lack nothing

There are a few places in the world that captured my heart. One of them is San Francisco. Another is Cambodia. San Francisco because I’ve never really felt Chinese or Asian or anything till I was in that city. When in Hong Kong and China, I felt like a foreigner. In Malaysia, I’m mostly struggling to understand and live what it means to be Malaysian. I didn’t feel foreign or local in Cambodia, but it felt right. When I was there, I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

A can of Coke costs 0.50 cents. Internet cafes charge 0.50 cents per hour. Besides these two things, everything else costs one dollar. Scarves, books, a stack of postcards, tacky touristy t-shirts (I bought two, yay!), fried rice and a child (maybe).

I was on the airplane on my way home and all I wanted to do was turn back. I’m still missing Cambodia. I don’t really know why. The country is poor, corruption reigns, undiscovered landmines in remote areas and mosquitoes are everywhere. AIDS, dengue and tuberculosis. All for a dollar. For the first time in my life, I was called ‘madame’. I’ve always associated that term with snooty ladies with a pointy nose, an extremely long cigarette filter in one hand and a fat wig-wearing rich man in her arms. So that was disturbing.

Apparently, Cambodians like their pastors mashed.

I was at a meeting the other night and one lady was sharing about her experience at an orphanage. She brought her own kids with her to that visit so her kids could see beyond themselves and another kind of life. The 100 orphans live in two sheds built over a drain where the children sleep beside. Cleanliness is secondary to everything else: shelter, food, spirit. Instead of making new friends, her kids did not want to sit and be around the orphans. They squirmed and did not desire to be there. The lady was hurt… angry and sad not because her kids were bad, but that she felt as though she failed as a mother. I can’t help but think that God feels the same way when we withhold love from others because of their lack. Because they have no political power, health, wealth and social network. Because their ‘lack’ reveals our lack.

I received an email today, detailing a one week trip to Chennai, India this August. Sounds all too exciting, but the tasks the trip entail seem overwhelming. I will sit on it though. What do I have to lose, right?



  1. agung

    i liked mashed pastor too?

  2. pat

    i got the email too, but only thought of it for a few minutes. if only it didn’t cost so much.

  3. thundered cat

    pat: you know what’s scary? i was thinking about india before i got that email…

  4. Shaun

    Hi. What program do you use to process your photos?Thanks

  5. thundered cat

    for digital photos, i use photoshop. unless it’s film, then it’s a scanner… does this answer your question though? i think photoshop is like a digital dark room.

  6. EJ

    Hi,How do you achieve the vintage 70s look in most of your photographs?

  7. thundered cat

    i didn’t know there’s a vintage 70s look to my photographs. heh. i didn’t tweak them to look retro, so it should be the subjects i capture.

  8. pat

    woah. see, what happened last monday night was no coincidence ;) well, if it’s you season to go to india then it will happen.

  9. BenLuffy

    travel when you’ve nothing to lose, right?=)

  10. Jun

    photo of a person taking a photo of people taking photos, good

  11. Lor3tta

    Your photos blow me away. Absolutely. I think you have a heart for missions. Hehe. I really do. You should consider going back to Cambodia with an organisation, it may well be the time of your life! Or go to India. Heck go everywhere the love of God and the gospel is needed! Use words when necessary. Pat- money is never an issue with God. If you want to go, pray about it and see God provide. We all need to start with that kind of trust and faith in order to go and persevere in missions.. ;)

  12. thundered cat

    thank you :)i do plan to go back to Cambodia… it’s only a matter of when. i’d love to see Phnom Penh and i still couldn’t get enough of Siem Reap though. gosh, ‘missions’ sounds so ‘un-me’… which can be a good thing, i think ;)you inspire.

  13. EJ

    Hi there,If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell me what settings did you use? Somehow I’m unable to check the EXIF data for the individual photos except for some (i.e. D70, aperture, focal length etc.) but for this batch, I’m not able to.But yes, you take excellent pictures! What I meant with “vintage 70s”, is that they have that slightly desaturated (washed out?) (sorry don’t know the technical terms) colours that I can match with those that I find in old magazines from the 70s. Very nostalgic and unique.There’s also a kind of salon feel to your pics – the kind that I want to frame up and put in some cool, coffee shops etc.Excellent job!

  14. thundered cat

    i usually shoot with the shutter priority setting. it’s ok, i’m not too technical myself but i do love old magazine and books. they look and smell lovely :)and thank you for your words. you’re way too kind. i don’t even frame my own photos up.

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