Amazing Grace

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My gourami, our pet fish, has died. It had been sick for some days already, and yesterday, it died. We gave it a proper flushing, since we couldn't give it a burial. My brother sang Amazing Grace. When it was alive, it was a greedy, domineering bully that believed it was king of the tank. But I had sadly misjudged him. It was simply his natural instinct to be a fat, territorial, itchtheoid. In its final moments, I felt a pang of regret and pity. Now the prescence of that gourami is somewhat missed beside my computer desk as I blog this post.

Da Yuezhi

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No, it's not my Chinese name. No, it's not a dish either.
The Da Yuezhi (pronounced "dah yueh-chih") were an Asian tribe that had existed from about 645 BC to 250 AD. The Da Yuezhi called themselves the "Visha". They once lived along the borders of China, which at the time was ruled by the Han Dynasty of China. Unfortunately, the Yuezhi were defeated by the Huns, a powerful neighboring tribe in about 177 BC. According to Chinese records, a small group of Yuezhi escaped west. This brave group traveled across Central Asia, fighting their way through enemy territory year after year, in search of a place to call home. Over time, they grew in numbers, and by the time Christ was born, the Yuezhi had built themselves a strong empire over Central Asia, known as the Kushan Empire. The Kushans grew prosperous due to trade over the Silk Road. The Kushan empire ended in the 3rd century.
The picture on the upper right is a scene of a Yuezhi king and his attendants.
If you happen to have any more information about the Yuezhi or Kushan civilizations, please do comment on this blog.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lately I've been thinking a lot. Not that I don't think much on other times, but I guess certain events in my life has made me think more. One of these events has been my turning twelve recently. It sort of triggered me to ask the question: where will God call me to? Does he want me to be a writer? A businessman? A janitor, even. A pastor? Maybe a missionary.

Suddenly I also just have felt a great passion to pray for the unsaved. It's gotten so strong that I have this desire to pray even for people I meet on the street. I'm not quite sure if this is a calling of God for something greater, or simply a desire God put in me.

Whatever my calling may be, wherever I go, whatever the job I take, I want to make God my vision, my passion, my call.

Walter the Toyseller

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dong! Dong! goes the curfew bell. It is dawn, four weeks since Michaelmas in 1358, Anno Domini. I awaken, pull myself off the straw mattress, and get ready for market day. I grab a bulging frieze bag of my wares I will sell – toys. I gather some victuals for the morning meal, then walk out of the little hovel I call my home. Already the city of London is stirring. Carpenters, goldsmiths, and other craftsmen are opening their shops. Other merchants and peddlers, like me, Walter the Toyseller, make their way to the various markets in town. I make my way to my assigned spot in the marketplace, a sharp corner between two narrow, cobblestone streets. I arrange my wares on the table: dolls on my right, along with the puppets and woolen-stuffed animals. I place my game boards, like merles boards, and fox-and-geese sets, in the middle, so small parts won’t roll of the side. Ceramic figures and the costlier, but prettier, pewter figures are laid lying down. An hour after dawn, I am all set for business. Quite quickly, people start coming into the market. The morning is the time when most of the people come out, so I try to get as many as I can before the crowd begins to leave. The market is noisy, hectic, and smelly, with women haggling with produce sellers for cabbages, and young apprentices running errands for their masters, and the stinking open sewers that are all over the town. With all the noise, it is rather hard to advertise. I must raise my voice to the top of my lungs to be heard above the hustle and bustle. A father and his son pass by, and the son points at the ceramic goose figure. The father did not hear him and continues walking along. About ten minutes later, they return. The father gestures to the figure his son wants and we begin bargaining. Finally after fifteen minutes or so the man is satisfied with the price, pays the money, and gives the toy goose to his son. This process is repeated again and again. Now it is almost noon, and I had finished my victuals already. The curfew bells strikes again; signaling noon, and soon the crowds begins to return to their homes. Business grows steadily slower. Two hours later, the crowd is very thin, so I close shop and return to the cottage I am boarding in. Then I get some well-earned rest before I make more toys for tomorrow.