how I ended up

deciding to do journalism for my FYP.

I came into WKW being all anti-journalism and pro-advertising. I was so sure that it wasn’t my thing after taking Basic Media Writing (despite it being my best mod in Y1S1 ya Zan what were you thinking) and I actively pursued the advertising track, taking modules like Integrated Marketing Communications and Creative Strategies. Basically it involved a lot of campaign creation and ideas. Picked up some design skills along the way as well and did ad-hoc design for church camps too (which was good, am not complaining about the extra practice). Was anti-journalism because I really didn’t care for politics/crime/accidents I had not touched a newspaper for years. If I remember correctly, I stopped reading news by Secondary 2. The only thing I wanted to write about was myself l o l I love my blog!!

Last semester I was in church when during worship I felt this burden for journalism. To tell the stories of those who can’t. To be their voice in their times of uncertainty. To inform, to educate. I prayed really hard because I heard so many stories about Hedwig and I was terrified. Plus I look like I like to talk a lot but actually I don’t want to interview people why do I have to interview them can interview notes just fall into my lap? God is God & you can’t ignore God without feeling uneasy so in the end I decided to take Newswriting this semester.

Besides Newswriting, I’m also taking modules like Copywriting & PR Writing (OK a lot of writing going on here) so I got to experience journalism, advertising and public relations side by side and decide which one I like the most. I must say that advertising is actually at the bottom of the list – I do not like it as much as I did back in year 1! It’s really becoming a struggle for me re my copywriting module and the more I attend newswriting classes the less I find myself drawn to the world of advertising. Maybe it’s just confirmation bias or that I never really liked advertising in the first place – say what you want, but I know that God has called me to journalism for a reason (newswriting is my favourite module this semester btw LOL) and I will obey!! It is okay to not like hard news as well – I love soft news and people stories and writing my trend story is making me very very very excited :~) My dream of working in a magazine and/or being a columnist for the Straits Times has not diminished since I was a kid. I read a lot of Sunday Times back in Primary school and was really inspired by how everyone had so much to talk about their lives – probably also why I started blogging #tryingtobecool

Thank you Father for placing me in a school where my needs are met; for You know me better than I know myself. I may not know where I’m going to end up working in future, but I know He has grand plans laid in store for me should I chose to obey.

Zan x

reading the Bible on the bus

and I’m really thankful to Jesus who died for me. Honestly there are so many things that I’ve managed to do but it was only through Christ’s strength! Also trying my hardest to partner with God in life and it’s rewarding – I might feel like a mess and act like a mess but somehow it worked out in the end (re previous post that was typed at the start of this week). 

Was honestly so frustrated/lost/confused/dejected throughout the week but constant prayer kept me going. Knowing that at the end of my life I will get to meet Jesus face to face is also extremely comforting and honestly 10/10 would not mind. 

I wouldn’t say I’m a very good Christian because I know I’m not; I probably sin just as much as pre-believers but I do try. (Lol I just sound like I’m praising myself??? 😑) But I have learnt how to treat people with the same love that God has shown me and I think that’s very important. The unconditional and un self-serving kind. 

Zan x

“God shines most in our messiness”

A recent bipolar diagnosis shocks the group. Cancer ravages the health of a young wife and mother. An impending divorce threatens to tear apart a marriage, family, and community. A member struggling with same-sex attraction searches for ways to share his struggle. The lone black man in the small group is peppered yet again with questions about racism. The single mom cries out for help with her teenage son. A young couple struggles to accept that they can’t have biological children. The widow, married for more than six decades, gropes for reasons to go on. A father of six children shares the news of his recent layoff.

Life is hard and broken. Christian clichés aren’t going to cut it in the unavoidable messiness of realities like these.

Community Is Messy

Christian community — in the local church, in small group, missional community, or wherever else — is messy. If our friends are plunging headlong into a dark place, someone needs to go after them. And we have no quick fixes for the deep wounds we face: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, broken relationships, miscarriage, loneliness, unemployment, deteriorating health, wayward children, death of a parent, disability, and the list literally goes on and on.

Life is messy. For some of us, that scares us to no end. We don’t know what to say, what to do, how to engage, or how to help. Many step into community tentatively, secretly hoping it will not be messy. We want good friends, loving community, and easy, comfortable, enjoyable conversation. But the reality is that every true Christ-centered community will have its difficulties.

Christian community, by necessity and design, is messy. We are sinners, the world is broken, and God is at work. In the gospel story he has written, his grace and love shine more beautifully than ever in the messiness of our lives.

Powerful Gospel

The gospel helps us to move from risk-adverse and messiness-avoiding people to those who lean into one another when the pain and confusion come. The gospel transforms naturally self-centered people into those who selflessly serve others. The gospel transforms, over time, a proud and arrogant man into a humble man willing to ask for help. The gospel turns an ingrown, self-absorbed group into one welcoming to the spiritual seeker. The gospel generates generosity in a community to help make the dream of adoption a reality for a couple. The gospel motivates a group to fold a widow in and become her new family. The gospel slowly mends a broken marriage through consistent Bible study, prayer, and encouragement.

In the darkest moments, the gospel of Jesus Christ shines its brightest and most brilliant.

The tragic irony is that we hide. We throw a rug over the vomit of our lives sitting in the middle of the room. We withdraw when our blood pressure rises. We recoil when tempers flare. We pull back when we’ve been offended. We lean away when sin is exposed.

In these moments, we must battle our natural instincts, and trust our growing gospel instincts, to lean into the mess. It’s not easy. It’s never easy. But as we lean in together with his people, guided by his Spirit, and dependent on his grace and help, God brings hope and healing.

Wanted: Broken People

God always works the mess for good, for those who love him. He has designed the body of Christ such that every member, even the broken ones — especiallythe broken ones — are needed. In God’s plan, the broken and needy ones are often the ones we need most.

The apostle Paul says, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. . . . If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?” (1 Corinthians 12:15, 17). We need every single part. We need the feet, even those with ingrown toenails. We need ears, mouths, and noses. No part is indispensable. That means we need the broken and hurting among us just as much as we need the spiritually mature. We need those who suffer from mental disability, physical infirmity, or broken hearts as much as we need those who are doing well and flying high.

Some Sunday mornings, I sit next to a young man who has Down syndrome. He is filled with the joy of Christ and sings with more gusto than anyone around him. He has a bigger smile on his face than anyone I know, and he always greets me heartily. He serves me by reminding me of the excitement and exuberance that should accompany the worship of God with his people. This young man — who has lived all his life with a disability — reveals the beauty of joyful and uninhibited praise. He reminds me worship isn’t about me, but God. I need that reminder. I need him.

Lean into Community

Bearing one another’s burdens and forgiving one another is messy. But let God use the messiness to make you and others more like him. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:21–22).

Whether you are a hand, a foot, or a big toe with a bunion, the body of Christ needs you. It won’t be easy — for anyone — but we need each other, and the reminder that God does his brightest work in our messiness. When we walk with one another through joys and trials, we’ll better see the transforming power of the gospel.

God does his best work in and through us when we seek to serve one another, especially when we run out of answers, quick fixes, and clichés, so that we point others directly to Jesus and his cross.

Steven Lee
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-shines-most-in-our-messiness

  • To treasure community because life is very different without it
  • To also turn to the gospel when in doubt of what’s right/wrong.
  • Understand where people are coming from and refrain from passing judgment too quickly. In fact, refrain from passing judgment, period.

Above all else, we are still wholeheartedly loved.

Zan x

week 6: nearly there

The exhausted, worn-out feeling that comes with overloading has overwhelmed me. Week 6 marks the start of all my weekly, practically back to back deadlines and the time has come for me to start muddling through the unknown. This semester I took modules out of my comfort zone and they have – somehow – pushed me to achieve more than staying in my comfort zone has.

It’s comforting to know that regardless, God is standing by me and guiding me through it.

I can do all these through Him who gives me strength.
–  Philippians 4:13

There were so many times in the past 6 weeks that I felt throughly defeated by the amount of work that I had to do. Yet, I came to realise a pattern: on days where the first thing I did – before starting on ANY piece of work – was to spend some time with God, the more productive I became. Sometimes I spent it by reading the Bible, sometimes just having a small conversation with Him. Even on days where I am dead on my feet and all I do is hastily mumble a few sentences before knocking out on 179 and falling asleep till I reach WKW, my productivity increases. I become less distracted and ideas come to me faster. Coincidence? I think not.

I liken it to spending time with a friend – the more time you spend cultivating a friendship, the closer the two of you become. The closer the two of you become, the more likely he or she is to gift you with small blessings like treating you to a cup of milo or running an errand for you.

& my life is filled with small blessings like these from God! Be it in the people around me or even strangers on the street, I keep seeing little examples of God’s hands and how he is always present and here for me. A stranger came to my house door to return my wallet. My dad offerred to run errands for me when he could just stay at home comfortably. My Uber driver yesterday turned out to be parked right below my house when I was late to meet my friends – I didn’t have to wait for him to arrive or get lost on the way to my place.

Reading the Bible this year is also the hardest thing I have ever done. A lot of discipline is required to sit down and spend time reading about 5 chapters daily but I have come to learn a lot about God’s nature as well. The differences in OT and NT are incredibly big but at the same time as I read I understand God’s motivations for doing certain things, and I understand his ‘expectations’ for me better. Slowly getting to know God better has also changed my worldview on certain matters for the… better? I hope. Also made me more certain re decisions that I have to make haha but I’m confident that with God, everything is possible! OK btw this isn’t blind optimism this is faith :’-)

This might not be the most spiritually accurate post but it’s a good reflection of what I feel huehue.

Zan x

 

 

27th January 2017

Typing this at work because it’s a slow day. Most people probably didn’t even bother coming to school / had the day off. Sadly my tutorial today is French & my tutor does not celebrate CNY. 

We had louhei earlier and it was very awkward because 1) we were students mixed with the full time staff & 2) I was still wearing my retainers because I didn’t have time to remove them before they called us in. Ate two mouthfuls very slowly because they kept urging us to eat and I didn’t want to eat with retainers on. 

As I grow older CNY starts to lose its significance. I mean, I still talk to my cousins but I guess I’m not as excited compared to when I was a kid. I used to be terrified of 拜年-ing to my grandparents because I didn’t know what to say to them but now that I’m older I know better. But they aren’t around anymore so it’s a moot point haha. 

** Random insert here handsome guy whom I know just walked in hahah 🌚. Been meeting people at work lately yesterday was Ze Qiang 😂

There’s a lot of schoolwork to be submitted after CNY so sadly some hustling will still be required. Really hope to finish everything by Sunday so I can enjoy on Monday!

Zan x

9th Jan – 13th Jan

LMAO I am too lazy to think of titles but here’s y2s2w1 in review.

9th Jan
Had my first 4AU class and it seems a little sketchy tbh. The lecturer is very passionate but I am worried that I might have to group with slackers (previously mentioned) so… OK but then again I like complaining about shitty group mates then doing everything by myself b/c I’m damn perfectionist but still it would be nice to have people pull their weight. Will see how it goes after I attend the tutorial next Tuesday haha.

Headed off to mind cafe to play some board games with Jett Ning and Zuyang (Ning’s brother) which was fun! Played Ticket to Ride, Sushi Go (I love this game btw it’s super cute and brainless) and Portrayal! I really enjoyed myself and it’s nice how we never run out of things to do together because we have so many interests in common. :’-)

10th Jan
Just one lecture today and it was Hedwig and I didn’t read the newspapers so I was really nervous. It was incredibly nerve-wracking and I wanted to die but thank goodness I managed to answer one question correctly!!! Made a mental note to start reading the newspapers at least from Sunday till Tuesday haha I will definitely have to stick to this so I don’t drown in tutorial.

11th Jan
My 2nd 4AU mod! I love it already despite the heavy workload. My professor is so bubbly and enthusiastic and experienced and I am excited to learn!! Not even kidding haha. Am considering PR for my internship but well let me think about what I want to do for FYP first – the end of this semester is my deadline to myself so I can take the appropriate modules for next semester!

Caught The Great Wall afterwards with Denz and goodness it was terrifying haha. Really good movie but terrifying why must everyone die?? Really sad haha but I liked the plot it wasn’t cliche – except the part where the whole of China needed one American to save them lmao plS.

12th Jan
Started work at One Stop! It’s quite chill and everyone has been really nice to me so far which I appreciate :~) It’s also the only reason why I go to school on Thursdays LOL out to earn money #superficialbitch I like how the other Student Assistants are also out to chill and kill some time before classes so it’s not like everyone is xiao onz or anything.

13th Jan
Had work in the morning again! It took me an hour to get to school by KJE like what is happening here it usually takes me 20 minutes at most? Goodness. I’m not taking this ever again I’d much rather take public transport and be on time for school haha. Got my period afterwards though so I skipped creative writing and went home to die :’-) Felt better after drinking ginger tea and rolling around on my bed. Then my tutee couldn’t make it so she texted me to cancel and I was like amen thank God LOL. I wanted to cancel but I lost her number after changing my phone so I couldn’t but she started it :>

Today is the day Ilyda is flying off for 5 months – farewell friend. You will be missed!

Zan x

sem two day one

Happy face post-4029! Am still on the fence about this module because it seems incredibly intense 😯 It’s like Creative Strategies but with twice the workload and I’m not sure that is even achievable haha. Yet it’s really handson and practical which I love so… There’s tons of exchange students as well and I don’t really want to group with them because I’m afraid they won’t pull their weight when it comes to group work and I hate slackers!!!!

Zuyang forgot to focus before taking the picture HAHA. Went to mind cafe after school to meet them for some board game fun!! Do not regret, absolutely love. Can’t wait to meet them again tomorrow though that’s for sending zuning off – farewell friend!!! We’ll meet again real soon.

Hedwig lecture tomorrow and actually I’m quite excited leh haha. Doing a LOT of writing mods this semester – copywriting, newswriting, pr writing, creative writing. My writing skills aren’t exactly up to scratch it’s all interest 😭😭 Especiall creative writing….. quite worried I won’t be able to get a B+ haha.

Zan x

NYC xkm

I am truly thankful for my spiritual family that is NYC 1 ☺ Haven’t had a spiritual chitchat session as a group in ages because I didn’t go for LG much last year, and this NYC camp really helped a lot in terms of fellowship & even getting to know my lifegroup members better. Am just feeling warm & fuzzy right now because over these two days I’ve talked to them so much more and gotten to know them so much better!! Bryan kept talking to me whenever we were on public transport or waiting around and yesterday I was looking at photos from Ekklesia camp earlier this year (also the first time I met Bryan) where I was thinking ‘omg he’s such a spiritual giant I don’t match up to him at all???? It’s so awkward talking to him because he’s so solid and knowledgeable’. But to know he really sees me as his little sister and looks out for me and feel happy for me is really heartwarming!!! Also spoke with Mabel & caught up with her on her life and it feels so good to be able to share life with someone who isn’t Christalle LOL we really stick to each other ALOT to the point where we’re so comfortable we don’t want to leave our comfort zone.

Truly truly blessed to have them running this race with me & by sharing our non negotiables for 2017 earlier we’re going to be accountable to each other! Also going to text Paige weekly because I know that if I have to answer to someone I will tend to handle the situation with more caution and actually stick to my word LOL.

Incredibly excited to go through 2017 with them!!!!! Thank You God 💕

Zan x

2016/2017

Sometimes I can’t believe that this place still exists after 5 years – I thought it would have died by now.

  • verse for 2017 – Ephesians 4:2
  • finish reading the Bible
  • save 150$/month

These are the only 3 resolutions I feel comfortable sharing here (it IS my blog but it is also public. I am wary after the countless cyberbullying I have experienced in the past 5 years). 2016 has honestly been a season of change/rest and

I’m just glad it’s 2017. I’m more than ready. Ready to leave the old behind and start afresh! New experiences, new ways to grow closer to God and more knowledgeable in His Word.

Zan x