Thursday, 30 November 2006

I am the kid in the photo

Some thoughts from my grey matter

Random thoughts:

1. All the 20 years of education, parents sent me to the best school in KL, went to private school during secondary school, parents,father's hard earned money, funded eight years of my piano lessons, tuition fees, including my tailor-made uniform in private secondary school, PLUS mortgaged their house to fund my studies in UK.. all those .. for the job i am doing now... and hopefully my talents can be used to bless others in my limited lifespan here on earth

2. After 8 hours of work, 2 hours at least of travelling time, one hour of dinner, only left with 2 hours for yourself. That two hours are the only hours left for you to do things that you really enjoy doing. That is the space to nurture you own SELF
I am only speaking on behalf of those who work fix hours, 8 hours per day, what about those who work 12 hours a day? Why do people work long hours? What are they trying to achieve? What are they chasing after?

3. Love is about working the differences between you and others (friends, colleagues, partners) to achieve unity. Just like all parts of the body, be it fingers, brain, nerves, muscles working togather for our physical well being. Unity is not about being the same for all, it's about everyone with differences coming together to achieve common good.

4. Why am i a christian? "Jesus loves me this i know" Jesus showed me what is love, it's sacrifical, because He died for me and others, he showed me that love should be given even for those who doesn't "deserve" it, He lavished his love upon me, and also teaches me to love others, to share this love with others

5. Why do people have kids? They want to lavish their love on someone who is an extension of themselves. Loving kids is sacrifical.

5. heard a song where this lyrics struck me : If you don't count your blessing, you are wasting your time

6. Am i at the right place, doing the right thing at the right time? Yes, if everything i do, say is loving.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Voice volume, tone, speed, facial expression

Having attended so many meetings at work, observing the dynamics in meeting and different type of people , it occurs to me that voice can be either
A) provoking
B) soothing

and the ingredients like volume, tone, speed and facial expression will have impact on the outcome of either A or B.

Would you choose A and B

Jazz Lesson-3

Had jazz lesson last night. I wasn’t satisfied. I had such a lousy sense of jazz music, mainly due to lack of listening and exposure. I had a go on improvisation, ie making short phrases of melody within a certain scales. Lots of dissonance and noise that didn’t make sense. The key, I think ,is spending time on the piano and with trial and error, create beautiful phrases. Seems quite lost now. I actually felt embarrassed when I couldn’t figure out all this during the lesson. It’s about being a child, being a learner even though I have been playing the piano for the past 10 years( which in fact, is nothing to brag about).

So it is with life I guess. My extrapolation from my learning experience:
Life is a continuous learning process. With all experiences and events in our life, we can be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Or , in today’s English:

We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.

The only constant is God hasn’t left our side.

Weekend Madness

love message left by the youth

One of the many games we played

Last weekend was madness and hence Monday Blues was worst than ever, just couldn’t wake up at all, felt that body wasn’t mine anymore, mind was consciously/unconsciously wandering during my sleep on Sunday night. Sunday was more like an open house. 12 kids from church plus 4 adults (the teachers) came to our house as a day ou , played games and had lunch at our place. Then in the afternoon, another batch, ie our own cell group members came to our house for cell group. I spent half the day in the kitchen cooking, another 1/3 cleaning the kitchen. Thank God for dishwasher. It could have been worst!

Let’s start from Friday, I worked as a locum at a high street pharmacy from 530pm to 9pm. It wasn’t that bad, not that busy.

On Saturday morning, I cooked red bean soup (sweet) for our cell. I asked my mum how to cook it real fine. My mum SMS me the recipe. Thank God for SMS! I soaked the beans overnight, with a bit salt, so that the beans will “open” . I then blend the cooked beans in the food processor and cook it again. I spent the morning reading commentaries on the book of Romans, had my lunch, watched 1 hour Korean soap and somehow the time went by really quickly, especially when I am relaxing.
530pm, Albert came back from work, we rushed to town, went to Store street, a Korean supermarket to get thinly sliced beef for the beef soup noodles on Sunday. We bought other things as well, including shredded squid (snack) my favourite and beef stock. Had dinner at a Korean restaurant, had ox tongue and bibimbap. The food was horrible! Wasn’t satisfied.

Reached home then started cooking the beef soup at 11 pm. So tempted to just lie down and sleep. Couldn’t just sleep with the beef soup boiling, watched some TV while waiting. That was the initial intention anyway. Somehow, albert and I got hooked on the story, continue watching till 5 am when we finished all the drama series. Talked about couple sharing the same interest. I know I know, we have been very naughty.

Sunday, the whole house was crowded. Well, I exaggerated, the whole living room was packed. The youth/kids played games in the living room, I hang around a bit. At 12 noon, started cooking the flat noodles for beef soup noodle. I underestimated this simple process. I spent 1 hour just cooking the noodles, and half of them was stuck to the bottom of the pot, and a bit burnt! =P Everyone enjoyed the soup, it was good stuff man. I had ox tail, garlic, onion, garlic, ginger, clove, anise seed, 2 tbsp of Korean beef stock. It was like magic portion. Magic because all those relatively simple ingredient made a really tasty soup. Having grew up in a family where mum and dad are great chef, my six inch tongue has been highly trained. That doesn’t mean that I can cook as well as my parents. My dad was on local KL newspaper with his special dishes, buttermilk prawn and some other dishes, and mum has won a third place in a cooking competition. Of course, I am saying that out of humility on my part, I am far from them. I cooked another round of dinner, for cell group on the same day (told you I spent half of Sunday in the kitchen) with buttermilk prawn, but wasn’t as successful was I expected. Needless to say, plenty of room for improvement, eventhough I got the recipe from my dad.

So eventhough it was tiring, both physically and mentally, I was glad that the youth enjoyed their time at our place and had a time of bonding. Bravo!

A cleaner will be helpful. I have a husband. Ha ha.

Lack of sleep+ over worked= zombie at office on Monday- don't forget i have evening lesson at SOAS on Monday evening from 630 to 830pm.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

MY Spurgeon has arrived

Both Albert and I have applied to Spurgeon Distance Learning on Theology. After all that ££ from our bank account, all we received was a CD.

Talk about IT generation. I did the first module today, on Using the Bible Module. There are some textbooks that we need to buy. I told my pastor friend, the same person who have given us the custody of his mini libary collection.

Guess what? He has that textbook as well.. I said Thank you to him in advance(lots of assumption behind that statement)

Today is a good day. I am happy. Praise the Lord


I resolved to sleeping on a rolled towel, where my neck will just rest on the place where the towel was rolled. Slept well last night but still dependent on Caffeine. Aiks.

Try again tomorrow without any caffeine intake. According to Albert, caffeine affects memory and cognitive function. Is that true? I have yet to googled and read about the evidence.

My Sweet Piano Teacher -2

the front cover of the cd

I had my lesson on Tuesday, played a song, which i quite like. Blue Monk. I had a go of trio with another violinst, with my teacher comping( accompanying) and me.. just a casual run for the fun of it.

I was encouraged by the compliments given to me =) I am progrssing well, fast learner..oo so happy...

At the end of the lesson, i briefly mention to my teacher that i heard of some keyboard jazz which is totally different style. That led him to his personal CD album. He gave me to me as a gift.

Love the front cover , he likes vintage car, reminds me of the vintage car that my photographer owns in KL.

Bliss bliss =))

This week i am learning a slow jazz ballad called "You don't know what love is "

Wednesday, 22 November 2006


I am not going to disguise it any further. Okay, I am worried. I am worried that my neck is something more serious and not some casual muscle stiffness. This has been an on-off pain/stiffness since I was a pre-reg pharmacist. Because it’s an on-off, I didn’t pay much attention to it.

I called my GP receptionist, no more appointment for the next 2 weeks. Fully booked. However, I was told that I can try the 24 hours access by calling again tomorrow. Notice there wasn’t any assurance at all. The feeling is like being surrounded by ocean, but not a drop of water for drinking ( does it make sense? ) . I work in primary care, work with NHS, work with GPs, I see and have appointments with Gps to discuss prescribing issues, yet I can’t see my GP, well at least not for the next 2 weeks.

Thanks Patrick for the suggestion, I will beg my GP to give me an X-ray request form and refer me to physiotherapy.

I am physically having headache now as I am typing this. Should have taken a sick leave.

Not afraid of dying, but afraid of suffering chronic physical pain. Ha

Pain in the neck

No I am not referring to any person, I really mean pain in the neck. I have been suffering from this for the past 3 weeks now. I had it almost 6 months ago with the same problem. I went to see my GP, he gave me an X-ray form. I suspect the first two joints were dislocated. However, after that, I recovered and I threw the X-ray form into the bin, thinking that I wouldn’t need it anymore. What a shame. I am having this pain again. I tried sleeping without pillow, it got better, but I thought it’s not a good idea, since my head should need some support. I changed my pillow into a lower pillow, not any better.

I am frustrated. I am thinking of paying £60 for the gym across my office for swimming/yoga lessons. That will cure my backache too. But £60/month, is equivalent to a pair of boots every month. Maybe I should just play that yoga DVD that I have and have the one-hour slot in my house.

Pain in the neck! Arggh!

Monday, 20 November 2006

A day at Southampton

Few weeks ago, Albert drove me to Southampton to meet up with my close friend, pastor V and Y to pass her my brother’s camera as she was flying back to KL. We spent half the day with V and his idols.

Let me tell you about his idols. Basically, he sleeps with them, you can find them every corner of his flat. He started his idols collection since 10 years ago. His “idols” are his collection of theological books! He has commentaries from Genesis to Revelation. He love the feel of books in his hands. According to him, he can tell whether it’s a good book or not just by holding it in his hands. He can tell if anyone has touched his books upon his return. He will be going home for sometime, and I has offered to provide storage space at our house. He too, has kindly entrusted us with his collection.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon grouping books, tying knots as shown in the picture. It was good fun. V said using string to transport the books is the best and lightest way, compared to boxes. Our car boot was full of books.

We are all geared up for distance learning in theology now. Albert and I have applied to Spurgeon college for level one distance learning in theology. Now we have to rearrange our study room and may need to buy a shelf for the “idols”.

Monday morning

I couldn’t wake up this morning, so tempted to go for a sick leave!

Anyway, I put on my contact lenses this morning, first on my right eye, then my left. After I placed it on my right eye, I felt the contact lens in my eye, then I moved on to my left. When I completed the task, my vision was still blurred. It was my right eye. So I “searched” in my right eyeball for the contact lens. I searched the sink, nothing found.

“This can’t be right, I felt the lens on my right eye, where has it gone? “ I thought to myself.
I was getting worried, surely it’s in there, maybe it’s somewhere hidden? I looked again and couldn’t find my contact lens. I went to Albert and asked him to search for me. Nothing.

In the end, I took our my left contact lens and wore spectacles. Confirmed, no lens on my right eye.

That’s my Monday morning.. reminds me so much of Garfield.. sleepy head. I am still a child. Children refused to sleep when their bedtime is due. They wanted to play and didn’t care for the consequences. Here I am, always late nights, sleepy the next day, felt bored at work.. and it’s all because I love to play!

Friday, 17 November 2006

Pink winter is here-Iriny's version

I have been to Oxford street a couple of times on my own in search of my winter coat but failed. So one Sunday, after church, i asked Albert to shop with me as he is very good at telling me what looks good on me and what doesn't.

So we went to Oxford Street and wa la.. i set my eyes on this pink coat... the design is rather unique.. yes it's a designer collection.... i have expensive taste you see.. I hesitated whether i should buy it. Will i wear it often? Do i dare to wear it? Will it go out of fashion next year? Will peole stare and laugh at me next year when i wear it on the street?

Finally i decided to go for it. What the heck, i like it . End of the story. You only live once. So i bought it.

Have you noticed

I spent £25 cutting my hair, thinking that my new hair cut will be noticed by many .. unfortunately, not many noticed...

My mind sort of extrpolate this to philosophy :

What you see in others reflects who you are, say i admire Mrs A who is a career woman( just an example, i am not career minded). The reason maybe because she is the projection of my inner desire.

Some people are blind, ie they don't notice the strength of people that they dislike, because they have been blinded by their own bias and own interpretation of that person.

In my own life, i admire Mother Theresa.. maybe because i am a person who hold on to values like serving the poor and the sick...

My point is, What you see is a reflection of who you are, and HOw you see/interpret is also a reflectino of yourself. What makes you tick? What makes you angry? What makes you tear?

That will shed some light on the values that you hold onto in life.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

My sweet piano teacher

I had my jazz piano lesson last night after work. My teacher, Chris tested my hearing and it was purely an embarrassment. Back in those piano exam days, I have almost failed my aural test. Bordeline.

So he first did interval, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th. I could only tell the intervals of 4th and 5th, the rest I failed.
Then went on to all the 7th of chords, major 7th, minor 7th, diminished7th and dimin 7th flat 5. I could only get diminished chord.

Another embarrassment.

We then recap last week piece, on blues scales improvisation… didn’t do very well on that. Then went to chord progression the 2-5 chords, my reaction time was slow.

Having all these background, Chris has been so patient with me. Obviously, I didn’t practice a lot of my piano. I was tempted by Prince of Laziness. I was embarrassed because it’s a reflection of my laziness.

Instead, he kept on saying, “ you are doing very well. You tried syncopated rhythm , not as jerky as before.” Excellent, that’s great..

After the lesson, I texted my teacher :
“Thank you for your patience. I can’t even stand myself!"

Unexpectedly, he replied:
“Hi Irene, you are doing great and it’s fun passing on a little knowledge to you..keep up the good work and see you next time. Chris”

I am greatly encouraged. My teacher is so gentle and patient. =) I am grateful that I am his student.

Guess I have to spend more time on the piano that on the TV screen.

p/s: i googled him again today and a brief biography is as below: i like the word chameleon-like qualities

Chris Jerome has been using his chameleon-like qualities to enhance the music of numerous leading artists over the last fifteen years. A dynamic and original jazz player, he has been a key member of Courtney Pine's band for the last five years, as well as putting in a number of appearences with Jazz Jamaica and many other key players in the 'warriors' movement. His diversity has also seen him work extensively with influencial figures in 'world music', including among others Osibisa and Hugh Masekela. He is also equally at home in contemporary r&b settings having featured in recordings by Jamelia, Beverley Knight and others and touring with disco legends Sister Sledge. Such is the diversity of Chris Jerome for whom making music is about breaking barriers, crossing borders and making use of the full range of sonic possibilities.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

In search for God

I can't resist this but to post this conversatoin script here :


Iriny: The main difference between Judaism and Christianity is on Jesus Christ. As christians, we believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, so that we no longer being separated (death) from our Creator and can enjoy the everlasting presence with our Creator.

Humphrys in Search of God
Sir Jonathan Sacks - broadcast interview
14 November 2006

John Humphrys: It's one thing asking a Christian leader or a Muslim to convert you to their faiths, as I've been doing these past weeks. It's quite another to ask a Jew. The Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks was quite happy to be interviewed for this series, but understandably enough he wanted to know exactly what we'd be talking about. I said "It's perfectly simple: you'll have half an hour to convert me to Judaism, to make me a Jew". He put his hand on my arm, gave me a rather sad smile and said "John I wouldn't dream of it, I'm sure you've got enough problems already."

Jonathan, I rather suspect you meant it.

Jonathan Sacks: Well I did. Judaism is a non conversionary faith and we do believe that you don't have to be Jewish to get to heaven, and we have some very powerful biblical examples of that. Abraham's contemporary, who the bible describes as "priest of the most high god", was not a member of the Abrahamic covenant - was not as we'd say today Jewish. So we do not believe that heaven is reserved exclusively for Jews.

John Humphrys: But you would like, presumably - I hope so, otherwise this programme has no meaning! - you would like to persuade me that God exists.

Jonathan Sacks: I would indeed. I think God is a human universal, and history shows that when people don't believe in God they believe in other things. I'm thinking about fascism, about communism, about idolatry, whether you worship the folk, the race, the economic or political system. One way or another, if you worship anything less than God, anything less than the totality of all, then you get to idolatry, which begins innocently enough but ends in bloodshed on an enormous scale.

John Humphrys: What you're saying then is that it is an essential mechanism, religion is an essential mechanism to deliver a moral code, and not necessarily anything more than that.

Jonathan Sacks: I believe as a Jew that God intrudes into the human situation by way of a call, a voice.

John Humphrys: To you personally?

Jonathan Sacks: To me personally yes, but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that that voice was heard by Abraham, it led him on a journey which gave rise in the fullness of time to Judaism, and indeed both Christianity and Islam trace their spiritual descent from Abraham, and therefore represents the faith of more than a half of the people on earth. And that particular call of God to which some cultures have been open and others have been tone deaf gave rise to a very distinctive civilization that I believe represents the truth about the human condition.

John Humphrys: How come Hitler was able to claim his belief in Christianity and do what he did?

Jonathan Sacks: Hitler was somebody who ultimately believed in race rather than in God. And idolatry happens when instead of allowing God to make you in his image you make him in your image.

John Humphrys: Is yours a merciful God?

Jonathan Sacks: Ours is a merciful God. Ours is the first God of mercy in the history of the human spirit and every book in the bible is saturated with that.

John Humphrys: Why would a merciful God have done to Abraham what he did to Abraham - faced him with that agonising dilemma, "Sacrifice your child if you believe in me"? Why would God have faced a human being with that wicked choice?

Jonathan Sacks: We know that child sacrifice was incredibly wide spread in the ancient world, we know that from every kind of archaeological evidence. Child sacrifice which is referred to many many in the Hebrew bible as the most abominable of all acts, was the kind of thing you expected a God to ask of you, it's what gods regularly asked for their devotees. The essence of the story of Abraham is that at the critical moment God says "Stop - I am not that kind of god".

John Humphrys: So he played with him, he was toying with him.

Jonathan Sacks: He was teaching him. I think you must have had pretty hairy moments when you were first learning to drive John, where your driving instructor slammed on the brakes and said "I did that just so you should learn exactly what would happen if you don't listen carefully". So God slammed on the brakes, it was the most effective way of all of history.

John Humphrys: So it was a stunt then?

Jonathan Sacks: No, it was a learning experience, John, which is what we all need. And it was the revolutionary moment at which God says I do not demand human sacrifices, I am not the god of the Greeks, of the Romans, of the Aztecs, I am the god that holds that life is holy, you must learn to cherish your children. And from the days of Abraham to today John, Jews are the most child centred of all civilizations, we live for our children.

John Humphrys: And the thing about children is that they ask the best questions. Yours is a questioning religion.

Jonathan Sacks: Yeah. There was an English newspaper once that did an expose of what they call "cash for questions" and I found that very droll because in Judaism you don't pay somebody to ask questions; on the contrary, you have to pay them not to ask questions. We are a questioning, argumentative and wrestling faith. The word Israel means one who wrestles with God and with man and prevails.

John Humphrys: And the question that children ask I suspect most often although I've never done a study of it, is a variation on why you tell me God is a God of mercy, why does he allow these terrible things to happen, the oldest question of them all probably.

Jonathan Sacks: To my mind faith lies in the question; if you didn't have faith you wouldn't ask the question. If I did not believe in a just and law-abiding God, I would not find injustice and human suffering worthy of question whatsoever. After all the universe, if it has no God, is utterly indifferent to my existence, it's blind to my hopes and deaf to my prayers. So if I have no faith I can't ask the question. Faith is in the question. That question that you've just asked me is the question Abraham asked God, and Moses, and Jeremiah and Job. And it is the refusal to give an easy answer is in Judaism the essence of faith. God says "if you knew why this suffering happens you would live with it, you would accept it as the will of God. I don't want you to accept it as the will of God, I want you to go out there and heal the sick, feed the hungry, tend those who are injured. I want you to be", in that wonderful and very distinctive Jewish phrase, "my partners in the work of creation". So Judaism is in the question, not in the answer.
John Humphrys: I have to say that if I asked a politician what he regarded as a very difficult question and he said to me "That is the most difficult question, and if I give you the answer it will destroy your faith in the political system, in the democratic process. It's very important that that question not be answered", I'll think "hello, he's having me on here, here's a political answer for you".

Jonathan Sacks: No, you would think a politician was trying to evade the issue...

John Humphrys: I would.

Jonathan Sacks: ...but if your teacher in school gave you the same answer...

John Humphrys: I'd think the same.

Jonathan Sacks: would understand that your teacher is challenging you by saying "I'm sorry John I can't answer you that, you would have to live with that".

John Humphrys: He or she would, choosing not to answer it, you are saying that that question is capable of being answered.

Jonathan Sacks: It is perfectly capable of being answered.

John Humphrys: Well answer it.

Jonathan Sacks: But if we answered it we would not be what God wants us to be. Let me, if I can explain, a parent of a baby who is ill, who is crying, gives that baby some medicine even though it knows that baby's going to cry even more, because it knows that suffering in the short term is justified in order to make the baby better in the long term. If we take those stances the suffering is in the short term is necessary for good in the long term, we would accept suffering as God's will, God does not want us to accept suffering as his will, God wants us to fight suffering. Judaism is God's call to us to accept responsibility.

John Humphrys: For what?

Jonathan Sacks: For creating a social order that does honour to the human person as God's image, that is the great challenge of creating the just and gracious society.

John Humphrys: But if God is omnipotent why did he not simply say "Here is this perfect structure that you can go off and inhabit and worship me"?

Jonathan Sacks: John, you are a father. Why didn't you say to your child "Here it is, this is what life is, what you've got to do is go and do exactly what I've told you and you'll be happy and I'll be happy"? Because you know that your child is not going to grow into an adult unless you give that child the space to make mistakes and to learn by it.

John Humphrys: That's true but you're missing out a crucial fact in the relationship between father and child, and that is that we, and you're a father as well, will do anything - anything at all - to prevent our children suffering.

Jonathan Sacks: Yeah of course.

John Humphrys: I wouldn't say "Go off, try it, it may end up with your painful death".

Jonathan Sacks: One hundred percent.

John Humphrys: I wouldn't say that.

Jonathan Sacks: Judaism if I may explain something which is very hard for a western mind to grapple with, sees truth as set in time. A child aged five and a child aged twenty five are not the same people. And so in the very early years of childhood a parent is much more protective of children than he is when they're twenty five. And so we find in the bible at the very childhood of the Jewish people God intervenes to rescue them, he rescues them from slavery, he takes them out Egypt, he leads them across the red sea, he does miracles, he gives them water to drink and food to eat. He is a very protective father.

John Humphrys: And he abandons them.

Jonathan Sacks: No he doesn't at all abandon them, God has not at all abandoned us to this day.

John Humphrys: He let the Holocaust happen.

Jonathan Sacks: I am sometimes asked where was God in Auschwitz.

John Humphrys: And you say where was man in Auschwitz?

Jonathan Sacks: And I answer as follows: God was in Auschwitz in the command "thou shalt not murder", in the words "you shall not oppress the stranger", in the words "your brother's blood cries to me from the ground". God was saying those things to the German people and they didn't listen. I cannot let human beings off the hook by blaming things on God; if I do then I'm betraying the mission that he sent me and sent all of us. We cannot escape from responsibility;

Judaism is God's call to responsibility.

John Humphrys: Why do you pray?

Jonathan Sacks: I pray because prayer is my conversation with the voice within that is also the voice beyond.

John Humphrys: But is there, as Christians believe, a personal god who knows, spots when every sparrow falls, and knows when you get on your knees at ten o'clock in the evening?

Jonathan Sacks: Yeah of course.

John Humphrys: He's listening to you.

Jonathan Sacks: God is listening to me in a much more direct way in Judaism than in Christianity, because in Christianity you pray through a son of God, in Judaism we talk directly.

John Humphrys: You cut out the middle man.

Jonathan Sacks: We cut out the middle man, exactly so.

John Humphrys: And you believe he is listening to you.

Jonathan Sacks: I have no doubt about it.

John Humphrys: Why does he not listen to the starving, to the sick, to the mother whose child is dying of cancer, to the people in Auschwitz.

Jonathan Sacks: I've told you we do not live in the age of God the strategic intervener.

John Humphrys: So he's given up on that stage.

Jonathan Sacks: He hasn't given up on us at all. When I found myself in a difficult situation when my late father did not intervene to help me out of it, I did not believe that my father didn't exist. Many years later I realised that he was teaching me there are certain things I just have to learn for myself.

John Humphrys: But if you had asked you father to do something that was crucial to your survival, or if you'd asked your father to do something that might have prevented someone else suffering, you'd have expected him to respond and do everything he could.

Jonathan Sacks: God always responds, not always as fast as we would like, not always in the way we would expect, but God does respond. There have been times, I've known them certainly, I've felt metaphorically as if I were drowning and God has stretched out his hand and saved me, I have no doubt about whatsoever.

John Humphrys: Well then it takes me back to the question that I ask incessantly, possibly boringly, which is: if he did that for you, why, unless he's a very discriminatory type of God, does he not do it for everyone who sincerely wants help? And heaven knows the mother whose child is dying sincerely wants help and may well be a person of great faith. Why choose Jonathan Sacks?

Jonathan Sacks: John I think we know enough about science today, we probably always did, to know that a physical universe without collision, destruction, cannot exist. I mean we are...

John Humphrys: God can create anything.

Jonathan Sacks: ...we are the dust of exploded stars. If those exploded stars had not exploded we wouldn't have an earth, and you and I wouldn't be here.

John Humphrys: And God ordered then do so.

Jonathan Sacks: God places us in a context, a physical context in which there is birth and growth and decline and death.

John Humphrys: Twenty years ago I went up to Lockerbie on that terrible night when the Pan Am aircraft was blown up and the bits fell on Lockerbie, some bits fell on houses and some bits fell on fields, those people who were in the houses were killed. And the thing that struck you walking around that ghastly evening was the entirely arbitrary nature of it, number 17 survived, number 21 did not survive. It seems to me that the God you're describing is a very arbitrary dispenser of justice and fairness and not a dispassionate merciful God.

Jonathan Sacks: You're operating on the wrong image to begin with. God has set us in a physical world in which physical happenings can be random. Now there are faiths that do not believe that, but I do believe that, that's a condition of physical existence. I cannot believe in God the creator of the physical world, and at the same time have a view about the physical world that makes every phenomenon of physics or biochemistry, the intentional and interventionist act of a God who is doing everything. God is a remote cause not a proximate cause. And if you find the randomness of that really challenging then John you have more faith than you think you have. Because actually you want to believe in a just world, and that is the first movement of faith, the belief that what we do on this earth is not insignificant, that there is such a thing as a moral purpose to a universe. And what I'm really trying to distinguish is the question why did this happen, for which I don't have an answer. And the question what then shall I do, for which I have a very clear answer.

John Humphrys: Scientists operate on the assumption that nothing can be believed or be expected until has been proven, there must be proof. And I've noticed reading what you've written that you have a huge respect for science, you're an intelligent man.

Jonathan Sacks: It's really good for describing things, it's not at all good at describing people.

John Humphrys: Well all right. Scientists say that until it has been proven, not just to my satisfaction but until the experiment must be able to be repeated and repeated and repeated until we have absolute proof we cannot accept that. Now that is exactly exactly the opposite of the message that you have been delivering to me during this conversation. You're saying it cannot, none of this can be proven, we do not have the answers, you must simply believe it.

Jonathan Sacks: What you're doing John is keep repeating the same mistake which says religion doesn't fall within the canons of science therefore it must be faulty. I'm saying you're using the wrong metaphor, and that metaphor is not accidental it's been written into western culture ever since. The conversion of Constantine to Christianity and the fact that the first Christian texts were written in Greek and therefore we are, as a famous American philosophist said, a series of footnotes to Plato. I want you to think about faith not as a quasi or pseudo scientific proposition, I want you to think of it as a marriage. That's what happened at Mount Sinai, God married himself to a people, a people married itself to God and they agreed to go hand in hand together to an uncertain future.

John Humphrys: But God gave me the ability to question in the way I am questioning; you may not approve of that...

Jonathan Sacks: Jews always approve of questions.

John Humphrys: ...but you keep telling me that I'm basing them on a fundamentally mistaken premise. If that is so and it's the best I can do, and God knows I have tried over the past few years to find a way of approaching this that takes me to where you are. I see people like you like Rowan Williams and many other religious leaders and I think gosh they've got something I haven't got. It's like the kid who sees another kid with a bigger lollypop.
Jonathan Sacks: No it isn't like that at all. It's like somebody who's tone deaf who comes across a bunch of people who are dancing and can't quite figure it out.

John Humphrys: I'll accept that, doesn't much matter, but either way I'm made in God's image, I've been give this ability too. But how is it that you, except of course it's slightly difficult here because you are one of God's chosen.

Jonathan Sacks: No no that's not the key thing, if I may say the following. My late father loved music, loved classical music, he used to play the violin as an amateur, he loved it. I was tone deaf to classical music, I really was.

John Humphrys: I have a musician son, I know exactly what you mean, who who loves Bach beyond everything and can play it beautifully.

Jonathan Sacks: So my dad you know didn't let up, and he thought look if we're not going to get him on the subtle stuff let's get him on the big bangs and the clash of cymbals. So he took me, I remember this time and time again, to hear Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture with full mortar effects, you know you've got the canons going off in the upper tiers of the Albert Hall and yeah it's exciting so he seduced me into music that way. Once I've been hooked I kept going, and eventually I discovered all the orchestral works, he loved Mahler, I discovered Mahler and I loved it to, but I kept going. And I arrived at that moment where I just discovered what spiritual depths there were in the late Beethoven quartets, now they never spoke to my father, but they spoke to me. But I couldn't have got there had he not made that initial starting gesture of saying come along and here some, don't just think you are destined to be tone deaf.
John Humphrys: So the metaphor is fine as far as it goes, but of course these don't go far enough because if we place God in the position of the father whom you describe, and I'm saying as I am look help me out here, I'm actually trying quite hard but I don't get that help from my Father/God, what am I to do.

Jonathan Sacks: I'll tell you very simply John, if I wanted to persuade you to become Jewish. The first thing I would do is take you to our old age homes, to our schools, to the ways that we really do try and make life better for people here on earth in simple no religious physical ways. Now if at the end of the day you said to me now what drives people to do that, I'd say okay lets now move to the second stage and I'd show you our prayer book. And I would show you that three times a day we remind ourselves that God lifts the foreman, heals the sick and asks us to do what he does and become his partners. And then slowly we would move inward, and maybe you would never get to a point where you could say 'yeah I really hear that presence speaking to me'. But I think you would have learned a little bit of a mystery that turned this very tiny people into people that made a disproportionate impact on the world.
John Humphrys: If I were to be sceptical about that, cynical about it, I'd say what a pity God didn't stop with your faith, what a pity that we have Christianity resulting from it, and then Islam resulting from it. Look at the wars between those various religions and the horrors that have been visited on humanity as a result of it. So why did God create all those competing religions.

Jonathan Sacks: I don't think he did at all. I think there is something in Christianity and Islam that I as a Jew cannot accept, much as I admire those faiths. They did say something that I find very difficult: that "God has now spoken to us and therefore he's torn up his promises to you", and that is why anti-Semitism came into the world. Christians were very disappointed that Jews didn't become Christians, and that is something I do not blame God for, for heaven's sake.

John Humphrys: You don't blame God for anything though do you, you can't blame God for anything can you?

Jonathan Sacks: God gives us life and the circumstances in which we can grow toward him. I do not believe that a blame culture is a terribly great culture. You remember Adam and Eve fancying the one fruit in the garden that they're not allowed to eat, and they ate it, they sinned. God said what did you do, I told you not to eat the fruit, so Adam said well it wasn't me it was her, and Eve said it wasn't me it was the serpent. Now blame is what makes you lose paradise.

John Humphrys: Am I selfishly entitled to feel disappointed that having had long conversations with three very serious thinkers there's been no blinding flash, there's been no road to Damascus, there's been no great revelation that says to me ah this will open the door for you to accepting faith.

Jonathan Sacks: Just try and listen to the music, it took me a long time after all those 1812 crashes and bangs to understand the Beethoven quartets, but I think the things is that I never gave up. And do you know what for four thousand years Jews have wrestled with God and God has wrestled with us, but we never gave up. Faith is the refusal to give up.

John Humphrys: Sir Jonathan Sacks, thank you very much.

© British Broadcasting CorporationFor more information on copyright please refer to:

Today i am healed

“Today I am healed.
Perhaps not the way you had hoped for, prayed for, waited for
But I’m in a glorious new body, free of pain, full of new strength
Free to run and dance in a place where God himself wipes my tears away
Immersed in a love, joy, and peace that we have a mere taste of during our time on earth
In the presence of my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who loves me more than His own life
Know that today I am healed”
By Dr. Tami Fisk (1965-2005)

She gave the three most productive years of her short medical career serving the Yi minority people with MSI colleagues in southwest China. This is her triumphant testimony written shortly before her Homecall.
Iriny: Christianity make sense to me because it explains the past, the present and the future. The hope of restoration and making things right will come when Jesus returns, where the evil will be judged and the innocent will vindicated.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

My precious

As i uploaded the KL wedding photos, i am very grateful to all my friends who has given me their friendship over the years. Though i am in London, i often thought about them and felt that i have left such a big part of me behind. I still miss home....

KL wedding dinner can be viewed here

London Wedding Ceremony here

Games when collecting the bride here:

Drop me few lines pls

Friday, 3 November 2006

Punch line of today

Love takes initiatives

The basic challenge in search for God

Conversation between Rowan Williams and John Humphrys:

John Humphrys: Because you clearly get great satisfaction from it, and because I want to make sense of the world because I cannot understand why we're doing what we're doing to each other, because there seemed to be many answers out there. Now, bizarrely those people who profess faith don't seem to worry about being able to find the answers. You see the number of times you've said to me, actually I don't know, but that's what I believe. I'd like to be able to do that. That's sounds more cynical than it's meant to be.

Rowan Williams: No I, no I hear you. I could say the basic question, the challenge if you like to you is, can you believe that you John Humphrys are the object of an unconditional eternal love which values you in such a way that your contribution as you to the world is uniquely precious to the one who made it.

Right place, right time, right thing

I was at the tea room looking out the window, thinking : “ am I in the right job? I like to connect with people, not doing admin job..”

A colleague of mine came in , Dr R and caught my gaze and said “gazing out of the window?”

“Yeah, I am thinking whether I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing,” I replied

“Nope, you should be out on holiday in the winter months…, but if you need oto pay off your mortgage, then you are in the right place,” said Dr. R

“Yeah, it’s about the right perspective,” I ended with a smile.
In my heart I was thinking, but I don’t have a mortgage to pay off…

Then i read this

"May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you....
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.... L
et this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of you."

Thursday, 2 November 2006

In Search for God

My friend V told me there was this radio programme. John Humphreys is conversing to Rowan Williams genuinely asking Rowan Williams to convinced him concerning the existence of God...

Please try to listenfrom here or download the conversation in word document

The key question is not a matter of believing a God, like how you believe a fact or statistics given to you, it's about knowing A BEING in a relationship, and let the relationship grow :
" The knowledge that comes, that grows if you like through a relationship. I believe I commit myself, I accept what God gives me, I try to accept what God gives me. Grow in that relationship and you grow in a kind of certainty or anchorage in the belief. Knowledge well yes of a certain kind yes, but not acquaintance with a particular fact or a particular state of affairs, it's the knowledge that comes from relation and takes time"

Do you believe you are the object of an UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?

Obedience, submit in love

To tie in with what i wrote earlier, i was going through the e-mails and catching up on those e-mails from the time i was preparing for my wedding in KL.

Came across this e-mail from J Gan, from MC :

" Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. . . .
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church.
-Ephesians 5:22,25

(Iriny: please note submit and love is interwoven)


As a couple, recall the hopes and dreams you had when you were first
married. Name some that have come true. Share with each other your
hopes for the future.

Marriages may be made in heaven, but they have to be worked out on

Obedience or Independence

From Ostwald Chambers

If you love Me, keep My commandments —John 14:15

Our Lord never insists obedience. He stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it.
We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit with Him.

That is why whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an "If," meaning, "You do not need to do this unless you desire to do so." "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . ." ( Luke 9:23 ). In other words, "To be My disciple, let him give up his right to himself to Me."

Our Lord is not talking about our eternal position, but about our being of value to Him in this life here and now.

The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation.

If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. (Iriny: Isn't that true for all human relationships as well? )

Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny.

My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. (Iriny: just like sowing seeds.... you'll never know which one will grow into a tree....)

When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.

How this spoke to me: I asked my pastor friend, V this question few days ago: "Do you obey because you love God ? If so, what if one doesn't love God? Or you do what God says, and then you discover the Love of God for you? "

He answered that it's not a dichotomy, i analysed and think too much. It's not always chicken and egg argument. It's not a clear cut. It's all part of the mosaic.

I would think that You love God, you obey Him, eventhough sometimes you have to make a delibrate decision to lay down your own agenda and follow Him. It's not always a gut feelings. The more you lay down and sacrifice ( debatable whether what you did was actually a sacrifice, since there is joy in doing so in the end) yourself, the more you discover the love of God for you, the more you will respond to God's love, the more you will obey Him.

It's like cultivating a habit. The first time you do it, you feel uncomfortable and unsure. The second time you do it, the resistance is less. When you persevere, it becomes your lifestyle.

Of course, to have a lifestyle of loving others as how God loves us is a whole lifelong process.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

My Jazz bliss and Bliss (from ignorance)

I wanted to learn jazz piano, so I did a search on internet, London jazz piano teacher and I prayed that God will bring me a good teacher. It’s hard to go by internet as I don’t have any reference, and can only go for trial lesson and then decide.

I finally decided to have lesson from Chris Jerome, because his lesson was reasonable £20 an hour. So I contacted him.

My first lesson was 17th of October. I went to his flat. I was not feeling secured as it was only him and me in the flat. Anything can happen, I just prayed hard. I went home in one piece and in bliss. Bliss because I truly enjoyed his lesson, he is awesome, quite good looking too ! Another bliss was the ignorance bliss. I know nothing about jazz.

He asked me questions like :

“Do you know what are standard jazz pieces?” I shook my head

“Have you heard of this song before “Autumn Leaves” I shook my head, I only heard it from Korean drama series, of course I didn’t tell him that. Even that wasn’t the true jazz version

“ Do you know the key people in jazz, like Herbie Hancock etc...” I shook my head

“Do you know who is Courtney Pine? I am in his band” I shook my head

He was surprised. He looked at me again and told me again that he was surprised.

The next day, I googled on Chris Jerome and his official website ,
which then leads me to
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