2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Day 9 – Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi

Today, we set off to the famous Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi to climb the 1237 steps to the summit of the hill where the golden Buddha sits. This hill is unique in that the steps, with railings on both sides, make the climb accessible and doable for all people young and old. However, the steps are steep at certain points, and there are just SO MANY of them, that you underestimate the difficulty of this ascent at your own peril. This climb is tough even for the fittest!

The advice is to bring loads of water, and believe me, you will need it as you will be sweating bucketloads because of the physical exertion and the 35 degrees Celsius heat. 

I’m proud to say my 7 year old girl conquered the whole flight of steps on her own steam without having to be carried. She was bouncing around, talking non-stop with her cousins and uncle, full of energy and optimism, proud of her own achievement, and rightly so!

My 5 year old boy on the other hand, made it to the 900 step mark by himself and then started to exhibit signs of emotional distress. He complained and started to cry,  grousing about how he didn’t like the climb and that “this was the worst day of his life”. Yes, slightly over the top I know, but he is a 5 year old boy after all. I had to then play the role of a counselor, coach and cheerleader, telling him how life isn’t always a cakewalk and that we needed to learn to overcome our own emotions and fears to grow in character and strength. 

I also asked him to pray to God for strength in his weakness. Amazingly, he did exactly that, saying a prayer out loud in the midst of his tears, and even more amazingly, the prayer seemed to work! He slowly but surely transitioned from negativity to positivity and from being mired in despair to being filled with hope and confidence. He even insisted on taking the last 30 steps on his own without my assistance! God truly has a soft spot for these little ones and rewards their little mustard seed of faith!

The view from the top of the hill is absolutely incredible, with a 360 degree panoramic view for miles and miles in all directions. The effort we put in was truly worth it. Video of Panoramic View on Hilltop

The route down, while physically less tiring, was a lot more heavy on the knees. The frontal view of the steep descent of steps can also be very daunting and scary, especially for those who are fearful of heights.

Despite all the physical challenges and exertion, I would highly recommend the climb as the views you get are well worth it! What I also love is the cameraderie between all the fellow climbers as you pass them. There is always that friendly tired smile, the encouragement that it is only a short climb left etc. Challenges like these really bring people, even strangers, together as you work towards a common goal. 

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Click here to read the next installment of my 2017 SG-TH blog series where I share about the joys of having family with you on a long road trip.

Click here to read from the beginning of my 2017 SG-TH blog series.

Click this link to read my three part blog post from 2016 where I detail everthing you need to know about preparing for a Singapore – Thailand road trip.

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!

Huckabee: Where Was God? (updated 19/12/2012)

Mike Huckabee’s view of where God was, in the light of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut where 20 kids and 6 adults lost their lives.

Indeed, we so often blame God for the evil that surrounds us, instead of realising that evil is just the absence of God, and God doesn’t inhabit the hearts of those who do not welcome him.

Since the comments were made, there has been much uproar about them, we see few articles and reports written in favour of what he has said, and plenty written lashing out at his comments (Salon article, Mediaite article), even using big words such as “vitupative” which hardly even accurately described his tone of voice (which was more a lament rather than a tirade).

This just reminds me of how the Bible talks about how the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor 3:19), and that the foolishness of God being wiser than man (1 Cor 1:25). The world doesn’t understand why Jesus needed to die to atone for their sins. This seems to be foolishness to some, and yet to us believers, this truth resounds to great effect because we see our own sin, we know our own spiritual position, we are not coming from a position of holier-than-thou-ness, but rather a position of brokenness in acknoledgement of our own need for forgiveness and atonement.

Well, in the end, everybody has a right to his own opinion about whether Huckabee is a lunatic  and an “opportunistic, self-promoting creep”, or if he is being a courageous, albeit misunderstood speaker of God’s truth.  In the same way, everybody has a right to form his own idea of what is the best response to this tragedy. We need to be able to agree to disagree, and after all has been said and done, after all the discussion and debate, we need to put down all our guns (both literally and metaphorically) and to spare a thought for and rally behind the plight of the victims and their families. While we are here discussing the merits and demerits of gun control and on all that has been said about God and the lack of God in the light of this tragedy, they have had to suffer a big irreversible loss in their lives. They need our support, our prayers, our empathy.

Alethea and Ephraim, at home with their Proud Father

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This Lion is proud of this Lion’s pride… my two cuties are cuter and more adorable than any other little lion cub in the world… okay I admit, I’m biased, but then again, every other proud father and mother will think in the same way!

It is easy to physically become a parent, but so much harder to learn to be a good one. Many times you feel frustrated, and even foolish, not knowing what to do and how to proceed. Over time, with much effort, we get better at it. We learn how to exercise patience, and seek to think again from the perspective of a child.

It is so wonderfully absorbing just to observe a child at work. I don’t know what it is but is just brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart. It makes you believe in everything wonderful about this world again.

These children are mine, but they do not belong to me, they have been wonderfully made by God the Creator of all things. As a parent, I am just showering my love on them, to care for them, to teach them and to prepare them to be ready to accomplish their purpose in this life, whatever that may be. They have a spiritual destiny, and God has a plan and a purpose for each of them. I must not seek to control their future and destiny. I need to let them find it for themselves.

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Reflections on Love / Wedding Dinner at St. Regis,

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Welcome to St. Regis, decked out in a Shangai theme, complete with the feathered frills, vintage songbird, and zany emcee. Its been awhile since we have attended a wedding dinner with such glitz and glamour. Every table had a towering tablepiece, which added to the grandeur, but posed a lot of problems with line-of-sight. I don’t remember seeing the emcee’s face at all the entire evening, for all his attempts to leave a lasting impression. Felt a little sorry for him, having to crack jokes in mandarin which no one in the ballroom seemed to understand or to care about.

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The food was generally good with excellent presentation, but perhaps trying a little too hard to impress. You’d have to say that it was certainly unique, not the standard Chinese wedding dinner fare. Portions were individually served in French style minimalist portions with great flair and an eye for detail. Service standards of the waiting staff was rather disappointing, I must say, with our drinks being forgotten at least four times.

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Amidst all this talk about the venue, the decor and the food, lets not forget what the wedding is really about, the celebration of love between two people joined together for a lifetime of commitment and companionship. The emcee quipped, “Marriage is not a word, it is a sentence… a LIFE SENTENCE.” Well perhaps we shouldn’t put it so negatively, but there is a lot of truth in that statement. The BIG DAY is only the beginning, the BIG CHALLENGE is to navigate the twist and turns and bumps and bruises of a lifetime of togetherness. Will the union stand the test of time? We always start out with the best of intentions, but a lot of the time we place expectations on our partners and on the relationship, and in so doing we forget what love is really all about.

Love suffers long and is kind: Are we prepared to exercise patience and grace to our partners? Do we accept that nobody is perfect, that in a marriage, you will often experience both the good side and the bad side of your partner? Are we kind to each other? Do we seek to understand before being understood?

Love does not envy; love does not parade itself:Don’t look at others and compare, don’t exalt yourself above the other. You might end up winning the argument, but losing the relationship.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things: Are we a pillar of support to our partners? Or are we a lighted fuse? Are we one that inspires and brings out the best in the other? Or do we make a habit of tearing each other down? Are we willing to go through the sun, the rain, the valley, the storm, through good and bad times with each other? Action speaks a lot louder than words. Many promises have been made, and many promises not kept. How much is your word worth?

Love never fails:True selfless agape love never fails to bring about the best in any relationship. True love is an emptying of yourself, your desires, your needs, and only focussing on the object of your love. You will give your all, and even your life, for the sake of the other person. A sacrificial love. A pure love, without any evil agenda. Love isn’t a feeling, it is a decision, a choice. Long after the fuzzy emotional feelings die down, true love will remain, almost spiritual in nature, it will stand the test of time. Are we committed to dying to ourselves and dying for others?

Marriage is a lifetime commitment!.

Where are we going? Where do we come from?

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Where are we going? Where do we come from?

Life is all about destiny and pre-destination. We cannot choose our parents, our ethnicity, or our birth nationality, but we can choose how we want to live our lives, what drives us, and what satisfies us.

Both the poor and the rich can be caught in a trap of existence. The poor in a cycle of poverty, unable to break free from the chains that tie them down to the dirt; the rich in a cycle of excess, never in need, but always in greed, always wanting more, and never learning to be content, but running themselves into the ground with the illusions of their own greatness and significance in the grand scheme of life.

The truth is that, whether rich or poor, naked we come into this world, and naked we will leave. There is nothing we can take with us to the afterlife, and all that we have fought and worked so hard for to build up, our houses, palaces, kingdoms and empires, we will have to forfeit when we step through to the other side. We are all but sojourners in this world. We are nothing more than a tiny insignificant speck of dirt in this great glorious universe. So what then, would be the destiny we choose for ourselves? To chase after the wind, vanity of vanities?

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Are we able to take a step back and take stock of our lives? Of who we are?

Are we able to make a choice to make a difference in the lives of another? To feed the poor and to offer whatever love we can give to another sojourner in this existence? Can we choose not to flaunt our position and possessions, but to flaunt our capacity to think for others more than we think for ourselves?

Can we truly live and be happy? Not always being hungry for more, and more, and more- more things, more blings, more underlings, more happenings, more fantastic feelings? I only want more…. contentment, peace, grace, and love. I want more of God and everything wonderful and good that He brings to me. I want to be quenched by the waters of everlasting life. I don’t want the shadows and the illusionary, but I want the real, the truth, the illuminating, the perfect embrace, the agape love.

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Lost Her Parents, but Still With So Much Love to Give

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Nine year old Bao San, orphaned when her parents died in a traffic accident, one of the newest members of HoG children’s home. She is currently there with her older sister, and will soon be joined by their two brothers.

What a lovely, gentle spirit she has, with so much love to give, even though she has had to go through so much pain and heartache as a child. She was so fond of Alethea, even though Alethea was initially resistant to her gestures of affection. She persisted and gained Alethea’s trust.

Little Bao San left a big impression on me. Though she is small in physical stature, her big heartedness outshines most of us Singaporeans. Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heave belongs to them! Little Bao San, you shine with God’s love, may God bless you every step, and remember that His is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…. He has a plan and purpose for your life! 🙂 Thank you for being God’s blessing to Alethea and me. We will keep you in our prayers always!

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A Love which Passes Knowledge

Ephesians 3:14-20 NKJV

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what  is  the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

What a wonderful prayer, by one who is on his knees interceeding and asking for God’s blessing to be on others. How poetic and expressive, and filled with the power of God.

I want to be strong in my inner man through the Spirit, and I want to be able to comprehend God’s love in the way that has been described in this passage. I want to know the love of Chirst WHICH PASSES KNOWLEDGE! Wow… How amazing and profound this love is, which passes knowledge. This love is something we cannot know with our minds, but can only be comprehended by the revelation of the Spirit of God in our inner man! How wonderful, as well, that we have a God that is able to always surprise us! He is able to astound us with the way He always works things out for our good, be it during good times or bad times. He has made us more than conquerors!

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you help me to know and to experience your amazing love which passes knowledge and understanding. This love so deep that you would even give your own Son to die for me. I know that I do not deserve this love. Help me to never take this love for granted. Overwhelm me, humble me, break me, mold me to the person you want me to be. I need your strength Lord, and each day, there are new challenges that I face. My enemies surround me, but I trust in your faithfulness and your sovereignity. I believe in You Lord. I know that all things work for the good to those who are the called according to Your purpose. I yield myself to your will and to your purpose. I choose to empty myself. You come, you be my shepherd and my guide.