Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Signing up for Spectra365 wasn't an easy decision for me. (and i don't think i made it easier for Lala... Sorry girl. :-S)

Knowing myself, getting involved in community projects are probably one of the last things that i would -willingly- do. The simple reason, as well as irony, is that i fear people. I fear meeting people, i love AND hate small talk, i feel that i'm not a confident person who's settled comfortably into her own skin. And mind you, all these churning in me alongside the desire to be able to help people.

During the decision making process, i had to give up something that although affirmed me in my gifts, it played up my ego (the bad side to serving on stage). It was either that, or joining the project. But something in me would not allow myself to have any peace if i didn't commit a handful of saturdays to the project. With much struggling and deliberation, i said "yes". In that same instant, i felt very strongly that i did the right thing BUT, i also felt jittery. I could feel the skeletons in my closet clattering away in anxiety.

The first day of Spectra365 came and left, seeing around 80-90 young volunteers going through a ropes course to build up our confidence, to enable us to see the parallel between that and what was to come.

Sometimes you just need to take the first step to overcome your fear. It doesn't mean your fear disappears, it just means that you managed to pluck up the courage to face the challenge. Also, we learnt that we need to face our challenges alone at times, and that we may not always have the benefit of having people around us to cheer us on. Yet, that doesn't mean that we stop in our endeavours. So, the upcoming challenge for all of us will be meeting, bonding and working together with youths at risk in the saturdays ahead.

Previously, at the point of saying yes to the project, i was under the impression that we were going to be dealing with children. But as things moved along, we were recently told that we were going to deal with youths (13 to 20-ish years old).

I baulked at first. Scared out of my wits. With youths, you inevitably get a more complex person to deal with.

But then it dawned on me... How i used to tell myself that given a choice, i'd rather be with secondary school students if i ever got to be a teacher. In other words, i realize that this is the perfect opportunity for me to reach out to the very group of people i want to, without having to be a teacher, and they're not just any "regular" youths in that general sense, but youths who will require something extra.

I know it'll be naive of me to think that i can 100% change or be a 100% ultra-positive-impact on someone's life in only a few days, but that isn't going to stop me from trying my best to do what i can.

And so it is with cheerful anxiety and joyous fear (plus cranking and storing up on the PR juices) that i'll wait till the day that i can meet the youth that i'll be attached to. Girl or guy, it doesn't matter... Lets see what magic we'll create together when we go on our photo taking trip at the end of Feb!

(Note: we're to take about one or a few days to break the ice with the youths at the beneficiaries' place, then there'll be a designated route for a photo taking trip where we'll work together with the youths to take photos together)

I'm probably going to need to study some national geographic magazines while i'm preparing for it though. My knowledge of photography is sooo limited. Teehee.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This is self centred, but it's true... It hurts me when i can't say the right things to help someone because i can't fully read, comprehend and understand the pain a friend is going through.

I have long "prided" myself in the ability to see where someone was coming from and therefore give advice that is most relevant and that hits the nail on the head; to speak words that make a friend feel genuinely better, such that they really feel like the load on their shoulders has lifted. I enjoy being able to do that, to be there for others as the listening ear and soggy but firm shoulder. (Hence my chosen major in psychology too, a decision i made in secondary school)

But things have kind of changed and I'm sick of saying "i understand", only to say, in the next moment, something that they don't agree with.

I also find myself always trying to be everyone's best friend, and don't ask me how this came about. I've long given up on the notion of "best friends", since primary school (see how cynical i was already?).

But yeah, i have a tendency to hope that people would share their lives with me, that they would feel comfortable enough to open up and talk about their innermost feelings, thoughts and plans, as well as their struggles. Truly, i do feel sad when i feel like i can't connect with someone at that level.

Honestly and i'll admit that I think that a lot of this "wanting to feel close to and feeling like i can help someone", though is well meaning on my part for the benefit of the other person, is also a lot about trying to fill up a void in me caused by years of feeling rejected.

Strangely, in trying to be someone's best friend, to be someone who's needed by someone else, the tables are turned: it becomes me needing to cling onto someone(s) to have that feeling of security of being wanted.

I can't remember the last time i bared my soul to a friend. It's as though as the years progress, my friends all lie on the same plane. Don't get me wrong, i've got quite a few people i consider good, and very good friends. But somehow no one really gets past the smooth glass floor that separates my soul from them. You can look through it, you can see what's happening beneath, but you can't crash through it to be fully immersed in my life.

So there seems to be two issues at hand here.
1. Feeling that people don't open up - is it something wrong on my part, too high expectations of others? perhaps i'm just not someone they want to speak to after all.
2. Is there something i'm subconsciously holding back on my side?

Obviously, i have no clue about this... And i've just realized that this is a darn honest blog post. Well, it's a "thinking out loud" post after all: More personal, less politically correct and it's got way more sensitive information.

Actually, i've recently decided that apart from my vital stats and where i live and other information, i'm going to allow myself to be more honest and i won't really care too much about how it's all going to sound. I suppose i'm practicing the skill of "getting to the point" when talking about how i truly feel. Hence "thinking out loud".

I guess i could suppose also that the very people who see posts like these from now on do get to see a bit of my soul after all... (i wonder who has stuck around since 2003??? It's been quite boring along the way, i'll be the 1st to confess) You, my thevacuum readers, of whom are friends i see every now and then, others i reckon i'll never see but still leave me comments of which i really appreciate, and better yet, those who will never reveal themselves to me.


From June 13, 2006.

I really should stop taking photos that are simply look-at-camera-and-smile types. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Remembering that i had a memory triggering aid in the form of a CD with a sizeable number of photos of my JC mates, i sifted through my pile of CDs, found it and popped it into the drive.

I'm smiling as i click through and view them one by one. The ones that especially trigger those feelings of nostalgia and that fuzzy warmth are those that capture in a sweet frame our madcap antics, smiles that were caught in a split second without the purposeful bunching of certain muscles for that practiced smile some of us have tried to perfect.

The best pictures are those that allow you to see more than a smile plastered on a face, the kind that reveals to the viewer the reflection of the sentiment(s) of that moment through the body language of the photo's subjects. It's a joy to see us close friends just being ourselves, the way we are.

And then i think, we don't always have to smile for photos, do we? Yeah. We don't.

Think about how different it would be if we took photos of ourselves in times when we are feeling anguish, when our eyes are sore and swollen with prolonged crying, when our faces reflect emptiness, dull from the sapping of all positivity.

If photos are about capturing moments to remember, are not times of unhappiness worthy of being remembered, or captured, too? Thinking back on events past and seasons of our lives need not always have to stir good emotions. Our lives are a collection of far more than that.

Life is equally ugly as it is beautiful.

(and oh how i've been living up to this... haven't graduated to crying pictures yet though)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I saw you on those pages and read the things that you've accomplished: your title, your place, your position, the people around you... you seemed loved by all and you were looking good. I found myself admiring you, and then found myself wondering why i was even admiring you.

Why was i drawn to your fame and success?

In the past, i never really understood the thing about fame and success because i felt that it wasn't something that applied to me. It was something "other people" faced, and although there will always be a degree of wanting some kind of fame, i knew that part of me was well in check, and it was something i could handle easily.

But when i saw what you had and who you had become, there was a sudden longing to want to be associated with you again.

I surprised myself with the intensity of my emotions. I felt like i, and what i had, was lacking. And i somehow wished that i, or the people around me could measure up to you... so that i could have someone or something to boast about. I used to take pleasure in speaking of you, did you know that? I loved how people gawked and thought that you were so amazing.

I can't do that anymore though. Though there's only one degree of separation, we're figuratively worlds apart now.

Catching myself in that instant, i felt the reality of what has been said before.

Why do i need to concern myself with other people's lot in life? Each of us has been given an individual and unique life to lead, all of them different. Some of us bask in the limelight, some of us work in the background, all at different times, in varying degrees, or none at all. It's just the way things are.

When we place our self worth against the standards of the world, we will live quite consistently sad and dissatisfied lives until we see ourselves redeemed in some worldly accepted way. So for the rest of the time in life, we'll be consciously or subconsciously longing and slaving away to reach and grasp some kind of redemption to comfort ourselves, that we've managed to achieve "a level of dignity".

For those few minutes as i sat there with dread and envy rolled into one, i tasted the true and raw emotions of what it was like to feel worthless according to the world's standards. And it was heart wrenching, condemning, bitter, evil, heavy and depressing.

As i said, than i began to wonder why i was even feeling that way... and i collected the pieces of myself that were all over the floor and came to realize the truth: My worth and my identity is in Christ, in God. And when Christ is who i'm rooted in, what the world holds in acclaim hasn't even got a place of importance in my heart. Truthfully, what God thinks of me matters so much more then anything or anyone else. Really, nothing that i achieve matters in His eyes because he's looking at my heart and soul, not what my heart and soul achieves. I'm already special, already perfect and pleasing to God.

In those short moments, i experienced both the insecurity of worthlessness, and the security of being found in God, swinging from heavy heartedness to blessed freedom. And i know that i wouldn't want to compare myself with anyone ever again, because it really hasn't got any logical sense to do so. My life's worth is not measured by the number of titles that the world clamours after, but by whether i have, in my capabilities, lived out this life's lot that i was given, to the fullest.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I have a beautiful piece of news, and it's all thanks to GOD!

Well, last year i was in a tough administration fight with SIM over the schedule of my modules: the only two modules that i can take this semester clash, same day, same time. So that meant that i had no choice but to make certain sacrifices as to which lessons i could go for.

Then, shortly after i gave in to the rigid system, with horror i realized that both these modules fall on friday night, that is, the night on which i have cell group, kinda like a bible study group.

Cell group has been a very integral part of my life since 2004, because it's where my life took a turn for the better as i grew in my walk with the Lord. With this additional problematic layer, i ultimately had three things at the same time and i can't possibly tear myself into 3 parts.

I spoke to some of my church mates about this, and they prayed for me and the situation, and submitted it to God.

Well, yesterday i checked my timetable again and without notice from the school, i discovered that both my modules have been shifted to mondays. Which means that fridays are free for cell group! Praise God!

My modules still clash, but i'm sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that i can triumph over this with God by my side.

Like what Mer, WR and Dom have said, God has a beautiful way of working with and for his people as he works behind the scenes to bring us through. Even in times when things look so impossible, look up to the one who specializes, masters, majors, in impossibilities, and you'll know that he'll take care of it in his time according to his plan.

Somehow, i wasn't worrying too much about this before because i knew that God wouldn't want me to miss out on cell group, which is a place where we come together to praise and seek God and fellowship with other Christians, UNLESS he had other plans for me. Like, going to another cell group? Haha.

Thanks to all of you who've been praying and asking me about the state of school affairs.

So yeah, bring it on! I'm all prepared, and ready.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I know my doggy loves me when he chooses to lie down *on a location* near me in the same room even when he has the obvious choice of trotting over to my sis's room to snuggle deep underneath the duvet on her bed that's perpetually undone: perfect for a small dog to burrow into on a chilly sunday morning.

Note i said *on a location*, and not *next to me*, because he still insists on having some level of creature comfort, ie, sleeping on a soft, squishy surface. He hopped onto my lap a while ago as i was surfing the net at my dad's study table, presumably to analyze his snooze location but found it wanting. (oooh, am i not soft and squishy? i suppose that would be good news for me... muah hahahaa)

After some room exploration, he discovered that there was a mattress drapped upon the massage chair that he could snooze on. Reading his body language (he tip toes, standing on his 2 hind legs and lifts his head up to peer at his destination with longing), i figured the mattress was too high for him to hop onto so i gave him an express lift and so he's now lounging satisfied and peacefully asleep. (mom and dad would balk at this but i don't care. teehee.)

I love, love, love, Jed... and the communication and bond that we have. :-) There are just some things that simply can't be bought by food, which is almost pretty much the source of motivation for a lot of things.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ok, this is going to sound sad but yes. I can't access the internet at home for some unfathomable reason and so i'm using the office internet connection to blog. Which is why it's a good and bad thing to be at the office on a saturday. -.-"

It's been raining non-stop for a couple of days on end and being a person who tends to see rain as a literal dampener on most of my most ideal forms of recreation, i've been most annoyed no less. Most of the disdain for it lies in that somehow i've evolved (YES, i used to be able to tahan the cold pretty well) into this pathetic creature who shivers and whines once the temperature hits below 25degrees. You'd think that most people who live in the tropics would LOVE lowered temperatures for a change, but no, i love my searing sunshine.

But yesterday i had so much fun on my own in the rain... Almost bordering on boh-liaoness, for lack of another word for it, and insanity (?). I was suppose to meet lakeside girl to pass her a couple of tees but instead made a classic blur jo move and went to another destination within the same area instead of meeting her directly. Making the deviation meant tramping through nice, huge, deep puddles of cold rain water that streamed down from the nearby field (EARTHWORM ALERT!!!) to collect in depressions along the stretch of pavement that led to the train station.

I haven't felt this kind of blissful simplicity in a such a long time: hugging myself tightly under the shelter of my foldable brolly, flip flopping (props to my brand new pink Arena slippers that prevented embarrassing wet-knee-to-cement accidents) through the puddles which resulted in drenched legs and shorts, having jazz music pumping into my ear drums, eating that packet seaweed thing (Tae Ki Noi? How do you spell that) and talking to and laughing with myself and God at the same time.

Yes, i was happy.

Rain, nature, God, food, self, the sound of rain, washing my seaweedy fingers in the rain, music.

Simple pleasures.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I am...

I'm amazed at the amount of thoughts on life lessons and observations that go through my head and get processed while i iron. Not a good reason to iron, but you get what i mean. As quick as the thoughts come, i forget them just as easily once i'm done with my pile of clothes. Bah.

I've just switched to the new blogger as you can tell and i'm still trying to take everything in, being the technoidiot i am.

Anyway, today i just thought i'd remind myself of the "who i ams". Often times i forget the myriad of roles that make up "me", and i make the mistake of unwittingly glossing over my responsibilities and the tasks linked to each identity.

This isn't prompted by the first sermon of the year, but somehow it just clicks and seems appropriate to do at this point in time. Oh and yeah, it's got nothing to do with that mostly poignant "I am" meme either.

So..., I AM:

A beloved child and willing servant of the Most High King, Jesus Christ.

A family member of the Lim clan, daughter, and unofficial part-time Maria.

A family member of the Ng Clan, a cousin AND aunty to cousins' kids.

Weirong's significant other.

A friend to all my friends. Not wise to list out the different groups here though. :-)

A Birthday I/C.

A cell attendence taker.

A member of, and a keyboardist in the Youth Worship Ministry @ COOS, playing in my band: Tehillah.

One fifth of a leadership.

A sort of leader helping out with the worship ministry understudies.

A rusty compound Archer, and sort of absent ACS committee member.

A Student of UniSIM, doing and loving psychology, hoping to be of some help to people one day.

A front desk worker at a certain psychology centre.


Ok, reckon this's all i can think of for the moment. Getting rather drowsy, i suspect it's the cough syrup i took earlier on.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Do you like quirky and unique earrings, like lego pieces and guitar picks as the focal point?

Check out to take a look at their collection, and if you like what you see, make a purchase! I DID!!! I bought like, 3 pairs of lego earrings and i'll be getting a guitar pick one soon. I bet they'd come in handy, hee.

The workmanship's good and the sellers are really nice people, this couple from my church youth music ministry and this is just their new little business venture.



Now i can enjoy Whose line Is it Anyway any time i want. Oh the Hoedowns... They're HILARIOUS!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I was off on an unintentional hiatus, and i must say that i don't really like not able to blog, AND i don't really like having nothing/feeling as if i have nothing to say.

Really, there's just so much to share if i can only get my thoughts in order.

Maybe for now, i'll just let some pictures do the talking.

Jun and I horsing around during a recent wedding dinner of 2 of our church leaders.

Pretty cupcakes that were screaming at me to take a shot of them. Thanks Denise dear. :-DDD

My band, "Tehillah". Tehillah means "Exuberant Praise" in hebrew. See you guys on friday for practice!
L-R standing: Shan Yu, Shawn, Marcus, Chris, Chris, Oliver
L-R kneeling: Cheryl, Unidentified Creature, Nat.
(youth worship ministry camp, or, YWMC)

Is that... Cousin It?
L-R, clockwise: Lynn, Nat, Justin, Kenny, Cousin It?

Cousin It Revealed.
L-R clockwise: Nat, Justin, Me, Kenny.

Lots more photos, but i'm too lazy to wait for blogger to load it. Ha.
Oh, and nuts... I've put on weight!