Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I need to love myself first before I can be loved?

Of course not. Such shallowness by motivational speakers and self help gurus annoys me over the roof.

There does not exist a person who does not love himself to a sufficient degree. When a person goes out to do things that seems foolish like wasting their life away or committing suicide we say that it's because they don't love themselves? Of course not. They love themselves so much that they want to be noticed as they feel they deserve something better in life. They felt they have not had enough love from others, they love themselves so much that they feel others are not loving them to the same extent.

When they Bible says, “Love your neighbours as yourself” it is not teaching us to love ourselves first. We don't need to learn that. It is to tell us that we should love others like how we love ourselves, to that degree, in a way that is so natural. For this love, I am learning. For this love, I am struggling to love others whom I think are so unlovable, but when I see how I love myself, I have no excuse as to why I can't love them too.

Monday, August 31, 2009

End of this Book

I have never written about any of previous friendships. This would be an exception. The story, one that has lasted over 10 years, spanned over three very important phases in my life, high school, university and the first few years of my working life must now come to its final paragraphs. A story of joy, and care, lies and deceptions, trust and finally, coming to my senses. Common sense as a dear brother would put it.

I must say that this is once again the story from one's perspective, my part of the story. How else can stories be told.

I never forget the night we met at a friend's birthday dinner. Ken said you were his good friend. Though you were more than two times my age, I didn't mind. I have grown up learning to love. It's a struggle, cause it's not my nature. I was always been notorious for being unkind to others. One day my Sunday school teacher told me something I would never forget. “Who are you not to love them? They are also made in His image. If you say that you love Him, how can you not also love those that He loves.” Those words I hold true each time I feel like killing someone. Not literally of course.

The birthday dinner was a good evening. Being 19 then and a weird loner, having someone who seemed caring was a feeling I can't forget. Yes, I already have had many people around me. But deep inside, I am a lonely guy trying to fit into people around whom I lose interest ever so quickly. After dessert at Hagen Dazz, my first time sampling something which was a luxury for me, the sweetness lasted. But for the record, I am not interested in old men. Period.

The initial meal was followed by phone calls after phone calls. Never felt that anyone would find me interesting enough to do that. I have always been the one left out of everything, I even overheard my parents discussing the fact that I am only a burden to them and bring shame to the family. I was only 13 and the only child. I cried to sleep for many years after that. Sometimes I can't help throwing tantrums then when others just seemed too illogical to understand me. Perhaps they never felt important enough to.

There were the times when you would wait for me to finish school and go for lunch. Even though I usually had duties as the head boy and lunches had to be short, I treasured the many times you did that for me. I felt being treated special. No other persons have treated me that way.

As I learned to trust, I introduced some of my close friends to him. I sincerely felt that to know more about me, get to know my friends too and see what you think about them. At hindsight, this is probably why he seldom want to let me know his friends. There was always secrecy while I wore my heart. Perhaps I was being unfair to expect others to be like me. His latest interest told me why I can't just close one eye. I should just leave it superficially.

My values are different. Why close one eye when God gave us two? To everyone, I hide nothing. This may sound illogical, but I speak from my heart, not my mind. It may appear emotional, but they are real. There was not a single malicious lie from me to hide anything from anyone. Search my heart Lord, and you be my witness. For only You I fear.

I hold on to the belief that things that are done in secret when there's something to hide. People hide because of fear. Why are you afraid when I peeped into your monitor? Privacy is an excuse. If it's something you are proud of, I am sure you want the whole world to know. I might have accused you for pretending that you know, but why the accidental sms says,” Just tell Samuel I dropped you off at KTM at 4 plus. Between you and me. You are very special to me.” You have only known him for a month.

The cycle of you secretly asking my friends out on the pretext that I am busy is not new. Of course I felt hurt. What more when later one friend told me, “Hey, do you know that he told he actually prefer to go out with me alone as he said he doesn't really like your company. Good that you are busy.” You never asked me to come along when you go out with my friends that interests you, even just after the first introduction. I was hoping that my friend was just being slanderous, but it turned out to be the truth.

When I was young, I confess that I do make excuses not to see you as I don't like you paying for all the meals and at the same time I can't afford to be going out so often. I never wanted anything. If I can't afford it, I would not get it. That's why in uni I was just always at the library.

Back at high school, I already had to work to earn my pocket money. My thirst for information was getting costly. I had to juggle between food, petrol, misc expenses, books after books and national geographic. Sounds silly, but books were my best lovers. I can spend hours pouring through Halliday & Resnick to Anselm. You never bother to understand them and how they have shaped me.

Just wanted to tell you this. I also have lied. I actually love prawns. I never had any allergy. When we go for your favourite fried rice, I picked them all out for you because you like them more than I do. When I dropped by at your house to say I just happened to pass by after tuition and said durians were cheap, so I brought some, I used the last few dollars I had in my wallet. I was never contented of the things I did. It was not enough to show how much I appreciated the way you treated me.

I consciously remember the good that you have done and forget the bad. You have given me things that even my parents couldn't. I have told you that in my last letter to you. Those were just some of them. I remember. As much as my memory can retain, I remember all of them. I can name them one by one the good you have done for me.

So, when I started working and had a bit more to spare, I passed you cash when you needed them. What interest have I got in chipping in 20k for a boat that is hardly brought up. When you needed money, I gave you what I have in my wallet if that had been enough. When you needed to go to the island and had problem with cash, I gave you my credit card so that you can use it for petrol. I went into debt. The debt with my credit card from you mounted to 10k. Did I ever push you to pay for them though sometimes I really find it hard to continuously settle this amount one after another.

I am a hyper sensitive guy. You know it but sometimes it makes me feel you don't bother. You rather treat your new friends better. Showering them with generosity. Seriously, it's your choice. But when you said if it's not because you owe me so much, you would have just said “haha” to all my tantrums, my heart sank. So, you are treating me better now and sending me up and down which you know I appreciate very much, simply because you owe me? So, if you had been rich and well off, I don't mean a thing to you? Like how you just keep silence for months sometimes in the past. You had money and I was a student.

You can choose who you want to treat special. I was always the back up. There would be periods of silence when you have someone younger, fresher or cuter that came along. Casting me aside. Some of them being friends I introduced to you. I was a fool to cry over such things. Cheap tears.

Keith was right when he said you were simply a dirty old man preying on young guys. I was stupid to fend for you and quarrelled with him unnecessarily by telling him about the good I see in you.

I wish I could just remember all the good you have done for me and forget all the bad. I wish I could just forget all the good I have done and just remember how bad I was for throwing tantrums and making you wait while I get ready. You always said I treated you second, but tell me who other I have cared for more. When did I ever leave you out when you can come. Wasn't I the one who invited you to come for these trips.

As abrupt as this story is, the relationship too must now come a close. Tell me if this is not true. All the rest, came, took all they can from you and go. I leave owing you nothing. So, stop talking to me like I owe you the world. When I did a little mistake, you screamed at me. Hey, I braved the rain for your sake. But your tone changes drastically when talking with him. How should I feel?

I treat all my friends the same. You know that. Even for the undeserving, like Miss WW. That's the least I could do for people around me. But you don't. You are inconsistent. Of course I would wonder why when you treat some good. It's not your nature to do so.

For these ten years, I have always wanted to talk, but you gave it shallow. When I write, you refuse to read. Telling me no need. I have many a times said I don't express well. You just disregard. Yes, I am a geek. I have no communication skills, but I am honest. I am with integrity.

When I touched ground in KL from this trip to Colombo, it had been a path of illumination by the Holy Spirit. This must story must now come it's the last page, last line, The End.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can a Mensan Ever Find Love in a Normal World?

This heading may make more people resent me. I stumbled upon this website.

If you wish to, read on.

Tears in Colombo

Colombo is beautiful but the trip is not. I have once again lost my virtue. I tried to love, but I am such a worm. Tears came rolling as I walked the streets alone the morning after. As I looked up the clear blue sky, I talked to the One that love me most. I spoke about my disappointment with why I always appear selfish and uncaring when my intentions have always been for the best of others my fallen mind can conceive. I tried, Lord you know, to give the best to them. They felt that I was just being mean. I don;t know how to make this sound as neutral as possible. I will have to say that this is my side of the story.

A friend came along and but had to stay in the room all day finishing up some work. So, left with me and another friend to go for early dinner. We went to an unexpected restaurant, it was nice and as it was buffet, we had to pack food back for him. As we were on the way to pack dinner, the tut tut drive drove pass the road leading to the hotel, so immediately I said, hey, do you think he would like to go walk around and see what's to his fancy instead of just buying Mcdonald's since he didn't go out since arriving. M friend said that he must be tired but I was like, I have known him for years, I don't think he is physically tired after sitting in the room doing transcribing. It's nothing too taxing or difficult. Immediately, his voice was raised and what I felt was uncalled for comments about me afraid of heights and not jumping into water when I took up diving lessons from him came hurling.

I was deeply taken aback. I am a very sensitive guy and those actions hurt me tremendously. What did I do wrong now? To that I asked. The friend just walked off, leaving me behind. Just because you think he is young and cute, he deserves all your attention while every idea from me is deemed as a bad one with ill intention? I have known you for a decade, wasn't I there for you through thick and thin without expecting? And now that I introduce this other friend to you that is to your fancy whom you have just got to know for a month, you should treat me this way. Anger overwhelmed me. Lord forgive me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Single at the Crossroad

This is a long overdue entry. It didn't come earlier not because I was shy or afraid to talk about this, but the urge wasn't there. As time passes, the question of settling down increases exponentially. Hints from my parents have now increased to be blatant question as to why I not settling down and they even pose very outright questions like, “Hey, you think you are so good is it. Stop being choosy. You are old.”

This blog entry is what I would deem as an Apology (Yeah, I have always admired Socrates).

The ultimate question about me being choosy is a contradiction in itself, a fallacy that needs no explanation to the wise, but probably requires base level answers to the superficial. For every decision in life, we all make choices based on our value system, from our favourite mamak stall to our life partners. A life partner is the one person that I would stick with for the rest of my life in which I have a choice. I can't choose my parents, my siblings (if I were to have) nor my relatives. But, the one I return home to each night, my better half, the one person I am going make love with till death do us part (or till libido ceases) , surely it can't be something as casual as to which pyjamas I choose to sleep in.

On another note, yes, I did have feelings for a few (too many I would say) throughout my life. The first crush I had was when I was 13 (yeah, it;s monkey love). But the harsh reality is that it didn't work out. Of course I was heartbroken and felt like a loser. The reasons they gave didn't help either. Well, you are not good looking enough. I think you ask too many difficult questions. Why can't we just be more relaxed and talk lighter stuffs. Enough of philosophy and theology and reasoning.

To me, a life unexamined is not worth living. Death is better than a life lived casually.

The one thing that I realise now is that it's really because God has been good that none worked out (gosh, what took me so long to come to terms with Him). It's because he didn't want them to. For this I am sure now, at last. He wanted me to endure sufficient heartaches to remember and would really mean it when I pray that He will prepare the love of my life as someone who would make me honour Him more. God listens. He answers.

Looking back at my foolishness, the ones that I have poured my love to has never been any pious Christian. Yes, not even ONE of them. How long must I endure before I understand. The Holy Spirit illuminates. Was blind (by lust), but now I see (the truth).

And how about the occasional people who have showed interest and could have been good Christians. I believe if two people strongly pray for the same thing and if it's God's will, things will just happen. For me, I have not felt that before with any of them. And perhaps those that have expressed does not give me the assurance of godliness. Hope my judgement is justified in good faith.

Yes, I am now at a crossroad. I have always felt that single hood is probably what I would end up with. Don't ask me if I think I have the gift of single hood. Don't be shallowly annoying to even think of asking me that. As temptations soar, I pray that God give me stronger wings. If he wants me to be single, He will have to give me strength to overcome sexual desires.

I respect John Stott's view on being single. He has always been a contemporary Christian scholar in the English speaking world whom I look highly upon. Let you read about it yourself if you are curious to know more how his views affect mine. If that matters to you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Psa 130:3-4 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? (4) But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

Two of my friends came up to me on separate occasions and asked me to pray for them. They opened up saying that they have just been diagnosed HIV+. They not not each other, but the despair on their voices had me not knowing what to say. What should i tell them now? God is love and that all is going to be well? God is righteous and hence you now reap what you sow?

I prayed for wisdom and faith and I listen to them tell me what life is going to be like for them till they die. Yes, death strikes when we least expect it, but how do we live knowing that we are going to die for one who is young, successful, good looking and with everything seem to be going their way?

When we are sick, we do all we can to get well again. We abstain with fear things that would worsen our condition. Looking back at how I felt that God's forgiveness is something that gives me the comfort to do what I like knowing that everything is going to be well at the end is but a fool I am. One the contrary, if there is no forgiveness, I can do what I like without fear cause I am going to be condemned in the end anyway. God's word tore down all my foolish thoughts into pieces. For it is when there is forgiveness, He should be feared.

When stricken with terminal illness, they can enjoy as much as they want cause death is nigh. When there is a chance of recovery, they would fear anything that would make them worse. But, praise be to God that even when illness that we so deserve takes away our life, He is there right beside us to take us through. I pray they could feel His presence stronger each passing day, till they could see Him face to face.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Failed communication with most people

It's a fact. I have heard this since I was a kid. The first recollection that made a huge impact on me was from a much older sister at church whom i admire for her talents and wits. She wrote me a note saying that one of my greatest weakness is that I come across most of the time as arrogant and difficult. I read it, locked it in my private "drawer -of-everything-important" and took it out to read ever so often.

Communication is not my strength (ironic for the fact that I am an interpreter by profession and linguistics is part of my post graduate pursuit). Guess all the knowledge in the world does not help one to comunciate better.

I consciously make the effort to express things as plain as possible. The response I get: Sam you make things complicated. When I try to ask for clarifcations, people think I am challening them with rhetorics. I tried my best to ask in the least intimidating manner possible. But I failed, time and again...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Memories are made of these…

My mind is in a mess, most of the time. Why is it so natural that the things I find it hardest to forget is how I have been mistreated and how I have treated others well, but it’s also the easiest for me to forget how others have treated me well and how I have mistreated others? Kyrie eleison

Saturday, July 25, 2009

God is Good but He is not Safe

The subheading of the pastor‘s sermon pierced my thoughts, the very fact that it still kept resounding in my mind after a few weeks bears witness to it. Thoughts like these don’t happen often and never expected attending a one off Sunday service at Kampar Methodist during the Festival of Minds at UTAR would leave an afterthought lasting weeks. I preached about God’s mercy and his righteousness but this very attribute never did come across so clearly than that Sunday.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Psalms: 111:10

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Near Perfect Afternoon

Earthly Pleasures - my favaourite scones, yes I am a self declared expert on scones. The best ones is surprisingly not in the highlands. Carcosa has good ones but quite pricey. Stumbled upon the ones at Delicious at Midvalley. Good. The one at Lakeview is not good but the view make up for it.

Eternal Destiny - Having the chance to re-read Van Til's Christian Apologetics, the apologist I owe my entire system of how I see philosophy and theology in its organic relationship. A struggle since undergraduate days. Shall put in a nutshell some of the most important principles Van Til has laid down. Look out for it if you ever wonder on questions like authority vs reason and is there really a point of contact for Christians and atheist as well as agnostics.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pearl Corns of Cameron Highlands 珍珠玉蜀黍

Every other person who has been here talks about the corns. Waited for the rain to stop and charged to the night market skipping dinner to get the best of corns. There were so many stalls selling corns and at prices so varied, my skepticism went on high alert. I mean, how can they all be the same with such varied prices. One stall at RM 10 for 4 and not willng to budge an inch on the price while another sells RM 10 for 10! Randomly, I bought RM 10 for 7 (middle path?) and settled back because my back started aching a bit (still recovering from the fall during mountain biking). Still feeling something amiss, I stopped and asked. Here comes the revelation:

There are two types of so pearl corns - the ones from the highlands that takes 100 days to mature and each plant only bears one corn while the one brought up from the plains to sell takes half the time to mature and each plant can bear two to three corns each time. The practical difference for the one eating it? The real highland corns are much sweeter and juicier. But to the untrained, they look the same. What I learned from the sellers?

This is the 15 year old guy who sells real pearl corns. People there call him Ah Hong which he was quick to respond that it's just his nickname. Who would name their children Ah Hong he protested with cheekiness. Anyway, his dad owns the farm, and he claims he will be there to man the stall every night on Fri and Sat and the mornings of Sun. He reminded me to mention that his stall is the one next to the only home made ice cream stall (by the way, the beer flavoured ice cream I bought tasted terrible. Could not finish even half. Can you imagine Samuel not finishing his ice cream!)

The real on the right put next to the fake one. By looking, a fool would say it's the same. The intelligent will say they are similar and try to find the similarities. The wise, would look for the differences and discern the real from the fake. Now, says who philosophy is useless for daily life.

The kernels are bigger and the cob is smaller for the real one. But the real test is putting them into your mouth and taste the difference!

Beauty Pageant in Heaven?

A sign language friend initiated a message saying, “Hey, good looking.” I was dumbfounded. She must have gotten it all wrong, wrong window or wrong Samuel. Physical aesthetics has never been my trait. Then again, it could be the Chinese way of calling anyone in the street, leng chai or leng lui, for the sake of it. I am just thick skin maybe. Anyhow, it got me thinking. NO, not about how good I may actual look but about how God would have perceived beauty. Most of us would be familiar with the book of Samuel (yes, the prophet, NOT Samuel Chew) that the Lord sees not as man sees and that He looks on the heart. Certainly that’s a biblical truth.

So, what beauty pageant would there be in heaven if there’s really one? I once sat with a very old lady on the way to Singapore. Her feet was rather feeble as she was already way past 80. Though I was trying to catch some sleep, there’s just something about her that compelled me to start a small talk. Surprisingly, she started the chat instead (and I am pretty certain that it’s NOT because she thinks I look good). The more she spoke, the more I felt the joy that exuberates from her life. She is single and for many decades her life has been to serve the poor and wounded in India. To them, she also brought the gospel. When I reflect on her feeble feet as she was trying to get on the bus, I look at mine and felt ashamed. I’ve traveled so extensively but how often did I bring them good news. My feet may still be strong and brought me far, but how beautiful are they in God’s eyes. If there’s a beauty pagent in heaven, I feel unworthy of the preliminaries even.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Roman 10:15