November 28, 2004

It's amazing to see how a decade of separation brings about changes in people whom you were once close to. Yesterday's outing with my primary school friends brought back a torrent of memories, some good and some bad. But all in all, it's often both the good and the bad that shape our lives, memories and enjoyment. Despite the obvious changes to us in terms of physicality and mental maturity, it's enlightening to see that some old habits die hard. Xingxiang, for example, is still as boisterous and 'joker' though a tad bit mellowed. Aaron is still the same blur fellow who only wants to relax in one corner and not be disturbed. It's these little discoveries which lead me to believe that although the environment we live in may change and shape us to certain extents, who we are at the core of our being is primarily decided when we are born. In short, we are born as a certain character and nothing on Earth can fully deviate us from what we were born to be.

Nonetheless, it was wonderful to see all my old friends again and heartening to witness the bond we still shared even after such a long time. I think friendships forged in childhood and adolescence often become the ones that last the longest. As we sat down at Swensen's and recalled the many things we shared in primary school ; be it afternoon remedials with Madam Yap and enduring her nasty thwaps on our hand with the ruler or the time when a certain member of the class chose to use his seat for a toiletbowl and shit in his pants, they were all enjoyable to recount. Me? I'm just glad that I was once part of this class. Of the amalgam of different personalities and characters, we still made a awesome class to be in.

To the class of 1995, 6C, Pei Hwa Primary School : Thanks for the memories.

P.S. This is only one quarter of our entire class. Still searching for all those lost sheep out there!

Traveller fell apart at 2:01 PM

November 26, 2004

Remember what I said about giving Singaporean artistes a chance? I think I've been proven right. This song from Tanya Chua really encompasses every feeling and emotion you'd expect to feel in a bittersweet parting from a relationship. Listening to the song, you'd be hard pressed not to reminisce a time where the exact same thing happened to you. Beautiful song, and by a Singaporean.

Tanya Chua - I'll Remember You

Sorry wasn't good enough
A song without meter and rhyme
A long forgotten promise
I recalled I made to you
A candle flame dies in the wind
It looks like it's about to rain, about to rain

Spirals from your cigarette
Your sweet cologne on my pillow
Messages you left me still sing like some lullaby
Pretty pictures on the wall
Hopes in us will rise & fall, rise & fall

And in the rain
In summer days too
When the willow tree weeps too
Under the street light so bright
I'll remember you everyday

The plane leaves in an hour's time
Hold me till our last goodbye
Silence is the only sound
No words can speak it through
I'll breathe your breath for one last time
You'll be strong and so will I, so will I

And in the rain
In summer days too
When the willow tree weeps too
Under the street light so bright
I'll remember you
I'll remember you
I'll remember you

Beautiful, just mesmerizing. Time to start looking for the chords to this.

Traveller fell apart at 12:55 PM

November 24, 2004

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. 'He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,' is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to live, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine."

Thank you John Aldredge for that beautiful piece of wisdom.

Traveller fell apart at 5:11 PM

November 20, 2004

Before I go on about my rant, I'm happy to say that I've completed the 40 days of purpose campaign and that I've surprised myself. I've surprised myself with the discipline I've managed to muster in order to read one chapter a day for a period of 40 days, something I never thought I'd have the discipline to do. I've also surprised myself with the amount of spiritual growth garnered from this experience. It's truly been a rewarding and enriching experience and I'd highly recommend this book to all you budding Christians out there.

It's amazing what you find when you least expect it. I scanned my eyes across Life! section, hoping to find some entertainment for the night as I was feeling really bored and yes, I have no life on a Friday night. I came across this listing "Singapore Idol" and I thought to myself, what the hey? I'll try it out. I was tremendously surprised. Not only did the idol contestants perform their hearts out, they also had a certain stage charisma. I think the problem with us Singaporeans is that we judge TV programs and entertainment products solely on their country of origin and not on the intrinsic value. That's why so many of our own artistes find it hard to cut it back home and move overseas where they become huge stars. But anyway, I digress. As I was watching the final three contestants joust it out for a place in the final at the Indoor Stadium, I came to a realisation that the three of these contestants, were in fact, stereotype representations of different kinds of Singaporeans.

Firstly, Olinda. Olinda is your typical short-haired, fat and ugly butch. Granted, she may not have admitted to being a butch, but let's face it. That hair, those clothes and that style, who could mistake it? She embodies the hopes and dreams of lesbian women in Singapore who have been hurt by men before and want to get back at them by winning this competition in order to prove that "girl power" does indeed exist. Olinda has no looks whatsoever and would prove a challenge to marketing agencies if she does indeed win the competition. But to her credit, she has an extremely powerful voice and if this world were fair, she'd win this competition. Unfortunately, it's not and we all know it.

Then there's Taufik. Taufik embodies the hopes and dreams of Malays in Singapore who are striving to create an identity for themselves and to prove the racial stereotype of Malays as lazy and stupid as false. All the downtrodden, beat up minorities will surely root for him as they see Taufik as a projection of what they cannot be. Between Taufik and Sylvester, I'd say it's a tough fight, but I think Sylvester will edge it not through merit but by through sheer fact that he is Chinese.

Sylvester. The embodiment of the Chinese 'ah beng' and hero to the thousands of Chinese-speaking teenagers in Singapore. He carries the hopes and dreams of all the 'ah bengs' in Singapore who always wanted to take part in a singing competition but found out that Singapore Idol was English-only. His dyed, frizzy hair and long thin legs give him a look which isn't uncommon to what I see on Orchard Road every week. He definitely can't sing either, from what I've seen so far and the only thing that's carrying him through this competition is the immense support he's garnered from the naive and stupid teenage girls chanting and hanging onto every word he utters.

My verdict? Sylvester to take it, with Taufik coming in a close second. Sorry lesbian women, there is no chance in hell you guys are going to make a statement this time round.

And really, we should start giving local productions a chance. SOME of them are really credible.

Traveller fell apart at 10:38 AM

November 17, 2004

Becoming A World-Class Christian

So I'm back home and yet, somehow, the excitement has wittled down. Interestingly enough, the first thought that flashed across my mind wasn't about how much I've missed my bed, my home or my friends. It was "Where am I?" It's shocking really. What a couple of months in Melbourne has done to me, both mentally and spiritually. I just figure it's likely that I'll start missing Melbourne by Christmas time.

Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm doing a summer semester during these holidays. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm in a constant state of feeling like melting from the heat and humidity that Singapore has to offer. All I do know, is that something within me has shifted. Priorities have switched, focuses have changed, it's different somehow. And with all these changes taking place in the back of my mind, it's inevitable some of them spill over into my life.

We'll see just what they are in the months to come.

Traveller fell apart at 4:23 PM

November 07, 2004

Accepting Your Assignment

Have you ever been touched so deep down or have something impressed so strongly in your heart that you find that you are unable to shrug it off no matter what you do? Suddenly, I feel a calling. Like God is asking me to spread the Good News, because only through Him will any of us find happiness or joy in our lives. No, not that temporary respite of happiness when you get a raise in your salary. No, not that short-term spurt of excitement you get when you ace your exams. I'm talking about eternal joy, peace and love within your heart. I'm talking about that soothing warm feeling you get even when the odds are against you and the world seems to turn its back on you. When the chips are stacked heavily against you, you still manage to draw out that inner peace and calm that only God can provide. When everything goes wrong and you still manage to draw lessons from the mishap, be thankful and mindful of God's grace.

I long to find that joy and love that Jesus possessed to die on the cross for all our sins and I must admit, it will be a lifelong journey and battle for it. But in the meantime, wouldn't it be good to share this little slice of heaven which I've inherited deep in my heart with everyone I know and love? It sounds easier than it seems though. But what I do know, and hold a strong conviction, is that people need the Lord. Behind all the fake smiles and pretense, everyone nurses a hurt or a wound which only God can heal. And I'm willing to share with everyone, if only they would open their heart.

Ray Boltz - People Need The Lord

Everyday they pass me by,
I can see it in their eye.
Empty people filled with care,
Headed who knows where?

On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear.
Laughter hides their silent cries,
Only Jesus hears.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize -- people need the Lord?

We are called to take His light
To a world where wrong seems right.
What would be too great a cost
For sharing life with one who's lost?

Through His love our hearts can feel
All the grief they bear.
They must hear the words of life
Only we can share.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize that we must give our lives,
For people need the Lord.
People need the Lord.

Yes, they do. Beyond the pride and suffering, we all need the Lord.

Traveller fell apart at 11:44 PM

November 06, 2004

It Takes Time

The footsteps on the gravel were not hard to miss. Calculated and yet hesitant, the crackling sound soon gave way to a gradual louder one. The figure began digging deeper into the pathway, hoping to somehow slow himself down on this pathway to certain mishap. His mind was split in two. All his life, he had been ignored by his parents, his peers and his friends in church. Yet, he knew what he was about to do was a sin, punishable by eternity in the burning embers of Hell. Hell? What was hell? It certainly felt as if hell was here on earth, where no one knew he existed, no one cared whether he failed his exams, no one wanted to have anything to do with his life.

He had obtained his mid-term results from school and they weren't good. Half-expecting a hiding from his father, he returned home through the back door. And yet, when he did muster up the courage to tell, there was no reaction. No shouting. No screaming. Nothing. Just a casual nod and nonchalant shrug of the shoulders. Did his father not care that he had not done well in school? That he was set on the path to self-destruction? Apparently not. And so it had been for the most part of his life, he'd done things to gain attention and had failed at every step of the way.

It wasn't only his father. His friends in school seemed not to acknowledge that he existed. A party which went on and involved his entire class only came to his knowledge when he was passing by Billy Tyler's house and saw his friends on the lawn posing for pictures. Even the wise cracks and practical jokes he played on the geeks in school did not serve to earn him popularity points. No one cared. No one laughed. No one bothered.

A rumble on the ground on which he stood jerked him from his deep contemplation. It was time to face his destiny and to embrace his fate. There was no better way surely. He needed to do something which would finally attract everyone's attention, even if it meant that he would not be around to see it. He needed to find release from the pain he had been through. The pain most people found themselves unable to empathize with. The pain of rejection and apathy.

With his eyes shut, he stepped out onto the tracks and the last thing he saw, was the approaching headlights of a west-bound train.

Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's f**ked up and everything's all right
Check my vital signs to know I'm still alive
And I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk

I walk alone, I walk a...

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk a..
My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone.

Traveller fell apart at 1:51 AM

November 04, 2004

Growing Through Temptation

Well, well. What do you know? Guess who's back in the White House for another term? Thank God Americans were wise enough to vote for the only man that I feel currently, has the nerves of steel and resolve to lead America and the world through the crisis of global terrorism.

Welcome back, Dub-ya.

And let's hear from him this morning, when he delivered his acceptance speech. Take it away George.

"Thank you all. Thank you all for coming. We had a long night -- and a great night. The voters turned out in record numbers and delivered an historic victory.

Earlier today, Senator Kerry called with his congratulations. We had a really good phone call, he was very gracious. Senator Kerry waged a spirited campaign, and he and his supporters can be proud of their efforts. Laura and I wish Senator Kerry and Teresa and their whole family all our best wishes.

America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens. With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans, and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your President.

There are many people to thank, and my family comes first. Laura is the love of my life. I'm glad you love her, too. I want to thank our daughters, who joined their dad for his last campaign. I appreciate the hard work of my sister and my brothers. I especially want to thank my parents for their loving support.

I'm grateful to the Vice President and Lynne and their daughters, who have worked so hard and been such a vital part of our team. The Vice President serves America with wisdom and honor, and I'm proud to serve beside him.

I want to thank my superb campaign team. I want to thank you all for your hard work. I was impressed every day by how hard and how skillful our team was. I want to thank Marc -- Chairman Marc Racicot and -- the Campaign Manager, Ken Mehlman. And the architect, Karl Rove. I want to thank Ed Gillespie for leading our Party so well.

I want to thank the thousands of our supporters across our country. I want to thank you for your hugs on the rope lines; I want to thank you for your prayers on the rope lines; I want to thank you for your kind words on the rope lines. I want to thank you for everything you did to make the calls and to put up the signs, to talk to your neighbors and to get out the vote. And because you did the incredible work, we are celebrating today.

There's an old saying, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks." In four historic years, America has been given great tasks, and faced them with strength and courage. Our people have restored the vigor of this economy, and shown resolve and patience in a new kind of war. Our military has brought justice to the enemy, and honor to America. Our nation has defended itself, and served the freedom of all mankind. I'm proud to lead such an amazing country, and I'm proud to lead it forward.

Because we have done the hard work, we are entering a season of hope. We'll continue our economic progress. We'll reform our outdated tax code. We'll strengthen the Social Security for the next generation. We'll make public schools all they can be. And we will uphold our deepest values of family and faith.

We will help the emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan -- so they can grow in strength and defend their freedom. And then our servicemen and women will come home with the honor they have earned. With good allies at our side, we will fight this war on terror with every resource of our national power so our children can live in freedom and in peace.

Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans. So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.

Let me close with a word to the people of the state of Texas. We have known each other the longest, and you started me on this journey. On the open plains of Texas, I first learned the character of our country: sturdy and honest, and as hopeful as the break of day. I will always be grateful to the good people of my state. And whatever the road that lies ahead, that road will take me home.

The campaign has ended, and the United States of America goes forward with confidence and faith. I see a great day coming for our country and I am eager for the work ahead. God bless you, and may God bless America."

The people have spoken, and they have chosen. Kerry supporters, live with it.

Traveller fell apart at 1:45 PM

November 02, 2004

How We Grow

I'm beginning to think that there's more than meets the eye to Osama bin Laden. An article in CNN clearly brought his intentions and extremely sound strategy to the forefront of world issues.

Osama plans to bankrupt United States

A very sound and intelligent strategy if you ask me. As we speak, the military equipment and rebuilding funds provided from the United States to Iraq and Afghanistan are borrowed loans. The United States itself owes over US$1 trillion to external debts and clearly does not have the economic muscle to sustain this war on terror which looks to be a big drain on financial resources. The fallacy of the American economy many have been led to believe is that it is unfallible and strong enough to sustain a continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is certainly not the case. How much more can Americans be taxed and be ordered to pay for the war on terror? And yet, even though it seems too costly an endeavour to uphold, it is an important endeavour to ensure continuity.

Why do I say that? We cannot allow terrorists to walk freely and get their way on whatever they want. Do you honestly believe that all they want is for America to leave their shores and to leave them alone? Preposterous. Once they've gotten what they want, they will only open their jaws larger and attempt to swallow up the surrounding regions of the Middle East. What they want is not their own freedom but to deprive others of it. What they hate is the 'free' lifestyle that so many people lead which is in direct opposition to their frugal and impoverished lifestyle. Having said that, what is the real problem here I see? The fact that few or no countries are supporting America in the war on terror. Germany and France and several other European countries have turned their noses up at America's calls for assistance both militarily and financially. Pride has overcome Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac, rendering them unable to forget America's snub at them in the pre-Iraqi war argument. Little do they realise that once the terrorists are done with draining America dry, they will turn their eyes on The E.U. But of course, that is of no concern to Chirac and Schroeder, all they want is to show Bush that he's not the 'boss'. Childish, if you ask me.

Osama also plans to divide America politically and socially. Very smart move.

Osama warns United States

He's now narrowing down threats to specific states and threatening to target those states which vote for George Bush. This will no doubt cause widespread panic amongst those who fear for their lives. People will begin to vote out of fear not out of conscience and rationality. Despicable but effective. My only hope is that key states which are embroiled in this political saga will not swing their vote simply because of the threats of one deranged Islamic fanatic. Kerry is simply too weak as a President to take over and ensure the safety and security of not only the United States, but also the world. So to any American who reads this, please, for not only the sake of the United States of America, but also the sake of the world which depends on US hegemony to survive, please do place your vote for George W. Bush. He may not be a perfect President, but in this situation, he is definitely the better candidate to continue the war on terror. If he wasn't really causing much problems for Osama, why would Osama actually bother to record a video specifically encouraging Americans to vote for John Kerry? Bush must really be doing some huge damage to Al Qaeda for Osama to make such an effort.

So please, for everyone's sake, I will be praying tonight for a George W. Bush victory in the polls. If not, God save us from the fundamentalist tide. I wait, in nervous anticipation.

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any state that does not attack us will not be attacked." - Osama bin Laden

Traveller fell apart at 11:33 PM

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