Thursday, March 31, 2016

Unexpected kindness

I did something so idiotic today that I could hit myself.

I had decided to get my hair trimmed and drove myself to the hair dresser. It was raining so very heavily and in my rush to get out of my car to the dry curb, I locked my car keys in the car. Arggh!!!

The funny thing (not so funny actually) was that much to my chagrin, I realised it at the very moment I slammed the car door shut. Too late!!!

But at that moment, my hair dresser was seated at the curb having a chat with a friend. She had wanted to leave and go home but because of the rain, she decided to stay back. It was a good thing for me because she witnessed my predicament and offered to drive me home to pick up my spare key. God bless her. 

But it was still raining cats and dogs. So I might as well get my hair trimmed first before settling my car problem. 

When all is done, she kept to her word and drove me home. We also had a good chat in the car. She told me that she started her business about nine or ten years ago and her anniversary is actually tomorrow! We then talked about how difficult running a business is these days and that she had to fork out a salary of RM1500 a month for every shampoo girl she hires and she has four. It is tough especially when business have slowed down. 

I finally got my spare key and she drove me back to my car parked outside her salon. I began thanking her profusely for her kindness but she told me not to worry about it and reminded me that we all make mistakes and there will come a time when she needs help and kindness too. God bless her indeed. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm thoroughly exhausted

He who talks more is sooner exhausted. 
~ Lao Tzu

I was giving training at work today. They are a happy bunch of people to train and they were a delight but I was so exhausted right now. Maybe like what Lao Tzu said, I have talked too much. However, I think he meant it differently!

I am exhausted nonetheless like I have never before. I don't know why. Just hoping I won't end up having weeds growing on my head. 

On an exhausted field, only weeds grow. 
~ Henryk Sienkiewicz


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Come home to a good book

I saw a cute book quote in Facebook today and it made me really guilty for not finishing even one book this year and March is about to come to an end. 

I need to come home to a good book. 


Monday, March 28, 2016


My hubby was watching the Merlin episodes on iFlix, with me catching up on bits and pieces here and there. I was however quite fascinated with the Morgana character. She was originally a kind hearted person but turned evil after being corrupted and betrayed by friends. And I learnt that this character is more than meets the eye. She is apparently a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legend, and a very complex character. 

I am fascinated because it shows how self-centeredness and self-preservation can drive a person to being evil. It'll be interesting to study such characters and see what drives them, what influences them, and how they play their games. Morgana is a character that personalizes conflicts, she manipulates others, she believes in what she wants without the evidence, and she lets her emotion blinds her on the effects of what she does to the others. 

Whilst no one is all good, we do have a standard of morality to look up to, and we try our best to keep to an accepted level of conduct and behavior. But a person's heart we cannot see. Proverbs 14:10 says, "The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy." And Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."


Sunday, March 27, 2016

In Christ we shall be made alive

I have two songs with me this Easter Sunday. 

Firstly, this chorus from The Messiah has really become my favorite. Taken from 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, it has indeed the Easter message: we were fallen and we face death but through Jesus, we are resurrected in him. We all will die one day, but in Christ, we shall all be made alive. We will be resurrected. Amen!

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The second song that was with me was this delightful Cantonese 3-part canon. The worship leader used it in service this morning and I was brought back to when I sang it most probably 30 years ago and haven't sung it since. 


gei duk gong sai
Christ was born
wai ngo jui sau sei mai jong
Died for me and was buried
sam tin gwor hau
Three days passed
fook woot giu ngo moon
Resurrected and called us
sing sau wing yuen paan mong
To receive eternal hope

fook woot jue, fook woot jue
Christ is risen, Christ is risen 
gei duk gam tin fook woot
Christ is risen today
fook woot liu
He is already risen. 


Blessed Easter everyone! May the resurrected Christ be the center of your life now and forevermore. 


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Are you sure Jesus is not alive?

Dr. James F McGrath posted this cartoon by Kevin Frank which is so amusing to me. 

But amusing only on the Schrödinger part, more precisely the all-too famous Schrödinger's Cat. The checking of the empty tomb is no joke. Every living person, whichever religion we subscribe to, must seek and question what we believe in. This is so we know for sure it is the right thing.

The Schrödinger cartoon bears a very good message. If you have not checked in the tomb, you will never ever know, will you? Are you sure Jesus is not alive? Are you sure he is not the only way as he says he is? You will never be sure unless you go find out for yourself. 

The good thing about Jesus is that we have with us the most number of earliest and most reliable manuscripts in the world. What you read in the Bible is as accurate as it can get to the historical account two millennia ago. 

For one, parts of the New Testament have been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages. 

Bruce Metzgar said, "In evaluating the significance of these should consider, by way of contrast, the number of manuscripts which preserve the text of the ancient classics. Homer's preserved by 457 papyri, 2 uncial manuscripts, and 188 minuscule manuscripts. Among the tragedians the witnesses to Euripides are the most abundant; his extant works are preserved in 54 papyri and 276 parchment manuscripts, almost all of the later dating from the Byzantine period...the time between the composition of the books of the New Testament and the earliest extant copies is relatively brief. Instead of the lapse of a millennium or more, as is the case of not a few classical authors, several papyrus manuscripts of portions of the New Testament are extant which were copies within a century or so after the composition of the original documents."

Sure, there are a lot of questions. You may never be perfectly sure. It is indeed by faith. But God has revealed himself to us in no other way than to come to us in person. How more real can it get? It is all in the historical documents. 

Please for the sake of your life, check them out. Ask the questions. Find the answer. 


Friday, March 25, 2016

It is Good Friday

I am blessed this Good Friday to have the music and words of Handel's Messiah that still plays in my head. I am beginning to realize that the experience of being in the chorus of The Messiah, and on top of it in the Lent and Easter Season, will always be with me. I will have the songs, the Scripture verses with me to remind me and teach me the birth, death, resurrection and hope in Christ.

Handel had chosen just these few verses from Scripture and put them with wonderful music to aptly tell the account of Jesus's suffering and death on the cross: Here is the Lamb of God that takes away your sin. He became despised and rejected in your place. He took upon your grief on himself. He was flogged and maimed. He has borne your griefs and carried your sorrows. Wounded for your transgressions. Bruised for your iniquities. And with all the stripes he suffered, we are ironically healed. But still, we are like sheep who have gone astray, we removed ourselves from his grace. We even laugh at him and question the drama of it all. Jesus suffered still. He knew it is the only way for our salvation. He was stricken. But...there is hope. There is life a-coming!

22. Chorus
Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.
(John 1: 29)

23. Air  (Alto)
He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
(Isaiah 53: 3)

He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off His hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting. He was despised...da capo
(Isaiah 53:6)

24. Chorus  
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows! He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.
(Isaiah 53: 4-5)

25. Chorus  
And with His stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53: 5)

26. Chorus  
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:6)

27. Accompagnato (Tenor)
All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn; they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying:
(Psalm 22: 7)

28. Chorus  
"He trusted in God that He would deliver Him; let Him deliver Him, if He delight in Him."
(Psalm 22: 8)

29. Accompagnato (Tenor)
Thy rebuke hath broken His heart: He is full of heaviness. He looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort him.
(Psalm 69: 20)

30. Arioso (Tenor)
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.
(Lamentations 1: 12)

31. Accompagnato (Tenor)
He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgressions of Thy people was He stricken.
(Isaiah 53: 8)

32. Air (Tenor)
But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell; nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
(Psalm 16: 10)


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why I will not take a genetic test

I attended a lunch talk in office today on genetic testing for preventive health care. It involves taking a test on your genes for any signs of mutations so that you will know what your health risks are. The health check that you go for every year tells you what your current health state is whereas a genetic test gives you an indication what diseases you may have in the future.

I was skeptical. Is this a fad or will this become a norm in time to come? I did a brief research on the Internet and found that more than 90% of search results are positive about it being the way to go in preventive healthcare. A few sites however aren't so enthusiastic about it, and as I read these, my skepticism was warranted.

Here are some reasons why I would not take a genetic test:
- It may affect my insurance coverage. With the knowledge of my full genetic makeup, would I need to provide them in full knowledge? The same goes for my employment and also any future employment opportunities, where I may need to sign a full disclosure. I may become jobless. 
- I may be so stressed up with a negative result that I will no longer have a fulfilling life even though I may not even have any diseases yet, or may not even have them at all. Not all indications will become a reality, and the test may or may not be accurate in the first place. 
- I may feel guilty if I am found to have a clean bill of health but not my family members who carry the mutations. 
- What would my life be if I know I am going to have a disease that is incurable?
- And even if it may be curable, how will I decide on drastic decisions like full mastectomies or for men, radical prostatectomy, the removal of healthy prostates
- There are also risks that my genetic information may be misused, like for research or patenting of genetic information without my consent or knowledge

So I'm happy not knowing how I may fall sick in the future. I'll continue with what I am doing right now, in taking my regular annual check-ups, eating healthy and in moderation. But what I need to do though is to get back to the gym!

Here are the links if you need more information:


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My next kitchen appliance: a pressure cooker

I have never used a pressure cooker before but as I was checking it out, I think it will be a very useful appliance to have, especially when it can really reduce cooking time. 

I am just unsure which kind to buy. Prices can range from RM55 to RM2880! And even if I can afford one that cost RM400, would it be a good buy? Or could one costing RM100 be just as good? I don't know. I am reluctant because I want to be sure that the pot I get is safe. I do not want it to explode in my face. I was joking with my husband that people who died from exploding pressure cookers would not leave any reviews.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Traffic was literally at a standstill today

It was an unbelievable day. It took me 2 hours to get to work this morning when it ordinarily takes me just 45 minutes and that with the usual morning congestion. And on my way back from the hospital after visiting someone there, it took me 1½ hours to get home when it would just take half an hour. 

The commute back was longer than usual because there were road works in the route I took. But the morning traffic was unusual. 

The Star Online carried the news: Unusually bad traffic jam Tuesday morning. It said that, "The main cause of the congestion could not be determined." I however think it is because of the weather. It was raining, though not heavily but as the usual traffic slows down, it affected the entire system.

I remember reading in The Economist some years ago that any delays in traffic would cause further delays time four, if I am not wrong. For example, if a car was stalled at the middle of the road for 10 minutes would cause a traffic jam that will last for 40 minutes. I could not find the article now and so I could not confirm it as fact.

But I found this article which may just explain the unusual traffic congestion this morning: Traffic jam mystery solved by mathematicians

It says that, "Mathematicians from the University of Exeter have solved the mystery of traffic jams by developing a model to show how major delays occur on our roads, with no apparent cause...Their model revealed that slowing down below a critical speed when reacting to such an event, a driver would force the car behind to slow down further and the next car back to reduce its speed further still. The result of this is that several miles back, cars would finally grind to a halt, with drivers oblivious to the reason for their delay. The model predicts that this is a very typical scenario on a busy highway (above 15 vehicles per km). The jam moves backwards through the traffic creating a so-called ‘backward travelling wave’, which drivers may encounter many miles upstream, several minutes after it was triggered...When you tap your brake, the traffic may come to a full stand-still several miles behind you. It really matters how hard you brake - a slight braking from a driver who has identified a problem early will allow the traffic flow to remain smooth. Heavier braking, usually caused by a driver reacting late to a problem, can affect traffic flow for many miles."

believe this was what exactly happened this morning because of the rainy weather. 


Monday, March 21, 2016

Countries with the best English speakers

I found this very interesting English Proficiency Index of countries that speaks English as a second language. We fare quite well at #14 out of 70 countries. Check out the report here.

As much as it is officially a second language here in Malaysia, I can safely say it has become my first language. I write and speak and think and dream in English. However, I count in Cantonese - it is much faster! 


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Earworms: I learnt something new today

I did not know it is referred to as an "earworm", a piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. 

I have always had earworms almost every day of my life and it does not really bother me unless I have them when I need to fall asleep. The most memorable ones was when I went caroling during Christmas time in my young days. The carols will go on and on and on in my head when I'm in bed after a long night of caroling from 6pm to 12 midnight, sometimes even one in the morning. I remember I was so irritated with those earworms.

I have not been actively caroling for many years now and so I don't have that problem anymore. I do get an earworm every other day though, songs I have heard in the airwaves or any song that would just appear out of nowhere and they do not really bother me. Quite often they can even be classical music too.

But what has been with me the whole of today is obviously earworms from The Messiah. Whilst it has been a torture for my other fellow sopranos, I hadn't minded them actually. I take them as reliving good music and good memories. 

I only hope it won't last into the night later when I need to sleep. Surprisingly, I stayed clear of them last night though I only slept at 3am because my mind was still so active. Endorphins they say, as a result of 3 straight hours of music. 

I pray I will sleep well tonight with no earworms. 


P/S morning of 21/3/2016: thankfully I had no earworms before I fell asleep but the amusing thing was that I ended up dreaming I was attending The Messiah concert in a cruise ship as part of the audience and that I had slept through the entire work until the last part when I woke up (in my dream) but it was still intermission. Nobody sang anything in the dream. And then I woke up (for real) with earworms in my head. I keep hearing a mesh of Chi Hoe, the bass, singing Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together and The Trumpet Shall Sound. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Music in heaven!

We had our second and final night of performing The Messiah today. I was more at ease and calm compared to yesterday where I was too overly excited. And as such I really enjoyed myself singing today. I was so happy and joyful I was able to make beautiful music for the Lord. 

Halfway through when I was seated in the choir seats not singing but enjoying the beautiful music played by the absolutely fabulous orchestra and the arias by the soloists, it dawned on me what a good place I was in. 

Rather than seated in an audio room listening to The Messiah CD, or seated in the hall right there watching and listening to the singers and the orchestra, I'm actually in one of the best seats of all. I get to hear such excellent music and on top of it I get to sing in it for real! How awesome is that. 

My fellow good friend and choir mate, Ee-Tan commented that we will certainly be experiencing a singing overload what with our final session of four vocal workshops tomorrow at church, together with the two long grueling months we spent with The Messiah. I thought and then shared with her there will never ever be a singing overload because we are made to sing and make music!

Worship in heaven is forever and ever but of course worship is not only through music. I believe whatever we do in future in the new heaven and new earth is in fact done in worship to God. But that will certainly still involve lots of singing. Music is so much a part of us as human, as created beings in God's image. 

I would imagine a choir of thousands and thousands of people, with a huge orchestra of thousands and thousands of violins and violas and trumpets and tubas and flutes and oboes and timpanis and drums and guitars and basses and what have you, here, there and everywhere all making joyful music unto the Lord. 

And imagine a mesh of new music by Handel and Bach with John Rutter and Tom Fettke and all the company of heaven. 

Wouldn't that be an amazing sight, and amazing place to be in. Oh how I look forward to that! Wouldn't you?!


Friday, March 18, 2016

The Messiah: "He was despised" should have been "I am despised"

We finally had our first performance of Handel's Messiah today. It was truly an experience of mixed emotions that I will need to unpack in days to come.

I won't say we did that well but the reviews so far have been surprisingly good. For one, Paul Baker, our conductor,  posted in Facebook saying that, "A good friend who came...runs a company that stages huge arts events globally in tandem with e.g the Olympics, World Cup etc. He's worked with Orchestras such as Simon Bolivar, London Symphony, Vienna and New York Philharmonic and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He stated that [the] night's performance of Messiah was as good as any he's ever seen globally and a lot better than many. He was truly stunned to witness this level in Malaysia. Now that's what I call a seriously worthy testimony not just given out of a new convert's excitement about classical music."

Wow...that is really something. 

What moved me most tonight however was Gabrielle Maes's aria He was Despised. It was so emotionally sung in these words that they pierced my heart as to what an amazing Saviour in Jesus we have. 

He was despised
Despised and rejected 
Rejected my men
A man of sorrows 
And acquainted with grief

When I came home and further reflected on the song, I suddenly realized that I should be the one saying those words - I am despised, I am rejected, I am with so much sorrows, I am the one with grief. How often have I forgotten that and only looked at Jesus as one who died on the cross, period. 

Yes, I know he died for me, but have I really understood the immensity of the cross? Most probably I will never ever understand it fully, academically or emotionally or experientially or spiritually, but this encounter has indeed deepened my understanding of the cross. 

I am despised and rejected. As much as I seem like a good person on the outside, no one has seen me on the inside. I am truly despicable. And yet God has accepted me. He gave his Son to be despised and rejected in my place so I can be whole and complete again to meet the Holy Almighty One. 

And for that I am so grateful. How amazing is his love for us, his mercy and his grace, that Jesus suffered and died in our place so that we are complete in him again. 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Such amazing hope we have

The one piece which I like most in The Messiah is the soprano's I Know My Redeemer Liveth. We had a full rehearsal today, being the eve of the performance and we went through the entire work. And when I heard the soprano sang these lines, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God," I was mesmerized.

I even have goosebumps now looking those words penned by Handel. Indeed, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

Such amazing hope we have in Jesus, that though the world is in a mess, with it being corrupted and in chaos, and though I will die, yet in my flesh--how amazing is that--in my flesh, I shall see God. 

That is the hope I am holding on to until I actually see Him in person, for I shall indeed see Him.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Handel's Messiah: 2 more days and we are on!

We had a technical rehearsal today getting the sound right and all the technicalities in place. I am in the choir seated at the side at the back behind the orchestra. And this was how it looks like from my vantage point with Paul Baker as the conductor. 

The soloists are fabulous, as well as the orchestra and I really encourage you to come and listen to this wonderful piece of oratorio by Handel. It will be staged at Grace Convention Center this coming Friday and Saturday. Tickets are at RM48 a piece from

As for the choir, Paul just referred to us as "small and delicate". I suppose he is just being witty because the orchestra is quite big compared to our 30-or-so-member choir and they do need to scale down their volume so as not to drown us. But I must say that compared to when we started, we have come a long way and I do say that we sounded pretty good during rehearsal. 

I must admit that at first I was quite overwhelmed with the twice-a-week three-hour long never-ending practices but now I'm glad because it has certainly paid off. And I have learnt so much and I am so glad to be a part of this amazing piece of music on the birth, the passion and the resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. 

To find out more about it, Paul and the alto soloist was in an interview this afternoon in BFM. Take a listen to the podcast here:

Handel’s Music for Easter
Paul Baker, conductor | Gabrielle Maes, alto soloist
16-Mar-16 14:00


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

O for a good deep sleep

It has been a long day today. We have been practicing for The Messiah twice a week since January and this will be the final week of practice and rehearsals for our performance this Friday and Saturday. 

We had our first full rehearsal with the orchestra and soloists today and it was tiring. The funny thing was my voice was still perfectly normal after the 3-hour long practice but what was aching was my entire left arm and shoulder. That was the result of holding on to the heavy set of music scores. 

When I got home I thought it'd be good to open my bottle of full-bodied late bottled vintage port, have a glass and settle down to a good rest for the night. It was really good wine. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Dried Bok Choy Soup with Rice Vermicelli

I made Dried Bok Choy Soup (Choy Gon Tong) and instead of having it with rice, I used rice vermicelli (meen seen). My favourite soup with my favourite noodle. Yummy...


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Live Sermon Sketchnotes: one too short, the other too fast

I am getting the hang of making live sketchnotes and I really enjoy it, but the one last week and today was pretty challenging. 

Living in Obedience by Rev Dr Yu Chee Huat

Last week's sermon was only 10 minutes long because of a long church report before that and the pastor had to cut his sermon down to end the service in time for the second service. I thought I did a pretty good job with the header to waste it! And the gist of the message is important in that we must open our ears to the voice of God and not to be confused with our own.

Building Bridges That Last by Rev Mike Constantine

I felt today's sermon was preached very quickly. I suppose it is because the preacher had a 7-point sermon! The one thing that I take home with me is this: when it comes to people that you just do not like, try asking them for help and when they come to you in a big way, you will never not like them ever again. I thought that was a good lesson. 


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dave ★★★★★

Dave (1993)

I was looking for a movie to watch in iFlix today when I noticed this one called "Dave". It is quite an old movie but I have not heard of it before. I read the introduction to the movie and thought it would be one movie I'd enjoy. 

I was right. It was funny and interestingly unpredictable. I was wondering all along how the plot is going to unfold, which is pretty rare these days. I'd usually would have sort of worked out plots of movies midway through. And I like how it all unfolded in the end. A really good watch. 


Friday, March 11, 2016

In memory of a friend

I was reminded today of a friend who took his own life. We kind of grew up together and I remember him as someone who spurred my love for singing.  He passed quite many years ago, and I still think of him once in awhile. I pray he has found comfort and I certainly hope to see him in the Day of the Lord.

Prayer by Vienna Cobb Anderson
Bless, O God of eternal life,
all who have died
by their own hand.
Grant them peace
from their inner turmoil
and the compassion of your love.
Comfort those who mourn
their loved ones.
Strengthen them to face the questions of pain,
the guilt and anger,
the irreparable loss.
Help us to reach out in love
to others who prefer death
to the choices of life
and to their families who grieve.

Source: Beliefnet

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

When will I get to afford one of this?

Segway x2 SE Personal Transporter

I've been wanting one since they first launched it. I don't think I can ever afford one though. 

Photo source: Segway

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Nostalgic Find

My parents were packing and clearing their stuff when my dad found the typewriter he thought he sold off.

Vintage Typewriter - Royal Li 

He passed it on to me of which I gladly receive. It brings back good memories of me using it in my school days. When I tried typing something, I'm surprised I remembered what to with the levers and buttons. And a really nice feel and sound as well!


Monday, March 07, 2016

Have you heard of this - betterment charges?

I was in a car accident end of last week. Not huge but the repair is going to cost some.  I have been busy making a police report and I spent the first half of today getting all the documents ready. 

In the midst of finding out what needs to be done, I found out about this thing called betterment charges. When the workshop owner mentioned it, I had to ask him to repeat the word a few times and I was not even sure I got it right. And I couldn't understand what he was trying to tell me.

I googled the word "betterment" hoping I heard him right and that was when I found out about it. 

It's a charge that insurers imposed on car repairs as a result of accidents when your car is more than 5 years old. It means that since you have had your car for so long, any work done on it will give you a better car and so you will have to pay for the "betterment" of it. Even if when you are claiming against the other party's insurance, you have to pay 20% of the costs of repair yourself.  

Like this one blogger said it, this is all bologne! And I agree. I did not purposely to get into an accident. It's an accident! And when someone else's car hit onto mine, it has to be fixed,  betterment or not. That is exactly why I bought insurance in the first place. 

This is ridiculous. 


Sunday, March 06, 2016

A church without the Holy Spirit. Possible?

What would a church without the Holy Spirit look like? Is that even possible, a church without the Spirit? It is indeed possible. And to find out how, it would be good and useful to look into the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3.

I checked James M. Hamilton's preaching commentary on the book of Revelation and he suggested that the seven churches were presented by the author John in a chiasm. Ah...I have not heard or talked about that in a really, really, long, long time. It was and still is one of my favourite subject.

If you check Wikipedia, "chiasmus (Latin term from Greek χίασμα, "crossing", from the Greek χιάζω, chiázō, "to shape like the letter Χ") is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism. Chiasmus was particularly popular in the literature of the ancient world, including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, where it was used to articulate the balance of order within the text."

As in the seven letters as a chiasm structure below by Hamilton, the center and crux of the passage, where there is usually just one, appears to be a threesome of C1, C2 and C3. (He uses the analogy of a picture frame to describe the structure of a chiasm.)

A. Revelation 2:1–7, to the church in Ephesus, which has lost its first love. Think of the letter to Ephesus as the wooden border of the frame on one side.
B. Revelation 2:8–11, to the church in Smyrna, which is commended for its faithfulness, not reproved, and not called to repentance. Think of the letter to Smyrna as the mat on one side of the frame.
C1. Revelation 2:12–17, to the church in Pergamum, which has people who hold to false teaching, eat food sacrificed to idols, and practice sexual immorality. Think of the letter to Pergamum as one side of the picture that is matted and framed.
C2. Revelation 2:18–29, to the church in Thyatira, which seems worse off than the church in Pergamum because it tolerates a false prophetess who seduces people to practice sexual immorality, eat food sacrificed to idols, and is unrepentant! Think of the letter to Thyatira as the middle of the picture that is matted and framed.
C3. Revelation 3:1–6, to the church in Sardis, which is worse than both Pergamum and Thyatira because it is dead. Think of the letter to Sardis as the other side of the framed and matted picture.
B`. Revelation 3:7–13, to the church in Philadelphia, which like the church in Smyrna is commended for its faithfulness, not reproved, and not called to repentance. Think of the letter to Philadelphia as the other side of the mat.
A`. Revelation 3:14–22, to the church in Laodicea, which like Ephesus has lost its first love and is now lukewarm. Think of the letter to Laodicea as the other wooden border on the far side of the frame.

It is interesting to see that the church in A and A` has complacency as their problem and Jesus wants Ephesus to return to their first love and Laodicea to be zealous and repent. The church in B and B` are the only 2 churches not reproved. And the three churches in section C goes from bad to worse. Pergamum has false teachings. Thyatira not only has false teachings but they are teachings that have already borne bad fruits.  And the worst of the lot is Sardis: it is dead. And that is where false teachings lead to--death. 

Hamilton says, "For the glory of God, Jesus calls these churches to reject this false teaching, hold fast to the gospel, and live in a way that corresponds with the gospel rather than in ways that correspond with false teaching."

Let us all be warned. Hamilton asks these very pertinent questions, "Is your first love still flaming, or are you lukewarm? Are you ready to be faithful unto death like those in Smyrna, holding fast and not denying the name of Jesus, like those in Philadelphia? Or are you more like the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira, not so concerned about sound doctrine, with the result that idolatry and immorality have come? If you’re not at all concerned with these things, it might be that you’re most like Sardis: dead. Where are you?"


'Revelation' by James M. Hamilton Jr. ; R. Kent Hughes, gen. ed.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Yarn bombing, a worldwide movement

One of the three projects that I have started this year is to knit something. It is going slower than I thought it would, but I am not rushing it. My only regret is that I wish now I had bought better yarn, but I will have to stick to the 12 rolls I bought.

I came across this Ted Talk about knitting and art, which I thought was very interesting. The simple things that we do with our hands can have a chance to be creative. So don't give up the simple.


Friday, March 04, 2016

Thank you Lord for the good and the bad

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We give you thanks O Lord for the good and the bad in our lives. 

The good days knowing that you have and will continually provide for us. The bad days knowing that we are dependent on you at all times. 

We thank you for the good people we are with who bless us and whom we bless. We thank you for the bad people we meet for reminding us of our fallen nature so we will not be proud and for whom we can show your love. 

We thank you for good health knowing that we are made in your image and we reflect your perfection. We thank you for our bad ailments knowing that this body is temporal and we look forward to the promised resurrected body. 

We thank you for good feelings because we are filled with your presence and you give us joy even in our sorrows. We thank you for bad feelings recognizing that we are not worthy of you and yet you call us your own.

We thank you for the badness of the cross where you have suffered and died for us and where our transgressions are washed away with your blood. We thank you for the goodness of your very self of whom we abide in for you are the resurrection and the life.



Thursday, March 03, 2016

To cook or not to cook, that is the consequential question

My husband have been watching this new documentary series on Netflix called "Cooked" by Michael Pollan. He was very impressed by it and insisted that I at least watch the last episode: Episode 4, Earth. 

It was an outstanding episode on fermentation and food. Do you know that cocoa is actually from fermented beans? And I absolutely loved the section on cheese. 

Pollan said, "Disgust is one of the primary human emotions, an instinctive reaction to something that offends our sense of taste and could be dangerous. Cheese reconnects us with a very earthy side of life, and about decay and decomposition."

He was featuring this nun, Sister Noelle Marcellino who is also a microbiologist from Abbey Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She makes a version of a French cheese called Saint-Nectaire, a raw milk, uncooked, natural ruins cheese made strictly according to ancient techniques that have been practiced in France for hundreds of years. 

It's what she said about eating cheese that impressed me, "It's this sense that we're eating decomposition, break-down product. You could call it death. To me, it's a taste of that, but a promise of something delicious. So, I think it's almost a subconscious way of being prepared for death and facing our own mortality. And for me, that analogy of really, a death, a decomposition creating this wonderful flavor, it's a promise of something better. I experience that over and over again when I look at cheese, when I smell cheese, and when then I look at cheese the microbial ecology of cheese. That's the wonder for me, that it's a promise of life beyond death."

How profound.

The episode then concluded with Pollan reading this portion from his book, Cooked, "To cook or not to cook thus becomes a consequential question.

Though I realize that is putting the matter a bit too bluntly. Cooking means different things at different times to different people; seldom is it an all-or-nothing proposition. Yet even to cook a few more nights a week than you already do, or to devote a Sunday to making a few meals for the week, or perhaps to try every now and again to make something you only ever expected to buy—even these modest acts will constitute a kind of a vote. A vote for what, exactly? Well, in a world where so few of us are obliged to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization—against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it, is to declare our independence from the corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption...It is to reject the debilitating notion that, at least while we’re at home, production is work best done by someone else, and the only legitimate form of leisure is consumption. This dependence marketers call “freedom.”

Cooking has the power to transform more than plants and animals: It transforms us, too, from mere consumers into producers. Not completely, not all the time, but I have found that even to shift the ratio between these two identities a few degrees toward the side of production yields deep and unexpected satisfactions. 

Cooked is an invitation to alter, however slightly, the ratio between production and consumption in your life. The regular exercise of these simple skills for producing some of the necessities of life increases self-reliance and freedom while reducing our dependence on distant corporations. Not just our money but our power flows toward them whenever we cannot supply any of our everyday needs and desires ourselves. And it begins to flow back toward us, and our community, as soon as we decide to take some responsibility for feeding ourselves. This has been an early lesson of the rising movement to rebuild local food economies, a movement that ultimately depends for its success on our willingness to put more thought and effort into feeding ourselves. Not every day, not every meal—but more often than we do, whenever we can.

Cooking, I found, gives us the opportunity, so rare in modern life, to work directly in our own support, and in the support of the people we feed. If this is not “making a living,” I don’t know what is. In the calculus of economics, doing so may not always be the most efficient use of an amateur cook’s time, but in the calculus of human emotion, it is beautiful even so. For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?"

Wow...this is certainly so fitting for me in my desire to get back to cooking. I will surely go get a copy of the book now, and watch the first three episodes before my free Netflix expires, which is tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Air-Fried Pavakka (Bitter Gourd)

I love pavakka or fried bitter gourd. I would always order it when I eat in Indian restaurants. I found a recipe and thought I should try it in my air-fryer. It was a success and tasted absolutely wonderful. It's dry, just the way I like them. They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and salted with a bitter tang to it.  It's like healthy potato chips, just a wee bit bitter. 

Serves 2

2 cups sliced bitter gourd. Get the smaller ones. 
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
A dash of oil
A dash of salt

1. Slice the bitter gourd thin if you like it all crunchy and slightly thicker but not too thick if you want it soft on the inside. Remove the center part of each slice. Put it in a plate.
2. Drizzle in turmeric powder, chili powder and oil. 
3. Mix it until evenly covered.
4. Put them into the air fryer basket and fry at 200°C for 14 to 16 minutes. Check a couple of time to ensure they don't get too brown or dry.
5. Sprinkle with salt and serve.



Tuesday, March 01, 2016

I've reached the 10th year mark today

I started blogging on 1 Mar 2006 and so it is 10 years today. Number of posts 2525. Number of page views 288,062. I've enjoyed writing it though it is hard sometimes to find what to write about when the day is just the norm: wake up, go to work, work, go home, go to bed. But I found that as long as I start thinking and reflecting about the day, however normal it was, I will find something worthy of a post. And when I don't, a picture will convey the mood for the day. I thank my Father in heaven for his providence and his grace all these years.