Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.
On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.
On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?
On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.
Friday, September 24, 2004
I GOT JOBBED!
Praise the Lord!!!
He is so faithful! You know, for so many months, God kept telling me "wait, wait... this one's not for you". For so long i felt not just the destitution of being jobless but of running low on sheer cash, still He kept telling me to stay faithful and patient.
The interview that i went for... the one where i banged my car coming home... it was for a sub-editor's job. i wasn't feeling incredibly confident that day. i marked down my asking pay by a bit. i don't know why...
they called me the other morning: "Fergus, we've got good news for you. we're offering you the job at..." DOUBLE OF MY ASKING PAY!!! Hallelujah!!! How awesome is our God?! How faithful is our God?! i say this not to boast about anything other than the power and love and faithfulness of our incredible God! He has doubled my portion before my eyes, increased my request by a whole 100%. I told Him that day that this testimony will go everywhere with me whenever i speak about my jobsearch. and i will tell the world about His goodness!
i've been blessed. blessed beyond my wildest expectations. i can tell you right now i know humans don't double your asking pay out of their own volition. This is altogether, completely an act and intervention of our Almighty God. i've caught a glimpse, you know, of the reward Father has for those who wait on Him. i've been over the moon for the last two days and i know our shared joy will be a multiplication of this kind of joy by infinite measure. i praise Him because He is worthy of praise!
"Father, i thank You. You love me more than i can imagine, and You provide for me all i will ever need. Jehovah Jireh, i praise You for who You are! My loving provider, my caring Father. Thank You! In Jesus' mighty, mighty name, Amen!"
3:15 pm ]
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
PHILOSOPHY OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLEAs i glance over some of the photos i took for lennie's wedding, what strikes me is a philosophical query over the following: what makes a photograph containing people good?
it has always been clear to me that a photo lennie thinks is nice may not be nice to chin peow, and vice versa... and any photos eventually used will of course have to pass both acid tests. but another sure thing is that the photographs deemed nice by this photographer may or may not also pass the acid test. so as i consider these things, i arrive at a larger question... what criteria can we use to determine whether a photograph containing people is a "good photograph". is it even feasible to consider this? i think it is. so let's get right into it.
coming from a background of film analysis and video production, i am naturally one to look for the technical and signifying aspects of a photograph. regarding the former, i refer to things such as the composition, the focus, the lighting, the amount of light, the shutter speed, the works.
as for the latter, i am talking about what stories the photos tell. semiotic students won't need introduction to this... but this is roughly what i mean. if i shoot the bride and groom with their parents in the foreground, the story it tells is one about generations. it's a completely different story compared to, say, the bride and groom with their ring boxes in the foreground - which would be a story about commitment.
someone from a fashion background, will of course, look at differnt things. they'll be looking at how the subjects look. of course, this is important to me, but you and i both know how subjective the matter of looks is. so it goes beyond fashion photography to say that it is an essential ingredient that the subjects look good - not just to the one taking, but to the ones taken.
i know that technique and symbols are important in all good photography. it's what wins awards and distinguishes holiday photos from professional ones. but when photographing people for people, one has to consider this grey and subjective area. for photography of people to have any real relevance, there must surely be an interaction between the photographer and the photograph with the photographed. there has to exist a common consensus with regards to standards of beauty. if you remove this criteria then photographing people simply becomes a hobby, a pursuit of art on the part of the photographer... syok sendiri. for it to have real and interactive meaning, it must always take into consideration how the photographed feels about the given piece of art.
i guess there'll be shots of lennie and chin peow i love that one of them doesn't like so much because of the way they smiled. and likewise, there'll be shots that they'll love but i won't so much because of some blurred jo in the background or a wrong highlight on one of their cheeks. it's a humbling process and a great learning curve to photograph people for people. as you can see, i'm finding out a lot.
6:24 am ]
Monday, September 20, 2004
THOUGHTS ON A BLOGLESS DAYI've told myself not to blog when i'm emotional. Right now, i'm emotionless and i can't blog as well.
If i were in the Matrix, i'd like my name to be Scribe
The repeated disconnecting of my internet connection reminds me of my start-stop life.
I fear i don't fear the Lord enough.
Impending travel makes me feel uneasy.
I want to read more. I want to write more. But i just keep "getting by".
Five new baby rabbits! Oh no!
3:32 am ]
Saturday, September 18, 2004
RECURRING DREAM ABOUT SWITCHING ON LIGHTSApparently, i am anxiously trying to solve something that isn't working.
you see, i have this recurring dream. it used to happen a lot and after a hiatus, it has returned with a sinister twist.
i am usually in a house, a building and it is almost always night time. i am always alone. the room that i am in is always dark and usually becoming darker as i stay there. i go to the switch panel and try to turn on the lights. i flick at all the switches but no light comes on. as this happens, i start to panic and i flick at the switches with even more urgency. everywhere is getting darker and darker and i feel a threat approaching. still, the lights don't come on. i fail. i am failed. usually, i either enter one of those "frozen" moments or i wake up or i go into another more harrowing dream after.
now these dreams have been interpreted by some as me trying to solve a problem in my life that isn't working; that i'm trying in futile to rectify a worsening situation. that's quite straightforward but generally, i don't buy into dream interpretations easily. in recent months, these dreams have left me. but just last night, it came back with a twist.
i was driving on the road at night, alone. the road had no other cars. and true to form, my car lights were not on. i shouldn't be able to see the road but somehow, i do. i keep turning the light switch next to my wheel but no light comes on. i start to panic and i keep turning the switch on and off but no light comes on as i drive. eventually, i see a bus by the side of the road and i pull off in front of it. i go into a series of other strange dreams but the rest is irrelevant.
which makes me think... am i fearing something impending? am i so impotent at rectifying my problems? or is it more allegorical - perhaps it says something about my faith, my calling on God in times of darkness. i don't like these dreams one bit. they are extremely harrowing and disturbing and i usually wake up relieved but distressed. i feel completely powerless. i feel the fear of the increasing darkness, the loneliness and worry of facing the threat by myself, and the fact that it always comes at night just makes it all the more sinister. and the last thing i need now, after my recent car misfortunes, is to have my old recurring dream return with me behind the wheel at night. but the dreamworld, it seems, has no mercy over such concerns. it seems to thrive on them.
christians, freudians, lay people. lend me your ears. what do these mean? surely i will pray over it and ask Father to take such dreams away. if in fact they are from the evil one then i know they will not persist. or is it psychological? a deep set, repressed anxiety, desire, unfulfilled or a fear left unconquered? josephs! tell me!
2:06 pm ]
Friday, September 17, 2004
SELF-ESTEEM AS SEEN THROUGH CONTACT LENSESi must confess that for 7 years, i've had a very bad contact lense removal technique. it's true. wearing it is fine. but when i take it out... i always start flapping it just as i draw the lense out of my eye. i will bat my eye, my finger will tremble slightly, i squeeze the lense without any conviction and it never really comes out the first time. i start all over again and my eye gets red.
for 7 years! crikey! having said that, i'm not gonna blame my stiff-neck-ness for putting up with a bad technique for so very long. rather, i'm gonna put the blame squarely on how fast time has flown. so, with that out of the way, i was removing my lenses today (with the usual tribulation it brings) when i sternly told myself, "be assured! be confident!"
indeed! what an indecisive, unconfident guy i am - not just in my optical life, i tell you, it flows in my blood like a bad streak. it is at this point that i remember paul (the apostle) telling one of the churches in one of the epistles (i think it was corinthians) that in person he didn't quite live up to his bold image behind the pen. yes, apparently, paul was a slight guy without much physical presence. he was on the shy side and definitely not near as fired-up or chatty in person as he was corresponding. in that epistle, he mentioned something referring to their failed expectation when they eventually met him.
now if you're a linguist and you study how students copy the linguistic style of their heroes, you will easily know that paul is my hero. i love the way he writes and i copy his style - as a writer (and i'm not even talking about copying him as a christian). so as i've gone off emulating one of my new favourite writers, i feel that i'm setting myself up for a pauline-type first impression for many of you who have never seen me in person - if in fact we ever do meet.
because, depending on the company, i can be extremely quiet, inward and even shy when met in the face. my tendency to kick in talkative only really happens if i know someone well, if i'm writing from a safe distance, or if vernon is present. so as i dwell on my nearly-prophetic self-chastising over my contact lense technique, i arrive at the conclusion that i can afford to be a lot more assured and a lot more confident.
my closest friends will testify that i am indecisive, unsure, and constantly in search of affirmation, perpetually seeking to have his existence validated. i know that my confidence has grown while my self-confidence remains a battered pulp: Christ, i know, strengthens me and causes me to be able to do all things. but it is Him, not me. i continue to have low self-confidence while being a highly confident guy because my faith is not in me but He who is in me.
how then, does all this figure in my 7 year-old ill-skilled visual-correction life? like this fergus: be assured. be confident. just keep your eye open and pull it out!!!
3:41 pm ]
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
BEING HUMANEloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
How did i get here?
i had one of those moments in the police station, waiting for the seargent to review my case. retracing my steps only told me what i knew. but it didn't satisfy that deep and hollow need to know that someone felt exactly like i was feeling. no one else in that police station would ever know what it felt like sitting there quietly, considering my car, my finances, my commitments... i was worried. i was sad. i looked calm but i was very brokenhearted inside.
i was reading Hebrews and it started speaking to me, in my moment, my hour of need. a lonely no one stranded in a lonely nowhere.
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity...he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest..."
recently, i've been thinking about Jesus the carpenter, Jesus the son of Mary and Joseph, Jesus who most likely was the buddy of a bunch of blokes in his 20s. and then i think of this, "he too shared in their humanity". here was a God who called himself Son of Man - Jesus' favourite nickname for himself clues us into his humanity, not his divinity.
i feel lazy sometimes, and though i must go on i'm tempted to rest. i feel lonely sometimes, and though i should stay still, i'm tempted to make contact. i feel angry and i am tempted to glare, desperate and i am tempted to surrender, rejected and i am tempted to withdraw. i am human, i say. i am not God!
but God made himself human, through the person of Jesus of Nazareth, he allowed the world to dangle all kinds of carrots before him - money, power, sex, food... in the process, he made himself subject to loneliness, brokenheartedness, anguish, pain and passion, yet he survived it all. he ended it all! even if i weren't christian, he'd be my hero! but more than that - he is My God!
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin."
he is my God because he knows what it was like, he was there before. he's my "been there done that" older brother, where all the sinful things he hadn't personally "done", he bore for those who did. so that he knows what every human feels - what every sinful human feels - Jesus became on the cross a sex deviant, wife beater, a petty swindler, a pick-pocket thief, a 9-year old who says "f*** you". where did he draw the line? HE DIDN'T DRAW THE LINE! he took everything. and part of that everything includes my sadness, my worry, my fears, my desires, my loneliness, my desolation, and YOUR desolation.
how many of you ever felt that you've been left in the lurch, abandoned by God?
Lama sabachthani! "My Lord, my Lord, why have you forsaken me?" that's what he said while bleeding to death hanging on the cross. do you not know that like you, Jesus also felt forsaken? do you not know that before you felt abandoned, he felt abandoned? do you also not know that today he has so much power thanks to what he went through - and as your lord he can give you that same power to go through human life like him?
if you're wondering if anyone understands what you're going through then your search will end here. if you've always been unsure if God appreciates how hard it is to be human then your search will end here. he doesn't just watch you from heaven so far away, he is so close to you right now, he might as well be staring in your face. and he doesn't just listen to you untouched, he is scarred every time you are scarred. his scars bear evidence that he went through all the things you're going through, and rose again. i haven't talked about him rising again but you know, the fact that he did means that this human wasteland can be and has been defeated.
if you've never accepted Jesus as your lord and saviour, then you haven't felt the comfort of knowing a God who knows what it's like to have human problems. if you want to accept this God, this scarred Jesus, then pray with me this prayer: Lord Jesus, i accept you as my lord and saviour. i accept that you died on the cross knowing all my sins, bearing all my sins, and after you died, you rose again to life. today, i can call you my God. i am no longer broken, because you will make me whole. Let it be.
11:08 am ]
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FERGUS ONGNow i remember why i sometimes don't like full days!
10.30am - call pastor to confirm tonight's shoot
11.00am - meet jon to do streamyx together
11.30am - get my streamyx application sorted
12.45pm - split to go for job interview
01.00pm - mi ghent chases me about tonight's shoot
02.00pm - arrive by car in jalan raja laut area, and get lost as soon as i get there
02.20pm - park
02.44pm - still walking around looking for building
02.45pm - find it. job interview goes fine.
03.00pm - answer "God" when asked by interviewees "what motivates you?"
04.30pm - in my car. downpour.
04.45pm - i have to tell cell-leader angee that i can't do worship bcos of tonight's shoot
05.00pm - mi me chases me about tonight's shoot
05.44pm - almost home! almost hooomee!!!!!
05.45pm - i crash into the back of some dude in a domino of emergency brakes when some jo decides to make a sudden u-turn
06.00pm - i tell all the swarming toll truckers "i'm waiting for my lawyer". my lawyer is lennie lah!
06.02pm - call sha about tonight's shoot. he cancels it.
07.00pm - sit around dining room with my lawyer, hashing out a police report plan
08.00pm - i go to pj police station to file report
08.30pm - i read Hebrews 2 while waiting. feel comforted
09.00pm - sarjen nor fiza tells me any court in malaysia will find me wrong for "langgar belakang". i accept saman
11.00pm - tell my parents on phone. got the "i told you so" regarding driving on the right lane of jalan gasing
12.30am - ace amylin's bible college spot test. i got 2 questions out of 3 right.
so you see, a day that begins with a call to pastor, ends with answering some bible college quiz questions, filled with being torn between playing guitar for my cell leader's worship and directing a video shoot for my ministry, doesn't necessarily have to include me arriving at church at all. and blogs that strive to be ideas-oriented can respond immediately with a list of a day's events.
irony, it seems, is not without a sense of very wicked humour.
11:56 am ]
Saturday, September 11, 2004
I've not been posting my quiet time devotions. I've picked up on the trend that my posts of late have been trivial, event-oriented and at times (very regrettably) complaining and ranty. None of these were the reasons why I started this blog. I started it to do all that is contrary - to try to hit deep, be ideas-oriented, and express struggles honestly. And to do all this from the perspective of a Christian trying to come good.
The truth is, I've not been hearing from God. I've been reading the Bible when I wake up, I've been spending time in prayer every night before I sleep. I've been involved in my ministry and cell, and I even tried reading 1 John ahead of pastor's upcoming series. But something isn't clicking and I don't know what.
I think I may be crowding God out in my head, though I keep casting my problems at His feet, and I keep keeping a short account of my sins with Him. Still, I get the distinct feeling that this is my doing. I've somehow done something in the course of my cluttered routine to keep Father at an arm's length. I wanna be in His embrace!
The other possibility is that Father is purposely keeping quiet for a while. There's every reason for Him to do so: he might want to test me, He might want me to seek Him even more, He might want me to apply my growth in real life, using His word and my will in harmony.
At any case, I long to feel that tangible kind of closeness with Him. The kind of closeness where you actually hear words, receive prophecies, feel deep comfort and experience real intimacy. I fear that my worship has turned into lip service, that my heart has started a chilling I so want to thaw but don't know how. I love Him! So much, that I am willing to give myself to Him in my entirety. i'd give my left leg to know i'll never feel dry again. i'd give my right leg to feel his love unbroken all day, all the time.
I know all Christians go through this - I'm sure even guys like Moses and Paul went through such spells. So this is not a complaint, no this is definitely not a complaint. right now, i'm too analytical for complaints, too clinical for passion. this is a dry and deadpan examination of my dry and deadpan state.
BUT LORD! I LOVE YOU!!!
11:51 am ]
THE SCHOOL OF STUPID IDIOTSIt's days like this that convince me i was classically trained in the School of Stupid Idiots.
Gosh! what's wrong with me?! i made a complete hash of the video we were showing in church today. i just feel so responsible for my irresponsibility. if i were an ostrich, my head would right now jut out from some grass patch in Equador.
Speaking of stupidity, i was looking at some real preserved brains this morning and i noted that human brains looked smaller than i thought they would. i guess i'd like to think better of the human makeup but on days like this, i really prove what i see. i'm not as smart as i hope to be.
Vernon says i got issues. I say i shoot from the hip.
10:07 am ]
Friday, September 10, 2004
THE END IS DRAWING NEAR">Final reels are hard to eke out. I've spent the best part of the last 3 year...
10:06 am ]
Thursday, September 09, 2004
ATTACK OF THE EXCREMENTING SQUIRREL">"Women and children first!!! It's the Attack of the Excrementing Squirrel!!...
10:04 am ]
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
9-YEAR OLDS & THE DEGENERATION OF CIVILISATIONi used to hold the belief that society, culture and civilisation as a whole was on the decline, that humanity was becoming increasingly degenerate. you could say i had a linear worldview on the progress (and therefore regress) of mankind.
then i grew up a little and i started to see that degenerate attitudes have always been around - that they were only expressed through different means. the greeks, the romans, the middle ages, the industrial revolution, maoism, and 21st century liberal americanisation. are they all so different from each other, if not just in content but not in value? bearing in mind, when i say value, i mean it in relation to biblical values. you always need to relate your values to something.
so for a while, i had what you might call a cyclical worldview of humanity - it was all going round and round. liberal traits flourish and this is taken over by conservative trends, which will grip the people till new liberal explosons occur. fine.
as i sit in this internet cafe surrounded by 9 year olds going "f you, you dumbass!!! f you!!!" as they play Counterstrike (or one of is permutations), i feel compelled to marry the two worldviews and say that the degeneration of humanity is spiralical - it is not like a cycle, it is like a spiral.
yes, it's true that we seem to keep going in circles, visiting and revisiting eras or epochs of liberal and conservative trends interchangeably. but each time we revisit each of these (imagine the same point of a spiral, one spiral lower), it takes on a new shape, a new form. its attitudes are usually so markedly changed that you can't really equate it with the ways of the old.
i consider 9 year olds yelling "f you!" to each other in broad daylight public the lowest point of my present generation. it is worse than the bag-snatching, car-park raping, street-side prostituting, family murdering nonsense that fills our newspapers. these are kids!
it is not acceptable but this is the world as we know it. some days i really wake up to the world around me. i'm so insulated sometimes, with the chappys in Kidzone singing "Yes Jesus loves me", that these kids go into their marketplace, their tuitions and schools, facing a hate, anger, violence and coarseness proportionally worse than what we adults face.
all around me is gunfire! all around me are kids!
3:54 pm ]
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I STARTED THE DAY SO CHEERFULin our dire moments, we are used to claiming verses from the bible... take hold of it, make it ours and hold our hands out to receive its promise. i don't know if this is wrong but i'm gonna claim the lyrics of a bob dylan song right now. i'm doing it because i feel it has a biblical basis. and i feel so downtrodden right now.
The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast
the slow one now will later be fast
as the present now will later be past
the order is rapidly fadin
and the first one now will later be last
for the times they are a-changin
the meek will inherit the earth, the merciful will be shown mercy, and the mourning will be comforted. i have been a peacemaker so i will be called a son of God. i have been poor in spirit, so mine is the kingdom of heaven.
Father, Almighty Father, Your grace is sufficient for me, because Your strength is made perfect in weakness. Whose weakness O Lord? but mine. Father, i am weak, i am small and the world can try its best to make me feel like nothing, but i am everything to You - and i want You to know i know it. i love You, Father. some days i forget that You are really all i got. today, i know it too well. my strength is in You. So now, let the weak say i am strong, let the poor say i am rich. because of what the Lord has done for us.
Labels: christianity, survival
3:30 pm ]
HOW PAVLOV'S DOG MET THE SUNSILK GIRL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES
i. Last night...
10:03 am ]
Sunday, September 05, 2004
SLEEVES AND OXIMORI">this is nothing new to me but i noticed that i really wear both my heart an...
9:55 am ]
Saturday, September 04, 2004
THE MARRYING KINDShe is lovely in white. on her dad's arm, she treads down the aisle with sw...
Labels: growing old
9:54 am ]