Monday, April 30, 2007

The Lonely Hearts' Club

"Don't giggle when you laugh." said to me by Muffin, a faux pas he made in reference to my little giggles pre-sentence.

Woken up, and it rained beautifully. Love the rainy weather, partly because I can wear more exciting clothing to work. Like black stockings with an all-black ensemble and a double breasted beige coat. Or a dress under a trench. My office's temperature is almost like winter in Canada sometimes when it rains, the temperature difference is so great that most colleagues can tell when it rains without having to look up at the sky windows.

Can't really stand the humidity though. It's more humid this year I think! My hair grows at a really slow pace so am quite irritated with it, especially when some folks ask me "did I cut my hair" when the last hair-cutting was in January. I would like Henry to earn more from me but alas, that's the snail's pace my hair is growing. So my hair becomes 'big', like really bouncy when it has humidity like this after the rainy weather. Next time when my colleagues mention, I look different today, I shall say, "it's the humidity! the humidity!" and point to the sky and pretend to hyperventilate. How come other girls' hair not like this, ah? Maybe I have angmoh hair?

I never knew how well-read my writings were until I stopped writing for a while (actually, wrote something but was unfinished so yet-to-publish), and also been writing in the cell blog and in my journal, and "emails to chester". I don't think I'd ever stop writing, there are too many things in my head all the time. I'd have to get them out of my system. I think I can write about everything, most things. I can write a long thingy on my recent buys. I never got much satisfaction from shopping - to me it's just a checklist of what I need and what I want and the merger of the two. Of course I'm quite picky especially when it comes to clothes, and although being picky, I still make some mistakes - or not so wise choices. So, not very fun for me. But lately I derive more pleasure from shopping. Maybe because I really buy into the brand's idea and the type of stuff they create that calls out to me. I'm into scandinavian design now, after since I noticed there are actually quite a few places selling Danish, Swedish, Norwegian products, and they tend to be better made, more unique too. Going to buy tons of stuff from THE MAKE UP STORE (Marina Sq, Vivocity, Paragon.) The shop lady Tiffany is so good that I wish I could recruit her to do my job. =) Maybe it's my imagination but I think those Scandinavian shops also have really good sales training for personnel that makes the whole buying experience a memorable and satifying one... Anyways I'm rather klutzy when it comes to makeup. I can never put it on well, and I won't touch up during the day (not my style la) and usually, most products don't do well for me (Mostly because I am scared of them.) And I only dare go to the very buyer-friendly Sasa and not Tangs beauty hall or those counters. Oh, yes, and price does play a huge difference in the quality of the products, though it's better to go to a place more well-known for makeup - say M.A.C. or THE MAKE UP STORE, rather than Clinique, Estee Lauder, Chanel. At least in my personal opinion. Shu Uemura is very good. Their lip gloss thingy has 'deep sea' water inside, and it really makes a difference - natural looking too. I have Angelina Jolie lips (Or at least that's what I've been told. And that's what makes me so kissable. hahahah!) Really thick for a Chinese girl or, any other race. In fact, show me someone whose lips are thicker than mine. They are so thick I accidentally bite it sometimes when I'm eating. =( So, I don't want lipstick to accentuate it! I want to minimize it, tone it down. Nobody understands how thick-lipped girls feel. If I put any red/pink/nice shade, I look like I'm pouting at everyone. So I need like beige, natural shades. Only glossed-up ones too. And I'm ultra- uber- satisfied with Shu Uemura. Kudos to the guru. I shall be faithful to their lip glosses for the next five years. I'm like that. Like I'm faithful to Palm Treo now(my next phones will be Treos), THE MAKE UP STORE(must try the glitter liner, addicted already), I only wear Perlini's ear studs for my many ear-holes, Starbucks frappes, Khiels', Zara cardigans (not Mango, they run after a few washes), the list goes on. It's not about the brand but rather the confidence I have in their products. Really, why try another phone when I have no complaints about the Treo and the plus point is that it's a guy magnet too. =P And, many business people use it, top professionals, my heads and other top guys, so when they see my phone and our eyes meet, it's like a nod of acceptance (I didn't buy the phone for that purpose, I only realised this recently when I keep meeting biz people with the same phone). They don't GMask it though. =)

But thanks for reading, I seriously don't think my writings are very interesting or inspirational or whatever. Maybe I just write about my observations in life so it's well-appreciated by those who also know how to observe, or to realise little things about people, and ourselves.


Lately, been having secretive meetings with the Lonely Hearts' Club President, Grant. Actually not really secretive, just that some people do not qualify, and others have to be accepted, pending approval. It's fun. We meet at obscure places, sometimes not a single place at all, but at different destinations for a night's meeting. The Lonely Hearts' Club. I guess the reason why we can talk so much is because we have gone through similar experiences, plus the huge qualifier of having just broken up this year. Once during the weekend, we talked till the neigbours came doing their tai-ji. Haha! Then we realised it was breaking dawn, the sky was a lovely pale red, with little drizzles. I appreciate life from Grant's point of view. He is good at reading people, emotionally, without passing judgement on their behavior, of course. I tend to think that people who are less emotional are a lot more judgemental. Because it takes understanding of the person, and that person's emotions, to form a basis of sympathy, comfort and care for the person. Sometimes for me, I tend to be more rational. I cannot understand why, for example, some singaporean girls throw themselves at angmohs. Nor can I understand why some people are secretive about their likings and dates. For me, I would like to shout it to the whole world, cuz I'd be idealistically so happy, so happy!! That I'd bubble and brim over with happiness and love for the lonely hearts to share in it. But in different contexts, maybe the parties feel that they cannot express their joy, at least not yet, or not to the whole world. It's difficult like this. I once liked a colleague before realising he's married. Of course, I stopped myself from liking him knowing that, hey, the road ahead would be a secretive and painful one. And also using common sense and what I've learnt from the most recent breakup. I don't think I can take casual relationships, I tend to be a bit more serious in choosing a (life) partner. Or maybe more particular. I can't help it. Been hurt before, yes. Been with too many people, learnt too many things. But nooooo this does not make me jaded at all. What is life without love? Or love, without life itself? At certain points of time in your life, you remember certain people who were there, your personal cheerleader, supporting you, helping you to go the distance. And sometimes you fall in love with them. It's nice to have someone like that. Someone who cares a lot for you. I'm wondering why I care for some people and not for others? But the one that you love must be worth it. See the potential in him, and the way he cares about the way you feel.

Grant and I agreed that it's this part, the part where the guy is chasing the girl (Like Kie now, although he doesn't seem to take much action to keep her interested for long) is the sweetest part. I know it takes guts for a guy to tell a lady. But if you don't tell, you won't know. Of course she won't make the first move...I won't. =P

Okay... the rain has stopped and I'm going back to sweet dreams. =)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Dog and The Angry Man

Sometimes, you never know what you say to someone can change the person's life. For the better, in a way you never knew possible. Lately, been having nice friendships and they tell me things about myself and about themselves; that changes our lives, forever. You know why I dare to open my heart and share? Because you did, first. And that gave me the courage to. =)

Here's a story I received via mail today from a local writer.



"Watch out! You nearly broad-sided that car!" My father yelled at me.

"Can't you do anything right?" Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctors’ orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Rick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Rick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Rick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent.

A raindrop struck my cheek. I looked up into the gray sky. Somewhere up there was "God." Although I believe a Supreme Being had created the universe, I had difficulty believing that God cared about the tiny human beings on this earth.

I was tired of waiting for a God who did not answer.

Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem in vain to each of the sympathetic voices that answered.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article."

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs - all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair.

As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.

It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, and then shook his head in puzzlement.

"He's a funny one ~ Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it." Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored me.

"Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.

Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.

Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.

Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night.

I woke Rick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene; but his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Rick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.

The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog that had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers..."

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article ~ Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ~ His calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father ~ and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Written by Catherine Moore

Monday, April 16, 2007

The answer to everything

If I could tell you the answer, you wouldn't need to ask God.

Don't deny your feelings.
Eh, but don't embrace them too much, either.

I've realised in the last weeks that strong emotions can make or break a person. It's been TOO exciting for me, being a bystander in someone else's love story that may - or may not unfold, and someone else's that already unfolded in a strange way. I can only play the devil's advocate in giving some well-meant but on hindsight deeply unsuitable advice to all parties involved. For spiritedly being spiritedly, is clearly lacking in strong sensing where matters of the heart are concerned. Maybe she has lost her heart long ago and trashed it but, she really cannot sense what's best. Grant is terribly good at this though - I call it 'reading people'. I can read people's vibes, but not when they are in love. Things start to go a little bit haywire from there. For me it's like watching a fast paced foreign movie without the subtitles. After the translation via Grant, everyone's actions begin to make a little more sense.

Being non-conventional (and hating it at times), I realise that using me as an example to 'why the lady did this and what does it mean' is definitely not a good idea. Kie said yesterday, that I was really like a man. Erm, I guess he means that I'm straightforward and...say what I want to say...and nothing else. I am so feminine... though violent at times. Heh. I'd rather they ask me something else. Because even though I've been more experienced than I care to admit, experience counts for nothing when you fall in love all over again. If I told you exactly what to do to win her heart, then I'd rather be the one chasing (but I'm not interested in women.) And if I gave you advice whether you should proceed with the love affair, I think you are not taking ownership for one of the most important decisions of your life, should it come to marriage.

Sometimes I feel that we are too close knit to actually have any unique identity of our own. Yes, we know each other too well... And encouragement is good, of course.

I think I just want everyone to be happy. And not secretive. And definitely happy when you feel like you love someone and you just want to tell someone about it. =)

So, the true answer to everything? Seek God.

If you are serious about the Mr/Ms X, ask Him. Too often, it's not your will but His be done. I've gone against it only to be hurt, mauled, maligned, abused even. Emotional scars and the loneliness after. Just ask Grant. Just ask me. For a year of wilfulness, it's not worth paying the price for a moment of love to have such emotional wounds. But the healing comes, it comes.

It's not worth the sacrifice. And definitely not worth the heartbreak.

So love with all your heart and soul. But love Him first.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Said to me, today and yesterday

Today this happened:

Teacher: "Class, construct a sentence with the word 'chance' in it. Who wants to go... (hands raised) Ok, David?"
David: "Please give me a chance to take care of you."
The Class: "Teacher, you must respond!"
Teacher: "Nooooo!!!"

Well, that was me doing my relief work teaching English, tertiary level in a private school. Quite funny because I don't think anyone would say that nowadays. Only in the movies.

Or only in English class.



Met up with many of my clients personally these weeks for updates and I think this is the part I love most about my work, apart from collecting cheques... I love meeting people one-on-one without any ulterior motive! Yay! I met Gavin for dinner, yesterday. I pleasantly found out that some of my clients are christians - in fact I think the majority of them, though they did not mention it to me... I think that if your heart is right with God, there are so many opportunities to just talk about God to people. And lately, this proves to be true.

I realised that Gavin said a rather long prayer before dinner and then I asked him what church did he go to. He shared some previous experiences before mentioning ( I felt, a bit sadly) that he was a sunday christian, only go to church on sunday, but during the weekdays it's work work work and nothing else. So I boldly ventured, "Oh, why don't you serve God more?" His answer broke my heart and I felt so much like crying then and there.

He said softly, "I ask myself that, everyday."

Well, I wish I had him in my cell. But I'm blessed to have him as my client! =)
Dear Gavin, I believe you will find a way to serve God, soon.

Monday, April 09, 2007


"Love can really CHANGE people." -Grant

Sometimes, when you love someone, it doesn't mean that you have to be with them, or that you/they will actually be happier when you are together with them. I've liked people in different ways because they are special to me. Taking long walks with me through the bushes (singapore has no forests), in the rain, along the pavement, jogging track...and just talking, about life, about love, about everything. Just finding a soulmate in both cheerful souls, looking for a place to rest, for a shelter to hide in, for a shoulder to lean on, for this little moment in time where you feel that, the world revolves around the both of you - but just for this little moment alone.

Is it ever possible to love God the way we can love another human being?
Sometimes I wonder. We sing that we love Him. We listen to what the pastor says. And then? Meeting many of my clients the last month, pleasantly found that most of them are christians and one said something that I will never forget in a long time.

Its been said that sometimes if you did not forget what has been said to you about God, maybe it's the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge.

He (my client) said that if you go to those third world countries such as India, will see the people really hunger for God. I mean, seriously, in Singapore, if your church has no aircon, and only a small open air auditorium, I can safely bet that very few people will come. But in those countries, even though the temperature is way warmer than us, the people will pack into the small, non aircon auditorium...

Because they are hungry for God.

I think we lack the hunger because there are really too much things distracting us. Making us hectic. Small issues and problems which become over-psychologised (if there is such a word) in every mature economy.

Actually, I long for the simple life where I can just live in a clean place with fresh air and talk to God everyday. Sometimes the hunger gets diluted. Sometimes the love doesn't feel that strong, that pulsating, when you remember your first love.

A pastor asked me, "so has God been speaking to you recently?"
I replied that God has ALWAYS been speaking to me, its only whether or not I choose to listen (and obey).

That is true.


We went to watch "Meet the Robinsons", I loved the plot. I think it's really meaningful, the basic underlying theme of 'keep moving forward', which is Disney's motto, and also one I subscribe to. The part which really struck me was that the 'bad guy' is actually the main protagonist's childhood friend and room mate who became evil because he let a bad incident which happened ruin his entire life up till adulthood, and has so much bitterness, that his main goal in life is to destroy the other's successes.

When you fall in love with someone, ultimately, his character counts. But I think more importantly, YOUR character counts. If you are on the rebound (like me, haha!) I think there are many guys that will be attractive to you. And in the long run, there will be many many many people who will be attractive to you, especially if you have not so high expectations and a huge circle of people you know and like.

There was a guy I knew recently who shared about many things with me when I first got to know this brother. Sourplum told me a lot of sad incidents wherby he was hurt and lost and I wanted to help this person. But after some time, I began to realise that he also treated me as one of his enemies instead of a friend, I was very puzzled by that. Everything I said or did, he criticized and was quite defensive. So, me being me, I focused my attention on some other people. More recently, Muffin shared with me some hard stuff too. Like how Sourplum did. At first, I was quite hesitant and perhaps traumatised in the previous instance, and began to have some doubts about Muffin.

But I realised there was one difference, like how the bad guy in "Meet The Robinsons" turned bad. In the first place, Sourplum harbored all the bitterness and anger in him, and never forgot what others had done to him. So in the present, he became ultra sensitive and even though people made harmless comments with good intentions, he thought they were against him and he became deaf to all of the people who wanted to help him. Whereas for Muffin, though I do not know him that well yet, I see that he has an open heart. Which is why he shared to me in the first place. I think the key is to let your guard down and be sincere with yourself and others. Don't let the past determine your whole adulthood. I have been through a sticky situation before, and maybe I have also took some time, a long time in fact, to get over some things. But keep trying, you will find that it is worth it.

Just as I know, when Muffin shared, he is so scared his heart is turning cold towards God. I wanted to say, I am scared, too. !@$!#$ scared!

But this Easter when I look to the cross, I remember that we are serving a risen Savior. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dear all, enjoy your holiday

Wish I had more time to read.

Note to self: I have over 2000 unread email in my gmail...Time to do something about it)

In my email this week:

Dear all,

Please be informed that Asia offices will be closed for Holiday as follows:-

Singapore - 6th April Good Friday

Hong Kong - 5th April Qing Ming Festival

- 6th April Good Friday

- 7th April The day following Good Friday

- 9th April Easter Monday

Thailand - 6th April Chakri Day

- 13th to 15th April Songkran (Thai New Year)


We can deduce that:
1. Singaporeans are workaholics...
2. And not very religious at that! (Surprisingly, HK, a mainly buddhist country, celebrates Good Friday and Easter more than we do. Some sort of conspiracy to make us work harder this weekend?)

I guess I'd be quite tired out seeing that I'm going to church thursday, friday, saturday and sunday! Stagger to work exhausted on monday... needing a holiday from the Easter weekend.

No fair. =)