Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meet My Farida D52

Have you met? This is my Farida... Farida, meet the world...

I'm sure some of you have already met my baby (not Mikayla, neither is she Melanie), she is my other baby, and her name is Farida.

I bought this beautiful piece of guitar about 2 years ago from Pas. Julian Low, she should be about 3 years old now. Pas. Julian in turn bought her from the Guitar Store. Born in China the Farida D52 comes with a sitka spruce top with abalone shell soundhole inlays; South American mahogany sides and back with beautiful wood binding; 2-piece mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard adorned with mother of pearl (snowflakes and diamonds) inlays; nut and bridge made of whale bone; and chromed machine heads; finished off with matte/natural finish.

I have found my Farida D52 to be the benchmark for all other dreadnaughts to emulate. It is loud and boomy yet defined. The tone is very (did I say very? Yes, very, VERY) warm. To date I have not heard a guitar that gives a warmer tone. At the age of 4, she is just beginning to open up... gosh! Can't imagine when she opens up... When strummed it will easily engulf your cell group host's home, smaller halls will also be completely saturated with her sweet tones; when finger plucked it is just intimate and simply romantic. Perfect for times when you want to sing a simple song, as the voice of the guitar will shine through, just get your voice out of the guitar's way.

Recently I was considering selling this baby off for an upgrade. I was, and still is, looking for a Taylor (7, 8, or 9 series with Cindy in lays) or McPherson. I quickly realized my folly in wanting to trade her in for a "better" guitar during my trip down to Singapore. I was there for a holiday and also to hunt for a new guitar. After trying all the guitars that a Malaysian in Singapore could get his hands on, I realized that all dreadnaughts actually want to sound like MY dreadnaught! I quickly repented and decided that I was never going to part with my baby.

Sounds too good to be true? Check out this 5-star review on the Farida D52. I quote their bottomline, "For: Beautiful sounds, slim neck, great quality woods; Against: Nothing at all!" Believe it!

Click here to download the full review from Total Guitar Magazine

Note that my piece was specially selected and hand-carried by Guitar Store's guitar techs from the factory in China. Three of their technicians went over to check out the factory and guitars before bringing back these guitars. My piece was one of only six that were specially chosen to be brought back as samples. When it got back to Malaysia, Pas Julian immediately tried it out and immediately took the guitar home on credit term without second thoughts, it was that good. When I tried it out in Pas. Julian's house I wanted to immediately take it home as well, but he did not want to sell it then. However a few months later he made me an offer for the guitar and I pounced on it!

So since this guitar was going to be my legacy to Mikayla, I decided that I have to (finally) put in some electronics so that I can use it sometimes. For a long time I was considering the AER AK 15 plus pickup system. For the longest time this was the best choice because of 1) the non-invasive system that would not harm any part of my guitar, as no holes needed to be made to install this pickup, and 2) there are two sources, a standard piezo (under saddle pickup) as well as a mic. These two sources could be blended to create a different sound. Once I decided to put in the electronics I decided to give my friend Jon Koo a call for some consultation before taking action. He quickly pointed me to another similar very new system by Fishman - the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend. This system was available in JS Music, and the guitar tech there was highly recommended.

So last Friday I went over to JS Music to try out the system in view of installing it on my Farida. When I was there the guitar tech that I was consulting (Ng) realized that this was one of the first pieces of Faridas in Malaysia he immediately exclaimed that he was one of the guys that hand-carried it back from China. Small world. He was the guitar tech that was recommended by Jon Koo and some other guitarists that I know, he no longer works for the Guitar Store he now works for JS Music. I decided that it was fate that brought us all together so very quickly I decided on the Fishman system and I even got a special price for it. It would come up to RM900.00 (inclusive of installation).

As I type this my baby is in being fitted with her electronics. I'm so excited to get it back this Friday. I hope it is ready by then. I will be woship leading again this weekend (don't ask), and I am really looking forward to breaking in my Farida in with her brand new Matrix Ellipse Blend pickup system.

Check out my baby on some other sites:

Farida's Official Site
D52 on Farida's UK Site
Farida's YouTube Channel
The Guitar Store

** Watch this space, more pix of my Farida with the brand new Matrix Ellipse Blend coming up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The First Shall Be The Last... and... The Last Shall Be First.

Just waiting here for my dinner that has been ordered from the restaurant in my condominium compound. Cantonese fried ala yin yang, and pineapple fried rice is on its way.

Melanie has a bad headache after coming back from what she calls "work", visiting bird park with her kindergarten. Elroi is also back from work and hungry, he's also waiting for dinner. Decided to surf a bit while waiting... you know... take my mind of the rumbly tumbly. So I stumbled into my parent's website and saw this...

Click on the screen shot to go to the site

I am the "last and final one"... *as if I needed to be reminded...


Maybe some of you readers might not know, but my parents are missionaries sent by the Assemblies of God of Malaysia. They are lecturing in Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, Philippines. They have been in Philippines for almost 5 years now (I think).

Next year, I am proud to also announce in my own site now, that my father will be installed as the president of the seminary. I guess it's quite a big deal, but he's still my father. I'm starting to realize that he is going to be the president of the school that trains pastors and leaders for the entire region of Asia Pacific. I'm sure many back here in Malaysia (especially those from the Assemblies of God) are proud of him.

Melanie, Mikayla and I will try our best to be there around April/May to attend his installation as the president. I think my church might even try to plan a missions trip there that will coincide with his installation.

So if my dad becomes the president, my mom would be the first lady... so I guess that would make my family the "first family"

Does that make me "first young man" or "first son" or something like that?

First or Last?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Worship List 081018

Yes I worship led in church... again. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy it and I really want to do it well. So I take a long time preparing for each time. I worship led just two weeks ago because I swapped with David, this week I swapped with Prakash. Prakash was really working towards this session, I saw him practicing with Marcus and Melissa couple weeks in advance. But in his line of work, last minute stuff just jumps at him. Anyway he will be moving on to a new jon very soon, he is hopeful that in his new work he will be able to spend more time with some ministries in church.

So Prakash informed me on Tuesday, I think, that I will have to replace him. It was going to be a long weekend for me, I was going to be preaching in Bethany Chapel's Y:Fusion (the youth ministry) on Saturday as well. I want very much to do well for both tasks, so I had to really work hard at it. Some of you might have noticed I've not been on Garena (a gaming client where I play DotA online). Well, now you know why I have been MIA.

Practice was kind of sloppy, but at the end while praying for the next morning's service there was just a peace that came over me.

Here's the worship list:

  1. Hosanna (G)
  2. Better Than Life (G)
  3. Jesus Lover of My Soul (Chorus & bridge only) (G)
  4. Beautiful Saviour (A)
  5. One Thing Have I Desired (A)
The worship time was excellent. I have to find a way to quantify and publish it here along with my worship list. Will work on that and try to place a "score" on the worship time in the future. However for now, you will just have to take my word for it, the worship session was great. After the service some people approached me to ask me for the final song. Jason Ong, one of our stage hands/tech also just SMS-ed me asking for the song, but I think the song is so old that I can't find a single thing on the song. It's like the song doesn't exist. Now you're wondering where I got the song from, well, I learnt the song during my internship stint in FCC last year.

I have just received my USB audio interface from Ebay, so I guess I will make it my first project to make an attempt to record the beautiful song for some who are requesting for it. Don't expect it anytime soon though, I'm kind of a perfectionist and I have to learn how do a proper recording from nothing. Might need some help from my good friend Dr. David Lim here. I will post it up here when it's ready.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Key Magazine Photo Session

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a graduation photo shoot in BCM on the 22nd of September. I finally have the results of that shoot. Here are some of the pix from that day. Would have included more pix here but each pic is about 5mgbs, so uploading them was a real hassle.

Diploma in Theology

Class of 2008

Guess what... mortar board toss!

There are more pix but I'll probably have to resize them before uploading them. Anyway I will not publish them here now but leave some for the school magazine that will be published around the same time as the graduation. You can catch me in my gown on during BCM's Graduation Exercise on the 2nd of December.

I preached the second time in chapel last Wednesday (8th October), so now I am totally done and ready for my graduation. I preached on what I am going through during this point in my life... the main idea is to do things God's way, even when we don't understand the whole situation.

Yes... I am finally graduating... (that's my response to all of you who have been asking). Thank you for all your support (and patience) and THANK GOD!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Worship List 081206

Before I come to the list, I want to make mention of the worship team here...

I was supposed to lead the worship next Sunday. However David Yeoh, who was next week's worship leader, told me that he could not make it to practice this Saturday. I had to swap with him.

I was immediately put in a dilemma. This week is Hari Raya week, so many of our musicians were away for a holiday. All week I was trying to find the right time when all the musicians could come together for a practice. It was a tough time trying to synchronize all our calendars and find the right time to practice. Bearing in mind that I also did not want to deprive them of their holiday as they have worked hard for the worship ministry and deserved a holiday. I spent much of my week worrying about the practice and the worship time. We finally decided to practice on Saturday morning at 10:00AM instead of the usual 1:30PM. Suddenly all the musicians were available, even David made it to the practice! I was very encouraged by the commitment of this group of musicians. They really went out of their way to serve God in this area. In the midst of the confusion I forgot to inform Donny, our lead guitarist, that we have moved the practice time again this week. I had previously spoken to him about the change of practice time. I thought I informed him but I was making so many calls to so many people that I left him out.

Bobby (bassist), Irvin (sound tech), Marcus (keyboardist), Timothy (rhythm guitarist), and I (worship leader) arrived at church at 10:00AM. We all came in my van. We setup while waiting for the rest to arrive. By 10:20AM we gave Donny a call asking him how late he was going to be. It was then that we realized that there was a communication break down. He explained to us that he was not informed of the practice. I apologized for leaving him in the dark and told him that it's alright if he cannot make it since the songs are very simple, as I was anticipating that there would be very few people in church this holiday weekend. But Donny told us that he will come immediately if we could wait. We started our practice without Donny, he arrived only when we were doing our 4th song. That was approximately 12 minutes... Kelisa quite fast!

Practice went on very well, at the end of the practice we spent some time praying for the team, the worship time, and the church members. We did not do the usual "thank you for this practice... amen". We took our time this time. We were implementing the decision that we made based on the worship evaluation form from the last time I worship led. Practice was good.

After the practice we all went for a CS session. It was a good reward for our efforts. We had a great time killing each other, laughing our hearts out as we did it. Nice!

Here is the worship list:

  1. Beautiful One (D)
  2. We Wanna See Jesus Lifted High (G)
  3. It Is You (G)
  4. Heart Of Worship (G)
  5. I Love You Lord (G)

The worship time was very good. The musicians were really "into it", we could feel a different energy in the music. More importantly, the church was really "into it". It was a wonderful time of worship. At the end of the session during our briefing we asked each other what was the difference this week. I mentioned that it could probably be the break. The members might be more relaxed and responsive after having a holiday. However after reflecting the rest of the day on what we did different this week I came to a conclusion that although the holiday might have played a role, the bigger factor was more probably 1) the extended prayer time we had, and 2) the attitude and commitment of the musicians who went out of their way to make it to the practice this week. Not just Donny and David, but also Bobby, who just flew back in from Indonesia on Friday. Their commitment encourages me to continue to give my best to God in this ministry. Let us continue to encourage each other in this way. Thank you musicians, and bravo!

Religion and Cults: Chinese Deities & Ancestor Worship

Here are the two files that I promised to share with the rest of the students in the Religion and Cults class in my church:

*Click on the link to download:

"Malaysian Chinese Beliefs" by Lemuel Yee

"Ancestral Worship and Christianity" by Victor Lee

The Religion and Cults class was quite refreshing. Instead of the usual lecturing method, the class was split into groups and designated to research certain religions/cults. Then we were supposed to present it in our class. Since I took this course in BCM my group volunteered to be the first to go. I wish we could have had more time to prepare a better presentation. My group was designated to research on the Chinese Religions, which includes the 3 major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Also included the various chinese deities, ancestral worship, religious practices, etc.

I made my presentation and informed the class that I am opened to questions, and that we would learn from each other. After my presentation a lively discussion ensued. Many of my classmates took part in the discussion, sharing their thoughts openly. In a flash one hour had already passed and time was up. I offered to make these two files available for those who are interested in studying the subject further. So here they are.

The first paper is my term paper for my Religion and Cults class in BCM. I chose to do this paper so that I could interact better with the Chinese people that I meet. Especially my relatives. So the paper is more focused on the local Chinese beliefs.

The second paper is from Victor Lee my classmate from BCM. His paper is on the topic of "Ancestral Worship and Christianity". Feel free to visit his blog as well, incidentally his blog is called "My Reflections". We had no idea our blogs had similar names until much later.

Feel free to comment on the papers or my group's presentation. There is much that we can learn from each other. We could continue with our discussion here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Now this blog was named "Reflections" as I wanted to do some "reflecting" here. Lately my reflections have been more on the "casual" side, unlike the posts this blog started off with. It is no easy work trying to dig deep into God's word and situations around us. However once in a while someone or something comes along and pushes you to do it.

So my friend Angela Yap, who recently went over to Oxford, England to complete her studies, emailed me and asked me about a certain passage in the Bible that she was reading. Angela mentioned that she was reading 1 Timothy. I believe the exact reference is 1 Timothy 2:9-15. This is what it says:

9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Read the rest of the passage here.

This view of a woman's role in the church is rather passive and male chauvinist. Is there such a thing as "equality of genders"? Can a woman teach or preach in church? Or is the role of women only to "make babies"? Or does the Bible view women as secondary to men? What is the Bible trying to teach us here? Does the church's practices reflect the principles taught in the Bible? Or are we conforming to worldly trends?

Before I go any further, let me hear your initial thoughts and responses to this question raised by Angela (who still doesn't have a blog yet). In the meantime I will be attempting to formulate a "proper" response. Hopefully we can have a meaningful discussion on this very interesting topic. Ultimately I hope that through this exercise we can provoke each other towards growth. As my newbie blogger uncle says in his blog: "iron sharpens iron".

Looking forward to hearing your comments.