Category: Singapore


In memorium – 赖玉梅 (1930-2021), 冯全 (1913-83)

My paternal grandparents were immigrants from China to Singapore even before WWII & the Japanese Occupation, my grandpa was from Hainan Island, & my grandma from Guangdong (Canton), she spent some time in Malaysia before moving over. They married young, my grandma had the first of 8 children at age 18, my dad was number 2 at age 20. They took care of me much of my early childhood, as my parents were both working (dual-income families were a push by the government), & we stayed in the same HDB block in Marsiling, overlooking the old Causeway (before the days of sky/traffic cams).

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Shadow of the Almighty

Sitting in mandated quarantine back in Singapore this morning, returning with my family after 2 years in the States for my PhD studies, God has been reminding me of His sovereignty and protection, especially throughout the Covid pandemic (since early 2020).

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from … the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield & bulwark.

Psalm 91.1-4 #psalm91
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ACS Founder’s Day

Today (1 Mar) marks the 135th anniversary of the founding of Anglo-Chinese School by William F. Oldham (1854-1937) in #Singapore. Some interesting facts:

  • Oldham was an India-born British-American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (forerunner of UMC) & a Missionary Bishop for Southern Asia. He also founded the first/oldest Methodist church (Wesley) in Singapore. He died & is buried in Glendale, California.
  • The early years of education of #JosephSchooling (Singapore’s first/only #Olympic gold medalist in swimming) were at ACS.
  • ACS is mentioned as the alma mater of several characters in the #CrazyRichAsians trilogy; the author Kevin Kwan also studied there.
  • The school motto “The Best is Yet to Be” is from Robert Browning’s poem “Rabbi ben Ezra” (1864).

#thebestisyettobe #tbiytb #acs135

 

The 2020 Singapore General Elections (GE) was an interesting experience for myself. Being away for overseas studies with family, this was the first time I was going to miss being able to vote (the nearest Singapore embassy was at least a 12-hour drive one-way). Having been away for almost a year has taught me many lessons, and also caused me to cherish and appreciate more what we have in Singapore. After the euphoria and hype of the elections begins to subside, I found myself reflecting what lessons we could learn, especially as the Church, the body of Christ, drawing from the life of David and the disciples.

1. Crisis is both a danger & an opportunity

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, several secular and religious leaders have noted that a crisis can be both a danger and an opportunity, particularly if you consider the Chinese word for crisis 危机 (wéijī), literally a combination of two words, danger (危险 wéixiǎn) and opportunity (机会 jīhuì). Nations and governments have had to deal with the widespread coronavirus from both within and without their borders, forcing massive air travel restrictions, severe lockdowns and quarantines, and ramping up of support for healthcare and frontline workers and infrastructures. Our Singapore government was hailed as a leading role model in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, especially in containment of imported and community cases, but also met some roadbumps in dealing with cases amongst foreign worker dormitories. Many questioned the calling of the elections in the midst of this pandemic as well. Although the initial predictions and political rhetoric was leaning towards the ruling party, to trust in and fall back on reliable leadership, and not to “rock the boat” in times of crisis, Singaporeans also showed that this could also be the impetus towards breaking new ground, making alternative choices, and taking a chance on new candidates.

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Grace & truth

Much has been debated recently regarding Singapore’s Penal Code, in particular Section 377A, following the recent decision by the Indian Supreme Court to rule in favour of decriminalising homosexuality. Several individuals (including prominent public figures) and groups have weighed in on both sides in print and online media platforms, and some have even been aggressively garnering support for online petitions either to support or repeal. What follows is a personal reflection on this pertinent and controversial topic, and by no means reflects our church’s official position. The intention here is also not to debate on a theological level, as if to prove or defend my position on 377A or homosexuality. Instead, my hope is that it will encourage reflection of our own personal response, suggesting a more balanced approach towards this and related issues.
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Crazy rich Christians

“Crazy Rich Asians,” a Warner Brothers adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel has taken the world by storm since its premiere in mid-August. In 3 weeks, the film has become the most successful Hollywood studio romantic comedy in nearly a decade at the U.S. box office, topping the charts for the third weekend in a row, already raking in an estimated total of USD 1 million. Amidst its many themes are the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous in Asia, the importance of traditional family values, pedigree, connections and being part of the “in” crowd. One major theme is that of “inheritance” (or “old money”), in which the male protagonist is essentially modern day royalty, primed from a young age to take over his father’s legacy – his business empire, wealth and assets, and family name. Watching and reading interviews done with the author, it is apparent that much of his novels were based on personal experience as well.
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Recently, Pokemon Go (a mobile game app described as a “free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game”) was launched. This has viralled into a global craze of over 20 million daily users, with the app designers reporting earnings of over USD$200 million in revenue, with an average of USD$10 million a day. In Singapore, you might have noticed in the past 2 weeks, crowds of children, youths, and even adults staring at their mobile devices playing this game whilst walking, commuting, and even driving (dangerously). 2 young men were arrested for fighting allegedly due to the game, and the police were called in when residents complained of hordes of cars and crowds congregating in a public housing estate carpark in the middle of the night, causing much disturbance and noise, with the only aim of “catching” virtual monsters.Worldwide crazes and phenomenons have come and gone. Years back, it was the Hello Kitty collectibles from McDonald’s. I’m sure many of our young people in church have no doubtedly downloaded and are currently playing Pokemon Go. In and of itself, it’s just like any other computer or mobile game that is out there in the market. Parents and young people will need to exercise wisdom and discernment on whether or not it is advisable to play. I think the challenge is moderation, and when one crosses the line towards addiction and excessive playing. Also, we need to be mindful of how our behaviour changes when we are playing. Do we become reckless, foregoing safety, such as playing whilst crossing the road, or worse, when driving and suddenly pulling to the side and stopping abruptly just for the sake of the game? Or do we even become aggressive, anxious, depressed, and experience withdrawal symptoms when not playing or not being to get ahead of our friends or others in the game?

Romans 12 begins with the warning, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.” Instead, Paul exhorts us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Many might laugh off this Pokemon Go craze as something trivial, but what are the other challenges, pressures and temptations for us to follow, to “conform” to worldly trends, patterns, thinking and behaviour? Are we only Sunday Christians, but the rest of the week, when we are out there in the world, no one can tell the difference between us and non-believers? Do we ever struggle with standing up to our biblical convictions, and risk being in conflict with our colleagues, our bosses, our companies, our schools, our friends, or maybe sometimes even our family members?

As we celebrate Young Adults Sunday today, my prayer is that God will continue to raise up faithful generations of young people who are rooted in God’s Word, filled and led by the Holy Spirit to be living sacrifices, godly examples and influencers in all spheres of society. May we truly be a community of spiritual support that loves sincerely and serves selflessly as we grow towards Christlike maturity, building each other up towards service and leadership, for the glory of God.

You know Singapore is…

PC: Wakeupsg

You know Singapore is… (interesting take on a recent news)
#firstworldproblems

A fellow blogger wrote about a recent revival prayer meeting at ACS that commemorated what is known as the Clock Tower Revival of 1972, and also on the 80th anniversary of the exact date John Sung arrived in Singapore in 1935, triggering a massive revival among the overseas Chinese. The ACS Clock Tower at Barker Road has been an iconic symbol since the secondary school moved to Barker Road from 1950-1992, after which the campus was vacated briefly when the school went independent and moved to Dover Road in 1992. In 1994, ACS Barker Road was established as a full school, along with ACS Primary which used to be at Coleman Street. In 1999, the original clock tower was rebuilt when the school underwent a major rebuilding and “a replica now stands 20 metres from the old clock tower, with the original clock mechanism installed in the new tower”.1

Related articles:
1Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) | Wikipedia
ACS Clock Tower revival | ACS(I) Revivals
The clock tower story – the beginnings of charismatic renewals in Singapore | TTC-CSCA occasional series
Clock Tower Revival
Singapore Clock Tower story
Controversy behind the Singapore Clock Tower revival
ACS Clock Tower revival of 1972

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