Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nothing

Those who know me well enough know that I like to talk cryptically. This one isn't too hard to crack though.

He waved and walked off. Church was over for today.

His thoughts wandered of to a not-too-distant past. When he had been close to God. When had that been? Ah yes, the camp. The camp was over. Yeah. But God had been there all right.

He had went down to the altar. Cried. Been touched by God. Filled with the Spirit. Good times. Once a year. Worthy to be savoured and recalled.

When was the last time he had talked with God? This morning. Sunday morning. Before he went to church. C'mon. When was the last time he had REALLY talked to God? The last time was during the camp...

That's how it always was. God appeared during camps. God wouldn't appear during normal church. God never did show up. It was simple enough. Just go to your service, and listen. Smile.

Didn't matter if he hadn't really talked to God. Could catch up next year during camp anyway.

That was how he had lived the last few years anyway. Every year he came before God, tears running down cheeks. Once a year. Or when he attended two camps, twice a year.

A disturbing thought jolted him. What would happen after he grew out of camps? Then how on earth would he still be able to FEEL God? After all, it was all about FEELING God and His power. FEELING God was... cool.

What would happen after he grew out of these camps?

Why, yes. Join an adult camp of course.

With that his mind was set at ease. But something still tugged at his heart.

Talk with God now?

Ah, some other day, God.

LAN was more important for now. What did that verse say? Right. God wants us to be happy. Yeah. Which part of the bible... hmmmmmm. Ah. Didn't matter. Maybe it wasn't in the bible. But it made perfect sense. God wants us to be happy.

God wants us to be happy. God is happy when we are happy.

BE HAPPY!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Job


Sec. 4 class reunion on Wednesday night.

---------------------------------------------------


Been looking for a job.

Called a toy shop for a job as shop assistant. Person was extremely harried. Hours are 12 a day, inclusive of Saturday and Sunday. Person didn't want to discuss pay and wanted to arrange an interview immediately.

No thank you.

Then called for another ad. This time even worse. Didn't tell me anything, except that they were selling electronics and space equipment (Must be some inter-galactic peace enforcement organization? Well, either that or an inter-galactic mercantile organization. Or worst, an inter-galactic TERRORIST organization!!!). Said he wasn't at liberty to discuss pay. Wanted to arrange interview. (Must have been because he could erase my memory if I didn't want the job after all.)

No thank you.

Called one for horse-keeping. More to find out what the job was about than anything. Left a number. Person still hasn't called me back yet. Wonder if they've found a person. Imagine the horse poop piling up without a horse-keeper? Great big mountains of horse poop and rivers of... well I'll spare you the agony.

Sent out an enquiry for lifeguard at Wild Wild Wet. No response yet. Perhaps I'll send another enquiry.

Applied for relief teaching. Went back to school to speak to a few teachers. This one has a bit more hope than the rest. Have got referrals, unlike most of the other applicants.

Enquired about a freelance camp instructor job. Still trying to arrange for an interview.

Also asked about a freelance story-writer job for a kid's magazine. Ended off with something like:"And least importantly, how many peanuts do you pay? (Just kidding)".

Realised that I'm entirely unused to the odd feeling of doing nothing. Can't exactly sit at home and do nothing. Feels frustrating. So at least now that I'm looking for a job, it's better.

Went with Caleb Lim to pick up some guitar supplies at Bras Basah and Peninsular today. Got a guitar tuner at S$18, and a few picks. Cheapest I could find. Took a look at newly renovated St. Andrew's Cathedral. Quite nice.

Praying for ministry in NS. That people turn to God there. Will see.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Prom

Thought I'd post a few picts I took at prom.




Hazel's like that only once in a few thousand years. So I am privileged to be alive today to witness this historical event.



Class guys and girls.



Andrew and Wen Jie. Buddies all the way from Montfort days.


ODAC

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Awesome

Childrens' Camp was awesome.

I've never been to a camp where the camp theme was so nicely brought out. Thank you Lord.

Received so much. God spoke rather clearly. I cried out to God so much.

Tiring too. So prob will not write a detailed account.

But all that's important is that Lord Jesus, you were so, so wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. In the words of Enos, I just love you lah Lord.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Childrens' Camp

It approaches.

And I pray.

That the impact of this camp extends far beyond the camp itself.

If not we'd be making the mistake of the King of Aram's officials. Who said that our God is a "God of the hills and not the plains".

A little abstract. But I trust you'll understand.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Level 2 Photos (Cont'd)



Level 2

Been on the Singapore Mountaineering Federation Sport Climbing Level 2 course from Thursday to Saturday. Real fun.

First thing that struck me was how dangerous climbing can get. For Level 1, it's just top-rope belay and the chance of any fatality is so minor. For Level 2, it's not too hard to do something wrong and drop down a couple of storeys. All I have to do is forget one in more than 20 steps to mess it up.

Lots of bruises and cuts and knocks and falls.

But climbing this way is more raw. More FUN.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Over

完了。

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's almost over.

It's almost over.

Today's Int'l History. Before History we begged our History teacher to say that "China won't come out". And she sarcastically complied.

Before we entered the hall we gathered in a circle, joint hands like they do at competitions and went "HISTORY!", much to the amusement of others. Yeah morale was high. It's always been high for History. (Note: That doesn't mean the grades were always equally high. Well at least not directly after the World Cup season.)

The questions were kind of unexpected. Lots of people thrown off. China wasn't supposed to come out. Nobody was dumb enough to study it cuz it came out for 2 years already. In fact, anyone who studied it was a total idiot. Until it really came out. Almost exactly the same. Source-based was ok. They mixed the origins question with end of Cold War. Ah, oh well. It's over. Think it went ok though.

One more paper on Monday. History Southeast Asia.



"China China China. Three years already. What's wrong with Cambridge? What so good about China huh? You tell me lah. China very big ah? They think China very great is it? What's their bloody problem. Tell China come and find me lah. I whack China then they know ah!"

-One of my buddies.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A few more days

A few more days to go.

Before I'm finished with A's.

I actually quite enjoyed the entire JC process. Looking back, it was very enriching. Even studying. Studying ain't just for the sake of studying. You actually learn stuff. Must appreciate it.

Thank you Lord Jesus for bringing me through thus far. May your hand be with me for the 4 more days of exams.

Looking forward to childrens' and youth camp! Wonder what God's gonna do this time round. Even more important, whether there'll be a long-lasting effect. That people will draw closer to God for life and not just a few days.

Monday, November 06, 2006

:)

Feeling so much peace as I spend more time with my Lord these days. I know He'll give me success in the A's.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Preparing for GP...



Adjusted the brightness of this picture to make it darker.

Enlisting

Enlisting April 13, BMTC School 1.

Jing Jie enlisting on his birthday, April 12. So funny.

Did you know that one quarter of the guys in my class made it to Divers?

That's partly because there are only 8 guys in my class.

Anybody else enlisting 13th?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Peace

Lord,

Thank you for all the peace that's in my heart now.

Thank you that I am SO HAPPY these days; the A's are in your hands.

Some days I'm filled with so much peace that it is a little strange.

And I'm not stressed. More than enough time to study.

Ah... God is good, God is so good.

Bliss.

Monday, October 16, 2006

-

Been studying lately. A's approach. And it has occured to me more than once how different I'm taking to a major exam this time. During O's I was studying day and night, trying to get as many A1s as possible (in the end I only got 2). Now I study a bit, relax a bit. Guess it's really no use to pour out something as precious as life over something as meagre as an exam. Must learn to enjoy studying and do the other things I enjoy at the same time. The haze prevents me from going running or swimming as of late though.

The day after O's I woke up early and went to my buddy's house to play Halo 2 and then some Star Wars game and then after that, Dead or Alive. Spent a whole day doing that. As I walked home, the end of the O's just seemed so hollow, so meaningless. Like, "ok, so the O's are over, now what?". Hopefully, that shall not happen this time, after A's.

Last Friday as I walked out of school, the full impact hit me. Wow. That's the end of school life in uniform forever. I walk out of AJ not quite the same person as when I walked in. So much has changed in me. 2 years can really change a person. Prayer-fully, perhaps I am more malleable now to the Lord.

After A's, anything goes. Somehow, just right this moment, I kind of wish that I enlist in January. Perhaps the blur of events will get rid of any time to over-analyze.

I do believe that I've got more on my mind than appears to be so. Except that so often I can't tell anyone but the Lord. I guess sometimes it'd be better if I just go and do something, instead of think so much. NS in Jan will probably have that effect.



Quote of the day:

"Ok guys, return the ball. That's the end of PE for the rest of your lives"

-PE teacher when the bell rang, signalling the end of Wednesday's lesson

Friday, October 06, 2006

.

Prelims was ok. History B, Econs D, C maths O.

Forgot to thank Caleb for having me over last Sunday. And his 6 aunties (or around that number, hard to count) for feeding me endlessly. Got National Geographic and Animal Planet to watch some more. Reminds me of my ODAC days, which ain't too far back anyway.

Today everyone forgot bout School Min. I only realised at 11 plus at night and only told Mei Yan then. Things don't really seem to be moving. Seems that everything under these pre-A's conditions is moving by so fast. Motion blur.

Walk's okay. And just cuz it's just "okay", it actually means that it's not "okay". And I'm acutely aware of that.

O Lord.

Nothing more to say at this point, having fun irritating Keith on MSN. It's therapeutic.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wry notes. Life in college.

C maths teacher: Tai Yong, did you do the last prelim assignment?

Tai Yong: No.

C maths teacher: Why not? Then what have you been doing the whole weekend?

Tai Yong: Econs and History.

********

The hardworking student's take: Wah, this test was friggin hard. Fortunately I studied for it.

The slacker's take: Wah so hard. Fortunately never study. Study already also will fail.

The A student: Hard meh?

The ultra-slacker: Is it? I see the first question I sian* already, cannot do. Then in the end I decided to sleep. Aiyah, anyway I'm doing the teacher a favour. Less to mark mah, correct? Anyway fail already later can study and get good progress award.

*******

My friend, before the mid-years: Listen here's the plan. I'll get an A for Chinese, A for Econs, but F for C maths. Watch me man.

My friend, after the last paper: Eh listen, there's been a change in plan...

*******

Background: Never attend GP lecture for J2s. Me and friend sitting near staff room, talking to a teacher.

GP teacher who walks by: Excuse me, are you J2s?

Friend: Hmmm? Huh? (acting blur)

GP teacher waits expectantly.

Friend to me: Are we J2s? (still trying to act blur)

Hahahaaha.

*******

History teacher: Look , the issue about implicit agreements in layman's terms is this. When one party says something and doesn't do it, the other party will get angry. Tai Yong, if Firdaus says he wants to meet you at town. And then he turns up 2 hours late, will you be angry?

Tai Yong: No.

History teacher: Why?

Tai Yong: I don't go town one.

History teacher: -_- Ok, never mind. Then what if one day you're supposed to meet Mark. And you say you'll meet him at 2p.m. But then you turn up 2 hours late. Would Mark be angry with you? Yes right?

Tai Yong: No.

History teacher: !!!! Why?

Tai Yong: Because Mark will most probably be 2 hours late as well.

*******

Friend to pregnant teacher: Ms. XXX. You look slim from the back leh!

Friday, September 29, 2006

-

No one who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God
-Luke 9:62

When you consider what's in front and what you've left behind. Really, you can do without what's left behind.

"No man is a fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." -Jim Elliott

Can anybody keep life?

Then I suggest you give it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And so...

And so... prelims are over and I"ll probably be getting my results back by tomorrow. What can I say? Let me rehearse my don't-worry-teacher-I'm-sure-I'll-do-better-in-A'levels-this-year-(ornext) line, grin included*.

Spent the last few days relaxing. Ok, I didn't really relax in the pure sense of the word. That's cuz I was playing computer games. And according to my mom, the way I play computer games is the same as the way I do work. Intense.

One particularly interesting game's called Galactic Civilizations. I played the demo. You're put in charge of the human race and you've got to expand throughout the galaxy. Compete economically, culturally, technologically and in terms of military with the other alien races. So you've got to allocate expenditure into these areas and develop weapons and trade technology.

The normal mode was too easy, cuz Lord Kona of the evil alien Drengin Empire was kinda dumb and I colonized the galaxy within 2 years. And so being the bright Emperor of the human Terran Empire I was, I decided to show the computer who's boss. I set the intelligence of evil (say with me, EEEE-vil) Lord Kona at INCREDIBLE (That's one level above GENIUS- It's like this: FOOL, BEGINNER, SUB-NORMAL, NORMAL, BRIGHT, GIFTED, GENIUS, INCREDIBLE). And the "Game difficulty level" switched itself warily from NORMAL to MASOCHISTIC.

MASOCHISTIC you say? Obviously you haven't experienced the wise, awesome, mighty militaristic rule of the Emperor SmartGuy of the Human Empire, have you?

Drengins are evil creatures I tell you. The Emperor ended up launching a suicidal attack on Dregin starbase, losing that battle and having the whole bloody Drengin Empire turn on him. His NewHopeI s, a terribly powerful ship the Emperor designed himself, well, they held out for a while against the lousy Drengin Heavy Fighters. Then the economic might of the evil Lord Kona with 13 planets under his charge began to have an impact against the 8 under His Majesty, the Emperor SmartGuy. And so evil Lord Kona, he put his Heavy Fighters in groups of 5 and launched attacks on the human fighters one by one.

And then evil Lord Kona sent in his ships to invade the human planets too.

And that's how the mighty Human Empire fell. Drengins are ingrates. Never set their intelligence level at INCREDIBLE. Those Pacifists who say that we should do trade with them don't know what they're talking about I tell you. Show Drengins no mercy in future. Mark my words.

And taking a break from managing his wide empire, the Emperor returns home in his Royal Starship, to Earth, to Singapore. The A'levels await him.

P.S. The only good Drengin is a dead Drengin.

Friday, September 01, 2006

heh

Prelims drawing close.

Oh well.

Ankles recovering fast. That's great.

What I've learnt bout ankle sprains:

1)After the initial 2 or 3 days, don't wear ankle guards when you sleep. Your ligaments won't get any stronger that way.

2)If possible, don't even wear it when you walk.

3)Creams only help to prevent swelling. If you want your ligaments to really recover, go physio.

4)If you want to know a cheap way to get physio, ask Tai Yong (my physio cost S$7+, thank God)

*Information herein is not to be taken as professional medical advice.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Afterthoughts.

I've been set thinking by my discipler's words.

In the youth ministry. Which is sought more, the presence of God or the presence of man?

You see, if the presence of God is sought more, then why does youth attendance shoot up when a mere man, prophetic though he may be, speak? Isn't that an indirect insult to God? Then you come for the man and his ministry, and not so much because you want to seek God?

And what about those who say they seek a word about the future? If God wants to tell His child about the future, must He do it through a prophet? He may and can. But I'm just saying that the motive behind some of us coming for prophetic meetings is entirely wrong. The motive should be to wait on God and seek Him. Not to satisfy our itchng ears. If we continue down this path (and yeah, agreed, this might be a slippery-slope fallacy), there is a real danger of the situation in 2 Timothy 4:3- The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear.

You see, there's a difference between going to a prophetic sermon to hear the word of God and going to a prophetic sermon to seek a prophecy. If we go about seeking prophecies, there's a real danger that we lose sight of the true and living God. Yes, prophecy is important. But Psalm 64:10 says to Be still and know that I am God. Indeed, be reassured by the words already spoken. Do not seek further reassurance from a prophecy. That would mean to have a lack of faith in God's word, wouldn't that? But when God chooses to encourage through a prophecy, He will. There is no need to seek a prophetic word. But there is a pressing need to seek His face.

Furthermore, should we not trust in the promises already spoken instead of looking for God to tell us something we want to hear? Isn't Psalm 32:6 Therefore let everyone who is godly come and pray to you while you may be found, surely when the mighty waters rise they shall not reach him.) more than enough?

Sometimes we want to hear the voice of God so desperately that we seek men instead of God Himself. But there really is no need for that. Jeremiah 29:13-14-you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord Almighty...

Ah, where are the prophetic ministers in our midst? But then a counter-question. Is there a lack of prophets or a perception that we do not have prophets? And the latter because we don't really trust non-established prophets, so much so that we don't even recognize they are prophets.

A last question. Would there be a personal bias and preference in most of us as to who gives the prophecy? Are not prophecies all from God and the choice of servants to deliver the word inconsequential?

Consider this.

"Yesterday, Rev. Rusty Russell spoke a word of prophecy to me. He told me that..."

"Yesterday, this Sec. 1 guy came up to me and told me that God was saying..."

Have we put our trust in the prophet or in God Most High?

Friday, August 18, 2006

A lesson from Asa

Yesterday night I was real frustrated bout coming prelims and A's. Everything's crashing in. And I still ain't prepared. C maths lecture yesterday. I didn't really understand all the integration they were going through.

Lecturer: "This is simple hor. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then you're in trouble"

I don't understand what she's talking about. I'm in trouble.

Lecturer: "Don't understand? Go home and understand."

I'm amused. But my C maths teacher isn't going to be amused if she finds out how little PaperI stuff I understand. She won't find out though. Well, at least not until prelims, if I haven't got it figured out by then.

After dinner last night, went out with a 1 hour walk. As I told Jing Jie today, it was simply me walking with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just kept walking. Didn't need to talk. I was telling God:"Lord... aiyah, let's just walk lah." And so we walked. Walked for 20 mins.

Sat down outside and talked with God for like 20 mins. Surrendered my A's and everything else to the Lord. Asked God to give me the grades good enough to get into where He wants me to. And that's enough.

Then went home.

Today morn had cell. Was strange. Really dry. 4 of us J2 guys only. KC, Jie Hau, OneBigDonkey and me.

Afternoon's meeting was slightly better. Besides the fish pond next to office. Was quite nice to have Nellyn over. Aga and Chinyi came too. Open-eyed prayer. Had a long conversation with the guys after the J1s left.

Just now as I was praying, I read bout King Asa in the bible. 2 Chronicles 14-16, I believe. And I was just thanking God for all the grace given to me throughout the whole of this year. The turning point was last year's children and youth camps, really. Changed my life. Started out this year to work hard on my studies, to really honour the Lord. (Bearing in mind that I can't earn the grace God gives. It's GIVEN.) The start of this year was frustrating. School min and ODAC and studies. But the Lord brought me through all of that. School min and studies were particularly successful. ODAC was mentally and emotionally tough for me. But I still got through it.

And then came to a point mid-year where before and after Rinjani I didn't really get much studying done. My ankles still recovering after Rinjani too. And then came my awful Mids results. D E F C6. And then school min started to slow down. Had to spend much time on prayer and fasting on that. Then came a phase where I stayed up late (till 2a.m.) or woke up early (2a.m. to 5a.m.) to study for God, using the World-Cup skills I've acquired. Some mornings I relied on Red Bull, which wasn't really good.

And then the point where I obeyed God, went to the seminar with Pam and then kena fever. And then this week, where I almost got sore throat again, if not for a total of 6 Garlic pills, 3 Vitamin B, 4 Vitamin C which I gulped down within 2 days.

Thing is, just as Asa was given success in his early days against the Cushites, I was given success early this year. And now my King Baasha of Israel is here to attack me. My A's. I resolve not to take out the gold and silver articles from the temple (my time with my Lord Jesus, school ministry time, YPM time, encouraging my dear bros and sis, praying and interceeding time, fasting time) and find my own way to tackle A's. Asa allied himself with King Ben-Haded of Aram, and for that God was angry. Asa got what he wanted, but in the process, He did not honour God.

And that is precisely where I need to learn a lesson. I must rely on God to see me through my A's. I write this here, right now.

By myself, there is no way I can get my A's right. There's so much to study for History, I've never gotten anything above a D for my major exams. I haven't touched econs for more than a month. I've never scored above a D for my major exams. My C maths is in tatters and I don't know how to do a great amount of pure maths. Promos and mids I got straight Fs.

Lord, I cry out to you. I ask that you bring me through. If I get through all this, it's really by your grace. I acknowledge that right now.

And now that that has been said, I simply rest in His presence and rely on Him. I'll study, sure. But it'll be God seeing me through. I say now that if I'm to get any good results, it's because the Lord has helped me, not by my own effort.

Ta.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Might have been wrong

Might have been working too hard to earn righteousness.

Was listening to this sermon by Sarah Allis Young, from the church Pam brought me to 3 Fridays back. (The lady's a Chinese American. God really changed her life. She used to be in homosexuality... etc. God brought her out of it and now she's a leader. Recently been told by God that'd there'd be a revival in UC Berkely, her alma mater).

I might have been missing the point. This year I set my heart down to honouring the Lord. And it was good. Really grew closer to God. But then again, I might have been so hard on myself that I've forgotten the most important part. That I don't have to earn righteousness or purity or peace or God's love. It's given. No amount of fasting or praying or studying the word will give it to me.

In fact, if I do those things and depend on that stuff, I may even be drawing away from the Lord. I need to spend my days with God not because I want His annointing or touch or power. But simply this. Because I love Him.

And I'm a son of the Most High. Romans 8:15. For ye have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba Father".

Need to stop living in any kind of fear and operate totally on grace.

Just to share, 2 things that I've prayed so often that it's become and understanding between the Lord and I.

1)Lord, I don't need others to think I'm super holy. Because I know how much I've sinned and how much I'm forgiven. If anything, let them see your grace in a forgiven man. I don't need people to have a perception of me being super holy.

2)Lord, I don't need to pretend to be holy before you. You know just how holy I am. You know where I've gone wrong lately. And I rely on you for that holiness.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thanks.

Thank you Caleb for being a great bro in Christ. Great talking to you. Still don't know your birthday date. Or your favourite colour. blah blah. To heck with that stuff. Not important. Both of us don't care bout it anyway. Keep running for God. Really encouraged by how you've grown.

Thank you Kwan Chin for sticking by me today even though I was so sian*. Thank you for praying with me. Think you did a great job sharing Christ with that aunty. Jesus smiles, I'm sure.

Thank you Mei Yan for continually organizing the programme and coming early for Friday morning cell meetings. Greatly encouraged everytime I see you come. (P.S. your blog is taking a lloooooooooooong time to load)

Thank you Jing Jie for talking cock with me again, as usual. All the best brown cow. God is with you. Never forget that.

Thank you Jie Hau for always sharing insight with me. Rest well. Stay strong. God will provide.

Wan Lin ah, long time haven't talked with you already leh. Thank you for the joy and enthusiasm you bring to the group. And that joy and enthusiasm the way you bring it hasn't been around for sometime.

I miss Jing Jie and Jie Hau and Wan Lin in the group. Today we missed Agapera and Jonathan Pang and Ching Yi. Only Joseph, Kwan Chin and I. Yi Hui and Zhi Wei came in the morn. Where are you guys??

Hmmm. The army enlists 2 more soldiers for the Lord... 12 strong now. What will become of this particular unit I'm not entirely sure. I don't need to know either. I just thank God that He's been so gracious. The 6 of us have had some amazing times in God's presence. Some wonderful times of fellowship and strengthening. Many days of laughter, joy and also a common frustration when we feel we're hitting a blank wall together. Lord, thank you for this 5 bros and sistas you've given me.

Whether God chooses to restructure this unit, disband this unit if it so be His will, I do not know. I just pray that His will be done. And if it so be in accordance with His will, the J1s will really grow in this group and proclaim God's name together. That they'll pick up where we left off and continue the hard work in this school.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Your hands are a bit loose...

Ah the continuing saga.

Went to orthopaedic surgeon yesterday. Wait was ok. 45 minutes? Read my bible as I waited. One thing that struck me was when Moses was told by God to go tell Pharaoh to free the Hebrews. Funny thing was, Pharaoh originally made things worse for Moses. Made Hebrews make bricks without straws. Worst thing was, God had never told Moses this would have happened.

Now if I was Moses, I'd be really angry at God, that God would let me get humiliated before the Pharaoh. And I'd probably start to ask God to do things MY way. Like ask for another staff from God. One that could change into a PYTHON and eat up the idiotic Pharaoh in front of his court. Or ask God to strike the Pharaoh with lifelong piles. Or ask God to afflict the Egyptians with chronic diarrhoea for the rest of their lives so their slave drivers couldn't lift a finger and the Hebrews could slack around and laugh.

But then again, if Moses had, he wouldn't have been going according to God's purpose. The key to fulfilling God's purpose is total obedience and surrender, as God is showing me these days. Not even commitment. That requires me to operate for God. Surrender is above that. It's asking God will to be done and moving on God's mercy and providence.

And so the orthopaedic surgeon... he started rotating my left ankle a few dozen times.

Rotate rotate rotate

"Pain a not?"

"Not pain"

Rotate rotate rotate rotate rub rub

"Pain?"

"Not pain"

Jab jab jab

"Pain?"

"No"

"Pain?"

"Not pain"

Change ankle.

"Pain a not?"

"No."

"No."

"No."

"Not pain."

"I can't find anything wrong with your ankle leh... they seem quite firm to me"

Then this junior doctor calls in a senior doctor. Sits there and works on the com as the senior doc does his stuff. First thing he says when he reads the report of the A&E doc.

"Wah, you climbed a volcano in Indonesia ah?" starting to get excited.

"er. Yeah"

"Merapi ah?" eyes wide with glee (I don't know how else to put the emotion)

"No"

"Oh, so it's not active?" calmer now. Less excited.

"Well, it is"

"Huh, it is ah? Then might as well just go and climb Merapi right? That would be more exciting. All the lava coming out. Correct?"

I'm really amused.

And so senior doc checks my ankles. Then he bends my fingers, my hands.

"Hmmm. You have muscle laxity."

"Which means?"

"Your ligaments are lax. Some people are born that way"

"Is it because I do a lot of stretching?"

"No, you're born that way."

"Is it ok?"

"Yeah, you're born that way."

"So there's no problem?"

"Well, some people just have more lax ligaments. They're born that way you know. You're the second one I've examined today."

"Oh so no problem"

"No, you can run, you can do NS, it's perfectly alright. Some people are just born that way."

Finds nothing wrong with ankles. Recommends physio.

"There's no muscle tear?"

"Well, there doesn't appear to be one. Unless you want an MRI? We could do one for you, you know? Just that it'll cost S$900 for each foot"

turns to junior doc. "Write down that I've examined patient, no sign of muscle tear. Perfectly stable. Patient very concerned, wants MRI."

"Er, I think it's ok lah, no problem"

"Well, if you want it we can do it for you, you know."

"It's ok."

"Well, if you really want we could do a check for you right now, you know. We can do it."

"No, it's ok."

Then he gives some instructions to junior doc. Senior doc leaves the room. Junior doc turns to me.

"Hmmm. What did he (senior doc) say huh?"

.
.
.

And then I leave the hospital, thanking God that all's well. Cost S$20.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

.

Saturday. Mom and Dad went with me to the A&E department to check my ankles. (A&E's really the sneaky way to go, since there's a subsidized rate. About S$70. The school brought Jian Hao to MOUNT ALVERNIA Hospital to fix his fractured wrist a week or so back. That cost a whopping S$200 plus)

The A&E doctor felt my ankles. Felt the ligaments' strength by pulling them a bit.

"Hmmm, this one is a bit loose, you know".

Puts down that ankle, lifts the other ankle and feels it.

"This one also a bit loose"

Tai Yong. Mouth open.

And so I'll be down. No running, no jumping. Walk slowly as an added precaution. Finally got round to packing my school bag to make it slightly lighter. Took out a few kg worth of notes that I've been storing up. Some since January.

Can swim though. Yet another thing to thank God.

Romans 8:28 still stands though. All things still work together for the good of those who love God. I have no idea whether this'll have any implication for NS. But just you wait, this double ankle sprain will work to my good, I know.

***********************************
Completed most of my History Research Assignment today. Took me most of the day. School was rather short today. Don't know if I can catch up on all that C maths. Thick-skinned Tai Yong isn't really affected by all the prodding of teachers to do work. He'll do them as he sees fit. (whether or not that's a good thing... it's a double-edged thing actually). Means that he'll save himself from getting stressed out. Also means he'll sometimes get far behind in work.
School ministry. Praying for God to teach us what to do. Truly, we've lost our axhead in this ministry. We've lost our focus. The thing isn't so much about renewal of members or expansion. It's about focusing on God, guys. It's about letting God do everything. Just as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians (3 I think) He who sows and he who waters is not anything, only God,who makes the plant grow.
These past 2 days of partial fasts have brought me closer to God. Spent lots of time praying and reading the bible.
Mr Larry Lee said in school today that "feeling" is not something that can prove God exists. It's illogical to say that God exists because one "feels" that. And guess what, I totally agree. Yes, I do believe that I feel God in my everyday life. But God has proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that He exists. And not just through failings.
How can somebody come up to me and pray for me in the name of Jesus, and tell me exactly what's going on in my life and that God still loves me? And that more than once. How can I sometimes go up to someone and pray for him or her and know something in his or her life that I really didn't know and pray in the name of Jesus that God helps the person in that area. Why is it that sometimes that person can be reduced to tears- tears of being touched in the heart by an awesome God- by the very mention of such things?
And that's only in my own life. I once witnessed Pastor Rusty Russell tell Rebeccah Ng to pray for my friend James Ow Yong. Told her to pray for a pain in his leg (the hamstring I think). And then that pain went away immediately. Woah.
Perhaps then you might ask why God didn't heal my ankles? It's beyond me. I prayed. But look, if He's God, He can say yes or no and still remain God right?
And I haven't even begun to mention the countless changed lives I see around me. Of drug addicts turned pastors. Of angry people turning to a loving God.
**************************************
And so tomorrow I'll be skipping PE. Our goalie Jian Hao's down. Now Qi Xiang's goalie (one who makes beautiful saves too). I'm down. Welyon just recovered from in-grown toe nail. Oh well.
Hmmm. Wonder what a certain teacher will say when he sees both my ankles sprained during PE tomorrow. Not that he can do anything much against me though. Heh heh.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Latest news

Tai Yong is going to see a:

sports doctor (Lowell's idea)/ orthopaedic surgeon(doctor's idea supported by mom)/ Chinese sinseh (mother's backup idea)

Hopefully I recover by NS.

Or I'll be a sai-keng warrior confined to the severe military challenges of the clerk's desk.

Oh well.

Perhaps this is God's way of forcing me to sit down and study? It's working already...

Ankle

I'm pretty sure I've got ankle sprains.

Really minor. Can still walk and do everything. Just that it tires easily. And that probably means that it hasn't healed completely. So I guess I'll just have to rest it for a month or so and then see how. Wear ankle guard everywhere I go.

Might see doctor. Might not. Thinking Chinese Senseh now. Mom's finding one for me.

.
.
.

Began thinking bout my not-too-comfortable ankles when Sam came over with his adventure racing buddies for a presentation at AJ. All those photos kinda reminded me how much I love the outdoors. Mustn't take my chance with these ankles.

And thus, my lower body training programme comes to a halt for the next month or so. Sulk*.

And I'll wear the ankle guards everywhere I go.

Wear another set of ankle guards when I sleep.

Thank you Lord that I have ankles! Thank you for all the times you let me use these ankles to run, to swim, to climb mountains. I only appreciate all that so much better when you let them become injured, and only slightly! Help me to rest them well and recover soon so I can use them again!

In the name of Jesus I pray, amen!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

-

Send your rain Lord.

Been working late nights early mornings cuz I want to get my studies right for you. Yet today I didn't really feel like studying. C maths Common Test on Friday some more. Trigo and Vectors. I understand them Lord, but I haven't been practising enough, I know. Help me to get those chapters right.

I hate it when I sin against you, Lord. Help me to stop making you sad, Lord. I want to live a life for you. Not being stunningly successful though.

***********************
One thing Aunty Cindy told me last Sat which really rang a bell with me was this. It doesn't really matter how well you do in your studies. But what matters is your character. If you have a heart that is good and you chase after God, God will give you what you need. What's the point if you have all As but you have no character?
***************************
And HERE I'd like to address a common misconception.
Tai Yong is NOT holy. Repeat, NOT holy. Many people look at me and say hey! That guy is sooooo holy (whether that's said with a bit of sarcasm and codescension or not). Always see him reading the bible. Always hear him say things like "Thank God". Sometimes see him praying.
Come to me and I'll tell you a lil more about my life, bout the sins I've committed. Bout how I'm still committing some of them.
But I'll tell you also, that Christ has forgiven them all. In case you're wondering, my Lord Jesus ain't just part of a story. There have been times when I've heard God speak to me. And even better, seen prayers answered. Of course, then again you might go into Darwinian theory. But I ask you. Who created you? If you see the words "I love so-and-so" on the wall, would you say that they happened to be there by some scientific process?
And yet we have remarkable bodies. Around us are wonderful works of creation. Trees, sky, clouds. Who created all this I ask you? Is it all just an evolutionary process? If I saw grafitti on the wall, I'd have no question that someone put it there. Yet our much more complex bodies have been said to be of evolution.
Science can't even explain how a thought comes about. Science cannot be used to create and replicate a human being on its own. (cloning, for example is made possible only when you first have a human being to start off with). Science is limited. How can you use science to try and debunk God?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Guess the cry of my heart

Worst of Sinners

The reason He died on that cross
Was to take away my sin
Was to take away my sin

I come to you my Father
Ran away but now I'm home
I've hid my face
Knowing that I'm not worthy to be called your child
Why do you even run out to throw your arms around me
Take me back when I've sinned?

I know my sin is great but the blood of Jesus is greater
And just because of that blood that was shed
I may come
I may come

Create in me a clean heart
And put your Spirit in me to obey your decrees
Worst of sinners called to grace
Worst of sinners called to grace

**************************************************

Create in me a clean heart O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from your presence O God
And take not your Spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

-Psalm 51:10-12

I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. I will purify you from all your idols and from all your impurities. I will put a new spirit and a new heart in you. I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh . I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

-Ezekiel 36:25-27

Put to death everything of the earthly nature. Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of things such as these the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the lives you once lived. But now you must get rid of all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander and every form of vulgarity from your lips.

-Colossians 3:5-8

*****************************************************

Flashback. During last year's Childrens' Camp, I asked God what He required of me. And this answer touched me. Just my heart, my hands and my mind.

O God. Let your annointing fall once again. Sinner I am, but Redeemer you are.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ruminating

Verse.
I know my offering is meagre
I know my righteous acts
Their like filthy rags
Before your eyes
Trembling I come before your throne
Wondering how a fool like me deserves your saving grace

Bridge.
Oh Lord
I surrender
Into your arms of love

Chorus
(So)
Come like a rushing wind
Blow through this place
Come like a raging fire
And make me whole
Bring abounding joy
Into this place
And through all this
I wanna seek your face

*******************************************************
The one desire of my heart is to dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze upon His beauty and to seek Him in His temple.
That song up there is the cry of my heart. I don't know why God ever chose to save a wretch like me. I'm a bloody sinner. But still God chooses to rescue me. Why? Why? Why? Why when I sin and then repent, why I hurt Him, He still chooses to take me back, to restore me?
Not because I'm worthy. I know I'm not.
It doesn't make sense. It's not the Jews who crucified Jesus, you know. It's our sins.
But all I know is that I am forgiven. That I have an inheritance in heaven. That when I die I'll get to see the Lord.
My Lord died on that cruel cross that my sins might be forgiven. Day by day I live on borrowed time, given grace. And one day He'll return to judge the earth. I know there are those who laugh in their hearts at this. What Jesus? What God? Judge the earth? But yes, that day will come.
Hosanna. Come save, Lord.

Cute episode

A cute episode over the email. Took out some details though. Read carefully. Haha.

Dear Sir/Madame

Not too long ago, I received a survey form from your organization. It stated that filling it would entitle me to 6 FREE copies of the Financial Times, if I am not mistaken.

However, I have been receiving FREE copies of the Financial Times for more than a week now. I have no intention of subscribing as I have limited time on my hands to read the paper.

Although I enjoy reading through the FREE copies of the Financial Times which are coming to me ENDLESSLY, I do realize that it would be extremely unfair to your organization. Now, it would be pointless sending FREE> products to a happy, non-paying customer, wouldn't it?

Thank you for your kind attention.

Sincerely
Mr. Foong Tai Yong

P.S. The FREE copies of your excellent paper are much appreciated.

----- Original Message -----
Dear Mr Foony,

Thank you very much for your email.

Please note that we do offer you a 4 weeks free trial instead of 6 copies.
We are now sending you free copy effective from 3rd July onwards & it will be ended on 30th July 2006. Do you need to cancel as soon as possible OR after the end date ?

Please feel free to email back to me if you have any further queries.

Regards,
M. Woo


Dear Ms. Wooy

Thank you for your email.

I appreciate the FREE flow of papers.

It would be alright to let it continue.

Thank you for your kind attention

Faithfully
Mr Foony

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

title

"The reason why we often read nice-looking sentences in itialics, thinking that they're some famous individual's quote, is that they are made to look special. And if you think about it, this particular set of itialicised words are kind of lame."
T. Y. Foong

"Slow to learn their lesson are the ones who read this second line."
Un-famous Author

"All hope is lost! Weird are those who never learn their lesson, because they keep reading nice-looking, itialicised sentences."
Now Infamous Writer


Right. Down to business.

-Ankle is still painful. That despite Rinjani being a full month back. I'm like. "Oh shit. So how, Lord?". I thought it was over and done with, until I started running short distances (3km ++) again. Then it was painful. Yikes. Some injury that needs to be cured. I know God can heal me just like that if He wants to. Somehow He doesn't. Will see how it goes, no use worrying about it. But I AM concerned.

-Made some progress studying. Not today. Today was doing some mushy, sentimental stuff that I have never done in my entire life. Writing cards! Oh man. The wonders of what 2 years in a co-ed school can do to a guy.

-Was under some rather heavy spiritual attack yesterday. Real intense bombardment. Asked Caleb to pray. By this morning, it was better. Even better after Jie Hau prayed for me in school. Wonderful. This attack's been called off (temporarily, I presume. Do not underestimate the enemy, Tai Yong). Thanks to reinforcements... thank God for these brothers, and anybody else who prayed for me. Know that many a time God does that. Tells someone else to pray for a certain person.

-Daniel Yim's back for reservist. Praying that he'll be able to share Christ effectively and that he'll have a wonderful time in the outdoors.

-Applause to Pam for responding with boldness to God's voice.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Draw Me Nearer

Draw me nearer to you
Nearer to you
Fill my life with your presence
The way you want to
Till my soul is ablaze
Each and everyday
Draw me nearer
Nearer to you

-Did spectacularly badly for my mid years. But not as spectacular as some other guys in my class. Got 28.5 for C maths and 45 for History (it might interest you to know that the lowest score in my class is 0.5 marks- not an excuse though)

-Seeking guidance on a few things in future. (Pam: Thanks for the book again! The guidance principles do work!).

-NS after A's. Wonder if it's January enlistment or April enlistment. Used to want April, but right now I'd rather have January. Better to have spare time after NS than before.

-My ankles still haven't completely healed. Oh Lord!

-My mom wants to use this computer now, so I'm stopping for now.

-I think Italy will win.

P.S. Sorry Caleb (For your info, Caleb asked me to go and study, and bring my C maths exam paper so he could do. And I faithfully did so. Trouble was, I brought the exam paper. And left the question paper at home. Ooops.). But you got

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hmmmmmm

Certain things have well, cropped up lately. Ain't gonna say what exactly till I get a clear sign from the Lord.

But as you can see, there are a couple of things that I need to inquire of the Lord. A couple more that I really need help in.

Oh Lord, a couple of things are going to turn out real ... interesting.

(Apologies for the cryptic language)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

...

Lord. So how?

Wk

Wed- Went for a nice 32 lap swim after my morning Econs paper. The start of a 5 day HOLIDAY! (Thurs and Fri no papers, Monday is Youth Day). Went home and played some computer game. (But hey! Tai Yong has no computer games on his com mah! Well, I downloaded a demo of Galactic Civilizations of the net and deleted it after I was finished... =) Now THAT sounds like Tai Yong again right?)

Thurs- Exercised a bit, slacked at home for most of the day.

Fri- Went for another 32 laps in the morn. Afternoon went to school for my Odac friend Teck's birthday. Ended up rock-climbing (not bad, managed to go for 3 climbs within one hour). Then was supposed to go for dinner with Daniel Yim, but then he had to work overtime, so I had dinner with Samson at BK instead (and a second dinner with Joseph Tiew, Aaron Lim, Gideon and Boss (Aunty Lynda)). Attended the CM Cell Group that night. Bible study was cool.

Saturday- Morning. Went back to good ol' Montfort for NPCC POP. Met up with the 05 and the 04 seniors. My batch of guys almost the whole PDS team came, save 2. Had lots of fun. The juniors. Real funny. Told to bring food for potluck. 90% brought potato chips and soft drinks. Oh well. Evening I went to church for YPM. Dr Bill Allen. Hmmm. Still thinking some things over bout that message.

First time that I copied sermon notes in a sermon book. God's been telling me things about humility. Philippians 2:3 -"In humility, consider others better than yourselves", for instance, keeps popping out.

Sunday- Went church (sudden flashback- Caleb+Amelia+Pam+Ming En: But I thought you didn't come church?). Oh well, tomorrow's Youth Day. Since I don't intend to study for this hols, might as well come correct? Had a good chat with Chris, before I came home and started typing. And I typed:

"Wed- Went for a nice 32 lap swim after my morning Econs paper. The start of a 5 day HOLIDAY! (Thurs and Fri no papers, Monday is Youth Day). Went home and played some computer game. (But hey! Tai Yong has no computer games on his com mah! Well, I downloaded a demo of Galactic Civilizations of the net and deleted it after I was finished... =) Now THAT sounds like Tai Yong again right?)

Thurs- Exercised a bit, slacked at home for most of the day.

Fri- Went for another 32 laps in the morn. Afternoon went to school for my Odac friend Teck's birthday. Ended up rock-climbing (not bad, managed to go for 3 climbs within one hour). Then was supposed to go for dinner with Daniel Yim, but then he had to work overtime, so I had dinner with Samson at BK instead (and a second dinner with Joseph Tiew, Aaron Lim, Gideon and Boss (Aunty Lynda)). Attended the CM Cell Group that night. Bible study was cool.

Saturday- Morning. Went back to good ol' Montfort for NPCC POP. Met up with the 05 and the 04 seniors. My batch of guys almost the whole PDS team came, save 2. Had lots of fun. The juniors. Real funny. Told to bring food for potluck. 90% brought potato chips and soft drinks. Oh well. Evening I went to church for YPM. Dr Bill Allen. Hmmm. Still thinking some things over bout that message.

First time that I copied sermon notes in a sermon book. God's been telling me things about humility. Philippians 2:3 -"In humility, consider others better than yourselves", for instance, keeps popping out.

Sunday- Went church (sudden flashback- Caleb+Amelia+Pam+Ming En: But I thought you didn't come church?). Oh well, tomorrow's Youth Day. Since I don't intend to study for this hols, might as well come correct? Had a good chat with Chris, before I came home and started typing. And I typed:

"Wed- Went for a nice 32 lap swim after my morning Econs paper. The start of a 5 day HOLIDAY! (Thurs and Fri no papers, Monday is Youth Day). Went home and played some computer game. (But hey! Tai Yong has no computer games on his com mah! Well, I downloaded a demo of Galactic Civilizations of the net and deleted it after I was finished... =) Now THAT sounds like Tai Yong again right?)

Thurs- Exercised a bit, slacked at home for most of the day.

Fri- Went for another 32 laps in the morn. Afternoon went to school for my Odac friend Teck's birthday. Ended up rock-climbing (not bad, managed to go for 3 climbs within one hour). Then was supposed to go for dinner with Daniel Yim, but then he had to work overtime, so I had dinner with Samson at BK instead (and a second dinner with Joseph Tiew, Aaron Lim, Gideon and Boss (Aunty Lynda)). Attended the CM Cell Group that night. Bible study was cool.

Saturday- Morning. Went back to good ol' Montfort for NPCC POP. Met up with the 05 and the 04 seniors. My batch of guys almost the whole PDS team came, save 2. Had lots of fun. The juniors. Real funny. Told to bring food for potluck. 90% brought potato chips and soft drinks. Oh well. Evening I went to church for YPM. Dr Bill Allen. Hmmm. Still thinking some things over bout that message.

First time that I copied sermon notes in a sermon book. God's been telling me things about humility. Philippians 2:3 -"In humility, consider others better than yourselves", for instance, keeps popping out.

Sunday- Went church (sudden flashback- Caleb+Amelia+Pam+Ming En: But I thought you didn't come church?). Oh well, tomorrow's Youth Day. Since I don't intend to study for this hols, might as well come correct? Had a good chat with Chris, before I came home and started typing. And I typed:

P.S. That Tai Yong ah... tut tut tut.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cry

You that are called born of God, and Christians, if you be not criers, there is no spiritual life in you; if you be born of God, you are crying ones; as soon as He raised you out of the dark dungeon of sin, you cannot but cry to God.

John Bunyan

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Matthew Henry

Don't you just love Matthew Henry? (who passed on in 1714)

Know this will probably bore most of you.

He that is born of God is born for God, and consequently for another world. He has a temper and disposition that tend to a higher and better world; and he is furnished with such arms, or such a weapon, whereby he can repel and conquer this; as it is added,

And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith, 1John 5:4.

Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour and artillery by which we overcome; for,

(1.) In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and opposition to, the world.

(2.) Faith works in and by love to God and Christ, and so withdraws us from the love of the world.

(3.) Faith sanctifies the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains such sway and dominion over souls.

(4.) It receives and derives strength from the object of it, the Son of God, for conquering the frowns and flatteries of the world.

(5.) It obtains by gospel promise a right to the indwelling Spirit of grace, that is greater than he who dwells in the world.

(6.) It sees an invisible world at hand, with which this world is not worthy to be compared, and into which it tells the soul in which it resides it must be continually prepared to enter.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.Tai Yong hates worldliness.
Sounds so extremist.
Shouldn't faith be extreme?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Been studying.





Above. The last of the Rinjani photos. (from top): Fariha, me, Yu Yan / the airplane! / me, Keith, Myra- the bro and sis in Christ I was talking about/ my improvised ankle guard. Pretty proud of it! Constructed from handkerchief and paper brochure and black tape (never leave for an expedition without BLACK TAPE).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well, been a lil while since I started studying again. Mid years... hmmm. Told my dad and mom, "don't be alarmed by my mid year results hor. Prelim and A's will be much better". And I've got to work hard to make the latter a reality.

3 prayer requests.

1. Fresh fire from God (don't I keep asking for that?). My fire's been getting a little bit too small for comfort. Need to have more hunger and thirst for the word. If not I'll just stagnate and grow fat and rot and die as far as the spirit man is concerned. Musn't grow complacent.

2. Fresh fire for studies! Need to get my studies right this year. Need to spend more time on it, have more discipline, really know that I'm doing it for God once again.

3. Stop being so judgemental. I've been rather judgemental in my thinking lately, on certain brothers. That's gotta change if I want to be used by my Lord.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rinjani

Told you they'd be disjointed. Ok. I didn't get all the photos I wanted up, but at least the best are already here. Exceeded my time limit for internet usage by 44 minutes this week. Good night.
On the way down. Lombok mountain range, Lombok mountain range. Taught me so much yet so strange. Hope this rhymes but I'm just bored, waiting for the photo-downloader to do its job.
View from summit. That in the middle? That's Gunung Baru. The volcano in the middle of the crater lake. It's a mini-volcano. If I'm correct, the whole Crater was formed by an explosion many years back. Then Gunung Baru (active volcano) came about much later.
At summit. Didn't take many photos on the way up, cuz it was so friggin cold. So there's a certain jump in events. The worst ones being skipped. Might interest you to know that the Canadian climber dropped down from around here. And there I was, the news not really haven't sunk it. But anyway, I crawled around the summit. Tried not to stand as much as I could. Was quite tired by then. From here, we descended all the way to base camp by the end of the day. That day was the 16 hours trek.
Day 3. Sunset (6:30p.m. only!) , where it begins to get cold. Really cold. I'm wearing 3 layers top and bottom. Top beanie on head. 1 dri-fit, 1 woollen layer, 1 rainjacket. Bottom. 1 cotton underwear, 1 Montfort PE shorts, 1 track pants. Jeremy in slippers is crazy as usual, with a super high metabolism or so I think. He can go and join the X-Men. Mortals like me will just try to keep warm, in the meantime.
Relaxing near Crater Rim camp. Up till this point, it still seemed so sinang.

Rinjani 2

Jon Pang and I. Acting cool.
My batch plus 3 teachers.
Day 3. Crater Rim camp. Me and Jon Pang, junior who's in the same school min. Thank God for this bro.
Day 2. What's this photo doing here? Anyway, that's Wei Long, me, Chee Yong, Teck Hao at the Hot Springs on Day 2. Just below Crater lake.
Day 3. Me and my junior, Jia Chang. The altitude up here uh, it just erm, it makes you go nuts lah. After the photo was taken, I slew his right hand off and then he had to make do with a robotic one the rest of the journey. Haha.
3rd morn of trek. Trekking to Crater Rim Camp. From there we go on to summit. Myra, Yuan Han, Yu Yan, Joycelyn.

Rinjani

The photos and text is gonna be a little disjointed. Sorry hor.

That. That peak there. That's Rinjani. We would go up from the left side of this picture. Looks simple hor? I thought so too.

Giant earthworm meets pimple-face(which after contemplation I cooked for dinner. Earthworm tastes a bit like the fried chicken you get at the coffeshop. Except a little more sourish. If you fry it. I didn't boil it, which would have made it more yucky. And I'm joking actually)Passing cloud! (Descending from crater rim.)
Day 2 of trek. About to descend from crater rim. Me and my trekking buddy, Yuan Han
Second morning of trek. Moving up towards crater rim.
Day 0 Nuts bunk. Me, Keith, Alan. We make a crazy team. Our bunk/room/tent's usually the messiest.

Gunung Rinjani (3-9 June) Personal Account and Reflections

Account

It’s been an interesting past 10 days or so as I sit here in front of my computer, typing out a load of things off my chest. I’ve experienced and soaked up the lap of luxury in Singapore, sat on an airplane and known modern comfort and security. And then on the other hand I’ve experienced the sheer beauty and bittersweet might of nature. Nature can be a friendly foe- when you fight it within your limitations and learn to appreciate it. Nature can also be an ugly enemy, whipping you when you least expect it and hardly can cope. The forces of nature have been nice to us Odacians over these past few days; and have chosen to turn nasty at the worst moment possible. I thank God with all of my heart that we all made it home alive where another has died.

Why do I write or type out a reflection every time I finish an expedition?

It’s a process of give and take that all outdoor people go through (if I can call a measly 3 summits and a few sparsely placed camps within 2 short years enough to make me an outdoor person). Most basically you give your energy to the mountains to take the experience of its beauty from it. Some give their lives to conquer the summit. That’s giving too much. No mountain, as a mountaineer I respect called Ed Viesturs put it, is worth dying for. Some refuse to give. They give up. That’s giving too little. I have given 4 days 3 nights to the Lombok jungle and mountain range. Perhaps it is only fair that I take back all the experiences and store them in the immortality of the written word.

3 June. Saturday morning. Woke up at 0420 hours. Quiet time- the daily morning communion with my Lord. (Something that I never abandoned throughout the trip, never mind that many were teasing me whenever I brought out my bible.) Then dad brought me to the airport. The usual photos and travel stuff. Flight took off at 0755 and reached Lombok’s Mataram Airport at 1000 plus.

Picked up some supplies at the local Mataram Mall before heading to Senaru Village. Stayed at Pondok Indah hotel for the night (if you’re wondering, it’s a small room for 3 with an attached toilet and 2 dim lights- but that’s already luxury for us). Conversation on the first day and night centered on nonsense and jokes about how Gunung Rinjani was really Gunung Sinang. I quote the itinerary. “Rest stops (for 15mins) are taken along the way with servings of fruits and cakes.” That’s unheard of in Odac. Belumut and Tapis never saw such luxury. Frankly speaking we’d been quite disappointed when the tour agency was giving us our briefing. Too easy. But then again, this was a tour agency-organized trip. Besides, the locals needed to do their jobs to earn their income.

The night was spent chatting under the stars with friends before turning in to sleep. Away from the city lights, the stars can be so easily seen. Only when one leaves the city to see the stars can he or she understand what the Lord meant when He said to Abraham that his descendents would be like the grains of sand or the stars in the sky- uncountable.

4 June was really a reinforcement of the Gunung Sinang comments. Did a little 3 hour trek from Rinjani Trek Centre (elevation 601m) to Montong Satas, a rest area 1500m above sea level. Was talking with Chang Tai (J2) throughout the earliest part of that leg. It took us 7 hours with full packs to get to 500m elevation on Tapis and another strenuous summit climb to reach 1512m. That in stark contrast to Rinjani. Sinang, sinang. The climate at higher elevation is more pleasant. Less humid. More scenic. We reached Modokon Lolak (2000m) by the first day. That was another 3 hour trek. J2s had a looong GM that night talking bout a certain irritating person along the trek. Up till this point the trek was just too easy for most of us. Everything was done for us. Unlike Tapis, porters dug our toilets for us, carried and cooked our food, carried and pitched our tents and HQ tent, got our water for us. The food was luxurious for an Odac trip. There was tea too. I guess the toughness of Tapis only made us appreciate all these.

Alan, Keith and I did something rather unintelligent that night. We slept without the sleeping bags provided! It was warm enough at first, but even though the temperature dropped to 1 degree Celsius that night it never occurred to anyone of us to get into the sleeping bag. Really cold that night. I could hardly sleep. Well, at least the lesson wasn’t lost on me for the rest of the trip.

5 June was a really slow trekking day. Trekked to the Lake Camp Area. It was supposed to take 3-4(?) hours but we took around 5-6(?) hours.

Well, if it wasn’t challenging at least it was beautiful. The trek to the top of the crater rim (where most people drop off and die- I’m serious) consisted of amazing scenery all the way. The night trekking and the early morning sunrise. Much like the Tapis summit climb, except this time the vegetation was mostly tall grass and the silent beauty of nature was unhindered by tropical vegetation. Could look out and see the sea in the distant. Looking from the top of the crater rim at the crater lake was stunning. The trek down was slightly harder to navigate, and we really slowed down. As I’m saying this I do recall that the current standard of J2s didn’t come at no cost. It came at the cost of tough self physical conditioning and the fighter’s mentality drilled into us when we work with a demanding Odac teacher. It came when at Tapis no responsible person dared to pass his or her load to another person unless absolutely necessary, because everyone was already worn out. If we were too tired to reach the summit, the only responsible thing to do would be to turn back. Neither Belumut nor Tapis bear the luxury of porters.

The last part to the Lake Camp area was trekking beside the crater lake. Never tried coastal or lakeside trekking before, so this was something new. Lots of hooked seeds or spores caught on to my dri-fit shirt as I trekked along this point. Perhaps next time it’d be wiser to wear a jacket at this point?

At the part of the lake leading towards the waterfall there’s a body of water for which you have to take out your shoes to cross. Here I did something illogical. Tried to jump across the water with bag and shoes on. Well, I did reach the other side. But the soil gave way and I got my legs soaked in the split second before I could hoist myself up to dry land. Talk about gei-kiang. Tapis had taught me that wet shoes equal abraded feet. Thank God that my shoes dried real fast in the sunny, dry, cold weather.

In the evening we descended 50m to the hot springs. Learnt a lesson while soaking up all the heat. That is, body temperature, and not surrounding temperature matters. All the way back to the campsite I didn’t feel cold. Still felt warm. Even when I was part of a knee deep human chain with the other J2s in the chilly water (The current is strong at the top of the waterfall. Any person could get swept off his or her feet without a good foothold). The heat only started to leave me after I’d spent a few hours outside the tent in the night.

Talked for a very long time with Myra and Keith that night. A brother and sister in Christ. Thank God so much for all that sharing that night. Never knew them so well till this trek. Grown a lot closer to them. I guess they’re the only 2 who really know my deepest feelings bout Odac.

6 June. By far the easiest day as I recall. Ascended to Plawangan 2 Sembalun Crater Rim. 4 hours trek I think. The view here was simply beautiful. Clouds passing right in front of us. When it isn’t cloudy the crater lake can be seen on one side and the mountain slope dotted with sparse trees on the other. When it’s cloudy, all the view is shrouded by clouds. Sometimes the clouds past right through the open tent door.

One problem was the monkeys, which tried to attack the campsite and get away with food. They didn’t succeed. The most they did was to tear a hole in one of the tents before being chased away.

Then there was Monti the mountain dog. He was trying to negotiate a narrow ledge in front of Jeremy and me. He somehow lost balance and fell off, and we heard the sickening thud of his body. Next thing we knew he stood right up, looked at us and walked coolly off. Well, I guess even dogs have their pride. Heh, I think Monti was in pain but he still tried to act cool. Something which sort of rings a bell with me, whether for that’s good or bad.

7 June. This day will be unforgettable. The summit climb. Woke up at 1245 and set off from camp at 0200 after the early morning breakfast in the cold morn. Along the way there was this group of Canadians. 4 of them- 2 guys and 2 ladies. They overtook our group on the way to the summit (elevation 3726m). I can’t remember where exactly, but I think that it was slightly before the part where my group stopped and we had to send 2 casualties- Yuan Han and Kai Ling (J1) back to the Crater Rim camp because of hypothermia (body drops 2 degrees Celsius below normal, for those who don’t know. You’re so cold that you shiver uncontrollably. Logical thinking is gone. Another degree down and you’re so cold that shivering stops.) Stopping to treat the casualties was a terrible experience. The wind was howling. And I don’t mean the howling wind of Singapore’s tropical storms. I mean the unrestricted howling wind of the mountain ranges. Unprotected from any rock formation and merciless. The kind of wind which caused us to lose balance at times and almost fall. Which cuts through the track pants and rain jacket if you have not come prepared with good gear. Some guides say it was 5 degrees Celsius without the wind. Our group huddled together. J1s in the middle and J2s outside, trying to get some heat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of that dark morning. Mr Lim and Mr Chin shouting at us. Telling us to keep talking and “don’t fall asleep” (cuz if you fall asleep you may never wake up again…). It was that bad. I kept praying for the Lord to stop the wind. But God didn’t. It was only later along the summit climb that God told me why. Would you have preferred it if I’d stopped the wind then? To which the answer was well, actually, no. It’d been better that we’d fought it and won. Quite a few J1 girls cried. But they didn’t give up and I think that proves a certain mettle in them. Perhaps someday they’ll become as rugged as our J2 ladies. It was only after the whole thing that we learnt that we get that kind of weather only once or twice in an entire season. I think that extra knowledge would have caused quite a few of us to turn back if it had been given us then.

The Canadian party must have overtaken us by a long stretch by then. The craziest part was the stretch of upward gravel towards the summit. 2 steps forward in the gravel and one step back. The powerful wind didn’t help either. Sometimes when the wind whipped us, we had to drop our bodies forward to keep from falling backwards. It grew so hard that I had to crawl during one part of the ascent. The legs just grow so tired and the lactic acid builds up. But one thing to thank the Lord for was the sun. The warm rising sun. On the way up Joleen (J1) got hypothermia and Chang Tai (J2) decided to call it a day. I remember looking around myself and figuring this out. If everyone else, especially the J1s, can reach the summit, then by simple logic, so should I. Not so much ego or pride, but ridiculously simple logical thinking in times of adversity, which just seems to work.

On the way up 3 Canadians made their way down. It never occurred to us why they were one less. When I reached the summit I was more relieved than exuberant. The ascent was crazy. Tapis was nuts throughout. Rinjani was simple throughout. But just for that 5 hours 45 minutes of ascent I’d say Rinjani can be put on par with Tapis. At the summit, someone (I can’t remember who) told me to be careful- someone had just dropped off the summit. It didn’t really sink in then. I was like, oh, ok. So some poor fellow must have broken a rib or something. It was only on the way down when we began to talk with the guides and saw the locals bringing rescue equipment up that we found out that a Canadian guy, the first to summit, had dropped off. They found his bag and camera intact, but his body was nowhere to be seen. The word came round on 9 June that they’d found his body.

I don’t blame the guy for being by himself, which is an absolute no as far as I’ve been taught. Often when the goal of a person is to summit, all other obstacles get pushed out of the way in the mind. You just think of the summit, the summit and the summit. And so you keep pushing, forgetting sometimes about basic safety rules. Man, that guy could have been me if I’d been older and fitter and trekking with friends.

I really thank the Lord that besides a few abrasions, twisted ankles, blisters and bruises our group made it down, not one man less. I seriously do not see how our teachers would have been able to explain themselves, given the conditions then, if any one of us had died.

Descending along the gravel path is very fun, if you know how to do it correctly. A mixture of using momentum and sliding. Of course if your gaiters (which are made to keep the sand, gravel and stones out of your shoes) do not work perfectly, you have to be patient, sit down and pour the particles out, and not keep going like Tai Yong. And Tai Yong for that very silly reason got abrasion and blisters within those few hours whereas his feet had been perfectly alright throughout the whole trek.

The trek down from the Crater Rim camp brought the total trekking time to 16 hours that day. We moved down all the way to Sembalun Lawang (1156m), navigating away from piles of faeces strewn along the trail cut through the long grass. We got transport back to the hotel at Senaru village. I thank God that my ankle never gave way along the trek. It gave way only on 8 June, after a ride on a coach, where I sat in an odd position, with a block of wood under my seat. I guess that was the last straw for an already strained ankle. They’d have to have used about 3-4 porters or so to bring me down I think, and 2 were already used on Fariha’s knee, which had already given way.

8 June we visited a waterfall in the morn and slept on the coach all the way back to Senggigi, near Mataram Mall. Spent the night at Coral Reef Resort, where we did a surprise morning breakfast for Mr Lim to kind of close his term as teacher in charge of Odac.

9 June. Flew back to Singapore. Had a nice talk with Yu Yan and Fariha on board the plane. Nice to be back in Singapore. The carpeted floor of Changi Airport Terminal 2 and the soft music through the audio system could not be more different from Rinjani. Rinjani where the floor was grass, sand or gravel. Rinjani where the audio system was the crickets or the pounding wind when it came to the parts where it was probably too cold for the crickets.

Thank you Lord, for bringing me back safely. Somehow a part of me is still at the Lombok mountain range. But then, mid-years approach. If I can conquer Rinjani, I can conquer mid-years. Help me on this one, Lord.

Hard skills/lessons

-When out of the warm tropical jungle and provided with a sleeping bag, use the sleeping bag.

-It’s not really the surrounding temperature that matters, but your own body temperature. If you warm yourself up the night before and begin the trek warm, chances are it’ll take quite a bit of time before you become cold. When you trek, your muscles produce heat, and that raises your body temperature, so that you feel warmer than when you stop.

-The elements you can’t control. But what you bring and how you use it- that you can control. Layering for cold weather. Dri-fit, woolen fleece, windproof jacket. That you must bring and use.

-In cool or cold climates, protection from the sun is very important. You can’t feel the damage the sun does because of the low temperature. Only when you sit in the warmth of your tent do you radiate heat and realize how strong the sun is. Worse still if it’s at high altitudes near the equator. Less tree cover and closer to the sun. Larger sun ray incidence too.

Soft skills/lessons

-One thing I must improve on is relations with superiors. Must learn to go through them when I have any decisions that will affect the whole group.

-When a relevant point will cause the morale of the group to drop, think about whether it’s a right time to raise that point.

-Training is important. But more important is the mentality. So what if I could do 04:39 with a 15 kg bag up a 28 storey building? So what if I trained harder for this than any other Odac expedition? If outdoorsmen do not respect the power of nature they will still perish easily. If they are not able to press on and overcome, and yet know when to turn back, then perhaps, the beauty of nature has been lost on them.


-Respect the basic rules. Never go it alone on a mountain. Never.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One son going to jump out of an Airplane, another climbing a Volcano

Nicely and cutely put by my dear mother.

Bro's going airborne and I'm climbing Rinjani, which has a volcanic crater rim at the side.

Feeling just a little unwell today. Pray I'll get well for the expedition. Trained so hard already. Paid for it already. Throat infection thing again I think.

Walk ain't too good. Dry and weary. Parched and longing for God.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Long Day

Rinjani will be on Sat. Going to Airport at 0545 hours. 3726m. Used Google Earth to zoom into the crater lake yesterday. Cool. The weight won't be the problem- the elements will. Wanted to do some packing tonight, but kor's already sleeping in the room. Having airborne selection tomorrow, so I think he needs the room more urgently than I do.

Bought a long sleeve Reebok dri-fit for S$16.90, praise God. Original price was S$34+. The stall had only those 5 shirts left and I guess nobody wanted to buy them cuz they were a bit big. Only one size L left- and it's a little big for me somemore-but the price is well worth it. The shirt's gonna help a lot in keeping me well throughout the Rinjani trek.

This morn was GP lesson in school.

Afternoon was yet another training hike at Bukit Timah hill. Up and down Renggu (if I got it right) path and Summit path 3 times. 7+ kg only.

Came home. Dinner.

Nope, not too much time these days. But Lord, help me to find good time for study I pray!

Feeling sleepy.

Tomorrow's NS medical examination. Wonder how NS life is going to be like. I see it, hear about it. But soon I'll be going through it (after A's). And then after 2 years of it I'll be about to enter uni. Wonder how I'll be like then. Will I be a stronger person? A wiser person? Closer to God? Or worse of in every aspect? 2 years can potentially change a person. I pray that I'll only be cast into the Lord's mould for me.

Hmph, I haven't exactly figured out my character completely. I can be so extroverted sometimes, talking to many people, playing a fool, not afraid to lose face. And sometimes I can be so... well, quiet. Sometimes I feel lonely- like now. Wish I had many of my good friends around me.

And let me just rein myself in before I continue. I'm down the slippery slope of melancholy mixed with sleepiness...

Night! and Jesus loves you!

P.S. Just tired, yeah. Brainless ramblings here. Paiseh. But typed already, so I'll just publish post.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Attacks

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers around the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.
1Peter 5:8-9

It is easy to stop fighting isn't it? Easy to give up reading the word for "just one day". Easy to stop praying, easy to stop maintaining spiritual discipline.

2 things on my mind. First, when I go to NS, it'll be so much tougher to maintain a close walk with the Lord... which I must. And I know that chances are I will be attacked heavily by the enemy... for I am already being attacked heavily now- from many sides. O Lord, keep me close to you. Doesn't really matter too much whether I get this posting or that posting in NS. Whether I make it to officer like my kor. What matters is that I come out of it so much closer to you O Lord. Spiritual fighting will intensify I know.

Second, I look around me and I feel so sad, when I see bros and sis slowly drifting away from the Lord. God is not just God-of-the-camp. God is God-of-everything. I feel so sad to see people giving so little attention to God when it really should be all of our attention.

But yet, who am I to judge? I too fight with this stuff.

One interesting thing the Lord has done for me is to allow the peace to go away when I don't pray enough. Right now I spend at least 40 min a day on prayer. Sometimes more. If I skip it for some reason, God will call me back to pray somehow later in the day... the peace of the Lord just won't be there. If I rush through the things I am supposed to pray for, the Spirit of the Lord will just push me to pray all over again.

Sometimes God impresses it on my heart to pray for certain people I don't normally pray for. Once He impressed it on my heart to pray for Singapore as a nation... once for certain people in church. One thing God taught me (I say God taught me, cuz no one else did, but it just came to me when I was meditating and speaking to the Lord)- don't judge people. When you have a bro or sis in Christ and you start to judge in your heart whether this action or that is right, you're way off. Instead, get on your knees and start praying that God will work in that person. Sometimes, the Lord will even give you specific needs to pray for. The presence of the Living God is humbling. I stand... I kneel... and sometimes I have to fall flat in awe.

Don't get Tai Yong wrong. Tai Yong is far from holy. Tai Yong is only a man, reminded time and time again- very painfully- of his mortality. If Tai Yong leaves the presence of the Holy One, Tai Yong will very surely wither away.

.
.
.

Last Sunday, as I was walking to church for Jon Teo's farewell preparation, I passed this bench with this old, bespectacled Chinese (I think) man, with very tanned skin. He was just there, sitting down, writing something in his diary (I presume). I thought of sharing Christ with him. Not the prompting of the Spirit... Just thought it'd be good. But then I just kept walking past him.

But as I walked away, it just didn't feel right with my soul. I still haven't really learnt how to discern God's voice clearly. So after weighing the consequences (Something like this: I don't share, maybe will displease the Lord. I share, God pleased no matter what. He reject me/ scold me/ slap me- (and he didn't seem to capable of that), so be it. My skin's thick anyway, nothing to lose), I just approached him and asked to share Christ.

And he rejected me even before I could start. Oh well, pointed out where our church was, told him "Jesus loves you" and just went on my way. Point is, I know that I couldn't have displeased my Heavenly Father by sharing, but I could have if I hadn't and it'd been His will.

.
.
.

ODAC today. Oh my, marvellous exercise. Climbed up and down 28 storeys 4 times with 15 kg. I didn't know I could do that. Wow. (Eh, btw I'm not trying to boast here hor, just sharing my day- keeping in mine that those who read this blog are people I trust).

.
.
.
Pray for me? My mid-year common tests in end June. Very little time left to study because of ODAC. I haven't had much discipline/determination/time to sit down and study.

Lord ah, I really want to get my studies right this year. Sorry for all the times where I haven't put in all I could. Just that sometimes I get really tired in lectures and tutorials, and I start to crap around with my buddies. O Lord, give me all I need to get my studies right for you- that's the reason why I even started studying hard this year.