Dash is someone I’ve gotten to know better of late and I’m always energized by her chirpiness. I think her never ending supply of joy juice has something to do with her entourage of imaginary animals, as seen through her sketchy and culinary depictions.
Brewing April 16, 2009
Finally opened the three-year-old box of Orange Pekoe that I bought from Blue Field in Sri Lanka. Still as fragrant and robust as how it tasted back there – definitely not your Lipton or Dilmah.
Besides pretty cups, it’s also nice to have sturdy pots like this fine Bodum one (given by a fellow tea lover) which is great for loose leaves.
Maybe there is a need to create one’s own culture. Escapist? Idealist? Stupidist?
But the world looks so much better in any case.
Spa Tea April 12, 2009
Tea drinking is still my de facto chill pill and the current tea I am most enamoured with right now is this Chamomile Rose Antioxidant Grape Seed Spa Tea by Napa Valley Spa Tea. It was given by my mother-in-law, who found it in some dodgy place in Kranji.
I also think it is very important to drink tea in pretty cups (see pic above). This Jap-inspired teacup set was my favourite wedding present and I love how even while I am drinking, a little window scenery of cherry blossoms still greets me.
This is my last bag.
Isaiah 11: 1-2
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…”
I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving powers; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by then and made blind to the shoot that will come from the stump.
When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence – the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends – I will always remain tempted to despair.
The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.
– Henri Nouwen
Lesson #2: Path Negotiation April 10, 2009
My first few attempts at cutting glass were a failure.
I did not prepare my body position. My hands trembled. I did not apply enough pressure. I stopped halfway. I did not take note of the marker’s meanderings. I felt I was going to fail even from the start.
All my biggest flaws brought out in one lesson.
The only way to finish negotiating the path, to reach a new point, to create new forms, to bring ideas to fruition is to overcome these little monsters one by one.
And then maybe, just maybe, meditative contentment and an owl’s wisdom will come my way.
“Your heart is broken, the heart that did not know hatred, revenge, resentment, jealousy or envy but only love, love so deep and so wide that it embraces your Father in heaven as well as all humanity in time and space. Your broken heart is the source of my salvation, the foundation of my hope, the cause of my love. It is the sacred place where all that was, is and ever shall be is held in unity. There all suffering has been suffered, all anguish lived, all loneliness endured, all abandonment felt and all agony cried out. There, human and divine love have kissed, and there God and all men and women of history are reconciled. All the tears of the human race have been cried there, all pain understood and all despair touched.”
“Blood and water flowed from your broken heart. Lord Jesus, help me to understand this mystery. So much blood has flowed through the centuries: blood of people who did not even know why they were trampled underfoot, mutilated, tortured, slain, beheaded and left unburied; blood caused by swords, arrows, guns and bombs, tainting the faces of millions of people; blood that comes forth from angry, bitter, jealous, vengeful hearts, and from hearts that are set on hatred, violence and destruction. From the blood of Abel killed by his brother to the blood of the Jews, the Armenians, the Ukrainians, the Irish, the Iranians and Iraqis, the Palestinians, the South Africans and the countless nations and ethnic groups victimized by the evil intentions of their sisters and brothers in the human race, blood has been covering the earth, and cries have gone up to heaven: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?”
“Let the blood and water that flow from your heart give me a new heart to live a new life. I know that in this world water and blood will never be separated. There will be peace and anguish, joy and tears, love and agony. They will be there always—together—leading me daily closer to you who give your heart to my heart.”
Lesson #1: Treat women like glass April 7, 2009
According to Glass Guru:
– You cannot cut glass half-way, you must follow through right till the end.
– If you do not treat the glass right, it will cut you.
– If you fear the glass, it will not listen to you.
– Machine-made glass is smooth and cheap
-Handmade, real glass has ridges and air bubbles – such characteristics makes it more highly valued and beautiful.
– Glass is temperamental.
A little spark April 4, 2009
For a good couple of years, I was worried when I heard nothing from Elisa.
To get a hello from her (on my inconspicuous blog no less) out of the blue was a lovely surprise.
She is a mother of two beautiful children now, her husband is also a photographer and I think her little girl looks like a miniature version of her.
The rate of people fading away from my life is exponentially faster than the rate of new people that are entering my life – a harsh fact that comes with a busier lifestyle and the eventual return to becoming a full-blown introvert.
I’m grateful that sometimes, the people that I thought would be foggy forever suddenly reappear and give a glimmer of hope.
Pool of Pessimism April 2, 2009
I read this article and was amused yet disturbed by the implications.
According to a survey by AXA, affluent Singaporeans are the most pessimistic in Asia when it comes to their future as compared to their counterparts in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand. However, Singaporeans are also the least affected by the economic downturn as compared to the respondents from the rest of the countries.
The cautionary rhetoric spewing from local dailies has given this grey doomsday hue to almost every aspect of life. I know the employers love dangling these drippy dismalities to shut the traps of anyone who expresses dissent or possibilities of labour explotiation. I know the bank customers are getting aggressive, apparently to the point of bringing a chopper to wave at the manager if industry rumours serve correctly. I know of so many people who have switched motivational gears from raring -to go ambitious” to slumpy, shruggy just-don’t-retrench-me-can.
I just wonder if all this may be excessive. I remember what CK told me, how in HK, life still seems pretty as-per-normal. It’s only when he got back here that he felt the despair and paranoia of the situation.
I guess this is just reflective of the worrywart kiasi culture that has given us the drive to be workaholics and got the economy running these past few decades. However, this culture is SO NOT suitable for surviving a recession. Just perpetuating this panic cycle further through the media, the office gossip machine, the vicious online blame-everyone-but-ourselves-for-this-mess is really toxic.
I kind of like how Khaw Boon Wan (go Sembawang!) told people to use this time to start exercising more. At least this is constructive and will give a nice punching bag outlet! I am not so hot about the going for retraining bit as I’ve been for TOO MANY useless courses to know what a waste of time and resources this can be and only makes one even more bored and sian with life (and the hellish e-mail load to clear post-training).
I think this is the time for (sincere) Oprah-wannabes, (talented) folksy singers with happy songs and (nice) gym instructors to come to the forefront and give Singaporeans a bunch of reasons to have smiley faces.
Jaton, my happy Pinoy bro, any other ideas?
I am no peppy Disney gal, but I will endeavour to write more Whee! category-type posts in the meantime. For sanity’s sake, if anything else.