Monday, 30 January 2017

The best* - Bonnie Tyler

I never thought I'd ever see Roger Federer win any more Grand Slams. Not with the younger people like Djokovic around these days.

But never say never! Roger Federer defied odds and injuries and won his 18th Grand Slam yesterday in Australia!!!

World no. 1 Andy Murray and former no. 1 Djokovic were sent packing earlier and it paved the way for a mouth-watering final of Federer and Nadal!!! Something that many never thought they would get to see again - the two of them battling it out in the finals of a Grand Slam.

Even then, i have had too many heart-aches to give Federer much hope. But something inside still thought there may be a slim chance. After all, Federer had an extra day of rest.

I was out of town and could not watch the match live. Even if i could, i'm not sure if i would have watched it! I can't remember when  last watched anything live - and seeing the team/person i supported win!

When i checked the scores, Federer was leading 2-1!!! I then followed the live scores update - and sure enough, Federer lost the 4th game! It had to go to the deciding 5th set! And Federer - for all his skills and flair, in my view is not a person who has the physical strength to compete with the younger men in the 5th set.

But he did!!!!!

Well done, Roger! Form is temporary, class is permanent!

And he showed his class in the interview afterward when he said "Tennis is a tough sport. There are no draws. If there were I would have been happy to accept one tonight and share it with Rafa".

But I am glad he won! He is truly the best player that tennis has seen! Perhaps he should now retire while he is still playing well! Or shall he try for 19?

*This song was released in 1988 but the cover version by Tina Turner the following year performed better.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Have a nice day* - Bon Jovi

Met a gentleman yesterday morning at the lift lobby - and I do not mean gentlemen in the generic sense. He was dressed very well and carried himself well. I didn't really notice him and was looking on the floor when he wished me a good morning.

The lift then came and of course he gestured to let me in first. When his floor came, he said 'Have a nice day' to me before exiting.

As he did so, I saw from his backpack that he was from the Ministry of Higher Education. He was a guest but he sure made me feel welcomed! Such a pleasant encounter.

If only we were more like that. If only I was more like that...

A friend commented that this gentlemen is a rare species. That is true - but also so sad. How difficult is it to just say 'Have a nice day' to another human being?

*The first single from their album of the same name

Thursday, 26 January 2017

To sir with love* - The cast of Glee

This was reported in the University of Essex webpage yesterday:-

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of human rights pioneer Professor Sir Nigel Rodley KBE, who has died at the age of 75.  
Sir Nigel was one of the founding fathers of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, a generous colleague and a wonderful friend. He leaves his mark all over international human rights law and institutions, in particular at the United Nations. 
He dedicated most of his life to combating torture and other serious human rights violations and was a beacon of hope to victims of such atrocities. He will be greatly missed by colleagues at Essex, those around the world who have worked with him and by the many students he has inspired over the years.

Pic taken from the Uni of Essex webpage

Sir Rodley was my lecturer. He was my supervisor for my dissertation. He was a wonderful person.The world has lost a great man. The world is a better place today because of the work that this man did when he was alive.

He was such a great and well respected person and he has done so much to improve the respect and fulfillment of human rights around the world, and at the same time, he was always so humble, always so friendly. The meetings I had with him were usually short and I regretted not taking the opportunity to ask him more of the work he had done and the horrible violations of human rights that he had come across.

During lectures, he was always ready to make jokes and laugh but when he starts to talk about how human rights were being violated and breached, you could see the seriousness in him and the heart he had to defend and protect those rights.

If I had met him without knowing anything about him, I wouldn't guess what he had done. But I found out what he did - and was so impressed and inspired. I am a better person today because of him.

Thank you, Sir!

*Their version of this classic song which was sung in season 1

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Baby it's cold outside* - Vanessa Williams & Bobby Caldwell

It's Chinese New Year this weekend!!!! Besides the usual pineapple tarts and dried meat and Mandarin oranges, we will be expecting super hot weather! But will the expectations be fulfilled?

It has been raining daily. Yesterday, it rained from morning and it was basically showers all day long. It felt like London!

It looked like gloomy London too, this morning!

I went for walk in the rain the other day - i didn't know it was raining when i left my office and when i got down, i was too lazy to go back up to fetch my brolly. So into the rain i went - and i quite enjoyed it!!! I used to love doing that and it brought back memories of my days in the UK and in London!

Autumn in London
It has been a while since i've done that - and it is probably wise too as i'm not that young anymore!!!! I immediately felt like falling sick that night itself. Being stuck in the traffic jam for a while in an air-conditioned car while being soaked to the skin didn't help. Thank God that the thousands of miligrammes of vitamin C i took helped!

But i digress. Back to this morning - even the temperature feels like late spring/early summer in London!

According to the weather forecast, it's gonna be like this for the weekend too!

Well, i for one am not complaining. The hot weather during CNY is not something i look forward to but something i put up with. I hope the weather forecast will prove to be accurate (am i asking for too much?).

Hot or cold, have a great Chinese New Year/Spring Festival celebrations!!!

*I like this version of hers which can be found in her equally brilliant Christmas album.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

You are loved* - Rebecca St James

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Do not read on until you have watched Sherlock Season 4, Episode 1.

Watson: You didn't kill Mary. Mary died saving your life...

Sherlock: In saving my life, she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.

Sherlock Season 4 Episode 3

Upon hearing that conversation, i thought of how Jesus died to save me. By doing so, he conferred a value on my life. On our lives. On the lives of those who believe in him. Even thought there is nothing inherently good in us - but it is of great value to God!

Then i read this verse from the Bible:-
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

Yes, i am. No matter how weak i become, or how sinful i am, in God's eyes, i am of great value - so much so that he came down to die to save me.

As i think about the uncertainty of 2017 and what this year has in store, i am reminded to not worry - for myself or for my girls.
‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?  
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 
Matthew 6:28-34

*This song expresses the singer's desire to tell her childhood friend about God's love

Monday, 16 January 2017

I want to hold your hand* - TV Carpio

It was a difficult weekend. i was dumped with so much work suddenly on Friday and it had to be done by Monday!

It didn't help that Shona was still unwell - but she was on the road to recovery. So this meant that she was a little bit clingy.

She wanted me around her all the time. When its bedtime, she would want to sleep on the same bed with me, refusing to sleep in hers. Well, being sick meant the poor girl got her way most of the time. In the middle of the night, she would turn to me and say 'I want to hold your hand'.

It made it really difficult to get a good rest - especially since she was drifting in and out of sleep most of the time due to the illness.

When i thought that she had fallen asleep, i tried to go and do my work - only for her to call out 'Daddy!!!!!' and i had to go back and lie down next to her.

I tried very hard not to get frustrated that i couldn't get work done. I didn't want to get upset with Shona because of some other people's shortcomings which resulted in me having to do extra work to clean up their mess.

I know that i should enjoy and cherish these moments when she is so clingy and 'sticky' to me - for there will come a time when she would want her freedom and find my presence irritating or uncomfortable. I hope that it won't come until much much much later!

*Her version of the Beatles' classic song.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Thankful* - Kelly Clarkson

Shona's fever persisted until today. So it was back to the doctor again this morning after i checked her temperature and discovered it was 39 degrees!

I was worried. High fever since Sunday evening. Mosquito bites on her last week and me killing a blood-filled aedes mosquito. Sure, the doctor said the other day (see earlier post) that most probably it is not dengue as Shona has a running nose. But it doesn't mean it is definitely not!

It was heart-breaking to see her last night, so lethargic and so tired. She is always so full of energy and fun.

So off we went, me with a heavy heart.

The bad news - they had to test her blood, to see if it is a viral infection or a bacterial. And since they are drawing blood, they will also conduct a quick test to rule out dengue. It would take around 15 minutes.

When Shona found out they had to take blood from her, she started crying in fear. Poor girl. It probably took very fast - thankfully the doctor was pretty good and took the blood very quickly - but it felt so long holding her and trying to comfort her.

Then the following 15 minutes felt even longer! Thankfully by then, Shona was fine. She had a nice cute bandage to show off and the doctor gave her more stickers for being such a brave girl.

We were outside, waiting for the results and the girls were having fun on the rocking horses! Then Shona played with the slide (it was quite a child friendly place) - and then we were called in again.

Good news! Confirmed it was not dengue. Thank God, thank God!!!!

We had to wait until later in the day before finding out if it is merely a viral infection or a bacterial one - the latter would mean that she would need to have a course of antibiotics.

The call came shortly after lunch - again with the best possible news. Not bacterial. We just have to wait for her to recover then.

So thankful to God and to the friends who prayed. Hate seeing Shona with the fever but am thankful its not dengue.

*The title song of her debut album.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Night Fever* - The cast of Glee

What a night. High fever (40 degrees!!!!), projectile vomiting, and a cockroach to cap it off!

Poor Shona has been having fever and it spiked in the middle of the night. I went off to get her medication for her to call out to me to get back into the room. She wet the bed! It was probably my fault for not putting it on properly plus the fact that we made her drink a lot of water that caused the diaper to leak.

So had to get her to take her medication, then changing her and washing her up, then cleaning up the bed.

As we got ready to finally go back to bed, i saw it coming - the coughing and the change of expression on her face. i scooped her off the bed just as the projectile vomiting started. As i held her, i could feel the vomit going down my back.

Thankfully, it was mainly water that was vomited so it wasn't very dirty nor smelly. had to then mop up the floor and took a quick shower - thankfully, Shona did not get any of the vomit on herself (*pats self on the back for my quick action*)!

Finally after the bed sheets have been changed, the wife decided to change the smaller one's diaper. As i went to dispose of the diaper in the kitchen, i came face to face with a cockroach!!!! I was like, when will this night end???

But with a swift strike, the roach was sliced into 2 and its poor legs ripped off!!!

And then, back to sleep! Finally!!!!

But with a heavy heart. What was the cause of the fever? And seeing her in distress really broke my heart.

p/s - Her fever was still there in the morning and we took her to see the doctor. Thankfully, the doctor reassured us it probably is not dengue. Will have to observe her for the next couple of days - and pray hard!

Family portrait at the clinic!

*Featured in the 16th episode of the 3rd season.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

My all* - Mariah Carey

61 years ago today, 5 missionaries were killed in Ecuador. As i was thinking about it, i remembered blogging way back in 2015 about a movie that was based on that incident. I didn't finish that post and maybe that's why it still remained in my draft folder until today.

Here is the post:-

Some months ago, we screened a movie entitled "End of the Spear" in our local church. Here is a brief synopsis of the movie taken from Wikipedia:-
End of the Spear is a 2006 docudrama film that recounts the story of Operation Auca, in which five American Christian missionaries attempted to evangelize the Huaorani (Waodani) people of the jungle of Ecuador. Taking a unique spin on actual events from the 1950s in which five male missionaries were speared by members of the Waodani tribe, the movie tells the story from the perspective of Steve Saint (the son of Nate Saint, one of the murdered missionaries), and Mincayani, one of the tribesmen who killed the missionaries. The two eventually form a bond that continues to this day. 
To be honest, i initially wasn't too keen about watching the movie - i was afraid to, actually. I thought i would find it too depressing. After all, we all knew the storyline - 5 fine young men who's lives were prematurely ended violently. Among the 5, one of them is a well known missionary - Jim Elliot.

That's all i blogged back then. But based on the title that i gave for that post, the emphasis back then was on how the missionaries gave their all for God.

While to many, it may seem like a needless tragedy, yet we Christians see it as how God was working out his will. Now that may seem to be terrible as it means that God basically sent those men there to die.

This may be a difficult idea for many to take in - even for some Christians, especially those who feel that God will protect them and keep them safe no matter what. But this is sadly incorrect, to think that nothing 'bad' will ever happen to us here on earth. Many Christians have been martyred and many have been persecuted and still are being persecuted.

I remember when i was going for a medical test and a well-meaning brother came to me and tried to assure me that the test will be positive in my favour as God will certainly not let anything bad happen to me.

The reality is that bad things do happen to Christians. After all, 'bad' things happened to our Lord Jesus himself when he was on earth! But all this was to work out for the good of those who love him.

This is something that i still struggle with and still have fear over some times. There is no assurance that 'bad' things will not happen to me - but the assurance is that God will certainly help me through it. And that the things that do happen, it is all for a reason. A good reason. It is for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

The question that Christians like me must ask is taht am i willing to give my all to him who is all powerful and almighty - and who is all-knowing and all all loving?

For now, i just have to remind myself to life by the words of Jim Elliot who died 61 years ago - 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose'.

*Released in 1998, it was her 13th no. 1 hit. Apparently, it was written after her trip to Puerto Rico which influenced her to write the song in the Latin music style.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Eat it* - Weird Al Yankovic

So Gemma has been eating everything we give her. Or at least, she tries to! Except for real food (of course!!!).

That meant no more books - not even the block books as she has tried to bite off the cupboard cover. No more stuffs that she can bite off. And mind you, even with so few teeth, she can really bite!!!

So it was to our horror the other day when we discovered this:-

The wife was pretty concerned about it while i figured it'll just come out with her poo. She heard some scary ideas from her friends of what may happen and when we asked our pediatrician friend, he was not too sure. so for the sake of having the peace of mind, we took the whole gang to the emergency ward at the hospital!

We had to wait for quite a while - and it didn't help!!! More scary thoughts came into my mind.

Finally our number was called up. Thankfully, the doctor didn't seemed too concerned. He said it probably went into her tummy and will be coming out with her poo.

It was a pretty exhausting experience especially since i had a long day and still had work to finish up that night! When we got everyone into bed, i started my work and only got to bed at 4 in the morning! But at least i had the peace of mind.

Thank God she seems to be fine.

But as a postscript, that took place two nights ago. Until now, she still has not past motioned yet!!! So yes, we are still a little worried. Thankfully, she is not showing signs of being ill but the thought of the polystyrene still inside her system is not a pleasant one. Praying that it will come out soon. Very soon!!!

*His parody of Michael Jackson's Beat It.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Try* - Debbie Gibson

And just like that, we are now in the second day of 2017!!! Is the year gonna zip by quickly???

One of the highlights of New Year's Day was re-watching Zootopia with Shona (it's her current fav show now).

I thought the closing speech by Judy Hopps (the 'rabbit police' as how my daughter calls her) is a pretty good reminder for the start of another year:-

'When I was a kid, I thought Zootopia was this perfect place where everyone got along and anyone could be anything. Turns out, real life is a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means―hey, glass half full!―we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what type of person you are, from the biggest elephant to our first fox, I implore you: Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us'.

What struck me was the reminder that real life is messy - and we all have limitations and we all make mistakes. But that should not stop us from trying to change. In fact, that should be the impetus for us to improve ourselves.

*Taken from her album, Anything is Possible - my fav album of hers!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

I know who holds tomorrow* - LeAnn Rimes

Happy New Year!!!!

How did i spend the last minutes of 2016? I slept!!! But not before showing Shona the fireworks display at London on 1/1/2016!!!

Since she had to go to sleep, i showed her the fireworks before tucking her in. And then, after kissing both Shona and Gemma, i too went to sleep.

And i felt that it was a wonderful way to end the year. I am so thankful for the two girls - eventho they can drive me up the wall at times!!! I am thankful that they have a roof over their head, and a bed to sleep on. I am thankful that they will have breakfast the next morning when they wake up. And i'm thankful for the opportunity to love them.

2016 again put me through the biggest fear i have - that my girls will have to go through life without me. Thankfully, they got to the end of the year with their daddy still around. I have to rest in the assurance that if their earthly father is not around, their heavenly father will be there for them providing for their every need.

Things may not be great - and it sure does not seem to be getting better. Brain tumour is back (although it is benign and at the moment, not causing any problems), work is getting increasingly difficult with increased workload, income is going be less than last year, economy is supposedly going to be really bad.

But i start the year with the reminder and assurance that even though i do not know what tomorrow holds, i know who holds tomorrow - the true and living God who loves me so much that he was willing to come down and die for me. And for my girls.

*From her brilliant album, Inspirational Songs.