Saturday, 30 January 2010

Fat* - Weird Al' Yankovic

I think my weight change can challenge Oprah Winfrey!!!

When i was in primary school, i was fat. All thru the 6 years. Then i lost it all in the secondary school years and was pretty slim esp during the later secondary school days. During college days, i started gaining some weight. Then i went over to London.

In the span of around 10 months there, i lost so much weight!!!! You wanna know how much i lost? When my family went over to attend my convo and to go for holiday, me mom cried when she saw me for the first time since leaving home!!! It was such a shock for her to see her son so emaciated!!!

Here are a couple of photos of me in Italy during that summer holiday with my family:-

Familiar touristy places - the Coliseum in Rome and the canals in Venice

Then as i started work, the weight started coming again. In fact, the more stressed i became, the bigger i got!!! But it stopped.

Yes, i quit my job and went back to the UK to do my Masters. Again in the span of a year, i lost so much weight - but not as bad as the first time. Here is a photo of me on the day i left to the UK and a photo of me at Essex 10 months later!!!

But i came back in 2007. Yes, the weight started going up again. But it wasn't so bad. I mean, here are some photos of me late August at Bukit Tabur, and early Sept at Taiwan:-

Me and some students along Bukit Tabur

Me and me good mate, Michael in Taipeh

Then in the later part of the year, i really started piling on the weight. I got shocked when i saw my own photos taken at Hong Kong Disneyland near the end of the year. Look at this rounded face and double chin dude:-

Well, after the surgery and medical leave, people have been telling me that i have lost weight! But i doubt so. Maybe they are just being nice to me. But all i do for a long time was to eat and rest at home!!! And the ultimate test was when i tried on my belt - it was stil the same hole that i had to use!

Sigh... so how? Accept the fact that i'll be fat? Start having a more healthy lifestyle from now on - cut down on suppers, go for runs again (stopped for such a long time), watch my food intake?

Or just go back to the UK for studies!!!!

*His brilliantly funny remake of Michael Jackson's Bad.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Back to school* - Cast of 'Grease 2'

Well, i finally made it back to campus today. The first time this year. Taking into account the Christmas hols last December, it has been a month and a half!

It was really good! :-)

I won't bore you with the details - suffice to say, i went back to check out my staffroom and to conduct a briefing/revision with the year 1s. After the session, i ran into some year 2s whom i'm closer with than the year 1s. They recognised my bag first before they recognised me!!!! Lol!

It was really good!

I enjoyed being in front of the class and running thru the slides, cracking some jokes and interacting with them. I enjoyed hanging out with the year 2s and catching up. The students - all of them are really nice.

It was really good!

Then, it was my colleagues, the staff members. I guess being a small staff, we have grown comfortable with each other. Unfortunately, they were rushing for a workshop for the students.

So it was short but really sweet. Was touched by the reaction of the staff and some students who seemed genuinely pleased to see me again. Well, the feeling's mutual.

It was really good to be back.

Sure, it was the first time i'm at the spanking brand new Lakeside Campus since the schools reopened there earlier this month. But it wasn't that which made the visit good. It was the people.

I actually started off the day with a little 'Monday morning blues' (on a Friday!!!!). But in the end, it was a great time of meeting up with old frens. I really thank God for it.

Did i say it was really good to be back? ;-)

Yes, this term is gonna be really tough - for students and staff alike. But yet, i'm sure we'll keep our spirits up.

*The opening song from the movie Grease 2.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Lord has a will* - Amy Grant

In today's Bible reading, i came across this very familiar verse:-

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Gen 50v20

These were the words of Joseph to his brothers who had sold him into slavery but Joseph ended up being a great leader and saved his entire family.

When i read those words again, i am reminded once more about the recent incident locally where a local Church in KL was set on fire (see here). The people who did that intended harm - but in the end, it turned out good for the Metro Tabernacle church.

Pic obtained from The Star

First, they managed to testify to the nation of God's love and forgiveness thru their reaction to the incident where they publicly forgave the criminals (see here).

But more so, they obtained a grant of half a million Ringgit from the government (see here). And they finally obtained the legal permit to move into their new premises (see here)! This was something they had been trying to do for a long time but never did obtained the permit.

Thanks to these trouble-causers, God used this incident to fulfill his will and bless his church! he is in control even in times when things look bad.

Coincidence? No. God makes it clear with this verse in his word:-

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8v28

*Taken from her first studion album when she just a teenager.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

You've got a friend* - Carole King

I was cleaning my room and going thru my stuffs - been doing a lot of that lately - when i came across this Christmas card which i received last Christmas. I re-read it and i really liked what me mate wrote to me in it. It was a simple poem(?) which i would like to share with y'all:-

One day I hope with you to stand,
Before the throne, at Lord's right hand,
And say to you at journey's end,
"Praise God, you've been to me a friend".

Nice and simple. Perhaps he took it from somewhere else - but he took the trouble to write it out (instead of the basic "Dear so-and-so, From so-and-so" - which i have been guilty of doing at times). And i really appreciate it.

*One of her classics and my favourites. They writ songs like this anymore, do they?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Together forever* - Rick Astley

This was shared during worship yesterday:-

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8 v 38-39

Truly i can testify that nothing will separate me from his marvelous love - for there is no greater love than this!

Don Harris & Martin J Nystrom

You loved me when I was so unlovely
You sought me when I was lost
You showed me how much you really loved me
When you bought me at the highest cost

You chose me when I was so unworthy
You cleansed me with your own blood
You clothed me with righteousness and mercy
And you crowned me with your steadfast love
There’s no greater love than this [2x]
That a man would give his life for a friend
There’s no higher sacrifice
Than a man would give his life
You have paid a precious price for me

*One of his first few hits that made him really famous. I liked his voice and his songs - but the fake bass earned him the nickname 'Rubber Man'!!!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

I feel good* - James Brown

I must say it felt really good being back at Chapel today after an absence of 2 weeks! Worshiping together with my fellow church members, taking communion, listening to a good sermon, catching up with frens after the service - it was great! :-)

I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."
Psalms 122 v 1

*Some say this is his signature song, one of his best known hits

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Good King Wenceslas* - Loreena McKennitt

Remember that scene close to the end of Love Actually when the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant's character) went house to house looking for the girl he loves? He came to one house where there was a bunch of kids who pleaded with him to sing some carols. And he sang Good King Wenceslas - backed-up very ably by his driver!

Well, that is actually one of the least known carols to me. We have never sang it before and i never knew who this king was - until now!

Yeah, a bit 'out of the season' to talk about this - but bear with me. I've been reading a Christmas gift from me bro and wife about stories behind the songs of Christmas. And i came across this carol and was introduced to King Wenceslas! What a story!

He is actually Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. At a young age of 15, he was made the leader of Bohemia. But later, his very own mother and his twin brother started a pagan revolt against his spiritual leadership. They killed his grandmother who brought him up and tried to overthrow Wenceslaus. The young young took control and ended the revolt.

In an act of Christian kindness, he spared the lives of his mother and brother and expelled them instead.

He went on to lead the nation in justice and mercy. He reached out to everyone, making sure their needs are met. He shared everything he had with his subjects especially the poor.

At the age of 22, on his way to church, he was greeting his subjects and took time ask about their condition. Just as he was about to enter the church building, he heard his brother called to him. Then his brother's confederates ran up and stabbed the good king. In his dying breath, he whispered, 'Brother, may God forgive you'. And good king Wenceslaus died. :-(

But his dying words had an effect on his brother. he had a change of heart and turned away from his colleagues. Instead he embraced his brother's faith and continued to rule in the same way his brother did.

Today, in the Czech Republic, there are many reminders of good King Wenceslaus - a square named after him, a monument, a church etc.

Statute of Good King Wenceslas at Wenceslas Square, Prague
(Pic taken from

So even tho it is not the 'Christmas season' now, i find his story very inspiring - even at such age, he upheld justice and showed mercy. And he touched lives - even literally to his dying breath. Truly, an example to everyone, to you and to me.

*Just heard her version while doing the research for this post.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Around the world* - East 17

In my free time, i decided to clear all the photos from me camera (over a thousand!!!!) and compile all my photos properly in folders - yeah, i can be quite 'Monica' at times.

After doing that, i realised that last year was a real traveling year for me. No wonder i have been so tired at the end of the year.

I started off the year at London, freezing in the cold along the Embankment, waiting for the fireworks across the Thames from The London Eye - and thereafter almost being crushed to death thanks to a desire to eat duck rice at 1 something in the morning!!! You can read about it here under no. 3 on the list.

I made another trip to the UK during Chinese New Year to visit the Uni we are twinning with. It was sandwiched with two weekends in London mainly filled with musicals! :-) Had a great time there with the students and lecturers and a wonder Rayleigh Tower guys reunion in London.

I've been to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the first time in my life - and i was there 3 times last year. It was a mixture of work and holiday.

Then, i took the opportunity to visit me mate, Michael who was spending a few months working and studying at Taiwan. Another first for me too to that country.

And finally, another first - to Hong Kong after Christmas for the new year. Had a good time at the Peak with Madam Tussauds, Macau, Disneyland and a surprise - that had a replica of Noah's Ark there with some pretty good exhibition.

There was also a trip to S'pore for a run which i never ran cuz i got the dates wrong!!!!!

That's a lot of overseas traveling for me!

Then, there were the local travels - to PD, my solo road trip along the East Coast, church retreat to Fraser's Hill, Young Adults trip to Gopeng and Malacca.

Each trip has been great and special in its own way. I realised i have spent quite a bit - but for most of the places, i din have to pay for accommodation. Work related trips were paid for and i usually stayed with frens - like in London, Taiwan and HK. Flights to HCMC and to the UK was paid for too.

I think it is enuf for now. Esp since after a major surgery (where i'm still need to work some things out with the insurance), i'm thinking that there would be less travel this year and more savings.

Even then, i may be going to China in the first quarter of the year to accompany some students and a study trip. At least that would fulfill my quota of going to a new country each year.

p/s - click on the collages to see the bigger version, esp for the Vietnam one.

*A song from my Uni days. The lyrics "Been around the world but there's no place like home" got us all singing as it was the end of my studies there and we were thinking of going home.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Better man* - Robbie Williams

No, this is not my New Year's resolution. I've not bothered making New Year's resolutions for a while now. Maybe it just doesn't work for me.

But the days and weeks after my operation has allowed me a chance to really think over many things. And truth be told, i did not like myself very much after reflecting on how i've been and how i've treated some people.

So while i hate being stuck at home, i'm glad for the opportunity to reflect and think and pray. And my prayer is that God will make me a much better person.

*One of my fav songs of his, but it was released as a single only in Australia, NZ and Latin America.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Make me lose control* - Eric Carmen

I was amused when i read about some members of the British police who decided to use their shields to slide on the ice. Here is a clip of them having a little fun:-

They were reprimanded but their superiors also did say that snow brings out the child in all of us!

Looking at the vid, i remembered the time when me UEL mates were at Scotland. It was a ski resort at Breamar but none of us knew how to ski. so we just hung around and enjoyed the place.

Then someone from our found a toboggan! We decided to have fun! :-)

So off we went, found a nice little hilly patch (the whole place was covered with snow) and took turns sliding down the slope! It was super fun! :-) It was super fast and there was no way to control it. We just sat on it and hung on to the front tip for dear life, whizzing down at high speeds and having the cold wind blowing against our faces. It was also super scary!

One of my frens, H was having her turn on the toboggan. M was standing around, perhaps waiting to fetch the toboggan later, but his back was turned. The unpredictability of the thing led H to be sliding directly at M!!!!! We all screamed and shout at M to move away but he did not hear. Too far down the hill. Then when the horrible collision looked inevitable, H heroicly threw herself off the toboggan!!!! She crashed to the side with many rolls and we feared the worse.

Running down the hill to her rescus, we were relieved to see H pick herself up with a HUGE grin on her face and a thumbs-up sign!

Yeah, there's something about snow tt makes us all lose it. It was later that night when we felt all the bruises - which was probably numbed by the cold when we were out in the snow.

*Used to be so crazy over this with its cool bass riff.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Make me glad* - Hillsong

Make Me Glad

I will bless the Lord forever
I will trust him at all times
He has delivered me from all fear
He has set my feet upon a rock
I will not be moved and I'll say of the Lord

You are my shield
My strength
My portion
My shelter
Strong tower
My very present help in time of need

(Miriam Webster)

I found the words of this song to be so true in my current circumstances.

*Loved this song but haven't heard it for a long time. Til now.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Torture* - The Jacksons

I lay flat, not allowed to move my head up more than 30 degrees. Needles were poked into various parts of my body - including one up my... . Tubes, wires and stuffs ran from my limbs and body.

Modern torture implements? Well, no. Far from from it. All of those stuffs were designed to preserve my life. Tubes ran from head draining the unwanted fluid. Calf massages were strapped on to ensure the blood in my vein doesn't thicken (and i must say it felt good!). A blood pressure thingy was on my upper arm - it automatically takes my pressure once an hour. The thing up my... erm... there? Well, there was no need for me to pass urine. Other stuffs monitored my heart beat and my intake of oxygen.

Still fresh from the op, there was no pain. I was still numb. The bed was comfy and the nurse was efficient and good. I was in the ICU and one nurse is assigned specifically to me. He/She took care of all my needs.

When i woke up, i was oredi strapped in. There was very little recollection of anything else save waking up after the op and hearing people talking, then being wheeled out and seeing a blurry image of wat i believed to be my sis and i waved at her. Thank God all the strapping and sticking were done when i wasn't conscious!!!!! But i was wide awake when it was taken off! Ugh...

I was in the ICU from 4 something in the evening on Monday until the next day when i was moved (down-graded - which is a good thing) to the HDU. On Wednesday, i was allowed (down-graded further) to go to the normal ward and be free from all tubes and stuffs.

When the doc saw me on tues, he allowed me to lift my head more than 30 degrees - but the tubes linked to my head prevented any movement.

So why did i titled this post torture?

Have u ever lie down almost flat, unable to get up or turn over, for long periods of time? All i did in the ICU was look t the clock in front of me. And eaves-drop on the nurses. Being in the op theatre for 8 hours plus, sleep did not come easy. This was worse than evigilation!!!!! And that only usually lasts 3 hours.

Thinking too much soon took its toll on me. But i found it hard to not think of anything. I even resorted to just think of the word "Nothing". But even then, after a while, my thoughts started to wander. How do i saw "nothing" in other languages.

It was worse in the HDU as my bed was in an angle that does not face the clock. There were wondows behind me - so i knew it was night time. But was 1 sumthing or 5 sumthing? I had absolutely no idea at all!!!! Some said this was better that way.

For a person like me, this was pure torture!!! And i had great sympathy for those real victims of torture who are strapped down or locked away with no light.

I'm so thankful i survived it. Managed to think thru a lot of troubling matters. Even managed to prepare the sharing i wanted to give the coming Sunday during the choir thanksgiving (which eventually i did not go).

I must say that the nurses made it better. And my family who visited me twice a day. They are the best! :-) Perhaps this helped in my mellowing too (see 2 posts below).

*The 2nd single from their album, Victory. I kinda liked their music video and i just found that it waas choreographed by Paula Abdul.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

So long, farewell* - Cast from The Sound of Music

Prologue: Found this in my "drafts" folder among with many others. This was halfway done so i thought i'd finish it.

(Pic taken from online)

I caught this movie on the same day that the King of Pop was announced to have passed on. So the theme of the day was basically 'death' - quite morbid, eh?

But not really. Although the movie deals a lot with dead people, it is not morbid at all. Nor is it all negative and sad. It was one of the most beautiful movies i have watched!

I've been wanting to watch it since it won an Oscar early this year. I've always been a huge fan of Jap movies (ah... the memories of the free Jap movies every Friday night on campus last time) and the things being said about the movie has been really good. On top of that, trust the Japanese to come out with a movie based on a person who cleans and dresses dead bodies as a living!

But what is not to like about it? Wonderful cello music, slapstick comedy, heart-tugging scenes, cute Japanese girl, a Christmas scene, emotionally charged situations.

In case you do not know wat it is all about, as stated above, it is about a man who cleans and dresses dead bodies for their funeral service and burial. It was beautiful how they show the man go about his job. He had to do it in front of the family members and it was done with so much respect and dignity for the deceased.

The show also depicts how he is ostracised due to the nature of his job in dealing with... you know.

But someone has to do it. And we all know that at the end of the day, the funeral service is not so much for the dead but for the living. This man ensures that the last visible memory of their loved one is a beautiful one.

I was moved to tears, laughed out loud, smiled wistfully - the whole of emotions.

I love Jap movies! :-) The only problem is that if u dun like to read while u watch a movie, the subtitles can get a bit tedious!

*No one who has watched the movie can forget the cute little children singing this tune before going to bed.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Have you never been mellow* - Olivia Newton John

I feel rather mellow in the recent days after my surgery. According to the Advanced Learner's Dictionary, "mellow" means calm, gentle and reasonable.

Sure, some of you may say that after such a major op, my take on life is different. I dun think so.

I must say that i have become a very angry and frustrated person last year. I would pick fights with people and hold grudges. I was sad and pathetic, i know. But somehow, the things which made me mad doesn't to matter so much anymore. It is also very hard to continue to be angry at people who take the time and expenses to visit me while i am at the hospital!!!

I think being confined to bed and then in the hospital for so many days gave me an opportunity to calm down and think things over. Life is too short to be holding grudges.

So i am really glad for this. A very good start to the new year. I really hope and pray that this can continue thruout the year and the years ahead.

*One of my earliest favourite songs and is still is.