Letters From:

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I was clearing my room during the long weekends the other day and coincidentally came across a treasure trove of stuff all hidden within the confines of my little room. Amongst those treasures were letters I have collected and kept for the past eight years. Through the years, I’ve received a number of letters from friends and loved ones.

While there are many ways to express love and gratitude, it is my belief that giving letters is one of the most sincere ways to do so. Letters [may] require spending; one needs to buy a nicely designed card, letter, postcard [and possibly a nice envelope to go along with it. Senders who designed their own cards may incur overheads such as acquiring markers and card design materials from DYI art marts. Letters require effort; senders may design the cards themselves or, sender needs to pick a card or letter style that he or she believes suits the receiver of the letter, next the sender has to write [or type] the words out to fill the intentional void of the letter. Letters require thoughtfulness; you don’t scribble any-old-how on the letter face just to fill the pages. The writer often puts himself in the person’s predicament [or victorious moment] and pens something related to that and ending off with his blessings or encouragement. Letters definitely require time; the sender has to sacrifice previous time off other priorities of his life to fill in the words.

The benefits of receiving a physical letter far outweigh many other form of blessings. A letter is eternal; sure the letter might degenerate a little, the words may fade a little, but keep it stored in a cool, moist-free place and this letter can last decades. A letter is ‘evergreen’. There’s a saying by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” and letters fulfill that role just right. Even if you have moved on with life, rereading those letters again invoke a sense of warmth and closeness the reader shared with the sender. When opened, the ‘encapsulated’ heartfelt words, encouragement and blessing rises up into the air like perfume, bringing fragrance and joy to one’s soul.

I thank God that I am important enough for some to have invested time, effort and money on letters addressed to me. Letters given to me when I transferred away from my first and second cell group, letters given to me when I finally graduated from my second attempt at O levels, letters given to me when I was baptized, letters given to me during my birthdays, letters given to me by dear friends, letters given to me by my bible study students, letters given to me during festive seasons and such. I ride on the encouragement from those letters.

Though those times are now past and gone, I will never forget how important those words were to me. To those who were involved in any of these letters, thank you. Your kind words have an eternal alleviating effect on me. Even as I read them now, they never fail to put a smile on my face. I thank God for all of your letters and friendship.

See if you can spot your own letters!

P.S. I don’t normally reveal contents of letters online for obvious reasons but not doing so this time will do injustice to those who had been such a blessing to me.

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Letter from my first cell group members. I hope that I have grown since then.

 

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Thank you G for being so teachable. May you shine brighter and make a bigger impact than me in the KOG.

 

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Thanks A, I really treasured those times spent with W385.. Thank you for being a mentor to me in so many ways.

 

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Thank you V for being there with me in spirit during this important day.

 

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Thank you E for being such a blessing to me.

 

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S, I appreciate your friendship. Keep in touch.

 

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Y, glad to have played a part in your life. You have gone so far, getting a job and academic certificate, and even graduating from SOT! I am so proud of you.

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Making The Right Investment

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Don’t be so busy trying to be politically right with the world and everyone else that we neglects being right with the most important sort – our family & loved ones.

We all withdraw 86,400 credits from the Bank of Time daily, make the right investment such that there will be a bountiful return of investment when time is ripe.

Not Everything Needs To Be Fixed

IMG_5978PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Expanding my recent interest in oil painting, I spent an afternoon painting an image of the sunshine according to the image conceived in my head. It was much tougher than the previous painting (although it seems to be easier) as both acrylic and oil based paint is used to produce this painting. Finally, after hours of work on it, I decided to call it a day and prepare to head back to camp in a while. The image above is the supposed final product.

But the perfectionist in me can’t help but squirm upon seeing defects in the painting. I just couldn’t ignore that flaw! As such, I set off to correct those errors. But Murphy’s Law apply, and the more I tried to correct the flaw, the worse it got (partly also because acrylic based paint’s properties is much different from its oil paint counterpart). The ‘ugliness’ got so bad that at one point, I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw away the painting! Before I could bring myself to do so, a quote from the book ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch came into my remembrance.

Pausch quoteDesign: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

In that mini chapter, Pausch’s wife Jai accidentally bump their van into Randy’s convertible, causing a greater dent on the convertible. Jai was very apologetic and sad. Pausch forgave her but forbid her to get the car fixed.

“Tomorrow morning,” she promised, “I’ll get estimates on the repairs.” I told her that wasn’t necessary. The dents would be OK. My parents had raised me to recognize that automobiles are there to get you from point A to point B. They are utilitarian devices, not expressions of social status. And so I told Jai we didn’t need to do cosmetic repairs. We’d just live with the dents and gashes.

Jai was a bit shocked. “We’re really going to drive around in dented cars?” she asked.

… my belief that you don’t repair things if they still do what they’re supposed to do. The cars still work. Let’s just drive ’em”.

… For Jai and me, our dented cars became a statement in our marriage. Not everything needs to be fixed.

An abstract from Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, p 86-87

Just thought that this statement can be applied in our daily lives in so many ways; in our relationship with family, friends and loved ones.

Being in close proximity with our close friends and spouses (or boy/girlfriend) greatly exposes us to both their strengths and weaknesses. While we can easily celebrate their strengths, it can sometimes be hard to swallow their weaknesses which may come in the form of attitude differences, perspective differences, conflict of interests, character flaws, etc. The closer we got to them, the more (unwanted attributes) we see, the easier we get irritated (and they irritated by us as well). And when we take it upon ourselves to remedy their flaws, somehow things go totally out of control and taken out of proportions. Talking about one issue can bring out so many other past unrelated issues altogether. The end result is a wrench thrown into a once beautiful relationship.

This may sound familiar to some. Well, I’m no saint and so I am no exception.

But like Randy Pausch’s statement, not everything needs to be fixed. As long as the issue regarding the other party does not shipwreck the relationship, that vehicle of relationship can still go somewhere even if that ‘blemish’ is not fixed. Dents (issues) can be turned around, serving as proof of the the longevity of that relationship too. Sometimes, to agree to disagree is the best policy. And why do we overlook the flaw? Because our love for the other party; that relationship is of much greater worth than correcting him (or her). Love is the common destination (common interest) that brings the two together.

Perfection lies in imperfection.”
– Unknown

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
– 1 Peter 4:8

 
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Back to the oil painting, this time round I took a different approach, just paint away instead of vehemently remedying the flaw. And this was the end result.

IMG_5979PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 
It turned out better than I expected surprisingly..! It’s not the best of paintings definitely but there’s beauty in its imperfections too. Not everything needs to be fixed. 🙂

Parents to play integral part in child’s life

I was reading a recent news on Straits Times a few days back and was saddened to read about this news that had shocked the nation islandwide. It tells of a story about a maid who had sex with a 12-year old boy.

As much as many were angry and upset over the maid’s brazen misdeed and the overall image of Indonesian or Filipino maids, I feel that parents played a very big part [in a child’s life] as well.

The fact is, we all come from a dysfunctional family one way or another, no one is spared from this cruel truth. For my dad, going out into the marketplace to earn money and putting food on the table is called ‘loving’ me. Therefore, he makes little or no effort to bridge the generation gap or makes no attempt to be involved in my life. He physically hits me alot in the past so that I would be disciplined and that was his way of ‘loving’ me, all which I don’t blame him, because older generations are raised this way but sadly, their method of loving no longer has effect (more of adverse effect!) on our generation, or the Gen-Ys. (They are all very one-kind, haha)

Thank God, I came to a local church and today I no longer harbor any resentment towards my dad!

Anyway, I feel that as we become more and more busy due to the modernity of age and time, we are faced with a similar problem.

Parents in their purest intentions,
– would spend hours doing community work or donating money so that they can enroll their children in the best primary schools (which explains the level of competition during every start of the year)
– send their children to as many piano/music/art/ballet/drama classes so that their children can become multi-talented
– put their children in tons of tuition classes hoping that they can enter the best secondary or junior colleges
– work their butt off to earn lots of money so that their children can have money to buy whatever they want, from iphones to laptops and what not
-Work OTs and come home after midnight daily so that they can raise enough money for the children’s university education in the future
– hire a maid to take of all their needs so that they can be well-fed and taken care of

And they do so much, spend so much time on all these matters rather than spend actual time with the kids. They work 8, 9, 10 hour shifts, OTs so that they can earn $$ and let the maid take care of everything at home.  They do all that so that their kids can be ‘happy’. Or so, they think. But is the kid truly happy? Being a kid before, I know that is clearly not what a kid wants. Yes, the parents can do all the gimmicks, hoping to raise their children to become future Elites of society but focusing on all these is a recipe for disaster! When the kids are bullied, all they say is, ignore them and study hard. When the kids are happy, the parents are not around to celebrate with them. When the kids are sad, they are not around to cheer them up. And we wonder why our kids prefer to spend time with their PSPs, iPods, laptops than with us, or why they become rebellious and totally out of control?

Kids today or 10 years ago, all need one and only one thing to be crystal clear to them, and that is love (which translates to quality time). So what if you can give them all the money for their university education, their tuition fees, hiring of maid, putting them in all the music classes, buying all the toys or latest gadgets? If that is the case, for these kids in the future, working OTs will be more important than spending time with you when you’re an old hag and you wonder “Why they don’t want to spend time with me?” Perhaps they will just get you a maid to accompany you!

For the kids, your time is more than sufficient for them. They don’t need all the things you have prepared for them, honestly. Those stuff can come later in life. But what matters is the quality time spent with their daddy and mummy. What matters is hearing encouragements and being bear-hugged by daddy and mummy.

So don’t waste your time focusing on secondary matters but focus on what is of more importance and bear lasting results. Replace the OTs with family time with wife and children. Replace some of the business trips with family holidays, undisturbed by work.

That way, many of the troubled teenager news we see on tv could be solved in the future without interventions that bear little result.

Perhaps what happened to the 12 year old boy could have been prevented if there was constant communication between the boy and parents?

Though I may not have come from a very loving family, I do not resent them, but I strive to become a better husband and father for the next generation. We may not be able to right the wrong in our current family but what we can do is to prevent it from happening for our own future families and to become better fathers or mothers in the future. I hope this article has been helpful to anyone. Thanks for reading!

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene.

Link: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_525596.html