Kendall and Kingdom

About a month ago I had an early conversation with a colleague, whose son was having some medical issues. I remember making an entry about this colleague’s journey.

A few minutes ago he stuck his head into my office and said to me that his boy has cancer.

I didn’t know what to say to him. I asked him a couple of questions but it’s obvious he’s very affected so he said it’s all still early days in terms of investigations, and that he’s heading home for the afternoon and will take some time off over the next few days.

I had been praying for Kendall’s son Liam but had not done so these past few days. Chances are my awful neglect these past few days had little to do with the confirmation of diagnosis but I still feel awful. As a man – a person – you want to do whatever little you can to help someone in that situation and when you fail to, that neglect frustrates you.

I’m now on the tail end of the gospels – John 13 was where I stopped this morning.

Jesus had such profound impact on the lives of people around him. Many had illnesses and other infirmities healed. Others were freed of oppressions from the evil one. Many had adverse impacts simply by having their world views and stations in life, challenged – rocking priorities, life values and goals and vocations.

When I stand on the right hand section/column of the hall in St Alf’s on Sundays and utter the Lord’s Prayer, I often wonder what it meant for me to say “Your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth“.

As Kendall turned to head back to his desk, I said I would keep praying. I wonder if that meant anything to him and how that made him feel. I wonder how God’s Kingdom can come on Kendall and his boy Liam as they journey ahead on this perilous path.



From across the Tasman (and across Melbourne…)

We had Hui Wan my cousin, visit us last night. She’s here on a business trip and we caught up after work, had dinner and she stayed over in our home before coming out with us early this morning.

Hui Wan is the youngest child and only daughter of I Meng, my late father’s younger brother. He’s probably 75 years old this year. He and his wife are both still living in Klang, as is Thean Lim, his eldest child. Thean Lim is married to Soo Chin and they have 3 children. Thean Seng (Alex) is the middle child who recently married a Sarawakian lady. Alex and his new wife live in Singapore.

As Tress droppped me off at work this morning, Hui Wan moved from the back seat in the car to come and sit on the front passenger seat. As we approached each other to say goodbye, she stretched out her hand for a handshake. I looked at her and say no, and gave her a hug instead.

Later this morning Chris, Hui Wan’s partner, will arrive in Melbourne. He has been in Singapore, where his father passed away a couple of weeks ago. Hui Wan and Chris will spend a couple of days in Melbourne before they both return to Auckland on Friday night.

As we chatted over dinner at Persian Flavours on Springvale Road last night, I am again reminded about how life is often about the simplest and seemingly mundane things in life. We talked about work, where we lived, our pets, people we live with or spend time with, our church… the little things which make life what it is.

We told her about our plans to spend Saturday with Ruth, another cousin of ours. Ruth lives in Maribyrnong and works with Western Health as a doctor. She and Jonathan her husband will no doubt be excited and busy for the next couple of days as they plan the first birthday party of little Micah, their son. We are looking forward to seeing them again, together with Uncle Stephen and Auntie Paddy. Uncle Stephen is 6 chek, younger than I Meng, who is 3 chek.

In the car this morning, Hui Wan said Melbourne is beautiful. We couldn’t agree more. It sounds like she would like to eventually move to Melbourne, which would be wonderful. Having more family so near would be great.

Ngambri Weekend

We were in Canberra for the Anzac Day long weekend.

When we left Melbourne on Saturday morning to head up north, it was 4 months almost to the day, when I left Canberra last Christmas Eve. Kiddo, Mic and I had had lunch in a Japanese restaurant in Dickson on that day after my last day at the NBA, after which I left Canberra for the last time as someone who lived and worked there.

We arrived in the Capital City just after 4pm, walked LBJ for a bit, and then waited at the B&B place in Aranda. Judy the owner had also just come home when we arrived and I chatted with her for a few minutes. LBJ seemed to remember the place well and made a beeline to the garden area as soon as we arrived.

Later, just before 7pm, Kiddo and Mic rocked up and we went to a Vietnamese place in Belconnen known as Can Tho, for dinner. After dinner we went back to Aranda and played cards for a bit, chatted then made plans for the next day.

On Sunday we slept in, walked the little fellow, then went to Macquarie just behind Jamison Centre, and had a yum cha lunch. It was good talking again with Kiddo and Mic and after lunch we walked towards the Jamison Centre car park where there was a trash and treasure market. We then returned to the B&B, talked some more and then headed to the Cupping Room in the city for coffee. While there we decided to go for a movie.

So we headed to the Palace in Nishi, and caught the wonderful Jungle Book. It was a very good remake and all of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

After the movie we headed back to Aranda and played cards some more as well as talked some more.

On Monday we slept in again, then met up in Belconnen again, this time at a cafe known as Chatter Box. We had a sumptuous brunch and then said our goodbyes and left Canberra around 11.30am. We got home just after 6.

On the Friday night before we left for Canberra, Tress and I had both felt tired after another full week’s work and I said to her a part of me felt like staying in Melbourne for the long weekend, just to rest. Yet we both felt we wanted to make the trip to spend time with Kiddo as we had planned an overseas trip the next time a long weekend comes around (in June) and so would not see Kiddo for several months if we didn’t see her this long weekend. So, short as the trip was and tired as we felt, we pushed on and it was a wonderful decision as the time spent with Kiddo (and Mic) felt good.

On the way back yesterday Tress said it was a very good weekend. I agreed. It was quite relaxing, and we got to spend time with both Kiddo and Mic and talked for a bit. It was just wonderful to be together like that again. The long drives on the Hume was well worth it.


City Skyline – Home…

I used to leave work just before 4pm on Fridays, and would make that drive from Canberra to Melbourne. I’d feel a kind of relief and happiness when I see the Melbourne city skyline some 6-7 hours later. Somehow, that silhouette of city skyscrapers always evoked a sense of homecoming which warmed my heart.

So when Tress and I walked around the St Kilda breakwater on Saturday morning, the beautiful city skyline in the horizon hogged my attention.

We had gone to Caulfield to check out the area to scratch an itch we had about moving nearer to our work. The streets we looked at weren’t so exciting and we quickly made our way to the Esplanade area in in St Kilda and just walked on the pier and breakwater, noting it wasn’t exactly an opportune time to catch some penguins. The day was turning out to be warmer than we thought it would be, so we just whiled away the time there.

It was exciting earlier in the morning. I had gone to see Simon for a hairy and after that we went to the Flight Centre at FHC and bought a couple of tickets for a mid-year holiday. Jack Lord country beckons, after we said to Leigh at FC FHC: “Book ’em” – you have to be clued in on the phrase “Book ’em“, which was a tagline in that very iconic TV show when I was growing up. Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett would habitually say “Book ’em Danno” at the end, when he and his crack Five-O team would invariably nail the baddies.

Tress celebrating her Five-O in Five-O country. Neat.

We left St Kilda after 1pm, and got back to see Rose for lunch at her joint. I had dreamt about having chee cheong fun during breaky earlier that morning and so when I saw Rose had a curry chee cheong fun with yong taufoo as a special, I jumped on it. Tress had a hearty fish head curry and after that very good lunch, we went and walked in FHC before going back to walk the little fellow.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day – a typically spectacular autumn’s day in Melbourne, with clear blue skies and cool easy wind. We walked LBJ after my repeat curry CCF indulgence and caught a local soccer game before coming home to make the week’s soup dinners.

Last night as we lazed on the couch watching TV and I sensed a cold coming on, I felt warmly happy on the inside. Tress was next to me, LBJ was on my lap and I was scratching his chin. I was home. I’m home. The city skyline is only a 30 minutes away now, not 7 hours.Skyline

Doggies tail tucked (just)

I had a lazy Sunday arvo yesterday. Tress and I had wanted to go watch the Hawks play the Doggies at The Etihad but after a busy Saturday, we decided to watch it on tele and do some chores at home.

But what a match it was. The Doggies have been playing “sexy footy” in the opening 2 rounds and were the form team. The 3-peaters had climbed back off a poor start to Dangerfield infested Cats in the opening round, to win convincingly in round 2, against the West Coast in a repeat of last year’s Grand Final. So it was a mouth watering clash between a slick, speedy contender in red hot form and a colossus of the modern game.

We had walked the little fellow after a big lunch at the Shangri-la Inn, where we had bumped into some old friends – Leng, Linda and Brian. We took him on a long slow walk, catching glimpses of a soccer game between 2 local African looking teams along the way, before coming home just before first bounce at 3.20pm.

The contest proved worthy of the pre match hypes. The Hawks surged early on, leading 32 points at one stage but on half time, the lead was cut down to just 1 point. Then in the third quarter, the Doggies blitzed through to a 19 point lead. I said to Tress sometimes they were so quick it was breathtaking. Like true champions they are however, the mighty Hawks fought for every ball and somehow, Mcevoy managed to fight for a ball, got it to Burgoyne who punted straight down the corridor inside the 50 for Sicily – Ice Man – to make his now signature vertical leap for a mark, 90 seconds before the final siren. Bob Murphy – the very likeable Doggies skipper had twisted his knee (now suspected ruptured ACL) – in trying to context that mark. As he was carried off looking very much in pain, Ice Man kicked the winning goal from 45m – and then held on to a final mark seconds before the end.

Earlier that arvo at the Bellerive Oval in Tassie, the Kangas had just managed to escape with a 5 point victory against the Dees. The Dees had a last chance for a snap goal seconds before the final siren, but the kick went behind.

All that drama… I had been engaged in a facebook Malaysian forum a week ago, trying to ward off suggestions that members in that forum condoned racism. Apparently we hadn’t demonstrated the sort of angst some expected, against adverse experiences of some in the Aboriginal community. These experiences – it was suggested – showed systemic racism and any inaction by members of the forum were hypocritical as criticisms against (often racist) policies of Malaysia were often rife. Those discussions turned at some point into issues of embracing local life. I wondered why no one ever broached the subject of footy and I wondered if most Malaysians still watched soccer, even if the A League was of far inferior standards to the European leagues, which many still stay up at 2/3 am to watch.

Maybe it was because United had fizzled away into a has been. Maybe the 3-o thrashing by Spurs overnight contributed to my dwindling passion for soccer. But I still watch games – via EPL on Demand on Foxtel – just not live ones, because it has become near impossible to stay up late for these games and still go to work the next day with a clear head. I had started following AFL a lot more closely some years ago, when Sir Alex was still ruling the EPL roost. Back in 2008, Ronaldo and Co had just steered United to the great European arenas, when I watched with utter delight, Crawford bellowing “that’s what I’m talking about” into the microphone during the medal ceremony, after defeating the CatsĀ in the 2008 Grand Final. So while United was at the pinnacle, I had started switching codes. It’s probably due to context. It’s much easier to follow games when it’s on Friday night, Sat arvo, Sunday arvo etc… and easier to access when it’s at the G, as opposed to the Nou Camp in Barcelona…

So why Malaysians who have been here for the longest time still watch soccer more then AFL, will remain an interesting question for me and I wonder if I’d ask the question on that forum some time soon…

Dealing with issues

I said to Tress yesterday, I’m having to work at how I’d deal with same sex couples. Inevitably, some will have me cross their paths as they will mine. This is what I’d do…

  • I will invite a same sex couple to my home for dinner, coffee, drinks (whatever) as I would any other couple.
  • I will have fellowship with a same sex couple in church, in a home group, and in any other church or church related meetings – as I would with any other couple.
  • I will socialise with a same sex couple as I would with any other couple.
  • I will attend a social event organised by a same sex couple – whether in their home or in another venue – as I would that organised by any other couple. What I haven’t worked out however is whether I would attend that event if it’s a wedding or wedding anniversary of that couple as I’m not sure I’d celebrate that union.

That’ll be a start. Seems like a no brainer but I have had to work through those statements to reach a landing…


Good Samaritan/Refugee Aid

I recently read a comment that the Good Samaritan helped the (robbery and assault) victim and thereafter, let him go on his way. That Good Samaritan did not proceed to get that victim to go into his home.

I often said to Tress that if someone truly desires to help refugees, he should go to the numerous refugee camps (such as in Africa). It is not to demand Governments open its borders, allowing people smugglers to develop their business.

If the situation arises, I’d probably help someone whose paths I cross, where I see that person needs help. It’s much harder – and a much bigger leap – to demand my government opens up its border as a – the – way to help refugees.

A debate which appears interesting, and which I hope to follow later tonight/this weekend: