Sunday, September 20, 2015


It's been a filled week- and now winding down, preparing for Sunday, I am in a contemplative mood. Against the strains of Coldplay I pause and have no words to describe my experience.

Ah wait I have- existential psychology.

My Mitwelt and Eigenwelt- interrelationships and my relationship with myself- seems to be coming together in a more congruent way.

I realised something in myself which affects how I relate to people and vice versa, but the links are not clear yet:

A memory often revisited and pondered over:
I was wearing a thick jumper (probably ugly), holding my Mum's hand as we walked to kindergarten where I would be brought to Snow City later on. I can hear. A child can hear "Why is she wearing such thick clothes in such a hot weather?"

I don't know why this memory is associated with shame for me. I know that I feel shame for myself and my parents.

Coming to awareness of this and acknowledging this shame has really helped me to be more authentic- and really, helped me to be more connected with people. For example, I will ask myself: "What is so shameful about asking your friends out?"

Thankful for this new environment that challenges me to confront myself. Can't really write more now; distracted by Skype conversation on the other bed (trying so hard not to follow it hahah).

Sunday, September 6, 2015

970X, 970, 8X, 23, 37A

Think my first week here has been defined by buses. Starting with 970X which landed me at the picturesque West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade when kiasu me intended to head to school the day I touched down to register. 

After that it was a string of mini buses, cross-harbour buses, city buses that I hopped on and off without thinking too much until I realised how expensive they were :o 

970 is my favorite bus so far. Brings me to school and back, brings me to Inner City Ministries, comes pretty fast. I had a good time with the ICM staff and the Nepalese children yesterday. Would have been better my nose weren't running and head wasn't so leaden that I was almost impatient with those boisterous kids. So thankful to see 'real-action'. I guess every ministry, from prayer to running Sunday School for Christian kids to engaging a marginalised community is real action. 

Whether its the naughty Doldo at Kids' Club or the shy Ruth at Sunday School, the change is equally miraculous when they see both their sinfulness and the great grace of God, and accepts Christ as Saviour. Note to self.

8X is my least favorite for how it got me wandering for more than an hour. Not complaining not complaining, just relative to 970. Not all who wander are lost, the difference is the mindset. 

So I wanted to check out Cafe Lavande, and the Citymapper app told me it was 13 minutes walk from where I wrongly alighted (it was a minibus which means you won't know where the heck you are if they skip stops unless you can read street names and check the phone simultaneously well). 
Okay it was kinda my fault also because I figured it won't be that hard, right?


But well, took the chill pill like this panda at my destination. And so I walked streets which I wouldn't have, followed locals up the Mid Levels escalator, stumbled into Eric Kayser Maison (really really dig bakeries).

Thank God for His little providences everyday, especially protection cos I might have been a bit too reckless heading out offbeat places alone. 

Can't remember what bus I caught to Island Baptist Church today. Amidst my still-leaden head I was touched by the very down-to-earth service in all sense of the term. No music accompaniment, worship leader had to remind us (good-naturedly) to follow his tune, the pastor muttering that he was running late. But then he teared halfway talking about the personal setbacks he encountered, when preaching about the redemption God sovereignly planned for Israel through Moses.

In our unbelief, God can allow us to be uncomfortable, and that is what we need- something I took away from the sharing which I was a marked contrast to the ordered sermons I am used to.. 

Ending off with this. Epitome of homeliness. Apparently they celebrate birthday babies every month and so here is the birthday cake cobbled together with swiss rolls, mixed fruits and whipped cream. Tasted ever so good over getting to know international brothers and sisters. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

To Get It Out of Mind // To Remember Forever

She must be really hot, I thought. That dismissed her in my mind as I quickly shifted my eyes and body to face the counter. Now, what drink should I get? My tactic worked for she did not approach me and I was left in peace to choose an awesome drink that was reasonably priced yet imbibed a sense of luxury.

A pricked conscience. I pretended to check the laptop left for grabs at the backache-inducing coffee table. There she was, just standing there, extending her hand towards that Malay chap sitting diagonally from me. He shook his head and hurriedly refocused on his book? notes?

Oh, she didn't close her bag! Her wares were up for grabs like my laptop. I should tell her.

She turned. She saw me looking, so I pointed at her bag.

Now our bodies were parallel, and my mind stopped as thoughts and conditioned response skidded and collided inside. I could not turn away anymore.

Her misshapen red shirt was wet in front. Saliva trailing from her half-opened mouth joined with the large semicircle that clung to her body. I could not bear to look into her unfocused eyes for more than that moment, so I glanced down at her keychains.

Conditioned response kickstarted again. Blinked twice. No way I am going to buy the useless keychains. Hand holding purse moving up. Only $10 notes. Dug hurriedly for a $1 coin. Proffered it to her.

This memory is like a silent film. I only remember that half-opened mouth. She didn't take the coin nor did she say anything. I cannot remember if I said anything myself though my lips moved.

Then it was over. I shook my head and looked up at the menu. She shuffled to the nearest table and I could see their heads shaking in refusal. Simultaneously I caught a whiff of what I imagine the phrase uncared for would smell like when she bumped me gently and I steadied myself with the thought that at least I did not shun her for being dirty.

Yet I knew I never would have reached out to her as I struggled so hard to decide on my drink. I am still silent before her; I don't know what I could do.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A story I told 5 times already

Today was in school at the unearthly hour of 7.45am, to start the first shift of Directions booth. Think it was the lack of sleep these past few days; I had a fleeting existential crisis when my Dad announced that it was time to wake up.

So I was just there, thinking I will make the most of this long 'unproductive' time but not really expecting much. Had a pretty good time getting to know fellow VCFers and also! telling Nathene about my idea to get the whole CG to support a child through school + pray intentionally for him/her through Care Channels International.

But the highlight was really engaging this freshie who needed to get somewhere for an interview. She was sweaty from walking (I think) and seemed rather flustered. Just really thankful that we had a good conversation during our 5 minutes walk to her destination, aside from the fact that I helped her in a tangible way. I'm not sure where it will lead (if it is even in my place to see where this will lead), but was particularly rejoicing because I saw some fruits from what I did.

Realised that I want to reap versus sow because I want to see the tangible fruits (referencing 1 Corinthians 3:6 here). Yet faith is the top of my spiritual gifts. Ah, is that why God? To sow in faith?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pre trip

"Whoa no pre trip??"

A response that I got when I told my fellow HKU exchange kids that I will be arriving, now that I checked the semester dates properly, on the very day school officially starts (praying I don't have Monday classes).

Though I don't really like the term 'pre trip'. Makes me think of the psychedelic experience you get with LSD trips- where a distorted reality is better than the here-and-now. Just because I am in a foreign land doesn't mean that I can care less about justice, suffering, the gospel- which is the reality.

But to be honest, I think I grappled a bit with FOMO-
I must go to Mongolia I resolved, roughing it out myself no less because it will really be pretty cool. Impulsive, naive me was annoyed at the concerns of my parents and friends when I told them about Mongolia. I see pictures on Instagram of beautiful portraits in beautiful places, and compare these places to Hong Kong.

My pre trip thus far consists of meeting friends solely for the sake of meeting, whom I otherwise wouldn't have.
Of developing my perspective on how a Christian should live, as well as throwing up fresh questions on how I should live.
Of having an abundance of time to slow down, take the initiative to talk to people, reflect on my ministry.
Of jogs and appreciating the bright yellow ixoras and verdant green grass patch along the pavement.

In this 'blank space' (not a very good term either) I also realised the decisions I have to make:

  • Can I skip church service to travel on weekends?
  • How much time do I want to commit to Inner City Ministries?
  • How much effort do I want to put into my studies, given that most of my modules have a heavy group project component?
  • Can I go for a pub crawl? (Okay I have decided no and I probably will get bored after the first pub but I still want to see)
  • How should I interact with my room mates? (You know, things like cleaning duties, sharing of food etc that are telling of who you are and what you stand for)

More questions than answers.

I think that makes for a very good pre trip.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Table for One

It started with this: Table for one please. 

Picture taken while waiting for a smaller table- I nearly walked out when I saw how bustling it was and there was no cosy loner corner for me. But by now I am wiser- it really doesn't matter how many social norms I break if I am doing what is right and good for me.

So I sat alone, taking in all the beautiful things in this beautiful social enterprise cafe. Crossings Cafe employs at-risk youth and students with special needs from Assumption Pathway School. 

Lunch Special: Coriander Fish Fillet with Spicy Tomato Sauce// with salad and mashed potato 

Was 90% full nearing the last 2 bites of my fish but decided to order dessert anyway heh. 

Panna Cotta of the Day: Teh tarik panna cotta

You can see how I feel about it.

Part 2: Tolma the Explorer

Supreme Court library which is what I imagine the Hogwarts library will feel like- a lot of ancient incomprehensible books.

At some point I was literally tired of taking photos because that meant raising my arms for some extended period. Just meandering along, taking in sights, not really thinking about anything.

I am lost, an inner voice said. It is fine, it answered itself. And so it was :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

One tab closed

(After I blog this I shall disconnect, and try to process things with God.)

Perhaps I am burnt out, I tell myself. But it's okay not to think about it now. I do want to be fruitful for God and perhaps being burnt out is a natural consequence- there is so much to do.

I am glad these questions about toil, salvation, pain, brokenness, human relationships came as they do now. They put things in perspective when I see the world as it truly is- neither with rose-tinted glasses nor despair- because Jesus, the light of the world has come.

In any case, I feel like there are so many tabs opened in my mind these few weeks. So I am glad that one tab has been closed. Thanks bro. For the grace shown, for speaking words not in haste (unlike the impatient me), for sharing.

Yes, one tab closed. I wouldn't have it another way. But God, bring me through whatever lies ahead.