It’s Not About My Performance, it’s all about Christ’s Perfection

Psalm 84:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

Sometimes waiting for God’s will to come to pass feels like fighting the temptation to eat the first marshmallow–but if we would just wait for His appointed time, we will have two marshmallows instead of one.

And my God is faithful, whatever He has promised, He will surely deliver.

Love this song by New Creation Church.

One-Liner Wednesday — 2000% Return

20141029-222943.jpgAs part of the Young Enterprise CSR program, I bought MYR 10 (USD 3) worth of shares in a student-run company, and made MYR 203.45 (USD 62) back in dividends: a whopping return of over 2000 percent and no doubt, the most profitable financial investment I’ve ever made in my life.

This is part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday:

http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/29/one-liner-wednesday-eh/

The Pain in Phuket: An Unpretty Perspective

Who could tell the pain that exists alongside such beauty?

Who could tell the pain that exists alongside such beauty?

Three months ago, inspired by my first solo travel to New Zealand, I wrote this post, The Paradox of Travel, about how I travel looking forward to enhancing my perspective. After New Zealand, I had another vacation to Phuket Island, Thailand, albeit not alone this time.

It’s been 3 days since I bid the beautiful island goodbye–a good time to reflect on the trip. Flashing through my mind as I write is the image of a male beggar I saw at the local night market we went to, wanting to experience a slice of daily life there. I noticed the ugly stumps on his right hand–he had lost all his fingers except for the thumb, with which he was holding the cup he used to beg for money. He was sitting on the dirt floor with a crutch next to him, so I guess he couldn’t walk unaided. But what I really cannot forget was the look on his face–his eyes were red and moist though I did not see any tears, and he was just glaring into space. I thought I sensed a mixture of grief and anger, and helplessness and defiance. All that aside, he looked physically healthy, a man in mid to late thirties of medium build.

I didn’t quite know what to do, and I felt uncomfortable giving him money so I just walked away. Beggars can be a common sight, and some may be bogus…but this one…maybe with the look on his face, I sensed he might have been there by force and whatever money given to him might just go to some cruel human trafficking syndicate.What could I have done now, I wonder. Make a report to local police that there was a beggar sitting at the corner of the Kamala town night market?

As it turned out, I did nothing about the beggar, and just went on shopping for dinner, which we took back to our suite to eat before showering and then heading out for more massages. On my first day in Phuket, I had three massageas – a foot reflexology in the morning almost right after we arrived, and then a full-body traditional Thai massage after dinner, followed by another foot reflexology, just because the masseuse was so good I became reluctant to leave after the full-body massage ended!

The next day, we took the free hotel shuttle to the  central Patong area, where all the action was supposed to be. Shopping at nearby local stalls while waiting for the Jungceylon Shopping Mall to open its doors at 11 am, once again I encountered the harsh reality of life on this touristy island.

“Tell me what price you want, miss. Give me some good luck, you’re my first customer today.”

“What do you want? Do you want this bikini? No? Then you go away.”

I looked at the quiet lane where these stalls were situated, and concluded that these traders were really hard pressed for business. There had been crackdowns recently by the Thai authorities on stalls selling imitation branded goods, which had driven many tourists away.

I ended up buying a floral dress and a pair of shorts from the first trader for 400 baht after some haggling–partly because I liked the dress, and my sister liked the shorts, and partly because I felt a bit intimidated by the gangster-looking seller! “400 baht, only for you, miss, because you are my first customer today.”

This is almost good enough for me to want to go to Phuket again. This, and the massages.

We quickly left the stalls and we happily joined the crowd that had gathered in front of the mall and went in the moment the doors opened. Lunch at the mall’s food court, Food Haven, was good (I miss the Patong coconut ice cream already!)… and after that we encountered a few more frustrated stall owners inside the mall, but at least within the confines of the air-conditioned complex, we did not feel so threatened.

Back at Kamala Beach, where we stayed, the shop owners seemed to be facing a similar quandary. Only the massage parlours enjoyed reasonably good business.

“You from Malaysia? Apa khabar?” (“How are you?”)

I joked back: “Khabar baik.” (“Good.”) “Sabai dee mai?” (Thai for “how are you?”)

And they answered: “Mai sabai. Business no good.” (“Not good. Business not good”.)

We smiled and walked on. We were on holiday, but once it ended, it would be back to work too for us, and back to the daily reality, harsh or not.

All over, we are all just humans, trying to working out our own levels of survival. Some are more fortunate, some are less…but dare we complain and insist on carrying another person’s cross? I choose to be thankful for my lot, and make the best out of it.

Phuket, surprisingly, has turned out to be quite a humbling experience.

 

Degrees and What They Mean to Me

1. Temperature
I am a tropical girl, a true blue one. I sat down to write this post only after I successfully adjusted the air conditioning temperature in the hall and rooms of this serviced apartment my family and I are staying tonight to 29 degree Celcius. Shh I hope no one noticed.

2. Education degrees
My mom obtained her Masters degree in education when she was well over 60 years old, an endeavour she embarked on just because she felt she had too much free time on her hands. It was quite sweet to see how my dad would sometimes send her to class and then sit down for a drink at the university’s cafeteria to wait for her. Incidentally, my mom’s Masters degree is from the very university where she and my dad met. Hmm I have nothing else to say about degrees…except that I have observed that having a degree is just a ticket that helps to open doors. The rest is still up to us as success is anything but automatic, even for degree holders — be they Bachelors, Masters, or PhDs. Who are we kidding anyway? Everyone knows some of the most successful people in the world are college dropouts.

3. The third degree
Outside of the police interrogation room, or formal investigations, the third degree, in my opinion, occurs only when there are control and insecurity issues involved. Ideally words and questions should be used appropriately and not too liberally. Yes even as someone who enjoys writing, and whose day job involves a great deal of writing — I swear by the economy of words.

So that brings me to the end of this post 🙂 Toodle-oo before this gets too wordy!

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/24/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-2514/

One-Liner Wednesday–On a Vacation, Not a Tour

Day 1 in Phuket Island, Thailand: didn’t concern myself with taking countless snapshots, or going to ‘must-visit’ places because to me a vacation is about relaxing and enjoying a different place and culture, and of course, when you are in Thailand – indulging in cheap and yet good massages!

http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/22/one-liner-wednesday-one-filament-short-of-a-lightbulb/

Why I Love Hotel Majestic Kuala Lumpur

20141021-191141.jpg

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is owned by YTL Group, the same group behind some other luxury hotel brand names in Malaysia, like JW Marriott and Pangkor Laut Resort. Thus the ‘wow’ service and small yet opulent touches are rather characteristic, though they are all branded differently.

20141021-191320.jpgHaving been around since 1932, Majestic KL boasts a grand colonial-era building — reminiscent of Singapore’s Capella Hotel and Penang’s E and O — white, imposing, majestic looking. Once at the door, however, service is warm and attentive. “Good morning ma’am, welcome to Majestic Hotel.” “This is Eunice, and she will assist you with your check in.” “Ah were you the one who called regarding an early check in? Your room is ready now.”

The reception staff even helped me check the best way to get to the airport tomorrow morning for my early flight to Phuket, Thailand. I am also given the express check out option — a very thoughtful and proactive gesture.

20141021-191434.jpgPlush beds, LCD TV, mini bar and tea/coffee making facility, bath robes and the whole works in a well-appointed and elegant decorated white and earthy-color theme came as a delight rather than a surprise, being standard features one would expect of a luxury

20141021-191549.jpghotel. But the bathroom caused a me to do a double take: there’s a bathtub with a tray right smack in the middle, AND a television! I wonder which channel to watch while I soak in it later tonight, maybe while sipping a glass of wine, too. Hee hee.

20141021-191728.jpgToiletries come in colourful, generous-sized bottles — probably close to 100 ml each — the shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, and body lotion come in pomelo, cucumber, and mangosteen flavours. Soap bars are from Crabtree and Evelyn’s La Source range. What a delight!

20141021-191824.jpgDining and room service are pricey–which is not a big problem since the hotel provides a regular shuttle service to KL Sentral, which is adjacent to the Nu Sentral Shopping Mall, and also Starhill Bukit Bintang, another shopping and dining haven.

This is another plus point for Majestic KL–since from KL Sentral train station it is easy to get to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 either by bus, train, or a cab.

I am looking forward to my Thai tropical island getaway, but I will be sorry to have to leave Majestic tomorrow morning. So I will just make the best of my evening there–with service and surroundings fit for the Majesty.

Gonna hop on the free shuttle back to the hotel now!

Being Christian: What It Means to Me

Inspired by my pastor’s preaching on praising God this morning, I searched Youtube for Christian praise songs and found this beautiful number by Singapore’s New Creation Church.

Unto You, be all glory and all praise–indeed!

This song got me sentimental and thinking of what a wonderful God and Saviour I have chosen to follow. And an amazing journey I have had since the day I began to follow Him–the God who loves me despite my imperfections, mistakes, and rough edges.

And that really should not be a surprise at all because there is no command in the Bible for the followers of Christ to be all saintly and perfect. If we could achieve that there would be no need for Jesus in the first place.

I guess Christianity becomes controversial and offensive–when Christians forget their own humanity and need for Christ, and go around trumpeting opinions and dishing out do’s and don’ts in His name. Maybe it’s easy to blur the lines between becoming like Christ, and wrongly thinking that we are already like Him and therefore have the right to impose our views on others.

Being a Christian, to me, is simple. It simply means I have a source of guidance to turn to in times of troubles and doubt. I have a Higher Authority to whom I look for hope when things happen that defy explanations, and when prognosis for the future looks bleak. I have a point of reference when I am not sure what is right or wrong. It means I have knowledge that shapes  my beliefs, principles, and ideals. The rest — like the fun worshipping in church, the peace and joy and boundless optimism —  are the happy by products of my walk with Christ.

So this is how it works for me–my relationship with my Saviour, and learning to become a better person. It may work differently for others, and the good news for me is, I know enough about the Bible to be absolutely sure that I am only called to follow Christ, not to be on His law enforcement team–if there is even one in the first place. Ha!