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Archive for November, 2012

I am more or less writing this to convince myself. I am feeling a bit shaky. Business not so good. Profit margin down. I am just an employee but I have been working here for years. So, time to move on? Nah, I just hang on until it became intolerable. Sentimental loyal fool, that’s me.

So, how’s life been treating you, my friend? Is it well or cruel? If well, I am happy for you. But this is life. Sometimes, we go through some phases that are difficult to fathom. Perhaps, a much looking forward to baby born with a defect. Your closest friend had an unexpected life-threatening accident. A loving spouse inflicted with a terminal disease. Or a hideous one who abuse you. Swamped with a mountain of debts. Loss of job. Marriage breakdown. The list can be endless. Life is such.

But I believe life is beautiful too. If only, we take the time to appreciate what we have. Happiness is within everyone’s grasp. If only we open our hearts. And let go of the past and do not sweat over the small stuff. I have gone through several personal tragedies but still take pleasure in living my life. I was full of hurt and anger once.  Now, I am on the road to recovery.

Why do terrible things happened in our lives? Is it something that we have done in our past lives? Perhaps, God planned this to make us stronger and let us suffer so that we may come out of it wiser, more courageous, more compassionate…What we have gone through perhaps can help someone else in their times of need.

 

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He is eleven years old and is adamant not to go camping. I understand his feelings and fears. He is pretty much like me when I was a child. Insecure, painfully shy, timid. You get the picture. I wanted to get him out of his shell and learn to be more confident of himself and his abilities. At home with his family he is playful and likes to engage me in his football conversation. Oh yes, he is absolutely crazy over dogs and most kind with them. With other people, he like a tortoise in its shell, save for a few handful of his school friends.

How am I going to instill confidence in him? Opportunity came in the form of a camping trip held in his school compound. Perfect for a first time experience. This should be safe. At least it is not in some remote  jungle or near a flowing river. Still I was apprehensive. He is completely clueless. I am his mother but I know his shortcomings. I went shopping to buy the camping necessities.

The day came with him still protesting. ‘You don’t love me’, ‘you hate me’, ‘you just want to get rid of me’ were just some of the accusations thrown at me. Like the doting mother that I am, I smile lovingly and reassured myself. Of course, he does not mean a word that was uttered. Surely he will thank me for it later after successfully going through the ‘ordeal’.

My son wore his camping attire reluctantly and slung his bag over his drooping shoulder. He acted like I was sending him to the gallows. I walked with him to the meeting place. Not even one familiar face. This added to his nervousness and mine. More than a hundred students attended. Surely there was a familiar face somewhere. Reluctantly I left him. Doubts crossed my heart. Will he survive by himself? Will I? Will my younger son stopped grinning since we left his elder brother at the camp?

It was a very long night. At the crack of dawn, I got up. I had to subdue my impulse to rush to school to check on him. I told myself strictly to let go and consoled myself that he will be fine. I conjured a rosy picture of him chatting with his friends and having a midnight adventure. But it was no use. I had to go to school to sneak a peek.

Amid the numerous tents, I scoured the many sleeping bodies plus just as many early owls looking for my son. Panic hit me. He was just simply not there. I went to the field hoping to see him playing football even though I know he was not the sporty type.  As expected, he was not there. Wait a minute, there was a Talent Competition about to start. Maybe he has gone to support his friends who were taking part. Just in time to see his friend singing a One Direction son. By then, I was barely coherent. Where was he? Visions of him huddling in a corner and crying to himself came to my mind. He must have hated it and was desperate to escape!

I combed the school compound and finally found him in the Multimedia Room listening intently with other students to a leadership talk. My dear boy taking down notes and having that familiar frown in the middle of his forehead when he was concentrating.  I caught his eye and waved happily to him. Boy, was I relieved! He was adjusting to his new life! I hope he savoured his new-found independence. I went home. My mission accomplished. He survived the first night! And so did I!

The second night came. Oh dear, will he able to sleep? Will I? Will my younger son stopped acting so happy without his elder brother around? This time I resolved not to rush over to school and proud to declare that I kept my composure the whole day.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the day came when it was time to fetch him home. There he was, looking none the worse, patiently waiting for me. My heart soared when I saw him. He started telling me one by one his friends left because they could not stand the rigours of the camp. But he did not call me to fetch him before the camp ended because he was very sure I would not entertain such a request. Yes, absolutely. Whatever we started we have to see it through despite the hardship. We reap what we sow. He even had to perform in front of an audience and my heart burst with pride. Despite his paralysing fear of an audience, he managed to pull it off. He has learnt teamwork, persistance, courage, patience and found his inner strength. I was absolutely so proud of him.

You did it! I told my son. Will you go to another camping trip the next time your school organize one? His answer : Absolutely – only in my dreams, mum!

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It all started when my brother-in-law asked me whether I was working on Thursday. I said no because it was a public holiday. But what do you know, he had to work. Question he posed was who was going to take care of his kids because no one was available except ahem, yours truly. Now, I thought long and hard because it is not easy babysitting four kids. It would looked pretty bad if things got out of control and havoc rules. What would that do to my reputation and pride! However my conscience won and I found myself volunteering. With sweaty palms, I offered to take his two kids along with two of mine to a popular park.  Prior to that, I took them for breakfast. The woman hawker took one look and asked in a grandmotherly manner – All yours? No, I said, just two are mine.

Barely the car stopped, four kids ran out with a football in hand across the field. Mind you, one of the kids is a sweet girl who is crazy about football. They played, they ran, I chased, I huffed and puffed. In between, they enjoyed playing with the slides and swing. Later they blew soap bubbles in the air happily. Playing is hard work too. Finally the kids decided to call it a day.

Well, next I took them to a hypermarket. Did some grocery shopping and bought some chips and drinks for them. The youngest was clearly tired as he fell asleep in the shopping cart. We ate at the Food Court. There was no choice actually. No cafe, restaurant or fast food centre in the hypermarket. Just when you think their stomachs are full, they wanted ice creams. Of course I had to fulfil that request. If not, that would made me a bad aunt and mum, right?

By the time we left, I was tired too. So, I dropped my niece and nephew at their mum’s shop. I cannot believe it. There were no fights, arguments nor crying.  Could it be due to my superior handling? Maybe it was my interesting personality that captured their attention? Just kidding.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful and precious day.

 

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In human beings managing the church, that is. After years of attending church, I finally decided to be baptised this Christmas. The reason for the delay and hesitation is due to language barrier. One recent fine Saturday morning, I drove and waited outside the church gates until the pastor arrived. I voiced my reservations whether it will be problematic if I attended English classes but baptised in the Mandarin session. He laughed at my worries and said, whatever language, we are all under the same roof. My reservations melted and I looked forward to the phone call later informing me when my classes will start.

Just to explain, my mum attended the Mandarin session and I followed suit. During the sermons, I read my own English bible given by a good friend while the pastor addressed the rest.  My poor boys stood out like a sore thumb as they too unable to communicate with the rest of the children. We are there at the church faithfully every Sunday so that we can be by my mum. My beloved dad is at rest in Heaven.

The phone call came. Another pastor informed me that the management decided that it is not possible for me to attend English classes and be baptised and continue attending the Mandarin session later on. It seemed it is a conflict to do so. To put it simply, he explained that this is to avoid a situation where I will be ‘grabbed’ by either session. Further conversation on the phone became a blur. I simply could not believe my ears.  My faith was shaken there and then. I teared up just thinking about it. Instead of being encouraged and feeling welcome, I was…..

Today is Sunday and here again at church. This time I looked at all with different eyes. The ones I looked up to, the ones I though had wisdom, I felt let down and rejected by the very church I had been attending. When the time for Holy Communion came, I left and sat in my car. I could not bear to be there.

There is a church in my neighbourhood. Shall I attend to see whether I belong there? But my mum….

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