Backdrops

Currently transiting: Loch Lomond, Scotland | Previous destination: KernavÄ— Archaeological Site, Lithuania

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Aha! It's Gonna Cost Me



With the adaptor out and battery fully discharged, I'm left with my only means to cyberspace - 3G-powered mobile phone; even this is fast becoming irrelevant.

Suddenly I have so much free time to ponder over the most insignificant of things; including the old earphone. I thought I'd bypass the frayed part by chopping it off and reconnecting the working regions. Little did I know that splicing won't work due to another layer of insulation surrounding each fibre. I found out later the need to solder the ends together with some flux.

Often things happen and we thought we'd have them in control. The thing is, the "aha" moment usually comes after things got screwed up. In this mess, we either pick up the pieces and figure out what to do or just chuck it in some box till a later time.

Had I seen the awkward contortion the wires were making I would've done something before the floor beneath gave way.

Now I'd have to dig myself out of this pit. Aha!
   

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The String that Vibrates: Remembering Bro Charles

An accomplished pianist; a linguist speaking fluent Bahasa Malaysia, English, German, French and Mandarin; a teacher, mathematician, a friend and an administrator all rolled into one...

That describes Charles Levin @ Karl Wolff, or simply, Brother Charles to us Xaverians. Words will always remain words and the parturition of memory usually overwhelms the writer – in significance, pleasantness – more than the reader.

St. Xavier's InstitutionThose, like me, started studying in SXI in the late 90s would remember Bro. Charles as the "German brother who speaks fluent Malay". There was this one time when he came by the class to inform us of his new German lessons and that he's accepting students. Surely, most of us were more impressed by how excited he was about the lessons and the pluses of learning German than the prospect of having to be at school earlier in the morning. Had I taken up the offer...

Another encounter with the man was on a Friday right after the school assembly. He rounded a few of us and led us to the Palm Court and around the basketball court area – a saw in hand – to help carry [and discard] palm fronds! He'd stop and tell us stories about gardening, the traveller's palm, and how to maintain them. No hurry but eager to impart what he knows.

Somehow I felt I had to thank him for all that he had done over the years for the school, for his zealous commitment to the cause of education for all, for his selfless dedication. I shook his hand and he clasped mine and I said simply, “Thank you, Brother, for all that you have done for us.”

Of course, I couldn't give a more glowing valediction like some of the students he formally taught. But the grief from man's passing is shared by members of the La Sallian/Xaverian family.

Whether we laugh or cry, occasions like this creates a buzz in us all. And it tells us that we're connected: this one school, many great teachers-and-friend, fondest of memories; all involved in shaping us.

You have taught us well.

Thank you, Brother.
   

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Blessings


We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if each promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win, we know
That pain reminds this hearts,
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.
What if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?
   

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tak Pernah Berubah

Tempted to make a post in Malay but decided to hold off until later.

Tak Pernah Berubah, the title of the song by Suki Low (of One in a Million fame if you didn't already know). YouTube video of the song at the end of the post. Not sure if it's just me or there's really a hint of, for lack of a better word, poignancy throughout the song but relaxing nonetheless.

Never Did Change. I reckon that to be the correct translation. And I'd like to think that I never did change too; well, not over to the dark side that is. My view of the local academia remains: that a good percentage of them are selfish and avaricious people seeking office and high praises. But try forcing them back to reality and you'll see a showcase of 'faux intelligence'. In any case, I'll be facing this bunch of people in my thesis defence on September 3. Can hardly wait!

Anyway, I'm quite certain that I can finish the slides before Kak Mimi's engagement on the third day of Aidilfitri. Events such as this do make all the slogging worthwhile. After the defence, I'll look forward to Asyura's wedding on the 16th.

Yours truly with Syura and Kak Mimi. Note: this is 3 years old so what you see ain't what you'll get

Thereafter, interview by for a job with the Ministry of Health (nice way of saying government hospitals/public laboratories) in October. Lastly, a project report at Universiti Malaya in November organized by the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation.

For a moment, it's only natural to think that we have everything drawn out. Plan all we want but it's foolish to be too certain of anything that will happen in the future. The one who trusts in him-/herself will scoff at the notion that nothing is ever certain – or at the idea of a sovereign being – and human knowledge trumps everything.

James reminds that "you do not know what tomorrow will bring". And asks, "What is your life?" (James 4:13-17). Taken out of context, mockers will only be happy to say that it's the slogan of the unambitious. Oh well, I'll be the judge of that.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Drumming the Postmodern Way

I've come a long way since the last enjoyable Friday. And tonight I have Coldplay's Yellow covered by an iPad drummer to kick it off. Way to go!


Of course, if anyone fancies the good ol' percussion sans touchscreen technologies then look up TreCool30 on YouTube for a blast.


Drums are nice but a bit out of place especially if you live in a high rise residence all your life. Consequently [and naturally], I like wind instruments better. Then again, why'd anyone care what my inclinations are? Hmm...
  

Friday, 6 July 2012

Be on a Lookout

for false teachers because "false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1-3) and to "test everything; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Listen to what John Piper has to say about the so-called 'Prosperity Gospel' and why it's abominable.

Key verse: 1 Timothy 6:6-11


Friday, 29 June 2012

Night Falls

The night falls and the greater light ceded duty to its lesser counterpart. As I prepare for nightfall, it marks the beginning of yet another 'day' for many – man and other creatures alike.

Perhaps it's been so many nights (more than a week) filled with that greyish tint of a somewhat acrid scent that I find tonight especially beautiful. Rain in the past two days, twice today, did seem to freshen things up.

The Milky Way and a tank on Lemnos Island, Greece. (Credit: Konstantinos Vasilakis)

I saw the stars sitting pretty before the blue, night sky (yes, night skies are blue) limited by the size of my window. It's enough.

For from this calmness burst forth a thousand voices. Yet, as I hit my make-believe F5 button, I saw what I had seen moments ago: calm and quiet.

So, be it a flutter and a flurry, or a lull and a hush, I'll take them into my REM sleep knowing things are indeed in control. From the rotation of the Earth to the teardrop from that deep yawn.
 
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