Familiar Stranger (Part 2)

Hongik SubwayPHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay – Entrance of Hongik University Subway, Seoul, South Korea


Continuing from where I left off earlier, I recently remembered two kids I used to play with at a time when I attend a child care centre after school. It was during my primary school years. Strange enough, I still remember their names. The two girls (who are also sisters) were Shauna and Samantha.

They joined the centre slightly later than me, both wore spectacles, both had short hair. They have a dad whose head is fully laden with white hair. Shauna was probably around my age and a thinker too, while Samantha was younger but had one of the brightest smiles i can register from when my memory could record. We would play with the other kids, do a little sport, have our meals together, fall asleep together sometimes (don’t entertain silly thoughts please).

Their dad would fetch them from the centre every evening. I remembered asking them questions as to why their dad had white hair so early in his days. (Actually I think its also because their dad is not as young as typical dads la) They replied innocently that he might be quite stressed at work, and that he is a police superintendent or something like that.

Childhood days were the best days to make friends. We could be friends just at the snap of the finger. I wonder how are they now? How is their dad? How do they look like? Does Shauna have a boyfriend now? Does Samantha still have that sunshine smile?

Maybe I bumped into them before but just don’t notice nor recognize them anymore and they of me. Maybe we had a ‘向左走·向右走’ moment. We all had friends from when we were in pre-school and primary school, co-curricular activities, school camp days. We probably laughed together, cried together, possibly fought and/or quarreled with each other before. But we were too young to remember it all. Perhaps we walked past such a friend on the streets just yesterday, but we no longer remember. Perhaps you can call that, familiar stranger.

I hope to meet them again one day though, even though we probably have zero conversation topic.


P.S. I have no idea why I still remember much details of this past.

Taking Ownership

photo (1)PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay (Ipad2)


Walking in the new shoes I bought online one day, I was ‘hopping’ from one point to another to avoid the muddy areas which have the potential to stain that new pair of shoes I bought with my hard earned money. There and then, it dawned upon me that I used to wear a white pair of shoes out once in a while. It belonged to my brother. Part of the benefits of having a brother whose physique is similar to self, we have the joys of sharing our stuff. Though his is white in color, thus making it an easier target for dirt, I was not taking care of it as well as I was taking care of my new pair of red shoes.

Why? I came out with a simple conclusion. It is simply because I recognize that it isn’t mine. A story came into my mind.

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go & asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house… my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

Things that don’t belong to us, we tend to ‘slacken’ in our responsibilities over it. We could be very careful with our own belongings, but much less with others. We could be extremely cautious with our own expensive gadgets, but much less with other people’s. Because it doesn’t belong to us. It isn’t bought with our own hard earned money rewarded from long hours of work.

But that is not the way up, that is not the way to success, that is not the Kingdom’s way.

Jesus concluded at the end of the parable of the talents:

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ – Matthew 25:21

Only when we can be responsible over others as though it is our own, only then can we expect to have what others have. What’s true in the supernatural is true in the natural. Only when we take ownership of our job responsibilities as though the revenue generated from the company is our own, then can we expect promotion, remuneration, benefits, privileges, and incentive trips (my dad always get to go on incentive trips to Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, China and many more. Envy!)

Perhaps that’s the reason why some fully qualified people do not get the promotion they have been eyeing for so long. Because they reason with themselves that they will only give their best when they become the manager, or the director. Hence, they will do their best, to cut corners, slack and knock off early instead of doing their best and presenting their best not realizing that ultimately, they are shortchanging themselves.

My dear younger brother, if you have ever read this, I am sorry for taking lesser care over our stuff. I promised to do so from henceforth.