Thursday, January 31, 2008
I am going to see the world again. Having collected my flight tickets from the MAS ticketing office this afternoon, I am confirmed to fly off to Sydney on the 21st of February at 10pm at night.
There is no denying that I am excited about this trip, but this excitement comes with anxiousness. I am looking forward to experience what Down Under has to offer but at the same time the low self esteem me has some fear too. The ghost of Hong Kong still haunts me. It was not traumatic neither was it pleasant. My other concern is actually about leaving my parents again for 2 months. Having adapted them with my presence for these few weeks, they will have to readapt themselves again with my absence. Though it’s kindda painful, I just could not waste this trip.
I’m taking this opportunity to visit Sydney whilst my sister and bro-in-law are there. Sydney is the universal food paradise, renowned for its splendid variety of food. I’ve been constantly urged by my sister to go and see and I shall see what good food is all about.
I’ve been to Hong Kong and Thailand but I’ve never been to the other side of the world where the western culture is dominant. It’s going to be a whole new experience and I should not miss it. With two months in hand and limited funds, I wonder how I can maximize this trip. I shall be spending some time surveying on some possibilities. Keep me in prayer that I may make the most out of this trip and not only benefit myself but also for others too.
My hope from this trip is that I shall return positively renewed.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
To my dear friend,
Of late you have been very unkind towards one of your very good friend. You have ignored her presence and have diverted all the attention that you used to shower her with towards another friend.
I guess there has to be a reason to why you are ignoring her. Perhaps she made you angry, perhaps she is just being unlucky because she reminds you of something that you do not wish to remember.
Your friend has no guts to tell you this but she is very hurt by your coldness towards her. She cannot understand why your friendship has been abandoned for unknown reasons. As she craves for you to return, she begins to be frustrated as she sees you spending more time with the other friend. Jealousy you may call it, but each time she sees both of you together, her heart aches more. She finds it difficult to face your new found best friend.
It saddens me to see what has happened to such a beautiful friendship. Such a shame to see someone so cheerful suddenly become depressed. I am far away but I hope you will be kind enough to be compassionate towards your friend. I am not asking you to abandon your new found friend but I hope you will not just dump your old friend and leave her such great pain……I wish not to suffer such similar fate in our relationship.
A friend to both of you
Since coming back to Penang, everyday has been eventful.
Errrrmmmm….on second thoughts, I think I should say that something new is being experienced each day. Life has been dull actually. For the past 6 years of my life, my everyday life is being surrounded by people. I'm so used to having people around me so much so that sometimes, I used to crave for some privacy. Since coming back to Penang, I find myself feeling lonely most of the time.
It's not that I don't have friends. I do have friends but everyone has their own personal life to live, some even have children already, therefore their social life has also been reduced, it’s time to focus more on the serious things in life. I spend most of my time at home with my parents but our topics are very limited, more towards family issues, nothing much related to personal sharings of experiences or modern living or even faith talk.
Today, I met up with my good and faithful buddy. Oy Leng has been one of my closest friend for more than 15 years already. We come from two different worlds but it’s amazing how Hokey brought us together to become the best of friends. We spent the whole afternoon together and I found it most enjoyable just hanging out with her, doing nothing. Hah. !
There are many friends, some come and some go, not many are going to stay and remain faithful. This is a reality in today's society. If I am going to be stubborn and believe that all the people whom I call friends today are going to keep me close to their heart then I guess I should expect myself to be disappointed in time to come.
I once had a dear friend, we were close, I shared my innermost feelings with her and even revealed some of my secrets. She shared a lot about herself too. During our convocation, we cried and hugged each other because we had to go separate ways. I thought we would still be friends after that. We had handphones and emails to stay in touch but this friend of mine chose to put an end to our friendship. She never replied all my emails and smses, she never answered my phone calls too. I was hurt, I was angry, I told Leslie I did not care for her anymore but the truth is that if she would be in trouble today, my heart would bleed for her. I cannot pretend that I do not know her and just ignore her though I am definitely sure that I would not be that attached towards her anymore.
As I grow older, I learned to accept disappointment in friendships. When friends choose not to be friends anymore, I accept it though it hurts and go on with life. As for friends who remain as friends, I cherish them and include them my life's journey. Friends like Oy Leng are like precious jewels; unique and hard to find. I guess I'm very fortunate that I can't say Oy Leng is my best friend because besides Oy Leng, I have many more friends who remain as precious jewels in my life and I really thank God for each and everyone of them.
For the 1st time in my whole entire life, I attended an ordination of priesthood. This morning, Deacon Matthew Bun was ordained as a priest. I cannot really identify why I was so excited about this whole event but I was really happy to be there.
There were a few reasons to why I had to be there. 1stly, Deacon Matthew is my friend's brother, a reason for me to show my support. Secondly, for the very first time, someone from our parish was ordained as a priest; another reason for me to show my support. Thirdly, I have never seen a priestly ordination before therefore; I should at least attend one to understand how special the sacrament of Holy Order was.
My mum commented on how well dressed Deacon Matthew's parents were. Well, they should, it's their son's special day, he was to be married to the church, why should they not be dressed for it? I was deeply touched by the whole rite of ordination, when the litany of the saints were sung, I nearly shed tears (again, I can't explain why, the tears just nearly flowed). I looked around and realized that many ladies were touched too, many were wiping off the tears. I was also touched when the entire priest present laid their hands on the deacon followed by the kiss of peace. A sign of unity and brotherly acceptance of Deacon Matthew into the brotherhood of priests.
During the ordination, I wished my students were there with me to observe this auspicious event. I had also wished that my non- Catholic Christian friends were there to see the whole ordination process. Perhaps they might appreciate the role of our priest better just as I learned today?
Through this ordination, I realized how sacred and special the holy order was. Now I understand what great big responsibility a priest had and how holy he was. Now as his journey as a priest begins, I pray that Fr. Matthew will be a good priest, blessed with God’s graces as he serves God and his people.
Journeying with students for 3 years, I have tolerated with many things. Like what Fr. Chris said in his blog, I never had the heart to scold the students even though there were moments when they deserved a good scolding. I hardly scold people actually except for family members and someone else of whom I shall not mention.
I never expected myself to scold anyone even after I left the Campus Ministry but today, I had to do it. Somebody of whom I've been helping asked me to have sex with him. Though I was shocked, I was sad. I was sad because he did not know how to think.
Where was his self-respect I wondered? I was shocked at how simple his mind was. Was he being naïve? Did he know what sex was all about? To strip oneself naked in front of a person you hardly knew and let the person touch your most precious body, I could never do that.
I was partially angry actually; I failed to teach him how to respect me. I saw myself as a failure because he saw me as a sex object instead of a guide. I tried to be understanding but deep inside, I felt like killing his most inspiring friends.
My 3 years experience as a campus minister was not enough to teach me to handle this situation well. To make things worst, I was the one who was involved. I tried to explain to him why I would never have sex with him but still he could not understand. I had no choice but to cut contacts with him. I am grateful that I now live in Penang and not in KL where he could come and disturb me.
This guy is not uneducated; he is well educated and will be a professional some day. Yet, his approach showed how immature he was. I could not help but wonder what kind of background he came from.
I don't 100% blame him for being what he is. I blame his surrounding, I blame his inspiring friends, I blame the system and the society for having failed to teach people basic human values. As for now, I'm still in shock and am confused.
Today is Thaipusam. Thaipusam is a very big event here in Penang. I remember the chariot passing by my school on the eve and on the day after Thaipusam. Devotees would follow along the procession whilst others waited along the roadside waiting to pay homage to the Hindu God.
As a kid, I loved Thaipusam. I always found the processions fascinating and had always wished that my parents would bring me to the temple where the Kavadi bearers were pierced. Of course it never happened as my mum said it’ll be silly to be caught in the congestion and squeeze through the crowds.
When I moved to KL, I was surprised that people were not excited at Thaipusam as the Penangites. Nobody seemed to be bothered about it. Of course there’s the big celebration at Batu Caves but none of my KL friends were excited enough to check it out.
I had things to do today so I did not go and observe Thaipusam at the Waterfall Road but I wish to go the next year. I hope Leslie will be around by then to join me. I want to understand why it does not hurt when the Kavadi bearers are pierced, I understand the faith of the Hindus, to appreciate what others believe in.
Yes I am a curious cat.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Today, mum turns 72. Mum was 45 when I was born. I believe it must have been pretty challenging to carry a child at that age.
Today at 72, mum is papa’s best friend, his precious jewel, so precious that he cannot afford to loose her. Mum has gone through a lot actually. Today, her weak legs can’t carry her far, she has diabetes, high blood pressure, back problems…… despite all these, and she has persevered and tried her best to make sure that papa remains well.
Some interesting facts about mummy
- She never learned English at school but her vocabulary and grammar is grade A. Her only problem is her pronunciation.
- Mummy cannot quote the bible at all, but she can tell you about how much faith she has in God for everything that happens in life. She hardly uses the word luckily, she replaces it with “ with God’s blessings”
- Mummy never uses the recipe book, she just dumps everything in. She does that to cakes too.
- With only RM 600 per month, Mummy still managed to make sure that all her daughters finished school and received higher education.
I don’t really know what makes mummy happy but I cooked birthday mee for her. She requested for it yesterday so I went to the market this morning to get the ingredients. I can’t remember You Moh’s birthday mee ingredients but I tried to make it as similar as it was. Honestly, I was pretty much happy with its outcome, I think mummy was happy too.
I don't know what makes mummy happy but what makes me happy is to see her smile with satisfaction each time I do something right.
(Mummy and her birthday mee)
I love fruits. As usual, I’m always different from others and yes things that I usually go gaga over are not easily available. This is one of my favorite fruit. It’s called Ciku not Cikgu. (yeah when we were in school, we used to call our teachers Ciku whenever we felt naughty)
Ciku is a seasonal fruit and is not loved by everyone. Why? Because it has a sandy texture and sometimes the fruit produces latex that leaves your mouth sticky and sometimes the centre of the fruit may be bitter.
Despite all these, I still love ciku. It’s sweetness is indescribable and the satisfaction that I get each time I feast myself with this fruit is addictive, I crave for it whenever I think of Ciku.
My sister is fond of Ciku too and my neighbor is aware of it. That’s why she gave us one bag full of Cikus. My neighbor’s ciku tree produces one of the best cikus in town. Look at its size, it’s big and juicy and yummy.
- eat the fruit only when it’s ripe. It’s not like mango or papaya. Don’t expect it to taste like a jeruk when it’s raw, raw ciku taste horrible, trust me.
- A ciku is ripe when it’s a little bit soft. If the fruit is hard, leave it. Resist, patience will pay off. To help ciku ripen sooner, put it in the rice bucket. It helps.
- A ripe ciku is brown on the inside, if it’s greenish or creamy looking, that means the fruit is not ripe yet.
My sister had been away from Shawn and his dad for a week and she wanted to get them a gift. Walking up and down “Queensbay Mall” we had no idea of what to get Shawn. My sister had no plans to spoil her son with some expensive toy, all she wanted was to get him something simple, just enough to make the curious little boy happy.
Suddenly, we saw this rat.
“Do you think it’s plastic or is it a sweet?” I asked my sister.
“Don’t know lah, it looks like it can be eaten”
“I wonder how much is it? If I’m Shawn, I think I’ll be delighted to have a sweet like this”
My sister agreed.
There were three rats. The single rat costs RM 5, a bigger but more complicated looking rat cost RM 10 while a double rat cost RM 15. My sister asked for the RM 5 rat. And the man started to make the rat. Honestly, both of us were fascinated by the rat ourselves and we were curious how it was made, never in our life had we seen a sweet as interesting as this.
And so, our candy seller scooped some sticky candy from the box with a little stick, then, HE PUT THE CANDY IN HIS HAND, AND USED HIS BARE HANDS TO ROLL THE CANDY INTO A BALL. I stared at him, I was shocked. Did he even wash his hands I wonder? I looked at my sister; honestly, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for Shawn to even put the candy into his mouth.
It was not over yet. After he had formed the little candy ball, he pulled the candy, pulled the tip of the candy and PUT THE TIP INTO HIS MOUTH AND STARTED TO BLOW THE CANDY! Yes that was how that little RAT was formed. My jaw dropped open; I could see clearly that my sister was shocked to. We grinned at each other.
I guess our reaction made the candy maker loose his concentration, the crowed around his stall was getting bigger and he just wanted to get rid of both of us, he took the RM 15 candy on display and gave it to my sister, taking only RM 5 from her. We left as fast as we could, we could not hold our laugher anymore.
So, next time you see an attractive food, it’s good to imagine or at least know how it was made. I for sure would be a bit skeptical towards food that came from certain regions but I shan’t reveal what I think because I might be wrong and it will be unfair towards some people.
Anyway, one of the little rats did not survive the journey, it melted. Maybe because my sister pinched it hahaahahahaha.
After spending yesterday evening with Shawn and his dad I headed back for Penang. I was actually scared. I had never driven alone all the way back from KL to Penang. I have driven long distance but had never done it alone; my longest journey alone was from Ipoh to KL.
I selected my favorite CD, tuned to my favorite station and headed to Penang. As I drove, many things came into my mind, “Jenn, how can you leave this place without solving things?” flashed into my mind again. I just could not get rid of it.
Suddenly, tears flowed from my eyes. I had no control over it. I did not know why either. Yes, I actually cried all the way from KL to Penang. As I approached Juru, the tears stopped. The radio played John Denver’s Annie’s Song. Suddenly, I felt joy, I felt peace, I could not describe the feeling. I could not understand why I cried neither can I explain my feelings but I guess it was an act of God. A healing process perhaps?
Of late, I’ve been troubled by many things, particularly in a friendship. I could not comprehend what was happening between us and it hurt me badly. I sense that I was loosing this friend of whom I loved so much. What hurt the most was that I could not reason out what went wrong. I became bitter and angry towards this friend. Interestingly enough, after those tears, my anger towards this friend just left. All the stress and tension just disappeared.
God really works in mysterious ways indeed and I began to hum the song “In His Time”
IN HIS TIME, IN HIS TIME
HE MAKES ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME
LORD, PLEASE SHOW ME EVERYDAY
AS YOU’RE TEACHING ME YOUR WAY
THAT YOU DO JUST WHAT YOU SAY
IN YOUR TIME
IN YOUR TIME, IN YOUR TIME
YOU MAKE ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL
IN YOUR TIME
LORD, MY LIFE TO YOU I BRING
MAY EACH SONG I HAVE TO SING
BE TO YOU A LOVELY THING
IN YOUR TIME
Today, I shifted out of Xavier Hall. I cannot deny that I dreaded for this day to come. I had loved Xavier Hall. It was my home for the past nine months. I felt so much at home in this place. Xavier Hall, a place with so much potential with so much to be experienced.
Slowly as I placed my very last box in the car, “Jenn, how can you leave this place without solving things?”
That question, or more of a comment pierced into my heart. I wished there was a perfect farewell for me at Xavier Hall but something had happened recently and that perfect farewell never took place. Definitely I was sad, I was hurt, I was bitter. Yet, I’m not giving up, I shall continue to try and solve what I left unfinished.
I bade my little brothers and sisters farewell, took their cutest shot, gave everyone a hug including my boss and waved them goodbye.
Finally, John Denver’s song became a reality; the only difference was that I left in WCN 2708 and not a jet plane. Room number 44 is vacant again.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups. And set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of little boy.
"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies"
"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
The boy dropped his head for a moment.Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer."I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"
"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle."Here, Dolly!" he called.Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight.As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...
"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.
The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said,"You see sir, I don't run too well myself,and he will need someone who understands"
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.Holding it carefully handed it to the little boy.
"How much?" asked the little boy.
"No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love." The world is full of people who need someone who understands.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
It's been a pleasent 3 years indeed and to all the students I've journeyed with, thank you all for adding colors into my life. May our friendship continue to bloom and I sure hope that we shall be the Branches that Bears More Fruits!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Jenn's current mood: Bittersweet
My apologies for my wicked remarks.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
"Hi Jenn! I'm at the student mass, thought I'll call you to ask how are you doing...."
"Haiyo, it takes a student mass for you to remember me ah?"
"No lah, suddenly just felt like calling you. So hows life? What are you doing now?"
"Surfing the net, going to mass later, so i guess you will be meeting me..."
"WHAT???? I thought you are in Penang!"
"I'm back here for the mass."
"Ghee...why did i bother to call? Waste my credit only...."
I was amused by the call. Actually I was happy to recieve the call. Happy to be remembered.
One of my daily routine with papa was to comb his hair. I loved it each time he finished his bath or woke up from his afternoon naps. Papa would sit at the edge of the bed in front of the mirror while I climbed on the bed to comb his hair, he was my doll. I took pride in decorating him. I took my own sweet time to play and comb his hair according to my choice of style and he would let me be (of course he would privately re-comb his hair if I did a bad job).
Years went by and I grew up. I stopped combing his hair. Yesterday afternoon, papa came out from his room. He looked frustrated. He had difficulty shaving. I looked at my aged papa. I wanted to be the little Jenny who used to comb his hair again but of course, my eighty year old papa did not have much hair on his head for me to comb anymore.
This morning, I offered to shave papa. He did not hesitate. I found his shaver, sat him down and shaved him. It was not easy actually, I tried my very best to be gentle, I did not want to cut him. After shaving him, I offered to trim his hair and he agreed. I gave papa a new look within half and hour. Once again, I took pride for the new look I gave my papa. He was satisfied, so was mummy. The satisfaction I had was pretty much similar to how I felt 20 ++ years ago, the only difference would be that little Jenny was no more that little and this time, I did not need papa to carry me down from the bed after I was done with his head.
I was leaving for Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon. While having breakfast, Papa asked me when I was coming back to Penang.
“Next week” I said.
His eyes opened wide “So fast?”
“Yes papa, I am coming back to stay with you”
“Oh that’s good. You should, I’ll be looking forward to that” He looked serious when he said that.
“How long will you be here?”
“Papa, I’m going to come back permanently to stay with you!”
“You mean you got transferred to come back?”
“No papa, I’m no more working in KL.”
“Oh, so you are no more working for the Church?”
“No papa, I have stopped working for the Church.”
“It’s ok, don’t worry about that.
I did not know what to respond. I was not worried about not working for the Church actually; I was more worried that I did not have a job and income.
“So have you found a job?”
“I don’t know papa, we’ll see when I come back”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.”
I looked at papa, I was confused actually.
“Don’t worry about getting a job. Take your time. I have enough money to support you. I am very happy that you are coming back to stay, I look forward to that.”
Papa has Alzheimer but I think he was serious with his words this time. My papa has always been a man of few words. Rarely expressing himself, though he has his own wishes and expectations, he usually kept it to himself.
Since he had Alzheimer, he has aged a lot. He has expressed two things which have touched me deeply. The first thing would be how precious mummy is to him, he has always mentioned that he would have been buried by now if it was not for mummy and that he is grateful that mummy has been with him all this while. The second thing is his desire to see us visit him more often. “Come more often” he would say each time we bade him goodbye.
Sometimes I wished papa had expressed himself more. I rarely put in much effort when it came to papa because I thought he never cared butI guess he did care, he only never mentioned.
You are afraid,
You are avoiding me.
Why are you doing this?
I cannot understand.
You are running away
You think you are happier that way
I see your mask
I see your fear
I can’t do much but only pray
I pray you’d stop running
I hope to see your true happy face again
Will you be my friend?
Will you just let me be your friend?
I miss you dear friend.
Today, I’m leaving for Penang. I’m shifting the majority of my things today. Though I’ll be back soon, many have started to give me farewell gifts. Some big, some small but all are precious to me.
I’ve been working for three years with the students. They come, they go. Some bid farewell before they leave while others don’t. For those three years, I was the one who bade farewell to them. This time, it was different. It was them who bade farewell to me and indeed I’m touched by their gestures. Some have given me really lovely cards while others have sent me very touching smses. Reading those lovely messages, I strongly believe that my three years with the ministry was worth it.
Today, I received four very touching gifts. The first gift was a little goodie bag filled with a Christmas tree, a little keychain and finally toothpaste and toothbrush. Yes it was a gift from one of the dental students. The second gift was handed by the dental students of XHRC and Pris. It was a Jamie Oliver recipe book. Tears almost flowed out when I opened the gift. It was the prefect gift. I had always wanted to buy it but could not afford it. Little did I expect it to be eventually a gift from these students. My third gift of the day was also a recipe book on Indian Cuisine from my boss. I also loved that book and my final gift came from my lil monster. She gave me a little note book with bible quotations, for me to write my recipes in. Though my stay in XHRC was only half a year, I guess memories of this place will be carried along with me for many more years to come.
I leave this place with fond memories yet there is one regret. My departure has actually damaged my relationship with someone who is very dear to me. As the day of my departure drew nearer, this person avoids me more and the cut in my heart becomes deeper. What has happened between this person and myself hurts me a lot. I wished to spend more time with her before I leave but it has instead turned otherwise. I wish my journey over here did not have to end this way. I wish I knew too why she behaved this way. If it was a mode of self protection then I wonder why she had to do that. Would it not be better to cherish the present, to live the very best out of it?
Nevertheless, I’m grateful to all those who have made a difference in my life, for those beautiful and kind words written and said to me……I appreciate them all.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.