Irreverent Worship

Last weekend, I decided to attend Saturday evening service instead of Sunday morning as I had a few activities lined up for Sunday (which I eventually ended up missing a few as my plans went awry).

As I am not a morning person, I found it easier to focus on speaker Chris Abner’s message for the day, on irreverent worship. The message hit me hard. There were two main points I would like to highlight here, lest I forget.

  1. How do you trust someone if you don’t know him/her?

Chris told us a story about a man who just withdrew $10,000 from a bank. Looking around, he passed it to a stranger and asked the stranger to keep it for him. He would then come and retrieve it later. The stranger looked at him and asked: “Are you crazy? You don’t know me. What makes you think I won’t run away with your money?” The man replied “I trust you”. But we all know that example doesn’t make sense.

What if the man instead replied to the stranger “I know you. I’ve watched you. I’ve studied your life. I’ve followed you everyday. I know your habits, your patterns, where you live, what you do. Because I know you, I have faith in you, I trust you. Please help me take care of the $10,000.”

Of course, this situation is then applied to our faith in God. How can we trust Him if we don’t know him? If we don’t take steps to learn about him, would we fully trust Him? We may, but it may be blind faith. It may be easily shaken. Doubts may arise. It may be superficial. Only when we take steps to properly know Him, that we are able to place our full trust in Him.

2.  When we Worship, do we really mean the things that we say?

Songs have lyrics. Some of them make statements. We may not necessarily mean it. For example, “I bow my knee” or “I will go, Lord”. How many times have we worshipped blindly without actually meaning what we say? I am myself sometimes guilty of this, and I write this here as a reminder to open up my heart and try my best to put words of truth in my worship.

Thank you God for the timely reminder through this sermon.

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To Serve

(this is a BB related post, I just wanted to record down my thoughts here. I am not ready to discuss this so if you leave a comment please bear with me if i don’t reply.)

Over here, I have to walk for at least half an hour to get to BB, which means another half-an-hour walk back. Often on those walks back, I keep pondering over the activities we just completed in BB, and how different it is to the BB back home. And it caused me to re-consider why am I serving in BB, what is BB really about (I’ve a few theories but none have convinced me yet) and whether I have really done my best to serve or am I still living in the life of a Boy rather than an Officer. I think there is no clear answer but I do enjoy having that half an hour of free space to think and converse with God about BB. The recent trip to BB Hong Kong also gave me more to think about.

7th Bristol Company has given me more than anyone could give – a new perspective. I’m not saying the 7th’s way of BB life is entirely wrong nor totally correct, but it gives me something to think about – how the smallness of the company proves to be effective in ensuring every Boy’s character development is individually monitored, how creativity and innovation plays a big part in getting around problems/finding solutions, etc…. and the problems like how the small size of the company would make certain activities like drill a waste of time as we don’t even have half a squad, how the Boys don’t really get a challenge out of their badgework, and how the smallness also is a hindrance to certain activities which we could have done if we were a bigger group. Thats one of the reasons why Battalions still play a big part in the UK – we are dependent on other companies to make up the numbers for activities. However, this doesn’t always work because of differences in timing and other factors so again, there is this struggle to achieve a balance.

I’ll probably be immersing myself deeper into BBUK since I only have a few months left here. I’m going for Firm Foundations, PLANNING to go for the London Massed Band practice (and hopefully, performance) and will be an Officer Cadet in KGVI Felden 2010. Would’ve loved to go for KGVI  Carronvale for a Scottish BB experience but it’s waaay too far.

New Term, New Uncertainties

Term just started yesterday. It’s really hectic now, much more than before. I’ve assignments to work on throughout Feb, and have to do revisions as just 3 months after that, in May, is the final of all finals. After that I’m not really sure what I am going to do. I do plan to try to obtain some UK working experience, especially since my period of study here is just so brief that it’s not enough.

However, my recent trip back home and also to Hong Kong reminded me that while Britain is a great place with great infrastructure and community support, to me it lacks the vibrancy and enthusiasm of KL and Hong Kong (and for that matter, some other cities too.) I feel I’m burning away the prime of my years if I stay here in England for long. I’m already missing everyone I met in Hong Kong as we only managed to spend a short time with each other. So at the end of the day, I have to seriously reconsider my plans for the next few years of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, my ultimate target is still to return to Malaysia one day. But having grown up around airports and having lived in so many (4.. oh wait it’s 5 now including Bristol) different cities it’s just in my blood to reap experience abroad. I wonder what the future holds. Or will it all end in 2012?

Oh well, stay steadfast by [Proverbs 16:3] and life goes on.

Bad day at First Aid Class

Today after EU Law lecture I followed Kai Chi to IKEA as he needed to get a new chair. Unfortunately, on the way back it was raining. Thankfully, I had the M&S jacket that Aunty Anne bought for me. Unfortunately, the bus was waaay too late so I had to run back in the rain (uni is about 45 mins by running from where I was , mind you) and I was forced to run because I was running (pardon the pun) late for First Aid class. As I already missed the previous First Aid class, I obviously couldn’t afford to chalk up two absents in a row. Thankfully as I was running towards another bus stand, I looked back and saw the bus coming so I quickly signalled to the driver and got in. I was late for first aid, muddy, wet and smelly.

Today we were doing a simulated situational response.  I have not been doing my revision and I forgot nearly everything and couldn’t react to the situation. One of the “casualties” that I was treating fainted and the other died, all due to my fault.. (thankfully its just a simulation hahaha)  Bah, should have joined KL6ACD back in MBS then at least I’d have had a few years of training already. Yeah I know I did first aid in BB but that was 4 or 5 years ago and only had a month’s worth of training without any refresher course!

Oh well, with two major assignments due in early december I don’t think I’d be able to do my revision for first aid anytime soon, (in fact it should come automatically and no need revision) but I will do my best to balance time and squeeze in some first aid study time.

New Land, New Place #2

(Continued from previous post)

Flight (Dubai – London)
On this flight I had also booked an aisle seat. But the seat was actually reserved for handicap / emergency seat or whatever they call it which means my seat could be changed if absolutely needed. So this is the root of the problem. The flight, EK001 was absolutely full. When I got to my seat, the middle seat was empty and the last seat was occupied by a disabled man. Not fully disabled, but he had to use some sort of crutches to walk. Ok fine, still no problem. Then came a lady who insisted that the man was sitting on her seat. The man said a steward directed him to this seat when he showed his air ticket. He took out the ticket stub and actually his seat was the one directly behind, which was occupied by a mother next to her child, and the aisle seat for their row was occupied by a man. The original seating position is such that the mother and her young (about 3-4 yr old?) daughter was sitting in the middle seat of my row and the middle seat of the row behind. Obviously they didn’t book online, and so they were in that predicament. The lady didn’t want to give up her seat, and the disabled man had to have a corner or aisle seat, so after some jumble jumble fumble whatever, I ended up at the back row in the middle. I suppose thats fine seeing the circumstances. The worrying part was that the men on both sides of me were coughing. And I was feeling a little sick and sleepy from my illness AND not being able to eat any meat for the past few days. And I couldn’t easily get up to go to the toilet in case I needed it. Well I hadn’t been eating much so I guess it was okay. And it was. I just needed to go to the toilet once, no “emergency calls” so everything was fine. Just that it was really boring flight. I think I managed to doze off for a while , just 2 hours at most. I just watched a couple of movies and played a couple of games then finally the plane landed and we all got off. And I’ll have to endure this journey again soon.

Heathrow Airport
A dingy, run-down place. Well, for Terminal 3, at least. Customs check went smoothly without a hiccup. But my baggage trolley had a squeaky wheel, so I just dumped it aside and managed to locate another one upstairs.  The Arrivals hall was really small and so there was nothing much to do. After all, I had a 30kg luggage with me , a laptop bag and a rucksack. Since the email briefing about the pick-up stated that I only had to be there at about 3 or 4pm I didn’t bother looking for the uni reps as I only expected them to be there later. I can’t remember the exact order, but what I did was first – buy a sim card from the vending machine. I didn’t notice the O2 sim pack and took Vodafone instead. grrr…O2 should get a better marketing team perhaps?.. paid 10 pounds and found out that it was just for the sim pack alone. Whoops. But i HAD to get it there and then because I had to call Anand who was coming over to meet me at the airport and chit chat. I was feeling hungry. But still not used to buying stuff by the pound. So I just got two bottles of mineral water at W.H. Smith which I needed badly, and also went back there to reload my sim card after finding out that it had no credit. Then I realised that I had not saved Anand’s UK number, it was online because I assumed that a place like Heathrow would have free wifi like Dubai. But I couldn’t get a signal. So I paid 1 pound for 6 minutes of internet. (or was it 10 minutes, I can’t remember). Wasted a few minutes getting used to the layout of the British keyboard. Got the phone number, then surfed facebook and sent out some emails for a while before my time ran out. Then I just hanged around .. after a while I noticed some UWE people and went up to “register myself”. Mina was already there with them. I just chatted for a while with the UWE reps. Then came Kaisa, from Finland. Still hanged around until finally Anand called me. He was having lunch with our friend Joaquim in the city, and rushed down as soon as possible. He arrived in Terminal 3 at the exact moment I was getting acquainted with Kaisa and Mina. So unfortunately I had to cut our interesting conversation short, and went for a drink with Anand. I didn’t want to risk eating, so I just got a cup of black coffee.  We had a long catch up session lah, basically. And halfway through I went to the washroom and while washing hands burnt my hand when hot water came spewing out of the tap, something I didn’t know about. culture shock.

Then when it was nearly 5 we went back to the pickup area coz we thought it was nearly time. But the coach/bus hadn’t arrived, it was stuck in the jam. And Mina and Kaisa went out to get a drink together. We then met Rene, a German student. So anyway Anand was kind enough to hang around and continue waiting with me. Finally the pickup arrived and we left at like, 7.30-ish. Oh and before that I bought an egg sandwich for my dinner because I wasn’t sure where I could get dinner on a late friday night in Bristol, especially since it wasn’t term time yet and everything would probably be closed. It was a wise move, as we only arrived in UWE close to 10.30 and by the time I entered my house, showered and changed it was 11.30 ! … Rene and Kaisa are in the same house, just opposite mine. No. 15, while I’m in No.11.  I unpacked halfway then went to sleep. It was only a short sleep of about 4 hours. Probably the effects of jet lag, and no duvet and no pillow and only a tropical weather sleeping bag. My house heating system was off for the summer. ==”

To be continued

New Land, New Place.

Pre-flight
I was sick before the flight to UK. Missed out on saying goodbye to many people due to my illness. Because of the then impending trip I had to get rid of the impeding illness. So I spent a WHOLE DAY at the hospital doing various tests and checkups. I already did my medical checkup much earlier okay..

Another thing I didn’t get to do was to upgrade my laptop’s RAM and buy an external HDD. So I am here in UK with zero files on my laptop and it still crashes every few days when I over-use the RAM.

Airport
Uncle Barry, Auntie Helena and William arrived first at the airport to send me off. They brought some really good mooncakes but unfortunately I was still feeling some sickness and didn’t wanna risk getting sick on the flight. So I just took a few whiffs of the aroma of mooncake and then ceased to set my sight on it anymore. They also had McDonalds for “supper” which I of course couldn’t join them. There are a few photos taken but I they’re in Mum’s camera.

Then the BB gang came. LT, TT, Kok Yau and Hoe Kit. Great to see them there. I think this year alone they have been sending off tons of BB people already. Anyway, after a short chat and farewell with them I entered the gate. While waiting for the aerotrain I called up a few friends to say goodbye. Sorry to Chow Chun Yang as I didn’t manage to pick up your call before leaving. Thanks for trying to call me, I appreciate that!

Flight (KL-Dubai)
For convenience I booked the aisle seat nearest to the toilet (in case I needed to throw up halfway thru the flight). Upon entering, I straight away looked for the motion sickness bag since I was not feeling well. Unfortunately, since my seat is the front row, there ain’t any magazine rack. But at least there’s a toilet just in front so no problem. The 6 hour flight was good. I changed all my flight meals to “Bland Meal” which despite its name, was not too bad. Upon arrival in Dubai, the queue to the connecting flight was really long so I took out my laptop and surfed the net while waiting. After going through the security check, I just walked around the shopping area for a while then took my medicine and just rested. At the waiting area for the Dubai-London flight, there were quite a lot of British nationals (from my observation) and a few (i presume) Malaysians who looked like students too. One of them kept staring at me and he looked really familiar too. Probably saw me at MSLS. There was also this girl travelling alone whom I later found out was also attending the same university as me – Mina Kim. Btw she speaks impeccable English! But at that time I didn’t know … anyway I just sat alone for the next half hour waiting for the flight. Was feeling abit too sick to actually take out a book and read.

Flight (Dubai-London)

aiyah malas mau taip la, saya pasti kamu juga malas mau baca – banyak perkataan tapi gambarnya tiada pula..  will continue in next post!

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. JK Rowling during a speech in Harvard

Outing with the gang

Last Tuesday we had a mini-reunion. Me, Akram, Cheah, Leong and Richard. At The Gardens. More were supposed to come but all couldn’t make it somehow, due to classes, exams and last minute excuses. LOL.

So anyway the agenda for the day was just eating and talking. We ate at Din Tai Fung, then at the staff food court, then at Big Apple donuts. And spent the whole afternoon talking lah, basically. A fun day, must do it again in the near future.

3rd KL CLR 2009 (Company Leaders’ Retreat)

I just came back from Frasers’ Hill 3 days ago. Went up there to join my old BB company, 3rd KL for their Company Leaders’ Retreat which was held from Sat-Mon. Basically its a time of 3 F’s – fun, fellowship and future planning.

In my (own personal) opinion, this retreat seemed rather last minute. That is why about 1 or 2 months before the retreat, I suggested a pre-retreat meeting. I am not sure whether this meeting was carried out or not, and if it was, I am not sure if the people who attended managed to realise the significance of such a meeting. Thus, as a result I feel only two out of three of the objectives of this retreat had been fully achieved – fun and fellowship. Of course, there was some good times of reflection and insight into life as a leader but then again, I do not think this is what the retreat is for. However, it was still a great retreat overall, and hopefully the company still manages fine for the following term.

For me, the high point of the retreat would be the sharing of Mr. Kok Yeng Voon, an Old Boy of 3rd KL. He shared a lot about the history of 3rd KL. There is one particular part (which is not appropriate to share here, as it involves the “dark era” of 3rd KL’s story) which I have only vaguely heard of before, during one of our previous CLR’s, and this time Mr. Kok enlightened us on it. I have a much clearer picture now as to what happened during that tragic period but many exact details still remain a mystery, as the facts and figures do not tally. However, it is not Mr. Kok’s fault as he was just telling it from memory and no proper reference. The storyline is correct but it’s just the finer details that still elude us. Mr. Kok also mentioned about how there was once a Company Log Book where every single BB activity, date, time and attendees would be painstakingly recorded by the duty NCO at that time. This is a good tradition which should be re-introduced.

I also spoke up about the need to re-introduce the usage of bugle calls in the company, a suggestion which was supported unanimously by the officers and NCOs.

One issue I forgot to speak up about is the standardization of brevet terms due to the mis-usage of a number of them in our weekly meetings. In a nutshell,

Company Sergeant Major (CSM) (or Sergeant Major) = NCO Council Chairman
Orderly Sergeant = NCO On Duty for that day
NIC = NCO In Charge
OIC = Officer In Charge
2IC = 2nd in Command – the assistant to the NIC or OIC
etc. etc (I forgot the rest I wanted to say)