Archive for the ‘Tributaries’ Category

 

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God’s number 7. An undeniably magical number. 7 long years. 1 September 2009 – 16 October 2016. Dearest Getzy.

They say first loves are the hardest to let go. And me being someone who collects and treasures my ‘firsts’ possessions, I’d say it’s mighty true. Only a pity, this black beauty ain’t gonna be parked in my museum of firsts.

My last glimpses of this dearest friend, as I walked away from it, wasn’t of any relief. In fact, it was more painful than I had ever imagined. I imagined that I would be looking forward to receiving the new car. That I would just leave this fellow hatchie behind. But the truth is, I have always been sentimental. Even more so at the final moments. The thoughts of it heading for the scrapyard, visualising how it’s gonna be crushed like they are normally done on shows, feels like I’m watching a friend being lowered into the earth.

Really. This starts to feel more like a funeral than a just simple goodbye.

Death is a release to the one who departs from the struggles of this earth. But to those who stays behind, our struggles continue. We live in memory of those who have exited our lives but we choose to continue to honor them in our hearts, in our words, in our actions, in all ways.

Today, I honor the memories of these past 7 years with my dearest faithful friend who has served alongside me to show grace after grace after grace to my circle of close friends, friends, acquaintances, people, even strangers around me. To give generously to those in need, to offer generously to those who felt undeserving, to celebrate joyously amongst fellow brothers and sisters. To honor and bring glory to the One and Only.

Remember:
The beginning times when I first just got to know you. When I started my first internship. At Audi Singapore. Going to Queensway every morning. Getting a whole lot of parking fines one after the other. And a few really hefty ones, including the bus lane fine when my only intention was to pump up your shoes travelling from one petrol station to the next which was less than 100m away. That was 2009.

In 2010, we spent quite a bit of on-off time together. And more so, in 2011, as those were the days of my national service. I still remember the day I spent cleaning you up and polishing till you sparkled a day before my polytechnic graduation, making sure you’d shine. The trips to the national shooting centre, where we would just have fun revving down that peaceful road. Book-out days and weekends were joy, looking forward to driving.

Those days continued till the third-quarter of 2012. And not forgetting how much of a help you were, when we shifted from The Shaughnessy to Punggol, ferrying so so so many things, up and down, down and up. I was simply amazed by how much things I could fit into you. Literally comparable to a pickup van.

Late 2012. I started working. We were spending every day together. Getting all covered up in sand, dust and dirt, every few days because of the roads we had to take. Then 2013 came. 4 years after. I wanted more from you. I wanted you to be better. And because of the financial inflow, I gave you a series of upgrades. Air intake, open pod air filter, strut bars. And of course I replaced your mouth and ears – the sound system, which was then crackling like encrypted messages already.

The year got more exciting. We started going sideways, sliding and grinding tarmacs. Burning up your shoes was simply adrenaline-pumping. And you continued to surprise me, how much you were holding out. How hard you could be pushed, how much you were willing to be pushed. I was amazed. I was in love. In love with a fellow mate that was willing to go its limits with me. And it hit. The limits. One hefty clutch that nearly got burnt out. Ouch.

We changed it. And the following year, 2014, we got your shocks changed as well.

We were going places after places. To work, to German classes at Orchard, to HomeTeamNS, to social outings, etc. And then 2 months in Germany at the end of 2013. God, I miss you. I miss driving but I miss it more because I was driving with you. 2 whole months of absence, without gas, brake & clutch pedals, smell of petrol, gear shifting, shoulder workouts on a relatively heavy power steering. It wasn’t me,  without you.

Truly, you’ve redefined fun. You’ve redefined driving for me. You’ve taught me so much only because you gave me so much to learn. Might I say, you’re the driving force to ground myself and knowledge in mechanical engineering. A dream without will or desire to seek will not lead to completion or fruition. You are that desire. You are that initiation.

While the excessive rubber burning wasn’t our core business all along, our mission was clear. In these past 7 years, the number of rides we’ve given, the people who have sat on your leathery seats, those times when we squeezed a few more at the back, compressing those rear springs and asking your heart to pump harder to move. You’ve never given up on me. Not once. Your shoes might have popped a few times but you continued to roll as if it was nothing. Even when it’s hard, you bit on.

So many names who can testify.

For to me, you weren’t just a machine or another chunk of metal. You were and still are a fellow friend in battle. Thank you, dearest Getzy, for you have been faithful. Truly faithful.

I give thanks to my dad for his provision and support, in giving this car to me, allowing me to have fulfilled so many wonders and acts of grace through the years. It wasn’t just the acts. It was also a transformation, a God-willed one.

And above all else, I thank You, Father, God of Grace, God of Love, our One and Only, for this blessed tool of Your grace, for Your provisions of finances to upkeep this journey, the learning experiences, Your hand in my transformation. I give praise to You, Lord, for with You, that Your will be done. For with You, our journey begun 8 years ago. Amen.

This is not goodbye. This is liberation. This is to honor you, my friend, in memory and in spirit. That I will continue to serve out an abundant measure of grace to those who walk in and out of our lives, never withholding back any goodness that we may give out to generously. Though we may now be, thus forth, set apart on earth, we continue to stay together in the love of the Spirit. And as we step out of the boat and move forward to walk on water, we will courageously face the uncertainties that await us and grow to do greater things, continuing to honor each other’s tenacity and will, through the memories we cherish. You are family.

It’s about living out the purpose we are called to do.

To this, I quote:

“To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

Till I see you again.

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50 Years. A milestone in its time. Half a century old. Singapore stood independent, relying on its only resource since the proclamation of its independence exactly 50 years ago – us, its citizens. And She still stands today. Strong. But not to be taken for granted.

An excerpt of the lyrics from We Are Singapore:

There was a time when people said
That Singapore won’t make it, but we did
There was a time when troubles seemed too much
For us to take, but we did
We built a nation, strong and free, reaching out together
For peace and harmony

I still remember my younger days in the 90s where National Day Parades always had this song playing. Back then, it meant really no significant amount of emotions and meaning for a kid who hadn’t even reach the age of 10. Now standing at half the age of Singapore’s, the outpouring of gratitude and overflow of emotions as I put all of me into voicing out a new classic – Home (composed by Dick Lee and first sung by Kit Chan), overwhelms me.

Many people did, indeed, look down upon this small little red dot in the world, during our humble beginnings. They believed we would never make it. Let alone, grow and progress as a nation from a third-world country to today’s first-world status, in merely a period of 50 years. We were buried under so many hard issues. We probably would have doubted ourselves some point along the way, again and again. But fortunately, each and everyone of us came together. We stayed united, cared for each other despite the differences we share, regardless of race, language or religion. The kampung spirit born out of its time. Racial harmony and understanding was one of our very first step to build this nation.

Our founding father and most of our forefathers have since left us. But they have set the ground for us and pave the way for the future. They laid the foundation, grew the roots, flourish the stem and sprouted some leaves and fruits.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Thank you Mr Sinnathamby Rajaratnam.
Thank you Dr Goh Kheng Swee.
Thank you Dr Toh Chin Chye.
Thank you Mr Lim Kim San.
Thank you Mr Hon Sui Sen.
Thank you Encik Yusof bin Ishak.
And thank you to all other forefathers, which I have yet to name, for my inadequacy in the history of the people who laid Singapore’s foundation.

It is troubling to say that with the development of today’s global society in this highly advanced world, complications in society development and human behaviour become more widespread. Expectations built upon expectations. And the purity and simplicity of life and love gets entangled with unending distractions, gradually siphoning simple joys out of the equation.

But there is always hope, lying around. We know it and we see it.

It has been truly heartwarming to see people uniting together to perform a simple deeds of good faith. Just like the example our Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, has mentioned in his National Day Message yesterday, people came together instinctively to lift a lorry to save a man trapped under. People singing to the song, Home, on the MRT, together. (Home on MRT)

I see new hope in this nation. A growing flame. A flame of warmth and love.

This togetherness, the feeling of one united effort, that warmth in the heart. Doesn’t it really just goes to show how much we, Singaporeans, as one united nation, can truly contribute to our home?

Struggles as there will always be. Challenges come as they may. Appreciate our present and live out our future, together.

So what do you want for the next 50 years for Singapore, Singaporeans?

I hope that we stay undivided, find strength in our unity, take heart in each other differences, criticise objectively and knowledgeably, fight to defend one another’s ideal and don’t be too quick to judge. For, greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends – John 15:13 NIV

Because this is our Home, truly.

If we can come together as one, to save our fellow man. Then there’s no less to say of what we can do for our beloved country.

And I thank God, for His grace given to this land and its people, His blessings through these 50 years and pray for His continual blessings and love for this nation.

To end off, I just want to feature some music videos in this entry that sums up togetherness, joy, and thriving.

Home Music Video (39 Singapore Singers) – Not the classic version, but definitely there’s warmth in unity

Our Singapore – JJ Lin – Light-hearted and Joyful

Snow Flower – Lorraine Tan – Through the storms, we thrive and grow stronger.

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LKY

This is my tribute and my words of gratitude for Singapore’s First Prime Minister who passed away peacefully on 23 March 2015, 3:18am.

Through the past 6 days of national mourning (with tomorrow being the last), we have not only seen a more-than-united Singapore as hundreds of thousands of citizens queue in wait at the Parliament House to pay their last respects to the founding father of the place we call home, but also parts of the world who mourn for his passing.

The world and, without a trace of doubt, Singapore have lost a man of honor, of rooted conviction, of steadfastness, of principles, of foresight and of passion. His years of toil towards the country since the independence of Singapore and how this little red dot transformed tremendously in a brief period of 50 years are undeniably remarkable. Of course, he was a man who would credit his pioneering team for being there with him through the thick and thin, the blood and sweat, the tears and joy, the happiness and disappointment, and the successes and failures throughout the years.

Some of his comrades took their leave ahead of him and so did his one most beloved lifelong companion, his wife, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo. Now Mr Lee takes his leave.

I remember going to sleep with a heavy heart on Monday morning at 5am in the morning after some late night studying, upon learning the news of his demise. I had difficulties falling asleep. Even though I eventually did, I woke up teary and empty hours later.

I had no actual real-life interaction with him. My memories are limited to history books, social studies, internet pictures and texts, etc. But such emptiness was somehow felt by many citizens, young, veteran and old, who, I believe, in the same way have probably never spoken to him in their entire lives. It was profound. I could not find an explanation to the uncontrollable flood of the eyes as thoughts of the impact of his actions and words overwhelmed the mind. Those who grew up together with him through the 50s, 60s and even 70s, I cannot say I know the pain and sorrow your hearts are weeping out. Much less for his family members. I feel only but a fraction of that grief.

Here I would like to quote the Singapore Pledge as a reminder of his vision:

We, the Citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people. regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

I have intentionally bold certain words, which I believe was what Mr. Lee built this tiny nation upon.

Recalling an article I read on Mothership.sg within the week about George Yeo’s reflections about Mr Lee, I felt the last one was something impressionable. Circumspice (Latin for: Look around)

You can read the article here: Reflections by Ex-Foreign Minister George Yeo that reveals his true feelings about Lee Kuan Yew

His actions were controversial, as many have put it. There are times we may not have agreed at all with his style of leadership and his multitude of decisions. We opposed, we complained and we criticised irresponsibly. But I challenge you today and the days ahead, to put a hold on that impetuous impulse to blame irrationally and look all around you again.

Had he not go ahead and executed/implemented those necessary evils, will we truly have had the basic necessities, which we seemingly take for granted in this 21st century, so easily within our reach? I shudder imagine rolling back time and think about a today of which all our honorable forefathers are not in the social studies textbooks.

We are all humans. We want to succeed, in whatever we set our goals at. But because we are only humans, we can err and we will err. Mr Lee always kept a macro-view of matters in relation to the nation and its global neighbours, but never neglected the micro-issues within the boundaries of this island. And because the nation was disproportionately distributed by the type of immigrants we had in the early days, the only way to forge a root on this new ground was to stay united as one. And he did it. Bonds were formed among the diverse ethnic communities and I imagined the sight of those simple joys to be truly heartwarming.

Of all his traits I honor most, was his belief in values and being deeply entrenched in them. His high regard for moral integrity never wavered. I cannot say the same for today’s leaders. But from one person, who holds zero tolerance for the disregard of ethics, morals and guiding principles, to another, he has my salute and utmost respect. There is no other way for me to emphasise how morals, values and ethics are becoming rare invaluable gems in today’s society. And being able to stand resolute by them, to me, befits the highest honor.

He will go down in history, being a remarkable man, or whichever other light, be it good or bad, others would want to put him in. He would care less about it anyway. His legacy will live on, in the hearts of many Singaporeans and global citizens whom he have touched. I, too, hope that his legacy extends beyond the hearts of these people and into their daily actions.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and go big. But be sure to honor the moral values you have set in place. Or you will face your conscience on your day of reckoning.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew. May you rest in peace.
God bless and surround you in His abundance of grace.