Sunday, 31 December 2006

The perfect year* - Dina Carroll

Well, it has not been perfect but what a year it has been! It has to be the best of all the years that i've had in this short life of mine. And the unexpected twist at the end made for a superb ending to a wonderful tale.

It's time to roll out the credits and draw the curtains. Take a bow, all you perfomers who played a part, big or small. You are appreciated.

I'm almost sorry that it has to end and 2007 has suddenly crept up - but i can only look forward in great anticipation and with bated breath at what God has in store for me in 2007.

Looking back, it would appear impossible that anything will top what 2006 did for me - but then again, with God all things are possible!

May the year ahead bring loads of joy, peace and love in your life.

For now, let me dwell a little longer at the sweet memories of the past 12 months.

Thank you to you who played a part in making the year such a brilliant one.

Thank you, Lord.

Through it all - Hillsong

You are forever in my life
You see me through the seasons
Cover me with Your hand
And lead me in Your righteousness
And I look to You
And I wait on You

I'll sing to You, Lord
A hymn of love
For Your faithfulness to me
I'm carried in everlasting arms
You'll never let me go
Through it all

Hallelujah, hallelujah

*Song taken from my all time fav musical, Sunset Boulevard

Always on my mind - Willie Nelson

Oh, once in your life you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Pick you up when you're feeling down
Now, nothing can change what you mean to me
There's a lot that I could say...
(DJ Sammy's cover of Bryan Adam's Heaven)

. ... but for now, lemme just wish u a happy new year and a brilliant year ahead. Hope things are good with u. Miss ya...

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered* - Silje Nergaard

As i surfing the net in the wee hours of this morning, i read the "breaking news" on BBC Online that Saddam Hussein was executed less than an hour ago. I must admit that the news came as a surprise to me. They actually did it so fast.

I was wrestling over whether i should blog about this - and i think that in some small ways, i have a responsibility to do so, having studied in great detail crimes against humanity and due process of law - in spite of the possibility that no one would bother to read about it!

I'll try to keep this as short and as un-technical as possible.

To many, it may not be a big deal - that guy was responsible for the deaths of many and now he has faced justice and paid the price for it.

But did he really face justice? Going by the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, he has every right to be protected by law as you and i have.

Saddam's trial was special - and preceding setting - in that it was the first time a former dictator was tried by a Court of his own country for his crimes. The notion is actually quite an attractive one. Previously - as in the case of eg former Yugoslavia and Rwanda - International Tribunals were set up to try these matters. This could be the start of something good.

Having said that, one must not be bewitched by a seemingly good ideal and ignore the dangers. There were many concerns over the Court which heard the case and over the whole trial process. I will just highlight 4 which bothered me:-

1. While acedemicians felt that it was important that Saddam is tried by his own country's court, one wonders how impartial any judge can be in hearing the case - all the more taking into account the how wide the crimes Saddam was accused of.

2. There were also concerns of whether he was given enough opportunity to defend himself. 3 defense lawyers were murdered during the course of the trial. How many others must have been intimidated from taking up the case.

3. The yardstick used to judge Saddam's guilt was "the court being satisfied" of it - which is a departure from the usual "beyond a reasonable doubt" in normal criminal cases. Why is there a difference? And why should there be an apparently lower standard?

4. Finally, there was no appeal process. Once the court had reached a decision, it was cast in stone!!!! This really left me bewildered - this to me is one of an important safeguard in any legal process in court. Courts are run by humans, human are fallible and therefore mistakes can happen. There should always be an avenue for appeal or at least a review. But none was afforded to Saddam.

And i dun even want to get into the issue of death penalty.

Why should all this matter? Even if the process was not right, it's OK - he probably was guilty anyways.

But who are we to judge? In any event, justice must be blind - meaning that anyone and everyone should be treated in the same fair way - for if the standards are lowered now, it can and will be applied to others in future. Whatever decisions we make today has an effect in the future - a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.

Imagine if you were a wrongly accused person being tried by an impartial judge, not being allowed adequate legal counsel, having a lower standard of proof applied on him and not being given a chance to appeal against any decision reached? Imagine if your life was hanging on the balance.

Saddam is gone - and maybe, rightly so. But if the imperfections of the process which got him there are not corrected, it is submitted that his trial could mark the start of the slippery slope (yes, the famous s.s theory - can't run away from it) to a place where the innocent is denied justice.

The ends can never justify the means, especially if the means goes against all that the end is trying to achive.

*I love this song!!! One of me fav jazz songs - and the version by this lass from Norway was one of the earliest rendition that i heard.

Friday, 29 December 2006

One day in your life* - Michael Jackson

Just some random stuffs which happened today:-

  • I got home before midnight - the first time since starting work as a waiter!!!! :-)
  • I stopped working full time and started as part timer. This meant i could stay up til 4 sumthing in the morn and wake up at 2 pm!!!!
  • It oso meant that i had time to chat wif mates on MSN!
  • Real frens share yr joys wif you! Here's the response from me mate when i told him of the best news i've received in me life:-
"Woww thats really GREAT! wow i feel happy for u too! really my whole body tingling with happiness"
  • Called home and chat wif me mom for a while. It was nice. Me dad's feeling better - even was able to drive out and eat pan meen! :-)
  • No e-mails from her. :-(
  • Had an interesting dream - i was in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer!!!! Thinking back, it's so funny - there i was wif Buffy, Xander, Giles and Buffy's mom, discussing the weird things happening in our school. I was convinced that there's sumthing strange taking place! LOL!
  • Speaking of Buffy, i bought a Buffy 2007 Calender - from Calender Club where all 2007 Calenders are going for 50% less! Buffy means that for the first time in many years, i'm not having a LOTR calender!!!!
  • Some hot girl said that i make her laugh! :-)
  • I started taking orders for drinks and deserts at work - much to amusement of me co-workers at the satisfaction i got over it!
  • I ate fong chow - or kai keok (chicken feet) for the first time since leaving M'sia! Man, it was so good! :-P~
p/s - dun ask why one of the bullets is green in colour! i tried to change it but i can't!!!!

*One of his really old songs, when he looked normal! ;-P

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Memory* - Barbra Streisand

Me mate got her wallet stolen while shopping in London yesterday - she lost everything, her bank card, her debit card, her student card, her library card, her train ticket (wif the Tube ticket), some cash - thankfully, not much.

But you know wat hurt her most? It was losing the ticket stub from the first movie she watched with him!

I wonder if she knows how much she is like me in that way!!!

But then again, how many of us do hold on to something physical to remind us of someone, some occasion, some wonderful memory? A phone card, a napkin, a restaurant receipt, an entrance ticket, a bookmark, etc.? And yes, i still have all the movie ticket stubs... somewhere back in me room in Subang Jaya!

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories
Deborah Kerr in An Affair To Remember (referred to in Sleepless in Seattle!)

*Lovely song taken from the musical, Cats, this was her version of the song. I actually heard her version first before Elaine Paige's one.

Mad World* - Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules

News reports say that the Boxing Day sales this year hit a new record. I believe the reports. I was there!!!!!!

I had to go and experience it for meself, having missed it last year while driving all over in the Scottish Highlands. So, after taking 2 buses and spending close to 3 hours travelling time, i stepped out in Oxford Street, London, on Boxing Day. It was madness!!!!!

So many people...


And prams!!!!!!! So many prams!!!!!!! I can still picture me mate's cousin ranting on about how people should not take prams along when going shopping! :-) She's right, tho!

I texted her earlier to see if we could meet up and her reply was as follows:-

"I'm caught in d middle of shopping crowd, not funny. Will hav 2 let you know later when i can think properly..."

I knew what she meant!!!! After a couple of hours, i gave up and went back to Barking for a nap. i felt sick (and a little high from trying on too much perfume! hehehe).

Today, i was there again - and the crowds were there too - even more!!!!!!! Can't breathe, can't think, can't.... resist!!!! ;-P

I tired to find some solace and peace in the National Gallery later in the day - only to find it packed!!!! I've never in me life seen so many people in the NG!!!

View from the NG - my last X'mas in London?

Am so exhausted now... and poorer. But the highlight for me was being able to meet up wif me mate along wif her mates.

And i can boast that i survived Boxing Day at Oxford/Regent/Bond Street, London.

*Nice haunting little song - used in many TV programmes like CSI & Smallville.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

朋友* - Alan Tam

Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's DOA...

I thank God for he has blessed me richly - more than i ever deserve. Just in the past couple of days, i've heard from frens all over the world who sent greetings wishing me nice things, shared me joys with me, cooked for me, drank wif me, got food for me... old frens, new mates - they were all there for me.

What wonderful frens i have. And what a fren i have in Jesus! :-)

*Old classic - my first Chinese song that i could play on me guitar. We - me mates and i - had some really great times singing to it.

The gift* - Jim Brickman

Happy birthday, Lord - even if 25th December isn't the exact day of your birth on this world so many years ago.

And thank you, thank you for the wonderful, brilliant gift this year!!!! It's the BEST, ever!

p/s - cheers TM for letting me know.

*The song taken from Jim Brickman's Christmas album released in 1997, featuring Collin Raye and Susan Ashton on vocals. Love this song!

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Have yourself a merry little Christmas - The Pretenders

The above-titled song is my favourite secular Christmas song. And the best version IMHO is the one by The Pretenders. However, i can't find it so i had to settle for this also brilliant version by Katie Melua:-

I used to wonder why such an optimistic and happy song has such a meloncholic and moody tune. It was when i listened to the original version that i understood.

The song was sung by Judy Garland in the movie, Meet Me In St. Louis. You can see the clip of it here. The lyrics were quite similar to the version we are familiar with but pretty sad. Basically, it was a bleak Christmas and the song was sung with the hope that next year, things would be better.

Subsequently, Frank Sinatra recorded a "brighter" version with more optimistic lyrics - the one we hear today.

It was also interesting to note that there was a "religious" version with the following lyrics:-

Have yourself a blessed little Christmas
Christ the King is born
Let your voices ring upon this happy morn’
Have yourself a blessed little Christmas
Serenade the earth
Tell the world we celebrate the Savior's birth

Let us gather to sing to Him
And to bring to Him our praise
Son of God and a friend of all
To the end of all our days

Sing hosanna's hymns and hallelujahs
As to Him we bow
Make the music mighty as the heavens allow
And have yourself a blessed little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Have yourself a blessed little Christmas night

To all of you, have a blessed Christmas. May your hearts be filled with joy knowing he came to this earth cuz he loves you!

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Joy to the world* - Andy Peterson

A group of Chinese students has criticised a rise in Christmas revelry, urging people to "resist Western cultural invasion", state media says.

I became quite indignant when i read the aforesaid in a news article in BBC Online here. It din help when the article ended with the following statement:-

Western festivals like Christmas and Valentine's Day have been enthusiastically embraced by Chinese retailers and young people alike in recent years.

By stating that, BBC News seem to confirm that Christmas is a "Western festival"! What the....???

I guess the commercialised, frivilous and hedonestic celebration on 25th December every year is a Western culture - if they want the credit for it - but please, Christmas is not a Western festival. Not in it's purest sense.

If we are to take Christmas for what it is, i.e. the celebration of the birth of Jesus, then isn't it clear it's not a Western culture?

When Jesus was born, it took place in Bethlehem. Not in the Western world. Jesus was a born from Jewish parents, not Western. Wise men from the East (not the West) came to visit the baby Jesus.

So how can one say it's a Western festival????

So is it a Middle-Eastern festival? No - cuz Jesus was born to bring eternal life to the whole world. That is why we sing that joy has come to the world! The whole world. For whoever believes in him will have everlasting life (John 3v16).

May this Christmas bring you much joy!

p/s - praise God that me dad is out of the hospital - but he's not out of the woods yet so please continue to pray. Cheers, maties!

p/p/s - pic taken in Galleries La Fayette, Paris of a multi storey X'mas tree. A western practice?!

*Andy's version is one of the most creative versions i've ever heard - just vocals and a bass guitar (with all the techniques - plucking, snapping, tapping, slapping).

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Hero* - Mariah Carey

Lucy: You give up your seat every day in the train.
Peter: Well... But that's not heroic.
Lucy: It is to the person who sits in it.
(Scene from While you were sleeping)

I always had this idea that superheroes must have special powers. Then, the other day I was watching a Top 40 Superheroes countdown (I love these kinda stuffs! KC, remember the Top 100 Horror Scenes? Don’t look out the window! Muahahaha!) and I was surprised that characters like Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones were in the top 10. OK – Luke has the force, so perhaps we can consider that as a kind of superpower, but Indy?

I’m watching a series now entitled “Heroes” – basically where certain people with special powers try to make sense of it, and end up saving the world, eventually. One of these characters is Hiro (brilliantly played by Masi Oka who obtained a Golden Globe nomination for it), a Japanese geek who has the ability to bend time. With his fren, Ando, they travel together to the States – where their “destiny” lies.

In one scene, Ando was saying that since he has no special powers, he can not be a hero. To which Hiro retorted that one doesn’t need super powers to be a hero. One just needs to use whatever abilities they have for others.

That’s interesting. Coupled with the quote above from While you were sleeping, this gave me a new perspective of superheroes. Anyone can be a superhero. It’s just whether they are willing to or not.

As I thought about it, I realised that I’ve been surrounded by superheroes. In just these past couple of weeks, these people have been my superheroes:-

From all ages, and all over the world (Greece, England, China, Scotland(?), Malaysia), they were there, doing what they can – and even more – for me. These heroes lent me money from their first paycheck when mine was stolen, let me stay with them for free, cooked for me, got me a job, sang for me and made me smile, assured me that they’ll be there for me and I have nothing to worry about.

And there have been many more – like me mates who never fail to warm my heart and raise a smile whenever I think of them. And others whom i ask for forgiveness for not mentioning you by name - you know who you are!

Of course, the greatest hero is God himself who gave up everything and came in a form of man to die for us!

We all have some kind of abilities. It’s whether we wanna choose to be heroes or not. I’m gonna try… without the red underwear and thights!

Hiro: If I’m too scared to use my powers, then I don’t deserve them.
Heroes, Season 1, episode 8

*Lovely ballad from 1993 (again!). Imagine listening to this song in a dark cold winter nite, missing home!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

I'd do anything for love (but I won't do that)* - Meatloaf

Is there anything you wouldn't do for love? But is that a paradox since true love knows no limits?

p/s - Cheers Stephan for sending the vid to me.

*Excellent song - you either love the operatic rock ballad style or hate it! This hit the charts in UK in 1993 and got us all singing to it back then.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Pray - MC Hammer

Me dad is hospitalised due to some kidney problem. Doctors are unsure what is the problem. Would appreciate your prayers for him and for me family back home.


Monday, 18 December 2006

Barcelona* - Jewel

Pic obtained from BBC News Online

Many hearts in Merseyside must have sunk when the team chosen to be Liverpool's next oppoent in the knock-out stages of the European Champions League was announced last week. The team that all the English clubs were trying to avoid, the holders of the Champions League Winners Cup, the team with Ronaldinho - Barcelona!!!!

Truth be told, i really din mind. There's this thing about the recent Liverpool team that dun give me the confidence when they meet lower ranking teams. But when they face strong teams, they either rise to the occasion or... lose. If it is the latter, it doesn't hurt so bad cuz they lost to Barcelona!!!! Not Lille... or Arsenal! ;-P

And Liverpool always does well when they have the under-dog tag. Who doesn't love the under-dog?

But what really sank my heart was when i saw the date of the match - February 21, 2007. That means that i'll most probably be watching the game in Malaysia. A voice within me cried out "Noooooooooooooo....".

I guess deep down inside, a part or me is not ready to go back yet... :-(

p/s - i just realised that this is my first Liverpool FC related post! Has it been that long since i blogged about them?

*From my favourite Jewel's album, Spirit.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Never say goodbye* - Bon Jovi

One of the common farewell wishes here is "See you later!" (either "see ya late-er" or "see ya lay-tah"). It is used when the later could mean tomorrow, or next week, or even sometime much later in the future.

As i was leaving Food-on-3 at the end of another long day yesterday, Ann said that to me in her distinct Scottish accent, as she did almost every other day. But this time round, we dun know when the "later" is gonna be - or if there'll be one. It was after all, my last day there.

Déjà vu .... (cue: Twillight Zone music)

Those reading my previous blog would recall at least 2 or 3 other occasions which were my "last day" at Food-on-3.

It's funny how things work out. We say goodbye but sometimes, fate - for want of a better word - brings us back together again. I said me goodbyes to Food-on-3, Rayleigh Tower, University of Essex and Colchester - many times oredi - but here i am, back in Computer Lab F, blogging about working at Food-on-3 yesterday, and later, i'll be going back to Rayleigh Tower to sleep. Yes, i'm back on campus, back in Uni, in Colchester**. When i read my post about the things i'd miss (see here), i had to smile - cuz i'm doing all those things again!!! Yes, even drafting essays!!! (I had to draft a long cover note for me job application to the UN).

Things never work out the way we expect them to. that's loosely taken from "While you were Sleeping" - and it can be so true.

It may be a little scary but if we believe that God is in control of it, we can put aside our fears and sit back and enjoy the journey.

So i've learnt to never say goodbye. Because you never know when we'll meet again.

See ya late-er! ;-)

*One of me mate's favourite song - never fail to remind me of her each time i hear it. We used to study in UM together - but what we din know at that time was that we'd end up working in the same room in the same office and being great frens!

**So yes, technically, the title of this blog is misleading and incorrect now. But surely you dun expect me to change blog again? Some of me mates will kill me....

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Believe in him* - Aubrey Suwito

Garrett dug into his baggy slacks and produced his battered book, The Miniature World.

In a halting voice the boy read, “’There are those who suggest that a divine force doesn’t exist, but one’s cynicism is truly put to the test when we look at the world of insects, which have been graced with so many amazing characteristics: wings so thin they seem hardly to be made of any living material, bodies without a single milligram of excess weight, wind-speed detectors accurate to a fraction of a mile per hour, a stride so efficient that mechanical engineers model robots after it, and, most important, insects’ astonishing ability to survive in the face of overwhelming opposition by man, predators and the elements. In moments of despair, we can look to the ingenuity and persistence of these miraculous creatures and find solace and a restoration of lost faith.’”

(Taken from Jeffrey Deaver’s The Empty Chair)

* This song has been credited to Aubrey but obviously, he is not the singer. I can still remember the first time I heard the song, years ago. Surprisingly, it was played over the local radio station (Light and Easy 105.7 fm). At a time when things weren’t too rosy for me, the reminder in the bridge of the song “He loves you, is that so hard to realise?” just moved me to tears.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Again and again* - Jewel

This is happening again. On the one hand, i can't believe it. But on the other hand, i know i shouldn't be surprised.

It's becoming like a Groundhog Day for me - except that i'm destined to do the same thing again and again... I thought that like Bill Murray in the movie, i'd learn from me lessons and become smarter. I almost did. When i tried to ignore it, it just came again, much stronger!!!!

Some people never learn. Others, like me, refuse to.

* Jewel's first single from her last album. I really like this song - but then again, i'm biased! ;-P

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Do they know its Christmas?* - Band Aid 20

Tonight was pretty special for me - carolling outdoors in winter! :-)

Quite a big crowd came and carolled at Square 3

Instead of the usual acoustic guitars, we had the Salvation Army Brass Band to lead us!

Altho the best carolling i ever experienced was in 2004 (read about it here), this was pretty memorable. First - and only time - i carolled in winter! At one point of time, the carol sheet i was holding was shaking as my hands trembled in the cold!!! I was also carolling with a group of people from all over the world - from the States, from Africa, from China, from Japan, from Korea, from M'sia... (yes, Markus was there too)!

It was nice to sing out the familiar carols - altho some were in unfamiliar tunes (they sang "Angels from the realm of glory" to the tune of "Angels we have beard on high"!!!!). A group of girls from the Jesus is Alive Fellowship gave a short presentation of 2 songs in African which was really cool.

After the carolling, we adjourned to one of the rooms for refreshments - and i started chatting wif this girl from China. It was interesting, finding out how they celebrated X'mas in China. They don't! No decos, no public holidays. Yup, people go to work and students attend classes on the 25th December every year - unless you happen to work for an overseas company which closes on that day.

Kinda hard to imagine, rite? Even for us in M'sia, it has become so commercialised that everyone celebrates (read: enjoy themselves) X'mas. I guess i just have to imagine Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in Colchester and i get the idea.

But many people out there do not know it's Christmas - and even if they know, they do not know the reason why we celebrate it!

I guess it's up to those who know to tell those who dun, rite?

I had the opportunity to challenge the girl - who is an atheist - to consider the existence of God. After 2 hours, she still maintained that it's not a worthwhile effort. I thank God for the opportunity anyways - and who knows?

*I was initially quite skeptical of this remake but after watching the video here, i enjoyed it - altho the starting sounded a little dodgy! For the younger generation, the original version was recorded by a group of British artists led by Bob Geldof in 1984 to raise money for the Ethiopians famine victims. This version is the 2nd remake and released in 2004.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Sadness (Part 1)* - Enigma

This was an e-mail from a mate on her response to one of me earlier posts, "I will always love you":-

Sniff….felt so sad after I read this article…and it’s so true! Some people enter
your life and change it forever, change the way you see, feel and do things,
such that you can’t remember what it was like before they entered it…

Isn’t it sad that forever after, you’re looking for some similarly-shaped person
to fill up the hole he/she left? Isn’t it sad that sometimes it feels like no
one will ever match up to this person? And isn’t it sad watching a new person
try his/her very best to fill it up, and fall so short, and yet you cannot bring
yourself to love him/her more? And isn’t it sad to admit that that one person
has taken with him/her a part of your heart, that’ll never be yours again,
something you can never give to the new person?

The more i thought about it, the more i disagreed wif me mate... on some levels. Yes, it is sad - but if you have ever had such a person (or for some fortunate ones, persons) in your life, would you wish you never met them in the first place?

Even if it causes pain, if if it left a big gap in your heart, even if the longing remains unsatisfied, i doubt that anyone would wish they never experienced such love at one point of time - the knowing looks shared across a crowded room, the pain of goodbye coupled with the anticipation of meeting again, the rush of adrenalin as you walk pass her flat, having that person as the last thought in your mind before you sleep and the first when you awake, sitting together in silence comfortably, feeling like you can take on the whole Empire by yourself when you see her smile...

And altho a part of you has been taken away - forever, i believe - your life would nevertheless be so much more enriched. A paradox, isn't it? You lose something but gain so much. You feel sad but you dun.

Am i making sense???



(yes, yes, i think i have overused this quote in recent times - but it's so true!)

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Christian, Moulin Rouge

*This song was originally released in Germany as "Sadeness (Part 1), apparently, a reference to Marquis de Sade. When it was released in the UK, the title was changed to "Sadness (Part 1)" and hit no. 1 in January, 1991.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

A thousand miles* - Vanessa Carlton

'Cause you know I'd walk a thousand miles if I could just see you tonight...

Actually it's slightly more than 5,000 miles (which explains why i'm not walking), but who's counting?! ;-P

p/s - for me, Terry Crews (and not Cedric the Entertainer as someone alleges) stole the show in White Chicks! Especially in the scene above! LOL!

*Excellent song by Vanessa Carlton wif nice piano parts. Will prolly enter me list of me all time fav songs.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Old before I die* - Robbie Williams

Pinochet dies - at the age of 91. He was surrounded by his family members in a nice hospital.

I'm definately out of line here - but the first thing which came to me mind when i read that is "Why do all these evil dictators get to live to a ripe old age????"

If you don't know who he is, he was the President of Chile from 1974 to 1990. He came into power after a CIA-sponsored coup which toppled the democratically elected Marxist government. Some say he is the saviour of Chille. Others, a remorseless murderer. Democracy and civil rights were thrown out of the window when he was in power. His regime is believed to be responsible for over 3,000 deaths and disapperances as well as claims of torture by over 30,000 people. Mass graves are still being found til today. (source from BBC News Online

Yet, he lives for more than 9 decades. (Oh, is it just me or does anyone else think it's ironic that he dies on 10th December i.e. Human Rights Day?!!! )

The Bible tells us that "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established" (Romans 13v1). So God established Pinochet's regime????

I don't know. I dun have the answers at this point of time.

What i do know is that God is a God of love. And he is sovereign as well as all-powerful. And at the same time, he gave men the free-will. Some choose to abuse such freedom. Others fold their hands and choose to do nothing while some just point an accusatory finger at God blaming him for all evil. Yet others uses that free will to help those in need.

The choice is ours to make.

*Taken from his first solo album Life thru a lens which also has the brilliant Angels.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Thank you* - Dido

It seems I had it all wrong. It turns out, you go somewhere new and meet people who help you feel worthwhile again...
Iris (Kate Winslet) in The Holiday (Watch the trailer here)

This post is dedicated to those new people who has made me feel worthwhile again when i'm far away from me family and mates - some of whom are far away now themselves.

Miss you all!

* The song which was made famous thanks to Eminem's Stan - but Dido is a star on her own account and she has since made it based on the strength of her songs and her good voice.

Fat boy* - Jewel

In light of the moody previous post - and the fact that i'm sure no one wants to hear me rant about giving-up-hope-but-hope-returns-again nor talk about an incredibly depressing - but absolutely brilliant - movie i just watched earlier (Nobody Knows), here's something light-hearted which i drafted weeks ago but never got to publish it.

Yeah, if I’m not careful, I could end up being Jewel’s abovecaptioned song!!! For those of you who are protesting “but… but you are a fat boy…”, lemme tell ya that that was a thing of the past! ;-P

Just a couple of weeks ago, I weighed meself again – and I found out that since leaving home last October, I’ve lost 16 kgs!!!!! I was telling me mate the other day that the last time I was in the UK, I lost 10 kg – and when me mom saw me, she broke out into tears! Me mate told me that I better stop losing weight – esp since me dad has a heart condition now!!!

Well, I’m not too worried – the last time I was in the UK, I started out at 64 kilos. So losing 10 was really a lot! This time round, I was 80 kilos before I came!!!!! So I now weigh the same as I weighed when I first came over here!

So what’s up wif me then? Me ex-flatmates – esp the female ones – wants to know how and why it happens!

Well, unlike normal people, I notice that I lose weight when I’m happy!!! Really! It’s times when I’m stressed and unhappy that I gain weight. I guess for me, food – or rather, eating – is another form of escapism for me, a source of comfort. When things are not going too well, I eat! Yes, I love food, I love eating. So I guess I overdo it when things are down.

Cuisines from all over the world - Indian in London, British in Scotland, Italian in Paris, Japanese in London, Turkish in Caen, Chinese in Amsterdam ;-P

But when things are brilliant – for instance, last summer – I just feel so full of life and joy that I dun overeat. Dun get me wrong – I still love eating and I dun starve meself. It’s just that I eat to live and not live to eat.

However, since being here in London, I realise I’m eating a lot more than usual. Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe it’s being away from me mates. I dun know. I dun even jog anymore – been 6 weeks since I last did that!!! Me jogging shoes are in Colchester! I sleep so much more too – yup, a regular pig. And I vegetate (or shall I say “potato-tate”?) in front of the TV most of the time too!

Well, at least me mom won’t break out into tears when she sees me again! And I can say that Jewel sang a song about me!

* Interesting song from my fav Jewel's album. Did you know that it was originally titled "Fragile Flame"?

Friday, 8 December 2006

I'll be home for Christmas* - Vanessa Williams

It's funny the kind of thoughts of that run thru your mind when you are stuck doing dish-washing for 8 hours - like what the heck am i doing here? Not unlike the prodigal son, i wanted to pack it up and just go home.

Well, truth be told, it wasn't the first time in recent times that i toyed with the idea of going home for Christmas. A couple of not-so-pleasant incidents contributed to that. Coupled with Mastercard's latest tear-inducing commercial (ripped off the opening scene of Love, Actually, no doubt! The scene is the arrival hall at the airport when people come and meet their loved ones. In typical Mastercard fashion, the words "Ticket from Toronto, Canada, so-much pounds; ticket from Sydney Australia, so-much pounds"; etc.; and ends off with "Spending Christmas at home - priceless!").

But no. In all probability, God-willing, i'll be spending Christmas away from home - for the 3rd time in me life!

In any event, going on-line after a long day work yesterday helped make my decision easier. A quick visit to
The Star Online and i read about the Muslim religious officers fighting over yet again another body to bury - they seem more concerned with the dead than with the living dun they? After all, where were they when Rayappan converted out of Islam, signed a Statutory Declaration and even got his Identity Card to reflect the fact that he's no longer a believer of the Muslim faith???

Then there's the hoo-hah in the East coast State again about imposing fines on certain kind of dressing by the women-folk.

This is home? If it is, why would i wanna go back there?

I then read
this comment in an Aussie newspaper which din sound too far away from the truth - some parts more than others! (I've always griped about the fact that Malaysia spent millions to build an F-1 circuit but some hospitals dun even have enuf incubators for new-born babies so much so that me mate who's a doctor told me of incidents when they had to send pregnant mothers away to other hospitals if they can "hold-on"!!!!!)

This is home?

One thing we realised when we are here in the UK - the British-born Indian will consider himself a Brit first and then an Indian. The Australian-born Chinese considers himself an Aussie first before he may maybe say he's a Chinese. But in Malaysia, we are usually Chinese, Indian, Malay etc. Why is that?

One of the reasons - i believe - is that these Brits, or Aussies, or Americans have the same status as the other citizens in thier country. A Chinese guy who is an American citizen enjoys and shares all the benefits of a white guy who is born an American.

But not in M'sia. After nearly half a century of independence, i as a Malaysian-Chinese still do not enjoy all the benefits as a Malay does. What do the politicians have to say about it?
If you dun like it, you can leave the country!!!!

This is home?

What about the church i worshipped in? Well, none of the leaders have even contacted me or kept in touch with me to see if i'm doing fine or not. The last e-mail i received from the YAf was a forwarded mail about taking leave in 2007 (What the...??? Make mental note: tell them to leave me out of their mailing list!).

This is home?


Sorry. Needed to let out some steam...

So what is home? Well, home is where my family is. Home is where me mates are. And because of them, i will miss spending Christmas at home.

So - you may ask - then why dun you go home for Christmas? Well, as the lyrics of above-titled song say, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams"!

p/s - on a much lighter note - and totally unrelated - i came across this post which you car-enthusiasts and people interested in advertisements will appreciate! Be warned - contain elements which some may consider vulgur!

*This song was the reason why i bought (i bought as a joke for a fren - dun ask - but she refused to take it) Ms. Williams' Christmas album, Star-bright - and it's one of the best i've listened to. Her rendition of the Christmas songs with a jazzy feel is absolutely brilliant!

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Christmas is all around* - Bill Nighy

So how many Englishmen does it take to set up an X'mas tree? A 3-storey-high tree?

Not a trick question, nor is it a joke. I just thought of it as i sat outside (i was the only one while the rest preferred the warmth inside) of the cafe, having me lunch break last week.

It was the 1st of December then so time to set the tree up - and FYI, there were 7 men setting it up. One on the ladder putting up the lights, another holding the ladder, one more making sure the lights are not getting tangled up, another getting the decorative bows, and 3 others whom i honestly dun know wat they were supposed to do!!!!!!

It's not just on campus - everywhere, the place is getting ready for Christmas. The other day, i couldn't stop smiling when i heard Christmas songs being sung in Mandarin at my favourite supermarket in Chinatown! The X'mas lights have been up in London for a while. You see road-side vendors selling chestnuts roasted over an open fire.

Christmas lights along Regent Street, London (bottom left is the famous Hamley's Toy Store)

That's one thing i like about this time of the year here - while Chinese New Year can be so so depressing cuz there's no air of festivity except in Chinatown, they make up for it during X'mas time.

I've got me tiny litle tree up oredi! Here's hoping for some snow while eluded me last year (i went all the way up north to look for it but it came down south to mock me!) altho at the way things are going, a white Christmas is not gonna happen!!!!

Oh well... no matter what, it doens't change the true meaning of Christmas! :-)

*Yes, this is the corny remake of Love is all around in the movie, Love, Actually. It's time to bring out all me X'mas movies and watch them again!

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

What's up* - Four Non-Blondes

What's up? Well, the leaves of the tress still are! Some, at least!

Look at the pic on the right - would you believe it if i told ya that the pic was taken on campus in December??? It looks like October or early November, deosn't it?

I read in the papers the other day - with some measure of amusement - that the trees are confused!!!! Although it is time for winter, the weather is not cold enuf. So shud they drop their leaves or not???

Poor trees...

The weather has been pretty mild lately - unlike at the beginning of November when temperatures plunged suddenly to 6 or 7 degrees in the day and freezing point at some nites. Now, some nites it stays at 13 degrees in London!!!!

I'm the only hero who sits outside Food-on-3 to eat me lunch - in a short sleeve t-shirt, mind you!

*sigh* Signs of global warming? We broke records during the hot summer and they said that the autumn has been one of the warmest in a long long time. So are we gonna be heading for a mild winter? Looks like chances of a white Christmas for me is pretty bleak.

Sunny days in London... during winter!

* Most people think this song is "What's going on?" but in actual fact, it's "What's up". Yes, another song on the charts during me first stay in London. And who remembers Ching who sang this song during her audition for M'sia's TV programme One in a Million? Go to me previous blog here to check it out.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Without you* - Mariah Carey

I've not been really good at corresponding over e-mails in recent times - but it has become worse in the past month or so. I guess some explanation is needed, esp to those who've mailed me and are wondering why i never bothered to reply.

I’m internet-less in London. Heck, there was a point of time when I was even laptop-less! But as me mate would say, it’s better to be laptopless in London than to be topless in London!!!

Sure, there are at least 3 internet cafés in the town i'm in – but as I’m not only internet-less but also job-less, I’m trying to keep expenses low. I’ve tried to check for wire-less connection but can’t find any near me place. Applying for an internet connection would mean signing a 12 months contract. Oh well…

It’s good to know that I can live without broadband internet at my fingertips.

It is difficult, tho. Job hunting is severely impaired. No more Saturday meeting and “Hearts” session wif me mates. Can’t chat on MSN. No idea how the weather is gonna be. Unable to “google” something when I come across sumthing I need to know or dun understand. Out of touch with the news of the world...

So wat do i do for internet? I go to the local library for the free internet facilities they have there.

So there I’ll be, as early as I can. I have to take a number and sometimes wait for up to 30 mins before being allocated a PC. It’s alrite cuz I use the time to read newspapers – something I haven’t done for so long. Why bother reading newspapers when you can read the same – and even more – on-line?

After 1 hour, the librarian would come up to me and tell me to finish up. As they take my details each time I’m allocated a PC, I will not be allowed to take a number again for that day – only once a day, 1 hour a day.

It has taken some getting used to. For the 12 months in Colchester, the first thing I’d do when I wake up in the morning is to get online – and the last thing I do is to close the internet connection and turn off me laptop.

Mind you - an hour on-line flies quickly. So that explains why my delay in replying e-mails have become worse!!!!

And for those who may be waiting for my Europe trip pics, I guess you have to wait for a while longer. :-(

But things are changing now... more on this in the next couple of days!

* Her remake of Air Supply's soppy song (was theirs a remake too?) which hit the charts during me first stay in London years ago!

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Crazy* - Gnarls Barkley

It's nice to have mates that accept you for who you are, no matter how crazy you can be. It's nicer to have mates that also can go crazy with you!!!! :-)

We had such a blast last nite! :-)

* To me, this is Kevin's song! Each time i hear it, i'd always think of him!!! Whenever the song came on while we were working during the summer, he'd sing it, falsetto and all! Ah... i actually miss him... and me other workmates too.

Friday, 1 December 2006

I will always love you* - Whitney Houston

That’s how one of me mates feel about her ex-boyfriend. He’s the first guy she ever loved – and he’ll be the one she loves for the rest of her life, even if they won’t end up together.

It sure doesn’t seem that way – separated by 2 continents, scarred by a messy break-up. Yet, I believe there’s still hope for them. After all, they are frens now. Just frens. But how important it is for couples to be friends first before anything else.

I had to smile when she told me that ever since that guy, all her subsequent boyfriends – serious or otherwise – were chosen because of one or more things about them which reminded her of her first – and true – love! Sometimes, it may be the physical appearance, while others the reminders may not be so obvious to the eye.

I smiled cuz know exactly what she meant. I am sure that a lot of people are guilty - albeit sub-consciously - of always measuring everyone with the standard set by one particular person.

I believe that many has someone just like me mate has her ex-boyfren – someone whom they truly loved, and will always love for the rest of their lives. And if that someone is not the one they end up with, dun feel sorry for them – for so few in this world can honestly say that they truly – and will always – love a person.

* Lovely song from the soundtrack the movie, The Bodyguard. Hard to believe it's a remake of a country western song by Dolly Parton!!!!