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Love Your Neighbour

It’s been mentioned ten times in the Bible about this & something that’s repeated so often must mean something. I used to have a problem with ‘loving my enemies’ because no one in their right mind can love someone they hate or strongly dislike/disapprove of. I must have been one sad person in the past because I had many enemies. Not those who would draw their swords & daggers on you, but those whom I’ve regrettably offended & hurt in my in-your-face statements. I may have been right at that time but it doesn’t excuse me from the wrong of destroying another person’s dignity, pride & personality. Loving my neighbour was easy, or so I thought….

B. had been my mentor & big brother-figure since I was 17 years old. He is 9 years my senior. He taught me things in business & the working world when nobody could be bothered. He also taught me about humanity & goodness. B. & his childhood friends were great pals who loved animals. There was a time when he & his best friend, M., had to ‘Jus’ (a challenge of hand signals) to determine who’s car to use to carry a maggot-infested wounded stray dog to the vet. 15 years on & they still have the dog. M. is now a successful entrepreneur yet he still managed to answer my calls of distress when we had to rescue a puppy in the monsoon drain in Subang Jaya where I had to abseil down the high walls to reach the site. Forty five minutes into the rescue & running 1 kilometre inside the drain later, the puppy was caught & was brought to a happier place.

Knowing that we stood for a common cause gave me a lot of assurance in our friendship. When boyfriends are no longer there for me, they were. In fact, everyone I dated had to have the ‘seal of approval’ & they would make it known to me if they didn’t make the mark. They didn’t want me to get hurt by philandering lovers, promiscuous partners & such. There was a time when all B. heard from me was my heartache over boyfriend problems. In fact, there were three relationships in which I made B. my shoulder to cry on. For hours. To me, my problem seemed so great then. I had always thought that if I went to a mentor with my problems, he would be able to make me feel better. I didn’t want a solution, I wanted NOT to feel bad. His philosophies had lifted me beyond my heartaches & many a time, I would end the conversation in awe. He was my Bandaraya (town council’s rubbish collector). I grew up knowing a brother whom I never had. I never looked up to anyone this much. My dad loved him too.

For a person of his stature, he’s already got it made, with an apartment at Bangsar, properties everywhere, a Mercedes Sports car among his other vehicles, a business with over a hundred employees, a life of revelry, women, fine wine & dining & charity work. What more could he want? He’s so giving & thoughtful that he doesn’t miss anyone’s birthday. All the while I thought he had a fantastic lifestyle. Then it came crashing down. His made wrong business decisions. He was in debt. He sold his properties including the apartment that he was dwelling in & all the furniture & appliances therein. He even had to sell all his clothes. He was hitting rock bottom & there was nothing I could do. He had to move into the place I shared with my girlfriend, who happens to be the girl he was going out with, for several months before he & his girlfriend rented a place of their own. For once, the tables were turned. He was way into depression & was on prescription at the time. As I spoke to him, I realised something I had missed all these years. As much as he had been my shoulder to cry on all these years, I haven’t been a single ounce of help to him at all. I was always the victim of circumstances & not wanting to take responsibility for my actions. In short, I was not tackling my problems at all because it became a vicious cycle that B. had to point out many times. I was so overwhelmed by my own preoccupation that I’d missed the opportunity to be a friend to the person who meant so much to me. Then I also realised that I didn’t know him at all. There were so many things that he did that could never be out in the open & is now suffering the consequences. Things that shocked me beyond believe & I didn’t know what to say or do. His debts ran into millions to the point I questioned his morality. Although I was appalled at the things that he did, I still wanted to help him. There was nothing I can do to help apart from pray. He may have done wrong lawfully, but by harping at the problem of how he could have done this & that instead is POINTLESS. He needed to come to come to terms with God to seek for an answer that no man would be able to give.

I just had to love the sinner, not his sins.

For the first time, loving my neighbour was tested. I thought, how would I be able to love him as myself? He did so much that I despised. When I was down, he didn’t judge me nor shun me. How do I begin to offer support so that he wouldn’t slip further into depression that I would lose the only mentor to me? So I thought of being in his shoes & what he’d enjoy. I cooked them dinner! I made him feel accepted & let him know that I was praying for his situation. I ran his errands for him since both he & his girlfriend had to work long hours in the day to make another business work to pay off the debts. I basically did whatever I could to alleviate his problem. How did I manage to accept a person whom I so look up to, a person who’s ever ready to offer a hand in my problems, a person who embodied strength, confidence & humility(in some ways), a person with wisdom & knowledge of the world who fell from grace??? I extended the grace that I received from God to encompass him & his wrongdoings. I accepted humanity. He did that for me once upon a time. That’s what I learnt from B., who was put in my path to teach me things that I would put into practice one day. He made me see what Jesus came to die for. You & me.

“….and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)

And the second is like this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

And the scribe said to Him, Right, Teacher, according to truth You have spoken, that God is one, and there is no other besides Him. (Mark 12:32)

And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love the neighbour as himself, is more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33)

The Sun Will Not Set Till We Meet Again


The Sun Will Not Set Till We Meet Again

Absence


Celebration & Rejoicing Of A New Life!

This is for my eldest sister, Patricia & her family, who couldn’t be with us due to the distance. I know they are trying to cope with lost time & opportunity to be with my dad in person but they rest in the assurance that he is in a better place & having a wonderful time. A relative, Lawrence, whom I’ve not seen before (then again, we have 200+ from granddad’s 15 siblings, where do we even begin?) told us of daddy’s magnanimous self of assisting him more than 30 years ago.I was so touched.

Everything happened so fast & we really didn’t give much opportunity for most, to give their last respects because of constraints so we apologise if we have caused anyone grief in doing so. I can’t bear seeing my sister, Pauline cry. She had so much lost time & opportunity despite living under one roof with him. For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain. Being apart made me appreciate the time spent, no matter how little it had been.

Daddy stroked my hair when I woke up from an afternoon nap on the couch. I was groggy. Knowing that no matter how old you are, you are still a child in your parents’ eyes. That is a comforting thought. I wish I had more naps for daddy to stroke my hair some more!!!

Oh well, it hasn’t sunk in yet as I’ve got to go & collect his ashes & bones after church today. I know this journey has to be completed before I can move on & my association has sponsored several Reefballs for an Eternal Reef for daddy so that I can memorialise him forever!


Pastor Ronnie Conducting The Service


Pastor Yeoh Led In Hymns…


We Worshipped…….


James Delivering Eulogy


Sending Daddy Off With Flowers For The Final Healing Process!


Last Respects by Pastor Ronnie & Pastor Yeoh


Till I See You Again…


Sending Daddy On His Journey…

Giant Clam & The Algae Within

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Giant Clam & The Algae Within

When scientists & marine biologists mention symbiosis, one can only begin to fathom the relationship between two different living creatures that live close together & depend on each other in particular ways, each getting particular benefits from the other in order to survive. How far you can fathom this feat depends upon what you see & sometimes even what you experience. If you have seen a giant clam in the wild (seabed), you will know how beautiful it is.

We all know about Nemos relationship with anemone but we seldom hear of giant clams. They are considered vulnerable species & listed as protected under the CITES trade.

This enormous shellfish is the largest and heaviest of all the living moluscs (Tridacna sp.). Like all bivalve moluscs the shell consists of two valves, although in the larger giant clams these cannot close completely. The shell is extremely thick and lacks bony plates; when viewed from above, each valve has 4 to 5 inward facing triangular projections. The mantle of the clam is visible between the two shells, and is golden brown or yellow or green, although it may contain so many blue or purple spots that the overwhelming impression is of a beautiful iridescent colour. A number of pale or clear spots on the mantle, which are known as windows, function to allow sunlight to filter in through the mantle. With this light, the minute algae called zooxanthellae living in the mantle, photosynthesises & secretes a waste that becomes food for the giant clam!

The mantle is completely fused with the exception of two holes (or siphons); the inhalant siphon is fringed with sensory tentacles, whilst the exhalent siphon is tube-like and is capable of expelling a large volume of water if the clams shells close suddenly. Though the siphon enables it to filter plankton from the oceans movement, its symbiotic relationship with the algae is truly amazing.

Now this is what baffles me, evidently, God has created everything with a need or dependency on some thing or other, designed to complement one another, how are we to find that perfect clam to be that abundant source of fulfillment, joy & happiness by being what we are??? The algae did not wake up one day to find itself without a purpose. It was designed to BE A PURPOSE. God created them AS THE BEGINNING OF THE FOOD CHAIN. They were created to produce the 95% of the oxygen that we breathe; to feed the massive whale sharks, manta rays, megamouths & whatever else that require algae to function. Eve was taken from Adams ribs to be fashioned as his other complete person to become ONE.

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Blissful Diving….

As Jack had said to me, God did not design two halves to become one. He said TWO shall become ONE. The void that we may feel during break-ups has to be filled only by God, not by another person just so that we can become COMPLETE. We are made COMPLETE IN HIM. During my trip to Dayang, Jack & I ended up on a different boat after a freak storm hit us during a dive. As we were brought back to the island & while waiting for my other students to be delivered by our boat, we somehow had this conversation. It made me think about the giant clam later & why it was bigger than all other bivalves & what made it so special. And its beautiful. Ive touched the mantle before just so I know what it feels like. Its really soft & smooth! To see how intricately God had fashioned this animal to be the protection & host to zillions of zooxantellae is so awesome! Surely the algae did not say to the clam, I cook, you wash. It mustve said, I cook, you eat. Just shelter me from the elements at night & sun me in the day. Thats all I need to cook for you. And for as long as I live, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

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The sunrise within…

Why do people still split hairs about household chores, grocery shopping, making dinner & caring for the kids??? Does it really matter? No doubt the clam just sits there & do nothing all day but eat, it hosts the much needed algae. Some husbands sit there & do nothing but it makes you wonder if they are the giant clam you made them out to be. God designed them with a purpose too. To be strong enough to withstand currents. To weather any storm & to proudly show the patterns that the algae has formed in their mantles. Well, the only way to tell if you get the right clam is to have Light in your lives & be complete first before you drift into any stupid clam that might make your life miserable. Then determine if the clam is hungry & identify its needs for you. Finally, have the clam say to you, I need you to be in my mantle, will you stay there with me forever???

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Dawn at Dayang

How Stealth Bombers Work


Stealth Bomber’s Design
This is not a technical piece. The B-2 bomber, commonly known as the stealth bomber, was an ambitious project designed to replace the aging B-52 bomber. The US Military in the 70’s needed a plane that could carry nuclear bombs across the globe, to the Soviet Union, in only a few hours. And they wanted it to be invisible to enemy sensors, able to reach and destroy desired targets without ever engaging the enemy in combat. How in the air do you hide a giant plane? Billions of dollars were spent & nearly 10 years developing this top secret project. The finished product is a revolutionary machine -a 52metres wide flying wing that looks like an insect to radar scanners! I was gallivanting in Putrajaya last night to search for subjects when I found this moth they had taken the design from. The aircraft needs to be nearly invisible in a number of different ways to blend in with the background visually, and it needs to be very quiet. More importantly, it needs to hide from enemy radar as well as infrared sensors. It also needs to conceal its own electromagnetic energy.

The B-2’s flat, narrow shape and black coloration help it fade into the night. In the daytime when the B-2 stands out against blue sky, it can be hard to figure out which way the plane is going. The B-2 emits minimal exhaust, so it doesn’t leave a visible trail behind it. As with most planes, the B-2’s noisiest component is its engine system. Unlike a passenger jet or B-52, the B-2’s engines are buried inside the plane & help muffle the noise. The efficient aerodynamic design keeps the B-2 quiet as well, because the engines can operate at lower power settings.

Do you see a similarity between stealth bombers & men who stray??? They want to be totally undetectable by their wives/girlfriends/partners where they are able to reach out & seek their targets (in the form of other, usually more attractive female species) without ever engaging the target in the responsibilities of day to day living. Like the U.S. wanting to conquer & destroy targets just because they can. How on earth do you hide men who stray? They have somehow evolved from Adam into a revolutionary human that can escape spouses’ detection. Their quiet operation & invisible actions have caused them to blend in with the surroundings to appear as part of the day’s work. They have tuned their sensors to conceal their unquenchable energy for something that the wive/girlfriend/partner does not have or seem to have diminished with time…..i.e. beauty, passion, excitement, listening ear, similar interests etc. It can be hard to figure out which way the man is going, he doesn’t leave any visible trail nor does he get exhausted with multiple access to their targets. Their noisiest component must be their spirit, buried deep inside the recesses of the mind, these stealth actions help muffle the noise to a point that they can’t differentiate the right from wrong or the conscientious from the non-conscientious actions of betrayal.

God designed the union of marriage to be sacred. In fact, a union should only occur within marriage. Here’s why:

For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be ONE flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:30 – 32

But also let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife that she defers to her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrew 13:4

Or do you not know that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, The two shall be one flesh. 1 Corinthians 6:16

Let the deacons be the husbands of ONE wife, ruling their children and households well. 1 Timothy 3:12

For this is the will of God, your sanctification, for you to abstain from fornication, each one of you to know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (not in the passion of lust, even as the nations who do not know God), not to go beyond and defraud his brother in this matter (because the Lord is the avenger concerning all these, as we also have forewarned you and testified). 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits fornication sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Co 6:18 – 20

Therefore put to death your members (limb/part of body) which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (which is idolatry), on account of which things’ sake the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience, among whom you also once walked, when you lived in these. Col 3:5 – 7

So much on fornication. Having sex with whom you are not married to. I have spoken to women who’s been involved in adulterous relationships; broken marriages due to husband committing adultery; estranged wives & many more. Sometimes I can even feel their pain of seeing their loved one cajoling younger girls in shopping centres, spending money meant for the family. I had been closed to a woman whose husband had an affair with his secretary for 20 years. Her sons were already in university. She languished in the knowledge that everyone else in the husband’s family knew about it but never told her. Husband complained that she didn’t make efforts to stay pretty or desirable despite her slogging away to make the home a home & kept her sons well fed through university. She spent countless nights crying silently beside him. Sometimes he would wake up but never once did he put his arms around her to offer a grieving woman comfort. I thought to myself, what kind of a man is that?!?! She bounced back by taking a grooming course, learnt how to apply make up & picked up English to converse enough. She went punk & coloured it red. She began to spend the money that she had been prudent for her husband all these years on a new wardrobe that’s stylish & hip. She shaved twenty years off her looks. She was 52 & looked 35. Whenever I went clubbing with her, she gets hit on. What a great change! I have so much respect for this remarkable woman!

The pain & the longing of a kept woman for her lover are caused by the soul ties created in the spiritual realm. This sensor is meant to be for the wife to offer support to the husband in the household of God, not for the husband to create other soul ties so other women can give them that ‘support.’

Soul ties are formed when you have sex which is why God designed it for the purpose of marriage where their souls would become one. When sex is done outside the context of marriage, you pick up that person’s soul & all the bits & pieces of other souls that she has been conjoined with. Strange, but true. Which is why when you go for marriage counselling the Christian way, the pastor would get both parties to confess previous liaisons & go through a process of renunciation before the marriage can be sanctified by the church.

I have also come across men who have long time girlfriends (of six years & more) who would go out to seduce others just to see what it’s like & to see if they still ‘have it’ in them before they tie the knot since it’s legal. They would profess their love for the target but make no mention of a future together. Bird charmer is an understatement. Every word oozes with sugar that ants just follow them wherever they go. One day, they just get married with their long time girlfriend, or find another sweet young thing, leaving the other speechless. The list can go on. Half husbands who can be with their girlfriends while the wife looks after the kids elsewhere. The list can go on.

They are of the world, therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God. The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love. In this the love of God was revealed in us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:5 – 9

For you know this, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (who is an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Ephesians 5:5

MEN WHO STRAY & STEALTH BOMBERS. Both can cause great damage when they go undetected & unload on their targets.

Man Of My Dreams

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The Real Phantom!

The epitome of a true man! A woman’s man! And a man’s man! Man, is Gerard Butler handsome or what?!? His depiction of phantom is so full of that L-factor that when our performing arts cast went to watch it, some of the expressive ones broke into song while I just sat there and swooned. He is one of the few who could melt me and make me malleable….wow! I thought I only get this feeling with Bollywood movie stars with the likes of Abishek Bachan, Sharukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan. What happened here??? Now where were we?

Days when Sarong Party Girls never got the light of day for their Mat Salleh-totting ways (Mat Salleh is a slang for Caucasians), the Boh-Sia (literally means no-sound) in the streets of KL caused a stir when they would have sex freely and for free. Friends back then would always say to Mat Salleh-totters, Are all Asian men dead or dying….? My guy friends would voice their displeasure towards marrying a foreigner and express their biasness towards Asian men. Let me stress that this is not a racial issue but merely to point out the men from the men. These men friends get so upset when they hear/know of cases of neglect and heartbreak on their Asian girl friends by their expatriate boyfriends. So it’s no surprise that when the books, SARONG PARTY GIRL, THE REVENGE OF THE SARONG PARTY GIRL, THE SPG RIDES AGAIN were published, they were well received. Expats have been known to have caused so much grievances to the hopefuls who think that they may be tickets out of the country. I know of some very loving Expat-Asian couples who have weathered storms and such but they are few and far between.

So who can be the man of my dreams, when I have to battle with differentiating the real guys from the fake guys, the macho singles from the married super-machos, the touchables from the untouchables. These will be explained in the following paragraph. Scientifically, looks and physical assessment has been found to be the determining factor for people to select their mates to produce good offsprings. Somehow, this biological programming in our bodies often deceives us when we are looking for a soul-mate. Harry-chest and whatever-turn-you-ons aside, how many guys actually take the time to woo the ladies and win her heart for life? Well, this question depends upon the values that one is holding about marriage and life. Take for example, the Hit and Runs, the Wham Bam Slams and the Meow-Meows.

First, we identify the FAKES. They dress to the nines to impress but they are all borrowed stuff. They make up fancy job titles. They try to be somebody they are not. They make you pay on dates. The Bible says that women are to experience the grace of life. Equality is something that the devil has put in the minds of females to liberalise themselves, so to speak, but in actual fact, it is a direct contravention of Gods teaching. We should seek equal opportunities, equal rights for an education, equal pay, equal benefits, equal views and equal respect but equality does not mean that we should be EQUAL TO MEN. An apple does not need to be equal to an orange because they each have their own attributes to make them unique and taste the way they do. When I want to eat an apple, I expect the apple to taste like one. Just like I only have oranges in juice form and no other way. So it would not be right to outdo men (though most times we do and can do far better but this is not a question of competition) or do what they rightfully should do when taking girls out. There won’t be a second date if I have to pay.

In my course of work before, I often have to have dinners to elaborate on work and most often, I get taken out instead of the opposite, with the client. A brief insight to who goes to these dinners, there are the exceptionally gentlemen who would open doors, seat you at the table, order whatever you want and asks real questions to get to know you. Some of these genuine people have become friends for life. Prospect? None. They are married. They fall under the married super-machos category. They can afford anything, take you anywhere, (Chiang Mai for golf?) and offer a lot to please you. They are covetous. They want you all to themselves. The moment I know that they are married, I always insist on having others accompany these dinners. Then there are those who trust you so much that they would take you to meet their wives….then take you along to dinners to be with their mistresses so that they can use you as an ally & alibi when their wives raise suspicion. I guess there is some truth to married men being able to understand women better and know how to treat them well…….they want to treat every woman that way too. However, they are out of bounds and I am very familiar with their modus operandi. Doesn’t turn me on one bit. I don’t want to go to hell.

Then comes those whom you know, are single, unattached, very eligible and are great friends. You love them dearly. You think of them when you want to watch a silly movie, a cartoon or do anything for the weekend. I mean, really great friends where you can hang out together with no apprehension, inhibitions and what not. When you are down, they are readily available to cheer you up, to cook you a scrumptious meal, to assure you they are still there as your friend even though your boyfriend is not anymore. After 5 years of that, you begin to wonder why there hasn’t been any love interest in their lives at all. You feel that you know them well but not enough to ask about their single status. You begin to wonder if they are GAY. You hope not. You cant ask because you don’t want to ruin the friendship. You begin to feel for them. You begin to wonder why you had never thought of them romantically before. Have they become the UNTOUCHABLES?

From all the do and ditch (a better term for Hit and Run) testimonies in Cleo and other girly magazines, instances of those on the prowl will seek out easy targets for one-night stands. Those who stopover from other countries, in transit or in for short term visits will almost definitely be like a sailor on every port……seeking out Susan. If they are polite and pay for services, they would be looking for the nearest red light districts, if more polished, at expatriate-frequented pubs in Bangsar and wait for the unsuspecting Mat Salleh-Seeker to make contact. Usually, these types of Wham-Bam-Slams are often the rejects themselves. If they are lucky, they might find one to settle down with, if not, they just have to settle it themselves.

That leaves us now with the Meow-Meows. What has cats got to do with this issue of finding that dream man? Well, surely you must have heard in your lifetime, a Tom cat meowing away when Tabby’s on heat. Sensing the need to mate, the Tabby may or may not be receptive to the Tom who thinks he’s so desirable. Then what does Tom do? He meows his heart out, pulling up every trick from his sleeve, whether in truth and sincerity or in falsehood and captivity, Toms objective is to get the pussy. No time spent in getting to know Tabby or to love Tabby, Tom just wants to be Tom.

In light of the many flaws in the process of finding the man in question, I have thought about what this man should be. This will then narrow down my selection criteria to weed out the Hit and Runs, Wham Bam Slams and Meow-Meows. It would be great if he would run to the pharmacy in the midst of his work to get you a bottle of ProBiotics when he’s found out you had food poisoning the day before. If he would spent time learning about your interest and what matters most to you. If he would detect the slightest hint of trouble from your voice over the telephone. If he would not let you carry heavy stuff. If he would tell you stories to keep you interested. If he would take you back to his hometown and endure teasing from his family members for doing touristy stuff with you like picking rubber seeds in rubber estates and playing with chickens in the farm. If he would hike up to almost the peak of Gunung Ledang waterfalls to soak your troubles away with you in the cool rushing waterfalls. If he would call you when he’s halfway across the world from you. If he would find an excuse to wine and dine you even if there’s no occasion. If he would call you when he has a matter to think about. If he would wait patiently for you to browse the lingerie section while you try to decide which one. If he would forego business lunches to eat with you instead. If he would send you flowers because he thought of you. If he would write you long letters even though you live in the same city. If he would remember birthdays, anniversaries and important dates. If he would have a heart for the faith you have in you. If he would propose to you not because he thinks he can live with you but because he cant live without you. If….. So many ifs.

I figured this man can only be found in one other person besides God. And hes here.

The Church Is For Dead People

Being born to a family of multi-beliefs, I was caught in between a non-practicing Roman Catholic father, a Buddhist mother, a goddess of mercy-worshipper nanny, a Christian eldest sister and a Jeffrey Archer follower older sister in my adolescent years. When my eldest sister returned from the States while I was in Form 1, she shared with me the story of how someone died for my sins and that I would be forgiven and would go to heaven. That seemed like the most logical and sound way to live despite not knowing the means to get to the end. I did what most new believers would do, go to church on Sundays, participate in everything and of course read the Bible. Then at the age of 17, when I got a taste of what the world offered, having met Duran Duran, Tommy Page, Danni Minogue, Indecent Obsession in person, I was even more curious at the possibilities of life itself outside the church. Needless to say, I spent the next decade experiencing the pleasures of mankind, the torrents of relationships, the art of being a woman, the challenge of being an animal rights activist and the struggle of being a marine conservationist. I took on challenges that not many a lady would venture into. Some were stories of success by mans standards, some were costly mistakes I’d rather not remember. I thought that if my father was an extraordinary sportsman, as reported countlessly in the newspapers after championing SEA, Asian, Commonwealth and ASEAN Games as a Trap shooter, the apple shouldn’t fall that far from the tree. Somehow, I felt that I was still short of Gods standards, lacking in my biological fathers superb capabilities as national shooter and golfer plus I didn’t feel worthy to be in church.

Then of course, in my line of duty, I met people who are cheats. People who tried to get into my pants. People who break promises. People who betrayed me. People who were nasty, haughty, wicked and vindictive. Adulterers. They were Christians too. Some still go to church, some don’t. Maybe thats not so bad after all. I’d just be adding to the numbers. I’m not that much better off either. From where we can see it, that’s how they appeared to me. The culprits. The drunkards. The bandits. The wife beaters. The liars. The drug pushers. The gamblers. The gangsters. The sinners. The multiple/serial daters. That was then. The church is the only place that would accept them.

This is now. I’d just give you a brief of what encountering God in person, was like. A humbling experience in Maldives in which I was deafened and crippled from diving. I had certainly not expected such intensity of a meeting neither had I expected God to appear in the form of a big fish that was trapped, caught and subsequently bludgeoned to death. Yet when I looked into the fish’s eye, I knew I had met my Maker. So it’s my story. It wasn’t until I had rededicated my life to God that things began to happen. I got my hearing back and God restored my ability to dive. Things began to pick up at feverish pace. I was quickened to do things which I had not done before. Including going to church and seeing things. Well, in church there are those culprits still, but there are also those who have been reformed and restored to life through the miracles that worked in them including the healing of cancer, stroke, and the restored relationships. What then, did I make of those whom I had the privilege to witness their lives ”˜testimonies?’ Were they for real? Why is the church so full of these people? I should be thankful for being counted as worthy to experience God.

The cleaning up of my act has begun. I can’t stand the thought that I would be giving an account of my life before God when the day comes, detailing every single event of my life, trying to justify why I did this and did not do that. I began to lose the interest in going to night spots. I grew inhibitions and modesty in my dressing. I really don’t know what to do with my see-throughs and cropped tops now. The only time I bare my skin is when I’m dressing up to go diving. I developed a distaste for horror movies. I wasn’t as obsessed with weight watching as I used to be and certainly am not anorexic nor bulimic. The only time I’m ostentatious is when I’m on stage acting. Intimate relationship? Non existent and not missing it. Bird ogling at hip joints has turned to bird watching in Kuala Selangor. I am able to break into song when I’m visiting old folks homes to bring a smile upon the bedridden and the lonely. Horrors, I’m even able to hold their wrinkly hand as I sing! I became a magnet to children especially the orphaned ones or those from broken families. I’m able to cry without feeling silly or sad. I am able speak a different language that has never been taught nor heard of. I really have this feeling that I’m not of this world. What on earth is God doing in my life? Why do I love every single minute of life when life used to be such a struggle? Is there something that I’d missed out on in the 10 years that I was living my own way? Or was that a training ground for me for what is to happen in the future??? Now that I’m attending church, why are these people seemed set apart? Maybe I’m the outcast here.

I realised that the church is not just the building that houses the believers. It is the body of Christ. And each member is a part of it.. The selfless members who are ever so willing to extend the hospitality; the home fellowship that allows more intimacy with one another in a smaller group within the church that provides the spiritual covering from the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness suddenly becomes an integral part of living; and the ministry of performing arts that allow even the most timid of souls to exude boldness in character is really something to reckon with.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Do you not know that as many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he who died has been justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that when Christ was raised from the dead, He dies no more; death no longer has dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God, as one alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to him whom you obey; whether it is of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness.

But thanks be to our God that you were the slaves of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. Then being made free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness. I speak in the manner of men because of the weakness of your flesh; for as you have yielded your members as slaves to uncleanness, and to lawless act unto lawless act, even so now yield your members as slaves to righteousness unto holiness. For when you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit did you have then in those things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:1 – 23

In dying to ourselves, to our evil desires, our selfish acts, our strong will, our unrighteousness, our perverse thoughts, our pleasures of the flesh, we are dead to sin. We have the power then, to triumph over sin when we confess our sins and repent. The power of the blood of Christ forgives us of our trespasses and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. Only then, can we reign as members of the body of Christ which is the church because when one member suffers, the whole church suffers with it. The church is for people like me. I rejoice for I am dying daily and wanting to be fully dead.

Contagious Cupidry

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There was a time when we used to snigger at those bachelors whose mothers had to hire the services of a match-maker upon coming of age. The mui-yan (cupid) had the task of finding the right candidate for the client & would prey upon matriachs who would insist that her sometimes-over-aged child be match-made on her terms. The screening process would actually involve the match-maker doing some background checking, often with the help of tale-tattlers, to find the so-called suitable candidate.

In my days of growing up, I used to believe in the happy ever after stories I read in books to the point that I would fantasise about being a Cinderella who was enslaved or Beauty meeting a charming beast who would defy all logic to turn into a handsome human being, the fussed princess who could feel a stupid pea beneath the ton of Slumberland, and Snow White with her entourage of little men only to discover the political incorrectness of these tales later in life. I’ve had my fair share of meeting princes only to see them turn into frogs or better still, become the Snow Whack to covet 7 other little women….

Then J.T., a church friend, took a serious interest in my affairs by telling me all about this doctor friend of his who’s a great guy of the same faith & who doesn’t womanise (oh, do these kind of men exist?). Coming from a guy, I thought it was rather significant (that he ”˜thinks’ he doesn’t womanise). My first reaction to this was, how on earth can I accept being match-made? I enjoyed J.T.’s company & didn’t really see it necessary to marry the guy he mentioned, so I went along, more for being curious to see who this man J.T. described. Our meeting was an instantaneous hit off, progressing into a makan session with this doctor who had a major interest in health & nutrition. He was giving me all these tips to eating right & keeping fit. Then he did the most remarkable thing I thought was so funny, he starred into my face, gasped, stroked to feel it, then handed me two bottles of miracle cure-all made of some sheep placental extract. I must have laughed so hard that he never called me again. 😀

Having failed in his attempt of pairing me with an eligible & wealthy doctor, J.T. was bent on marrying me off. I found out that this was how he met his wife too. It explains why he believed in cupidry. He then got his ex college mate so excited about meeting me so he kind of packaged me as a fun loving girl who’s got an obsession for the sea. Chris was an absolutely far out guy who loved reptiles. He would go into detail of how he feeds squeaking frogs to his baby monitor lizard pet…..Apart from this queerness, he was actually a very nice & caring guy who loved to sing at karaokes. I told him that I wasn’t keen on relationships as yet & he immediately turned into a concerned brotherly figure.

Weeks followed & Chris sends me encouraging SMSes as he goes about to search for his true love with beauty to boot. Then he got the bug & as if I was a commodity, he begged me to put on war paint & meet his ever so single, boss. I told him that I had to be in the mood to paint my face & especially when it’s so late, I have no desire to look good even for Hugh Jackman.

Tan turned out to be a good looking, decent chap whom you would take home to meet your parents but we had diverse interest. Again, the chemistry of good friends rubbed on & the talk became rife that he too, would set me up with yet another so-called charming bloke whom he thought would sweep me off my feet……