Yet more new days

Kiddo has now settled into her new digs for just over a week. This time last week Tress and I were at some hawker place in Bencoolen/Bugis in Singapore, having brekky while waiting for her to make her way from the western fringe of the CBD, into the city to see us. The journey was a longish one – close to an hour from door to door – but the process is not quite as painful as it may sound.

She’d take a 5-10min walk across campus grounds, to a bus stop where she’d wait for a campus shuttle to take her to the Kent Ridge MRT station on the circle (yellow) line. From there, she’ll hop on and get off two stops later at the Buona Vista exchange to take the east-west (green) line and head eastward, getting off at the Bugis station.

Around this time last week we waited at the Bugis station for her to emerge from the belly of the efficient MRT. We then took a walk towards a favourite coffee and toast place known as Ya Kun, just in the next building from where our hotel was.

A couple of days ago Tress and I were already talking about the possibility of making a quick trip over the Melbourne Cup weekend. That however is over 3 months away and by then it would have been just a month before she returned. It would also likely be a busy time of essays, assignments and exams. So maybe an earlier trip would work better.


Next node?

It was an unusual spot to say our goodbyes but there we were at the Bugis MRT station, just after yet another round of local coffees at a joint of the Ya Kun chain at the station. We saw kiddo waddle off, and that would be the start of her Singapore adventure.

We left home early last Friday morning and drove to Tullamarine. Heavy traffic saw us take longer than we expected so we headed to the long term car park together and then took the shuttle in to the terminal. Qantas took a long time before they called for boarding but soon we were headed to Singapore.

We spent the next few days shuttling between the Bugis area where we lived, and the western edges of the CBD where NUS was. Kiddo has lodgings at the Cinnamon College of University Town (Utown) and before long we became acquainted with the connection between Utown and the Kent Ridge main campus of the Uni. Tress and I also became acquainted with the Bugis area, meandering through Rochor Road, Queen St and Victoria St through the Bugis Village and Bugis Street Mall. Bugis Junction and OG were the other two shopping malls we came to know well.

For meals however, the hot and messy Albert Centre provided wonderful flavours at really cheap prices. The whole area felt messy and chaotic but there was method to the madness and everything worked efficiently and in spite of the sense of mess and chaos, it was actually relatively clean at the end of each day. Several times, Tress and I would walk past the surrounding areas around 10pm after returning from NUS and we saw sweepers diligently tidying the area.

I feel as though we have nearly gone a full circle. We left Malaysia in 2004 when Kiddo was 10. 9 years later Kiddo is nearly back in that part of the world where she’d live and work (ie be a student) for the next year and a half. Tress and I now live in the land Down Under all by ourselves (other than LBJ) and a part of us has returned to part of our roots. It is akin to that nodal model of life’s journey. Maybe. How this node will connect next is anyone’s guess, and in God’s hands.

What’s the half life of the evil deeds of a pastor and his team???

Tress, Kiddo and I were on our way to church yesterday morning when we realised it was going to be a school holiday program rehashed in church that morning. “Going bananas” was on the whole of last week and as a culmination of that program, the whole congregation was going to be presented with (perhaps) highlights of what went on.

When I said that was the program, Tress asked if Kiddo wanted to go and visit Bridge church. We were there a few times before landing at St Alfred’s and Kiddo had never been there. I had said to Jason before, that there is no need for Kiddo to visit. He had attempted to get us to visit again as he has been going there.

K said St Alf’s was our church now so we should go regardless of the program. She was right of course and so we ended up there. It was a great call. I rediscovered the value of children’s ministry and saw how a well-planned and well-executed children’s program can be one of the best thing a local church can do to bring God’s Kingdom to the local community. On the way back, I thought about being settled into this church and also about how I might be involved again. Or not.

In as much as LifeGate is well and truly behind me now, the fallout still affects me. I am still fearful to be involved. I might no longer feel restrained in terms of participating in the activities of a regular service meeting – I now join in the singing whole heartedly, actively engage in listening to the sermons to seek out appropriate personal responses, and actively seeking to engage with other fellow believers and seeking to be part of congregational life. I remain however, shy of stepping out to serve, to be part of church life outside of that Sunday morning activities. There’s fear of being exposed and the hurt that may result.

Maybe it is still too early. Maybe I need to just continue in the present mode for a while yet and see what happens. Church-speak may term this letting God lead in His time, I guess. Me I just want to sit it out to avoid being hurt again.

I don’t understand how a pastor can hurt someone without seeking – persistently so – to heal that wound. And before that wound could heal properly, that pastor, this time together with his team of “leaders” proceed to hurt another, who was a board member and erstwhile de facto pastor. They plotted behind his back for months, to get rid of him. One of them – David Chiangeuphemised and said they discussed his removal. Laughable because I would have thought any “discussion” would have involved all parties affected. Yet Jason was excluded. How do you discuss his removal, without him being involved in the discussion? Simple – you plot. No, not a discussion. A plot. A nefarious plot.

That the moral decadence of this act is lost on this pastor and his team continues to astound. At one point one of them  – David Chiang again – sought to somehow, twist things around to lay the blame of the hurt on me. I don’t know where the logic lies but somehow, the turpitude of the act was alleviated by the act of Ian Teh, yours truly. That I sent an email to many people, asking them to ask their “leaders” why they plotted to get rid of Jason, was somehow a wrong more grave than their plotting for months to get rid of him. I had sent message to each of those leaders and also collectively, urging and warning them not to do that reprehensible thing to Jason. When they did not respond, I sent it to the wider audience. David accused me of using my own standards in judging the appropriate response time the leaders should have been given before I could justifiably send it to the wider audience.

Really? I sent the email on a Friday evening. The “act” – that of sending an AGM notice setting out their plot to get rid of Jason – was sent on Sunday. Two days later. So what standard did he – the very wise David Chiang – have in mind for an appropriate response time? The AGM notice that gives notice to all that the plot to remove Jason is officially under way, was what I was hoping would be avoided.

That is the sort of hurt people like that pastor and his team – not least David Chiang – in their collective “wisdom” can inflict on the flock? Lead them? Shudders. How does one forget things like that in a hurry? How does one shake out and remove the fallout of such actions on the part of a pastor and his team?

St Alfred’s may be our church now but the fallout of the deeds of that pastor and his team continue to prevent me from being what I think would bring me joy and peace.

Expecting and unexpecting

It’s half way through winter. It’s a bit more than half way through the calendar year. We hear this said on most years but it really feels like the year has so far zipped past so very rapidly.


I spoke with my mum on the phone last night. She’s still half hoping to make the trip across the border and meet us in Singapore but given my comms with my brother suggest he is unlikely to be there, her next trip is probably headed north instead. May will be moving into their new digs in Xuzhou next month some time apparently and mum is always more at home in China so I’m sure it’d be a good thing that’s she’s looking forward to.


The chat to mum also made me realise there was perhaps an unspoken expectation that we’d make a detour to Klang when we’re in Singapore. Tress’ parents asked the same thing and at a lunch with some old friends yesterday, we were also asked the same thing. Alex was back to Malaysia just the past week and he said to us some relatives of ours had told him we’d do that detour.


I’m not sure if I said to anyone we’d do that but I guess sometimes that’s just expected. Unspoken for sure but not that doesn’t mean we should expect it. I guess that also means we have now lost touch of expectations of relatives in Malaysia. We’d no longer know for certain how to behave when amongst them, probably.


What’s unexpected is the balmy weather this week promises to be. It was cold the past couple of weeks or so and when someone in church mentioned to me that we’d see a 19-20 deg couple of days this week I couldn’t believe it. This morning before leaving home I checked and the 12 deg reading made me smile. All I left home with was just a scarf. With a laptop and my gym gear, any coat or jumper I could leave behind was going to a bonus. This sort of weather right in the middle of winter is a bit odd. Climate change exponents might say to sceptics “I told you so”. But then again weather oddities are probably not the sort of evidence a climate change proponent would rely on too heavily perhaps. But what do I know. I’m just happy to be given a break in not having to lug big coats, jumpers, gloves, beanies et al.


It’s half way through winter and a bit over half way through the year. The year has flown past quickly but I hope the balmy winter morning stay a while.

Weekend’s (nearly) here…

Work has ramped up considerably and the old adage about being careful with what one wishes for is becoming too true for comfort. I remember being occasionally bored in Steer and although I appreciated the free time it gave me, somehow I longed to be busier. No doubt the extra money mattered too and as much as that was a major factor, wanting to be busy doing legal work was a factor which I could not dismiss entirely. Nearly 14 months hence and the caution rings true.

I still leave the office no later than 5.30 each day although I continue to have early-ish starts, usually by 8am. Some days (like yesterday, when I finished up close to 7pm!) I finish up later but those are rare. Those (usual) hours usually fly by however and I leave tired and ready to unwind with a glass of red and go to bed. This routine is now a familiar pattern. It hasn’t always been the same hours or same day end beverage, but the patterns are the same.

And so I’m tired now but better tired in this manner than the Steer routine.

I’m also physically tired. Maybe it’s the winter and it has been cold the past couple of weeks. I’m sure however, that the other reason is I have stepped up my treadmill running. This week I have been on 3 times, each running (literally) for an hour and covering between 9km to 10km. So this week has seen some 28+km clocked up. It has been a long time since that happened. What all that meant was I’m out of it by about 9.30pm. The busy work day and extended runs dry me up and I often just collapse into bed by 10pm at the latest. I’d be mad if the old electric blanket fires blank and leaves a cold bed. The darn thing now alternates between screwing up either on my side or on Tress’ side of the bed. Either way it’s a gamble each way every night and lately, I have been copping the short end of the stick. The cold bed is temporarily ice cold and I’d get in, wrap myself under the doona and moan and groan till the cold wears off…and I drift off to wake to another day with more of the same.

Windows to close

Last weekend we slept in, and went to the Chinese restaurant on Waverley Road known as Imperial and had a yum cha lunch there. After that we trekked into the city, explored the botanical gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance (my first time), before heading into the Myer store in the city for some coffee and cakes.

After coffee we went up to the tech department of the store to have a look at laptop computers. My laptop (a Toshiba) was showing signs of nearing death, with repeated displays of the dreaded blue screen. I had seen Sony VAIO machines on specials, on the Myer online pages and thought I’d take a look.

We ended up getting Kiddo a MacBook Air. I decided we (as in Tress and I) could use her old MacBook Pro. We had assurances there was nothing the Pro could do which the Air couldn’t, and the Air was much quicker and lighter so it worked out well. Plus, if Kiddo took the Air with her to Singapore we could also claim the GST rebate. Finally, the Air was on special (which was rare for Apple products) so it all added up. Kiddo has been busy transferring her stuff to the Air and cleaning up the Pro for us to use and last night, she gave us a tutorial and I’m starting to get the hang of things. After years of Microsoft, I have to start unlearning all that Windows stuff and start to learn the Mac way.

20 years of Microsoft Windows, often 7 days a week and for at least 5 of those days, often at least 8-9 hours a day… very hard to unlearn sufficiently to make the Mac experience smoother. Thankfully the iPhone and iPad of recent years should make this transition easier.

zzz… :-)

Life has become mundane for me. That’s not necessarily as negative as it may sound. Sometimes monotony can be a good thing. An exotic laden phase can be draining and respite can seem far away and very out of reach. Having one’s head down and getting on with the daily grind can be therapeutic and may be just what the doctor ordered. So I wouldn’t – shouldn’t – sweat it when life feels like it is just simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Last weekend we slept in a little bit and then Tress and Kiddo went for their dental appointments while I did my dry cleaning runs, came back and took the little black hero for a longish walk, before coming home and waiting for the ladies to return.

We then went to lunch at Madam Kwong’s and then went to the Westfield in Doncaster. I was hoping to score good value suits which were on massive specials in Myer but they didn’t have my size. I picked up a portable hard disk drive however, and when we came back, I installed it and backed up some of my stuff from the laptop, which recently had started to feel wonky and showed the blue screen of death, repeatedly.

Just after 5.30, we got ready and made the drive into the city where we were to meet some friends for dinner. We parked close to Tress’ office and walked to the restaurant, which was heaving with rugby fans. The visiting British Lions was going for a series clean sweep against the Wallabies and the restaurant had the red jerseys of the Lions overwhelmed the green and gold of the Wallabies. The restaurant was so noisy we could hardly carry out a conversation. The noise abated towards 8pm when the game was supposed to start. The food was very ordinary, and after dinner we adjourned to one of the dinner companions’ home for drinks – at the request of a little 3-year old!

We got home close to 11pm.

We were in St Alfred’s again on Sunday and after church we went to a local joint and met up some friends for lunch. And then it was home where all 3 of us took the little black jedi for another longish walk, before heading home and just lazed ourselves in front of the tele and just eating junk food…

Like I said, life has become a bit mundane recently…

Again though, sometimes monotony works. On Monday, a 1-hour run sounded very monotonous but I kept my head low and did it – the 6 mile/9.6km was painstaking slow but it was better than most days the past 2 years have seen. It felt good – the endorphins have been absent for far too long and the recent crawls back into the treadmill sessions have been great. This morning – same thing. Slower – 9km but a steeper incline. I was near buggered and crawled into work later than usual, but mainly because the train was late this morning. The 6am didn’t show up till 6.20, and then instead of doing the city loop it went to Flinders, so I had to get off at Richmond and wait for another train to get into Parliament station – bummer.  But at my desk, the endorphins were still dazzling and I was buzzing…

When life takes on a monotony one begins to appreciate the little gems to be picked up.