Surviving 40 Days

This is the lent season, and for us catholic, it is a season of fasting and penance. Every lent season always remind me of one thing (apart from Jesus’ passion and death). It reminds me of my first fasting experience. Now, I never fast except for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That was the first time I decided to fast because I was inspired by my roommate. Every lent season she will turn into vegetarian for 40 days and she never fail.

So, I thought, since I had a roommate who is a catholic, I could fast with her. I took it up and told the people in the kitchen that I will be vegetarian for 40 days. I had my dining card stamped as vegetarian. No escape this time.

First day was fine, I was pretty excited, my first day went without any difficulties. I thought this was easy, 40 days might be a piece a cake for me.

Second day, fine. Third day, okay, I could feel a little pinch; fourth day, the pinch was getting painful; the fifth day, my body was craving for meat; sixth day, I felt angry; seventh day, I went to the KFC.

That was heaven!!! I enjoyed the chicken so much that when I finished it, I immediately felt regret. I went back to the hostel, I told my roommate what happened…

“You did what??!!” She asked, I could feel the bitter and disappointment in her voice. Maybe a little shock too.

“I went to the KFC and ate the chicken” I said, with greatest regret.

“Why?”

“Because it is chicken! I could not stand it!”

“Why did you do that? You should resist it!”

“I know”

“You’ve done it for a week. Why did you give up? You have 33 days left!”

“Thirty three days!!! I don’t know if I can survive 33 days!” I said it, still could not imagine that I had to fast that long. But I knew I had to do it

“So, what do I do now?” I asked.

“What to do now? Start over. Failing one day, doesn’t mean you stop it all together. You have 33 days left, start fasting again. This time ask God for strength, you own strength will fail you, but God won’t” She pointed out.

I listened to her advice and started fasting again. And truly, this time I did it with great determination. Since that day, I struggled, but not as much as I first started. I started to pray more as I fast daily.

I survived that 40 days.

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Connecting To The World

Once I travelled to Rumah Michael in Julau with members from a non-profit organisation.  It was a one hour drive to Julau,  then, we took two hours boat ride to the longhouse.  We were there to see the micro hydro, built by the longhouse folks themselves for electricity supply.

All of us had our cell phone with us, but of no use because there was no service at all.  We spent a night at the longhouse and feasted that night.  The next day, after breakfast, the longhouse folks brought us to see their pepper farms.  We went through the jungle and went up and down the hills, I think it took us about 30 minutes to reach the highest hill and there, we saw vast greenery with cooling breezes.  But, we were not there for the scenery.  Everybody was taking up their phone so high.

Those digi and maxis users (telecommunication company), they just sat there.  For celcom users, we all tried our luck including me to get the connection.  About five minutes later, a colleague was already on the phone, talking to his wife.  I was still searching and maybe 10 minutes later, ‘Ding’.  One message just came through.  It was from celcom, reminding me to pay the bills.  Few minutes later, the second message came in, then few minutes later, the third message came in.  It was slow, but that was like the happiest moment.  I lost contact with the world for a day and finally I was connected again.

Here’s To The Daily Blog

Hello!  I will just go straight to the point here.  I have decided to do daily blog from now on.  It is a big commitment for me.  I do not know whether I can do it, but I will do it.   2018 is going to be a year for me to start doing things.  You see, I have this blog for quite a few years now and I posted entries on and off.  And I thought, I should not do this anymore.  When I first started, my attention was to share my thoughts and experiences to the world.  Things that mean a lot to me.  I am not sure if I am offering valuable insights to the world.  All the blog posts that posted do offer me better insights especially on myself and I learn to be a better person.  I learn to express myself better.  I also learn to share things on the things I’ve always believed in.  My adventure stories…I love the stories.  If i hadn’t start blog, I would not know how beautiful they are.  I would only have pictures to tell the story.

So, why do it daily?  I thought, if I really need to learn to express and to offer more, I should make it an effort.  In fact great effort.  It will not be easy; juggling between works and other things I am doing.  But, I should do this.  I had been thinking about this, and I think it is time.  I do not have the strongest English in the world, I made mistakes here and there, but I should take the opportunity to be brave and learn.

So, for this daily blog, it will be in the form of stories like the posts in this blog or it will be in the form of photographs and some stories or captions (as you can also see in this blog) or in the form of reflections.

My hope for you is that you will like it.

 

 

Why … Oh … Why?

Sometimes frustration can lead us to do things we should not do or to say things we should not say. Whether it is done intentionally or unintentionally, the result always leads to hurts and pain of another person and distrusts towards us. The aftermath of it normally leaves us with regrets, if our conscious is right. Just few days ago, I might have offended someone. What it seemed to be a joke, I might had gone too far. I tried to comfort myself that I didn’t do any harm or offended that person; the problem was that person. He could not take a joke. I was being rational, my intention was to have fun. But I have to admit, I was a little annoyed with his joke, so I shot the joke back at him. It seemed fair. However, whether or not he could take the joke, damage has been done. Now, it is no longer ‘he just take things too seriously’ or ‘he could not take the joke?’ I started to realise, I could’ve just shut my freaking mouth and smile!

I apologised. I did! Because my conscious said I must. To some, it might seemed unnecessary, because ‘The problem is not you, it is him… why do you need apologise?’ It was my duty, it was something I needed to do, I could not go against my conscious. That should’ve give me a peace of mind. It did, but not for long. It bugged me. It kept bugging me because I don’t know whether he accepted my apology. He didn’t even want to talk to me.

The Vagrant

The VagrantIt was 9 pm. At the sight of the authority approaching, he tried to run, but he was surrounded. There were more than 10 of them, probably 20 – Police, officers from the welfare, a politician, and those from the rescue unit. All of them tried to help him. At least, with a comfortable bed and some food to eat. But, what the heck did he know about that? All he knew was that these people tried to take him away, only God knows where. Today would be a bad day. Every day was a bad day for him, but today could be worst. He knew he would get in trouble one day.

If sleeping on the street was a crime, then, he would be the worst criminal. He did it every day. This was his regular spot on fine weather. Did not know why he chose that place. To lie down with that stinking plastics, wastes, and suffocating smells was just disgusting. He smells too. He didn’t mind being there.

They pulled him out from that disgusting place. Coaxed him to go with them. He wanted to run, he hated those people. He did not trust them. “Come with us, we have food, a bed for you to spend the night and maybe you could take some shower”. He did not know the last time he had his shower. However, he would not take the risk. “No…Just let me stay here”.

He went back to the spot, closed his eyes, wished everybody would leave him alone.

 

The Forest

I liked forest very much but scared of it. The serenity sometimes gave me chills. The quietness, the touch of breezes, the music as the birds sang above me and distance away made my heart race. People said you shouldn’t talk in the forest, or else you would be hunted by something you cannot see. Whether true or not, better take precaution.

“Why are you always looking at the streams?” Grace suddenly asked me. I didn’t expect to be asked that way. Yes, I had looked for streams throughout the journey. The sight of those glassy and graceful flowing waters or sometimes just dead calm, they were just fascinating. What would a forest be without streams? I think it would be like a body without the heart. Dead. Or a person without a soul; dead to everything around you. Streams give life to creatures; they make the trees, the grass, the plants grow big and beautiful. They give relief to animals; quenching their thirst and cool them down from the heat of the summer’s sun. They make the forest a forest.

“Oh, I did?” I replied.

“Yeah,”

“I just love them.” It was the only answer I could give her. I forgot that Grace was a very observant person. She picked up small details, details that I might have missed, but she picked them up. She had great empathy, no wonder she was an award-winning journalist.

couldn’t be like her. I lose focus easily. I wondered how does it feel like to be in the forest 40 or 50 years ago? I was not born at the time, but I bet they were very thick and the streams were roaring. The forests were teeming with life! My parents used to tell me that they used to bathe in the river. Bath at the river?? Ewww… I mean… why would you wanna do that? That is just gross! Bath at that muddy river..yuck!

“No…honey…the water was very clean during my time. It is brown now… but my time… it was clear..you could see your feet! We took our soap, our towel..extra shirt and just bath there.” My mother used to say that.

I missed that! The people of my generation missed it! What a pity! My grandparents used to see wild boars in the forests, they were everywhere. They knew the hornbill had come as they listened to that majestic sound of wing flapping, as that big bird flying overhead. They listened to birds singing in the dawn chorus. Forests were once a home, now, it seems foreign. In my place, There were people still keeping in touch with nature, for them, it was still their home, for me, it was a getaway. My job allowed me to visit such places, but as I looked around me as I walked through that thick forest and I watched that stream, I asked myself, how long will it last?