heartwarming


I went to Bukit Merah View Food Centre for brunch this Saturday morning. I love heartland life. While Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By The Bay, etc. have more social airspace, the silent majority and real Singapore resides in the heartlands.

Beautiful incidences that don’t make it to social media play out in the heartlands on a daily basis. Well, unless I’m part of it.

Today, I was part of another one.

After brunch, as I headed home, I caught the eye of a gentleman.

I have a habit. Whenever I make eye contact with a person I will smile and/or say a greeting. This gentleman was sitting on a bench in a playground. I smiled and said, “Good morning!”

He was eating a fruit from a bag at his feet. He motioned to me. I approached him. He beamed a huge smile and offered me two fruits from his bag – passion fruit, he explained. Feeling pai seh, I declined. He insisted. Having little resolve,  I easily caved.

I was so touched that I asked if I could take a picture with him. He was lavishly thrilled and happily agreed.

After the picture, he offered me two more passion fruits. It was impossible to refuse this beaming gentleman.

I smiled at a stranger. In a flash, I left with four passion fruits.

Who says Singapore lacks passion?

All it takes is eye contact and a smile.

Think about it. That’s where passion always starts – with an eye contact and a smile.

I love Singapore.

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Hilarious and sweet at the same time… some topics include the iPhone and Justin Bieber.

An early concept and scripting meeting, April 2013

An early concept and scripting meeting, April 2013

The production staged by our church, “Home for Christmas” is over. Tons of people put in A LOT of work. Sound, set design, make-up, costume, technical crew, videographers, photographers, production, musicians, ushers, intercessors, actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, logistics, janitors, publicity, project management, catering, pastoral team, etc. The list is not comprehensive and goes on. Every person deserves full credit for the entire production.

But I wanted to write this for my team of writers (2 of them was part of the cast as well).

To the writing team, my heartfelt thank you.  It was genuinely exciting for me to work with a team – second time with Christine. I loved how you each put in a little of yourself to transform true-life stories and dramatise it. Each dramatisation is unique and could only have been written by you. I can now see the next generation of creators/writers coming up in our church. That’s so cool.

As writers, we are involved early in the runway to the actual production.  The work at the beginning is hence ambiguous. We are after all, starting with a blank slate. The task was not always clear, tweaks had to be made through the process but you all took it in your stride. There were times when I was strapped for time and you guys stepped up. Thank you so very much.

You juggled with 26 letters and a fistful of punctuation marks to create magic. Most importantly, you trusted God.

Besides the writing team, I want to thank all those who made the script sparkle – Joan and Yane for adjusting scripts while I was away in India. And of course, the actors for the fabulous delivery and immaculately time ad-libs.

Productions are amazing for me. No one person can take credit – but God alone. So, thank you Lord.

Let me end with one more feedback I heard today (for all, not just the writing team).

“Thank you Chris for the ticket. I am so glad that I came to the Christmas service tonight. I feel that this is the best Christmas service that I have ever been. It was so touching till I shed so much tears…”

Blessed Christmas all.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:10

Image Source: http://able2know.org/

It’s not often I would admit liking a rebuke. Last night, I went to a dear friends’ place for dinner. They have 3 kids who are fond of me. I usually see them a few times a year. For a variety of reasons, I apparently hadn’t been over for the whole year.

As always, it was nice to be there. Before dinner, mommy and daddy called upon the 9-year-old daughter to say a prayer before the meal. This is how the prayer went:

Dear Lord, thank you for bringing Uncle DD back after more than a year (emphasis hers, not mine). Thank you for friends and family and this meal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ooops. Kena whack. I promised to be a more regular visitor in 2014.

But to be honest, being scolded in prayer never felt so good. Aw.

During dinner, she asked me when I was leaving to make sure I wasn’t going to eat and run. She later on thanked me a few times for coming. Yes, I stayed until after her bedtime. 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 11.47.38 pm

Every victory must be celebrated – no matter how tiny it is.

I learned that from my interviews with the people who work at the St. Andrew’s Autism Centre. The guys who work there have a difficult job. Their work is largely uncelebrated. I was astounded when I learned what they do and the challenges they face.

I won’t go into details. It’s not relevant. Why? It’s not because what they do is unimportant. It may be counterintuitive but their challenges are not relevant because what they do is supremely important. But the people who work there do it for the passion to serve people with autism.  They do it because they are called to serve and love – not because they need to be celebrated. They celebrate each victory in their jobs because it is important to them.  Each incremental victory keeps them going.

When I reflected upon that, it was a “wow” moment for me. It struck me  that all of us should celebrate our victories no matter how small they are.

It was also at that moment I learned that people with autism are no different from me.

Oh yes, we are different. But no different in that I face challenges, sometimes bigger than the challenges they face. And when I have a small victory, I will celebrate. It will keep me going to finish well.

Watch this. It reminded me that the things we do may seemingly go unrecognised – not necessarily. So to the guys at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre – jia you!

This will make you smile and cry at the same time.

The Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth performing an heartwarming (and wrenching) version of Katy Perry’s “Roar” . They did it to bring a smile to other sick kids out there. 🙂

I spent quite a bit of time in hospitals as a child myself. Had four operations before the age of 10.

I like this.

Folks, this is good. Really good. I’ve gotten a slight insight into people with autism through a commission I am working on. People with autism and their families lead lives which are different from what we call mainstream.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at PM 11.34.16

Go to this post by Doug Pedersen. He’s created a series of graphic design art pieces  called “Hindered Thoughts”. This series was built around phrases spoken by his 5 year old son with autism. In his words, “the words are disassembled and rearranged to simulate for the viewer the difficulty an autistic person has putting words together.”

Just like us, people with autism and their families have difficult moments. Sometimes these difficult moments are exacerbated by us not understanding what autism is. So I’m a fan of anything that raises awareness of autism.

In reality, they are just like you and I. We all have our differences.

If you want to know more about autism and support this community, check out St. Andrew’s Autism Centre.

Here are some of the designs by Doug.

Go Outside

Don’t Want to

Put By Sink

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