Thursday, December 23, 2004

goodies for kiddies

Grace PJ donated about 200 TY beanie toys for the children in Myanmar!

Just went to collect them from this kind lady, and she asked us to take some pictures of the kids with the toys. Also told us not to sell them. Heh! They're cute and all, but I'd rather keep them for myself than to sell 'em :p

She had another box of green TY snakes, but since I wasn't sure of the cultural/religious meaning the snake might have there, had to decline her offer. Though I'm quite sure the boys might actually have preferred that to the beanie fawn or duck.

Can't wait to see the faces of the kids we'll be visiting there. Can't say I'm totally prepared for this trip though, since I don't say that for all my other trips. But the thought of spending Christmas and New Year's with them sounds like a pretty good way to end the year. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

breath of heaven

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

I still remember when we had our first CyberChristmas* in campus. We were an unrecognised (therefore, illegal) society in MMU. Through the grace of God, He granted us the use of the main hall for our Christmas event. There weren't many of us, probably less than 50, and we geared up for the biggest event of the CF calendar best as we could.

I was asked to play for this song, sung solo. Still very amateur in my keyboard skills, the only way to pull it off was to put my trust in Him. I still remember lugging the keyboard from the guy's hostel block to the grrl's block, and practicing blindly in the room. You see, I didn't have any scores to practice on. So imagine my glee when I managed to use my limited hearing (pitch) to get something out.

I thought I played horribly, even missed out some notes. Being the curious me, I started asking my friends at the end of the performance. Asked if I played ok, or if the sound system was up to par, and if my debut appearance as a co-emcee masked the knots I was feeling in my stomach. And one of them actually said, "You played the keyboard ah? Thought it was a recording..." What the..?! At first I was offended, then realised it must've been too dark for anyone to see the musicians. And of course, I was sporting a grin soon after that when it dawned upon me that if they thought it was a recording, I must have done quite well.

That night, I emailed everyone involved in the performance and shared with them this testimony. Also encouraged them that the unexpected full house turnout of 700 was only something that God can do. That through this experience, the campus had a chance to experience for themselves what Christmas was really about.

Fast forward 4 years, and I'm listening to this song again, but trying to put myself in Mary's shoes. It's been such a long time since I heard it. Back then, I wasn't into lyrics, but now I understood why this song is so slow and melancholic. It tells of Mary's plight as a young virgin who had her life turned upside down when an angel of the Lord revealed to her God's plan for her.

Imagine a simple girl with an otherwise uneventful life, going about her house chores and expecting her prince charming to one day sweep her off her feet. Imagine her shock when she discovers she is to bear the Son of God, who will be called the Son of the Highest. But imagine also what inner strength she has that she accepts her destiny with such confidence that she does not doubt the angel.

Although she did ask "How can this be, since I do not know a man?", she didn't doubt as Zacharias did when he was told that his wife will bear him a son. But instead, she was questioning God's method since it was biologically impossible for her to be pregnant.

The thing that struck me was her obedience. She accepted the angel's explanation that the divine would happen through the works of the Holy Spirit. She chose to believe God's unconventional methods for bringing His will to pass. And for that, she became the mother of the greatest Man ever lived.

I guess a lot of times, we doubt about God's plans for us. We question His ability to do the impossible, and miss out on great opportunities He has laid for our lives. Maybe we just need to have that child-like faith again. Full of wonder and awe in the things that He can accomplish. Trusting fully in Him, and not ever doubting that He is the great I AM.

*CyberChristmas - an annual Christmas performance in MMU Cyberjaya

Friday, December 17, 2004

music to His ears

Dear Lord,

I'm sorry I didn't play too well just now. It's been so long since I played for the main team.

All these while, it was good training ground to play for the children. But children, they don't really care whether you're playing right or wrong. I can play basic and the worship session can still go on. But playing up there with the best players, it's something different altogether.

But I just want to thank you for giving me this talent, and skill. Thank you for putting that desire in my mum to send me off for classes when I wondered what good piano lessons would do for me. It was only later that I found out she wanted me to play for You.

Thank you for going through all those horrendous exams with me, even when I didn't know if I would end up doing something with my piano education. It was You who blessed me with good results. You knew the amount of practice I do, so it was You!

Thank you for good piano teachers, none whacked my fingers like some do. Thank you also for kind neighbours who had to stand my hours of off-key songs and melodies in wrong tempo. May you bless their ears.

Now that I can play for church, I find such joy in using my skills. It's been wonderful seeing people come to worship, and that our music ushers in Your presence. Not that you needed it in the first place. You have always been there, and it's You who move our fingers and fill our voices with beautiful music.

For this, I thank You again for this indescribable joy. Something that no one can take away from me. Something that will inspire me to become a better player. Something that will draw me closer to You.

I promise to do better next time, if You so allow Your humble servant.

Ps : I know it was just practice, and we're allowed to make mistakes. But I still feel bad, though slightly better now. Thanks to J for the encouragement. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

writing a book?

Had a long chat with a playground mate last night. This fella goes to the playground late at night. Don't know what he's doing up at such an unimagineable hour. Anyways, we were talking about books and blogs, and he asked me if I had considered writing a book.

No one has ever asked me this question before. Nor have I even considered doing it. I can't say it's impossible, it's just that.. me, writing?

He mentioned that I have a way of describing things. So I'm more of a "words" person. So I told him that if I wrote an autobiography, I'd probably shock people with its contents. Don't think they can take it la.

But the thought of having a sensational tell-all sounds pretty tempting. Look how much Rebecc@ Loos(e) and Malaysian S@r@h Marbeck (who is also somehow related to my cousin) made when they bared their all.

Ah, the lure of money and fame. Don't think that's the stuff I want. I just want money :P

Okok, before you guys knock me on the head for being materialistic, let me clarify that I have no immediate plans to write a book. Even if I do, I'll do it for the love of writing and the joy of knowing there's someone out there reading it :D

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

snowflakes are falling on my head

I could almost touch the snow flakes.

Go catch Polar Express on the new Digi IMAX theatre where you'll be mesmerised and enchanted! Well, it was a new experience for me. Kinda disorientated at first, not used to the 3D glasses, but after awhile, it got pretty "real".

Polar Express itself is a no-brainer movie. I mean, you don't have to use your brains to figure what's going on like what I had to do for Matrix3! It's one of those holiday movies which gives you a fuzzy feeling and makes you leave the cinema feeling warm inside.

Made even warmer since I caught it with the committee. A bunch of wacky yet very loveable people. I feel like hugging you guys already :D

Oh, another christmas goodie coming your way --> the latest Christmas cd from Go support our local artistes, click to sample. :)

Monday, December 13, 2004

i wish...

.. i could dig a hole and bury myself... right now!

just found out that jeff knows my cousin. or rather, leigh knows jeff. the jeff everyone's been talking about.

this morning on the way to work, i was making a mental list of the things to update you people. stuff like my 6-hour afternoon nap, how i came to spend the whole day in church on saturday, and that i've got my christmas tree up already. you know, the usual happening stuff that i usually get myself into.

however when i came into the office, i got this 2 line email from my cousin saying he's the centre of the universe because he knows "jeff". i thought he was kidding. knowing leigh, he thinks he knows everyone related to me, well almost.

then i found the same message posted in the article where i wrote about jeff. you see, i had almost forgotten about that little crush i had over jeff's voice because it was so long ago. imagine my surprise when i saw leigh's message there as well.

and can you imagine my shock when i get this email from jeff asking if i know a certain "wong giok leigh". surprise, surprise, leigh was not joking after all.

now there's a 2-way email thingy going on between jeff and i. the world is really small after all.

now leigh, the connection is like this : jeff --> leigh --> me. so therefore, i am the centre of the universe. :p

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

my christmas gift to myself. heh!


I finally got myself a cd/MP3 player for the car. It had been a long wait. Worth the RM380 I've saved all these while. So the first thing I did was to buy a Christmas CD. One of the many reasons why I need the player.

The original cassette player died on me about 2 years ago. I can still listen to the radio with it, but decided I should spend the many hours on the road with something more substantial than just "today's hit music" and "better music, more variety - from the 80's, 90's and now".

Drove all the way to Sri Kembangan, got Bong's church friend to install it for me for a nominal fee. He even checked my car and found a loose connection near the odometer cable. I also found out what's been causing all the creaky sound when I run over a bump and holey roads. He said it's all part of the value added services. Not bad!

The next day, I got myself the WOW Christmas CD.
WOW Christmas CD
It's quite a good buy, whatwith 30 over songs from various artists. I especially like the melancholic "Christmas Time of Year" by Sixpence None the Richer and Audio Adrenaline's funky rendition of "Little Drummer Boy".

Tested the sound, and it's pretty ok so far. I find one of the better features of this player was that it had a circular dial for volume control. Better than the up and down buttons which can prove to be quite a hassle.

So I'm all in a christmassy mood, thanks to my little purchase. Speaking of which, here's a Christmas card to all you lovely readers out there. Passing it on courtesy of jasond.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

planet shakers rawked

Sure they did.

For 3 days, Planet Shakers had their first ever international conference here in Malaysia.

Even though I was "bleeding to death", I made myself go for the first night of rally so that I could report back to my cell leader about it. I really wanted the cell to try out something different, instead of the normal lessons we have on Friday nights. After some rounds of persuading and promo, I managed to get half of them to come with me :D

So anyways, I went on Wednesday, and again on Friday. Both times I can't help but be swept by the enthusiasm of the youth who were present. There were parents with small children as well. But mainly, a lot of the youth were so fired up for God.

These concerts and rallies are good. They almost always have great turnout, have their halls packed to the brim. Many of them get excited and their zeal can be seen on their faces and expressed in their words.

But sometimes, a lot of these are hype. Some of them end up idolising the singers or performers on stage. After the concert, there were lines of people waiting to have the stars sign their posters and cd's.

Probably explains why Hillsongs never encouraged signing of autographs. A friend who was formerly attending the Planet Shakers church in Melbourne told me this, and said he grew out of the hype and agreed that some just lose focus of the whole thing.

Again, nothing wrong with attending Christian concerts and getting all excited about them. I had my share of fun jumping and getting caught up in the whole experience. I just wished I was a whole lot fitter. :P