Saturday, September 1, 2012

Because You Matter

I have wanted to blog for ages, but every time I open my laptop something more important (like studying) will come up. Or  I'm too tired to think of something to write about after doing other thing (like studying). Besides, I don’t really have much to write about because all my time is taken up by other things (like studying).

But while randomly playing songs on my laptop, I hit this song.

I'm gonna live forever 
I'm gonna learn how to fly 

I feel it coming together 
People will see me and cry 

I'm gonna make it to heaven 
Light up the sky like a flame 

I'm gonna live forever 
Baby remember my name 

We have been brought up with the whole ‘rat race’ mentality. That if you do not exert ourselves and make our presence felt, we are nothing.  We want a huge neon flashing light above us which goes, I AM AWESOME AND YOU KNOW IT. It’s a competition of the bests, where second place is never noticed. We step on each other to reach the top. Because the ultimate aim of the rat race is this– PROMINANCE.

There is just one problem though.

The thing about rat races is, even if you win the race, you’re still a rat.

In our chase to be known, we forget what it is we want to be known for. What legacy will you leave behind? How will you be remembered in the end? Mother Theresa was prominent, but so was Hitler.

For me, I think what we should aim for isn’t prominence – it’s SIGNIFICANCE.

And to be that, you need to have a dream. Because anything that is real began with a dream. A passion for some change that you wish to see. That becomes your driving force, it’s not just the goal of succeeding on personal terms, it’s the vision that something can be done about the status quo. Remember, evil triumphs only when good people do nothing.

One of the most inspirational speeches ever given in history would be that of Martin Luther King Jr.

‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." ‘

‘I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.’

‘I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of 
injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.’

‘I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’

‘I have a dream today.’

‘I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.’

‘I have a dream today.’

‘I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’

‘This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.’

‘This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." '

Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated and he never got to see the first black President of USA. But this was a man who changed history, who got off the rat race onto a higher calling. Who wasn’t afraid to dream.

I may be only one, but I am still one. And because I am one, I will not refuse to do the one thing I can do.

Because not everyone is prominent, but everyone is significant.

Will your life count for something today?

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Shouldn't Have to Defend Myself

It's been ages since I've written anything but I've good reason to do so today.

Much has happened over the first few months of the year. But let's have a quick recap shall we?

I have:

  • Finished with college
  • Stressed about results
  • Gotten my results
  • Stressed about confirmation from JPA about flight date
  • Got confirmation from JPA about flight date
  • Stressed about leaving

So who says bumming is easy? Haha!

I guess it's pretty obvious that this blog's writer is leaving and soon. I'm flying off the India in less than 2 months to do what I've always wanted to do - be a doctor.

Of course this decision has been questioned, debated, challenged and mocked even. I often wonder why it's met with such hostility but then again, every decision one makes will always be second guessed by everyone else.

The first admonishment I always receive is, WHY INDIA?


Because it's dirty? Because it's a third world country? Because buried deep inside you is the belief that white equals superior? And being dark equals inferiority?

Shame on you.

I remember I told God that my dream to be a doctor is in His hands and that I believe He will send me wherever He knows I'll be the best doctor I can be. And He sent me to India. And no matter the naysayers and gloom doom prophets, you cannot deny that the clinical training there is the best in the world. And if there are prospective medical students not comfortable with the dirt and grime of the poor, I say, don't be a doctor. Our priority should first and foremost be them, because they need us most.


To that I say, BECAUSE I CAN. My scholarship is a gift from God, something I've prayed hard about since I was in high school. I've worked hard for it, cried hard when I didn't manage to get it the first time, praised God when He gave it later, and guess what? I continued working hard. I didn't take it and squandered the opportunity away. I like to believe I had lived up to the expectations my sponsors have and God's call to be excellent.

And for those who have came up to me and said, "Oh, I don't want this scholarship," let me ask you, "Do you even qualify for it?" Don't belittle us who have worked hard and long to be able to be called a JPA scholar. We shouldn't have to defend ourselves for accepting a scholarship that's a tremendous blessing from God.


This is just priceless. I can understand sometimes why doctors keep discouraging youngsters from following in their footsteps. It's this money-minded mentality that being a doctor equals BIG BUCKS FAST. As a JPA scholar, I am bonded to the NATION for 10 years of service. Notice nation is in caps. And who in the nation needs the medical service the most? Again I return to the aforementioned point, the poor. And they will be found in the government hospitals. If you don't intend to serve the poor, don't be a doctor.

Of course, the subtext behind the question is, DON'T YOU WANT TO LEAVE THIS COUNTRY?

NO, I DON'T. I was born here, I know no other place to call home. As much as I know there a sick people outside, there are sick people right on our doorstep too. And if we all run away, who will take care of them? I have no problem with the 10 year bond because I have no intention of serving anywhere else.

In all honesty, I shouldn't have to defend myself for the decision to go to India to study medicine under a scholarship from JPA. I am grateful that God has given me this wonderful privilege to do what I always wanted to do, without putting a burden on my parents.

I hope this post will encourage anyone who has had similar decisions questioned. Remember, the scholarship is a gift, see it as such and keep working hard because you owe it to God.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Materialism - When Your Possessions Posses You

‘Money, money, money; must be funny, in a rich’s man’s world.

Money, money, money; always sunny, in a rich’s man’s world.’

Take this scenario. You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

Sounds familiar?

Materialism – When Your Possessions Possess You.

It’s a fact that money makes the world go round. Those who deny probably have too much of it to be able to afford to say otherwise. However, what we must realise is that money is not the root of all evil. No, it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. There is nothing wrong with striving to reach the top of the corporate level, nothing wrong with spending your hard earned cash on a new Lamborghini, nothing wrong with saving for that dream vacation to the Caribbean. But there is something very wrong when all you can think of after getting the new Ipad 2 is, ‘When will I get the Ipad AYEVANTMOUR??!’

How then do we realise that we have sunk into materialism? How then do we realise we have entered a meaningless rat race to outbid each other in an attempt to obtain more, more, more? Here’s a simple checklist. When you are materialistic, you end up being selfish, self-centered and self-less.

The problem with materialism is that it affects us as an individual. We degrade ourselves into selfish beings that can only see things for ourselves. Yes, anything we strive to own we want to own to increase our satisfaction. Any economist will tell you that. They would also go on to say that happiness is reality divided by expectations. To increase happiness, either improve your reality or decrease your expectations. Materialistic people seek to improve their reality by surrounding themselves with more. They are quick to fall in love with a certain new item only to be quicker to fall out of love with it once it is theirs. Whatever they do, they seek only for individual contentment. For them, the chase is better than the prize. The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment. Take this analogy to illustrate the point.

A brand-conscious, pompous, loaded lawyer just finished work and was headed downtown. It’s a dodgy area with some unsavoury characters but that’s where the night life begins. As he steps out of the car, a horrific accident occurs as a drunk driver rams into the bumper of his brand new Mercs just as he was about to close the door. It was bloody. The police and the paramedics were alerted and they rushed to the scene. The lawyer was absolutely lived. He demanded to file a lawsuit against the driver. The constable taking his statement said, ‘Calm down sir, can’t you see that you’ve lost your arm??’ The lawyer yelled, ‘HOLY COW THAT IDIOT TOOK MY ROLEX!’ We can laugh, but a materialistic person can forget about everything else that besides their possessions which are their pride and joy. They become so inward looking that they fail to see anyone else around them which brings us to the next problem.

Materialism breeds self-centredness. Self-centredness is not to be confused with selfishness. While selfishness means only looking out for individual concerns, self-centredness in this context refers to the failure to notice people as people. Materialistic people often have problems with interpersonal relationships. They have a tendency to only value things on how much they’re worth. This would be largely because they themselves base their value on how much they own. To them, those with more will garner more respect compared to those with less. In monetary terms of course. They fail to be able to look past the outer layer of possessions and connect to another person, soul to soul.

Take for example Mother from Memoirs of a Geisha. ‘When she walked down the street, her mind was probably working like an abacus: “Oh, there’s little Yukiyo, whose stupidity cost her poor older sister nearly a hundred yen last year! And here comes Ichimitsu, who must be very pleased at the payments her new danna is making”. If Mother were to walk alongside the Shirakawa Stream on a lovely spring day, when you could almost see beauty itself dripping into the water from the tendrils of the cherry trees, she probably wouldn’t even notice any of it – unless ... I don’t know ... she had a plan to make money from selling the trees, or some such thing’. People aren’t looked as people but merely owners. Materialism is like a boulder that prevents them from real meaningful communication, one of the most beautiful things in life.

At the end of the day, materialism blocks everything meaningful in life. To be self-less is not selfless. To be self-less is to lose your humanity. And it’s true that materialism will end reducing one into an automaton, somewhat akin to a safety deposit box. It hoards the things they deem valuable; the money, the gold. But inside that box, what they value most will not be able to grow into something more. It gathers dust and all it while it can purchase a nice coffin to be buried in, it cannot buy the people who will mourned the emptiness you left behind. Materialistic people fear death because everything they hold dear here to is temporal. Anything that is physical will never last forever. They miss out on life because materialism is like rose-tinted glasses, unable to see the full brightness and beauty of the things around them. In Harry Potter terms, they’re like Muggles, unable to comprehend the sheer magic of Life.

We all want things. There is nothing wrong with life. But let’s not forget that there is more to life than material possessions. Have you wondered why the people with the least are often the most content? They discovered the secret; there must be more to life than having everything. They are happy living life, growing old, satisfied with their lot. To quote a conversation from Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom tells his professor Morrie, ‘Why do people always say “Oh, if I were young again.” You never hear people say, “I wish I was sixty five.” Morrie smiles. “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found the meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.”

We are made to enjoy God’s greatest gift – Life. Don’t throw it away chasing meaningless tangibles. After all, the best thing in life aren’t things.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Dedicated to You, Yes, You

Yeah, it’s the end of the year again and considering one of my New Year’s resolution is to blog more frequently, I should start now and make good on it.

2010 has been one crazy year for me. It has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns but looking back, it happened the way it did for a reason.

I could write this whole post about the amazing things which have happened this year. God has really been so good to me, although I know I do not deserve it at all. But as I was thinking for the whole night, what made 2010 special was all the people God brought into my life. There were new ones, there were old ones, there were old ones made new and new ones made old. It’s pretty lengthy, so do look for your name in here. For all of you who walked into my heart this year and left footprints, this is for you.

5 Budians ‘09

We’ve left school a year ago but to me, you were always, always close to my heart. I’ve never had such amazing classmates who’ve became such dear friends to me at the same time. I’ve really missed all of you and for all the times we had together. And I’m so glad that whenever we get to meet up, it feels as comfortable as always. With you guys, I could let my guard down and just be who I am. Thank you for reminding me who Tze Quan is. =) Thank you for reminding me not to change because I am loved just the way I am. I am forever grateful that no matter what happened throughout the year as we went our separate ways, we could always come back and it would be like we never left. ‘Not everyone is prominent, but everyone is significant’. With you all, I knew I counted for something and that I had a group of people who will always be there for me. Thank you Sam, Puteri, Hui Ting, Sarah-Ann, Sarah Liau, Pei Qi, Jian Shen, Aaron, De Ming, Nick, Ling Ben, Syn, Suba, Yan Chi and everyone of you 5 Budians who were there for me when I needed reminding of who I am. And Sarah-Ann, I appreciate every one of your long texts you sent me during NS. =)

Freak and Ass

I told you two before that if my year was made into a TV series, you two would probably only make guest star appearances despite the huge role you’ve played in my year. Thank you for always, always being my sisters to laugh with me and lend me your shoulders when I needed a cry. Being with you two again reminded me of who I was, that I didn’t need anyone else to make me feel like I matter. I had the both of you to double the joy and half the sorrow. I miss you two very very much but I am eternally thankful that even though we’re apart, we’re never really apart. After all, true friendship is not about being inseparable, it’s about being separated but nothing changes. We’ll prove those who say that high school friendship ends in college wrong. I may not have biological sisters, but I have you and that’s the very best God has given me. I hope we’ll last and that I was and will be a rock for both of you to rely on as well. I love you two very much. =)

NS friends

T.R.A.G. =) I always thank God for NS because I met you three, proving that when He sends us to a test, He also gives us the means to ace it. I had the three of you to keep me accountable and, ‘It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime, so let me say before we part, so much of me, is what I learned from you, you’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart’. De Ming you deserve special mention because you were here too. =) It would’ve been even harder without your wisdom handling all those company disunity problems. Selva you too. Thank you for helping me to cope with it during NS. I’m glad we had NS because I finally got to know you. I’m very touched and I’ll do my very best to live up to your expectations. I won’t let you down! ZHENG LING! WOMAN! Good thing we didn’t break the bed with you hopping on it every night to talk, talk, talk until we oversleep the next morning and can’t get up for PT. I got to learn just how amazing you are and no regrets going NS at all because how else would I have found someone like you? =) Kieran, Emman, Chong, Kah Fong, Sabob, Soon, Baby Soon ( =P ), Tall Shaun, Short Sean, Black Nic, White Nic (HAHAHAHAHAHA), Tommy, Silas and everyone else from CF too. And my dormmates! Who says race is a boundary? RUBBISH. BOSS! Ni utk u. Bila I dengar balik penjelasan u pasal baju pt u yg basah, selalu tergelak cam org giler ajer. =P Dengar lagu kantoi pun camtu. Aduh la boss. =P Bangga I tau bila u kata I kawan cina u yg pertama. I rindu u sgt sgt sgt dan I janji takkan lupa u sampai bila-bila. Kalau dtg sini telefon tau?

Form 6 =)

You all showed me that you don’t need years to have such chemistry and rich friendships. It can happen anywhere, anytime and in no time at all. Though I only had the opportunity to be with you all for a short month and a half, I already gained so much from all of you. Shiels, from the very first day I sat behind you, we knew we were going to be friends. It doesn’t only happen in books! Soo Yin, I admire your sporting-ness and your initiative. Plus I like the way you talk. HAHA! Xiao Xi, for your forth willingness to share your life story and the reason behind the dream of being a doctor, thank you. Wei Wen you blur blur girl. =) But when we’re all together, there’s always laughter with you around. OON-HUI! We go waaaay back la woman. I know you’ll do great in Form 6. I never told you this before but I have always admired how reliable and trustworthy you are. DREE! To go back to the place where so many joyous memories are stored with one of my bestest friends in the world is just one of God’s miracles. =) MING RUI MING RUI MING RUI!!! You are undoubtedly one of the people I thank God the MOST for. Although we could only stay awhile, we both know there’s going to be a special bond between us, didn’t we? =) Thank you for the calls when we were both in new worlds and starting over AGAIN. Facebook predicted so let’s see it through ya hamster? Aaron! Gosh I miss you walking me home. Can you teach more guys to be gentlemen? The books very heavy lo... HAHA! Robyn a.k.a Penguin, thank you for giving me much laughter. I still can’t dance Sorry Sorry so that one you’ll probably have to teach me again yeh. =P I thank God I got to see you during the Worship Conference too. And you’re right, it reminded me too that I must treasure the friendship we have. Adrian, gosh, I’ve known you years. Haha! I’m glad we got to be proper classmates, if only for a little while. All the best you guys for STPM next year and Ming Rui for matric. We all get our 4A’s and do whatever we dream of doing, aite? =)

Church buddies

We all Budak Gereja kan? (Jon, Hanrick, this means church kiddos aite? =P ) Nicole, you are without question my longest and closest friend I have in church. For the times you called me while I was in NS, thank you. It meant very much to me to know I was still part of NSt even though physically I wasn’t ablt to be there. I always got your back, any time, in anything because I know you’ll be there for me as well. Kate, I hope next year will be a much better one because we have a lot to talk about, don’t we? Thank you for listening to that looooong story and you too, know that I’ll always be here to listen and I’ll never judge you for your decision. Rachel Rose! Thank you for taking over cell so willingly and so wonderfully. You are AWESOME woman. Plus, you actually dreamt I got the scholarship which was very very amazing. It’s a pity you had to leave for Tronoh just as we were getting to know each other better but I’m very happy and proud of you for your scholarship. =) Zara! I've watch you grow by leaps and bounds. I'm very proud of you. Debbie, you too. Thank you for really rising up and taking the challenge. You've been a tremendous blessing to me. For all my cell girls, again and again you inspire me to keep the faith and keep running the race. =) Aaron! My best friend! HAHA! For all the laughter and the tummy aches you gave me from it. And I’m very sorry about the water balloon. HAHAHAHA! You have been an amazing friend to me, and you were always there to listen when I needed to unload. And cheer me up because you always make me realise that there’s more to enjoy about life when there’re tears in my eyes because of laughter instead of sadness. =) Jon! You too! Your company is such a comfort to me, all the time. I really love your spirit and how you’re always so positive. It makes me optimistic as well. I’m looking forward to us jamming soon. Thank you for being there for me too. I’ll treasure the moments we have left before you fly off. Hanrick, partner in crime? Haha! Thank you for understanding and it was good to have someone to share the dilemma with. You still owe me badass yo. I’ll be coming Couz more often next year. So save a seat for me ya? LEO! It’s been awesome serving with you, working with the album, being on for worship for main service. Just well, go easy on the potpourri next time ok? =) CALEB YOU MIA FELLA! You know I think you’re an amazing musician and jamming with you is always, always, always a joy. I learn a lot from you in the band and you’re another one of those people who will always put me in a good mood, no matter what. Shen! My sifu, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve alongside you. Please teach me jazz chords. =) Keith kor, thank you for your wisdom and the advice. Thank you for looking out for me too. =) You’re always someone I look up to. Ivan, thank you. For all the leaders and for Ps Dan and Auntie Ann, thank you for guiding me and being a part of a family I am so privileged to be in. All of you remind me that being in the family of God is the greatest gift He gave us. The friendship, the laughter, the moments we share show me over and over again then I can never leave the Kingdom of God. I love you all very much.

College mates

For my classmates, we got 6 more years together. =) Let’s make them count. Fiona, thank you for our many emo-talk sessions. Who knew the random drawing would end up in both of us being so similar in nature being roommates as well? Jane, I’m looking forward to all our classes especially with our first successful result-faking physics practical. =P I’m bringing food next time, I’m becoming hungry like you. HAHA! Yen Jing, for those midnight girl talk times, gosh, we all really can talk about ANYTHING don’t we? =P Wan Xin, wah you so responsible I also paiseh la beside you. Eldest sister hor, when we go India, I know who’ll be the one telling us to CLEAN OUR ROOMS. Haha! Hsiang Ling, I do hope I get to spend more time with you because you and Mummy will be leaving us sooner. Chien Wei, thank you for always helping me send me back. =) Both of us mia from house 2 but I think we still count as honorary members of the house right, right? (Be nice the rest of you. HAHA!) MUUUUMMMMYYY!!! You’re so lovable and I feel so comfortable around you. I failed during Tron but I will be back to try again! MUAHAHAHAHA! =P Though I heard you stayed awake for Despicable Me. HAH! I TOLD YOU IT’S GOOD! Ab, you come under here too. I’m very very very glad there’ll be another Seafieldian together for the whole of our MBBS programme. Whenever we have the urge to reminisce, we’re covered for the next 6 years. =)

Special Mention

For those of you who helped me through those very, very dark days. Jas and Dree I’ve mentioned. =) For the Bliss and the pillow slamming moments. Hui Ting for the unexpected meeting during the Worship Conference. For sharing your heart and what you went through helped me so much more than I can ever say. You’re right, the most beautiful of rainbows come after the heaviest of storms. You were one of those rainbows. =) Mira, I don’t know how I could’ve ever done it without you. =) No matter what happens, yes, we’ll always be friends. Because at the end of the day, losing someone I’ve known for most of my life is never worth it. Selva, for NS. =) I’m sure I wasn’t the easiest to handle but you were there anyway. Darren, thank you for all the comfort you gave. And there were many of them. Haha! I really appreciate all the kindness you’ve shown me. =) James, for putting up with my many disappearances, I hoped I have explained fully. Thank you for staying a good friend to me. It means very much to me.

And you

If you see this. Thank you. For the moments we shared. The year was what it was because of you. ‘Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good’. I wish you every happiness. Goodbye.

Writing this makes me so overwhelmed and thankful to God for everything He has done for me in my life this year. I thought I only had a few things to say but it turned out that this was just one way for Him to show me the richness of the friendships I had this year. Thank you, all of you, for making my year so special. =)

Happy New Year 2011.

P.S If you want to leave a comment, can you do me a favour? Comment under this post and not put it in my cbox? Thanks! =)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Not Enough Rocks

Show me a man with a broken spirit and I’ll show you a man who is eaten up with bitterness.

If there’s one thing that saps a person’s strength more than anything else, it’s bitterness. As long as we walk this earth, we’re going to be offended, blindsided, betrayed, wounded. It’s common notion that everyone hurts. We are united not so much by our joys, but by our sorrows. And life is not life without them.

The problem with bitterness is that once it takes root in us, it becomes very difficult to be released from it. And it eats us from the inside out. We fail to see the beauty of the other things around, preferring to dwell in our misery. Bitterness is also something we want to nurse. We WANT to have a reason to be angry, to rant, to hate the person who caused us so much grief. We WANT to resent the situation the person put us in. We WANT to believe that everything looks dark because of them. We WANT bitterness, period.

But guess what?

The ironic thing is, while you are tossing and turning in bed at night in your heartache, the person who hurt you is probably having a good night’s sleep.

So ask yourself, who’s the one suffering then?

Me, yes, me.

And the only way I’ll ever be able to be free from it is this – forgive.

I know what many people say about forgiving and forgetting. To be honest, I find it very difficult to completely forget the hurt done. For me, forgiving and forgetting are on opposite sides of the coin. You can’t have one without losing the sight of the other. To forget would mean it never mattered to me and forgetting would mean I would make the same mistakes. I wouldn’t want to forget because that would mean I would do it all over again. To forgive would be me being able to remember, but I don’t feel the pang of resentment anymore. Which is why I cannot fathom how God can both forgive and remember our sins no more. But that’s another story altogether. =)

We could hang to our bitterness. It’ll be so easy.

Hating someone is always easier than letting go. But where would that lead us?

A story is told that Leonardo da Vinci painted ‘The Lord’s Supper’ when living in Milan. Before he could paint the thirteen figures, it was necessary to find men who could serve as models. Each model had to have a face that expressed da Vinci’s vision of the particular man he would represent. Needless to say, this proved to be a tedious task – to find just the right face.

One Sunday, as da Vinci was at the cathedral for mass, he saw a young man in the choir who looked like da Vinci’s idea of how Jesus must have looked. He had the features of love, tenderness, caring, innocence, compassion, and kindness. Arrangements were made for the young man, Pietri Bandinelli, to sit as the model for the Lord.

Years went by, and the painting was still not complete. Da Vinci could not find just the right face for Judas. He was looking for a man whose face was streaked with despair, wickedness, greed, bitterness and sin.

Ten years later after starting the picture, he found a man in prison whose face wore all the qualities of Judas for which he had been searching. Consent was given for the prisoner to pose, and he sat as the model for Judas. Leonardo worked feverishly for days. But as the work went on, he noticed certain changes taking place in the prisoner. His face seemed filled with tension and his bloodshot eyes were filled with horror as he gaped at the likeness of himself painted on the canvas.

One day, Leonardo sensed the man’s uneasiness so greatly that he stopped painting and asked, “What seems to trouble you so much?” The man buried his face in his hands and was convulsed with sobs. After a long time, he raised his head and inquired, “Don’t you remember me? Years ago I was your model for the Lord Jesus”.

Bitterness is the root of the downfall of men. As the saying goes, a wounded tiger is the most dangerous. A hurting heart is the most vindictive.

I choose not to be bitter.

In Forrest Gump, Forrest's friend Jenny had endured a childhood of abuse and neglect at the hands of her father. In one scene, Forrest and Jenny visit her old house, and Forrest watches as Jenny throws stone after stone at the weather-beaten old house which held so many painful memories for her. When Jenny finally quits throwing rocks and began to cry, Forrest said, "Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

There just aren’t enough rocks to fling at the person who has hurt us. But even more so, there just aren’t enough rocks to hurl at ourselves. Morrie from Tuesdays with Morrie says, ‘Forgive everyone everything now. Not everyone has the chance to wait’. He wasn’t only talking about the other person. He also meant our own selves.

We... need to forgive ourselves... For all the things we didn't do. All the things we should have done. You can't get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened. ~Tuesdays with Morrie~

At the end of the day, when everything is over, why should I still be bitter? Why should I let it kill me inside? Why should I still hurt?

For what?

And so, I’ll forgive you.

But more importantly, I’ll forgive myself.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 'Tick' Story.

Once again, I apologise for not updating my blog as often as I’d like. I wish I could say that I was busy (which I was but that’s not the only reason) but truth be told, I didn’t have much inspiration to write anything. Haha! The lack of impetus due to the lack of English lessons has gotten to me. But now I have too much to share. I’ll take it slow then.

It’s a Sunday morning and my brother and I spent it attacking my dog and searching for ticks in her. She has a MASSIVE amount of them! It accumulated because *ahem* I haven’t been bathing her often. But as we were performing this ‘minor surgical procedure’ requiring the skilled hands of the surgeon (my brother) and an anaesthetic (me holding Melody still while blowing into her face), something struck me.

How many of us have ‘ticks’ on us? Parasites that we have allowed into our lives to drain us of the time, energy, even money on things which aren’t important?

I know I have. Far too many actually.

For too long I’ve let them take root in my life when I should have taken them out a long time ago. The problem is ticks hate it when you try to take them out. ESPECIALLY when they’ve engorged themselves silly on my poor dog. You pull them out and they scamper all around the dog and squishing them is pretty disgusting too. Sometimes it’s easier to leave them in because after awhile, you cease to notice them as parasites but just assume they’re part of your life, ‘For better or for worse’.

In that sense, taking out the ‘ticks’ in our life is never easy. It’s painful. (My poor dog yelped when we pulled them out). It requires the strength of the will and the courage of the heart. Strength of the will not only to recognise the ‘ticks’ but to decide and carry out its removal. Courage of the heart to then stand firm on the decision.

The worse part of ticks is if you don’t fully remove them, the head still remains in the wound and the dog will have a bad infection. Which is why my brother and I keep squinting at the ticks we removed to make sure the head is out as well.

I guess that is true in the sense of our parasites too. Sometimes my courage falters and I didn’t remove the ‘tick’ fully. Sadly, I end up making mistakes far worse than before.

What are the ‘ticks’ in your life? Most of the time, we already know what they are but for some reason or another, we want to keep them in. For me, if there’s one thing I learnt about these pests, it is sometimes it’s good to turn around and go back to the beginning when you’re hopelessly lost trying to move forward. When too many doors have closed, when it becomes too difficult, it could be God trying to tell you that, ‘Hey, it’s time to let go’.

And so I will let go of these ‘ticks’. Painful as it is, sometimes the best place to be is right at the beginning again to start over.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Role Model is Patch Adams

Any aspiring young student who has taken an interest in becoming a doctor will be greeted with two responses – extreme admiration or extreme admonishment. I received both simultaneously when I expressed my wish to become a doctor. Admonishment because medicine is an arduous path – one which requires many years of study and a lot of money. Admonishment because being a doctor would mean sacrificing ‘me time’ for others. Admonishment because being a doctor is just plain difficult.

However, what made me continue to stick to this dream of mine? For me, the conviction lies strongly in what I watched in the 1998 movie, ‘Patch Adams’. In the climax of the show, Adams was to attend a hearing where it will be decided whether he can graduate from medical school. His final speech left a deep impact on me. He said, ‘You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome.’

I aspire to be a doctor with a difference. I can say that it is my right to get the healthcare that I deserve but at the same time, what is my responsibility to ensure that such healthcare exists? The world, our country is in need of doctors with an excellent spirit. Doctors who treat their patients, not their diseases. Excellence does not equate to perfection. There are no perfect doctors, only excellent ones. But what does it mean to be excellent? To be an excellent doctor, it does not necessarily mean healing everyone who walks into my practice. Being an excellent doctor is one who is able to lift up the human spirit even in the midst of sickness.

As for me, that is the kind of doctor I want to be. The kind of doctor who upholds the Hippocrates Oath, primum non nocere – First do no harm. Harm not necessarily meaning physical harm but also the emotional wellbeing of patients. The kind of doctor who will seek to improve the quality of life, not just delaying death. The kind of doctor who will always bring hope to everyone who walk through the door.

P.S I found this somewhere in my computer as I was deleting all the junk I have there. I'll probably edit this when I have more time later. =) But my next post would be around this subject.