Wednesday, December 29, 2004
so many lives lost in a day. by God's grace and mercy, many survived. many didn't. a simple wall of water and stirring of the earth have the power to wipe out so many of our kind. it really makes me feel that in the grand scheme of things, we are so small and so vulnerable. it's a horrible variation of the feeling you get when you're on a deserted beach after sunset and you look at the vastness of the night and realise that physically, you are nothing.

life is so fleeting and so easily taken away. it's always a natural disaster or a terrorist attack that makes us sit up with the number of people who perish. but don't the same number of people die in a normal day when you total up everyone on the face of the earth? so many lives are being lost, and so many unsaved souls are slipping away from God. why does God allow these things to happen? we know that God is always good, all the time. his soul is so pure that we can't even begin to imagine his goodness. and God is always omnipotent. he created the heavens and the earth, he created our entire universe, but being cosetted and sheltered in my cubicle world, i can't picture the enormity of his power. i can't imagine his goodness, and i tend to think of God in human terms, and think of him as more falliable than he really is. like as a really good man, but a man nonetheless. like, this evil was too great for God to overcome, or this man was too wicked for God to forgive and redeem. which we use words to tell ourselves that it's not true, but in our hearts we still struggle to grasp the concept. that's why its hard for me and maybe a lot of people sometimes to really understand who God is. and i definitely can't claim to know why God doesn't avert natural disasters or poverty or all sorts of terrible things that seem to happen to people.

if God is so good, and he loves us so much even though in actual fact we aren't worth it, why do these things happen to people? it's one of the questions people ask most about christianity, and theologists and everyday people have come up with a lot of explanations for it. some are to be taken with a pinch of salt, some are easy hallmark card answers, and some answers make God's ways a little clearer. it would be hypocritical of me to even begin justifying the madness that envelops this chaotic world with logic, seeing as i live a comfortable life in a country sheltered from tsumanis and earthquakes. but i know that God has a plan written out for the world, and for every human being in the world. and at times like these we all beat our heads against the wall trying to reason why God's plan involves the twisted lifeless bodies of children clinging to a ravaged coastline, and thousands of grey bloated corpses lying in rows, each virtually indistinguishable from the next. chapter 1 of the book "The Case for Faith" tells us that God isn't impotent when he doesn't prevent natural disasters. neither is he cruel or filled with the need for vengeance when he allows them to happen. there may be something better in the future that needed this to happen. or not. we don't know because God doesn't reveal his entire plan to us. we know of parts of his plan because he graciously reveals it to us, and not because we deserve to know. but in large part, we can't fathom the mind of God. but God is too wise for us to doubt his ways. Romans 11 says:

"Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from him and through him and to him are all things"

we're only tichy little human beings, flawed and broken in so many ways. we don't know many of God's secrets, nor do we deserve to. the only way we can continue in this world without fear is to have faith in his goodness and mercy, and unconditional love for all of mankind. and the fact that so many lives can end just like that is a wakeup call for everyone who knows about the gift of eternal life to go out and win souls for God. i don't think i've been living my life in a way that is always pleasing to God and that makes me a good testimony for him, so i guess it's time to reevaluate my life.

something that touched my heart from my cousin's church musical recently goes something like :

"God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
When you don't understand
When you can't see his plan
When you can't trace his hand
Trust his heart"

i'm sorry this is a little preachy and this isn't the way i normally write, and if it's as incomprehensible as upside-down monkey language, but i guess i can't make light of something like this. if you're looking for answers too, try "the case for faith" by Lee Strobel.



| mando | 5:10 AM

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Saturday, December 25, 2004
ho ho ho! tis the season to eat a lot and get fat and conveniently receive brand new pants in larger sizes as presents! thanks everyone for your wonderful cards! this christmas was spent at home with my family, hiding from the christmas crowds as if orchard road was poland and all the christmas shoppers were bloodthirsty nazis armed with lethal tangs shopping bags. when i was younger i always resented having to spend christmas doing nothing with my family, but now i have had an epiphany! the holidays are meant to be spent with your family and do stuff together, and since doing absolutely nothing is what my family is really good at, that is what we did! we had a lot of food and my auntie dropped off a huge juicy delicious beefsteak from jack's place which looks like it is the entire rear end of a cow! we will be eating it and suffering from the resultant gout for many years to come. we watched a lot of christmas tv and my father started cheecheecheeing at fantasia's singing at the idol christmas concert. usually i don't agree with his music tastes because he still likes chinese songs with titles that go "don't pluck the wild flowers along the side of the road", but he has a point with fantasia. when she and kelly clarkson were singing the jesus song and they got to the part where they had to shriek "je je je jesus! je je je jesus!" like human air-raid alarms it sounded like they were cursing furiously at their cars getting rear-ended or someone killing their dog.

while my dad and my brother decided to abandon the tv to do manly yet festive things like eat many fudge-covered oreos, me and my mom decided to watch While You Were Sleeping for the sole reason of seeing peter gallagher lie motionless in a coma for almost the whole movie. oh the things we do for imaginary tv love. his eyebrows are as magnificent when he's in a coma as when he's awake. these few years has pretty much been a yearful of bombastic over the top movies with elves getting killed left right and centre and cartoon fish and men in skirts climbing wooden horses, and we totally forgot the charm of a good old fashioned romantic comedy with only one smoochy right at the end! anyhoo i may be a huge loser plodding around the house having fun with my family during the holidays gorging ourselves on macaroni salad and roast beef and ice cream and cake, but i give the loser christmas four and a half stars! it would have been five stars if peter gallagher was awake during more of the movie, but nothing's perfect.

and then on christmas day i got a very exciting call from the long lost jiayan! she's settled down happily in new york, and transformed into a tough-as-nails new yorker (tough enough to withstand the loud country music about dogs dying and lovers leaving coming from her dorm neighbours on both sides). it was really nice to hear her voice on christmas day, especially as the clock struck midnight on christmas in new york so i could be the first one to wish her merry christmas! (jiayan, if weiying beat me to it i'll kick her ass.) banana kwok is one of the few people who i can go months without seeing, or hearing from, or receiving smoke signals from, and yet when we talk its just like we were drinking milo and sharing a packet of hello panda in the canteen the day before. merry christmas again jiayan and have a fantastic trip to london to look at men in tall fuzzy hats!



| mando | 7:51 PM

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tofu wishes you joy! Posted by Hello



| mando | 7:51 PM

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

me and little xian and the brownie! Posted by Hello



| mando | 6:01 AM

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birthday girl, where you go? fish and co! Posted by Hello



| mando | 5:53 AM

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i have now caught up with everyone who is 19 years old! i now feel very elderly and overcome by an overwhelming desire to buy a set of dentures. anyway i am happy because i am now one year closer to getting the senior citizen concession for public transport! yesterday was a very happy birthday because unlike other birthdays where i usually assume hermit status for a day, i got to see everyone and eat lots of food with them! i witnessed the joyous reunion of gen and xingning who haven't seen each other since A levels. much squealing was involved. i also witnessed the not-so-joyful reunion of jian yang and jasper, which involved jian yang giggling a lot and both of them claiming that the other one owed them lots of money. anyway i was supposed to treat everyone to lunch, but somehow my plan backfired and everyone started shoveling money onto the bill and when i tried to pay for my own lunch gen calmly took my money and said "oh, thank you!" and handed it back to me. gee, dang! haha anyway thanks all of you for the great lunch! it was very cool to see all of you again and catch up, even if the waiters didn't kneel down to take our orders like jasper said they should and we didn't manage to make jianbang sit with the tableleg in between his legs. thanks too gen and jian yang for the presents and card! and thanks xingning for your card which almost made me cry in the middle of ya kun kaya toast and make my toast soggy.

and then i met caro and little xian and they walked around trying to get me to hint what i wanted for my birthday and looked at each other furtively every time i said "eh that bag looks nice!". after many secretive looks from caro and xian and a lot of suspicious probing from me, they finally revealed the story of how they foraged through the entire queensway shopping centre and couldn't find a pair of adidas track pants that didn't make my ass look big. so we sat down at ya kun kaya toast to ponder about life, love and why polar bears don't have opposable thumbs, when suddenly we stumbled upon a revelation. it was then that we decided that i should get the same watch as caro and xian for my birthday and join the casio club! thanks judo babes for the nice watch! i no longer need to use my humble sundial!

i forgot to add that the brave and selfless caroline sacrificed about an inch of waistline and ate a macdonalds cheeseburger meal just to get me a jackjack handphone pouch for my birthday! when you press his hand or send a message near him, he starts saying "ayyaya! balabalabalabala!" many times. i suspect that jackjack is speaking an ancient indian language that we do not understand.

after that i met xinyi, mingli, luohan, huiyi and melissa for a nice fish & co dinner. somebody else was having a birthday and the entire fish & co staff trooped out to yell a rap to the entire restaurant and came out with a birthday brownie for the birthday dude, so xinyi got the fish & co staff to do a birthday rap for me too and they gave me a brownie and a polaroid picture and a fish-shaped handphone pouch and a signed postcard! aw. after dinner we waddled out of the restaurant with engorged stomachs and went to giordano to take advantage of the 20% birthday discount! we met luohan who presented me with a nice balloon flower! after i staggered to the counter under the weight of a million lycra teeshirts, we all headed home and i went to starbucks to meet timo for coffee and to catch up on old times about how we took up half the seats in starbucks and made one cup of coffee last for 12 hours when all of us were studying for A levels. ahh those good old leechy days when we were known as 'those idiot students who will not go away'.

thanks to everyone who smsed me at ungodly hours in the morning too (michelle, lynn the afropigstail just back from australia, chee meng, darling nat, daniel, chris, zhongyang, wanny! you guys are such sweeties.)! and not forgetting the ever thoughtful and cockanaden jen heng who called up at dinner time to sing me the birthday song very very fast! so touching! i need a tissue! i love you guys so much it was the best birthday ever!

and today is my beloved mom's birthday! happy birthday mom! thanks for always being wonderful and marvellous and patient and sweet and for being my ultimate best and oldest friend! (i do not mean oldest like bad oldest even though its your birthday today i mean oldest like, um, you know what i mean.) and happy birthday to jian yang who has finally matured along with the rest of us! may your 19th year bring you joy and laughter and romance with a fluffy haired 15 year old girl from england! thanks for dropping such subtle gift hints on your blog by the way!



| mando | 5:45 AM

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Saturday, December 18, 2004
yesterday was the traditional judo-girls-go-to-kbox festival! we started off crooning calmly and peacefully and eventually worked our way into a full-out yelling frenzy while jumping like crazed baboons on the seats! i think we are one of the rare species of people who can easily become rowdy drunkards while drinking nothing more than lemon sprite. anyway i have finally reached a level of kbox enlightenment where i can sing an actual chinese song! but i only reached the enlightenment with the help of my faithful prompter xinyi who read all the chinese lyrics from the screen aloud very fast before i sang the line, thus appearing to be marvellously bilingual! thanks xinyi for helping to create this magical illusion! anyway i kept looking back and forth from the screen to look at Ella from S.H.E. and liu "sexy legs" luohan with her new haircut, and i have decided that they are one and the same person! don't worry luohan, i will help to protect your mild-mannered secret identity.

anyway today is sir elton shawn's birthday! happy birthday shawn! may your 19th year bring you joy, love, and a triumphant victory in the singapore marathon over the skinny kenyan man!

the oc just ended, and what on earth was josh schwartz doing with the finale? everything happened way too quickly! major decisions were made in the time that it takes a fruitfly to scratch his armpit! and there was too little seth! there was even less summer! hasn't he learnt anything from soap operas? unexpected pregnancies can easily be dragged out for at least five and a half episodes, and monologues about whether or not to suck an innocent child out of an unwed mother's uterus usually take up one quarter of episode time! anyway how someone could sail to tahiti on a little boat made up of two pieces of wood and a couple of tarps baffles me. what does the intrepid sailor do when it starts raining or hailing or a tornado sudddenly kicks up in the middle of the ocean? and more importantly, what does the brave sailor do when he falls asleep in the middle of the night and his hand falls into the warm waters of the pacific? if anyone remembers the sleepover trick where you dip some sleeping guy's hand into warm water in the middle of the night, the result is not pretty. i don't want seth to wet himself in the middle of the ocean! come back seth! come back! marry summer! or me!



| mando | 5:30 AM

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Sunday, December 12, 2004
for the first time in years i sat still for two and a half hours at my grandmother's house and watched the beautiful and badly dressed go up on stage to receive strangely-shaped paperweights on the star awards. i have discovered that the people who dress nicely at the star awards never get to go up on stage to get a prize, and as a result their papers fly around frenziedly for all eternity! so all you have to do to guarantee yourself a little statuette is dress yourself up like a blind transvestite.

today, our frs group won a hundred bucks for wondering whether the full moon turns people into werewolves! no wonder momma always told me to have intellectual curiosity. our presenters guozhang and janise blew me away with their professionalism and their level-headedness in answering the questions from the floor! i am expecting them to receive clandestine proposals from politicians aplenty in future! in case you are wondering why i am using such big words, it is because i have just discovered the thesaurus function in microsoft word. at this discovery i am happy, exultant, ecstatic, jubilant and over the moon.

i was just watching the "what are they doing now?" show for America's Next Top Model, and i'm really happy for sara, who's going to model in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and has thus fulfilled her life's dream to expose her boobs to most of humankind! jenascia is still working her hooters at hooters, and april is posing in half a dress for Stuff magazine. i am sensing a trend here.

oh and me and joanna (thanks joanna!) have just written a kickass christmas skit for the mcf/vcf christmas party on the evening of 20th of december! the whole thing rhymes and everyone has a line and it promises to raise goosebumps on many a hairy arm! please come and watch it and eat free food cooked by susan and amelia. tell me or any mcf/vcf member if you want to come!

bon voyage to lynnypoo and dehan the baldy who depart tomorrow for the land of kangaroos and the land of.. er, Pol pot? i have got to find a better tourist tack for cambodia. but anyway God bless and have great trips and safe journeys guys! lynn, here's to your success on your pioneer tourguide mission! baldy i hope you have lots of fun bringing joy to little cambodian children!



| mando | 6:51 AM

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Sunday, December 05, 2004
CA are finally over! now we can look to the future! which holds four and a half years of increasingly difficult and mindnumbing exams! i feel like throwing confetti around and popping champagne.

anyway the first thing we did after exams was cram ktv and a movie into a five hour period! dehan and daniel formed a two-person boyband called the OutofTuneBoys, which i predict will be wildly successful in singapore and hong kong! they have already developed a signature OutofTuneBoys dance which involves bouncing around like hyperactive slinkies on the party world ktv seats! it is highly entertaining. also discovered that liana can sing jay chou songs amazingly fast! how does her mouth move so quickly? it is a miracle of nature. the wayne yap never give up song brings much joy to ktv goers. everyone who goes for ktv should sing the wayne yap song! when you sing it, wayne yap will go into sudden rage-induced seizures! its fun. for us though, not for wayne. then me, dehan the tall, wanny the whiny, and carol the tofuman journeyed forth to watch the incredibles! i love elastigirl, dash, the little costume-designing androgynous creature edna mode and the real star of the show, little naked sheep. jack jack disturbs me. i don't know why, but there's something about cute little pointyhaired children who grow up to be mutant devil babies that just scares me a little. maybe because we were all once little cute little pointyhaired children. and look at us now!

then on wednesday we decided to invade liana's house (thanks liana!) and watch taufik win singapore idol! the voting powers of the taufik party (liana, lynn, caroline and me) were no match for the fast fingers of zhongyang who was the one and only sylvester sim supporter, but by the powers of all sensible singaporeans combined, taufik is now going on to release many malay albums which we cannot understand! i feel overcome with joy. when they announced that taufik won, i think zhongyang almost killed himself by asphyxiation with a pillow. and i was deafened by the simultaneous sounds of a million teenage girls' hearts crumbling, and the entire malay population of singapore destroying their voiceboxes with the insane cheering. i think dehan watches singapore idol for the sole reason that the hot babe from "my sassy girl" pops up in that camera advertisement during every commercial time.

i just came back from church camp yesterday, and it was a very enlightening experience! i now can speak in tongues, which means i can express my love for God in a language that i don't understand! and the devil doesn't understand it either, so ha hah! in your face, forces of darkness! Praise God! anyway i learnt a lot about God and i could never really grasp the concept that salvation is free if we're just willing to accept the fact that the son of God really died a horrible death for us on the cross to take all our sins upon himself. anyway during church camp i learnt many other useful things like how to leap heroically from a bunk bed without crushing the face of the girl who is sleeping under your feet. it took some trial and error, but i finally managed it. valerie's face took a few hits, but it was all for a worthy cause and a victorious outcome.

thus endeth my nonsense speaking about post-exams.



| mando | 4:50 PM

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