请停

Dragonfly-KL

Something fleeting against something enduring… An Orthemis dragonfly parked in front of Kuala Lumpur’s magnificent Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

蜻蜓,请停,好让我慢慢的习赏。

缘份,请留,允许时间细细喜尝。

Dragonfly, please stay, the appreciation of you takes practice and time.

Love, don’t go, the joyful flavours of fate is made up of both bitter and sweet moments.

And So We Are

Pig-Tiger

Do we mind what is different, or focus on pursuing what is common?

You know that I am weird

And so are you

But there’s nothing to be feared.

You know I am not perfect

And so are you

But that doesn’t mean there’s a defect.

You know I’ve given my all

But would you?

And so we head for the fall.

Let Romance Pop-Up with a Handmade Card

It was my first time making a birthday card, a pop-up one. I wanted to make it really special because love has the power to make you do things like that. And when the relationship is over, it’s the crazy things you have done or done together that will become a warm memory of this person you were once in love with.

Bday-Card-1

The recipient of the card has an artistic streak and has created several pieces of abstract and sometimes profound digital artworks. Since it is for a birthday, I picked this piece that was inspired by the recipient’s trip to Sydney and was enthralled by the fireworks at Darling Harbour, resembling angels of light bringing something good with them.

I spent a couple of sleepless nights thinking about how to make the birthday special and a few more getting excited about the idea of making a pop-up card, but more on thinking about how to do it. Thankfully, there are Youtube tutorials around.

So after an online crash course and picking the image, I set about conceptualising a pop-up card using elements in the image to form the layered effect and it’s off to Bras Basah to buy materials. Although it is a simple card, quite a bit of brain cells died to anticipate the number of cards and the combination of different types needed to provide a nice finish.

Bday-Card-2

I settled on 2 pieces of black construction paper, one to for the pop-up structure to hold the pieces of graphics, and another to form a backing so that when you look through the holes cut out from the top piece, you don’t see through them. I also got a thicker gold card to form the outer skin of the card.

Bday-Card-3

Side view of the pop-up card with 2 layers of black construction paper. The first layer if for cutting folded strips to hold the graphics and the back layer is complete the illusion of a night sky for the fireworks, else you will see through the cut strips.

Bday-Card-4

I’ve thought through and done the measurements but unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the fact that the full height of the centre graphic is taller than the height of the card when folded close, resulting in it jutting out of the card. *Panic!* To rectify the problem, I went back to the stationery shop to buy a bigger piece of gold outer skin as the first one I got was the same size as the black construction papers and extended the size of the card to fit everything in.

Bday-Card-5

Ta-da! The completed card. Not something exceptionally beautiful but it came from the heart. The envelope says “Celebrate”, the front of the card states the recipient’s name, and inside says “Happy Birthday” so they form sort of a 3-part greeting before the message. I know, the message I wrote is lame. LOL.

So that’s my little adventure into arts and crafts. I think there’s nothing more romantic than a handmade something because it says that that person is thinking about you through the conceptualisation, planning, and execution stages. It’s time consuming and a lot of work.

But when you see the person’s eyes really light up, it’s all worth it.

Sun Prove Your Love

The other day, I was having breakfast at a hawker centre near my home. I was seated next to an old couple. As the morning sun peeped through, it shined into the wife’s face. Her husband immediately got up and asked his wife to switch seats with him.

The wife said, “But you will be in the sun.”

Husband replied, “I am sun-proof.”

If the wife’s heart hasn’t melted, mine had. Felt so wonderful to witness this little act of love.

So I finished my hot bowl of noodles at double speed to let them move to my table which doesn’t require sun-proofing. I hope I’ll find that someone who I will gladly sun-proof for one day :o)

But the wife snuffed out any flicker of romance. Instead of thanking her husband for the selfless act with adoring words, she asked the following…

“Sun-proof like you put on sunscreen with very high SPF?”

I was mortified.

Unable to control myself after hearing such an eloquent articulation of affection, I stole a glance over my left shoulder to make sure the woman wasn’t a robot. I regretted the curiousity of my eyes. The woman was playing Candy Crush on her mobile phone the whole time she was talking to her husband!

Noodles almost splattered out of my nostrils.

I felt such a sense of injustice for the husband but he simply replied, “No SPF, just sun-proof.” He smiled even though his wife wasn’t looking at him.

Love, it’s the best all-weather protection.

 

Appreciation is Healing

There’s nothing that heals a broken spirit better than a session of praise and worship. It is the aspirin, the morphine, the weed that brings on a high without rotting the body or brain.

I stumbled upon the full length Christian concert of Michael W. Smith featuring Hillsong with Darlene Zschech on Youtube and enjoyed a wonderful praise and worship session right in my room. Thank God for Youtube and full length videos!

Even though I haven’t been to the church for an EXTREMELY long time, I’m actually a very spiritual person. Not believing is a form of spirituality. I spent much time disproving and seeking evidence for the non-existence of God so that I don’t feel like I’m weak, that I need some higher power to dictate and take charge of my life. I’m not even an atheist who believes there’s no God. Being un-Christian was my religion.

But the more I fight it, the more I find that it is easier to believe. Whether or not He’s real, I’m still struggling with my faith, there’s no denying the change He has caused in my mum and stepdad. Perhaps their change has to do with age, but we can change in so many ways as we grow older. We can become bitter, joyless and suspicious, but I think God has showed them the better through His Word… to have a purpose and be constantly aware and grateful of the blessings they live in. Life is not perfect, but through the grace and promise of faith, life is beautiful. And death no longer fearful.

There is a thirst, a deep, innate hunger that only God can fill. Whether it is that crushing weight of loneliness, the painful embrace with low self-esteem, and/or that irreversible decline due to ageing, God lifts and provides the strength to rise above them all. I came to this conclusion because in the rare occasions that I listen in to Christian songs and feel an unfathomable degree of gratitude, I always feel such a surge of empowerment above the human condition.

It’s a very strange feeling. I cannot rationalise it. But something inside me actually felt good and experienced release from physiological, physical and circumstantial bondage. It is not a bodily escapade through alcohol/drug dependency, or sexual gratification, but a deep-seated contentment and spiritual liberation.

I don’t think it’s the Christian songs or sermons I listened to that brought on the rise above life. It has to do with the ability to appreciate, to allow oneself to be contented. And this ability to appreciate is inspired by Christ’s humility. He is the Son of God but He came down to die so that we may have eternal life.

Maybe the Bible or the collections of the world’s religions are mere fables but there’s no escaping that intrinsic hole that yearns for an explanation of our existence and purpose; a hole that finds its answers in giving thanks and showing appreciation to the Most High.

Believing is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of having been touched. The mind may not comprehend, but the soul knows very well.

Day 359 : Christmas Eve

This Christmas was about to become another non-event if not for a friend’s house party to celebrate the yuletide and heading down to my friends’ pub to get infected with the season’s cheer. I was prepared for a silent night, and much prefer it nowadays actually, just staying home and chilling with a movie or a good read over wine, but decided to stop being conquered by melancholy and pushed myself out of the house. My current battle with a bad neck notwithstanding.

So in the company of new friends made and old friends’ gaiety, this Christmas eve had spice although I was too drunk to remember much the next day. This photo is of friends who I’ve known for a long time (except the guy next to me at the back who’s someone’s friend and joined in the shot), some for more than a decade. Not everyone in the group is in the photo, I wish they are, but we’ve all been through some pretty wild times and really tough times… abuses, incarcerations, illnesses, fights, financial woes, death of love ones, etc. They are people I feel comfortable with anytime instantly without trying.

So when Cecilia called out for a photo to be taken of old friends, I felt the touch of Christmas. I may not see them as much, we may not have gatherings and outings like we used to years ago, but the joy and comfort of seeing them struck a chord of kinship that made getting older worth the while.

Enduring friendship is the great gift of many, many Christmas!

Day 335 : A Toast to Friendship

I haven’t caught up with Siow Har in a long time. We met during a basic digital photography course at SAFRA Photographic Club in late 2009 and really hit if off as pretty close friends who communicated frequently, went on numerous photo outings and overseas trips. We usually have so much fun because her unassuming and gungho personality unlocks all limits to what we can explore and do.

Because of her small frame, I used to associate her with being frail but she’s more garang than a lot of people I know. Sometimes her headstrongness can be at her own demise and draw the ire of others, but there’s no denying that her feist and zest for life are what caused many spectacular things to happen. I consider myself blessed by her friendship and the many who have been very generous in sharing their lives with me.

Then about a year ago, after the ScreenSingapore event, things took a turn and we drifted apart. Though we contacted each other much less, somehow that good friend feeling remained alive. So despite not catching for months, it didn’t feel like there was any rift when we met tonight to celebrate her upcoming birthday with a simple dinner and drinks.

I think good friends are like this… they are not jealous or possessive and they free you to make other good friends and even if you meet up for the first time after a long while, that familarity is rekindled in a heartbeat.

Happy birthday my dear friend and thanks for awakening the explorer in me with your lone trip to the ‘wilderness’ of Bangkok! 🙂

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