Friday, December 4, 2009

YOUR children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

(M.Scott Peck, quoting Kahlil Gibran, in The Road Less Travelled)

Monday, November 30, 2009

too many minds

Tom Cruise wanted to be a samurai in "The Last Samurai."
He knew how to handle the sword.
He had the fire in him.
But he couldn't beat his opponents.
That was when his Japanese friend whispered in his ears, "Too many minds. Mind the sword. Mind people. Mind the enemy."
"Don't mind."

And so he learned.
To not let his "too many minds" distract his focus, and weaken his moves.
And he became a warrior.

In this season of celebrations, camps, and year-end commitment, let us not let the "many things" bother us and cause us to lose sight of the "one thing" that is needful, Christ Himself.
Let us not be too many minds.
Don't mind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Last month I attended five funerals - of five men.
Two died suddenly, without warning.
One of them, in his sixties, was still jogging the week before the heart attack took him.
Two struggled with long illnesses but knew the Lord before they passed away.
The last one, the grandpa of one of my students, was the only non-believer.
But his funeral was also the most unforgettable.
It was a Hindu ceremony.
At the last rites, the deceased's three sons had to make a final journey around his coffin.
One of them, in white robes, carried a clay water-jug that was filled to the brim, on his shoulder.
The three men had to walk around the coffin three times. At the beginning of each round, the water-jug was slightly cracked by the priest to allow water to leak out.
Then at the end of the walk, the jug was suddenly dropped to the ground.
A hundred broken pieces of clay and water splashed all over the floor spoke vividly of the fragility of life, and the finality of death.
That day I turned my mind to Eccl 12:6 where we're told that there comes a time for every man when "the pitcher by the well isshattered and "the wheel at the cistern is crushed"; and man returns to his eternalhome and faces his Creator.
But before that day arrives, which will come surely, andoften without warning, let us live and love well.
Let us enjoy the people God has blessed us with, and be faithful to the task He has called us to.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


As I watched her walk across the stage to receive her degree, my mind raced back to the day she 'graduated' from kindergarten.
The mortar board, the robe, the 'degree', even the feelings - everything seemed familiar. My baby has graduated from University.
My baby has grown up.

I remember during her first year of uni, the night before a project was due, her computer suddenly crashed (it was 2 or 3.00 am).
She cried inconsolably. Actually she screamed.
And she had every reason to. She had worked on it for days.
My husband tried to rescue the destruction but it was futile.
It was too late.
Suddenly, she stopped crying. She walked to the kitchen, gulped down a drink, got back to her desk, and started on a new design without a word.
I remember thinking, "My baby has grown up."

One day she called home during a camp she'd volunteered for abused and abandoned kids (Royal Family). She was a counselor.
"Mum, it's tough," her voice was soft. "The kid I'm assigned to is hard to handle."
I prayed for her and told her not to give up.
When she came home three days later, she slept the entire day and didn't say much.
The following morning she announced, "Next year I'll serve with the group again."
And she did - for the next and the next years. She even recruited other counselors among her uni friends.
I remember thinking, "My baby has grown up."

Our children grow up. We never could quite predict when; but when it happens we know.
For me I knew in many unexpected moments.

Like when I said "No" to something she wanted (and my heart was so torn) and she responded, "Ok mummy."
No tantrums, no argument, just gracious acceptance.
I was surprised.

Like when once in JC she told me to my face that my remarks about so-and-so were unfair. "You don't even know her," she said calmly.
I was taken aback.
Because she was right. But more strikingly, she spoke to me like an adult. A more gracious adult.
I was pleased.

Like when she emailed me an article last year and said, "Mum, read it. You will like it." I did like it.
It was inspiring - both the article as well as the sender, who thought about feeding my mind.
I was humbled.

My baby has grown up.
I'm fortunate because I've had the privilege of being there to witness, savour, enjoy, and even learn from her maturity and individuality.
Got to be one of the most blessed things of parenthood.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I'd been busy. But over good things.

Went to Mongolia on a ministry trip for two weeks in May.
Had the best time. Also because this time round Roland - and a colleague Jeremy who's a gentle soul - were with me.

Then we came home for a wonderful reunion with our long-suffering daughter who singlehandedly took care of the plants, fish and cats while we were gone.
The good news is none died.
And she missed us.

That was followed by a flurry of activities.
Went for a short trip to Bintan for beach, snorkling, and swimming.
Then I spoke at a youth camp.
In between (I know this sounds confusing), went to Malacca with my family.
It was a great treat getting to know my niece and nephews, and tall and handsome Brandon (mum's grandson no 1) who flew in from Vancouver.

Breaking from the routine.
Always good for the body (especially the getting out of Singapore) , refreshes the vision (teaching the Mongols was faith-stretching and rewarding), and warms the heart (the 24 kids who stood up for commitment at the youth camp encouraged my soul).

Friday, April 24, 2009

about slumdog and all that jazz

Ok, those of you who watched Slumdog Millionaire, the Mumbai-based poor-boy-made-rich Hollywood flick put up your hands.
Right. Half of you.
Not to spoil it for you who haven't watched the show (where have you been, my friend?), let me take you to where the "tea boy" finally got the money and found the gal.

It was in the railway station.
He'd promised to wait for her at the railway station, for as long as it'd take, until she arrived.
And as he waited, and waited, and waited, she came.
Clad in jeans and a yellow shawl, she stood three train platforms away, breathlessly stunning.
Then their eyes locked.

And in true Hollywood Bollywood style, he ran to her. (I saw the movie twice for this part!)
Now in case you think we’re coming to a slow-mo sequence, you got to remember this is big-time director Danny Boyle.
So it was just running.
From one platform, down the track, up, across another platform, and down, up, non-stop, all the way he pushed until he reached her.
And in cinematomatic magic, as he made his way to her, his life flashed by.
The childhood. The pains. The ups. The ugly. The turning points. The learning curves.
It was as though everything in his life was culminating at this point.

And when they finally stood face to face, he kissed her (of course).
Not on the lips – not just yet.
But on the scar on her left cheek. The scar that says her life was blemished forever.
Kiss. Love. Happy ending. Healing and restoration to her wretched life.

Sigh. That's Hollywood.

But here's the catch.
Our tea boy wasn't the great rescuer.
When he loved her, and got her out of the other slum, really it was she who delivered him.
You see, she - by becoming that one meaningful focus of his miserable life - gave him a reason to be good.
Saved him from aimlessness.

Made him truly rich.

There's a lot of application here, isn't there?
I don’t know about you but for me, I was reminded to not pat myself on the back when I love and do my bit for God.
I'm not doing Him a great favor.
I'm really allowing the One I should love to save me.

Keep me focused.

Keep me from losing my way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Curious Case of Aging

It was my birthday and I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Timing's perfect as the theme is about time, growing older, younger, whatever.
The movie is 45 mins too long, if you ask me, but it has much to teach us.

Here's what I came away with:
1. When we're old, it's hard to look glamorous - not even when you have a face like Cate Blanchett.
2. When we're old, it's hard to be pretty - not even when we are Brad Pitt.
3. Growing older is not a bad thing at all. It's worse when you're growing younger (and everybody else is growing older).
4. Growing older is not such a dreadful thing. It's how God planned it to be and there's a whole lot of wisdom for it.
5. Being old isn't the most horrible state we could find ourselves in. Being foolish, lonely and with nothing to live for - albeit young and attractive - is a more painful thing.
6. Being old isn't the end of finding love and companionship. Benjamin Button was loneliest when he started to look young - really young.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today a group of us - my brother, his wife and three kids, my sister, and my daughter - went to the columborium to mark dad's ninth death anniversary.
Each year the 'ritual' is about the same.
Earnest (brother) would clean the plaque as he's the only one tall enough to reach the top level where dad's picture is placed, someone will change the plastic flowers, each person says a few words of what we remember best about dad, then we read the scriptures and pray.

Today Amy (sis) turned our attention to several passages on the hope of eternal salvation and redemption we have in Christ.
"Because there's a resurrection," Earnest said to his sons who were surprisingly very attentive despite their ages (Nat is 8 and Elliot is 5), "you will see your kong kong in heaven some day, isn't that great?"

I doubt they understood what it all meant.
But the visit each year must certainly have made an impression upon their little lives.
For one thing, it keeps alive their link with the dead .
Earnest's kids had never met dad, unfortunately; but they know through the visits that their father also has his own father, whom he doesn't forget though he's passed away.

It's a long way for us to go to the columborium.
It takes planning and effort to interrupt life just to remember the dead.
But the journey always renews us: our gratitude for the past, our ties with one another, and our resolve to live well even for the sake of those who come after us.

love the ocean - God made it for Himself

About Me

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.