Friday, December 29, 2006

10 good advice

'The problem is not that there are problems... The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem'
-Theodore Rubin.

In spoof of BBC's 100 things you never knew since this year (The egg came first, plus 99 more facts from this year's news)

Well I leave you with some good advice for what I've learnt this year!!!

1. Invest in a good, lightweight, portable umbrella. Don't buy long umbrellas unless you want to leave it at someone's house or office... (Inevitably happens!)

2. The phone/camera/laptop/pda/mp3 player... you like will definitely have a new edition 2-6 months from the time you buy it. So either bide your time or just get it and not regret, lah...

3. If someone asks you what you think, tell them honestly what you think. Instead of jeopardizing the relationship, in time they will appreciate it. And if they don't, it shows that they are not worth keeping, in time. But, only if they really sincerely ask you about it!

4. Always invest in a good haircut. Makes a world of difference from looking unkempt/aunty/old to upper class and chic. Those who have been to Henry's at Fingerworks know what I mean...

5. Sms your friends/partners once in a while to let them know you care...and always make time to catch up over coffee, no matter how many silly excuses you have. Because, when you really need them, they will be there for you too.

6. Lend people money they have no means of returning, and you have no need of in the current. Think about it... This is really blessing the poor, the hungry, the full timers etc. I did this twice this year and really feel good!

7. Donate blood. Can save people's lives and you will think that it can get rid of your toxins you have stored up over the years. Free somemore.

8. Never stop learning new things. Even when you are surfing the net or doing some mundane stuff, you can always learn about, say, Tourette's Syndrome, instead of browsing blogs and getting all worked up over WSM (it's overly hot, don't you think?) and raging about the GST, the govt, and whatnot. Precisely if you can't be bothered about voicing your opinions where it matters, why let it affect yourself in such a way. Ditto for all anti-XX or anti-something, go improve your brain with some useful information found online.

9. Take up a hobby and involve loved ones or friends. For me I like to shop alone (cuz I don't enjoy shopping and really browse fast to get what I want) but I find it really nice to have an exercise buddy, walking partner, or someone to play sylvanian families with me.

10. Write more. Writing's an art we've learnt that has sadly been lost. I try to write - even penning down my schedules though I have a pda. There's nothing like journalling down thoughts or writing pass it on notes - something that has almost but disappeared. Bring back the pencils and paper! Scribbling, and doodling also counts.

So far so good...Have a good day!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Allegra and the Fall.

A short story, copyright mine.

She closed her eyes and yawned, so sweetly, like a little kitten from a long, peaceful sleep. The digital hologram clock on her wall bleeped. "28th December, 2015. 1:34 pm." The alarm she set days earlier roused her into a wakeful tension, her body shrugged together, her languid eyes alert and darting around cautiously for one second. Then, sighing, she gathered up her wide skirt, having fallen around her carelessly, and stood up from the warm bed. Almost in a trance, she walked slowly to the doorstep and down the stairs, her beautifully expensive heels click-clacking on the thin layer of ice crystals formed beneath.

He watched Allegra from a distance, from the safety of the heated study, draped in a thick shawl meant to be tossed on the couch. He smiled at her leaving figure gently. After all they had went through, he felt lucky to have her. They were the only ones left for each other in this world. "I love you, Mark" she had whispered onto the mirror in the parlour before resting, and the sound of her musical voice had turned the heat and light attuned mirror into swirls of beautiful hearts with the message, almost like a kaleidoscopic twinkle of poetry, each time you look at it.

People's memories were short, she told herself as she boarded the Shinkansen. No one here remembered what happened anymore. Newspapers suffered terribly during the Fall. Now, the only way they could survive was to devote most of their electronic space to financial, and health reports. No real news was ever found since it was not lucrative. As predicted, the 2-million dollar healthcare industry in Sangria aggresively grew in the last 5 years to a 5 trillion dollar one. But the side effects of all the multivitamins and self-cancer checks was that people had forgotten what was important to them. After the Fall in Sangria, houses were built compactly without spaces for books. No one read anymore and fewer books were produced each year as paper became increasingly scarce and ibooks sold for a mere sum onweb. The radiation and waves from the various digital implements had severe debilitating effects on the memory aspect of the mind, but it was only 20 more years later when they realised the permanence of short-term memory had taken place.

Allegra also, had forgotten most of it, only that the mention of "The Fall" made her shudder and seem to be in shock for sometime. Saving precious, expensive paper, she had years ago written an account, and each year this day, in memory, she would go to the Grounds and read it. The Grounds was a beautifully, digitally enhanced landscape with birds and fruit trees, all tropical, but transported through the digital medium to exist here in Sangria.

Allegra sat under a cherry tree with rainbow colored cherries and opened an airtight capsule. The air in Sangria had discolored all natural elements, even clothes now had to be woven with only nylon threads. Most of their clothes were nylon now, the manmade fabric withstanding the harsh elements of weather and radiation. She perched herself comfortably and read.

"Dec 28, 2009.
It was one year ago that these events happened, something so terrible that even today I shudder to think about it. The violent weather which for some years now have been warning us about things to come: Earthquakes and Tsunamis, sudden electrical charges, flash floods. In Sorepa, we were ravaged by floods all around. Being a peninsula, we had no chance of survival. My meagre items were all washed away, the legacy that my parents had built up for myself and my older brother Myerl vanished in hours. The grief of losing such was replaced with joy at finding them all alive. However on the way to the refugee camp at Sangria, my brother mysteriously disappeared along with other guys his age.

Horror stories abounded for years that they were abducted mysteriously to become spies for neighboring countries, and strange evidence surfaced now and then, but I could never be sure whether Myerl is alive, and even if he was, maybe tortured, or transformed so much that perhaps death was a better option. I lost my parents within six months of each other, they both caught Rinal disease, after the floods, their respiratory systems collapsed. Now, Rinal can be controlled with just a cocktail of pills, but back then, the whole population of Sorepa died because of this strange disease. I survived because some strange antibodies in my body acclimatised myself almost instantly, and because of Mark.'

Allegra smiled as she read this. It was a blessing, even now when Mark was like this, to have him. She never doubted his evident love for her, only sighed when he did not have the strength of mind to speak it. Deep inside, she believed that in this turbulent future, some Divine Being would help them all. She uttered a soundless prayer, for any audible words she said could put them in danger of the Sangria elders, who planted hearing trees all over the countryside.

'After being in a refugee camp for 3 years, I realised that I was not so luckless after all. I saw young children who never knew they were born of noble birth and crept about on their forelegs, looking pitiful and detestable. I did not bother about the older ones, with purple welts and boils up their legs, a sure sign that later Rinal disease was to ravage them. Each day the wheezing sounds could be heard as one by one, the older ones succumbed. They went almost peacefully as though they had held their breath themselves, so peacefully that I could not grieve them.

Mark was a Sangrian not older than I, who had offered to help out in the refugee camp. A true martyr he was! But actually he was learning medicals, and this knowledge later proved to be useful to me. I saw his face as one with no beauty of form, a luckless creature, built stolidly, huge arms and hands with a weak chin and droopy eyes, not like the noble, graceful form we were used to seeing. Yet, there was something about him that enchanted me. The way his eyes watched me, with care. The way he would offer me help. I loved him for this. I wondered if I had the luck to lead a peaceful life with a noble Sorepa once. But now that my kind was dying out, this Sangrian seemed to offer me joy, and happiness should I choose to follow him. I don't know. It has been a year now and the situation has much improved. The governance of the Seven Worlds has seen to the stability of their instruments. No one lives near the Waters anymore for fear of the Fall. Two of the Worlds are now formless, lifeless, a mere black pool of water with only strange, waterliking creatures that inhabit its surface. Noble Sorepares have migrated either into Sangria or the fierce Wilds of Shylom. And me, I have decided to make my home with Mark as long as I live.'

There were more writings beyond this sentence, but time had rendered them almost invisible. However after her memory was regained every year by this letter, Allegra relived those bitter times once again. And she rejoiced with a smile that she had things to smile about.

Their lives had been prolonged with artifical intelligence, since all sustenance had been destroyed in Sangria and most of the Seven Worlds. Mark was noiselessly pacing about the house, with a furrowed brow and only when Allegra returned, he broke into a smile. "Allegra! Allegra, my love!" She smoothed his face till it was shining brightly with unshed tears, and she, on the verge of tears itself, just invoked his name, such a dear syllable to her own heart, again and again. He would never have the intelligence to live independently on his own nor the mind to fathom medical disorders as he once did. The artifical intelligence destroyed him and he only remembered her - Allegra, and that he loved her. And that was all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The people we meet on earth

Boxing Day... Time to open presents!

Go read the 5 people you meet in heaven by mitch alborn. It's really
excellent. Excellent plot, storyline and idea. Just wished it could be longer...

I haven't opened all of my presents yet...
It's always a special time of the year for me, enjoyed myself with the members yesterday playing sily games and just chilling out at Marina Pier after service. It's nice that we can gather together like this... I've never been one for big gatherings but of course, I would choose to gather with a nice bunch of folks than with just my boyfriend alone at home. It's through remembering people at this time of the year that we build ourselves. Sometimes, we may be harboring sad thoughts, maybe things in relationships or career might not be going well, but it's always a time to stop and take stock of the blessings you've received from friends this year.

For those who have been treated badly by loved ones, really feel the tinge of pain this season. Somehow I had a feeling of pain - still there, though it's been some time now. I guess it's the pain of not confiding to anyone my past woes - or rather, scared to confide, in a way fearing no one could understand the torment I was in. And sitting next to friends who have their own deep hurts, I wanted so badly to perhaps, share a little of my story. It's a long story, but all I can say is that once, some time ago, almost forgotten but hearing his name still draws up sharp pangs of what could be termed as a painful love. This emotion changed me, I am almost wary and guarded upon strangers I would have once embraced as my own.

I guess I have written about it, previously and more than I could bear.

Having stopped correspondence with him intentionally, I sometimes wonder how he is...yet, not really wanting to know. We shared deep moments, a familiar recognition of the soul-deep feelings both knew, that was there, a care for one another that could barely be expressed as friendship. Yet, knowing him brought out such character in me, which I never realised was in myself, that I cannot say knowing him has been a bane in my life.

That is why I have so many mixed emotions towards that time in my life that I find it more joyful to altogether forget about it completely.

Many have said that they find my writings here, inspiring...although I react to that comment with pleasant surprise. For I never meant intentionally to inspire anyone with the doings and feelings about my life, only that it was meant to be a recollection of thoughts, as true as I possibly can remember it. But I do hope that instead of feeling sadder than they once were, people can read, and take with them a strange comradeship that I too, feel this way once.

Though I do not have the guts to spill out my feelings to anyone, this platform is a place where I can voice out my thoughts into writing. I may seem insulting, even mocking at times about people's love affairs, I do care. I guess I really don'r bother to say it out, since I know that at this time, my words will probably be disregarded, as I have experienced time and again. But it does not give me any joy to see what I have predicted come to pass. I guess I am blessed - or cursed - with a sort of 'second sight', predicting the outcome of certain relationships, how they will work out, and what will happen. Often I am right in this ability to predict things happening based on human nature, and sadly so. Perhaps it's this ability that makes me shy away from certain people, knowing that inevitably this kind of relationships bring nothing but pain. I too, wonder sometimes why people love each other the way they do. I suspect it's because the other, is somewhat a reflection of themselves.

That in loving them, we bring out the best, and sometimes the worst in ourselves.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I bought a house!

Feeling really pleased with myself.

Started giving and receiving gifts already, so excited! I usually open my gifts on the morning of 25th December (usually go to Mass on the 24th) and this year is no exception, though the thought of opening them earlier is very very tempting.

For our rather wet-dry run for the party we pleasantly found a garage sale hosted by some japanese families. On retrospect I thought I should have bought more, but unsuspectingly I found myself an owner of a rather big sylvanian family house - only sold in Japan as I have not seen it in local shops. It was only $10 so I took it as these houses retail for about ten times that price. Oh and the japanese version is so much nicer than the made in UK ones.

Well, thinking I had only bought the house with furniture of 2 stoves and table and chairs, I was pleasantly surprised to find additions of a Mother Bear, two adult Bunnies, small baby bunnies and a couple of kittens! Plus two school desks. With miniature pencilboxes and mini pencils inside. Even the notebook has real paper. House looks something like the picture but different style. So I'm really happy that my small christmas present to myself has turned out to be something so valuable to me. Have displayed the critters on a shelf where I can look at it everyday before I go to sleep.

And I want a Cottontail Bunny (beige) for sure. They're always sold out (the size that I want) so... it would be really nice if I had one.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fraud Case, continued.

The irascible agent called me. 4 times on Monday, but I was overseas and gleefully advised him to call me the next day.

Well yesterday he did, and horrors! He asked me to 'do him a favor', change my statement to "I accidentally forgot I signed the form" (which is so obviously not signed) and talked to me for about half an hour in an upbeat voice, trying to make it seem like it was all in a day's work.

He told me that he had to hit this Persistency Award thing - more bonus $ perhaps, and said that actually I was being insured for free while he paid and could I bear with it till Jan or Feb?

I said, no, I don't want this thing, even if its being insured for free. He was pretty convincing (Can win the Golden Horse award for best performance) and almost too sincere that I was slightly taken aback. He cajoled me to help him, using emotional hot buttons like, he has a family to feed, he needs this income.

Actually he did not know that it was the Head office that called me for the investigation, thinking that I had written in to complain. He was taken aback when I sternly said that it was a Senior Exec who called me in. I added fuel to the fire by saying "They have been investigating you long ago." And I asked casually how many others did he do the same thing, forge the signature, thus cheating the company by getting more bonus out of it. He replied tersely, "Haha. That's for me to know." (Surely, this kind of statement means that its many people...)

The point that made my blood boil was when he said, "Remember I told you before, you can depend on me? Now I need your help. Remember, I once helped you too when you were in financial difficulties." Wow! Like when? The only time I had 'financial difficulties' was when I didn't/couldn't pay for the policy and let it lapse... which I wanted to anyway. I did pay him the lapsed amount after a few months for nothing. So it should be that he owes me, not the other way around. The way he tried to use these emotional words on me was too much, but trying not to antagonize him (He knows where I live and work and all sort of other details), in the end I said, I'd think about it... (Helping him to lie and keep his income.)

I have no intention to do so, and I think if the company found out that he has been asking me to falsify my statement, he would be in deeper trouble. I shook my head at his stupidity!

So, I have until the end of the week to think of something to say to him that sounds, un-antagonizing because I don't want him to go crazy and blame me for his woes and creep up my doorstep one day! Actually I have no complains in this matter because I'm being insured for free (although without my knowledge and against my free will) but he is cheating the company, not me. I doubt that even if I help him, the charges will be waived. And if I help him, isn't it like being an accomplice for embezzlement, without any returns?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do it for God if you believe in Him.

If your heart is for God, everywhere you go, you will find Him. Everything you do and say is for Him. If you focusing on God and you believe in Him, wonderful things will happen.

Christmas party plans are underway and all of us are so excited after the trial run yesterday at the Newton condo. We found nice spots to 'travel' in and bring our friends too. Just really tying up some loose ends now. We make a great team! It's heartwarming to see almost everyone chipping in and doing their bit and more...Giving stuff, making and ordering food, inviting friends, etc. What's the spirit of Christmas if these are not done? =)

After the Angel sharing at cell, realised many interesting happenings in our Core. Members were blessed by strangers - one member got a Cold Storage discount (unheard of!) just because she paid in cash, and many other strange stranger blessings to.

Well... I got the chance to be an Angel.

Went one day to have lunch with Col and somehow he, last-minutely, could not meet me. Since I loved the Thai food there and already set off, I just decided to eat on my own. As I was approaching the overhead bridge, an uncle standing at the foot spoke to me in Chinese, something like, if it's safe to cross. I wanted to just pretend I didn't really understand and walked away, but somehow I just stuck my head out. Zoom! came the cars, and although there were people jay-running, I told him, better not cross here. Too dangerous. He hesitated for a long time and told me he had to get to the other side to take a bus to Thomson Medical Centre. It was only then I looked back at him and realised he only had one leg. The other, was a fake one, so barbie doll beige that it looked scarier than if he had none.

Then in my halting Chinese, I told him to take a cab and pulled out $xx bucks from my purse. He, in the Chinese way, flatly refused my money, saying that I was an office staff, I needed to eat, blah blah. Then I told him I didn't need this money, but the way I put it in Chinese (Wo bu xu yao qian), sounded as if I was filthy rich, haha. Then his eyes brightened and took it. To cut the long story short, he told me how he got into this situation and he lives alone, and asked me which Deity do I honor. I shook my head and said, no, I go to church.

He then brightened up again and said that he used to go to this church in Redhill but not anymore as it was too far. Wrote him the Chinese service in my church, plus my name and to look for a certain Uncle there... he mentioned that he would come by after Christmas. Wee! I hope he does, sincerely!

Another little testimony, God immediately answered a few of my small prayers, showing that He cares. Sick and coughing my head off and couldn't sleep one sleepless night. Hoped for a better day, plus I'm quite traumatised about coughing like that as I had childhood asthma. I prayed that the cough would stop and laid hands, cursed the sickness, etc.

And I was shocked. The cough - the long, hacking, painful cough that had plagued me the whole night... simply disappeared just like that. My throat was still feeling really painful and itchy like I wanted to cough, but each time I opened my mouth nothing came out. Still can't believe it.

I slept a peaceful sleep that night, but not before I thanked God in a silent prayer.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


When you really love someone...

Reading "The two sides of love" (Smalley/Trent) bought from the campus crusade sale. Was looking for a book about relationships to fire up for the new year!
Went there with Jean and Kie...Initially picked up a book "Before you live together" thinking it was about, preparing for marriage...but it turned out to be for people who were considering cohabiting. Heh.

I've been attached for most of my teenage life, so somehow I think can safely spot 'unhealthy' our 'out-of-balance' relationships... I've been in them myself. Actually, I'm someone who is fiecely independent, though I do need a man's hand to guide me through and give me some comfort when I've taken ill, like in the last two days. It's cheery to know someone is hoping you'll recover soon (so that you can go JB with him) ...makes you feel better faster.

But it's when the relationship you're in becomes off-kilter to almost everyone, then it's time to take a good look at yourself, and each other. Some relationships turn this way, very fast. I remember one of my christian leaders telling me (about this ex-boyfriend when we were still together). He cautioned that, the ex-boyfriend puts me on a pedestal. True enough, I did feel like I was some sort of goddess. But what excellent treatment he gave! Paid for the two of us through everything, bought me little gifts, never hesitated to treat me super-good. Of course, also his upbringing had to play a part as Indonesians were known for their chivalry...and also their possessiveness.

It got a little strangulating when we had to talk for at least an hour every night (And I was a busy busy student) and had to perpetually sms him my wherabouts hourly. Not forgetting the nightmare when he got angry when I wanted to catch up with MrBestFriend, wanting to throw our ring into the Sentosa river, and when I was out with MsBestFriend he called me more than 60 times (I just refused to pick up.) As time passed it gradually became an unhealthy relationship even though we were suited for each other. I don't blame him now, perhaps it was his first, and perhaps he loved me so much it became this way.

Residue of the past still remain, though. I only remember the good parts so when my poor tired darling does not live up to treating me like a goddess, there are whispers in my head saying, X used to treat me better. He always ..... .... not like this one. Plus ongoing concerns from other parties make me a bit confident of my self-worth.

Of course I am trying to erase this.

Was really shocked when my posse and I realized that a loser guy in our acquaintance was now attached, after harboring some emotions for a girl in our posse. We secretly wondered what did the girl see in him! Well, he is someone who is very complicated, to say the least. All of us cannot believe the stories he told different ones of us about his seemingly mentally unstable parents and his long foray into distant lands. I believed he was somewhat of a crackpot when he told the girl in my posse that he had to go to the beach to meditate and let God speak to him about their relationship! Of course, probably he listened to his flesh more than anything else. Recently, he penned love sonnets for his new catch. I just wonder if we had the chance to tell her what transpired, would she still think the world of him? Or blinded by true love, choose to be at her side till death doth them part. All I can say to him is Thee mind is warped.

There is a lack of gatekeepers in this area, and all too often we blame our folly on others. If we were hurt, we blame the leader from not warning us. We blame pastors for not preaching about such, or friends for not telling us from the start what a menacing creature he was. Sometimes, no one can talk you into (or out of) anything. Sometimes the warnings and cautions were there but we fail to take it seriously. I would not be glad to say 'I told you so', rather, before the thing even has a chance to start, why let it happen? I think I'd be glad to honestly say stuff if the other party is teachable, I will voice my opinion. Some in my posse are already telling me stuff I cannot even believe took place. Sharing a spoon? Constantly playing and rubbing? Sitting on each other at bus stops?

Thankfully I was not there to witness the spectacle. My members are concerned, too. That a sincere member might be lost. So many have said, she has changed. Even worse, stumbling a younger member by what they are doing. Or even causing duress to the public by their actions. If this is true love, then I don't think you should invite everyone to witness your intimacy.

They ask me why I refuse to even give a word of caution. I replied that, hey, if the person is not teachable, what is the point of saying it... (everyone else is talking about it anyways)

But if she remembers clearly, before they were attached, I had told her exactly what I had thought.

So my friend, please consider carefully your ways. You are not doing it for me, it's for everyone else and dare I mention God, too.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Fraud Case.

I forgot to let the Holy Spirit do His work.

Read "The Cross and the SwitchBlade", reminded me of what I'm going to set out to do but somehow forgot along the way. Isn't it amazing how God can remind me of my purpose by simple things. Lately, the Holy Spirit has been ministering to me in so many ways I am softened by His love, actually.

Someone forged my signature.

Quite amazing because these are stories you only hear about from hearsay or watch on drama serials, but unfortunately (for the forger/fraudster) my signature was forged.

And not for a million dollars... Haha. Although I'm sure it will shock some of my friends if they knew I had a million dollars in my account. (don't have lah, for illustration purposes.)

I had signed up for an insurance policy from Prudential in '05... a cashback plan where yo can get money back every year, yet saving for your needs. End '05, I had it terminated because I was unsure if I could keep it up (Having just started in The Office) and I was also short on cash. I was told that I could stop it for a year and then restart it again, and initially agreed to it. However, later on I realised that if I stopped for a year, I could not have this chance to stop it again, I would have to keep paying for 20 years more. Not wanting to be caught in this situation, as who knows what might happen in the future, I decided then I would terminate it and informed the agent likewise.

A year later, last month, I received a GIRO receipt from the bank stating they have deducted a sum for Prudential. Thinking that perhaps they might have made a mistake, I then called the hotline to enquire.

What ensued was that somehow, I had signed some documents despite not even seeing my agent this past year. I had to go down to Prudential Towers to check it out, and was warned that it was a possible fraud case. I was shown some documents I've never seen before, and then asked to verify my signature. It was almost laughable. Whoever forged my signature, did so with a photocopier. It obviously looked photostated, exactly the same.

Well, I think one agent would suddenly have his banking account frozen and then hauled to a police enquiry. Although I did not wish to press charges (Since I had no loss anyways) they said, even a fraud of $10 is still a fraud. This guy's career as a financial advisor would probably be over from now on. I heard that he had recently reached the 'million dollar club' in the company, quite an achievement there. But one also wonders , how did he reach it?

All in all, it seems sad and wasted that just an act of folly could destroy all you have been building up for your life. Just because of two photocopied signatures, you singlehandedly destroyed all those long hours of sales talk. It's not in my hands now, but in the company's best interests to persecute him as an employee.

I wonder whether his upbringing could have contributed to such factors, but I guess it's up to himself to decide on such a course of action.

So, if anyone of us are in this situation, I urge all to think twice. Even doing such small things as stealing office supplies, I hope it will not lead to a greater mistake. It's better to have a good night's sleep knowing all your actions are aboveboard.