Wednesday, December 24, 2014

epiphany #137462

I am not what I do, or the role I play... Therefore, I should not let it completely devastate me. My studies, I do because I want to offer something of my thoughts to something that I think is important. Being a wife is a role, like being a daughter, or a friend. Husband is important, but our relationship doesn't define me.

Balance. I want to work on it this coming year. Tipping too easily. I used to pride myself with being passionate. But I do not want to die of passion. It needs to come with coping mechanisms. I need to remember that as God instituted routine, routine is important. There is a time for everything.

I want to be disciplined in coming up with a structure in the upcoming year.

So help me God. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Clinging on to God's promises

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Today, the spiritual war wrecks my soul. I allowed the dark side to overwhelm me. To bring me closer to what can't be God. I need God. I need to not willingly be stolen, killed and destroyed. I need your strength God to give me life. 

Season to understand why Jesus is really the good news. in today's pluralistic world. In a world with so much pain and suffering. How is the coming of Jesus truly good news? In a doubting, insecure heart, I need to somehow find Jesus as my good news. 

It is time to talk to someone. to have someone to do life with. Maybe a prayer partner of sorts. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

To Have Peace.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

- It's interesting Jesus said this after referencing his death as well as the trials that people will face, abandoning Jesus. 

- Peace. What is peace? To know that Jesus foretold the issues people will face, and that he has overcome the world, therefore we can trust him? 

- What does it mean to take heart? Quick search on the internet says to be courageous, cheer up... 

I need to learn to be courageous. To not want to hide away. The more I am exposed to the evils of the world, the more I want to be 'enlightened' from it and run away... but yet, this is not Jesus' way. He says that he has overcome the world.... and that should give me courage. courage that it is all under control one way or other. The poor drunks that I try to avoid because I am scared of being harassed, the students that are burning out or have not decided what they want to do with their life, after devoting so much of it into learning about ministry... the little resources that I have (or the uncertainty that I feel)... friend that I meet that feels like she has ruined her life. 

To have peace. So hard for me. I am still battling stress symptoms. Quite ridiculous. Jesus, please put it in my soul that you have overcome the world. Please give me strength to take heart. To believe in your overcoming the world. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Farewell thoughts

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Maronite Church Downdown Beirut
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Sunset over the Mediterranean sea
Last night here in Lebanon, green valley hotel :) It has been a growing experience. If I had a schema to think about the world. It is being rethought. :) Some thoughts as I end my time here... 

- Worlds colliding 
I meet people here who know people that I have met in my past travels (time in Singapore).As an example, the National Director, that I have never met, is good friends with my boss who hired me... the one who left many many moons ago. On one hand, it's nice to have a point of reference, or the other, so scary. You never know which part of history will catch up with you. 

Anita who graciously took me around the city. 
Blue Mosque.. reconstructed after the war (looks like the Disney castle in my opinion)
- Factions and parties and religions
I am still trying to wrap my head around all the different political parties, power players here. "The more you know, the more you don't know"... How true. My colleague said that on my first day in the office, I have since tried to understand the situation. The alliances, religious sects involved, middle eastern political parties... It all adds to much complication. Coupled with people who seem to be highly opinionated on what's right/wrong.. there is no room for compromise. Especially when religion is in the picture... absolutes are thrown in as the reason for action. :( No religion is not the alternative to bad religion... I thought about that long ago when talking to some good friends about their discomfort with religion... But what is 'good' religion then? How can I decide that its not good? One part of it is in the earnest study of the Bible, (but extremists study the Bible too...)the other part is to not be focused only on the structural aspects, but also to care about the individuals... 

- Prophetic hope
So easy to lose hope here. Or to put one's hope in money (to run away when necessary), material things. In some ways, I see parallels here and in Singapore. Countries trying to define themselves in the sea of people slightly different...  So necessary to remember that my hope is in the God who is coming again. and therefore I can be in the thick of it. That my hope is in the living God, and not in the "chariots" or "weapons" that men have. A tension.. to wait on God and to do something (and if we were to do something, to do the right something) 

I go back to love. my professor likes justice/rights. I find that not as fundamental as love. Rights feels like a minimum standard. But if we strive only for the minimum standards, something gets lost. So hard to love though. to really be emotionally involved but not to a point where one loses one's brain. spoke to someone who is transitioning from the office. at a certain point, he got really emotional. and apologized for it. I saw at the moment the pain he felt for the work he does. He can be cool and come across as nonchalant about leaving. But beneath, he cares. And that is something that should be nurtured (i think). People here talk about how everyone is replaceable, which is true in some sense... but still it should not be what we think when we see people. I romantically like the idea that people are 'called', and the organization should nurture that calling as far as possible. So hard, but that's what hope is? Or faith? to trust in what cannot be seen. 

Drive back from the province... beautiful sunset.
Shee Shah... sold on the streets
- thankful
All in all, I am thankful. Thankful for this experience, for the people that I have briefly met. For making new experiences, widening horizons, blowing my mind...  Who knows what this brings. but in the meantime, this world continues to be a weird strange place... and I am thankful to be a part of it. I hope to not lose my sense of wonder... Some other photos to remember by trip by... 

Wine tasting.. (Never knew there was wine in Lebanon)
The idea of it is more interesting than it is... Tastes like chewing gum... 
Princess Jasmine's hat! With Colin, colleague who brought me here. 
White coffee... Otherwise known as water with some aromatic essence.. Interesting... 

Funny Rice Sack... 

Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. Khalil Gilbran (Lebanese poet)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Welcome to what was a part of the Ottoman Empire... Lebanon!

Feeling enormously blessed to be in Lebanon for the next two weeks. This feels completely like a God thing. I did not in any way ask for the job, did not network or anything like that. It just happened. Sort of. Ex-colleague skyped me and asked if I would be interested. Said yes, since I just finished my other consultancy... Glad also to use the skills I learnt from my previous life (was almost impressed with the stuff I came up with so many moons ago!)

I spent some of today reading more about Lebanon and being acquainted with the work I should be doing. Whichever country has a tree in their flag must be a unique country. Lebanon is unique. This land has been part of the action for a while.. It was mentioned in the Bible. As part of the Roman empire, Tyre was one of the big centers for early Christian life. When the Ottoman empire started to invade, unlike their neighbors, some Christians held strong to their faith. Today, there is a a big Christian minority here. Sad though that the different religions form the basis for their civil war, and continue to be a problem today. While at a security briefing, I had a short briefing on the different provinces, the different conflicts, as well as the different places that WV works in. We have refugees tents for Syrian refugees (fun fact: WV disburses Visa cards instead of real food to these refugees to minimize risk), also Area Development projects with Water and Sanitation projects, Child protection, Education projects etc etc. Fascinating. So many new things. Lebanese women are very beautiful too. Men not as in your face like the men in Istanbul, so I am feeling safer :)

So with new work brings new joys and new angsts. Basically lots of emotions! One of the things I am dealing with right now is how small "development" really is. What does it mean to help develop a land (that has been around for a while) Feeling the smallness of this grand ideal had for a moment made me doubt my decision for studying development, or feel sorry for myself for investing most of my working life in this. I need to process this, , else it will fester... else I become jaded, and make this 'just a job'. I will be sad when that day comes...

God's word has always been central to my understanding of development. I respect that this is not the motivation for everyone, but I am just speaking for me. Yay for no need to be logical, persuasive with my arugments. this is a space to just be me (or to figure out what that looks like). Today, I am humbled that God chooses people as his co workers. Not superheros or big institutions. But really just people. He sent his 12 to do his work. I wonder how many people would be pleased with a ministry of 12 at the end of 3 years? But I digress, people. People who are weak, who can be easily influenced by where they come from, who have emotions and are therefore erratic. God chose people. I am in awe.  I am thankful that God chose to use the weak, so that his glory be shown.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2Corinthians 4:7-10
I am convinced that 'development' without the understanding of God as the ultimate savior, is conversion to another worldview. No, I do not mean that development work = Christian Witness. What I mean is that nothing can save another, except God. Sure we can show signs of goodness wherever, whoever we are, but being kind/nice is not the end all of development. there is an element of change from one state to the other. This requires eventually an understanding of God I think. Sadly, I do not even think that institutional faith is sufficient. This faith in God needs to be worked out personally, as well as also for different communities. What does the Bible say about what good is? Do we really know God?

At the same time, I champion the need to call out these goodness in all cultures, and sincerely believe that there are remnants of goodness in all cultures (who consider themselves Christian or not). But ultimately, the Bible, and perhaps theologians as they try to think the different concepts through, is important in the understanding of good 'development'.

We need to think these through intentionally. I am sad that we don't do these enough. In my opinion, our standards of excellence comes instead more from managing consultants or what the external experts say. There is a very real fear corruption ( a million signatures to get anything done) and the fear of budget cuts. The CC person here now reports to advocacy, who reports to the integrated program director, who reports to the ND.. What kind of impact should that bring? What does it take for the conversation of 'development' to be focused more on helping the beneficiary, instead of being hung up with costs, "external goods" as MacIntyre would say?

Going back to the field after a few years also amazes me how much I have grown or hardened. I don't get as emotionally involved as I used to. I do not allow myself (as much) to get tangled with the joy or pain of others. I recognize that this office will continue to exist with or without me. I am just a drop a tiny tiny drop in the work that is done. The challenge then, is to stay motivated and to do my job well, while recognizing that ultimately it is not mine to control.

My thought dump for tonight. The blog/facebook is increasingly the mode of tracking my life/thoughts. It makes it easy for me to remember the goodness of God. Something very important in this journey of life.

Take care world. In this world there will be problems, but God has overcome the world (in a good way ;))

On a side note. ALL theologians should watch/ talk about the Dark knight. Amazing for Ethical discussions. Amazing for Postmodern discussions. For what right/wrong is. If I am ever a professor... this is definitely a must watch. (Which reinforces the need for God.. since we are all fallen)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I am who I am...

I have been meditating on this passage. Remembering that because God is with me, I am enough. Writing woes... 

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Messy life. Last night for a while

Packing up more of life here. C'est la vie.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doctoral week.. Or i am really not a dodo

Flew back last week for the doctoral week. It was a good meeting learning bout all sorts of random stuff... I felt less alienated as I understood terms like patristics, hermeneutics, epistemology, etc etc. It was good to feel the progress I have done. My presentation went ok as well, so that's nice. 

I flew back feeling thankful. Thankful for the time with people I love... Thankful to remember that I m not too dodo... That there is a context that I am from, yes, it is different, but to feel/remember that it exists. I am rethinking what it means to be comfortable to be who I am, especially when confronted with differences. (like not having children, my ang mo husband, living far far away).. perhaps being tall has helped me with being more ok with being so different. But, this difference felt more pronounced this time round, and I am also happy to "own" it more. this is who I am... This renewed confidence has been good... Thankful for that. 

I kept flying into more sun... View from one's window.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


So much growing up
In this metropolis
Everything from the flutter to the shatter.

Coming to this city with many different special people.
Special memories made

New buildings appear, old tradesmen slowly disappearing. 
Life goes on, Time waits for no one

To stay brave. 
Remember God as my anchor
And to remember to smile every once in a while.. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Home away from home

Waiting to board.. Should be soon. On my way to Bangkok to catch up with some people, as well as spend time with the darling. 

Coming back home(Singapore) has been mostly sweet. Little bitter but mostly sweet. But now that I've felt most emotions and processed them, I am able to talk about it. 

All those babies! Lovely new lives. It's funny to come home to 5 new babies in my life. All from people that I consider very dear in my life. Almost feels instant since I was not around to see them pregnant... :) very cute. Yet also a big big responsibility.... Thinking and praying for the new mommies in my life.

A 2 yr gap in life. It feels strange to come back home after 2 yrs. things that I think are recent are around 2-3 yrs ago. Not recent at all! I want to be back more often. Else this will all be very foreign. Oh well. God, you know the desires f my heart....

One's path and walking through it. Few years ago, I thought I knew what it means to choose differently. However, there are aspects that I have not thought about... I am currently trying to reconcile and live bravely. 

Ok, this is it for now. Time to board. Lots of love for now! Photo of breakfast with father... One of the things I miss most! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Things to do while I am home!

1. Write write write (Paper due early August and my dissertation proposal)

2. Study for Exams...

3. Apply for new IC

4. Sort out banking stuff (UOB, POSB, Standard Chartered)

5. Sort out Driving License

6. Meet people & new babies

7. Write invoices

8. Comparative Study of Coaching for Wan Chung

9. Learn how to cook more Singaporean food

10. Hang out with the family more

11. telephone list

12. clean room

Will add to the list as I remember.. In the mean time, wow, I'm home! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

pink dots and white shirts

Writing so that I can "move on"... think about other things. People who know me might know that I have people I dearly love in my life who identify themselves as gay. Who feel discriminated for who they are and so share their lives selectively depending on the audience. This grieves me. One of the earliest books I read was about living an authentic Christian life. Being a what you see is what you get person. It makes me sad that they can't reconcile their faith with who they think they are... It also makes me think seriously about what I believe in, why do I believe in these things.

Some thoughts I have regarding the pink dots and white shirts and in between.

- We are all created in the image of God, and therefore are "equal". Even if we disagree with each other, respect needs to be accorded.

- I do believe that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. And that He calls me to be holy, just as He is holy. This call for holiness is what I strive for, living to be like Jesus.

- I try to live this life of holiness in this world that is marred by sin. No, I don't think that we should live a crappy life on this earth and only look forward to life in heaven. Life on this earth is a gift. While there will be troubles in this world, the God of the universe loves me heaps, and has made the earth. He even called it good. Despite sin and its falleness, I believe that there is still goodness to be celebrated, lived out. What kind of Christian will I be if I only wallow in the miseries of this world. What kind of trust do I have of God?

- While created in His image, we as fallen creatures have both characteristics of both his goodness and the fall.  We have all sinned, fallen short of God's glory, and therefore need his saving grace. Even in our brokenness, there are signs of beauty that should be celebrated.

- The church is worried. Sure. Who wouldn't be.

She recognizes that there are individuals who are attracted to people of the same sex. Regardless of their sexual orientation, the Church has always looked on each individual as being a child of God, made in His image and likeness and is therefore worthy of love and respect.

Discrimination of any kind is thus neither pleasing in the eyes of God, nor that of man.

However, the Church also believes that when God created man (and woman), He had intended for them to "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it". (Genesis 1:28) For this reason, although the Church treats each individual, regardless of his/her sexual orientation, with sensitivity and respect for his/her dignity, she upholds the view that LGBT sexual relationships are not in accordance with the plan of God.

This kind of lifestyle should not be promoted by Catholics as it is detrimental to society, is not helpful to integral human development and contrary to Christian values.

I agree with not discriminating. But it is not so easy to distinguish one from the other. When does discrimination end and promotion begin, especially in such delicate issues like that? Taking a re-stand is not going to make anyone feel like they are treated fairly, or loved, or respected. It reinforces the reason for a pink dot event, where "nobody gets it"

(the pink dot) It is a group for everyone, straight and gay, who support the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love. With openness and acceptance, we hope to bring LGBT Singaporeans closer to their family and friends.

Reading this, I cannot see any promotion. If acceptance and openness is promotion, what does it mean to discriminate (or not discriminate)? If the church is responding to the pink dot event as a tool for promotion, what does the church do to not further discrimination? Especially in the face of 377A?

I read Vincent Wijeysingha's facebook note with sadness. It is not difficult to note the amount of angst he feels with the church. While being excellent in rhetoric, he normally approaches a subject with wit and cool logic. This note is instead filled with personal pain and anger.. understandably so after what the church has done. While I disagree with him that they have no say in moral conversations, I think that more care needs to be taken in the plural society that Singapore is in.

At the same time, I read other notes in support of the white shirts with indignation. I think there is a large part of this that comes from fear and a real sense of "secularism". I would be fearful too. But the question is what are we doing with the fear? Instead of reacting like those who feel discriminated, are we doing any better? What does it mean to live a Christ like life? Instead of starting a white shirt protest, perhaps more could be spent loving them? Or loving our family and our children? Showing them truly what it means to live out lives of holiness?

I think that same sex attraction is real (Even the archbishop did not try to deny it) Question is what are you going to do about it? There are internet sources for and against. Also about what God thinksabout it. Whether to marry a someone of the opposite sex or not.

Ultimately, I think that while I might have an opinion, this is a difficult and sensitive topic that should not be used to divide. There are real lives involved who really live in the pain. Writing about sympathy does not commensurate to real action. There are real families living in the in between, of silent acknowledgment but not more. Is this real love and respect? I hope for the day that we can sincerely talk about it. Where Christians live the truth more than talk about it, where we are channels of peace (instead of fueling the fight), where the love of Christ is spoken before judgment (Since we are all already judged anyway).

Difficult... but since when did Jesus say it would be easy?

Monday, June 09, 2014

words to chew on...

Need to buy the book. In the meantime, a place to store my "research". 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For we are in a battle.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

So easy to be swept over by evil schemes. Especially in the current warfare. May I never forget that I have an armor... 

- Truth: Love is from God.. and love is what God asks from us. Even in a society that can feel the antithesis of love. It is not my mistake if I love. And I am able to love, because Christ first loved me. There is no end in love, because Christ conquered the grave. A good day to meditate on this thought. 

- Righteousness: My Righteousness comes from God. I am not made righteous because of the color of my skin, or my residence status. I am worth talking to, and I live by the commandments of my God. 

- Peace: Why fret my soul. Stop fretting. Stop wondering about tomorrow. You need to have peace in you heart (and feet apparently) so you can start walking. How easy it is to hide under a blanket and watch the world go by... This can even be done while busying myself with all good things. But peace girl, peace because Jesus conquered the grave.

- Faith: Boo to always forgetting to believe. I believe, please help my unbelief. I have faith in a faithful God. I have lived some life, and have experienced that he comes through for me. I do not need to live in the "ifs", because I know that my God is ABLE. If he is able to do the whippings and the hanging on the cross, he is able to figure out my next step. 

- Salvation: I am saved. I do not need to die. I do not need to think that death is the answer to questions/problems i have. Life is hard. But I am saved. He has conquered the grave. 

- Sword of the spirit, word of God: With this blog post, I am going on the offensive. I am not crying in fear of the what ifs, but rather remembering that I have an armor that I can choose to wear, and wear I should and will. Instead of growing hard or apathetic or losing hope. I am going to remember this armor, and walk. Walk along as a good Christian soldier. 

ps: thank you Jesus for the cross. :) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a walk amongst blue bells...

Brought my camera out for a walk in the woods, where wild bluebells bloom at this time of the year...

Beauty of a "weed", something that seems to be unnecessary... But yet made beautiful. 

Tall tall trees, with small bird houses... 

Beautiful day with beautiful trees... 

And the darling who loves... and goes for walks, even though he thinks they are boring and for "pensioners"

Surely goodness and love will follow me, all the days of my life... and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.