Just Do It

Sometimes you come across things that you know you need to but you dread to do. The road is laid out and clear. I’ve learnt that forming the habit of just doing it from young can be extremely valuable especially in later years. It can start with something as simple as taking medicine that tastes gross, to crossing motorbike laden roads.

Over the past few years, I’ve learnt that the best way to deal with this is really as simple as “just do it”. Hold your breath, stop rationalising, and just do it.

To all the people from Singapore and other “modern” cities with well managed traffic, want to know the secret to crossing roads in cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and the such that are flooded with motor bikes? Just step out, walk slowly, don’t stop suddenly, and you’ll find yourself at the other side of the road. Cars are generally not subject to this same theory of avoiding you though :P

Have an awesome weekend!

A Dark Summer

Dark Skies
Photo by mladjenovic_n Flickr user.

It is usually winters that are dark, but for reasons unbeknownst, it seems that a lot of Christians I know have been going through dark patches, myself included. I shall not attempt to enumerate what is happening, but Holy Spirit I ask that you come and bring your light into the midst of this darkness. Come and pierce the darkness with your light and it will have to flee.

God I lift up all my fellow brothers and sisters into your hands. In this trying time I ask for your grace to be upon us that we may come out victorious, strengthened by a deeper knowledge and revelation of who you are. You have paid the price for all our sins at the cross of Calvary. You have given us victory in your name.

Philippians 3 (NKJV)

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Thank you for your encouragement in the midst of discouraging events. Amen.

The Ring

Last week I saw my ring (as in Lord of the Rings). It was so tempting to reach out and feel it, to try it out. Thankfully there were people all around me which held me back from doing so. Unlike LOTR though, the rings in real life can lurk all over the place, in the most unexpected of corners, in the brightest and darkest of times. It can come after a great victory and in quiet times.

May God grant everyone who encounters their rings in daily life the grace to emerge victorious.

1 Cor 10:13 : No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Last Day in Cambodia

I must love my hotel room. It faces east and the my bed faces the window, which means that I do not need any alarm clock as my eyes get flooded with sunlight every morning :-)

Got up this morning and headed to Orussey market to do some shopping. Bought 10 scarfs at 3,000 riel each at the top floor. I had done some searching online and based on someone’s account and he recommended Mekong Express, so I decided to give this company a try on the way back. Paid US$12 for it, but it was really comfortable and service was definitely a notch above Sapaco. They had fabulous pastries too! If comfort is your thing, Mekong Express is definitely the way to go.

On the bus the person next to me was telling me that the cheapest bus is 170,000 VND, operated by TNT, a sub division of the Vietnam military but they have no toilet on board.

That about rounds up my Cambodia trip this time. Looking forward to doing this more since I understand the bus system now!

Touring Phnom Penh

Despite having been to Cambodia 5 times, I’ve never once stepped into the grounds of the Royal Palace. I finally decided to go check it out today, and thankfully I had a friend to bring me around :). Got to sleep in today heh. When I woke up it was time to head out to a friend’s place for lunch. We had lunch at Khmer-Thai Restaurant which was really good – some of the best Khmer food I’ve had in Cambodia to date. After lunch I met up with my friend who would bring me around.

Khmer-Thai Restaurant
Address: No. 26Eo, Street 135, Sangkat Boeung Trabek, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh
Phones: 011 668455, 099 910912, 011 910912, 023 994236

Our first stop was the Royal Palace. Ok, from an objective point of view it wasn’t really my cup of tea. Just a place to walk through to say that you’ve been there and done that. Entry ticket for foreigners was exorbitant at 25,000 riel (៛), around US$6. On the other hand it is 1,000 riel for locals. Walked one round through the whole public compound in about an hour.

After that we headed towards the riverside to just enjoy the view. Watching the boats on the river like the locals, I thought of how nice it would be to go on a river cruise, and we decided to do that. By then, it was approaching 6pm, and we went to look for the place to go for the river cruise. The river cruise was 4,000 riel per person, for a 1 hour ride. This was probably the best US$1 I’ve spent. It was really awesome. Nice and romantic. FYI you can hire the boat for US$15 an hour which I wouldn’t mind to bring my girlfriend out for a date once in a while. Probably could get 3 hours (30 minutes to an open spot, 2 hours floating around, 30 minutes back) for US$30.

We then went for dinner at another nice place, but no idea where I left the business card.. Khmer setting with live music.

Well that’s about the end of my holiday. Will be heading back tomorrow—which means that I’ll probably need to get up earlier to go hunt for a coach back. Oh wells. Time to catch some rest!

My First Time at a Khmer Wedding

Yesterday I had my first opportunity to witness a Khmer wedding – that of two good friends whom I met in Australia. Actually it wasn’t a pure Khmer wedding but mixed with Christian elements.

There were two parts to it – morning and evening. The morning part started at 7am and went till about 12pm. This comprised of all the ceremonial elements like the exchange of vows, etc. An element in a traditional Khmer wedding is that the bride will wash the feet of the groom, but in my friends’ case the groom first washed the feet of the bride, and then the bride washed the feet of the groom, to symbolise an equal standing. The bride and groom went through many costumes (maybe about 7) which were really elaborate.

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Bus Trip to Phnom Penh

Today was the first time I took the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, thus having to cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border (by land). The bus went through the Moc Bai (Mộc Bài, Vietnam) – Bavet (បាវិត, Cambodia) border. Today I went with Sapaco Tourist. Bus condition was satisfactory based on expectations, but I should have a clearer picture when I take another company back to HCMC. I was charged US$12 but when I paid in VND, 200,000 (US$10.54) was collected from me.

Upon boarding the bus, the conductor collected my ticket and passport. Turns out that upon reaching the Vietnam side of the border crossing, the conductor will hand the whole stack of passports over to the immigration officer. Everyone just waits around till their name is called. I have absolutely no idea why they do this instead of following the convention of clearing immigrations individually.

On the Cambodian side of the border, we cleared immigrations individually. The room was awfully stuffy as electricity was out, but the immigration officers were doing really well despite sweating profusely. Oh, interestingly, someone (I guess the bus conductor) had prepared a Cambodian arrival form and even filled in the details for me, and placed it inside my passport.

The next stop after immigrations was health check and customs. Customs was taking a day off due to lack of electricity. But I guess they would just follow their intuition and check the luggage of anyone that behaves suspiciously. Health check was basically someone using a contact-less thermometer to check my temperature. He asked me what is my nationality and said thank you in Malay (terimah kasih) which really surprised me!

The whole journey took a little over 6 hours including a 20 minute lunch break. That’s my account of the border crossing. Bring lots of water, but try not to drink unnecessarily if you want to avoid the toilet on the bus. Going out for dinner :-)