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“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” -- Lewis B. Smedes

Updated: 2018-03-06T12:36:43.640+08:00


Heart Issues


I have a lot of friends getting married lately. Facebook just has a way of rubbing things at my face when I am least guarded. Normally, I'd be fine, but what got me so much this time was the union of a very good looking couple that got me thinking - will I ever have this privilege?

Then I realised I have never fallen in love. I've had horrible infatuations and crushes before, but never had I understood love in that context.

I remember the first time I fell for someone. That fluttering feeling and joy I had were indescribable, but soon after, I've told myself that I'll be this careless with the matters of my heart anymore. Perhaps that is the reason of my non-feeling days.

What scares me more is the questions I ask myself -- "What does it feel like to be in love, to know for sure that the person you are marrying is the one for you, to be assuredly someone's, to be so willing to take that fall because there is everything to lose. My sanity, my safety, my boundaries, everything that makes me, me."

As if that weren't enough, the conclusions that I make in my head scare me the most, honestly.

Some people are fortunate, some aren't. Some are loved by everyone, and they get such affection just by being themselves. There is no need to try, no need to fight. They just are. And when you look at your background and the struggles you have gone and are going through, there is absolutely no evidence that you could have the same. 

Sure, there are some things that everyone, despite their background, can enjoy. Like salvation, but not happiness. 

And then, there are so many schools of thought regarding this matter.

You will find your significant other when the time is right, when you are ready for love. To do that, you need to work on yourself so that the other will receive the best of you.

You only need to be open, for love is near. The reason you can't find it is your unwilling to be open to the possibility that perhaps someone is out there for you.

You need to learn how to completely love yourself. It is only when you are able to do so, love finds you. 

And what does not help in moments like this is: Singlehood is the shizniz. There is no need to answer to anyone, no need to report to anyone your whereabouts. But really? What about the times when you are lonely, when you want to hold someone and when you want to be held? When you want to just rest in the shadow of someone's wings, feeling assured that there is someone you can count on if the world caves down upon you, and if the sky turns dark and begins to toss blitzes of thunders at you.

Are we that delusional to think that I can do away without anyone else? Or is the challenge to be completely okay with myself?

Food for thought.

Let Everything In


Aran Islands, Ireland. (c) Jonathan Chu, 2011

Let everything in.

Read voraciously. (note: it doesn’t count if it’s a book in your field)
Go hiking.
Visit interesting art exhibits, especially if it’s “not your thing”.
Wake up at 5:30am, sit in solitude outside in the twilight, and write whatever comes to mind using a pen in a notebook that no one will ever read.
Listen to Kanye, then turn on some Vivaldi.
Skip the movie and go see some local theatre.
Take long walks in weird places.
Learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee.
Attend a poetry reading.
Train for a race.
Don’t ever stay inside when the stars are kind enough to dance for you.
Go to a local cheese shop (no, not Whole Foods) & ask them to suggest something.
Go to a local wine shop and do the same.
During your next lunch break, walk downstairs with a camera (or your phone), stand still, look at the world and take a photo of what strikes you. Describe it in no more than four words.
Rent a movie produced before 1950.
Learn how to make your own pasta.
Read about how Henry Clay saved the Union, then pick up some of Tagore’s poetry.
Plan the adventure of a lifetime. Then go.
Read about the history of typography.
Draw something. Anything.
Find a restaurant with a cuisine that scares you, and invite someone to go and try it with you.
Go to an antique market and buy something you don’t need.
Spend your next Friday evening with someone who doesn’t do anything remotely similar to what you do.
Take a train when a plane would be much more efficient.
Create a piece of art.
Throw up your hands in places you shouldn’t.

Every great piece of work is only an amalgamation of existing work filtered through the mind of the artist creating it. Take inspiration from anywhere you can find it. Then imbue it into the fiber of your next project proposal or fundraising spec or development sprint or speaking gig or preso to the marketing team.

And once you have, do it again.

- AJ Leon, The Life and Times of A Remarkable Misfit, p. 49 - 50


Precisely how I am going to live my life from now on.

Musings about a job



I thought I wanted the job, just because it was quite a prestigious company. Both my friend and I went for the interview. I didn't get it; my friend did. I was angry because if I got it, it would have proven that I still have it.

At least that was what I thought. Have 'what', I asked myself. The drive to work? The ability to project manage, write, be awesome...?

Then I realised, a skill, once attained, will never leave me. So why was I angry and unsatisfied? Why did I need to feel so?

I looked at how life turned within these two months and realised that God was somehow showing me that I had to go back to where I started and strengthen my foundation, skills and network. And then it struck me -- I was in the pioneering business.

I was here to start something because He has put a burden in my heart for young people for quite some time. Had I gotten the job, I would have been fulfilling the company's dream/vision; but now, I have the chance to shape my dream. I don't know how, but I know that's the way to go.

Now I don't feel angry or upset anymore. I see the bigger picture. I need not be unsure of my skills or of myself. I need not others' approval. I am where I need to be, and for that I am happy.

Here's to counting my blessings.

I Am Who I Hang Out With



Today I thank God for Pastor Jon Cook and his message he preached a few months back. He emphasized that we are who we hang out with. Initially I felt it was a good reminder about choosing my friends well. But ever since I'm back here, I realised I'm choosing to spend my time with people who can speak into my life or whom I can speak life into.

Then I realised that I'm perfectly alright with having just a few friends. I don't need to know a lot of people as I once wanted so badly; right now, just a few will do. A few true, good friends. The kind of people who are completely okay with silence. The kind who don't judge you by each word you say. The kind who talk about life and don't mind being honest about how much they're struggling. The kind who remind me that I am here for a purpose, and who will stand by the decisions I make and not judge me by them.

The kind who remind me that God has a hand in everything. The kind who tell me to pursue God no matter what. The kind who tell me to continue writing songs despite everything that is against me. The kind who tell me that it is more blessed to bless than be blessed.

The kind who tell me to pursue my dreams and just surrender. The kind who are grateful for what life has thrown at them. The kind who persevere, fight and never give up. The kind who are transparent and not shy away from authenticity.

The kind who are not obsessed about networking and making it huge in business. Far from it. But people who want to chase God and be after His heart. Who want to worship and please the King of kings. Who want to put a smile on His - and not people's - face(s).

The kind who never make me feel like I'm not good enough. The kind who push me hard - although I insist (and sometimes shout out) that I can't do it anymore. The kind who don't put me on a pedestal but silently whisper to my ears - you can. Just another step. Another while more. Hang in there.

For these people, I don't mind hanging out with them. In fact, I long to have a chance to meet up and just worship.

Friends are important. Very important. I don't think we were ever made to be an island. But we want to choose the kind of people we hang out with.

Right now I think I've found those I want to spend time with. And for that I thank God.

Choosing to Love


(c) Jonathan Chu 2012. Taken in Ireland. I've been back in Malaysia for almost three weeks. I have somewhat lost my fake Geordie and Chinese accent, gotten used to the Malaysian weather, somewhat adjusted to the Malaysian time zone (although I still feel drowsy in the afternoon, which is the AM in UK).Not a moment passes by without me thinking of UK, the good old times when I used to live alone. When I spent hours in the kitchen, baking, thinking of all the people I love and their smiles, thanking God for them in my life.Thinking about such things is absolute agony.I remember when the plane touched down in Malaysia and I was near to tears. Not because I missed Malaysia (far from it) as I am sure by now, everybody knows how much I love Newcastle. (I loved it so much I kissed the floor of Newcastle airport. HA!)Part of me knows and refuses to acknowledge part of the reason why I did not want to return to Malaysia. The hurt and struggles I've been through, especially during my childhood and teenage years. The self-doubt and pangs of pain that knock on my little heart every where I go. The people I've let hurt me because I thought that's the way to be loved and accepted. The abusive words I've taken in, the anger that wells up within me even as I type this, the painful, oh very painful memories, and the lack of good, non-judging friends that I have. And that same part of me knows that God allowed me a year in Newcastle, surrounded me with people who loved me -- who never once spoke anything belittling or demeaning to me, just so that I would know how it feels like to receive unconditional love.  The confidence that has grown within me, the strength that I now have... I owe it to the people of NCLC. The few who spoke life into my life, I count them as blessings God has graciously and generously given to me.I somehow get the impression that's somewhat centered around these words: Now you know how it feels like to be loved and how the love of Christ is, go back and show those who have hurt you that same love.I'd be lying if I say that I don't struggle with this every moment. Love your neighbors as yourself? Love your enemies? Love those who have hurt you? You gotta be kidding me. How on earth can somebody like me, wounded and little, accomplish that? The amount of pain that surfaced just by being back to this country is unbearable, let alone approach the people who've caused these wounds!You gotta be flippin' kidding me, mate.  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13"Love never gives up.Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,Doesn’t force itself on others,Isn’t always “me first,”Doesn’t fly off the handle,Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel,Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end."1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG)Sometimes I think God is crazy. That He would even think that I would want to be placed in such a position and emerge as a victor... this is just mental. Absolute mental. And yet, His word reminds me that "In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37Maybe my mission back in Malaysia isn't to get a glamorous job and earn big bucks so that I can go back to UK, my comfort zone. But so that I love my enemies like He loved me. I once sang "I want to care for others like Jesus cares for me", maybe it's time to mean what I sing. Love puts up with anything. Because Love never gives up. Because Love looks only for the best -- that which builds, upholds, strengthens, believes, inspires. The road of love may be difficult, but when one always trusts God. One never looks back and wish that it were easier but keeps going til the very end.To hate i[...]

In the Middle of an Ocean


(c) Jonathan Chu 2012 

I am a boat in the middle of the ocean. The wind blows at me, the waters below rock me back and forth, yet my anchor holds me. Some may say that this is a good place to be, but I hate being in this position.

I have always had something to work towards, somewhere to be. But being stuck in the middle of nowhere, unsure to go forward or to the left or right, just upsets me. It's like tasting bile in my mouth. Ugh, the agony.

I mutter a little prayer and hope for the best.

The NCLC Journey


Here's to NCLC. Family, Community. Home. My Home. One year has passed by too quickly. I still remember the first time I laid eyes on Newcastle as the plane was flying over the land. Such a beautiful land, I thought to myself. I thanked God for allowing me to leave my country to a land I know nothing of.I visited NCLC for the first time. The blue lights. The songs... Nothing is Impossible, God is Able, Awakening... Gordy Alexander on stage, playing the piano, singing. I remember looking at the card with the words "Welcome Home". I smiled. Home it is indeed.I remember the first day I walked into the church offices with Gabby for worship practice. Apprehension. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough because people like Mark Harle and Gordy Alexander were insanely professional. I walked through the wooden door. New faces. I smiled - awkwardly. Nodded when people greeted me. "Hi." My short reply with a hesitant smile.Do I smile? Do I go around and shake everyone's hand? Do I... The questions ran through my head. My palms sweated.Then the practice began. Matt Lewis was pushing the team with so much drive, passion. "Let's stop here." "Let's do the transition again." "What key are you in?" "Can you play this?" "I need something ethereal."This is where I am meant to be. Here's where I can be a better musician. Here's where I will gain what I've been praying so hard for - that I may be surrounded with talented musicians who're better than me, and that I may grow to become a better musician.The practice was over. Everyone was chatting. Gordy asked me to come over to the keyboard. "Play something!" He asked gently. "Play what?" I replied, not knowing if my skills would embarrass me. "Anything." He smiled. I touched the Juno keyboard. Oh, the touch of a keyboard. Familiarity. Home. I played."You're in." Veronica McCadden, another keyboardist who stood beside me, interjected after I played the first chord. "You're not allowed to leave."I finished playing. Gordy smiled, his right hand to his heart. He sighed. "That. Was beautiful."I never knew I would be good enough for a great church like NCLC. I was ready for rejection. Something along the lines of "I think you need more practice" or "I think you need more time." But before I knew, my name was on the rota. Jonathan C it wrote. In pink. The color I detest the most, but not this time. It was a sweet, sweet color. A color of acceptance, new challenges, growth. ---Being in NCLC has been such a blessing to me. I thought that I'll be spending a lonely year in a foreign land. I thought that I'll leave Newcastle with nothing but the experience that I've lived alone for a year. But look what God had in store for me?A group of people who allow me to love them the only way I know how, and who love me in return.Who ceased every opportunity to encourage me and support me in any way they can.Who are filled with passion and drive to be better musicians, and who encouraged me to be the same.Who struggle like I do, but never relent in giving God all the glory.Sometimes I feel that I don't tell them enough how much I appreciate each of them. Without the beautiful, great individuals that God has placed in my life, I doubt that I'll be who I am today. I'd always think to myself that God placed me in Newcastle not to just be a better musician, but to learn what is generosity, how to love until it hurts, and what it feels like to place others before me. And when I learn of the struggles each of them go through, my heart breaks knowing that the best I can do sometimes is to either put a hand on their shoulders or bake a simple cake for them.In the youth, I see so much promise, potential. I had to humble myself and learn from musicians who are far better than me. Musicians like Joe Draper and Andrew Gallagher have taught me so much about music than I could ever imagine. Andrew Gallagher would offer to teach me some guitars. He'd trave[...]

Dear God Thank You


Today I thank God for the blessings He has put in my life.I thank God for my wonderful friend and housemate, Suyen Pang. She taught me that it is better to love with all your heart and expect nothing in return, for when I do so, I increase my capacity to love. And that is all that matters.I thank God for the opportunity to be in UK. Even though I do not have the finance to travel to Europe as many of my friends do, the very fact that I can leave my home country, have a part time job, have friends and see the beautiful Newcastle and Scotland with my own eyes are already little blessings God has placed in my life.I thank God for this beautiful roof that I have over my head. While many are still busy searching for places to stay, I get to live in this humble house with almost no trouble.I thank God for Christoffer and Sarah who have brought me immense joy during my stay in Newcastle. I learned how to cook because of them. While I am not at all satisfied with almost every meal that I cook, I can proudly say that I learned so much and dared to try cooking new dishes because of them. They were ever encouraging and ate whatever I cooked, even if it were not up to par. (Christoffer never fails to amaze me with his 'mmm! nice!' comments even when I thought the food was so-so. Such encouragement is impossible to find elsewhere.) Now that they are far away and I do not have much time to cook, I have to admit that I miss them.I thank God for Tutu Benson. She showed me the power of courage and authenticity in the way she deals with life. She is one of the individuals who does not have an easy life -- the hours she has to work is just insane. But she thrives nevertheless. She fights hard and rises above every challenge that is placed before her. She pushes the box of expectation and delivers results that amazes me. And most importantly, she loves with all her heart.I thank God for Peter Jobes. He shared with me the joys of poetry. This man has an eye for beauty and art that sometimes I am just blown away at the way he speaks about Shakespeare and the way he derives life lessons from poems and art. He is quiet about his life, but he is a courageous man. The way he chooses his words and battles puts me to shame most of the time, for I have (yes, I am admitting it) quite a loose tongue.I thank God for Febby Tan, an extremely, extremely amazing musician and motion graphics designer. The way she handles her instrument never fails to amaze me, but what blows me away the most is the humility she has in her. Never has she said she is a good guitarist; she always tells me that she is either frustrated she can't play something or she has a long way more to go. That - I find incredibly inspiring. I was thinking about my future today and thought about the talents that God has put in Febby and I realised that while everybody is amazed at her talent, nobody ever commented on the hours she must have spent in perfecting or mastering her skills. Boy she must have worked so hard to achieve what she has today. That inspires me too, and I promised myself that I will someday be half as talented as her.I have so much more to thank God for, but sometimes my eyes are clouded by the imperfections of life instead of His perfection and the blessings that He has so generously showered in my life. Sometimes I forget that every single thing I have isn't mine; they are given by the Lord. I forget that while I can complain about the things I do not have, it will be more beneficial to thank God for what I have - for He is good and has blessed me.So dear Lord, thank You for every single thing and person You have placed in my life. I know that I have grown close to them or know them by accident; You wanted me to learn some thing from each of them. You wanted me to be a better Christian.[...]

The Bigger Picture about Our Gifts and Talents


Image taken at Whitby, United Kingdom. (c) Jonathan Chu, 2012

I've been watching Grey's Anatomy for two weeks now. In the series, Dr. Shepherd, a really talented neurologist just lost a patient and he's distraught. Filled with fear, anguish and guilt, he sank into the pit of alcoholism. He pushed people away and channeled his anger to the people he loved. He then decided he didn't want to be a surgeon.
He asked his girlfriend, Meredith, "Will you still love me if I'm not a surgeon?"

Without hesitance, she looked him in the eye and replied, "No."

He couldn't believe it. The expected answer was that she would stick with him regardless what his job is. And guess what her next reply was -- "No because you have a gift."

This statement got me thinking. Because you have a gift. And then I understood.

When we love someone, we want that person to be at his or her best, to exercise his or her gifts, to be him- or herself. This applies to ourselves too. If we love ourselves, we would want us to be at our best, to exercise our gifts, to be ourselves.

But things get in the way. Our guilt. Self-doubt. Fear. Our wanting to please others. And we lose sight of the bigger picture, of the reason why we were given these gifts in the first place.

I believe we have our gifts not because God wanted to be creative, but because we were meant to give. To give to our families, our friends, our classmates, our colleagues, our teammates, our church members... For in giving, we live up to our highest potential. And guess what - in return, we receive the fruits of the gifts of others! It's like a barter system; you give, I give, we all receive!

That way, this world that we live in will be a better world. A world where nothing is lacking. A world where people don't need to go through desperate measures to receive love. A world where people are continually blessed and blessing others. A world where people genuinely love and care for each other.

You see, when God said His creation was good, He was absolutely right. He created systems that were meant for our good. But it's sin that came in and screwed the entire picture. People began to be selfish. They let their personal feelings stop them from being themselves and using their gifts. In return, they received short-sightedness. They focused on short term goals. And they ended up wondering why is life such a tiring thing.

While I have absolutely no idea how to fix the world in its entirety, I know I can begin with myself to bring change to this world bit by bit. Then like ripples, (I hope) my efforts will encourage others to give, to be a blessing to others.

I urge you then to not forsake your gift. Instead, practice and give it as a gift to those in your lives and may they be blessed by it. For freely we got these gifts and talents, freely we give to our friends. This world, I believe, will be a better place when we give.

It's Okay To Be You


Image taken at Whitby, United Kingdom. (c) Jonathan Chu, 2012 There is a voice in our head that always compare ourselves to those around us. Oftentimes, we find ourselves speaking as it speaks. We agree with its words, and repeat those words so many times we believe in it.I find myself in this situation always. I look at some of my friends and think that by human standards, their qualities are great because they make them human. For example, I have friends who absolutely adore animals. They get very angry when they see animals being abused. They help at animal shelters. They take pictures of their beloved pets...But I don't. I don't adore animals that much. I don't find reason why I should be wrathful when I see animals abused. Sure I don't condone it, but I can't bring myself to be angry. I don't feel for animals like my friends do.And that makes me wonder if I'm human at all. If there's something wrong with me at all.I have friends who talk about how politics can change a country. They are the passionate ones who go for courses and competitions, network and be visible to top figures. They talk about the 5-minute elevator situation, about campaigns to get leaders to hear them out, go across different countries to network with like-minded people. But I don't find reason in doing that. Sure I can force myself to see a reason, but what good will that be for me and the society I'm in?When I hear about the excitement from them, I wonder - if there is something wrong with me.There isn't. I'm just not wired that way. While people can get upset that I don't share their sentiments, I shouldn't be swayed by what they think - I wasn't made that way. I was made to love music. To love the touch of the keyboard, strings, sounds. Whether I'm good at music or not is a story for another day. But just the chance to play on stage with great musicians, the chance to be alone with a piano, to be alone in a room listening to great music, to be in a live performance, to create music... that's breathing to me; that's how I was wired.While I can get sad that I'm not how my friends think I should be, while I can feel sorry for myself for the things I'm missing because I'm not like my friends and not sharing their sentiments... I can use that time to work on myself and be a better person and musician. Because I'm sure as hell the Creator did not make me to be so in love with something just for the sake of being in love with it.I'm sure He made me to love it so that I can use it for His glory. And nothing else. Not so that my friends will accept me. Not so that my friends will think I'm acceptable in their eyes, or if I'm normal at all.Truth is, I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, so they are in no position to question that. They'll be questioning God instead.I am writing this because I was looking at the great friends I have today. All their skills, the things they love doing, the things that make them human, and I felt bad for myself. It then hit me that their stories are for the Creator to write. How He chose to write their stories is none of my concern, and my story is His to write. I need not compare their stories with mine. What goodness will it bring anyway?Each story is different. It is meant to be. That's the beauty of it, for like all roads lead to Rome, all stories lead to the glorification of God and God alone.So live your life, fight until you drop, be compassionate, feel, let yourself stumble, fall and rise again, give yourself room to make mistakes and improve, and be okay with how you were wired. God did not make us to be like others; He made us to be original, so that each of our stories will be different and shine brighter than stars. So that each of our stories will bring encouragement and give the extra push to those who need to be inspired.To us, our stories may seem boring. But t[...]

New Year New Blog Name



Solitude used to define me.

I would pride myself about how I could sit with loneliness, look at it in the eye and call it my friend. How I tell myself that I'm strong enough to be alone, to not want any companionship. But who was I kidding? I wasn't made to be an island.

Today I looked at my little humble blog and thought to myself that I've grown out of this phase. It's completely okay to want friendship, to desire companionship. I am human, aren't I? And I wasn't wired to be alone. I don't think anyone is wired to be alone.

I looked at how life has changed for me, and I stopped at this word : Forgiven.

Forgiven for my wrongs. For the wrong words I have said. For the friendships I've ended because of my pride. For the times I didn't do what I should've done.

Forgiven for setting unreasonable expectations on myself.

Who am I but just a man? A mortal soul. A spec of dust, soon forgotten. But the Son of man decided to forsake all of heaven's splendor and open the way that I might enter the holy of holies, blameless.

I am forgiven. And I have no reason not to forgive myself.

This is where I stand for 2012. Forgiving myself would be one of the most difficult lessons I will ever learn. It may even be something I have to relearn day after day. Those who know me well know that I do not sit well with mediocrity; being good is simple not enough. I have to be the best, but by living so I scar myself. And forgiving myself for scarring myself is something I've yet to learn, let alone master.

This will be where I will grow. My past may have made me who I am, but it certainly will not make my tomorrow for I have today to decide what future I want to create for myself. But before creating the future, I need to throw off this veil I put before my eyes; I need to forgive myself.

If He has forgiven me, who am I not to forgive myself? Do I mean to say that His forgiveness is insufficient? Certainly not.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

I am forgiven. Now and forever more.

Thank You Project 2012


Greyfriars Kirkyard, Scotland. (c) Jonathan Chu

My first post in 2012 was about growth. Looking at how things are progressing, I'm glad to say that things are looking quite well. But still, growth is not an easy thing. There are days when I feel like plunging a knife deep down my chest and let my breath simply stop, just so that I can escape the stretch growth brings. But there are some days when growth shows me a bigger picture of life, and I'm thankful that I survived those painful days.

So I thought to myself, in what ways do I want to grow? I thought about what kind of life I wanted - adventurous, sure; music-filled, sure; passionate, sure... surely life is more than these words, right? And then I stopped at this word - full.

Full. Whole. When one's life is full, one wants nothing more. One is contented. One is glad. And fullness or wholeness in life can only be achieved when it is filled with people. But that doesn't mean that one is sociable or accepted; it simply means one is loved.

My thoughts then drifted to the people whom I love or am growing to love. Mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, church members, college mates... And then a word popped out of nowhere - gratitude. For every person who's in my life, there is something to thank that person for. Another word then appeared - acknowledgment.

It then dawned upon me that these two words come hand in hand. When we thank someone, we are acknowledging the person for being a blessing in our lives. And when we constantly acknowledge people, we not only bring delight to people, assure them of their value and who knows, boost their self esteem and self-confidence; it also shows us how blessed we are.

When we thank and acknowledge others, there is no point to envy the grass at the other side.

And for my growth and happiness, I want to thank a person every day. Be it in person, via a text or this blog, I want someone I know to know that he or she has great value and has been a blessing in my life. And most importantly, I want to remind myself that envy does me nothing, but counting my blessings does - it brings me happiness.

If you decide to practice this as well, let me know. :) It's always a good thing to know that more people are thanking more people, and through this, being a blessing to more people as well.

Happy Chinese New Year and 2012!

2011 and 2012


I suppose I'm really behind many bloggers who have already blogged about how life was in 2011 and their resolutions for 2012. But it doesn't bother me.2011 was a year of growth for me. The first half of the year I spent my days in 95% discovering parts and pieces of me that I didn't know existed. In the second half of the year, the number of self-discoveries doubled! But in any case, I am humbled and happy that I went through whatever I went through. I suppose everything is part of God's plan to mould me into a better person for the future.Come 2012, which I believe will be a year of more growth and self-discovery. Instead of feeling scared of change and pain (growth can be painful), I feel absolutely inadequate. Being in Newcastle has put me in an absolutely uncomfortable position (which is perhaps one of the reasons I love Newcastle to bits).Let me explain myself. You see, the amount of effort I usually put in for assignments and work back in Malaysia would bring me excellent results; but in Newcastle it's an entirely different ball game.I need to be able to crystallise ideas and questions into as few words as possible (thanks to Janet Lee and 95% who gave me the awareness to this important skill, but I'm still in the midst of perfecting it)I need to be very opinionated (a trait which has diminished in me because I find no reason to have an opinion about everything. Instead I have started to learn how to cherish things for what they are)I need to be well read. It's not just fiction; it's about histories of different countries, current affairs, gossips (I know right?!), cultures and well, the list goes on. This is because the more well read I am, the easier it is to form friendships, the easier it is to talk about different things with different people. Well of course the list would be longer than the above, but in short, those are the few things that jumped out quite often to me. I'm under the constant impression that I am not enough. That the skills I've acquired throughout my simple 22 years are simply not enough! And sometimes as I dwell in these inadequacy, I fall into this spiral of self-pity and sadness. Which, might I add, are two things that I absolutely dislike because they don't bring me any results. Now, to add to that is serving in my church. You see, back in Malaysia, I'm surrounded with many musicians, but few were as good as the ones I'm working with. Being able to play an instrument well was good enough in Malaysia, but absolutely not here. An average musician could play the piano and either the drums or the guitars well. A few could even sing and harmonize without any sweat! So I find myself chasing after these extremely talented musicians week after week, hoping that one day, I might be as good as them. Now, don't get me wrong. I know everything written seems a bit sad and perhaps somewhat discouraging, but I assure you it's not. Okay, maybe a little bit. But still, one has to have a little fire burning at his ass to remind him to keep moving forward, if you get my drift. So like I said, 2012 will be a year of further growth. I don't care so much about materialistic possessions at this point of my life (and I hope this will continue in the future). I want to build better friendships with my dearest friends here in Newcastle (come to think of it, I have only 8 months left in this beautiful country!). I want to be a better musician and train my hearing skills. I want to be able to write better and love more. I hope your year would be a year of growth too. :) [...]




Spring will always come after winter. It is inevitable.

Our Deepest Fear



"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -- Marianne Williamson

What's the Use of Knowing the Future?



I used to wonder how pleasant it'll be if I knew the future. Like if I knew how my life would be, what choices I should take, and so forth. But here's the thing : so what if you knew the answers to your future? What if you knew what would happen?

Well, I would be able to not make the stupid mistakes I will in the future. I would be able to make the right choices and be who I am supposed to be, do the things I'm supposed to do. But then is that really so?

We are who we are not because of the successes or accomplishments we have made, but the failures. There is not much to learn from success, but much from failure. Don't you think?

Here's another thing to consider : everything in life happens thanks to the "domino" effect. One thing will cause another to happen; one mistake will cause growth to occur. So if I knew what happens in the future and decide not to let my future mistake happen, will I still become that person I am destined to eventually become? I think not.

So what's the use of knowing the future? Wouldn't it be wiser to spend the time on living the present instead of worrying about the future?

Look Not at Me but at Him


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Don't look at me, for I have nothing to show you.
I have no gold or silver, no physical or emotional strength,
No vision or knowledge of the future,
Full of weaknesses and strengths which pale in comparison with many others.

But look at Him.
He is stronger, greater, more awesome than any other.
He heals the broken-hearted and comforts the wounded.
He guides, nudges the lost in the right direction, and most of all,

He loves.

The Mirror Effect



Everyone you know is a mirror of you; and you are attracted to or repulsed by people because you pick up a certain quality about the person that you might or might not be aware that you have.


Here's an easy test. Think about a person and an attitude that he/she possesses and you specifically dislike. Think about how that attitude irks, disgusts, or annoys you to your skin. Now, search deep into your heart, think about your past, look hard at your inner, deep, secret desires - and you'll most probably find that similar attitude which you so disapprove.

This can only be achieved with brutal honesty with yourself and the courage to dare to gaze at the parts of you that you like and dislike. Never easy, but you'll tend to be more forgiving and understanding the next time when you meet that specific person.

Forgive Me for I Forget



Please forgive me that I am forgetful.

I forget that in all things, You are in control and You are able.

I forget that my problems are exceptionally small, when compared to what You can do in the future.

I forget that my weaknesses are just a tiny drop in the ocean of great things that you have done and can do.

I forget that despite my failures, You chose to come to mother earth, spread Your arms across the cross and shed Your blood so that I may know eternity.

I forget that because I am in You, every time I call upon Your name, I will be saved, I will be heard.

I forget that You have promised that You will never leave nor forsake me.

I forget that You have blessed and are blessing me. Good health, nice friends, sufficient finance, beautiful weather... all things are blessings from You, if only I had opened my eyes and recognized them as what You intended them to be.

I forget that if You are for me, no one - not even the evil one - can go against me.

I forget that You are lifted up in heaven and have defeated death, that You have overcome all things, that I should take heart that the bondage I find myself in is nothing to You - for You have set me free and called me into righteousness.

I forget that with this little faith I have, I can move mountains. But more importantly, I can step into Your presence with confidence and call You Abba Father.

I forget that everything happens in life because You allowed them to. And the sole purpose of everything that happens is so that I may be more Christlike.

And most importantly, dear Lord Jesus, I forget that You don't want to give me answers; You want to BE the answer. Time after time when I demand answers from You, You have never let me go but instead reminded me repeatedly that You want to be the answer. That You wanted me to come to You for You and not answers.

Dear God who is able in all things, I let go of all control. I stop insisting how things should or should not be. But offer everything up to You

For in all things, You are able.

Not All Dreams Are Meant to Last



I'm sure you've heard or read countless talks and/or writings on how one should not let one's dreams die. As much as I agree with that, I do think that not all dreams are meant to last.

You see, I've always dreamed of being a rock star. I love the sound of the crowd cheering, the bright lights and the loud music blasting in my ears. Simply said, it has always been my heart's dream to be a performer.

But as I grew, I realized that God has put this desire in me for a different purpose -- I was not meant to be a rock star, but to be a worship leader.

I realized that I loved the sound of the crowd cheering for God more, the loud, sweet music blasting to facilitate better worship more. I love bringing people into worship more than being worshiped.

In the end, these dreams are not meant for myself but to glorify His name. This is the revelation that I got in today's worship in my first visit to New Creation Life Center.

To You Who Wrote This



"He's one of those rare people who won't let you get away with things and I've just recently discovered how important that is. I've learned that there aren't many people in life who are so honest with you, they just won't let you get away with things - even the simplest things. Not many people who would tell you, 'You know what, it's not going to be easy. It's not going to be okay just like that. So, you go make it okay.'

"Jon's that guy. And he's real and rare. And he's the kind of friend I'd want to keep, for life."

Thank you. :)

One Young World ‘Impact’ Report


My dear friends and readers, Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to create a report for this global summit called One Young World. In this report, my team and I contacted more than 36,000 young people and 50 youth leaders and gathered their thoughts about our country. Their sharing was very powerful – they spoke about how they yearned to see the country grow, in which areas they wanted support from the government, what kind of platforms they wanted to develop themselves, just to name a few. The report of course garnered a lot of support. It was featured in CNN. It landed in the hands of our Prime Minister and great leaders like Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, Richard Branson and even our very own Tony Fernandez… just to name a few. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves. (That young guy you keep seeing in the pictures is Co-creator of this report and 2010’s Malaysian Ambassador for One Young World. He, Michael Teoh, is a really good friend and while we’re working hard here in Malaysia, he’s around the world lobbying for this report!) This year, my team and I are producing a follow up to this report. What we will be doing this follow up (it’s called One Young World ‘Impact’ Report) is to publicize and showcase the talents and capabilities of our Malaysian youths by writing and reporting about the projects they have done in Malaysia. These projects must have the below criteria : Involved young people; or gave young people a platform for them to develop their skills and talents Created an impact in their respective communities We are aiming to feature at least 25 youth leaders and 100 projects in this report. This year, I registered myself as a Candidate for this global forum. Like what Michael did last year (as you can see in the pictures above), I want to represent Malaysia and speak in this forum as a Malaysian Delegate. Besides that, I want to personally represent Malaysia and showcase to the world what our homegrown young people are doing and can do – the projects they’re getting involved in that are creating impacts – be it big or small – in their respective communities. I want the world to see and be inspired by the courage our Malaysian youths have. And most of all, through this, I want to encourage our young people that the needs of the world are endless, and when there is a need to be filled, there is a need to have leaders rise up to the call, and create Change. But before I get to present this follow up report to the world at Zurich, Switzerland in September 1 – 4, 2011, I need your support. I need you to visit this page ( and click on the LIKE button. You will see the words “You Like This” once you like it. And note, you will need to be signed in to Facebook to do this. When I find myself on the stage of the global summit of One Young World, staring at the many faces of delegates from 192 countries and the faces of the great leaders such as Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, Muhammad Yunus, it will be because you have enabled me to be there to showcase to the world the talents of our young people. It will not be because of my strength or my talents, but your support. Thank you for your support by clicking the LIKE button in the link that I’ve placed above. If you can, I would appreciate that you share it with your friends too. Also, if you have projects that you have been involved in, let me know at Feed me with info, and I’ll look into includin[...]

The Secret of Happiness



For a moment we both stared at his hand. It was trembling.

“Ach, you see this?” he said.


“I can’t make it stop.”

He dropped the hand to his chest. I heard a cart being wheeled down the hall. He spoke so wisely, with such passion, that for a moment I’d forgotten where we were.

“Anyhow,” he said, his voice trailing off.

I hated seeing him in that bed. I wanted him home, with the messy desk and the mismatched clothes. I forced a smile.

So, have we solved the secret of happiness?

“I believe so,” he said.

Are you going to tell me?

“Yes. Ready?”


“Be satisfied.”

That’s it?

“Be grateful.”

That’s it?

“For what you have. For the love you receive. And for what God has given you.”

That’s it?

He looked me in the eye. Then he sighed deeply.

“That’s it.”

-- Mitch Albom, Have A Little Faith, pg 102

Slow Down, Don’t Move Too Fast



Sometimes we don’t let things grow; we want things to happen instantly. But they don’t usually happen that way, else we would’ve all been geniuses and great people. And there will be no such thing as a student, a learner anymore.

But there’s a reason why only few are geniuses and noted people. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, blaming others or complaining that things are not prepared for them, they practice their art again and again and again until they got it mastered.

Yes, we want to be somebody great, but don’t forget that every single breathing moment, we are given the chance to prove to ourselves that we are great. When we adopt such a state of mind, and live each moment to its fullest potential, we unknowingly and slowly build a legacy for ourselves.

And as our greatness compounds and compounds, one day, we’ll find ourselves smiling with pride from within.

Greatness is not defined by the things we do; it’s defined by our attitude.

What do you really want?



We want so many things in life, but what do we really want?

Maybe when we can be completely, blatantly honest with ourselves about what we really, truly want in our lives, can we only truly live the life we were meant to live.

True freedom is not doing the things that we desire to do, but doing what we’re meant to do. For when we are truly free, we find true liberation – liberation that begins from the inside out.

So maybe what we want is not money or a bank account that has a fine nice sum. Maybe we don’t want a beautiful, high class car. Maybe we don’t want a cosy place we can call ours. Maybe what we want is to be happy, to be loved, to serve.

Once we find what we’re meant to do, we’ll fight our daily battles differently.