The Father of My Nation – Mr Lee Kwan Yew

LKY

It is amazing how the absence of a person leaves a vacuum so much larger than I knew. I had never thought Mr Lee Kwan Yew’s passing will affect me so hard, but it did.

There are floods of videos and documentaries of old footages of his speeches, interviews, etc and as I watched them, it blows my mind how little I know of him. In his lifetime, he brought a nation from a third world country to first world! In his lifetime!

One thing that stands out to me is his PASSION. Particularly, his passion for Singapore. With his calibre, I am sure he could have been a super successful lawyer, or even a politician in a bigger nation with more resources and prospects (at least at the point in time when he started). Yet, he chose Singapore, which at that time was nothing but a small island under British colony, and followed by Japanese occupation. He did not just chose Singapore, he loved Singapore. This love was not the lovey-dovey mushy kind of love. More often than not, tough love. Mr Lee Hsien Long calls it an “abiding love“. A love strong enough for him to give his life for Singapore. Managing a family, a company and/or community is a task enough to crush many. Here we have a man who not only took good care of his family, but also the whole nation, bringing us out from swampy marsh land into a clean & green nation. In one of the interviews, one of the Singapore ministers recalled Mr Lee Kwan Yew advised him to spend time with his children and teach them well. Mr Lee did not give up his family in pursuit of the vision. He embraces his family so that they move together with him. I was completely blown away to find out that Mr Lee was not willing to single-minded focus on economic growth to jeopardise environment and other basic living amenities. He chose to plant trees, and even embarked on cleaning the stinky Singapore River which took 10 years! He put in place urban planning right from the start so that growth and quality of life advances in tandem with economic growth. He wanted the citizens to own their own homes, to take root and build their families here even if it means small flats. Many other nations consider the environment and comfort of citizens as the last phase of development, and often pursue growth at the expense of the grassroots people. He looks at building a nation holistically. Some may say even though economically we are developed world, but we have yet to learn the graciousness of a developed world. Yes, we are perhaps still need some catching up with our psyche, which is an ongoing process since we are all work in progress. But does this mean that we put down everything else that is good?

I respect Mr Lee’s high moral grounds used to govern decisions that are difficult. Some may find Mr Lee’s autocracy restricting and without freedom. If Mr Lee had not bulldoze and made everyone move in the same direction, would we even have the freedom to talk about freedom now? There is a high chance that we will still be embroiled in racial riots, living in fear for our lives, be it from diseases, poor living conditions or crimes. Such scenarios are not pictures of freedom to me.

2015 is Singapore’s Jubilee year, and losing our founding father is such a hard thing. Not seeing Mr Lee at the National Day Parade will be hard. On the other hand, maybe it is time for the 50-year-old Singapore to grow up and mature. This is the ultimate test that whether we have learnt well from our founding father as much as he had led and lived well as an example for us all.

God, lead us into this new chapter of our nation for You are the eternal Abba for us all!

12-Hour CHIJMES Worship Reflections

12-Hour Worship Poster12-Hour Worship Flyers

It all started in mid-April when one of the worship leaders for CHIJMES Worship suggested to me that we should do a 12-Hour worship in CHIJMES Hall. Perhaps on Vesak Day 13 May 2013. Although my heart and spirit were excited about it, but my mind was uncertain as the CHIJMES Hall is usually fully booked on weekends and public holidays. The miracle of the 12-Hour CHIJMES Worship started.

  1. I went to check the bookings of CHIJMES Hall and realised it was actually available on Vesak Day. I knew the Lord has blocked it for His use.
  2. The management of CHIJMES approved and supported the 12-Hour CHIJMES Worship and provided the resources needed.
  3. The miracle of gathering 12 worship leaders (and teams) for each hour within a week was definitely a confirmation for me that is was of God! I was jittery whether we can get that many worship leaders in such a short time for something so new. Good worship leaders are often hard to gather as they are usually so busy with ministry in their church. In a week we had 12 amazing worship leaders with such passion for the Lord in place!
  4. With only two weeks to publicise the event, it blows my mind to see the hall filled with people. This was the greatest concern of CHIJMES management of how to get the news to the Christian community in such a short time. At about 8.30am there were small groups of people who were already waiting for the worship to start! This is something that I never expect at all! We started with only 100 chairs in the morning, we added 20 chairs in the afternoon, and another 40 chairs in the late afternoon! There were people standing at the sides where no chairs were placed as well. I am amazed. I believe many are thirsty and hungry for more in this city.

Worshippers @ 12-Hour Worship

I was reluctant to lead a slot with all the organising and coordination going on. Yet, in the end, the 8-9pm slot was left open and I knew I had to take it. The first person I had in mind was Chitrani, a cellist, whom I used to worship together. We haven’t played and worship for a while. Amazingly, she replied almost immediately. It was on the evening when she arrived that she told me she spent 10 years of her primary & secondary school years in this actual CHIJMES compound. It broke her heart that CHIJMES became commercial years back. To be able to worship in the Hall where she used to have chapel services brings back so much memories for her. This is one big miracle that only God can orchestrate!

Being led by different worship leaders with different styles and team, the Lord showed me how diverse yet unified His body is. The expression of worship, even in music, can be so varied, yet the Lord is among us in all the worship. In joyful jubilation, in quiet meditation, and in faith filled declarations, I felt God’s tangible presence. The morning (9am-1pm) was a desperate invitation for the glory of God and I felt the first wave of God’s glory fell. The afternoon (1pm-6pm), there was a peace and stillness that fell upon the people with an uplifting of hearts. The evening (6pm-9pm) was another wave of outpouring of shekinah glory and empowering. I know that God was tangibly present in the Hall as the atmosphere was charged.

I stand amazed at what God put together. There was no direct church support except thirsty and hungry hearts of individuals who want to worship and bless God in the city. This is only a small event and God is able to do greater and bigger things than this. I am a small conduit in which He chose to work through. Through this, my faith is greatly enlarged. To God be the glory!

Unless the Lord builds the houseThey labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.” – Psalm 127:1


 

Chinese New Year Walk

On the second day of 2013 Chinese New Year, I decided to take a walk along the Park Connector Network along the Kallang River. It was a cloudy and windy day, perfect for long walks! Love seeing the little birds fly by and so elegantly dip into the waters for a refreshing sip. The small ripples of water and the beautiful skies and clouds enlarge something intangible and unexplainable within. A sudden dawning that I have not stopped to smell the flowers for a while. It is perhaps not wrong to conclude that all human needs a little glimpse of beauty periodically for refreshment. Perhaps a reminder of the glory of our Creator that we lose sight so easily.

KallangRiver