Monday, December 30, 2013

Be Thankful for the Good and Bad Times of 2013

I just came back from the hospital and another illness is added to the list! Doctor confidently diagnosed my bald patch as Alopecia Areata and asked me to use the same topical treatment cream I applied on my Vitiligo patches.

For those who didn’t know, last year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Disc Herniation and Sciatica. In between all that, I have frequent diaarrhoea, food poisoning, sinusitis, sleep disruption, headaches and etc. Earlier this year, Vitiligo came and leeched itself on me. Just last month, the doctor guessed I have Neuritis and today, I am given Alopecia. Wow, what’s next?

As I googled up on Alopecia, it says that 1 in 5 people would progress to total baldness. So I’m going bald after turning slowly into a leopard with spots? What other autoimmune disorders will creep up? How disfigured will I get? Will I be shunned by society? Hmmm…should I freak out? For some reason, I am unusually calm although I can’t say I am not disappointed, upset or more sombre than usual.

Beginning of this year, I quit my stressful job and came back to my hometown. I’ve been ‘jobless’ for almost a year although I do get part time/freelance stuffs once in a while. The illnesses have taken a toll on my body physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. I’ve gained 10 kgs since last year. Tomorrow is the last day of the year. Should I lash curses at God and hold resentment against him? Should I throw away all smiles and laughter and wallow in self-pity? I think not.

As I look back at this past year of 2013, there is much to be thankful for. Yes, even in my multiple sicknesses and trials and losses, I am thankful. I won’t put up a front and tell you that it has been a breeze and every day I had wakened up being grateful. I confess I have been bitterly frustrated, depressed, fearful, doubtful and even angry at God many times. Why did the Almighty God allow heaps of things to happen to me?

 Well, He’s God and I’m not. Therefore, I will never completely understand and grasp the big picture that He has in mind. I believe He has a plan for all these. He always does. He promises in

Romans 8:28 ‘We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.’

If God can give Sarah a child at her impossible old age and raised Lazarus from the dead, I am sure there is nothing that is impossible for Him. There must be something good out of all these trials and sufferings.

First and foremost, I am very grateful for the Lord’s grace and strength for helping me get through my painful days and days when I felt hope was just too far away. I am especially thankful for His constant Providence through unexpected sources that has kept me going although I was and still am technically jobless. I even get to go on several travel trips overseas through sponsors! I also thank God for the generous love from my family and friends. I still get to celebrate Christmas where many are homeless and cannot even go to church because of terrible disasters like the typhoon that plagued so many Filipinos. I am thankful for shelter and food and looking at my size, I’m sure you will know that there is always plenty of food on the table, if not too much. 

I would also like to thank God for the many times I've been hurt, misunderstood, rejected and humiliated for at times like these, I felt I had a glimpse of God's painful sacrifice for us. I thank God for all my illnesses because they keep me a little humbler and dependable on God for without Him I cannot go on especially on days when my physical strength is at its lowest. It was at times like these that I sometimes felt the closest to God although there were many times that I thought He had abandoned me. Again, those times were crucial to help me develop my faith. I sure hope it is not diminishing but growing instead. I am glad to still be alive, kicking and moving where millions have died or became bed-ridden.

Due to my ‘joblessness’, I have time on my hands and I have been immersing myself in creative projects from crafts, paintings and especially writing. Writing has always been a childhood dream buried and forgotten because it is not something someone in my country would encourage you to take seriously especially if it involves fiction or storytelling. Same goes to painting. There are plenty of poor artists around me and those who cared didn’t want me to end up like them. I am thankful however that my family supports my endeavours and although most of them do not understand or even read my writings especially my poetry, they never stopped me from doing them or put pressure on me to quickly find a desk job or a 9 to 5 occupation. I mostly felt the ongoing pressure from within myself. It is by facing the dark and forging ahead to fight those battles that I was able to draw much inspiration to write and paint. So for these trying times, I want to thank God for leading me through this foggy war. Without all these ‘unforeseen circumstances’, I would never have time to sit down, reflect, write and paint. I would have been too busy trying to look my best, be my best at my career and on top of that, acting like a social butterfly fleeting from one party to the next.

I don’t know if I will ever be cured of all my sicknesses or whether I will get financially stabilised in 2014. One thing I know and I’m certain of is that God is always with us. No matter the hurdles he’ll make me jump over or the raging sea that he’ll have me cross, I know He is faithful even when I am not and that means He’ll give me all the necessary graces to not only persevere but to rise above them all triumphantly. And so, in sickness or in health, in baldness or in full crown of glory, I thank God and will thank Him for all He has prepared for me in this coming year. After all, what are a little baldness, a little pain and a little poverty as compared to the crucifixion pains and humiliation suffered by Jesus on the cross? What we have or will ever have is pale in comparison to His. Let us draw strength from He who has been through it all.

As He has commanded, let us obey and


'give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' (1 Thess 5:18)


By the way, I am working on my first novel while compiling my poetry. Hopefully, I’ll get to publish them both in 2014. Also, more paintings will be on sale! Here’s to a fruitful and joyous Happy New Year no matter whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. One more thing, I thank God for you. Will you pray for me as I pray for you?



Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Christmas Dedication

Hello Readers!

This piece is specially drawn for my beloved friends, family and YOU! Yes, I would like to dedicate this artwork to a fellow reader of my blog. Thanks for stopping by.

A Christmas Blessing to You by Angelina Bong

A very Happy and Blessed Christmas to all who are celebrating. A fruitful  year end to those who are not celebrating. Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year to all of you! Thanks for making my life more colourful!

Love,
Angelina Bong.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rhythm of the Moon



One by one
Your fingers caress the guitar
Plucking strings of gold
Melodies down my skin
Soothing flares of broken cries

A smile flash
Joy blossoming
My feet move like twisted butterflies
Magical notes soaring like
 vespers of angelic breath
I am halfway between
Yes and unsure

My wings fly to reach
Touch the hues of smoky treble
In the palm of my hand
Que sera sera echoing
Foggy whispers of nonchalant songs
Float towards me
In the vast universe

You continue to serenade
Stars beaming
You tremble
Graces flow from your playing
I climb
The magical stairs
Stroke your long golden locks
Precious and hidden from the eyes of the earth

I see no dangers
I fall like leaves in autumn
You catch me
With your music of light
Casting spells
With a strand of your hair
Celtic drums pounding on my heart
You wish upon the shooting arrows of orient glory

I fear
Your hallowed presence
Bow down with reverence
Singing mercies
You seem so far away

Out of love
The moon spins
Fear resides losing balance
My pulse follows the beats to your tempo
Leaving behind a trail of sopranos
The stars blink back in emptiness
You shut your eyes
And see from within

I will sing
On my feet
Touching hips
We surrender to fate
The guitar continues to play
The stars weep alone
We dance to the rhythm of the moon

This poem was recited last Friday, 13th in Lov Gallery at 'Strong Words' Event...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dreaming of a White Christmas



A week more before the day takes flight,
Dreaming of a starlit holy silent night

If only snow flakes will come my way, 
That is all I ever want on Christmas day

Will you be Santa and make it all white?
So that my mouth will be grinning wide

Monday Blues



Chase away the Monday blues,
Wear not dread in weary hues,
May brightness dwell and spread,
Seize the day and be not afraid,
Let no one stop you in any ways,
To be good and kind all your days

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Twist with Kolo Mee

This is another artwork exhibited at Lov Gallery for the Lov Kuching exhibition. 

Again, food is my main inspiration for this painting! 

Definition of Kolo Mee (Hokkien to English)
Kolo means Dry
Mee means Noodle

Twist with Kolo Mee by Angelina Bong


















Twist with Kolo Mee is an acrylic painting portraying the playful and laidback persona
 of Kuching indulging in its addictive Kolo Mee, the love of many Kuching people. 
Just like the other artwork, the background’s symbolic shades are derived from 
colours often used to depict Kuching and Sarawak, mainly from the hornbill and the 
Sarawak flag.

Festivals galore enchant the world in meek Kuching,
Travellers from afar fall in love or have a fling,
Still the heart of chaos and worries for both you and me,
Break free from the norm, laugh and dare twist like kolo mee


 BTW IT IS ALSO FOR SALE...

If you would like a special, one of a kind artsy gift for a special someone, do 
consider getting this. Feel free to leave a comment whether or not
 you wish to purchase :) International delivery is available. Happy Christmas.

Do drop by my art blog at http://swakgel.blogspot.com. I promise to update more SOON.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dance with Laksa

This is one of the paintings that I have recently put up for an exhibition at Lov Gallery. The theme of the exhibition was Lov Kuching. What's more inspiring than food in Kuching? So, this one's dedicated for food lovers.

Dance with Laksa by Angelina Bong

This acrylic piece is inspired by one of Kuching’s most popular delicacies, the famous Sarawak Laksa and the love of festivals. Every year, festivals like the ‘Kuching Food Fest’ and the ‘Rainforest World Music Festival’ are celebrated in glory. Dance with Laksa incorporates the love of festivals expressed through a dancing girl into the enjoyment of this exotic dish.

Music and food unites the hearts of Kuching lovers,
No matter if you like breakfasts, lunches or dinners,
Whether you’re a fan of ballet, ngajat or salsa,
Be prepared to feast, dine and have a dance with laksa

BTW IT IS ALSO FOR SALE...

If you would like a unique gift to give as Christmas, do consider this. Leave a comment if you wish to purchase. International delivery available. :) cheers.

Do visit my art blog at http://swakgel.blogspot.com. I'll update it more from now on.

Do you have Conflicting Desires?

I found the below 'expression' in one of my 'caverns' written a while ago.


May what is false within us
Before your truth give way
That we may live untroubled
With quiet hearts this day


As I prayed the words above for my morning prayers today, I realized how much we need peace in the midst of our hearts. How many times we are conflicted with contradicting desires? How many of us are fighting deep inside, antagonizing each desire that come our way? How many of us have mixed emotions or worse, excessively expressing our emotion in a wrong way because our desires are not fulfilled?


How many times we can get angry over a small argument and threw tables? How many times we speak harshly to someone who criticize us and more often than not, they are only correcting us because they care? How many times we feel angry because of rejection from someone we are attracted to? How many times we feel envious because our best friend has a better dress, better car or a better house? And in the midst of all these, we are plagued with troubles in our hearts.


Why do we have conflicting desires? This is because our flesh or our body desires differently from our spirit. Our flesh has worldly appetites, even sinful cravings. Inappropriate sexual cravings, excessive food, wealth, fame and the list goes on. When we do not achieve these, we get angry, disappointed and even depressed. But do we really need all these? Paul says in his letter to the Galatians 5:16-17; ‘Live by the spirit, I say and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires is opposed to the spirit, and what the spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.’


When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore walking righteously with the Lord, we will find slowly, all these unnecessary cravings and disordered emotions will go away. How do we know if what we desire is not from the Lord? Again, Paul said in Galatians 5:19-21; ‘Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.’


Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to come to your hearts everyday and be guided by His spirit. Galatians 5:22 and 5:25 tells us that ‘By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. ‘If we live by the spirit, let us be guided by the spirit. Do not be afraid to ask the Holy Spirit to come and change you, to mould you into the person you are meant to be, to fill you with these fruits that Paul mentioned. Only then, you will find peace in your heart and all that is false within you will give way to truth. You will find no more troubled hearts as God slowly realigned your desires with His.


May the good Lord constantly guide you and fill you with His Holy Spirit so that you will be perfected and become more like Christ. Amen.


God bless.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wait in Ecstasy


I draw your face on my skin,
My feet dangling in thin air,
Whispering voices in the attic,
I hide in the cocoon of love,
Half floating above angels

Veils of wonder amaze me,
On bended knees I see,
Music hanging behind closets,
I touch the notes of union,
Miss the glitter in the dark

Your spirit dwells in flames,
Cloister of vines fall on me,
Sweet wine to sip and smell,
The stairs creak of footprints,
Up high the romance begins

Face to face in cloaks of silk,
Embroidered heart lingers on,
The perfect pearl in my fingers,
Somewhere in ecstasy of rest,
The night and day knows no time

Slow to take my beloved in white
Unchained youth feeds on blue
Fall at your feet with a rose
I adore and throw leaves of honey
Out of sight in chalice of gold

The light of moon lies awake,
Glass shatters into diamonds,
I catch your kisses of treasure,
My arms swell with wings of bliss,
Ablaze I say no more and wait

Monday, December 2, 2013

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel

Many of us remember Francis Xavier today, the great evangelizer and promoter of the good news of the Gospel.

I would like to share an excerpt from one of his letters. I hope you will be as inspired by this as I am :)

"From the letters to Saint Ignatius by Saint Francis Xavier, priest 
(E Vita Francisci Xaverii, auctore H. Tursellini, Romae, 1956, Lib. 4, epist. 4 [1542] et 5 [1544]) 

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel 

We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. No Portuguese live here the country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law. 

I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptised. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians. 

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”

I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like – even to India. "


The above excerpt is plucked from the link below:

http://www.liturgies.net/saints/francisxavier/readings.htm

God bless you and may your light shine the brightest where it is the darkest. May you bring the good news to the end of the world. Shalom.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

HUNGER GAMES

Watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire yesterday sent me hungry for more. Both Katniss and Peeta's characters left me with a mind to wonder...what will become of them? I must say Jennifer Lawrence has once again proved to be a remarkable actress with more than intelligence and vulnerability combined. What's more intriguing about this film is that it has a striking resemblance to the world we lived in today. This movie has sparked a fire in me to reflect on life.

Today we live in a society where the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. Yes, there are ongoing talks about helping the poor and thousands if not millions of humanitarian aid organizations out there. Every company is doing something to help the poor to keep tabs with their corporate social responsibility. Otherwise, their customers might just run to the next company who appears to be more 'caring'. Everyone seems to be doing their part. Do they really care or it is just another marketing gimmick like what Katniss and Peeta was sent to do in their tours?

Hungry children die of starvation every other day. Human trafficking exploits them and takes advantage of their vulnerabilities. Poor mothers with babies are forced to beg on the streets with rich neighbours living next to them who are oblivious to their existence. Millions of people die of diseases due to lack of clean water and basic necessities that we so often take for granted. How many more can't even afford to go to school while spoilt rich kids skip classes to go shopping? It is absurdly appalling that many go hungry while so much food is thrown away in other parts of the world. Remember the party on the eve of the Hunger Games? Many such feasts are held everyday in this world with food deliberately wasted. How many wish they can puke all the food out so they can try more delicacies? Nowdays, that is not a rare wish at all.

Then again, are the rich with all the wants and materials they can have more happy than the hungry and poor? It is undeniably a fact that suicidal and depression is higher in richer countries. Why so? Perhaps we should really look back and think. 

Are the poor really powerless with no hope to live? Are the rich so high and mighty that they would never suffer from sorrows? Far from true. So why then do we continue with the ongoing pursuits of wealth and pleasures that can never last? What games are we playing that are leaving us hungry for more? 

We can feel if not see clearly the invisible walls that separate the rich and the poor, like the District 12 and the Capitol. People screwing and 'killing' each other to go to the top. Hunger Games paints a clearer picture of the world we live in.

So are we left with no hope? Not at all...Watching Katniss and Peeta gives me a glimmer of hope to keep fighting as they keep fighting to rise above their persecutions, trials and oppressions. Above that, to give a voice to the voiceless and help them fight.

The greatest lesson is FAITH. Fight in faith. And when all is said and done, there's still heaven. We can hope in that. Life's on earth not all that's left. As Katniss longs to run away to a safer place in the hope to have a better life, we can trust in that longing too, with hope. 

I totally agree with the words of Bruce W. Mcdonald in his book, "The Fight of Faith." He wrote,

"There is nothing wrong with longing for heaven....'I consider the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18'

Shall we then strive in our own Hunger Games? Let's not give up on life ;)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CHINA

Dear readers,
The work below is a piece of fiction inspired by true life's circumstances. I rarely   post short stories on this blog but has always been fascinated by them. This is one of my few attempts to bring light to some issues tormenting girls. Feedbacks, comments and constructive criticisms are most welcome! 

CHINA
           
It was summer 1999. I would never have thought life could ever be like this. A slave like me could never want something more from life. Besides, I was never truly alive. I was a tool to be used and confiscated when all was said and done. I should never question what I was born to be for it was all laid out for me. I was bought by a price. If anyone who should remain silent for the rest of her life, it should be me.  Whatever happened must be a stroke of luck or some mighty invisible hands at work.

In the cold winter’s night of 1987, a Chinese baby girl with lovely shining eyes was born. Her cries filled a small corner of a city in the province of Anhui. She was a pretty sight to behold. Unfortunately, her mother looked at her with terror in her eyes and refused to hold this baby that was born of her flesh. Her father came in, saw the baby and quickly tucked her in his arms and fled the room. It was too much a risk to keep the baby. The one child policy meant they could only have one kid and it would have to be a boy. The boy could help in his laborious business and would be able to carry the surname of the family. A girl would be of no use to them. The father passed this crying baby bundled in rags to a red-haired foreigner waiting near the dock and she was never to be seen again in China. That poor little baby was me.

I grew up not knowing who my parents were. I always thought Master was my father but at age six, it finally dawned on me that my siblings were all tanned. I was the only fair child. At first I thought I was special and then realised the colour of my skin was a curse. They would all make fun of me and said Master picked me from the rubbish bin and bleached me till I was pale yellow because the stench on me was too horrible that no one could bear to be near me. I ran to Master asking him who my parents were and how did I end up in a land where no one else looked like me and was reprimanded with six harsh beatings from a rattan rod. From that day onwards, I never questioned Master again. Nor would I ask anyone where I came from.

It was never easy to please my Master. I tried singing but ended up sounding like a grasshopper creaking in the woods. I practiced dancing again and again but my clumsy feet prevented me from swinging graceful hips that I never had. I never excelled at any performances that my siblings could do so easily. They all seemed like a chore to me and I wondered why I did not possess any talents worth pursuing. How was I going to help Master make money? Would he throw me out because I could not contribute anything to make a living? All I could do was sit and beg but that was not helping much.

One day while I was begging, a beautiful lady with long blond hair and clear blue eyes came to me. She gave me a chapatti with some hot dhal. She told me I was pretty. My heart almost stopped in disbelief. I wondered whether she was telling the truth or she was just giving compliments out of pity for my kind who had to sit and beg. I smiled graciously at her and she patted my head gently. No one had ever touched me like that before. I did not know whether to cry, to run or to laugh. Instead, I stared at her blankly till she left. That night, I could not sleep at all thinking of the gorgeous maiden sent from heaven and her soft hands. 

The next day, I saw her again. She was passing the dusty streets of Pink City. Clad in a blue kurta and jeans, she came over and handed me a McDonald’s vegetarian burger. I was too stunned to speak. I had always seen teenagers and family enjoying Happy Meals in the yellow, red and white restaurant and could only dream that one day, some angel would bring the burgers to me. My angel arrived in the form of a fine lady with sparkling eyes that spoke of love when she gazed into mine. This time, I thanked her in English. I knew a few words of English from my older siblings who had picked it up in the streets from the foreigners who had come to visit Jaipur. From that day onwards, I saw my angel every day without fail. She would bring me food to eat and thanks to her, I learnt a lot more English although our conversations were always brief. I looked forward to our meetings everyday and for the first time in my life, I felt happy. I loved her so much and I swore I would die for her if anything threatened her life.

This angel of mine gave me a present. It had attractive women with long flowing dresses stuck on papers. Each paper had different pictures that were delicately drawn with meticulous details. There were some words at the bottom of each piece. My angel told me my present was a book. I was mesmerized by it. I started looking at my book every night and imagined that I would be one of those graceful ladies wearing striking gowns. It was a consoling dream every night where I could escape from my harsh life. Sad to say, Master saw me one night clutching my book and took it away from me. He tore the pages right in front of me as I choked back tears of grief. He made me promise never to touch a book again for it would spoil my pure mind. I nodded quietly.

One cloudy day, this angel of mine stopped coming. I waited till sunset and she still did not come. I was heartbroken. I asked around the shopkeepers and stall owners who might have known her. One of them told me that she flew back to the United States. My heart was torn. My angel left and betrayed me. My only source of joy had to be taken away.  She did not even say goodbye. I was left all alone again in the slums where I did not even belong. I realised I was from a different planet and it hurt so badly. I could not cry for crying was forbidden. Master would strike us with a stick so hard we would be bruised till we could not walk for days. I sucked all the pain into my soul and I grew quiet. I vowed never to smile again unless it was to seduce and tempt, never to let anyone into my heart again. I became silent and only spoke when it was absolutely necessary.

My heart cried till it cries no more. I was turning twelve and Master was preparing me for something huge. I was no longer allowed to go and beg. I was to take care of my skin and made sure I would not do anything to hurt myself physically. There were no more beatings or slapping. I was to make sure I knew how to walk properly. I had to take dancing lessons everyday although it was difficult as I was never cut out to be a dancer. Master told me someone would visit me and make me a woman. That person is of great honour and he would bring great wealth to our home. He told me that I would never be the same childish and foolish person like I was before. I was to become a mature, wise and refined lady once this honourable person paid his visit and made me one. I was delighted and did all my preparations with care. I would finally bring admiration and riches to Master. I would be the best slave anyone could ever have. I was born to be that.

The day finally came when that honourable person arrived. He wore a bright orange turban and he had such a long beard that you could weave them into braids. He introduced himself as Mr. Jee. After performing a dance, Master took me and him into a room filled with all things shiny and gold. The bed was covered in red silky sheets with golden embroideries. I would never dream of sleeping in a bed as heavenly as this. Although everything looked like dreamland, I felt strange at the thought of a bed in a meeting place. Mr. Jee looked at me intensely and switched off the lights. I was afraid of the dark and wanted to say something but I kept my mouth shut. Within seconds and swift like the lightning, his fat hairy hands reached for my golden saree and tore all my clothes off. He started touching me all over but something inside my heart told me this was not right. How could such horror make me a woman? I panicked and kicked him with all my strength, I fled the room and for fear of Master’s disappointment, I ran with all my might away from my Master’s home. I ran till I could run no more and slept in the corner of a street. I was only covered in my torn saree cloth that I managed to grab with me.

I woke up in the broad daylight with noisy kids roaming around the sandy alleys. No one seemed to have noticed me. Everyone was engaged in their own daily routines. There were a few camels strutting slowly across me. I was hungry, thirsty and scared. What if Master did send his troop to look for me? The last time someone tried to run away, Master found him and chopped his arms off. This armless boy grew into a man who would beg for the rest of his life with a paper cup as his companion. I feared that would happen to me. I quickly gathered my saree and wrapped myself properly with it and started to move. I walked till my feet bled and toes blistered for I was without shoes when I left that shameful chamber. It was soon midnight. There was not one single soul to be seen along the highways of the desert. I took my slumber on the roadside till I heard the honking of cars. It was still dark but fear took hold of me again and pushed me to get up and walk.

On the fourth day, I was drained of all my energy under the terrible scorching heat of the desert. My head was spinning and my steps became slower and slower. I was dying for water. I did not dare ask anyone for fear of them recognizing me as Master’s slave. I continued to trudge on the rough roads dragging my painful feet. Alas, I could take it no more. I slumped against a tractor like a huge rock thrown at a wall and slept. I passed out for hours. Not even the sound of honking trucks could wake me up. I lay at the roadside like a dead log.

I was awakened by some foreign music that was new to my ears. I opened my eyes and sat up. I felt like I was in a room of another planet. There were no glitzy decorations so loved by the Indians. The blanket covering me was filled with some puffy cotton and it was satin white. In fact, the whole room was white in colour leaving only chairs and tables in mahogany. Even the wardrobe was white. It was peculiar but very clean. Nothing like the home I slept in. I jumped out of bed and ran out of the room. I saw an old man and a young woman looking at me. I stared at them for I was startled to see people of different colours than I would normally see. The young woman had similar features like mine. She had long straight silky black hair and she also had pale yellow skin.  She began to explain to me that she saw me on the roadside when they were passing by as tourists in Jaipur on the way back to Delhi. She thought it was a rare sight to see a fellow Chinese sleeping on the streets and so she saved me.

I finally found out one piece of information about myself. I am Chinese. How odd. I never heard of that word. Whatever it meant, I must be part of it or it was part of me. I started to sob and tears flowed out like rivers of water penned up in my silence all these years. I told them in my broken English about what happened and the young woman held me like a baby in her arms. She assured me she would help me in whatever ways she could.

            The air was clean and there were different types of big trees lining up the tar roads. There were no honking from the cars that passed by us and no beggars were in sight. We reached a huge mansion with brown window panes surrounded by a blooming garden with magical flowers that I had never seen before. The young lady grasped my hand, walked me into the house and led me up the stairs into my room. I could hardly breathe when she told me the room belonged to me. It was magnificent and fit for a princess.

            Painted in pink, I had a queen size bed with quilted covers all to myself. There was a desk next to it with a table lamp so exquisite I could only imagine ever to see in a palace. I leapt for joy as I looked at the shelves and beamed at the hundreds of books waiting for me to be read. I could escape into different imaginations anytime. I reached out for a book and flipped the pages. I saw weird organic shapes with words all over them and there were lines in each shape. I wished I could read them.

            The young lady pointed at the shapes and told me those were the maps of the world. She explained we were all living on this planet named Earth and it consisted of various countries. It took her and her husband one year to sort out paperwork to get me from India to the United States. She even went on a search to discover how I reached India. She finally pointed to a huge part of a shape and told me, “That’s China. That was where you were born.”

            My eyes moistened with tears as I finally understood the meaning of my name. I am China.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Letter to My very own Daddy-Long-Legs

Dear Daddy,
I re-read Daddy-Long-Legs yesterday, as a reminiscence of my childhood. I recalled how much I yearned for Daddy-Long-Legs to call my own; how much I longed for a real dad in the physical sense. I remember fantasizing of my mother being swept away by a charming man whom she will eventually marry and live happily ever after. In return, I get to have a daddy to call all to myself and of course, shared by my sister too. He will spoil me with fancy treats, books and pretty girly things and most of all, give me a warm fatherly hug when I am sad and allow me to pout, whine and tug at his shirt for a good night’s kiss. I get to see him every day and we will have endearing chats over lunches and dinners. I wanted what all little girls want, a fatherly affection. O how I envy those little girls who get to hold their daddy’s hands!

Dear Silent Daddy,
Looking back through the glass of my memory, I do have my Daddy-Long-Legs. That’s you. Silently, you read my every letter penned in my journal or composed into prayers whispered to heaven. You were there watching over me, sheltering me and gave me providence more than I needed even though I was never really thankful because I was a jealous little girl who wanted more toys and books all the time. Eventually, you did give me many things including more books, toys and clothes but you always passed them to me through your loving messengers. Even though you were always quiet, you were there when I cried, laughed, slept and played. You were there again when I screamed and cried from my nightmares in the dark. You were there when I fell from the stairs and banged my head on the ground. You were quietly comforting me; sending people to love and care for me, tending to my tiny wounds. Of course, you were again silent and never communicate with me but if you ever did, I failed to listen. As I grow up shielding myself with a shell around me, you were always around; watching fondly.

Daddy Most Dearest,
I ought to be thankful for you are the Daddy-Long-Legs who gave me scholarships to colleges. Otherwise, how was it possible for me to earn a degree and fend for myself? You believe that I could rise up beyond my insecure self and harness those talents and gave me education. Time passes so quickly and I am a grown up now. I have never lack of anything thanks to you. Sometimes you answer me in the weirdest way and like Master Jervie, you tend to intervene when I tried to do something stupid that you forbade. Naturally, I got angry at you although you always give me the best but my na├»ve eyes could not see. When I was seriously ill, you were there soothing my sufferings through the hands and feet of many others. You have always known how my wild heart longs for adventures and you generously send me on trips I can never afford to fund from my own pockets. Slowly, I discover the multitude of angels you have sent to guide me. They’re always storming heaven by their fervent prayers that I may be safe and good. What more can I ask for?

My Affectionate Daddy,
As I grow older, you make your presence somehow more visible. You spoil me endlessly and pamper me with many gifts. You tirelessly send people my way to help me grow alongside my journey in life. You even paint rainbows for me when I am down to remind me that you are always with me. You send birds to my windows in the morning to wake me up even though at times I am lazy and want to sleep in. You share your divine family with me to cheer me on and not give up when the going gets tough. I wonder why at times, I still doubt that you are mine and why I still feel that you are so far away.

My Adorable Daddy,
Funny how you know my heart’s deepest desires even when I never tell them to you. You are probably the only one who knows that as a little girl, I squealed in secret delight at the multitudes of stories you send my way and I tell myself I would like to be an author someday, to inspire many other girls to be brave and strong through my future stories. I guess you also knew that I was afraid of being ridiculed to aspire to become an author, afraid that I am actually no good at all when it comes to writing. You watch as I chose my way out of this dream to pursue a world of fame, glory and pleasure. Again and again, you grab my attention to turn back but often, I get so distracted I spin around and forget. Somehow you seem to know me much more than I do. You open paths that I never think possible to walk in. I guess I do belong to you. Otherwise, how will you ever know?

Daddy of My Dreams,
It must be you prompting me to pick up Daddy-Long-Legs again after so many years. That book was received by post and dated 1994. How long ago was that! As I poured myself on the pages of the book, a part of me has been re-lived and my buried dream had rose from the grave!

My Beloved Daddy,
It is beyond my knowledge whether I’ll ever be the great writer that I want to be but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing my long-forgotten dream back to me. I am more than grateful that you believe in me more than I do myself. You have been more than a daddy to me. You are my protector, provider, healer, teacher and comforter. You breathe life into my soul and gave me a purpose. You love me so much you gave your life for me. You have become my truest lover, my soul mate. Your silence speaks louder than words.

My Precious Daddy-Long-Legs,
I know you will still love me if I never become a prolific writer for that was never truly your intention. Of course, I will never stop trying because of all you have given me. I must not throw away all the lavish gifts you have bestowed upon me. You have been so good to me and no amount of things I do can ever repay your kind deeds and love. The least I can do is being the best I can be and give my very best. Daddy-Long-Legs, I know you desire above all things to draw me to you and so, I promise I will continue to write these letters to you even when I hear absolutely nothing from you. For better or for worse, in sickness or in health, I will write.

Dear GOD,
I just want you to know that I am very, very happy to have you as my very own Daddy-Long-Legs.

Yours forever and ever,
Daddy’s Little Girl,

Angelina Bong.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Endless Self - Woo


No one will shed bottomless mercy like you do,

Will we wake up from shame and thank you,


Or lie awake self praising in endless woo?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

VILLA MARIA

Villa Maria.

That’s what we named my beloved home, tucked away from the heart of the city in a quiet but soon to be bustling township. I finally moved back from the epitome of entertainment and stress-induced 24/7 playground to my laid-back hometown after more than a decade away.

It is quite an adjustment to be surrounded by the cares of family again. Nothing beats home-cooked food, less chores and lots more idle time on my hands. However, I am still trying to get used to waking up to chirpings of birds instead of heavy traffic blaring. No more late nights with friends over coffee and wine. No more people watching on the human jam-packed train we call the LRT.

I feel like a retired old soul. Sometimes I wonder if this is good or bad. There’s definitely ample time to do reading, writing and painting or at least more than I used to have. These are luxuries I hardly could indulge in due to long hours of work and socialising. What’s left of ‘me’ time would be thrown into occasional penning of journal to keep my soul alive, murmurings of prayers and BED time. The young people would call it living the life instead of writing about it.

Life’s definitely slower and almost uneventful this side of the country. Should I be thankful for it? I’ve rediscovered the simple pleasure of reading till my eyes bulge and not be concerned about my next socialising/networking agenda. With far less friends here since I’ve been gone for more than one third of my life, I sought solace in my own company.

Imaginations excite me from reading to conjuring up characters in both my writings and paintings, whether or not I have an audience or merely for my own personal enjoyment. Perhaps now is the time to take both my arts of images and words into another level. Turn the volume up!

I am thrilled as a child again over stories jumping out from books I’ve always wanted to read but never found time to. I’ve just finished ‘The Bear Boy’ by Cynthia Ozick and Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Both kept me going like a child reading the ‘Famous Five’ wishing to be one of the crazy detectives solving some unheard of mysteries. I absolutely loved the flowery words from Oscar. I am still haunted by the evil deeds described so horrendously vivid by Oscar, sending me praying not to end up like Dorian. The Bear Boy was a different engagement. Every chapter was refreshing and whatever you would have guessed turned out in a twisted manner and that’s what made it interesting although the ending could be altered with a bit more happiness. Readers after all, like me love a happy ending.

Away from the crowd, perhaps my arts can truly become alive. What was a hobby could perhaps be more. Villa Maria is to me now not just a home but possibly, the perfect writing and arts residency.

Wish me all the best, will you?

I guess for a start, I do have an exhibition coming up next ;) Do read the previous post about it.