48th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Singapore (9 August 1965 – present)

Today marked the 48th year since the independence of the Republic of Singapore, which occurred on 9 August 1965, when Singapore left Malaysia to be a fully sovereign nation on its own.

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Singapore has gone through many difficulties and trials, and yet as one united people, a melting pot of people from many different races and backgrounds, they have overcome those challenges, and today, they emerge as a First World nation, prosperous and respected by many in the world.

Let us pray for Singapore and the people of Singapore, that they will continue the hard work they had done all these while, and may the Lord continue to bless and protect them, and of course, reminding them that, while looking after themselves and their own nations, they should not lose sight on those less fortunate among them, and therefore pledge themselves to help one another, that everyone will rejoice together and be happy together, sealed with God’s love.

Happy 48th anniversary, Singapore! God bless the Republic of Singapore!

 

(The National Pledge (0:00 – 0:30) and National Anthem of the Republic of Singapore (0:31 – 2: 16))

 

National Pledge :

We, the citizens of Singapore,

pledge ourselves as one united people,

regardless of race, language or religion,

to build a democratic society

based on justice and equality

so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and

progress for our nation.

 

National Anthem (Majulah Singapura/Onward Singapore) :

Official (in Malay)

Mari kita rakyat Singapura
sama-sama menuju bahagia;
Cita-cita kita yang mulia,
berjaya Singapura.

Marilah kita bersatu
dengan semangat yang baru;
Semua kita berseru,
Majulah Singapura,
Majulah Singapura!

Marilah kita bersatu
dengan semangat yang baru;
Semua kita berseru,
Majulah Singapura,
Majulah Singapura!

 

Official translations (in English, Chinese, and Tamil)

English

Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Singapore success

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Together we proclaim
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Together we proclaim
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

 

Chinese

来吧,新加坡人民,
让我们共同向幸福迈进;
我们崇高的理想,
要使新加坡成功。

来吧,让我们以新的精神,
团结在一起;
我们齐声欢呼:
前进吧,新加坡!
前进吧,新加坡!

来吧,让我们以新的精神,
团结在一起;
我们齐声欢呼:
前进吧,新加坡!
前进吧,新加坡!

(Transliteration from Chinese)

Lái ba, xīnjiāpō rénmín,
Ràng wǒmen gòngtóng xiàng xìngfú màijìn;
Wǒmen chónggāo de lǐxiǎng,
Yào shǐ xīnjiāpō chénggōng.
Lái ba, ràng wǒmen yǐ xīn de jīngshén,
Tuánjié zài yīqǐ;
Wǒmen qí shēng huānhū:
Qiánjìn ba, xīnjiāpō!
Qiánjìn ba, xīnjiāpō!
Lái ba, ràng wǒmen yǐ xīn de jīngshén,
Tuánjié zài yīqǐ; Wǒmen qí shēng huānhū:
Qiánjìn ba, xīnjiāpō! Qiánjìn ba, xīnjiāpō!

 

Tamil

சிங்கப்பூர் மக்கள் நாம்
செல்வொம் மகிழ்வை நோக்கியே
சிங்கப்பூரின் வெற்றிதான்
சிறந்த நம் நாட்டமே

ஒன்றிணைவோம் அனைவரும்
ஓங்கிடும் புத்துணர்வுடன்
முழுங்குவோம் ஒன்றித்தே
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்

ஒன்றிணைவோம் அனைவரும்
ஓங்கிடும் புத்துணர்வுடன்
முழுங்குவோம் ஒன்றித்தே
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்

(Transliteration from Tamil)

Ciṅkappūr makkaḷ nām
Celvom makiḻvai nōkkiyē
Ciṅkappūriṉ veṟṟitāṉ
Ciṟanta nam nāṭṭamē
Oṉṟiṇaivōm aṉaivarum
Ōṅkiṭum puttuṇarvuṭaṉ
Muḻuṅkuvōm oṉṟittē
Muṉṉēṟaṭṭum ciṅkappūr
Muṉṉēṟaṭṭum ciṅkappūr
Oṉṟiṇaivōm aṉaivarum
Ōṅkiṭum puttuṇarvuṭaṉ
Muḻuṅkuvōm oṉṟittē
Muṉṉēṟaṭṭum ciṅkappūr:
Muṉṉēṟaṭṭum ciṅkappūr!

Silver Wedding Anniversary (25 years) of my parents : May God bless their marriage and grant them happiness!

Today, Thursday, 28 February 2013, will indeed forever be a memorable day to me. Since, as you all know, that today, is the day when our beloved Pope Benedict XVI will no longer be our Pope as he is stepping down to make way for his successor, whom he thinks will be more capable of handling the duties of the Papacy than him in his old age.

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Indeed, today in fact, will be memorable to me, because it is also the day of the silver wedding anniversary of my parents, who were married on 28 February 1988. Since then, their marriage, although has had its share of troubles, had been mostly happy and filled with grace. I hope that through me, God will always bless my parents.

It has not always been easy for my mother in particular, and for me to an extent, as my mother and my father were not bound by a Christian marriage solemnised with the Sacrament of Marriage, because my father is not yet a Catholic, until the moment I write this post. My mother had been fearful of going to the Church again since her marriage, as she was afraid of what my father would say or act. Thankfully, recently she had been more courageous to go to Church again after my continuous insistence and encouragement. Deo gratias!

Nevertheless, would it not be for my mother, who passed to me her old Catholic Bible when I was young, I may not be here today, and this blog would not have existed. I have to give thanks to her for bringing me up tirelessly despite the problems that I caused her from time to time. I do pray that my whole family will be brought together in Christ soon, that my father will finally be receptive to the Word of God and want to be baptised into the Church.

It has always been my wish that my entire family can one day pray together as one family, and sharing meals together, giving thanks to God for all the blessings He had given me and my family, and for all these 25 years my parents had been together. I cannot thank God enough for that, but that He keeps them safe while I am away overseas, is already great enough a blessing for me.

My mother does have her reservations, especially coming from a rather traditional Chinese family, but indeed gradually she is becoming much more receptive to my calling to be a priest. Mother, if God is willing, and if God calls, it is not for us to reject is it not? For if Mary obediently answer the Lord and gave herself fully to Him, that through her the salvation of this world came, so too even a Pope or Cardinal or bishop would not have been a Pope, Cardinal, or bishop had God not called him first, and had the family not been supportive, especially in prayers.

I do not deny that I do have the desire to be higher in the hierarchy of the Church, as human as I am, but all this is because, I love God’s people, and I want to be able to give myself more to them, to reach out ever more to them, but again, with greater mission, comes greater responsibility. First, is to be a simple priest, what next is for the Lord to decide for me. I am all yours, o Lord.

Therefore, I ask all of you, to pray for me, and my family, that first my parents’ marriage will ever be happy, blessed, and filled with love that is of God. And that God will care for them and bless them as they have blessed me all these while. Pray for me too in my journey, that I will be ever stronger in faith, stronger in love, and stronger in hope, and stronger ever in my dedication to serve God and His people, my brothers and sisters.

That when the time comes, my parents will be the one who will present to me my first chasuble, and hopefully then, my whole family will be able to receive Communion from me, and hence have been united with me in Christ. Pray too for our Church, that in these turbulent times, we will be able to receive a wonderful new Shepherd, filled with God’s Spirit and strength to lead the Church as Pope Benedict XVI had.

We pray for him too that in his prayerful retirement, he will help the Church to become ever holier and ever more powerful in its resolve to fight against evil and all the corruption it has wrought on this world. God bless us all, and God bless my parents and our Pope! Amen!

Sunday, 10 February 2013 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time and Chinese New Year (Scripture Reflection)

We have seen today, that the Lord is everything for us, and He loves, and cares for us deeply. There is no other being with greater love. He provided for us in our daily lives, He guided us, taught us, and blessed us with abundance. That we have enough but not excessive, so that we may live comfortably, but not be ensnared by the lures of money and therefore greed.

As today, Chinese around the world celebrate Chinese New Year, the most important day in the whole Chinese calendar year, let us reflect on the readings today, with regards on the matter of blessing and prosperity, on which Chinese New Year frequently base itself on. On Chinese New Year, we Chinese visit one another in the family and relatives, and bring one another the spirit of joy and love. The day is a celebration of life, and of love, through the family blessed by God with ample goods and graces. This is what we should remember on this festive Chinese New Year day, and not instead, the culture of materialism, that increasingly become more and more common amongst Chinese, and people around the world in general.

Chinese New Year has often been associated with wealth, prosperity, money, auspiciousness, and lavishness, with lavish reunion dinners, lavish new clothings, and concerns about etiquette while visiting one another. In today’s modern world, intense commercialisation and materialism has led to Chinese New Year celebrations to become increasingly elaborate. This also applies to other types of celebrations around the world, which are becoming increasingly commercialised and with focus placed much on the glamour and glitz instead of the true meaning of the celebrations themselves.

Jesus reminded us today, that God as our Father has given us everything that we need, and that He as the Ultimate Judge of all life too, has the life of all creation known and measured, without our knowledge of these. Indeed, no matter how much wealth we accumulate in this life on earth, how many houses, cars, or even private jets we have, ultimately, when we die, we will not bring these with us. What we instead bring with us is just ourselves, our soul. Will you rather choose to be wealthy in this world and then judged unworthy by the Lord in the end? To suffer separation from Him all eternity, out of which there is no hope? Or would you rather to be not so wealthy in this world, but build up spiritual wealth instead, and be richly rewarded by God for your meaningful life filled with actions out of love for others and God?

Do not however, be mistaken. God does not hate or condemn wealth and money, and indeed, naturally, we need those to support ourselves, our own families, and to live rather comfortably. However, the main point is, not to be mastered by these instead of us mastering them. We must take charge of our wealth, and whenever we can, try to share some with the less fortunate.

Unfortunately, in our present day world, as it had happened in the past as well, many people guard their treasures with greed and jealousy, without even thinking of others in need. Many concern themselves everyday on the pursuit of gathering more wealth, buying more luxury goods, possessing more cars and other amenities, until to the point that they are actually mastered and enslaved by wealth, instead of the other way around.

Wealth is not everything indeed, and although it is essential, we Christians should heed the message in the readings today, to know how to feel ‘enough’, to know the ‘limit’ of our wishes, and to know how to be satisfied. We should look at others around us, when we are engrossed in our pursuit of wealth and prosperity, so excessive that we neglect even to look around. There are many others amongst us who are not so fortunate, and these people are already very thankful when they even have enough to eat for the day, and there are even those who do not have enough.

One may then ask, isn’t the Lord saying that He provides enough for all of us everyday? Then why are there these people who beg? Why are there people who hunger? Why then there are people who still die of neglect and poverty? This is because, the Lord does His work, through us, through His children, and Jesus taught us in the Scripture to give thanks to God for what we receive, and to share them with our fellow brothers and sisters in God.

It is we who ought to open our ‘granaries’ of food and ‘banks’ of wealth to share some of excesses we have, which we do not need, with those who cannot afford them. Remember, the Lord does not disdain or hate wealth, it is just that He wants all of us to live happily in love, sharing our joy together, sharing our sorrow together, in a community based in the faith in the Lord, who gives enough to all everyday, without the need to worry.

The poor no longer will need to worry about what they will survive on tomorrow, and whether their children will be taken care of properly, and the rich will also no longer need to worry about what investment to make tomorrow, where to profit on tomorrow, and what car or what property to buy tomorrow. Do as you always do, and work as you have always worked, but do not make yourselves slaves to your career and to whatever you are doing. Rather, always remember the Lord in all things that we do, and make Him the centre of our lives. We will realise that once we put God into all things that we do, we will no longer desire more and more, and will be satisfied with whatever blessings and generous gifts God has given us.

Let us therefore, in this Chinese New Year celebration, renew the commitment to love one another, and not just within one’s family, but also to others beyond that, for we are all one family in Christ. While we party, drink, and eat much food, remember always in our prayers those who are less fortunate. Whatever excesses we have in our celebration, let us pass them to them, that they too will be able to joyfully participate in the celebration. Let us be inclusive as the Lord wants us to be, and not be greedy and exclusive.

All said, as the other readings show us, we still have our missions to fulfill, namely to reach out to others who have yet to listen to the Word of God and the Good News, and that is why Christ told His disciples on the boat to go out and put the net out to the deep. So far, we have caught the ‘fish’ on the surface and those who are near, but there are many who are located deeper and farther away from the love of God, who are yet caught by us.

Christ made Simon the fisherman into Peter the fisher of man, and so did He make the other Apostles fishers of men. This mission, reiterated by Christ after His resurrection, to go out to all the nations and deliver to them the Good News of the Lord, and baptise them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, is still true today, and all of us Christians, should also reach out further and deeper, to those amongst us, who are yet to receive the grace of the Word of God.

Do not worry that we cannot do this mission as Christ asked us to. Remember that God provides everything for us, and He will provide all that we need to do our mission. We can begin simply with our own lives, to live a life of love and faith to God, such that we become such a shining beacon of goodness, that others will come to us, and through us, God will make His wonderful work, and the Word of God will be brought to all mankind, even through just one faithful and dedicated disciple of the Lord.

Let us be fishers of men, just like the Apostles, beginning from ourselves, and even our own families. I myself came from a non-Christian family background, and although my mother is a Catholic, but my father is not, and he was a very staunch follower of his own beliefs. It is not easy to bring the Word of God, the Good News to everyone, but we can begin indeed in showing that God is Love, and through His Spirit, that our own actions will be filled with love and all, even those who do not yet believe in God, will believe in Him, through us, and our actions.

May God bless all of us on this wonderful day, and bless all the Chinese people throughout the world celebrating this magnificent Chinese New Year, and remind us always that on top of the parties and the celebrations that we have, we also have a mission to do, that is to share the Good News to all, and indeed, to share the joy, happiness, and blessings that we receive, particularly on this festive moment, with those who have little or none. God bless us all, and bless His holy Church! Amen.

Regarding Chinese New Year Day Mass (Special Mass)

With regards to today, Sunday, 10 February 2013, which is the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, in some areas where Chinese New Year is celebrated by Chinese people around the world, special Mass might be adopted instead, namely the Chinese New Year Day Mass with a different set of readings from the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The vestments used are also red in colour, instead of the usual green (for Ordinary Time). Even though Sundays, like Sunday of the Ordinary Time should take precedence over other celebrations, even Feasts of Saints, it seems that although Chinese New Year is a cultural event and non-Christian in origin, but it is important enough for all the Chinese people, including Chinese Christians (Catholics) that in areas where Chinese New Year is celebrated, special dispensation for Chinese New Year Mass is allowed.

Note : Red is a very auspicious and preferred colour to the Chinese, and this is why, Chinese New Year, being the most important event in the Chinese calendar year, has red all over the place, and the red vestments used in the Mass represents this symbolism of Chinese New Year. It is also a colour of joy and love in the Catholic Church, also used mainly to represent martyrs, and God’s own Sacrifice out of His love for us on Good Friday. In addition, oranges are often given out after the Mass as a symbol of blessings for the new year, with the oranges being blessed by holy water prior to distribution. This custom is special, and only occurs in Chinese New Year Mass.

Happy Chinese and Lunar New Year to all who celebrate it around the world!

Happy Chinese and Lunar New Year of the Year of our Lord 2013 to all those who celebrate it.

May God bless this upcoming year with abundant blessings and graces. God bless us all. Amen!

A great article from the weekly bulletin of Church of St. Francis Xavier, Archdiocese of Singapore on Chinese New Year and Its Significance to Chinese Christians

http://www.catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8402:jesus-and-qyuq-abundance&catid=187:news-mosaic&Itemid=119

This article was excellently written, especially when trying to harmonise and find the common ground between the Chinese culture and the Christian faith, which although they have their fundamental differences, there are similarities that we should not ignore.

It is fitting indeed that Chinese New Year celebration this year falls on Sunday, 10 February 2013, which is also the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, whose readings have parallels with the core of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Please spend some time to read this article, and especially for Chinese Christians out there, to make the Chinese New Year celebrations we have, into a truly Christian celebration. Not just of partying and feasting, but also to show and spread love and joy, and sharing them with one another, giving thanks to Christ who made all things possible.

Being Chinese… and being Christian. Happy Chinese New Year! (Sunday, 10 February 2013)

We are Chinese, but we are also Christian. What does this mean? Let us temper the overemphasis on prosperity and excessive focus on greatness, success, and fame, with the Christian values of humility, love, and compassion.

Remember that while the most important of all the celebrations of the Chinese culture is coming up tomorrow, namely Chinese New Year itself, after all the celebrations, the joys, and the parties, we have to settle down and prepare ourselves for the season of Lent which will begin on next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and 4th day of the Chinese New Year.

Share your excess graces and blessings with those who need them more, and share with them too your love and your joy. In doing this, you have gained a greater wealth that will not be lost, that is life eternal. What use is there to accumulate wealth that will eventually be lost? We will not carry our wealth with us when the time comes for us to return to the Lord.

Let us share, and while still keeping some for ourselves, it does not hurt to give as much as we can give, that all those around us will also share in our happiness. God loves those who love their brothers and sisters as themselves, and He loves those who look kindly on those weakest, least, and lowest in the society.

Happy Chinese New Year to all Chinese around the world! and may God bless you all in this coming year!

And may the Lord bless all of you too with a fruitful Lenten season which will come soon, that all of us will be ready for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.