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11 August 2024 @ 10:16 pm
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And the journal goes places.

The 9th of August marked not only Singapore's 49th National Day, but it was also on that day in 2004 when I wrote my first entry on this blog.

On and off in the past decade, this space has become the playground for my fascination with music and live acts (from jazz to the Idol franchise), stray travelogues, odes to romance and twentysomething musings on the myth and truth of "quarter-life". The life of jamypye as I knew it.

And all throughout, I held a sense of wonder at the rarity of my own updates (yes, narcissistic that way), with every post a major and sporadic effort to break the monotony of wordlessness. Yes, something akin to the recent UP men's basketball win and matching bonfire over the weekend.

For that was the tone I set from the beginning. "Good to hear from you: An attempt at the possible". An allusion to hearing a song not often played, or receiving word from an old friend. At the same time, holding the optimism that one will, in time, hear from them again.

I'm not sure if it was pretension or false humility that led me to refer to myself from a second person perspective. Well, it did sound better than saying the even more self-serving "Good to Hear from Me". Most of the time, this journal felt like me talking to myself, which is what writing in a journal tends to be about anyway.

But as life and the years would have it, a twentysomething's concerns eventually make way for a thirtysomething's realization that there is more to all of this, than vain attempts at making my voice heard.

What a difference ten years made.

With this life and blogging entering a new phase, I make one small, yet significant change from a lower to an upper case "Y"--"Good to hear from You: All things are possible through Him". And with that, the same title takes on fresh meaning, as with the thrust of my life and words to come.

That there is great comfort and blessing in silencing my own voice and all the internal and external noise, so that I may hear more clearly what God wills. And even as my own thoughts make their way to this blog, they can never be higher than His infinitely wiser thoughts and ways. And I pray this will serve to record His authorship of my life, as the story is revealed in the days, years and seasons to come. Truly, the writing, the living, everything happens through Him, in His perfect time.

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

May I neither become overwhelmed by the enormity of an eternity I am too small to fathom, nor too self-sufficient in whatever earthly knowledge or understanding I have within my grasp. For I would be deluded by such foolish wisdom. Instead, may I listen closely to His voice and trust entirely on His faithfulness that remains unchanged from season to season.

Watching that obstructed view of the National Day fireworks by the Kallang river, with spark and color peeking through silhouettes of trees and buildings, that word Majulah* rang through my head. And so it goes, that profound sense of gratitude for the decade past, and greater hope for what lies ahead.

Onward to new seasons, and here we go.

*Majulah, from Singapore's National anthem, "Majulah Singapura" meaning 'Onward'
29 July 2014 @ 09:26 pm
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How do you manage to pull off a surprise party for the man who's long been asking for it?

On the occasion of Daddy's 60th birthday, we just go ahead and finally do it. Patty calls it a "team effort"--and thanks to hers and mom's determined leadership, they coordinated this international affair with four of us siblings abroad. So efficiently that all we had to do was fly in, show up and play our own little parts.

In the process of plotting to surprise dad, he still, thankfully, surprised us (maybe not-so-much) with his clueless ways and short attention span, helping this task along, despite the little slips we had here and there.

Or how--considering that he was behind the camera for most of this family's 32 years of togetherness--we still found ourselves with the tall order of having to whittle down to 6 minutes worth of memories, the past 60 years of pictures he's been in, with Bill Wither's "Lovely Day" looped in the background. I have no doubt where I got my camera-ready nature from.

Then again, it should no longer have been a shock to us just how much we could throw ourselves into Project Surprise Sixty. Our effort just reminded us of how dad has effortlessly surprised us over the years, that the time was ripe to put him on the receiving end of that S-factor.

I think back to how dad never fails to fool mom into believing he doesn't have anything for her on any given occasion. Yes, this happens every year that it almost seems a charade, but a charming one nonetheless. Or how in all spontaneity, we would embark on unexpected road trips at the oddest hours of the evening, all because dad's itching feet would take us there. Or how we became short-lived dachshund owners, very much against mom's wishes, because dad felt like adopting that unsuspecting, adorable puppy. Lagot kay mommy! ;)

On that birthday weekend, with each element of surprise (new gadgets, surprise arrivals) all leading up to that long-awaited moment--how satisfying it was to finally see his stunned face and render him speechless for once. Well, not for long as we would soon find out in his gratitude speech. Apparently, he could have talked all night.

We didn't get the chance to say too many words for you at the party, and so this little tribute, but we are no less thankful to God for all these years He has given you, thus far. And I truly meant every lyric sung. After all this time, we are lucky--no blessed--to be loved by you.

My prayers remain for great doses of good health (strong boy!), an overflow of wisdom as head of the household, and abounding joy as you keep our family connected, be it on Viber or in the real world.

You are proof of God's great love and sense of humor.

Here's to your next 60 blessed years and beyond--
Here's to planning Patty's surprise 60th at the Buckingham Palace (yes we are holding you and your 93 year-old self to that).
And here's to you being blessed with eventually playing with your grandchildren. Did I seriously just say that?

Ah well, yes-- surprise, surprise indeed.
Current Mood: It's gonna be a lovely day
30 May 2014 @ 01:03 pm
That's one of mom's favorite lines. A piece of cautionary advice, a last word during late-night kitchen table conversations. In essence, full of motherly warning, but somehow still leaving you to your own devices.

I wonder then what she wished for, as a 21 year old standing at the beginning of a now 32-year marriage.

Could she have imagined herself bearing and raising six children?
Could she have foreseen the extreme tests her home-making skills would be subject to?
Could she have known those days when her patience would be stretched thin?
Could she have anticipated both the sorrow and the joy of motherhood and family life?

But no one is ever prepared for these things, even those armed with a very specific degree, or even the right character. And no one can truly appreciate or understand what it really takes, until they find themselves in that moment, playing the role.

As her daughter, I am wholly grateful that she went down the path she did, paving the way not just for this existence, but also shaping the person I've become. I can only pray that the fulfillment of her dreams was all she'd hoped for.

When I think of mom in her element, in the kitchen, it is not an image of her meticulously laboring with much love, or even holding the fort and managing the household with such aplomb. It is none of these things and perhaps all of these things I can only aspire to.

But when the last morsel is finished and all the dishes are washed, we remain seated around that table--and her stories go on.

I remember mom sharing animatedly, listening sincerely, being there completely.
I think she would say these things out of love, so we would know and not be left in the dark.

Now more than ever, living this independence that I'd wished for--without a proper kitchen table--I remember her daily wisdom in the little things.

And I could not imagine life and growing up any other way.

* * *

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Mom and I in our kitchen finery, circa 2010, Ang Mo Kio 312

This is for you, mommy, a prayer with this (belated) birthday tribute.
I don't need to make any carefully crafted wishes, only to be floated into the ether without a chance of being heard. For in you, He has answered and fulfilled many a yearning, from that of a helpless child's to a grown woman's.

I thank the Lord for another year in your life. I thank Him for the life and love you have generously shared. I pray that God keep you in His care always, with more joyful years ahead for you and dad. As that song goes, I wish you love--His love and from all who surround you.

And should I one day find myself blessed with the same gift and charge of motherhood--I do wish and pray for the same grace, wisdom, strength and humor with which you have illumined our lives.

Happy Happy Birthday, Mommy! I love you!