Sunday, June 17, 2018

World of Dumplings

Pan fried, baked, steamed or boiled. Dumplings are so diverse, they come in different forms and influences. Different cultures have their own version of preparing dumplings.

Chinese - Wonton
Japanese - Gyoza
Italian - Ravioli
Jewish - Kreplach
Polish - Pierogi
Koreans - Mandu
Indian - Samosa
Spanish - Empanada
Nepali - Momo
Turkish - Manti/Mantu

Alan Davidson, food historian accounted that dumplings were originally made and consumed by peasants or the poorest people in a society during the 13th century Mongols. This is their way of preserving limited supply of meat by stuffing them inside a dough and a way to make them feel full easier and longer.

This long weekend, thanks to Hari Raya, had all the time in the world to prepare and make my first homemade dumplings. Preparation includes watching youtube videos on the different techniques of wrapping a dumpling and watching variety of dumpling recipe.

200-300 grams minced pork
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
1 bunch cilantro, sliced thinly
1 package of tofu, crushed by hand
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 egg
1 pack of dumpling or gyoza wrapper

Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Use your hand to incorporate all the elements until fully combined. Place one tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper. Use water to seal the sides of the dumpling and make the pleats.
There are different ways to enjoy these babies. You can boil them, deep fry, steam or pan fry until bottom becomes brown then pour water in the pan to steam it.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Music: The Greatest Showman

"The Greatest Showman" blog-entry fever is not over yet. Here's three of my favourite original song that made a deep connection with me from the greatest soundtrack of this movie. Enjoy!

A Million Dreams
Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Sung by the young P.T Barnum(Ziv Zaifman) to his future wife Charity(Michelle Williams). Later on the songs joined by no greater than old  P.T Barnum(Hugh Jackman).  He tells her of his dreams for the future and explains his confidence that if they work hard for it, they will come true.

Rewrite the Stars
Song of forbidden love written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A duet between Zac Efron (playing a rich white playwright called Phillip Carlyle who becomes P.T. Barnum's partner) and Zendaya (who portrays Anne Wheeler, a poor black acrobat and trapeze artist).

This is Me
Rousing song of self-acceptance written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Sung by Hawaii native Keala Settle who portrays the bearded lady, Lettie Lutz in the movie. "This Is Me" is a fight song for people who are not accepted by society.

Credits to Atlantic Records for the publishing the OST audio.

Movie: The Greatest Showman

Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, an American showman who introduced circus in the 1800s. Watching "The Greatest Showman" on a carefree weekend was one of the best thing that happened to me last week. Apart from me loving musicals both theatre and film, this movie is hands down one of the greatest old-school original musical. Its "pop" soundtrack compilation is catchy and slick, the cast is star-studded covering wide audience market. From the youthful Zendaya, dashing Zack Efron, exquisite Rebecca Ferguson and veteran Hugh Jackman, everyone is covered.

Here are five of my favourite quotes from the musical The Greatest Showman to live by:

"No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else." – P.T. Barnum

"I am brave. I am bruised. This is who I am meant to be. This is me." – Lettie Lutz

"Comfort, the enemy of progress." – P.T. Barnum

“You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people.” – Charity Barnum

"When you are careless with other people, you bring ruin upon yourself." – Jenny Lind

Music: Moon River

Moon River
Audrey Hepburn

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style someday
You dream maker
You heartbreaker
Where ever you're going I'm going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end
Waiting round the bend
My huckleberry friend
Moon river and me

*** I am an old soul so here goes one of the timeless, heartwarming song of all time. Cover sung by Kara Danvers from The Flash Musical special episode.
Thank you Audrey Hepburn for the original! Credits to the youtube video owner.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Five Things I Learned in Lee Ah Mooi Elderly Outreach

While we measure life with age and accomplishments, we remember people with moments. Those special moments however fleeting oftentimes create a lasting impact that changes us and we are never the same. Moments when we celebrate, empathise and sometimes grieve. Events in life do transpire, but moments don't just happen, we create them. 

Saturday, May 26,  we had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the elderly residents and staff of Lee Ah Mooi Old Aged Home. It was definitely one of the best afternoon, as we get to purposely spent time to share the love of Jesus Christ to the uncle and auntie residents by entertaining them in our little ways. We get to pray for them, play bingo game, sing karaoke songs, dance in action song and assist them in their colouring activity.

As I reflect on how the grace of God empower us in planning, organising and the actual execution of the program, here are five of the things I learned in this humbling experience.

1. Life is fragile.
Today you can be at your most excellent state - physically, emotionally and financially. But who knows about tomorrow? In fact in a snap, the Lord can take away your strength and everything that you think you own. While you are healthy and at your optimal strength now, how do you choose to utilise those energy and resources?

Preparing the residents for the program

2. You don't have to be the best. 
There are moments my insecurities consume me whole, limiting me to reach out and step out of my comfort zones. This event reminded me that that while you may not be the best organiser or speaker or the best person to do the job assigned to you, your willing heart and availability makes all the difference. God does not look for the qualified ones, He is interested for people who are available. Available to pray for others, to assist, to share your time, to lead and take part. I am blessed to witness first-hand wonderful people who are all out in sharing their time and talent to show love for the elderly of Lee Ah Mooi.
Volunteers leading the action song with the residents
"God does not begin by asking our ability, only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, He will increase our capability." -- Neal A. Maxwell

3. Language is not a barrier.
Although we faced challenge communicating with the elderly as most of them speaks Teochew, Hookien and Mandarin, we were able to navigate ourselves and connect with them. Praise God for a Chinese speaking friend who is willing to stand in front of the crowd and lead the program. But I noticed majority of the volunteers were able to communicate with the uncles and aunties not with Mandarin but with their wide smiles, their caring gestures, welcoming spirit and encouraging hearts. A simple touch and high five can surpass any communication limitation. Because love is the universal language. Genuine love transcends countries, culture, languages or dialects and even generation gaps.

Carlo our Mandarin / English speaking host
Impromptu Chinese song "Qing Fei De Yi" from Meteor Garden

4. What matters to you.
As people advance in years, we have different definition of "important things" in every season of our lives.  What you consider significant when you are an infant, a child, a teenager, a young adult, working adult and old age varies in different forms. But for someone who have seen it all, like these uncles and aunties who were in the golden years of their lives, makes me wonder what is it that really matters the most. What advice could they have given us to help us live a better and more meaningful life.
Volunteers assisting aunties with their colouring sheets.
Labour of love

5. Just Give.
The more you give, the more your heart is full. I couldn't emphasize this enough, while the world is telling us to take to be able to survive, God's economy is teaching us to share and give yourself to the world, in the end you create a life worth living.

B1G Singles Ministry volunteers

This experience thought me to appreciate every moment given to us while we still can, every person or loved one while we have them and seize every opportunity to help.  Each of us have overflowing love in our hearts to give away and there is no better way to spend it by investing it to others. A simple smile to your colleague, greeting the bus driver a good morning, listening to a friend, sending an encouraging message to a loved one, helping a stranger find his way and the list could go on.  Really the return of investment is more than a thousand folds.

Praise God for the hearts, energy and time of all the 26 B1G Singles ministry volunteers in organising this outreach for the uncle and aunties of Lee Ah Mooi. To God be all the glory!
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. -- Romans 11:36
📷 Shoutout to John Andri Cunanan for capturing these moments.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Music: Find Us Faithful

Find Us Faithful
Steve Green

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

I must confess I get easily distracted about so many things in life which I thought important but may not necessarily be essential in eternal worldview. Yes, I do set goals and knew what God has commanded me to do. But along the way, I discover new interesting things, hobbies and recreation I  found enjoyable and beneficial as well.  Next thing I know I am spending most of my energy and time on these with a justification that I am not doing anything wrong I am just trying to make the most of my time. But all these time and energy spent, is it even worth it?     

This song is my take away from today's CCF Sunday service. Thank you Lord for reminding me of what's truly valuable in Your eyes and how to be more intentional in making the most of the remaining time You have blessed us in this world. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CCF: Unchanging God in an Ever-Changing World

By Pastor Jay Jackson

As human beings we are susceptible to different forms of perfidy or betrayal of trust. May it be in relationships, in the workplace, in school or even with the closest people in our lives -our own family. While this is inevitable, it is still possible to position yourself in a relationship where you will never again have to deal with a broken promise for the rest of your life. That is through knowing and entrusting your life to Jesus Christ, because He is faithful and He keeps His promises.

Let us turn back time, 4000 years ago all the way to the book of Genesis and remember His faithfulness when He created everything. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, God manifested his power when He created the heavens and the earth, the light, the sky, the dry land, the bodies of water, all kinds of plants, the stars in the sky, the sun and moon, the diverse marine life, all varieties of animals and finally the man and woman whom He made out of His own image and gave authority over them to rule the earth.

Image courtesy of

The universe itself in its complexity is mind blowing. It has 100 billion stars in one galaxy alone and has 100 million galaxies, the numbers are unimaginable. There are more stars in the sky than the grains of sand in all the world seashores combined. With these, it is easier to believe that the intricate design of the universe and all that it contains is a result of intelligent design rather than the result of some cosmic accident.

In the first verses of the book of Genesis, John and Hebrews we would notice the emphasis given to creation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -- Genesis 1:1 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1 
He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. – Hebrews 1:10

Although there are different world views in terms of creations, as Christians, we believe that God exists and that He is the creator of the heavens and the earth. But the creation of the universe is not the best example of the display of God’s power.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? – Psalms 8:3-4

The greatest display of ability and power of God is when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world.

The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. – Isaiah 52:10

Jesus always have loved you and longed to have a relationship with you. He thought of you when He laid His life on the cross. This only means you can place your trust in Him. The relationship you have in Christ Jesus in the only relationship you can rely on.

Transcribed by: