Truffle Trouble

It’s official, I hate the smell of truffle, and I blame McDonald’s festive special, Truffle Shaker Fries…

 

This comes as a real shock to me because, I’ve never hated a smell in my life. NEVER. I mean, I’m a fan of Durian and Smelly Tofu… My house sits right beside the garbage dump (and the garbage dump in the estate next door). Every noon I’m educated to what a Rafflesia flower might smell like – I could live with that.

Once in Secondary School I played a game of chicken with Zu Kai, to see who could outlast the other in a toilet cubicle with a choked toilet bowl. I’ve never flinched at a smell… Until now.

I’ve always imagined truffle fries to taste like cheese (since it looks like it). Surprisingly, I’ve downed a basket of truffle fries before, but the smell never hit me this bad. However, it all started last week at a wedding dinner when I was introduced to a bowl of truffle soup. I exclaimed that it was some sort of snow fungus thing… Little did I know I was being introduced to my newly uncovered nemesis… Truffle.

 

I did my research (google) today, and I’ve learnt that truffle isn’t far from snow fungus. THEY’RE BOTH FUNGI. Yesterday, I dipped my hand into a packet of truffle shaker fries to make sure that I wasn’t just making a big fuss out of nothing. The truffle powder has embedded itself under my fingernails, and the pungent odour continues to haunt me as I type this dessertation (har har, I’ve not lost my sense of humour, but I’d like to lose my sense of smell now, thank you).

As I lay down, suffocating under the influence of truffle, I let out a cry… Why God? Why truffle now? After 26 years… Why now? It’s like… Kryptonite.

Strangely, the familiar still small voice spoke to me. These few days, I’ve been wondering why the world can’t just agree and get along. Why is everyone so unwilling to share each other’s point of view? Why can’t everyone love truffle?!

Truffle, son.

To some people, somethings are as suffocating as truffle is to you. It’s not even about being understanding… the very smell of truffle goes against your entire being. But just because you can’t stand truffle, doesn’t mean others will feel the same way.  That’s the way people are, and isn’t that something special?

Yes… Special indeed. I’ve learnt my lesson now, will McDonalds please, never ever have a truffle special again? (Haha, sorry truffle lovers)

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12.30am

12.30am.

I boarded the wrong bus in a last-ditch attempt to get to a bus stop to catch the last 197 (I already missed the train). Turns out this bus was headed in the opposite direction of the loop. And now, I find myself in… Hougang.

It’s getting late, maybe I should just flag a cab and head home.

But no, Something tells me to take a breather instead. My legs start moving. They know where to go, this is a path I’ve tread many times. I cross the road outside the MRT station, heading deeper in. I start praying to God, knowing where this road would eventually lead. What do you want to show me tonight, God?

I cross an old block of flats – an eerie red glow from an altar emanates from one of the open windows. I continue walking until I hit a pathway. Ah yes, this place…

Finally, I approach two tall blue gates. Closed. No surprise, since it’s one in the morning. Every time, I’d stop at this exact spot, never going beyond the gates. I wonder what it felt like to be able to walk past them. A snarling noise (the uncle’s throat clearing before a spit) startles me.  I turned around to see an uncouth man headed in my direction.

The cool night breeze carries me along farther. I’m met by some youngsters (about four of them squeezing around a table), downing bottles of beer with puffs of cigarettes. Isn’t drinking out in public at this time against the law? I’m tempted to google ‘new alcohol law’, but decide against it. That’s not why I came here tonight.

My legs don’t stop. My thoughts race back to the young men at the void deck. Maybe he’s there with them. Before he started guzzling cigarettes and hanging out with the wrong company, he was just like any ordinary school kid.

An ordinary boy, who went through the tall blue gates every weekday for school (if he didn’t oversleep).  He had a dysfunctional family. His dad was always angry, and pulled him out of a prestigious school for ‘misbehaving’. The only wrong this boy committed was to be bursting with energy. Everywhere he went, he was running and jumping. That was then.

Fast forward a few years, he had dropped out of school. A gang took him in at his lowest. They took him in, but when the time came to bail him out of jail in the middle of the night, I was the one who took him out. Who knows what to expect from a call at two in the morning, right?

Soon, the monthly visits to the police post to extend bail come to an end. I tried my best to pull him out of the life he lived, the card he thought fate had thrown him. I felt I tried my best, but sometimes I wonder if there’s anything more I could have done. I stop to ask God if there was anything more I could have done. I get an answer, but it’s God asking me instead,

“The question is, would you do it all over again?”

In the distance, I see a block where someone else I know lives. Hmmm, wonder if he’s awake. He used to say we were really similar, and that’s why we were friends. We would sit together to talk, or sometimes sit in silence, for hours. He was battling depression.

On his good days, he’d have some pretty healthy thoughts. He’ll definitely get better if he keeps this up, with his medication. Then there’d come the bad days, when all reason is thrown out the window. Well, you don’t walk away when someone has bad days. You just keep being there, because you take a person both in their good and bad days.

However, the bad days soon outnumbered the good ones. Nothing I said helped. I persevered on. Then, the talking stopped.

I felt I tried my best, but sometimes I wonder if there’s anything more I could have done. I ask God again if there was anything more I could have done. I get an answer, but it’s God asking again,

“The question is, would you do it all over again?”

1 Corinthians 13 (NKJV)

The Greatest Gift

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Would I do it again, God? I would, over and over again. You see, the Word of God isn’t just some motivational or inspirational quote to paste on my wall. Even if the world misunderstands, or fails to understand. Over, and over again I would love. Because even in days with little faith and hope, love carries on – it carries on, over and over again. Call me a fool.

Everywhere…

Why did the recent horrific attacks gain more media attention than the ongoing devastation in war-torn nations? That question has been thrown around a lot these past two days.

If we take a step back and be clinical about it, perhaps, there are less journalists willing to put their life on the line to constantly bring back stories from afar. If you ask me, maybe the majority of the people reading the news would not be able to fully empathise with what’s going on from behind their screens.

The reason to me, however, is hauntingly simple… It could have been you and me.

A Friday night routine, heading to the theatre. Enjoying a coffee because TGIF. Walking along a bustling city street… It could have been you and me.

Our notion of safety and security in our every day life is subverted. Deep down, there’s a tinge of fear… Reading the news this morning, it said that Singapore is not spared from being a target. That turned my stomach a little. It could have been you and me. Or rather, it could still be you and me.

So, let us not be quick to raise our flags and point out, of how everyone has forgotten about another part of the world, just because of hashtags or a splash of colour on their profile picture. It is not time to point fingers, but to take hope, instead, that perhaps we are still able to rally together to make this world a better place – that you are alive and well, to stand for your cause another day.

Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Japan… Our hearts are with you… When all is lost, hope remains.

Saw this poem posted by Esmonde last night:

Later that night I held an atlas in my lap
Ran my fingers across the whole world
And whispered
Where does it hurt?

It answered
Everywhere
Everywhere
Everywhere

– Warsan Shire

Our Times (我的少女時代)

As I watched Our Times (我的少女時代) I noticed Hsu Taiyi was wearing a Casio Calculator CA53W watch… I have one too! You will see in the show that he almost never takes it off, and the things he’s been through show how hardy this watch actually is.

Water Resistant 1

Water Resistant 2

Casio Calculator Watch

Also, watch this video if you liked the theme song! There’s something about this… It’s like David Cook doing Always Be My Baby. Hahahaha.

Significance

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

– George Bernard Shaw

Reminded of this… Pastor Lia shared this back in the sermon on Significance. Are you significant? Or merely successful?

This weekend, Pastors will be back in Heart of God Church after visiting Russia! So excited to hear about the missions.

The Man In The Arena

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

– Theodore Roosevelt, The Man In The Arena

The Reversal

Throwback to awhile ago when the writers crafted this Reverse Poem in Heart of God Church. Really beautiful! But the story is told better by CJJ, who did the video together with OZY!

MOMENTS

Seen this intro video in church?

Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.55.14Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.55.30Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.54.43Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.56.03Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.56.20Screenshot 2015-10-06 00.56.41

Curious to know more about how the video came about?
Here’s your answer!
The idea of the video was to use the allegory of a reverse poem to illustrate the redemptive nature of God.
Although we may sometimes see things negatively, God sees it in the reverse way. He sees it as positive. There’s always good in the seemingly bad situation.
And we wanted to illustrate just that.

How we did it was through the use of the reverse poem. What this means is that when you read the poem backwards, it still makes sense and the meaning changes completely.
So after conceiving the idea, we had to begin storyboarding.
Zhiyi and I gathered the references of the feel we wanted then we began taking photos and footages.
The real challenge, however,was to get the reverse poem to sound right. There were many drafts and…

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Ambidextrous Faith

Last weekend in Heart of God Church, Pastor Cecilia Chan taught us about FAITH! One of the things she taught us about was to have ambidextrous faith. To be ambidextrous is to be able to use both your right and left hand equally. If you’re my age, you would remember Return of the Condor Heroes when Xiao Long Nu drew a square and circle simultaneously in the sand. The next day, everyone in school was doing it. Haha, anyway, Pastor Lia got us to write the word FAITH with our master hand, and then the other. Can you guess which is my master hand? Obviously…

FAITH - RIGHT HAND

With my right hand.FAITH - LEFT HANDNow, with my left hand T_T

Why do we need ambidextrous faith? Because The path to walk towards your promises can be filled with a lot of difficulty!

St Basil of Caesarea was one who had ambidextrous faith. He viewed both hands as equally important – one hand to accept God’s blessings, and with the other life’s pain.

We may never find the reason for our suffering
But we can find the purpose for our suffering 
Judges 20:16 (NLT)
16 Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing.