Well, it's been quite a while since I last wrote an entry here. Not that there have been a lack of “chilli and lime” but because I really couldn't find the time. So now that I'm on a retreat, I thought perhaps it's time to share what's been spicing up my life since I last posted two years or so ago!
After I returned to Singapore from Kenya, I was assigned the role as “superior” of our community. It was a role that filled me with trepidation as I knew it would be a great challenge to be a “servant leader” of a group of women, most of whom are older than me. But with faith and an inner voice from the Lord during my prayer time saying “fear not, just focus on loving the Sisters,” I said my “yes” kinda reluctantly. It hasn't been easy but I'm grateful to my Sisters for their faith in me, despite my limitations and shortcomings. Apart from the affairs of our community, an added challenge for us since the middle of last year is to find and fund a new convent as the lease on our current premise is expiring. We were initially informed in May last year that the lease would expire at the end of this year (Dec 2015) but thankfully, it has been extended now to April 2017 which gives us a little more time to search for a new premise. So we have been busy fundraising (more details on our website www.paulines.org.sg). Last year as part of our fundraising activities, we came up with a short video appeal:
and to express our gratitude to our benefactors during a fundraising lunch, three of us in the community rendered a song and dance number. (If you have been following this blog, you may recognise the song.)
Our first fundraising event for this year is an Easter dinner.
This year also happens to be the Centenary of our congregation so we have lined up a few celebratory events including our Centenary Mass (June 13), a Centennial Dinner (Aug 15) and a Centenary Concert (Nov). Please pray for these events and for those in Singapore, I hope to count on your presence and support! :-)
Highlights of a more personal nature since I last posted include having breakfast with my all time favourite singer-songwriter, Suzanne Vega. Suzanne was in Singapore last April 2014 and I was simply wowed over by her gracious invitation to have breakfast with her the morning of her concert. How often do you get to share a meal let alone enjoy a tête-à-tête over an hour with your idol?! A great privilege for the blessed few. While waiting for Suzanne, I felt a little nervous. Then she appeared and her warm greeting put me immediately at ease. Soon we were chatting like old friends. It was of course our conversation more than the food which I most cherish. Indeed, it will an unforgettable morning which I will treasure for life. Suzanne continues to inspire me in more ways than one. Her concert (promoted by Greenhorn Productions) was simply magical. (My FB album & mini review, Marguerita Tan's review).
Another awesome moment was when the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Finals inaugrated in Singapore last October. I happened to be on home leave and read about it. Professional tennnis on our very shores! I had been somewhat out of touch with the tennis scene for some time now (since I entered the convent actually, which is over 20 years!). However, I have a good pal who spends her free time watching tennis. So I inquired if she was interested to watch some “live” tennis with me. She was not only keen but she even treated me to a day's ticket. We watched a Round Robin Singles match, a Doubles Match and a Legends Match which featured Martina Narvratilova who, to be honest, was the only player I was familiar with! Yes, I know, it's as if I went to Mars for a while and returned! Well, the Singles match introduced me to Ana Ivanovic and Genie Bouchard and watching top calibre tennis before my very eyes just blew me away! Tennis has come a long long way since I last watched it. The speed (when did those speed trackers appear) and the precision (hello, players can actually challenge with the help of the “hawk eye”!?) of the players were just breathtaking. Ana won the match and the fire yet elegance of her play was simply inspiring. I was all fired up to revive my tennis again!
Thanks to another kind soul who got me a ticket, I watched Ana on court a second time in less than two months when she returned to Singapore for the IPTL tournament in early December. My wish to play tennis again came true when a coach dropped down from heaven. By happy coincidence, he is an RCIA candidate at the Church of St Francis of Assisi and I happen to give some classes there. So we've started our tennis sessions since January this year. Sr Jocelyn has also joined me and has been my tennis partner since. Anyone wish to have a game? Just let me know!
Other awesome moments these past months include treasured moments spent with family and friends, just chilling out and enjoying their company. And re-bonding with my beloved cousins, some of whom visited from abroad.
Right now, I'm in the grounds of our convent in the Philippines, where I entered back in July 1993 and where I spent my initial 8 years of religious life. It's great to be back and to see familiar faces again. Some things have changed (a new residential block has appeared) yet some little things remain the same. Pancit (fried noodles) served on Saturday lunch for example! And while there was only one Sister in a wheelchair then, today there is a community of aging Sisters in their wheelchairs. Yet they are an edifying sight to behold. The warmth of the Filipino Sisters moved me when I first entered the convent. They continue to do so and I'm so glad and proud to have been “formed” in the Philippines. In many ways, just being here is a renewal for me. (some snaps)
|Reunion with my batch-mates|
Our retreat theme is “100 years of Pauline Consecrated Life, a journey of faith and love.” My prayer is that as we celebrate the centenary of our congregation this year, our lives too will be a celebration of God's faithful love.
3 April 2015
A month has passed since I wrote the above entry and I never found the time to post it on the blog until now! And a lot has happened within that month - in the convent, our preparations for our Easter Dinner which is just round the corner. Outside the convent and affecting the entire nation and the world, the passing of the Founding Father of modern Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. His son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon, in his eulogy refered to the epitaph of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral in London which states in Latin, “If you seek his monument, look around you.” He went on to say, “Mr Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore. To those who seek Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s monument, Singaporeans can reply proudly: “look around you.””
Indeed, while queuing for 3 hours to enter Parliament House last Saturday 28. March, 2015, the eve of LKY's funeral, I had a lot of time to soak in the scenes surrounding me. The skyscrapers and architecture defining a clean and green metropolis was all around but besides the buildings were the warm and caring people, fellow Singaporeans, making our queue which stretched out for about 1.6km a very pleasant experience. While we queued and walked, water and other drinks, apples and snacks, were kindly offered to us. Umbrellas were given out too, and in the freshness of the early morning (we started around 6.50am), there was nothing to complain about. Instead I could not help but admire my surroundings and feel a sense of pride that I was part of this country, whose progress for the past 50 years is due primarily to one man, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. While I may not have agreed with all his policies and the ways they were carried out, living abroad in countries where good governance is absent has made me appreciate the formidable contribution he played in building our nation to where it is today.
|Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew|
Today is Good Friday. Jesus gave his life to save the world. LKY too gave his life for Singapore. And you and I? How can we offer our lives?.....