2017 Reflections

2017 passed by in a blink! The most amazing that happened this year was that we travelled 4 times! To Israel, which is life-changing, to Cebu, during Liz’s birthday, to Korea, which was unplanned, and finally to Hokkaido with Lizzy’s Mom. Israel is where we experienced where Jesus walked in real life, especially on the Sea of Galilee. Cebu is where I realised I don’t like holidays that do nothing but I sacrifice for Liz. Haha. Korea is when I realised I missed Liz after she went USA for two weeks. And Hokkaido was like our dream road trip.

And of course, this year marks one full year working in a new place. Working here is like family, where there’s no politics, no gossip and not much red tape. Although there’s some ups and downs when I feel bored, it’s also a year with alot less meetings compared to my previous work place, and where I learnt a lot more programming stuff than ever, getting to play with PHP and Laravel. Some of the things I learnt this year include:

  • Playing with different HTML5 video players (Azure, Haivision, VideoJS)
  • Interaction between React, AJAX and Backend Laravel
  • A bit of DraftJS
  • Basic Laravel collections and routes and views
  • Building Single Page Apps with React and Material UI and Firebase
  • Best practices for webpack/mix/scss/BEM/CSS compilation and JS frontend loading order
  • Best practices for Google Analytics and Enhanced eCommerce + advanced event logging + Data Studio
  • Best practices for responsive image loading with Imgix
  • Testing of meta tags / schema.org
  • Design Thinking process and research
  • Sketch App

Ministry-wise, one of my wishes was greater ownership from the youths that they can run the service themselves. This was certainly fulfilled as the graduating bunch of Sec 4 is the best batch so far, with many great leaders like Daniel and Dominic who can run the lights board themselves, design and programme their own songs without much guidance. The best thing that happened was I managed to pair up Dominic and Ivan from Arrow together for the Christmas service, and they managed to learn and sharpen each other. It’s always the teacher’s honour to be able to train someone who becomes better than me! A very proud moment indeed.

The last two days of 2017, we had the privilege to spend time with two unofficial caregroups – one is a “dream” cg with a bunch of awesome people from work. All married couples, but our lives intertwined together by a common calling, not by coincidence, not by chance, but by divine appointment. It was a great moment just to share openly without our titles or responsibilities. During the interaction, we also realised that as a couple, Liz and I achieved a pretty healthy rhythm in the 2nd year of our marriage – having home-cooked breakfasts almost every morning, and going to work peacefully everyday. I’m glad our marriage dynamics are not very complicated, although Liz is a complicated person 😉

The other fun thing that happened at the end of 2017 was we hosted a random bunch of “lonely cg-less” people for watchnight at our place. We had fun watching a documentary “Christ In Me”, spending time in worship, eating ice cream, and playing Secret Hitler. Jesus visited our humble living room during the worship and declared that 2018 shall be a year of His-Presence-With-Us. It has been raining the past 24 hours and we wanted to go cycling initially, but this was so much better. I think Liz and I have kinda settled that our CG is not really an official CG per-se, but random bunch of people whom we hang out with in and out of office. Along the way, we also have couple friends whom we can walk this journey with. Praying for more to come!

Praying that in 2018, I will have no more strain in my wrists as I continue to use the mouse and computer!

Thanksgiving for 2014

Thank you Jesus for 2014 has been a blast! Thank You for:

  • A year of greater glory with Lizzy in which we got engaged on 7 October 2014 and we have secured a wedding venue and now looking for a house =)
  • A few enjoyable overseas trips to Bali, office retreats to Bintan and Batam, and of course, Taipei where I proposed
  • A few amazing church camps, such as Legacy Camp which I had the privilege to serve alongside Lizzy; and Genrev Camp which was short but good
  • Learning many things in my career and being able to try out different roles from business, interaction and innovation, and to be involved in cool projects like F1. Grace grace to more career satisfaction and fulfilment
  • Answering our prayers of finding friends in the same season who are also planning to get married.
  • Expanding the Zone/Dare lights ministry and allowing me to play a bigger role. What a privilege to serve in this house!
  • Keeping us safe from virus and accidents and the darkness of the world
  • An awesome future in-grace family to be in future
  • And above all, Your goodness which will abundantly provide more than we can ask or imagine when we find a house



Legacy Camp 2014 Reflections

Legacy Camp 2014 was a camp like no other. It was pretty different from many other camps in many different ways. Life-changing.

Really really awesome and honoured to be literally serving alongside my favourite person. This was a camp of firsts – the first camp which I’m officially serving as lights, the first time Senior Pastor shared at men’s session, the first camp in which we have a giant ultrawide 30×10 screen, the first camp with so many different pastors preaching at different sessions, and of course, the first camp I get to serve with my girlfriend. Like what someone said, 1+1=2. Her design + my animated smoke = the backdrop. Production value wasa super upz at this camp with the graphics screen in the middle.

This level of production is what I always dreamt to be part of and now I am part of one. When Angie was singing Sanctuary, suddenly I had a flashback of what I dreamt of a few years ago when I was church hopping, that I always wanted to be part of a big-scale production like this, and now, I am part of one and doing the lighting. Truly, God is amazing. It is not by my self-effort that I can be here. I am really honoured and privileged to be. Initially, I was only going to be at camp for film, and then I was pulled out, and then I was going again for lights and it is no coincidence. I realised that God orchestrated for each and everyone of us to be there, to be part of His dream team, the video, the sound, the musicians and everyone. And to get to do what I dreamt of doing is really amazing. Wow. Much more so with the love of my life by my side. Never thought that this would happen but always dreamt that it would and indeed it happened.  It’s like we are compatible with each other in that we can serve together and talk about production stuff together in the same frequency. And much more greater things to come!

What I learnt at camp is that I can never ever be fully prepared. There are always unexpected things coming along, and whatever I programmed will always go haywire at the wrong time. I can never be over-prepared. There are some things which I thought that I could do on the fly, which could be better off if I had prepared beforehand. There were some things which I could never prepare for. Also, at this camp, I was more focused on my work and less focused on the worship itself. I learnt that humility is very important and the flesh would always want to exalt itself, but ultimately only God is to be exalted. On the first night, I was not prepared as the lighting board is quite new to be, hence I was observing the vendor. But from the second day onwards, I was taking over the board already.

Pastor also talked about upward stumbling. How that whenever we fail, let it not be a downward stumbling but an upward one. Joseph obtained his gift only when he fled from his temptations and practised the presence of God.

What are birthdays about

My birthday this year was quite uneventful. Perhaps next time I should take leave to do more crazy things. It was work as usual. At night went to &MADE with Lizzy and ate some atas-looking burgers. It’s a restaurant opened by some Michelin chef but it’s so-so only. After that we went shopping. The haze was not that great so we didn’t walk outdoors much. Went back as usual and walked noodle, played a bit of piano and then went back.

Lizzy gave me a nice handmade card with trains on it. Hahas. And also a  wallet. She totally read my mind, or perhaps I was hinting too much during the Bali trip. Haha.

So because of that I began to wonder what are birthdays about. Is it a selfish thing to want people to celebrate yourself? Is it selfish that you want people to remember your birthday but you don’t remember or bother to celebrate your friend’s? Are cakes and gifts overrated? Are those random wishes from your Facebook friends whom you haven’t met for ages meaningless?

Or perhaps, as Lizzy says, you could turn the tables around and make birthdays all about other people. Use the day to do something different and bless other people. After all, it takes two hands for a handshake. If you are not friends with others, how would you expect other people to be friends with you? Why not make those meaningless Facebook messages meaningful by replying to each of them? Because we are loved and set apart by God, we can do things that are out of the ordinary. Turning the other cheek means to do something totally contradictory to what most people would react to. It means to go the extra mile because you are first loved. But, but, but, it is so hard cos we often seek approval from man instead of from God.

Thanksgiving for 2013

So today is the final day of 2013. It has been indeed a year of open doors and Daddy God has fulfilled all of my 3 wishes! The first half of the year spent in the states seems so distant and far away now, it seems like I’ve been in Singapore forever. I really miss the winter snow and the feeling of living in a foreign country though, and also my friends made there.

Thank you Jesus for…

  • A great last semester in Carnegie Mellon where I learnt the process of a 3D pipeline together with my team Stardust. Even though we had a tight timeline, we still managed to finish a 6-min 3D animated short for Give Kids The World. I learnt many things in those few months, from project scheduling, storytelling, compositing, rendering to 3D lighting. The best part was to travel to Florida and showcase the finished short to the kids. It was heartwarming.
  • Also, touring all the cool animation and entertainment companies during the West Coast Trip, experiencing South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX during Spring Break and learning the basics of  lighting for theatre
  • The privilege of experiencing the grace revolution on the ground in a small scale at Freedom Fellowship of Pittsburgh. It was an honour to be an ambassador, the physical hands and feet of my church and my pastor, someone all the way from Singapore to a small church in America that preaches the gospel of grace. I had a great time getting to know Pastor Debbie, as well as volunteering to lead worship there.
  • His safety and protection in the 3-day train ride from West Coast (SF) to Midwest America (Chicago), and also the 20-day graduation road trip from East (Pittsburgh) to West Coast (SF) of USA. They were both significant journeys, both physically and spiritually. It was a precious time in which I could just spend days by myself and Jesus, and seeing his Favour that surrounds me like a shield every step of the way, looking at the scenery go by, and even through a minor tire puncture and some mechanical work in the car, I survived 5700 miles / 9173 km. Run in such a way to win the prize!
  • Allowing me to be planted in serving in Zone Lighting and Spark Film the moment I came back to Singapore, opening doors for a greater quality of lights and LED board graphics design, Christmas Service, as well as testimony and short film editing.
  • Opening doors for not just a job, but a career position. It was a time of waiting, yet it was a time worth waiting. It allowed me to trust Him for His provision that he would provide me a career that I will find fulfilment and enjoyment in!
  • Opening doors to meet my life partner. God is cute in every way in letting us to know each other only at this time and not earlier or later!

Last 3 months of 2013

The last three months of the year has been a blast.

First, I slowly got adjusted to the work life. Dragging myself unto the MRT, having heavy breakfast at times and skipping lunch, attending various long (and boring) meetings and handling 2-3 projects on my plate. The good thing is my department is moving to a new office with nice standing desks which I am looking forward to using. Haha. Also, my supervisors have commented that I am energetic, responsible and a fast-learner, the only thing I need to do is to speak up more during meetings.  Hoping for more career fulfilment in the new year!

Second, God has been cute in finally giving me a girlfriend, an open door and prayer answered after so many years. It has been an awesome journey so far, albeit with ups and downs. Some people think that we got together fairly quickly, considering that I just go back from the states. Well it’s been 3 months + 1.5 months officially now, looking forward to more happy times in 2014! =)

Third, despite so many changes in my life, I’m still pretty much involved in serving in church. Some colleagues asked what is my hobby. I couldn’t give a standard boring answer like cycling or surfing the internet. After some thought, I think my hobby now is studying about different lighting styles and doing lights in church, which is mostly what I do during the weekends. I had open doors to serve for Christmas Service, which was very enlightening and my biggest scale project so far. I also had open doors to do editing for a short film for main church, which is a very privileged thing to be participating in. Looking forward to greater opportunities to serve in 2014!

Job Search Testimony

I have just graduated from an overseas university, and job searching has been a journey. Pastor Prince always says God will grant you not just a job, but a position, and I have been speaking that in faith during my search process.

Even though I am bonded with a statutory board scholarship, my bond allows me to work with a private company in Singapore. I am originally attached to Company A because that was the original agreement when I signed up for the bond. However, after various talks with the Company A, they are not actively hiring this year and hence they do not have any opportunities for me. I was disappointed.

Hence, that started a job search together with the help of the statutory board. I told them what other companies in their approved list which I am interested in. Initially, it was really cold and quiet for about one month. However, the closed doors for a month allowed me to plant myself in the house of God and resuming my serving duties actively. After a long wait, I even tried to apply myself through the various companies’ career websites but to no avail.

Suddenly, God opened many doors to me in the 3rd week of August. I was called down for an interview with Company B. And during the interview, I received a call for not one, but two interviews with another Company C. All three interviews were of different job scopes, but they were all something which I am interested in, and they were more interesting than the jobs at Company A. Finally, I was called for a second round of interview with Company C, and they were very interested to offer me a job. Moreover, the boss interviewing me said that he would create a position for me such that I will get to roam around the different teams of his department, and not just stay in one team. That is truly unmerited favour.

In the end, Company B did not manage to offer me any job position. However, Company C offered me with an job that not only meets my expectations, but also is the best fit for me as compared to all the other positions I was interviewing for. God certainly has a plan for me when he first closed the doors with the other companies and then opened the door into this divine career position! What Pastor said has finally come true!


Marked Camp 2013 – Understanding the Seasons of my Life

…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal… – Phil 3:13-14

Last week, I went for my first Marked Camp with Genrev to Malacca. How I managed to go to camp is a miracle, it is just like the previous Legacy Camp. I did not meet the attendance requirements because I just came back from overseas, just like how the last time I didn’t meet the requirements because I was on exchange. But God wanted to do something special and he opened doors for me to go to camp.

I asked God for an understanding of the seasons (eth) of my life – based on Pastor’s Gabriel’s sermon which he preached last Genrev. I prayed for wisdom (understanding) of the seasons of my life

When Pastor Benjamin led the song “I Press On (Thank You)” on Thursday morning, I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotions and started tearing. Actually, I wasn’t feeling well that morning, hence I decided to sit at the back at the lights board, and thought that I won’t participate in the service and just sit behind and rest. However, I felt led to stand up during worship and when Pastor started singing the song, I just started crying. I got reminded of how I first heard the song in Legacy Camp in 2010, and how the verse speaks to me personally. Pastor Whitley chose the verse as my baptism verse back in GTC in 2008, and forgetting what is behind refers to what happened to my mum in 2007. Suddenly, within a few miniseconds, I got a fast-forward flashback of the past seasons of my life, from the time of mourning in army, to my baptism, to coming to NCC, to the past 4-5 years of studies of how God has brought me through and transformed me from glory to glory. And how God is so kind and faithful even when I am faithless. How God has helped me to forget what is behind and helped me to keep pressing on. And how his hand has always guided me, every step of the way. =) God is pretty funny, when I was unpacking my bag after the trip, I realised that the pen inside my bag says “The Zone 2009”. That was the year I first came to NCC. That’s his style.

During another separate session for financial planning, Pastor Benjamin asked us to write down our faith tithe figure which we wish to tithe within 3 years’ time. Why tithe? Because it is more of a faith picture than just writing our salary. Our tithe will determine our salary. So I started praying, and then uncontrollable tears just overwhelmed me as I felt the tangible presence of God, and how he has provided for me with more than more than enough over the past few years that I did not even have to worry about my finances at all. He is my El Shaddai.

Spring: Easter, Freedom Church, Stardust

Finally Spring is here! Temperatures have been rising to 15-25 and the flowers are blooming!

I think God has really placed me at the right place at the right time. If I didn’t buy the car at Santa Rosa, I wouldn’t have received the title late, I wouldn’t have shipped the car to Pittsburgh, and I wouldn’t be able to drive to Freedom Fellowship church every Sunday here. Now that I am able to, I have been playing piano for their Sunday worship and it has been awesome. They are very blessed by my presence and every Sunday they kept praising me. I am teaching them some NCC songs as well. Definitely blessed to be a blessing!

So one of the couples from the church invited me to their house for Easter Sunday family dinner. I invited Joel along too. Seems like a tradition similar to Thanksgiving but smaller scale. The house is in a far away suburban area called Canonsburg and it is on a nice cul-de-sac. Their whole extended family was threw with 4 (!) generations of people, total about 20 people. It was a pleasant All-American feast, with ham, salads, mac-n-cheese, bunny-shaped bread, pineapple crust, and 3 different kinds of desserts. It was delicious. The family is pretty nice to talk to as well and they were great hosts. They have been so gracious to me that I decided to invite them for my graduation ceremony as well.

As for ETC, Project Stardust had a rocky start with the script being finalised only after quarters. Nevertheless we are advancing full steam ahead into softs and I wonder if we can render finish on time. One animator and one artist and one modeller and one compositor is definitely not enough! It is like only one person per role! But we hope to finish it so that we can go to Orlandoo…

Which reminds me of the Book of Mormon song. It is a pretty funny musical which is slightly vulgar and makes fun of the Mormon church. But I would say that the ending is slightly redemptive as the message is that as long as the religious teachings are put in proper context, they can achieve good.

As for other news it seems like every gadget I have is breaking apart. First, my laptop’s motherboard died last August and I have been surviving on my lousy tablet which touchscreen is horrendously weird. And the recently, because I dropped my camera too many times, one of the lens has some crack internally and it is faulty. Only my Samsung phone is surviving after 2 years and 4 months. Amazing.

I am still waiting for God to open doors this summer…


End of 2012

2013 came without the usual fanfare for me this year. No fireworks at Marina Bay, but there was snow and snowboarding with Daffy and family! 2012 has been a blast, and God has taught me many things, including waiting and being patient on many many things, resting in his grace, guarding my heart and not being afraid, for perfect love cast our fearsand the gospels’ first words were do not to be afraid. Certainly unceasing fruitfulness.Thank you Jesus for…
  • A tiring but fruitful first semester in Pittsburgh. It was one of the busiest semesters I have had, but it also taught be alot about my own working styles and what I like and dislike to do, and how to work well with others.
  • A very fulfilling summer internship at Burpple in Singapore. It was a tough wait to get an internship with a company but Burpple and co has been very nice to me! Even though I didn’t get to work in Lucasfilm or Microsoft in Singapore and I had to wait a long time, Burpple is still a good experience.
  • Hillsong Conference in Sydney and Melbourne. It is certainly fun to go with a huge group of people from our church to support our pastor. He is certainly faithful as I registered for the conference in faith half a year ago without knowing where or what I will be doing. Yet doors were open and I could go to the conference with Dixon and Elisha.
  • A wonderful stay in California. It was certainly a right place and right time and divine appointment which allowed me to get to know the Les and his family through Daffy and to stay with them. I will miss the food, the home and the noise! Thank God for giving me the patience and wisdom to make decisions like buying a car.
  • Another fun semester in Silicon Valley in which I get to do what I like to do: filming, editing and post-production. Thank God for more than enough time to finish everything which we wanted to do, as well as being able to learn new tools such as Nuke.
  • And all the adventures I have had: Mount Kinabalu in Jan, road trip to Florida in spring break, Sydney and Melbourne, Crater Lake, LDI, Death Valley, Lake Tahoe and more.
  • And being able to attend all the wonderful concerts like Winter Jam.
Patience also relates to how all my technology seemed to break down. My laptop display wasn’t working and I had to wait very long and after finding 2 places to diagnose, the verdict was the motherboard and display chip is not working. Not worth it to repair so I sold to a repair shop for $100. Haha. The other thing was my tablet’s touchscreen is going cranky. And to think that I managed to survive on a half-broken tablet and no laptop apart from the desktop in school is amazing. Only my phone is still surviving.