What Does Christmas Mean (to me?)

christmas-blog

Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus.

Christmas, or Christ’s Mass is about Jesus Christ. It’s about how God sent his only Son for mankind, for us.

On this day, it was also my first time hearing about Jesus Christ, of how He came down to redeem our relationship with God. Nevermind all the nasty things we did, think or wish to do, but through Him that we may have life – Eternal life and relationship with Him.

It was also my first time encountering the presence of God.

The tangible, unexplainable joy, peace and love. Somewhat filling a void. A sense of purpose in living. A purpose bigger than me myself and I. It didn’t make me feel like I was better than people who have yet to experience what I did. It didn’t make me hyper-spiritual. But it did awaken my eyes to something bigger than the physical world.

The awareness that God is out there trying to reach out to us. That there is life after death. That we are not just here to study, grow, eat, sleep, degenerate and die. There is meaning to the life I have. The life each and every person has.

This year is my 10th year of celebration in my journey with God. It is ever more personal and ever more humbling.

Does Christmas have a meaning to you?

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Where is the Love?

“Where Is The Love?”

What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you traumaOverseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKKBut if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeahMadness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’allPeople killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love, the love, the love

It just ain’t the same, old ways have changed
New days are strange, is the world insane?
If love and peace are so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong?

Nations droppin’ bombs
Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones
With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin’ really gone

So I could ask myself really what is goin’ wrong
In this world that we livin’ in people keep on givin’ in
Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover

The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the love, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love, the love, the love?

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction

Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive ’til love is found
Now ask yourself

Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?

Father, Father, Father, help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?

Sing with me y’all:
One world, one world (We only got)
One world, one world (That’s all we got)
One world, one world
And something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got
(One world, one world)
That’s all we got
(One world, one world)


Recently, this old song played its tune in my mind. It got me thinking about life once again.

Has the world became a better place? Maybe.
Does the world need more love? Definitely.

Sometime ago, I chanced upon a picture on Facebook describing Nurses:
I am a nurse
This quote caused me to think about what I’ve been doing at work – about my attitudes, my thoughts, things going through my mind as I provide care to people in my ward.

 

“Oh this dude has a history of drug abuse”
“Gosh, why are there some implants down there”
“Wow, you have some anger issues Sir”

 

However, more often than not, this is not simply what our minds tell us.

 

The real deal goes something like this:
“Wow you have some anger issues, Sir, …that’s why your family members don’t come visit you. You are so difficult!!”

 

Very honestly, I am sometimes guilty of such a thought AND judgement. These thoughts sometimes affect my actions and even my face. But this doesn’t stop me from delivering care professionally. Still very nice on the outside, but on the inside, I am pissed and reluctant.

 

Somedays, when things get crazy in the ward…Lack of manpower and with difficult patients and family members….I would begin to think to myself..If only i could choose my patients…my satisfaction for my job work would be so much higher. If only.

 

But the real world situation is not. As long as there’s one empty bed, no matter what reason or background the patient come from, we have to nurse the patient.

 

But because of such circumstances, a seemingly unpleasant particular patient taught me what this quote really meant.

 

He was a patient with many physical issues. Diabetes, vascular problems leading to limb and eye problems and multiple infections. You name it, he probably has it.

He was pretty educated about his health condition, and he is also very demanding, at least in my POV. Slight delays would definitely in a sure outrage and complaint to higher management.

Once, I was chided for delivering his medication late, but that was because I was still giving medications to other patients, which he couldn’t care less. While we were trying our best to manage his condition, he also had habits of secretly eating other food (like fast food) when we told him not to do so. How are we supposed to help someone who doesnt want to help himself?
Every time i was assigned to take care of him, I would cringe.
I needed to mental prep myself before I face him. I tell myself that he would probably have some requests other people don’t. I run through my mind the things that he would like and don’t like.
By preparing for the worst, whatever new encounters wouldn’t seem so bad.

When he was ready for discharge, I was filled with mixed emotions. I was so happy and yet relieved at the same time. I thought, it’s finally over.

 

But you know what? Sometimes God  has a dark sense of humour of things. Perhaps He didn’t think I’ve developed enough patience in my life yet.
And so, he came in not once, not twice, but THRICE.
And guess what? I’m always the nurse taking care of him.
But he was also the one who changed my perspective of things.

In a random conversation that I was in, he said to another colleague of mine:

“Of course, I would trust him to take care of me, he is my friend! “

“Since when did I become your friend?” I thought, followed by a realisation.

Suddenly, it dawned upon me that I had unconsciously built a relationship with him as I was nursing him.

Yes, he made demands, but that was because he didn’t trust me (or us- the nursing team) initially. He was entrusting his health and body to people that he didn’t know. On hindsight, I realised that in his repeated visits, he did become an easier patient to manage.

Oh, what a change in perspective!

“I’ll take care of you” was not just about taking care of different people.
It’s about loving them despite their history, colour and their backgrounds.
It is about building a relationship and trust that says, “Hey, don’t be afraid, you can count on us, we are help to help you..

 

I don’t care who you are, what you have done. What I know is that, you come to me broken somewhere. I will try to patch you up, so that you have much more years ahead of you to live.

But of course, it is something more easily said, than to do.

Never in my life have I find it so difficult to love the “unlovable” because of the close proximity and prolonged periods of contact time.

I guess now I have experienced a little more of it. Perhaps a little of what Jesus experienced when people come to Him for help, for healing and for leadership.

What I realised is that people may come into the hospital sometimes at their lowest point in life. They may be worried, anxious, angry and even hysterical.

Yes, we maybe dealing with our own problems as well. But we ought to give our best to help them, even they may not present with the best attitudes.

Here is a clip from Code Black that describes the call of duty that healthcare workers have.

A sacred convenant.

And yeap, no one said it was easy.

I guess that’s a good reminder to myself when I feel drained of all the good thoughts and ultimately good willed actions/service towards people who need it.
To all my friends in healthcare, let’s work hard. I believe we’ll come up with a better system for everyone in time to come.

Yes, there are major flaws in the system that needs rectification. But let’s not always look too closely at them. And as I’m writing this, I am too taking a break from work. I need fresh inspirations and encouragements (and maybe some say, fresh air?) to continue serving a small portion of humanity in the west side of the tropical island.

 

May the system allow the ones delivering medical help and care to people be healthy to the healthcare workers too.

Late Night Musings

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While you are asleep, someone else is working.

While your life is exciting, someone else’s life is dead boring.

While you can’t sleep cause it’s your big day tomorrow, someone is awake because tomorrow, his soul is required of him.

Working night shifts has allowed me to see life in its fullness. What is night, what is day, to a shift worker, it’s almost the same. You work, I sleep. You sleep, I work. You have your social life after 5pm, I may get mine at 8am. But we are all progressing in life.


Just a week ago, 4 hours after taking over a seemingly peaceful night shift, the code blue alarm went off. Someone life’s in peril. Will the person make it? My own patient’s BP (Blood Pressure), on A.N.D. (Allow Natural Death), was showing a declining trend. Can he make it tonight? On the other side, a patient’s condition is improving, tomorrow we will try to give him soft diet (porridge, etc). I think he will discharge within this week. On the bed beside him, another person just came in with similar procedure, asking “When will I be able to eat and be discharged?”

These scenarios are not new to me, after these few months of nursing. After a while, all can seem so normal to me or even to the physician. It’s played out week in and week out…It can be very easy for me to just follow through the motion.

So for my patient who was deteriorating, I ranged up the physician, and in view of the declining blood pressure, we want to give him more fluids to sustain the blood pressure, because this is a protocol even though he is not for resuscitation. My senior and I were concerned with the amount of fluids, but we still went ahead with the doctor’s orders over the phone.

Then, I realised that the patient had been coughing non-stop. After I took a look in his oral cavity, I realised that there were huge amounts of blood-stained phlegm. Though I had some other important stuff to do, I decided to do help him relieve the discomfort with a dozen soft disposable brushes right at that moment. That night, his wife stayed with him throughout. I continued with the other routines of the night and when the sun was up, I realised that it was almost time for me to go back home…At 9am, I finally slept.


Unfortunately, Mr X passed away that afternoon while I was sleeping back at home.

That particular act of service to provide some comfort was actually my last for him. On hindsight, I was privileged to be able to do the little things to make him feel more comfortable. I could have acted reluctantly, because about 2weeks ago, he was particularly rude towards me as I caused some unintentional pain on him while taking his blood glucose. But, thank God, empathy had changed the course of my actions. Of course, as with all nurses, I wished I could have done more if I knew that night was his last…but one thing is sure, I had no regrets knowing that I had went the extra mile in my capacity to provide more comfort…more privacy for the husband and wife to communicate in the final moments and coordinating the extra communication between the medical team, the wife, the son and the patient.

Oh how I wished everyone could have more of that!

If only we could all err a little on the kind side. Some people just have a more needs than others. Some need more attention. Some need more help…


This attitude is not just for patients.

This is for your co-workers- your teammates whom you need their help to achieve big things.

This is for your subordinates – your workers whom you depend on to get things done.

This is for your preceptees – your trainees whom you will need when they flourish after your guidance.

This is for your friends- your companions whom will you will need their empathy at some point of your life as well.

Will you be the one that shows kindness to others first?

I want to be that person.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Blog Post)

It was a Saturday morning when I had to work.
Little did I know that a great lesson was waiting for me behind one of these closed doors…

 

Just like any other patient, I approached this frail looking old man wanting to help him with his daily needs. He had a non-rebreathable mask (the kind of mask you see on television when someone is very sick) over his nose and mouth. He clearly had difficulty breathing. As I went closer, I realised his fingers and toes were grossly purple – a sign that there’s insufficient oxygen to the extremities.

 

“Oh dear, this man is very sick.” I thought. 

 

Following this thought, I immediately connected with the reports that were passed in the morning. There’s a man in our cubicle that is on DNR or AND. In our hospital, A.N.D means Allow Natural Death, so no active medical interventions will be done if his conditions deteriorates – as it is determined by the physicians and agreed by the patient and the family that there will be no quality of life with aggressive medical interventions. He is also on palliative care, meaning that comfort measures will be provided for him until he moves on.

 

I tried to assist him in whatever way he needed because he was very weak. I gave him some fruits and a few sips of coffee. As I was doing so, I also realised that his mental capacity remains intact. I talked to him about a few things in a slow manner, because after every sentence, he had to catch a few breaths…
In the midst of the activities, I also noticed this letter at the bedside. On the envelope, it said “To Daddy”…

 

“What could be inside this letter?” I thought.
“Who wrote this?”
“Is it something very serious?”

 

Shortly after, I re-entered the room with the palliative nurse after I cleared some of the utensils that was used earlier on. The palliative nurse went on to do his assessment to make sure that he can give him the comfort. Is there a broken skin? Is he in pain? Is there something that he need to know for a good closure?

 

“There’s a letter for you, Sir. Do you want to read it?” asked the palliative nurse.
“Yes…but I…need spectacles…” he said. 

 

The palliative nurse and I tried to find the spectacles but couldn’t. So we asked if we could read it out for him. He said, “Yes…, Please…” and he let out a heavy breath…

 

The letter went,
“Hello Daddy,
Thank you for bringing us into the world.
We know that you have done a lot of wrongs in the past, but we want you to know that we have forgiven you.
Hope you will have a better next life.
Thank you and bye bye.
God bless.
Son & Family

 

Silence fell in the room. The oxygen coming out from the peak flow meter was deafening.

 

“Thanks….means… a lot” the man said, sounding like he choked on air. Then we gently provided an assuring touch/pat on his shoulders…

 

This was a moment that I really want to remember and encapsulate.
This was a moment of reconciliation between 2 generations.
This was a moment that clicked with me on the inside.
As a nurse, I can be a bridge to many.
This is what I want to do for others.
And this is also why I want to share this story with you (the reader).

 

Because in the life of this dying man and his family, I see that forgiveness and reconciliation can happen at the end of the day and at the end of one’s journey.

 

And if that is true, it can also happen now.
Why wait for the end?

 

Because if we can see that you and I are imperfect…
That sometimes people who are supposed to protect us can also hurt us…and we who are supposed to protect can also hurt someone we love…
We will understand that we all need forgiveness.
And forgiveness brings about reconciliation.

 

This is just like why Jesus came down 2000years ago for us.
So that we may receive forgiveness through the cross.
That we may have a relationship back with God.

 

Don’t wait until your last breath.
The goodness of a restored relationship awaits after reconciliation.

 

Forgiveness is an act.
Forgiveness is a process to a restoration.
Forgiveness is your decision.

The Reversal

Seen this intro video in church?

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Curious to know more about how the video came about?
Here’s your answer!
The idea of the video was to use the allegory of a reverse poem to illustrate the redemptive nature of God.
Although we may sometimes see things negatively, God sees it in the reverse way. He sees it as positive. There’s always good in the seemingly bad situation.
 

And we wanted to illustrate just that.

 

How we did it was through the use of the reverse poem. What this means is that when you read the poem backwards, it still makes sense and the meaning changes completely.
So after conceiving the idea, we had to begin storyboarding.
Zhiyi and I gathered the references of the feel we wanted then we began taking photos and footages.
The real challenge, however,was to get the reverse poem to sound right. There were many drafts and changes to the structure of the poem as well as the person voicing the words.
It has to sound right.
For this to happen, there was much teamwork involved. Special credits to Mong, Chester who helped with the script and Mac who helped with the voicing!

 

So the reverse poem goes…
“ My life has no purpose
And I refuse to believe that
With God I can make a difference
People tell me that life is meaningless
And I hate it when
I have to stand against the crowd
To speak out for what is right
All I care about is my own success
Because it doesn’t make any sense that
Life’s actually about living for others
That life isn’t living for myself “
(Now, read it backwards!)

 

What we wanted to say is that…
When our lives have no purpose…
When we have doubts…
And when we are so discouraged and dejected that we lost hope of our dreams..our visions..our future…

 

God is always there to do the “The Reversal”.
He draws near the most when we are in the dumps.
THEN…

 

Our mindsets are changed.
Hearts are renewed.
Bad experiences turns into valuable lessons for our future.
Brokenness pours out anointing on our lives.
Even when you feel like your life is so smoothing sailing and you don’t really need God…
When you open up your life for God to move..
He will add the vision, the purpose…the drive and the adventure for your life!

 

If you are a Christian and never experienced a breakthrough and miracle in your life…Believe for one.
If you are lost in life…
Look to Jesus and He will give you the direction.
If you are discouraged…
Hear God and He will transform your minds and perspective.
If you haven’t watched the intro video…
Go to church and see it for yourself !! 🙂

Being comfortable in our weaknesses

What is weakness?

It is inadequacy.
It is vulnerability.
It is something that we are unable to do well in.
It is being human.

Many times we would beat ourselves up for not performing well…enough.
It would be the thing that keeps us awake at night thinking about how bad the weakness is…
“Why did I…”
“Why can’t I…”
“If only…”
Because knowing or acknowledging that we are weak is a painful feeling.
And to avoid all these, sometimes we hide…
…behind busyness
…behind a group of friends
…behind our computers
…behind a mask.

By hiding we feel safe…
we feel protected…
we feel that we are perfect for the moment…
Or at least we don’t have to face the monster within…now.

Why am i writing about all these?
Because for years I tried to be the perfect person. The ideal Singaporean son.

Good grades…
Good school…
Good at sports…
Having great friends..
Giving back to society…
Get into uni…

Well, as I look back, I pretty much have achieved all. A remarkable feat for a neighbourhood boy. But deep inside, I know I’ve always struggled as a person.
I know I can’t do everything myself.
I know I am weak.

But I tried not to be weak.
I tried to be perfect.
I MUST do well in school…
I MUST win in competitions…
I NEED get into this prestigious course…
I NEED to be the coolest…
I NEED to be respected…

And the harder I try, the more masks I put on, the more I lose myself and the less I know who I am.
It seemed like I progressed in life. But the truth is, I did not.

But thank God, I found Him and His church.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says,
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”…”

It is okay to be weak.
I can confide in God.
I can turn to God who covers and gives dignity to the weak.
It is okay to fail.

BUT WAIT.
That’s not all.
In the passage, Paul (the author of 2 Corinthians) did not just stop there. He went on to say,

v9 “…Therefore most gladly i will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”

He did not just hide his weaknesses in another place.
He was comfortable in weakness.

Because in weakness, he can rely on God.
Because in weakness, he grew more dependent on God.
Because in weakness, he came to know who he is and how much he needed God.
Because in weakness, God was and is GLORIFIED.

That hit me hard.
I was always aware of the verse…so…”yes, we are weak, that’s why we need God”
But now, my reaction is “YESS!! we are WEAK, THAT’S WHY we need God”
That is why more than accepting our weaknesses, being authentic is important.

Now, I am not saying that you tell the whole world your problems. I think that can become more like a disaster if you ask me.

But what I am saying is that…

We DON’T NEED to be the perfect person.
We do not need to do this and that, become this and that to feel better… to be valued…to be closer to God…

Being a christian is NOT being perfect.
But it is acknowledging that we are not, that we can connect with God who empathises us in our weaknesses and that we can have the courage to grow to be MORE like Jesus, who IS PERFECT.

Authenticity connects us to God and others! (You know this is true when you can connect better with your table-mate in school who scored a C6 in Higher Chinese than the one who scored A1…hahaha…)

I respect someone who is authentic.
People who dare to talk about their weaknesses…
People who are willing to tell their life as it is!

Although my life now is far from perfect.
I still struggle…
I fail sometimes…
But I also succeed.
I also overcome.
But what’s more important is that I have a family that I don’t need to be someone else to be part of.

I have…
A family to do life with…
A family where I do not have to feel afraid to be the person I am…
A family where we fight together and celebrate together…

Thank God!
Thank you Heart of God Church!
Thank you Pastor How & Pastor Lia; they are the most authentic people I know!
Thank you Videos and Service Ops ministries!
Thank you Cai Family!
& Thank you to my CG(s)!

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Because I knew my weaknesses early in life, I can have (more) strength for the future!