Monday, April 27, 2009

Loneliness sobers

At 66, he confessed that loneliness knows no age – it strikes anyone, anywhere. And loneliness cannot be explained – it has to be personally experienced to be understood. He has probably not felt lonelier than he does now, with the absence of his wife who has never left home for more than a month at a stretch. She is halfway across the world in dark and dreary London, to care for her daughter who has just given birth to a lovely baby son. 

He used to live his life around a fixed routine – waking at half past five in the morning, have a simple breakfast made up of two slices of plain bread and a cup of hot drink, then jog for an hour at the park nearby, before heading to his shop to clean up the drains and surroundings, picking up dried leaves, watering and trimming the plants. He comes home by noon, cooks himself a simple lunch of plain porridge with lots of vegetables and a few slices of fish, reads the newspapers for a couple of hours before taking his nap. He wakes in the evening to go out for dinner with his wife, strolls by the beach as the night wears on, before heading home to read some more, and off to bed by half past ten. 

He seemed perfectly fine with this routine, until his wife left for London. He initially tried to stick to the routine still, but after a few days, the reality of being absolutely alone sunk in. He started to loathe the emptiness in the house, of not having someone at home to talk to, to banter with. He dreaded returning to a lifeless, concrete enclosure, and would rather hang out in coffee shops and eating places with old friends and chat till the wee hours of the morning. 

Such is the power of loneliness that it has made him sober up in his parenting and social skills. He has time, lots of it, to reflect on his strict upbringing of his four children, who are now residing in various parts of the world, returning home to visit far fewer times than he would have preferred, given the geographical distance in between. He is sorry for his lack of tact in his interaction with his family and friends. 

At 66, he is making a conscious effort to be tactful, patient, gracious, caring and loving. For this I am extremely proud of hm. He is my father. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Called out of darkness

"You're white as snow, but you have a mind of a slave." - a line from Human Stain, a moving movie starring Anthony Hopkins, Wentworth Miller & Nicole Kidman.

I too, am a prisoner of my own mind. I am a prisoner of my own fear. When I was 10, I feared the apocalypse - prophesies of doomsday, the destruction of earth and mankind. I was both fearful and indignant, thinking if the world is going to be destroyed, what was the point of studying? Of learning? Of living lives? Such was my fear and indignance that my dad brought me to my church pastor, the gentlemanly and neatly-dressed Pastor Nicholas, who looked me very kindly in the eyes and said: "Angeline, Jesus has called us to be faithful where we are planted. So until He comes a second time, we have to do what are called to do. As a student, you have to keep studying hard. You got to keep growing and learning, applying your mind to be your best, until Jesus comes. We mustn't slack."

His words, though simple, struck a deep chord in the core of my being, and from then on, I promised myself and my God to live the best I could. And live I did. I studied hard and played hard. I loved much and broke many a hearts, as mine was many a times similarly broken. I did not turn away from Pastor Nicholas' words, until recently, when another fear gripped me - the fear of evil.

Bombarded by news of terrorism, sex syndicates, school shoot-outs, brutal sexual assaults, cold-blooded murders, domestic violence, acts of perversion - I feel like a country mouse trapped in the black dungeon of a city in ruins. I am fearful of the darkness that surround me, the environment that I live in - and I can't seem to find a way out. I am almost turning into a reluctant paranoid.

Realising the dire situation I am allowing myself to slip into, I decided I need help - I need to reach upwards and climb out of the dark dungeon of paranoia. As I write now, I am stepping out.

This I know and this I confess:

I have been redeemed - I am white as snow. I walk under a divine covering. I choose therefore to stop thinking like a slave. I am free. I walk with my head held up high. Though I am not complacent of the fact that evil surrounds me still, my banner of victory is lifted higher. I walk in full assurance of His love, grace and mercy. I am free indeed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Life is limited by circumstances but defined by choices. Our choices will either make life work for us or against us.

A simple truth, yet often overlooked, by the sheer fact that we are too bogged down by the frustrations in life - the little foxes that spoil the vine - and thus fail to see the big picture of the importance of CHOICES.

I came to this realisation this morning after my swim. You see, exercise is never a convenient choice to make. It is never easy, nor convenient, for me to decide to run 30km and swim 4km every week. It is a choice I have to make, knowing the importance that choice means to my physical, mental and overall well-being. Without daily vigorous exercise, I am perpetually lethargic, lacking in energy, restless and wrapped in a bubble of frustration. With exercise, I spring to life, making every moment in my life count, appreciating the beauty of life as I go along. It becomes pure ecstacy for me, the immediate effect of exercise. I can't do without it. But I have to make a choice to exercise. To get the motivation going at the start of the day is perhaps the most trudging moment of all - this is where the road forks in two - to make a choice that rewards or a choice that destructs.

May you find the strength to make the right choices that propels you in the direction of a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Fourth dimension

I toss and turn in bed each night as my body falls into a deep sleep and my mind prepares itself for a couple of hours of 4th dimensional adventure. I call it the fourth dimension because it doesn't take form in either of the three dimensions that we know of; it is a dimension intangible in the natural yet tangible in the subconscious. It is my world of dreams.

In it I live and breathe a sum total of wishes and desires that never and have yet to take form in the natural. I have no control over it - I am not the master in this instance, and I am subject to graphic images and scenes that sometimes still makes my heart skip a beat when I think of how real and magnificent the manifestations were.

In it I have been a lover of many, a friend of well known political figures in their youthful days; and in not so glamourous moments, a fugitive - running away from various harms. The running away scenes are aplenty - I can always remember running away from assassins. Yes, assassins! Absurd as it may sound, this is the fourth dimension after all.