I LIVE in Jurong, known for the Chinese Garden, Bird Park, Science Center, factories and foreign workers.
For the past nine years, I'd seen an increasing number of 'foreigners' in my neighborhood.
I see them during my after-work grocery shopping. I'd wonder how they'd cook the vegetables or meat they chose, and which I never pick simply because I don't know how to cook them.
I queue up with them at the ATM machines, sometimes literally dozens of them during pay-day period. And feel their joy as they banter with one another, wide grins on their faces, as they claim their hard-earned cash.
At times I see some of them making long-distance calls home. From their tone of voice, I could tell the person on the other side of the line would be someone they care about, and probably live for.
MY daughter - who four years ago took the MRT to junior college in the wee dark hours of the morning - told me two weeks ago that during those days, she'd walk past groups of foreign workers on the way to the station.
When I asked how come I never heard her mention this before, her answer was matter-of-fact. "What's there to tell?" she said. "I passed them every morning for two years, they waited for their transport, that's that. It was a non-event."
IN my youth classes at church, I've had many opportunities to refer to the 'aliens' and 'strangers' in our midst.
I'd tell my wards that these are someone's sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers. That somewhere out there, there are people who worry if they ate or slept well, who pray for their well-being, who love them to bits.
We may not know or understand them, they may look and behave differently from us; but that doesn't mean we should despise or fear them.
After all, we are all created in the image of the same God, we share the same need for air, shelter, love, and kindness.
Will some of them harm our daughters? Maybe. But so will people who live in posh neighborhoods and drive big cars.
Do we need to take caution against these 'strangers'? Sure. But just the same common-sense caution we take anyway with all people we don't know.
For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? . . .
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
love the ocean - God made it for Himself
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- In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.