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Thursday, January 01, 2009 ♥
Back from China ♥ 9:51 PM


I survived!!! Hallelujah:):):)

Came back just in time to count down with my whole family at home. And I even managed to scream 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' out of the window at 12am, the only time it is validated to be a public nuisance. 5 minutes later, somebody else shouted 'happy new year' and kena (malay for got) scolded "too late already lar' by another random person. I nearly died laughing.

We went to so many churches and I realised being a secretary is not easy, especially when you have to self translate Mandarin to English. Note to self: Need to improve my own Mandarin capability. Thank God Ernie helped to take notes sometimes because my brain just shut down due to sleep deprivation and overwork.

I just love their offering boxes.

These are the top 2
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So what is the first thing that came to your mind when I said I'm going to China? TOILETS! Haha, over the past 7 days, I never realised that toilets can come under such intense scrutiny. We even gave my dad a new name: Toilet inspector! After visiting the loo, he will start criticizing and give them ratings. Of all the churches, I vote 城关 as the most memorable because I nearly died in there.

Ok, stop obsessing over toilets. Food there is... just sooo awesome! Oysters, hairy crabs, prawns, fish every day! Well, after 3 meals of similar food EVERYDAY, you get kinda sick of it and all you want is plain porridge. Sighs, the brethren in China are just too hospitable. Every church we went to visit, they prepare fruits and some times food for us. And they force us to take. At the end of the day, Ernie have a few fruits in his pocket which he will take out to show us. Then Uncle Pang will take his out too and see who wins:P But I have to admit that it is so good, I gained 2 kg after the trip! I'm thinking that oysters are starting to come out of my nostrils if I keep having them for all my meals! Oysters are on the top of my banned list for the next month! No more please. Overkill!

After 2 days, people started to avoid the oysters but Dn FY is powermama! So we gave him like almost all of the oysters:P

I told you the food was awesome. Enough said.
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This looks like the seaweed I had been getting when I go fishing in Perth!
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But there is always room for dessert:) This is fermented rice you are looking at.
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Poor Preacher Lin have to help fend off church members who wants to bring us out! Have to give him credit for that. It is seriously not an easy task!

Anyway, back to my China trip. Loads of pictures to show courtesy of our dear photographer, Ernie.

25.12.2008
1 day after theolo (read: sleep deprived) + kicked out of own room. Trying hard to look happy about leaving Singapore.
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After a bumpy ride, we arrived in Xiamen

At the Customs. The Beagle is soooo cute^^
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We thought it would be a BMW 760 picking us up. Sorry, 7 people can't fit:(
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Nice view
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Lunch at 夏港堂
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You will be seeing a lot of this customary group photos. The sister you see on the bottom extreme right is a preacher too. They have heaps of lady preachers there. And things works differently in China. Over there, women are seen as equal. They do things such as moving benches and heavy stuff. Very unlike Singapore. Something for me to learn.

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China have cute doggies too!
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The one and only time we played tourist. At 鼓浪屿。


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We saw curious sorts of seafood.
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Dinner at 湖里church.
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Ernie, stop playing with your food!
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The first time we had our presentation:) Met Cong Jie!
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Trying to look cute in Ernie's beanie. Cong jie's mum gave us something to eat and I'm still not quite sure what it was. Tasted a bit like potato.
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The first night. Showering in cold water wasn't the best idea!
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26.12.2008
Breakfast
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Bye bye 湖里 church!
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A 2 hours drive over to 富清
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东山 church. Looks familiar? It's because they have the exactly building plan as TK church!
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Nice buildings and vegetable patches. Doesn't really match up.
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Lunch:)
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Proof that cute dogs exist in China
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下宅 church. Super huge can? I think it is even larger than the 淡水 church in Taiwan.
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They even have beach view!
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I'm in awe!
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山下 church
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Doing my job!
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莆头 church
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I think the farm house roof look is in vogue in this area. This is the third church with the same look already!
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Yes, those are actually oyster shells. Uncle Benson makes sure I take photos of it because he says that he contribute heaps to that pile.
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I told you they are hospitable people
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Here's one for you:)
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Huge bag of seaweed there.
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双垱 church(still under construction)
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Pr Ong and his future house. Also huge!
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Ernie starting to assimilate and dress like a China man
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Dinner:) Extreme right is Pr Lin. He is always busy on the phone. We all agree that he has good communication talent.
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At 城关 church for service and discussion session after. They say that they are the smallest church in 富清.
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Went out on our own to look look see see. Chinese Macdonalds:)
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Smelly tofu! The Chinese version. I decided since I have carbon pills anyway, heck, I'll just go for it!
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Second to the fourth night was spent at the same hotel:) Thank God for hot water showers and nice clean toilets.
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27.12.2008
At Rongqiao hotel. All the guys in suits because it is Sabbath day!
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This is 城关 church from the outside
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Sabbath morning. Does 400 people sound very little? And this is their smallest church in that areas!? Singapore has a lot to learn!
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They are very prayerful. The old sister is actually a deaconess laying hands on the sisters praying
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Life in China
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南厝 church
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Had lunch here!
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江镜 church
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Constant reminder
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龙田 church
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三山 church
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Presentation. Stress again!
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Cooking for 600 people is not easy!
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Choir presentation. Good sound but very funny faces there:)
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碰头会

Elder Huang leading the meeting. He was super humorous. And he shoot everybody including preachers. Something about visiting church members. I shall not go into it but it was hilarious.
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Supper after a long long day!
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28.12.2008
While waiting for Pr Lin at the hotel. Count $$$!
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Funeral flowers at the roadside.
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We are off to 平潭岛
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Risked my life to enter the toilets. All in the name of journalism.
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Driving onto the ship
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On the ship
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Our dearest driver, 老大
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Got the captain to smile for me:)
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Uncle Benson says I'm gonna get beaten up by the gangstas in the BMW if I keep taking photos in front of them. I'm not scared of them*stick out tongue*

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Yay! We arrived!
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At the main church there.
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Hello lunch time!
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Hymn presentation back in church.
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And rushing off to 上岳顶 church.
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The fabulous view there.
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Lack of sleep did this to us
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There was a testimony regarding this building. A random salesman come over to sell his wares and most of the church members helping to build the building came out from the hole about a few metres deep to look at his wares. A little while, the walls collapsed in and there were still some members in the hole. In normal circumstances, they would have perished but an amazing thing happened. It seemed like the ground spew the people out. And the sister who was buried was only covered with her head exposed. None of the workers died. On why the salesman came was still a mystery because that place is so isolated. God is pretty cool huh?
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Stone houses.
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With Mommy dearest
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Group photo.
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And it's time to go home.
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Before dinner, we made a stop at 高山 church where 老大 goes for service.
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Visiting Pr Lin's home.
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He even cooked dinner for us!
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Drinking tea. I like watching 老大 prepare tea. It is fascinating!
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As Pr Lin wasn't feeling well, we went back to our hotel earlier. As usual, Maccas for supper:)
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29.12.2008
Good bye hotel. We are going to 福州

First stop: 长乐 church
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Their kneeling pad.Obviously I chose PINK!
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潭头 church. The people there tried to prevent them to enter the church by putting piles of stones in front of the church.
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By some miracle, the government supported the building of the new church by allowing them to build the place without a permit.
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We were very bored in the van. Ernie and Uncle Pang started playing with my doggy
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阜山 church. The general architecture of the churches in 福州 are the 2 pillars. Does that remind you of Solomon's temple?
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Lunch!
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马尾 church
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大根 church
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Dinner at the apartment owned by the 大根 church.
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Went out for a little while and got some stuff from a church member shop:)
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Hello Doggy!
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This kinda of look familiar...
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30.12.2008
Ernie's uncle came by to join us for breakfast at the apartment.
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莆田, our last destination before returning to 厦门.

Rest stop. The toilets have doors!
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Ernie trying to act cool. Maybe he is trying to appreciate the scenery through the fog.
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At 塘头. Most of the members in 莆田 had gone to Singapore before so it was like seeing old friends again^^
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I didn't go up to see the view with them:( Shame, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the view. I can't believe my dad managed to climb up that ladder:P
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Looks so 60s after all these years.
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At 哆头 church

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Impromptu hymn presentation by the local members
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Our turn
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Group photo
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Our last stop for the day is 莆田城关 where we spend the night. Super windy and cold! And I think the church is waaaaay bigger than Taiwan's 淡水 church. Reminds me of Disneyland.
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They even have a reflection pool on the 4th level!
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And beautiful scenery to boot.
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On the roof top. With Mommy dearest.
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This brother is so funny! He was like, 'Hi, I'm the cook at the 城关 church. You took a picture of me cooking.' Me-- mind blanks (hurry and check picture) 'Oh:)'

He cooked for like 600 people?! Must take photo!
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The usual, more pictures!
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Girls everywhere in the world love taking photos!
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This is hilarious. Reminds me of the lame joke Fresa told me once.
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Formal conference
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Dinner:)
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Going to see the town... While waiting for others
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老大 treat me to stinky tofu. I think I'm in love with it. It's really different from the Taiwanese one!
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The church dogs. Awwww, they are sooo cute!
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The church dorm
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Sumptuous breakfast
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山腰 church
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老大 is my new helper. His Mandarin is power! Every time I don't know a Chinese word, I'll go '老大!' and he will sigh dramatically as if it is such an easy word and then write the word. I admit, my Mandarin ain't the world best but I'm working on it:)
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老大 and his new wallet
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They still do farming
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At 泉州 church
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You can still do church work even if you have babies to look after.
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Group photo
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With 2 sisters from the church
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KO-ed.
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Going home:)
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Drama ensues! They claimed that we didn't confirm our seats hence we have to pay another few hundred bucks each for our seats. People getting angry... but in the end, we still got our seats. Chey, I thought I would spend another day in China. I don't really mind because what I have now is TIME:)
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I'll miss them:(
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I think most people keep thinking that I'm there for holidays and keep asking me whether I bought a lot of stuff. It's almost like rubbing salt into the wound because I love shopping and this is simply not a shopping trip! Come on, life is not always about shopping you know.

FOR THE LAST TIME, THIS IS A STUDY TRIP SO STOP ASKING ME IF I SHOPPED HEAPS BECAUSE I AM THERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FAITH OF THE TJC MEMBERS!

*take deep breaths*

By the way, did you count how many churches we went to? Guess!


♥ Princess Serene


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