Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bom doh dom dohn

Winter concert over, potluck over, one semester of singing over - Jube! makes my heart full :) 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Walls of Words

Brick walls broken down by kind words - I'm so blessed to be attending school here, to be living on the sixth floor of this dorm, to be cared for so deeply. To have knocks on the door late at night, to be "checked on" on my long days, to get bear hugs when scores of overdue papers refuse to write themselves. It's hard to believe that I didn't want to be here at one point in time, but here I am a semester later - I wouldn't want to find myself anywhere else.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Homestretch

Apparently God knows that I need a little encouragement to make it through finals season. So he did a couple of things today:

- got my Toothless pillow pet to be delivered nearly a week earlier than scheduled (so I ACTUALLY have some soft fluffy thing to hug + keep me company during my strugglebus all-nighters. Don't laugh. It actually makes me feel so much better)
- sent a wonderful person to call + pray for me past midnight, while I was busy being helplessly suffocated by my to-do list

In all this, it's always so reassuring to know remember that everything's safely within his hands. :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Accuser, Advocate

First song written on Jude, inspired by a late night hangout sesh with an amazing friend, and based on John 8 and Romans 8 :)

Verse 1


Em            Cmaj7                G
I come before the guiltless one
D                               Em
Guilty, convicted, unclean
                       Cmaj7        G
And I can’t deny the accusations
           D
My accusers bring


Verse 2

Em            Cmaj7                G
I come before the stainless one
D                            Em
Stained, unholy, unclothed
                      Cmaj7              G
And I can’t deny the condemnation
              D
My condemners bring


Chorus
           C                                   G
And I know that the wages of sin is death
          Em                                    D
And eternal estrangement from God
C                                              C    D  Em
Yet He puts down the stone He could cast at me
              Am  D       G
And by grace, I am free (I am free)


Verse 3

Em           Cmaj7                    G
I come before the Judge who is
                  D                         Em
Not my Accuser, but Advocate
                      Cmaj7                         G
Blood on my hands, washed by His blood
                D
He has redeemed me

Chorus

Bridge

Em                        C
Where are your accusers?
                               G
Who is he that condemns?
                                 D                               Em
Who will bring any charge against God’s chosen?
                         C                                   G
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
                         D                                   Em
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (love of Christ)

Chorus

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jude

I have christened my new guitar (i.e. my young son) with basically the most perfect/adorable/apt name ever: JUDE. A few reasons:

1. I can simply walk into my room and greet him, "Hey Jude!" And then I can actually play Hey Jude.
2. Jude's excellent fairy godmother (Carol) very emphatically approved this name after our weekly Sunday John Jay lunch.
3. Jude means "praised". Too perfect for an instrument that will basically spend its lifetime singing praises to God on its six steel vocal cords.

I actually really love Jude, and am so excited to spend the next four years with him!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sand and Stone

Not too long ago, I spent a quiet, rainy, reflective afternoon at the Cloisters (thanks SGP!). As I wandered around alone, I chanced upon a series of stained glass windows that told the story of the adulterous woman's encounter with Jesus.

In this story from the gospel of John, a woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus by a group of religious teachers. According to the law of that time, the teachers pointed out, the woman was liable to be stoned to death - so they asked Jesus what he made of the situation.

The stained glass image that corresponded with this scene was particularly powerful: an imposing group of righteous, robed religious teachers bathed in sunlight, crowding around Jesus; a sinful woman cowered in the shadows, hands crossed over her chest in shame.

But John writes that - instead of condemning the woman - Jesus wrote on the sand, then turned his attention to the religious teachers and said: "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone." Famously, the self-righteous crowd - now made aware of their unrighteousness - slipped away one by one. And Jesus was left alone with the woman.

I don't know about you, but there have been times in my life when the dusty skeletons in my closet were dragged out to the light, when the most despicable things I ever did in the darkness were exposed, when the weight of judgment and guilt and shame pressed ever so heavily upon me. And in those times, I constantly felt like I was too tainted, too unworthy to ever look at the face of God again. I was the woman cowering in the shadows, hands crossed over my chest in shame, head turned away from Jesus.

But upon gazing at the stained glass window at the Cloisters, I was prompted to look up the story of the woman caught in adultery again. And as I reread the account, I was deeply struck by one question that Jesus asked the woman after the dispersal of the religious teachers.

Where are your accusers?

They were nowhere to be found.

And, in the book of Romans:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

Who is he that condemns?

No one. No more judgmental faces, pointed fingers, condemning stares. No more standing accused by the law. No more weight, no more guilt, no more needless yokes to bear. My accusers - my past, my hidden deeds, my shame - all unclench their fists, drop their stones, and walk away. All that remains is Jesus and I. And he writes my freedom, my salvation, my life in the sand.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's a Boy!

Is this what falling in love feels like?


oh my heart too gorgeous

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bones

I am done
burying things.
I am done
digging the earth
stowing the bones
sealing the grave.
I am done
with darkness.

For the bones
the skeletons in the closet
cannot be hidden forever.

They return someday
in guilt
in shame
in terror—

yet

They return someday
in truth
in hope
in life.

He is done
burying things.
He is done
laying in earth
bones unbroken
grave sealed.
He is done
and there is light.

They return in three days
the living bones
where the grave
turns to grace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Proofreading

The college application season is clearly at its height now, and in the light of the overwhelming requests for help that I've been receiving, here are just a few things to keep in mind:

Before proofreading

- If we don't know each other / haven't met before through USAPPS, please go through CollegeLAH to request for proofreading. It really isn't fair on other people if you try to jump the queue by Facebook messaging me with your essays and shizz. Also, maybe try to hold off on the Facebook friend requests if we haven't interacted before.

When proofreading

- Avoid sending me stuff to be proofread like a day before the deadline or something (unless I've been working with you on a long-term basis already). I am actually - surprise! - a full-time student, and I have to attend classes and do homework and stuff like that on a regular basis.
- I will only put as much effort into proofreading as you put into writing your essays. So if your work is shoddy, my work is going to be shoddy too. In contrast, if you've clearly put thought into whatever it is you're writing (even if it's not perfect), I can assure you that I'll put in as much effort as I can for you.

After proofreading

- A couple of ways to interpret my comments:
1. If I've tracked changes to your essay and the doc looks depressingly messy, that's probably a sign that you're on the right track. The mess indicates that I care enough about this essay to actually make edits and amendments.
2. If I've left your essay untouched, and only included general comments below, that's probably a sign that I think the essay is rather unsalvageable (but I'd likely be too polite to say so). This is unless I explicitly state that your essay is so awesome that I don't want to ruin it with my own comments.


^Me, when people send me stuff right before their deadline

I'm sorry if this post sounds a little snarky - I'm usually a lot nicer once we've gotten to know each other! I'd just really appreciate it if we can agree each other's limits on time/effort/etc, and work to reconcile that in a mutually beneficial way :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dam It

Over the past few years, the Sarawak state government has been developing a project called SCORE (basically an initiative which, if successful, will result in the construction of twelve hydroelectric megadams in rural Sarawak). The Murum dam has already been constructed, and the next one in the works is none other than the Baram dam. This one is going to be particularly crazy because—if you remember your lower secondary Geography—the Baram River is one of the two main rivers in Sarawak, alongside Sungai Rajang. This means that it's a crucial source of life not only to virgin forests and wildlife of Borneo, but also to thousands of indigenous people.

Dams like these have been built in the past, often with disastrous outcomes. Let's take the infamous Bakun dam as an example: over 10,000 indigenous people were displaced from their homes in 1998 when the dam flooded their native land. And to give you a better sense of scale, the area of the flooded land was roughly the size of Singapore. That's right. The size of an entire nation. So hypothetically, if Singapore were still part of Malaysia, and if Taib Mahmud had decided to plop the Bakun dam on this little island—Singapore would have entirely disappeared from the world map. That's how incredible the extent of the destruction was.

And now we have the Baram dam. According to the Sarawak Report, this dam is projected to flood an area the size of Penang. So hypothetically in this case, if Taib Mahmud decided to open the floodgates of the Baram dam upon this island—that would be the end of our char koay teow. Forever. But seriously, though—from here, we then have to take into further consideration that this isn't the only megadam that's being planned out for Sarawak. There are twelve of them. So envision this: twelve megadams, each approximately the size of an entire state, all concentrated within a single state in Malaysia. And then imagine the sheer number of indigenous people who would have to be displaced to make room for these dams. Probably tens of thousands.

Personally, this issue is one that strikes close to home, mainly because the statistics I've written about aren't just numbers to me. Behind every data point is a face, a story, a life with so much intrinsic worth—and behind some of these data points are people I call family. There's Pr Vincent, the wonderful family man who took me into his home for an entire month in the forest. Then there's Po' Bolo, the old man who gave me far more rice than he could afford during a season of poor harvests. And there's Suling, who stole my slippers and locked me in the classroom and loved me in a way that I'll never forget. And then there's the entire village of Lg Lamai—whether the men who exclaimed "Hallelujah!" when I slid down the hill on my rear end, or the ladies who allowed us to sheepishly use their toilets when ours got stuck, or the kids who spotted rainbows and constellations with me after class.

I honestly don't know what I can do about this (probably nothing much, I'm a small fry), but at the very least, I'm hoping to keep myself updated on any relevant developments. And maybe—if you'd like join me in this—do click here for one of the most informative and comprehensive websites I've seen on this issue (it's by the Sarawak Report, so it's legit).

- Hun uleu jah pemanak lem Yesus Kristus -