A Grace

Tress and I were both pretty zonked out last Friday, after a normal busy work week. She had spent Friday at Jeff’s Shed, where WVA had organised a youth conference and she and some other colleagues had volunteered to help out. For dinner, we went to our favourite local Thai – a tiny hole-in-wall joint on the way to the Maury’s where we had our favourite whole fried barra. It was good to just enjoy the meal and talk.

The next day the little fellow had his quarterly grooming session; Amber came by as usual bright and early and took him for over an hour of washing and clipping. It was a cold morning and later, Tress vacuumed the house while I trimmed the James Sterling and generally kept the outside trimmed and cleaned. We finished our work well past 1.30pm and after lunch and some grocery shopping, we went home and got ready for dinner at Alex and Li Har’s.

We hadn’t seen them for a while so when Alex texted me on Friday night while we were at the Thai place, we said yes pretty quickly. When he texted back again to say there would only be 5 couples all in we felt it could be a good thing; a change from his usual party with multiple families.

So on Sat night we drove over to Donvale. They are building their new home in Balwyn and they’ve been renting their temporary home in Donvale. The other guests were lovely people and we had a really good time of just eating, drinking and getting to know each other. One of the couples – a fairly new migrant – had brought delicious dosas (thosai) to cook as well as a fish (a huge pomfret from Malaysia) to steam so the food was pretty special too, as were the very good wines.

We got home past 11pm, went to bed at midnight and I was up again at ten to 5am, to catch the Scousers’ game against Real Madrid. It was a good game – far better than the one United lost to Chelsea the week before. Bale scored a screamer and the Scousers’ keeper had a couple of bloopers so Real triumphed yet again.

After St Alf’s later in the morning (where we were on communion duty), we headed to Shopping Town for duty (again) for the Salvo’s Red Shield appeal. When we got home and walked the little fellow, the early morning rise and busy day took its toll and I felt bushed. I still had the week’s lunches to cook so when it was all finally done just after 6pm, I could all but stretch my feet out in front of the telly to catch Gordon Ramsay swear away in this season’s MasterChef.

Coming in this morning, I decided to pace myself in Tim Winton’s “Dirt Music” – I only have less than 70 pages to go and I don’t have anything else to read this week. It was difficult to do as Tim Winton’s wonderful novel is building up to a crescendo of an ending. I wanted to savour it however, so I listened to Gurumul and Paul Kelly’s “Amazing Grace”, as I felt that with Sim’s great news earlier in the week, with a full week’s work done and a wonderful weekend of activities and “rest” all covered, I felt God’s grace has really been amazing this week.


Marysville, FA Cup Final and Harry Weds Meghan


Tress and I took a drive out to Marysville on Sat. It was a cloudy, overcast day but that only added to the experience. Marysville is beautiful and the drive from Healesville to Marysville especially (picture) was particularly scenic in its own way.

We left just before 10am, stopped at Healesville for coffee, and got into Marysville around noon. We walked around town, walked up to Steaveanson’s Fall and had lunch at the Terracota cafe, a golf club across the road from El-Kanah, which we visited also.

We got home late in the arvo, and Tress watched the wedding (Harry and Meghan Markel) later in the evening, as I went to bed early, planning to watch the FA Cup final. United loss in a drab game and to bottom out a miserable weekend sports wise, Hawks succumbed to the Lions up in the Gabba, so falling out of the top 8.

Other than Marysville however, it was nevertheless a good weekend as we spent Friday night having dinner with Jason and Mel and A Hooi and U Marloney in Box Hill. We caught up just before 7pm, and stayed out in the restaurant in Box Hill (Penang Inn which just changed hands) till about 10pm. It was good to just talk in a relaxed atmosphere over a meal, instead of just eating and leaving.

Sunday was Pentecost Sunday and at St Alf’s I wondered, as I have for a while now, what’s in store in the service space. Serving in Steer in a Board capacity came up a few weeks ago and I met with its CEO over a week ago so I wondered if that is where it lies. And yet, it felt like an underwhelming and subdued channel when I was last there. One can only wait and see if He plans to do anything there.

Workwise, my boss and the other senior executives are in the US this week, for a Board meeting. Work powers on anyway, and I continue to keep my head down and just keep ploughing away.

Butterfly effect?

It is on occasions such as the one this past weekend, which I wondered more intensely than I normally do, about the unintended consequences of a turn of event just over 6 years ago. Not only did my departure from my profession, to turn to a path down the way of a faith based not for profit route, become a detour, the reason for that departure (which turned out to be a detour) took a turn which doesn’t seem like it would have any inflexion point in its trajectory.

I have often turned into pathways which take me away from home, away from what would have allowed me to create legacies. Those turns are often brought about by an impatience with the state of being, by a refusal to accept the imperfections which were. In a fallen world where imperfection abounds, that journey was never going to stop. I would often move on, constantly moving away. Often to stay would have been in itself, to create.

I wonder if my bequest is that tendency to move away. I see now the impact of that tendency on myself. On an occasion such as mother’s day, I see the impact of my tendency to move away, and that is to be away from my mother and live the effect of the barrier of distance that arises. I also see the rippling effect. Tress too is away from her mum and that has consequences on numerous persons. That tendency to move away, may have begat a similar tendency and that in turn, has created its effect, the impact of which is most felt by me.

It feels almost like I’m living the butterfly effect. I wonder if I caused that flutter of those lightest of limbs that were the wings of a butterfly, with rippling, or domino, effects – potentially seismic. Chaotic it may not have appeared but the effect on lives, roll on. I wonder if that effect can be elliptical, turning or rebounding towards myself. Am I both the creator of that flutter and the repository of its effect. I certainly had such thoughts and feeling this past weekend.

“Regime Change” in Malaysia – Mahathir returns, Najib discarded

Today, Malaysia live again. It has gotten back its former PM, and the designated successor, surely a shoo-in for a royal pardon to pave the way for his eventual comeback, has already regained his moniker as PM-in-waiting. It was first bestowed on him by Lim Kit Siang, as a jibe of some sort, back in the 1990’s when Mahathir was PM and Anwar was his deputy and a PM-in-waiting. So more than 20 years hence, the circle is complete. The more things changed they more it remained the same.

On another level nevertheless, Mahathir now has a window of opportunity. He has been given a chance to make Malaysia truly great. He must do it by making every single Malaysian optimistic about the future. He must think about a roadmap where some time in the not too distant future, every single Malaysian will feel he or she has equal opportunity to succeed if he or she works hard.

He must not waste the immense political capital bestowed upon him, by playing sectarian, racial and feudal interests one against another. As a start, he should seriously consider making someone like Guan Eng, a Deputy Prime Minister. Certainly, Guan Eng should be in his cabinet in a senior role. If Malaysians baulk at the idea of Guan Eng as a Deputy Prime Minister it is likely it came out of the notion that the captain of this boat must be an ethnic Malay. There has to be a roadmap to take Malaysia to a place where such notions are permanently discarded. It should have no place in Malaysia’s history and Mahathir has a wonderful opportunity to design a roadmap to get to such a place.

It must not allow Malaysia’s wealth to again be squandered. Many blame Najib for woes such as GST but had Mahathir not blown billions (including Petronas coffers meant to fund future generations’ development) and had he not perpetuated policies that favoured racial and sectarian interests over economic development, Malaysia might have been more competitive today and revenue and growth might be in a better place to alleviate cost of living pressures for ordinary Malaysians.

Today Malaysia is given a second chance. Mahathir has been given a second chance. I hope they make the most of it.