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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Talking the Talk, and Walking the Walk

This is my talk, I shall speak words pleasing only to Him.
 This is my walk, with His grace I shall continue walking. 
  I lift up my fear, my anxiety and my worry to you Lord. 

If one lesson I learn from spending some time with the less fortunate during my trip, I came back feeling very blessed. Yes I was very tired by the end of the trip so I was glad to be home. But the day I step my foot off the plane, I could clearly remember how I was thankful for the warm weather ... through to my comfortable bed. After a weekend of rest, I started the week with confidence, determination, hopeful, joyful and positive. I was recharged and could feel the uplifting energy empowered for success. 

I am not sure if it is my own seasonal mood swings or just my surroundings have such a big impact on me, but after so many weeks, my mood began to to resemble the wet, dirty, gray weather outside. Everything somehow looks gloomy and depressing. I felt like a trouble magnet .... attracting all the negative energy? Why?
Recently a lot of people have plenty of opinion to share. Everyone wanted to "Talk".  At first I thought they wanted to catch up, they miss having me around, hoping they have some good news to share. But no, everyone was complaining, gossip, unhappy and negative. No one was satisfied, why are people never ever pleased around me? My excuse .. maybe I have been away from work and home for too long to notice.

Which is worst? "I Need to Talk to You" or "We Need to Talk"

It came to a point I cringe every time someone mention the word "Talk". I understand in any friendship or relationship, sometimes we come to a point where a "Talk" is necessary to sort out any unresolved issue, unsettled feelings or just to discuss what lies ahead.

In the office, when my boss approach my desk, "Can I have a Word with You in Private" ... it automatically set off the alarm bells ... Am I in trouble? What did I do? There was no time to hide, anxiously I head off to the meeting room. It happened a couple of times, thankfully most of the time it was not as bad as I anticipated.

In relationships, I have yet to experience happy ending. When I wanted to have a proper conversation, my partner was too busy to respond. When my partner was ready, I was no longer interested. Both sides procrastinated for far too long. So let's blame it all on BAD timing.

As a professional, I know very well not to give work related opinions, advise or consultation when I am drinking. I do not want to be held liable if something goes wrong and clients will hold my word against me. It is dangerous.

Same goes for any relationship, one should not confront an individual when alcohol is present. It is unfair.
Looking back smiling at how stupid and naive we were ... I actually started a relationship when I was tipsy at a bar (good times, no regrets but not repeating it again) ... I saw my best friend got so drunk at a night club, she took the courage to call it quits in her unhappy relationship. She is now happily married. We learned our lesson the hard way. Sometimes we need a bit of alcohol to give us that extra push to say things we would not when we are sober. (beware of the consequences after)

Is telling the truth and making someone cry better than telling a lie and making someone smile?

I find it amusing when I called in sick to work this week, a friend text me to meet up for a short heart to heart talk. She even wanted to come over to my office during lunch (an hour away). I wonder what was so important that it can't wait till after work? Why can't she just sent me an email? If it was urgent she could have called me. My mind and heart could not rest that day as I could sense trouble awaiting. It turned out to be a small matter (in my opinion), but it was a big issue that she had to get off her chest. In short I should have had minded my own business, I felt a little offended that she did not appreciate my favour, I had all good intention for her yet my concern was pushed aside. Humans are born selfish, I should learn to care less, that way maybe I wouldn't get myself into other people's mess.

I tolerated and told myself, "Pleasing God rather than men is my primary aim as a believer. I seek to excel in pleasing Him because He loves me. My ability to please Him is ultimately the result of His work in my life. I will face trial of every kind."

How I wish I could avoid awkward situations like this, if I could I would rather not confront conflicts.After listening, I knew it was God's intention for me to learn to be tactful and wise. This is the only way I can grow stronger spiritually ... I am here to please only Him and to accept His grace.

Of course this involves discovering and doing what pleases Him through living in the light of the Word.

It begins in my heart.
It should have no restrictions.
It touches every area, and aspect of my life. 
It reaches into homes, into the work place and into society. 
It means doing His will, walking the walk and talking the talk.

I was aware of the entanglements which hinder my capacity to please Him. Seeking to please men for selfish reasons ruins my capacity to follow His words, I have to take a stand for the truth or my principle (love others unselfishly) Every time I fail to please Him, I ultimately become hostile or at least useless not only to God, but to men. The only way to meet the needs of men is by first seeking to please God by putting His agenda first.
When one lives with grace, it means that in one’s manner, talk and action, there flows an elegance and warmth that respects and honours all individuals with kindness, compassion, understanding, and tolerance. This warmth is capable of spreading to everyone this person encounters.When one lives with grace, they also possess grace, in that they draw moral and spiritual strength from it, and ultimately, true happiness and fulfilment. ~ inspiring words from Terry Starbucker

Friday, 24 February 2012

Carpe diem ~ Seize the Day

How much time do people spend doing stuff in their lifetime?
When is it too late to start living? Do you have big dreams?
Have you ever notice the difference between people (on the streets) waiting around to live and
those people (in the hospital bed) waiting around to die?

I just wonder if anyone out there has had similar situation

Want to quit your job
Want to buy a ticket
Want to get a tan
Want to fall in love
And never return

Well Today I Do, and One Day I Will

I am sure most of us sit at our work desk everyday just waiting each day to pass, hoping that it will not be too late ... to be given an opportunity to change something ... waiting for a second chance to work differently ...

Well, my long time client walked through the office door today, it has been a while since, I can't recall when was the last time I saw him. I always find him rude over the phone, he never smiles (No Hello, No Thank You, No Goodbye) ... no one in the office wants to work on his projects. Back then I was a new staff, I had no choice but to take on his projects. I never understood why he behave the way he does (cold and unresponsive) until recently, he shared his life story (about his dreams, his family). It took him a while to start trusting us to do our job. (over a period of 5 years to be exact)

Looking at him sitting in the meeting room, reminded me of Carl Fredricksen, an elderly widower from my favourite animated 3D film in 2009 (premiered in America on my birthday - cool eh). My client always appear in his expensive suit, thick black glasses, white combed hair ... looking serious & important. On the other hand, I am exactly like Russell, the earnest young explorer, full of energy, very hopeful and  always looking for fun in life. Needless to say we are totally opposite individuals.

This is A Photo of A Real-Life Version of The Animated Film 'Up' seen on National Geography Channel
Lucky for me my client did not request for a floating house. But what I found out later was pretty ... sad. Basically he is very rich but very ill too. He is a workaholic and neglected his family over the years, he has enough money to retire comfortably but no one cares. He goes for dialysis treatment a few times a week (I heard it is painful maybe this is why he is always so uptight)

He was convince that life will be better after he got married ... have the first born, then another came.
He wish the kids would grow up faster, he was frustrated when they were growing up as teenagers.
He hope that sometimes his spouse would get her act together when times were rough.
He dream of getting a new luxury car, a bigger house, going on a nice long vacation when he retire.
But he never retired, his spouse is no longer here and his children moved on.
The truth is there is no better time than doing what you want right now. 
At that very moment, I realize how he had forced his happiness away. 

I was in a dilemma I can't bring myself to advice a dying client not to continue with the project. He was running out of time and it was an impossible dateline. He wanted his dream house, but indirectly am I giving him false hope? The company needed this project but he needed to rest and not worry / bother about completion. I was torn. His children are not supportive of his dream. Maybe this is the only thing left that he has to hold on to, the last dream that is keeping him alive. I obviously did not want to pull the plug before it is time.

Driving back that night, I keep thinking of what Father Alfred D'Souza said,
"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

Happiness is still the only way to a successful life.
I should treasure every moment that I have. Dream as if I'll live forever. Live as if I'll die today.
I know that time waits for no one. I will never find time for anything. If I want time I must make it.

Should I stop waiting? ... until I finish my work, until I get back home; until I get married; until I get divorced; until I have kids; until I retire; until I get a new car or home; until spring ... to decide that there is no better time to be happy than right now!

My happiness should be an exciting journey, not just a destination.
So ...
Dance like nobody is watching
Love like you've never been hurt 
Sing like no one is listening 
Work like you don't need the money 
Live life every day as if it were your last

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mission Short Story: A Little Room called Jasper

Almost a month had pass since ... it took me a while to adjust myself back to my daily routine ... it took me longer (with some courage) to actually write my feelings down. I truly miss the time spent with everyone in Jasper room, sometimes tears would just flow by pondering over the happy moments and remembering the sweet laughter of the children.

When I returned home, I could not wait to share my wonderful experience with family members, close friends and church group. Even at work, I was caught by surprise when my Director requested for a presentation over dinner.

In short, I was constantly reminded of my short trip to Henan. The feelings are still strong and I have to admit it has slowly changed who I am inside. Probably it is appropriate to break down my personal experience into several short stories.

A brief introduction, the Sanmenxia Social Welfare Centre is managed by the Chinese government in partnership with International China Concern (ICC), a Christian development organisation with a vision of bringing love, hope and opportunity to China’s abandoned and disabled.

First Impression
“The first day I went to the centre, I was excited, yet a bit scared. Up to this moment in time, everybody seem so friendly and welcoming. I was eagerly waiting to meet the babies, toddlers and teenagers. All my senses were confused, at first my arm was frozen to my side. Why? I have very little knowledge of how to take care of children especially those with significant disabilities. I am not a doctor or nurse. I was afraid that I might hurt them. 
But when I saw the babies lying motionless, staring up at me with longing eyes, I can't help but to pick up a baby from the crib.  I was trying my best to hold back my tears as I cuddle the baby. I tried to speak but there was no words, it felt like trying to speak from behind a glass window... I was speechless ... the room was quiet. I just stood there listening to the beating heart of an unknown infant closely against mine"

A Great Conversation 
The carer said, "How would you like to walk out of here with a child?" 
I replied, "You must be joking. I can't do that. That's impossible." 
How amazing that I walked out that day, not only having a child in my heart but loving several children at the same time! 

Lasting Memories

What was your most memorable experience while on the team? 

Did you feel you bonded with a specific child? If so, who and why?  

No doubt Bo Tau and Shan Zhou are the favourites in the room among the team.
But personally I would say Zhi Pei and Mo Xin gave me a lasting impression.

Every morning Zhi Pei (6 years old) would be waiting eagerly to greet me. When he sees me at the door, he would rush towards me with his arms wide open, waiting for a hug. Lifting him up, we would swirl around the room until we collapsed on the floor dizzy. Our daily hugs not only encouraged intimacy between each other, but also built a close relationship and lifted his spirits.

The children in the stroller section are very quiet throughout the day (except during meal times) ... I would say a little neglected in the corner. When I needed some rest, I will spend some quiet time with them. Mo Xin (3 years old) is not able to sit up on her own. She would cry for attention when I looked over at her. (there had to be eye contact if not she will not bother ... she is cute) She makes a lot of noise when she is hungry, I enjoy watching her, I notice how she observes other kids play and run around the room. I really pray for God's miracle to grant her the ability to move so one day she would be able to join in the fun.

The Story of Esther

Esther just turn four last month, she is adorable, she is also smart in class. I was told she understands a few languages, Mandarin, English, French etc. an advantage for meeting different volunteers from all over the world.

She has either Strabismus or Pseudostrabismus. Pseudostrabismus is the false appearance of crossed eyes. When the eyes are actually crossed or not completely aligned with one another it is called Strabismus. This generally occurs in infants and toddlers whose facial features are not fully developed. The medical team is closely monitoring her progress, operation would probably fixed this once she grow up.

Sadly she also has Celebral Palsy (CP), a condition that cause physical disability in human development in short. Her hip is affected in this case, preventing her to walk, but it is not very severe, she could still take small steps with some assistance. Hopefully with treatment she would be a normal child again.

Have you ever watched a movie, read a book or met someone with a depressing story that made you stop to wonder, "How could anyone be so mean?" I was both upset and mad upon hearing her story. I could remember crying my eyes out that night.

Okay I am not entirely sure the how true the extend of her story but I was told, Esther was abandoned by her parents and because she remembers how it happened, I reckon it is not too long ago. One day her parents told her that they are bringing her out. Any child would be very happy upon hearing this of course. But little did she know that it was the last time she ever saw her parents, they left her at the centre and never came back. Ever since then she has this burden ... shadow ... fear of being outdoor (Agoraphobia). She will shake her head to any offer of going outside the room. No matter how I persuaded her, she would not want to move. Only once did she allowed the carers to take her to the medical room, it was a huge step for her after all the bad memories and emotional abuse. She would returned to Jasper room often shaking in tears.

What happened on that day was beyond my understanding. 
They may have given her up with her best interest at heart.
They may have all the reason to justify their action but it is still unacceptable.

Who does that? Who is that heartless? 
Who could possibly reject such an adorable girl in such a heartless way?

I don’t think I will ever understand the actions of some people.
I may not be a perfect human being, I may not have children, but Matthew 18 has been a good reminder for me to appreciate children more, and acknowledge how important they are to God. 

So may future parents work hard to accept and care for all the children that come into their lives. It is a blessing from God whether they are perfect or disabled. May God grant parents the strength they need to NOT abandoned their children when times are tough.

Why and Why not?

A very common question "Why China and not somewhere else? What made you go all the way there?"
My answer is simple, stop asking "Why", the better question is actually "Why Not" - Why is there always a need to ask "Why" when things happen? Tell me a good reason why I should not go to China? 
For example, people ask me why it’s so hard to trust people, and so I ask them why is it so hard to keep a promise.
"If you don’t try out your crazy ideas while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old. I followed my heart, listened to my inner voice, trusted God to help me reach out to the right people, in the right places, and at the right time. I come back not regretting every dollar spent and every tears shed because I know every moment was not wasted."

"What was the most difficult thing you encountered while on the team?"

As I was filling the evaluation form last week, this question got me thinking really hard. I have to accept the fact that farewell is always the hardest moment, definitely not my forte. Now why is it so difficult to say goodbye ... not only to anyone ... especially to these children (who technically got abandoned by their own parents). The process had to be quick and we manage to reduce the impact by having a huge farewell celebration which the long performances lasted late at night (way pass bed time- tired and sleepy I am surprise they were still awake). But it is a pity we didn't have a proper farewell moment. I wonder how are the children doing now, how they felt when they realized we did not show up the next morning.
"Back home I worked closely with children at church. But this trip was a whole different experience all together, learning to show Jesus's love to the less fortunate children as well as their underpaid carers, in a subtle way was a true challenge. I thank Him for taking me out of my comfort zone and letting me see beyond my own needs. I had a good time, I am truly blessed because He sent me here. I would definitely come back again."

Monday, 20 February 2012

Story of A Legless Bird

Final Chapter 

God answered my prayers and sent me a sweet angel this time.
He told me to trust him. 
But what should I do next? Every time I disobey His command,
I end up hurt and alone. 
When I listen to him and follow his orders I end up nowhere either.

Am I not good enough for Him? 
Did something went wrong somewhere? 
What did I not do right this time? 
How can I trust Him completely? 

All these question clouded my mind almost at every possible place on any inconvenient time 
(luckily except at work or gym) 
Therefore I notice I stayed back later in the office and even come in on weekends, 
push myself harder in gym almost to the point that my body is failing me.

I have heard people warning me to be careful (and why won't they tell me the reason?) *frustrated 
I have seen things happened before my own eyes, but it did not effect my heart 
(have I turned into a cold hearted person?) *hopeless
I know the fact I can't please everyone and important people in my life is starting to get upset/ losing hope.

Yet He wants me to stay, be patient and faithful with no further instruction for a very long time ... silence 
(hello the clock is ticking here) 
Frankly speaking I am not a very patient person, if it were up to me I would have ignore Him and left. 
But I had enough of flying away, I have to accept the fact that He controls my life, I can fly but I can't hide. 
Over past few years I can truly see myself spending my entire life in the air ... 
hence the nickname Legless Bird. 

Well of course, there are no such birds but do you know that some really spend their life up in the sky and even, sometimes, will sleep while flying! Amazing ... flight mode invention.

Now no matter how hard I flap my wings, I notice I will always return to the same tree/ situation. 
(this wonderful dream / fairy tale is starting to turn into a nightmare) 

I need to free myself from troubles and listen closely to His words.
I guess that is the only way I can grow stronger physically and emotionally, healthy mentally and spiritually. 

I have decided how I am going to do it now, focus on loving myself more, 
healing my body and it's finally time for me to settle down. 

No more flying away when I fear, I need to find the key to unlock my sealed fragile heart. 
No more being a nice person, I need to challenge Him once again.

Can I trust He has everything in control and will only give me what is best for me?
Only time can tell, my little legless bird 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

LINsanity All-Star Week

I just recently came back from an adventure in China and I met a few new Taiwanese friends.
A close friend came to China too, but little did everyone expect ... when two creative individual joined forces, an interesting video is produced for fun ... then it became viral. The concept was very simple yet amazing.
Red combined her basketball skills with her artistic talent and drew a portrait of Yao Ming. It was all over the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Weibo) even the news (international TV and local newspaper). Last weekend, she did it again, this time she was inspired by Jay Chou's song, (coffee, autumn leaves + fragmentation) she came up with an idea using coffee cup stains to make individual rings, the painting looks like an old sepia portrait of the singer. Now who said caffeine over-dose is a bad thing?

See how a simple concept became so powerful or created remarkable results (ripple effect).

Same goes for Jeremy Lin, I was fascinated by his passion for basketball and his love for God.
Besides Whiney RIP news, this week my Facebook feed and YouTube digest is constantly about him.
So much so that people start playing with words such as ThrilLIN, LINsanity and LINsational.

I should probably give a brief summary of the man (or MVP 2012) for those who do not follow much sports.

Currently the world is wild for 23 year old Jeremy, notably, the first Taiwanese-American D-League player turned NBA star. The undrafted Christian Harvard grad survived sleeping on his brother’s couch in New York. And all the attention he, his team and his sport have been getting has made a big impact to the crowd if not the ticket prices.

Meanwhile, the man himself is being called “the Taiwanese Tebow” (Tebowmania took hold last fall, when devout Tim Tebow quarterback led the Broncos to six straight wins as the starting quarterback) So can Jeremy lead Knicks to six straight wins this season if not more?

Others say he’s LINspiring, a LINcredible LINspiration for us all. 
He’s a LINderella story. 
He’s LINvincible. 
He’s like a LINja assassin. 
He’s Super LINtendo. 
With a name like that, the sky’s really the LINmit. haha

So I have to agree, Jeremy is a good player (he works hard and he deserves it at the end of the day) but all the hype is actually due to he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise. But you do have to give him credit, it is not everyday you see an Asian nailing it in the NBA (besides Yao Ming of course). 

What caught my attention? 
He has taken the sports world by storm. 
He spoke all the right things about religion. 
I am sure it isn't simply the winning (or should that be LINning?) that has captivated all those audience, but his shared Christian belief and faith-based comments on air.

This story is a fine example of preparation, perseverance & rising to the occasion. Something that God wants all of us to learn everyday.

To me this is where the value of preparation and patience comes in. Your number one job as a professional regardless if you’re a basketball player, waitress or architect is to always be ready when you get called upon.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. -Psalm 91:15

While in the eyes of many, Jeremy may be seen as an overnight sensation, but players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It does seems like they do, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed. But God had already planned his path for him from the day he was born. Go view his testimony, you will learn the true value of being prepared and ready for when your number gets called because if you stay ready, you never have to worry about getting ready when your times comes.

The story of LINmania above should serve as an excellent reminder for anyone aspiring to do or be something great, both adversity and perseverance lie at the heart of true success and you’ll unfortunately never reach any level of greatness by giving up on your dreams too early just because things look grim.

Jiayou 加油!!! Gambatte がんばって !!! 
Te deseo todo lo mejor !!! 

This Is Probably Why You Should Never, Ever Give Up and Remember Every Now and Then Give Yourself a Second Chance to Shine.

Lin's story is truly inspiring, hope you can help spread his message on Lin's Long Journey & The Rise of Jeremy Lin

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Sharing My Heart on Valentine's Day
Just remember that You can give without Loving, but You can never love without Giving
So don't worry because if You trust your heart everything else will just fall into place
Life is A Beautiful Struggle
Hope that the kids in Jasper know that they are beautiful

Here is a sweet story of a young boy's effort to woo a jump-roping little girl.
He tries flowers, chocolates and other gifts - 
only to discover that all she really wants is a jump-roping partner on Valentine's Day. 

Source: Google
Design: Michael Lipman
Music : Cold, Cold Heart" performed by Tony Bennett
Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony/ATV