Category Archives: Values

John O’Donohue: A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

Some months ago an older woman whom I greatly respect introduced me to the poetry of John O’Donohue. His poems, for me, occupy that rare space between humanity and the divine, a sort of linguistic thin place.

Today I returned to this poem, felt my breathing slow, a calm return. Perhaps it might bless you too.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The ride you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

The Answer

It’s 2am and I’m still awake. I had every intention to go to bed at a decent hour but for some reason, my mind was churning with thoughts about the future, of work and family and health and life’s larger purposes.

So I decided to listen to a new compilation I just bought. What joy to find another beautiful gem by the gifted (and – may I venture – anointed) Corrinne May. And now I am off to bed.

The Answer

Lyrics by Corrinne May Ying Foo
Music by Gustav Holst, ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets Suite

I believe you are the answer to every tear I’ve cried
I believe that you are with me,
My rising and my light.

Give me strength when I am weary
Give me hope when I can’t see
Through the crosses I must carry
Lord, bind my heart to Thee

That when all my days are over
and all my chores are done,
I may see your risen Glory
Forever where you are.

MOE suspends AWARE sex education programme

MOE has just announced that it will suspend AWARE’s sex education programme.

The statement says that “Today, schools are allowed to engage external vendors to supplement MOE’s sexuality education programme. MOE has reviewed the internal processes for selecting and monitoring vendors and found that they can be improved. MOE will put in more stringent processes to ensure that training materials and programmes delivered in schools are in line with the Ministry’s framework on sexuality education. Schools will suspend the engagement of external vendors until the new vetting processes are completed. The Ministry is also reviewing ways to provide parents with more information about sexuality education in the specific schools that their children are in.”

About AWARE’s sexuality education, MOE said that “in some other aspects, the Guide does not conform to MOE’s guidelines. In particular, some suggested responses in the instructor guide are explicit and inappropriate, and convey messages which could promote homosexuality or suggest approval of pre-marital sex.”

You can read the full statement here

The whole saga at AWARE has left me troubled. I didn’t like how the new guard came into power and their inability to articulate a coherent position and direction from the get-go. But I was also upset by the subsequent savagery online and offline that demonised Christians.
Continue reading

What Is That?

A friend sent me this beautiful (and chastening) video.

Manners according to Aramis

We’ve been trying to teach Aramis to say “please may I have” instead of “I want”. Here is a little anecdote from today that demonstrates how he’s doing so far:

Aramis: What’s in your cup, Mommy?

Pilgrim Mom shows him.

Aramis: Is it Ribena?

PM: Yes.

Aramis grabs cup to drink.

PM: Hey, that’s mine!

Aramis: No, mine!

PM: How do you ask me nicely?

Aramis: (in gentle dulcet tone) It’s mine.

Yasmin Ahmad shoots the Singapore family

Late to the party but I’ve just learnt that the talented Yasmin Ahmad was hired by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports to shoot an ad for Singapore’s pro-family campaign! If you’ve been a longtime consumer of Singapore’s campaigns, then you’ll understand why this is about as out-of-box as it gets. Good on MCYS!

If you liked this, please treat yourself to more of Yasmin’s work. Among her most well-known are the festive season ads she does for Petronas. These two are my favourites.

Red Sports: Let Our Children Run

Recently, there has been some national introspection about whether we are becoming less rugged as a people. It’s not something anyone can answer scientifically, but judging from the anecdotes, the answer is an unsurprising yes.

This op-ed from Red Sports speaks to that subject, and I must say it was discouraging to read that the numbers participating in track and field at the school level is on the decline. Not to mention schools giving up Sports Day. And defocusing on those sports in which they are unable to win awards

Have we lost sight of what’s important?

At least one school hasn’t. Seng Kang Primary has daily PE. And if you know anything about the primary school curriculum, then you’ll know how much vision and leadership it takes for a primary school to sustain that commitment.

Good on them. And as parents, let’s encourage our schools to do what’s right by our kids.