Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More than life

Stand by everything You said,
Stand by the promises You made,
Let go of everything I've done
I'll run into Your open arms,
And all I know

I love You more than life
I love You more than life

Fall back on everythin You've done,
Fall back on everlasting arms,
When all the world is swept away,
You are all the things I need,
You're the air I breathe

How can it be
You were the One on the cross
Lifted for all of our shame?
How can it be
The scars in Your hands are for me?
You are the King of all...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Memoirs of the land below the wind

Destination: Kota Kinabalu
Date: 18th - 22nd Feb 06
Participants: Anson, Jennifer, Joanne, Li May, Hazel, Kin Fei, Esther, Yeh Ying, myself

Day 1:
We left the airport very much in excitement, especially for Kin Fei who was on his first flight. It was a long wait, as there was a delay (apparently as usual). The group gel instantly as we chatted nonsensically at the terminal. Finally we were taking off and on our way. It didn't take long to arrive at the KK airport terminal 2 (it looks more like a bus station) but we almost went crazy with nothing to do on the plane. I took upon myself to try Hazel's electronic Sudoku. Upon arrival, Dr Serena was there to meet us. Toy was on the other end of the door too. After 4 years, it was certainly pleasant to meet again!! After a quick check-in at the friendly waikiki condo (we were known as the Annie group), we dived head first into a world of seafood. Though it was slightly more expensive, but the variety was a real eye opener. There were things of the sea that I've never imagined before. Our first nite was quite interesting. Roaming around the room, chatting, bathing, getting comfy. With too few beds I opt so sleep on the harder bottom half of the bed - and as predicted didn't get much sleep.
Day 2:
Some of us dragged ourselves out of bed in the wee hours of the morning (sun rises earlier in Sabah) to the Dayak market. Being too blur we barely did anything but walk and had breakfast. We all attended SIB skyline (Serena's church) on this bright Sunday morning and was enthralled by their antics and ways. After which, we went our separate ways. The rest of them headed for Pulau Sapi for the day while Hazel, Serena, Yeh Ying and myself jumped into the car and headed pass Beaufort, Papar and to Kuala Penyu. The journey took 2 hours to the jetty that would soon ship us to the mystical Pulau Tiga a.k.a. Survivor Island. I never actually saw that episode but who doesn't know Survivor. We did a lot of photo shots, a lot. I've never quite liked looking at myself through the lense of a camera but I actually liked a few of them. Quite pro! A speedboat then sped us off to the open sea where I stared out in oblivion at the growingly rough seas and was drawn to it like a bee to honey. It was refreshing, but Serena and Hazel fell asleep sitting straight. Upon docking and dumping our bags in our chalets, we rushed to snorkel. "Sun is setting, Good luck," someone said. Snorkelling needed some getting used to. I found it hard to stabalize myself in the water and there was far too much salt water. The depth of the ocean, the chorals and fishes intially scared me and threw me off balance even more. You could almost touch the chorals and hey, they're alive. The night did not offer anything to do except the bustering scene before us, the calm ocean sights and the sounds of other guests' karaoke singing. We sat taking in everything a while before succumbing to return to the comforts of our chalet with a game of PayDay. It ate one hour into the night leaving us at 10pm. We decided to turn in early as we had not enough sleep previous nights anyway.
Day 3:
We arose early to the beeping of my handphone and dragged ourselves out of our comfy beds. After breakfast we went crazy with the camera. Posing here and there, taking in the entire scenery before us. After some time we headed for the Mud Volcano. I will admit that the thought of it disgusted me at first, but caught my interest later. The walk was 20mins through mosquito infested jungle was led by our two energetic doctors, who were the first to test out the mud pool. The mud pool was covered with fallen twigs, leaves, seeds, larvae eggs and God knows what else. Swimming in it was even more beyond description - squisshy, cold. Imagine swamp thing crawling out of the swamp. As soon as the mosquito started attacking us, we hurried our way back down the track towards the beach. I was one of the last, trying to make my way through slippery paths barefooted. It was a real challenge for me. All the way I kept wishing i was almost back. Feeling like heroes who just survived a most atrocious ordeal, we began our photo mania again as the mud hardened against our skin. Washing off in the sea was quite an effort, as my shorts had collected a lot of mud in its pockets. Soon after we gathered our gears and headed for open sea again to snorkel. With the sun up, this time we saw a wondrous sight. No longer afraid, we chased the abundant tropical fishes up and down. It was awesome to behold the sight of the ocean bed. Tired out, we finally bathed and lunched on the resort's main deck while awaiting our ride back to mainland.
We went back to Serena's place and treated it like our own. And i left quite a few things back at her place too. The night dawned upon us fairly soon and we went to have another bout of seafood. Thinking of it is luring out my saliva. I met up with Alice and John for yumcha and we chatted away into the night like old times - old times, the term itself tells that we've aged.

Day 4:
We had nothing scheduled to do on this day and so slept in. The day passed by so slowly. We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant and then returned back to our condo. With absolutely nothing to do, we sprawl around the condo talking and complaining. I was ready to go out of my mind. I wasn't in the mood to dwell in one of my thoughts or indulge in any daydreams. The rain finally lifted and we went for a walk to Tanjung Aru Resort and along the beaches for a change of scenery. It was quite refreshing but we finally return to base to our resident pool where yeh ying and hazel went for a dip. I watched and held the camera. That night we went for yet another bout of seafood at a famous spot in KK. It really was good, and coming from me, you know it really is. Our group was complete again on the final night. But as some of the mountain climbers opt to sleep, the rest of us headed for KK's famous bubble tea hangouts and exchanged stories and experiences. Then later back at the condo around the round table, again we indulged in stories into the night.

Day 5:
Dragging ourselves out of bed in the wee hours again, we joined Alice and John for breakfast at a 'san yuk min' place. Food was good but we were too beat to have a decent conversation. Btw, Thanks Alice!! Heading back, packing and waiting for the rest really took a lot out of us and we were jus falling asleep all over the place. I bought tiger prawns home and we all headed back to the terminal to face yet another delay which bored us to tears. Finally we were on board the new Air Asia and ready to go home. Everyone slept on board. Home sweet home.

For more pictures, click here. or visit Hazel's blog.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Aspirers Retreat 2006

Revival is in progress. There is no doubt, no hesitation, no turning back.

This year youth camp has moved to a new level. We decided to expand the organizing team and more than half the camp were eventually involved ain one way or another. From devotion lleader to team leader, to food personnel to worship team.... It was at first slightly freaky to have such a big team - it also meant out of control - but it also meant training and equipping. So yeah. It was awesome. And everyone did an amazing job. But because of that too, many were more involved in the camp - heart and soul. Many believed, many prayed, many stepped forward, many hoped.

God's hand was on the entire camp. It was evident. The camp was a testimony by itself. Many knew and believed and saw. And it has been more real to me than ever before - that prayer is really a powerful tool. It has really caused me to see.... Just to name a few:
  • Our initial campsite did not work out - last minute but still we found one in the nick of time
  • Not many people signed up - but more people were involved and excited
  • It rained during departure till we arrive - but not a drop of rain for the rest of the camp
  • There were internal conflicts - but we put our differences aside and remembered that we were doing it for God.
  • We forgot to buy prizes - but we finished everything else so early that on the final morning we could go shopping instead of rushing the other intigrity camp details.
Nothing could stop us. God was on our side. It was so evident.

We had all kind of activities that were new to us and to the youth. We daring to try new things (our theme is DARE after all). And our only prayer is that everything will work together to gear hearts and mind towards the one thing that mattered - to start a revival in our hearts. You cannot organize revival, but you can set your sails to catch the wind of Heaven. And so it was, every activity held a lesson you don't learn in the classroom - that is Aspirers' Retreat's trademark. The music mania that taught not to gossip, the campfire initiation taught passion, the sand castle showed that life's not fair and we learn to make the best with what we have, the raging river taught cooperation and working with what you have, crabbing taught hardship and perseverence, devotion prepared the soul, debate brought out talents and touched on certain grey topics, dorm moments refreshed and fed questioning hearts. I could go on...

What blessed my heart the most was the altar calls. Instead of lingering at the back, they stepped forward in hunger - no loiterring, no waiting, no hesitating - just there, eyes squeezed shut, hearts aimed towards Heaven, lips in prayer, tears streaming down their faces, hands trembling in desperation and in urgency. God looks for those who are hungry. He searches the earth for those who are seeking. And He will meet us there. There were no pictures, no videos, cause God was moving so powerfully. Many were touched, many slained, many experienced breakthrough in their lives, and many testified. Don't look down on yourselves because you are young, but set an example for believers...... some were only 13. All the leaders were praying, crying, hugging along with the youths.. just touched by the presence of God. After all was said and done, I stood at the altar front and cried to God. I wanted Him to touch me too. It's been so long, so dry, so distance. I told God I will not move till He touch me. And He did. He so did... I could barely contain myself. And I could not stop.

Lord we need a revival, Lord we need you to move
By your spirit and power, Let your kingdom come
Give us a passion for the lost, Give us a hunger for your spirit
Send Revival....

And this is only the begining. It has just started....

For more pictures click here. For the full CD (video compilation and complete pictures) order through Aspirers for only RM5.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pre Retreat

This year the fuss about Aspirers Retreat is greater than any other year. Our theme was "Revival In Progress" and indeed we were serious about it. We started the camp a week ahead to introduce the camp, prepare hearts and mind about the entire meaning of this year's camp, start the bonding much earlier, ignite the hype. And it worked!!

The buzz was on with both the campers and committee. People put more heart and effort into it. With a larger team, there was less work for us to do. So much so Hazel, Eunice and myself had more free time on our hand then we bargained for. So we hung around a little more. I'm very proud of the entire team and knowing how far we have all come. Talents were evident in the younger ones. Like gem stones needing to be refined, I can only imagine how they will shine. This was one of the other objectives of the retreat, to train the younger ones.

Retreat in 2 days...

Monday, February 06, 2006


"Each one of us were brought here for a reason"

Nuts about Lost. They say if you don't follow it episode by episode you might just get lost. And what I love most about this drama is the idea that you just don't know what it is in the jungle that is so fearsome, that gives so much mystery. As the episodes unfold, every character has a story or retribution - a real life. (for more of Lost click
here) Characters come to life. As they learn to live as a community without the ability to say "I quit", they learn what it is to live and love. Of cos the suspense of 'The Others' keeps the show going and gives the drama the edge that keeps viewers like me coming back for more.
I'm trying to download the full set of the second season. Jus had no patience to wait for AXN to screen it. Up to date, I have downloaded and watched up to episode 6. Currently downloading the next 3 episodes. Anyone has the full season please please save me the agony and lend me!!

Sometimes we look at the lives around us - we work and go about our daily businesses (like the movie) not realising that everyone has their story. Sometimes we get impatient on the road at some driver not knowing they may have their own story. We find it so hard to judge when we should be forgiving. After all, we are all just human. Just humans with our own stories. Sometimes we just need to try to understand. As much as we want people to understand us, we need to first understand people. Each one of us was brought here for a reason.

Sometimes when you think your life is terrible, you just need to look around you. There are far worst lives around you. Just thank God for your life! Sometimes I just sit and watch the people around me. What are they thinking? What have they just gone through? What is their story? How can you say life is boring? hahaha...


You gotta love it!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai!! Gong Hey Fat Choy!!
With the dawn of the New Lunar Calendar Year, all is abuzz - especially in this little life of mine. It's the year of the Fire Dog they say. Hey that's my year! Means i've gone through 2 full cycles of the lunar calendar. Man i'm getting old. So what's all this fuss about Chinese New Year?

Here's a few CNY (as it is f
ondly known as) traditions in Malaysia:

Once a year, people flood the highways and byways to get to their hometown. Home is where the heart is. And to celebrate the coming of a brand new y
ear, people flock home for a reunion where as many family members as possible come together to eat and drink. Whether you love each other or hate each other, you still have to meet that once a year. Traffic is totally suicide but hey, people still risk that long journey home. I think it's a good thing cos that once a year you still go home. It's like the Christmas tradition overseas. Keeps the family together.
And then suddenly u noticed those little baby relatives of urs have grown (well considering the last time u saw them was last yr). Then u go "wow so big already". It's no wonder our aunties and uncles do that to us. Oh these are my cousin's kids by the way.
Another common practise is to totally sweep the house clean. Top to bottom, every nook and cranny. Turn the house upside down for a spring clean. New furnitures are added. The precious china and silk curtains are brought out (not literally though). Hey my family practises this too. It's a crazy week before the New Year arrives. At least the house gets cleaned and look awesome once a year. We load the fridge or cooler with cans and packets of drinks, jars with assorted cookies, tables with all sorts of yummies and a total must - mandarin oranges and peanuts.

The food is awesome this time of the year too. Someone said that we bluff ourselves that this indulgence is only once a year - but for Malaysians we say that for Christmas, CNY, Hari Raya, and what have you. In the end it is all year round, all the time. Thus, our famous quote "Malaysians eat 24 hours a day". The pictures below were the food I indulged in during the Klang reunion.
A strange tradition which becomes the highlight of all single people is the red packet - Ang Pow. Yea it contains money in it and this year, harvest was bountiful. hahaha... Actually as I was packing my parent's for them I was just thinking how married people had to take out hundreds of dollars jus to fill these little packets and give it away so freely. Does it hurt to do it? But I seem to see the common practice there. Giving! The spirit of giving and sharing. Sounds familiar? Hmmm.... I began to feel that this is a good practice after all! Teaches you not to horde too much eh? You also should give gifts of mandarin oranges (a must), peanuts (again a must), bah kua, biscuits, and other things to close ties - which I chose to do with my neighbours. And the feeling is good. Of course, you will definitely need to return a gift of such too if received one.

Oh yes, something you just ought to do is to 'bai nin'. Pay a visit to faraway family members, friends, colleagues, and so on. Just to say hello. My friends and I do this at a yearly basis. We visit houses after houses on the first day. Sit, drink, eat cookies,
and get our ang pows. However, the spirit of visiting is waning off. Perhaps we are getting old and after all, it has been going on since I started driving. I want to continue for the kids. It's good practice in one sense and tiring on another sense. But, I too, am getting tired - having need to split the visits between the 15 days of Chinese New Year. (pics of some past year moments)
What else have we got? Lou Yee Sang with family and friends (originally for prosperity and all but we do it for fun), lion dances through the malls and neighbours' fire crackers, wine and beers offered all over, card games and mah jong, cheers and laughters, and the hot hot sun. How can you not love Chinese New Year. *laughs*
Happy Chinese New Year!!