Friday, 21 December 2007

Unnoticed, Unrecognized, and Ignored

It was Friday morning, January 12th, in the middle of the morning rush at the DC Metro. As over a 1,000 people passed by, a young white man in jeans and baseball cap pulled a violin out of its case, threw a few dollars down as seed money, and begin to play.

A rich sound filled the Metro plaza, an elegant and pure melody that these walls had never heard before. An occasional passerby dropped a few coins in the case, but for the most part, the musician was ignored.

1097 people passed by that morning. The violin case managed to collect a mere $32 and change in donations.

Who was this unrecognized brilliant young musician?

"No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside The Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made." (Pearls Before Breakfast, Washington Post, April 8, 2007)

The musician's name was Josh Bell. Three days before this experiment that the Washington Post arranged at the Metro, Bell filled Boston's Symphony Hall, where average seats went for $100. Two weeks later there would be standing room only at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda. But on this particular frigid January morning only a handful of people paused for even a moment to take in the beautiful sound that under normal circumstances filled Halls and packed auditoriums.

The violin that Bell cradled was a 3.5 million dollar instrument hand crafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari. It is said that no violin produces a sound as wonderful as Strads from the 1710s.

Sixty three people passed by before anyone even seemed to notice the musician at all. A middle aged man slowed his pace for a moment and glanced to the left. He kept walking, but it was something. Not a minute later a women tossed in a dollar without even stopping. It was six minutes before someone even stopped to listen.

Only seven people stopped at all to listen to the master musician, twenty seven people gave, and over 1,000 never stopped, never even turned to look.

The master musician had gone unrecognized and overwhelmingly ignored. (Click here for the original Washington Post Article and a short video clip of Bell in the Metro)

2,000 years ago the very creator of the universe showed up, and very few people even noticed.

You'd think that people would recognize our master creator by what they saw and heard. But overwhelmingly, people were too busy and too blinded to notice.

Of course, God didn't choose to enter the world as a conquering king or triumphant hero. His arrival was humble and simple. He came as a baby, born in a dirty stable because there was no room at any of the inns.

The master creator showed up on earth to save us from the walls we had built between ourselves and God. His arrival was hardly noticed, but for centuries to come, people would celebrate this single, momentous, yet ignored occurrence- one of the most significant events in human history. This event is what we call Christmas. 2,000 years ago most people missed it.

Are you missing Christmas this year?

...Not I write wan haha.

Jonathan's Resource Ezine emailed it to me.

I usually archive their emails till I have free time to read (and during my free time I usually do something else -_-).

This particular article caught my eye. Probably because the teeny-weeny musician in me could relate to the maestro in the story.

But seriously.

Don't leave Jesus out this Christmas. The only reason we celebrate it is because it's a chance for us Christians to tell people about Jesus.

Don't paint a picture of irony.

Stop the X-mas-es.

Don't leave Him out.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Still Trying, Not Availing



I will kill that mosquito that buzzes around my ear every night.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

This Is Dreadfully Upsetting

I kena saman today near the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ). I was on the way home from prayer meeting in church, with Dad and Shaun in the car. There was a really, really long queue on both sides of the road. We didn't stop to think that it might be due to one of those redundant roadblocks of which the JPJ is incredibly proud.

To understand my predicament, you must first understand that a car can pick between three directions when nearing the traffic lights. The right side of the road is of course to turn right, and the left is to either go straight or to turn left. Now, do realize that only the straight road and the right turn are subject to the traffic lights. The left side of the road eventually branches out to the left for cars to turn left.

JPJ Road

As we all very well know, roadblocks in Malaysia are, most often than not, completely useless and unnecessary. We also know that most of the time, you wouldn't know there is a roadblock until you bump into it yourself. After all, the made-in-Malaysia reflectors on those little cones were made in Malaysia, and have long exhausted their reflectiveness. And we must note that our policemen and JPJ officers don dark-coloured attire, rendering themselves quite useful for camouflage, but quite useless otherwise.

I was cruising along in my little Kenari (
pink car) when I stumbled upon the jam-packed road. If it were any other place, I'd probably know it was a roadblock. However, this was the Bukit Katil road, where jams can happen anytime. So as any rational driver would do, I attempted to use the little road to the left (see pic) to turn left past JPJ.

Everything went fine until a guy in a dark maroon shirt gestured for me to stop at the side of the road. It was only then that I realized there was a white car (it's blue-green in the pic) in front of me with the left signal on. My first thought was, "
Yah accident!" My second thought was, "Har? Kenduri?" My third thought was, "What the-"

You get the idea. It never crossed my mind that there was a roadblock. Even when I was a few metres away from it. Probably because the white car blocked my view. It might also probably be because

You put up roadblocks that block cars because they are seen from afar. You don't put up a roadblock and hope to block cars by having them bump into it! You think we're ants ar? Want us to bump into a piece of wood only know we're blocked izzit??

Anyway, the maroon-shirt guy, whom I will label The Rude Person, rapped impatiently on my window and asked me for my driving license. I gave it to him, and off he went without even a word as to the nature of my offence.

Dad had to get down from the car and personally demand an explanation from The Rude Person and The Other Rude Person (who was clad in a grey shirt). Even so, they dilly-dallied as they so often do before they could inch a word out about it. The Rude Person eventually came back to the car and said:
Ah moi, baru lesen P mau cut queue eh?
Cut the queue? What?

Dad explained that we weren't cutting the queue and it was his fault for telling me to move on the left road:
Encik, salah saya sebab saya suruh dia pandu situ.
Ol' Rude Person, thinking he was so smart, smirked and said:
Jadi kamu ngaku salah kamu ye?
Dad was like, *jaw drop open*:
Ah, ok.
And with that classic "ok" sign, which I suppose was supposed to look professional and chic, he walked off without another word. What?? Dad was merely stating that the reason why I drove on that little road was because he asked me to; he wasn't admitting his faults or anything like that!

Dad saw The Other Rude Person and went over to talk to him. He explained that the queue of cars on the straight road was for cars to go straight. And they were jammed up partly due to the roadblock, and partly due to the traffic light. We were turning left, so there was no reason for us to queue up like that. The guy completely ignored Dad and continued sketching doodles, as I call them, due to their illegibility, on his notepad. Dad had to tug at his sleeve to demand his rights. The Other Rude Person said I had committed an offence because I had cut the queue during a roadblock.

Cut the queue during a roadblock.

Summoned for cutting the queue (which I wasn't even supposed to queue up for) during a roadblock (which was barely visible).

Ada roadblock, ngape cut queue?
Encik, kami tak nampak roadblock tu.
What he said next was really the last straw. Or as Shaun put it, the whole straw bundle:
Orang buta tak patut memandu.
And then he told Dad to get back into the car or he'd put Dad's name down as well. Dad looked at the guy with "Are you kidding? Is that your best threat?" written all over his face and said:
Tulislah, saya tak takut! Saya tak buat salah!

Seriously. Like class monitor trying to threaten the class with the little notepad with their names on it.

Giving me a saman, not explaining it properly, and not giving an ear to a single word I say except to shoot it down with insults is one thing. Calling me a blind person and putting it in that crude phrase is quite another. Rude much!

I wasn't really angry with them for their lame saman excuse.

I was really angry when they said that line.

I can understand them being frustrated and worn out from doing such a boring job that they most probably knew was redundant anyway. But taking it out on innocent people like that? That's way past the drawn line! If you had a bad day, go sing a sad song to turn it around or something. Why take it out on us??

If we could just speak to them properly and in a civilised manner, in
English, things would've been much better. As it is, our government is not planning on improving the government servants' English. They're so contented with the crude Malay these people speak. The Malay language is beautiful when used properly. It really is one of the rudest languages when people like that mould it to their own vessel of speech.

It's awful. If the Malaysian government cannot do anything about the professional behaviour (which isn't so professional after all) of their servants, then at least do something about the way they speak.

Or maybe the government can't do anything about that either.

Just listen to our embarrassing ministers when being interviewed by English-speaking reporters.

Anyway, Dad told me not to sign the summons because I wasn't in the wrong. So now I have this birth-cert-look-a-like piece of paper with hastily scribbled words on it (though The Other Rude Person took a pretty long time to write them).


hark! the ayam cakars!

Oh ya.

I believe The Other Rude Person's name is Kamarudin B. Kadir.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

They're Going Away

And Uncle Ivan said the earliest they can be back is 2 years later =(

So many questions to ask.

Why must they go?
Why must they go so fast?
Why is New Zealand so far away?
Why can't everybody just stay where they are and make everybody else happy?
Why does 2 years suddenly seem like such a long time?

Because education is free in New Zealand.
Because they need to learn to fit in with the new friends and environment.
Because God decided He'd like it there far far away from Malaysia.
Because if things were like that they wouldn't have left Sabah to come to Malacca anyway.
Because 2 years without friends is like a day without breakfast and home-cooked food.



Bearable, but unthinkable.

But God provides the daily bread and the meal for the day. And He says it is enough.

Friends stay friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them.

Even if they're miles apart.

And the Lord says it is enough.

I'll still miss you both though.

No goodbyes, Marcus and Jeremy!

We'll see you someday! And then we'll be friends for eternity!


Saturday, 8 December 2007

Post-STPM Post (pun!)

After our last paper on Monday, I was heading for the school gates when I heard a voice call out my name. I turned around to see Wai Kee's head bobbing behind the wave of motorcyclists in the school (he's not so tall). He finally got his face into sight and grinned, "Bye-bye!"

I waved back and walked out the gates. There I met a couple of other girls from my class and chatted with them about Enchanted and other stuff that I made absolutely sure had nothing to do with the paper we just had or STPM *grin*.

As I was getting into my car beside the hawker stall, two motorcycles zoomed into the parking lot. "Tze Huey!!!" I turned around to see Aaron and Kok Keong speeding by on one bike, Derrick and Ming Suan on the other bike. Kok Keong did his favourite imitation of a too-metrosexual metrosexual and said goodbye daintily, while Derrick and Ming Suan waved and yelled their goodbyes.

By now you should be wondering why I'm telling you all this and you might even be thinking that perhaps this time, deLaMer is talking to herself.

After all, the guys would do that to Jia Lin and the other girls any time. They'd wave and yell and smile and grin at any other person in A3. What's so special about that?

You don't get it, do you?

They would do all that for anyone in A3. I'm just one of them.

That's just it.

That's what makes me happy.

I'm not the super English-ed girl they can't talk to.

I'm not the smarter person they feel uncomfortable around.

I'm not the freaky Christian who refuses to listen to their mp3's in class.

I'm not the unsociable girl they can't find grounds to talk with.

I'm one of them.



Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The End of STPM, The Beginning of Complacency

Yeah, it's all fine and dandy to plan all sorts of wonderful and interesting things to do while I'm going through STPM. It's quite another thing to actually be done with STPM and be faced with all those wonderful and interesting things I planned to do, which are suddenly not so wonderful and interesting anymore.

It's just like that story Mum told me about Dad: Every time he had to take his ACCA exam, he'd start formulating plans about setting up a chicken rice stall and drawing comics. After his exam, he'd be spending most of his time sleeping and reading comics.

If I used to wonder where I got my slackiness from, I'm not wondering anymore. =.=

I don't have STPM to push me on anymore! It's like there's this big gaping hole in my life right now. Gahhhhh~~~~~~

See? I don't even have anything to blog about anymore. The days of recent political news from En. Hasan, updates about the country's CPI and economic growth rate from Mdm Shirley, stimulating discussions with Pn Vijaya, hours of brain-cracking over silly mathematical equations and inequalities with Ms Sheow and Mdm Chah, and
heart-pounding moments of pop-quizzes on entrepreneurs and franchises with Cik Norwati are over! Done! Never to be experienced again!

And I'll never write a single word in that notebook again. The one I reserved for jotting down every single joke and funny scenario in A3.

Anyway, let's digress from this depressing work of Lamentations The Second, if you may call it that.

Ju and Yen said my blog is mostly FACTS. Cold, hard facts, as Holmes would say. Nolah. Not so cold and hard. They're just soft and warm facts. Stone me, all you literature people, but it's my way of manipulating the language. Cold and hard facts represent Sherlock Holmes to me. They are the ambassadors of people with cold, incisive, calm demeanours and voices. Cold, hard facts lack the element of romanticism, they lack drama. Soft and warm facts represent Dr Watson and other people who are unable to tamper with the facts, and yet add a touch of romanticism and humanity to otherwise bland facts.

I believe that I am neither cold nor hard, and I most certainly do not speak in an incisive tone. Even if you would disagree with me being an advocate of soft and warm facts, I have reason to trust that you would disagree more with me being an ambassador of cold and hard facts, probably to the point of it being impossible. As Holmes often remarks (impatiently, I would note) to Watson:

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, has to be the answer. And from there, we work."

Enough with all this or I'll be called a cold and hard factual person.

Made it this far?

Pat yourself on the back!

Good morning!

P.S. I just realized that I can't use the 'today in skul' tag anymore. Isn't that sad?