Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A Poem Written While Taking a Rest at the Esplanade

"Those Dirty Pigeons"

A pigeon treads proudly but cautiously in front of me.
I see in the distance tourists eagerly taking photographs of the statue of Merlion.  
I imagine that they think to themselves (when they see the Singapore river, the MBS, the skyscrapers) how very fortunate we Singaporeans are to have all these. 

But isn't this the way we feel about each other?  
We who cannot seem to "settle" - to appreciate what we have.  

Maybe the grass is still greener on the other side.

'I want what I do not have and will not be contented with what I already do.'

Is it not this that makes us go 'round in circles,
And chase the ghosts and shadows of what we think will satisfy us?

When we have finally obtained, 
We'd feel more isolated than we'd ever been before.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

In Praise of the Bible

Hi everyone!

I would like to share with you my love for reading the bible and why I think every Christian and perhaps even everyone should read the bible at least once in his lifetime.

I have read the bible about 5 times.  I started out with the NKJV (which I read during my teens under a torchlight at night to re-enact what I thought could have been like in the olden times when there wasn't electricity).  I later moved on to the NLT, the ESV, the Message and of course the NIV.  I think the Message bible version is so cool with its contemporary way of expressing the scriptures (example:  "Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and -good-bye, friend! - Proverbs 17:9). My favourite version is the NLT version.  I got one which the late evangelist, Billy Graham, endorsed; it's a mini-study bible with some explanations of scriptures.  Reading the NLT certainly holds fond memories for me.

I recently got an archaeological bible that gives more insight into the cultural and historical backgrounds.  Quite a neat bible to have. 

I think everyone should read the bible for what it is -

#1. A well-written book that is poetic (especially in "Song of Songs" in the old testament and "John" in the new testament ), and filled with stories that are nothing short of what you would find in an adventure film.  

I was reading the book of John and I was struck at how remarkably beautiful it is: it starts with "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (NIV version).  

There are other verses like, "but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7)."  
Now we know where the pop band, "Jars of Clay" got its name from :) 

#2.  Filled with wise sayings for daily living.  Books like Proverbs, the teachings of Jesus (in the 4 gospels), and the writings of Paul, the apostle, give us instructions on how to conduct ourselves.  Simple things like, " a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of hands to rest and your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man" (Proverbs 24:33-34)  serve as warnings to us to not lead our lives the way we want.

#3.  Shows us the grace, compassion, and meekness of Jesus Christ whom Christians base their faith.    

In the book of John, we come across a story where a woman caught in adultery was on the verge of being stoned by the religious leaders when Jesus stopped them by saying, "Let him who has no sin cast the first stone". (John 8:1-11)

Also in Isaiah, we read:

"He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)

Truly,  "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Secret Pleasure #6 - Conjuring up MTVs in My Mind

"A lady singer comes on stage dressed in a baby blue dress and sparkling jewelry.  The patrons in the Jazz bar start to quiet down (we can see some stealing a few quick glances at each other, others blowing cigar smoke into the air.  They are dressed like characters from a F. Scott Fitzgerald story).  She takes hold of the standing mic and we see a close-up of her red-stained lips drawing closer to the mic.  The camera pans out to capture her singing and the stage where the rest of the performers - a band (piano, bass, etc.) were spread out.  Next, we see a young man enter into the bar and he looks intensely at the singer who notices him almost immediately.  There is a look in her eyes as if she is now singing to the man who has just joined in with the audience.  We see the young man leaning casually in his seat, a finger on his lips as he eyes the lady singer on stage.  Then suddenly he gets up and joins the singer in the song.  The crowd seems shocked and a little upset, but some are amused and cheer him on.  The two of them now sing on stage and continue towards the end of the song when the man hops off stage and carries the lady singer down in his arms and leaves the bar while the crowd cheers and whistles."

This is the MTV I had imagined to a Lauryn Hill song, "Nothing Even Matters".  This scene literally "popped"  into my head as soon as I heard the melody because it sounded so sultry and jazzy.   

One of the secret pleasures that I enjoy doing - conjuring up MTVs to songs I listen to.  Perhaps because I grew up watching a lot of MTVs on television, I was, during my teenage years, inspired to film some MTVs with my then best-friend and now to imagine them in my mind.  

Maybe one day I will be motivated again to start filming them, but until then I am deeply satisfied just by the experience of having them play out in my mind's eye.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Secret Pleasure #5 - Queuing at MacDonald's for Hello Kitty Plush Toys

I looked at my watch for the umpteenth time - another 10 minutes to go before McDonald was going to change the breakfast menu to lunch.  I was a ball of emotions -excitement and nervousness all rolled up inside of me.  I was waiting in line with others (not a lot this time 'round) to get my hands on the limited edition Hello Kitty that came with every extra value meal.  I was excited to purchase the melody version, but also a little worried and anxious if they'd still have stock of it.
Finally, the doors opened and the staff greeted us with smiles, but nothing could beat the smile that was on my face as I placed my extra value meal and got my Hello Kitty Toy!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #4 - Eating Ice Cream in Winter

In the morning, the air was cold and I could see my breath formed into little white swirly clouds as I talked, but how I craved for an ice-cream.
I ran excitedly towards the vending machine with the coins firmly grasped in my palms.  I slotted the coins into the machine, made my choice of a chocolate ice-cream with a cone, and waited expectantly.
As soon as the machine released its prized good, I started gorging into this humble yet essential snack.  It tasted so good!  And especially in this weather, eating an ice-cream is definitely a special experience.
Snow came down at a leisure pace and when I had finished savoring the ice-cream, a tiny snowflake had fallen on my nose.  What a great start to the day!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #3 - Singing Karaoke with Strangers from Around the World

It's always been a pleasure to sing karaoke with my friends and family.  Recently my karaoke singing has been taken to another level - I'm singing it with total strangers now!  All thanks to a phone app. called, Smule.    You search for a song you want to sing and then you get to choose who to sing it with.  It's been a kinda strange experience to sing with someone you don't really know and sometimes you wonder if you've ruined the song for the both of you, but when that stranger you sing with likes your partnership on the song and even gives you a positive comment, the feeling is incredible (to say the least).
Try it, you might enjoy it too :)

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #2 - Enjoying the Ambiance at the Cinema

I love to watch a good movie.  Who wouldn't?  Some would watch their favorite movies online or on DVDs, but I am a bit "old-school" & prefer to do so at the cinemas (even if it's more expensive...ouch).
The reason why I like to watch films at the cinema is not that of the big screen, the special effects or the surround sound (courtesy of Dolby - "all around you").
The truth is I like watching movies with the public as the experience of sharing a movie with people you do not know can be quite charming.  I especially love the parts where we all laugh together at funny moments or simultaneously.
I remembered watching "Jurassic Park III" and the young man sitting behind me made a remark to something a character was saying on screen.  It left a deep impression on me.  It had been a midnight movie and the spectators, some with their young families, were all snuggled in the cinema.  It was so convivial, I'd never want that feeling to go away.