Jul 29

So after 3 weeks of chillin and relaxin, I entered my final week in Kuching. Well I didn’t really spent it in Kuching, I was in a place, a beautiful, heart-warming place called, Katibas.

I totally had no idea what I was heading into when I agreed with Sarah that I could make it for this trip to an interior school. I just thought since I was already in Kuching during that time, might as well take up on her offer and experience something different and get to see what makes her so passionate about going into schools. And at the end, I did experience something totally different, memories that could influence future decisions in my life.

The team consisted of 4 amazing girls and 1, more amazing guy (me!) 😛 jkjk

The trip starts with a 8 hour sleep on the bus. We reached Sibu at 6 something am! Ohmy, still so sleepy so we just hang out in a coffee shop for another 8 hours before we departed on an express boat to Song. It was quite a draggy start of a 4 day trip. Most of the time we still ended up sleeping, even in the express boat. By the time we reached Song we finally met the guy behind it all, a teacher and our contact person with his school, SMK Katibas. Had a quick 30min tour which practically saw more than half the town of Song. After that we were on our way to his school, and this is where the journey really begins.

To get to SMK Katibas, we had to take a long boat and this was my first time in it and it was awesome! If those who thought the boat ride to Bako was cool, this was 10x more! It wasn’t just the fresh air crashing into your face, it was also everything else. The trees and forests on both sides, the birds, the ray of sunshine going through gaps in between the trees, it was just wow. It was about an hour ride, so just imagine how many “:O” moments there were. By the time we were nearing, suddenly we saw that amazingly beautiful banner from afar. This was the first of the many heart warming welcomes we had.

I will leave it to you to read Jarod’s blog on what we did there, and also Sarah’s blog for more insight.

At the end of the day, the question is what have I gained?

1. Understanding. A deep conscious realization of what interior boarding schools are like and what they face everyday.
For students, dreams to go very far, learning process is slow, not all of them, but many of them. Unfortunately very little drive to explore the world beyond their walls.
As for the teachers, it can be very demotivating I can tell, but that’s why I salute Jarod’s team – Project X. They have developed an amazing heart and purpose for the very reason that they were sent there. Though many definitely are and will still apply to get out of that school, yet I am sure that their time there, their time passionately pouring into the lives of their students would inspire them to do more than excellent wherever they are sent after Katibas, and then they’ll start a wave that will cause other teachers to realize the potential of their jobs as teachers.
I will never fully understand what they go through as students or teachers in those 4 days, but I just want to tell you these 2 words, NOT ENOUGH. There is not enough resources, not enough teachers, not enough leaders.

2. Appreciation. No I don’t strive on it nor do I depend on it. But just to say that I have left Katibas feeling an appreciation like never before, an appreciation that was truly sincere, something that I’ve never seen or experience in the city. They made us a beautiful key chain and organized a wonderful cultural night for us, and do not people in the city do the same? YES! Appreciation I received was never about the material things, I experienced something more amazing because these students have gained something and they truly want to do whatever they can to give something back. In the city, people know to gain things, but they have not truly known how to truly appreciate in return, this includes me. And just to note that sometimes giving someone money as a “token of appreciation” may not mean anything to that person.

3. Testimony. When you have one, you just got to share it. For me, I think the only thing that made me useful (hopefully) was the fact that I had a story of a boy who dreamed of becoming a doctor and never let go of it, at the same time how God was just so amazing in the whole process, and I thank God for the opportunity to share it to hundreds of students there and I pray for them in 2 areas, that they start dreaming and realizing that they can be someone great, and that they will learn how to pursue Jesus and have faith in whatever Jesus has placed in their hearts. When I got my scholarship last year, I’d knew it was a testimony, but I’d never knew where God will bring me with it. And I believe that if everything was in the right place at the right time for me to be able to share it in SMK Katibas, then it was all in God’s timing that I went for this trip. To be honest, I don’t know how much weight or inspiration this has brought to the students, but if it has come from God, just keep giving it out to whoever God’s lead you to.

This thought came to me, what if I were to go back to CHS and ask my juniors today, what do they think of the interior schools, and people, whether its students or teachers alike?
I’m sure that there would be a ratio of about 10:3, bad is to good things, that will be said about the students or even the teachers, or even the environment and that mental picture that is painted in their heads.

Having gone to just one of the many hundreds that they are, I’m suggesting that if you haven’t gone in before, you got to scrap that mental picture and start finding opportunities to, so that you’ll stop looking down on them and start learning what you can do to build them up.

As I said at the starting that this was more than just an experience or a memory, rather a significant event that may influence decisions I make in the future. If you can’t understand why? I’d suggest you find some way to experience it, because in this post I can only express 10% of what I’ve gone through, and city kids like me need to experience it too.

For more pictures on the trip and what we did, click here!

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Jul 16

So after my uni-mates left I finally had time to myself!

The First awesome thing is that I stayed with my Ah-Ma, Jie Jie Alina and Eleanor! It has been about 2 years since I’ve seen them and since I was already in Kuching, the reason I extended my stay is because the first people I thought of was them! I was happy I got to spend a lot of time with them although I think I disappointed them in one pretty big area, that is they still think I eat A LOT, like A LOTTT! But unfortunately, I’ve toned down on that quite a lot and so they were quite surprised. The other thing was TEMPOYAK! I’m a fan of it but will only eat my Ah-Ma’s self-made tempoyak! hehe.. And all the things that I really wanted to eat I managed to eat la, not once but many times! shoo happeee!

Life at this point in time was like this. “EAT, MOVIE, SLEEP, EAT, MOVIE, SLEEP” then became “EAT, PLAY AC3, EAT, MOVIE, SLEEP” except for sleeping, the other times I was still eating, can you imagine that? bloated-ness! And I played or watched stuff when they weren’t free so not that I didn’t spend time with them. But until this point, life was quite meaningless. Finally then I decided that actually take out the books that I packed for the trip and actually start reading them!

So then this was the Second amazing thing was that within that week plus I was able to finish 2 books! “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Purpose Driven Life” It has been so long since I actually finished reading books. But I was glad I did this 2 books because at the end of the day, I was convicted in “IKDG” that I cannot do this amount of work that I’m doing now if I were to be in a relationship, so I thank God for this period of singleness and just looking ahead with so much things I have to do, I need to do it while I’m still single. Whereas in “PDL” I learnt SO MUCH that I think I need to write things down and re-organize my thoughts. But I must say that I was assured of a lot of things especially things regarding PUCF.

One thing about having time alone and a place with nice weather is that its like the perfect environment to read and reflect. There isn’t much of these places in KL, so when I was going to Kuching, it took me awhile to decide which books I wanted to take. I’m glad I took those 2, as if it was God-planned, because it was timely to have read it.

And so I suppose the Third amazing thing is the people I managed to meet! Unfortunately I don’t have all their photos.
1) Dr Teh’s Family! Especially Zhuo Han because chances is he’s going to come to Perdana! A lot of memories at their house and it was funny that Zhuo Ting never even remembered me although I only forgot her name. Also very encouraged to hear how PU came into their path and how God revealed to them this direction, exciting stuff!
2) Dr Hoong Phak’s Family! It was good to just catch up with them, especially someone who has inspired me to pursue what I am doing today. Also managed to get some insight into Kuching GH and how to specialise into pediatrics. I loved how he said bye by saying, “So you graduate in 2017 right? Good! I’ve not retired yet!” YAY! I sure hope to get to Kuching GH for my housemanship, if God leads.
3) Joseph Chew! I knew this guy when I was 9 because he brought me to Boys Brigade. But I totally forgot his name! So when I went out for dinner with him together with Zhuo Han and Zhuo Ting, I had to ask them prior to meeting him who was he! haha so SORRY! But as we met memories start to rekindle and I’m glad I was reconnected back to him again after so long. Amazing guy with an amazing heart for God, keep it up bro!
4) Daniel Chua! At least I got to see this guy. He’s one of the many few that I am able to talk heart-to-heart with and get Godly advice and hear many Godly stories and share daily struggles and get encouragement from. Although he’ll be back in KL soon, still happy I got to see him while I was in Kuching! To catch up since the last time was very long time ago.
5) Uncle Mervyn and Aunty Edna! To come Kuching is a must to meet them! And I did it by a surprise! So they initially were quite shocked and took awhile to remember me and my name cause apparently I looked different (most likely the hair). One thing about them is their faith stories and testimonies of their lives never fails to put me into a jaw-dropping moment. Its just so WOW every time I hear their stories and just encourages me all the more that God is just so real when we don’t expect it.

Then I also went to 3 different churches this time, with one thing I have learnt from each.
1) The High Priest Church! Came out from and with the blessing of Good News Church with a calling from God. I went there because I was suppose to pass back Ps Samuel Lee’s car, so I thought why not expose myself to different churches to feel what it is like. Very interesting church, everything (or almost) is bilingual (Eng and Mandarin) and what is amazing is that they train them without compromise since early teens. These people are grounded in the word and really can sense that they move with the Holy Spirit. And that is one thing I learnt and realize I need to be aware of when I lead CF, is that at times things may seem to go wrong or not as planned but I got to be connected with Jesus and the Holy Spirit (and likewise my committee) so that whenever God speaks, we obey, whatever God puts as a word in our mouths, we speak. PUCF has to be led by the Holy Spirit.
2) Calvary Family Church! I followed Daniel here. Interesting thing is that a lot of college people in SIBKL came from here so a lot of the time Daniel was telling me who and who is who and who’s parent! haha.. They also have children’s church which is the first I’ve seen in Kuching and very much like Kidzone and though its less hype less energetic less flow, Kidzone still has something to learn from them especially in the way they train their pre-teens to serve and be leaders. As the name of the church says, one thing I saw is that they really cultivated a community that is so family-like. Everything that they do is family-based whether its long or short term. I feel likewise that God wants PUCF to be a community like a family, everyone is together, but not just happy happy together but to be able to share their struggles, obstacles, problems and their hopes and dreams and most importantly, testimonies. How? I still have to figure that out but just seeing CFC I know its possible and its amazing environment to be in.
3) SIB KEC! For the most part of it, a lot of people don’t recognize who I am! but the usual responses are, “OHH YOU ARE WAI LEEM AHH!! WAHH CHANGE SO MUCH CANNOT RECOGNIZE YOU LEHH” … “SO BIG ALREADY AHH, LAST TIME SO SMALL” Well, I’m sorry I don’t actually remember all of you! But yes its been 10 years since my family moved to KL so I’m pretty sure I’ve changed a lot. But it was just so great to also see many familiar faces and do quick catch ups with them. Service was so different than SIBKL and so because of that I felt God telling and reminding me that it is not about the program, its about the word of God. Its something that I’ve known all these while, but when I felt God convicting me of it, I realized that the past few months my focus was how to make things look good for the new batch of juniors coming in, and this lesson came timely to remind me to focus on the WORD not PROGRAM.

So the time I was able to spend during my own time, was indeed so refreshing, so relaxing, and I’m still able to learn and bring back something. Thank You Jesus!

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Jul 15

So the first 5 days I spent with my loving uni-mates and such a great time we had!

This was the first ever time I’ve had to plan a trip for a group of 25 and it was too some extend quite a headache but at the end of the day, I’m glad I did it anyway.

In the 5 days we were at museums, waterfront, beach (Damai), and also went to Bako. 5 days for most felt pretty long initially for most, but the 5 days spent were gone so fast I wished it was longer! Nonetheless though everyone was tired I’m sure we all had a great time together. *fingers crossed*

But just reflecting from the very moment we planned this trip, that time there was a sudden flood of people who said that they want to come! It was quite shocking really, and we just accepted whoever wanted to come but capped it at 30 pax. Only until after the airplane tickets were bought only did some start to express that they felt its too many people, some said its gonna be impossible to plan, thought even about the suggestion of splitting into 2 groups, and not everyone will be able to mix with each other well, bla bla bla..

Hearing that, I got pretty discourage on planning it. I mean, why plan something where people already don’t feel happy about? Cliques exist in big groups, its unavoidable, so I told myself that whatever people say, my aim is that through this trip, bridges among cliques will be built, not that there aren’t any already, but basically to break out of our usual group and get to know other people better. I was hoping to set a precedent that although it may take a lot of time to plan a huge group of people, but to show that it is very possible, and it can be very successful.

I measure the success of a trip based on what people feel at the end of it, but if I were to ask of course a lot of people will be nice and say it went well, so actually I don’t even know how successful it is. But I guess what I learnt from this and what I want to share is basically for any group to succeed, it starts with YOU.

Cliques don’t just form. Cliques form because someone started to find interest and commonality in another person, and then the same thing happens with others until they all form a group, meanwhile, another group is forming with their own common interest. And then occasionally you will have 1 or 2 people from different cliques that also have similar interest and they become “bridges” among cliques. And all these happens because someone decided to begin talking to someone else.

On the other hand, if you are not going to start talking, then the least one could do is to accept others la! Accept them for who they are, though they may have flaws that irritate you or annoy you, but if you’re not going to start talking, then at least accept them and don’t push them aside, don’t show those I-don’t-care facial expressions and all la.

This applies across the board whether its in University, or in Church, or in a Holiday Trip, or in whatever circumstance that involves a group.

 

So either you start talking, or start accepting

 

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