Jun 21, 2013

Still not twenty

I hardly update my blog anymore 'cos I've been so insanely busy, but it's been quite some time since I've done an update on how things've been going. I've got two more reference books to read for SOT by Monday, so I'll just do a birthday update for now!

I decided that my 20th should be about giving, not getting, and the fundraiser went brilliantly. I managed to raise $2028 for World Vision in a week, because amazing, amazing lovely big-hearted friends (and people I didn't even know before this) came forward to give large amounts. I thought it was impossible to raise that amount in 8 days because my friends are mostly studying and stuff, but God is amazing. He makes all grace abound towards us for every good work. So I was really, really touched by everyone's generous gestures. Thanks so much y'all :) I'm still really amazed!

But even as I emphasized that I didn't want to receive this year, some people still went the extra mile to do awesome things. Rachel made me an awesome Toblerone cheesecake :,D Wei Liang also posted me a card - the most touching card I've ever received, really - and Derrick, in an attempt to outdo him, arrived at my doorstep at midnight with his card. I wasn't home yet, unfortunately, so he just left the card at my door. :(

Two days before my birthday I went to USS for the first time with dearest Sumay! Had a blast. The mummy ride was probably the most thrilling to me. Battlestar Galactica was very fun, but not scary in my opinion. I think I went on Cylon thrice and Human twice (?). Would've gone again, but they were closing.


So, on the morning of my birthday, I decided to try and make breakfast for my family (and Francheska). It was my first time doing anything more than sandwiches/instant noodles on my own, and I tried to recreate the ham cups with egg and cheese that Rachel, Teressa and I tried to do at our sleepover.

And then my brother made us lunch!

 Then I met Theo at Loola's for some awesome hot chocolate, and had dinner at Timbre with Francheska, my brother, Wei Liang and Derrick!

I absolutely love their live bands. The fourth picture there was of Wei Liang and me shamelessly doing the 2011 Orientation dance when they sang Dynamite. When you've been an OGL, the dances stick to you. You can't shake them off.

Yup, so that was my twentieth. LOL I actually nearly typed 'eighteenth'.

Twenty is a big new number. Up till 18 May I could still hide in the nineteen, but the day after my birthday when I was helping out at the Red Nose booth in church and had to state my age on the registration form, I was like, dang. There's no way out of this anymore.

I seriously don't feel twenty. Not in university yet, not ready to be all grown up and responsible and independent, still very much wanting to hide in the freedom of being insane and not caring what you're wearing and doing stupid things in shopping malls. I like 19. 19 means you're relatively mature; you're a thinking, exploring youth, but still not out of that shell of protection - whether it's your family, an institution, or the wings of society that cover you when you're young. When I was nineteen, I travelled around the UK for a month on my own - freedom, exploration, the fascination of learning - but was still 'protected' in the sense that I had people to stay with and friends to bring me around and ensure I had everything I needed. When I was nineteen, I worked as a teacher and a waitress. As a teacher in Crescent, I think I performed well, and when you're nineteen you both impress the staff and connect with the students, as a young person still in her teens. I was a terrible waitress and the Japanese are very particular about punctuality and I'm always tardy, but at the same time, I was taken care of by the other trainees; they guided and helped me and gave me good advice. See, when you're nineteen, you say "I'm capable, I'm responsible, but not all that independent and experienced yet. So forgive me, take care of me, but I'll still show you that I can impress."

Oh well. So now I'm twenty. It's time to start being more independent and responsible for myself. Time to stop being so blur and troubling other people - I didn't do a very good job when I interned at Yale-NUS's admissions office for almost half a year. Gave them a negative impression of myself (or rather, I know I'm capable of doing so much better). I'll be moving into Yale-NUS's residential college soon, and Orientation's finally beginning in a couple of weeks! I've got mixed feelings - it'll undoubtedly be a fantastic experience, but I'm just quite busy with everything that's been going on already, and I hope I can sustain myself as SOT spills into Yale-NUS and the schedule never ends.

Okay! Before Orientation begins, I'll do one more update (mainly for myself, really) on:
- KL trip with Andrew and Sam
- Jakarta mission trip


Jun 20, 2013


We all like to think we're strong enough. That we're bigger than that, beyond that, mature enough. The truth is that we're simply giving ourselves excuses to toy with temptation. We go closer, go closer to the fire thinking it's okay, I just want to look at how pretty it is. Obviously I'm not going to get burned this time. I know better now.

 We all think we do, but we have to look closely at why we want to go close in the first place. You still do long to put your fingers to the flame, don't you? Feel its warmth, let the flame lick you, but you think you're stronger than that this time.

I'm not going to lie. I look at the fire and want to hold it in my hands. I want to put my hand over the mysterious flame. It burns brilliantly and I want to hold it. My brain keeps trying to tell me it isn't like what it seems. My brain's getting a little worried in that corner over there. Oh why on earth did you go near it anyway? It just makes your heart reach out with desire and your brain try to pull you back in terror, it makes all that tension start up within you again. The frustration.

Well, sticking my finger over the flame a little won't hurt.

 Your hand's screaming, and as you curse the burns, you wonder how many more times this is going to happen until you finally become dead to the fire. Until you finally decide you don't want it anymore.

Jun 5, 2013

Break me

I guess it all started in Sec 3, when by God (through Guin) I was appointed Discipline Head of Dance. Then in JC the leadership positions came one after another - OG rep, class rep, Council Exco where I was the head of the public relations subcomm, head training I/C for June camp, planned all these activities, created the first school planner, went crazy at the podium for sports updates... and then my A's results... I guess through JC I became used to being somewhere near the top, being excellent and very involved and in prominent positions. At Yale-NUS, because I was admitted in the earliest round - more than a year ago - I was very heavily involved in stuff and thoroughly enjoyed it, from being an intern to doing up the showrooms to taking part in photoshoots for Yale-NUS booklets and the Straits Times and whatever. Things came in waves.

Once you decide to let go for a couple of minutes you fall way behind.

I can't keep up anymore, and I don't really want to. I've somehow managed to establish myself in Yale-NUS as the extremely forgetful, immature, blur, muddle-headed and dumb nut who can't do anything well and messes stuff up. I'm not quite sure why I always show the worst of myself to them, but it's no matter. I'd prefer to think that the real me is still the person I was back in AC, very on top of things and very useful and efficient and excellent in all I did, but maybe I'm somehow losing my mind and becoming like this present Karen.

At church and SOT I see my friends doing awesome things, taking the lead, being in the limelight (I love seeing my friends on stage). I stay away, mainly because there's way more time and effort required than I can afford with all that's going on now, and when it's in being in nice, prominent positions that put you in the limelight, I'm afraid of those. I'm afraid that it'll become about me and not God.

This is the time for my pride to be broken. God, take away from me whatever will make me put a focus on myself. Don't bring me up from anywhere without the approval and blessing of Your Spirit.

Jun 4, 2013

Homosexuality, smoking, drugs, and Down's syndrome

(stuff I typed on a Whatsapp chat)

once I made my GP class think about it
'why do some people regard homosexuality as wrong?'
'religion, culture'
'But you see even the non-religious and non-traditional criticising it. Why?'
'...it just looks weird, not common'
'yeah, it looks unusual and weird. And when you have religion and tradition to back you up against this weird thing, society can consider it legitly wrong. Now think about a Down's Syndrome adult. Doesn't he look unusual and funny too? But you would never ever dare say it's right to shun him, because you can't back up your subjective claim with any argument given by any other institution or respectable person, and people know that Down's Syndrome can't be helped, and what society expects of you is to accept them and treat them with care.' I could even see some of the students looking a bit shocked that I was saying this, putting Down's Syndrome and homosexuality in the same breath, but that's my point exactly. Getting them to think about why they think what I'm saying is shocking or why their own perceptions are as such.
My point is that when someone finds a minority's behaviours weird and they have powerful institutional backing, they become extremely imposing and assume they're right without really questioning why they think this way. Even if they're not religious or anything.
I used to want to tell the people who gossiped, 'why is it wrong? If you're looking to the Bible to support your point, isn't slander a sin too?'
Basically ya. Gotta challenge what you see as abominable
Hey, some drugs were legal once. Smoking and drugs are amoral, not immoral. The only reason they might be considered sins is because they're unhealthy.
And because you'd be a bad witness for Christ by doing it. Why? Because of how society sees it. Not because it's immoral.
But along the lines of unhealthy, that makes me equally sinful by sleeping so little and eating so much Old Chang Kee for lunch and never exercising. I don't deny it. I'm not taking care of my body, this vessel of God's.
But why are the other things I mentioned viewed as so much worse?