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.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
COMFORT (THE KIND THAT DOESN'T HANG AROUND)
Comfort. that bitch of an illusion. it’s a rare commodity these days, this thing called comfort. if you have it, don’t ever lose it. if you don’t know if you have it, you probably don’t.
this isn’t the comfort of a warm bed, fluffy pillows and the heavenly marriage between air-conditioning and a very thick blanket. sure, if you’re numbered among those who can’t afford ten-dollar coffees then these might be some of the joys that avoid you like the plague. but there’s a more insidious brand of soothing that’s just so much harder to hold on to.
sometimes, it’s almost convincing – that life, in all its plurality and richness, pulls all its resources together to perform that one monumental task of picking apart your heart. like a contraption, it gets prised, hammered at, unscrewed and ultimately dismantled. and it’s almost as easy to do as it is to be done to. walk down any street and there is enough fragility around you to shatter if you so much as sigh. don’t believe me? befriend someone and see how easy it is to break their heart.
today, i just want to run into someone’s arms and stay there, never to be lured back out into a world of perpetually regenerating false sense of security. but today, there are no arms to run into, so i’ve run to the next best thing: nangka chips.
comfort food does little in the larger scheme of things. sure, they certainly do make the scheme of some things larger, but no, they generally do not work. like how richard ashcroft said, the drugs don’t work. neither do nangka chips. half an hour and half a bag of chips later, this elusive sadist that is comfort still hasn’t showed up. on some days, i don’t know if it ever plans to.
Labels: defeat, food, friendship
8:45 pm ]
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
THE REGRETTABLE MISADVENTURES OF REGRETFUL BUNNY: ROBOTS
5:39 pm ]
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Comfy chairs are a bit too nice for me. please don't let my chair be too nice.
i'm at YA camp. communion has just started. the people in the front rows are filing forward. they're gonna take communion and get prayed for. i'm blogging. at the back. while waiting for my turn. i'm sitting on the floor, and behind me is a chair. a comfy chair. the chair i fell asleep in just now as matthew 7 drew to a close.
don't let my chair be too nice. i don't want to be taken in to a cushion, i want to be taken in by something more radical than sponge. and if i were to rest, don't let it be a velvet throne, let me rest on the lap of something like fulfilment, or joy, or satisfaction. if i sleep, don't let it be because i'm still so sleepy, let me at least be weary from some kind of work.
but don't let me fall asleep on a comfy chair, that's not what i really want. if i ever tell you otherwise, please tell me otherwise. tell me that the real face of God is on a marginalised someone, not trapped in a bookcase. tell me that some beds aren't soft, tell me i'm not home, just don't let me sleep before i'm weary.
john lennon said, "i don't want to be a soldier, i don't wanna die". too bad for him. i want to be a soldier. soldiers fight because they won't take a breach lying down. so don't let me lie down.
12:06 pm ]
Thursday, June 21, 2007
No regrets. it sounds so good right, to have no regrets. heck, it sounds so good, no regrets is the name of a song, a country band, a movie, any number of books, man there’s even a café in downtown la called the no regrets restaurant. so smart. but what da hell does it mean anyway? look a bit beneath this self-help mantra of positivism and all you get is a shallow call to live life with a seared conscience.
i honestly don’t know anyone who can truthfully say they can live with no regrets. i’ve done a lot of bad shit in my life. i’ve taken advantage of weak-willed people, made fun of those who didn’t fit in, neglected those who were desperate to connect and worst of all, i’ve emotionally hurt many people before. some of them i care really deeply about, and some of them are still hurting right now. i don’t know about your token no regrets disciple down the road but i’ve been a bastard and a half many times over by now and at my worst, i look back at myself with disgust.
so i got regrets, man. lots of it.
how can any jerk have the balls to say they have no regrets. what kind of conscience do they have, that they can look back at their past misdeeds and see no need to have acted differently. sure you can get forgiven for all that you’ve done, it doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to look back and actively want to repair some of those cracks in the rear view. or at least feel that sharp edge of anguish that comes with knowing you can’t do it differently now that it’s done.
anyone hiding behind some smart christian jingle of onward-looking post-salvation clean slate is kidding themselves. the past is real and for the rest of us who are not born-again ten year olds, we’ve committed enough inter-personal crimes to rip apart a few strong hearts. i regret all that man. i rue the day i did the wrong thing. it sucks. i hate that feeling. but it’s there. for a guy like me to say i have no regrets, i must be an absolutely cold-hearted arrogant ass. and for all the wrong i've done, the one credential i refuse to add to my trophy room of people crimes is to be so cocky, i don't even regret the way i've trampled over others.
the bible says that there is no condemnation for those who are in jesus. what i think it means is that if you belong to jesus, nobody can tell you how bad you suck anymore. not even yourself. so no, i’m not advocating some kind of self-dooming brand of personal persecution. i’m talking about a living, breathing, contrite conscience. one that knows when something bad has happened and utterly wants the chance to change it.
i want to change things.
i’ve made mistakes this year and i want to change things.
but maybe i can’t. maybe i can never change them. maybe i’ve to spend the rest of my life looking at 2007 as the year i screwed up on matters a, b and c, and that’s the year i learned a harsh, irretraceable lesson. that if you’re not careful about how you treat another life, the only moral highground you can have one day is the ability to regret not treating it better.
Labels: christianity, defeat
9:03 am ]
Monday, June 18, 2007
IRREVERANCE AND POP CHRISTIANITY
I tell you a joke. maybe you haven't heard it before.
one day, jesus is walking around when he sees this bunch of people drag a woman onto the streets. so all these crowds are screaming for her blood, wanting to stone her. so jesus asks them what they're doing. they say she was caught in adultery, which is punishable by stoning. then jesus gets all protective and non-judgmental, of course, and starts his famous speech. "he among you who has not sinned cast the first stone!"
so the crowd goes quiet. they let her go. she stumbles into the street and the accusers are just about to turn around and walk, when... a giant rock falls from the sky and crushes the woman to her death. at which point jesus looks up at the sky and screams "Dad! I'm trying to make a point here!"
did you find that joke offensive? i don't. i also don't find this beat-em up game, bible fight
, offensive. i think it's really funny. my point i guess is that i seem to have a very high threshold for irreverance. i know lots of people who are very careful with the branding of god and jesus and all things christian. and sometimes i really respect their intolerance, because it's something i don't have for myself. i don't know how to feel protective whenever i see a tongue-in-cheek piece of jesus pop memorabilia. heck, i'm usually inclined to buy it as a simultaneous triple-public declaration of my christianity, supposed cool factor and the seeming marriage between the holy and the happening. all in the name of relevance. you know, how jesus is your homeboy?
well, it don't bode too well with the christian community sometimes and i'm thinking properly about this thing now. if i have a high tolerance for seeming irreverance, what does it say about me? is it something innocuous, like, maybe i didn't grow up in a church and i was saved into a super hip student congregation? or is it more serious, like, maybe i really don't think so long and hard about all that glory and honour that's supposed to be attached to the name of god.
maybe it's the curse of protestantism, that we always have two eyes firmly fixed not only on the victory of being saved but also the immanence of god - you know, that whole jesus is my best friend ethos. this is the only brand of christianity i've ever known and from my myopic eyes, it looks every bit more attractive than the solemn fixation on the death of christ that the more conservative schools of our faith appeal to - the transcendance of god, how huge and incorruptible and perfect he is. i know in my head that he is both at once. i also know in my private time with god that he is not to be taken lightly. still, i'm finding it hard to wean off this buddy christ
approach to my public journey of supposed faith.
should i feel bad about this? i feel bad about it sometimes, when i accidentally push some of my high-tolerance christian junk that one notch too far, and nobody's amused anymore. to begin with, it's a bit embarrasing. but what's more shameful is that while i'm quite pleased to market this pop christ, i don't seem to have either the confidence to defend it, nor the fiery moral christian walk to back it up.
all of which means only one thing. after five years of being a christian, i have finally reduced it to a cheap lifestyle.
Labels: arts, christianity, society
4:08 pm ]
Thursday, June 14, 2007
MARINA THE UNDERCAT
Everyone loves underdogs. watch roger federer play against an upstart with a big heart from some ~istan country and tell me you won't be rooting for an upset. see a toyota enter a corner next to a ferrari and tell me you don't want to see the red car for once outmuscled. we love underdogs cos essentially, we are all underdogs in some way. sure, we also have the propensity to support champions, that's because it appeals to our natural love to succeed. but for those of us who aren't fans, there's nothing better than seeing a david from nowhere beat the crap out of a goliath from somewhere and symbolically tell the rest of the heartless ordinary world that there is hope yet for the everyday losers.
all of which makes for too melodramatic an introduction for what i really want to talk about. which is a cat. see that cat? her name is marina.
mel and i were in muar by the river, looking for mudskippers when we came across this curious kitten, lying down and staring into the horizon.
so tak kisah man. so we sat down next to the swamp and looked at mudskippers get washed in and out. and i tried to count how many waves it took for the big wave to come in, because it was sunset time and the tide was rising. then this kitten walks up towards me, stops just short of rubbing herself against my back, and lies down behind me.
so i start to play with it. and then it warms up to us. then i notice something: the little girl's got a bad eye. blind on one side, she squints at the sun and closes her left eye most of the time. she's a 'disability' cat. poor thing.
so as far as the underdog theory goes - or in this one case, an undercat of sorts - she'd won me over. i carried her around, tried to get her to play with the mudskippers (but she wouldn't) and then decided to bring her home. i christened her 'marina', cos we found her at the riverfront. in ten minutes, she was carried out of my car, into my house and into the wet kitchen.
Fergus: Muuuummy! Remember you said right now you don't have a caaat??!!
well, now she does. we fed her sardines and then fed ourselves crabs. the next day, my mum texts me and says that marina is well and drinking milk. let's hope she grows up kicking ass.
3:02 pm ]
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
NOT ALL KILLER
The quest for perfection is sometimes so frustrating. the perfectionists among us will know how long it takes to get something - even as benign as a blogpost - looking just right. the critic among us will testify that it's rare that something so intact rolls into town for us to bask in its spotlessness. for me, this obscure object of desire lies in my favourite albums.
most of them have blemishes in them - songs I don't like, songs that don't fit, songs that are absolutely gross. which makes it really annoying, and a crying shame because these are my favourite albums. they're the ones i'd bring to a desert island if i really had to go there. how can the bulk of my favourite albums not be all killer no filler
? to establish this point, i shall run through some of my most personal and dear records.
the stone roses' self-titled debut album is the ultimate debut album, backed by mega singles on like I wanna be adored
and Made of stone
and finished with timeless album songs like Shoot you down
and This is the one
. killer, killer, killer all over the record. all except that one very annoying track 4, Don't stop
, which is essentially a backmasking of the hit single Waterfall
. ok, credit to the roses, i think they backmasked the song, learned the backward words and did the vocals forward while everything else went backwards. very smart. but also very, very dissonant and absolutely impossible to listen to. bad roses.
the raveonettes' Chain gang of love
is a glorious noise-drenched homage to 1950s rebel boys and the good girls they turn naughty. beautiful melodies are hidden beneath a wall of feedback so that only the brave will ever hear the deep-lying beauty of songs like Noisy summer
and Untamed girls
. but of course, the album is marred - at least to me - by the second last song, The truth about Johnny
, where Sune Rose Wagner repeatedly drones "Joooohhhhny.... wheerre you been?" between some much more bearable guitar solo twanging. it's not as unlistenable as Don't stop
's backmasking. but it still calls for that 'next track' button.
my third example is stereophonics' Just enough education to perform
. but this time, the marr comes right at the front, in the form of album opener, Vegas two times
. don't get me wrong, the song's not really bad. it just doesn't fit the album. JEEP
is a lazy sunday album, languidly meandering from Lying in the sun
to the slow stomp of Mr Writer
and then rambling about old shoes, going out, having a nice day, watching people "fly sundays" and taking caravan holidays. all of this makes a heavy rock brawl about las vegas wrong wrong wrong. the only saving grace is that it's the first song on the album, so i can skip it and start the album with track two. but it's still wrong.
you see - it's hard. there are many other albums that carried me through some of my most meaningful times in life. and those records mean a lot to me. some of them are legendary by any standards. but almost all of them have songs that shouldn't be there. why?
is perfection so elusive? do we go out there to break it? to dismantle that which is glorious for some abstract, deep reason? when i was a child, i remember reading that persian carpet makers would intentionally marr their rugs, if only by a stitch, to remind themselves that God is the only perfect creator. havelock ellis said that "the absence of flaw in beauty is in itself a flaw".
it's a lot more than just a killer album, isn't it?
Labels: arts, philosophy
4:26 pm ]
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Nostalgia sizzles. an old cupboard. inside, a box of toys. outside, a boy grown up. a treasure chest. matchbox cars. an air france bus. an orange soda truck. a maroon bentley with a white hood. a red lamborghini with yellow and black streaks. made in france. (not bad.) an orange matchbox car launcher. stick a car all the way in till it clicks. press the button. bang. instant home-made car wreck. an orange motorbike and a detachable red and blue rider. more matchbox cars. a black corvette and a white and red mazda. you can open the doors. so cool.
soldiers. toy soldiers. lots and lots and lots of green toy soldiers. standing. kneeling. crouching. some in attention. most at gunpoint. and then, cowboys. two horses. lots of cowboys. and lots of indians. cowboys and indians in different colours. mostly red but some are green and yellow and orange. blue indians. and then, mini robots. multi-coloured plastic robots with holes for lost limbs to be stuck into. strange rubbery aliens with cool rubbery spaceships. civilians. tiny normal people. about fifteen bottle caps. and a weird gardener action figure.
and then... m.a.s.k.
switchblade. miles mayhem's helicopter that turns into a jet plane. goliath. matt tracker's truck that carries his flying racecar. raven. a corvette that transforms into a seaplane. hurricane. a chevy that turns into a six-wheel tank. buzzard. a racecar that turns into two speeding motorcycles and a jet plane. and outlaw. sweet god, my favourite m.a.s.k. toy. my black oil tanker that turns into a missile-launching unit. the mechanisms mostly don't work anymore. the buttons don't respond. all the projectiles are gone. but they still look so cool. outlaw. i remember the day i came home with it.
and then... voltron.
golion. my five lion giant robot. one... two... three... four... wait. where's the green lion? treasure chest. rummage. rummage. i can't lose the green lion. plough. plough. there it is! all five. the blue one was always my favourite. voltron, 4/5ths assembled. i dismantle him. for the first time in decades - individual lions. some of their limbs have broken off. green lion has lost a hind leg. blue lion has lost his tail. black lion has lost a whole shoulder.
cars crash. aliens land. soldiers surround outlaw. a cowboy defends the oil tanker and guns down the entire army, the tanker rolls over the cowboy. the indians start hacking with their axes. spaceships swoop in. the voltron lions bite them. an alien terrorises the lions. cowboys are killed. indians are killed. the civilians enter the scene. they also get killed. a matchbox car launches into midair with an indian on the hood. both spin towrds the alien. boom! the car explodes. the indian dies. the orange motorbike does an elaborate motorcross flip from behind outlaw to enter the scene. but explodes. who else... who else... ah. the weird gardener action figure. he's holding a rake. hahaha! the voltron lions return. they form a grandiose throne for the gardener. (he looks like xerxes from 300!) all the toys form an aisle. on one end is the gardener on his lion throne. on the other end, the pink rubber alien. the gardener steps forward and twitches. the alien explodes. a yellow cowboy takes two bottlecaps and makes a casket for the alien. the gardener turns around and twitches. everything is destroyed.
i crouched there. on the floor. for one hour. playing with my old toys.
Labels: memory and nostalgia
1:03 am ]
Thursday, June 07, 2007
THE LITTLE SOLDIER
Forgive me father, for i have sinned. (actually, i'm not sure if it's a sin.)
i was labelling all my old posts when i realised how long it had been since i last posted anything remotely pertaining to god and christianity. december 22 would be the last time. i posted on my irrational fear of the wrath of god. what a way to go.
which of course begs the question, is there something wrong when a blog of a christian person, with a christian title no less, fails to actively engage the blockbuster main event of that very christianity? for six months. if i blog about the things that are relevant to where i am - friends, growing up, rueful rabbits - is it fair then to say that god has lost his place in my life?
i don't want to be a christian who runs through the motions. i also don't want to be a christian who bites off more than he can chew. if i've learned anything this year, it's that contrary to the ears of my peers, i don't in fact have such a big mouth. and i can't in fact chomp so far into this christian shepherd pie.
i was at new life last night and i was so inspired when ps lee choo put up pics of kaka in his 'i belong to jesus' tee shirt. i dunno, maybe it's a combination of both the european cup final defeat and my own ebbing faith being put to rest that's conjured some kind of weird affection towards right-sided leanings. i miss wearing my christian heart on my sleeve, coming on here and lambasting and getting riled up and actually, actually being a sod with more than a pipetdrop of passion. i wanna confess again.
screw misery. that's not what i became a christian for.
screw defeat. i'm sick of beating myself with a stick.
and screw cynicism. i want to be a little soldier again.
Labels: christianity, housekeeping
2:59 pm ]
Friday, June 01, 2007
WORDS THAT I LIKE
I've always had favourite words. but my favourite words have not always been my favourite words. sometimes they change. and sometimes i stop liking some words and i start liking some other new words. and then i start using them a lot. and i keep finding chances to use them. and then some of the stay. and the rest go away. fraulein maria had her own list of favourite words. she liked them because they made her feel not so bad. in a way, i'm just like her.
4:23 pm ]