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.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
MAKES ME WANNA SHOUT
Today, i wanna say that life with God is so much better.
i always hear them say it in church: "personal revival". corporate revival, national revival, all that grandiose mass return of orphans to their Father starts with each person getting revived inside for themselves.
today, i just don't know what else to say.
except perhaps that i am tasting first hand how good God is to those who set Him first. have i set Him first? i don't know. but like the subtitle of this blog alludes, i'm trying. for the first time in maybe years, i'm genuinely trying to not just set him first but to know what else is vying for number one and bring them down a rightful notch. will this exercise go down the same path as many previous attempts to, so to speak, "get it right"? maybe. maybe not. maybe i'll be trying all my life.
regardless, i want to thank God today for turning around a really monstrous technical problem i've been having for three weeks now. relapse after relapse had left me wrecked with frustration and what sometimes feels like defeat but, as i've recently been reminded, if God is for me who can be against me?
i don't know how right or wrong i've been in the past three, four days, but i know today that God is for me. there is no way, no chance that i could have surmounted some of my tech problems if God did not first move the right people into my path, and then personally get involved. and yes, i know, this is about as hopeful as my blog has been since its inception.
thank you sha.
thank you jon.
thank you kim.
thank you bob.
thank you thay.
thank you Jesus.
makes me wanna shout.
Labels: christianity, hope, survival
11:04 am ]
Monday, April 28, 2008
TO ANN, WHO SHOULD HAVE RECOVERED...
... from dengue. how are you? did i tell you that my mum bought me my own copy of mao's little red book? i know! i'm so happy!
3:29 pm ]
THE TOY SOLDIER'S LEGS
When i was young, i read a short story about two fellows who shared a toy soldier. it was a fine toy soldier, except that one of its legs was shorter than the other.
they sat down around the soldier and thought about what to do. the first fellow said "let's cut some off the other leg". the other fellow agreed. and so they cut some off the longer leg. as luck - or good storytelling - would have it, they ended up cutting too much off that leg.
so one leg was still shorter. just that it was now the other leg.
"what shall we do now?" the first fellow thought.
"i'll cut some off the first leg", the second fellow answered.
and so they cut some off the first leg. true to form, they cut too much off it, and the poor toy soldier still had one longer leg than another.
the story goes that by the time both legs were of the same length, there wasn't much leg left on either side of the soldier. and though he was now a stable soldier, he was also now a very short one.
today, i feel like that soldier.
Labels: memory and nostalgia, survival
10:12 am ]
Thursday, April 24, 2008
WHITE BREAD POWDER
...everywhere, like an addict.
4:14 pm ]
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
EVERY BLACK DAY HAS A SILVER LINING
my itunes isn't working.
my right foot isn't working.
jon-arne riise is a buffoon.
at least i'm on mc for three days.
6:51 pm ]
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
ON CRANKSHAFT AND CRANKY JARGON
Wikipedia, as i'm learning, can be a real pain with jargon. of course, with wiki, it's not wiki who's the pain, but the geeks who submit entries. still, nonetheless, a pain.Athalia
: the crankshaft is the long thing that turns the wheels
Labels: dialogue, language
11:42 am ]
Monday, April 21, 2008
TODAY I LEARNED ABOUT: THE V12 ENGINE
A V12 engine is an engine with 12 pistons. guess how many pistons a V8 engine has?
i've learned that the "V" in these engine names refers to the angle at which pairs of pistons are affixed, in a V-shape, to meet the crankshaft, which i'll assume for now is simply the part of the engine where all the pistons gather a few times every second to exchange biscuit recipes.
i also learned that the cylinders of the pistons are angled at anywhere from 60 to 120 degrees, or in some cases up to 180 degrees. now i don't know about you, but this kinda thing bothers me. how can 6 pairs of pistons meeting at an angle of 180 degrees to each other possibly qualify as a V? surely it's a 12, but certainly not a V. it should be like an I or something. you know?
nonetheless, such is the great and mysterious world of engine engineering lexicon. i'm a language person. i pick up on all the wrong things.learn something about everything and everything about something.
Labels: language, learning
5:22 pm ]
Friday, April 18, 2008
I want tiger. I want tiger now.
4:29 pm ]
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I SWEAR NOBODY IS PAYING ME TO DO THIS: ON BLOGLINES
Clock in. say hello. start up. get a hot drink. plonk down. start work? no. read news. yes. and then read blogs. :)
if you read lots of blogs, you may or may not know that having an rss feed reader will make your life a lot better. if you've never used one before, it works like this: subscribe to a feed reader. dump your blog urls one by one into the reader. and load it up daily. your reader will tell you when there are new posts in your subscribed blogs. the idea, as you can see, is that you can keep track of blogs without having to hit them daily.
i've been using google reader ever since i came into contact with this beautiful internet tool. and to be fair, google reader has served me well. it's got a clean google-looking interface and everything is jolly in an user-friendly kinda way.
but a few things drove me to find a new reader. in the great tradition of vanity that i can be capable of, it irked me that google reader could not - for some reason - subscribe to my own blog. what's worse, whenever i try to subscribe to GCB, it subscribes one of my friends' blogs. totally unrelated, totally illogical, but for some strange reason explainable only by 9-year-old tech geeks who see things nobody else can, it happens.
and so i've found myself this nice other home: bloglines. scrolling around is easier, the interface is cleaner, there are some really awesome keyboard shortcuts, and there's this delightful function that allows you to pull out an individual blog post and file it away in a folder full of your favourite clippings. just like attacking a newspaper with a pair of scissors.
i've fixed up all my subscriptions and put them into relevant folders (right now, it's just "friends" and "politics". i wonder if they'll ever merge). there are lots of other features to discover but i'll take my time on this one. my back's not fully turned on google reader yet. but i'm really quite in love with bloglines. and yes, i think you should use it too.to get your own bloglines rss reader, go to www.bloglines.com
5:15 pm ]
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Languages change and it's been a long time since the most common usage of the word cool
on the street has meant the state of moderately low temperature. but what does it really mean to be cool? is cool just being attractive? stylish? in keeping with fashion? happening? (now there's another word that needs a redefinition - happening!). i thought about this yesterday and arrived at a conclusion of sorts.
i think cool means credible.
when a 14-year-old says that a pair of sneakers is cool
, he is essentially saying that the shoes have some sort of cred. when a 27-year-old parishioner says that a particular preacher is not cool
, he is fundamentally calling into question that preacher's credentials.
cool cannot just be stylish or attractive. that's 'stylish' and 'attractive'. cool is cool. it's got less to do with how arresting something looks and more to do with what that arrest actually means when associated with the individual. cool is not just about beauty, it's about the meaning of beauty.
a person may have a great personality, all sorts of abilities and even look the part, and in fact he is probably a very cool person. but the necessary link lies in the dots that connect his attributes to my values. herein lies the credibility. a person can be described to me as cool. but they aren't cool until they're credible.
i don't know why, but i feel like taking this definition of cool out of the gen xes and gen ys and bringing it to the older adults. i want to do that so that older adults know that when a young person says that they like something because "it's cool", they're talking about a lot more than the superficial appearance of attraction. and when i say that someone is cool, it's really because something about them speaks to me.
i'm really happy about this thing that i've discovered. that's why i'm inviting your comment.
Labels: identity, language
10:24 am ]
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
ON MAGAZINES AND MEMORY
If memories could be canned, I hope this one will never expire. If an expiry date must be added onto it, let it be "10,000 years".
- Cop 223, Chungking Express
You know what makes me feel sad? a stack of magazines sitting by the door, waiting to be thrown out.
so much writing gets put into those magazines and so quickly they get chucked out. how long do you keep your magazines for? six months? a year? depends on the magazine, right? exactly my point.it saddens me when a lot of work gets put into a publication that expires, in what might just as well be, overnight. if i were to write, i would like to write things that last a long time. i'd like to write something that can be read years from its publication date and still be entirely readable. i decided a long time ago that this blog would be about ideas and not events, because i could never read my archives if i blogged about what happened everyday. and i'd never want an archive that i couldn't bare to read.
it saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting. like magazines. or newspapers. never to be referenced again. yes. stacks of magazines waiting to be recycled sadden me. but bookshelves make me happy.
Labels: melancholy, memory and nostalgia
4:57 pm ]
Monday, April 14, 2008
IN DEFENCE OF NOSTALGIA
I have never had much fondness for modernity. by and large, i find that the stuff of today is too temporary, and the stuff of tomorrow too speculative. i have thus, for the best part of my life, sought meaning from the backward glance we call nostalgia.
there's a lot more security in the past. things that have happened have happened. there's a sense of finality to them, but in that finality too lies a sense of eternity. an old coke bottle will outlive the coke bottles of today. it does so because it has died its death and now lives forever. perhaps i fear that death - that decay which renders the stuff of fashion unfashionable. perhaps i'm afraid of my own sense of style. and so i choose the best option available - to indulge in that which can no longer go out of fashion. or maybe it's something more. maybe it's some sincere unhappiness with the way the world is today. or maybe it's a phobia of the unceasing surge of our natural order in its linear and forward tangent.
two days ago, i bought myself a 1984 liverpool crown paints jersey. it's perhaps the definitive football jersey in my wardrobe. the crowning glory of my fandom. i've seen pictures of liverpool's new kits for next year. they don't really do much for me. it's interesting though. my excitement over my new old kit was met with the following conversation:
Fergus: Check this out man, Liverpool's 1984 jersey.
Tim: Cheh. Not nice lah.
but i swear, that shirt makes me feel a million bucks. so now i'm wondering. alan kennedy in that pic above has a moustache that also has retro written all over it. maybe it's something i can think about. together with that permed hair.
Labels: football, memory and nostalgia
4:15 pm ]
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
MAGICAL EUROPEAN NIGHTS
I know now more than ever that if i were to go to anfield for a game, it would not be for some league tie, a grudge match with man utd, or even a merseyside derby. if i ever get to go to anfield, it would be for one of these magical european nights.
nights where the roar is the loudest in europe - probably in all the world. where fans sing and cheer regardless of result. where opponents fear the cauldron of 50,000 red voices, howling from above.
i want to be part of that warcry.
8:56 am ]
Monday, April 07, 2008
THE MALAYSIAN DREAM II: THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED
Freud said that as we go through the early stages of life, we repress unpleasant things. these things have a way of creeping back, and sometimes, they show up as psychosis. he called this the return of the repressed. film academicians like to use freud to study horror films. they say that sequels are all about the return of the repressed.
now i'm not exactly going through a return of the repressed. but i'm facing a comeback that's in some small part cause for mild horror. yes, that 2.5-pronged bearded monster from the suburbs otherwise known to me as the malaysian dream has reared its head once more.
i promised myself last year that my life would never be the same again. i would live near the poor. i would stand by the discards of this world and share my food and shelter with them. i promised myself that i would live a life of revolutionary love expressed through identification with what the bible calls "the least among you".
why is it then that i catch myself lured back to the suburbs? is this temptation? if it is, i know now the very texture of that which creeps in to curtail a life of abandoned difference. it is predictability. security. normalcy.
can they coexist? i want to give my wife and kids a memorable life. a life that includes both the security of a family home and the counter-culture of identification with poverty. today, i'm asking myself:
how does one do it? how do you unshackle yourself from the trappings of suburban comfort and still give your future family the kind of life that is rich in learning, assurance and safety?
in horror films, you can kill the threat as many times as you like. there's always a last shot that tells you the threat is still there. today, i'm asking myself: is the malaysian dream like the threats in horror films? the kind that keeps coming back until you sign off on a 300,000 dollar house? maybe when i do that the sequel will end. it's like the final girl getting killed by the slasher. the final girl never gets killed by the slasher. she always escapes. she always survives.
today, i'm asking myself: will i always survive?
Labels: christianity, growing old, hope, identity
5:55 pm ]
Thursday, April 03, 2008
FIRST QUARTER RESOLUTION ASSESSMENT
A quick stop in front of the march mirror lets me assess my 2008 resolutions
. some are looking good and others have not taken off at all.1. send my laundry in every thursday or other practical day within a week of that thursday
the devil is in the details, and i would fail this resolution if by thursday, i actually meant "thursday". the laundry gets sent, it comes back and this happens a lot more frequently, partly because i've discovered the best laundry lady in selangor. her name is suzie and she picks up and drops off laundry at your doorstep.2. finish 8 booksanimal farm
came and went on the plane to gold coast, and persistent plugging away on my toilet reading eventuated with philip yancey's the jesus i never knew
reaching a close. i know, you're thinking that fergus shouldn't be reading jesus books in the toilet.3. meet vernon for dinner fortnightly
ok mate. i'm gonna have to pull out the pr machine, get the spin doctors in and hatch a plan that will put all the blame on you! (breaks into sad face for tv cameras.)4. exercise purposefully for 30 mins every week
fail. i tried taking the stairs at my apartment to match taking the stairs at church. of course, that lasted for a whole two weeks or less. there have been recent proposals to play badminton, tennis and futsal, all of which i've spurned without consideration.5. do my tenrox every friday when i don't feel like working
again, i didn't actually mean "friday" when i wrote that. my tenrox has been decent, unspectacular, but also not spectacularly bad. i've been emailing procurement and production scheduler faithfully on copy days.6. tithe properly
so far so good. and God's been listening too. in january, with the australia trip looming, i set aside x amount to tithe and told God i'll trust him to help me out till the next paycheck. my dad called a few days later and told me he had some aussie dollars to pass me. guess how much? x++7. produce and give away five oil or acryllic paintings
one out of five isn't bad. i painted something for mummy during cny and i was quite happy about it. was at a gallery the other day at the gardens and i think i'll spend quite a bit of the second half of this year painting in the weekends. i'm determined to make it 5/5 by christmas.8. go for prayer meet on non-cell weeks
fail. not a single one. not even during the election weeks. but alas, every cloud has a photogenic thingy about them. and praying has become less of a second nature for me this year.
and so, three months pass and another three will go by, possibly, before i can even arrest the delay in some of these resolutions. all in a day's living when you're ever the pessimist. but i'm happy with the first three months of this year. there are lots of other achievements elsewhere that are outside the scope of these resolutions. i'm happy with those too.
Labels: hope, housekeeping
11:38 am ]