Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yesterday I went for a day's pilgrimage to The Friars, Aylesford. Being a Catholic all my life, the fact that I've never been on any retreat whatsoever beats me. Sometimes, I've even shunned retreats as a gimmick to find God in just a day, because I wanted to believe that we can find God anytime we need Him, as long as we try. 

I had to get out of bed at 7.50 am to get ready as our troop were designated to leave More House at 9.00am. It was a little foreign for me, getting on a trip with a group consisting mostly of strangers that I've never spoken to, the majority of which were French, as I later found out. I slept during most of the journey while our dedicated priest took us all safely to Kent. 

The day was meant to be a day filled with prayer. We started with the rosary along the Rosary Walk. The Joyful mysteries were used for meditation, something I found odd, because I usually pray the Glorious mysteries on weekend. Perhaps there is a flaw in my patterns? Different priests from different universities gave a short reflection on each mystery. The walk and prayer were both refreshing but our group missed the first mystery and voice projection in the early morning in the midst of about 200 students was not as smooth, so I failed to attain a sense of peace and fulfillment. The recitation of the Hail Mary from the front to the back of the group were not in tandem , so I even got a bit frustrated at myself and the people around me. 

After the rosary, we were invited to mingle around and visit the teashop, lake and surrounding landscape. I followed Sandra, Alexis, Theo, Alphie and Cornelius to the teashop. There was a brief catch up with Margaret and we also got to take random shots with Sister Mary from London Met and some of her students. The next item on the agenda was Mass, celebrated by the Archbishop Vincent Nichols. The atmosphere reminded me of Mass in St. John's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps it was the colour scheme, or the contemporary wood art, or the people I was seated with. Whatever it was, it had a good effect on me. Alphie spotted two ladybugs and we played around with those for a bit. I read somewhere that they are a symbol of good luck and if they land on you, they'll whisper your true love's name to you. Gibberish? Sometimes, superstitions can be beautiful too. The theme of the first reading was about Wisdom and in his homily, the archbishop called on us students to revert back to Her in our daily lives. Just a few weeks ago, in a homily at More House, a point about the secular way of living such that we make our own decisions about right and wrong was made. I can make a connection here between these considerations. Although we cannot help but tailor our actions according to the time and space and situations in which we work in, only Wisdom can direct us towards not compromising our own faith. The defense, banking or more specifically, wine or tobacco related industries are examples of the places which could bring up dilemmas for Catholic employees. I've not found myself in a state of confusion as a result of profession just yet but one day if it arises, I should know where to seek advice from. 

Lunch was supposed to be a picnic anywhere on the grounds except for in the chapel. The More House/Imperial flocked together for a happy lunch in a warm place. Melissa made great brownies and I remember seeing a fascinating assortment of lunch items from everyone else consisting of egg salad sandwiches, bananas, milk digestives, cereal bars, apples, baguettes, cakes, clementines and even fried noodles. 

At 2.15pm, everyone reconvened to the chapel for a talk on vocation. The monk who gave it mentioned one thing which struck me as interesting. He said that we could either choose to be married, or take up the Holy Order or choose to be single. The last state is not something we drift into, but rather it is a state that we choose. For now, I could see no other reasons for decidedly choosing to be single other than a high sense of anti-intrusiveness, a great appreciation of privacy/freedom and the tremendous sense of self-sufficiency. Next, two readings were shared with us: the first was about Elijah finding God in a gentle breeze, not in the strong wind, earthquake etc and the second was about the Anunciation. The theme of our pilgrimage was "Prayer: Silence, Word & Response", and I found these two readings to be in perfect allignment with it. We were given time to be alone before the final Adoration and Benediction, with the choice of going for Confession. Sandra and I got into the queue for the confessionals but never got to them because it took too long and we didn't want to be late for the Adoration. Nevertheless, the moments I spent examining my conscience were one of the most profound for me throughout the day. I felt a gush of a gentle breeze in my mind's eye, similar to that experienced by Elijah, as I acknowledged the wrongdoings that have stemmed from my tiring quest in pursuing my ambitions. I then knew that although I came on this pilgrimage with the hope that my whole day would be filled with peach and I only truly got one moment of honest calm, that one moment was all that mattered. 

Back in the chapel during the adoration, two ladybugs landed on my jeans on my left leg. Perhaps God is trying to tell me just how lucky I already am. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Thank you Dan for protecting me today. It might have just been a small little deed carried out without much thought or feeling, but you saved me from the frequently occurring discomfort that I've had to face up to.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Way out, or way on. That is how I would describe my ways. I always look for an easy path to run away from my problems or drag myself on through life. I shun challenges, appear reticent and passive to my surroundings, in so much that I disgust myself. Looking back at my old self, I see a happy spirit, hopping from flower to flower happily with much gusto and delight, laughter and light. That was a carefree past but I am an adult now, accountable for my own actions and thoughts. I have decided that no one should intimidate me anymore, or cast a lowly eye on me, for I am a child of the darkness and shadows, one who has been thrown into an abyss momentarily, before being brought out again, albeit charred. These days are covered in the shadows of existential confusion. A kind soul has shown me much care, but I see past all those. As if from a detached position whereby I am a lonely figure-decked in a beret and boring checkered dress coat, I watch the unfolding of a sad story of longing before my very eyes because I know the ending. There I stand, still and silent, staring at a scene in black and white. Stupid and hopeless, raw and inexperienced. You've not been where I have been. The film is rolling still but an all encompassing tragic has separated our worlds. Mine is black and white but you still have all the colours of the rainbow. Bless you. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Picture Credit

In all three years of me being a parishioner at More House, today was the day which saw the most people attend Mass in one sitting. There was not enough space and more chairs had to be brought in to accommodate everyone mid-way through Mass. More rows had to be added and some late comers had to sit just by the doors. I was overjoyed to see how successful Alphie, Alexis and the rest was in getting everyone to come through their efforts at promoting the Catholic Society at Fresher's Fair. Although I am not an active member of the society, a warm feeling crept up to me, to see how enthusiastic everyone was at celebrating Mass and being a community. Today's bidding prayers also called upon the Lord to reach out to those who feel lonely and isolated. Sometimes, even when we're surrounded by people, we could still feel an emptiness inside, and at this stage in life, I, more than anyone else, should be able to relate to that desolate feeling. More often than not, I will be in a crowd, but feel insignificant and lost. I thank God for the lovely ways in which He uses to reach out to people like me. 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Usually I keep things to myself, buried deep down in the recesses of my mind. Ideas, feelings and opinions which could bring harm to other people if voiced out. Most of the time, I rather not discuss these and find it hard to express myself when there is no need to. By nature, I am quiet and reserved. Increasingly so, now more than ever, I've been having difficulties engaging with some people around me. I find their presence suffocating and an uncomfortable sense of all-encompassing negativity hovers above my head, reminding me about all my inadequacies.

I love to smile and laugh and not hurt the feelings of others but nowadays, paranoia has crept up beside me and wrapped me up in it's tangle that I feel as if my very friends are happy to see my misfortunes. Doubt arises whenever they speak to me regarding certain issues and I feel as if my existence brings no use to them. I just watched Eat. Pray. Love yesterday, a movie about the female protagonist who feels as if she has no meaning to her life and who searches ardently for her 'word'. She leaves her unfulfilling marriage, gets infatuated with a younger man, leaves him after their flame dies off and goes to Italy, India and Indonesia. She finally finds love in the third country after eating her heart out and meditating respectively, in the two prior countries. Finally, she finds out that her word is 'crossing over'. She is privileged to be financially able to travel around the world in her journey of self discovery. What about the majority of us who have not that option?
What other means do we have to embark on an adventure of the soul? 

Some of us don't need a change of view to discover ourselves. Some of us already have a yearning in our souls, a wish, a hope. Every individual seeks something different and I am no different. I think I already know what my word is but effecting it is proving difficult. Not living it at the moment makes me slightly frustrated. I need to make more ripples, or maybe just one. The still pond in my heart needs awakening.


On another note, I did something silly today. I openly (and loudly) announced to my friend that a boy was handsome in a language I thought he wouldn't be able to understand, which I found out on the spot that he did when he asked me if I was speaking that language because it was native to his dad. I was soon a human with a tomato for a head. It must have been one of the most embarrassing moments of my life and I wish to record this down so I'll have an interesting tale to share when people ask me about the silly things I did.

I'm also very prone to giving very honest replies to questions that put me on the spot. Perhaps a little more tact would serve me good. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


Boy's arrogance at his mastery in card games and his playing at substandard ability to let girl win soon after him or even before. A strange reminder of some shady unappreciated scenario from of old, a blurred picture in a mind once comforted by the webs of security which in the end turned out to have torn sections in it under a brittle tight pole, as thin as a hairline. Would peace come more easily if it weren't for the memories? 

Picture Credit