Make Singapore Known for Graciousness and Magnanimity

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A family whom I managed to help link up with a CEO to get much needed furniture in the house back in 2012. Under the City Care program I had the privilege to mentor the mom’s (in the picture above) 3rd son who was discharged from a home.

It was a defining moment for me when the family were thanking me. Even the eldest brother looked me up in camp to thank me and gave me updates about the family. Through this I know I have made an impact to the family…

Lately there has been this increasing trend of internet bashing where Singaporeans criticize others for their lifestyles. One being participating (and spending money) in the zombie walk. While the thought may seem good, the method of delivery or even the intent may not be so. While we desire to see more good in society and to get others to do so, we must understand that not everybody shares the same passion to do good. And we are entitled to how we spend and live our life… How does criticizing encourage people to do good or give to the poor? While I would like to engage in social work and give to the needy, I don’t criticize my friends for the lack of volunteering or giving.

Abase and abound. From here, we accept people just the way they are, but we continue to do good on the individual level anyway.

Lead by example. There is a Christian proverb that says ‘Show me your faith apart of your works and I will show you my faith by my works.’ Singaporeans seems to be coming to a point where they easily criticize and find fault in others. Some then use ‘good thoughts’ like slamming people for not doing good with their money, to mask their intent and make it ‘well-meaning’. If we really want to see change, we make THE change. Make a difference yourself. Others will see the impact and whether they follow suit is entirely up to them. But many will follow after.

Let’s build a Singapore that is gracious and magnanimous, not a Singapore where we nitpick at each other.

To volunteer with City Care, click here.

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Great Love

PrayingPHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Saw this scene after a CHC service last Friday. I was very touched by this sight. A younger boy was laying hands and silently praying for an older boy (presumed to be his elder brother, or friend) while a counselor prays for him.

Great love for the latter must had prompted the lad to get up from his seat, come down the aisle and pray for his brethren.

This is what Easter is all about, Love.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
– 1 John 3:16

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
– John 15:13

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
– 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Everlasting Gift: Love

Gift-giving is so important be it whether that person’s primary love language is gift-giving or not.

The gift, expensive or handmade, tangible or intangible may only last temporal; chocolates will be eaten or become moldy, flowers bring delight to the recipient but die away soon after, words off an encouraging letters may fade or get eaten away by time, even objects may face degeneration and decay with time passed.

But the feelings invoked from the very act of giving far exceeds every expiry date of the gift. It may be conceived out of ceremonial custom, goodwill, loyalty, kinship, gratitude, or the highest order of them all – Love. Perhaps that’s the real reason behind the joy and happiness when girl receives flowers from boy, patient receiving fruits from friends, grandparents receiving a drawing from their grandchildren. For though the gift may no longer cease to exist in the future, the feeling one gets from the gift and the giver lingers on [forever some may say].

Thank you mother for the gift of half-boiled eggs in the morning  and the gift of LOVE! ❤

Soft boiled eggsPHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay (Ipad2)

Short Story: Unfailing Love

Even before memory could be captured, mother cradled blood-stained Chester onto her bosom mumbling “I love you everyday” to him while being rolled out of the operating room. It did not matter that the young divorcee endured nine months and one final push, for the joy that set in supersedes the pain.

Mother whose once-beautiful hands are now all wrinkled up due to the hours put into hard labor struggled to make ends meet but always strive to give her precious Chester the best – the most meaty part of the chicken for dinner, the filling portion of the mud pie, his favorite storybook even if it meant not getting herself a replacement for her old clothes which were wearing out due to excessive use.

Like all boys, Chester was rowdy, played soccer, skipped classes and fought with other boys. Exchanges were made, blood was spat, principal was informed, phone calls were made. Mother apologized profusely and begged for Chester to not be kicked out of school. Walking home, Chester finally broke his silence and asked, “Mother, do you still love me?” Mother with tears in her eyes picked young Chester up and gave him the tightest bear hug and replied, “I love you everyday.”

Chester grew up in height and weight but that was not to be in stature. Falling into wrong company, Chester learned the ways of the street, got into more fights, arrived home drunk than sober more often than not, peddled drugs, woke up with a different woman by his side each time. His actions broke mother’s heart but her heart cannot deny itself for it speaks only of the language of love for her precious.

Chester was subsequently arrested, scheduled to stand trial. Mother visited, the two seek solace but was separated by a 5 centimeter see-through glass that stretched across the room. The broken Chester asked “Mother do you still love me?” Mother replied, “I love you everyday.”

Chester vowed to turn over a new leaf but change was not easy. Released on parole, Chester took up a decent job but fell back to his old ways not long after. Mother, the only person now to visit Chester continues to make routine visits to the prison Chester was confined in. While making one such visit, mother crossed the road too early and a fatal knock leaves her battling for her life, battling to see her precious for the last time.

Taking hesitant steps forward, the handcuffed Chester approached mother’s side in the hospital. Like birth pangs, that fades away upon the arrival of a baby, mother brightened up when she sees her precious Chester. Inconsolable, sorry Chester asked “Mother, it was me who caused you to be in this state.. Do you still love me after all that I have done?” With one last and final breath she could muster, mother replied, “Don’t be silly, I love you everyday.”

There is a saying “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” As Hill Churchill said, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”

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

 
love quote

 

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. 🙂