Christmas 2008 was well-spent in Singapore. Besides much family time, I managed to meet up with two 'old' friends and received one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
Fang Hai and I went gallivanting about downtown Singapore, near and around the Central Business District. Here, we couldn't help feeling that the Fort Canning Centre bore a peculiar resemblance to one particular school in KL.
He brought me to the SMU hostel where he lives.
Then I met up with Jessica, having learnt from my uncle that Holland V stands for Holland Village, not Holland Five.
(Speaking of which, Astro recently aired U2's Milan concert from the Vertigo Tour; Dad said it was on Channel Five. It was only later that I realized he meant Channel [V].)
The next day, Fang Hai brought me to Taos. Great set meals, and the price is hard to beat!
Jessica showed me the film SLR she bought for her photojournalism subject some time ago. It took me a while to convince her that film is still a viable medium, but eventually she got herself a roll of Provia!
Majit, the neighbour's Persian. My family and I had quite a field time shooting away at him, heheh...
This time around, I wanted a pair of cargo pants and needed an umbrella. Among the gifts I received were an art deco umbrella (from Mum and Dad) and a little folder (from Aunty Daphne) to put paper and organise stuff - perfect for all those scraps of paper on which I jot my thoughts!
(Dad recently got me the cargo pants. Great stuff at Pertama Complex in KL.)
Dr E.N. Poulson delivered the Word on Christmas Day at Grace Community Baptist Church. As I saw him stand on his walking stick at worship, I was overwhelmed by a mixed emotion that was part awe, part humility, and part reverence. Here was a man whose age and frailty were no obstacle to his ministry.
My December meditations were on the book of the prophet Jeremiah.
"They will ask the way to Zion
and turn their faces toward it.
They will come and bind themselves to the LORD
in an everlasting covenant
that will not be forgotten.
My people have been lost sheep;
their shepherds have led them astray
and caused them to roam on the mountains.
They wandered over mountain and hill
and forgot their own resting place."
Jeremiah 50:5-6 (NIV)
After service we visited Dad's friend in Pasir Ris.
And I received the biggest surprise of the year, as well as felt the full measure of the phrase, "What are the odds!"
So that afternoon we went around town and visited, among other places, the Nativity scene that was set up outside Plaza Singapura as the centrepiece of a week-long 'Back to the Bible' sort of joint-campaign by many churches in Singapore.
And at night we were all hosted by the Lee family in Dover. Aunty Daphne and Uncle KH looking very Christmas-sy indeed!
Finally, the last day was an unforgettable twenty-four hours of extended grace.
Love, joy, peace... and scarcely a better sun to set on Singapore, to set on the year 2008.