Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Genesis of My Zero Waste Lifestyle

While attempting to live a zero waste lifestyle may sound intimidating and huge, there are baby steps we can apply in our daily routines that seems simple but cumulatively and steadily can make a tremendous effect to our future.

1. Say no to plastics and disposables. Plastic straw, plastic bags, single-use utensils, styrofoam and anything that comes with plastic packaging.

2. Prefer dine-in or "having here" instead of takeaways and delivery, as both the later comes with packaging.

3. Bring your own eco-friendly grocery bags instead of using grocery plastic bags

4. Buy unpackaged produce - vegetables and fruits in local markets or supermarkets. My first attempt to do this was in Shengsiong Market and realised that it is possible.

5. Choose glass or stainless kitchen wares over plastic wares.

6. Bring your own water bottle, preferably stainless or glass instead of plastic bottled water.

7. Pack your own lunch in reusable lunch boxes.

8. Prefer buying in bulk instead of individually packed items.

9. Bring your own reusable coffee cup.

10. Opt for electronic mails(like monthly billing statements, bank statements) than traditional post mails.

Zero waste does not happen overnight, it can start from a moral awareness of our environment, to choose to live simple, green and being intentional in reducing our environment footprints.

You can make a difference!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Vietnam: Bun Cha pa More

Vietnam is no doubt a heaven for food lovers. If it's your first time here, make time to try Bun Cha, a succulent dish that is flavourful and comforting originally from Hanoi.

The dish comes with a generous serving of white rice noodle (bun) together with grilled pork (cha) patties and pork belly garnished with greens and herbs with a dipping sauce. The smokey scent of pork belly and savory pork patties formed from a mixture of minced pork, garlic, shallots, sugar and fish sauce were grilled in coals until they are caramelised.

We got to experience this at Huong Lien at 24 Le Van Huu street, Hai Ba Trung district which becomes more famous after former US President Obama together with Anthony Bourdain visited this store on May 23, 2016 during his three day business trip in Vietnam. Hence #obama #Buncha was born.

In my 4 days stay in Hanoi primarily to experience an authentic Vietnamese wedding through my colleague, I have eaten bun cha twice. Although there are a variety of foods to explore, but bun cha is so tempting and definitely worth another try.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Five Things I Learned in Prayer and Fasting

CCF starts the year with a prayer and fasting. 2018 is no different, with the theme "Intercede - Be still and Know that I am God" it is my prayer that you will have a purposeful week long experience of closeness with God as you pour out your heart to Him and spend meaningful time with God.

Fast with the world. Feast with God.

As I abstain from some of the things I am familiar with if not I enjoy spending my time with - drinking coffee, eating rice, social media(Facebook and Instagram) and television, it is only by His grace that I have a joyful heart now instead of cranky mood.  Halfway through the week, I have been learning a lot by God's grace. Here are some of the many lesson the Lord is reminding me.

1. The greatest blessing of prayer is not answered prayers but God Himself. Because the true and greatest blessing of prayer is developing intimacy with the Lord.

2. God don't speak louder to us when we fast and pray, instead we hear Him better by removing most of the distractions and noises around us.

3. Fasting is not exclusive to Pastors and elders of the church. All believers are expected to pray and fast. The passage account instructions from Jesus telling us "When you fast" not "If you fast" which denotes fasting is not optional, it is expected from us.

Matthew 6:16 -18 When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward! When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Jesus himself fasted, how much more that we needed to fast and pray.

Matthew 4: 1-2 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished.

4. When we pray and fast, the battle is the Lord's. While it is easy and tempting to acknowledge answered prayers happened because we prayed for it. We should not be quick to grab the credit due to God alone.

5. When we only pray for our needs and concerns, even thirty minutes is a massive time to spend, most likely we will run out of prayer. But when we pray for the needs of others, the country, the church, our family and friends, thirty minutes is insufficient time.

Monday, January 8, 2018

2017: 50 Reasons to be Thankful!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. -- Colossians 3:15 
Thank you 2017 for all the surprises, learnings, random ideas, blessings and even for the most trivial things I overlooked. You made my 365 pages story special and remarkable. Forgive me for the many times I grumbled, for the times I was indifferent of others and for the opportunities I missed.

Let me make it up this 2018.  Nevertheless, Thank you! Let me recount few of the things I am most grateful for.

1. Mornings and sunshine!
2. Sundays!
3. Runs I was able to join and finished - 2xu Marathon, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered
4. Dgroup Wednesdays!
5. Korean dramas I get to watch this year - Legend of the Blue Sea, Descendants of the Sun, Goblin!!! and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book-Joo
6. KDrama OST - because its worth another entry to this list
7. Patent filing approved. Wohoo!
8. Delayed gratification to renew my contract last December, 2016. This year Visa offered BYOD plan last March, I convert my plan from SIM only(36.80sgd/month) with 4GB data to 4G4 plan for only 31.45sgd/month and enjoys a whooping 16GB data (4GB+12GB). Then I topup 99sgd to get a brand new Samsung S7 Edge phone, which later I was able to sell 👌
9. Renovation of house at St Louie
10. Books was able to read - The Case for Christ, You were Made for More
11. Quiet times and my Bible
12. DMPD Singapore Mobile lab launch! \o/
13. Airports and planes for making our travels convenient and fast
14. Great movies I get to watch this year - Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman
15. One year multiple Australian visa. Definitely coming back.
16. Instagram and the memories I get to share
17. Lazada, Zalora, Amazon and all the efficient online shopping websites
18. Quality time I get to spend with my aunt in Las Vegas
19. US business trip and places I get to visit - San Francisco, Foster City, Las Vegas
20. Courage to do skydiving at Rockingham, Australia. Plus safety of course!
21. Meeting new friends and people during out of the country trips
22. Plane meals and entertainment service
23. Post-its and highlighters for my OC-ness inclination ;D
24. Eyeglasses and shades that does a great deal of protecting your eyes
25. Yakult!!!
26. New Delsey-Air France 30kg luggage #sale
27. Sale items I got to buy in the US, best buy 'The Case for Christ" book which is out of stock in the Philippines.
28. Australia trip with discipleship group - friendship, safety and provision
29. Favour for a three-week accommodation at Grace's place during house renovation at Tampines
30. Being able to attend "Radical Love" -  a three-day CCF retreat at Desaru, Malaysia
31. Lunch, dinner, coffee or tea times with my favourite people in SG (dgroup)
32. Healing for me, tatay and Aizel and protection for the whole family
33. Mondays and Saturdays badminton games!
34. New laptop sleeves I got from retreat. The best part is, it's free!!!
35. Pay Lah and Pay Now for making push payments a breeze
36. Seeing and being able to spend time with RJay :)
37. Promotion by God's grace
38. Free cabin luggage and cash back from StanChard
39. Honest people I met this year(two girls who help us open our lockers in USS by lending us 6sgd and returning the 4sgd when we gave them ten) reminding me that there's so much hope in humanity.
40. Teh C moments
41. World map giving me inspiration everyday.
42. New #Owndays eyeglasses courtesy of Visa optical benefits
43. Efficient transportation in Singapore! New MRT line - Downtown covering Tampines
44. Pillows!!! and more pillows
45. Coffee moments with Nanay ☕
46. Breakfast, lunch and dinner times together with Family 👪💖🍴
47. Sweet and genuine love from my niece and nephews 😍
48. Good weather during my PH vacay yey!
49. Free #Visa stocks. #kaching
50. Seat sales!

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Wonder of CHRISTmas

When man reaches out to God, we call it religion.
When God reaches out to man, we call it CHRISTmas.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. -- Isaiah 9:6
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” -- Matthew 1:21
Pastor Peter Tan-Chi once said CHRISTmas is the best time to tell people, our friends, colleagues and loved ones about the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. That more than two thousand years ago, God thought of us. 

The Bible have an exhaustive list of prophecies of the coming of Messiah from the Old Testament(written 1,000 years even before Jesus was born) fulfilled by Jesus Christ in New Testament. Bible scholars discuss the statistical improbability of one man fulfilling just eight of these prophecies is 1 in 1017 power in short humanly impossible.

44 Messianic Prophecies of Jesus
Prophecies of JesusOld Testament
New Testament
1Messiah would be born of a woman.Genesis 3:15Matthew 1:20
Galatians 4:4
2Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.Micah 5:2Matthew 2:1
Luke 2:4-6
3Messiah would be born of a virgin.Isaiah 7:14Matthew 1:22-23
Luke 1:26-31
4Messiah would come from the line of Abraham.Genesis 12:3
Genesis 22:18
Matthew 1:1
Romans 9:5
5Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac.Genesis 17:19
Genesis 21:12
Luke 3:34
6Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob.Numbers 24:17Matthew 1:2
7Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.Genesis 49:10Luke 3:33
Hebrews 7:14
8Messiah would be heir to King David's throne.2 Samuel 7:12-13
Isaiah 9:7
Luke 1:32-33
Romans 1:3
9Messiah's throne will be anointed and eternal.Psalm 45:6-7
Daniel 2:44
Luke 1:33
Hebrews 1:8-12
10Messiah would be called Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14Matthew 1:23
11Messiah would spend a season in Egypt.Hosea 11:1Matthew 2:14-15
12A massacre of children would happen at Messiah's birthplace.Jeremiah 31:15Matthew 2:16-18
13A messenger would prepare the way for MessiahIsaiah 40:3-5Luke 3:3-6
14Messiah would be rejected by his own people.Psalm 69:8
Isaiah 53:3
John 1:11
John 7:5
15Messiah would be a prophet.Deuteronomy 18:15Acts 3:20-22
16Messiah would be preceded by Elijah.Malachi 4:5-6Matthew 11:13-14
17Messiah would be declared the Son of God.Psalm 2:7Matthew 3:16-17
18Messiah would be called a Nazarene.Isaiah 11:1Matthew 2:23
19Messiah would bring light to Galilee.Isaiah 9:1-2Matthew 4:13-16
20Messiah would speak in parables.Psalm 78:2-4
Isaiah 6:9-10
Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35
21Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted.Isaiah 61:1-2Luke 4:18-19
22Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.Psalm 110:4Hebrews 5:5-6
23Messiah would be called King.Psalm 2:6
Zechariah 9:9
Matthew 27:37
Mark 11:7-11
24Messiah would be praised by little children.Psalm 8:2Matthew 21:16
25Messiah would be betrayed.Psalm 41:9
Zechariah 11:12-13
Luke 22:47-48
Matthew 26:14-16
26Messiah's price money would be used to buy a potter's field.Zechariah 11:12-13Matthew 27:9-10
27Messiah would be falsely accused.Psalm 35:11Mark 14:57-58
28Messiah would be silent before his accusers.Isaiah 53:7Mark 15:4-5
29Messiah would be spat upon and struck.Isaiah 50:6Matthew 26:67
30Messiah would be hated without cause.Psalm 35:19
Psalm 69:4
John 15:24-25
31Messiah would be crucified with criminals.Isaiah 53:12Matthew 27:38
Mark 15:27-28
32Messiah would be given vinegar to drink.Psalm 69:21Matthew 27:34
John 19:28-30
33Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced.Psalm 22:16
Zechariah 12:10
John 20:25-27
34Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed.Psalm 22:7-8Luke 23:35
35Soldiers would gamble for Messiah's garments.Psalm 22:18Luke 23:34
Matthew 27:35-36
36Messiah's bones would not be broken.Exodus 12:46
Psalm 34:20
John 19:33-36
37Messiah would be forsaken by God.Psalm 22:1Matthew 27:46
38Messiah would pray for his enemies.Psalm 109:4Luke 23:34
39Soldiers would pierce Messiah's side.Zechariah 12:10John 19:34
40Messiah would be buried with the rich.Isaiah 53:9Matthew 27:57-60
41Messiah would resurrect from the dead.Psalm 16:10
Psalm 49:15
Matthew 28:2-7
Acts 2:22-32
42Messiah would ascend to heaven.Psalm 24:7-10Mark 16:19
Luke 24:51
43Messiah would be seated at God's right hand.Psalm 68:18
Psalm 110:1
Mark 16:19
Matthew 22:44
44Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin.Isaiah 53:5-12Romans 5:6-8
 Source: ThoughCo.

More than the fancy wrapped gifts, savory food in the table, family gatherings and festivities, let us not forget that CHRISTmas begins with Christ. The abounding grace of God to humankind through His Son Jesus, born of a virgin birth, lived a holy life, died on the cross and on the third day rose again to defeat death. So that just like Jesus, everyone who believes in Him will conquer death and have eternal life with God.

As believers, CHRISTmas is one of the best seasons to share about Jesus. The greatest story ever told about the greatest being who solve the greatest problem of mankind.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas everyone. May the love, peace and grace of God abound in your life.

Music: Perfect

by Ed Sheeran

I found a love for me
Darling just dive right in
And follow my lead
Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet
I never knew you were the someone waiting for me
'Cause we were just kids when we fell in love

Not knowing what it was
I will not give you up this time
But darling, just kiss me slow, your heart is all I own
And in your eyes you're holding mine

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song
When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight

Well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know
She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I'll share her home
I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets
To carry love, to carry children of our own
We are still kids, but we're so in love
Fighting against all odds
I know we'll be alright this time
Darling, just hold my hand
Be my girl, I'll be your man
I see my future in your eyes

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark, with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song
When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful
I don't deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark, with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song
I have faith in what I see
Now I know I have met an angel in person
And she looks perfect
I don't deserve this
You look perfect tonight

Labrador Nature Reserve

After staying for more than five years in Singapore, I realised there is so much more to see in this almost 720 sq. km land area of Singapore. And every time there is a friend visiting, I am stretched to be more creative in finding new spots to explore and enjoy not only by my tourist friend but me also. #notatourist

The Smart Local brought me to Labrador Nature Reserve, an instagram-worthy trail walk that combines nature and history. 
Labrador Nature Reserve is an oasis of tranquility and natural wonders. The park offers a picturesque view of the sea. A path built on the edge of the secondary forest provides a prime view of the cliff side vegetation coupled with a panoramic view of the sea. It is not uncommon to hear songs of a variety of bird species, including the Oriental Magpie-robin and Black-naped Oriole. While you are taking a leisurely stroll along one of the nature trails, you can spot squirrels scurrying up trees.
From Labrador Park MRT station, exit A we started our leisure walk from the Berlayer Boardwalk Creek, approximately 960meter walk which extends out into the sea. Here we are welcomed by mangroves, coastal forest, different species of birds, monitor lizards and squirrels in a cloudy Saturday afternoon. 


Wikipedia accounts that,

Labrador Nature Reserve is the site where many historical relics and natural artifacts are located in Singapore, most of which date from the Second World War and earlier periods of time, much of which were left behind mainly by the former British colonial legacy on the island. This is due to the fact that the area has a long history dating way back to the 19th century and its playing of a significant role in the history of the city-state.

The entire nature reserve, together with the current park, used to be known as Pasir Panjang Beach, which in Malay means "Long Beach". The area used to be where a long strip of coastal land was at high tide and a rocky beach was at low tide before land reclamation took place and formed the seawall and the modern park seen today.

There was an old British military base (a fort), referred to as Fort Pasir Panjang, located on the top of the hill and above the cliff in front of the sea (the fort was first constructed as early as the 1890s). The cliff’s high vantage-point led the British government to identify it as a strategic defence site to protect the entrance to Keppel Harbour in the southern part of mainland Singapore as well as Singapore's southwestern coastline (near Pulau Blakang Mati (present-day Sentosa)). It became one of nine major sites where the British military had set up their gun batteries and is a crucial part of the entire British defence system for Singapore.

Overall Labrador Nature Reserve is a wildlife haven tucked in the souther most part of a bustling city of Singapore, tranquil and scenic place to explore and definitely worth to visit. A green spot in this little red dot city.