Monday, 26 January 2009

Xin Nian Kuai Le !!!

Here is wishing all visitors to our blog a
Blessed and Grace-filled Niu Year!!!

May the Golden Ox
plough through the arid areas of your life
so that the living water of Christ
may irrigate it and bring abundance of life!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

They died... so did Christ...

Goodday to all reading this post. In my earlier post, I mentioned I was in Cambodia in the December holidays. We managed to squeeze some time to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Former Khmer Rouge S21 Prison).

This was previously a school and the Khmer Rouge converted it into a prison for the torture and interrogation of prisoners for information. As many as 10,000 adults perished in this place, not counting the children also held here. It is hard to imagine an institute for learning would become a place where many innocent people lost their lives to the torture and harsh living conditions.

As I was walking through the place, looking at the exhibits and the mug-shots of the detained, I was reflecting on the passion and the death of Christ. These thousands of innocent Cambodians lost their lives in a power hungry and mindless regime. They died a horrible death, for some of them. They were detained against their will and tried to escape but had not much place to run to.

On the other hand, the Christ we worship gave up his Divine nature and chose to be with us, mere humans, living our lives, sharing our meals and feeling our emotions. When the time came, he gave himself up to be tortured and crucified on the cross, for a crime he was innocent of.

Circumstances can put us in situations we do not want, suffer under the hands of our tormentors, and even be executed. But how many of us can willingly give up our lives, knowing full well of the torture and death that we will be put through. This is the Christ we worship. This is the God who loves us so much that he will go through all that just to be the sacrificial lamb.

All I can say is, "WHAT A GREAT GOD WE HAVE !"

The most often asked question is.....

Wow! This week is the first week of lessons and meeting classmates. The most exchanged greeting is "Happy New Year" and the most asked question is "How's your holidays?" My answer to the question is "Tiring but Fulfilling!"

It is definitely a tiring holiday as barely a week after the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Seminary, I packed my bags and left for a week with the young people from my parish for a retreat in Malacca. Less than 48hrs after it ended, I was on a plane to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for a 6-day mission trip with the ACTs (Advent Cambodia Trips) from Queen of Peace Parish. Less than a week after I returned, it is Christmas, New Year and the start of Seminary year!! See how packed it is..... Phew!

This Cambodia mission trip is the second trip orgainsed by this parish and this year, almost 120 people signed up, with young and old and even a group of youths from St Vincent de Paul parish. We had the priviledge to have Fr Erbin, Fr Joseph Yao and Fr David Garcia with us in this trip.

What did we do there? The youth planned some lessons and taught the children in some of the schools run by the Salesian Sisters. Don't know how successful they were because of the language barrier, but all of us, teachers and students, definitely enjoyed ourselves. We also helped to distribute the lunches to the students.

As you can see in the picture, it is just a simple meal of rice and soup, maybe too simple for the majority of the children in Singapore, but this is a precious meal for these children, which may be the only decent meal they get in a day. I can still remember that there was a young child crying loudly when he approached the serving table to discover that the rice had finished. He must have thought that there was no more rice for him. Thankfully the kitchen had prepared more than enough for everyone.

I joined them for the lunch as well and though it was a simple meal, it was one of the best meals I had, and it really tasted good. The simple things in life......

Besides the teaching, there were also games planned. Hey! These are youths you know... young people with tremendous amount of energy...

The adults on the trip were busy for the first few days packing goodie bags for the children to be given during the Christmas Party and also some basic necessities (like rice, sugar, soap, canned food etc) for the poor villagers.

You can see some of the villagers queuing up to receive their 'goodie' bag as well. There was really a lot of hard work involved if you know the number of bags that were packed.

We also went to the Jesuit Vocational Training School and the Missionaries of Charity Home for HIV infected children and distributed some of the of the goodie bags to them.

Some of the children were so excited in receiving the presents that they opened them and enjoyed themselves with the contents immediately, as can be seen in the above snapshot.

We were also brought around to visit a small village.

The villagers have no tap water and relied on a pond filled with lotus plants, for their water needs. They will get water from this pond for their drinking and cooking. How fortunate for us to get drinkable water straight with a turn of our taps.

Was there mention of a Christmas party for the children? You remembered right. The School organised a Christmas party for the children and they put up performances and of course, the Singapore youths put up some items as well. There was also Santa Clause who was flew over all the way from Singapore! Don't really recognise him but he looks suspiciously familiar though...

Finally, here is a picture of part of the mural painted by the youths from Singapore.

Remember that Jesus is always waiting to welcome us into his arms like little children.

For more pictures, you can visit my FaceBook page to view them.