In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

Friday, August 29, 2008

okay one last post before i leave for malaysia, cos i'm such a blog-addict (D: that's quite horrible! mm no, i shall prove that i can not blog for long stretches at times. but the thing is i dont have a good memory. okay wells who cares)

so today was the last Teacher's Day celebrations in RG i'll ever be attending! :( but PSB organised it, and i think it was really a job well done(: haha there wasnt a highlight performance by the teachers like last year, which was really really funny (you can youtube search it, rgs teachers day 2007) but still(:

yay mr lim got Caring Teachers Award, which i think he totally deserves(: as well as a couple more Patricks xD might just have met his target of 5, bringing his total number of family members to about 10 plus or so? :P he got most celebrity-look-alike teacher award as well, haha bearing resemblance to Sponge Bob Square Pants best friend, and most sth-else award as well, which i cant recall....

and aces day before that was just funny, the field was muddy and liangzi accidentally smeared mud on my culottes >:( and we were all just rubbish-ing around and doing funny stuff, so well, was a pretty good last day of term 3.

going back to pri sch was just weird. was there bout an hour before anyone else from my pri sch class came, so just stoned in the canteen, watching the little kids play badminton! i miss pri sch, really. i can hardly even remember what i did then, just hazy memories which seem to have been implanted in my mind. so anyway, after almost an hour of feeling loner, yanling finally came, and slowly people arrived. total no of pupils from 6/2 2004: 8 (helena, me, kelly, yanling, dominic, paul lim, nevin, mingjun. but the highest number at any time was only 5. hai, seriously sad, but well. met ms yap, who remembers us(: and she thinks i'm tall, yay! chatted a bit, waited for mingjun to come. then when he arrived, the four of us girls promptly left, leaving paul lim and ming jun behind, heh. and bumped into nevin on the way out, never knew he was coming. and so concludes my (probably) last trip back to my pri sch. next year onwards it's gonna be rg(:

anyway, the past few nights' insomnia finally took a break, managed to nap in the afternoon. really, really long and deep nap, i didnt even want to wake up after nearly 3 hours, but forced myself to else i wouldnt be able to sleep in the coach tonight. 10 hours ride! D: and 10 hours back. hopefully there's tv.

start of sept hols! happy holidays everyone, enjoy yourselves and take a break (take a kit kat!) :D

the end's coming soon. as much as we try to postpone it, it is inevitable. and not for the first time, i look back and wonder what did i do, what have i done, and has it left an impact? but everytime i look back, all i see are the things that i could have done better, the things i could have done but did not do. this year has been not a very good one, and i've often had regrets. but well, i guess i should trust next year's chairs, that they'll do a better job than i did.

Move Along - The All-American Rejects
Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking
When you fall everyone sins
Another day and you've had your fill of sinking
With the life held in your
Hands are shaking cold
These hands are meant to hold

Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Move along
Move along

So a day when you've lost yourself completely
Could be a night when your life ends
Such a heart that will lead you to deceiving
All the pain held in your
Hands are shaking cold
Your hands are mine to hold

Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Move along
(Go on, go on, go on, go on)

When everything is wrong we move along
(Go on, go on, go on, go on)
When everything is wrong, we move along
Along, along, along

When all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through

(Move along)
(Go on, go on, go on, go on)
Right back what is wrong
We move along

Thursday, August 28, 2008

WHEEEE! no more ss/geog/physics (IN MY LIFE) and no more eng/bio/chem lessons for the rest of the year!! :D though we've got eng and bio options....

(: so yeah, after ss paper, we were all totally cheering and happy. but the teachers HAD to make us stay back for various briefings, which rather dampened the mood. anyway. so after we managed to settle everything, we left for pizza hut! cos soff had this craving for pizza hut student meals since like, start of the week. seriously.

and then, at the bus stop, many 190 buses came and went, cos it was too full. and just when we decided we'll just walk to far east to take other buses, a few buses came. and anyway, after some arguments over which bus to take, we decided on just taking the 190 straight to ps. and i was trying to squeeze my way in so that i could make space for soff, shaina and nair, WHEN THE BUS UNCLE SHUT THE DOOR WITHOUT WARNIND! i got a shock, i was like wthhhh!! and so, i got separated from the rest of them. quite sad... and i had to sit at pizza hut to wait for them for a while, feeling like a loner :(

and after that, we tried to buy teacher's day presents. we walked up and down ps, went into almost every store just to occupy our time/find sth suitable, and finally decided to settle on: chocolates from carrefour. how brilliant! and then we stoned at macs for over an hour, writing notes and just stoning. i swear, it was so boring and unnerving, studying would have been a much happier and relaxing affair. you just feel a sudden sense of loss and yeahh like you lost your direction in life. 不知所措。 (dont know what to do)

anyway, had odac parents' meet for expedition to Mt Fansipan in Vietnam in the evening, and i'm so looking forward to Fansipan! :D it's damn cool (both climate and well, just cool like cool)

okay i'm not exactly coherent now. feeling rather sleepy, i couldnt sleep again last night! so annoying. thankfully ss was short, so didnt have to struggle to keep awake(:

then after parents' meet, juan and i went for a photo shoot. at this secluded and rather scary place. but the room was pretty cool, i can totally imagine my brother living in a place like that when well, he moves out. he alr has the weird lamp thing, the bookshelf, the guitar and camera equipment scattered everywhere in his current room. he just needs the microwave oven, mini fridge and a couch...

anyway, we had to put on makeup, the HORROR. i really honestly have no idea, WHY people would put colourful powder on their faces VOLUNTARILY. everyday. then we had to take photos. juan looks better dao, supposedly. but yeah, altogether a new and rather weird experience. cant imagine doing modelling full time; those camera lights/flash! and the make up D:

okays so teacher's day tmr. and ACES day. and then, at night, i'm gonna go off to malaysia! Pulau Redang Marine Park, Terenganu, Malaysia. for those who studied geog, it's in one of the many notes. back on tues night, so :D haha. but T.T i'm gonna have to bring my chi tuition hw there :( hope it doesnt rain.

ps. it's LOU's birthday today!(:

heh sorry lou, hope you dont mind(: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! <3 ya much, you're a great co-mentor and friend, and the best thing is, YOU'RE AS GOOD IN PHYSICS AS I AM! haha okay lah, maybe better(:

over time, the feeling just fades, and you just dont feel so happy doing it anymore. and everytime i have to do something like that, i wonder, why do i even bother? nothing's ever enough, not even your best. honestly. people will never be satisfied.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

(: chinese is over! for a while, at least. :/ kay gotta start memorising the thick stack of proverbs and idioms and what-not, in the hopes that my chinese essays will be (marginally) better.

anyways, i'm proud of myself, cos it's the first time in a couple of years, that i managed to take the whole paper without sleeping! xD doodled on the question paper to keep myself awake. and i mixed up the 事 with the 出 for the darned quote"无风不起浪,事出必有因" ah wells. maybe teacher never see.

cant wait for tmr(: it's all gonna be over in slightly over 12 hours! how amazing is that(:

and amazingly, although i score 5/20 for ss fa, i still get people asking me about ss... :/ i'm not gonna be held accountable! i'd be darned glad if i manage to get the same results as my mya. (though it's gonna pull my gpa down)

When You Say Nothing At All - Ronan Keating
It's amazing
How you can speak
Right to my heart
Without saying a word,
You can light up the dark
Try as I may
I could never explain
What I hear when
You don't say a thing

The smile on your face
Lets me know
That you need me
There's a truth
In your eyes
Saying you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says
You'll catch me
Whenever I fall
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all

All day long
I can hear people
Talking out loud
But when you hold me near
You drown out the crowd
(The crowd)
Try as they may
They could never define
What's been said
Between your
Heart and mine

[Repeat chorus twice]

(You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all)

The smile on your face
The truth in your eyes
The touch of your hand
Let's me know
That you need me

[Repeat chorus]

(You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all)

The smile on your face
The truth in your eyes
The touch of your hand
Let's me know
That you need me

(You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all)


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

i dont know either. i'm sorry, at the start it was my fault. but i turned around and blamed it on you; cos knowing you, you just accept it anyway. there's no reason, no excuse. you have always been there. maybe, maybe if we erase the past few years, and start over again.

it might not be much comfort, but i used to miss your presence. last year, i wished you were there with me. but this year, i've numbed myself to the feeling, moved on. used to your non-presence. not that you were never there; you have always been there.

maybe we could try, all over again.


let it go, take it slow.
:/ i'm doing things subconsciously/having no memory! gaping holes of what happened between then and now, and i wonder if i actually did something in between D:

anyway geog is finally, finally, finally over! (: no more lorms in my life. i actually wrote that on the test paper, heh xD and seriously, i felt like my subconscious was writing the paper cos i have no idea what i was writing about, just crapped whatever came to my mind. ah wells, it's OVER(:

only chinese (D:) and ss (><) left! thursday! rejoice(: meanwhile, before that joyful day, i still have chinese to study and ss to annotate.

friendship is like the lamp in my life. without friendship, it would have been as though the world has lost the sun.

if you think it looks familiar, it's cos it's in our chinese notes. under 情景作文心理描写常用语句 if it doesnt look familiar, then you better go look through your notes again.

不怕学不会,只怕不肯钻。chinese! D:

Monday, August 25, 2008

as the end of eyas draw near (yes it is coming nearer, and before i know it, it WILL be thursday. before that blissful time though, i have to sit through 3 of my most disliked papers T.T), i'm finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate while studying.

while i'm trying to absorb all the information about global shift and tourism, reading handouts, powerpoints, pdf files, half the time my mind is wandering to thursday, where we will all be FREE from this rubbish. and needless to say, it is unproductive. i read through paragraphs after paragraphs, but am not absorbing anything. :/ maybe i should go practice piano for a while (that thought's been hovering at the back of my mind, since my exam is in 2 weeks' time D:) before coming back.

but just as geog is able to put me to sleep, so is piano. it seems impossible, seeing as your hands are moving, but somehow, i feel sleepy during piano lessons...

and i'm feeling very, very apprehensive over geog. it's the subject with the least practice, least preparation, and seeing as how they've spoon-fed us all the information, the paper's likely to be difficult. and the thing about it is that it depends on how you phrase your answers. and since we didnt have much practice, my phrasing is more likely than not to be wrong, and so, i fear to possibility of having the answer but not in the way the teachers would like it to be in. bleargh :/

i dont even recall completing a whole geog ws any time within this term. how, what if, what if i enter the exam hall, sit down, stare at the paper and find myself unable to answer a single question! D:

facts, figures, and more statistics to be memorised. i've got a nasty feeling that this week's papers are gonna reap poorer results than last week's, despite having an extra weekend to study for them.
start of week 10, ie the last week of term 3.

this term seems to have stretched for the longest time ever. i recall at the start of the term, we were still panicking over the fact that the dwen an ppl were coming in slightly over a week. then a few weeks after that, apcg started. and now, more than a month after apcg ended, term 3 is ending. regular lessons ended last week. eyas are going to end in 3 days.

i was just walking through the athena gate across the netball courts towards blk D, and i realised that next year, i would really miss walking through this path that i have been taking for 3 years. the feel of walking through the rj gates would undoubtedly be very different. i'll miss rg very much.

after 4 years here, i've assimilated pretty well to the environment. i rmb coming in in s1, and thinking and feeling that the environment was so different, i'd never be able to adjust properly. from the annoying pinafore (my pri sch u looks like nygh's) to the lessons to the all girls environment to well, the way the pledge was said (i rmb it was in a different accent or sth from pri sch). and i rmb everytime someone (older, like i am now) said that rg gave everyone equal opportunities, that she would miss rg, that rg was one of the best times of her life (not that she has lived much, come to think of it..), i felt pretty nonchalent. at that point, i was still pretty much missing pri sch, and rg was just super weird to me (i still rmb rhd, making us have a dress-up-as-ethnic-food competition -.- it was, and still is the stupidest inter-class competition i have ever heard/done)

but now, i really feel what those seniors meant. i will really, truly miss rg. rj will be a totally different environment, and i hope i'll adapt well to it. but the past few years in rg, especially s3 and s4 year, was one of the most impactful times in my life. the learning curve was definitely very steep, and i think i've matured a lot more (xD growing up physically and mentally) if i had gone to any other sch (which most likely would be dhs) i'd definitely have turned out differently. probably be a lot more immature. wouldnt have a passion for climbing/marine biology. i think in s1 i had some regrets over coming to rg (cos most of my friends went to dhs/cchs) and the only thing that stopped me from fully expressing my regrets was odac(: and slowly as the years went by, the ties that bound me to rg multiplied. and now, i can whole-heartedly say, i dont regret coming to rgs(: it provided me so many opportunities and experiences that i doubt i'd be able to find anywhere else. (though other schools would also have been able to do the same, after all each school is different)

anyway, one term more(: and i predict the term will be the most exciting one, seeing as we have options, and random free time in between which we can use to do random stuff.

i'm really glad for the rp, cos it means that i dont have to worry over whether i will go to a poly or a jc, or which jc i'll get into(: we can actually start planning what we'll do in jc (ie subj combi, cca)

on the more immediate future side, eng today was ... i couldnt sleep last night (again :( ) and so woke up today wishing i could sleep more. and throughout the english paper i felt as though i was drunk or sth, cos i was really really sleepy. i think that i thought that (during the paper) i could think clearly. i hope i did. else if i fail my english, i will !@#%#%3@$@ finished it with 20 mins to go, and went to sleep. it was freezing cold. nair and i decided that for the last ss paper (rejoice!) we will bring ear muff thingies (that protect your ears from the cold), gloves, scarves and thick winter jacket, so as to (silently) protest against the freezing cold and unconducive environment of the examination hall. and personally i think it's a waste of electricity. shouldnt they know that 25degCel is the optimum temperature for air cons to save energy?

chem and geog tmr D: but i think the worst is yet to come. i dread wed and thu, chinese and social studies. dont understand why they have to put my lousiest two subjects for the last two papers. it's utterly and totally demoralising. like the last memories you have of taking your exams will be horrible?

i'm feeling and getting more and more lazy. think training for fansipan in t4 is gonna be really tough. speaking of which, soff had the most ridiculous dream. she dreamt that we had to take 2.4 after eyas, and somehow the setting was in ri (or sth like that, just not rg) and that we had to run it within half an hour. and somehow, we took 15 mins to run one round. xD i had an even more ridiculous dream while sleeping during english. i dreamt that i was attending the first odac session conducted by the sec threes. it was at some amphi thing, and the sec threes were doing some skit... it was really weird. and i really hope odac sessions dont turn out like that in the future D: haha doubt it will(:

anyway, three more days people(: jiayou and hang in there!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

i think out of the last three weekends we have before the end of our eyas, this weekend was undoubtedly the least productive. strangely enough, i seem to be getting less and less productive as the exams draw nearer.

or maybe it's just cos the upcoming exams are horrible/cant be studied (english p2, chi; geog (doesnt give me motivation), ss (absolute rubbish)) the only thing that's decent coming up is chem.

kays anyway four.more.days. i seriously cant wait. but i'm afraid that my impatience will cause me to just rush through the rest of the papers, not be serious about it and just do terribly for it. study study study!

jiayou people(: eyas/tests/whatever other rubbish.

Thank you Lord
Thank you, Lord,
for the trials that come my way.
In that way I can grow each day
as I let you lead,
And thank you, Lord,
for the patience those trials bring.
In that process of growing,
I can learn to care.

But it goes against the way
I am to put my human nature down
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.
'Cause when those trials come,
my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God's soft prompting
can be easily ignored.

I thank you, Lord,
with each trial I feel inside,
that you're there to help,
lead and guide me away from wrong.
'Cause you promised, Lord,
that with every testing,
that your way of escaping is easier to bear.

But it goes against the way
I am to put my human nature down
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.
'Cause when those trials come,
my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God's soft prompting
can be easily ignored.

I thank you, Lord,
for the victory that growing brings.
In surrender of everything
life is so worth while.
And I thank you, Lord,
that when everything's put in place,
out in front I can see your face,
and it's there you belong.

one more week people! hang in there(:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

just came back from ora dinner.

it's amazing how boisterous these adults can get. for all they keep telling us to respect the person holding the mike, it is clear that once you're out of school, all these teachings fly out of our head.

anyhows, it was a most mind-numbing experience. shant comment any further. but in any case, really grateful to mr lim, else i prob wouldnt be there at all. thanks mr lim(:
and as i sat there, it occurred to me that i was extremely fortunate, cos well, everyone else there (at the recipient table) were all heads of boards or have exceptional grades, neither of which i am/fulfill. and it would probably be my last time there, unless i join ora... house capts and heads of pb/psb 09 were there as well. and i must say that the heads table was very noisy...

4+ hour dinner D: tessa, miao and i brought stuff there to study. but didnt really get to study much, cos it's rather rude to be studying when various important people are giving speeches. dinner wasnt exactly very nice :/ but well, it was a rare opportunity, and i'm thankful.

now, if only thursday would come faster. faster, faster, faster...
it's such a dreary day. been raining since the morning.

really nice time to crawl back into bed and sleep, but considering that geog and chem are still sitting on my work desk, waiting to be studied :/

slacked pretty much though. half-heartedly trying to study geog now. extremely bored.

ora dinner later.. that's night-study gone, and i work better at night than well morning/afternoon.  sheesh, i think geog and ss are gonna be really bad :/

5 more days! thursday's gonna be a jam-packed day. or at least more so than the past week has been.

Friday, August 22, 2008

taking a break from studying.

in case you're unaware of recent happenings (or not-so-recent happenings), there's a committee which presides over the Southern Islands of Singapore (and in case you're not aware of Singapore's geography, singapore does not comprise of just the main island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin, Jurong island and sentosa. we have southern islands too!) and the chairperson recently just stepped down. the committee is in charge of developing the islands, and over the past many years, it helped build like infrastructure at the islands. and now there's talk of the fate of the islands, like opening up to ecotourism, or a third casino etc.

if you want to know more, read this:

anyway, so whatever it is, they havent decided. but the former chairperson was a nature enthusiast and wanted to preserve the natural landscape of the place. but now...
i'm actually rather ambivalent over it. on one hand, to develop the place further would entice more people to visit and learn more about the natural world around us and stuff like and i guess building causeways linking the islands to sentosa/mainland would make it a lot more accessible. yet on the other hand, it would mar the natural beauty of the place. i havent been there, but i can imagine what it's like. natural, unspoilt beauty. as yet untouched by globalisation/industrialisation/man. but can you imagine, once there's a regular traffic of people, the pristine beaches would turn into garbage dumps, somewhat like our east coast beach/changi beach. building hotels/casinos/other major infrastructure would require forest to be cleared/change the natural landscape. and well, if you're a geog student, you can envision what the place will be like in a few years pretty well. and i really, really dont want that to happen. i want the place to remain as it is, status quo. but i want more people to learn more about Singapore's shores and Singapore's rich ecosystem and everything else. more people to be nature enthusiasts and take up an active interest in the environment.

actually it's pretty much like how i feel about climbing being more common. like on one hand, you want more people to recognise climbing, yet on the other, you prefer the competition to be less. :/ though of course in the first place you must be at a competitive standard. which i dont really think i've achieved yet.

when in trouble, trust in the Lord.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength like the eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:30-31)
i think psb should give us more counselling courses. cos even if we're not allowed to do peer counselling on a school level cos they're worried that because of our inadequacy, after our counselling it might lead students to doing stupid stuff, we are still peer support leaders after all, and should be equipped to do peer counselling.

anyways. it's quite interesting, how relationships are so dynamic. they change in an instant. it takes a lot of effort to sustain one, and the thing is, you never know when it might change. if it helps you any, there used to be a time when i wished you were there with me. i dont know about now, but between then and now, i've had so many disappointments that i dont really want to try anymore, because i hate disappointments. on the other hand, while reflecting on past relationships, you wonder about the future. cos indubitably (heh xD) when we go to jc, almost everything will change. the only constants in life, is change, and God (thankfully :D). i may not be much of a spiritual person, but i do feel His presence everyday and am really glad that i have a religion, and that it is Catholicism. i dont get how people can be atheist. but that's a different topic.

on the other hand, it is quite saddening that i cant even do my younger bro's p5 chi hw. nvm, i still have 3 more months to buck up my chinese. i can get an A, and i will get an A(:

i dont understand how people who are clearly so much smarter than i am cant do well in exams. and yes, i'm talking about you. you are really smart, like intelligent. kay nvm.

We Are One Tonight - Switchfoot

All rise
All fall
I'll fail you all

We built these cities to stand so tall
We've lost our walls

I don't want to lose it, coming down
With the whole world upside-down
I don't have a soul to trust in now
With the whole world upside-down

We are one, tonight!
And we're singing it out!
We are one, tonight!
And we're dreaming out loud!

And the world is flawed
But these scars will heal

We are one, tonight!

Two eyes
One tongue
I've come

I'm no victim
I paid these dues
I came to lose

I don't want to fight about it now
With the whole world upside-down
I don't have a soul to trust in, now
With the whole world upside-down

We are one, tonight!
And we're singing it out!
We are one, tonight!
And we're dreaming out loud!

And the world is flawed
But these scars will heal

We are one, tonight!

I don't want to lose a common ground
With the whole world upside-down
I don't want to fight about it now
And the world was burning out

Let's slow the evening down
Slow it down
Slow down
Please slow down

The stars are comin' out!

We are one
We are one
We are one
We are one tonight
We are one tonight
And were singing it out
We are one tonight
And we're dreaming out loud
And the world is flawed,
But these scars will heal

We are one tonight!
(still fighting it out!)
(still fighting it out!)
second last chapter of A Healing Fire

Confronting a Killer

I went to Mao’s house, but he was working in the fields, so I asked a village man and Pastor Sokcheat to bring him to my foster father’s house. “Please tell him not to worry, as my intentions are good,” I told them. “I just want to meet him and forgive him.”

While waiting for Mao, I spoke to a number of villagers and learned which men had been killed during the civil war. Many older people seemed to have forgotten what had happened to my family. At first they were afraid of speaking to me, but eventually they asked me where I had been for the last 25 years or so.

Mao was ploughing his rice paddy when Pastor Sokcheat and the villager approached him. He was shocked to hear that I had invited him to come and see me in the village. Despite his misgivings, he stopped working, left his cows to eat in the field and came back to the village.

When he arrived, I could see he was putting on a brave face, but underneath he was fearful. I greeted him and invited him to sit down and have lunch with me. Several other people joined us, and I gave Mao some bread I had brought from home, trying to make him feel at ease.

Someone offered him some alcohol. He drank a little and began to talk to me. After finishing lunch, I took the imitative and asked him how he felt about meeting me. He just smiled

I asked him, “Do you know where you hit me?”

“Yes I do,” he responded.

“Did you know how many people you killed that day?”

“No, I don’t remember.”

“There were 33 people, but only 32 died. I am the sole survivor.”

I could tell that Mao was surprised, but he said nothing. He looked frightened. He could not look in my eyes.

“Let me tell youabout my mission today,” I said. “I have come here to set you free from the bondage of fear. I have brought gifts for you.

“Here is a krama,” I said as I put a Cambodian scarf around his shoulders. “It is a symbol of my forgiveness for you. Here is a shirt I have brought for you as a symbol of my love for you.”

I found it very difficult to get the words out as I stood before the man who had killed my father. My throat choked with unspoken words and my heart ached with pain.

If you have a wound in you leg, you remove the plaster and cleanse the wound. It stings, but healing is taking place. Cleansing the wound is necessary for the healing process. Delivering the message of forgiveness to the man who had killed my father was extremely painful but it brought healing.

I asked Mao about his feelings, but he showed no emotion, no regret and no remorse over what he had done. He seemed dead inside, he had no feelings.

“How do you feel now that I have said I have forgiven you?” I asked.

“Thank you,” was all that Mao said.

After spending three hours with him, I have Mao a hug and said, “By the grace of God, I can forgive you. I know that you did not intend to kill my family, but it was done under orders from the Khmer Rouge. What happened in the past is now cancelled and you may go in peace.”

Many people in the village were clearly stunned to see me giving Mao a hug. In Cambodian culture men rarely hug – it only happens if the two men have been extremely close for many years, and are meeting again or saying farewell. I had hugged the man who killed my family, which didn’t make sense to the villagers. They probably thought it was just an act – I was putting on a good show and would come back one day to finish Mao off.

I saw the former deputy village leader, Kmao, who had given the final order to Mao and his associates to kill my family, passing by, so I called him over to have a chat. He was also shocked to see me, having been told of my disappearance over 25 years earlier. In his astonishment, he too thought I had come with bad intentions. He was speechless and very nervous.

A group of people standing nearby told me, “He was the deputy village leader then, and he made all the decisions, good or bad,” and “He gave the orders to kill your family.”

These statements instilled a deeper fear within him and he shouted, “I didn’t want to do it, but I was forced to! What could I do?” the crowd fell silent – what he said was true.

I bowed down and greeted him, and he did the same to me. As I came closer, putting my hand on his shoulder, I could hear his laboured breathing.

“What is wrong?” I asked kindly.

“I can hardly breathe,” he replied.

I could see that his body was trembling uncontrollably, so I tried to calm him down. “My mission today is to set you free from the debt you owe my family. I have come not to do anything harmful to you, but rather to forgive you. I have already forgiven Mao.”

He looked over at Mao and relaxed. I put a Cambodian scarf around his neck and said, “This is my symbol of forgiveness, and it cancels all the evil you did to my family, you may go in peace, and may God bless you.”

(: it's the weekends! though it'll be spent studying, like the last few weekends, but still. at this point, you'll just take whatever you're given.

math was totally wasted today :( invigilator didnt give warning, i JUST figured out how to do the last part of the question when he said stop writing. argh. so i could only stare at my paper, as i figured out all the steps in my head, but couldnt write it down. so !#!@%@$%!@$ >:( and philo was just weird, hope i will do decently.

my younger bro just got back his papers. haha it's quite funny how in sec sch, when you get a 45/60 it's like whoa happiness! :D but in pri sch it's like :/ aww man so lousy! haha but in any case, my younger bro got an astounding 50% for chinese. it's amazing how my parents both came from chinese schools (hcjc) but their children's standard of chinese is soo bad.

i just realised how easy it is to be a pig. i came back from school, ate my lunch, went to shower then went to sleep. then when i woke up, feeling hungry, i went to eat bread and biscuits. and i could very easily sleep now. (it's raining heavily! i like sleeping when it's raining xD) and i really dont understand, what happened to all the food when i was sleeping! how come wake up only can feel hungry already, i didnt even exercise or use my brain or anything...

i really, really cannot wait for next thursday. but i think it'll come by pretty fast(: time flies.

you look back on your journey, one year ago. and you wonder where you went wrong. was it something or another that you should have done instead? you had such great ideas, big dreams, ideals and goals. and looking back now, do you think you fulfilled them? i dont think i did. many things i think i could have done but i didnt. regrets, coming back to haunt me as i'm about to take my leave.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

yay no more physics in my life!(: as in studying of it, of course, physics is everywhere around us.

though i was feeling quite mm, emotional? nah on a lesser scale, as i was sitting there, waiting for time to be up. like, i've been studying it for four years, and it isnt that bad lah, honestly. but between physics and bio there's no competition; bio wins hands down. there's no way i can take physics in jc, i'll just fail my a levels. i'm quite thankful for ip, cos if i had to take physics o level, i'd prob just fail and not get into any jc.

anyway, the best thing about today's that i reached home when it's still AM!! most people are still in school (: lit paper started, alr, i should think. hope they do fine.

kay back to math! 2 formatives and 1 revision exercise :/ havent been in the sun for a long time, the sun's shining so brightly, it's such a nice day to be out! nvm, one more week xD

hang in there everyone! one more week to sept hols:D

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

yeahhh one down, 8 days to go! :D

i felt inexplicably happy after each paper, even though on hindsight i dont think it went that well :/ ah wells, english paper 1 and bio's over!(: i hope the rest will be better..

attempting to study physics now, but i realise that it's not just the tcher that puts me to sleep, just reading it is like a lullaby. now i know how to cure insomnia.

i used to quite like physics last year, dont know what happened between last year and this. nevertheless, bio's for me :P even if soff and juan just took their last bio paper in their lives.

8 more days to liberation! there are so many things that i want to do after eyas, that i doubt i'll do any of them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

in 12 hours time, i will be taking my first End of Year Assessment paper. let's hope it's not too difficult :/

somehow, reality hasnt sunk in that my eyas are starting. but i know, that all too soon, eyas will be over. and i will seriously C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.

dont expect too much, else you'll get disappointed. better to think of the worst, and later get a pleasant surprise.

looking forward to end of eyas!

see how far we've gone in the past year and a half.

how hardworking we are,

(Fleming's Left Hand Rule! :/)how we enjoy our food,

but we're sorry for the times we failed to pay attention to the dronings of our beloved teachers.

so 407, during this trying period, eat wellsleep well;
and most importantly, always listen to our form teacher!

(go brain gym go! combat brainlessness!)
go 407! <3 jiayou, for that 8 more days.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

quite surprised at myself, spent >30mins last night on facebook. helping people with their green patches. it's quite ingenious, these little applications.

anyway, Singapore got a silver, so yay for Singapore! actually i think deep down we all knew on friday that Singapore would have gotten a silver, just that well, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. and even though the Singapore team comprise, well, of (China) Chinese, they are after all, representing Singapore.. and aren't we all (China) Chinese anyway, just that we came two generations early?

but my younger bro is really weird, he was imagining if there was this quadruplet table tennis pro, and Singapore talent scouted two of them to play for Singapore. then in the finals, two of them played against the other two, representing two countries. it'd be quite amusing, like having double vision or sth :P

:/ almost everyone's gone on a hiatus, but here i am at least once every day. this is terrible. and it's amazing how i studied so hard last weekend, but this weekend just slacked off. and exams are just three days away D:

The Road to Forgiveness

After many years of suppression and living with anger and denial, I began to learn that I was living a life that was filled only with darkness. The desire for revenge meant that I was living with an unreal dream that one day I would be able to fulfill my promise of vengeance. I subconsciously became very good at embracing my pain. I nursed it in a special place in my heart and gave it great prominence in the scheme of my life. In fact, it was my top priority.

Years of longing to take revenge created a fantasy world in my head; it was a fantasy that helped me to survive day by day. I felt I had created an image of a prison in my head, and into that prison I put the images of my family’s killers. In the 15 years since I had lost my family, every day I imagined butchering, axing, chopping and beating my family’s killers in that prison.

When sadness rules in my heart, I could see myself coming into the prison to torture the killers, just to tell them that I was very angry at what they had done to my family. I thought that I was the one in charge of this prison, but the truth was that it controlled me. I could not liberate myself from the bondage of the mental image I had created. I needed a liberator. Where could I find one?

Then, in 1998, I received a letter from the World Vision USA indicating that there was a great need for good Christian teaching in Cambodia. As well, many Cambodians needed counseling to help them overcome the emotional scars inflicted by the Khmer rouge. According to the letter, I was the most qualified person to do all these things. Would I seriously consider going back to the land that had caused me so much pain and suffering?

Reconciliation can never take place if forgiveness is not granted first. No one can wake up one morning and decide to search for their family’s killers and begin to build a relationship with them. I think it would be relatively easy to deliver a message of forgiveness to a distant offender, but coming face to face with them is an entirely different scenario, especially when the offence was so grave.

It took me years to reconsider reconciliation, and I always doubted whether it would ever be achieved. I was not sure what I would do and say if I met them. They murdered my family. But now I was beginning this journey towards reconciliation, and it was a scary prospect.

I wondered if they might kill me because they though I had come to take revenge. My primary expectation from the trip was simply to meet them – I could only make my mission of forgiveness complete if we met. It’s unusual for Cambodian people to say, “I’m sorry,” so I didn’t expect an apology. I wanted to tell them that I had come to cancel my revenge and set them free from me. They would not longer need to fear me because I no longer wished they were dead.

With my mind made up, I went back to Cambodia in May 1999. while visiting my sister on the outskirts of Seam Reap, many friends in high-ranking positions offered to send soldiers with me when I travelled to Siem Reap, since former Khmer Rouge still lived there. I chose to bring two Cambodian pastors, Sokcheat and Narath.

The road to the village was in very poor condition; in fact, it was little more than a track for ox-carts. We arrived in the village about 10am and I went to the house of Mov, my foster father. My foster mother, who was surprised to see me, said Mov was away for the day. Word soon went around the village and a number of people came to see me at my foster parents’ house. There were many I didn’t recognize, so I introduced myself to them.

I asked about the people who had been involved in killing my family. The villagers were shocked at such a question. Why had I come back to look for my family’s killers after more than 20 years? I sensed that they were thinking I had come to take revenge.

No one would tell me where the killers were, so I went to look for my old friend Sak, with whom I worked in the fields during the Khmer Rouge period. He had been forced to join the Khmer Rouge soldiers, who ordered him and two other friends to catch fish by sing bombs. A bomb was set off accidentally, killing both of the friends. Sak was blinded by the blast.

Sak said that four of the six people I was looking for had been killed during the Vietnamese invasion; only two men were alive. Mao, the man who struck me with a hoe, still lived in Siem Reap. The other, Ean, had moved to a neighbouring village.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

was just browsing through my osl cambodia 07 photos, to find some suitable ones for the 08 team to use. brought back lots of memories.
most of my photos are of people. the little kids there, and the team. like whoaahhh, total cam-whore. think i've got an indv shot of every member, whether they knew it or not :P one day, after eyas, when i've got time, i'm gonna do a video of funny things we did. seriously, i know i've procrastinated for a year, but after eyas, i will really do it.

the children of Cambodia.

sights of Cambodia.

osl 07 <3