Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I realized that I've been a prison of my own mind. I'm in the land flowing with milk and honey (okay, with limited supply b'coz of the economic situation), but at least I'm in a place where some of my country man can only taste US in their dreams or imagination, yet I'm missing home.

Flipping through FB pictures of my M'sian friends' travels to the US kinda made me appreciate my presence in the states. I have been focusing on what I hate about the North East, Turkeysylvania in particular, and imprisoned myself within the the walls of hate. The result of this is a whinny mouth that complains about the US and a fugitive mind that can only think of home (m'sia) as the only source of comfort.

Today, I will free myself and love the US instead.

Perhaps my brother is right, perhaps my work or Philly is not what I expect it to be, but there are other things to behold.

Friday, May 13, 2011

cling clang

What sounds like repeated knockings of the hammer against an iron shelf?
The MRI chamber

Being active and fully conscious this round, an hour in the MRI chamber was unbearable. The noise emitted from the magnetic scanner was painfully loud. Why can't they play classical music and mute the noise? It felt as if my head was being knocked by a loud hammer over and over again, except it doesn't feel painful. My ears hurt though. I was given ear plugs but they didn't help very much. The only interesting bit is that the noises emitted don't sound the same. I tried to imagine what the different noises reflect in the environment to occupy my time in the chamber. Here's what I came out with:

1. angry birds call in low pitched robotized noise
2. laser beam shots
3. clanging of pots

I was given a 10cc of phase contrast injection. The volume is dependent on the weight of the person. The name of the chemical composition starts with "g". Can't remember the rest of it. It contains magnetic irons apparently. That injection was the most painful and longest shot I've ever taken. Ever ! The technician first tied my arm with a thick rubber band, made me contract my biceps and asked me clenched my fist. Then she injected me with a 'forced' relaxed arm. She said the phase contrast solution is thick, hence she had to inject it slowly. She said the shot typically takes several minutes.

Being in Mt Nittany again brought back memories of my concussion. I had a terrible experience there. It was equally traumatic as my fall. Being harassed time to time by the RNs and told that i was fine (when i was immobilized and that eye-movements were restricted). Being striped naked in front of a RN while she dressed me and rudely said that she couldn't dress me when my hands are in the way. My muscles were hardened, silly ! If I could move my muscles, I would had have boxed and kicked the nurses.

I'm thankful that I can move now, compared to 6 months ago. Being mobile = being independent = deciding for yourself what you want to receive from others (you can always walk away from horrible situations) = being able to protect your own dignity = freedom to act upon your will = being in control of your own body. What a joy to regain that back (after one day of being bed-ridden/ suffering from apraxia of limbs) !

On another note, I couldn't find my car at the parking lot. A kind RN stopped and asked if I needed help. She then drove me to my car based on my description or recollection of the car park. I felt like that's God reassuring me that He'll guide me when I'm lost. I need that, now.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

An amazing experience with Huldah Buntain

In 1954, a couple sailed from New York to India for what they thought would be a one-year missionary. 50 years later, the Buntains' ministry has grown from a small shop above a night club to 800 churches, schools, colleges, orphanages, a blind school, a hospital and a nursing school. The Buntains' Calcutta Ministry also include feeding 25,000 people daily, performing cleft palate surgery and blood transfusion on patients.
This morning I had the privilege to hear Huldah Buntain, 79, share at the Assembly of God church about how she gave her life to Calcutta. The entire congregation gave her a standing applause the moment she walked to the stage. Huldah has such a heart for the people in India that hearing her speak about them made me weep for the people in India. Not that they need my tears, but that there was so much to love through Huldah.
It's an amazing experience to be in the presence of such a wonderful woman of God and I'm so dying to share this with you. :P Tales about her deeds of love and acts of faith were unheard of that they made me redefine what love and faith means. A case in point was the construction of a hospital in Calcutta by the Buntains. See, when they started building churches (esp in Muslim territories), people burnt them down. Then, they decided to build hospitals instead because when services are being provided to the community, burning them down would mean having no treatment.
Anyways, the city (council) granted them an area to build a hospital. The moment they started digging the land, they found that it was on a lake! Calcutta is 12 ft above sea level and they needed pilings, which they couldn't afford, to lay the foundations. So Mark, Huldah's late husband, gathered some people around that plot of land, tied a string to a bible, lowered it to the water and commanded the waters to recede in the name of Jesus.
Today, their hospital basement is one of the driest area amidst the monsoon and flood. It houses heavy instruments which non-christian engineers from Toshiba, CA, said would rust after surveying the location. But, after inspecting the basement for dampness, they asked, "Can you (Huldah) tell me your story, again?"
This story made me recollect on my mom's testimony of the all-things-are-possible-God we have. My grand-father donated a plot of land in a fishing village in Kuala Kedah to the Southern Baptist missionaries to build a church. It was one of the first Baptist churches in M'sia btw. Once, a fire came upon their village, got carried by the wind and consumed all the wooden houses. Amazingly, the wind stopped at the direction of the church. It was the only building that was spared by the fire in the village. Amazing, ya? Today, the church is converted into a firehouse, however.
Anyways, you can read more about the Buntain Calcultta ministry here. When Huldah said, "and my God will supply ALL your needs.", she meant every word she spoke. It wasn't just words, but life to me.

Friday, October 02, 2009

update from SC

Here are some happenings of my life in SC:

1. Summer was blown away. Just last week, it was 50-70F, which was nice, like Cameron's, now it's 40-50F.

2. Which means the trees are changing colors. Now it's half green half autumn.

3. Since it's getting colder, I'm in layers.

4. I've been really stressed out with work and classes. I'm working as a research assistant if you don't already know.

5. I'm living with an American house-mate and a furry jet-black cat. I'm spending more time with him than his master. :)

6. I dream about Malaysian food every now and then. I felt very home-sick after returning from summer.

7. I'm attending a bible class on the New Testament Survey in my church.

8. I'm 'trying' to read a book called "Head Cases" by Michael Paul Mason. The author is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) case manager and in his book narrates about the stories of individuals after TBI. Apparently 1.4 mil Americans suffer from TBI every year. That figure itself can fill a city. Pennsylvania has a silly law that allows bikers, who are the rich and influential with big toys, unlike our mat rempit, to bike without a helmet.

9. wonders whether the distance is too far when she say things like, 'it's a friend's'

10. Is learning more about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and advocating for people with disabilities. AAC is an adaptive assistant for people who can't meet all their communication needs through speaking or writing. That includes using symbols, pictures, sign language or voice-aided machine to speak. Apparently the credentialing speech and hearing board here, ASHA, defines communication as human rights. It means, every individual should be entitled to communicate. If speech won't do the job, then they should be provided with alternative means.

11. misses someone.... :p

Sunday, March 08, 2009

the ironies of life

It hit 60s F on Friday!

This is the first time since 5 months that I felt warm. I can't explain the joy I felt walking out on the streets with just one layer ! The air didn't sting anymore. The sun brought happiness. The birds are back and the voices of children fill the air again. I see people hanging out the building, jogging in shorts and clothing in bright colors. Winter was pretty outside, but for most of the time I experienced life as a cocoon.

Since being in State College, I find myself changing to balance up the lack of something... here's how it goes...

1. Back home, I cherished my weekends home alone, where I can shy away from the crowds for a moment of peace. I felt recharged painting a picture or reading a book. Now, I'm mostly home alone and I have become such an extrovert. I hate weekends alone because the quietness is so loud. To avoid home alone, I've stayed-over at a friend's place or even brought homework to socials, just so I can be with people. I used to love the privacy of my room. Now, being alone in my tiny apartment feels like being in a prison. I'd rather be out, taking pictures in the open or with people... just out.

2. Don't we all hate being in the sun and heat in Malaysia? Right now I'm celebrating warmth ! Remember how we used to laugh at the ang mos for getting a tan? Now I can relate to them. After months of greys and cold, the sun is a big welcome. It's not a fun feeling having chilly bones. I've become phototropic here. I'd purposely walk in the sun or stay near light source or ask my friends to switch on more lights in the room because it makes me happier.

3. I used to jog away from my playground, towards the bungalows where there's less people so that I can empty my mind a bit. Now, I would purposely jog near children, families or where people are tossing Frisbee or football. It's very refreshing to hear the sounds of laughter and squeals in the open compared to being quietly enclosed in a room.

4. I used to turn my phone to silent mode when it was getting too busy and that i needed to concentrate on work. Now, a beep or vibration is a welcome. I guess that's cause I don't get as many calls or activites going on :(

I'm in Jo's house now. I'm having one week of Spring break. I miss home alot and have been having Malaysia (people,places and food) in my dreams.

Monday, November 17, 2008

white christmas

The view outside my window was like this...

3 hours later...

well, this is 4 hrs later, when it stopped snowing, but i wanted to compare the two shots taken from my window.

ok 3 hrs later...
it's snowing, snowing...

snow on the evergreens

welcome to the magical land of park forest villa!

snow on the ground

on the woods

on the bench (Tudek Park)

on the dry flowers

And so...
I will not be sleeping tonight. I'm going to throw ice on my housemate and tell my lecturers that I don't have to work on my assignments b'coz it snowed...
"IT's the FIRST DAY OF SNOW !!!"
hello? who's going to stay indoors to study?
I have 2 assignments due tmr... but since this is the first time I am seeing snow, I grabbed my camera and clicked around my neighborhood and into the park...uploaded them on my computer and mailed some to my family...posting it on my blog. So clicked away my working time... ophs.
"...Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
Isaiah 6:3

Sunday, October 19, 2008

living by faith


In response to my prev post, God has been teaching me about the rewards of relying on Him in times of nothing-ness.

Now, I've been wishing for a puncher (in America a puncher makes 3 holes and it's as long as a letter size paper, I don't know why they just make everything different here). Stationaries are expensive here and I don't want to pay USD 8-10 just so I can make 3 piercings on my paper.

Guess what? I got one free today ! Got it in church at the lost and found section. No I didn't steal it. But after a period of time, everything on the table goes free if left unclaimed. Other than this, I got a corduray jacket, a pair of gloves, lunch bag, pencils, a set of wooden toys.

Not to mention my 2 hikes over the past weekends. I was complaining to God about being home-bound... and lo and behold a few hiking opportunities popped out.

I'm still praying for:

1# A visit to an apple farm. There was an apple-picking festival at a nearby farm over this weekend, but since my house-mate and course-mates were busy and I don't have a car so I missed it. Grumbled I did. But since God has been a Santa-Clause to me, I'm sure more opportnites will come by. The good thing is, even though I don't get to pick apples, I get free apples from friends who went.

2# A beautiful sunset. Sunsets are lovely here, you'll see shades of purples and reds (something about how light is reflected or bend over the horizon here...) Now I've caught a couple of lovely sunsets but those view were obstructed. There are some locations where you get to see sunset over the hills, but I need a car to get there...

3# Color papers and photos. I got my picture frames free, I need some color papers to paste my photos on. I hope someone can donate some art papers to me or that I can find some good deals at yard sale... (coz they're expensive here, and there's only one art shop around)

I've become very self-absorbed since classes begin. I used to complain to God that I don't have time for myself. In my previous job, I work with people, on Friday there's cg and on Sunday I'm scheduled for eithr worship or sunday school.

Here, I don't have much time, so it's just me and my books plus church on Sunday and bible study on Thursday. I hardly get to serve. Well, I guess I didn't volunteer to serve too because I am still church-hunting plus I did not think I would have thee time.

But it gets depressing after a while. Being self-absorbed. During bible study on Sat, a friend shared a story from "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis which went *nudge nudge* -> me. This is how the story goes (I may have mixed up some facts) : There was a group of visitors from hell who took a ride to heaven. One man had a snake tied around his neck. It got tighter every day. Now an angel (or was it God?) asked if he wanted to be healed. The only condition was he had to surrender the snake to the angel. He took a while to decide. Every day the snake kept telling him that he needed it or he couldn't live without it. But when he finally surrendered the snake, the angel turned it into a beautiful horse.

And that's how it is with the God of Abraham. He asked us to sacrifice our highest commodity so that He can bless it in return.

For me, it's my time. I've been very kian-siap to spend on it (with Him or for Him), since there's a big pressure to do well so that I can get a scholarship/assistantship to relieve my parents of their financial responsibilities. I feel bad relying on them at this age when every other filial son or daughter are giving back to their parents.

so #4, pray that I'll give God my time. Hopefully I'll get some form of assistantship/scholarship too.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" Phil 4: 19.

Pictures taken from Greenwood Furnace

p.s -I got a box of chocolate malt packets for free today. Someone from church gave it to me. Said her kids overdosed themselves and now they're sicked of it. This is just what I need ! Last week I returned a tin of choco powder back to Wal-marts caused they didn't taste anything like the chocolate I've drank before, namely milo. I didn't have time to look for another chocolate drink... God knows what I need ! oh ya this one's by nestle.