Saturday, August 14, 2010 @ 10:23 PM
The Last 6 Months
The Last 6 Months

Its definitely been a long time since I returned here to post about stuff. The last 6 months has definitely passed by like a whirlwind, and it seems like yesterday when I boarded the plane for the United Kingdom. Indeed, this is the epitome of the saying "time flies when you're having fun". And I did had fun. In fact, so much fun that returning to my home Singapore has been pretty difficult. There, I lead a life that was close to ideal.

But ideals are never possible, are they?

I still hope that they are. And Europe has opened up horizons and perspectives that I never had. Realising that everything in this world is relative (except for God) was perhaps the most important lesson I learnt. What we see and how we judge are often in the eyes shaped by the cultures we were born in. How then, can our personal opinions hold any strength anymore? It is much like ethics, where there are a dozen and one different ways to be ethical, yet seem unethical by someone else. A situation where simple logic doesn't prevail, where economics take a backseat and simple emotions and unguided feelings take centerstage. Perhaps, no one but God could ever be considered "right".

Home has been redefined. Its it now to me a place where we accept as our own despite the obvious failings it possesses. Singapore, my home. Although I see very clearly its faults and its ugly sides, it still is the place where I would give my life to defend. Indeed, it is amazing how a symbol like "country" can lead men to such conclusions.

5 months of exploring the world, 1 month for exploring myself. And it was, alone in Italy, that I managed to spend a little more time knowing myself, and tossing around questions that lead me closer to who I am. I'm glad to say I've come out a little more familiar with myself, even with the demons that lurk within me. The challenge now is beating them.

And now, back in (un)familiar surroundings, I continue to turn the pages of my life, looking back on the most fantastic side story that could be akin to Alice and Wonderland. Would I ever be able to return to that Wonderland? I sure hope so, for I know I'll miss this sensation for the rest of my life.

Friday, January 01, 2010 @ 9:09 PM
Hello 2010
Hello 2010

And as the curtain close on 2009, just like many other people in the world, its time to do a little reflection on what has happen throughout the year that has just passed us by. Of course, I'll just do my best to structure it (similar to 2007) so that anyone who reads it would get a nice idea on how the various facets of my life have played out:

Spiritual Matters

I think I probably should have grown stronger. I have also seen some very positive things in Jurong this year, especially towards the end of the year, thanks in part due to the smashing Family Camp, the Men's Fellowship programs and also the end of year Big (Bigger) Bash. Each contributed to closer bonds between members, both adults and youth alike. Also, I believe that the ICs have understood that there is an impetus for change, and I really hope they will be able to organize the congregation into a cohesive force, putting capable men in the areas where they can better serve the congregation with their talents. There are just so many areas in the ministry of the congregation that have been left vacant (or unidentified) that can be better served. I know its difficult to really understand and identify which and how best we can put them together.

I would have loved many times to put in my two-cents worth into helping to plan out the execution of plans, but I must ashamedly admit that it is a colossal task that I do not want to take up at this point of time. Perhaps if I were younger and more gung-ho, I would have gladly volunteered. But I hope that in time, I will be able to step forward with something that would benefit the congregation.

"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole boy fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

Every member might be likened to a fiber of muscle within the body. And each member is just as important in his/her function in the Church. And so, we must be able to put each muscle fiber to where it belongs, and ensure each functions healthily for the Church to grow. May Jurong grow up healthily and develop.

School Matters

School has been a relative blast for me! As of now, my grades have settled into a position whereby I need to fight to maintain my current GPA to graduate with the grades that I have targeted myself to achieve. Nothing too spectacular, yet decent enough to say that I have did a pretty good job in my educational efforts.

CCA-wise, I'm still having fun Windsurfing and Fencing. No other sports have given me so much joy and enthusiasm like these two, and though I'm for from being considered good in either of them, I enjoy them to my very core and would love to continue in them for as long as I can, and hopefully to excel in them one day.

I've met a new bunch of very good friends as well. And as my social circle slowly grows, I'm reminded of the blessings in this area. Through my life, I've always been blessed by fantastic friends. Everyone of them have been pretty good influences in many ways, myself wanting to learn from each of their good points. Every one of them have brought cheer, laughter and unforgettable experiences in my life. Thank you all for being my friends. I wish I could name every one of you here, but the list would be endless.

Personal Matters

Once again, another year that has schooled me in the ways of love. Not all personal experiences, yet its as if I could apply many of the lessons to my self. If love was a roller-coaster, then compared to last year, I'm overall a little higher than last year ^^. No elaborations haha. A little ambiguity is always fun. But I'm happily enjoying singlehood this year, more than ever.

Future Matters

I'll probably be leaving Singapore on 17th January for Europe and will be back in July. Its exciting, yet at the same time a little scary. Exciting cos the chapter that will open up is one of endless possibilities and experiences. Scary cos of the unknown ending as well as the while bunch of friends and family that I will be leaving behind. Scary cos I know I will be helpless to do anything to affect the events that may happen in Singapore. Suddenly I sound like a control freak :p

And after that, 1 final year of school before graduation and my return to the Force. I am growing old, and I feel it in my fingers, toes, and any other joints you can possibly think of. But with age comes maturity and new chapters in life. The pages will only continue to be flipped, and I must do my best to fill each pages with as many things as possible.

I look forward to 2010. Happy 2010 everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 @ 10:50 PM

Realized that I've been blogging more in the past few weeks than the rest of the year combined, so why not carry on that momentum? Its been a great holiday, lots of training, food, projects even, and a fantastic Family Camp in Desaru. Its a pity the Taiwan trip didn't materialize, or that its been such a gloomy and rainy period of time, or that I've been too busy to windsurf as much as I wished. Nonetheless, its been one of my happiest holiday periods to date. I would love to wrap up my year in this post, but there are just too many things.

Once again, more friends have returned, and some have left. Soon I'll be joining that crowd and leaving for my own adventure out there in Europe, living a truly independent life, needing to adapt, and to plan my time and finances all the more strictly. I wonder how I'll stand up to the challenge. But I know that it would be a great learning experience. I doubt that anything can replace this chapter that is to come. So many pages, and the protagonist has near zero idea how the script is going to play out. That would take the fun out of it wouldn't it?

I know I'll leave with mixed feelings. To leave so many loved ones back in Singapore would definitely leave me with a tinge of sadness and longing. But yet the compelling glitter over the horizon leads me to understand that I must go and have my adventure, and return to tell the tale, even more cherishing the ties that remain strong despite the separation of time and space.

December taught me about friendship and of patience. And as 2010 comes and new beginnings dawn, I must again make my resolutions and keep them. I felt that I had kept resolutions last year (with the help of backtracking to that post and re-assessing them). That was a nice surprise, for I had kept them without really having to remind myself. Of course, I wouldn't say I achieved them perfectly, but I believe that I had done an adequate job.

I only have one resolution this coming year.

To be more empathetic. To be more aware of the needs and feelings of others, without which I cannot minister. That would serve to better complete myself as a person and a good servant. Something that I have admittedly been lacking severely. I can't just call myself "kayu" all the time and accept it as an inherent weakness that I cannot change right?

I think its a real challenge to keep this one. But i'll do my very best. In itself, that's an irony! Empathy cannot be forced. Which just made it all the more harder.

Saturday, December 26, 2009 @ 12:41 PM
New Skin
New Skin

Whew.. after looking for a new skin for my blog, here you go! At least the images are around! Of course, this doesn't mean I'll be blogging super often, just that I come in enough times so that the missing images became a irritating problem.

New Year is coming!

@ 11:32 AM

I did something that I would never have thought of doing before: checking out a City Harvest worship service. It was their Christmas service, held on Christmas Eve. Of course, the curiosity of how such a service would be like coupled with a desire to accompany someone in need finally pushed me into making that decision. Looking back, I guess it was a good experience for me personally, a learning experience that strengthened my faith and commitment to what is true worship to God.

In all fairness, the production that was put up for us: a play that depicted the story of how Christ came into the world (a little blown up and also a little offensive to me at one point cos Joseph and his buddies - more of his buddies, were drinking like mad and getting drunk). But it was indeed close to esplanade-level, testimony of the huge resources, money and humans alike, that CHC possesses. And it was indeed entertaining and touching. Many times I did quiver from the emotions that were in that play. But after all is said and done, it was just that - entertaining.

I can't say for sure whether a play on its own was doctrinal. But I do know that there is only one way of converting people to Christ, and that is through preaching:

"for after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe - 1 Cor 1:21".

In comparison to what CHC practices, my congregation is a far cry from the compelling power of bringing people to come forward. But it isn't about the speaker, nor the special effects, the music, the emotions that is the point. It is the simple, unadulterated Word of God that has the power to convict people:

"for the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even unto the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart - Heb 4:12".

People have asked me if I have ever thought of leaving the Church, or the congregation that I worship in. The Church? No. The Congregation? Perhaps. But I know that there will only be one factor that matters in this decision, which is God. Granted, where I worship is nowhere near perfect. Many times I have been exasperated about the attitudes, the enthusiasm, the zeal, the ability and commitment of many members. But they are just as I am, human, imperfect, sinners. Are they serving me? No! But they are serving God, as I do, and the master pays the wages. The diligent workers will be rewarded, just like the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14-30). My responsibility is to use my talents to the best I can, and do my best to encourage those around me to do the same. Therefore, despite all the disappointments I feel at times, only if the congregation falls into sin would I ever think of leaving Jurong.

But there are positive things to learn from CHC. I was truly impressed by the warmth and the zeal that many people had. The commitment to use their strengths, their abilities, and to truly put them into "service" to the Lord. Whether doctrinal or not, that very attitude is one that is truly commendable. It showed me what a congregation is able to achieve. The basement auditorium of CHC is perhaps 4 or 5 times larger than ours. If Jurong is able to organize herself such that it can do what CHC is able to do, I believe that we can be many many times a better worker for the Lord.

Some endnotes:

Christmas is not Christ's birthday. It never was, and never will. I'm sorry if I do not give out gifts or wish you merry christmas freely, because of that simple reason. But rest assured that the love and care that I feel for everyone is always the same. Christ only asked us to commorate His death, which was what brought salvation to this world, not His birth.

Sins can only be washed away during baptism, and the prayer of forgiveness (with repentance) by Christians (Mk 16:16). You do not build a relationship with God through the sinner's prayer, nor the prayer of someone else. It is though the Plan of Salvation.

Yes, Christianity may be not what people expect. It is difficult, and at times come between you and your desires. But the ultimate desire is to go to heaven and escape the fire of hell. Even in economic wisdom, that holds true.

Reach my prismic soul.
Benjamin Chen
Born 24 Jun 1986
Reborn 24 Aug 2003
Perpetually in a zombified state. Liverpool fan.
Keming Pri > BPGHS > PJC > SMU

Unconditional Desires.
Nice formal wear
A Road Bike
Massimo Dutti Coat
Fresh Colours
To demolish his room
The Beach
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