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life lived differently

I first came across the poem ‘Invictus’ when I watched the film of the same title. I thought it was a very powerful poem though I didn’t agree with its humanistic tone – the invincible spirit and strength of man.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

(William Ernest Henley)

Then I learned there was actually a poem written as a counter-response to ‘Invictus’ from my current reading – ‘The Grace Awakening’ by Charles R. Swindoll.

My Captain

Bright as the light that dazzles me,

Bright as the sun from pole to pole,

I thank the God I know to be

For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

 

Since His the sway of circumstance,

I would not wince nor cry aloud.

Under that rule which men call chance

My head with joy is humbly bowed.

 

Beyond this place of sin and tears

That life with Him! And His the aid,

Despite the menace of the years,

Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

 

I have no fear, though strait the gate,

He cleared from punishment the scroll.

Christ is the master of my fate,

Christ is the captain of my soul.

(Dorothea Dea)

Life, indeed, can be lived differently depending on who or what I put my trust in, isn’t it?

weekend: photos + words

When you are working, weekends always seem to fly by in a whizz and never long enough. We started the weekend by watching a English-Dutch film, Bride Flight at the beautiful grounds of University of Western Australia. This is becoming a summer tradition of ours – watching movies in the outdoors.

Today, we went to Point Walter which is a 15 minutes drive from our place for a walk. The cool thing about this beach in a park is that when it is low tide, you can literally walk on the sandy islets which are usually beneath the waters and get as close to the the waters as you want.

And there were seagulls, jelly fish, fishes and even an old school ice cream truck!

And when we walked enough, we sat down for a good read with a beer and snacks – perfect ending to the weekend!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? This better be true if you are living in…

Can you imagine living in a country where if you are admitted to the hospital, the first thing they do is call your medical insurance company to see if they would cover whatever expenses you will incur?

Or losing your baby girl because the nearest hospital you drove her to wouldn’t treat her because they were told by your medical insurance company that since they are not part of their network of hospitals, the hospital will not be paid any medical costs at all. Consequently, your baby girl died when she was finally treated in the ‘approved’ hospital under the medical insurance scheme.

Or having to pay USD200 for an inhaler when it’s being sold for USD0.05 (yes, you read it right) in Cuba?

Or being denied medical treatment recommended by your doctor because your insurance company won’t pay for it on the premise that it is ‘experimental’ or ‘unnecessary’?

Or being bundled up in a cab (still in your hospital gown) and dropped off at a homeless shelter because you couldn’t afford the hospital bills? As if you were just some piece of garbage to be disposed of?

Or becoming bankrupt in your 50s from huge medical bills (even though you are insured) because your husband have had heart attacks and you were diagnosed with cancer? And so you ended up having to sell your house to pay the bills and move in with your grown-up children in their home…

Fact or fiction? Unfortunately, the above are all real-life stories hailing from the Land of the Free – The United States of America where believe it or not, universal healthcare is a myth.

Last night, we were left astounded after watching Michael Moore‘s ‘Sicko‘. And I finally understood why my colleague Mish the gentle giant from America is determined to never return to her home country until universal healthcare plan is established for every American. So grateful that we are covered under some form of universal healthcare scheme where we are now and where we came from.

the way of LOVE

[Extracted from ‘The Message’ translation; 1 Corinthians 13.]

“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled…

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

On a sidenote: Here’s one of my favourite love songs of all times – “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel in one of my favourite movies “Shall We Dance” starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. I love how the beautiful lyrics complement the poignancy of the scenes.

tonight,

I am craving for chilli crabs, particularly the ones from here.

I am glad I finally finished de-cluttering my list of ‘friends’ on Facebook . If I’ve not ‘accepted’ you as a ‘friend’; it’s nothing personal. I am just trying to be as sincere and realistic about how many friends I can keep in touch with. For now, 93 friends seems manageable. Until the next de-cluttering.

I am thinking about Ah Ma and what she is doing in her home right now.

I am thinking about the difference an individual CAN make after watching documentaries about him and her. Never let anyone tell you it won’t matter because you’re just one person. To the one person you’ve touched, it’s never the same.

I am re-reading this and trying to get inspiration for what I’d like to achieve at work. Yes, it can be done.

I am looking forward to Spring and all the wildflowers that she brings.

listening to…

I heard this song at the end of a show last night and it brought back memories of when we left for Perth ‘cos I think that was when I first heard the song. It’s interesting how music often leads me down specific memory lanes…

re-visiting Dead Poets’ Society

This is one of our all-time favourite movies. And Robin Williams was unforgettable as the charismatic John Keating. Below are some of his quotes:

“There is a time for daring and a time for caution, and a wise man knows which is called for.”

“… you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

“Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, “that’s baaaaad.” Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.””

“But only in their dreams can men be truly free. Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Some midweek food-for-thought for YOU, our dear readers.

Good Will Hunting

A few nights ago, we re-watched the movie – Good Will Hunting, one of CS’ all-time favourite movies. And this is our favourite scene:

Conversation between Sean (Robin Williams) and Will (Matt Damon) in ‘Good Will Hunting’:

Sean: “So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid.

And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my xxx life apart. You’re an orphan right?

[Will nods]

Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some xxx book.”

Isn’t that true? Sometimes, we think just because we ‘know’ something, that’s everything. So we are quick to jump to our conclusions about an issue or someone just because we’ve some head knowledge prior. Worse, we think we ‘know’ how or what it feels like. I guess, the challenge for both of us is that: Do we go through life from reading about it or by experiencing it? What’s yours?

A Witness to Our Lives

We have 2 wedding anniversaries.

29 Nov 1999 – We were officially married @ROM in the presence of our families.

5 Mar 2001 – We were married in church in the sight of God before our families and friends.

In our years of marriage, we have always celebrated both anniversaries. Since last year, we decided that we’d just celebrate our church wedding anniversary because that really marked the beginning of our lives together as a married couple.

Last Thurs, CS was not home the usual time after work. Turned out he made a detour to buy roses for me in remembrance of our anniversary; and gave me a card which he had gone to the mall to buy during lunchtime that day. Love was manifested and felt.

Both of us have this favorite quote from the movie ‘Shall We Dance’ in which Susan Sarandon talks about the reason why she was married:

“Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”

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