Wednesday, December 29, 2004

this sucks

I can't believe how many people have been killed in South-East Asia. It's horrible. I know it sounds trite to try to express things like this, but the death toll has doubled in twenty-four hours! And that's obviously not the end. I just find it really horrible. I wonder what I would do if something like this happened to me. On the news they showed this poor girl crying and calling for her mother right after she had identified her mother among the rows of the dead; then they showed a sobbing father carrying his dead son to his wife. I don't know why but those two images churned me up inside more than anything else I saw.

I'm going to ring up the Red Cross or Tear Fund or something and see if they're doing anything like collecting on the streets that I could help with. I want to do SOMETHING.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Here's part of an email my brother sent us about the tsunami.

"Update on the tsnuami ...

I drove out around the affected area yesterday morning. Apart from some mud deposited a few meters inland, a few beached boats, some smashed up boats and squatter houses, there was not a lot of damage to be seen.

What we find the saddest is a lot of these people would have been less well-off, and would have taken their family to spend a a day at the beach rather than hanging out at a shopping mall or watching DVDs. The tourist hotels at Batu Ferringhi apparently got calls from Langkawi hotels warning them a tidal wave was coming and so they got the warning out to their guests, so the main Batu Ferringhi beaches were relatively unscathed. I haven't heard of any foreign tourists reported missing.

Compared with the physical devastation in other areas of South Asia, the impact on Malaysia is very small.

We spend a lot of time at the beach with the family, it's free and the kids have a good time. I guess you are remembering your trip to Phuket too. Given the serenity of a day at the beach it is hard to comprehend this happening.

Psalm 103 seems just right
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind (or wave) blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-"

Thoughts for today

So... having a good holiday? That is, if you don't have to work somewhere like a restaurant or a clothes shop. This must be a rather nightmarish season for you, if so. I've been on holiday for a while now but it's not actually that great a thing because I have no money! I've got a little bit, of course, from my VERY part-time job, but what with spending money on everyone else and then wanting to spend it on myself what with post-Christmas sales, it doesn't seem quite adequate. :) Oh well. Soon enough I'll get myself a job and then I'll be really annoyed I didn't appreciate the spare time while I had it.

I've decided that I'm going to try and get into as many tourists' photos from now on, because then some may compare photos and think "Hey! That crazy girl at Cathedral Square! She tried to ruin my photos too!!" Then I'll be famous - in a very Q-list way. However, my theory is that if I'm famous in as many tiny ways as possible, I'll soon become a household name, although nobody will know that I'm a household name in any other household than their own!! It's a completely brilliant plan! (As Elle says in Legally Blonde.)

My mother has succumbed to temptation and there is nothing Dad can do. Mum has bought a DVD player. Only $100 because of Boxing Day sales. Half price. A bargain. I am celebrating. My brother brought me a bunch of pirated DVDs from Malaysia and I haven't had a chance to view them yet.

Which makes me sad because I've just remembered the horrible disaster in Asia. We were really worried at first because of my brother in Penang and the newspaper said about thirty people had been swept off the beach there, and we know he and his wife and kids often go down to the beach on Sunday afternoons. But he emailed us pretty early and they're fine. But I wonder... sometimes I worry about myself... would I have really thought about it very much at all if my brother wasn't in the general vicinity of the disaster? It's probably good for me to connect someone like me with these disasters in places that are so different to New Zealand. 21,500 confirmed dead, the paper said this morning, and it's probably much more than that too. That's a heck of a lot of people. And then how may people have been seriously injured, how many have had their livelihoods ruined, and so on? It seems kind of unfair that something like that had to hit places like Indonesia and stuff that are already not exactly rich.

Saturday, December 25, 2004


The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
you have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior's boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
(Isaiah 9vv2-6.)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
(Luke 2v14)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1v14)


Friday, December 24, 2004

I, Blob

I feel fat and unfit today. It is largely due to the fact that I met an eerily sprightly 62-year-old last night. We are moving soon (which you will probably hear more about in time because I am not happy about it) and so we were invited around to our neighbour's house yesterday evening along with some other people on our street. One of them was this particular woman. She was telling us about this wonderful cafe which is about 45 minutes' drive away. She and her husband biked to it and it was closed, so they just went over Gebbies Pass, over to Lyttleton, over the hill again to Sumner, the beach, and then back home. This is honestly a LONG bike ride. It would take about three hours by car. And she's this little oldish lady. And I bike about ten minutes down the road and am already wheezing and I'm eighteen. Go figure.

Then she told us that the other morning she decided to go for a bike before work, and she went up the Rapaki Track on the hills and then biked to Sumner and then biked back. Just about ten minutes before she arrived back, she caught up with some racing cyclists, you know, with the special bikes and costumes and stuff, and just stayed biking behind them. They kept on turning round as if they couldn't believe she was still behind them, and she told them they were going too slow.

It's just so scary. I know for a fact that when I'm 62, I'll be snuggled up in a plush armchair all day, eating chocolates and telling everyone how fit I was when I was young. :) Well, maybe not, but still I think the extent of my exercise in the distant future will be going for walks by the river.

Well, Christmas is tomorrow. I'm going to Carols by Candlelight tonight which should be nice. I just remembered I forgot to eat the chocolate from my advent calendar today so I'd better go and do that now. Heh heh all you Europeans and Americans, Christmas comes sooner for me than for you, and warmer too. I'm celebrating at the beach this year.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fa la la la laaaaa la la la laa

Christmas approaches slowly but surely. I'm not quite as excited as I should be, or used to be. Isn't it sad how in one's childhood, Christmas is such a big thing, but now, it's not so big? I guess I've grown up a bit from the presents-hype thing, and also now I've become more interested in the theological side of it, Easter is really the bigger event in terms of Christianity.

Just to completely change the subject, I've been getting into the letters to the editor page in the newspaper lately. I find it quite interesting. It must be genes cos my Dad is slightly obsessive about reading the letters and getting all frustrated and sending off thousands of his own. And I've been noticing a trend in letters that I don't think is very good. Lately there has been a lot of letters debating the Civil Unions Bill in New Zealand, which has recently been passed by parliament and allows homosexuals to form civil unions, and this trend has been apparent in these letters. Here are my thoughts:

a) People try to speak for others' beliefs, but twist them to look bad. For example - 'the illogical ravings of those who think God creates us all but only loves and recognises the rights of some to be happy'. None of the Christians writing in said they believed anything of the sort, and it is very doubtful that they do. However, people wilfully misunderstand them.

b) People start using the word 'so-called'. For example, a Christian who thinks it's okay to be gay (hey, that rhymes) will call Christians who don't agree with him/her 'so-called Christians'. And it goes the other way too. I mean, really. As if an issue like this is decisive of salvation. It's as if people think that because a person has this certain view of one issue, therefore, as a whole, they cannot be Christians. It's making personal attacks on people as a whole regarding a tiny part of their personality/morals.

c) Whenever a particular teaching of the church is coming under attack, and 'reform' is being attempted by parliament or church government or whatever, people start referring to the beliefs of the church as 'archaic' or 'puritannical'. What great words! They attach at once this stigma to the belief, and aim at making people ashamed to still keep their beliefs. C. S. Lewis mentions this in his book The Screwtape Letters - the older demon says to the younger demon something about attaching the word 'puritannical' to any beliefs or traditions of his 'patient' that may seem slightly outdated. However, these words really mean NOTHING. It just means that these beliefs have been held for a long time. Which some people make take to mean that they are trustworthy over time. I mean, for goodness' sake, the Puritans believed you shouldn't murder others or steal, and no one's labelling that 'puritannical'!

d) Non-Christians start talking about what Jesus would have done. They say that he advocated tolerance and love above all. Did he, in the sense they mean? They start quoting parts of the Bible, like the part in John where Jesus is asked what to do with an adulterous, sinful woman who is to be stoned and he says "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone". But they forget that after the men have gone away, he says to the woman, "Go now and leave your life of sin." If Jesus was so tolerant, why would he see the need to come and die for the sins of humanity? Wouldn't he just 'tolerantly' let people into heaven no matter what they had done? No, because a part of his personality as God is his perfection, and with that, his perfect justice, which he cannot override. He tells us not to judge others while we sin ourselves, yes. But he doesn't tell us to blind ourselves to what is wrong, nor to take part in it ourselves.

Sorry about that little sermon. Sometimes I just need to get these things out. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

a bit of charity

I've been really grumpy and upset over the last few weeks, because my parents just sold our house, which I love so much, and bought a horrible small blah house, which I hate. I've been at this house forever and have really good memories here, which makes it so hard.

But on the radio this morning (ZM - a New Zealand station) the station got this really poor family out of their house for a few hours and put all this stuff inside - food, appliances, a Christmas tree, toys for the kids, and so on. This family is apparently a really lovely family, but REALLY hard-up too, they have ten kids and a sick grandmother as well as the parents in the house, and it's a tiny little house that is in really bad shape. Their van had broken down ages ago so they had no means of transportation. Well, the generosity of small businesses and other people listening was really incredible and it was very humbling to listen to. A car company gave the station a van to give the family that was worth $13000, when the station had only raised about $6000 towards it. Things like that.

But it got me thinking how lucky I am to have had such a nice home all the time I've been growing up. And how pathetic it is that I'm so angry about moving to such a ... I'm going to have say, nice home - I don't have to like it as much as this one I'm in now, but I have to appreciate that in it, I'm not going to want for shelter or warmth or food or love. Yes, I'm still upset, but many people don't have half what I have. Many people don't have a hundredth of what I have.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm sorry...

...but here I am making another post less than an hour after my last one. I just had a sudden urge to share something with you, that's all. (These urges must be obeyed.)

My thoughts on trying to compare U2 and Jane Austen.

It's hard.

One of the main reasons is: Jane Austen relies solely on words. Therefore her language is always going to be a lot more well-crafted and interesting than U2's. However, U2 relies, in the main, on music. Whatever language they use has to fit itself to music. As Bono writes in one of their latest singles 'Vertigo', "a feeling is so much stronger than a thought". And that is true in that particular song.

This makes it hard to decide between them.

Specific examples: Here's an excerpt from Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen. "The evening passed off in equal indulgence of feeling. [Marianne] played over every favourite song that she had been used to play with Willoughby, every air in which their voices had been oftenest joined, and sat at the instrument gazing on every line of music that he had written for her, until her heart was so heavy that no farther sadness could be gained; and this nourishment of grief was every day applied. She spent whole hours at the pianoforte alternately singing and crying; her voice often totally suspended by tears."
Now that has got everything! The lyrical language, the music, the sadness, the feeling, even the humour at one point.

Whereas 'Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own', a song I love by U2, says - "You don't have to put up a fight / You don't have to always be right / Let me take some of the punches / For you tonight / ... / And it's you when I look in the mirror / And it's you when I don't pick up the phone / Sometimes you can't make it on your own."
That's hardly very lyrical but it's got all the FEELING, especially with the music.

I'm sorry to bore you with this. It had to come out. Let me just say right now that you DON'T actually have to read this post. :)

I feel I have to reach a conclusion, however. Let me just say that if I could only take five things to a desert island with me, they would be:
a) sustenance (allright, I know I'm cheating on that one, it should
be food AND water)
b) Persuasion by Jane Austen
c) U2 - How to dismantle an atomic bomb
d) a stereo
e) sunblock

good old Christmas

I had officially done ALL my Christmas shopping. Generally my family is supposed to buy one present for one person (except the kids can get presents from everyone) because trust me, that would be a LOT of presents people had to buy. But this year, only half of us are going to be at home for Christmas, and I decided to get presents for everyone who would be there, albeit little ones. And I was so relieved because I finished shopping last week, on Thursday. Soup recipe book for Mum and Dad, chocolates for *Rita and *Tom, bhuja mix plus a homemade gift for *Felix and *Michelle, book of animal stories for *Linley, joke book for *Louis, special crayons you can use in the bath for *Sian and *Adrienne, and a fluffy puppet thing for *Fiona. (*Names changed! You never know, they could be reading this!)

But no! Now I find out my grandmother is going to be there too, also my brother-in-law's parents and my sister's German au pair. Do you think I need to get them all presents too? I've only GOT about $2 left.

Siggghhh... the joys of Christmas.

Having said that, I love Christmas a lot. We had our church carols service yesterday which is always fun. I'm definitely going to our city's Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve which should be just as fun, if not more. And then there's always the food. And the presents. Not that I care about the presents. :D

I wish everyone reading this (which is probably zilch) a very happy Christmas, wherever you are or whoever you're with.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

a beginning...

You may be wondering: why the heck does this girl have the absurdity to call her blog "U2 vs Jane Austen"?
It is for a very good reason; there is a constant battle within me between obsessions over different things. Say someone told me to choose between U2 and Jane. It would tear me up inside. I would write lists of the pros and cons. I would not be able to sleep at night. I would try to read Jane Austen while listening to U2. And nothing would ever be resolved. This is a very important part of my personality. And if it's not U2 and Jane, it's the battle between which much-older and married man do I like the most? Colin Firth or Antonio Banderas? Johnny Depp or Colin Firth?
Does anyone else have this problem??? PLEASE! Come to my aid. Find an actor for me who is not married, not old enough to be my father, and within my reach.

So that's me.

Slightly obsessive-compulsive, yes.

I finished school about a month ago FOREVER and my friends and I met up at a SERIOUS cafe today. I felt very grown-up. This is another thing about me. I feel so proud of being grown-up that it's obvious I'm not, and by the time I stop being proud, I'll be SO grown-up that I'm an absolute bore.

I am looking for a job now. I'd quite like to work at a bookshop. I've decided to work for a year and then go to university and then go off travelling and teaching English and then come back home to New Zealand and force myself to decide what I want to be. Any ideas?

Better go. I think this is much longer than a blog is SUPPOSED to be.