Serving in Phnom Penh Week 2, 3, and being home

Faith, World

It has been a month since we left Cambodia, and my memories of our experience are getting a little fuzzy. In the midst of luxury, it’s hard to recall what it’s like to walk bare footed among chicken poop.

On one of the days at the province church, the teachers organised a combined session for the children. It was Women’s Day (8 March) and in Cambodia, it’s recognised as a public holiday. The children from the different classes gathered for a time of games, songs, and learning. That gave us the opportunity to not only know the children better, but also to interact with the teachers.


Our last weekend in Phnom Penh was spent playing tourist in the city. We went to a crafts & food fair, which was set up not far away from Tuol Sleng genocide museum (also famously known as S21), and also visited the riverfront.



Many of the stalls were selling handmade items, but two businesses in particular stood out to me. I found Angkor Bullet Jewellery especially meaningful as they make beautiful wearable jewellery pieces from bullet casings and bomb shells collected across the country. The owner of the business, Chantha, told us that as a designer, he believed this was a way to show that Cambodia is rising up from the tragedy of its past.



The other business definitely worth a mention was L’Irrésistible, a brand of jams run by Action Cambodge Handicap. These jams are made and bottled by people with autism and intellectual disabilities. I happened upon this brand at a supermarket but didn’t know of its story until I stopped by their stall at the fair. The sale of these jams not only provide the people with jobs, but also help to sustain Action Cambodge Handicap, which offers these people a safe place to stay and work.

Later in the day, we made our way to the Royal Palace. We didn’t go in, but stayed outside where lots of local families were gathered on the lawn and benches. Hawkers came by peddling ice cream, balloons, snacks. Flocks of birds flew about in the air.

We took some photos and then crossed over to the riverfront.  We strolled along the Tonle Sap, passing families with kids, dating couples, and groups of young men playing Sepak Takraw.


Eventually, we came to the end of the beautiful footpath and found ourselves in front of a night market. The music was loud, the crowd was a giant writhing mass, but out of curiosity, we entered and discovered that all the way at the back of the market was this open-air courtyard flanked by food stalls on all sides. Ground sheets were already laid as an invitation for people to sit and eat. It looked like one huge picnic.


Over the next few days, we tried the food at different places, including a beer garden. I might do a separate post on the eateries and cafes we visited.

The last couple of days before we flew home was spent mainly at the province church. By this time, we had come to know the local teachers fairly well and I really liked them. The children had also begun to trust us and I often found myself on the receiving end of excited Khmer chatter, of which I did not understand. I had also grown comfortable with the rural environment and quite enjoyed the company of chickens scuttling about my feet.


I hope, by the grace of God, I have served the people well. And I hope I return soon.



It’s 2018!

Book matters, Faith, Our home

It has been a little too long since I blogged. Ever since R and I came back from Yangon, it has been busy busy busy. We packed 1,700 gem jars for the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair and exhibited over four days at said fair in October. I attended a missions conference, met with various people about my book, attended a couple of workshops and seminars, kept the deadlines for the editorial assignments I had accepted, and all these while, I was also keeping up with the progress of my book. It has been such a journey and I can’t quite believe that I can now say that the book is finally, officially, in the layout stage.

2017 has been quite a year. R and I got married! We also got our house at the same time. We went on honeymoon in Taiwan, attended church camp in Malacca, and went on a mission trip to Cambodia. I don’t know how we did it but we found time to clean up our house, settle in, and make it home. Barely two months after however, we were off again, this time to Yangon. I can only say, God was the one who blessed us with the strength and the opportunities to do so much.

It’s now the second week of 2018 and whatever I do, wherever I go this year, the Lord is with me. I’m thankful, content, and so very excited, all at once.

Cherishing the ‘now’


I find myself looking back on the past every now and then. Since I’m in a different church now, I don’t see my friends at the church I used to attend that often anymore. Just few weeks ago, I caught myself thinking this: If only I have a community here, like that back in my church.

I had probably thought this a couple of times before and my past resolve to “Let’s build a community” or “Let’s start something” was probably partly due to this thought. I just never realised it before. This was the first time that I caught myself thinking about it and being aware of it. And it seemed like it was because the Holy Spirit was revealing to me my true motivations.

I started to really think about the times I had with my group of friends back then – when I saw them at church every week, when we would all go for lunch, when we met for cell, and when we went off for retreat together every year. And I realised that there were many times I had been unhappy about something, pissed, upset, disappointed and I had secretly wished to be in a different community. I saw the deficits and wanted something better.

Now that I am no longer a regular member of that community, I miss being with them and wish I could meet them more often. 

(I’m such a terrible human being.)

But I learnt something… That’s who God is. He doesn’t reveal something to us to make us feel bad or guilty (like realising how self-serving my desire was), He does it so that we learn something. And He reveals it at the right time so that we draw closer to Him.

So I learnt that I simply need to cherish the place I’m currently at. Stop wishing for something better, stop feeling sorry for myself, and start living in the here and now.

It sounds so simple but honestly, it has never really been who I was. In many parts of my life, I was constantly looking either to the past or to someone else’s life. I was always comparing and feeling dissatisfied with what I had.

When I realised this, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see that I do have a community here. In fact, I meet them every week. I was trying to look for a community I wanted when God had already put these people on the same path as me. There are only a few of us and although I used to think the group was getting too small, I now see that it’s a great size for building stronger relationships. 

Before this, I have been asking God how we can build a community. And I believe God is now answering, “Right here. They are right here.”

The Sermon


On Sunday, the preacher Professor Freddy Boey talked about the Beatitudes.

The next day, Hoon passed us a book on the Sermon on the Mount.

The first line of the Beatitudes goes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Recognising that we need the Holy Spirit is the first step. It’s not the easiest thing to do. It’s about realising that what we need is more than what this world can offer.

And when we have tasted the goodness of the Holy Spirit, we can agree that He is not just more, but also better than anything this world can give.

Am I living in God’s Kingdom? Every day, do I recognise how much I need Him?

Countdown 19 days


A quarter of the year is over. Looking back, in December last year, I didn’t think I’d survive the job. Yet here I am.

I have all this while wondered what His purpose is for placing me here. I’ve always assumed that it was to reach out to a particular someone. It has also crossed my mind that perhaps it’s just to make money. After all, He gave me this position at a point where I needed to return to a full-time job. It was no doubt a reminder of His providence and then? I wasn’t sure. I haven’t been able to figure out why exactly I’m here. When work got rough, the lack of direction and purpose made me anxious and unhappy.

Yesterday, Elder Jeffrey Goh preached on the subject of being a slave to God. He recognised that some may have an issue being called a slave. Some have previously asked him, Aren’t we servants? Why do you use the word “slave”? He spent quite a bit of time explaining what it means to be a slave and emphasised that having been bought at a high price, we are now “slaves to righteousness”.

He said that some have come to him asking, Why did this bad thing happen to me? Why me?

Refraining from giving a cheeky “Why not,” he would instead ask them, “What is God’s will and purpose?”

“He wants to increase your faith,” he said, answering his own question. Are we willing for God to be silent? When He is silent, do we stay faithful? Do we remain as slaves to righteousness?

Perhaps I’ve got my answer. Maybe it’s just my faith that God wants to work on. When there’s seemingly no direction and purpose, do I trust Him? Do I allow my faith in Him to grow?

Hold your own cup

Faith, Quotes

Just yesterday, I came across this tweet by Pete Scazzero.

In the coming world, they will not ask me “Why were you not Moses?” They will ask me “Why were you not you?”

Today, the same author had another tweet.

No two lives are the same. We have to live our life, not someone else’s. We have to hold OUR OWN cup.

In the Bible, the cup often represents one’s “destiny” in life. It has been depicted to be judgement, distress (Ezekiel 23:33), God’s wrath (Jeremiah 25:15), God’s salvation (Psalm 116:13), even God himself (Psalm 16:5).

Psalm 23:5 says “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

In 1 Corinthians 10:21, it says “You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too”, where drinking from the cup seems to refer to partaking the life and nature of its owner.

Jesus was also heard praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42), asking His Father to “take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done”.

I’ve not studied this metaphor of the cup before. A little surprising, considering how commonly it is used. It will be interesting to see what I could learn from this. 

And a quarter passes…

Book matters, Faith, People

There’s just about a week left to the second quarter of 2016.

When the year started, I set out to work on four projects: my book; an online platform for the book; a young adults ministry in church, and my flower hobby-turn-business.

Since I started work in a full-time position in mid-February, I’m quite glad that these projects are, albeit a little slowly, still moving.

Over the past weekend, I had professional photos taken for my author profile picture. I also got to meet up with Vincent, a relationship coach whom I met at a workshop in January. He shared a couple of valuable ideas with me that I could use in my book.

I’ve got an Instagram account for my flower hobby-turn-business: check out @postaposy! And I’m in the midst of setting up a Tictail store.

Yesterday at BSF, Dora mentioned the significance of the Lord’s Prayer. We were talking about “hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17) and Jesus being the “bread of life” (John 6:35) when she brought up that, as per Anglican tradition, we recite the Lord’s Prayer saying:

“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

She shared that every day when she says these words, she is reminded that for each day, Jesus is enough for her. By holding on to Jesus each day, she has enough “bread” to sustain her through the day, no matter the circumstances.

That hit close to home. I realised that somehow I seemed to have forgotten that Jesus is the one who gives me the strength to overcome challenges. It seemed to have slipped my mind that I can rest in Him.

I’m thankful for that reminder.

A New Endeavour

Book matters, Faith

Instead of continuing with my freelance writer life (more like struggling writer life hurhur), I’m going back to full-time employment.

It’s actually not much of a surprise since -almost- everyone expects me to, although the question I now get is: How about your book?

Good question.

The first draft of the book is done. I’m currently doing corrections, re-writes, and re-organising certain sections.

So it isn’t exactly complete, and I will definitely need time to work on it, but there were reasons compelling enough for me to take on a full-time job, in particular, THIS full-time job.

The first thing that happened was that in November last year, R and I applied for a flat. This isn’t the reason that I accepted this job offer but it prompted me to look around for available positions that would give me a more stable pay cheque.

The second thing that happened was that my dad lost his job. Again, this isn’t the reason that I accepted the job offer. It was more like a nudge in the direction that I had started to step towards.

The third thing that happened was that I received positive replies from BOTH of the companies that I submitted my resume to. This does not happen to me any day. I have sent applications out before and heard nothing. So, to send two and hear from both was very encouraging.

The fourth thing that happened was that my former editor recommended me for a position that an editor-friend of hers was looking to fill. It was nearing Christmas by now and I didn’t think anyone would be keen to conduct any interviews. I was surprised to hear from the editor-friend just few days later and we scheduled to meet for a casual chat.

The fifth thing that happened was the calling to run an active Young Adults ministry in church. This will take up an entire blog post to explain so I’ll leave it for another time. In short, there were two main issues that arose from this: my English class on Sundays, and my insecurity over not being “gainfully employed”.

Then, 2016 began and I spent a week or two in a bit of a limbo before I realised that I couldn’t just be doing nothing while waiting for a job to fall into my lap. I should get started on my ideas, set up the business, work on my book, all as if I wouldn’t be getting a full-time job. Time flew by. Besides My Unique Child, there was Our Unique Stories and Post A Posy, with web addresses and email addresses all set up.

I was raring to go, and excited about starting these two new ventures alongside the book. But in the fourth week of January, the job offer came in.

Somehow I knew I was going to take it, but I was still a little conflicted when the offer actually came in. I had three amazing projects on my hand, and a fourth soon to begin (once approval was given by the pastor). Still, I accepted it, and the reason I did is simply because I believe that this job is God-given.

(In fact, all of my jobs have been divinely orchestrated but let’s just stick to the topic.)

1. There was no talk of expected salary during the interview with the big boss but the offer matched the expectations that I had talked to God about.

2. I now have no reason to be insecure over not being “gainfully employed” since I have just been given an excellent opportunity of being so.

3. This job came through favour. It was not of my effort and I cannot claim credit for it. Moreover, I had always been “secretly” envying people who got jobs through personal recommendations. I guess I have no excuse to indulge in the sin of my envy. God knows me entirely!!

4. I often talk about taking “a year” off to work on my book. I never actually took it literally, but I realised that come end-February, it would be exactly a year. And well, I guess if God is holding me to my word, I should keep my word.

So funny how God works huh.

I’ll be starting work in a week’s time. So much apprehension but I know God is with me and I have nothing to fear.


May 2016 be a year of courage


During the Watchnight service, Elder Leong shared from the book of Joshua about the Israelites being on the threshold of entering the Promised Land.

It seems like this has been a recurring theme throughout 2015. First in BSF, I learnt how the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land. At Youth Camp when the speaker Constance Kheng spoke on encountering a different aspect of God, Valerie prayed for me and told me that God does not go back on his word, and encouraged me to hold onto God’s promises. Two days later, Melody released a word for me, saying that God is my firm foundation and I need to step out. Finally, on the last day of 2015, Elder Leong challenged us to step out of our comfort zone and into the promises of God.

He reminded us of these words that God spoke to Joshua,

You and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot (Joshua 1:2-3, NIV)

Wow, EVERY place where I set my foot?! Such a tremendous promise!

In the English Standard Version (ESV), it is written: Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.


Speaking of foot, there’s no mistaking it. The message for me this new year is clear: It’s time to step out into God’s promises.

I will be strong and courageous, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.