When you gaze out your window — real or figurative — do you see the forest first, or the trees?
There are no trees outside my window — just a sprawling expanse of shops and houses making up the concrete forest I call home.
I live in the 14th floor, you see. It’s 13A, supposedly, because the number 4 is considered to be unlucky. But the developer appears to be on the less superstitious side. Only floor 4 is known as floor 3A and floor 14 remains as floor 14.
But I’m supposed to be talking about trees. I know there are rows of them lining the road outside the guardhouse. I’m too high up, though, to see them from where I am sitting now.
Still, the concrete forest is a nice enough view. It’s breathtaking especially when I arrive home early enough to catch the sun setting late over Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
Kuala Lumpur… There’s so much going on in Malaysia right now, especially in its political landscape. It’s quite crazy, really. But if all these things will spark change in any way, then let everything shake, rattle, and roll.
So I look outside my window, out to the concrete forest once again. As I do say a little prayer for this land.
God bless Malaysia.
Turn to your co-workers, kids, Facebook friends, family — anyone who’s accessible — and ask them to suggest an article, an adjective, and a noun. There’s your post title! Now write.
Gentle Giant, they called him. Six-foot-five with big burly biceps but with the heart of a seven-year-old child, the large man was an oxymoron personified. Well-meaning folks said that he should have taken up wrestling. Better-meaning ones, knowing his timid nature, speculated that he might have been better suited for heavy machinery lifting. But Pablo — tired of all the weights and workouts — went against all societal expectations and dove into the field of medicine.
Pablo was a doctor and a good one at that. He was already on his way to making the five-year-mark of his pediatric career and had a dozens of faithful patients supporting him, ready to give good reports. He often had difficulty interacting with the parents but when it came to the children — it was as if he wielded magic. He put frightened little ones at ease, he put the antsy ones on their best behaviours, and he made sure all the kids went out of his clinic with bright smiles painted on their faces.
He knew he wouldn’t have left a mark on peoples hearts that great if he took up wrestling or heavy machine lifting.
Pablo didn’t care what people thought. The timid doctor just reflected over what his muscular heart beat for and followed it.
Thank you, Jays, for the article, the adjective, and the noun! :D
Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?
An uncreated Being
Oceans, mountains, rivers, animals
a being created —
One of His own.
Spiritual death to all humanity.
A mission to get His children back.
A chosen people
Men and women falling
A Saviour to all.
New life to those who believe
Victory over sin and
A second coming
A new world
An era where tears are but a distant memory
Pain and suffering are but fragments
Of a strange dream.
A new world
One reigned by an uncreated Being
And children He calls
If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why? If that seems too easy, try this one: who would you like to have spend a day as you and what do you hope they’d learn from the experience?
I wonder what it’s like to live your life. To take that long, long, long commute to your office daily. To not drink tea, to not drink coffee, to watch what you eat more or less constantly. To head back home when the rest of the world is ready to hit the sack, to sleep long after I had already bid you sweet good night.
I want to feel the pressure you feel there. Maybe, if I do, I’d understand more. I try to understand, to empathize now, but as a tabby cat comprehends the carabao’s toil, so do I comprehend you.
You have so much of my respect. I’d go as far to say that I admire you greatly. It would be fun to live your life out.
Even if it’s just for a day.
We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?
November 2012. A script, a notebook, a hot pink phone. Frustrated tears roll down my chin as I struggle to verbalize the turmoil of emotions that have been welling up inside my chest for the past few months or so.
I laugh at myself, feeling like a telesalesperson with that sheet of muddled up writings in front of me. You laugh too, telling me you won’t let me live this down.
Struggles. Questions. Misunderstandings. I let my awkward words stumble and tumble out.
Kind words. Apologies. Resolutions and affirmations. The pain subsides and I find myself smiling through a new set of tears.
Tears of relief. Tears of new found joy.
Let’s make this fun, you say. Yeah.
What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?
The Elephant’s Child. How the Camel Got His Hump. How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin.
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.
For my eight (or was it seventh?) birthday, I got what I believed was the best present ever. We had just gotten home from the beach (our “clan” travels from the mountains down to the sea every Araw ng Kagitingan because it’s a holiday and all) and there was a thick birthday gift waiting for me. I couldn’t wait to open it.
I don’t remember if I opened the package carefully or if I ripped it to shreds. But I can imagine how I must have ooh-ed and ahh-ed, seeing the thick volume with the green and yellow hardbound cover peeking out from under the wrapper.
I loved that book. I loved the stories inside, far-fetched as they were. Did you know that elephants have trunks because the Elephant’s Child had a nasty tug-of-war with the crocodile by the Limpopo River? Did you know that camels’ humps were originally called humphs but the name was changed so as not to hurt the camels bearing them? And did you know that the rhino’s skin is all wrinkly because a naughty Parsee put cake crumbs in it while the poor soul was bathing (without his skin) near the beach of an Altogether Uninhabited Island?
I know, I know. The stories aren’t real, O Best Beloved.
But they taught me to look at the world with wonder. They taught me to believe in the unbelievable. And they taught me to keep careful watch of my clothes whenever I’m out swimming or bathing.
Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.
July 31, 2004. Aqua Altria, San Antonio. Los Baños, Laguna.
Me. In my navy blue tee, cream-coloured khakis, large rubber shoes, and onion cut hair.
Him. With His patient forgiveness, unfathomable lovingkindness, and overwhelming faithfulness.
An encounter. One that changed my life forever.
One that opened up my eyes to a whole new world. One that brought me out from darkness into light. One that mended my brokenness and replaced it with sweet, sweet wholeness. One that enabled me to live a life filled with grace and freedom.
180. Thankfully not a 360.
The road is straight and narrow. I shall joyfully continue to press on.
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Desert dunes across
embracing a jeweled
Up to a world of dreams.
They’ll tear down the fragile walls