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Sad stories

27 Jan

When I was young and foolish enough to think that I could write for a living without much hard work, Alfian Sa’at ranked amongst my favourite authors. It started with receiving his anthology A History of Amnesia as a prize in a school competition. It may also have started with this poem.

As I grew older, I grew tired of the general tone of most local writers – cynical, often satirical and always painfully pessimistic. I felt that this was an extension of the “spoiled Singaporean” tendency to complain and then complain some more. I hungered for stories from home that captured a wider range of emotions and perspectives.

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Songs of perseverance

16 Oct

Brooke Fraser duets with Aqualung in a song about marriage. This is the lovely result: a song about the difficulties – and beauty – of commitment.

We tried and tried to loosen the knots
Thinking once we’re untangled we’ll be better off
But it’s these failures and faults that hold us together

DISCLAIMER: As mentioned earlier, I believe that this is a song about marriage – one where both parties acknowledge and are willing to work through obstacles. (How nice and apt that it is a duet!)
I don’t think it is accurate to apply this concept to an unhealthy (and possibly unbalanced) relationship which involves any number of knots that are painful but should be untied. There is no easy answer. If you’re going through something like this – pray unceasingly for God’s wisdom.


12 Sep

“Be faithful when God assigns a young person to you, have faith when God chooses someone else, and ask God for wisdom to know the difference between the two. God is sovereign; God’s work will be accomplished in the life of young people regardless of whether it’s through us that God chooses to work…

We can facilitate the process by nurturing an environment in which youth can be exposed to the presence of God, all the while remembering the Holy Spirit works in a way we can’t formalize into a technique or program. “Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8). How many combinations of the wind blowing are there? When you take into account velocity, direction, patterns and temperature, the combinations are endless. Likewise, all stories of personal salvation and transformation are unique because we have a creative God…”

— Mike King, Presence-Centered Youth Ministry

Overarching theme

13 Jul

Some things are safe because we never exchange words.
It’s safe because it’s a drama that unfolds
where I already know the ending.

As we get older, you can’t jump in without a safety net.
Therefore I take feelings much too seriously.
I link feelings to commitment.
I’m sad when I know commitment is out of the question.
I don’t even want commitment yet –
just the semblance.

I rest too much on how I am seen.

What’s scary now is the loss of remoteness.
We’re close enough to touch and therefore miss.
Worlds are close by. I can know this much about you
with the click of a button.
I know what we’re going through, we could talk about it.
Even laugh about it.

One thing remains; the distance.

Surviving work: the list

11 Jun

It’s been exactly a year since I started teaching. Life has been nothing short of an avalanche of change, though ironically, one of the hardest things I’m learning to accept now is the routine lack of change that creeps in and settles quietly. Continue reading

Why I’m not a Communications major

16 May

Public speaking has never been my forte. While I’ve certainly lost my phobia of it (probably due to the fact that I now address groups of about twenty to thirty 15-year-olds on a daily basis), I don’t aim to win a person over on their terms. Continue reading