Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home For Christmas and Amazingly, A Round-up for 2007

Christmas + Cookies

Back home in Singapore for Christmas. As promised. Who else could have been entrusted with blasting the entire 141 minutes of Masaaki Suzuki's take on Handel's Messiah while laying down balls of cookie dough in infringement of the borders of their neighbours' personal space?

Living, as we all do in this life, in the present-continuous, I subscribe neither to the ritual of annual round-ups, nor, for that matter, the illogicality of new year resolutions, the baseless hope of Philip Larkin's Trees.


A polaroid of 2007 for the future self (with the usual caveats that accompany such misrepresentative snapshots).

A bit of travelling: snorkelling and diving in Tioman, two work trips to Ho Chi Minh/Saigon, surfing in Bali, mall-ing it in Dubai, dune-bashing and sandboarding in Oman, two work trips to Qatar, wandering about in total amazement in Tokyo. My frequent flyer miles pale in comparison to my colleagues' but are sufficiently foul that preliminaries in discussions with friends about meeting-up inevitably include the question "when are you flying off again?". Even less fortunately, travelling does nothing to douse the wanderlust, it just inflames it so that am currently fairly determined to do a Singapore-London road trip. With the wandering about came a fascination with the diversity of cities and theories about urban environments and urbanity.

Worldview interest of the year: crit theory. Post-modernism, post-post-modernism, post-structuralism, post-existentialism. Michel Houellebecq, Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley, Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, Slavoj Žižek. This trend is forecast to continue into the new year.

Food interest of the year: cupcakes. An interest in the variety of cake and cream combinations to be had and cream top as blank-canvas/art-space. There is no foreseeable future for this food interest.

Game of the year: Guitar Hero! I IZ RAWKSTARRRR KAME 2 RAWK UR WRLDZ! \m/ RAWR!!! *smashes guitar* uh-oh.

Work: work has been fairly decent. The boss has told many people how pleased he is with my deals and "keen mind". (Exchange rate between praise and bonus not available.) Have also gotten fairly major 'uns which have been intellectually interesting though time and patience-consuming.

Weddings, wedding photography, babies: weddings continued at a steady pace in 2007. I still refused to attend photography classes so as not to have personal idea of aesthetics (which according to current thought ought to be subjective so as not to become Consumerist) squished under the thumb of photography nazis.

I managed, with the mid-range cameras, to pin colours down almost where I wanted them. The Nikon D100 was an eye-opener. The D200 was a bit of a WB let-down. But the D300 was telling me that we could possibly make beautiful music together...if I stopped dropping it on its head. Started experimenting with angles. The new Nikkor VR 18 - 200mm lens promised to open up vistas previously denied by the prime 85mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4. Oh, but to have a 18 -200mm f1.4. Catch up, technology, catch up!

(Re: people who complained of being made to look ugly in photos (and they were never the brides). The camera don't lie, honey.)

Became vastly more tolerant of the by-products of weddings: babies. And also of the by-products of babies: baby saliva on clothes and the smell of baby poo (totally under-rated on the stench-o-meter).

God and ministry: the most encompassing for last. The last few years have been a horrible struggle, a struggle to keep trusting in God's character and God's promises; a struggle not to let go.

I hold on to God not because of sentimentality since I eschew all things sentimental, nor for the comfort of habit because malignant wanderlust ensures a great adversion to repetition for its own sake, but because the truth of the matter was investigated a long time ago and the evidence[1] pointed to the fair certainty of the goodness and wisdom of God as Creator and Sustainer and Judge and his words as a good thing to hold on to.

Therefore the struggle was not one with the conviction of truth but rather, with over-realised eschatology (not health-and-wealth over-realisation but with wanting justice now, wanting every evil and hidden thing to be brought to light now) and with that biblical both-and of human works and divine sovereignty.

[1] "Quid est veritas?" indeed. I suppose one day I should write down the beyond-reasonable-doubt-edness of the evidence for the truth of biblical Christianity, the external evidence as well as how it is internally consistent and a comparison with other worldview claims. Probably can even dispense with ceteris paribus-type qualifications which are so, duh, cop-out when talking about ultimates.

PS. I suppose also that if God is Creator and Sustainer, then none of this is ultimately my work or effort but his. And this is possibly exacerbated in my instance since am supremely (and, to my boss and family, frustratingly) unambitious, seeing no satisfaction and meaning in the garden-variety ambitions of the world. And if God is Judge then, I think he can be trusted to know when patience is required to give people (including myself) the opportunity to repent.

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