The Week in National Mourning: A prayer for Lee Kuan Yew

Palm Sunday: I thought the service started early, because I got in 15 minutes early but the kyrie began before I even found a seat.

A kind usher directed me to the leaflet when she saw me flipping the missal frantically –


A pre-service requiem for Lee Kuan Yew, it was. Being protestant, I personally have problems singing the litany of saints, where the lyrics go ‘Sancta -insert name-, ora pro nobis’ (saint –, pray for us). I believe that our great privilege as Christians is to be able to approach God in prayer through Christ, instead of having to go through the saints, who were once human like us. Nevertheless, I knelt in prayer as the litany was intoned.


This is the one week where I’ve actually prayed for my nation, for my country to be able to continue the good work that was Lee’s life. Praying for the country is usually included as part of the regular services, but I do not usually pay much attention. This past week, I gained a better understanding of the necessity of doing so – you become a concerned participant in the national narrative when you pray.

Wishing the Lee family rest and solace,


postcard from the Vatican: it arrived!

Bit of a belated post…but hello postcard!

Mailed: 29th Dicembre 2014
Stamped: 30th Dicembre 2014
Received: 23rd Febbraio 2015

Stamped: Gloria in excelsis Deo
Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace to people of good will.”

Random question: is there a different stamp for Lent, given that the Gloria is taken out of mass during the period of Lent?


Ciao dal Vaticano!

Wow…where has my postcard been all this while; languishing amidst the Christmas backlog? I’d given up hope on it, forgetting even that I sent it, and here it appears.

I sent one to my ex too, the very one who introduced this protestant here to catholicism. Every catholic church I stepped into reminded me of his all too conspicuous absence. Even so, if it hadn’t been for him, I would not have appreciated Italy the way I did. Previously, I was an iconoclast (and still am, a little), and I might’ve easily dismissed much of the sacred art and architecture as being the worship of idols but I have since gained a deeper understanding of the faith.

And if you were wondering whether a reply came from the ex, no, there wasn’t. To have given up expecting a reply and yet still harboring hope for communication is sometimes the hardest of all to bear. and quite sad and pathetic.

Have a good weekend, y’all.

my passion project: an art website

It is only now that I realise what an impact the art in Italy made on me, for I have spent the past several weeks collating artwork and putting them onto a website to be used as part of my lessons. It’s art therapy for myself, really – I pick and choose the artists that I like, art pieces that make sense to me, art pieces that give me pleasure, others that disturb me, and in so doing, begin to experience a ‘refining of the palate’ in terms of my taste and preference in art. The trip to Italy made me appreciate sacred art a lot better, mainly because I got to see them in the context of worship, with artwork adorning the chapels and altars. This experience is so different from just five years ago when, as a complete noob, I looked at sacred art in the National Gallery in London and yawned. Seeing Madonna after Madonna after Madonna made me roll my eyes and I naively believed that she was only painted because people were paid to paint her (eh, perhaps that isn’t too far from the truth). I think it fair to say that I have made some progress in my knowledge of art and as such, the pleasure I derive from looking at art has also increased. I am glad for that, and also a little pleased, for much of it was self-taught.

Enough of that pre-ramble…click here to visit my art website (without too much copyright infringement i hope!) Website is best viewed on a desktop as I have yet to work on the mobile site.

Remember you are dust

Ash Wednesday this year coincides with the eve of the Chinese New Year, also meaning that the season of Lent starts with the fifteen days of the New Year. This is quite incongruous for the Chinese/Asian Christians and Catholics out there; those used to feasting during this time must now fast.

I guess people all around will look to make meaning out of this clash of perspective, culture and beliefs, and rightly so. What does it mean to begin a new year remembering that you are but dust, and to dust you shall return? To begin a new year knowing that you are utterly and completely in God’s hands, for good or ill on this earth, but always the best for your eternal soul?

why dost thou punish me for the way you made me feel?

i received word that you will indeed be at the celebratory anniversary mass at my workplace, and i felt a deep sadness well up within me. the reason(s) escapes me – perhaps the idea that after all this while not talking, i can still read you after all, and know you’d want to be around for such an event. perhaps upset to know that this is the very first time in more than a year where I’ve received tangible information about where you’ll be, and i can’t be there. to have to take pains to avoid you because you’ve gone out of your way to shut me out.

do you know what i fear? im afraid to go to work on monday morning and find on my table the cards, letters and birthday presents I’ve mailed over the past year. dropping them off because it’s convenient to. to scorn and to spurn me, as if silence and indifference wasn’t enough.

don’t do that to me; I’ve loved you too hard and too long to bear it.

postcard from the Vatican

A month ago, on 29th December 2014, I mailed two postcards via the Poste Vaticane. They were addressed to my ex and to my parents, but my family’s has yet to arrive, so it should be safe to assume that my ex didn’t receive his either.

Perhaps that’s a sign of divine intervention telling me to just…stop. Stop disturbing him, stop missing him, stop pining over him, stop thinking about him. That in itself is heartbreaking too.

A Word of Thanks

On returning to work last week, a colleague lamented how her phone was pilfered on the metro in Rome. Later in the day, another colleague bemoaned her daughter’s phone being purloined in Pisa.

Aside from the fact that no thief worthy of the title would take my phone because it’s so shit and that my phone being stolen could be a blessing in disguise because I might be able to claim insurance for a new phone etc., I’ve been pretty blessed on all my trips so far. I’ve travelled solo in three continents and have never been pickpocketed, or put in a mildly threatening situation. I cannot congratulate myself for any street-smarts, because most of the time, the words ‘oblivious’ and sometimes ‘naive’ are what my colleagues use to describe me. I can only thank God, and the many people who pray for my safety and journey mercies.

This is particularly humbling in light of the news regarding the Japanese tourist being gangraped in India – I’ve never been to India, but I have trusted strangers and new friends as she did, and it was/is only God’s grace that kept me safe.

Here’s to many more safe but fun solo travels, and a safer world to live and love in. Happy 2015 to you!