Thursday, 10 December 2009

Singapore and closure

After years of being away plus a lot of reflection and prayer, I can finally say, with absolute closure that Singapore is no longer a long term option. I love Singapore, I miss my friends there, and it's close to home, but there is something about permanence there that doesn't agree with me or the plans that God has for my life.

For a long time I have flirted with the idea of moving to Singapore to settle there permanently after I marry, since it's an English speaking country and I can practise law in Sg pretty easily (compared to the US). When I go back to visit you amazing people I feel a tinge of covetousness, like oooh I wish I was back here! Little pleasures like sitting in Clarke Quay with friends . And ooh the MALLS and the MRTS that take you virtually everywhere I just love it love it love it love it. I missed Singapore for a long time.

But I want my kids to know what I knew. When I was little, I didn't have PSLE worries or streaming or tuition. In fact, I never had tuition in my life. I did extra curricular activities for fun, not to earn points. I climbed the longan tree in my front yard, collected sea shells by the sea shore in my back yard, leapt over the neighbours fences to escape the resident psycho stray dog. I didn't have an elite upbringing, I didn't wear OshKosh B'gosh and I didn't go for Kumon classes. My only form of education before kindergarten was Big Bird on a fuzzy TV1 (the aerial had to be tweaked), digging up earthworms with my younger brother and helping my mum collect water from the water truck during the drought (somehow that memory sticks like gum to sole of shoe - there was a drought in Melaka, and the truck would come every two days and all the neighbours will walk out with pails. My mum will station me to watch for when the pail is full and I will yell "Mummy man3 le!!"). I don't necessarily want my kids to have the exact same memories but I do want them to know what it's like to not have people piling on expectations on them as to how to act, what to be, what not to be and how to learn. I won't let them get away with everything (my parents were dead strict) but I do want them to love childhood. I turned out fine, so I believe my kids will be fine learning at their own pace too.

I think Singapore produces extremely brilliant and talented people, and kids in Singapore are very blessed. But practically speaking, my dream house is pretty big (it's got a large kitchen!) and it has a back, side and front yard for the kids to play so practically speaking, that's not going to be possible in Singapore without plenty of moolah. So I need to be somewhere where land is more affordable.

I would love to be in Singapore for a season as a tourist, visitor or expat but that's as far as it goes. No offence to you very beloved people in Singapore, like seriously I love you guys and I love the convenience and shopping and LOVE LOVE LOVE Singapore. But God has called me to be elsewhere.

And the good news is wherever that elsewhere is, you guys can come stay in this lawyer's house and we can cook a meal together in my big kitchen :)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

God wants Christian lawyers too

I am good at my job. I love my job and my workplace. But there used to be a time when I considered my job to be somewhat un-“Godly” compared to say, a doctor, teacher, carer or cleaner. I read the Bible and I don’t see my job described anywhere in Scripture. A corporate lawyer doesn’t exactly pop into mind when you think of a servant, teacher, prophet, evangelist, pastor or apostle.

Millions of pounds pass my hands so that they no longer feel like real money, just numbers on the screen. I have meetings with clients who want to restructure, buy companies, take them apart and sell them on. I speak with clients who step in as administrators when things go bad for a corporate body. I have calls with clients who want to downsize or outsource to limit their exposure and soften the blow of the economic downturn.

There will be days when I get a list of properties in which the client wants to terminate or sell its interest. They could be the company’s retail units around the world, manufacturing plants, branches of banks or entertainment centres or restaurants. I think about the number of people who are going to be relocated or made redundant as a result of the downsize. I think of their families and their lives, and how they will be affected, and I pray for them.

Part of my job is to keep track of the financial and political news. The characteristics of good corporate lawyers are that we are commercially and politically aware, efficient and good communicators. We should have sound legal knowledge and more importantly, we should be able to advise on practical solutions. There’s nothing in my job description that requires me to be a good teacher, pastor or servant. At least, not on the official job specifications.

God made me good at my job for a reason. In a commercial world where its players have a reputation for greed, bureaucracy and self-interest, I reflect a different order. God’s job specification for me is that I conduct myself with love and integrity. When my colleagues are stressed because of a completion, I can minister peace. I can testify that hard work and peace are in agreement, they are not contradictory. When gossip flies across the hallways, I can choose to listen to the truth. When panic of redundancies spread, I can minister God’s faithfulness to His beloved people. I can be excellent at my job whether or not my boss is looking over my shoulder.

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.

You can show love anywhere, even in the most unlikely places.

Photo taken from

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I don't need a Paul Smith Evian bottle

I was walking through Selfridges and what do I see?

First up, a beautiful Christmas Hamper overflowing with luxury food items, complete with a cute polka-dotted bow.

And if a hamper just doesn't quite cut it, a tub full of Christmas food goodies! The Selfridges guys really know how to make the best of their visual displays. It's abundant, it's fun, it's colourful without being tacky, and it's a signature Selfridges yellow.


Mini (and full sized) bottles of Moet encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Try recycling those on New Year's day?

And finally, Paul Smith Evian bottles. Lets break this one down. It's a glass bottle. It contains water. It has candy stripes and the words "Paul Smith" printed on the glass. Would you pay the 1000% mark up to drink some mineral water?
I know it's pretty. I was going oooh and aaah too, but after some thought I simply cannot justify buying any of these items for myself. Instead of buying some water in a Paul Smith bottle, I'd rather spend the money on providing clean water to under-developed communities around the world. These gifts are cute, and I'll feel very blessed to give and receive gifts. There's nothing wrong with expensive gifts. But this Christmas, I've decided to play an active role in serving the world in which I live.
God placed me in this world to steward it, not to live a me-centred life.
I don't have the answers, and I'm not planning to go on a mega long trip to Somalia or Ethiopia or rural India. I don't need to go far away to make a change in a world which I'm responsible for. Every little counts! Think In Pennies :) Click on the link to find out more.