The Ragamuffin Kid

occasional rumblings of the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out

My Photo

I am a traveller on my way Home, passing through this little land. It's a lovely place, though nothing compared to where I'm heading, I was told. I have journeyed through several valleys. Not the kindest place I must say. But hey, I've had some "mountain top" experiences too. They made me long for Home. I heard there are no valleys at Home. I have met some fellow travellers along the way. But mostly find myself among locals. If you're local, please bear with my quirkiness. I know my accent and ways are puzzling sometimes. If you're a fellow traveller, keep going. We should be reaching soon. Bon voyage!

Friday, August 31, 2007

I Have Moved

Dear Friends,

After 3 years, I finally figured that I need a blog overhaul!

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my new blogsite,tilted halos at Wordpress. Thank you for sharing this incredible journey with me.

See you at there!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting to Know Me Better

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I was bored the other day and decided to take this test just for fun. Oh my.... am I fascinated by the amount of information about my personality type (ISFJ). Of course like any other such test, it's not 100% accurate but this is the closest so far. So do give it a try. You'll be amazed. To be honest I took the Personality Test (PT) twice while only once for the Multiple Intelligences (most of it are obvious). There are certain questions that are not exactly black and white (referring to the PT). Some of them are pretty subjective, so I had a tough time deciding. I guess no one is over 90% leaning on one side. There is usually a little of the opposite trait as well. So the chart up there is very helpful. As you can see, while I am clearly a "introverted-judging" type with over 80% leaning towards that direction, how I make decisions however, is a balance between feeling and thinking.

Incidentally I am in the right job (administrative) for my personality type (no wonder I last this long). The multiple intelligences test however, suggests quite a different variety.....uh hermm... phychologist, philosopher, theologian, writer. Hmm...... well, you know what, don't be surprise if I tell you that all of these have at least crossed my mind more than once in recent years. It bet I could actually be one given the right training. Haha. I am not surprised to see that my visual/spatial, music and interpersonal capabilities are all at 50%. I certainly have a keen interest in them. I studied fashion and make-up while I was younger but have always felt a certain "limitation", thus they never really took off. Now if only I have studied, psychology or philosophy. Oh well. But does anyone know of a career that matches both my personality and intelligences?'s a tough one.

To read the full ISFJ profile plus detailed information of the various components that make up my profile, visit


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Korean Hostages in Afghanistan

This is not going to be a well thought out piece where I go through a few rounds of editing. It's just going to come out as it is.

I'm angry, upset and disappointed with the way things are turning out in Afghanistan with regards with the Korean hostages. The whole situation has been met with indifference, insensitive criticisms and mindless blaming. I'm sick to my stomach. If some of you don't know what I'm talking about, it just goes to show how silent the media has been.

If I dare to admit and be totally honest, I am even angry, upset and disappointed with God. But that's something I will sort out in my own private time with God later.

I urge you to please do what is within your ability. Be it to spread awareness, sign petitions, gather together or privately to pray, just.... whatever you can in your own way, that you think can help in some small ways. May I direct you to this blog by Eugene Cho. He has got pretty extensive coverage on the situation. You'll find lots of details there. If you feel criticism or an impulse to blame, rising up within you, I beg you to stop. There will be a time for you to voice that. Now is not it. Now is the time to contribute something positive.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Longing That Shouldn't Be

I looked out the foggy window at carefully planted rows of trees that moved by slowly as our bus made it's way through the early morning traffic. Beyond them are houses and apartments looking tranquil and contented in the early morning shower, as if they've just woken up from a deep satisfying slumber. Rainy days, when it's not a thunderstorm out there, are heaven's refreshing. Rain as light as feather, descending upon the earth like showers of a billion rose petals. The scent in the air was thick with hope and all things beautiful. Flowing out of my earphones and through the spaces between my consciousness came a gentle, melodious voice, carrying with it a certain longing.

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
It's the only thing
That there's just too little of

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
No not just for some
But for everyone

I pulled my sweater closer and continued to gaze out the window. The trees and houses receded, leaving only the words of the song and the quiet pattering of the rain. I remember the words I read recently, "when something stirs your heart, remember that I am loving you." A faint smile broke out of the corner of my lips as I slumped back and rested my head on the window, subjecting my body to the gentle rocking of the bus as it wind it's way through.

I know You love me but we both know that other longing. Why stir it up when I have determined never to cross it's path again? I let out a silent sigh of resignation.

Lord we don't need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides
Enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers
Enough to cross
Enough to last
Till the end of time

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love...

As we waited at a traffic junction, a series of visions started to intrude my private world. Like a slide show presentation, they played themselves before me. A couple sat in an embrace as they looked out towards the horizon, waiting for the break of dawn. In another, a girl had her arms wrapped snugly around those of her partner as they walked pass, their silhouette coming together in unison. Later, she was laying by the fireplace propped up on her elbows as she read from a book. Sitting across from her is her lover, watching and listening to the silence of inexpressible contentment and happiness, as though there is not a care in the world.

Lord we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheatfields
Enough to grow
And there are sunbeams and moonbeams
Enough to shine
So listen, Lord
If you want to know

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
It's the only thing
That there's just too little of

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
No not just for some
But for everyone

I thought of all the opportunities and temptations I hsve let pass over the years. How is it that I feel so in-control and yet so bound.

The lights turned green and with a jolt we started moving again, leaving the visions behind.....till the next time God stirs my heart again.

Until then, I'll be okay. >wink<


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God's Blog and Anne Frank

I just finished Anne Frank's diary (more on that later) a week ago and suddenly felt the motivation to write. I take that as a good sign. When I'm writing I'm processing my thoughts. So yeah, it's a good thing to think about what I'm thinking.

Lately I have resorted to borrowing books from the local library. In the past, most of my books were bought from particular stores as most of the time I know what I wanted and where to find them. It's always easier to get them from one place rather than having to search the library. And of course I had a bigger budget for books then. So the library is my saving grace now.

Two titles caught my attention that day, God's Blog by Lanny Donoho and Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary. I am very pleased with both.

In God's Blog, Donoho uses the latest communication tool to introduce many biblical principles on a wide variety of subject ranging from creation, to music, to laughter. It is a refreshing new way to rediscover God again. You get the feeling that God himself is talking to you. That was how I felt. It is actually a very small book that can easily be finished in one sitting. I wasn't expecting deep theology but I think I went away with something even better - a renewed appreciation for the God that I have come to know and love. God is not limited to deep and mighty things. In fact, most often he speaks to us through ordinary, simple things.

Here's an excerpt from the book, speaking of music....

"The gift of Music is an expression for and from your soul...and your soul is connected to Me. After watching and listening to so many of you do so much with this gift today, I want to pass along a message:

This gift inside you is a piece of Me.

If it makes you want to move or dance, if it stirs your soul and calms your spirit, if it makes you wanna shout or run or ..... makes you move faster on your treadmill while it is piped into your head through your iPod....

it's Me.

I AM the music.

Remember this: The next time you download a song from the internet (legally, of course), or sing a song in the shower, or turn on the radio in your car to hear your favorite oldies, or slip on a pair of Bose noise-reduction headphones that you paid two hundred bucks for, and your favorite song comes in ringing through your eardrums....and your heart and soul become enthralled with sound....and your mind is enveloped with this amazing thing called music - remember....

what you're hearing is a gift
from your Creator
because I love you
and I want to
stir your soul."

There is another "post" which is also one of my favourites, about God wanting to burst the bubble his people have created to separate themselves. I really want to share that with you but alas I need to move on to the next book.

I know most of you have read Anne Frank's Diary. After all, it's one of the world's most widely read book. Through her writing, Anne Frank has become of the most renowned and discussed of Holocaust victims. I was never interested in history, let alone the history of a minority race. But all that changed when I became a Christian. Suddenly history comes alive because all of history becomes His-story. Naturally, the history of His chosen people, the Jews, became of particular interest to me ever since, not only because I could trace their story all the way back to Abraham in Genesis but also because what happens to them continue to have a bearing on present day history and beyond.

Now back to the book. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from June 1942 to August 1944. She died in one of the concentration camps when she was only 16. Beyond the Diary is a photographic remembrance of this young Jewish girl whose story of adolescent life during the German occupation of Netherlands in World War II has touched millions and opened the eyes of many millions more to "the folly of indifference and the terrible toil it takes on our young" as Hillary Clinton puts it. I have not read The Diary itself but I will. I intend to read The Critical Edition because I like that it contains almost all the different diary texts, as well as information on the Frank family's background, their life in hiding, and their betrayal.

I am glad I started with Beyond The Diary because it provided some needed context and there is something so humanizing about those photographs. In them, Anne has not yet passed into historical legend. I felt a chill down my spine every time I look at those photos. They were such ordinary photos of everyday life that I could easily find in my own album. There was Anne in her bathing suit with her sister and a group of neighborhood friends and Anne when she was a toddler and later on in grade school, and many others more with her family, all of them with smiling faces that speaks only of innocence. All these before the diary, before the attic. Knowing the fate that waited them was what brought those chills. I recalled descriptions off the dark pages of Wiesel's Night and horrific images from Speilberg's Schindler's List and contrasted it with the bright and innocent tone of Anne's writings and those photographs. It is therefore noteworthy and particularly heart warming to read these words from this young girl, who also writes about ordinary day to day issues that besets an adolescent life, like disagreement with parents, sibling rivalry and boyfriends. Anna Quindlen wrote of Anne in the introduction to Beyond the Diary,

" We know Anne Frank the victim and Anne Frank the fugitive. This is Anne Frank the free, the living, the person who was able to write what has become a life lesson for millions of us in the years since: "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Wouldn't you say she is one amazing girl?


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dear Mr President

A friend of mine shared this video with me. It made my hair stand the moment I heard it, though I don't know if all the blame should be pushed to Bush alone.

Dear Mr President by Pink


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where is God When It Hurts?

I read this piece on Christianity Today's site not too long ago and found my heart deeply comforted. It just goes to show that what we need most in times of suffering is not pet answers and hasty promises but an acknowledgement of our pain and the proclamation of hope. I'm posting it here mainly for myself, as a reminder, if and when I do walk through the valley of the shadows.

A sermon given on the Virginia Tech campus two weeks after the shootings.
Philip Yancey posted 6/06/2007 05:31PM

We gather here still trying to make sense of what happened in Blacksburg, still trying to process the unprocessable. We come together in this place, as a Christian community, partly because we know of no better place to bring our questions and our grief and partly because we don't know where else to turn. As the apostle Peter once said to Jesus, at a moment of confusion and doubt, "Lord, to whom else can we go?"

In considering how to begin today, I found myself following two different threads. The first thread is what I would like to say, the words I wish I could say. The second thread is the truth.
I wish I could say that the pain you feel will disappear, vanish, never to return. I'm sure you've heard comments like these from parents and others: "Things will get better." "You'll get past this." "This too shall pass." Those who offer such comfort mean well, and it's true that what you feel now you will not always feel. Yet it's also true that what happened on April 16, 2007, will stay with you forever. You are a different person because of that day, because of one troubled young man's actions.

I remember one year when three of my friends died. In my thirties then, I had little experience with death. In the midst of my grief, I came across these lines from George Herbert that gave me solace: "Grief melts away / Like snow in May / As if there were no such cold thing." I clung to that hope even as grief smothered me like an avalanche. Indeed, the grief did melt away, but like snow it also came back, in fierce and unexpected ways, triggered by a sound, a smell, some fragment of memory of my friends.

So I cannot say what I want to say, that this too shall pass. Instead, I point to the pain you feel, and will continue to feel, as a sign of life and love. I'm wearing a neck brace because I broke my neck in an auto accident. For the first few hours as I lay strapped to a body board, medical workers refused to give me pain medication because they needed my response. The doctor kept probing, moving my limbs, asking, "Does this hurt? Do you feel that?" The correct answer, the answer both he and I desperately wanted, was, "Yes. It hurts. I can feel it." Each sensation gave proof that my spinal cord had not been severed. Pain offered proof of life, of connection—a sign that my body remained whole.

Love and Pain
In grief, love and pain converge. Cho felt no grief as he gunned down your classmates because he felt no love for them. You feel grief because you did have a connection. Some of you had closer ties to the victims, but all of you belong to a body to which they too belonged. When that body suffers, you suffer. Remember that as you cope with the pain. Don't try to numb it. Instead, acknowledge it as a perception of life and of love.

Medical students will tell you that in a deep wound, two kinds of tissue must heal: the connective tissue beneath the surface and the outer, protective layer of skin. If the protective tissue heals too quickly, the connective tissue will not heal properly, leading to complications later on. The reason this church and other ministries on campus offer counseling and hold services like this one is to help the deep, connective tissue heal. Only later will the protective layer of tissue grow back in the form of a scar.

We gather here as Christians, and as such we aspire to follow a man who came from God 2,000 years ago. Read through the Gospels, and you'll find only one scene in which someone addresses Jesus directly as God: "My Lord and my God!" Do you know who said that? It was doubting Thomas, the disciple stuck in grief, the last holdout against believing the incredible news of the Resurrection.

In a tender scene, Jesus appeared to Thomas in his newly transformed body, obliterating Thomas's doubts. What prompted that outburst of belief, however—"My Lord and my God!"—was the presence of Jesus' scars. "Feel my hands," Jesus told him. "Touch my side." In a flash of revelation, Thomas saw the wonder of Almighty God, the Lord of the universe, stooping to take on our pain.

God doesn't exempt even himself from pain. God joined us and shared our human condition, including its great grief. Thomas recognized in that pattern the most foundational truth of the universe: that God is love. To love means to hurt, to grieve. Pain is a mark of life.

The Jews, schooled in the Old Testament, had a saying: "Where Messiah is, there is no misery." After Jesus, you could change that saying to: "Where misery is, there is the Messiah." "Blessed are the poor," Jesus said, "and those who hunger and thirst, and those who mourn, and those who are persecuted." Jesus voluntarily embraced every one of these hurts.

So where is God when it hurts? We know where God is because he came to earth and showed us his face. You need only follow Jesus around and note how he responded to the tragedies of his day: with compassion—which simply means "to suffer with"—and with comfort and healing.

I would also like to answer the question why? Why this campus rather than Virginia Commonwealth or William and Mary? Why these 33 people? I cannot tell you, and I encourage you to resist anyone who offers a confident answer. God himself did not answer that question for Job, nor did Jesus answer why questions. We have hints, but no one knows the full answer. What we do know, with full confidence, is how God feels. We know how God looks on the campus of Virginia Tech right now because God gave us a face, a face that was streaked with tears. Where misery is, there is the Messiah.

Not everyone will find that answer sufficient. When we hurt, sometimes we want revenge. We want a more decisive answer. Frederick Buechner said, "I am not the Almighty God, but if I were, maybe I would in mercy either heal the unutterable pain of the world or in mercy kick the world to pieces in its pain." God did neither. He sent Jesus. God joined our world in all its unutterable pain in order to set in motion a slower, less dramatic solution, one that involves us.

One day a man said to me, "You wrote a book called Where Is God When It Hurts, right?" Yes. "Well, I don't have much time to read. Can you just answer that question for me in a sentence or two?" I thought for a second and said, "I guess I'd have to answer that with another question: 'Where is the church when it hurts?'"

The eyes of the world are trained on this campus. You've seen satellite trucks parked around town, reporters prowling the grounds of your school. Last fall, I visited Amish country near the site of the Nickel Mines school shootings. As happened here, reporters from every major country swarmed the hills of Pennsylvania, looking for an angle. They came to report on evil and instead ended up reporting on the church. The Amish were not asking, "Where is God when it hurts?" They knew where God was. With their long history of persecution, the Amish weren't for a minute surprised by an outbreak of evil. They rallied together, embraced the killer's family, ministered to each other, and healed wounds by relying on a sense of community strengthened over centuries.

Something similar has taken place here in Blacksburg. You have shown outrage against the evil deed, yes, but you've also shown sympathy and sadness for the family of the one who committed it. Cho, too, has a memorial on this campus.

Life Matters
The future lies ahead, and you're just awakening to the fact that you are an independent moral being. Until now, other people have been running your life. Your parents told you what to do and made decisions for you. Teachers ordered you around in grammar school, and the pattern continued in high school and even into college. You now inhabit a kind of halfway house on the way to adulthood, waiting for the real life of career and perhaps marriage and children to begin.

What happened in Blacksburg on April 16 demonstrates beyond all doubt that your life—the decisions you make, the kind of person you are—matters now. There are 28 students and 5 faculty members who have no future in this world.

That reality came starkly home to me nine weeks ago today when I was driving on a winding road in Colorado. Suddenly, I missed a curve and my Ford Explorer slipped off the pavement and started tumbling side to side at 60 miles per hour. An ambulance appeared, and I spent the next seven hours strapped to a body board, with duct tape across my head to keep it from moving. A cat scan showed that a vertebra high on my neck had been shattered, and sharp bone fragments were poking out next to a major artery. The hospital had a jet to fly me to Denver for emergency surgery.

I had one arm free, with a cell phone and little battery time left. I spent those tense hours calling people close to me, knowing it might be the last time I would ever hear their voices. It was an odd sensation to lie there helpless, aware that though I was fully conscious, at any moment I could die.

Samuel Johnson said when a man is about to be hanged, "it concentrates his mind wonderfully." When you're strapped to a body board after a serious accident, it concentrates the mind. When you survive a massacre at Virginia Tech, it concentrates the mind. I realized how much of my life focused on trivial things. During those seven hours, I didn't think about how many books I had sold or what kind of car I drove (it was being towed to a junkyard anyway). All that mattered boiled down to four questions. Whom do I love? Whom will I miss? What have I done with my life? And am I ready for what's next? Ever since that day, I've tried to live with those questions at the forefront.

I would like to promise you a long, pain-free life, but I cannot. God has not promised us that. Rather, the Christian view of the world reduces everything to this formula: The world is good. The world has fallen. The world will be redeemed. Creation, the Fall, redemption—that's the Christian story in a nutshell.

You know that the world is good. Look around you at the blaze of spring in the hills of Virginia. Look around you at the friends you love. Though overwhelmed with grief right now, you will learn to laugh again, to play again, to climb up mountains and kayak down rivers again, to love, to rear children. The world is good.

You know, too, that the world has fallen. Here at Virginia Tech, you know that as acutely as anyone on this planet.

I ask you also to trust that the world, your world, will be redeemed. This is not the world God wants or is satisfied with. God has promised a time when evil will be defeated, when events like the shootings at Nickel Mines and Columbine and Virginia Tech will come to an end. More, God has promised that even the scars we accumulate on this fallen planet will be redeemed, as Jesus demonstrated to Thomas.

I once was part of a small group with a Christian leader whose name you would likely recognize. He went through a hard time as his adult children got into trouble, bringing him sleepless nights and expensive attorney fees. Worse, my friend was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Nothing in his life seemed to work out. "I have no problem believing in a good God," he said to us one night. "My question is, 'What is God good for?'" We listened to his complaints and tried various responses, but he batted them all away.

A few weeks later, I came across a little phrase by Dallas Willard: "For those who love God, nothing irredeemable can happen to you." I went back to my friend. "What about that?" I asked. "Is God good for that promise?"

I would like to promise you an end to pain and grief, a guarantee that you will never again hurt as you hurt now. I cannot. I can, however, stand behind the promise that the apostle Paul made in Romans 8, that all things can be redeemed, can work together for your good. In another passage, Paul spells out some of the things he encountered, which included beatings, imprisonment, and shipwreck. As he looked back, he could see that somehow God had redeemed even those crisis events in his life.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us," Paul concluded. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:37-39). God's love is the foundational truth of the universe.

Clinging to Hope
Trust a God who can redeem what now seems unredeemable. Ten days before the shootings on this campus, Christians around the world remembered the darkest day of human history, the day in which evil human beings violently rose up against God's Son and murdered the only truly innocent human being who has ever lived. We remember that day not as Dark Friday, Tragic Friday, or Disaster Friday—but rather as Good Friday. That awful day led to the salvation of the world and to Easter, an echo in advance of God's bright promise to make all things new.

Honor the grief you feel. The pain is a way of honoring those who died, your friends and classmates and professors. It represents life and love. The pain will fade over time, but it will never fully disappear.

Do not attempt healing alone. The real healing, of deep connective tissue, takes place in community. Where is God when it hurts? Where God's people are. Where misery is, there is the Messiah, and on this earth, the Messiah takes form in the shape of his church. That's what the body of Christ means.

Finally, cling to the hope that nothing that happens, not even this terrible tragedy, is irredeemable. We serve a God who has vowed to make all things new. J. R. R. Tolkien once spoke of "joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief." You know well the poignancy of grief. As healing progresses, may you know, too, that joy, a foretaste of the world redeemed.

Philip Yancey is a CT editor at large.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Introducing "Bible Versus"

Wanna hear what a gay man living with AIDS in Los Angeles has to say about the Bible? Then, hop on to Bible Versus. I was introduced to it by no other than my favorite rlp. Hugh Elliot has been a cyber friend of rlp since his early days with Real Live Preacher. A gay man and a Southern Baptist, Texas preacher - you might think that make an unlikely friendship but surprise surprise!! Anyway, one day Hugh decided to check out the New Testament and Psalms for himself after watching rlp's "How To Read The Bible" series which I have yet to watch, and blog his way through it. I know this one's gonna be interesting and I wasn't disappointed. Hugh described Bible Versus as a sometimes humorous, spontaneous, honest but always reverent view of God, religion and the New Testament. True enough, it is as he said. I enjoyed it tremendously and I hope you will too.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Can Someone Please Translate

Jesus - the bodhisattva who fulfilled his dharma, to pay for my karma, to negate samsara and achieve nirvana. - businessman and politician, Ram Gidoomal.

I thought that was a brilliant way of putting it!

It summarized what I wrote in my previous post, Everybody Needs Jesus? Maybe Not. We Asians tend to have difficulty understanding the concept of sin, righteouness and redemption. Sometimes all it takes is some proper translation to help understand these concepts.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Musical Journey

I hope that self-awareness piece wasn't too draggy for you. Now let's move on to something fun. Yes yes... we must.

I want to share with you my latest pride and joy ((drum roll)) - a brand new Daisy Rock Pixie acoustic guitar!. I also want to celebrate starting lessons again after almost a year's break! This time round I'm learning at a Christian music schoolcalled Believer Music I didn't know it existed before. I love everything about it - the school, the coaches, the lessons, the music. It says here on their website

"Believer Music wants to take you on a musical journey which is God-centered and worship-filled. Hearing from God about His will for your life requires first, an abandonment from materialistic ideals. Yes, you were born for a reason and we encourage you to know what that is by having a deeper relationship with the Life-Giver. Our ultimate goal is that you will find the courage to become all you can be according to what God has purposed. And Yes! it begins with worship."

The atmosphere is quite unlike Yamaha where I learned classical for over 2 years. Now I'm playing acoustic with lots of strumming with simple chord progression. Finger-picking will come later. I am SO looking forward! The lessons feel different as we learn that making music is not just about us and the music but about expressing our heart to God. At Yamaha, my coach was good in that he would make us learn the hard way. He can be very cold at times......just sitting there and watching us struggle through a piece. For someone who had no music background then, it was quite a struggle for me. I managed to pull through somehow and I today, attribute the discipline to consistent practice to my classical coach. At Believer's I have a very nice and gentle guy for my coach. Evidently, his approach is very different. I have never heard him say a discouraging word or use a discouraging body language. He is THE model Christian man. These days I'm almost never stressed about lessons! You think this would make us complacement? can happen if your motivation is not strong enough. Okay to be fair, if I'm totally new I to this I might not have given it as much practice because there's less fear that I'd get a sharp rebuke from my coach. But I had been under the torch in my previous class, so it's kind of built in me now that if I want to do this well, I know I have to put in the effort and not just "pray" that my fingers will suddenly work wonders on it's own. But I think the main motivation for me is that the lessons themselves are very rewarding. We can already play a whole song after the first lesson! It just makes you really happy and you want to keep going. Now try working through a solo classical piece. Can die ah! My coach (the classical one) used to say, "If you want to play well, play each line 20 times over before moving on to the next. Repeat this until you finish the entire song." Can you visualize my sweat flying? Compared to that my current class is a honerymoon. I'm sure as I progress to more advanced levels, I'd start to feel the heat. Another wonderful part of the lesson is that I can feel God's presence in those songs. There was this song, I Will Bow, that really sopke to me while I was playing it in the quietness of my bedroom. It feels great if you can play a song but it feels even better when you feel connected with God through the song.

So back to my guitar, I have been reading up on acoustic guitars lately. That's half the fun already. I didn't know there are SO many considerations to make prior to a purchase. While I know I should look for one with a solid top, I didn't know that a cedar top will give a rounder sound compared to say.... a spruce top. Then, there's this thing called the action which is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. Low action is good and easier to play but cannot be too low or it will result in a irritating buzz when played. One can go on and on about the bracing, tuners, sizes, shapes, finish, nut etc etc....all of which affects the durability, payability and sustain of a guitar. Oh and get this, I also learned that I can create callouses (yes, thick hard skin - the ones that your manicurist will file away!) on my fingertips trice as fast by swabbing them with rubbing alcohol twice a day! What a great tip! I really need that for my fleshy fingers. Tell you something silly, back in those days when I just started my classical, I was so desperate to toughen my fingertips that I'd twist a rubber band around each fingertip to stiffen them! It worked....but also left me with cold and grey fingers lah. Hey, I've never pretended I was born to be a musician did I? And based on an expert's assessment, I am a mostly left-brain kind of person! But that's okay cos coach says (the classical one again) that playing an instrument is 90% practice and 10% talent. So there....I have hope! Don't laugh, you're the same.

Anyway, I was overwhelmed by the information overload. Of course, NO purchase should be made without "touching and feeling" the instrument for yourself. I read reviews for the next 2 days but found out later that sound is a very subjective thing. What a reviewer like might not be what I like. So after short-listing a few recommended models, I plucked up my courage and head down to the music stores. I was immediately intimidated. I was the only girl in all the stores! There were guys, boys, even uncles....but where are the girls?? As much as I was trained to be "thick-skinned" by my classical coach, I still felt veeery tiny, not to mention incompetent, in the midst of these men. (((shudder))) And the moment you decide you want to try out one of these stringed instruments, that's when the mother of all fears descends upon you. I'm not talking about running your fingers across the strings to test the sound, I'm talking about actually asking the sales person to take them down for you and bring you a stool so you could sit down properly and play a tune on it ..... all the while knowing what you'd sound like being a clueless newbie and how everyone in the store will know what a disgrace you are to the community of musicians and would-be musicians. (((( shudder shudder)))) Miraculously, I survived that.
Finally I decided to settle for a Daisy Rock Pixie. It's a girl's guitar in a sweet powdery pink. It was going for a 50% discount, how not to resist? Plus the reviews have been great. It's a serious full scale guitar with a smaller and slimmer neck to accommodate smaller hands. It looks sturdy and well made and comes with Grover tuners. It has a solid spruce top with a composite body like the Ovation ones. Sound wise it's comparable with other smaller guitars though I find it a tad too metallic-y. The bass is also kinda weak. I brought it to a friend who could play and he feels that it's loud and bright enough, only lacking in bass. I'm still trying to figure out if that's due to the strings or the smaller composite body but overall, for that price I'm a happy girl! I think it's a better move than blowing a budget on something I'm still relatively clueless about. If I am still actively playing a year from now, I'll upgrade to a better one with a bigger budget. By then I should be experienced enough to know what exactly I'm looking for. Then it'd call it money well invested!

Alright, that's all I have about my new toy. Gotta go polishhh me pixie and swab me fingers now. Ta!