Monday, October 30, 2006

New Beginning

Time to go back to work this morning, though the desire to sleep in, take a day’s off today is so strong. I touched down at the airport on Friday, almost midnight. Still adjusting back to our time, and despite the fact that I slept at about 2am on Saturday morning, I woke up at 6 plus in the morning. A lot of thoughts to compile, photos to sort, perishable gifts to be distributed, and I manage only to finish the sorting of food part, and partial of the photos….

Yet before I start work today I just want to pen this down, some of the thoughts that I have while on the plane back on Friday. For close to 3 weeks, I wandered about in New York, made short trips to Niagara Falls with my friend and Washington alone. Walking is the word, so tired, perhaps the distance I covered is able to circle the equator once? Exaggerating again! There are some rare moments when I may feel slightly lonely, moments I felt great to be able to have times of solitude, refreshed, in certain areas of my life, enlightened, and began to see things differently, from another angle.

“Re-prioritizing” is the word. Changing the importance of the areas of my life, re-focusing. There is no denying, my Shepherd and sheep relationship will always take the foreground, first place. Family will always be next in line, follows by friends and dreams, both sharing almost the same position, perhaps with friends having a slightly edge over. Dreaming I still do, but I have let my dream become dormant for some time, not giving it time to flourish. If the Lord permits, I would want to spend some time on this in the coming months, to almost full attention, grace grace!

Sorry to say, career seems to come last. Too much time has been spent on the latter for the past few years, perhaps even to the point of sacrificing time that should be spent for family, reading, catching up with old friends, drawing, etc. This has to change. No more a “quantity based” or “fast” architect, I still would enjoy my work. Learning to design slowly, enjoy the process, analyse, re-invent, only my Shepherd can change this, changing me to a quality based architect… elaborate more next time perhaps.

Enough is said, to start a new working day today, felt like I am starting from ground zero again, almost from the beginning, which is great. Felt like a white board, nothing written on it yet, so exciting. Talk again next time, so much to say, but so little time….

The above is a wood carving that my friend has, I drew it on the plane, by looking at the digital photo on my camera. Pal, hope you like it! Blessed fruitful week ahead, everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flying Back Singapore Tomorrow

This journal won't take too long, just drop a last line from New York today, before I head off to the airport tomorrow morning, and should be back in Singapore by Friday late night. I am already homesick, practically seen most things I wanted to see, except for a few places that I decided to forego, since it will eat into my shopping time. Today marks my last shopping day. I intend to "drag" my friend back home Singapore with me... just a joke... she has work to do.

See you all back home soon, miss you all, hope you all miss me too! Home sweet home! Nothing beats home! Ciao! Jesus loves you all!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coming Home Soon!

I am now at Apple Store using one of their ibook to check my emails and blog. I am leaving for home on thursday, finally. Kinda of missing home, and there are so many temptations all around, so many things to buy, yet when I convert it back to my currency back home, oh-no, no way. So i am trying very hard to be thrifty, yet there are so many beautiful toys, clothes, muscials etc....

Did I mention I watched another musical, "Mary Poppins", and it is really great, in fact much better than "Beauty and the Beast". I am not sure should I go for another musical, just as I would very much want to or should I control?

I have almost finished every place I want to visit except for Chelsea, which I will be heading to later, once I finished this blog. That is the place of art galleries, so I am heading there soon. Just a while ago, I was caught in the land of toys, can anyone help me find out if Singapore sells the special collector's set of Disney Monopoly? It looks so good.... not sure if to buy or not.... And there are many old memories, toys of the past that my brothers they all would have played, I think.

And better to pen this down, my friend and I saw a shooting of a movie at Columbus Circle 2 weeks ago, the title of the show is "I am a Legend". Maybe we maybe caught in the background.

A good news, my friend passed her test! She just smsed me! Yeah! I am so happy! God is good all the time!

Finally, not to mention, I visited Washington DC over the Friday weekend, and made a friend.... ok ... all the thoughts sound so fragmented, because I am typing whatever comes to my mind, don't want to hold on to the ibook for too long, paiseh lah! See you all soon, Jesus loves me and loves you! Tata!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Already Half My Trip

It's been almost a week since I last wrote. It was quite an eventful week.Received a call from my mom, really miss home when I heard her voice, love you, mom.

I just came back from Niagara Falls on Tuesday night, the weather was not so good for the 2nd day, and to be honest, I was quite disappointed, yet I know all things work together for good still. Despite of it all, Niagara Falls is magnificent, so beautiful, beyond words, no picture or photograph can ever capture the immense power and majesty of the falls, you have to see it, feel it, and then imprint it in your memory forever. If ever a chance arises, I would want to see it again, but I would want to stay on the Canadian side, to see the falls in daylight, not at night this time. (I saw from both NY and Canadian Sides, but the latter only at night.)

The events before this,I visited Guggenheim Museum, and saw Zaha Hadid's exhibition of her works in the past 20-30 years, I forgot. Frankly speaking, I was never a fan of her, never really understand the philosophy behind her work. But this exhibition was a great eye opener to me, she is a woman architect who has been very persistent in pursuing her dream, despite of the fact that many of her works were only on papers, only until recent years, she has some of her projects built. I am beginning to understand her work, every piece is like an art, opening up to you with unexpected spaces. I was awed by the exhibition, one of the best I have seen during my trip here, not to mention that I was caught up in the spiral Guggenheim design by FLW, it is so beautiful, a very clever piece of architecture, its spaces engages you in and out of spaces.

My dear friend, despite of her upcoming test, brought me around to see Chinatown, Soho, Morgan Library, Prada shop by Rem Koolhaas and Apple Shop, Hearst Building, during the weekend. Many are so powerful in their architectural statement, some as an insertion, some loud and almost signature as their creators. Thanks pal. I had a wonderful time too with you at Niagara Falls, I am pretty quiet by nature on the bus, hope it didn't shock you, just not to feel giddy, that is why.

Strange as it sounds, I have fulfilled 2 reasons why I come, to rest, to see and learn more, yet the most important is yet to be fulfilled, I have yet spent some really long quiet, serene time totally alone with the Lord to hear from Him. Just manage to be quiet with Him for a few minutes here and there. However, this is what I am going to do, this Friday and Saturday I hope. I have booked a trip to Washington DC tomorrow, for 2 days, hoping to also give my friend some room to study for her test this Monday, I pray my Papa God gives her great wisdom and guidance, thanks.

Lastly, to end off the note here, I watched a beautiful musical yesterday, "Beauty and the Beast", at half price TKTS' ticket. It was enchanting, almost addicted, I hope I get to watch Les Miserables (not sure if I spelt it correctly) on 24 Oct, when it opens again in NY, just in time before I leave for home. Musical truly can get one addicted to them, bringing you into a dreamy state, just that it is too expensive a form of pastime...B, you want the Les Miserables' cd if I happen to see? If want, sms me, no promise though.

Love ya, my family and friends! see you all soon, I am already starting to miss home and church services... I miss my pastor's teachings, when I listen to my mp3, I can almost feel home.... love ya!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Short Update

Just a short one, I suppose, so as to document what I did. I went to Union Square yesterday, followed by Wall Street, visited the Trinity Church there, and by God's grace, happened to be on time for a free concert at 1pm, by Manchester Chamber Orchestra. The sky looked pretty gloomy that day, so I was thinking of going to American Museum of Natural History to look at dinosaurs, to at least just stay indoor in case if it rained, but just as I came out of the church, the sky was blue and sunny. So I changed plan, went to Empire State Building to take a look at beautiful NY from above.

I went Macy window shopping, checking out the things and prices, according to advertisement, Macy is the largest shopping centre..."in the world", wait till those huge shopping centres in Dubai and China come up... Then it was already about 530pm, I rushed to the Empire State Building, to be in time to catch both the before sunset and night time NY. I have gotten the "City Pass", that allows me to go 5 listed attractions within 9 days at a much lesser price, and with this pass, I can actually jump queue, in fact twice, at the security check and the ticketing booth, praise the Lord! I may have only taken less than half or even quarter of the time what a normal tourist would need to advance that fast in the queue. So take my advice, get the City Pass next time you visit United States, they seem to have different one for different states, but really cheaper and useful. I caught a bit of NY before sunset, but as the cloud did not clear in the distant, I did not see the sun, sob...

Just a quick update, not sure if I would log on over the weekend, so to keep my loved ones posted, I will be visiting Guggenheim Museum and American Museum of Natural History today, and departing for Canada's Niagaras Falls on Monday morning and be back on Tuesday evening. Doing some laundry tomorrow, and perhaps go Chinatown with my friend over the weekend, will be really fun.

So, everyone, our dearest Shepherd keeps you all strong and healthy! Ciao!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

God Is Good!

Enough of talking about pay back time on the enemy. 5th day since I arrived, the hardest is slowly passing, jet lag and all, the worst has passed. 2 days ago, I went to MET (a museum), while trying to consume all the artworks, I guess it must have been the jet lag and the whole day on the ship and hot sun the day before, I felt quite sick, and I quickly rush home to sleep, since I was only getting about 4 hours sleep previously for 2-3 nights. Waking up in the early evening, thinking I should be well, I decided to visit the Grand Central Terminal and catching the Empire State Building at sunset. On the way to the 2nd destination, I knew I could not make it to the top as I felt like throwing up, and I rushed back to the subway to go home. Yet to my dismay, I vomited on the train, thank God with a paper bag in hand, and that I ate only just breakfast, so there was not much substance....(Keep me in prayer hor, dear friends!)

Yet last night I had a good 7 hours sleep, only waking up at almost 6am, what a breakthrough, thank God my body is slowly adjusting to it. How strange our bodies actually have a routine of its own, and it really takes quite a bit to adjust. This speaks of life, how much more we need to be renewed in our thinking, from pessimism, from depression and guilt, to constant hearing of the affirming word of Papa God, which is most important!

Yesterday was quite a dramatic day, and it rained, so I got to have backup plan B. Today isn't that sunny either. Sigh! I had a good time walking along 5th Avenue, window shopping, and my visit to MoMA (another museum) was great! Not so much being entertained by the paintings, though I enjoyed tremendously, but more by the building itself. I love its simple elegance of black and white, the internal minimalist effect, with clean sleek form, huge immense volume of space, grand and yet a sense of not too overpowering, good old architectural planning, and well crafted details typical of the Japanese, as it is by a Japanese architect. I love the courtyard exhibition space, and for once, the use of marble was most appropriate here I felt. (This last part has to be added, as my boss changed some of the finishes in one of my projects to white marble, which I was a bit apprehensive about, not really appropriate there, though I can't put a word to it, but my feel for it just isn't right.) This puts me to thinking, I have been trying with many style of designing, being a young architect, we experiment and learn by imitating masters, their style, their effect, with no logical reasons but simply for beauty sake, which I sometimes adhor. Do we actually need a style, a language of our own? In fact, many world renowned architects have developed their own style or language and just by looking at the form or space, we can boldly guess it almost right who is the creator of a building.

Yet there is also another school, no style, but site generated, concept motivated, though this school is often less famous, as they don't produce iconic buildings (buildings that catch your attention at first glance), but rather one that engages you slowly, to fall in love with it. I love this type, as it cannot bore you, just that it takes longer to get someone to walk in and give it a chance. I think I prefer to develop along this line, no style, but space and planning orientated, and the facade is all about creating an ambience within, with good detailing, though this will definitely take a longer path than an iconic methodology, yet I wish to stand in the position of the users of the building, rather than an onlooker... selah. At least for now, I may change my mind again...

Sorry for boring you with my job. Now back to the dramatic incident which I have yet written about. Yesterday was 11 October, exactly a month after September 11. I received a call from my worried friend while I was at MoMA, whom I am staying with, she was concerned that I could be at home, just like what I did the day before, due to jet lag, as there was a plane that crashed into a building 2 blocks (2 streets) away from where we are staying! She was so concerned, wanting to be sure I was okay and wanting to meet me to go home together as we are not even sure if we can make it home that night, as most probably the road was blocked, and at that moment, we were still not so sure what was the actual cause of it. But come to think of it, so close, I knew in my heart, a thousand shall fall at my side and 10 thousand at my right hand but it shall come near me! Thank God I was well and up running yesterday! I maybe pretty shocked if I stayed at home, hearing the crash. My God is good! My Shepherd is with me, yeah? Yeah!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Initial Thoughts...

This is the 3rd day I have arrived in NY. I am still adjusting to it, especially in terms of timing, "suffering" from jet lag, waking up in the wee hours of the night at 4, 5am, so widely awake for the past 2 days. During those moments, been thinking a lot, re-thinking a lot, adjusting, re-focusing life purpose. I would not elaborate too much, after all I did not want to bore my friends with them.

The flight here was undescribable, pray with me for an upgrade. To be cooped up in the plane for 12 hours was no joke, no place to stretch my legs, no where to turn... and most of the movies shown on board was what I have already watched in Singapore. Yet I am grateful, for the smooth flight, and the unfailing assurance from Jesus' word "let's go over to the other side."

My dear friend's place is great, cosy and nice, and she showers me with so much "love actions", pumped up my mattress, prepare my breakfast, and most of all, cook up a delicious dinner for me, I was touched, though I didn't say, I am not a person good with spoken word, but indeed am touched, thanks, pal, though not sure if she will ever read this.

Yesterday began the first day of my adventure. Taking things slowly, I got to learn to take the subway. Had a morning walk along Brooklyn Bridge, and the view was quite cool. Followed by a trip to Liberty Island to see Miss Liberty and Ellis Island, and got to understand a bit of the American's history, sound so similar to our forefathers' story who came over from China. Yet I enjoyed it, the excellence in their museum amazes me, the enthusiasm by the local tourists with headsets and all, they are really here to learn, gain knowledge, it humbles me. (Though the ship ride was quite... I felt like puking...)

I had quite a thought provoking visit to Ground Zero after that. In fact, I was quite filled with emotions, tears filled my heart, though I am not an American, yet I could almost feel the lost, the pain, the agony that went through. The entire display of the event was simple, yet powerful. This was to have an effect on my thought in the wee hours of the night.

With the thought of a friend urging me to take a look at Time Square at night, even though I mentioned I would not want to venture out at night too much, I decided to drop by, since I got to change a train there. It was truly quite amazing, the last time I saw something like that was in Tokyo 6 years ago. The light, the vibrancy, the night life etc, wow.... I must go back for a musical, at least one. And I visited the Toys 'R' Us flagship shop, really quite amazing, a place I will definitely go back again to grab somethings home.

Finally I come to write why I am writing my journal today, not just to keep my loved ones informed of my happenings (B, do tell my mom what's happening to me, and my siblings, thanks). So far, I have drawn 2 illustrations, but not coloured, and no scanner around, so can't post them till I am back, most likely will be in B&W, since at this rate of drawing, I would have produce about 20 or more illustrations by the time I am back, how to colour them all?

The recent event that took place back home 2 months ago, left my heart feeling down, exhausted for a while, therefore, I escape here for a breather. During the early morning of the day when I was wide awake in the dark, I thought through a lot. My Lord must have been wanting to speak to me for quite some time, and the story of John the Baptist's death, how Jesus went quietly aside to be alone, and yet people came streaming to Him while He must be feeling sad at that moment, He had compassion and healed all those who came to Him, like the Chinese saying "hua4 bei1 fen4 wei2 li4 liang4" (convert grieve into strength) jumps up at me. Jesus is never defeated. I am not making myself equal as Him, but I took courage, no way will I be stepped all over by the past. It is not over yet, the enemy better watch out and be on his toes, cos my Shepherd will surely gain back many times more than what was lost! Though I can't understand why such a thing happen, even for September 11, one thing I am sure, all things will surely turn around for good, and cheers, we are born winners, we aren't going to be trodden down! That's it, I am awakened!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Holiday Time

I am embarking on my trip in less than 18 hours' time. This is the first time in my life, to fly over the biggest ocean, Pacific Ocean (quite malu to say though). The thought of being coop up in the plane and airport (transit) for more than 20 hours did put me off slightly at first, even now, as I think of what I should do on the plane. I brought my beloved bible, a book, mp3 player, sketch book, note book, and not sure what else, plus on board entertainment, should be able to keep me occupied for that 20 hours there, and another 20 hours back at the end of the month. (Plus my Shepherd with me...hmmmm...)

Even now, I am still wondering if I should bring my laptop along, though the thought of its weight did deter me a great deal, yet I only has a small sling bag that I am bringing with me on the plane, so the sheer weight of it should not be too much. I am in a dilemma... any advice? I can do a lot of research if I have my laptop with me...(I like to do word search online....) sigh, what should I do? There should be an invention, a very small light laptop, size of a handphone, that can be enlarged by a press on a button.

While I am away, my dear family, nieces and nephews, do visit grandma, ok? Or give her a ring on the phone! Also, I will be delighted to receive smses from friends, though not necessary phone calls, knowing the time difference is quite big! But do pardon me if I did not reply, you all will always be on my mind.

And hope you all have a wonderful time today at the gathering at the dear couple's place, though I would very much want to join you all, but spending time with my beloved mom (now), just by being at home is far more important and I know you all understand! Just heard a song by Jay Chou on MTV today, title about his mom, though I am not a great fan of his, (most of his songs sound very similar to me), yet I was caught by surprised and almost touched to tears by that song, the simple lyrics, the second greatest love in the world: our parents' unconditional love for us.

See you all in 3 weeks' time! But I will write my blog and hopefully post some cartoon illustrations from NY! Jesus loves you all!