O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?

Hallelujah.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, “Christ is risen!”
See God’s salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

 

 

As humans, we are all enamoured with the idea of superheroes. Perhaps this obsession and adulation points to something far more profound- that we collectively feel a need for rescue by someone far greater than ourselves.

My Jesus saved this world from guilt and sin and hopelessness. My Jesus died that I might live. My Jesus is the ultimate superhero.

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Holiness is possible

I heard this sermon at St Helen’s Bishopsgate when I visited London in February 2016. I remember that God spoke loudly to me that day, and made a few notes on a scrap piece of paper then. It has only taken me 3 years to finally dig out that piece of paper to revisit what I learnt and share it on this blog…

Romans 12: 1-8 (By Kevin DeYoung)

You can be holy.

Christ doesn’t just save us from sin’s penalty, but also from sin’s power.

Don’t just wax lyrical about what Christ has saved us from. What about what Christ has saved us to?

To be passionate in our pursuit of holiness, we must first establish that holiness is possible, that we can present ourselves holy and acceptable as God’s children.

Why do we not take being “holy and acceptable to God” seriously? Is it because we equate obedience to “sinless perfection”? (and as a result not believe that holiness is possible) Don’t. You can be holy and acceptable by works that are TRULY good, albeit not PERFECTLY good.

Our good works are accepted through Christ because God is a loving Heavenly Father. Consider a child who promptly and cheerfully responds to requests to clean up his/her room- the corners of the bedsheets are not properly tucked in, the toys are dumped messily together in a box, the clothes are folded but wrinkled. Yet, despite the imperfections, the parents do not reprimand but seek to praise the child.

Yes, the work may not be perfect. Yes, you could have done it much better yourself. Yet, it was truly good and pleasing to the parents. Because it was done sincerely, cheerfully and obediently.

Why is it so important to seek holiness and believe that obedience is possible?

1.  If you don’t, you will give up in sanctification

  • If you think that God is austere, peevish and highly temperamental, and that everything you do is judged by his stern eye whereby there is nothing we can do to please him, you will give up. If you think that you will be a spiritual failure all the time- why would you even bother?

2. You will relativise all sins as being equal in God’s eyes

  • When every sin is seen as the same, we are less likely to fight any sin at all.
  • There can be the mentality of “Why pursue holiness if one sin is going to make me as bad as Hitler in God’s eyes?”
  • Another example is “why should I stop sleeping with my girlfriend? I will still struggle with lust in my heart.”  Yes, lust is a sin and we must fight against it, but the Lord would rather we fight against sin than giving in to fornication.
  • Yes, it seems humble to act as if that no sin is worse than another. Yet then we lose the impetus to pursue holiness.

3. If we don’t understand the possibility of holiness, we make it difficult to hear the warnings in scripture

  • The warnings in scripture are meant to scare the hell out of us.
  • But if we do not believe that holiness is possible, we will read passages like 1 Corinthians 6 where we are told that the greedy, the covetous, the idolators, adulterers and homosexuals  will not inherit the kingdom of heaven… and yet we will think “well, we are all guilty of these things.” And so we won’t take it seriously.
  • If we think that we are at all times guilty of every one of these sins to the utmost, then we will not hear the sternness of these warnings when we really need to hear it.
  • We need to know that even though we are imperfect and sinful, we can still be sincerely obedient Christians. If not, we will not hear the sirens go off.

4. If we do not understand the possibility of holiness, we will be robbed of one of our means of assurance.

  • We are meant to live in such a way that we manifest the evidences of the spirit’s work in our lives that provide confirming support that we are indeed children of God.
  • Yet, many of us do not give ourselves permission to see evidences of grace. We look at passages like 2 Corinthians 13 “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith” and often choose to see that as a scary warning.
  • This is really difficult, because the more mature you are in Christ, the more you see your own sin. The closer you are to Him, the further away you seem.
  • Assurance must thus be a community project. Speak to others– ask them if they can see fruit in your life… evidences of grace in your life. Not necessarily perfect fruit, but increasing fruit.

5. If we do not have this understanding of holiness being possible, we will flatten and impoverish our relationship with God.

  • You may think that there is NOTHING you can do to make God more or less pleased with me. Well, this is true and false at the same time. Yes, you cannot make yourself more or less justified… but you can live in such a way that will either please your heavenly father or grieve the spirit. It is like a marriage– the union is fixed/ stable, but the communion can ebb and flow.
  • You have a dynamic relationship with God. God while not ceasing to love us, can still be wondrously angry at his children. Justification does not make God indifferent to our sin- he can be angry and reprove us. On the other hand, know that you can also please God.

Don’t live your whole life with a low level sense of guilt and shame. This is not how God meant for us to live. If you are truly guilty of unrepentant sin, you run to the cross, ask for forgiveness and know the sweet serenity of a clean conscience. And when you are walking with Christ in humility, repentance and obedience, you ought to know the smile of your Heavenly Father.

God is not unmoved by our attempts at obedience. You are allowed and expected to be obedient. You never will be perfect. You cannot do anything to earn justification. But as a born-again sinner, you don’t have to be a spiritual failure. By the mercies of God, you CAN present your bodies as a living sacrifice– holy and acceptable to God. There is no righteousness that will make you right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right, by Christ and through faith alone, by undeserved mercy alone, your righteous deeds are not filthy in God’s sight.

Your obedience is precious, pleasing and possible.

Bye bye 2018

2018 has been a bit… MUCH.

So much has happened in the space of 365 days.

There have been snippets of rejoicing and gladness, but also a great deal of sadness and anxiety.

Let’s say I’ve had enough of the year and am more than happy to ring in a new one!

Whatever lies ahead, I know the Lord holds on to my hand.

He gives me strength, courage and hope for every day to come.

May 2019 be a year of exciting adventures and unadulterated joy.

Your body is made for more

Over all these years, I don’t think I have really heard preaching on sexual immorality that is so clear and sound as this:

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Do you use the CD drive on your computer as a cupholder? If so then you are going to put your cup of tea on it and break it. Do you use the computer mouse as a foot pedal? Then you will stand on it and break it. When you misunderstand what something is meant for then you are going to misuse it.

Similarly, if we misunderstand what our bodies are for- we will misuse it. At the root of sexual immorality is faulty thinking about our bodies.

(Sexual immorality= sex with someone or thinking about sex with someone who is not our spouse)

2 faulty philosophies

1. Indulging in desire= freedom

  • “I have the right to do anything” (v12)– this is often used to justify sex whenever and with whomever.
    • Saying that I should not have sex before marriage is depriving me of my freedom. Saying that I should not watch porn because I am married is denying me of my right to do what I want.
  • However, Paul wants to turn the issue of rights into an issue of “what is beneficial.”
  • Indulging in your desires can in fact cause you to lose your freedom (see below).

2. Sex is a bodily appetite.

  • “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food” (v13)– the reason we have stomachs is because we need food. It is natural and right for me to feed it. Similarly, (sexual) appetite is a bodily desire– it exists to be satisfied.
  • This view considers that the body is an animal and it needs feeding.
  • God is going to destroy the body eventually anyway.

BUT don’t have such a low view of your body. Don’t abuse and misuse it by enslaving it to appetites.

4 greater truths:

1.  Your body is for eternity, not just now.

  • Is your body like a non road-worthy car that is destined only for the scrapyard? Is your body therefore something that you can feel licensed to thrash because it is but a transitory shell? NO. By His power, God raised Jesus from the dead– and we will be raised also (v14). Jesus had a physical body after he was raised… he was not a ghost or a hologram. He was real. Jesus did not ditch his body at the resurrection and so neither will we. Your eternal future will be in a physical body… not just as a spirit. Your body will one day be raised. It is not disposable. So stop and think– what will you use your body for today?

2. Your body is Christ’s, not just yours.

  • v15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” All Christians are united in Jesus and become his physical body here on earth. He is the head and we are the body. You are a body part- a limb, an eye or a hand. Your body is part of Jesus’ body. When you misuse your body in sexual sin, you are misusing Christ’s body.
  • Sexual sin is serious, because it is about uniting 2 people. When a man and a woman have sex– it is a profound act of joining together as “2 will become 1 flesh.” When you have sex with a prostitute, you become joined to the prostitute. If you take what is joined to Jesus (i.e. yourself, as a body part of Jesus) and join it with a prostitute, then you are joining Jesus to a prostitute (or any other person you are tempted to get sexual gratification from)! You are taking Jesus into that person– can you see the perversity of that?!

So flee from it (v18).

  • Take active steps to go wholeheartedly in the opposite direction.
  • Fleeing is NOT going as far as you can but stopping short.
  • If you want to spend alone time together then do it in public. If you want to stay at home together then spend it with friends.
  • Fleeing is moving yourself and your laptop/ phone to a public space.
  • Fleeing is confessing a porn addiction to a friend.
  • Fleeing is moving away to another room from the married person you are tempted to flirt with. Fleeing is going home.

Flee because your body is meant for more.

But what is more?

3. Your body is a  temple, not a supermarket

  • Our bodies are not places for getting. You go to the supermarket to get. To get all that I need– to get what will fulfil me.
  • BUT no, our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (v19)– a place for giving. A temple is where God lives. It is a place of worship- where our best is given as an offering to God. A temple carries an amazing honour, dignity and reverence. Do not belittle your body.
  • Change the question of appetite to a question of worship.
  • Think: what is the best I can give as an act of worship? If you focus less on what you can get (i.e. how it will make you feel, how much you want it), and focus more on what you can give in order to honour God (v20)– you will not be sexually tempted as much.

4. Your body is free, not a slave.

  • If you subscribe to the 2 faulty philosophies (“I have a right to do anything” and “sex is but a bodily appetite”), they will make you a slave.
  • Surrendering to appetite and desires makes you a slave to desire, and a slave to the misuse of our bodies.
  • As a slave, you need to be bought. And that is what Jesus has done through his death and resurrection. He saved us from the teeth of desire. “You were bought with a price” (v20), so you are no longer your own- you are ransomed and can know true freedom.

Please see that the Christian view of sex is not about being prudish or restrictive or traditional. Instead, it is driven by a very very high view of what Jesus has done for us and what that means for our bodies. The bible does not say “stop having sex.” Instead, it says that the message of Jesus is good news for our bodies. Our bodies are honourable, glorious and liberated. Be joined to Jesus and be transformed so you can know real freedom from desire.


The gospel of Jesus makes a difference to your body.

It makes a difference to how you should view your body in the world of sex.

Believe that your body is for eternity- don’t use it for whatever you want now.

Believe that your body belongs to Jesus and is joined to him, so be careful who you join yourself to.

Flee if there is a risk of joining it to someone else.

Remember that your body is a temple- use it for worship.

Your body is free- flee from sexual immorality and do not be mastered by your appetites.

Your body is SO MUCH MORE.

The path of wickedness

Travelling along the path of the wicked is like riding a bike through a muddy path. It creates a track that makes it easier and easier for you to go along that path again and again.

The Holy Spirit infiltrates our hearts

So apparently, 阿姨 has sunk deeper and deeper into the depths of Buddhism. I mean, she has always taken a keen interest in the religion since I’ve known her- she spends incredible amounts of time at the temple, talks a lot about her work evangelising Buddhism, and has even made pilgrimages to India. However, she has taken her devotion to a different level this time– she has left her family home, shaved her head and become a nun.

To me, all these seem to be a form of escapism. To escape from the hurting that is her husband having another girlfriend, to escape from the grief that her eldest son has achieved very little in life, to escape from the pain of abandonment from her (now married) youngest son who has a child that she has to make “appointments” to see…

Buddhism teaches that there is value in detachment after all? If she detaches herself from these broken relationships and forsakes all her worldly cares, perhaps she will find some calm amidst the chaos? Life as it is now is too burdensome, so why not abandon it all and start over?

It grieves me to hear her story, and I know that it hurts my mum to see her sister on this road. However, I know that there is NO ONE so far from God that God cannot reach, or cannot love. He is bigger and better than we can ever imagine. God can reach even the most sinful of men- you only have to look at the wonderful story of Paul– the persecutor of Christians turned Apostle! I myself am sinful and desperately depraved– yet the Lord reached down to me and saved me too. No one is beyond reach, no heart is out-of-bounds to my God. And that includes my 阿姨. The Lord is more than able to touch her and heal her, to offer her a fount of living water so that she will never thirst again.

My God promises a wonderful marriage- one between Him and His people. A relationship that will satisfy all our human needs completely. A union in which He the groom is forever faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. His promises are true and everlasting, and so mighty that they completely eclipse the sorrows of a broken marriage or the pain of abandonment that my aunt is suffering.

Oftentimes, we try so hard to protect our hearts from hurting. We put plasters on where the painful wounds are. Then we put layers of bandages over it. Knowing how fragile the heart is, we wrap it in bubble wrap thereafter. We cover it with newspaper, even nice wrapping paper to make it look better. Oh, and just in case anyone comes to steal it and stab it, let’s put it in a cage and lock it up as well. We cover our hearts with so many layers of “protection” that it seems hardened and impenetrable. Yet, my God is above all that. His light penetrates down to the deepest, darkest crevices in our hearts where the sun doesn’t shine. He peels off every single layer of the “fortress” that we have erected around our hearts. His spirit infiltrates to places in ourselves that we do not even know exists.

Psalm 139: 7-10

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

My God is omnipresent and omipotent.

I trust that He can and will one day turn my aunt’s heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

A quick catch-up

In the wink of an eye, it is now April.

Where has all the time gone since I last blogged?

There are a few things I want to tell you, so here we go with catching up…

27th February 2017. GD finally enlisted into the army. After all the agonising, he is finally gone. In the weeks and months leading up to his enlistment, I have found it crazy how disproportionate his fans’ grief is as they lament and bemoan the fact that they will lose their idol for the next 2 years. They weep and bid farewell as if this man is dying, never to return again. The negativity and sadness from the entertainment news were really weighing me down, which actually made me wish that he would just go quickly. Go quickly and return quickly- that’s my policy. In the meantime, while GD is gone, I am motivated to use these 2 years as a time target for my own health and fitness journey. When he is discharged on 27th Nov 2019, I want to be a new me. A beautiful girl unashamed to go and see my favourite artist in real life. If I have reached my own goals when he returns, I will go to his comeback concert. New GD, be prepared to meet the new me (in 2 years).

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Speaking of my health and fitness journey…. So, after Christmas and New Year, I bloated up SO BAD.  Despite being convinced that I did not overindulge over the holidays, the weighing scales did not lie. I had piled on the pounds. All my hard work had gone down the drain… and I was back to square one yet again. I saw a picture of myself on Chinese New Years day (when eating Hotpot with Laura) and was *shook* (pardon the grammar… this is a new young generation term). My face was so round… my arms so thick. I hated that picture, and hated myself for it. I was starting to feel really despondent. 2 years of exercise hasn’t done anything, 2 rounds of BBG hasn’t done anything, slimming world worked for all of 2 weeks, reducing my chocolate/ coke/ cake/ cookie intake hasn’t done anything, healthy-eating/ meal prep hasn’t done anything… nothing has worked! One day at work, I was randomly chatting to one of my juniors about my (lack of) weight loss… which was when she suggested using myfitnesspal to help me track calories. Now, I have never tried calorie counting before so this is a brand new adventure for me. I was initially worried about the math and work that this was going to involve… now, I am 6 weeks in and the app has worked a treat! The ability to add calories to your daily count simply by scanning the barcode of the food you eat has made this seemingly tedious chore much more of a breeze than you would expect! I think I am starting to see some result… I have certainly had at least 2 people come up to me in the last week commenting that I have lost weight. Some days I am immensely motivated to keep within my calorie budget, other days I really just want to give up. Yet, I have to keep reminding myself that “Rome wasn’t built in a day. You didn’t get fat overnight” and “good things are worth waiting for.” Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks and months! I am excited to see what changes my body will undergo! In the mean time, God please keep my food cravings at bay!

Badminton and body pump. After 2 rounds of BBG, I gave up BBG on week 7 round 3. Why? Because it was getting really really boring. The exercises still hurt, but it was so boring and my body was starting to resent going to the gym in anticipation of the pain. And so, as a way to spice up my exercise life, I engaged SH to play badminton with me every Saturday morning. We bought some cheap rackets and shuttlecocks on amazon and starting playing at the university sports hall. We are amateurs, so we play without any rules or boundaries. Our aim is to keep a rally going for as long as is possible. So far, it has been a tonne of fun. The cardiovascular exercise of running around chasing a shuttlecock has been awesome. The times when we manage to really keep a rally going has been exhilarating. It has been so much fun being able to play with a friend and our friendship has certainly deepened as a result. SH and I have actually made these Saturday mornings into “Play and Pray” sessions. We play badminton, catch-up a bit on life, and then pray for each other for the coming week. I love both bits of this P&P and look forward to it every week! On top of spicing up my cardiovascular exercise with badminton, I have also started going to body pump classes to help me with my strength training. After 2 years in the gym feeling too scared to step into a class (there is a constant worry about not being able to keep up, feeling embarrassed, and not being to escape!), I finally bit the bullet and went on 27th January. Bodypump has been great! It is nice to exercise with 20+ other people, led by an instructor who knows how to train and motivate, and to lift to some really good groovey music! Admittedly, these low load high rep exercises really kill my muscles… but when I have overcome them and as I walk away with jelly legs, I am filled with a sense of pride that “I did it!”

Best registrar. I went to a MET call the other day with one of my SHOs. The patient had a low GCS and needed to be intubated on the ward and then transferred to CT scan before going to ITU. On arrival, I took charge of the situation and quickly made decisions as to what needed to be done for the patient. As usual, I asked for the names of the people I worked with and assigned jobs to them on a first name named-person basis. I tried to be methodical and calm, aiming to take control of what would otherwise be a chaotic situation. We vocalised our thoughts and plans and verbally went through our pre-intubation check-lists. The patient was eventually stabilised, secured and packaged before we set off on a little adventure around the various departments of the hospital. The patient took up a good part of 2 to 3 hours of my time. When I eventually returned to the theatre coffee room, I found my SHO was there having her lunch as well. This was when she said some really precious words to me, to the effect of “I just want to let you know that I think you are the best registrar that I have ever worked with. I really admire the way you handled the situation. You were so clear, and I could totally follow what your thought processes are– something that I struggle with some other registrars when I just don’t understand what they are thinking! I want to be just like you in the future.” It was such precious feedback! These words are something that I hold closely to my heart– to think that I am a role model to one of my juniors! All too often, I beat myself up over the things that I could have done better/ should have done/ shouldn’t have done… so much so that I forget that I can be quite good sometimes! Obviously, I am not going to let this get to my head… but I want this to stay in my head, to remain as a precious reminder that I am still deemed to be “fit-for-purpose” and to stop doubting myself and my competence so much!

I am done with being the organiser of the PFMs. After a year of really hard work at overhauling the format of the meetings, after multiple frustrating emails to and from the associate head of school, after being on the receiving end of non-stop moaning from the registrars, the PFMs have become a precious baby for me and V. And so, it was actually really hard to give it up…. to trust other people to carry on the good work that we have done. But it was necessary, since I finish training this summer and V will be off on maternity leave in February. Our last meeting was a roaring success. One of the speakers from London even sent an email to SM to commend me for my good work- what a wonderful way to end off this term of being PFM organiser!

It is Easter Sunday today! On a day like this, this song shouts out to me…

As my saviour hung nailed onto the tree, his love was poured out to set us free.

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Sent of heaven God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He’s risen from the grave

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Praise and honour unto Thee

For the times when I am fearful and doubtful

Chorus:

Be strong and courageous
The Lord of the Ages
Holds all His little ones,
Safe by His side
Be strong and courageous
The Lord of the Ages
Holds all His little ones safe

Do not fear the fire,
Do not fear the water,
Do not fear the thunder,
Jesus has conquered them all.

<Chorus>

Do not fear the darkness
Do not fear the sadness
Do not fear the sickness
Jesus has conquered them all

<Chorus>

Do not fear the enemy
Do not fear the poverty
Do not fear eternity
Jesus has conquered them all

<Chorus>

The story so far…

I cannot believe that it is May 2017 already and I have not posted a single blog since my birthday last year! So much has happened, yet if I really sat down and wrote out the details of the last half a year, I am going to be here typing for the next 6 hours and this post is going to be incredibly long and tedious to read. So here’s what happened in a snapshot…

Life

Baking

So, I have somehow developed a keen interest in baking over the last few months. Since about Christmas time, I have been baking like a mad woman. When I am at home alone, in the quiet of the evening or nighttime, enveloped by the cosy warmth emanating from the oven, pottering around the kitchen and concentrating on making something awesome… I find this process extremely therapeutic. When I am baking, I forget about the stresses of the work day- the missed cannulas, the difficult intubations, the failed regional blocks… all these failures are wiped out of my mind as I get into my “flow.” All I can think of is the math calculations as I adjust my ingredient amounts, all I can hear is the whirring of my mixer, all I can feel is the heat from the oven, and all I can smell is the delicious sweetness of the sugar and butter and flour being whipped together into batter. At the end of each baking experiment, I am also presented with the satisfaction and reward of a dozen stunning cupcakes, or a scrumptious tray of cookies. I have truly fallen in love with baking!

Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. Indeed, the process of baking marries up my love for food and for science. I am so curious to find out what chemical reactions are going on as I add water to flour, or sugar to the batter, or what happens when the air bubbles in my batter expand within and escape out of the cake’s gluten structure under heated conditions. I find all of this fascinating, and have gone so far as to purchase a textbook on “how baking works.” So far, I have read about 4 chapters of it and I am being enlightened with each page I turn. I am reading about heat transfer, and the properties of the different materials used in bakeware. I am learning about which ingredients are tenderisers or tougheners, which ones are moisturisers and driers. I am enlightened about what happens to each of the ingredients at the molecular level as you mix them, or heat them, and cool them. I’ll admit that I have not really done much reading outside of medicine… and this (text)book has been a real pleasure to get back into leisurely reading with.

I think my baking escapades have also been made much more pleasurable and successful since using recipes from youtube celebrity baker cupcakejemma. Her recipes are so unbelievably incredible. It also helps that I have a very willing cake/ sweet-treats eater friend who always welcomes my attempts to feed him cake. I now try and find any and every reason to bake him cake, knowing that he will eat it (and I can just have one or two only instead of getting fat from eating all my own baked goods).

Fitness

So, whilst in one aspect of my life I am baking away with highly calorific butter and sugar and flour, another aspect of my life has been focussed on getting rid of said calories. Oh how life contradicts itself in so many ways! I have been spending a lot of time in the gym with Emma doing squats, deadlifts, chest presses and lunges… all in the hopes of building some muscle that will burn calories even when I rest. I have to say that my progress has been incredibly slow… potentially to the point of being non-existent. I am so frustrated as I have been working so so so hard and yet am hardly seeing any result at all. After all, I have ramped my physical activity up by at least 80% compared to the days before I joined the gym– when all I did was to consume cake, chocolate, cookies and coke… and when the most exercise I ever did was to go shopping for new clothes in the department store.

Perhaps I really do have to work much harder on my diet. Rumour has it that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% diet, so I may need to rethink my intake! However, this is also part of the reason for my aggravation because my diet has improved by leaps and bounds since my cake and coke days.  Now, I definitely give a lot more thought into what I put into my body. I hardly drink any coke at all these days, and I do not buy chocolate bars anymore. I still eat cake and cookies but I am quite a lot more watchful over how much I do actually have. So, with clean(er) eating and a heck of a lot more exercise, why am I still not shaping up nicely as I would really like? Do I really have to go cold turkey and eat bland food that I do not enjoy for the rest of my life? I am so disappointed because even my clothes do not feel any looser than they did before I started this “healthy living” thing a year ago. I am not giving up though… like I said before, Rome was not built in a day, and I did not get fat overnight. I am going to have to keep working at this body… try different activities, different diets… and hopefully someday I will reap the results that I desire. To me, strong is the new skinny. I want to be lean, toned and strong…

J, go and try out a new workout programme, a new gym class, yoga, dance, swimming… it may be scary to go at first, especially when you are on your own and you fear looking like a real clown amidst the experts. But please, just start.

I have been taking fitness inspiration from a celebrity personal trainer on instagram. Her name is Kayla Itsines. She does not advocate the whole “I wish I have your body” mentality- and I agree…. yet, she is SO stunningly beautiful that I cannot help but look at her and think “goals!” I guess you can say she is my fitspiration? Seeing her so beautiful and strong really motivates me to keep working on my own body.


Closer to home, Jamie Teo (Miss Singapore 2001 and former TV personality) has been a real inspiration and motivation to me too. She posts her home workout videos regularly and you can clearly see that her body has been well sculpted by all that exercise! She is so beautiful!

My final other source of inspiration comes from a man. He is none other than the 22 year old Australian Olympic swimmer Cameron McEvoy! This man is really like a machine. Somehow, he has managed to balance being a swimming champion with academia as he pursues his dream of becoming a physicist. I love seeing how he works out so hard both in the gym and at the pool to be in the best physical shape for the swimming championships. Yet, he alternates his posts from the pool with geeky posts of complex mathematical equations, or how he is reading up on the work of physics greats such as Richard Feynman. I love that someone is actually able to be so dedicated BOTH to sport and to science- something that is so difficult to do when both disciplines demand 100% dedication from 100% of you. To see someone being able to achieve/ or at least work to achieve such a feat is a real inspiration to me. And it helps that he looks really cute too.

Work

Prizes

So, the last time I went to Edinburgh in November, I had actually gone to attend the Patient Safety Conference where I presented a poster on my Ultrasound Screen cover project. I am extremely happy to say that I won the first prize for my poster! When I was there, I was able to explain the ideas behind my project to the other delegates and quite a few consultants from other hospitals around the country were asking me about how they can get hold of one of my screens. I am now desperately trying to get the hospital’s innovation team to help me further develop my product. Hopefully, we will eventually be able to sell the intellectual property to a commercial company so they can manufacture it in bulk in industry (compared to my homemade craft project of a prototype at present). I am excited as to what can possibly become of this little project– after all, the entire idea and concept had come completely from God as an answer to my prayers. I am extremely grateful to what the Lord has blessed me with and I really want to take this forward- to the rest of the UK and even beyond!

Oh by the way, when I was at the conference, I also had a chance to meet and even speak to Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth and sister to Prince Charles). She is the patron of our Royal College and was in Scotland for St Andrew’s day anyway. And so, she came to attend our event. It was immensely exciting because I have never ever seen royalty up close and personal before. As trainees with posters to present, we were given the opportunity to speak to the Princess when she came to view our posters. We all had a short briefing before her arrival whereby we were taught to address her as “Your royal highness” at the first instance (and to curtsy as we said it) followed by “mam” (not mOm) thereafter. Frankly, I was so nervous about seeing her and speaking to her. I was worried that I would call her “Your majesty”– which is wrong as it refers to the queen. Also, I had no idea how to curtsy in a pair of trousers and so I just bobbed when I saw her. When I eventually got chatting to her, I actually found that she is very human. And a very nice one too. She was very friendly and seemed to genuinely take interest in what work I had done (though I honestly do not think she really understood what the heck I was doing).

Oh, one interesting thing happened too. After the adrenaline rush of having spoken to the Princess, and after speaking to quite a few other delegates about my work as I stood in front of my poster presenting it, I decided that I was parched. I found an opportune moment when I could leave my poster to get a drink. I had my eyes set on a jug of tea that was on a table about 4 meters away from me. In order for me to get to the tea, I had to walk behind Princess Anne (who was mingling/chatting to some other important people) on one side and a group of female doctors on the other side. I calculated my steps and moved swiftly towards hydration. However, just as I was walking behind the Princess, a female doctor from the other side took a step back towards me, effectively trying to squash me. In my haste to avoid her, I accidentally took a step towards the Princess and basically kicked her heel. Can you imagine the horror on my face as she turned around to find out who her “assailant” was. I was so shocked that all I could manage was “I am so sorry, so so sorry.” Oh man! But what a story for me to tell in the years to come– that I have kicked royalty in the heel in this lifetime!

In February, I took my project to present at the LSA trainee’s prize competition as well. It is something that I have been determined to do for the last few years but never really had anything that was “competition material.” This time, I submitted my entry and was determined to win the beautiful Jackson-Rees medal. I knew that the work was good and that I had worked hard on it. That night was going to be the night for me to present it orally and do it some justice! I practiced my oral presentation over and over again. I needed to sound enthusiastic and convicted by my own work. I needed to to be engaging and charismatic. I needed to keep my words understandable despite the fast pace that I had to go at to get everything I needed to say in. Yet on that night, I was SO nervous. When I walked into the lecture theatre, I saw DG to whom I admitted that I had so many butterflies in my stomach that it felt like I was sitting yet another exam. DG being DG told me not to be silly and to remember the 3Cs! I was 3rd in the line of 4 presenters. I think I eventually did a reasonable job of presenting my project. I was asked a load of questions, some of which I really struggled to piece of coherent answer for. I was desperate for a win. And yet I lost. I was 2nd place- still considered a win to most people especially since there is still an associated cash prize. However, I really really really wanted the shiny medal. I was disappointed. And then I was cross. Why? Because the 1st prize winner (an arrogant junior of mine) came over to me and said “I’m sorry I beat you.” Like, seriously? Anyway, now that the emotions of the night have all settled down, I am ultimately still very grateful to God. 2nd prize is still a prize. God is still good to me. And in the hilarious words of my wise mother “Don’t be disappointed. Sometime 2nd is better than 1st. Like singing competitions, 2nd prize winner always 发展得比冠军还要好 later. Remember it’s just a prize. So be happy that 你榜上有名,还有钱拿。你好强啊。一人之下,万人之上?。恭喜恭喜。”

Paediatrics

Now back in the children’s hospital. Loving it most days as the little children are so cute and beautiful. Even with the crying, screaming and protesting, all is forgiven when they are asleep and adorable like little angels. All is forgiven when you can have little cuddles with them in the recovery room. Children are so innocent and beautiful.

Also, who does not love to go to a workplace where there are colourful murals on the walls? Who does not enjoy blowing and popping bubbles as part of the job plan? Who complains about being able to play with toys whilst waiting for their “clients” to arrive?

The children’s hospital has been a really good place to work in… not just because of the children and the toys, but also because of the staff. In my opinion, you have to have a soft and gentle side to be able to work with children. And so paediatric surgeons are really some of the nicest surgeons I have ever worked with. Of course, some of them can still be arrogant and difficult… but compared to the egos and rudeness I have witnessed in adult tertiary centres, they are really quite mild. I love that in this hospital, people value me as part of their teams. I get addressed by surgeons, TCAs, ODPs and scrub nurses by my first name! This is something that does not often happen because people do not usually make an effort to remember the name of a passing anaesthetic registrar, and especially not if you have a name as uncommon as mine!

Nevertheless, I say goodbye to theatres for 6 weeks as I go and join the PICU/transfer team for a bit. I am admittedly very nervous about this as the pathologies in paediatric ICU are very different from that in adult units. The complex cardiac patients terrify me the most as I do not even know how blood is flowing within their congenitally abnormal hearts! Also, I am still unfamiliar with considering infusions in terms of mcg/kg/min… something that we never do in adult practice where everything is usually a standard mixture and adjusted in ml/hr! There is much to see and learn in the coming month and a half. I just want to pray to the Lord for good teaching and learning, and much safety as I go into an environment that I am completely unfamiliar with and uncomfortable in.

Church

A very powerful sermon from Mark 15: 1-15, 25-39. I am completely shaken by this.

You can be the crowd. Jesus is a very compelling figure. People have all sorts of objections to Christianity, yet when it comes to the actual person of Jesus, all sorts of people who hate the church still think that he is the best example of humanity that we have. He has unlimited power, and he uses this to help people– Everytime he does something terribly powerful and scary, we see him next caring for someone, talking to someone, healing someone, forgiving someone. Yet, He is uncompromising in his claims– that everyone who has ever lived should respect his authority, that we have to be fully accountable to Him. He says that we will do nothing more important than deal personally with him. As a result, many feel that “He is awkward for me” and “I do not like him making these claims– I need to get rid of him.”

What crime has he committed? They could not name the crime. Yet they shouted all the louder “crucify him!”


You can’t be Jesus. Barabbas was supposed to be the one crucified. It should have been him- the normal guy, the everyday criminal. However, Jesus died in his place instead. Yet, it was not a straight swap of one peasant for another. Jesus was different. 3 hrs of darkness at noontime on the day of his death– something not normal, and which is a sign of God’s anger. As Jesus hung on the cross, he cried “my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”– a cry of religious heartbreak not likely to be heard from hardened criminals. On the other side of the city, a large thick curtain rips from top to bottom the moment Jesus dies. THERE IS SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT ABOUT JESUS. The death He died, only He could die. Jesus has terrifyingly limitless power and authority– heck, he controls evil with just His words! Yet, this king over everything chooses death– the one who committed no crime took the anger and separation from God in our place. “He saved others, but he cannot save himself?” What nonsense. He did not save himself, so that he can save others. And so at that moment, the curtain is ripped– from top to bottom, as if God has reached down, so that all the warning signs that remind us of our uncleanness has been ripped down by Him.


You can be Barabbas. The son of God died for you Barabbas! He took your place. Was Barabbas relieved? Was he thankful? How did he respond/ soul search? Did he live a better life afterwards? We do not know anything else about Barabbas. It was unimportant how bad Barabbas had been. It was unimportant if he went on to do something great. The only important thing about him was that Jesus died for him. And there is just one word to describe him: Released.

For the non-believer: Do you feel held back thinking that you can never be good enough to be a Christian? Do you think “I am too different and too distant?” Remember that Jesus never said “earn this.” Jesus’ offer to Barabbas is the same offer to you. “Release.” YOU CAN BE BARABBAS.  Having witnessed how horrible a price it is to pay for your sins, do you really want to insist on paying for your own uncleanness? Do you really want to say “Put me back in the cell and punish me please?” YOU CAN BE BARABBAS, so why would you not be? Let Jesus pay for you. The curtain is ripped. You can walk in and begin a life of knowing God and being made clean.

For the Christian: do you judge your friends? Do you think that some people are beyond salvation? Do you doubt that you can invite ANYBODY into this relationship? Even when you have witnessed that the first person to believe is the centurion who hammered the very nails into Jesus? Jesus died to rip the curtain in two. Please stop sewing the curtain back up. Stop holding back Jesus’ offer to people who do not fit the “profile.”