Hook

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Landed almost midnight, checked-in at 1am and before handing me my room’s keycard, the bubbly lady at frontdesk, named Millie, said I have to play the lucky draw. My mind was detesting (please, just give me my keycard – you have no idea!!) The last time I was here and played the same stuff, I won a cup of espresso.

But before I could say ‘No, I do not want to play’, Millie already dropped a coin inside the machine. I turned the knob twice and a blue ball came out. Millie opened the ball and inside was a paper.

I said, ‘Make sure it is twenty thousand baht.’ Millie smiled and said, ‘Congratulations! You won a special prize. What colour do you like?’

‘I do not have a favourite colour’, I said. She said, ‘OK, I will get you the best one.’ She went inside a small room and a minute later came back and handed me a tiny stuffed toy.

‘What’s the name of this?’, I asked. The smile disappeared from her face and was immediately replaced by deep thinking. She panicked and uttered, ‘Hmm I don’t know.’

‘I will not leave until you give this thing a name.’ She called one of the hotel porters for help. They were panicking as I stare at them and as they stare at the stuffed toy. Then the porter said, ‘Hook. Call him Hook.’

I said, ‘OK. Thank you. Hook it is. Goodnight.’

I am now ready to sleep and I still have 1001 things inside my head. But as I retire for the day, I look at Hook and realised how much God has blessed me with tiny colourful unexpected surprises in life.

Dear God, thank you for the tiny, colourful and meaningful blessings, which sometimes I fail to take notice of. Thank you for Millie, who insisted that I play the lucky draw. Thank you for the porter, who gave the name Hook. Thank you for today, Amen.

When was the last time?

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I was walking along the streets of Central Hongkong when I saw this tram. I chased it until I was able to get a good shot.

It says – beautiful.

My colleague was puzzled why I had to chase the tram.

After I was able to take a relatively good shot, I asked my colleague,

When was the last time you saw something that is beautiful?

When was the last time someone made you feel beautiful?

When was the last time you received something that is beautiful?

When was the last time you chased something that is beautiful?

It could be a person, a place, a dream, an experience, a tram. It could be anything.

When was the last time?

Moon

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Full Moon, Hongkong 16 October 2016

Dear Moon

Whenever you are full, you always catch my attention. Sometimes, you look so magnanimous and powerful. Sometimes, the clouds steal away your pristine brightness. Sometimes, you become playful and adorn yourself with shiny little stars.

Last night, you once again caught my attention. This time, not because of your fullness nor with your brightness but with your stillness.

I think, that’s what you invited me for. To be still. To keep still.

Where stillness does not mean absence of movement but not resisting the natural flow of life.

Where stillness does not mean the absence of noise but listening to that voice inside that says, ‘It’s time.’

Where stillness does not mean to ignore others but attend first to what is essential.

Where stillness means knowing that life is a cycle. Sometimes, what is seen is only a quarter of what you really are. Sometimes, you are full and strong. It does not matter. Your constant presence is what matters. I guess, we mortals are like you. Sometimes, we can give all of ourselves. But sometimes, we can only give so much. Kasi yun lang ang kaya. Kasi yun na lang ang natitira.

Many people send their love to orbit around you. They say, ‘I love you to the moon and back.’ Without you realising it, you become a channel of love.

But the truth is, you do not have your own light. Whatever light you have and you give, you simply get it from the Sun. The two of you have an incredible friendship. Since the beginning of time, you were there for each other. Reminded me of God’s constant love for me. Reminded me that whatever light I have, it is all from God.

Tonight, I pray. That I gain wisdom from your stillness. That I learn generosity from your fullness. That I remain connected to my source of light, Amen.

Goodnight, Moon. Thank you for the companionship during the long flight tonight.

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On board CX 913, 17 October 2016

Letter

 

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Dear #youknowwhoyouare ,

A couple of weeks ago, before I left, you asked that I write you a letter. I stared back at you for few seconds, uncertain about what and why are you requesting for a letter. You insisted and once again said, ‘Write me a letter.’

I have 91 items in my To-Do-List, your request is the 92nd. But because your request is one of the very few items out of 92 that I could do while in-flight, I hope that before I land I can fulfill your request.

Not sure what you want me to write about but perhaps I will share with you the film, ‘Train to Busan.’

In the film, the child (Su-an) was given the newest video game console for her birthday. The child accepted but said that her birthday wish is to go to Busan to see her mother.

Life gifts us with many pleasant (and unpleasant) surprises. But sometimes, we need to have the heart of that little girl in the movie. Be grateful for video game consoles, but do not keep your eye from what you truly want and insist in getting what you truly desire. So today I am writing you – Do not get distracted.

In the film, Su-an said that she practiced and perfected the song for her father and the reason why she was not able to finish singing the song in a school event was because she didn’t see her father amongst the audience.

Life teaches us to perfect our skills and be the best in what we do. We have that innate desire to memorise lyircs, hum its melodies until its rhythms sway and lift the souls of those who are listening. But sometimes, the absence of a person or persons in our lives cripple us and prevent us from performing our best.

So today I am writing you – If today you feel like Su-an, standing on a stage, where everyone expects you to perform your best, and you feel like you have forgotten the lyrics, no sound is coming out, and you feel scared and unsure – go and find (or remember) the reason why you are standing on that stage in the first place.

In the film, from the hundreds of people on board, only two made it to Busan.

Life allows us to meet people along the way. But only few will remain to be part of our journey til the end. It is what it is.

So today I am writing you – you are meant to continue the journey, with or without the significant people in our lives. You must reach Busan.

What is your Busan – that place, that spot, that destination where you will feel safe and fulfilled?

How badly and how soon you want to be in Busan?

Don’t stay too long standing in front of that sign post. Board the Train!

Maybe next time I watch a film, and I have a little time to spare, even without you asking, I will write you again a letter.

See you when I see you. #youknowwhoyouare

Three Hearts

12916145_10153991652567660_8033717352331607923_oLast night, someone noticed that most of my IG posts have three hearts. After a few Viber exchanges with this friend, I grabbed the play doh’s I brought with me and molded three hearts.
In the movie, “How Do You Know?”, Paul Rudd explained to Reese Witherspoon the story behind Play Doh. It was originally a maleable substance developed as a wallpaper cleaner. One time, an unused cleaner was left in a nursery school and children started playing with it and used it to mold Christmas ornaments. It was then altered (made it softer and produced in different colours) and became one of the most successful modeling compound for arts and crafts.
Paul said that just like Play-Doh, “We are just one small adjustment away from making our life work.”
In yesterday’s Easter Mass, the Bishop repeatedly said that in the many Good Friday’s in our lives, we should always remind ourselves that Easter is coming.
So I slept last night with thoughts of three hearts, play-doh and Easter. Perhaps, what the Triduum and Play Doh tell us is to make that one small adjustment to make things work, to make our lives fit to its purpose in order for us not to stay and lament on Good Fridays but to push ourselves and move towards the surprises of Easter.
Maybe, it is that forgiveness that needs to be given. Or received – and then the journey will become lighter.
Maybe, it is that dream or mission that needs to be acted upon – and that gives us the reason to wake up every morning with joy.
Maybe, it is that love that needs to be pursued or walk away from – so at the end, regardless of the outcome, we will no longer ask ourselves with too many What If’s and If Only’s.
When I woke up this morning, I looked again at these three hearts and felt that these three hearts represent my Easter. Forgiveness. Mission. That One True Love.
May the joy and surprises of Easter continue to shine upon each one of us and fill our hearts with love and hope.
After all, as what my friend told me yesterday, it is not the empty tomb but what fills our hearts that will allow us to understand the real meaning of Easter.