Thursday, April 25, 2013

Detox Water

Here's something easy to try. For me, anything that doesn't involve cooking, lighting the stove or bringing out the blender or juicer, is worth a try.

Haha, lazy bum that's me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Date A Girl Who Reads

Here's to all the girls I know who read...and write.
“You should date a girl who reads. 
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

―Rosemarie Urquico 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Long Road to Recovery

It has been exactly one month since I lost my voice on 4 March 2013. 

It all started out with me succumbing to a very bad cough and flu on the Monday prior to that Sunday. I was recovering but then had a relapse. On the afternoon of that Sunday I completely lost my voice – no sound at all – and did not recover it until three days later. 

When my voice returned it was not the same anymore. At first I could only speak in a hoarse whisper which I thought would improve but it didn't, at least, not as fast as I would like it to. To make things worse my voice would come and go like a bad radio signal!

The worst thing is not being able to sing. I don't feel like I am worshiping God when I cannot sing my praises to Him. Last Sunday I could sing a bit but I still could not sing most of the songs because I can only reach the lower register. My voice disappears when I change to a higher register. The higher register has proven to be very elusive and I fear that I may never sing again. 

Not only can I not sing, I also cannot talk for too long and I cannot pray for people without my throat being irritated. 

I am very appreciative of wonderful friends, one who boiled and delivered sook tay soup for me and another friend's mom who prepared honey with lime for me. I took Chinese herbs to "open the voice" including a drink that contains bees! But all to no avail. My voice was and is still rough and gruff. 

What am I going to do? What am I going to do? I am in despair. Are my vocal cords permanently damaged? Am I going to sound like a grumpy bear for the rest of my life? "sob, sob"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Givers And Takers

We are so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people who are not only takers but givers as well.

What would you do when you receive your first paycheck? First, you set aside your tithe and then you give your parents an allowance. Believe me, parents really appreciate children who do that. It is not the amount but the thought that counts. What next? Set aside some savings, get some work clothes or shoes, etc.

Well, Poh Lin gave us a treat from her first paycheck. She wanted to thank us for all the treats we've given her, which weren't all that many. A few movies, a meal or two.

Here are some of the dishes she ordered. She was determined to overfeed us. Notice the stickers on the plates? They are names of the chef who cooked the dish! So you know who is at fault should you wish to lodge a complaint. 

Poh Lin and Jewel looking wary because they were sitting opposite Kenny the trickster

Baby Sis was too busy trying to get a venue for her birthday party
That was in February, during the CNY break, but last Friday we received another gift of appreciation. It's also from someone who just received her first paycheck.


"Thank you" in so many languages
This is proof that it is really more blessed to give than to receive. And I know that these two girls will also be abundantly blessed because God really loves a cheerful giver. They also have the DNA if the Father who is, after all, the greatest Giver of all (John 3.16).

Thank you, my precious angels with a BIG hearts!

Since we are on the subject of generosity, I would like to share with you an article by Soo Ewe Jin, a columnist in The Star that I've started to follow. He writes very perceptively about ordinary topics and I found this one on generosity a keeper.

So why am I posting it in my blog? 'Cos I am in the process of turning my blog into a filing cabinet of sorts for myself.
  • 10 Mar 2013
  • The Star Malaysia
  • by SOO EWE JIN

Give and let live

Some of the most generous people aren’t billionaires but modest folk who are committed to living simply so that others may simply live.

Given a choice, how rich do we want to be? It’s not an easy question to answer as the line between needs and wants is not so easily defined in this time and age.
THE Hurun Report has revealed that there are 1,435 people around the world with a personal wealth of US$1bil (RM3.1bil) or more as of January.
Asia has more billionaires than any other continent, with China heading the list with 317. The United States retains its No. 1 spot as the country with the most billionaires, 409 in total.
Like the more famous Forbes list, the Hurun Report, which is published by a Shanghai-based luxury magazine, is eagerly awaited each year even though it throws up few surprises.
Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing (RM99.3bil) remains Asia’s richest man but is only the seventh wealthiest man in the world. The richest man on the planet, both on the Hurun and Forbes lists, is Carlos Slim, the telecoms magnate from Mexico.
As I was looking through the Hurun Report, which also listed out the billionaires’ charity work, their astrological signs and the businesses that generated the most returns, I am reminded of another list that hardly generates any attention.
The poorest countries in the world are mainly in Africa, where people get by for as little as US$1 (RM3.10) a day, which is below the official international poverty line of US$1.25 (RM3.75).
The poorest 40% of the world’s population accounts for a mere 5% of global income. The richest 20%, which obviously include the billionaires, accounts for three-quarters of world income.
Given a choice, how rich do we want to be? It’s not an easy question to answer as the line between needs and wants is not so easily defined in this time and age.
But I think a good indicator would be how ready we are to part with our money now instead of waiting to be like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg who consistently donate huge sums to charity.
A story was related to me recently about a man struggling to give a percentage of his salary to charity.
This man has always had a charitable heart and when he started work, he was earning about RM500, a princely sum in the early 1980s for someone without tertiary education.
At the start of his working life, he pledged to give away 10% of his salary each month to charity. Over the years, as his salary grew, he had no problems parting with the 10%. But when his salary rose to the high four-figures, it became a struggle.
Giving away RM50 a month was not quite the same as RM800, even if the percentage was the same. He started coming out with all sorts of excuses not to stick to 10%.
He went to his spiritual mentor for advice. The mentor listened to him patiently and then came up with the perfect solution.
“All these years, you have always asked me to pray for you to do well and earn lots of money. From today, I am going to pray that your salary goes down to the level where you will not struggle to part with 10% of your money,” he said.
We all cannot be like the super-duper rich who can give away their billions but we have to admit that it is definitely harder to give when we have more, than when we have less.
Some of the most generous people I know are simple people with simple lifestyles who are committed to living simply, so that others may simply live.

In a recent report in the South China Morning Post, Zong Fuli was asked what it was like to be the only daughter and heiress of beverage tycoon and billionaire Zong Qinghou, the richest man in China. “Rich and boyfriendless,” she said. Over dinner last week, a friend told me that he feels really rich when he goes to his durian orchard and hugs the tree that has given him a good harvest. We allowed him to settle the bill. > Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin ( is thankful for the many blessings that do not add to his bank account but enrich his life tremendously.