Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Global Leadership Summit

Global Leadership Summit is like the summit of our month, after the long preparation and nights of sleeplessness. The day had come and is now here where leaders from all over Malaysia gathered with a desire to improve themselves to reach a new level in their leadership. Ever since I first heard Bill Hybels on his vision with GLS, I was completely sold out. I admire a man who dare to dream and dare to give that dream a go, especially a God-given, life-changing one.

Pictures courtesy of TJ, my BCM classmate whom I caught holding a DSLR

During the two days, I had yearned to go mingle (it is seldom that I actually want that - perhaps because I actually do know more people now) but I worked hard doing my job. Felt a little disappointed to not have the chance to mingle much, save for small hies and byes. But perhaps when GLS is in another church and I'm simply attending, I could then mingle. =)

Nevertheless, I will not miss out the chance to experience and learn as much as I can. Forget the food, just let me learn too. And like most delegates, I had been originally disappointed at the speakers line-up. But as the saying goes, "don't judge a book by it's cover". It was simply too awesome. The messages pierced hearts as it spoke to church leaders, challenging them to go back once again to the core of the Faith and dare to go out and make a difference, whatever it may costs, for the call is bigger than any thing this world can offer. At least that's the message to me. I was moved and challenged and convinced and re-fired. The session ended with leaders giving their lives anew and saying "Here Am I".

I want something more.....

Here's some of my prayers:
  • That I will refuse Him nothing.
  • That I'll always be foolish enough to believe I can make a difference in this world so as to not stop trying.
  • Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Be inspired. Be encouraged. Lead where you are.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Celebrating life

In all our daily busy-ness, sometimes its easy to overlook and cancel the things in life that are most important - the celebration of life with people. We forget that life is really about life. What happens when we get so caught up that we no longer make time for the people we love? What is in our strive to achieve, we forget the lives we could have touched along the way.... the very people who could have been our greatest support. Life only becomes miserable. Because we forget that at the end of the day, when we lie on our deathbed, we realize what is more important and what we have missed.

As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round - Ben Hogan

So lets celebrate life.

In the midst of a busy and excrutiating week of packing bags and making nametags, we took time off to sing a birthday song. I never got to eat any part of the cake because someone ate my share while I was not looking.

A friend who is soon to be married, came down to Seremban to give the red envelope. So we met up at a Spanish restaurant - which is over rated but cozy and unique - and ended up chatting and chilling for almost 3 hours. Thinking bout how the years have flown by kinda scares us though.

Only days before SPM, some SPMers were grateful for an excuse to come out and NOT study. It was another birthday. They're all growing so big! Sobs! Swarming their favourite steamboat restaurant in Lobak, they really cook up a storm. Hmm.. I should go there one day to actually eat and find out what's so awesome about it.

And at the end of the day, I'm really glad to have taken time of to celebrate life with people around me. I know that these are the things that really makes up my life.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

GLS prep

These last few days had only ONE thing in mind - day and night: GLS. As the slogan go "makan bola, tidur bola" except that this was GLS. nothing else. And you will have no idea how much work goes into putting it together until you volunteer to give a hand preparing for it. I worked my brains out. We slacked too much this year and was paying for it.

And for one week, I made used of some youths (free labour), to work work work! Forced labour. With stress level so high, my brains ready to fry and zap anyone in my way. Unfortunately, some of the kids kena my wrath. *feels sorry* I learnt that I'm at my worst when I'm that stressed. =(

But I do so much wanna say, "THANK YOU MY DARLINGS" for all the help you have willingly bestowed. Your servant heart will be remembered. And i KNOW God has seen and smiled. So even if just for that reason alone, it was worth it right?

Pic's from ETC's blog...

Monday, October 20, 2008

TATTOO presentation

Our BCM Youth Culture Group Presentation Topic was "Tattoo".

Why did we pick "tattoo"? Because one of our group member was so hyped up about it.
I don't even like tattoos. Never did. Yet that's what we needed to look into.

How was it?
Go to google image and type 'tattoo' in the search box. It is interesting.

But I did learn a lot of things about a controversial topic like 'tattoo' and it did shape my opinion about the topic in a more concrete manner. So now I can say I know so cos I've researched it so. LOL. And I did make new friends. And I did learn more about the friends I already have and more about myself. And I did stand in front of the class of 80 students (not all was present tho) and give a conclude our group's presentation. So it was good.

What was the conclusion to the topic? LOL. Go figure. Or ask me in person.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Food glorious food

An Aspirers event. We call it a de-stress-er of an activity in the midst of an energy-absorbing, mind-boggling, sleep-stealing EXAM. Well I sure hope it helped.

Watching you begin to take ownership and act responsibly. Watching you willing to support your team and encouraging the rest. Watching you.

.... I'm proud of you! *hugs*

Friday, October 17, 2008

Profiting out of misery

I visited with someone at NCI today. The cancer institute is base on making money from your pain. They not only charge you a ridiculous (squared) amount more but add to your fear by dramatizing the whole process. To protect privacy, I can't tell you how I heard.

Why is it that our world is built on people making profit out of someone else's misery? Have you no heart but to add salt to the wound? And yet people give me a side ward glance and say 'this is life'. This is life! Where injustice is part of life and people continue to be selfish. Heartless, we cry. Yet our voice is seldom heard.
What can we do, we ask defensively. Those who don't have the right information, in the end, will suffer even more. We are victims of the society's system because you can't beat it. It's a cruel world out there and you've heard that a million times only to realize once more how true that is. What can we do? Get informed, I say. And spread the word. May goodwill and justice prevail.

And the next time you have cancer (not that I'm hoping or saying you will but just to know), look up the National Cancer Society. Perhaps you'll find more hope in the dark there. One that does not include bankrupting you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finding little pleasures...

Time to put Australia behind me and get back to life. Been spending time compiling the pictures and possibly reminiscing it. thinking bout it too much will make me miss it too much for my own good. But life is not all drag and gloom, although it's been raining everyday these days. It's not all stress and frust, although work is heavy as it can be. There are the little pleasures...

My meter reached 11111 last FRIDAY! I was ecstatic enough to stop my car by the side to take a picture. Onety one thousand one hundred and onety one. LOL. I just thought it was cuter to call it that. Why eleven? One not "onety" like every other number. Not funny. Ok ok. Eleven thousand one hundred and eleven kilometers. James has traveled so much since his inception last November. James turns one soon!

So I've been busy with work since I got back. Yes work. From the time I set foot in the office till an hour after working hours. Almost everyday. That's work. Trying to pack as much work as possible in the short time that I have in the office, even if lunch can be skipped to save. Unfortunately I get hungry so eating is a must. So maybe I AM a workaholic. But I'm trying to keep it in that time frame at work, and learn to kick up my heels and let my hair down after hours - to keep from going insane. Back to the story... So I was walking out of the office one day at almost 6pm and the rain was pouring all around. And I saw this white cat sitting comfortably in the shade, away from the rain. It (because I don't know the gender) blink and glazed at me in boredom. I was a little ticked at it's pride but it looked too cute to be disturbed. So I walked quietly around it and out the door and into the rain.

On Monday i was driving from Amcorp mall to BCM for class, and saw this rainbow. It was spectacular in its color, full in its form, from one end to the other end. In fact I was told it was a double rainbow. I know rainbow is not really that fascinating, drawn by children, memorized by high school students, and symbolized by gays, but you should have seen it. It was more beautiful than any rainbow I've ever seen or known. And there it was in the sky, from end to end. I didn't have the chance to take a picture, so I'm stealing the picture from Donny's blog.

Note: I was inform twice that my font is far too small for some people. So I considered. And decided to increase the size one notch. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chronicles of Down Under: Main Menu

Ok here's the main menu, the bottomline, the summary of the trips, the entire Chronicles.

  1. Pre-Trip
  2. The Flight
  3. Geelong
  4. The 12 Apostles that was not
  5. Facts or Fiction
  6. Day Out in Melbourne
  7. Sunshine State
  8. Home of the Crocodile Hunter
  9. Gold Coast
  10. Epilogue

Picture Narratives: PICTURES ALL DONE! Click on the below links.
  1. Geelong
  2. Melbourne
  3. Brisbane
  4. Gold Coast

Chronicles of Down Under: Epilogue

There's so much more I can say about my trip, but I'm choosing not to. However, sitting in my familiar room once again, I choose to reflect on the trip I had just taken. I had wanted to get away from the mundaneness and stress of life and people back here, wanted to find myself again fearing I might have lost me altogether in work and no play, wanted to sit with God and just enjoy His presence and just be. Needed to. So badly.

If asked what was the best part of the trip, I'd have to say experiencing the everyday life. As beautiful as the sights, and food and everything was, it was the everyday that inspired my heart. Life will always bring trouble and there's no place you can run from it. Different country, different faces but the problem will remain. Part of me said 'hey you should just move too... there's so much more here to offer'. Yet I knew it could never be. The call will always be greater than the want.

This trip, I had the privilege to stay with 3 different host - in different phases of life, living life very differently from the other - giving me very different perspectives of life in itself. They were all most kind and generous to me which I thank God for.
It's life that inspires. Ironic isn't it, that it is the mundaneness of life that drove me away yet it's the everyday beauty of life that drew me once again. God has a sense of humor. It's so like God to do that.

I refreshed my spirit with the grandeur of God's creations, reminded myself the meaning and importance of relationships, relaxed my mind with the mundaneness of the everyday pleasures, filled my body with the delights of tasting (evident when I stand on the weighing scale), tantalize my senses with the cultures and lifestyle and stories - soaking in every detail like a sponge. When Dav asked what I wanted to see, I told him not to bother me about shopping. I wanted to see and eat and experience the very culture and life. And that was what I did. There was the horror of a 90 degree roller coaster drop and the serenity of watching the seagulls walk the shorelines, eating home cook korean noodles and the very exclusive meat platter at the Crown's, walking the downtrodden back alleys where graffiti is seen on every wall and the fanciest and highest class streets uptown, sitting home after a quiet meal with the music filling the air and walking down Yarra River sneaking pictures at costumed people at midnight, going on grocery shopping routes and personal day trips of the mighty Great Ocean Road.

And so I stand and say, thank you people who have been pr
aying for me and supporting me so much for this break. Thank you people who hosted me and put up with my tourist-ness. Thank you God my Lord for reminding me and refreshing me and inspiring me for the months ahead. I've lived so much, learnt so much, loved so much... in this short two weeks. It was simply awesome.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Chronicles of Down Under: Gold Coast

To Gold Coast we go.... Weeeee......

After hearing so much bout this little town and all the 'worlds' that it offers - escapades and fun filled family times, it's about time I went. And because of ti
me constraints, we decided to visit only one - MovieWorld (the one with the least rides supposedly) cos well it's MOVIE, one of my obsessions.

With all my muscles psyched and ready, Steven drove an hour to Gold Coast and into MovieWorld. But the place was not as big as I expected it to be. Maybe had too high an expectation on the place. Movie World was designed to look like the scenes in the movie or cartoons. Every where you turn is a hint of another movie. But besides the the parades and shows, there isn't anything else to do but the rides.

I was persuaded and almost dragged into sitting almost all the rides there is in the place. Esther said I would be overcoming my fears if I went. And eventually I did. Starting with the WORST of rides - Lethal Weapon. I came out feeling sick to my guts, migraine and nausea and shaking. But of course, there was another ride and another ride. I felt my senses knocked out after that and wonder why people like it. It's like hangover. The adrenaline wasn't that much fun either. I feared for my life. And prayed so hard. Half way through the day I could no longer hold the camera for a still picture.

Look! Batman! OooOo Scooby Doo Gang. And there's Shrek! Who is that women with wings suppose to be? Oh look Tweety and Bugs Bunny....! Poor people must be sweating in their costume. Oh Look look look... AaahHhh.....

Hey, I probably will never return here... And i AM a tourist.

Although I was dropped dead tired from the muscle stress, we headed out to Surfer's Paradise - where the beach was. And wow was I in love with the beach. I have a fetish for
beaches - sea, sand, wind. It's not the most beautiful beach I've seen but there's something about the calming affect of the waves crashing against the shore that calms my nerves, and refreshes my soul. It's like standing on the great mountain's peak, or beneath a roaring waterfall, floating above a still lake with birds tweeting about. Something about the water that calms. Something about the awesomeness and grandeur of nature that proclaims His majesty that gives that calming peace. Even the rocks will cry out in praise.

Next: Epilogue
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Chronicles of Down Under: Home of the Crocodile Hunter

So we decided to visit the Australia Zoo in Brisbane and not allow me to miss another chance of seeing Kangaroos and Koalas on my 2nd visit to this country. I mean it's just ridiculous.

How more unique than to visit the home of the most famous (and according to the posters in the zoo "the original") crocodile hunter. Whatever you many think about it, I was excited to visit the world renown family in animal conservation. Personally, I think he left a legacy that was not easily squashed. His family continued his life long misison to save the animals, educate the people about wildlife conservation and so on. His 3yr old son is already walking through the zoo playing with snakes before you can speak properly. No, I didn't actually see them. But I heard. What are you and I doing? *thinks deeper*

Oh, and I did say hello to them kangaroos and koalas. Did not get to hold any though. Other than that, I saw wombats, tasmanian devil, kookaburra, echidna, emu (Steven laughs at my pronunciation), dingoes, and so much more - all uniquely Australia. Of course there were elephants and tigers... I mean it's a zoo right. But these were all rescued wildlife and not caged in an enclosure for the sake of profit. In fact the whole zoo was not for profit. You're allowed to bring food in and they have all kinds of discounts. Since it is so low profit, they do open tables for donation for all kinds of causes and programmes that they are running. Save the crocs, save the tigers, save the whales, etc. The entire experience was educational, every 'show' was but a chance to educate you about wildlife and to promote conservation of them. Literally. There are shows throughout the day through the zoo with different animals, and all handlers are trained to give you facts about the animals and answer any questions you may have. They really know the animal and love them.

You are given the experience of a lifetime to walk amongst the park - sit in the shade with a wallaby, see through a glass while tigers swim and play with their trainers.. up close and personal stuff. Sometimes you can see a trainer taking an animal for walks along the visitors paths. I saw a wombat on a walk! Esther says they take tigers, crocs, koalas, eagles, etc. Like wow. Lynne would have loved this sanctuary. It was what it is named - a haven, a sanctuary for them wildlife.


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Chronicles of Down Under: Sunshine State

Brisbane is known as the Sunshine State, for the obvious reason of the sunshine. It's much warmer here
than in Melbourne, which is an airplane distance of only 2 hours. Like KL to Bangkok maybe. The temperature is currently 25degrees Celsius - very much like the temperature, except that the wind blows a chill air on your face, and there's no water in the air. Hot and dry. If it's any consolation, it's cooling at night.

Brisbane is a blooming town in the midst of a small town. You can see a new townhouse built next to a kampung house on stilts, a tall building next to a decades old shop. And yes, people here still live on stilt house
s. Steven and Esther has a disagreement about why so. And really, everywhere you turn you see these kampung houses. I wouldn't say that the sights here are beautiful at all. In fact, I can't find any words for it. It's just all a little messy with roads going all over, construction happening everywhere, people driving a little crazy here too. Now that, Steven says, must be because of the heat. Cos all these... really reminds me of home. And you thought Australia should be all fancy pancy.

I arrived in Brisbane with my right foot so sore that I could no longer bear to walk. It was swollen beyond recognition and pain on the prominent parts where it touches the floor. Both my inner thigh are marked with laceration from my previous jeans. Dav, you're right, it was the threading. And the scar remains till now. Poor me. The fruit of my holiday. Thus I spent a lot of days resting and taking it slow here.

Life with Steven and Esther. As any young couple, they are looking at houses, buying groceries together, cooking and cleaning. It is a big change of scenery from the fast lane in Melbourne and the packed family schedule in Geelong. Oh yea, Esther cooked - she has learnt. The couple prefer slow walks and quiet nights cooking and watching movies. And so it was for me. As my mind began to wander to married life. And if I'll ever be able to effort such luxuries. Hmm....

Next: Home of the Crocodile Hunter
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Chronicles of Down Under: Day Out in Melbourne

So the Chongs drives all the way down to Melbourne - which is like a drive from Seremban to KL, within speed limit. The plan was to stay with EChong 1 nite slightly outside Melbourne and Dav the other 2 nites in the heart of Melbourne. And after all that, I think I should have stayed an entire week in Melbourne city itself. I really think I should have. Melbourne city was so beautiful to behold. There were so many sides to it and just held me in awestruck wonder. Too bad rite? Yet it's the one I spent the least amount of time in. Woe to me.

Yeh... not "ya"... it's yeh...

So trip in Melbourne was exciting and full all the time. And I was coerced into saying this on my blog: Dav was sweet to give me almost all his time - sacrificing sleep, his homework and his diet - to make my time most fulfilling, giving me the most express tour of the city. And seeing every nook and cranny, back alley and glamour lane. Thanks Dav! *hugs*

It is spring in Melbourne. And even though I was told that if I had only come two weeks later I'd really see the flowers bloom, and even though it's still draught in Victoria (the state where Melbourne is), the flowers were in bloom. An the variety was so so bountiful.

Dandenong Range National Park, somewhere further up Waverly near Dandenong mountains, where the trees are skinny and tall. So high in the sky and lining the entire park. And the cuckatoos and parakeets and other kinds of birds just flock where the tourists are hoping to get some feed of your hand. They crowd the entire front and people and children alike scream in glee at chasing these birds. I love it when they fly in flocks from one corner to the other. But alas my response too slow to record them.

Dav's abode where I stayed 2 nights. His room is the walkway to another room - his housemate whom I made acquaintance with. Are all artistic people messy? *snickers* He stayed between two streets above Tourism Malaysia that I was forced to remember in case of anything. And all the reminders of Malaysia might keep Dav always thinking of home. Pictures hung on the wall all the way to the 3rd floor where he lives. Oh yea, Dav got a hair cut.

I met up with some people in Melbourne. Besides Dav and Peter, we had a board game cum supper with their cell members, at their friend's board game cafe. Dav and Peter are cell mates! Who knew! I also dropped by to say hi to my cousin, Wei Yee, who lived a few roads away. Ah, the picture above also shows a statuette - real people who pretends to be statue all day long. Although this one moved quite a bit, mechanically.

Melbourne Uni where Dav studied, and where my dad studied 30years ago. When Dav was at the workshop making his timber table, I walked the surrounding with Peter, taking over a hundred pictures. Most of which I wanted to show my dad. But because I was intrigue by the entire place. It wasn't just a place of study or a place where students stroll... but it was so much more. I will post the pics up on Flickr later on. There were even areas of the uni I was not allowed to photograph (i.e. Anatomy and Pathology museum). Yea, Peter sneaked me into a lot of places on campus. Shh....
Ahh... the food. I told Dav I would love to eat and eat. Don't bother about shopping, just take me to the food... and he did. Pastas, steaks, kangaroo meat, souvlaki something, authentic burnwood pizza, some chocolate desert thingy, gelato. Oh at his friend's board game cafe we had sweet dessert which include some sort of durian pudding and pandan soufflé and even a drink called Godzilla (made of milo). Yea, she's Singaporean or something. People really like cafes here. They're in every corner. We had a enormous proportion of meat (pork ribs, chicken fillet and tandoori, lamb shank, beef steak, etc.) at Crown's one night, but because it was a casino I was not allowed to photograph it.

The city was enchanting. It is interesting to note that a huge number of Melbourne folks dressed in black. Like a lot. Life surrounded around trams and bicycles while numorous other town folks depend on their own two feet to get around. I never walked so much in my life in a day. That was why my foot had swollen partially by the time I left Melbourne and almost ocmpletely by the time I landed in Brisbane. There is a map in the above picture which shows just how far we walked. Dav's right pinky finger is on Melb Uni, right thumb on where he lives and left pointer finger on Crown's where we had dinner one night. The picture on the 3rd column 2nd row shows 4 people in costume (ceasar, santa claus, superman, and some ancient mediterranean guy) walking down the road. I snuck a picture. We later saw them again with a group of people all in costume running amock the place at past midnight. Interesting eh?

I was awestruck by the sights of the city. The building structures and just the feel of the city. I could stand and just look if Dav wasn't hurrying me along everywhere. I really just have so many more pictures to show. I really loved the city. In the picture above, I was pointing at the tallest building on the southern hemisphere. While on the diagonal corner of the picture is china town. I was also informed that Ghost Rider was shot in Melbourne itself. Dav showed me some spots and the most famous scene of the Rider over the bridge and then jumping into the river while the police chased him? The bridge is in the above picture? Recognise it?

Oh I was at the musuem too. It was so interesting like you'll never believe it. I'm not kidding it was beautiful, and informative, and interactive, and colourful, and all that. Kids won't be bored in there with THAT many things to see and do. I was completely impressed. You'll see what I mean when I put up the rest of the pictures.

I'm unable to upload all my pictures yet because Esther here has an upload limit and I'll exceed it three times over if I attempt to upload them. So we just all have to wait. There are some really nice pictures and videos that I took. But oh well. I'll just be writing titles and description in flickr when I finally upload them.

Next: Sunshine State
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