On This Day

Facebook reminded me that quite a few significant moments happened on this day…

  • Stood before the cohort after us to welcome them during the orientation camp in 2013.
  • Last service with NUS C2 in 2014.
  • Absolutely loved my internship with Wildlife Reserves Singapore in 2014.
  • Visited 四四南村 and climbed 象山 with Karen in 2016. That was my first time to those places in Taipei.

And today, came back from Taiwan. Missing Taiwan already, but also wished that I didn’t leave this time round haha. But well, back to living life “properly” and no more holidays in the short term! Taiwan ah Taiwan, will see you in another 2 years’ time perhaps.

 

On This Day

Nothing here

In this trip, we had times when we arrived at a place only to realise that there’s nothing much here. That’s after taking the effort to find our way around. And what’s more, we paid an amount that made some of us think twice about it. While my companions complained about how the visit isn’t worth the money, well I could see why, but no regrets.

It’s quite like exploring places not listed at the top of those travel recommendations. You probably won’t know have enough information to decide if it’s “worthwhile” to get to these places. Been doing that the past two days, and I think, it’s been very much worth the while.

I found new places I had never known before. I saw a new side to Taipei that I had never seen before, despite being here for the 6th time.

I guess it’s great that I found something. But what if I hadn’t? Well, Rebecca and I just came back from a night walk down the street to Taipei 101. I was hoping to capture some photos of the city lights but to my disappointment, the tower wasn’t lit like it did the previous time I was here. We were expecting some interesting insights to the night life here as well but well, nothing in particular jumped out at us. But still, it’s worth the while because our curiosity has found its answer. Similarly, travelling to a place and finding that there’s nothing worth any hype… now we know!

It was also a good stroll with this friend tonight. To bare our hearts as we walked along the streets. And I’m thankful to have a friend who didn’t mind walking extra miles just to satisfy some curiosity, even if what we found turned out to be nothing. It was a pleasant night out :)

Nothing here

Numb

Back. Beyond just a break from the mundane routine of turning up at work, I guess I had looked forward to the trip as a break from the internal battles arising from being a witness (or, ashamedly, even a participant) of the ugliness of this world. A break from the struggles with what is right and what is wrong, with who am I, with what living an abundant life means.

A constant question that I’ve been asking God, especially in the past few days, was this, “Where are You, God?” I can’t seem to find Him in my radar.

It’s fairly easy to get through life, day by day, without asking questions about life. It’s easier to not think, and just go on a autopilot mode. During the trip, I fell asleep on the train when a ticket checker came around. My friend tried to wake me up but failed initially – that was how deep a sleep I had. When she finally managed to wake me up, I frantically went through my wallet looking for… something. It was as though I was on autopilot mode, because half a minute into that, my mind started thinking (yes it only just started), “What am I actually looking for?” Quite funny but yeah, I figured out that the only thing I would need at such a juncture, with a stranger standing in front of me and demanding for something, would be my train ticket.

The thing with autopilot mode is that, I guess, it numbs my senses. I seem to have turned blind to God’s Presence in my life, and have become deaf to His Promises, to what He is speaking to me at the moment, and to where He is directing me. I’m just like a ship without a captain, a sheep without a shepherd.

I can’t help myself. No way can I cure this blindness and deafness, no way can I conjure His Presence. And even if I try to un-numb myself and begin thinking about those questions once more, I’m not confident of finding the answer by myself. I need You, God. I need You to save me. Help me.

Numb

Seasons

For the past few months, I had this thought that I graduated at an non-ideal time for a graduation trip around Taiwan. Reason being that the temperature’s as hot as that in Singapore and May was known as the plum rain season. So I’ve been looking forward to taking this trip in March, to behold the beauty of Taiwan in March – with cherry blossoms blooming around Taiwan – that everyone else talks about.

Now that I’m on this trip, I realise how much more blessed I was than I had thought. 

First reason being that I had a friend whom I was comfortable with as a travel buddy. I wouldn’t say I’m the most comfortable on this current trip. My insecurities are slowly killing me; I’ve been feeling rather awkward on the trip.

Second was that even though it was the plum rain season, for some reason it only rained once or twice and had never hindered our plans. Perhaps it was God who held the rain – that’s what I’ve always believed. He blessed us with a good weather wherever we went. This trip, it’s been raining almost everyday. In fact it rained everyday when we were on Green Island.

Third reason was that even though it was warm, it was the season of much naturey growth and hence many sights to behold. Like, the bambi deers that were all around Green Island, the glowing mushroom at Guangfu, and it was the season for mangoes so we had the best mango ice in our lives. This time round, unfortunately, all the mango ice shops on Green Island were closed apparently because it’s not the mango season. Was looking forward to that, but ohwells. But yeah, most shops on Green Island were not opened because it was not the peak seasons for tourists in March.

I guess it’s still good that I have my chance to visit Taiwan in this season. To take a look and satisfy my curiosity I guess.

Seasons

我们的故事2

Just watched this movie. Guess this part of Singapore’s history isn’t as distant for me as it is for my peers. Those kampong houses and farms in the movie are what I used to return to every Chinese New Year when I was a lot younger. Though life often got boring after staying there for a week, but I always looked forward to coming home and seeing my grandparents. Boring because I don’t have my internet connection there, but I really really love returning to my kampong home. 

I stopped going back for Chinese New Year visitation since uni started. CNY always took place during the school term and I had no time to go back there, so I’d usually return during my summer break or December holidays. It took some time to get used to spending my CNY in this city and in fact, I’m still not used to it. The festive atmosphere differs so so much over here – or should I say, there’s almost nothing much here. 

Back in my kampong, relatives – like super distant ones – would all come to our house to visit my grandparents. I don’t really know them since I only see them once a year. But there’s always these big korkors and jiejies I looked forward to my once-a-year meeting with them. My parents would tell me whenever they were coming over, because they knew I would be excited.

At the back of the house where the kitchen is, there’s my yeye cooking my favourite dishes – well, perks of being his favourite. Ya like for once in my life, I’m someone’s favourite, that feels great. My popo would be in the same corner slaughtering a chicken or cooking other dishes for the family. At the front of the house would be my gugu’s domain. She’s always seen sweeping and mopping the house every year. And there we little kiddos sat, watching the TV, reading books, playing our game boys. 

When someone appeared at the door, all of us would be tasked to bring out additional chairs from all over the house for our visitors. The adults would then gather us “each to his own breed”. This is my child, the elder one. And then the others would go, “这么快就这样大了!” The adults would just be talking amongst themselves after that, and we just played amongst ourselves. 

At night, we had our favourite pyro-stuff which the adults bought for us. We had this small little rock-like thing that gives off a ‘pop’ sound when you throw it against a hard surface. We also had sparklers to play with too. Tried all sorts of ways to make them as interesting as possible, had all sorts of random competition with each other’s sparklers, and even refused to lend people any flame for theirs :p Some years we had firecrackers too. Man, how many of those my age would have seen and heard a firecracker go off before?

Really enjoyed spending CNY with my family like that, where everyone came together :) That place’s old and to some people, dirty, but this home is my pride. I love bringing my close friends there with me. I love my family :)

我们的故事2

Back. To responsibilities.

Back from three back-to-back trips, from Hong Kong to Ipoh and finally Taiwan. Thought I would be exhausted from all that travelling by the time Taiwan came, but nope the excitement was still there when I flew to Taiwan.

I always find it strange that something that feels as if I’ve waited for years to come would pass by and then I’m left with a little lesser to look forward to. I still feel this way about Taiwan this time round – strangely not feeling the expected exhaustion from the back-to-back travelling. It’s my fourth time in Taiwan but this is the first time I’m feeling this… I MISS TAIWAN :( Was already feeling it during our last few days there because I realised that my next trip would probably be in another 2 years or so.

Feeling really strange about returning here actually. Missing Taiwan is probably only a part of the reason. Maybe travelling with a good friend is another. And I’m wondering, too, if this has to do with this sense of responsibility that I feel like I’m returning to.

Starting work in less than a week’s time. And this time round, it’s no longer going to be a short-term, part-responsibility, kinda thing like in internships/attachment/volunteering. Stepping into the working world as a full-time staff this time round. Not just that, but it also feels like I have the load of the family to carry as well. Which, I feel less than ready to do so. And I also wonder, how many of my peers or predecessors actually face this same responsibility the moment they enter into the working world – or do they learn to take care of their own load first? It’s a redundant question to find out though; it’s not like the answer would change much.

I used to desire responsibility along with the sense of trustworthiness associated with that. It started off with convincing my parents to let me hold on to my own passport when we travel, having the permission to hold on to the hotel room keys, etc. Small little things like that made me feel like an adult, like I was trusted to know what I was doing. Lately, though, I’m starting to feel a little tired of taking charge. I can, and I guess people do trust me to do so to some extent, but I no longer wish to.

On the way home, I wonder if the carefree-ness in Taiwan was something I missed as well. Waking up whenever, going wherever, planning our own spending like we only had 10 days to think of (which is not bad at all as compared to planning years ahead). And not bad, since I planned most of the trip, I get to go wherever I want to hahaha okay not really, but planning this trip really made me put into practice what it means to consider someone else’s needs. Tweeted during the planning stage that the thing about planning a trip is that my mind is always on the other person’s wants and needs. Things like will the person be too tired, will the person enjoy this, does this make financial sense for both of us, etc. Not too sure about how successful my assumptions were on Karen’s wants and needs, but I really tried really hard. But still, I get to do things that I wanted to as well :p At the most, I only had to think perhaps 7 days ahead, to tweak the plans a little, but most of the time really just… be curious and do whatever. At the same time, I had my friend helping me with things like calculating our shared expenses, cracking our brains over that sometimes, getting the camel-me to drink water, sharing my camera-burden blahblahblah. All these carefree-ness and all are quite unlike life back here I guess.

Ohwell, shall take things one step at a time I guess, since there’s nothing else I can do about it – lol sounding so resigned. But yeah, missing the time in Taiwan, badly :(

3.28am, time for bed! (and hence not checking through what I’ve typed)

Back. To responsibilities.

Retreat

Third consecutive day of putting myself out in the public arena. Leading the group of five, being the best I can be from the moment I wake and letting anyone talk to me about anything any time.

Found a room to retreat to. Not my room (because I sleep in the living room, which explains my all-waking hours availability), but it seems to provide some kind of peace here. At least for some reason, the room feels like a sheltered place that people don’t just walk into or talk into even with the door left wide open.

—-

Aunt just asked, “琬軒咧? 在祷告啊?”

That’s right, haven’t had a proper quiet time.

Retreat