It was a privilege to be at the inaugural Forbes Asia “30 under 30” Summit this week.

One of the amazing things which stood out was the consistent Asian narrative cited by many listees, about their parents being key to their journey of growth. One of the judges rightly pointed out, that this would be uncommon at the Forbes event in America.

While some parents had to uproot to foreign countries and struggle to provide their children with better opportunities, others played a part in instilling foundational Asian values in their lives which were key to their success today. Some parents earned a living making roti prata (an awesome kind of Indian street food), others who moved to western countries never mastered English. None of their sacrifices were ever glamorized, awarded, or put on the big screen.

Before the event ended, an older lady from Afghanistan went on stage to share about her initiative to help girls in Afghanistan go to school and get an education. In that context, this was absolutely taboo. When she gently probed the audience to share their impression of Afghan men, the words which came up were “dominating”, “tyrannical” and “dangerous”. Yet, these very same men were the fathers of the girls attending her school, in spite of death threats from the Taleban.

Amidst these amazing people, I felt like a fraud of course.

Nothing I have done has even come close to the world-changing impact that many have made. I might have had some tough choices about my career to make, but my life pales in comparison to the sacrifice, struggle and surrender of some of these outstanding individuals, who have laid down their lives for a cause bigger than themselves.

They risked their lives. And had parents who risked theirs for them, too.

Growing up, my father, who grew up in a village and suffered from malnourishment as a youth, always told me, “You have to make the most of every opportunity you have to give something useful back to society.

This is the tenacity which binds the Asian-family narrative which many of us grew up in. This is the nobility of our Asian parental heritage that laid the foundation for our lives today.

As much as I was privileged to be in that hall of 150 outstanding world change-makers aged under 30 (feeling like an odd-ball next to their entrepreneurial achievements), it blows my mind to think of the amazing parents, who were responsible for raising them.

This picture is for my Dad.


We thought she would die.

A year ago, frantic with panic and lost with hopelessness, we didn’t know how to help a newborn baby who was turning blue at a village hospital in Uganda. Today, because of God’s grace showing that He could work through broken vessels like us, baby Divine has turned a year old.


Remembering the full story here.


 “No matter how ‘qualified’ we think we are or need to be,

we will always face situations beyond ourselves.

In those trying times of helplessness,

it is not our own abilities, but our reliance on God’s wisdom and grace

which will provide the answers to our greatest fear.

God never asks us to give what we do not have.

What He asks of us, however, is a heart completely yielded to Him”


“Are you trying?”

For most things in life, trying seems to be glorified as part and parcel of the journey to success. Without sweat and tears, it almost seems unjustified for anyone to become successful. Sheer hard work, grit and pain has to be part of the equation.

Sure, God can be part of the big picture too. But more often than not, our part seems to play the magnified role.

Recently, I couldn’t help but notice how we’ve translated this to every part of our lives.

“Are you trying?”

The first time someone asked, I was taken aback. I didn’t know it was a question you could ask in public, and certainly not to an acquaintance! But as time went by, I realized how fascinated people can be by parts of our most private lives, and how inquisitive they can be.

I have had my fair share of questions and advice doled upon us every now and then. Thankfully, with my husband’s winsome smile and wit, he handles them all charmingly on my behalf.

Given my age and how much we’ve been travelling, I’ve never felt the sting of the question until lately, when more people I know have confided in me the pains, shame and stigma of being perceived as (gasp) barren.

“So when are you trying?”

“What are you waiting for?”

“Do you need some advice?”

As medical doctors, many of us are attuned to the heart-wrenching stories caught in between the lines. We know the stark contrast between couples who agonize over another unwanted pregnancy (“Oh no, my fourth!”) and the tears shed in darkness for couples who’ve tried everything including in-vitro fertilization and failed.

Not everything in life is an automated machine which translates effort into success.

I want to tell the other people who ask them these questions- Please. Leave. Them. Alone.

No, they don’t need you to tell them “it’ll be very soon”. They don’t need you to give them advice. They don’t need you to say, “Yea, children are a big blessing. When are yours coming?”

Very simply, it’s not your business.

I may not know exactly how they feel. But I do know that they did not choose their situation. I do know they tried. I do know it can really hurt, when people ask and probe and act like you didn’t try hard enough when in actual fact, it could be a medical condition or very simply, not God’s timing.

Two months ago, I had a glimpse into the pains of this private chapter of life, which is often hidden from the gaze of this watching world by one too many women.

I thought I was expecting.

My husband was certain, but we had to wait. Several painstaking days later, when the pregnancy kit showed otherwise, I was surprised at how crushed I was, how devastating the news was to me after we had pinned our hopes… until a colleague informed me that a urine test would be more accurate one more week later. Another painstaking week later, too traumatized to take another urine test, a kind colleague offered a blood test which would be more definite. When it was negative, I went completely numb. This time, it was definite, in spite of what we thought God was leading us to.

It gave me a glimpse into the world of those I knew who have been crushed month after month, with tear-filled mornings and tear-stained workdays.

In shock, I felt paralyzed. I didn’t want to go to work, talk to anyone pregnant or share about how I felt with anybody. I felt completely taken for a ride. I asked God why He put me through such an experience set up to mislead us. Surely, He knew that I thought I knew what I didn’t know at all.

Anger. Tears. Frustration.

One morning, however, something changed in me. I couldn’t explain it. I woke up having decided I was through with this- that a month of waiting, tears and wrestling with God wasn’t going to repeat itself again because it simply wasn’t His fault.

And. It wasn’t mine either.

This was not about me not doing the right things, reading the right books, picking up the right symptoms or about trying.

It wasn’t about me at all.

And if I believed that God was a good Father who gave good gifts, then why should I be sad, mad or upset with Him for not giving us a gift at a time I thought we would receive it?

You see, in spite of the roller-coaster of emotions I had that month, God never changed. His character never changed. He was constant.

So I decided I was through with that agony.

It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped praying about being a mother. It just means that whatever the outcome every month, I can rejoice, I can laugh, I can say, “God, you are good” because whatever the outcome, I know that God has His best timing, far better than I could ever plan in my life. That means that I should never be worried, be in a hurry, feel hurt or ashamed or belittled because we don’t have a child, yet. He decides whether or not. He decides when.

I am learning, that surrender doesn’t mean not praying, not hoping or not caring. It simply means saying, “God, you are God and I am not”. Surrender means letting go. It means not blaming ourselves. It means trusting God wholeheartedly that because He is essentially GOOD and withholds no good thing from us, I can let go. I can trust Him. Completely.

That means I never need to feel that sense of anxiety, rejection or devastation I felt over those trying weeks of waiting for the results that month, because any result would still mean He is Good and in control.

I am learning, that if we cannot surrender ourselves wholly to God at the point of conception, then it will only be an uphill task for us to be fully surrendered mothers, in our journey in motherhood. After all, as our child grows, there will be more and more for us to lay down and trust God for in his/her life. It never gets easier. The surrender has to start right from the beginning, before conception.

It’s not that I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want to have to explain when we are planning for a family and “how it’s going” because none of our four parents ask us that question. God knows, and He alone decides on the timing. If God is not worried about His timing for us, then why should anyone else be?

We pray, we wait, we continue to trust.

I am learning, that He has plenty of spiritual children for us to love, bless and mentor at the present. I am learning, that there’s no point moping or feeling sorry for ourselves, because God sees what we don’t. I am learning, that God desires us to keep hoping, praying, trusting and waiting in anticipation. Not everything is about trying and doing and acting upon the right things.

Some things belong wholly to God, just like everything else should.

So whatever your situation and whatever the expectations that others have imposed upon you, would you surrender it to God, trust Him and wait upon Him with me?

He is good God, and He has eternity in the palm of His hand.

If you’ve released it, if you’re praying, if you know that He is good, then you are no longer accountable to anybody’s anxiety, inquisitiveness or probing.

He is a good God who gives good gifts, in His good, good time.


Here’s wishing all mothers, and mothers-to-be

a very Blessed Mothers’ Day.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,

and He shall strengthen thine heart:

wait, I say, on the LORD.

  • – Psalm 27:14

I felt like a fool.

It wasn’t a new feeling. But sitting there at that point, I understood the Chinese saying of what “diulian” meant. Literally, it means having one’s “face” thrown on the floor, an expression to describe an undignified loss of face.

I suppose, the truth of the matter is this- that there will always come a time where our core values will be challenged, amidst the flux of this changing world. We go about each day trying to do our best to earn the favour of men. But when crunch time comes to make a decision that reflects who we are and what we stand for, are we afraid to go against the grain, even at the expense of looking silly?

I knew I did. At that point, I felt like I had lost all credibility.

After all, how was I going to explain my decision? That I was throwing away a perfectly amazing career opportunity for something as nebulous as “serving God”? What? Seriously? You giving THAT up, for what?

It’s happened before. But these situations don’t really go away for good, do they. One is constantly tested. The fact is- are we willing to surrender all, at all times, at all cost?

What is precious in the eyes of God, can often appear foolish in the eyes of the world.

I never quite saw the need to explain myself- why my perspective has changed so drastically. My career used to mean everything to me. Everything.  If I could reach the stars, why not?

When Cliff came into my life, my priorities changed. It wasn’t love. I didn’t even like him at first. But God challenged me- He asked me if I would be like this man, who understood the transience and brevity of life because of his cancer and transplant, if I was willing to surrender everything I held on to, if I would be willing to live for only what really mattered at the end of our lives.

That gripped me. It changed my worldview forever.

It was as if everything I had and stood for turned into ash. Thus commenced my journey of loss and release, letting go of what I had so strongly tied my identity to, but never brought me or anyone lasting joy or eternal purpose. Before we left for Africa, we sold and gave away things which were precious to us, because we saw that the truly precious things in life, are things you cannot see or wrap in a box.

Then I wrote “Savour”, a book challenging us about the true meaning of success. I thought I was through with this struggle.

I am learning, that as long as we want to hold true to ourselves, that there will always be times we will have to take a hit for what we believe in.

Yes, I understand it looks like a loss to my career. Yes, I understand the implications. Yes, I’ve discussed this with my husband.

No, I don’t feel like I’m taking a step back. No, it’s not a rash decision. No, it’s not “my sacrifice for him”, because it’s what we both feel God has called us to. It’s the best decision we can make at the moment- jointly. I’m not prepared to put our marriage or our lives on the line for a giant leap in my career.

Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No. No. No.

There are times we have to make decisions and we will seem foolish. There are times we might even be asked to explain ourselves, and it might not feel good.

But remember, that when Jesus went on the Cross, it never felt good, even though it was the will of the Father. The key is this, when you know what you’ve been called to do, just do it.

People see the awards I’ve got and think I’ve got it all, that I’ve got the path to success all sorted out. The truth is awards don’t matter. That’s right, they don’t. They don’t count for anything when we die, except turn to dust, rust and ashes.

What counts is truth. What counts is whether we lived our lives accountable to ourselves, to our community and to God. What counts is whether we lived a life filled with joy and meaning to give to others.

When I die, I want to be emptied of what I had to give for others, filled with joy and fulfillment that I led a life well-lived.

This is the life God’s challenged me to live for, and I’m going to live it.


“To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways,

not knowing what tomorrow may bring.

This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness,

but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.

We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.

As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us,

He begins to fill our lives with surprises.

When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief,

something within us dies.

That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him.

Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3).

The spiritual life is the life of a child.”

– Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest

When the ground under our feet began to shake last week, I knew it was the earthquake. Minutes later, we found out that the epicentre was in our district in Nepal. As we shuddered from the memories of the devastating earthquake which had released its full wrath one year ago, our Nepalese friends unleashed a stream of stories- of crumbling buildings, makeshift tents, and restless nights.

We were nervous, not knowing if this was the beginning of another massive quake, or just another one of the over 400 aftershocks.

A year ago when the vengeful April 2015 earthquake struck Nepal, my husband and I were in Uganda, far away from the convulsive tremors coming from the heart of the earth. Yet, as I saw pictures of the children I knew so fondly sleeping in tents for nearly two months in the winter, I was heartbroken.

This wasn’t –just- news. These were people we knew, children and friends who had changed my life.

I wondered if they were safe, or injured. Shortly after, my thoughts drifted to their Home, the Home which my first book, Kitesong, had sowed into ten years ago, when I was an awkward teenager wondering if life was really meaningful and if God really existed.

Had it crumbled? Was it now rubble and stone? With a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale right in the heart of the city where the Home was located, no one could be sure.

Ten years ago when I was 18, a 6-week stay with the children changed my worldview forever. God used a little dream I had to paint a picture book to raise $110’000 for a permanent home for these little ones. As I returned to visit them twice more after, they became a significant part of my life. That one incident shaped and continues to shape my belief in humanity and God.

But for the remaining 7 years, as I travelled on different mission trips, I didn’t have the opportunity to return.

I wondered- had all the work now been wasted? Was everything now cinders and ash? Should I have visited them earlier, more often? Would it have made a difference.

Sitting at the porch of our little African home, I was reminded of a verse:

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.(1 Cor. 3:13)

I was shaken.

The thought of a crumbled home sent tremors into my being. But really, it was the sobering reality that our work, tried by trials, fires and shakings, may crumble- which shook me to my core.

For all the fanfare and man’s praise that we receive on earth for our work, how much of it will really stand in eternity? I knew I stood guilty- all these years, I had received attention, awards and recognition for the work which really was the culmination of a collective effort, orchestrated by God. Now, would it stand, or would it perish?

I was reminded of a story, of a little old lady and a sterling evangelist in heaven, carrying a pile of works they had accomplished on earth. Before they entered the heavenly gates, however, their works went up in flames. The evangelist’s towering pile of works were burnt like tinder, leaving only a handful of works remaining. The little old lady’s pile, however, though much smaller initially compared to the evangelist’s, left behind a far greater pile of works, glistening like precious gold, purified from the fiery flames.

At the end of our lives, shall we not be judged by the purity of our motives, and the intents of our hearts, more than the showy, glamourous accomplishments applauded by the eyes of a spectating world.

At the end of the day, Who and what are we living for?

A few days camping in the fields turned into months for the children, due to the recurrent aftershocks. But I received news that the Home remained intact. Not a brick crumbled.

Eventually, all 30 children moved back into the Home. The 5th storey was hacked off to placate the neighbours, anxious that it might collapse on them in another earthquake.

Seven years ago at my last visit, the girls made me promise I would bring my boyfriend in future. I promised myself, that as soon as the opportunity availed itself, I would bring Cliff to see the work that began ten years ago, when God revealed His miraculous self to a broken 18-year old who was looking for hope and meaning in life.

Over the past ten days, as we accepted an invite to conduct a youth conference in Nepal, all the seismic unrest my heart had experienced came into divine alignment. We saw the smoggy city still framed by beautiful mountains, the Home now painted in emerald blue and yellow, and the children whom I had remembered, now growing up into blossoming young ladies.

They remembered me, as I remembered them.

As I sat down with some of the girls to take the exact same photo we had taken ten years ago, it was Cliff who reminded me, that this photo showed not merely the friendship that stood the test of time and distance, but the faithfulness of God to uphold not only the physical building, but to grow each and every one of these young girls into pillars of a palace, daughters of a better kingdom.

Those who had graduated from the Home were now living lives far better than if they had never entered those loving doors. Some would have died being abandoned, others mistreated. Two had married, one had delivered a child, one had become a nurse. Upon knowing we were visiting, they had travelled for hours back to the Home for to see us.

“Didi (big sister) Wai Jia, thank you for bringing Bhena (big brother) Cliff to see us. He is so funny, so much fun.”

We are living in days of uncertainty- days where earthquakes, fires and natural disasters will only become more common. I am reminded to cherish relationships which matter, and plough into works which will last for eternity.

When tested by shakings and fire, will we stand or fall?

I am certain that in my life, I have stumbled in pride, self-righteousness and vainglory, even when “doing good” in the eyes of men. But my prayer is that as I stand in reverence at the work that remains, that I will always remember that it is, and has always been, God who chooses us to partner in His work, never the other way around…

… such that when I see Him face to face, I shall not have a heapful of ashes, but precious gold, gold which has withstood the furnace of fire and the shakings of the earth, to return gloriously back to Him.

This is the Home

the Home, standing strong today


the same girls (nearly!), ten years apart

All Kids

All the girls in the Home, as of April 2016

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;

but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

With good will doing service,

as to God, and not to men.”

– Ephesians 6:6-7


My husband always told me, he fell in love with the girl who wrote “Kitesong”, a book detailing the journey of a girl looking for her lost kite, which helped to build a Home in Nepal for underprivileged girls in 2006. In my 2 subsequent visits, the girls would tell me, “Bring your future boyfriend next time ok?”

For years, I wanted to visit them again. After all, some of the girls had graduated, married, found jobs.

But in the midst of medical school, work and travelling to different places for missions, I could not find the opportunity to do so. Even when the doors opened this year, I hesitated- was I ready to “rough it out” again? Being back in Singapore from Uganda, had lulled me back into the comforts of city life.

This season, I am overcome with gratitude to have the opportunity to bring my husband, Cliff, to see the place where it all began, the people who changed my life, a glimpse into the God of miracles who started my journey of faith.

Thank you to the people of Nepal who’ve invited us to speak and teach.

Will share more on this space soon ?


Dear Readers,

I’m sorry for the long hiatus. It’s been an interesting season of waiting on God. I will be writing and sharing more soon!

I’m excited to share that through God’s amazing provision, we’ll be doing reprints of my first 3 books, “Kitesong”, “A Taste of Rainbow”, and “I Love You”.

We are hoping to add in some testimonies of people who’ve been blessed and encouraged by each of the books, either on our website, leaflets or in the books themselves.

If you have been blessed by any of my 4 books in some way, or know someone who has, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts and experience!

In a brief 100 words or less, send me your sharing (preferably specific to a particular book) at before 18 April 2016, and entitle your email as “Testimonial: (name of book”. E.g. “Testimonial: Kitesong”

Because of the personal nature of some of the sharings, we will be happy to use a pseudonym for privacy. Just indicate your age and brief background such as “A, 16 years, student”. Else, if you would like to provide your name and a suitable title such as “principal of XX school” or otherwise, please feel free to do so!

Thank you for considering this!

PS: Kindly note we may not be able to publish all the testimonies, but please know that each of them are great encouragements to us!

Love to hear from you! ?

Wai Jia

One of my favorite things about book discussions with youth, using “Savour”, is their uncanny ability to delve deep and come up insights I had never planned to convey, or thought of as I wrote & painted it.

As we ended the session with courageous musings filled with laughter and tears, a brave boy stood out with his authentic takeaway:

“I think the stars and flowers in your book remind me of Super Mario. You know when Mario gets a flower? He gets superpowers to shoot fireballs. But he still has to do the work, you know? It doesn’t mean he overcomes immediately.

And when Super Mario gets a Super-star, guess what? He can ‘chiong’ (speed) to the endpoint easily. He becomes invincible.

That’s my biggest takeaway from your talk today about living a purposeful life:

The flowers- they’re like our dreams and passions. Sometimes they are really hard to pursue. Even though it’s like a fireball we have, we still need to put in due effort to go against the grain.

The stars- well, they’re like the awards and accolades we attain in life. They can really help us ‘chiong’ and attain so-called success easily. But that’s not what life is all about- just collecting stars and awards to ‘win the game’.

So my greatest takeaway today is not to live life without savouring the flowers in life, and to be encouraged to keep trying, to keep pursuing my dreams even when the going gets tough… and to share the stars I have obtained along the way with others.”



At College of Alice and Peter Tan, NUS

When I saw the three consecutive missed calls on my phone, I panicked.

This had happened before, not once, but thrice. Each time it did, it always spelled the same thing- crisis.

After all, Grandpa Zhou, the elderly busker who earned a living playing the harmonica near to where we used to stay, did not like to trouble others. Since we returned from Africa and moved homes, we saw him far less. We kept in touch through phone calls, often through the kindheartedness of passers-by who would sometimes offer him a favour.

On the rare occasions he called, it always spelled trouble. Once, he had nearly fainted in a train station before being warded for pneumonia.

This time, I tried calling back, but no one was home.

As the various scenarios flashed through my head, I started to worry. What if he was critically ill or in need of help? What if he had fainted at home?

As a sense of helplessness engulfed me, I started to pray. Minutes later, I nearly dropped my phone as I saw the same number call me back.

“Hello? Zhou yeye (Grandpa Zhou)?”

“OH HALLOW, WEI JIA! I tried calling you! Just wanted to say THANK YOU!! I got your Hongbao (red packet) for Chinese New Year from your friend! So generous, so wanted to say THANK YOU!!”

I heaved a sigh of relief. His voice was exuberant.

“OH! I also wanted to ask you something!” he said in mandarin, in vigorous candour.

“You know, there’s this HUGE LOTTERY coming up! The BIGGEST TOTO LOTTERY EVER in Singapore’s history! I wanted to buy, but then I wanted to ask you, because somehow I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do! Like you know, if God would feel sad about it. ”

I was stunned.

Many studies explain why lotteries are disproportionately attractive to the poor- they offer them their best hope to correct their status, even though the chances are impossibly slim and further enslave them to the poverty they desperately wish to escape from.

“So, WEI JIA, what do you think? Can I buy? I don’t buy often! But THIS GRAND PRIZE IS HUUGGGE! You must understand, it’s my once-in-a-lifetime chance!”

I was speechless. Such was the childlike trust Grandpa Zhou placed in me, and such was his guileless simplicity to please a Father he had grown to love, and desire to obey.

“Oh,” I said. “Well, I’m not God, but I guess if I were in His shoes like a parent, and if my child bought the lottery because he wanted to win it, I might feel… a bit sad perhaps. I might feel my child thought that what I could provide him wasn’t enough. Like, maybe my child didn’t trust that I could provide for him. You know what I mean?

I was waiting for the typical argument to erupt. Years ago, I would spend hours talking to him, convincing him to see a doctor or take a bath, or clean out his home, which hoarded so many old and rusty possessions that there was hardly room to stand.

Nonetheless, years of friendship and his new-found faith in a heavenly Father who loved him, had established a new conduit of trust, and his heart received this with enthusiastic immediacy.

“You’re right,” he said. “ OK, I won’t buy then.”

He paused before continuing, “You know, God has been so good to me. Many angels have met my needs. Can I tell you something? Just last month before Chinese New Year, I really wanted a haircut.”

It is an age-old tradition to have a haircut before the Lunar New Year, to usher in a new season.

“Yea, but I couldn’t find any cheap barber. So I just prayed by myself and told God I really would like a cheap haircut. Within two weeks, a passer-by stopped to ask me if I might like a haircut. I asked her how much, and she said she was a hair-dresser so she gave me one for free! And she said she would continue doing so as long as I needed one and when she saw me! Yes, God is so good! He hears all our prayers!”

Tears welled up in my eyes. “Isn’t God good?” I asked.

“Yes! Yes! He is really real!”

Such are the simple prayers of a little old man by the dirty steps of a train station. Such was the simplicity of his faith. And such was the specificity and care of a big God who heard and answered his heart’s deepest prayers.

In the many years I’ve known Grandpa Zhou, especially since he believed in God, not one of his prayers have fallen to the ground.

“Oh yes, one more thing! I know you’re really busy so I’ll be quick! But I’m going to pray for you and Cliff, so you have some kids soon! Is that OK?”

Yes,” I said, with tears welling up. “Yes, sure. It’s so thoughtful of you.”

“OK, OK! I got to go now! Need to play the harmonica!! Thank you again for your red packet! I won’t buy the lottery! God is enough! He is enough for me!”

As he hung up, I thought of how far Grandpa Zhou had come. Once a bitter man who was angry with the world, he had developed an ingrained, obsessive-compulsive hoarding habit reflecting his desperation to own more, have more, perhaps so he could –be- more. Back then, he always repeated to me, “I am nobody, people look down on me.”

Now, set free from the poverty mind-set of desperation and self-striving, he is always cheerful. He always carries around a recent story to share about how good God has been to him.

On the outside, nothing has changed. He has grown older, a little more frail. After all, we are all wasting away. But on the inside, a slow but progressive transformation continues to take place, and I had the privilege to witness his culmination of faith in this significant milestone, to release his very valid human desires for wealth, in exchange for a spiritual inheritance he could not yet see.

In a renewed relationship with God, his perception of his own poverty disappeared, in understanding his kinship to a kingly Father who loved and cared for him, so intimately.

Indeed, God is enough for us, Grandpa Zhou. The heavenly inheritance in your heart, is surely beyond all the riches of our earthly life.

Finding God, is surely better than striking gold. <3

“… though our outward man perish,
yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
– 2 Cor. 4:16-18


*To those of you who see Grandpa Zhou, I know he would so appreciate you dropping by to say hello, or offer him a short phone call to say hi to me. Thank you for being angels to him. <3

Few things have weighed on my heart as heavily as this.

After all, was it not a few months ago when we mourned our founder’s death, and we joined our voices in unity and faith at the National Stadium to commit our hearts to Singapore’s future? As we crossed over our nation’s 50th birthday, it dawned upon me that it will be up to my generation and the next to bring Singapore to SG100.

The values, ethos and soul of our nation rests in our hands. Where else have you seen a youth so passionate about their ideals and restless for social good?

This week, I wrote to express my concerns and grief with respect to Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour. Below, is a part of what I wrote, with further elaborations on some of my personal thoughts.


“Although her concert organizer agreed to comply with the terms of license of Media Development Authority (MDA) not to offend any race or religion, it has maintained that she ‘will have the final say in how the show turns out’. Historically, she has consistently abused her artistic license to stir political and religious controversy abroad, invoking lawsuits, police and government concerns. This has happened not only in more conservative societies like the Middle East, but across Europe and America.”

But what has this really got to do with us? After all, she is an artist, characteristically a diva. Has the concert not already been classified as R18? Is not sufficient that her concert will be within the walls of the Sports Hub and not screened on public media?

When I saw the stage set-up, the exploitation of religious symbols and themes in provocative and derogatory ways for the purposes of theatrics and entertainment, I saw the elaborate display constructed from a heart of rebellion, determined to wound sentiments. It attacks communities which appreciate that social cohesion rests on harmony and mutual respect.

I wrote,

“I am particularly concerned about our youth and the bad example this sets. In my capacity as a humanitarian doctor, author and active speaker on several youth platforms, I was honoured to receive the Young Outstanding Singaporean Award. Society has given much to me and I consider it my responsibility to give back by inspiring our youth to be socially and morally-conscious future leaders. This is why I am raising this matter.”

Once, we never struggled with such performances.

“I am grateful for the times the Media Development Authority has withstood pressures of those preferring more liberal approaches to censorship, because of its eminent responsibility to protect the delicate balance of Singapore’s multi-religious, multi-racial society, and uphold values of respect and harmony.


I urge it to keep faith with the public by discharging its role with due consideration to our local mores, to act with principled resolution to uphold those values cherished by many Singaporeans, which have been so critical to our past, and will be key to our continued success. We should not fall prey to demands by a vocal sector to be “liberal” and “progressive” as many of us consider public indecency and blasphemy to be regressive.”

You may disagree that licensing such performers has the effect of undermining the fundamental values upon which Singapore is built, such as that of safeguarding racial and religious harmony, public decency, and building strong families. But by the time we realize its detrimental effects, it would be too late.

Some have been concerned about how I feel about the online trolling regarding my letter. Some asked if I’ve read the comments, what my response is, whether I will write back.

My answer is no. I’ve read a couple. I’m not interested in becoming embroiled in a fight. My intent was not to stir more controversy, or to prove I am right.

I wrote what I did because I felt an unshakeable, restless burden in my heart which grieved my spirit.

To the young people of my generation, let us remember that we are what we eat. What we imbibe, becomes who we are and defines the intangibles of the culture, ethos and soul of our country. A spring cannot bubble forth both clear and muddy waters.

To the artists who call me parochial, legalistic or overly conservative regarding “good art”, I will maintain that Art was created as an expression of the overflow of the human heart. Good art always seeks the greater good for others. Good art which inspires, uplifts and brings hope must thus be from a heart nurtured with values of purity, truth and goodness. What we consume, has the power to spark or corrupt our creativity.

To the youth who have attended the talks I’ve given and asked me what it means to make a difference, it is about having the courage to stand counter-culturally, against values which seek to rebel, provoke and cause controversy. It is being a steward of our nation, to safeguard values which, once lost, will be impossible to reclaim.

“Singapore has received global admiration for our ability to maintain a prudent equilibrium in preserving our multi-religious, multi-racial society.”

I am proud of our country.

Let us move away from the online bashing and return to the true heart of the matter- to hold steadfast to the very values that have built the foundation of our nation. These values are not merely “old-fashioned” or “traditional”- they are what will root us to a foundational rock of truth, in a world of tumultuous chaos and rebellion.

“Let us not compromise these values for the sake of entertainment which seeks to rebel and divide, rather than to uplift and unite.”


Let us be radicals, and not rebels, for this nation we love.