Poetry in Motion

I’ve been following a local blogger, Mr Wang Says So, who provides very insightful, balanced and also rather close to heart commentaries on our local politics. In his recent entries, he has included samples of two of his poems. The first one is titled Paddy Chew’s Last Show, and the second one is titled The Schoolgirl Kills Herself After An Exam. Do take some time to read both entries and the accompanying commentaries that he makes. I find both poems simple yet brutally honest, with an honesty that too close for comfort.

Poetry can manifest itself not only in words, but through photographs too. A collection of photographs on the use of land in Singapore have really astounded and amazed me this week by the sheer volumes they speak by the mere juxtaposition of activites on the same space. (A big thanks to Laremy for the link!) It’s a slide-show of photographs titled Multipli-city. All the photographs have been taken with double exposure, to show the different use of the same space at different times. The images seamlessly meld into each other, forming an image that speaks volumes. As I viewed these photos, I felt a strange sense of pride, a strange sense of belonging to this land which is ‘uniquely’ Singapore.

An established literary/arts culture is an integral part of all society because it encapsulates the deeper meanings of society within a form that fascinates and allures the reader, drawing him into a culture in a way that any academic research can never do. The web has indeed become a great resource for the sharing and appreciation of such works.


Total Abandonment

Chamber’s devotional today speaks about perseverance.

Perseverance, he says – is more than just holding out till the end. Perseverance is not just endurance.

Chambers uses the analogy of a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. We are the bow and arrow. God stretches us and seemingly pays no attention even when the stretching seems unbearable. The archer stretches his bow and arrow, and holds it there, until the moment when the target is in sight and then he releases it. Simiarly, God stretches us and holds us there, until His purpose is in sight and then He releases us.

How do we respond then – as the bow and arrow in the archer’s hands – being stretched seemingly in ways beyond what our flesh or our hearts can bear?

The only response is to entrust our lives into God’s hands completely. Chambers describes it as “throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.” God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to throw ourselves with total abandoned confidence to Him.

It takes someone with a true living testimony of total abandonment to God to write a devotional with such conviction. And indeed, Chambers himself was such a man, a man who lived in total surrender to the God whom he believed was worth his all.

Oswald Chambers
[Image source: http://www.wheaton.edu/learnres/ARCSC/collects/sc122/sc122-026.jpg%5D

Feeling God’s call to full time ministry, Chambers and his wife started a Bible College. When his Bible College was already well-established, World War I broke out. At that moment, Chambers felt a stirring in his heart, that God was calling him elsewhere. He sought the Lord and moved in accordance to His calling to become a Chaplain to the troops in Egypt, taking his wife and 2 year old child along with him. (Info taken from here) Whether he was teaching his students or the soldiers, he always emphasized the idea of abandon. He told them:

“The great word of Jesus to his disciples is abandon… When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on his word; trust entirely to him and watch that when he brings us to the venture, we take it.” (Source)

He eventually died out in the mission field due to a ruptured appendix and other complications, but his legacy lives on today. His wife went on to transcribe his lectures and notes into the devotional that has impacted the lives of many today.

He’s not the only one who has lived a life of complete abandonment. There are countless other missionaries who have done so too. Hudson Taylor is another one, the Founder of the China Inland mission, whose whole life was driven by the verse John 14:13.

Hudson Taylor
Image courtesy of

He was a man who believed completely and solely in the power of prayer. A famous testimony is often shared of how his employer told him to remind him whenever his salary was due. Taylor, however, was determined that he did not need to remind his employer and decided to leave this in the hands of the Lord. And God never ever shortchanged him.

Reading about the lives of these two people make me wonder if we’ve really lost some of that sense of total surrender and abandonment to the gospel in the world of Christianity today. That kind of simple faith to really just depend completely on God and nothing else, to depend on prayer as the only resource in our world. These were men for whose hearts were filled simply with the Word of God, where God’s word has sunk its deep roots such that they believed with such utmost conviction in it.

And I pray that I too, can one day live that kind of life of total abandonment to Christ, as they did.

Mooving On


Two of my friends bought this beautiful, yummy-licious cake today, in celebration of the end of practicum. We were debating whether it was the end of a beginning or the beginning of the end.

It’s such a cute design. I had the honour of slicing and dicing the cow, which was actually not that easy! This was a Ben & Jerries’ Cake, straw-berry shortcake flavour. Yum!

I’m really thankful for this bunch of friends here at practicum now. Though I hardly see most of them around given our hectic schedules, we’re sufficiently close and familiar with each other to be there for each other when help is needed and to chill out together whenever the opportunity presents itself. Another one of the trainees gave everyone a photograph that we took together with a note of thanks behind. A note of appreciation really makes one’s day. For those who are reading, a big thanks to all!

Speaking of farewells, my farewell this week with my classes have been rather sweet too. Based on the feedback I’ve received, most of my students have enjoyed the classes I’ve taught and indeed learnt something from it. I was pleasantly surprised by a card of appreciation from my foreign scholars class yesterday and all the comments in there were truly genuine and heartfelt. I was really touched. This farewell has also given me the opportunity to be a ‘giver’, the most significant present was the gift of God’s word and a CD of worship songs to a fellow worshipper at our church. Although I won’t be teaching these students anymore, I’d like to believe that for some of them, our journey together in this school has not ended and God has more in store for us in the time that I’m here. 

Indeed, the end of practicum marks the start of a 3 – 4 week break back at NIE. Not that we’ll have nothing to do, but most of the things that we do require little engaging of the mind. It’ll indeed be a time for me to move on from some experiences, rejuvenate myself and get ready to enter the teaching force for real. 🙂