Family time in Toowoomba, Queensland

My lovely quiet and adorable grand-daughter Claire

What a blessing it is to carry my grandchild and look at her lovely face. She moves her mouth, or looks around with searching eyes, and charming smiles. Children are a gift from the Lord to be celebrated, to praise God for. I went to Toowoomba, Queensland to spend some time with family, to see Claire the newborn, and to play with my other livelier four year old grand-daughter, Chloe. Chloe hardly spoke any English sentence when we visited her in April 2016. Now she cannot stop chatting in Australian English. Full of movement, giggles, energy and ideas, she is such a pleasure to play with. But I do get worn out after two hours of non-stop action with her.

Chloe grows prettier and smarter and she loves movement and dance.

I stayed about eight days but before I arrived, my wife had already been there three weeks to help out in my daughter in law’s recovery after childbirth. After I have left, my wife will continue to help till the end of September when the Korean mother in law will stay with them for about ten days. Its impossible to get domestic helpers in Australia. My wife’s routine is to help prepare meals, do some housework, bring Chloe to play school at about 9am, and she does shopping for groceries, and later drive Chloe home from school at about 5pm, and finally have fun with Chloe. Not exactly easy but what a privilege to bless, to help and to serve!

It is the onset of spring and the flowers in the Queen’s Park, Toowoomba have begun to blossom. It’s enjoyable to walk in the park in the cool of the morning.

During my stay there we drove around town visiting parks, shopping areas, cafes and walking around the neighbourhood. Temperatures vary between 10C to 18C with windchill. While we were there, we were able to shop for some hiking jackets and clothing for our next hike in Jeju Island. The prices were reasonable with sale discounts of about 40%.

We were very thankful to God for the relaxed and joyful time with family and moving around at a much slower pace. It was therapeutic.

Simeon Poh: found faithful

Simeon Poh seated on extreme right
Simeon Poh seated on extreme right

Simeon Poh was a young man of 27, with a girlfriend, and a career in precision instruments with Timex. He was Spirit-filled and zealous for his Lord. On the way home from a mission trip to Simpang Rengam, Johor, where WRPF planted its first church, the car that Simeon Poh was in, crashed with a Johor lorry. He almost died. The neurosurgeon did two major operations on him in Tan Tock Seng hospital. A Swedish evangelist, who traveled and preached with David duPlessis, the famous Pentecostal statesman, prayed for his healing. The surgeon was

Simeon Poh at 65
Simeon Poh at 65

surprised at his accelerated and remarkable recovery. Though his physical co-ordination deteriorated, and his personality,  somewhat altered, he was independent, and able to go anywhere he wanted unaided. He still loved his Lord.

Yeo Hiap Seng compassionately gave him work for many years. Then he was graciously hired to clean our church premises for the last 14 years. Friday was his last day of work. He has been thorough, diligent and faithful in his duties, often going beyond what was required of him. His example of a faith that endures setbacks and hardship will encourage many. He could have been a bitter man. He could have turned his back on Christ. Instead, he still loves and serves his Lord.

Simeon will receive due honor on that Day when Jesus comes.  May the Lord, watch over him and bless him with good health and meaningful ministry in the years to come.

What kind of world have you been born into, Chloe?

Mt Alvernia Hospital was still under renovation as you came into our world. It’s the same hospital your father was born in. You came out straightforwardly at about ten at night. You are such a beautiful girl, with simple habits: cry,beautiful feet drink, pass motion, sleep.  You are altogether beautiful – just look at your toes! You are so low- maintenance – to us grandparents, at least. It’s surprising that one so little like you can bring so much joy to so many. It is a privilege and blessing to be called ah kong (grandfather) before people have a chance to call me ah pek (old man).

You probably do not know but you have been born in Singapore, not Korea. What kind of world is this? Well for sure it is kind of stressful. From the time you are three till you die the stress will ebb and flow all through life. It may get overcrowded – as overcrowded as what your mum says Seoul has become. But this projected overpopulation has yet to happen, for we have four general elections before “Excuse me” becomes the most used phrase in Singapore. The cost of living has risen while our wages have been stagnant. Cannot be helped, the experts tell us: global competition. As far back as I can remember, every ten years or so, prices have doubled for most things.  I will change tack now lest you suffer infantile stress or depression.

The world you are born into is one with baby bonuses and one where young couples get the red-carpet for doing what the government wants. It is a world which will shape and condition you and you will need the help of good people to resist some of the pressures to think and behave in certain ways. Things are gradually changing with regards to this and you have come at the right time to this country.

Chloe This world is also a safe place to be in. It’s something we are happy for and have often taken for granted. You will feel safe walking down the streets at night. Just watch out when you cross the roads, especially at traffic lights. The healthcare here is generally good. The education system is generally improving and better than in many countries but it is also highly competitive. Your mum says it’s worse in Korea, so take her word for that and be thankful you are in Singapore! I pray you will be linguistically smart. You need to be. Here it’s English and Mandarin. And you need to learn Korean too to communicate with your grandmother, aunty and other relatives.

Lord, have mercy. You know I was never good at foreign languages. Let Chloe have it easy with learning languages.

 Chloe, you will grow to be tri-cultural. You will be enriched by two proud cultures rich in history: Chinese and Korean. You will also grow up in a home and a church culture and an atmosphere that exudes God’s love.  May this kingdom culture take root in you and grow to be the grand tree that overshadows all others. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides the loving watch of your father and mother you will be soaked in the love and favours of your uncle, aunties, grandparents, loved ones and Christian community.

Who knows what this world will morph into? All kinds of changes will take place in Singapore. All you need to know is that God does not change. So whether in sunshine or darkness, in valley deep or mountain peak, you have a Father God who will hold your hands and provide and lead you on. You have family and church who will teach you and journey with you. Through it all, God is your ever present help in times of trouble.

Chloe, you are one very blessed girl.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

First Chinese New Year in Bangkok

It was my first ever Chinese New Year outside of Singapore. Considerable numbers have escaped hectic Singapore during this particular festive season for different reasons. My family flew to Bangkok on Air Asia on Thursday evening. We spent the extended weekend with my sister in law’s family. Normally they would come over to stay with us during Christmas but last year they did not. So we went over during this Lunar New Year. We shopped (or rather, my children shopped); we ate, and just talked and wandered around. There was the local weekend market which required a ferry ride and a motorbike to bring you there. We went there as we wanted the children to experience it too.

2 sisters: Baby and Jenny

Wen Mun and Simeon

Father and sons

Elaine n Wen Mun

cousins

Matthew and Elaine

CNY reunion dinner

on the ferryEat where locals eat

The dervish in Terminal 21Hints of Istanbul bazaardouble decker in Bangkok!

London telephone boothsumo wrestlers in Terminal 21Japanese warlord

We shopped at Terminal 21, a new concept shopping mall, with the decor of different floors themed to Tokyo, London, Istanbul, and Paris. And a few other shopping malls. They do not have public holidays for the Chinese New Year and though I heard there would be lots of Chinese nationals holidaying there, I hardly saw them. It was a most enjoyable time of catching up and relaxation and family time.

two beauties

decked in clothes bought in Bangkok

Lindy Chee: a near kinsman

Near kinsman

We were relatives but we hardly knew each other. She knew I was a pastor and I knew she was a missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). We would greet each other when the Chee clan gathered for its annual Chinese New Year meeting. But we never talked at length before. That is until we bumped into each other at the Love Singapore Pastors’ Prayer Summit (2012) at Equatorial Hotel, Malacca. Let’s meet up for breakfast tomorrow! and the appointment was made.

with Lindy Chee Wei Ling

Was YWAM missionary

Lindy Chee Wei Ling is twenty five years younger than me and as we soon found out, she is my cousin’s daughter. There is probably a Mandarin term to designate this relationship but the English term would be the ambiguous “cousin once removed”. She graduated in law and worked for some time in the civil service before she attended YWAM’s Discipleship Training School(DTS). After that she served on staff with several DTS batches before she went with James Chan to Kuala Lumpur to pioneer a YWAM base or school there for about 2 years. For several years she also went back to legal practice but always remained an active friend and supporter of YWAM Singapore. Today she does freelance legal, training and consultant work, and is active with YWAM. I sat there amazed that quite a number of relatives of the Chee clan were serving the church and missions.

Family destinies?

Somehow we talked about David Demian and what he shared about national, individual and family destinies. We looked at our ancestral clan and concluded that the destiny seemed one of calling to fulfill noble or good causes. Many served in public service or served the good of people in education, medicine, or church – alleviating suffering, helping the poor, fighting for what is just. Out of Judah were to come rulers. Out of Levi, the priesthood. Could it be clans too can awaken to a fuller fulfillment of their God-embedded destiny through faith in Christ? Interesting thought. Today I again read my old blogpost on my grandfather and it got me thinking again. Yeah, there may be something about this clan spiritual destiny thing.

Rooming in Equatorial Hotel

The Equatorial Hotel looked newly renovated and well maintained and the food was roomy and comfortableunusually good for the numbers of diners they were handling. I roomed with Pastor Richard Wong of Canaan Christian Church and he was very accommodating and we had some time getting further acquainted. We had time to talk shop and just share our lives and what was happening in the conference and the Pastor Richard WongChurch. It would be nice to climb Mt Kinabalu with him when he goes for one of his T-Net consultation trips in Kota Kinabalu. Use the Mersilau trail, which I never used before. Sleep overnight at Laban Rata, and for once forget about waking up at 2am to conquer the peak. Just enjoy a restful and slow morning breakfast over a lovely sunrise. Hmmm…just the thought of it is sweet.

Kuching, Sarawak and the St Thomas Cathedral

John Law & Beatrice KhoRoots in Kuching

It was an old photo hanging on the wall of my uncle’s house that caught my attention. Interested as I was with my earthly roots, I took a few shots with my mobile. It was my maternal grandparents’ wedding photograph. They looked forward, stiff and formal – the common pose in those days. The name of the church was St Thomas Cathedral in Kuching. This photo kindled a desire to visit Kuching one day and walk that building and the city. This week while googling for places of interest in Kuching, I stumbled on St Thomas Cathedral. Its a lovely building, and had quite a rich, colourful past. At YouTube, I did a virtual tour of the Cathedral and learned about its history(see below) – almost everything I had wanted to know.

Short vacation

Even so, next weekend my family and I will take a short vacation there. Catch a popular day tour, walk the Waterfront, avoid headhunting Dayaks, and “die die must try” the Sarawak laksa and kolo mee. Sarawak has the largest percentage of Christians of all the states in Malaysia. We look forward to worshipping with a living body of Christians called Grace SIB. Just recently, I heard from pastor Peter Sze about this church and he connected me to Alan Hiu via Facebook. Alan has graciously offered to bring us there from the hotel.

Who knows, I may meet some distant relative from both the paternal or maternal side of my family of origin there.

Twenty years in just a snap

Joshua, Wen Por, Elaine, Matthew
Joshua, Wen Por, Elaine, Matthew

This old family photograph brings back memories of a time when my children were still in nursery, and kindergarten and primary school. It was about twenty years back in the 1990s when I lived in Bukit Batok East Avenue 4. The long wooden TV console in the background, the cane furniture by the side and the beige ceramic tiles on the floor of the four room HDB apartment.

Their mum had gone so my wife helped her younger sister, Baby, through her confinement periods, when both her children, Wen Mun and Wen Por, were born. Wen Por was a toddler in the picture so I wonder if the family was there because Wen Mun was then born.

Joshua was wearing spectacles at such a young age. He loved to read – always borrowing books from the library. Still does. Matthew was the good-looking one. Still is. Elaine was the amiable one. Still is. All were very huggable and adorable and surprising at that age. But not anymore. Now they are all in their twenties. They are more educated and smarter than me, and taller too(except Elaine), as can be seen in a recent photo below.

Twenty years have come and gone at the snap of my fingers. Will I be staring at an empty nest in another snap?

Joshua, Elaine, myself, Wen Mun, Matthew, Wen Por
Joshua, Elaine, myself, Wen Mun, Matthew, Wen Por