Sunday, October 21, 2007

One small step for Ryan

Little boy is getting bored being cuddled and carried around.

He has been doing kicking exercises for some time. We thought he was learning kungfu kicks.

Finally, he began to make the first step.

"Look at me! I am walking!"

Sigh, soon he'll be running around beyond control. With pants on please.

Messy meals

Since little boy was reaching six months, we started to expand his little tastebuds by letting him try more delicious food available on earth. As it is written "Man shall not live by bread alone", little boys shall not live by milk alone.

We started him with mummy cooking porridge for him. He didn't quite like it. Or was it because of mummy's not-so-nice cooking.

Then we fed him with baby cereals from Nestle. Yes, that worked. Nowadays he can finish five scoops of those in one sitting. Emm, including those that ends up on his face, his shirt, his baby chair, the floor, and mummy's shirt.

We have some success with baby chewy biscuits too.

Some time ago, his face was having a bad rash. We tried to feed him with fresh orange juice, since he can't swallow vitamin C tablets yet. He didn't seem to like yucky sour oranges.

However, no matter how hard we try to pursuade little boy to drink those fifty-bucks-a-tin infant formula, he wouldn't be fooled.

He settles for nothing but the best. Smart fella.

Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved.
1 Peter 2:2

MV Doulos

We went up THE SHIP. MV Doulos docked in Kota Kinabalu since Hari Raya eve. Here's how she looks like, taken from a postcard.

Let me tell you a bit about the history of Doulos.
From posters onboard "Built in 1914, DOULOS is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest active ocean-going passenger vessel. DOULOS began life as Medina, carrying cargo from New York to Calveston, Texas. Then for a few years, as Roma, the ship carried pilgrims and immigrants. The role of the ship changed when it was remodelled into Franca C, a cruise liner in the Mediterranean. In 1977 the ship became DOULOS."

"DOULOS is a Greek word for "servant". Each member of the ship's company endeavours to serve. Some serve with their professional expertise as qualified seamen, officers, doctors, welders, teachers, cooks, secretaries etc. Others come without specialised skills, but with a willingness to serve in any way they can. All - from the captain to the cooks - serve as volunteers. "

From Wikipedia "the MV Doulos currently holds the biggest floating library in the world."

From Mikestation "the MV is a distant relative of this blog author's little red vehicle, the MyVi. Though they differ in extremes in terms of size, passenger capacity, function... and almost everything else, but what the heck, it's still good to have big fat relatives."

We went on the second day of Hari Raya. I was working all night the day before, attending to Hari Raya babies. We thought it would be a quiet day, with most city folks out of the city for balik kampung, or making their open house makan-makan rounds. See, little boy was so excited, he was about to board a ship for the first time in his life!

We were very very wrong.

Look at the line! No, those folks were not queueing up to buy tickets. Entrance was FREE. They were waiting for the crowd ON the ship to clear, so that they would have some standing space onboard. We didn't have the stamina to join the crowd on a hot afternoon... and it was beginning to rain.

We decided to come back another day. Well, at least little boy got a glimpse of how sailors look like.

We came back on Thursday night. Cool night sea breeze, city folks taking rest from a hard day's work and dining with their families... that would be good timing.

Yup. It wasn't too crowded. We had lots of space to move around and look at books. The last time I went to Doulos was a many years ago when she docked in Klang. I managed to get some books that I couldn't find elsewhere, particularly Thomas Hale's stories about being a missinary doctor in a little hospital high up in the hills of Nepal (which I had the opportunity to drop by).

The selection of books was quite huge, with most of them being children's books, Christian books, novels, and a smaller section on other interests. Some books are very well priced.

About an hour later, little boy got impatient and hot. The crowd began to swell after dinner, there was no air-con, and the sea breeze couldn't cope. We grabbed a few books and left. Wanted to buy a slim Bible (my current NIV is bigger than a brick. Two bricks.). Auntie Liz recommended a leather-cover NKJV... but the price was a bit overwhelming; and with little boy crying I was not in the mood for an expensive purchase. Anyway, we got some books...

My loupo chose "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. The cover says "practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of men". Who doesn't know this doctor? The shopping centers in Keningau play his Focus On The Family audio tapes over and over again. Little boy is growing up very fast, he grew more than double his size in six months. We figured that we needed some help in shaping him into the right kind of little man. Hopefully he willl grow up fine.

Then I bought two "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. The cover asks "what on earth am I here for". What's your answer? What on earth are you on earth for? This book is a top best seller among Christian literature. Many churches in Kota Kinabalu and beyond are getting their congregation to buy this book en-masse and el-cheapo, so that they can spend forty days studying the book together. When was the last time since the Bible, has any book gain such recognition? If you haven't read it, go get one. I have a copy each in Mandarin and English. We gave a couple more to friends. So, these too, are for Hari Raya, or Deepavali, or Christmas gifts. See that golden stamp at the lower right corner? It says The Gold Medallion Book Award. I've got some good books by Philip Yancey which carries the same golden stamp.

Next is "The Man In The Mirror" written by Michael Jackson. It says "solving the 24 problems men face". Men are the last creatures on earth to admit a problem. So, it's really good of Michael Jackson to write about it, especially his child abuse trials. And for all you know, the GOLDEN STAMP is there! Wait a minute. Hey it's not Michael Jackson! The author is a Patrick M. Morley who-is-that. Since I haven't read enough books to choose good writers, I'll just kiasu-ly follow the golden stamp. The golden question now is how to find time to read it. Auntie Liz recommended books by Frank Viola, but tak jumpa la bos.

How can little boy go home empty handed? We found a book for him too. More like forcing a book into his little hands, hahaha... "Piglet's BIG movie" by Disney. This may be the DOULOS' last trip to KK, we thought it will make a good souvenir for his first trip on a ship. Well, you never know when little boy will start asking for books. I remember having a book like this when I was a little boy. A book with curves on its pages. It was a story about Pooh and Tiger getting stung by bees over a pot of honey. Something like that; read it during the years when learning to read was done over canes and tears. I think my parents bought it on a Doulos long looooooonnngggg ago.

Pretty nice book it is. Colourful and lots of nice cartoons, though the story plot is quite silly. If only they make medical books so beautiful. Then everybody would become doctors.

It began to rain just as we reached the car. Along the highway leaving the port, we stopped for a moment to admire the jewel of the sea shining brightly against the dark and stormy night, quietly serving the people of the world. DOULOS, bringing knowledge, help and hope as it's mission statement says. How well do we shine in a dark and fallen world?

It was crazy, I went out in the rain to catch this photo. We bade farewell to this "Grand Old Lady of the Sea" as she cruises on blessing the nations for many good more years. Also, secretly envying those volunteers who have a year or two to spare for the life-onboard-around-the-world experience of their lifetime; on sea and away from the rat race. If I were still young and single, I might just go with them. Hehehe... too late to jump ship now.

To see more photos, click HERE.
Auntie Liz has a brief entry about her Doulos trip HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day by day...

We have not been going to church regularly... not even Cell Group. Sometimes I was working on weekends. Sometimes post-call ward-rounds. Sometimes we were too tired (and church sessions too long). Sometimes we went outstation (balik kampung).

I try to make up a bit for the lost sermons via Uncle Tong's sermons online. (Am I glad that my parents sent me for Mandarin education!). And the one that I've listened today really touched where it hurts.

So... though I should be doing something else, I think I would blog about it first, for the benefit of anybody who cares to read on.

I've been feeling a bit down, coz the work is eating up lots of my time and energy. And the days seem like a meaningless circle of going to work and coming back from work and getting a bit of reading done and sleep and the next day starts again. So it is with my loupo. Taking care of little boy (who is constantly asking for attention except when he is sleeping) and house-making and sleep and the cycle goes again. Life was once more interesting not too long ago. We had great time of fellowship with church friends, serving people. Now, life seems routine, dull, and lack of meaning. Is life just about work, and child-rearing?

Here's the gist Uncle Tong's sermon:

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

A religion's greatness can be reflected in how it teaches it's believers to pray. An ordinary religion or faith, teaches about praying for health, peace, success, prosperity, wellbeing of loved ones, wealth (we Chinese even have a God of Wealth hehehe...).

See how that contrasts with what Jesus teaches about prayers. It starts with putting our eyes on God's name, God's kingdom, and God's will. And it ends God's kingdom, power, and glory. Talk about priority.

What about OUR NEEDS??? Isn't that oh so important? Well yes, but there's just one line for that: Give us this our daily bread. Note: our daily bread. Yup, NEEDS indeed, and that's about it. Not more. Nothing said about asking the extras for a taste of luxury, or a nicer-looking bank account.

Why do we become so calculative about money, and mourn over its lost; yet feel no remorse over wasted time and lost days?

Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
Job 14:5

Our days are numbered. Isn't then a person's greatest assets his time and his days? All other worldly assets are secondary, and perishable, and can't go with us beyond the grave. You don't have to be religious to know that. (Sorry, we Chinese prefer to think that we can burn paper cars and credit cards and hell bank notes for use in the after-world... yet we never burn paper petrol for the cars.)

Some people die in their twenties. Some live till ripe old age. But the former may have lived more meaningfully and impactfully in his brief twenty years, than the one who live up to his nineties. It's the content that counts.

A heart of wisdom is very different from a head of knowledge. How so? I leave you to figure this out.

Now how much time have I wasted writing these. Hmmm.