Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Giver of Life

It rained today (at least in the West and Central of Singapore). The rain quenched the thirst of the grasses that are turning yellow and watered the trees that are barely surviving due to the non-rainy days. The plants were helpless - though they are alive and living, they cannot do anything about the conditions they have to face, but our Creator, is merciful to send the rain, reviving life once again. The harsh heat took a turn into a heavy downpour and the sky after the downpour was just astonishingly beautiful.

The rain that came, reminded me that God, the Creator of this Universe, is in full control of everything that is happening. The earth revolves because He made it so. The sun rises and sets, because He created it so. He commands and controls the elements of nature, or rather, He is the elements. He is the Giver of life, yours and mine. No grass or tree will die, if He does not will so. Nothing will grow, if He wills for it to be so.

As with our life, we always feel that the grass is greener on the other side or the moon is rounder and bigger elsewhere. Many a times, we admire how lovely the world outside ours is - we look at what others have and feel that we deserve more. We choose to take over the control but when we get what others have or what we desire, there is still a sense of emptiness. Do you feel that way? You are not alone. Many of us are like this. When things do not go the way we want, we ask, "Why? Why is life so unfair?" We are, but human beings, full of desires and not easily satisfied. We want to control how our life go and we forget that there is One who is Mighty and Powerful above us, who knows what is best for each and everyone of us - the One who created us.

Men fell into sin, after Adam and Eve went against the word of God who created them, because they wanted to be as good as God.

But God loves all His creations despite how we go against Him in our life. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, down to earth and to die on the cross, taking our sins, that we may have life. We lose our sight of He who gave us life and want to take control of our own life. We use our own effort to get to where we want to go, but like the trees and the grasses; He has the ultimate control over our life. He is a God, full of mercy and grace, who knows what is best for us and only giving us the best.

Are we still living everyday, fighting all odds, including God, to fulfil our needs and desires, not waiting upon His timing and will to give us His best for us? Is there something that is deep inside you that you want to fulfil but hope seems bleak or far? Then, look to Jesus Christ, the Giver of life and trust Him.

There is hope in Him, a hope that no one else can fulfil. This is the stark reminder I got today.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

"Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obeyed him!"

Went on a walkabout today and caught some not-so-typical scenes of Singapore on my Canon Powershot S120 - something away from the hustle and bustle of the fast paced society - time seemed to have come to a standstill. These scenes reminded me of the stories in the Bible - about this man who can calm the storm on the sea, who can walk on water, and who can make us fishers of men.

Tucked in a little corner of West Coast Park - time seemed to have stopped.
These fishing boats certainly have witnessed the passing of time with the changing landscape of West Coast shoreline.


Who is this, whom is being mentioned? Who has such power and authority over the elements of nature?

In the Bible, Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4 writes that after Jesus had preached to a crowd and He and his disciples were crossing the lake (on a boat) to the other end, a furious squall came up. Jesus, awoken by his disciples, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!' and the wind died down and it was completely calm. 

Fishing boats are essential equipment needed for fishermen to make a living, but what is even more important to get a fruitful catch, is for the fishermen to be able to know where and when to fish.
This man, Jesus, may not be a fisherman like all his disciples, but in another story in the Bible recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 5, revealed the power of this man, shown to his disciples before they followed Him.

When Jesus began to teach the people by the river Jordan, a few young men came to him
as followers, or disciples. Some of these men were Andrew and John, Peter and Philip and Nathanael. While Jesus was teaching near Jerusalem and in Samaria, these men stayed with Jesus; but when he came to Galilee, they went to their homes and work, for most of them were fishermen from the Sea of Galilee.

One morning, soon after Jesus came to Capernaum, he went out of the city, by the sea, followed by a great throng of people, who had come together to see him and to hear him. On the shore were lying two fishing boats, one of which belonged to Simon and Andrew, the other to James and John and their father Zebedee. The men themselves were not in the boats, but were washing their nets near by.

Jesus stepped into the boat that belonged to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and asked them
to push it out a little into the lake, so that he could talk to the people from it without being crowded too closely. They pushed it out, and then Jesus sat in the boat, and spoke to the people, as they stood upon the beach. After he had finished speaking to the people, and had sent them away,
he said to Simon Peter:

"Put out into the deep water and let down your nets to catch some fish."

"Master," said Simon, "we have been fishing all night, and have caught nothing; but if it is your will, I will let down the net again."

They did as Jesus bade them; and now the net caught so many fishes that Simon and Andrew could not pull it up, and it was in danger of breaking. They made signs to the two brothers, James and John, who were in the other boat, for them to come and help them. They came, and lifted the net, and poured out the fish. There were so many of them that both the boats were filled, and began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he was struck with wonder, and felt that it was by the power of God.
He fell down at the feet of Jesus, saying: "Oh Lord, I am full of sin, and am not worthy of all this! Leave me, O Lord."

Who, then, is this man Jesus who can command the elements of nature and
who seemed to know nature at his finger tips?
Will you be fearful or be in awe if you know this person?
Or rather will you want to get to know this person?
But Jesus said to Simon, and to the others, "Fear not; but follow me, and I will make you from this time fishers of men."

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Do you have a Lighthouse in your life?

Maybe it is innately in me or maybe because of the sea scouter side of me, I am pretty fascinated by lighthouses. They seemed so untouchable but their duty is a very important one.
They are the guide for the sailors out at sea. They are the light for the ships travelling on the unpredictable waters - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When the sun shines or when darkness falls, in all storms and harsh weather, the lighthouse stands tall and strong, unrelentlessly and faithfully. They are the watchmen of the sailors out at sea. They direct the routes of the sailors to keep them safe and from manoeuvring into dangerous points of the water.

Over the weeks, I happened to capture some lighthouses, some of which may have defunct or just a replica but I believe, they would have left a legacy even though they are no longer in use.

Lighthouse along the Straits of Malacca in Batu Pahat (Malaysia) near Segenting.
The zoomed in version.
Lighthouse at Damai Laut (Malaysia), next to the Damai Laut Jetty.

Strait of Johore Lighthouse at Raffles Marina, Tuas (Singapore).
This lighthouse seemed to serve the sea vehicles coming in and out of Raffles Marina.
This is a fascinating find, for this lighthouse lies in the town area of Singapore, at Fort Canning.
It is actually a replica of the original lighthouse that stood on Fort Canning Hill to guide sea vehicles in and
out of the Singapore port, back in the olden days.

Do you then, have a lighthouse in your life? A lighthouse that guides your path, one that is there with you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unrelentless and faithful? One who is there, even at the darkest moments of your life? One whom you can depend on, no matter how harsh the storm is, out there? 

And yes, there is a Promised, unrelentless and faithful, Light for you and me, if we believe.

John 12:35-36a
35Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Wonder of Christmas: Christmas Wonderland 2015

As the song goes, "Tis' the season to be jolly... falalala lalala..." Christmas is just round the corner and what is the meaning of Christmas for you?

To many, Christmas is about the Christmas Tree, the presents under the Christmas trees, the beautiful lightings, Santa Claus and many other things you can think of. And indeed, Christmas is the season to be happy, to be jolly.

This year, I went down to the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens By the Bay, with a few others, to soak in the atmosphere of Christmas, to see the lights and to capture moments.

 Carousel which I wanted to take but the rain came halfway into our walk in the evening
and plans halted.

Super trees before we head for dinner.

Stroll back to Gardens by the Bay after dinner. 

Testing out the night scene mode of my Canon S120. 

 Overcast sky but it is just too beautiful.

Effect did not turn out as well as I wanted because the camera was handheld. 

 What can I say? The night and the lights are just mesmerizing.

Can you see the 'snow'?

These photos and memories of Christmas Wonderland 2015 not just allowed me to appreciate the joy Christmas brings but more importantly, to remind myself of my life, given by Christ.

The purpose of Christmas, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, Book of Luke Chapter 2 verse 10 reads
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

The angels said these before Jesus was born. It is through Jesus Christ that we may have life and the relationship with God, the Father.

Credits to jesus_the_lord (instagram)

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Behold the Glory of God

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

Have you looked up to the sky today? Did you see the fluffy clouds that we have missed for quite a while? The wind was strong today as I could see the clouds chasing after the moving bus I was on this afternoon.

Have you ever wondered where creation came from?

Have you ever thought of who made the insects, the flowers, the animals and the many other living things?

Who made the sky and the land?

In the Bible, Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 1-9 read:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 

I cannot help but marvel at His glory. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. I thank God for reminding me of His purpose for me.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
Lovely flowers that caught my attention during the walkabout.

My legs brought me to Fort Canning - to the sun hiding behind the clouds.
Somehow, I am unable to frame this picture well.

National Museum of Singapore standing so stoically under the blue sky.
*Photos taken with Samsung Note 5

It has been a while since I have touched this blog. A picture says a thousand words and I hope that I will be able to share more photos as I journey on and prayerfully, they will bring hope and joy to those who visit the blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

As many of us may have heard, "When life gives you lemon, make lemonade out of it." And as I started to believe that 'everything happens for a reason', I usually managed to convince myself that the reason is for me to grow stronger out of it.

Looking back at my life journey, I am glad that it had pushed me so much out of my comfort zone that I achieved alot more than I thought I would have.

Something prompted me to look back and 'pen' this life journey of mine, from the time I can remember, in the simplest format, of how I get to be who I am today.

13 years old: Made the first Macdonald's purchase (Yes, it's true!!) and learnt to eat Hotcakes the
                      birthday-cake-style =P and till this day, I still enjoy my Hotcakes that way

14 years old: In life, you do not always have to go for the best; just go for what is best for you. A concept
                      alien to many of this age, but not for me

15 years old: I first met a lady (who eventually became a good sister of mine) and learnt about Christ. A
                      friendship and relationship had been forged, for a lifetime. God really had his plans for me,
                      long time back

16 years old: Time of turmoil and dilemma but yet I chose, the tougher and path less travelled, the
                       Polytechnic route. It was a difficult choice, but there was no regret

17 years old: Started the journey to be a Scout but this journey of Scouting will go on for life. This journey
                      was where the most important skills, the greatest of friendship, the sweetest of
                      memories but also nightmares came from

18 years old: 17 days in an Iban longhouse. Took my first shampoo and shower in the heavy rain; that
                       moment, serving others became an addiction; it may bring you to the poorest place, but it will
                       show you the richest people

19 years old: Life presented breakthrough and that assured me of my capability and it had served me well
                       till today

20 years old: Challenged life to tame me as a fresh, bold graduate out of Polytechnic and with nothing to
                      lose. Well, life's an adventure; you need to explore it

21 to 23 years old: Life was a bliss in those 3 years. I learnt that 'One should not settle for anyone, but only
                                the best for oneself' and I still hold dear to this

24 years old: Life threw me a challenge. It took away one of the most precious person of my life, but it told
                      me that I have a choice, to be defeated or to grow stronger from this. I chose the latter and
                      the rest is history

25 years old: Trying to live in the shadow of another: I probably lost myself...

26 years old: I did the marathon of my life. It left me nothing but emptiness. It made me question what I
                      was after, a life pursuing what others are going after or what I want to go after?

27 years old: This place, Cambodia, taught me the greatest, yet most humble lessons of life. I may not be
                      wealthy (money) but I am rich (blessings). It seemed like I woke up from a long, long sleep; to
                      see how my life are piecing together with the lessons I picked up along the way and that life
                      has bigger plans for me than to live in the shadow of another

28 years old: 2 years after volunteering with Special Olympics, I decided this is the way of life, "It is not
                      about running my own race, but to help others who need that little help to cross the finishing line
                      of their race in life.”

29 years old: 53 days, 11 contingents, 6 countries, over 300 youths, one message: 'Be brave, be the
                      change you want to see in the World'

30 years old: Riding the waves of change; lots of ups and downs, but BELIEVE you just get stronger

31 years old: Now! Always an advice to myself: Live and breathe your dreams, no matter how absurd it
                       may sound to many. For somewhere, somehow, there will be someone who will believe in
                       that dream of yours and you only need that someone to keep you going.

Well, every bit of what you have been through really makes you who and what you are today. So, if there is something that can sum up my life up till now, it will be this:

We all have our fair share of difficulties in life, but do not be defeated. Travel, talk to people, do the unusual things that you usually will not do - and it will open your eyes and your heart. You will learn that, there are so many who are much more wretched than what you are going through in life, but it does not rob them of their dreams.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Of 'blank faces' and 'talking to wall': Why be a Special Needs Teacher?

This post is sparked off by a comment to a friend that I do envy teachers who work with mainstream children, now that I work in a childcare setting whereby chattering are non-stop the moment I step into the centre. It's a joy to see children responding to every word and action you do/ say.

However, this is usually not the case when working with children/ individuals with special needs, but what exactly keeps us going? I am sure many will be curious.

Why, then do you continue to be a Special Needs Teacher? 

For the few hours you teach a day, many times...

- You get blank faces staring back at you -
So, you work hard at every new lesson you are going to deliver to make sure that you get to the ground with the children and with every success you achieve, you actually see the sparkles on the eyes of these children

- You exclaim to yourself and your teaching partner, amidst lessons, "I feel like I am talking to the wall!" -
So, you work hard at animating yourself aka being a clown, because seeing a smile on their face would mean that you have broken the ice and they will look forward to the next lesson with you

- You yearn much for a volunteer during the learning activities, but you usually get none -
So, you learn through these experiences the importance of 'child-centered teaching' rather than 'teacher-centered teaching'. You learn to humble yourself in front of these children who are teaching you new lessons every now and then

- You see their enthusiasm in fun activities but they end up getting upset with themselves in their inability to do the tasks without help -
So, you keep yourself up-to-date of the best and fun activities that these children can engage in, such that no matter how many times they fail, they will be vying to be the next to go again, until they have proven to you that they are your worthy students

- You know that there are much that these children want to say, but many are not able to express themselves well -
So, you master the art of second guessing every action, word, expression and whatever that is being observed in them. There comes the time whereby one look from them, you would know what they were trying to express, and that would bring comfort to them where the world is seemingly not understanding them

Your heart aches, at every failed attempt to be the best teacher in their hearts, but you know that you will continue to give your best to them...

When they jump for joy upon seeing you back after your long absence from work
When they work hard at every chance to show that they are all deserving best student of the class
When they know that you probably have had a hard day and behave themselves without you telling them
And when you see them shedding that passiveness to one full of zest and confidence

Only when you are part of this growing process with these children, will you realize how much life lessons you have picked up from them, that make every effort worthwhile.

And yes, that's "something even the most well paid job cannot give you".

Are you loving what you are doing? I am!

Be proud of what you do. Now, watch these videos to feel inspired.

"Miracle Worker" by Taylor Mali (Live version) -

"Miracle Worker"
 by Taylor Mali (Poem version) -

"What Teacher Make" by Taylor Mali -

"I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God." ~ Helen Keller