Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stuff I probably shouldn't blog about, but what da hey :P

Writing in my blog has kept me occupied enough that I have not updated my personal journal for the past couple of years. Not that there was any lack of juicy secrets to write about, just that once I started working, updating a blog AND my journal was just too much of a hassle. Recently though, there's been quite a bit going on that I didn't feel like writing here, so I decided to go back to my journal and blah it all out. And so I got out a pen and picked up that dusty book I have hiding somewhere and wrote about 6 pages worth of stuff... until my hand started to ache, I was sick of having to use correction fluid everytime I make mistakes, and I still wasn't done writing. So I figured, since I type a lot faster than I write, and whenever I make errors on a comp I can simply use the almighty backspace instead of having to wait for correction fluid to dry, might as well take my personal journal online. Ooooh, how risky is that? Anyone might just be able to find my writings online and happily read all my juicy secrets. Well, there is always a risk I guess, but as long as it's no one I know reading my juicy secrets, it's ok. :P Anyhow, I tried googling my journal and couldn't find it, so I trust it's secure enough. So don't bother trying, you nosy pokes. I'm just thinking how funny it is that now everything is so easy to do online, I can't even be bothered to write the good ol' fashioned way. I can happily spend my whole life in front of my computer now... oh wait, I'm already pretty much doing that. Ack.

A hot topic to write about has been, and always will be, guys. Such as the new guy in my office whom I really enjoy having around, for little other reason other than I think he's totally hot. I'm tempted to put up a pic to show how hot he is, but asides from that being a violation of his privacy, photos of him really don't do him justice. He's much hotter in real life, mannerisms and all. And he's also pretty funny, which is always a major plus point for me. Unfortunately, I can merely enjoy looking at his royal hotness but not take it any further, for a few reasons.

One, he's just a fresh graduate and kind of a bit too young for me... one and a half years younger actually. I suppose age isn't really a problem as long as the guy is mature in dealing with issues in a relationship. Problem is it's hard even to find older guys who are mature in dealing with issues in a relationship... I highly doubt a younger guy would do much better. But perhaps it's just my rotten stinking luck. Of course, another problem is that a younger guy would be less financially secure. While I don't mind so much paying for a date every now and then, I don't want to end up paying all the time just coz' my date can't afford it.

Two, he already has a girlfriend. Or at least, I have very good reasons to think so, though I haven't asked him to confirm it and I don't intend to ask coz' I know I can't be with him for reason number...

Three, he's not Christian. Not that I think any less of guys who aren't Christian, but while any other differences like age are not so important, it IS important for me to be with someone who shares the same fundamental beliefs. If cannot pass this one criteria, then no matter how perfect he is in other aspects, it ain't gonna happen. But it's ok, coz' since I'm quite happy that I get to see eye candy in office almost everyday, sometimes semi-flirting with him coz' I'm single and I can get away with it, minus having to go through the annoying emotionals ups and downs. I do believe having hot guys in the office improves office morale... though the same may not hold true for office productivity. :P

Of course, I would not endorse getting your highs from such superficial means. What I would really like is to have a good, Christian guy in my life who loves God first, love me second and loves people too. I have some cool notions that the guy I meet will be involved in some ministry where I can be the supporting partner-in-crime, whoops, I mean, ministry. But then the problem would be if I DO meet a guy so gung-ho for God, I doubt I'd have much to offer him since I'm not all that gung-ho myself. Well, I do try... and fail... miserably. Which is probably why I've settled for guys who are much less than gung-ho for God before. But now, I think if I can't get a partner-in-crime, whoops, ministry... I'd rather go alone than settle for any less. Recently in cell, we had a discussion on 'grey' areas of our faith, like appropriate dressing, and working on the Sabbath, and also on marrying non-Christians... and my discussion group got the last topic. At the end of it, the other girls in my group (who are both attached) decided to pray for me to be able to find a good, gung-ho Christian guy to be with. I was ok with it, though I can't help but think that God would probably have plenty of better things to do then fix my love life. But then again, He did say in Genesis 2:18 that it's not good for man to be alone, and so Eve was born to keep Adam company. And thus is probably why most females have this annoying inclination to want to find partner, yours truly included, and therefore God owes me a good guy. Hmm... I should have a chat with Him about that next time I pray about it. :P

Good single gung-ho Christian guys are hard to find and prospects are few... but they're around. Right now, the mysterious tilapia guy is back on my radar again. And who is this mysterious tilapia guy? See, this the stuff I write about on my private journal. Har har. Actually, he's always been around but for some reason I've never really noticed until recently a weird chain of events led to us hanging out together for almost half a day and being with him was pretty fun. And it was only after we were done hanging out and I was heading home when I thought "Hey, we could have something pretty good going on here". Far as I can tell, he's not only totally gung ho for God, but he cares a lot for people too. So he DEFINITELY passes the main criteria. Now all I need to worry about is the secondary stuff like whether or not he's partially insane. You'd think it's a given thing that Christian guys have all their bolts screwed on tight, but interestingly enough, they can be just as whacked out as the next guy. Haha. Anyway, I'm trying not to get my hopes up or rush into anything. I just want to bide my time and get to know him better. And if something happens, then great, but if not, then well... I can just happily continue getting my kicks from the eye candy in my office. Lol.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kalimantan and other side stories

I had to go to Kalimantan last week with a bunch of my colleagues to visit some of our estates there (yeah, Sime Darby has estates in Indonesia). I think the only time I've ever been to Indon was when my dad worked in Jakarta as a plantation manager for a couple of years, and my mum and I went there to visit him once. This was when I was in secondary school, and it wasn't a particularly interesting trip, considering there's little or no form of entertainment in the estates... though I remember we went to this restaurant in the nearby town where a drop-dead gorgeous guy was working, and after that I bugged my dad to go back there to eat, though of course I didn't tell him the actual reason why I wanted to go back there. Bygones. Anyway, visiting Kalimantan last week was pretty interesting, coz' although Indon is pretty similar to Malaysia, a few things are quite different, and being there gave me a refresher on just how different things are.

Take the highways, for example. Malaysian highways are usually about 3 lanes wide. But in Kalimantan, from the time we entered Indon land from Kuching, the highway is only one lane in each direction with no divider. It's like a trunk road all the way... but for some reason they call it a highway.
My team and I were driven by the estate manager drivers about 3 hours along this so-called highway before we reached our destination. Not unexpectedly, our drivers were happily overtaking whatever cars or bikes they could, and driving at at least 80 km/hour throughout this small, koochi single lane highway. After the first hour or so, I stopped freaking out quietly in the back seat and decided to just go to sleep and hope I wake up in one piece. Strangely enough, when I asked one of the managers if accidents were frequent, he said there are very few accidents. And I also did not notice ANY roadkill on the roads throughout my stay there, even though I saw heaps of dogs, chickens and other animals wandering just metres away from the road. Which either means that drivers in Indon make more effort to avoid animals that wander on the road... or animals in Indonesia are smarter than animals in Malaysia and they don't go onto the roads. I'll go for the second theory, just coz' it's more fascinating. I, for one, can't stand seeing roadkill, so I'm pretty glad it doesn't happen much there. And speaking of roadkill, just today while stopping at traffic light at Taipan on my way to work and when the light turned green, I saw suddenly a kitten rolling out from under the car in front of me as it started moving. The kitten flopped over right onto the dotted line between lanes, but I couldn't see how it was as I had to move my own car past it while yelling "Aaaargggh!!! Don't roll over the kitty!!!"... supposedly to the drivers behind me, but they couldn't hear me anyway. I wasn't sure if I should stop to help it or just keep on going coz' I might've been late for work... but thoughts of the poor kitty trying to crawl off the road amidst oncoming traffic got to me. I quickly parked my car at the housing area nearby and came back to the traffic light to try and save the kitty from being run over again if it was still alive... but as I watched it from the side of the road to see if it was moving or breathing, it showed no sign of movement. I suppose it was already dead, so after a while I decided to go back to my car. In hindsight though, I didn't see any wounds or blood on it, so I should've just gone and taken it off the road to make really sure it was dead, and at least let the dead kitty rest in peace on the grass instead of being smashed up by other cars...but oh well. *Sigh* Roadkill make Carol sad. :(

Anyway, back to the story of my trip to Kalimantan. Another thing about the roads is that they aren't maintained too well. While the supposed highways are not so bad, there was one road leading into the estates that we had to go through that was really super bumpy coz' there was a gazillion and one potholes in it. It was kinda like a souped up Motion Master (I swear, after working here, I don't ever need to pay for a Motion Master ride at Genting ever again. Riding through bumpy estates roads is well more fun). I took a video of my ride out through this road, and uploaded it here

Bumpy ride at PT SIA - Share on Ovi

Unfortunately, my Share on Ovi site temporarily doesn't allow direct streaming of videos, so you can only go to the link and download the video to watch my super bumpy ride. Sorry for the trouble!

Trying to communicate with the locals in Indonesia was also an interesting task. Malay and Indonesian words are mostly the same... but some words in Malay mean something completely different in Indonesian. On one day, we were talking to the estate staff about the amount of fuel they use to run the estate vehicles, and they were going on about their 'mobil-mobil menggunakan solar'. I know 'mobil' there means car... but when they talked about 'solar', I was wondering if the cars there had solar panels attached and they ran on sunlight instead of fuel. While that would have been a cool idea, common sense told me that it was more likely that they weren't talking about solar panels... and eventually I figured out that 'solar' means petrol. And if you're wondering, solar energy is called 'suria' in Indon. And NOW you know....

Along the way back from one of the estates my team had to visit, our drivers decided to take a slightly more interesting route. We went into this area of forest where we saw a few animal enclosures with deer, crocodiles and orang utans. Deer are pretty boring, so I didn't bother to take pictures of them, but I caught some cool pics of the others residents.

There was another smaller orang utan in the same enclosure with this fella (I think it's a mother and daughter) but the smaller one didn't seem too sociable that day.

Perhaps she was having PMS that day or something. Whatever it was, I didn't stay too long to find out coz' after some time, Mama Orangutan started grabbing some big rocks and was giving me and my colleague standing at the edge of the enclosure some weird looks. Seems like she was about to throw them big rocks at us... like I said, we didn't hang around long enough to find out coz' we both ran off as fast as we could to safety.

My team and I got the pleasure of staying at the mess hall within one of the estates. If you think folks going into the estates have only dingy shacks to stay in, think again. Most of the time, they have guesthouses which are pretty comfy and so far. The mess hall we stayed at had a large screen tv where we got to enjoy satellite tv (that has even more channels than Astro!), computer with an extremely slow internet connection but I could still play games on it, and a pool table. I think I played about 20 games of pool the whole time I was there... some by myself just so I could work on my sucky angles. I played against the estate manager, and lost 4 out of 5 games to him... most of which when I only had one ball left to hit in. That was quite annoying.

One thing I really like over there is their orange juice, which they call 'es jeruk'. I had a taste of it at lunch one day, and the juice was made of pure mandarin juice, with the pulp and all still inside, and it was sooooo much better than the fake orange juices we get over here. And after conversion, I think the drink cost less than RM2, whereas it would probably cost at least RM4 here, or some even more insane price as a result of the fuel price hike (good that the price has gone done, but I highly doubt the prices of anything else is going back down, so doesn't really make much a fantastic difference).

By the way, I also had the unfortunate experience of having to take MAS instead of Air Asia to Kuching, so we could get into Kalimantan from there. And I have to say the MAS food was SOOO bad... We had a choice of french toast or roti jala for breakfast, and I chose french toast. The french toast was tasteless, the bun was dry, the yogurt had the blah taste of cheap food...
much as I don't like wasting food, I have to say that the stuff they let us eat on MAS can't really categorized as food. It's more like weird stuff we can put in our stomachs to reduce our hunger. Go Air Asia anytime. You gotta pay for the food, but at least the food is palatable. And if you travel for work, you get to claim for the meals too. Yay!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A night at Passion

This is a rather long overdue post, considering the event happened 2 weeks ago on Sunday, 3rd of August, but considering I've been pretty busy, you'll just have to deal with stale news. Bygones!

Couples of weeks ago I went for Passion World Tour 2008: Kuala Lumpur, held at the Sunway Convention Centre. For those of you wondering what da 'eck is this all about, the event is a worldwide Christian concert tour run by Passion Conferences, a Christian organization that runs annual Christian events targeted mainly at college students (or those who can still pass off as a college students such as yours truly). For their Passion World Tour 2008, they are visiting a total of 17 countries, Malaysia being one of them, and their tickets were pretty cheap at only RM20. At first I had read about the event on Facebook, but wasn't really planning on going for the concert... until a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go, and I was "". Only Rm20 anyway... so I thought, what the hey, might as well go and check it out.

And as expected, the event WAS totally awesome! The entire convention centre was packed with about 4000 people (mostly college students and older foggies like me trying to pass off as college students). The concert started off with some cool visual effects, which you can see
here in the wonderful world of Youtube. Then the band started off with a bunch of upbeat Passion Christian songs, most of which I'd never heard before but learned how to sing along soon enough. And when you're singing worship songs along with about 4000 other people, jumping up and down like a bunch of bunnies high on caffeine coz' they're so ecstatically praising our God, trust me, there is no cooler feeling. UNLESS you're singing along with tens of thousands of other people from all over the world jumping up and down while praising God, like I was once when I was in Australia attending the Hillsong Conference in Sydney.... but that's another story! Oh yeah, Chris Tomlin (who is only like probably the most famous contemporary Christian artiste today) was leading the Passion band too. I've heard a bunch of his songs before, but didn't really know what he looked like, and of course it was my first time seeing him live. Fantastic singer, singing some fantastic songs, and not too bad on the eyes too. All the elements needed for a great concert... :P

But the music wasn't all that was to it... after about 6 or 7 songs and everyone had had enough of jumping around, we got to have a seat and listen to a message from Louie Giglio, who's the founder of Passion Conferences. While his message overall was really good, the part that really got everyone was when he pulled out a journal and opened it to read to everyone. He explained that the journal belonged to a young girl named Ashley who was a senior at the University of Florida. As he read out loud and explained the first part of Ashley's journal, which consisted of quite a few swear words that Louie had to 'edit' out, it revealed the story of a typical party girl who enjoyed nights out getting drunk silly and getting it on with her boyfriend. Ashley's mum was a Christian who kept talking to her about God and Jesus and stuff like that, but to Ashley, her mother behaved as though she was better than non-Christians. And in fact, all the Christians she knew behaved as though they were better than non-Christians... so Ashley wasn't too fond of Christians, and thought that considering her partying lifestyle, she was too far gone, too 'sinful' to ever be accepted by this God dude her mum kept talking about.

Then one day, Ashley has a big fight with her boyfriend whom she was living with. She kicked him out of her apartment, but didn't like living alone and started advertising for a housemate. A girl named Christa took her up on the offer, and after she moved in, Ashley found out that Christa was one of those Christian people. Ugh. But she soon learned that Christa was...different. She didn't act like she was better than Ashley, and she didn't look down on Ashley for her partying lifestyle. Christa started talking to Ashley about Jesus, and though at first Ashley at first had her inhibitions, when Christa started showing her DVD's of some Passion Conferences and she listened to Louie Giglio's messages, she started to have a change of heart. After getting through the awe that Christians actually record church messages on DVD, she learned from Louie's messages that no one is too 'far gone' to be accepted by God... and God would love and accept her even after all her 'sinful' partying ways. Ashley was intrigued by this, and wanting to learn more, she started writing letters to Louie Giglio himself. She didn't expect to get a personal reply from him, but he did reply, and they exchanged a few emails online but never actually met.

Eventually, Ashley decide to accept Christ and become a Christian, and her journal entries from then on were very different from before as she talked about how great God was and all. In one entry, she talked about how she when to a Christian cell group, and they sang one song which she didn't know, but the lyrics of the song just hit her so hard and she loved it so much, she wrote down the lyrics of the song in her journal. The song was called 'Mighty to Save', and these are the lyrics she wrote:

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

My Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

At this point, Louie lifted up the journal and showed everyone that the last few pages were blank. Ashley had wrote a little more after that about how excited she was about graduation which was coming soon... but she never finished the pages in that journal and she never made it to graduation because soon after, she got into a bad car accident and died of internal bleeding at the hospital. That was 3 months after she accepted Christ, and after Ashley was buried, her mother wrote a letter to Louie telling him what had happened to her. But even though she had died tragically, her mum told him that in the last few months of her life, she was a completely different, joyful person. And to thank Louie for his encouragement to Ashley, her mother and father sent Ashley's journal to Louie, allowing him to use it to tell her story to people around the world, as he was doing that night at the Passion concert. The Passion blog also tells a bit more about Ashley's story, as it shows the letter that she wrote to Louie and also the letter that her mum sent to him after Ashley died.

Of course, not many stories of people believing in Christ are as dramatic as Ashley's. Especially for people like me who came from a sort-of Christian family, where I known about Jesus all my life. Sure, at one point when I was older, I had to make one my own informed decision on whether to really believe in Him or not, and I chose the former, albeit with a few ups and down along the way. Sure, I've experienced the joy of being a believer and knowing no matter how crappy a person I am, God has taken care of it so I don't have to worry about anything. But naturally, being a normal human being, it's hard to remember that fact all the time, and it's easy to live a normal every day life and be... not so joyful. And I guess that's why it's good to go for concerts/ conferences like Passion coz' events like these give me the whack on the head I need to remind me of what God has done for me, and for all of US, and it gives me the chance to go crazy happy about it. We got that chance again after Louie's message, when the band got to playing more songs, including the wonderful 'Mighty to Save'. And everyone was singing, lifting their hands and jumping around even higher than before, which was all totally great fun. :)

Here are a couple of vids of the concert that I stole from Youtube to give you a rather foggy idea of how the concert was. First vid is of the song 'Mighty to Save' and the second vid is of them playing the song 'Sing, Sing, Sing', where you can see the good lookin' Chris Tomlin and sort of see part of the 4000 people there jumping like bunny wabbits throughout the song.

Unfortunately, the quality of the videos aren't great so you just need to imagine a much better sound quality and having 4000 other people singing around you to really enjoy the vids. OR you could go to the Passion concert next year to enjoy the REAL experience, or whenever they decide to come back, which hopefully will be next year coz' I want to go agaaaiiiinn.....!!!