Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here In My Home

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

To Mummy and Father,

Happy 30th Anniversary!

Your loving daughter, SJ.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chee Kin in Sydney!

Remember the dance party I attended? Yes, the one that had me going home at 4:30am and sleeping at 5:30am. Guess what? I slept for a total of 3 hours and had to dash to Darling Harbour to meet a very important person - Mr. Fong Chee Kin!

You might be wondering who this person is. If you're not interested in my version, click on his name on the right and that will lead you to his lovely star-themed blog. But if you are too lazy to click the mouse button, here is my intro of this fine young lad:

I first got to know Chee Kin 14 years ago. At that time, he was probably as tall as my waist. He was an obedient and intelligent young boy with good manners and a helpful disposition. Occasionally, tempers would flare when his spelling results weren't as good as Jie Hui, Yi You or Li Xin's. He took very good care of his younger brother, Chee Seng. I especially remember the time I taught him some songs and a dance. His dance partner was Li Xin for the concert the year they were graduating and they made a really good pair! He also sang in my choir. I would have to say that out of all my students, he was one of the few that made quite an impact. And then, we lost touch...

Many people say that the internet is a God-sent. I would have to agree because it helped reconnect Chee Kin and I. It was through Friendster that I found him and we started to correspond. Alright, he's not the best when it comes to replying MSN messages but at least, we are in touch now. Imagine how excited I was when he told me that he would be coming over to Sydney!

Well, I guess I wasn't as excited as he was to be flying on the new A380. Yes, he's a plane maniac and no prizes for guessing that he wants to be a pilot.

During his time here in Sydney, his dad and he stayed at the serviced apartment directly opposite Xin Wen's old place. I think it was called Maestri Tower or something along that line. So, I was their tour guide for 3 days and I started it off with a hearty breakfast at Pancakes on the Rock. As it was a Saturday, the market was open and Uncle had a nice time looking at the bric-a-bric that were sold. And oh, we just had to take a picture since it's been such a long time since we met!

After that, we walked up to the Harbour Bridge to climb one of the pylons. Check out the view:

From there, we walked back down to Circular Quay where they had to confirm their day trip to the Blue Mountains. And how can you not take a picture of the coat hanger when you visit Sydney?

Of course, from there onwards would be the famous Opera House, which to Chee Kin (and myself) was more normal than fantastic.

I then brought them into the Royal Botanical Gardens to see the flying foxes hanging upside-down on the trees before heading down to Woolloomoolloo for some famous Harry de Wheel hotdogs.

Rest assured that I brought them to all the landmarks in Sydney - QVB, Town Hall, Chinatown, Paddy's Market, the University of Sydney, Sydney Fish Market, Chinese Friendship Garden, St. Mary's Cathedral, Hyde Park. I will not dwelve into details because firstly, I don't remember them very clearly anymore and secondly, I'm too freaking lazy to type them all out. But, I can tell you that I even drove them to Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach. Chee Kin was thrilled to buy himself a Quiksilver (or was it a Billabong?) sweater. Yes, I know what you mean when you say that the air-conditioning in Taylor's is cold. Oh, and Bondi Beach was where they had a taste of heaven - the world-famous Pork Ribs of Hurricane!

All in all, it was terrific to be able to just meet up with Chee Kin again. I hope you enjoyed yourself, dude. I know I enjoyed myself immensely!

Next time, bring Jie Hui along!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

SIN Dance Party

No, you did not read that wrong. I did go to a dance party. I can already picture some of you going, "FINALLY!" Well, I guess there's nothing much to talk about here other than the music was great (the DJ did an awesome job) and I enjoyed 'surprising' people there. Best reactions of the night were from Ru Jih;

Eh, Chrys! You say you are not coming one! You liar, you! I wanted you to buy the ticket from me! *Smack-smack-smacks on the right shoulder*


*Collects ticket from my hand, looks up and...* Woman!!! You're such a big liar!


*Eyes wide as saucers, mouth agape* Tai so! Is that you? What the hell are you doing here? *Hugs* Wah, so pretty today ar? So not you wor.... (wonder if he meant the pretty part, hmm...)

and Nic:

Eh, eh, eh... what you doing here? WHAT YOU DOING HERE? Alone ar? Why alone one? Where is Shaun? *Prods and pokes* You real ar? You sure you are real? I'm not dreaming am I? Chrys here at a club? And holding a Smirnoff in her hand some more ar!?!

So, as you can already deduce from above, my wardrobe for the night was not something you'd normally see me in and erm, consuming liquid you'd normally not expect me to either. Hence, without further ado, let's put the pictures up!

What we looked like before heading over to Space (with Mei Yen, Angeline - thank you for helping with the make-up! - and Chee Sing):

Then we have the girls. It's a little hard to put in everyone's names considering there are groups pics as well. So, if any of you fellas out there would like to know any girl here, please contact me personally... haha...

The gentlemen who were there that night (as I have individual photos, it's so much easier) were Jonathan, Miow, Jona, Nic, Shaun Yeoh, Eugene, Julian, Bernard and Shi Hui's brother, Yee Hong (or however his name is spelt):

I did not manage to take photos with Edison nor Wei Foo. I also did not manage to have pictures taken with Sylvia and Han Wei. Sigh... they left early.

After that, we headed over to Delafrance for supper as we were hungry. Jona and I walked back home and by the time I showered, it was 5 in the morning. I had to wake up at 8:30am to meet up with Chee Kin and his dad at Darling Harbour for breakfast.

It was an exciting experience, I'd have to say. A last minute decision to go clubbing is not something you'd get from me everyday and I don't think there'll be another chance anytime soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Faith and fundamentalism

by Petra Gimbad

I FELL in love with the concept of constitutional law a few years ago; the rights it enshrines are based on principles every man and woman must uphold in order to ensure human dignity, yet, in such a way that we are able to live together harmoniously.

It makes sense that if we wish others to respect our way of life, we must also be willing to do the same for others.

Therefore, it follows that if we expect others to uphold and fight for our right to live in the way we choose, we must also be willing to uphold these same rights for them.

My flatmates recently recommended that I read the book The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. I plowed through it at a snail’s pace for the last few weeks, which is painful for someone who can breeze through 10 books in a day.

I just completed Chapter Three. Kiasuness decrees that I finish Chapter Four, even though I had a headache the last time I read the book. I cannot say for sure what it is about (I have not read even half of the book) although it is clear that the writer does not think much of religion.

My flatmate tells me that it is a convincing treatise on how the world will be a better place without religion. It was difficult to explain to him how my cultural upbringing as a Catholic woman has made me a more compassionate person. This does not mean that an atheist cannot be just as loving as a person who professes a faith. I just think that after a while, labels are useless in labelling a person as just or unjust.

The problem, as I see it, is this insistence we have on claiming an identity. How can an identity represent entirely who a person is? Therefore, how does being a Christian tell you who I am, or a Chinese for that matter? Or in the author’s case, an atheist British man?

Being Chinese does not make one filial, neither does being a Christian make one charitable. My atheist flatmate seems to love his parents and has worked in an area which was ranked one of the poorest places in Britain. Something which most of the people I used to attend church with would never contemplate doing, for all their posturing on how Jesus of the Bible transforms you.

Primarily, what disturbs about religion is not so much the concept of spirituality. My personal definition of spirituality is this: that there is a force out there called Love, which is the God I believe in. How we learn to embody this force is a personal journey. We experience Love along individual paths.

Instead, what disturbs is fundamentalism and the institutionalisation of religion.

Fundamentalism takes the view that "it is my way or the highway". It means imposing your perspective and will on others. Faith, to me, can only be carried by one who realises that he or she knows nothing. True humility decrees that what we know goes as far as our best knowledge, which can only be experienced.

Words fail to describe experience.

Words, anyway, are a mere invention to describe what we perceive. What we perceive is only one perspective that may be inaccurate. Language can further distort this perspective. More truthful is, therefore, the truth that is felt with the heart.

Institutionalisation of religion is another form of the "my way or the highway" approach. A friend once pointed out that only a secular country can truly enable a religion to flourish.

With a political system that institutionalises religion, there can be only one interpretation of the Quran, the Bible, the Buddhist scriptures or the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

History has shown, time and again, that this approach had led, for example, to the murder of children during the Christian Crusades and the mistreatment and violence that both men and women suffer on a large scale.

One fails to see the God in this.

One must therefore ask, will we ever learn? Do we have the courage to acknowledge these historical occurrences?

Theology has shown how, with time, interpretation changes with society. Our interpretations of whatever scripture we subscribe to therefore hold no guarantee of perfection.

To the best of our knowledge, even with the most loving intentions, there is never any guarantee that we know exactly what we are doing in the moment. The consequences of our actions carry across miles and through the cosmos, far beyond the boundaries of what we can foresee.

This is what I believe the Constitution protects: the freedom to pursue our paths of choice, but without impinging on the freedom of others or in a way that leads to the detriment of one’s neighbour. How well this freedom and system of mutual respect is protected is up to us.

Who we are as human beings must inevitably evolve. We are constantly moving towards increasing complexity. As opposed to a more complex bigoted and violent reality, hopefully, towards a direction of increasing compassion – for love, truth and peace.


Pet, I'd have to say, this overtakes the Merdeka post I so loved. Erm, but the reason I like this article is different to the reason I had for loving the Merdeka one. Aiya, in short, you're superb la.