Adios, 2016

The year is almost coming to an end.

I have a bag of medals that I have earned. Whether it is running, cycling or some other activities.

I have a stash of money that I have somehow did not spend. Though my salary is not much, I am glad that I did not spend much either and have some left.

I have thousands of photos that I had snapped along the way, daily to remind me that I have a privileged life. It may not be luxurious or very special but I have fun living daily. Not a day passed by when I felt too sad or too depressed to take a picture.

Life has been good to me. Nothing to worry health wise. Never went a day short of money.

Minor worries and lousy stuffs did happen but nothing that affected me.

Travel wise, been to Hanoi, up the hills in Sapa and Hokkaido. So again, I am blessed to be able to travel with my family and my adult sons.

My BFF said I narcisstic and never keep any frens for long. I reminded him I had frended him like 6 years, so shut up. But yeah, some ladies are very hard to keep as friends. Women tend to think too much, puak puak (or tribal) too much. So fren-wise, didn’t make much difference to me if I have a host of friends or not. Still, I got two who stand my nonsense, emo and perangai. So yeah, thankful for that too.

Church wise, I didn’t ponteng church too much. I still have the vigour to serve, doing little things. Never like to do big things because I believe Christ is also laidback, cincai and low profile.

Work wise, I am blessed too. Had been given tough situation but I handled them well. I think the hardest task this year was when I was left behind in Komtar while the MACC took away my Chief Minister. I was like What now? What do I say? And glad I have the foresight to find the right words to update for him. It was See you tomorrow or something like that. I knew the whole world is looking at his update so it was very very tough.

And my scariest moment was when I was shoved into the room where there was a closed door meeting. That moment when it really dawned on me that the MACC is serious in taking him away. No time to feel fearful nor tearful but my hands did shake a lot.

So, I can stand tall, look back at 2016 and said it has been good to me. Oh except one silly episode when I went to a park and cried and cried over a decision I made. But that has been solved when someone said sorry.

Oh another episode of cried and cried because partly due to fatigue, partly due to unwinding of scary shits that I did not have time to digest.

So yeah, bye bye 2016. Thank you for being good to me.

And welcome 2017, I am ready to fight come what may. Elections? Court case? Fats? Wateva, I will fight it all. And I will live life to the fullest.

I almost achieved all my 2016 resolution. Except for travelling solo.

A weekend well spent

This morning, I was almost in tears when I read some of the affirmation notes from Form 2 & 3. I was touched because they had written really sincere feelings. Never expect these from them as I was expecting cliches stuffs. I am glad that I had taken my time to write each a personal note as well.

It is now almost 9 pm and I finally get to rest my feet, tucked in bed in my aircond bedroom. I still have to go dry my clothes, ie transfer the wet ones to the dryer. Two batches more to go. So not entirely the ‘I am free for the weekend.’

One of the girl said how I have continued to talk to her though I am no longer her teacher. I am glad the students know that when I said I love them in class, I really mean it. When I assure them I am open, and never take me as their mother figure, I also mean it.

After so many psychology and counselling courses I attended, I know that I cannot fit into the mother-figure role because I am not the regular woman. I want the youths to know that I don’t use the same benchmark other parents use on them.

Often youth faces problem because of this parental-child issues. I take pride that in the past, youths and young adults who faced problems did turn to me. So yeah, when I read the affirmation notes from the 14 and 15 years old, I know they don’t see this aunty with expectations for please thank you but like I said to them, Life sucks, deal with it.

So, this weekend was very hectic. On Saturday, I spent 9-5 in church and managed to share about Growth with the youths. Then, I rushed home and went for cycling at night.

I am glad that someone threw me into the deep end of the ocean a while back and now, fun rides like last night was just a simple cycling. That’s how I deal with life, find the most difficult one and just jump in and stay afloat. He now declared I am a veteran rider.

That is a big boost of confidence to me. Next Sunday, I have triathlon which involved 800 m of swimming, 24 KM of cycling and 7 KM of running. Now that I am certified as a veteran rider and I had achieved 21KM, the riding and running do not scare me. I just need to remember to keep my sugar level high.

However, the swimming part still worries me. I need to calm my mind and imagine my imaginary coach telling me 800m is only 8 U-turns and just U-turn without trying to flip. Now, I U-turn by standing straight and then, lurch forward.

So, I got home from the cycling at night, about to sleep to prepare for a morning ride with some friends. However, work fell on my lap. And again, Sunday is a working day.

An extraordinary working day because it was one whirlwind of the mind and fingers working while coordinating with a team of colleagues. I am so glad everything went well and I am proud of being able to save the world, once again LOL.

Passing by the Batu Lancang market, I decided to play the domesticated housewife and went marketing. Cook whatever I fancy eating and that turned out to be five dishes. I am amazed how I can cook so easily, so fast and so tasty. Must be my good Hainanese genes.

As if that is not enough, I even went to Zumba. Yesterday, before the cycling, I also jumped in to Zumba. Now if I heard Zumba music, I must start jumping LOL.

Zumba has done great things for me. Without it, I wont have the muscles and staminas to do other things. So yeah, it is going to be a killer week because I got to complete my work as I am going to Langkawi on Thursday till Saturday.

Sunday I am going to jump into the pool and trust God. Just like how Jesus told Simon (or is it Peter? Hmm….) to get down from the boat and walk on water, or is it walk from the beach…hmmm…I am so bad with Bible stuffs but never mind, I have faith that whatever things I do, God is with me.

The eclipse we allowed in our lives

My Facebook Timeline and my Whatsapp groups (which I have MUTED FOR A YEAR LOL) are filled with the eclipse of the sun this morning.

I was like yawnnnn…I had seen before. Nothing new, let’s move on. I was a little emo by it, actually. Cos I remembered an eclipse many years ago and I remembered a person. I mean, how could I forget that awesome ‘OH LOOK! The dog ate the sun, there is no sun’ moment but instead who was there watching an eclipse with me?

So, anyway, I brushed off that part. I played the song Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. The stupid song that got me even more emo. No, it is not about past love or whatever nonsense many of you may be thinking of. But it is about past friendship and how some of them stayed with us in the heart but not in the physical realm.

This time around, I see that many people had the eclipse of the sun in photographs. So, I got a song for everything. Then I played Ed Sheeran Photograph. And I think photographs take away all the magic in life.

I mean, if I have the last eclipse sometimes in late 80s or early 90s in selfies, would that person still be special? I probably would have forgotten. Because we tend to push whatever we have taken in photos out of our memories.

Anyway…..the eclipse word jolted a part of me. I was in the blue lift, going to the yellow lift and as usual, I was thrilled to be in the lift alone which enables me to take photos. Saw how cheerful my yellow corporate shirt is against the yellow lift. I hate yellow and I think I have only two.

Wonder why I hate this sunny colour? And in that few moments in the lift, my mind whirred and this thought came to me.

Are we allowing our lives to be eclipsed? I look at myself and I can safely say that Yes, I do but I tried to avoid that. It is kind of sad how many women tend to fade behind everything in their lives. Their shine disappeared. They no longer shine because so many responsibilities shielded the shine.

For example, motherhood. Being a wife. Being wanting to be proper. How each of us women tend to set aside our feelings, our needs, our passions, our wishes for everything else and everyone else.

As I stood there in the lift, I asked myself if I am only a shadow of my real self? Yeah, the lift between 26th floor to 14th floor takes mere seconds but my mind works like lighting. I asked myself, “Lilian, are you merely a shadow of your real self? Have your life been eclipsed?”

And I smiled back at the image and can face it and said, “Nope, I will never allow anything to eclipse me.” This is me and I don’t care what comes in front of me, the shine is mine and I will burn through it all.

Maybe the eclipse of the sun did things to my mind like what full moon does to werewolf. What have I rambled that turned into a Note? Never mind, I am rather free today. It feels good to see my own image in the yellow lift in my yellow shirt and know that it is me, the real me.

A new bragging point

Blog followers from the good old days of my earlier blogging would be familiar with my style of bragging about everything and nothing. I suppose they were addicted to this woman and her daily rants, occasional wisdom and all those nonsense that pop out of my mind daily.

So, yesterday on Mac 6, I ran my first half marathon (HM). All TWENTY ONE KM of it. It was just an insane idea that I signed up one day, sometime in October last year. In fact, I signed up a few more after that eventhough I had not done my first HM.

As usual, when Lilian puts her mind into anything, she will carry it out. And I did. With dignity, lots of endurance and courage. Just imagine at the last few KM my calves where twitching like mad and the legs didnt allow me to run or walk to fast. At every few steps, I had to hang on to the highway rail and stretched.

However, the pain did not deter me and I kept going. All the while cursing and wondering what is the possible worst scenario. You see, I never prepared to get cramps and did not read what I should do. I even smack my leg and said to it, stupid leg, just stop it, will you?

Oh well, during that 3 hours and 30 minutes, I did talk a lot to myself, in my head. I mean, what else can you do beside looking at the tar road, the rails, the lamp posts and etc?

I am not sure what propel me into this crazy world of running lah, zumba la, cycling lah and soon, swimming as well. Maybe it is because I am tired of the mundane life. Maybe I am part man, part woman. Maybe I enjoy fear and pain.

Whatever, I am into it now. With half marathons scheduled even up to November this year, I wont change my life to shopping, taichi and yoga, I suppose. So it will be more cycling, swimming, running and zumba.

Just thinking how lucky I am to have that one person who actually FORCED me into cycling. OK, maybe two of them. The evil one who put the bicycle in front of me, and the other one who kicked my butt to move it, move it.

In the beginning, I was all part of the mob. The Zumba mob who went everywhere together, run Fun Run together and never step out of the boundary. I guess when I was pushed into cycling, where there were no friends, I began to step out of my own.

I recalled when there was a MACC 6KM run, I did not join the Zumba gang but instead ran 6KM around George Town on my own. Then, there was one time when I was doing an 8-KM peace run and I enjoyed cutting thru all the stragglers and want to be ahead of my own time. Some stupid aunty later on bitched behind my back that I kiasu and did not follow the pack but instead overtook everyone. Anti-social wor….

That too I was glad because I would suffocate if I have to be running beside bitchy aunty for the rest of my life. So all these made me take my legs and go further.

Today, I told someone that he has been my greatest motivator. I think one good point about me is I am very generous with my lashing. If I hate you, I will make you know so that you can go play far far and don’t let me see your face. World peace.

But when I appreciate people, I do tell them as well. So yeah, for the rest of this year, I have set my eyes on doing more half marathons. In fact, in this March alone, I have a cycling event on 19 Mac, a triathlon on 27 Mac and another half marathon on 2 April.

My mind is too full of accomplishing all these, I have little space for other things. Including Godly stuffs. But then, like I always assured myself, I make sure I live longer to do Godly works. And like my friend said, Jesus will prefer a fit body at resurrection. Oh well, when I run or do anything extreme, Jesus is my bestie. The night before, the moment before the flag off, the time when I was struggling, Jesus got to run with me because that’s when I would go calling His name.

Like yesterday, at the beginning of the marathon, I did a quick signing of the cross and did my prayers. In the dark. Later on, as I was struggling in the first 2 KM when everyone was chasing the pacers non-stop, I took out a date (kurma) and at that moment, we were passing by a mosque with the azan subuh. LOL, as if on instinct, when you hear such loud azan, so close by, I asked Allah to bless me and my kurma cos I know Nabi Muhammad SAW promoted the kurma (somewhere in the Quran or Hadith or whatever). So yeah, running keeps me close to god, however I see the Divine.

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.