Sunday, November 07, 2010

I'm In Love with This Old Gizzer

I have heard his name before in passing and saw his books when I browse in bookstores but could not be bothered--another self help book, I'd always mutter under my breathe as I sweep my eyes haughtily over the pile of How To books. Not for me, I would say.

Then I went on a Leadership seminar where Jack Welch was one of the resource speakers (unfortunately not in person, just on video). My first thought was gosh, he's so so old! I had to navigate through the gravel that is his Bostonian accent but once I did, boy, was I bowled over.

His straight, no-nonsense ways was a breathe of fresh air. He is tough; a pretty decent man who may come off as cruel if you go by some of his comments, but he is a generous soul who cares for people and how they may grow and be empowered even as he cares for his company's mission and values.

Enjoy and reflect: (Beware, its an hour long, but please take the time.)

It's just sad that a lot of what he says is so true--even in communities of faith. The point, I think, of his message here is neatly summarized in Jesus's words: The Truth Shall Set You Free. (John 8:32)


I love words. Be it written or spoken. I love the way it soothes, tickles, excites, empowers, heals and enlightens. I love how they are never inanimate—the reader or hearer who receives the word brings it to a certain degree of life as he takes it in. Even boredom is a sign of life!

I cannot imagine a world without words. Without words, how can I be transported all the way to exotic lands I would never have stepped foot on had I not read about them? Without words, how can my heartstrings be tugged by stories of friendship, of pain, of love? Without words how can I release my thoughts and emotions to the outside world? Without words, how can I describe to you who I am, how I am and where I want to be? Without words, how can I imbibe more wisdom that can bring me to a better place and become a better person?

Yet in sad irony, words can also simply be words. Not inanimate--as it still somehow finds itself given life in one’s mind. Yet it can be inactive and unproductive. Words can be deceptive—the beauty of prose can distract you from its hollow reality. Words can be powerless and fruitless—serving only to massage the spirit and cuddle the will (well, at least I am smarter, holier and more important after hearing/reading all those words, etc.)—making a cozy nest that tempts one to shift into a more comfortable position and stay that way for as long as possible.

Today I heard a lot of words. A plethora of beautiful and exciting words: Purpose, Meaning, Celebration, Engagement, Courage, Rewards, Audacity, Greatness, Lead, Dream, Hope, Passion.

Today, I felt myself wrapped up in a lovely cocoon of emotions spun by those words: warmth, inspiration, hopefulness, excitement and joy. Oh if only I can just stay in here and enjoy its warm, secure comfort.

Happily, I have been reminded that words are made even more beautiful, more awesome, more glorious when life is breathed into them.

‘And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father full of grace and truth.’ John 1:14

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In Praise of Food

Not many words bring as much comfort as the word food. It comes a close second to the word family (and I suspect an overlap). And might even trump the word home—especially in this semi-rootless society where most everyone is stumped when asked where they’re from!

For one, food takes one back to fond memories of childhood--remember that memorable scene in the movie Ratatouille when food critic Anton Ego first came to the Gusteau's restaurant? One forkful of the simple, unassuming ratatouille and the hardened Ego was instantly transported to tranquil childhood days when home-cooked food was equivalent to being wrapped in his mother’s soft loving arms.

In different ways—some more dramatic and some less than Ego’s experience—food has that comforting effect on us. I can still taste the full-bodied Cantonese pork rib soup my mom used to whip up in the kitchen and remember how she accidentally got as kids drunk when she spiked the soup with whiskey (the taste wasn’t strong enough, she said) and was too impatient to let the alcohol evaporate first before serving. To date, that is still the best soup I have ever tasted. Hic!

Adjectives like scrumptious, crispy, succulent, luscious and delectable are enough to make one’s eyes glaze over and one’s mouth water—and food is not even mentioned with these adjectives! That’s how elemental food is in our psyche and thus how powerful.

On the downside, the absence of comfort also reveals itself glaringly in food—how many a mighty Fear Factor champion, having jumped tall buildings and wrestled with crocs, shrink into nerveless cowards in the face of the almighty balut? How many a courageous missionary, having left home and hearth to live for Christ in a foreign land find their determination in shambles in the face of eerily strange tastes that seem too insidiously corrupt their palates?

Food is also a neutral witness that somehow finds a way of insinuating itself into the ebb and flow of life and relationships. Even as it reveals one’s cowardice and tests one’s limits. It has also seen friendships formed, romances kindled—or rekindled, and families reunited. It has seen wounded spirits soothed, broken hearts healed (read: chocolates) and happiness deepened into joy.

Even when you hate the food your good friend adores (read: durian), you accept the difference and embrace the uniqueness and diversity of life that food symbolizes in reckless joyful abandon.

More than putting a man on the moon, I think food is the greatest of man’s invention and the one of best representations of the grace of God—you know, that awesome Guy who whipped up manna in the desert and turned water into wine?


PS. Yes, my dear Blogmates, I am back-and hopefully with more consistency! :) I realized I missed blogging. Will make my visits soon! xx