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Archive for the ‘Thank God Friday’ Category

I’m one day off from Friday but no less grateful.

For the first time since Circuit Breaker (Singapore’s semi-lockdown), I had my first dress-up dine-out with friends over our National Day weekend. Yes, I’ve been slow on the uptake where dining out is concerned.

It’s been over 4 months since I met my bible study fellowship group face to face as we have still continued meeting via Zoom due to the Covid-19 regulations of maximum of 5 visitors to a home. We girls decided to catch up (without husbands) due to the current limit of 5 per table for dining out.

ComoGirls2

This week, I also finally saw my besties after 5 months since our last get-together during Chinese New Year. Jing Siew had gone in for surgery just before the Circuit Breaker period. Due to Covid-19 rules of “No visitors allowed”, none of us could visit her in hospital, including her husband. Family obligations and schedules got in the way of our meeting up earlier, until this week.

We had a little birthday brunch at my home over a local spread of mee siam, otah, chwee kuay, chee cheong fun and chicken wings. There was plenty to catch up with the two amazing girls who have journeyed with me through the darkest valleys of my life in the past 30 years.

JS Bday

We love our men but thank God for girlfriends who are there to listen, commiserate and just rant and rave over everything under the sun.

Related:

Let’s Sing & Unite our Voices this National Day, People of Singapore!

Pandemic Pause #8- The Pandemic and Crowns of Covid-19 and Love

 

 

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I thank God for Singapore’s Polling Day yesterday.

In 2011, I became a newly-minted mum. I made my decision quite quickly.

In 2015, we celebrated SG50 and mourned the loss of MM Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s Founding Father. It was a good-sentiments election.

In this very confounding 2020, there have been many issues to ponder amidst this Covid19 climate – for our country’s future and also what kind of Singapore I would like our children to grow up in. It’s been a full week of reading manifestos, watching online rallies and broadcasts and the like from various parties.

This is the 3rd time that I have voted in my life and the one with the most deliberation up till Polling Day itself.

To borrow the meme going around the past week about two much talked-about individuals, Singapore went for Polling and voted Wisely.

I thank God for:

  • Our leaders who have governed well and the Opposition teams who gave us a chance to vote.
  • Our frontliners who manned the Polling Stations under extenuating circumstances.
  • Our healthcare workers who continue to plough on through this challenging pandemic climate.
  • Singapore, where we can enjoy kopi with prata, and teh tarik with chicken rice at wee hours of the morning and into the night.

This is Home truly and I hope that we will always stay united as one people.

 

“I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1- 4 

 

Related Link:

Pandemic Pause #7 – When a virus strikes, what becomes essential?

 

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This Good Friday, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice when he died on the cross for the sins of the world.

With half the world in Lock-down, and Singapore in Circuit-Breaker month, we have been ‘attending’ live-stream church services from home for third weeks now.

Except for Essential Services, all other activities and services have been on standstill as the rest of us stay at home to safe-distance and help flatten community transmission.

Jesus died on the cross, isolated and alone. Most of his disciples had safe-distanced themselves from him, fearful for their own lives.

He bore all the viruses of sin, for our sake.

His sacrifice on the cross was an absolutely essential service to saving our lives.

By choice, he took on the deadliest scourge – death – and in conquering death, to live again, Jesus became the vaccine for the sins of our world.

Our world is very sick and headed towards death. A Covid-19 pandemic rages. Sea levels are rising. A hole in the ozone layer grows larger. And we cannot agree on basic humanitarian efforts, let alone save ourselves.

Jesus’ death on Good Friday, over 2,000 years ago, is an absolutely Essential Service to our world.

His message of love, peace and reconciliation with God is relevant for our divided and upturned world.

God knows that we need to be delivered from the sorry state that we, mankind, have gotten ourselves into. Today, we remember that God is in the ‘Good’ of Good Friday and anyone can find grace and mercy, through knowing Jesus – our Saviour, Healer and Deliverer.

Related links:

What’s so good about Good Friday?

This crisis will bring us closer together as fellow Singaporeans

 

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ATimeForThis

Related Links:

Ecclesiastes 3

God Knows Leh #38: One Metre Apart & the World on Pause Mode

 

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The past two months has been like something out of a blockbuster movie as the world grapples with the life-changing effects of Covid-19, a tiny invader that has wreaked havoc around the world.

Air travel has fallen through to sky and fleets of planes are grounded.

Outdoor dining, retail stores and visitor attractions are empty.

Panic-buying has been going around in waves across countries.

And the most surreal has to be how countries are going into lockdown. From Italy to our closest neighbor Malaysia, that just imposed a lockdown on entry and exit till end of March.

Over here in Singapore, we are all adjusting our lifestyles to social distancing measures.

When my family went for church service last Sunday, there were about 50+ attendees (around 25% of the usual attendance). Most had stayed away given there is now a cap on the number of attendees allowed to congregate in our church, as part of social responsibility measures.

For the few of us who went, we walked into a church service set up like a school examination hall ie. chairs were spaced far apart enough so you cannot copy the next person’s answers. In our case, we were far enough from fellow congregants to avoid spreading droplets when we talked. And asked to leave after the shortened service, and avoid mingling. We are very Singaporean so we all dutifully abide by the new rules.

Social Distancing

Okay, I was the one who shifted the final row of 5 seats together. I practised social distancing from fellow congregants. But I wanted to sit with my husband and son.

 

A few days ago, on the day WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, Prime Minister Lee had given a special televised broadcast message to Singaporeans on what to anticipate with Covid-19’s spread and this virus situation being as long drawn as a year or more.

So now, we stop big gatherings, avoid crowds, move our seats further apart and greet each other without shaking hands.

 

Over the past few weeks, I seem to be quite in touch (not physically) with several friends whose relatives are ill with cancer. My palliative doctor friend shared that her patients (cancer patients in their end days) have been distressed as everyone tries to work around this Covid-19 pandemic.

Right after I finished typing this blogpost, a friend messaged to tell me that she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Whilst we practise social distancing, we need to foster closer ties. And  encourage and uplift each other, including reaching out to those around us grappling with non-Covid illnesses, job insecurities and in distress.

And keep the faith that God is sovereign, and mightier than this viral spread that has besieged the mightiest of nations. Faith and oneness can overcome the fear that is spreading virally across the world.

God is our refuge and strength, a great help in times of distress. – Psalm 46:1 

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #37: Cancer, COVID, Containment, Cooperation, Change

Christianity Today: 7 Lessons from Singapore’s Churches for when the Coronavirus reaches yours

 

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Counting my blessings and thanking God through all seasons – COVID19 and non-COVID19.

  1. DORSCON Orange Outfits

Our family made a contribution for the flowers at our church service the past Sunday in memory of the first year anniversary of Mum’s passing.

I wore a restyled version of the dress that Mum had made for herself for last year’s Chinese New Year. She never wore it. She was admitted into hospital on Day 2 of Chinese New Year and passed on three weeks later.

I brought the dress to Mum’s tailor and altered it to fit me. More of that in another post on another day.

Coincidentally, Ben wore orange too. And we very rarely wear matching outfits, coincidentally nor intentionally. That’s just a father-son do.

So, I just had to take this photo in church last Sunday because there were so many symbolisms.

DORSCON Orange Statement

Mum’s memorial flowers.

Mum’s Chinese New Year dress which I took over.

DORSCON Orange matching outfits.

Orange dots stuck on us following temperature checks.

#God is Greater.

 

  1. Friends of Old & Gold

I’ve been seeing much more of some friends whom I’ve known, friends of old and gold. It’s usually difficult to see everyone altogether. Since DORSCON Orange, a couple of friends have seen business and events disappear and others have cancelled work travel plans. What better time to catch up on each other’s lives?

AwesomeFriends

  1. Awesome Friends & Stars

My latest picture book Little Mole’s Awesome Star burrowed into the bookstores this week.

I was starry-eyed to see Little Mole receive a 5-star review rating from Readers’ Favourite as well as a lovely review in Straits Times’ 8 Reads for March.

Mole

I’m also thankful for many awesome friends who shared Little Mole’s news on their Facebook pages.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to e-launch the book in this no-public-events COVID19 climate.

(On an online note, you can now also order Little Mole’s Awesome Star and Little Godwit Finds His Wings at Times Bookstore’s Goguru with free delivery in Singapore!)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:6-7

Related Links:

Awesome Star! Little Mole surfaces in Straits Times’ 8 Reads for March

God Knows Leh #36 – Devoted Wife, Mum, Grandma, Sister, Friend & Nurse

 

 

 

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Today is Thank God Friday.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a major disruption in our lives here in Singapore.

  • It has spread fear and panic virally.
  • It has dispersed communities as affected churches here have gone into 14-day quarantine period shut-downs and the Singapore Catholic Church has suspended public mass and gone online.
  • It has disrupted businesses, with major declines in tourism, retail, outside dining and all related businesses along with cancellations of mass events.
  • It has disrupted day-to-day routines, with temperature checkpoints springing up outside office buildings, schools, hospitals, many public places and social spaces, along with prolific use of Dettol wipes and hand sanitisers.
  • It has diverted our attention towards all news coronavirus-related – real and fake.
  • It has made people hide behind masks and avoid contact with each other.

It is precisely in a time like this that we should stay in touch with friends and plugged into community. If we cannot do mass gatherings, we can still meet in smaller groups and check in on each other’s emotional health.

I have been in viral contact with many friends the past few weeks:

  • Festive Fellowships (Pre- DORSCON Orange ie. during DORSCON Yellow)

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  • Home Fellowship (the evening that DORSCON Orange was announced)

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  • Birthday & Pal-entine’s Day Fellowship (During DORSCON Orange)

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  • One-on-One Fellowship (through DORSCON Yellow and Orange)

DorsconFellowship

 

Through the many conversations and Whatsapp messages, friends have shared how they are doing.

  • A friend with an events company has seen his business dry up, since mass events are discouraged at this time. We decided to catch up more during this period.
  • Another friend who runs a PR firm has been fielding daily calls from anxious Food & Beverage clients and working overtime to firefight empty tables with new ideas. We remind her to take care and not overwork.
  • A doctor friend’s specialist clinic is empty because patients have cancelled less time- sensitive appointments. We agree to meet, but she wants it outside the hospital for my sake.
  • Another friend has been advised not to go to office, but instead work from home, as she is under the weather and happens to be from one of the churches with a coronavirus cluster (she isn’t under Quarantine or Leave of Absence notice).
  • My brother’s family checked in on their former domestic helper and found that her current employer hasn’t given her any masks, so they delivered masks to her.
  • My dad is bringing masks to a relative who drives a taxi. Because a taxi driver and a private-hire driver recently caught the virus from infected passengers.

In this time of COVID-19 disruption, we need to come together, look out for one other and go viral with the ties that bind and unite us. With more hand-washing and less communal-food-sharing that we Singaporeans so enjoy. But loading up on the care, encouragement and fellowship.

“Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing.”                                        – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Related:

Thank God Friday – Keep Calm, Take Stock & Thank a Healthcare Worker

MICAH Singapore’s Corona Initiative

I am Case #48 of COVID-19. Yesterday, I was discharged.

 

SGUnited

Screenshot of part of informational advertisement in 18 February’s Straits Times newspaper

 

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It was disturbing to see the panic-buying that occurred over the weekend after our government raised the alert to DORSCON Orange, following a few clusters of community spread of the novel corona virus. (DORSCON is the acronym for Disease Outbreak Response System Condition.)

I think it boiled down to a few things. Fear. Misinformation. Social media virus.

Fear can spread faster than virus and spark off all kinds of responses and over-reactions.

And misinformation travels faster than droplets through viral social media contact.

 

  1. Supermarket run

When the alert was raised to DORSCON Orange, my phone was pinging incessantly with photos and WhatsApp messages from friends showing photos of the runs in the supermarkets on household items like rice, instant noodles, canned luncheon meat and toilet paper.

The next day, on Saturday, I went to Ghim Moh wet market as per routine. It was the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year. The market was well-stocked and the crowd was orderly.

In the aftermath of the supermarket runs, I went to buy some groceries during the week. Once at Cold Storage. And another day at Hao Supermart.

I was one of very few people in the supermarket. The staff were restocking supplies. There were pockets of empty shelves yet to be filled. Namely instant noodles, luncheon meat and toilet paper.

But really, the rest of the supermarket was well-stocked with plenty.

A counter staff wished me a safe day and I wished him the same.

Hao supermart

Hao Supermart was stocked very hao

 

  1. Hospital stand

Yesterday, I went for my 3-monthly injection, an ongoing post-cancer treatment. It’s a 5-minute job and to me, simply like a vitamin booster.

There were checkpoints at all entry points into the hospital. I filled up a travel and health declaration form and hospital staff took my temperature and details of which clinic I was headed to. They stuck a sticker on me to show that I had been cleared.

At my doctor’s clinic, I filled up a second travel and health declaration form, had my temperature checked again and had a second sticker stuck on me.

I’ve kept both stickers as a reminder of this current climate we are living in.

All the clinic staff were masked up, as with the hospital staff I saw on the way to the clinic.

Senior staff nurse Maggie administered my injection, as she has frequently done during my chemotherapy sessions in 2016 and post-chemo treatments after.

Maggie is from China. She has worked in our healthcare system in Singapore for 10 years now, both on the hospital side and now in a cancer care clinic.

“Can we take a photo today?” I asked her and explained that I wanted to blog about this clinic visit.

Maggie Braveheart

 

These are testing times for our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Whilst most of us have a choice to avoid hospitals and clinics, our healthcare workers are there daily, risking the greatest exposure.

In short, take sensible precautions, take stock of facts from falsehoods and thank a healthcare worker.

If you have a relative, friend, acquaintance or family doctor, why not send them some encouragement for their good work in these testing times?

 

I told Maggie that I would be sending her this blogpost. This is my thank you note:

“To Maggie and all the healthcare workers who continue your good (and draining) work of caring for patients with all kinds of sickness and diseases through all kinds of climates. May God bless the work of your hands and keep you all safe and healthy.”

A grateful patient

 

Jesus said: “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled and afraid.”

                                                                                           – John 14:27

 

Related Link:

Go Green Lah #2 – Don’t Let the Blame Game become the Next Virus!

Sign up for your extremely regular updates on the novel coronavirus directly from Gov.sg Whatsapp at  go.gov.sg/whatsapp

 

 

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This January has been a meaningful start to the New Year and New Decade.

I’ve had fellowship with numerous friends since New Year’s Day and I’m thankful for all of them.

School FriendsOld n New LifeWrite Friends

(I forgot to take photos with several more friends whom I caught up with this January but the memory of our conversations are stored in my memory.)

A new but very dear friend reminded me recently that in Pg 40 of my memoir Finding My Voice, one of my fears was that I would not be able to form any new friendships given my crippled voice then. She added: “I have to tell you that I really want to be your friend.”

In these past 5 years especially, I have been privileged to have so many deepened friendships – old and new, refreshed and renewed, divine and grounded.

My cup has runneth over with the goodness of God and deepness of relationships.

“You are better having a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Related Links:

Thank God Friday #19- From Slow-Cruising to Deep-Diving in Fellowship

God Knows Leh #33: Oil of Gladness, Garment of Praise & Song of Thanks

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I’ve been taking the very slow boat in initiating catch-ups with friends these past few months. Instead, I’ve been slipping into many stretches of quiet time after dealing with matters of life and death this year.

The past week has somehow been an interesting confluence of friendship gatherings on my calendar.

  1. Finding Life after Death

Karen and I sprang a surprise on our old pal Desmond when we showed up at the launch of his latest book at the Singapore Writer’s Festival. We relived memories of our years past, shared our current updates and perspectives of life, for those of us who recently walked through the valley of the shadow of death. It could not have been more literal and literary for Dez, who wrote his quasi-memoir about his near-death experience.

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At the launch of Desmond’s The Good Day I Died at the Singapore Writer’s Festival

 

  1. Being Parented

Today, I caught up with book-loving friends Hwee and Suzanne over brunch where we commiserated over books and parenting. And we came away with the reminder that God parents us through our kids as much as we think we parent them.

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Hwee & I wearing our infinity scarves – gifts from Suzanne – which are specially printed with  the manuscripts from the books that we authored

  1. Good Grief & the (W)rite Stuff

After Mum passed away early this year, my regular morning walks at Botanic Gardens have been either with Dad or by myself.

But in the past two weeks, I had a nagging thought to schedule a walk and breakfast with a friend whom I had walked with a few times last year. I had fallen off the radar with her after Mum’s relapse.

As I discovered, it was a divine appointment.

Ee Lin said something which squarely addressed a grief issue that I have been struggling with for months.

I have also been grappling with a question of a writing endeavor – I wondered if it was too lofty. Was I just reaching for the moon? I didn’t mention any of this.

In our conversation, thought, I mused about how I seemed to be “hearing” God through symbolism and parallels quite a bit lately. And that I saw the humour in some of it (ie. God’s wit).

As we ended breakfast, Ee Lin gave me a gift – it was a necklace that she had bought for me last year. She had held onto it for close to a year until this faithful appointment.

“A bird!” I exclaimed when I saw the beaded necklace with a bird motif. It reminded me of my latest book, which has a bird for a main character. She had bought the necklace last year, before Little Godwit was published this year.

When I got home, I decide to take a look at my Little Godwit book. As I lay the necklace side by side with the page spread, I saw the amazing parallel.

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I wonder if I can reach the moon, Little Godwit mused.

Yes, I wonder that too. On my own strength, I won’t get anywhere far with lofty, far-fetched ideas.

But I was reminded that, with God’s wit, the godwit can fly as far as the moon.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

                                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:1-7

 

Related Links:

Thank God Friday: One Nation, One People, One Family, One Life leh

God Knows Leh #32 – Is Mum the Word in Finding Good Grief after Death?

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