I joined the #WalkForFreedom!

And the day finally arrived. The third annual Walk for Freedom had taken place in Sydney last Saturday, 15th of October, and almost simultaneously in 270 other locations all over the globe to raise a massive shout for freedom.
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Registrations. I just love this scene! And I just love the colour black!

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It was my very first walk, that is why I find it significant.
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Hundreds have come to take part in the stand against slavery to let more people be aware of the viciousness of human trafficking and how we can be a part of the solution.
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Folks warming up for the event! We even did massages. Again, an unbelievably awkward and uncomfortable situation for me.

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This is one of the many steps we take to fight against modern day slavery, to stand up and speak up for the millions who have been silenced by it.
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The weather was on our side that day. It was bright and sunny, and pretty windy, too (which is a bonus). And the vibe was fantastic! The crowd of supporter was very wildly diverse! People of all colours and races joined in!
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The huge pack was divided into at least 5 queues. I was in the queue that first walked off and led the walk.

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The walk took about an hour and a half just around the metropolis. Crossing streets was one of our struggles. I mean how would you take 500 people to the other side of the road without rapidly breaking apart? So as expected, there were a few times we had to stop and wait until everybody got through.
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It was a silent walk, to resemble the people who are silenced by slavery. And this “rally” breaks traditions somehow. We didn’t need to hurl up a barrage and be disruptive to make a statement. We just got to walk in silence. I was even expecting that we were gonna walk with our mouths covered with a strip of black tape like in the other walks. But I guess I missed it this time.
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I witnessed some members of the walk team being approached by random passers-by asking what this long terrain of people in black was about. And I could just imagine the possibility of being able to share with them about our the cause that we support, and grab the opportunity to be involved, educated and equipped as an individual regarding the issue.
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I honestly think I took better photos. These are the best ones I could share! #Backfest

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I’d like to emphasise that I am not directly affiliated with A21 or any group at all, but I believe that God has put in my heart the desire to support this initiative, to echo this dialogue, and help to eradicate slavery.
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Honestly, I believe that you don’t need any label to be able to help. You don’t need to have a big name to contribute. You just gotta offer some time to get to know about human trafficking, make people aware of this horrific crime, donate to the funds, and try our best to eliminate the problem in our own spheres.
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This was after the rally, time to rehydrate and take more photos!

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Nobody deserves to be enslaved. Nobody deserves to be trafficked. Nobody deserves to be sold. Humans are not commodities, but people who have life and goals and aspirations. We all have a right to be free.
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Because I had to have one.

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I feel very thankful to A21 for giving me a chance to help even in such small, comfortable ways. And I feel privileged and humbled to be with hundreds of people, thousands around the globe who choose to be a voice for the victims, to raise not just funds but most importantly awareness about this horrendous problem.
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I’d like to express my gratitude to every single person who supported my fundraiser, and believed that this cause makes sense and is for something notable. My fundraiser, High Five to Freedom is still active and alive even after I have met my target of $500. I knew I could make it before October!
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Visit www.a21.org to get to know more about human trafficking and how the A21 campaign is working towards setting people free and helping them rebuild their lives and identities. Find information on donating, fundraising, getting involved and other relevant things as well.
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R.

Significant selfies

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-38-22-pmThis photo was one of the early ones taken during the first month of my teaching career. #Shamelessselfie
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I can clearly remember how excited, daunted, and nervous I was every time I got called up for teaching ‘gigs’. I would get butterflies, too, and squeal in excitement!
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For the past few months, I have come to experience the adventure of working in diverse school environments; the fun of meeting remarkably different people and learning how to instantly cope within various school cultures.
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I have stood inside the brightest, and the scariest classrooms. I have communicated with the most beautiful, and the most dreadful classes of young people. Some of them, unimaginable. Some even made me question several times the existence, the capabilities and even the integrity of our teaching body. How do they do it?
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It was like a battlefield every time. But there is a reason for everything; and both the good and the bad always teach us invaluable lessons.
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Reflecting on what I have accomplished and where those accomplishments have brought me, I know I got a long way to go. But without any qualms, I can bravely and tirelessly say that we meet significant heroes every day, and they’re our teachers.
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I have always valued and treasured what my teachers are to me and what they do. But I also realised that I had not grasped even half of their nature and essence until I learned how to become one.
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It is tough, but teachers persevere. At times, it is impossible, but teachers just make things happen in a heartbeat.
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To you who’s reading this and has become my mother or father at some point in my scholastic life, please allow me to thank you and honour you with all humility and utmost gratitude for being a significant figure that has embedded indelible values and wisdom in my mind and heart that helped shape who I am today as someone who is still inspired and motivated to make a difference in my own sphere like you.
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God has used you immensely to fulfil His purpose for my life and I am just forever thankful for you. You are always valued and loved. Happy Teacher’s Day!
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R.

High Five to Freedom!

Alrights. I’m not a celebrity, an online artist, a politician or anything like that. I’m not even affiliated with any group or people mentioned in this video. But all I know is that I am connected to over five hundred people on my Facebook account, a few potential hundreds on my Youtube and WordPress accounts who may get to know about this incredible cause by the A21 Campaign, and their fight against Human Trafficking. I’m still in awe that God has given me the desire to take part in this venture.

So instead of writing an essay on this (which I know anyone would hardly read), I just had to film myself talking. This matter has been lingering in my heart and mind the past few days and wouldn’t make me sleep really. I’ve read and listened to stories that have painted an indelibly dark picture in my mind and just broken my heart. I gotta make a move. I gotta do my part. No matter how small, or ‘insignificant’ it may look.

I cannot solve this problem at all, but I can do something to support A21 who have been doing amazing things for several years now, saving hundreds, if not thousands of precious lives; impacting the world in a whole new and different level.

Here’s the link, if you’d like to donate: High Five to Freedom!

I am really, really encouraging you to do so. Spare a dollar or two, or as much as you’re able or willing to give for this cause, please. And witness how your small donation can impact the lives of many.

Visit www.a21.org for more important info about the A21 Campaign and human trafficking, how to join the #WalkForFreedom; how these guys are contributing to abolish this problem, how to donate or fundraise, and how you can get connected and do your part in this venture.

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Alleluya!

Here’s something new. Just for fun, and just to share with you my roots i.e., choral music, I recorded myself in SATB, singing the version of (Eucharistic) Alleluya by “Mr C”, Ryan Cayabyab.

This brings back a lot of memories of home, my choral life, and my love for choral music!

Better to listen to with earphones by the way. If the embedded video does not work, click this link. 

 

Face to face with Brandy

This is honestly the most significant 30 seconds of my life so far. And I wish I had more than that.

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30 seconds with Brandy. Photo taken by the theatre staff. We weren’t allowed to take photos with our devices during this time, which I find ridiculous and annoying because primarily they said we could. But anyway.

I did not intend to write a “concert review” or a tell-all anymore because my words would not do justice to how it really felt on the inside. It’s a struggle to put into words. The encounter is almost divine. Pretty elusive. (I should also say that having no photos taken during the show because my camera was considered a professional type somewhat discouraged me to recount things and events in detail like what I’d always do.)

I guess I should keep this experience in the list of things I’d prefer to store in my massive vault of unspeakable treasures. All I know is I’m thankful that I got to watch her perform live, and to witness with my own eyes and ears the brilliance, magnificence, and soul extraordinaire of Brandy. That is just more than enough.

I could absolutely say that this is just one of the best birthday gifts I have gifted to myself. You just gotta spoil yourself every once in a while, you know!

I also almost hyperventilated after she gave me a super tight, sincere hug during the short Meet and Greet. She emanated joy and gratitude. The feeling was indescribable almost. She was just so dang kind! It’s like all the sass and pizzazz she would display each time she performs were stripped away, and she was just an ordinary person humbly thanking her fans for coming out to see her show, which she verbalised in the most profound, soft-spoken fashion.

13465929_10206788204199109_5197471545758489570_nThis experience made me appreciate her more; her artistry, her personality, her appreciation for her fans; especially her receptivity and equanimity because I understand how tired she must have been after the show, but she managed to welcome her fans with open arms and with the sweetest smile.

Hands down, she still reigns in her realm. And this encounter will always be special and treasured in my mind and heart

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R.

24 at 24

I turn twenty-four today. That’s right. I’ve almost reached a quarter of a century basically. And yes I’m feeling kinda old. But honestly, I’ve never felt more mature, more wise, more courageous in my entire life.

And so I thought I’d share with everyone 24 life lessons I have learned–lessons that have helped mould and cultivate my identity as an individual, in my career and personal life. They are also insightful, meaty nuggets that I have learned from the people who matter to me; things that were taught and imparted by the ones I love and have become significant to me. I managed to write them in my own words, and the closest to the way my mind comprehends it.

This post is inspired by the “23 Painfully True Lessons You Learn By Age 23” by Thought Catalog. All the original photos I’ve used are from HD Wallpapers.

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Twenty four donuts

Work out the maths and you got my age. Because we wanna go unconventional this year! Thought the “cake” was pretty unusual, might as well go all the way through!

Dream cake + amazing people + God’s favours = I can’t complain. Thanks to everyone who made this day extraordinary! I’m beyond thankful. Here’s to the next 24 years. Hopefully the number of donuts will double as well!

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X is for Dangerous

This is just breathtaking. Two vocal powerhouses from different generations have met on The Voice. But Christina, AKA Queen Xtina or Legendtina (and all that) just knocked me off my feet. Jump onto the second song “Dangerous Woman” to see what I’m talking about.

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Original image from Daily Mail Australia

This is Christina’s organic style and feel, the 6/8. This is hers ever since the Stripped era. It took me back to the times when she was singing ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Impossible’ (with Alicia Keys) from that album.

This is her sound. This is when her soul is at its most bare and raw and real. I can’t get over this one.

I’m happy that Christina manages to infuse her vocal prowess and formidable style into this brand new song. Nothing’s changed. She’s still IT.

And by the way, props to the Queen and her team for finally winning in this latest season of the voice! Congratulations to the new winner, Alisan Porter!

Watch the duet here.

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R.

Brandy this June!

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Imma put it down, fellas! Brandy is coming to Australia this June! Yes, Brandy! Moesha Brandy, Cinderella Brandy, The Boy is Mine Brandy! Brandy, Brandy, Brandy!

I got all frisky and hysterical when I learned about her Australia and New Zealand tour this 2016. My sister could attest to this. It was a delirium. I was just over the big, round moon.

She is my R&B icon. One of the biggest stars of the 90s and early 21st century. She is also dubbed the “Vocal Bible” by soul fanatics because of her undeniably exceptional vocal prowess and formidable artistry. And her runs—raving mad.

Her music never gets old. Her style and sound are just timeless. It’s the quintessential R&B flavour. She’s like the eccentric spice you need to achieve an exquisite savour. Her voice is the embodiment of a divine, elusive soul. And she delivers all these with vigorous sass and panache.

Of course, I already purchased my ticket. Got it on the very first day of the pre-sale on the first week of May. I cannot and will not miss this for the world! According to the organisers, the pre-sale tickets were sold out! And the Platinum & Gold tickets are nearly gone!

There is also a Meet-and-Greet after the show, which is limited only to 50 people. I’m happy to say I’m one of the 50 to meet her an take photos with her. It’s surely not cheap, but given that this could only be once in a lifetime, I just gotta do it! I’m making this my birthday gift to myself for this year, and as a reward for all my hard work and toiling the past year. Gosh, am I worthy.

For more and current info about the concert, visit the production’s Facebook page.

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Now, what?

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While on the train today, I pulled out my daily devotional. And everything that’s written there has astonishingly validated what God has been putting in my heart the past few days.

I’ve come to realise that lately, the Lord has been teaching me an important lesson: how to live one day at a time—how to prioritise nothing but the now, and just live in the moment.

Present tense

It’s great to be futuristic and always think ahead, but the future will be no good if the quality of the present isn’t well taken care of.

I believe that focusing on the now also helps us develop and strengthen our trust in the Lord—that He will be there from top to finish, that He’s in the beginning and in the end of every chapter, ’cause that’s what He promised.

Failures vis-à-vis Victories

I also learned that the mistakes of today do not define you solely for the rest of your life.

Your everyday triumphs help establish your identity and validate your goals, so do your mistakes. They’re both essential in the process.

Today’s mistakes are tomorrow’s learnings. Today’s victories are tomorrow’s benchmarks.

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R.