Gabriel's shared items

Thursday, February 28, 2008


been blogging sparely the since i returned this year. After spending more than 2 years here, one rarely experiences anything new anymore...

...until yesterday...

thought i'd better update here to reassure everyone back home that i'm fine, and relate my own experience of the earthquake - the first time i had ever experienced one.

It was a very subtle sensation. Was lying on my bed, trying to fall asleep, when i felt the vibrations. recall wondering two thoughts that night...

"why does my bed feel like a massage chair? what's making it so unstable?" thought that my bed had suddenly became unstable, and i was somehow causing it to rock.

"which part of me was involuntarily shaking?" had thought it an interesting experience to be aware that i was shaking, yet not being able to pinpoint its exact origin.

The thoughts didn't last, and i soon found my conciousness returning to battle my receding slumber time.

I only found out the next morning that i had experienced an earthquake when sei mentioned it at lectures. found it quite amusing... other people recounted that it felt like a hallucination, and i thought that i would pass the experience off as that had i not found out that it was an earthquake.

Other Updates
speaking of sei, we'll be travelling to geneva on a weekend trip (4-7 Apr) to see the LHC!!! Would prob be spending the rest of the holidays mugging :(

Also, it's season of renewal here in cambridge... This time, I've relinquished my position on the temasek society com, to assume the position of treasurer in the cf com. Good opportunity to serve God, now having tasted what secular cambridge has to offer. Hoping to make it on isec this year too, just returned from the interview. It's strange how i'm actually so comfortable with being focused on serving God, without feeling like i'm missing out on anything outside.

yep, that's about it. I'm in one piece, and hope everyone back home is well too! :) Grace! sam! blog about cny leh... :P

Sunday, February 24, 2008


an old email sent to my home cg when i was newly posted to 46 SAR...

Hi, I feel the need to share my experience of being posted to 46 SAR with someone, both for the purpose of unloading my burden, and hopefully to edify (i don't know if it would) the people who hear it.

Last time in cell we when we shared about our week, I used to take it as time to break the ice, probably just to create conversation. Though I knew that it was supposed to be a time of sharing GOD's goodness so that we may glorify GOD and edify each other, and that it was a time we learnt of each other's problems and support each in prayer. But for a very long time, I never really had any problems and never really needed to depend on GOD, thus I never really needed prayer. That's why I never took such sharing seriously, and never thought much of other people's problems. But right now, I feel the need to share. Hopefully this mail would be like one of the 'how was your week' sharing.

In the past month, since my posting to 46 SAR, I've experienced a lot of (i would think) trials. I'll get to that later, maybe I'll narrate the events leading to my posting to give a better idea of the background.

Since I enlisted, I've been feeling that what I was going through was unneccessary, a waste of my time. I hated being made to do things I do not like to do, tasks which I deemed not worthy of my effort. In BMT, and even SMM (school of Military Medicine), each time I went through something tough, I fought it by trying to get each tough time (you may consider it trials) over and done with, by looking forward to the end: a bookout and eventually passing out of the school. i held on to the hope that I'd be posted somewhere good, perhaps even my old unit, I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel. Also, throughout my time there, I found my worth, and tried to counter the frustration that i was wasting my time by furthering my knowledge in certain areas, which was the way i've found satisfaction since my school days. In fact, I was rather successful in furthering my knowledge in programming in SMM. I met someone with the same interest, and there was some kind of synergy. My trophy when I left SMM was a minesweeper solver which we created in vb... (sorry, that's besides the point). But in order to satisfy myself this way, I needed to book out of camp regularly, and have sufficient free time in camp to work on the problems. Something which I will not have in 46 SAR.

Then when I was posted to 46 SAR, I was utterly depressed (probably every single person posted here experiences a period of depression). I did not know how to live with the prospect of 36 hours of book out time a week, minus the travel time to and from sungai gedong, and time I would need to rest and recuperate from the hectic training, and all the time to prepare to book in. The feeling was like that of someone pinning me down, such that there was no point struggling. That was when I learnt to stop struggling, maybe it was because I had resigned to my fate. But I had no choice but to let go of those things that I had found satisfaction in. Had I held on to it, the frustration of not being able to accomplish anything would be unbearable, killing. At the same time, I begun to realised that it was a time of trial, a refining process. Recalling the verse in James which we memorised in Sunday school, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I learnt to see GOD's purpose in my going through these trials and ask HIM for strength to go through it. Perhaps it was because I needed to find a reason for me going through it, it is simply too meaningless to go through this all these pain for nothing.

But even (or only) in the midst of all the uncertainty and fear, I was able to experience GOD's grace and mercy from the very first night I stepped into the camp. As I mentioned, the day I was posted to 46 SAR, I was very depressed, fearful of this new, unknown, notorious place. That very night, GOD sent me a very good friend, the son of a pastor, someone whom I've known since primary school and went to secondary school with. He came to see me, and it was such a relief to see someone familiar, a Christian brother. On the second night, he came to see me again, this time while I was sleeping, as he had came back very late from an out field exercise. Imagine what great comfort it is to wake up to the voice of a friend in the midst of such fear and uncertainty, it almost felt as if I had seen an angel!

Another testament of GOD's grace is the people he has put above and around me, I'm not sure how to describe it without going into the details of the hierarchy and stuff. I must thank GOD for granting me favour in the eyes of my superiors. Having said that, I hope that I won't do anything that will cause me to lose that favour. And so far, I've had a lot of time out of camp since I was posted to 46 SAR. First for an exercise, then i had my wisdom teeth extracted and had 1 week's MC, then there was national day, where we got to hang around at the national stadium, and now I have 2 days off for the weekend and national day burnt. However, I still have the feeling that all these are short-lived as National day is over, and i only have one set of 4 wisdom teeth, and that the actual training is about to commence. But I pray and trust that GOD will see me through, in ways I cannot see (though as I say this, I have my doubts too).

I've also learnt other things, think I shall share it some other time, as it is getting quite late. To end off, I have realised the need to rely on GOD, and the need to support each other in GOD. Would especially like to find out how Christopher and Rong Xiang are doing, maybe you would like to share what's been happening... I don't know if this is a kind of fad which will pass, but I hope to learn to constantly support and uphold each other. This is the only thing that is reliable in the midst of all the uncertainties.