Thursday, May 01, 2008

Inevitabilities, Boat Asia, Strawberries, 五月天 (wuyuetian, MayDay)'s 回到地球表面 (Down To Earth) Concert and 2 Samuel 12

A crazy week filled with inevitabilities.

Boat Asia 2008 at Marina@Keppel Bay, Keppel Island, Singapore
It was inevitable that the gloriously hot weekend was just the thing for Boat Asia 2008 at Marina@Keppel Bay on Keppel Island. There were jetskis and sailboats for sale, and floating platoons to put together like real life Lego, and yachts to clamber onto for joyrides and also houseboats to dream of living and navigating the world in.

Marina@Keppel Bay, Keppel Island, Singapore
Out of the heat, in the air-conditioned confines of TCC, we sat and chatted till the lights came on and some of the boat crew sounded their foghorns, untied big bunches of balloons and let the wind carry them up into the darkness.

Le Fraisier
It was also inevitable that the heat made it impossible to eat much, so fruits were the order of the day. Because strawberries were cheap in the fresh produce section, there was an attempt at Le Fraisier, but really, that was far too precious.

TGIF Breakfast Faux-Trifle
Much better was just heaping them in a bowl with leftover vanilla sponge and natural Greek yoghurt and drizzling some manuka honey over the lot.

Fresh Strawberries and Greek Yoghurt
And even better just kosong: strawberries and yoghurt and nothing else.

(When some friends rolled into town from half-way across the world though, we managed (for their sake, of course) a bit of chilli crab and cereal crayfish (the receipt said "clay fish"). After, durians were hunted down.)

Ashin and Monster
Again, it was inevitable that we would not have had been able to enjoy completely 五月天 (wuyuetian, MayDay)'s 回到地球表面 (Down To Earth) (新加坡第一站 hor) Concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, however novel the concept of Chinese pop music concert-going, however free the tickets, however better the sound system than the one at Singapore Expo Max Pavilion,

however innovative the stage,

however wonderful the guitar antics of Monster (here with pink bear standing by),

however crazy the drumming of Guanyou/Ming (here with unwelcome helpers),

however communist and equal-opportunity the UFO-like skybridge,

Raptuous Audience
however raptuously the crowd greeted the proximity of band members,

drummer Guanyou/Ming and bassist Masa
however cheeky the banter that put paid the innocence of candles on birthday cakes,

however "high" the audience and however companionable the neighbours. A function, no doubt, of the fact that no amount of earnest emotion set to catchy music can guarantee the future and the understanding that all good things are but a pale low-quality imitation of the great party-to-come (see Revelation).

Setlist/Song list (mostly thanks to the fans at forum):
Ashin hamming it up for the camera
lead singer Ashin hamming it up for the camera
五月天 回到地球表面
The stage was covered with a ceiling-to-floor white sheet. 4 "armed" men rappelled down from the ceiling wearing gas masks. Continuation of video from their last concert 離開地球表面.
1. 抓狂 - MV, Singapore concert
2. 香水 - MV
3. 叫我第一名
4. 為愛而生 - MV, Singapore concert
5. 一千個世紀 - MV, Singapore concert
6. 雌雄同體 - MV, Singapore concert
7. 愛情萬歲 - MV, Singapore concert
8. 離開地球表面 - MV
9. 生命有一種絕對 - MV
10. 孫悟空 (每個人各唱一小段) - MV, Singapore concert
11. 小太陽 (「回到地球表面」演唱會主題曲) - MV, Singapore concert
12. 九號球+離家出走 - MV, Singapore concert
13. 闖 - MV, Singapore concert
14. 生活 + 疯狂世界 - MV, MV, Singapore concert
15. 垃圾車 + 生日快樂 (瑪莎慶生 Masa's birthday) - MV, Singapore concert
16. 愛情的模樣 - MV, Singapore concert
17. 最重要的小事 (阿信彈吉他) - MV, Singapore concert
18. 我又初戀了 - MV
19. 戀愛ING - MV, Singapore concert
20. 溫柔 - MV, Singapore concert
21. 洋蔥 - Singapore concert
22. 軋車 - MV
23. 溫柔 (還你自由版)
24. 倔強 - MV (the sinner's song, said the B)
25. 人生海海 - MV, Singapore concert

UFO-like Skybridge Does An Encore
Second descent of UFO-like skybridge

26. 天使 - MV, Singapore concert

27. 知足 - MV, Singapore concert (I waited the whole concert for this, said the C)

28. 離開地球表面 電音版
then they threw their sweat-drenched towels into the audience. One man's bio-hazard, another's prized possession.

And it was also inevitable that, living in the community of believers, there would be the shared pain of the suffering of fellow brothers and sisters: young mothers diagnosed with third stage breast cancer, sudden deaths of loved ones in swimming pools, the tearing apart of families in the bid to make new ones, disillusionment with the manifestation of God's kingdom on earth, the lust for gossip and the injustice of the manipulation and lies so rife within Christ's body.

2 Samuel 12-13
is one of those passages in the Bible ripe with the complexity of reality that couldn't have been dreamt up by the human mind.

At the end of 2 Samuel 11, David seemed very much in control. He'd taken and gotten what he'd wanted and the cover-up of his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah appeared flawless. But we are told at the end of 2 Samuel 11 that what the thing David had done displeased the Lord. And we know that several centuries before, Moses had already warned that one could be sure that one's sin would find one out (Numbers 32:23). Whereas 2 Samuel 11 is all about David sending people out to do his bidding, 2 Samuel 12 opens with the LORD sending Nathan to David. It was God who was in control and despite David's erstwhile relationship with God, he'd incomprehensibly forgotten that he would have God to answer to.

David's strong reaction to Nathan's story (2 Samuel 12:1-7a) demonstrated that David was not incognisant of right and wrong, but merely deliberately blind to his own sin. "The man must die" he said of the rich man in the story, thereby accusing and condemning himself. "You are that man," said Nathan. And God was as livid and outraged at what David had done as David was indignant at the rich man in Nathan's story.

It wasn't just that David had broken some laws and destroyed the lives of people, he was that he had despised the LORD himself (2 Samuel 12:9). When we breach God's laws, it isn't just about socio-economic-political consequences; when we sin, we show utter contempt for God, the law-maker/giver.

David acknowledged that he had indeed sinned against the LORD (2 Samuel 12:13). This was a great change from his predecessor, Saul, who had a whole slew of excuses for disobedience ("you didn't come on time, what was I to do" etc). David didn't bring forth defences nor character witnesses to attest to his general generosity and the good he had done for his people, instead, we see in Psalm 51 the plain confession of his sinfulness. David knew that that had not been a one-off, a moment of weakness, a temporary aboration, a sorry-won't-happen-again incident. He had been sinful from birth and would forever be inclined to spit on the living God. He was a born adulterer and born murderer. He admitted that he deserved punishment.

Yet, immediately, David received gratuitous forgiveness. "The LORD has put away your sin," said Nathan, "you shall not die" (2 Samuel 12:13). But this was not the slap on the wrist given to smug perpetrators that cause grieving members of victims' families to attack them outside the courtroom with foldable umbrellas. Nevertheless, and this was a big nevertheless, despite David not getting the death sentence he deserved, his son would die (2 Samuel 12:14). And there would always be the perpetual reek of death in David's family (2 Samuel 12:10). And there would always be the dreadful agonising tyranny of evil on his loved ones (2 Samuel 12:11).

(Several centuries later, in the New Testamental times, Jesus would explain that suffering was not always caused by sin. The man born blind and the people killed by the falling tower of Silom did not suffer because of their sin and rebellion. But other times, suffering and difficulties are the consequences of our sin and we must bear the responsibility for that - the illegitimate child, being made a paraplegic from drinking and driving, the broken relationships caused by gossip and slander etc. But in David's case, the cause of his suffering was quite certainly his past sins. Because God said so.)

So sure enough, the child took sick. David lay on the ground all night pleading with God to spare his son. He refused to get up and took no food. His grief freaked out his aides. (2 Samuel 12:15b-17) They figured him for a suicide risk and when the kid in fact died, they didn't know how to break the news. They needn't have worried. When David heard that his son had died, David got up, had a bath, put on clean clothes, slapped on some Old Spice and worshipped God. Then he went home and had a good meal (2 Samuel 12:20), possibly while his servants stood gaping. David explained: he'd thought that perhaps, just perhaps, God's word through Nathan wasn't his last word and plus he knew that he could rely on God's graciousness to let the child live if he wished. But, in a way that did not impinge on his graciousness, God's judgement through his prophet had been his last word on the matter and David accepted and trusted God on this (2 Samuel 12:22).

2 Samuel 12 ended with a note of hope - God gave David victory over the Ammonites in battle and David begot a son with Bathsheba whom the LORD loved.

There are certain inevitabilities we can be sure of in this 疯狂世界:

The Initiative of Grace
God is the one in control. He takes the initiative and seeks sinners to bring them to repentance. (Sinners, inevitably don't seek after the real God, no matter how they might claim to be looking for him.)

The Severity of Grace
"T'was grace that taught my heart to fear". Grace reveals and exposes and brings people to repentance so that they might be saved. The only heart that God can accept is a broken and contrite heart so therefore, in his love and his grace, he must break us so that we can see the death sentence which we are facing because of our rebellion against him, and turn to him for mercy.

The Miracle of Grace
Grace gives totally free forgiveness. But the consequences remain with us. The rest of David's life is grim: David's baby son dies even before he can be named; David's other son Amnon rapes his daughter and Amnon's half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13); David's yet other son Absalom murders Amnon for what he did, then leads a rebellion against his father; David's other other son Solomon eyed the crown while David was still alive etc.

And though the sinner has to deal with the consequences of his sin, he does not pay for them through his suffering. The fact is, he can never do enough to pay for even a quark of his sin because the wages of sin is death. What is free for sinners is costly to God because it cost him his only son who died on the cross in our place so that we will not have to face eternal death.

Dale Ralph Davis, 2 Samuel
Jonathan Fletcher, Grace Abounding


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At May 02, 2008 12:00 am , Anonymous iceprincess said...

haha mayday concert blog on mayday!!

omy report on the concert...

myPaper report on the concert..

many celebreties also blog...
mr brown -
dasmond koh -
yes 933 dj peifen -
may i know how you get your free ticket? i am so jealous!!!!! i have no money to buy ticket. D:

At May 02, 2008 12:18 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you forgot to add 石头 Solo Performance《咿呀呀》

At May 03, 2008 12:15 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to complete the collection you must have ashin's bloggie!

At May 08, 2008 3:12 pm , Blogger uncomplicatez said...

wow!~ nice write up and links to MV and concert clips..

here's mine~ =D

At May 12, 2011 12:18 pm , Blogger dwi sari said...

hii..may i copy your one of photos in this article for my posting? and for permission, i will give the source where'd i find that photo in my posting

greetings from Surabaya - Indonesia :-)

At May 13, 2011 12:39 am , Anonymous shadow said...

@dwi sari - sure, just link back to this post. :-)


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