Saturday, March 31, 2012

Guys' Guide to Gifts for their Gals

Wanted to write this post for some time but never got down to it til now. I know that February & March is a stressful season for my hubby in the area of gift-giving... Valentine's Day, my birthday then our wedding anniversary all in the span of a little over a month. The fact that he IS stressed is already very sweet. :* So, this post is pretty much dedicated to him to help him ease that stress whenever this season comes by. This guide may not be effective for all women out there unless they are the same species as me...hehehe.  the problem with women is, no two are exactly the same. Yes, we are complicated. :p I will only cover 4 occasions; Valentines, Birthdays, Anniversaries and Christmas. All gifts should be planned ahead, it shows sincerity and effort. The monetary value of the gift is insignificant.

Valentine's Day
A day I suspect marketeers of the Floral and Chocolate industry probably created to boost sales. But thankfully, hubby has never been a victim of this marketing ploy... coz erm, I don't like flowers and I don't like chocolates. I'm weird as chocolates will end up expiring in my fridge, even the best kind. For this non-personal commercially created day, the gift need not be very personal but should be something romantic that both persons can enjoy. Eg. sexy lingerie on a bed with rose-petals and aromatherapy candles lit up, or a night in a hotel with a big jacuzzi for 2, etc. Get the picture? Anyway, since this is just a commercial holiday, we have decided to take responsibility for planning it alternate-yearly.

This is her day. It's all about her and her alone. This gift should be something she has been eyeing for weeks or months. The longer she has been looking for it without finding it, the better the effect of the gift. It should not be something practical, not a need. It should be something she wants. Go stalk her computer for stuff she left in her favourite online shop's "shopping-cart" or stalk her facebook for any wall conversations with her girlfriends about stuff she is looking for. Or call her bestie or sister. In this case, stalking is a good thing. 

This is a celebration of your union. This is the significant day when 2 became 1. Like Valentine's Day, it should also be a gift that both persons can enjoy. But unlike Valentine's Day, this day is personal... it is close to the heart and it is only significant and important to the 2 of you. So, just like the day, the gift must be personal... something both of you share. Eg. a vacation to the place you had your honeymoon, a class learning about something you are both passionate about, reenact your wedding proposal, etc.

This is the easiest, as this is not a personal holiday or a romantic one. It where you give presents to all the human beings close to you; mother, father, sister, best friend, church mates, etc etc and of course your partner. So, this gift can be practically anything... for me, it would be anything practical. I hate receiving generic gifts like photo-frames and paper-weights which is why I refrain from being involved in any gift-exchange activities. I think it is a waste of the Earth's resources. At least those secret santa / secret guardian angel type of activities will have everyone ending up with gifts they can actually use.

I hope this helps to eliminate the need for mind-reading and alleviate the pain of gift-planning for hubbies out there! =)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mission is-possible!!

Matt 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Last week, 7 of us from the YAds team, Revival Centre went to Kampong Speu, Cambodia for a mission-trip. It is a rural village area about 1 1/2 hours out of Phnom Penh. I was both an eye-opener as well as an amazing miracle for me. We had many series of activities with classes for children and youth, and even conducting church service for their local church.

We stayed in a small guest house out in the main road of Kampong Speu where there is water and electricity supply. I guess us stupid pampered city folks won't survive without electricity & water-supply I suppose?? But we didnt try, and there were no guest houses inside the villages anyway. The main road area has electricity but it was out one of the nights we were there.
Anyway, guess what I saw outside our guesthouse everyday??
pergi jauh-jauh oso nampak Abbott trucks hahaha

The trip was eye-opening because:

1. In some of the villages, there is no water or electricity supply... they use kerosene lamps and waters from the well. They are very simple people but very appreciative of life.
Now THIS, is a real kampong... unlike Kampung Pandan or Kampung Baru

2. Some of the people are so poor there, a lot malnutrition happens. You can see small little kids who have pale blondish hair, whom did not achieve that look by dying their hair... it's lack of nutrients. Meat is also a luxury, when you order beef noodle, you will get noodles & cow spare parts. When you order nasi goreng ayam, you will get nasi goreng tulang-ayam. But I must say, they cook well... the taste is not bad at all.
cow spare-part curry wt bread

3. Small small kids are super duper independent. As young as 6 would walk or cycle >10km by themselves to class. There was one kid in one of our class who had to carry her baby sister to class, babysitting I suppose... she herself could not be more than 6yrs old!!! Yet, they are still so appreciative and thankful for everything they have or get.
the village children playing games & doing artwork (photo courtesy of Li Chan)

4. Many people do not get education because of the need to come out and work to support their family. Also, their education system is pretty corrupted causing their value of their degree to be next to nothing, unrcognized degrees, unrecognized universities... unfair for those who truly studied and worked hard to obtain their degrees. Sad. We had communication breakdowns whenever our interpreter was not with us, our request for cut chillies came out as a plate of sliced pork =.="

5. Pastor Kala (our contact there) answered God's calling 6 years ago to come here as a fulltime missionary... all alone!! She gave up all the comforts of Malaysia to be there to start teaching & do many community projects. Thanks to her, many of the youths in her classes can speak English, do simple Math & budgeting, know about caring for their health, and much much more! You can straightaway see the difference between those whose lives were touched by the missionaries and those whose lives were not. Hats off and total respect & admiration to Pastor Kala's selflessness and sacrifice. We visiting missionaries may be there to teach for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months... but it is her commitment and dedication that keeps all the programs running continuously, developing the people in Kampong Speu.
The church in Kandaldom

The trip was an amazing miracle because:

1. The water supply was unclean & Pastor Kala & our Cambodian interpreter, Vuthy warned us not to consume ice for fear of typhoid and cholera. But because it was the hottest season there right now!! (That's why not many visiting missionaries this season) We all cannot tahan the heat & thus, did not comply. Thanks for all our home-church people praying for us, we were protected. None of us got sick at all!! And we ate all the food just off the street-stalls and definitely had lotsa ice. hehehe
Matahari super terik gila!! Hot and dusty!

2. Many ad-hoc requests came up for session we did not plan. I had to conduct a vocal / music lesson completely impromptu!! Eeeeeeks!!! Takutnya. Yes, I know I can sing and play piano or whatever, but I am a lousy teacher. A really lousy one. But the feedback for my class was so positive. I even conducted an altar-call, me, erm... not exactly Miss examplary-Christian, conducting an altar call?? Erm... weird but people responded. Phew!! Just commit to what God ask you to do and He will give you the strength, skills and everything to do it well!! I know I should't have been afraid but hey, I am human too k?
Teacher Yee Huey... kekekeke ;-) (photo courtesy of Li Chan)
3. Testimonies from the locals... how this cute teenager was almost dead from dengue who was saved eventually, how someone was protected from dangerous accidents, etc etc. These super simple people with so many un-met needs... actually feel THANKFUL. So, Malaysians, if we are complaining, shame on us! We have so much more!

All in all, it was a wonderful trip... it was even wayyy way better than my first trip to Cambodia which was for touring purpose only. I think I gained a lot more from a giving-trip than a receiving-trip. Praise the Lord!! I can't stop sharing about my experience since the day I got back... starting with my parents as they picked me up from LCCT. hehehe. Would I go back there again to teach? Absolutely! ^_^
Shout with Joy to the Lord, all the earth!