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i knew something was wrong when it did not squeak as much as it used to when I was last back home.  a  sure sign of aging ?  perhaps. though it was still quick off the blocks when i fed it.  and how quickly within 24 hours it went to pet-heaven (or wherever dead animals go to) … such is life and that is why i detest keeping pets as much as i lurve pets – the emotional attachment hurts.

well, u had lived a vegetable-filled and fruit-ful five years or so in our household.  may where u are right now continue to be filled with cavy feed, newspapers (which u liked to chew on), fresh veggies (esp. tao-gays) and apples ! … rest in peace dear cavy (we never really named u), ur already missed by us …

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It has been a while since I last blogged.  Not just because I was home for the holidays but also it has been difficult to do anything outside of office given the current work situation.  Perhaps im too harsh with myself and should learn to take more deep breaths.  Or maybe its just because i never learnt how to relax.  In any case, i dont like or want the status quo.  hopefully there will be change.  im not holding my breath on this though …

… will be back soon (i hope) …

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel.  The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.  But his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.  And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.  Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.  He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.  Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.  He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.  He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.  Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.  When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.  Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.  The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”  Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”  

– 1 Samuel 8:1-22

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

– John Steinbeck in “Of Mice and Men

.     .     .     .     .

An old friend asked me the other day why I chose to work overseas.  It was a simple question, one with an answer that was suppose to be at the tip of my tongue.  But I was surprised that I was stumped for a moment and did not know how to answer him.  It was then that I realised that in the run-up to me being here in Cairo last year, I had cited many reasons to different ones – from career advancement, to a lack of choice, to financial reasons, to wanting an adventure while I was (relatively) young and even because my peers were also overseas working. 

Yet, never once did I gave the same consistent answer to those who asked.  It struck me there and then that maybe I never really thought about it carefully.  Maybe this whole idea that its God’s Will is an excuse for me not to give this life-changing move a deeper thought.  I had actually stop thinking once I was told about the “Big Move”.  Thinking is tiring.  And life was tiring enough in 2007.  So saying ‘yes’ was easier.

When I was young, I just want to study, bag some ‘A’s, get a well-paid job, get married, have children and wait for 55 so that I could withdraw my CPF and trod into the sunset.  That was the Singapore Dream, at least for my generation – the 70s kids.  But fortunately or unfortunately life never pans out like that.  You grow up and see life no longer through tinted lens.  Reality calls for wisdom.  There are consequences for choices.   It requires us to think of what we truly want to do with our life, a very short time here really, and how we are going to reach there. 

So after saying so much, am I regretting now?  Not really.  Like many things in life, we don’t and won’t understand how it all fits in the bigger scheme of things.  I have had some real great experiences while here.  Met some wonderful people.  Been to places that I never thought that I would go.  Did things that I could only dream of back home.  Challenged myself and my personal threshold levels several times.  Sure, there were failures and times that I felt that I am moving against the tide.  But each time I come out of it a ‘bigger’ man.  And that is something that cannot be taken away.

Meanwhile, life goes on …