I don’t normally fancy driving on road trips because I do not have good driving stamina; by about 60 minutes I’ll start to feel fatigued and would want to do a pit-stop – my last road trips from Shanghai to Hangzhou and from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur were no different. It certain didn’t help when my navigators started to sleep on the job. Haha. This time however, enroute from Perth City to Albany, I got past that dreaded hour-mark by singing to 五月天 music and engaging in good conversations with the rest of the passengers.
We discoursed a plethora of issues, be it inevitable topics like Grace AG, R-AGE and YAYP, to more interesting topics like:
- Mentoring is dynamic (i.e. organic), not decisive.
- Mentors are one-off, but mentoring is life-long.
- Mentoring is complex – both systemic and seasonal.
- Mentoring is about the process and the product.
- What happens when meritocracy creeps into mentoring?
- Who’s going to mentor those whose potential isn’t obvious?
- Could mentoring success be derived from duplicity alone?
- What is the sustainability and repeatability of a mentoring cycle?
- What is the optimum age gap for mentors to retain their relevancy?
- If Jesus had more than 3 years in ministry, would he have continued journeying with his 12 disciples or would he have “released” them to be disciple-makers and gone ahead to make 12 new disciples?
At the end of the day, I arrived at one conclusion, as cliche as it may sound, that human mentors are finite while God’s sovereignty is infinite. We as disciple-makers can only impact, invest and impart so much, and it’s not very much at all! Hence, I honestly opine that regardless of all the possible answers we could find from the above questions, it’s more important for any mentor to enjoy the entire journey, regardless of its outcome, and trust God to shape lives for His glory.
Well, back to the extraordinary mundane… (:
Today packed a straightforward itinerary; we had breakfast at home before setting off to Albany via a 420-kilometre/ 5-hour road trip; saw and fed Alpacas on our first pit stop; fed ourselves over lunch at Black Cockatoo Cafe; drove past Dog Rock and checked into our beach house destination at Barry Court; went for a walk at Albany Town Centre, had dinner of fish, squid and chips at The Squid Shack near Emu Point; went to Albany Creek to do some grocery shopping at Coles Supermarket; and finally returned to our single-storey bungalow. It’s 10:30pm as I write this entry and I am about to retreat to bed – finally, a good night’s rest beckons!
As usual, I always learn from Hunk (aka Chin Seng) every time we interact. This time, he imparted a life-and-death lesson into my system – about decisiveness on the road. Read that as metaphorically as you want… All I shall say is, by the grace of God, I thank God for allowing that overtaking incident to have taken place smoothly… (:
P/S 1: Huiyi and I celebrate our 40th month together today! It is a good Friday indeed. (:
P/S 2: We’re praying for “Never Let Go”! Keep up the good work, R-AGE! Invite friends!
P/S 3: I will post more pictures in my DSLR when I get my hands on a USB cable. For now, here’s what I found in a shop called “Thingz”. I didn’t buy it of course… Bottoms up!
The first time I visited Australia in 2003, I went skiing at Mount Hotham with Daniel Heng and went to the Blue Mountains with Daniel, Ps Cuixian and Manrong. The second time I visited in 2007, I drove on the Great Ocean Road and saw the 12 Apostles. This time, I went to see the vastness of The Pinnacles and even went sand-boarding! I know this is over-mentioned but how can one not marvel at the awesomeness of our Creator when he or she has witnessed such marvelous natural wonders?
However, we nearly did not make it on this tour that we signed up for yesterday.
As usual, due to me waking up (slightly) late(r), we had to sprint from Coolbellup to Perth City and did not factor in peak hour traffic and navigation unfamiliarity in our planning. (Okay, actually Huiyi did, but I did not, but since we are engaged I used the collective – we – Haha!) So as we frustrated each other in the car, negotiated with an uncooperative Google Maps and took a wrong turn, we still managed to make it to the pick-up point just one minute late. The result of that however, is to pay for a day’s worth of parking (!) instead of the original plan to park at Liang’s apartment then walk to the pick-up location at Pier Street.
We have both learnt that when we quarrel, it’s like the rhino charging at a hedgehog – and both get hurt. So we naturally gave each other some time-out as we recovered from the adrenaline of chasing a departing coach. Things resumed normalcy once we woke up from a short nap in the bus.
Our first stop was at the Caversham Wildlife Park, where we saw, touched and interacted with three marsupials – the koala, wombat and my all-time favourite (for obvious reasons) kangaroo. At this point, I want to correct a common misconception. A joey isn’t just the young of a kangaroo, but of all marsupials; as long as the creature resides in a pouch after birth, it is referred to as a joey. I learnt that from National Geographic and the park guide confirmed it. I was tempted to introduce myself as Joey, but decided against it as it would be too cute and attention-seeking for a 28-year-old man. Haha! Man, I’ve really aged.
We arrived at the Cervantes Lobster Shack after another hour’s drive. I learnt some new things about the lobster industry. For example, conservation rules disapproves of catching lobsters that are either pregnant females, too young or males reaching fertility; lobsters caught with three or more missing legs are not included into its main sales but into miscellaneous categories like sashimi; the difference between lobsters sorted into Category A and G are 300 grams and a whopping 2 kilograms respectively and each category has its own market.
The older I get, the more curious I become; I could never imagine myself remembering or even being mildly interested in such trivial information when I was younger. Age seems to imbue a hunger for knowledge. Is it like that for you?
Finally, we arrived at The Pinnacles. We were accompanied by an army of flies as we walked into the centre of the attraction. Once we were about 1 km in, its vastness simply engulfed you. There were unique rock formations in every direction you looked. And I also witnessed the perversion of Man at work. While there was a rock formation that eroded into the shape of an erect penis, I also saw two smaller rocks at the base of that rock – obviously the work of mischievous visitors.
Next up – sand-boarding at Lancelin! Man, I have never seen so much sand in my entire life! The way the wind caressed the sand mounts was poetry in motion; the unseen wind was made visible with the presence of the fine white sand and that resulted in beautiful yet delicate sand formations. I could never imagine myself at the top of a sand dune but there I was, negotiating with the blistering wind as it violently stroked my exposed body parts. I froze a few times midway through my ascent as the sand got into my eyes (though I thought I had it protected by my Oakley’s)!
I felt as if the Spirit impressed upon my heart a few lessons about life from that novel experience of sliding down a 30 metre sand mount:
- 逆风的方向更适合飞翔. I can appreciate those 五月天 lyrics from another perspective. As the wind blew (the sand) toward you, you’d naturally want to turn the other direction, not knowing that doing that could actually get more sand in your eyes (as some would escape, run along the side of your face and get into your eyes). Instead, and this I learnt I when I scaled the sand dune the fifth time, face the wind head on and let the eyewear do what you paid it to do – protect your eyes from the forward onslaught. As we face seemingly insurmountable challenges in our lives, let’s not turn our backs towards these obstacles but tackle it from the front!
- When experiencing a mini-victory, don’t be too quick to celebrate. I think I’m a fast learner and besides, sand-boarding isn’t the hardest thing to do, so I thought I handled it pretty well on my first attempt and even slid quite fast. I also knew that Huiyi was taking pictures of me so as I approached the end of the slope, I raised my arms and let out a victorious “Woooh!”, loud and proud. And I ate sand almost immediately and toppled to my side. Haha! As I spit the fine fragments out of my mouth, I told myself to shut up the next time I slid down. Pride goes before a fall indeed.
- Learn to enjoy the uphill climb as much as you enjoy the downhill slide. My fitness isn’t bad but the 50-step ascent was literally more breathtaking than it looked. The first time I went up, I was so excited about sliding down that I forgot to check out the panoramic view from on top of the sand dune. I told myself to do that in subsequent climbs and so I paused for ten seconds longer (to catch my breath and) to take in the amazing visual spectacle before I took the plunge. Let’s learn to enjoy both the tests and trophies for each has its own set of memorable experiences and character-shaping qualities.
So there you go, my reflections on day 3, churned out on the return journey back to the city.
We are going to pack some chili mussels from Concas and purchase some soft drinks before we return to Leontes Way to prepare dinner and rest even earlier tonight. Can’t wait for the road trip!
With barely four hours of sleep in my tank, I staggered out of the Leontes Way abode while Huiyi swaggered out completely refreshed. Ervina very kindly alighted us at South Street, where we had breakfast with Su Ern at the rustic Ootang & Lincoln cafe. Breakfast was exorbitant by any standard despite it being an enjoyable experience for it was wonderful to share a meal with Pastor Meng Cham’s daughter for the first time.
We made our way to Perth City after breakfast by train and I think I had one cup (of coffee) too many. By lunch, I had already consumed three shots and that (I reckoned) proved to be my undoing for the second half of the day; I found myself visiting the washroom once every hour. Down Under became an uncomfortable experience down under.
As we sauntered through Wellington Street, Murray Street and ultimately to Forrest Avenue where we picked up Liang’s black Mitsubishi Colt at City Towers, fragments of where I’ve visited the last time I was in Perth (in 2007) began to return to me. We put our belongings in the backseat and thanked God for the favour we have received from such generous friends.
We strolled to Saint Mary’s Cathedral and spent some moments at the pews, and committed to God this new phase of our courtship. That was a sweet moment that we both enjoyed – God and us in a beautiful place of worship. I couldn’t ask for more.
Functional eating meant that we settled lunch at the substandard House of PASTA. We interchanged between the red and yellow CATS (Central Area Transit System) to get from place to place and we eventually ended up at Harbour Town, where the factory outlet stores were located. We were quite proud that we exited City West unscathed – our wallets still looked pretty healthy.
Like in Singapore, Tuesdays are also half-priced waffle days at Gelare; the smell of toasted (or baked?) waffles proved too tempting for us and we succumbed; I think I have been eating too much… So thankfully I lost some weight at night with frequent visits to the lavatory.
On hindsight I’m glad I proposed to Huiyi in Singapore instead of in Perth. While it was a picturesque moment over sunset at King’s Park, there wasn’t anyone to help us capture that moment. We immediately thanked God for the amazing Gideon and Caleb. They contributed significantly to a wonderful video – we wouldn’t be able to relive that special moment if not for their dedication and commitment to Huiyi and I. Thank you, boys!
Our final stop of the day saw us end up at Leederville, where we met Pastor Mark Varughese together with his wife, Jemima and son, Ezekiel. Ps Mark was the plenary speaker for Rhema Conference 2010 and it seemed only yesterday that we brought him out for lunch at Zhou’s Kitchen in Singapore. That was nearly four months ago; time has flown us by indeed…
Giadini served excellent pasta – yes, we had it again for dinner – and I ordered Prawn Ravioli and Angel Hair Agio Olio for Huiyi and I respectively. The portions were huge – so we had enough to takeaway for dinner the next day.
We went to the nearby San Churro Chocolateria for our dessert of Spanish Hot Chocolate almost immediately after before driving 25km back home. (I’m secretly proud that our navigation back to Leontes Way was successful on our first attempt!) It was wonderful to spend a little time with the Love Birds when we got back for it gave us a preview of the D&M (Ervina’s self-coined “Deep & Meaningful”) conversations that we were certain to engage in when we embark on our Albany-Denmark road trip on Thursday.
P/S: I’ve written this entire entry enroute to The Pinnacles as Huiyi persuaded me to rest early last night. She forbid me from using the computer. I guess there’s a new hierarchy established now, especially when it comes to physical rest, which she’s enjoying now, seated beside me in the 4WD coach.
Huiyi and I have arrived safely in Perth, Western Australia, and we’re looking forward to a good break with some friends here.
We have just checked into the Love Birds’ (aka Chin Seng and Ervina’s) home – lovely place – what a house to call home! And I got myself acquainted with the couch, while Huiyi made her bed on a spring mattress. I was unusually hungry and ate a bowl of noodles and a plate of bee-hoon (and one dark chocolate Tim Tam. HAHA). It must have been the flight.
Liang Zhi actually took leave and offered to pick us up from the airport (and spend the next couple of days with us) but he had to leave for South Korea with his fiancee on a last minute’s notice. I’m quite bummed that Liang and I won’t be able to spend time together as he’s one of my closest buddies and half the reason I’m visiting Perth. He has, however, generously offered us his Mitsubishi Colt and SIM card for the duration of our holiday – what a blessing!
Ps Mark Varughese and Jemima also offered to pick us up from the airport – what a generous gesture! – but over the weekend we couldn’t contact him to confirm this arrangement. We just found out via Facebook that his house was robbed and his laptops were stolen. Sigh – We hope the family is all right.
Hence, I had to ask the exceptional Chin Seng and Ervina if they were kind enough to accommodate to our last-minute request and pick us up from the airport; I asked Chin Seng just before we boarded the plane and he was so cool about it.
(I digress, but I seriously need a new laptop; the battery barely lasts for 45 minutes and I’m seeing a lot more rainbow wheels these days. I wanted to play Football Manager on the plane and could only last four games before the battery went into the red. Tragic!)
On the plane, we were sandwiched between two rows of Caucasians – fidgety young men behind us and a mother with two daughters in front of us who made such a ruckus. Honestly, it got a little annoying… But what got me thinking was how I seemed to be that tad bit more tolerant than usual. Would I have been more impatient if they were Chinese nationals? After all, these Caucasians didn’t behave very differently from a PRC’s typical social conduct. Was it because I was about to enter their country? Was it because I was taking a budget airline? Was it because I was tired? Was it because I didn’t want to create a scene since I was with Huiyi? Or was it because there was a deeper, unexplored meaning behind my hesitance to react? Hmm…
It won’t be long before we wake up to have breakfast with Su Ern before we head to Harbour Town (factory outlet$!) and Perth City itself for a free-and-easy walk-about. On a personal note, after being chased by the tyranny of the urgent over the last few months and the insanity of my relentless schedule in Singapore, I refuse to enjoy this holiday like a Choleric… Instead I shall attempt to bring out my hidden Phlegmatic in the next week. Yes, Huiyi’s going to be the 老板娘. HA.
But seriously, I think it’s high time for me to unwind and to receive a fresh new revelation from God in His Word. I can’t wait to spend quality time with Him… And with my lovely fiancée! (: