TGIF: Letters To:

TGIF

In the previous entry, you see ‘Letters From:‘; letters addressed to me by friends and loved ones. However, a person who receives and does not give [back] is like a dead sea – so rich in minerals, yet no life can exist there – with only inputs without outputs. It takes two hands to clap, and it takes both on either side to maintain a relationship. Letters are one of the most practical ways to do so. Two-penny letters (Hanson, Kinfolk Volume Three, p102-103) work very well as opposed to the notion that one should only write ‘proper’, lengthy letters. A simple “Hey, love your dress!” or “Meet for coffee soon, old sport.” can be so heartfelt in letting the addressee know that you are thinking of them.

I have written and sent out much letters, post cards, post-its, handmade and DIY cards to friends and loved ones through the years but two-penny letters is a quick solution with the same intent and outcome [though results vary depending on effort spent la]. One doesn’t have to fret over filling in the lines of the letter with ‘substantial’ content too. Simplicity is the way of life. There’s also lesser pressure and expectation added to the addressee; they are not forced to write something back.

We’ve all received that out-of-the-blue note from a friend; the joy and comfort that these little check-ins bring us is incredible considering the simplicity and scale of the act. It doesn’t take much time or effort to jot down a thinking-of-you note to a friend that will change their day.
Killeen Hanson (Kinfolk Volume Three)

A follow-up to Kinfolk‘s HOW TO BE NEIGHBORLY: CHECKING IN article, here‘s how you can ‘check in’ in someone else’s lives without being too over the top. And it is inexpensive too. Scattered all around hot-spots in Singapore are the Zo card racks constantly topped up and replenished with new Zo [post] cards on a regular basis. Pick up a few with interesting themes, colors, concepts, photography, etc. Bring them home, use a trusty pen to write on the blank areas of the card, give them by hand or by post whichever is preferred. For my foreign friends, you can collect all those free post cards from your country’s attractions and hot-spots (museums, tourist centers, etc), they are good for writing too.

Knowledge is power, now that you know how and what to do, send out your two-penny letters [or Zo cards]!

P.S. I would love to see your two-penny letters. Please feel free to tag me on your blogs or social media platforms, or drop me a hyperlink to your new media platforms under the comments section of this entry.

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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.

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. 🙂