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I choose you (John 15:16)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Eerily, everything screams that God is real.

I made up my mind to go for our Cathedral’s 13th year dedication tonite at 8 pm on Jan 20. Thirteen years ago, I did not join in the huge celebration when our church was upgraded to become a Cathedral. I was on bed rest. I was pregnant with Matthew and was going thru RCIA (a year of soul searching and learning before one can become a Catholic). My previous pregnancy ended at 28 weeks due to placenta praevia (the placenta detached and I bled).

Then when I had Matthew, I had pre-eclampsia where my blood pressure shot up sky high. So I had to be on bed rest. He was born 36 weeker. Anyway, I never like huge celebrations and all the rituals. So I didnt miss much. I get to ponteng RCIA as well LOL.

This morning, I was a little emo. Then, all was ok. Then, when I got to church, I saw the awesome cross beaming in the dark sky. So I took a photo. When I was about to get into church, I decided to be nice and held the door for some elderly folks to enter as the door is very heavy and they had walking sticks. Four of them. Slow slow walk, so I decided to post the photo.

And I just blurted out that I was there because of Vincent. And I knew if there is that moment when God asked me to choose if I would go through the same pains I had gone thru having given birth to Vincent and only to lose him, would I do it? And I had said to myself before, I would. I would go thru the pain because it was that 7 months when he was alive and the months after that when I grieved his loss, I learned to live.

It was Vincent that I turned to Christianity and the belief of resurrection. It is only after Vincent that I had Matthew and treasured my role as a mother and the preciousness of our children.

By the time I finished typing my FB status, uncles all gone in, after thanking this Jaga Pintu Lilian. I was totally emo by then at the entrance hymn. My tears splashed on the pew but it is ok. Cos not many people in the church. What do I care, anyway.

Bishop Sebastian celebrate mass. I love Bishop Seb cos his homily is short, short, short. And I could typed out whatever he said in my Note on my phone. Nevermind that I could feel people cursing I am playing with my phone, but again what do I care anyway.

Bishop Seb talked about the five arrows on his coat of arms. Love, Truth, Beauty, Freedom , Sacrifice. He wants us to remember these 3 things – discipleship, mission and mercy. Be Missionary disciple of mercy.

The reading on David fighting Goliath gave me new perspective. No longer it is the kid’s bible version but I see myself as the young, ill-equipped David who fought with the assurance that God is with me.

And oh boy, had I fought with all the demons and tyrants and nonsense through these 13 years. In the church, out of the church and everywhere.

Maybe the difference is I dont get to actually chop off anyone’s head like David did to Goliath.

Anyway, after fighting back the first torrential tears, I was ok. Then, the lyrics on Everytme we eat this bread hit me. It was John 15:16. That was my deciding moment. 13 years ago, I was hesitating if I am going to be baptised with my four sons because frankly, I dont like Christians. I was struggling if I can stand this life as a Christian. And John 15:16 told me that I didnt choose Christ, Christ chose me.

Then, at the closing hymn, my dam broke again. “May these tears be turned into dancing” And I was like…oh man….you think the tears are easy tears? No…it was the hardest tears. But heck, I did overcome.

It is only some days, which are very rare nowadays that I could cry. And I could laugh too.

Glad that I didn’t ponteng church today. Cos the dedication meant a lot to me as it is always the celebration of having Matthew. He is going to be 13 years on Feb 28.

Imaginary partner

Few days ago, I caught up with my former colleague. In our conversation, somehow ballroom dancing cropped up.

Her boyfriend who teaches ballroom dancing suggested I take up ballroom dancing since I Zumba.

My immediate response was, “Cannn…you go find a man for me lah.”

Colleague and I had long time ago, done some crazy stuffs together. That include dancing on stage during our company’s annual dinner. Fake boobs and all.

Then, I specified what kind of dancing partner they need to find for me. Must be at least 6 feet 2 inches, must not have some wife around because I do not want to get slap unnecessary and must be strong because I am heavy LOL.

My colleague told me when she first started ballroom dancing, she danced alone and with imaginary partner.

Well, I told her I don’t want. I want real one. Must be handsome too or else when the face and cheek get too close, geli pulak.

Looking at the criteria I want, I suppose ballroom dancing is not going to happen in this lifetime.

As I am writing this, I have Psy playing in the background (no thanks to someone on FB sharing his Daddy video). Definitely someone looking like Psy also does not qualify too.

So how now? I will never get to dress in those slithery bling bling gowns and wear those 6 inches heels with diamonds.

But what if I really want to at least try it once in my life before I get arthritis or rheumatism? Calculating the chances, I think I have to risk getting slapped by some random woman on the road, huh?

2016 started with a bang

I am pretty insane lately. But I am also a lot happier, a lot less constipated with what used to be normal life.

I started the New Year 2016 doing bizzare things like cycling to work. I had an assignment at the Esplanade and I woke up at 630 am to drive to Karpal Singh Drive and left my car there so that I could bring my bike and cycle a short stretch to town.

Getting into town in the early morning was easy. Getting out in the afternoon took more courage because I need to use regular roads with lots of cars and obstructing, bumbling, curious tourists.

If that’s not insane enough, I cycled to Telok Bahang and back the following Sunday. I didn’t expect I could finish but I did.

Then, the following week, I cycled to Kedah. And took a lorry or two to complete my adventure. It wasn’t that hard to cycle and it was a lot hotter and tougher to hang on a lorry with a box of bananas, a bunch of young men and women for an hour.

Just now, I found out that out of the 1,000 cyclists, there were only 84 female riders. And I am one of the female. Insane.

Then again, the achievement is priceless. Knowing that I have the guts to stand tall amongst those professional cyclists without freaking out is a top of the world feel.

Well, I am a lucky girl. I have some supportive friends who said I can. And I could.

The journey from Autocity to Kampung Terap, Kedah (where I stopped my journey) taught me many things. One of them is to focus on the road and my own safety. From before sunrise when it was dark to the break of dawn to the glorious morning, I was all alone on the road. I learned that I could strive out on my own and survived and not lost my way.

The other thing is how strong my will is. Along the road, when I lost the groups as I was slow. So I had many people asking me if I want to give up and take the lorry. Instead, I told the lorry driver from MPSP I am from Buletin Mutiara and I am going to keep cycling. Knowing where I am from, they stopped tailing me with the lorry.

Then, came the Red Crescent. And then, the police manning the traffic lights and junction. Everybody either asked if I am the last (how do I know lah) or if I want to carry on or take the lorry. It is kinda insulting but no, I did not allow my ego to be dented because I know for a fact that I am wayyyy below those professional riders. But I am still the best of those who did not try.

Barely half a month of January 2016, I had done those three crazy rides. It is really out of my comfort zone but sometimes, it is so refreshing to be helpless, scared, worried because thats when my survival skills kicked in and I pushed harder.

So far, I had signed up for two half marathons. I had never attempted even one but I had paid good money for two. I figure it is a small price to pay for the thrills of trying something I am not sure if I can achieve.

It keeps me focused. It keeps me fearful so that I can seek the guts within me. I think I would be miserable if I keep to the safe zone and live for the sake of living.

Now I have to spend energy to do things, mind focus on doing them and time to plan. I got no time to be angry with some people. I got no time to mull over things that displeased me. Cos when I was on the road, or on the verge of venturing out, Christ is what I seek to calm me.

These body shaming business

So I was reading some news about Carrie Fisher blasting her body shamers.

In case you do not know, body shaming is about people telling you that you are fat, you are ugly, you are not beautiful, you are old etc. And now a pack of very angry folks will bite your neck and tear you to pieces if you so much dare to do this body shaming.

Well, I had been thinking about this for a while. Though I have no daughters, I sometimes come across young girls who have very insecure feelings about their looks.

For one, I grew up with almost all negative inputs than any positive ones. Too thin, too this, too that. Back then, there was no social media, no women magazines and at least, I did not have that ideal image to live up to. Still, those negative inputs must have caused a lot of damages.

Then again, I was quite the tough kid so I had pretty good confidence of myself, or maybe over egoistic to make up for those negative inputs? Whatever…

Now, the scary thing is people are so into anti-body shaming. So they made it like it is so right to be obese. It is not. It is damaging to the health. It is not cool to continue to be obese just to prove that you are confident. Yes, now they have a lot of plus size women to model. But ultimately, we shouldn’t be making overweight and obese a fashion.

As a parent, if my kid laments he is fat or something, I will get him to talk about it. What is he going to do about it? Will he start to eat less? Will he change his eating habits? Shall we increase the physical activities?

I don’t know but I am quite sure that boys had it easier than girls. When I see the girls above 15 years and still continue with unhealthy eating, unhealthy image of themselves (i.e. refused to have their photos taken) and have bad fashion sense, I will secretly hope they will find an adult they can rely on (sadly, mothers arent very good motivators) to help them to change their habits.

It is bad to body shame others. But it is also bad when the person lives in denial because in the long run, the journey to return to healthier lifestyle is too hard to make a U-turn.

So if you are a young girl with a hard time dealing with your baby fats or whatever they call your extra weights, deal with it. Don’t get into unhealthy habits of diets but instead, eat less, eat more vegetables, get sweaty and physical and you will be able to see the difference.

And if you are being told you are old, you are fat, you are ugly, you are weak and useless, all the more to take charge of your life and start moving too.

As for Carrie Fisher, I think she should realise that she is in Hollywood and not Winnie The Pooh.

Trying to do the cliche thing of Writing Resolution

Was sieving through my old blog posts from way back in 2004 to find out when I stopped writing resolutions. I suppose I stopped when I reached 40. Now approaching 52, I can say F-that-shit!

For one, I know that I am a reckless person and I love doing things impromptu. I have no discipline and hence, I would break every single law and rule, what more silly resolutions.

However, I am blessed with determination and steadfast focus so if I am into something, I will pursue it till the end. So that recklessness somehow is balanced by that steel will of mine.

Still, it is good for me to list down the things that I think I should be doing in 2016.

1. I will continue to be a catechism class teacher though I dread spending Saturday afternoons talking to 13 years old about Adam, Eve, Noah, Jacob, Abraham bla bla bla till the Holy Spirit appeared in the New Testament eleven months later. I will do it because I think the Catholic church is too churchie and filled with too many well-read, learned people. The kids need an easy-going, God will love you no matter what person who is convinced that Jesus is for real but we need to know all of Jesus’s ancestors.

2. Out of vanity and ego, I am going to stick to my health regime. Of course, health wise I know my broody, grumpy, moody physician won’t get to nag me ever, again. It is my stupid mistake to find a physician thin as stick who preached losing weight all the time because he cannot put on any. So yeah, for him and for vanity, I know I will run a half marathon, or maybe a dozen. I will ride my bicycle sometime.

3. Today, I was caught in another blardy jam that snaked all the way to right where I park my car. It is unbearable. Who the hell get jammed right in their own car park? People like us who work in Rapunzel Tower. So while I was cursing the car who knocked into mine, I actually had a vision of myself cycling to work. Yeah, sort of like how God appear in those Hollywood movies where a vision appeared. Bright light, picture appeared. Now, all I need is a tiny minuscule bike which I can stuff into my Axia. Then I can give traffic jam the middle finger and ask all those stuck in their car to kiss my bike’s ass.

4. For someone who gets hopeless lost all the time, I think I want to try travelling alone. Going on holiday somewhere all by myself. I must do this. Enough of going with boyfriends, kids, husband….lets do it with myself, me, I.

5. I am going to be 52. Once upon a time, I thought 52 is like some dried prune old lady. The kind with rheumatism, ugly baggy flowery dress, droopy breast….. I suppose I am not doing too bad in that department, I mean look wise. I mean I am not some cranky aunty with bad taste in fashion. So yeah, blue jeans and white t-shirts still look good on me. Therefore, stick to looking good, feeling good.

6. Oh there is one thing that I want to achieve in 2016. I want to piss more people off. I have enough of ‘enduring’, being nice, being polite, being socially acceptable. Some people deserve it, so let me do the dirty job of telling them off. Or I will just stay away.

7. Be nice. Oh wait, did I say I want to be mean and bitchy on #6? But why changed my mind? No. I am only going to be bad to those who deserve it. But the rest of the world needs love, need affirmation, need a smile, need a comforting pat, need a hug, need kind words. So I will be nice to those in need.

I think the above seven are good enough to keep me anchored for 2016. Hopefully I will come back on 31 Dec 2016 and proudly claim that I had done all 7.

Getting melancholy over the year end

Somehow, 2015 has been good to me. So here I am feeling all melancholy that it is coming to an end.

Health wise, everyone has been good. Thank God for that protection because as a mom, the most worrying thing is the safety and health of my children.

Finance wise, we have never been poor because we do not need much and again, we have enough. With the dropping MYR, our travel plans are limited only the neighbouring countries. Still we had some nice holidays.

Maybe one of the highlights of the year is my class reunion. That shall go down as one of those things you put a closure to. Though it has been nice to catch up, I found out that friendships should just stay that way. Far away and close at heart. I found that it is boring after a while trying to remain social on a daily basis. And hey, I left the Whatsapp group after I find it tiring having folks picking on ‘my boss’. If they don’t get it that I am who I am, and not who I work with, then, let’s move on and not piss me over the smallest matter. Like pointing out that ‘my boss’ is not a Penangite when my whole intention was to show a world champion badminton player.

My 51st birthday left some really memorable stuffs that are best left unsaid, unknown but nevertheless, one of those things that I can look back one day and die with a smile.

As at today, I had completed 164 sessions of exercise. This is one thing that I had never expected. I had lost a lot of weight, got stronger and more active. This is the biggest achievement.

I had ran. I had ridden. I had Zumba-ed. I had earned medals. And I am going for further distance.

Age has taught me to be less docile. I hate liars and hypocrites. I hate whinney people I hate boastful people. I had naggy people. And through 2015, I had probably pissed off many people in these categories. Enough of putting up with their idiosyncrasy and their pain-in-the-butt. Screw it, I don’t care anymore.

Church wise, I have quite a ‘questioning’ time. This year, I am less churchie and I know when to say no and when to stay away when I cannot commit. Glad that I have many times questioned God. Glad that despite of all the ‘down time’, I bounced back.

Work wise, I managed to stay out of big trouble. LOL. Actually I am beginning to like this civil service thing. They give you all sorts of training and it is up to us whether to absorb and improve. I can look back and claimed I was the best English public speaker, I almost won the best English speller except they gave me a Latin legal term. Cheat eh, where can give Latin when it is English hor? Anyway, I happily lose to Carol, my emcee friend.

So, what does 2016 has in store for me? I don’t know. Just remain gentle and calm. I don’t ask for prosperity. I don’t ask for success. I don’t ask for fame. Just let me live day by day with a purpose in life. May God make me a useful instrument in His great big plan.

25 hours in my daily life

It is 11.25 pm. I am lying in my aircond bedroom. The clothes are drying. I have a pot of too-tor thng, cooked. And there is a chicken in brine (i.e. seasoning chicken for roasting by soaking it in flavoured water) and another half chicken seasoned with spices which can be fried. Dinner for tomorrow and the day after are pretty much settled.

I had gone to work. Covered issues on housing, and how Penang is marginalised. I took it upon myself to make sure that whatever the exco member expressed are printed in my story. People needs to know the truth.

I have also gone for Zumba. It is great to sweat after a whole week of being trapped in haze.

Today, I also signed up for a Penang Second Bridge ride. And I am currently contemplating signing up for a tristate ride by mentally preparing myself to ride the lorry.

My kid just entered some dates into my calendar. I look at my November calendar and it is quite scary.

I also just confirmed I am going to sign up for another round of Lose that 5 kgs challenge.

May I also remind myself that I have confirmed my interest to take up a course on pastoral care and that will eat into my weekends too.

But I suppose things will sort themselves out when the time comes.

I get very agitated when other women lamented about how busy they are, how they do not have time for themselves, how they need to do certain things and that sort of take up their whole life. Of course, who am I to tell them to STOP! Focus on yourself, your own life and love yourself. But that’s what they need to do.

I realised that when I am happy, I can achieve so much more. It doesnt take much to make me happy with things in life. I do not know if I set my happiness level too low or people are blinded by too much things they seek.

Today I am happy there is a new curry mee stall at our Nam Hong kopitiam. I am happy to eat cheesecake at Jen Hotel during our press conference. I am happy to drink hot chocolate with my 3 sons. Mind you, we ordered ONE cup of hot chocolate LOL and that’s it. I am happy to whatsapp with a dear friend. I am happy that I managed to cook, zumba, work and took the courage to sign up for cycling and running events. So yeah, one life, live it.