Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Busy and Exciting Week

A cancelled cantor practice last Monday, after a hectic yet exciting Holy Week. Thought of having some time off, but on Monday itself, A called for help from my pod group in the SWYF 26th Anniversary Mass on Friday (yes, Friday of the same week!). So, instead of enjoying the time off from practice, I gotta call an emergency pod meeting that Monday night. During the pod meeting, deep within myself I felt that we have not had a fellowship amongst 5 of us - and now one of us is away. The last time we fellowship was before 'I' left for Australia. I do really miss the good times 5 of us had - worship, sharing, supper in Teluk Bayan, messing around on 'I''s bed tickling each other.

The meeting lasted quite fast, with all the jobs delegated evenly - food, Mass kit and song preparation (we ended up talking more craps than discussing). Nevertheless, on the Friday night itself several things went wrong - several means a lot. Well, I learnt loads of stuff from the mistakes. And the good thing is, the Mass was great! A charismatic Mass it was indeed. Though I was busy and panicked over the glitches here and there, I could feel the strong presence of God - He is great!! Praise God! And of course, from SWYF's reputation, we had a great fellowship too.

In between (on Wednesday), the Life in the Spirit Seminar (organized by, yes, SWYF) began. It is going to be 9 sessions long, covering 11 topics across 7 weeks (from Easter Week to Pentecost). My first 7-week LSS it is. It has been 3 years since my LSS, and indeed I am hoping that I could deepen my experience through this long journey of LSS.

One more thing that happened last week. A received his VSS package - I could feel his happiness radiating wherever he goes. Haha...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Palm Sunday Paradox

April 8, 2007, Palm Sunday

It was Palm Sunset Youth Mass the night before. B was appointed to sing the responsorial psalm. After Mass and dinner B bunked overnight in A's house. Sunday morning came.

A: Since you sang the responsorial psalm yesterday, can you sing it today as well?
B: Huh?
A: Can la... since it's the same... I'm very busy (to compose again) la...
B: Err... okay...

[fast-forward one lithurgical year]

March 16, 2008, Palm Sunday

It was Palm Sunset Youth Mass the night before. D was appointed to compose, play, and sing the responsorial psalm. After Mass and dinner D bunked overnight in A's house. Sunday morning came.

A: Since you played the responsorial psalm yesterday, can you play it today as well?
D: Huh? No!!!!
A: Can la... since it's the same... I'm very busy (to compose again) la...
D: *grunt*... okay la...

Moral: History repeats itself, especially if it originates from the same person / country.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Vigil 2008

Today is Monday, and as usual, Monday would be a "bad day" for the employed people like me. What's worse is, I am so sleepy and tired throughout the whole day that i could barely keep myself fully awake and concentrated in what I'm doing. Plus, I got a severe neck pain, which makes my mood worse. Yes, even now as I am typing, my eyes are half closed and strained neck. So, if I write crap here and screw up my grammar and disclose my every personal secret, I am not gonna make any clerical changes as what I did to other posts... Haha! Gotcha... skip the last one!! I won't do that, not even if I'm drunk...

I could not agree with A more... the Easter Vigil Mass is indeed great! It is a great experience for me, to creating the slides and getting through the logistics of slide handling to singing. The Mass was exceptionally long - 3:15!! 27 candidates were received into the Catholic Church that night, and the Baptism and Confirmation took the longest. Yet, blessed be God!!! 27 souls are touched and converted!!! And, because this year we sang hymns during the rites Baptism and Confirmation, we are most of the time on duty (yes... singing), and we didn't feel time passing by. We sang 19 verses of Springs of Water (originally 7 verses but we repeated the song until the Baptism is finished) and 6 verses of Spirit Touch Your Church (for Confirmation, of course). Haha...

A did all the composing on 3/4 of the Responsorial Psalms, and the songs are inspiring! He even wrote a rap to fit in between Jesus Christ Is Risen. Only if A is willing to record the songs into tracks...

As for my part, I did lots of mistakes in my slides - I included the short Exsultet while the priest said the long one - I overlooked the word "sins" in Gloria, which I usually despised at when others did the same mistake - I typed "Hear Ur Prayer" instead of "Hear Our Prayer" - I forgot to remove a line from the lyrics which I promised A to do so. In any case, creating and organizing 238 slides that night is a great experience, though I need to further learn to be more vigilant and attentive.

Talking about the 27 candidates reminded me of my Baptism 4 lithurgical-years ago. That night (4/10/04), 27 of us were baptized in St Michael's Church, Ipoh. Coincidence!? I think God reminds me of my life in the Catholic Church for 4 years. Haha... Anyway, I pray that their earned faith bears good fruit.

Happy Easter!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Y Nip

Two days ago, I went to have dinner with A and B in Y Nip Restaurant at Kereta Air Road. It was a short walk from another Nip Restaurant (F). We usually went to F Nip, because A likes the service there, and the food is really good, but that day we decided to try something different. So we went to Y Nip instead.

I am a salmon lover, while A and B are craving for pork and chicken respectively. So, I ordered Hot Plate Salmon Set, while B ordered Hot Plate Chicken Set. A wanted to have something like Hot Plate Pork Set, but it was off the menu. Instead, there is one Pork Mayo Set. So, A asked the waitress (miss tomboy WT) if they can prepare Hot Plate Pork Set. She immediately disappeared into the kitchen, and after about 5 minutes, came out and said, "Cannot, not enough pork."

So, A instead asked if Pork Mayo Set is available. And she said yes. At that point, three of us looked at each other, in disbelief and skepticism. A shrugged and said, "OK fine, Pork Mayo Set then."

(After WT left)
Me: I can't believe it, they do not have enough pork for Hot Plate Pork Set, but they have enough for Pork Mayo Set.
A: Yeah... What she said doesn't make sense at all.

Deep down in my heart, I could sense WT simply ignored our out-of-menu requests and gave a lame reason to avoid preparing it, which shuns off unnecessary nuisance. Well, there goes the "customer is always right" service from Y Nip!!

As for my set, I waited for like - 30 minutes. I told B they might have bought the set directly from F Nip. B said they bought raw salmon from F Nip and cooked it themselves instead. What a good laugh we had.

Lastly, a little compliment after all setbacks - my Salmon Set tasted good. Next time, I'll go to F Nip instead. Haha...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Elephant and The Blue

Alone in the white room
I mesmerised in gloom
Leaning by the elephant
A timeless supply of nitrogen
Steaming hot, freezing cold
It's up to me to behold
Looking mindlessly at the screen
Enveloped by the terrible din
The hissing elephant's call
Was driving me up the wall
I thought it would be well
By plugging my ear canal
But little did I know
The stupid PC told me no
Its face suddenly turned blue
And devoured all my data too
Had I not done my backup yet
All information gone just like that
In deep anger and agony
Forcefully I poked its belly
In minutes it would be up and sane
Never would I know if it'll happen again

White room - Engineering Lab
Elephant - Temperature Forcing System

No, my PC did NOT hang, and I did not lose any data. I was just frustrated by the noise, and bored of the waiting, so I let my imagination run wild. :-P

Monday, March 17, 2008

Watch The Lamb @ Palm Sunday

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been told of, firstly through the four Synoptic Gospels, then by the successive apostles and disciples of Jesus, and now, through movies like Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion of the Christ. What if the Passion is to be portrayed in front of us? I am not talking about some places in the world where certain weird people actually inflicts wounds to imitate the Via Dolorosa; rather, a play where actors and actresses portray the Crucifixion live. What if you could see it through the eyes of the person who helped Jesus carry His cross?

Watch The Lamb was written by Ray Boltz. The song narrates the Lord's Passion as viewed by Simon of Cyrene. The lyrics of the song, together with YouTube video links for the play with the same name, are available here.

In 2008 Lent, Shalom Working Youth Fellowship (SWYF) Penang took up the responsibility to direct the skit during Palm Sunday sunset Mass and Sunday Mass (March 15 and 16 respectively) in Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Penang. It took the team about 5 weeks from casting to practice, to costume design, to preparation of props, to the days of the actual performance. Despite the short period of time, the outcome of the skit was indeed awesome. I could notice that many people are touched by the skit. The expressive ones wept, and the macho ones are holding back their tears. Even non-Christians were touched.

The most distinct moments (where I could sense within the emotion of the parishoners) during the actual performance is, when the guards yelled at Jesus (the parishoners get startled), and when the guards nailed Jesus on the cross (the clinking sound effects - perfect on the second performance - drove many people into sorrowful emotion).

The Crucifixion scene

This skit could not be possible without the help our our Supreme Director, who is God Himself. Without Him, our efforts are of no value, and without Him, the skit would just like another school play. From the various reaction of the parishoners and feedbacks (that I heard as a third party), I'm sure God have melted the hearts of many. Praise God!!!

Unforgettable experience

I was cast as one among the Jewish crowd that shouted "Crucify Him". This is my first play in front of hundreds of parishoners. My part was a short one - in the entire show taht lasted for about 15 minutes, I was there for merely a minute or so. Walk in, yelled, pushed Simon aside, and walk out. And, my part was played together with many extra casts, I was not at all nervous during the actual performances, even in front of the many audiences.

The cast

It was a great experience for me, even with the one minute of performance. During the practice, I was indeed nervous, and yet within me I became very sensitively emotional. Being a sinner whose sin is the true reason of His crucifixion, I was actually there to yell "Crucify Him". Yet, the moment of yelling is indeed a painful experience. Every time I yelled, I could feel my heart burst with 'tears'. And, during the crucifixion scene, the tears manifested physically.

During the two practices that I went to, I had to double as another Jewish who played a part where he need to slap Mary Magdalene. I was supposed to place my left palm on her face and use my right palm to slap my left plam to create the effect, but, during one round of practice, I actually slipped and went straight to her face! Though she said she expected me to really slap her, I felt sorry for the accident. There was also one funny part, where I forgot to stand in a proper position, until that lady was desperately looking for me to get slapped. Well, that's one of the NG mistakes I need to bear and get laughed at. :-P

During the two actual performances, I was also put in charge to prepare the tools and props for the skit. Before the skit (which is after the Gospel Reading), I have to organize my helpers to place the stuff in front of the altar, where the crucifixion scene was supposed to be; and after the skit, during the Collection, I have to help in clearing the stuff and the cross from the altar, as well as cleaning the concentrated red syrup (used for blood) from the altar floor. Due to the responsibility, emotions did not actually come as easily as before, but still could feel my heartache as I yelled "Crucify Him". Only at the moment we prayed for the release of our roles did I cry. At that moment, I experienced and realized the importance of getting our roles released immediately after the skit, failing which would cause our own character overcome by the character we used to portray.

I was truly touched by what God has done - He took my sins upon Himself, so that I would be made worthy. I was indeed glad that God used me as a tool to portray His Gospel. One assurance for myself is, no matter how broken a person is, God still uses him to touch His people.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be world without end. For the kingdom, and the power and the glory are Yours, now and forever.

[ More photos to follow ]

Watch The Lamb - YouTube Videos and Lyrics

Words and Music by Ray Boltz

Walking on the road to Jerusalem
The time had come to sacrifice again
My two small sons they walked beside me down the road
The reason that they came was to watch the lamb

They said, "Daddy daddy, what will we see there?
There's so much that we don't understand."
So I told them of Moses, and Father Abraham
And I said, "Dear children, watch the lamb.

"There will be so many In Jerusalem today.
We must be sure this little lamb doesn't run away,"
And I told them of Moses, and Father Abraham
And I said, "Dear children, watch the lamb."

When we reached the city, I knew something must be wrong
There were no joyful worshippers, no joyful worship songs
And I stood there with my children, in the midst of angry men
Then I heard a crowd cry out, "Crucify Him!"

We tried to leave the city, but we could not get away
Forced to play in this drama, a part I did not want to play
Why upon this day were men condemned to die?
Why were we standing right here where soon they would pass by

I looked and I said, "Even now they come."
The first one cried for mercy, the people gave him none
The second one was violent, he was arrogant and loud
I can still hear his angry voice screaming at the crowd

Then someone said, "There's Jesus."
I scarce believed my eyes
A man so badly beaten
He barely looked alive
Blood poured from His body
From the thorns on His brow
Running down the cross and falling to the ground

I watched as He struggled
And I watched Him when He fell
The cross came down upon His back
And the crowd began to yell
In that moment I felt such agony
In that moment I felt such loss
Till the Roman soldier grabbed my arm and screamed
"YOU! Carry his cross!"

At first I tried to resist him
But his hand reached for his sword
So I knelt and I took
The cross from the Lord
I put it on my shoulder
We started down the street
And the blood that He'd been shedding
Was running down my cheek...

They led us to Golgatha
They drove nails deep in His feet and hands
And on the cross, I heard Him pray,
"Father, forgive them..."
Never have I seen such love in any other eyes
"Into Thy hands I commit my spirit,"
He prayed, then He died.

I stood for what seemed like years
I lost all sense of time
Then I felt two tiny hands holding onto mine
My children stood there weeping
And I heard the oldest say
"Father please forgive us,
The lamb, ran away.

"Daddy daddy, what've we seen here,
There's so much that we don't understand."
So I took them in my arms
We turned and faced the cross
And I said, "Dear children,
Watch the LAMB..."

Though He was harshly treated, He submitted and opened not His mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, He was silent and opened not His mouth. - Isaiah 53:7 NAB

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One of my happiest days

The day is Saturday, March 8 2008. I was supposed to let this out a day after, but due to some other commitments and my over-julibation, I was stunned in words as I could not believe my eyes. There are three reasons why I was happy.


I get to exercise my civil rights for the first time. Casting my votes for Malaysian Parliament and State assemblymen in Malaysia 12th General Election that is. Well, having about to reach my 30's, and based on the fact that Malaysia will have her general election once every 4-5 years, simple math calculation would tell everyone that I missed exercising my civil rights once. That was simply because of my mis-perception that my vote, one out of 10 million, does not count. Well, I was wrong. Big time wrong. I had deprived myself of the freedom of speech. Which is a sin.

Anyway, this time I won't let myself unheard. That morning, I woke up as early as 7:45am, get myself prepared (though without breakfast - I was too anxious to satisfy my taste buds and growling stomach), and fetch myself and my parents first to SK Sungai Rapat to cast my votes for Gopeng Parliament assemblyman candidate and Sungai Rapat State assemblyman candidate. Later on (after my dad also cast his votes there), we headed to SK Seri Keledang for my mom to cast hers. I was glad that everything went smoothly, and by 10am, we were done with fulfilling our duties.


I bought myself a laptop from Ipoh's PC Depot for RM3054. The specs are as follows:

Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 1.66GHz
ATI Xpress T100 Chipset
160GB Sata HDD
15.4" WXGA ---> This is what attracted me!!!
Built-in Webcam 1.3Mpixel
Weight 2.8kg ---> I won't mind even if it's of hippo weight!!! :-P
yada yada...

Surprisingly, even for myself, I decided to buy it even when there's a heavy rain pouring parts of Ipoh city, causing flash floods around certain 'drain-clogged' areas. And even more surprisingly, I found myself being among a lot of Malay families purchasing computer systems and accessories, in cash... yes, thousands of $$$ (oops... it's RM-RM-RM... I'm in Malaysia!!). Even the cashier was noticed to fill with RM50 notes to the level of near 'explosion'. What a windfall for PC Depot amidst the downpour!!!

For my part, I was excited with my toy - I'm gonna be able to do all kinds of stuffs with my own portable computer system! I can even go online now (provided there's WiFi). Well, I'm going to subscribe for my wireless connection soon. Here I come, Skype!!!


[Refer to #1 before you continue reading this part] I feel proud, that my voice is amongst many Malaysians' voices are heard. The 12th General Election results was gradually announced. From 8pm through 1:30am I was flipping the channels from Astro's XingHe channel (for one of my favorite TVB drama) to the mainstream TV channels (RTM1, RTM2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9) for the results. No, I was not using my laptop to go online for alternatives that time. I stared and yelled in awe when they announced the Penang State seats results and P62 results. I wanted to watch till the end of transmission, but knowing that the next day I need to drive from Ipoh back to Penang right after Mass, I eventually kncoked myself off at 2am.