Monday, February 27, 2006

she's gone

and there's this vacuum in my heart and lonely space in the room which only her presence can fill...


ok ok. feel convicted on all counts. guilty as charged. i'm a meanie.

but i tried my best, considering the circumstances. and god, next time, i'll do better.. really.. :D

Sunday, February 26, 2006

after dinner mints

Dinner was pretty jolly. We had sushi for the first time, thanks to the tireless effort of my guest. It's no easy task to boil the rice to a just right consistency, cut the vegetables into long thin strips, make sure the amount of vinegar is again, just right, and finally, roll the sushi in fragile seaweed and cut it with my not-so-sharp collection of knives. Incredible.

S came (with a new haircut), k made pasta, d made some rice and yoghurt thingy, i fried vegetable spring rolls (that had been in the freezer since chinese new year), v brought a choc cake, r dropped by, S2 brought some cheap champange, and we also opened a bottle of white wine which some person donated a few dinners back that actually tasted like proper wine. :) i think the trick is to buy wine which cost more than 8 pounds. but of course, with student allowances and our "cheaper the better" orientation, all we've had were lousy wine at previous dinner parties:P :)

I suspect that we might be getting too familiar with each other though, as most of the conversation/interaction nowdays has achieved the level of sibling-like bickering, although i'm not complaining. There's something strangely comforting about being able to knowningly, confidently and rudely tell someone to shut up, without causing any offense..


So i think at the core of it, i feel slightly uncomfortable with the presence of my uncle's friend, whom i shall now call M, because the emotions and thoughts that her presence evoke in me is too close for comfort ya know? Perhaps she gives me an idea of how i could have turned out, should i not have this life I'm living now. I could have easily been in her shoes.. fed-up with home, desperate for a better life, lonely, having all these aspirations of starting anew here and now having these dreams slightly taken a beating. The cold reality is that the real world is brutal and nobody really cares. And without the knowledge of God, it's a potential exercise in futility. Tough.

and maybe her presence (or intrusion.. depending on how you look at it) is a gentle jolt from the Father for some cross-examination of g-self which has resulted with the reminder of how incredibly blessed i am. Everything in my life is such a gift for undeserving me... which is why i feel compelled to just be there for her. even if i really don't feel like it.

so, since my life is really not mine in the first place, what's my problem right? :)

it's like dad would say, christians have no "right" to anything because our lives are not our own. The way of the Jesus-people calls for abandonment to everything that seeks to distract us from the one thing that is our consciousness: the unconditional and desperate love of the Father manifested in the death of Jesus on the cross, and what that love compels us to do.

so, no problem at all but sorry god, i still have my moments. it's tough ya know, but you did it so i guess it can be done. :P

in some manner it reminds me of manila and what S and i used to hypothesize about. You get all these people pulling on you for everything, and much is required of your time, your energy, resources, etc.. When do you put your foot down and say no? Well, the conclusion (so far, after much thought and argument), has been: yes, love compels, but don't be stupid. :P

and here, a familiar well-worn passage that dad made us read every morning before we head off to school..

Love, from 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

No more childish ways. Time to grow up.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


i'm hiding out in the library. (no not really. i'm here to borrow some books and it's freaking cold outside and i'm underdressed so i don't know if i'll make it home alive..)

my uncle's friend has eaten two cans of my heinz soup, appear to be overly friendly to my floormate, k (till he almost thinks she's hitting on him), invited herself to our stonehenge trip next weekend (although we had to say no go cos it's organized by the hall with limited spaces) and .. and.. and she's cooking dinner tonight. woohoooo..

well now i have good excuse to buy more soup (sainsbury's offer: 3 cans for £1), we have more excuses to heap teasing and snide remarks on k (he'll never hear the end of this), and sushi for dinner is always a good idea.


ok ok honestly, it ain't so bad. but but but.. but what if she decides to come every week? *gulp* oh my, next week is her birthday. woooohooooooooooowlllllll...

wahhhhh... hahahahahaa... ahhha.. ha.aha..ha.ha..


"xxxxxx loves you"

my floormate wrote "xxxxxx (his name) loves you" on my computer in pencil. i think he definitely does, but i don't know what kind and to what degree. :)

sweet eh.

Friday, February 24, 2006

when the rubber hits the road..

So a few weeks ago, I get this series of missed calls from an unknown number on my phone. Thinking that it was somebody really important about something really urgent (because nobody EVER calls me.. much less strangers), I decided to call back.

Turns out, it was this lady who is a friend of a particular uncle of mine whom i've met only once, four years ago. (The lady, not the uncle. The uncle i meet about once a year). She wanted to come stay over at my place, because she seemed to remember that I was nice and jolly and friendly to her that one time I met her. And, she claims to be friends even though i can't even remember what she looked like and had to ask her for her name, twice.

You know how it is when people put you in such a position that it would be outright rude to say NO I'M SORRY I DON'T THINK I KNOW YOU AND YOU CAN'T SIMPLY CLAIM FRIENDSHIP AND BARGE INTO MY LIFE AND EXPECT ME TO DROP EVERYTHING TO ACCOMODATE YOU? Yeah well, at that stage, I had no choice, short of being obnoxious and risk ruining the family name. (like i really care about that in the first place)

So we agreed to meet for lunch and so that Saturday I set out to chinatown to have dimsum with her and her friend. Her friend was funny, interesting and paid for the dimsum. :) She.. she was.. "ernest", well-meaning and totally naive. Highly ambitious, she came over on a two-year holiday visa with the intention of finding a permanent job here eventually, having had enough of Malaysia and the "low prospects" and "dirty politics" back home. Bottom line was, she ain't going home to work. Ever. Ok, fine, whatever.

It started getting scary when we went back to my room for tea, and after about 5 minutes, she jumped onto my bed and started snuggling into the pillows. She then went into the bathroom and removed my "toilet book" from its usual space and jumped back into the bed with it. Right. Nothing I can't handle. It then got REALLY scary when she starting commenting about the books in the room and how she love books and want to be an "academician" and "oooohhhhh grace your room feels so nice.. i think i'll come over and stay with you over the weekend or whenever i'm in london."



Fast forward to the present, a month later. She is, even as I'm writing this down in the basement, upstairs in my room, having taken over my bed, "littering" my room with her stuff, inserting her CDs in to my computer, monopolizing my music, and.. and.. she's staying until Sunday (and today is friday night) *Sob* and and.. i think she has plans to come back the following weekend. *gulp*

It all started when I received an email from her yesterday saying that she's exhausted and needed a place to rest and some "positive energy". (whatever that means). It wasn't a request to come over, it was more like a desperate plea to come over and i couldn't say No to that, could i? and today, i find out that she apparently emailed my uncle to ask HIM if SHE could come over and stay with ME and i was like, WHAT THE???? and i think i'm slighly pissed because first of all, i'm not even close to this uncle of mine. Second of all, my uncle sends his regards to me through her. So i don't know.. i don't know if that's normal. Third of all, i can't believe that my uncle, who never calls me, has never called me in his life, and most likely will never EVER call me, liberally dispense my number to a stranger and without informing me, expects me to take care of said stranger when she appears at my doorstep.

ok ok.. so there's the whole question of "what would jesus do?". Or even, "what would my parents do?". And I guess my parents would of course welcome strangers at their home and have been doing so for as long as i could remember. And i think although i suspect it was more of my dad then my mom, i never really understood the selflessness on their part and what big hearts they had to do it because THIS IS NOT SOMETHING ORDINARY PEOPLE DO. but of course, we are not called to be ordinary, are we?

so in spite of all the whining, i'm ok. i'm not particularly overjoyed that she's here. but i think i'll live. But there's still the question ya know? To what extent am i required to extend love? Are there limits to this sort of thing? Dare I take the words of Jesus literally all the way?

i'm torn. part of me wants to be rude. another part knows that i'll feel really bad if i'm rude. so i'm not rude. but i'm not overly friendly either. help. I'm trying not to be nasty.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

a moment

From: Grace Choong
To: ******** ****** <**********>
Date: Feb 21, 2006 1:23 AM
Subject: Re: ok..

it's amazing isn't it how people can get so caught up in fervour and passion and be totally blinded by ignorance. again this just sums up the reality of the world we live in doesn't it? everything is teetering in a delicate balance.. in some ways we don't know what to expect anymore. maybe we never did. forces from every direction, pulling and constraining and fighting for our affections and ultimately, our souls. sometimes i feel lost in all the ideas and opinions that i'm exposed to over here. every other person proclaiming the latest fashionable ideology in my face. i'm torn into a million pieces. my world is constantly being deconstructed and when that happens at too fast a pace i feel as though i'm hurtling through the universe at top speed, into an abyss.. unsure of what lies at the end of the fall.

(yet in the end, there are always arms of love to catch me.. and i think in the past few days i've been repeatedly reassured of that. and perhaps this knowledge is the one thing that keeps me going)

i'm pressed into a position to make up my mind. in the midst of the conflicting forces that yell for my attention, i am pressured to get off the fence. To make a stand and squeeze out: what the hell is it that i truly believe in? i think in some ways i'm experimenting with a whole lot of ideas and theories.. and now more than ever, there is much need for truth.. to serve as a sword to piece the darkness and confusion that cloud our thinking and outlook, to navigate and fight through the bullshit and to get to the core of it all: the one thing that makes life worth living. What is the one passion that underlies our being, the essence that gives meaning to the dust that we are, that exposes superficial thoughts and actions for what they are, and that brings us closer to truth.

(Queue "x-files" theme song.. doo doo doo doo dooo dooooo)


so today we went to watch jeremy irons do a quasi-monologue in this play called "embers". it's pretty good i hope you'll get to watch it as well. in some ways it was more terrifying than a horror movie, because the themes it explored were basic and fundamental to the human heart: love, passion, betrayal, friendship, revenge, bringing the existential us to our knees. One thing he mentioned which i remembered was, this question that he put forward: if you really love someone, can you bind them to the promise of fidelity? Because the fact that they engage in infidelity means that your love was not enough to make them happy.. and so if you really love them and want them to be happy, you would not bind them to such promises. (paraphrase mine)


i think i'm finding it more and more necessary to love. K, (one of my floormates) tells me that i'm too sincere and trusting for my own good. Apparently i can't live in the real world full of dogs and rats. I should find some place idealistic and fine and dandies to live and "do my own thing" there.. Like mars, i suggested. And he said, yea.. like mars. Mars would be a good idea, he thinks.

we were kinda dissecting the play and he was saying how it's a really sad play but it's stuff which he already knows about.. that life is empty and we are all animals and all we live for is to survive. And me, of course, trying to convince him otherwise, that we are more than animals.. that we have to live inspired.. and that we are not here to merely survive.. but there is something great worth living for.

and after a while he just said (we were on msn chat. he was upstairs and i was downstairs in the basement), "i'm coming down. i can't type anymore" and he came down and i think he wanted to talk further but there were people in the room and we couldn't..

but i'm more and more convinced that there is really no other way to live and to counter the evil in this world. I'm committed to a life of non-violence. i'm a christian pacifist. i condemn the war in iraq and the (real or imagined) war in malaysia. i do not support the rights of particular indigenous peoples.. i support freedom in the widest possible sense of the word for ALL. I hate ethnic divisions. I particularly dislike putting people in a box attached with labels. I still want to believe the best in people.

I think I'm at that stage when i'm really really sorting out for myself what i truly believe in after all the constant construction, deconstruction and restructuring of my cosmology. I've got miles to go. lol.

But.. i gotta start somewhere.

Waking up is the word. Hibernation's over.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Adam Kuper

He spoke today at a debate in school. Provoked all sorts of emotional responses with people even calling him a "fascist anthropologist", among other undeserving names. Thoughtful intelligent gentleman who looks like Harisson Ford. I shoke his hand. My latest hero. lol. :)

excerpts from another forum..

"This question of identity is an interesting one in relation to this; it's a new kind of question. People out in the world there are looking for their identities. I don't know if any of you have this problem, you wake up in the night, 'Who am I?' It's a sort of adolescent problem that many people have evidently carried on into adult life. It hasn't bothered me for a long time but people have this problem, 'Who am I?' - and the answer is, the answer we're supposed to find, is that I find my identity when I find what group I belong to. And there can only be one group. So I discover I am gay. Or I discover that I am Muslim. I make this discovery, and then I search out my group, and I adopt the ways of thinking, the prejudices, the views, the manner of speaking and so on of this group, and then I have found my identity, I've found my place in the world and from then on I can be happy and fulfilled as a human being.

The reality, as Bonnie said of course, is that we all contain multitudes. We are all sorts of different people all the time, we're in different contexts, we have different notions, we contradict ourselves, we play with one idea rather than another. What we don't want is for someone to look at us and say 'I know who you are, I can tell who you are by your accent, by your colour or by your hairstyle, I know who you are and so I know a whole range of things about you, I can put you in your box.' That, of course, is very dangerous and a degenerate way of dealing with other human beings. So I am a liberal, I take the liberal point of view that what matters is allowing the greatest possible freedom for individual choice and individual self-expression, and also the freedom to change, so I am very much against all collective attributions of identity, and I'm against all sorts of movements that demand from an individual solidarity with a group with which they have some kind of imaginery identity."

(taken from

Sunday, February 05, 2006

On a Sunday Morning..

woohoo.. it's a nice sunny day and I'm going to check out the church evensong service later at St Martin in the Field.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

He gets better!

Read here and here.

way too cool.

note to a: apparently, "his thinking has influenced socialist philosopher and theologian Cornel West, who calls him a friend." (taken from second article). :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stanley Hauerwas

google him, read his stuff. this one person i'd like to meet.

"I am a pacificst, so the American "we" cannot buy my "me". But to be alienated from the American "we" is not easy. I am a neophyte pacifist. I never really wanted to be a pacificst. I had learned from Reinhold Neibuhr that if you desire justice you had better be ready to kill someone along the way.

But then John Howard Yoder and his extraordinary book The Politics of Jesus came along. Yoder convinced me that if there is anything to this Christian "stuff", it must surely involve the conviction that the Son would rather die on the cross than for the world to be redeemed by violence.

Morover, the defeat of death through resurrection makes possible as well as necessary that Christians live non-violently in a world of violence. Christian nonviolence is not a strategy to rid the world of violence, but rather the way Christians must live in a world of violence. In short, Christians are not nonviolent because we believe our nonviolence is a strategy to rid the world of war, but rather because faithful followers of Christ in a world of war cannot imagine being anything else than nonviolent.

American imperialism, often celebrated as the new globalism, is a frightening power. It is frightening not only because of the harm such power inflicts on the innocent, but because it is difficult to imagine alternatives. Pacifists are often challenged after an event like September 11 with the question, "Well, what alternative do you have to bombing Afghanistan?" Such a question assumes that pacifists must have an alternative foreign policy. My only response is I do not have a foreign policy. I have something better - a church constituted by people who would rather die than kill."

- taken from A Pacifist Response, in "Dissent from the Homeland, essays after September 11"