Garabandal – An Introduction

In my capacity as Director of the Penang Garabandal Centre , I am pleased to introduce you to the subject of Garabandal.

If you have not heard or read about Garabandal, it is the name of a hamlet – San Sebastian de Garabandal – located  in the foothills of the Cantabrian mountains in Northern  Spain .

That is where four young schoolgirls were subjected to Marian apparitions from 2 July 1961 until 13 November 1965. During this period of time, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared over 2000 times, which makes Garabandal unique in the history of Marian apparitions.The visitations drew huge crowds, and featured alleged paranormal phenomena, much of it filmed or photographed, with thousands of witnesses.

The girls receiving the visions were Mari Loli Mazón (May 1, 1949 – April 20, 2009), Jacinta González (born April 27, 1949), Mari Cruz González (born June 21, 1950) and Conchita González (born Feb. 7, 1949).

In this series of visitations, the Virgin Mary is often referred to as “Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal”, because she said that she was the Lady of Mount Carmel when the visionaries asked who she was.  Besides that, her appearance, dress and hairstyle looked like portrayals of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

 Lourdes, Fatima and Garabandal are one, a trilogy in an arc drawn through France, Portugal and Spain. Appearances in Spain are the key to the understanding of the Age of Mary in the Church.  Garabandal is the bridge between what has happened and what is to come.

During her visitations, Our Lady gave two important Messages for the world.  The first message was on the 18th of October 1961 and the second on the 18th of June 1965. The Messages of Garabandal have to do with our conversion of heart.  We must ask forgiveness for our sins and strive to lead good lives. God Bless

Tony Lee                                                       Director                                                                                  Penang Garabandal Centre

Made with Love…..

The joy one derives from baking is definitely addictive.

It all starts with a play on your mind – first, a vision of what you wish to create in your oven….which triggers your heightened senses – so that you almost ‘smell and taste’ it …(yes, even in your imagination). An assault on your senses. To put it simply.

It activates a call to action which engulfs the whole being……until the desired end-result is in your hands, while the freshly-baked aroma makes its way through the house, gently alerting everyone’s senses to its ‘arrival’. Being the all time favourite of a Kueh Lapis, it calls for a little applause too! 

And the final touch, before it is ready for presentation?  That is very subjective, and best expressed as ‘to each his own’.

For this particular occasion, we chose shades of lavender and purple, prettily contrasted with lemon yellow. Being a particularly auspicious occasion, some (being Chinese and all) might have preferred more reds, but we were happy with our choice (it was the period of Lent when the cake was made). To make up for the lack of celebrative red and gold, we cheered up the look with flowers that complemented  the brightly coloured set of ‘Happy Birthday’ candles. The final hurdle is, watching the looks of sheer indulgence light up the faces of those tasting a slice of your home-made heaven…mmm.. 

With that – the realization of what was first but an image in the mind’s eye – a delightful sense of achievement and satisfaction colours the air, much like the aura of a clear rainbow — until the next baking idea starts the mind on another creative adventure.

For all those who showed interest in this cake, we are happy to say that ‘it was made with love’. Amen.


Simple Yet Effective…..

As I have said many times before, I will try most any keep-fit routine that comes to my attention, to see if it suits me. At the same time, I always check with my medical practitioner, in this case, my TCM doctor, for his opinion before embarking on assimilating it into my daily list of ‘must-do’ exercises.

This came to our notice through an email, with instructions and explanation of benefits – and for your easy reading, we have recapped it as attached – Qigung exercise details. We tried to find the source of this qigong stance and to find out more about the benefits outlined, but realized that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, as there are about 1000 or so qigong positions, each with a unique name to it. While this has been titled ‘Qikung Walking Exercise’, I am still trying to find the link to the ‘walking bit’…(as you must realise I am not a qigong expert).

Nevertheless, as encouraged by my TCM doctor, I started practicing this stance, which is supposedly meant to be held for at least 1 hour each day. It is good enough if done in 15-minute segments throughout the day.

Notice the 90 degree angles as shown in the photo? That is all important, per the set of instructions which also advises us to “Drink about 300cc of warm water before and after the exercises. Breathe normally. Don’t hold back your breath.  Using the energy from your waist and “Dan tian” to hold your legs in that posture as long as you can manage.”

Starting with only a 5-minute hold of the legs in this position a few weeks ago, I have arrived at the 15-minute stage, with only positive results to share with everyone. I felt a general sense of being ‘fine-tuned’, after the first few days of daily practice. Now as weeks have passed, I am truly delighted about how it has played a positive role in my well-being.

Needless to say, before trying out anything new yourself, do remember to check with your doctor, as he or she would know best.


Living in the Light……

Tim Tebow's face paint of John 3:16

Today being the Fourth Sunday of Lent, I would like to share with you the Gospel’s focus on Light and Darkness which concludes with “Light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil…”.

For a more light-hearted view on the subject, do read this lovely poem, set in the style of a children’s verse, written by Fr. John Foley .

And to sports fans the world over who have heard of Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos and Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks, did you also know that these two young athletes are standouts in a world where most are not willing to shine the Light of God into the darkness? Learn more about Tim and Jeremy’s show of their faith in God.

With these three examples of “Light and Darkness”, I hope Fr John Foley’s quote will give you additional inspiration to ‘dance in the Light of God’

 Listen to the light. Listen to God this Lent.
Let love blossom and grow.                                                   

Fr John B. Foley, S.J.  

*Poem copyright John B Foley, S. J., 1980
All Rights Reserved


A newly-minted 89!


Celebrating Tony's 89th birthday, both Suzanne and Tony dressed in complementary tones of brown...


Before, during and after my turning 89, our calendars were simply filled to the brim with well-wishers from far and wide, topped off with endless lunch, tea and dinner appointments from our loving circle of friends and family.  

What initially was the plan to celebrate quietly (leaving the 90th birthday for THE occasion), turned into a slightly larger gathering at a local restaurant where all the guests agreed that the food is always good (that is all important to us Malaysians). As for the cake and sweet endings, everyone loved Mary’s famous Kueh Lapis (Layer Cake) while Jack the Muffin Man handed out pretty beribboned muffins to one an all – wishing our friends a year of sweet moments too.

The camaraderie between friends close enough to be family members, made it yet another memorable occasion for the birthday boy.  The inimitable Nancy Yeoh of E&O fame, started the guests on a singing roll with her specially dedicated songs while dear John Peterson entertained with his table card tricks to the amazement of all present. 

For my lovely wife Suzanne, who looked as svelte as ever in her brown qipao filled with mini rosettes, I sang a secretly-rehearsed Cantonese song entitled “Why I love you so” -much to the howls of polite laughter that echoed throughout the restaurant – I guess that meant I had not put in enough of practice! But for me, it was good enough to see her laugh heartily – and perhaps only I noticed – with a loving twinkle in her eye. 

Being the period of Lent for Catholics, the birthday cake and coincidentally, many of our well-dressed ladies, were in shades of lavender and purple. What a wonderful start to my 89th year.

I just wish to thank the good Lord for His love for our family, relatives and friends. Amen.


Learn Something New Everyday….

Today, Suzanne and I were humbled to find ourselves included in the list of interesting achievers as well as illustrious octogenarians… in a post entitled ‘is it worth living till 90?’ by Our answer is…. most definitely… YES!

My siblings all lived into their 90s. I being the youngest in the family, am a freshly-minted 89, while my eldest sister is still of very sound mind and fuelled by a feisty zest for life at 97. In our own ways, we certainly make the most of our daily lives. By the grace of God, we look forward to enjoying more of our Golden Years, filled with blessings from above.

Besides keeping physically fit, Suzanne and I believe that one of the ‘tricks’ to keeping youthful is also to discover and learn new things constantly.  We are always eager to jump onto a new bandwagon of learning, so to speak, as new knowledge and interests spark up our whole mindsets. This then takes on a domino effect of sending positive and wellness vibes into the rest of our miraculous systems. 

Hence the ‘bright- eyed and bushy tailed’ looks that light up our faces when we have come away with new snippets of know-how, on subjects that up until then, were completely out of our comprehension and grasp.

The people at this site clearly explain the benefits of absorbing a new fact or two each day. Yes it is as simple as that, in an effort to keep ourselves interested and interesting to others around us.

Other links to help you along with easy access to enriching your knowledge with some pearls of wisdom:                                                                                     

Last but not least, some people subscribe to the practice of writing a list of ‘things to be thankful for’ on a daily basis.  We do the same, but in the form of prayers,  to thank and appreciate the good Lord for all our blessings. Amen.