

Anyway, I feel for her a lot. She keeps getting the hard knocks because she is not as diplomatic a person as an Asian Society would like. I was particularly taken aback by one incident between her and someone else; someone that I truly respected. It is hard for me to rationalize the intensity of their differences. It reiterated that no one is perfect, even after going through many years of life. I must still love people even though they are not perfect.

Sorry for that digression. Choice. We had a talk on my personal development goals. What do I see myself in 5 years from now? What is my ambition. Earlier on in my walk, I felt that it was bad to have selfish ambitions. I need to live a life that is Not my own. However, there is a thing called a holy ambition. Hmm, what is it? In a book lent to me by someone I respect, it talks about being true to my calling. What is it? Anyway, this is a school of thought. In another school, which I felt very strongly during my time in the village was that the people there do not really have choices. They have to do what is asked of them. I guess this is another form of poverty: The inability to make choices but the inevitability of life circumstances.

So, I am turning 23 in a few days -Yes, a GENTLE reminder!!!. So what life lessons have I learnt? I learn that doubt is part of life, there is nothing wrong about it. But one needs to also put his/her foot down and bear the responsibilities of their decisions after the season of doubt. So, for the many things that I have doubted in the past, I pray that in this new coming year, I will come to clarity and make the sweet choice that is for me to make only.

I have had so many fabulous experiences in this past year. It’s amazing. I can only be thankful of my many blessings. From finishing school, getting myself into the workforce, learning more about what it means to love. It has been great. Ups and Downs in its fullest. I had an interesting engaging conversation with another a few days ago on what truth is, we were talking about theology and truth. I decided that I know that Jesus is the truth not because of logic. I see his miracles big and small each day of my life. I pray that this friend of mine will one day see the glory of God in all its fullest. My laws of logic are not enough to convince him. Dope!

Ok, have a great weekend all, its time to do more work and look busy. God bless you and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Until next time, Jesus Loves you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cool of the night breeze...

There is an attraction in writing in the middle of the night when all is quiet and the only sounds one hears is that of the crickets outside.. I just finished reading the book "Flowers for Algernon".. Hmm, as my sister puts it.. thought provoking.
Are things more beautiful because they are temporal? What is the value of a human life? We are the most populated animal in the world and yet everyone is special, unique and God says.. fearfully and wonderfully made.

(the keyboard of this laptop of mine is dying. I am sad.. I have emotional connections with this laptop.. My faithful companion during those nights typing away on all those frivolous papers.. I need to save my photos.. Shall add that to my long list of to do list before I leave...)

Anyway, why am i up at 322 am right? Since my younger days.. sleeping late is my way of silent defiance amongst many other reasons... When there is something bugging me, I can't sleep. I got to process those thoughts. Wonder in front of the tube what's wrong or read a book and listen to some music... (currently listening to the soundtrack of Sleepless in seattle)...

So the question now would be what am I defying against? What's up right?... I think that I am still learning about what it means to be a woman (I dread this word.. Lady sounds much better to me.. but anyways..)Just reread the book Captivating,.. It is about a book on being the woman God wants you to be.. Before you go yeah yeah.. I've read enough of these books to know that they are just some ideals that are OUT OF REACh.... I like this book because it is actually encouraging (instead of reproaching).. Or if a friend at work would put it, it appeals to that intuitive, feely type in me..In a very short summary, the book emphasized about the importance of our Heart. Not our achievements, our wealth, status, fortune... That God is THE knight in shining armour and he really love love me.. Sigh. 23 in 3 weeks (thanks for the reminder jiamin!?!) and yet I still cannot understand a sunday sch song..

Yup.. there was also this part about being beautiful. I have decided to set my heart to becoming beautiful. Not as the world would have me be... but that which is lasting.. The elusive and almost non existent inner beauty.. So much so that it radiates out.. So, been meditating on what it is.. 1 peter 3:5-8.. (camp verse when I was in Secondary 3).. "do not give in to fear"... the main ghost in my life. God knows all that terrifies me. everything. From being not enough to being too much etc. In short, I guess i am saying that I am trying. To not give in to fear (i can't stop being scared.. But I can choose my reacion) ....

Another aspect about being a woman is dealing with men. The weird gender that I still do not get! How do you show grace, love and yet be an encourager and an influencer and not a control freak all in one? Go figure. Sigh. this perpetuates my I am happy to go away again from this all.. Cannot...

So, enough gibberish thoughts. Today is Good Friday. Thank you God for your love. Thank you for being good enough for humanity. Help us be humble and obedient enough to be your children.

Had nice steamboat dinner and ice cream with my favourite people. But a few werent there.. :S School feels so far removed. Can I go back there pretty please? I promise to honour datelines and be diligent.. Thanks for my pretty accessories and the box to keep them all in. My first present! Today my fish bought me a cookie monster t shirt, and he got himself the elmo one! Hee! :) I was quite thrilled. We are going to wear it to church on Sunday. Perhaps I will capture a picture then? I always say that but I don't do it!!!

Watched "why my vote matters"... I think that MM Lee is quite insightful.. and the journalists do sound very foolish in comparison.. But I guess like teenagers, they don't want to be spoon fed, the illusion to be in control of their situation.. Hmmm.

Ok, I will sleep now. Enough rebellion for one night. Good night world. Jesus loves you and that is what christianity is about. Love. the unconditional sort. And this is why we celebrate Good Friday and Easter. Jesus's Love.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Late night thoughts

*Breathes in & out* I have so many different trains of thoughts.

Be still and know that You are God..... (sssttiillll).....

Okie, again, will number these thoughts. so read on if you are interested, otherwise, may i point you to one of my favourite comic reliefs. Howard Lo. Nope, no crush on him. But I really enjoy reading his blog. Hilarious, insightful, sensitive, witty. all rolled in one. I raved about him long ago...but.... He really writes well!!! :) (Big Grin)It be interesting to meet him one day. I am quite sure he will fall short of my expectations. considering how I have placed him on a 'pedestal'.. hmmmm....

1) Screwtape letters. CS Lewis. If you are feeling like a good read and nothing really jolts your conscience anymore without being condescending... May I recommend Screwtape letters. It is chilling i think. Shows you the ploys of the evil one. Yes, I know that I cannot take the book literally, this are but ideas of a man (possibly ordained by God) BUT... IT is quite amazing. I guess it feeds the more inquistive side of me... Makes you more aware of the schemes, but does it help you with the narrow path that we are commissioned to walk on? Lord, I pray that you will help me to be the child that you want me to be...

2) Church. Okie, this is written mainly in reply to my lovely sister's blog entry a while ago... how can people have a home church at A and feed of another church at B(something of that effect). The answer to that honestly is that there is nothing perfect in that. I think that this is my way of coping with reality. Remember how I tell you that people have different battles that they choose to fight? I guess at this point in time, I have chosen not to fight this battle. maybe I am just tired, defeated or distracted. At B, there is the total abandonment of self and the full concentration on God that makes it easier to bear. I pray you will not feel like me regarding this. Maybe it is good too, i am not sure. I am not saying anything good or bad, but the guilt, the longing, the seeking all twirled into one. To know that God is around in the good and the the beautiful and the ugly....

3) My Dad's graduation from bible school. For some reason, I am really happy for him. Happy for the opportunity. All his life, he thinks about the safety, comfort, joy and happiness of his family, it is really nice for him to enjoy the fun, learnings, attention that he did. Have I told you that I really love my dad? I am your typical Daddy's girl. Thank you Lord for this opportunity to be his daughter. (If you are thinking that he is PERFECT.. ask any of those in the house and you will know that this is NOT true!!! )

4) Loving the imperfect. (Love your neighbour as yourself...)I think that this is difficult. The coping with the imperfection seen in self and others. It makes one despair, escape,harden,and all things bad.. Yesterday, I went nuts. (:S in skype in french, it means an unquiet heart) I guess the trick round this is to know that humans are NOT PERFECT. Managing expectations.. :) The love of Christ that works through us.. Not for us to manipulate and say that God wills it but to have that grace that he has for us and to use it on others... I have always thought that I have a forgiving nature.. but yesterday was scary.. I canot indulge myself that way... Dear Lord, teach me to Love your creatures and to see the world through your eyes please..

5) Relationships. I am conflicted. Really I am. Watched some dutch movie today on Demand tv(digital cable).. haha, I have decided that the movies on demand tv are all related to sex, horror, and the ugly side of humanity. Art often is. What is art?(don't get me started, i did a full philosophy course on that).. Hmm. one of the reasons for its existence is about honest expression of self. But self is imperfect. So perhaps that's why it is not all that wholssome sometimes.. Anyways. back to the movie. It shows the depiction of party life in holland, and some part of BGR. What is in a relationship?
At times like these.. I feel juvenile and immature. I want the euphoria of feeling in love, the commitment of someone being around, the bestest qualities in a man that will sweep me cross my feet. But in reality, that is not the case and these ideals often fall flat on the ground often breaking into many reality bits. Ouch. Tough. Hmmm, help me to not succumd to the natural tendencies to fear the future cos I know that it will not be ideal. Oh well. I am thinking about individuals that I know are not perfect (but I have yet to see their flaws)... Hmmm.. :S

okie, it is time to sleep. Time to meet God in that quiet place. time to be reproached, loved, talk to. Nite World. above all, I know that God is good and I am in good hands.