Category Archives: Simple Pleasures

Godliness with contentment is great gain; may God forbid me to take for granted the simple things in life.

Living vicariously through my in-law’s.

I have decided to take a mental break from preparing 14 messages (pray for me!) for this weekend’s Redeem Conference, next week’s youth camp at Elim Church and next weekend’s R-AGE Leaders Advance to record some fresh thoughts. Let’s see where this verbiage takes me…

A few times throughout the day, Huiyi will send me picture updates of Eden’s daily activities. She receives these pictures from her mother, who is Eden’s main caregiver from Tuesdays to Fridays.

And I have observed that more often than not, my typical replies to these lovely photos are, “I miss my family!” and “Love you so much!”, and not so much of responding to what Eden is actually doing in the photos.

Today, Eden’s 公公 and 嬷嬷 brought her to Jurong Bird Park. Eden looks so adorable in the photos and Huiyi commented that our baby girl “has such an awesome life”.

I wholeheartedly agreed with my wife. But there was a tinge of melancholy in my “Indeed!” reply.

As I thanked God for how blessed Eden is, a part of me yearns to be playing with her at the Bird Park instead of writing sermons in front of my laptop.

I found myself living vicariously through these daily photos.

I imagined myself taking those pictures and getting Eden to smile for the camera; I pictured myself pushing Eden in her stroller through the midday heat; I envisioned myself cradling Eden in my right arm, kissing her all over and littering her ears with, “Darling, Daddy loves you so much!”

我真的在某人身上实现梦想。

Yes, I was truly experiencing life with Eden in my imagination through the actions of my in-laws.

And it got me thinking about the irony of parenting in Singapore; it is as if we bring our children into this world to have them being cared for by other people, and for them to spend time away from us.

When we are younger and more energetic, we have to work to earn money for our livelihood, and be away from our children. But when we are older and less spritely, we have enough money and all the time in the world, but our children have also all grown up! Surely there’s a way around this tension that I haven’t yet discovered?

My mother-in-law commented a few months ago that she is so much more active in Eden’s life than in her own children’s stage of infancy. She also said that that statement holds true for my father-in-law.

Both Huiyi and I were cared for by our grandmothers; I believe many of us in Singapore were taken care of by our grandparents and that (good) tradition seems to pass on from generation to generation.

As much as Huiyi and I are grateful for the tremendous support that we receive from our parents, we desire so much more to be Eden’s main caregivers instead. We are, after all, her parents — I mean, who wants to spend time with her more than us?

But the reality is, I have a day job (which I am most thankful for, because I enjoy what I do for a living) and by keeping it, I am fulfilling the other part of being a father by providing for my family.

On weekdays, Huiyi and I will only have about five hours with Eden — two in the morning and three in the evening. That is why, as working parents, we cherish weekends so much.

And that is why I treasure my off days that much more now because that’s the exclusive time I get to spend with my beloved princess and create memories for the both of us. On Mondays, I do not have to live vicariously through images on a mobile phone.

Every precious moment with my daughter is locked into my heart forever. I will never give up anything for time with her.

Oh man, I am getting emotional writing this…

IMG_9088

Photo credits: Douglas Lin. Thank you for capturing this delightful moment.

 

Introducing Eden Tan // 陈晏…

On 18 March 2014 at 5:08pm, I received the greatest gift in the world — my precious baby girl. I’ll chronicle the epic labour process in another entry but today, I want to record a memoir of how my princess’ English and Chinese names came about.

Names mean a lot to me. A name carries identity, prophecy and destiny. And sometimes, it does feel like if you pick a good name, you’ve got half the battle won. You see, I selected “Asher” as my baptism name because it means “blessed, joyful and happy”, as well as “the most favoured one”.

As for our children, we’ve already shortlisted a number of English and Chinese names. The plan was to pick one that described the pregnancy journey. We’ve decided in the second trimester that our firstborn would be named “Eden”, because like her name suggests, she has brought us and others around us so much joy and delight. In Hebrew, it means “paradise” (she’s our utopia after all). And practically speaking, Eden is a simple, two-syllable, and easy-to-remember name.

Some years ago, I discovered the meaning of my surname, Chen (陈). While its most obvious meaning represents the sun (阳) that rises from the east (东), it’s actually also pronounced like a Hebrew word (חֵן) that means “loveliness, grace, and favour with God and men”. Not too shabby for one of the most common surnames in the world!

We’ve always wanted to name our offsprings after the fruit of the Spirit and since we had “love” and “joy” already working in Eden’s favour, we wanted to select a Chinese name that either described love or joy, or another of the remaining seven parts of the fruit of the Spirit.

As a typical ACS boy, I knew I needed some help with picking the right Chinese name for my daughter. So I approached a church friend, Charles, who’s studying for his PhD in Chinese history, who had very kindly agreed to help Huiyi and I pick a Chinese name for Eden. We met for coffee one afternoon and went through a few possibilities. I mentioned to him that I wanted Eden to have a single character (单名) in her Chinese name. So instead of the typical three characters, all my children’s Chinese names will only have two.

It’s not easy find a name that fits with the dialect and English “Tan” as well as the hanyupinyin “Chen” so we decided that Eden’s given name on her birth certificate will simply show “Eden Tan”, without her Chinese hanyupinyin name. After all, when you do introduce yourself, you don’t say, “My name is Joey Tan Chong Yi” or “你好, 我是Joey陈崇仪 but simply, “My name is Joey Tan” or, “我是陈晏”.

After an hour of tossing up possibilities of his initial suggestions and the Chinese names that I preferred, Charles and I went off topic and shared about the respective journeys we’ve each gone through watching our wives get pregnant. Many of which are very private so I’ll leave it that way. But as with several seasons of my life, God has always been teaching me about what it means to surrender… And everyone knows surrendering (to God) isn’t always the most pleasant or easy thing to do. I told Charles that through this process of surrendering, God has really taught me about His peace that surpasses all understanding — that assuring knowledge that He is with me and His presence is all I need.

That little sharing seemed to have ignited something in Charles’ eyes. He began sharing with me a little of his own journey into parenthood and how he’s learnt to trust God for all outcomes. Then he paused, and it was as if he rummaged through the virtual annuls of thousands of Chinese characters in his mind, then keyed one in on his cellphone. With aplomb, he made a suggestion…

“How about this character — 晏?”

Unsurprisingly, I did not recognise that Chinese character at all. And I’m confident that unless I’ve explained it to you before, or if you’re also studying for your Chinese history doctorate, chances are that this is the first time you’re seeing this character and you, like the rest of the modern world, have no idea how to pronounce “晏”.

“It’s pronounced as ‘yàn'”, he explained, “and it means ‘peace'”, he continued.

Upon seeing “晏” and perceiving its meaning, it became one of those moments for me. You know, those moments where you kind of know, this is it. I think Charles must have saw it in my eyes too. Like “Eden”, “晏” had a nice ring to it and immediately resonated with my heart. There was a certain sense of conviction about it. I knew there and then (barring consultation with my wife) that “晏” would be Eden’s (only) Chinese name. “Eden Tan” and “陈晏” — what a perfect combination of love, joy and peace.

Charles went on to explain that 晏 in one character, carries the same meaning as 平安 (peace) in two characters. Not only that, but it’s “peace that comes with day” because it’s “日” (day) + “安” (peace). To help me understand this, he explained that we sing “Silent Night, Holy Night” because we are looking forward to the peace that comes in the morning, knowing that we have survived yet another unknown night; that’s why we chorus “All is calm, all is bright” in the following line. It was like a double Eureka moment for me — new understanding of that Christmas carol and new knowledge to appreciate the profound meaning of this Chinese character. Another way of looking at 晏 is that everyday (日) Eden will be filled with peace (安) — 每日平安.

Charles also explained that 晏 is one of those rare Chinese characters that has not simplified its strokes over the centuries; 晏 in written the same way in both traditional (繁体字) and simplified (简体字) Chinese. So that means that it’s meaning has not changed through time! In addition, what I also liked about this character is how feminine it looks — don’t you think it looks really pretty?

And finally, I also saw a pictograph in 晏 — it looks like the sun (日) is forming a protection (宀) over my little girl (女)! And if I may stretch it and “Christianise” its meaning, it kind of looks like the Son is watching over my daughter! In summary, looking at 晏 was like marvelling at Eden for the first time — love at first sight.

Through bringing our baby girl to full-term, God has indeed brought us joy and delight, allowed us to experience His grace and love, and taught us the precious lesson of knowing His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Eden Tan, Mummy and Papa love you very much — beyond what you can imagine. Thank you for teaching us love, joy and peace even before you’ve met us. You’re going to be an awesome, and very precious daughter. What a privilege it is for Huiyi and I to be your parents.

陈晏, ILYTTE.

Baby Eden

Cafes in Singapore sorted by location.

To facilitate my cafe-hunting adventures with the missus, I’ve consolidated the names and addresses of existing cafes in Singapore and created an easily-accessible directory of cafes in Singapore grouped by locality. So thanks to referencing excellent food websites like ladyironchef and burpple, I am able to share this categorised list with you. Do let me know if there are any cafes I should be including or excluding. Hope you find this helpful! (:

Cafe

A cuppa mocha for life’s 摩擦…

Holland Village/Buona Vista

  1. Jimmy Monkey Cafe @ 9 one-north Gateway #01-51 (one-north residences) | C/D/F/$6-$18/$5
  2. Revolution Coffee @ 21 Media Circle #01-03A | CD
  3. Artisan Boulangerie @ 9 North Buona Vista Drive #01-12 (The Metropolis)
  4. Jamaica Blue @ 1 Vista Exchange Green #01-32 (The Star Vista) | CDF
  5. 93°C Bean & Leaf @ 8 Lorong Mambong | CD
  6. MU Parlour @ 16A Lorong Mambong
  7. Craft Bakery & Cafe @ 24A Lorong Mambong | CDF
  8. Hatched @ 267 Holland Avenue | CDF
  9. d’ Good Cafe @ 273 Holland Avenue | CDF
  10. Foster English Rose Cafe @ 277 Holland Avenue | CDF
  11. Park Cafe Bar @ 281 Holland Avenue #01-01
  12. Shebrews Cafe @ 365 Commonwealth Avenue (Queenstown Community Centre)
  13. Artease @ 500 Dover Road (Singapore Polytechnic Teaching Block 19)

Dempsey/Tanglin

  1. Roadhouse @ 13 Dempsey Road #01-07
  2. Jones the Grocer @ 12 Dempsey Road | CDF
  3. PS Cafe @ 28B Harding Road
  4. The Dempsey Brasserie @ Blk 7 Dempsey Road #01-03
  5. The White Rabbit @ 39C Harding Road
  6. Barracks Cafe House Dempsey @ 8D Dempsey Road #01-01 to 06
  7. House Dempsey @ 8D Dempsey Road #01-01 to 06
  8. Food For Thought Cafe @ 1 Cluny Road #B1-00 (Singapore Botanic Gardens)
  9. Assembly Coffee @ 26 Evans Road (Evans Lodge)
  10. Hatched @ 26 Evans Road #01-06 (Evans Lodge)
  11. Nassim Hill Bakery & Bistro @ 56 Tanglin Road (Tanglin Post Office)
  12. Spruce @ 320 Tanglin Road (Phoenix Park)

Bukit Timah/Dunearn

  1. Relish @ 501 Bukit Timah Road #02-01 (Cluny Court)
  2. Simply Bread @ 501 Bukit Timah Road #02-01 (Cluny Court) | CF
  3. Choupinette @ 607 Bukit Timah Road #01-01
  4. The Missing Pan @ 619D Bukit Timah Road #01/02-01 (Coronation Plaza)
  5. The Living Cafe @ 779 Bukit Timah Road
  6. Little Diner @ 789 Bukit Timah Road
  7. Vicky’s Cakes & The Coffee Shack @ 833 Bukit Timah Road #01-07 (Royaville)
  8. Simply Bread @ 1 Fifth Avenue #01-03 (Guthrie House) | CF
  9. Baker & Cook @ 77 Hillcrest Road
  10. Dutch Colony Coffee Co @ 200 Turf Club Road Stall #67-68 (The Grandstand)
  11. Riders Cafe @ 51 Fairways Drive (Bukit Timah Saddle Club)
  12. Marmalade Pantry @ 55 Fairways Drive

Upper Bukit Timah/West

  1. Lynn’s Cake & Coffee @ 11 Eng Kong Terrace
  2. Necessary Provisions Cafe @ 21 Eng Kong Terrace
  3. Carpenter & Cook @ 19 Lorong Kilat #01-06
  4. Nook DIY House of Pancakes @ 21 Lorong Kilat #01-03
  5. Spruce @ 274 Upper Bukit Timah Road
  6. W.39 Bistro @ Jalan Mas Puteh
  7. Cupplets @ 535 Clementi Road (Ngee Ann Polytechnic Block 16)
  8. Paris Baguette Cafe @ 50 Jurong Gateway Road #02-20 (JEM)
  9. Humble Origins @ Kent Ridge Drive (NUS FASS, next to LT12)
  10. Artease @ 14 Nanyang Drive (NTU School of Humanities)
Tiong Bahru
  1. The Orange Thimble @ 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-68
  2. Caffe Pralet @ 17 Eng Hoon Street #01-03/04 (Eng Hoon Mansions)
  3. Drips Bakery Cafe @ 82 Tiong Poh Road #01-05
  4. Flock Cafe @ 78 Moh Guan Terrace #01-25
  5. Forty Hands @ 78 Yong Siak Street #01-12
  6. Open Door Policy @ 19 Yong Siak Street
  7. PoTeaTo @ 78 Yong Siak Street
  8. Tiong Bahru Bakery @ 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70
  9. The Dispensary @ 69 Tiong Bahru Road
  10. The Providore Warehouse @ 315 Outram Road 05-03 (Tan Boon Liat Building)

Bukit Merah

  1. Workshop @ 121 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-06
  2. Pan Delights @ 161 Bukit Merah Central, #01-3725
  3. The Bakery Chef @ 161 Bukit Merah Central #01-3711
  4. Butterscotch Cafe @ 164 Bukit Merah Central #01-3625
  5. Artisan Boulangerie @ 1 Kim Seng Promenade #01-23 (Great World City)

Everton Park/Kampong Bahru

  1. OKB @ 1 Kampong Bahru Rd
  2. Strangers’ Reunion @ 37 Kampong Bahru Road
  3. Highlander Coffee @ 49 Kampong Bahru Road
  4. Just Want Coffee @ 1 Everton Park
  5. Audacious Cakery @ 2 Everton Park #01-61
  6. Grin Affair @ 3 Everton Park #01-77A
  7. The Provision Shop @ 3 Everton Park #01-79
  8. Nylon Coffee Roasters @ 4 Everton Park #01-40
  9. Cozy Coffee Corner @ 4 Everton Park #01-50
  10. Mapleloft Cafe @ 101 Cantonment Road #01-02 (Tanjong Pagar Community Club)

Chinatown/Outram/Clarke Quay

  1. Oriole Coffee Roasters @ 10 Jiak Chuan Road
  2. The Reading Room @ 19 Bukit Pasoh Road
  3. Selfish Gene Cafe @ 40 Craig Road
  4. The Plain @ 50 Craig Road
  5. Department of Caffeine @ 15 Duxton Road
  6. Group Therapy Cafe @ 49 Duxton Road
  7. Flor Patisserie @ 2 Duxton Hill #01-01
  8. Bistro Soori @ 2 Teck Lim Road
  9. Glück Bistro Express @ 26 Teck Lim Road
  10. Antoniette @ 33 Erskine Road #01-02/03 (Scarlet Hotel)
  11. The Loft Cafe @ 268A South Bridge Road
  12. Coffee Tea & Company @ 133 New Bridge Road #B1-44 (Chinatown Point)
  13. RONIN @ 17 Hong Kong Street

Tanjong Pagar

  1. Cafe Gavroche @ 69 Tras Street
  2. Kiasu Espresso @ 100 Tras Street #01-03/04 (100 AM)
  3. Okada Coffee @ 100 Tras Street #03-23 (100 AM)
  4. Cake Spade @ 1 Tras Link #01-06 (Orchid Hotel)
  5. SPRMRKT @ 2 McCallum Street
  6. 6oz Espresso Bar @ 20 McCallum Street #01-K1 (Tokio Marine Centre)
  7. PS Cafe @ 45 Ann Siang Road #02-02
  8. Quarter to Three @ 88 Tanjong Pagar Road
  9. Drury Lane Cafe @ 94 Tanjong Pagar Road
  10. ReStore Cafe @ 124 Tanjong Pagar Road
  11. Artease @ 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-35

Raffles Place

  1. Jamaica Blue @ 1 Raffles Place #01-62 (One Raffles Place Tower 2)
  2. Club Street Social @ 5 Gemmill Lane
  3. Shots Cafe @ 90 Club Street
  4. The Muffinry @ 112 Telok Ayer Street
  5. Sarnies Cafe @ 136 Telok Ayer Street
  6. Sophie Bakery @ 167 Telok Ayer Street
  7. Coffeesmith @ 62 Collyer Quay #02-11
  8. Jewel Coffee @ 1 Shenton Way #01-07
  9. 8 Stanley Street @ 8 Stanley Street
  10. Bar Bar Black Sheep @ 55 Boat Quay
  11. Artisan Boulangerie @ 12 Marina View #01-02 (Asia Square Tower 2)
  12. Artease @ 3 Phillip Street #01-01
River Valley
  1. The Book Cafe @ 20 Martin Road #01-02 (Seng Kee Building)
  2. Baker & Cook @ 38A Martin Road #01-01
  3. Common Man Coffee Roasters @ 22 Martin Road #01-00
  4. Laurent’s Cafe & Chocolate Bar @ 80 Mohammad Sultan Road #01-11
  5. Kith Cafe @ 7 Rodyk Street #01-28
  6. Toby’s Estate @ 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04
  7. eM by the River @ 1 Nanson Road #01-05 (The Gallery Hotel)
  8. Hummerstons @ 11 Unity Street #02-14 (Robertson Walk)
  9. The Fabulous Baker Boy @ 70 River Valley Road #01-15 (The Foothills)
  10. Five and Dime @ 297 River Valley Road
  11. Swirl Art Cafe @ 417 River Valley Road
  12. Croute @ 491 River Valley Road

Robertson Quay

  1. Epicurious Cafe @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-02
  2. Smitten Cafe @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-11
  3. Boomarang @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-15
  4. Anthesis @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-01
  5. The Merry Men @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-02
  6. Bar Bar Black Sheep @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-04
South
  1. Kith Cafe @ 31 Ocean Way Quayside Isle #01-08 (Sentosa Cove)
  2. Artisan Boulangerie @ 1 Harbourfront Walk #01-163/164 (Vivo City)
  3. Prive Bakery Cafe @ 2 Keppel Bay Vista Ground Floor (Keppel Bay Marina)
  4. The Marshmallow Tree @ 46 Telok Blangah Drive #01-85
  5. Eco Gourmet Cafe @ 30 Labrador Villa Road
  6. ROOM @ 460 Alexandra Road #01-18 (Alexandra Retail Centre)
Scotts/Orchard
  1. Wild Honey @ 6 Scotts Road Level 3 (Scotts Square)
  2. Antoniette @ 390 Orchard Road B1-08/09/10C (Palais Renaissance)
  3. PS Cafe @ 390 Orchard Road #02-09A (Palais Renaissance)
  4. Marmalade Pantry @ 2 Orchard Turn #03-22 (ION)
  5. Paris Baguette Cafe @ 435 Orchard Road #02-48/53 (Wisma Atria)
  6. Pique Nique @ 391A Orchard Road #B1-01 (Ngee Ann City)
  7. Marmalade Toast @ #02-11 391 Orchard Road (Ngee Ann City)
  8. The Providore @ 333A Orchard Road #02-05 (Mandarin Gallery)
  9. Antoniette @ 333A Orchard Road #02-33/34 (Mandarin Gallery)
  10. Wild Honey @ 333A Orchard Road #03-02 (Mandarin Gallery)
  11. Jones the Grocer @ 333A Orchard Road #04-21/23 (Mandarin Gallery)

Somerset/Dhoby Gaut

  1. Artease @ 8 Grange Road #01-03 (Cathay Cineleisure Orchard)
  2. Oriole Cafe & Bar @ 96 Somerset Road #01-01 (Pan Pacific Serviced Suites)
  3. KPO Cafe & Bar @ 1 Killiney Road (Killney Post Office)
  4. Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux @ 57 Killiney Road
  5. Artisan Boulangerie @ 118 Killiney Road #01-01
  6. Myartspace Cafe @ 31 Orchard Road (Istana Park)
  7. Nana’s Green Tea @ 68 Orchard Road #03-80/81/82 (Plaza Singapura)
  8. Hoshino Coffee @ 68 Orchard Road #03-84 (Plaza Singapura)
  9. Createaf Waffles @ 2 Handy Road #01-02 (The Cathay)
  10. Kith Cafe @ 9 Penang Road #01-01E (Park Mall)
  11. Wild Rocket at Mount Emily @ 10A Upper Wilkie Road GF (Hangout @ Mount Emily)

City Hall/Bras Basah

  1. Fine Palate Cafe @ 51 Waterloo Street #01-04/05
  2. Food For Thought @ 8 Queen Street
  3. The Basement Cafe @ 80 Stamford Road #B1-62 (Singapore Management University)
  4. Food For Thought @ 93 Stamford Road #01-04/05 (National Museum)
  5. Tiong Bahru Bakery @ 252 North Bridge Road #B1-11/12 (Raffles City Shopping Centre)
  6. Commune Cafe & Bistro @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #02-50 (Millennia Walk)
  7. Patisserie G @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-40 (Millennia Walk)
  8. Tart Blanc @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-102 (Millennia Walk)
  9. Cups N Canvas @ 139 Selegie Road
  10. Strictly Pancakes @ 44A Prinsep Street
  11. Hungry Chimps @ 64A Prinsep Street #02-01
  12. Lowercase @ 1 McNally Street Block D #01-01
  13. Temporium @ 72-74 Dunlop Street
Bugis/Arab Street

  1. Artichoke Cafe @ 161 Middle Road
  2. I Am @ 674 North Bridge Road #01-01
  3. Artistry @ 17 Jalan Pinang
  4. Espressolab @ 13 Bali Lane
  5. Maison Ikkoku @ 20 Kandahar Street (Heritage Centre)
  6. Dong Po Colonial Cafe @ 56 Kandahar Street
  7. Working Title @ 48 Arab Street
  8. CAD Cafe @ 23 Haji Lane
  9. Symmetry @ 9 Jalan Kubor #01-01
  10. La Marelle Cafe & Boutique @ 25A Baghdad Street
  11. A for Arbite @ 28 Aliwal Street #01-01 (Aliwal Arts Centre)
  12. EatPlayLove Cafe @ 28 Aliwal Street #01-07 (Aliwal Arts Centre)

Lavender/Jalan Besar

  1. Tolido’s Espresso Nook @ 462 Crawford Lane
  2. The Coffee Shot @ 103 Lavender Street
  3. Butter Studio @ 147 Jalan Besar
  4. Suprette @ 383 Jalan Besar (Kam Leng Hotel)
  5. The Tiramisu Hero Cafe @ 121 Tyrwhitt Road
  6. Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar @ 150 Tyrwhitt Road
  7. Antoinette @ 30 Penhas Road
  8. The Bravery @ 66 Horne Road
  9. Windowsill in the Woods @ 78 Horne Road

Novena/Balestier

  1. L’etoile Cafe @ 160 Owen Road
  2. Cakes Literally @ 138 Owen Road
  3. Jewel Cafe and Bar @ 129 Rangoon Road
  4. The Little Prince Cafe @ 62 Somme Road #01-03
  5. The Sweet Movement @ 62 Somme Road #01-01
  6. La Ristrettos @ 10 Sinaran Drive #08-37 (Novena Medical Centre)
  7. Wheeler’s Yard @ 28 Lorong Ampas

Thomson

  1. Little Part 1 Cafe @ 15 Jasmine Road (Adelphi Park Estate)
  2. Wafflelicious @ 21 Upper Thomson Road
  3. Little Pancakes @ 200 Upper Thomson Road #01-04 (Thomson Imperial Court)
  4. Old School Delights @ 215M Upper Thompson Road
  5. Habitat Coffee @ 233 Upper Thomson Road
  6. Salted Caramel @ 246 Upper Thomson Road
  7. OZ Specialty Coffee @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-13 (Thomson V Two)
  8. Fluffy White Cloud Dream Cafe @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-19 (Thomson V Two)
  9. November 8 Cafe @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-30 (Thomson V Two)
  10. Yahava Koffee @ 4 Jalan Gelenggang

Serangoon/North

  1. Cremier @ 128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-835
  2. GRUB @ 510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
  3. The Cornerstone @ 1380 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
  4. Canopy Garden Dining & Bar @ 1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
  5. Lola’s Cafe @ 5 Simon Road
  6. Arbite Cafe @ 66A Serangoon Garden Way
  7. Artease @ 261 Serangoon Central #01-29
  8. Ciel Patisserie @ 124 Hougang Avenue 1 #01-1444
  9. Chillax Massage Cafe @ 28 Maju Avenue Level 1
  10. Ice Edge Cafe @ 2 Kovan Road
  11. Hatter Street @ 212 Hougang Street 21 #01-333
  12. Rokeby Cafe @ 15-9 Jalan Riang
  13. Wimbly Lu @ 15-2 Jalan Riang
  14. The Coffee Daily @ 75 Brighton Crescent
  15. Sun Ray Cafe @ 79 Brighton Crescent

Kallang/Katong/East Coast

  1. Backstage Cafe @ 158 Kallang Way
  2. Maple & Market @ 34 Cassia Crescent #01-82
  3. Loysel’s Toy Cafe @ 66 Kampong Bugis #01-01 (Sam Tat Building)
  4. Brawn and Brains @ 100 Guillemard Road #01-07 (Singapore Badminton Hall)
  5. Cafe Melba @ 90 Goodman Road #01-56 (Block N @ Goodman Arts Centre)
  6. The Humble Loaf @ 865 Mountbatten Road #B1-92 (Katong Shopping Centre)
  7. Penny University @ 402 East Coast Road
  8. Oh Deli @ 421 East Coast Road
  9. British Hainan @ 75 Carpmael Road

East

  1. D’Zerts Cafe @ 30 Jalan Pari Burong (Simpang Bedok)
  2. To-gather Cafe @ 84 Bedok North Street 4 #01-27
  3. Milk and Honey Gelato @ 86 Bedok North Street 4 #01-179
  4. Sugarcraft Atelier @ 212 Changi Road
  5. Rice & Fries @ 484 Changi Road
  6. Doggiestyle Cafe @ 496 Changi Road 
  7. Lots Gourmet @ 965A Upper Changi Road North
  8. The Bark Cafe @ 1000 Upper Changi Road North
  9. The Garden Slug @ 55 Lorong L Telok Kurau #01-59/61 (Bright Centre)
  10. 1TwentySix @ 902 East Coast Parkway Blk E #01-26 (Playground @ Big Splash)
  11. Chock Full Of Beans @ 4 Changi Village Road #01-2090
  12. Eggs & Berries @ 5 Changi Business Park Central 1#01-37/38 (Changi City Point)
  13. Table Manners @ 5 Changi Business Park Central 1 #01-68/69 (Changi City Point)
  14. The Coastal Settlement @ 200 Netheravon Road

“I don’t think I’m interested, but can I pray for you?”

As I work in a church, my opportunities to meet non-believers are limited. I asked God to show me new ways to evangelise and I was inspired to redeem telemarketing for His glory. So I told myself that instead of rudely and curtly putting down the phone whenever I get a sales call, I will ask if I could pray for the person on the line with me instead. After all, this idea had been on my mind for a while now.

My maiden attempt took place a couple of weeks ago. I was on the way to pick up my wife from work and I got a call from a dude wanting to sell me insurance. I told the Lord that morning that I’d definitely step out in faith to do it. So I put him on speaker, listened to him make that sales pitch then I asked him for his name, and went for it.

“Hi Sam, could I ask you if I could do something crazy? Can I pray for you?” I tried to sound as natural as I could.

“Oh… Sure…”, he said politely, probably not wanting to offend a potential client.

I went ahead and prayed a generic, unscripted and spontaneous prayer of blessing over Sam. And that one day, he would come to know God for himself. When we put down the phone, he actually signed off with, “God bless you, Sir”. To which I said, “God loves you, Sam!”

I was so fired up by that random four-minute conversation that I decided to pen down different types of prayers for different types of phone calls. So I composed word-for-word prayers for insurance, recruitment and credit cards sales calls. And boy was I excited to use it!

Two weeks passed and I, surprisingly, didn’t get any calls. For the first time, I was actually disappointed nobody wanted to sell me anything or recruit me to join their company!

Until this evening.

I received a sales call from a telemarketer called Catherine. She wanted me to buy a savings plan from her bank. When I politely refused her offer and asked if I could pray for her, she was surprised. She said she wasn’t a Christian but I said I could still pray for her to bless her.

She must have been surprised when I began to pray out loud. “Heavenly Father, I may not have purchased a savings plan from Catherine but I pray one day she will come to see that You’re the only savings plan she needs. May you give her success in her next sales call and help her to know the only one who can save her. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

It was almost as if I had caught her off-guard!

Then I told her that since she has my number, she could call me anytime if she ever wanted to know my kind of savings plan.

Now, I’m looking forward to the next call I receive. I am praying that these small acts of randomness will open the large doors of redemption. Since they’re stuck on the phone with me, I might as well stick something in their minds for them to remember. I’m believing by faith that these two to four minute conversations will one day change destinies. Join me as I redeem telemarketers one by one!

top ten ways to respond to haze.

Instead of lamenting over the Singapore haze situation and pouring out my woes on social media (which adds zero value to this pseudo national crisis IMHO), I found ten ways to be thankful for the wind beneath my wings…

  1. The last time Singapore had such unhealthy PSI readings was in October 2006 (I think). Let’s be thankful that we’ve enjoyed clear skies for nearly seven years!
  2. In moments like these, you should be pleased that you’re not in Sumatra or any of the northern Indonesian islands – it could be been far worse!
  3. Isn’t it good that at least Singapore has a tropical climate where rain could come anytime to wash the haze away? Places in summer now (especially desert places) won’t even smell precipitation for weeks!
  4. Let’s rejoice that that Singapore’s transportation system is nearly 100% air-conditioned; when I was a teenager, buses were ventilated by natural wind! And if you’re a car owner, be contented for your own set of wheels and instead of contending with the smoke while commuting – imagine those who are cycling!
  5. It’s a good sign that lesser people (especially teenagers) are on the streets because they’d rather be indoors, whether at home, in the office or in malls – out of the streets, out of trouble!
  6. Let’s be relieved that at least everyone in Singapore is united by the same public enemy – instead of population, politics or (gender) preference issues!
  7. Believe it or not, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to us in the way that He led the Israelites through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud and fire – sounds like concentrated haze in a column to me!
  8. For all you photographers out there, let’s get trigger happy for this is the only time where you can capture pictures with a natural “smoke out” effect without using any filter!
  9. For those who aspire to be ninjas, this is your time to bring out your face masks and actually look socially acceptable – when else would you get away with it!?
  10. And finally, if this situations worsens, the government might start ordering people to stay indoors to avoid the haze – I can hear students and national servicemen cheering already!
Perfect skies at Lazarus Island, circa November 2012.

Perfect weather at Lazarus Island, circa November 2012.

Lent 08: there’s no substitute for relationships.

I met up with two of my closest friends today – Lionel Koh over lunch and Joel Tay over a late night chat.

There was no need for airs or icebreakers. We just dived straight into a heart-to-heart talk, being as honest and straightforward as we knew how to, without the fear of being judged. I am thankful that God has blessed me with buddies whom I can be truly be myself with.

It’s tiring (sometimes, honestly speaking) when you relate to people as a leader or pastor or mentor. It’s refreshing to just be Joey for a change, to be among people who grew up and will grow old with me. The older you get, the fewer they get.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. — Proverbs 17:17

Pray for me, for I’m losing sight of the goals of my Lent. I must persevere… I must stay focused. I want to experience that breakthrough.

Lent 06: this is why I love my job.

I’ve said this many times – I have a dream job.

I still pinch myself every morning because God has given me the privilege of being the youth pastor of the youth group that turned my life around. And because of indebtedness towards this youth ministry, work never feels like work as it is something I’d have done anyway.

Huiyi and I wanted to start a tradition in R-AGE – a 开工餐 at the start of the year to kick-off the year of ministry. I gathered those who were working together with me as full-time staff (my ministry interns) as well as those in my Think Tank (key leaders in my strategic team). These folks are critical to the operations, leadership and growth of the youth ministry.

So after dinner last night, my wife and I went to Sheng Siong Supermarket and bought over 20 different ingredients for the steamboat dinner that we were hosting tonight. There was enough food to feed a small army. We told ourselves to go all out to bless the people who go all out to bless the young people. We wanted the eight of them to feel loved and like they deserved nothing but the best.

Together with my awesome mother-in-law (who kindly and generously offered me her time and energy), I spent most parts of today preparing the food. I think she put in the most work for this steamboat – she prepared the soup broth, marinated the meats and chopped the vegetables. As I ate lunch and did a little grocery shopping with her earlier today, I felt so incredibly blessed. It is God’s grace that I’ve found favour with my mum-in-law, and I am grateful.

And I realised that my wife and I are like Martha and Mary respectively – you need both types when hosting a gathering. She is amazing – she helped me clean up everything when we finished dinner – and this after a full day of work. I am blessed indeed! Darling, you’re a wonderful pastor’s wife – thank you for being a part of and embracing my ministry and calling as your ministry and calling. (:

The 10 of us ate to our hearts’ content and had a great evening together. It’s truly a blessing to serve the Lord alongside brothers and sisters whom you like and love. These young men and women are like my family. I cannot imagine leading the youth ministry without them by my side. I also cannot imagine R-AGE without them.

Ministry is all about relationships indeed. I thank God for being a part of these God-given relationships and the privilege to do life with them.

2013开工餐

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