Thursday, May 22, 2008

the land of castles, lochs and klits.

i left the beautiful country that is scotland and i'm now in the bustling city of london. typing this using the nokia n series tablet n810 at my hostel. well turns out scotland is just as pretty as i thought. my stay at st. andrews was a good escape from the city. the sleepy university town is in the middle of nowhere. edinburgh is a city full of character and culture and a rich history dating back several hundred years, its evidence still prominent all over the city. i love edinburgh, scottish culture and scotsman in klits. and the scottish accent. love my day trip out into the highlands and loch ness. total unspoiled beauty for 320 miles.

well i'll blog more with my photos when i return. g'night.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the appalling ignorance and superiority of some.

i was reading the reuters photographers blog online and the most recent post by russell boyce talked about the recent cyclone nargis that hit myanmar and the death toll has risen from a mere 200 to 22,000 now. and i'm pretty sure it's grossly underestimated as rescue efforts (try t0) continue and aid and relief (try to) enter the country.

well pastor tells us often about the difficulties of ministering to our bethren in myanmar and even getting a visa to enter myanmar is so difficult. and we haven't received word from them yet, so this waiting is kind of excruciating. and i know the one thing we can do now is to pray. i've been dilligently praying for the people of myanmar, for UN aid workers, especially our church members. and as i prayed also for my FYP presentation, i felt (once again) that my worries of a bad q&a session during the presentation completely pales in comparison to what they are going through.

well anyway, back to the the reuters blog post. the author writes,

"At the end of yesterday I went home believing that a caring world knew about what was going on.

Once at home, after explaining to my 12 year old son why so many had died in a cyclone, I browsed a few of the international news sites to see how the world was reacting to something I felt was the most important news event of the day.

The first blog I read under a slide show of pictures on a major US news site read (I paraphrase as it has been removed now) “why should we care about this dirty little washed up country and who gives a damn anyway”

This comment on the blog chilled me, not because it was there but because it was supported by many other comments."

well, i was totally appalled by the comment. and the fact that it was removed only goes to show how offensive it was. i don't want to assume the nationality of the blogger who wrote that comment, but as a blogger i can safely conclude that he is part of the virtual community and is considerably quite "tech-savvy" and probably well-educated too. and i was shocked that the education that he received and his upbringing could bring him to post such a comment in such harsh words, at a time where people are dying by the tens of thousands due to a natural disaster, (not a war ok). i shudder to think that if more than 4000 US soldiers lost their lives in the iraq war, how many iraqis and other people have lost their lives since then. and think about cyclones and hurricanes and volcanoes (case-in-point that is happening right NOW: chile). for the people in the US, think about hurricane katrina and the south asia tsunami.

i want to tell the blogger in question to imagine if he was born into a family in myanmar, under strict military regime that was not of their own choosing. that what they watch on tv is controlled by their government. that they have no democracy, no freedom, no choice. and tell him he'd probably not know where myanmar is on the world map. or tell me the capital city.

a recent episode of CSI:new york featured the victim as a guy who was building an ark 'cos he was convinced it was the "end of times". in a video, he rattled on several different verses from the Bible and that reminded me again of tragedies and disasters, war and strife. where nations will rise against nations. it's a chilling thought as i look at our world now. all the problems we have.

i've been holding on to these verses in good faith when problems cloud my head. and i know even when my FYP poster presentation didn't go as well as i hoped, or that there are horrible people in this world, or that thousands have perished in disasters, i can trust in His will and His grand plan, in a very micro and macro level.

Through whom also we have access by faith
into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in
hope of the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.”
Romans 5:2-3

Sunday, May 4, 2008

baking warms the heart.

just one more day. of presenting my poster and FYP to professors and curious people who wonder if zebrafish really have stripes and are amazed that "excited" male and female fish chase one another in the tank, playing the mating game. while i watch nonchalantly for awhile before heading back into the injection room to inject nanodrops of liquid into freshly laid embryos.

well. these days i'm really quite free. so is my sister. hence that contributed to lots of baking.

the first of the lot: first trys french meringue cookies and snickerdoodles (a cookie-like thing covered with granulated sugar and cinammon powder, like churros!). well i managed to save the cookies and they turned out quite well! hence i'm quite proud of myself 'cos meringue stuff are infamously difficult. the snickerdoodles, hmmm, can be improved. hor, justina. (:

the 2nd time, the day after: a sunday afternoon. as if it wasn't warm enough, i was so bored before evening worship service, i decided to bake foolproof-sure-delicious, old-school chocolate chip cookies. true enough, they were just a tad sweet. but still good.

the 3rd time: my 2 sisters and i attempted a bread recipe found in the newspapers. using beer instead of water. beer-battered bread with gruyere cheese, ham and corriander. a very full meal by itself, and not too bad, if you're a fan of cheese.

beer-battered bread with gruyere cheese, ham and corriander

the 4th time: a team of 5 of us. my 2nd zeh, justina, jermaine and hongwee took an afternoon to bake 3 things. quite an achievement i'd say. we baked 2 big loaves of tomato-topped foccacia bread, peanut butter oatmeal bars and chocolate kisses and pecan cookies. they were all good! 'cept for the bread, the other 2 were first-trys too.

zeh's heart-shaped foccacia dough, after a good 15minutes of kneading.

tomato- and mozzerella-topped foccacia bread.

cookies with white-dark chocolate kisses, oatmeal and pecans

forgot to take photo of the peanut butter oatmeal bars. which were really lovely.

well i love baking. (:

speaking of food. on a lazy sunday morning my 2 zehs and i headed to a flea market at dempsey. after buying too many vintage pieces, we headed to jones the grocer for some lunch/tea. in the end, we had breakfast. hur.

smoked salmon with watercress on a toasted bagel.

english breakfast with gourmet sausages, the best scrambled eggs i've ever eaten, grilled tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and toast.

the best tiramisu i've ever eaten in a long time.

other than that: i'm really glad new episodes of brothers&sisters, lost and grey's anatomy are back, and better than ever. (: the writers' magic pens are back and the episodes are so good. so is american idol. lots of drama, emotional moments, ditzy paula and great talent in the form of david cook!

the screening of the FYPs from NTU's mass comm students was not bad. i honestly expected to be wow-ed. i think so did the people who went with me. and we were kinda wowed by a couple of works. while others fell flat on themselves. hmmm. guess i have high expectations.

well one of them was quite memorable. well not its technicalities of cinematography or production, but its story, which is very heartwarming at its core. coupled with the recent deaths of huiyi and another church member, plus praying for those battling sickness and cancer in church, it was a stark visual reminder of our own morality. and how people need the Lord so much more when faced with difficulties. in the film, i saw how cancer literally ate away a body and its spirit. and how there was this why-me?, followed by a dejected sense of surrendering to fate. and i know a faith in the Lord prepares us for such circumstances. to be strong and to submit to the will of the Lord (the lesson at ypg just yesterday!). and even when faced with death, there is peace, hope, and an eternal life with the Lord in Heaven. (:

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

- 1 peter 5:6-7