Saturday, June 29, 2013

Singapore Day 8: Wedding day, Chinatown, and baby chopsticks

W takes his class out for roti prata (see Day 1 for the menu), his traditional last-day gift to them. I join them. They want to hear how we met and fell in love. They're very complimentary about the Systematic Theology class: W loves to teach and has no trouble communicating across culture.

Then it's back to the office to work. Finally, my teaching material and handouts are sorted and ready for Tuesday's class. Kirsten comes tonight night (1:30am) so the flat will start to fill up with our kids. The other two (Jeremy and his wife Rebekah) arrives Tuesday.

Two former ATC students are getting married at 11am. Guests are pouring into the building when we return from our late breakfast. I decide to duck into the service to see a Singaporean Christian wedding. Strings of hearts hang above the escalator, and the stage is simply decorated with two tall bar tables wrapped in fabric.

Two members of the worship team warm up the crowd in Singlish and Mandarin. The groom walks down the aisle alone at 11:15. The keyboardist plays as the attendants come in: two little girls lead the procession.

Finally, everyone stands as the bride is announced, walking slowly down the long aisle on the arm of her father. People clap, cheer her on, and stand until she's at the front and has been handed off to the groom.

The young couple sits in the front row during a 15 minute worship set. The PPT is in English and Mandarin, and verses are sung alternately in both languages.

Pastor Joseph (who preached Sunday) tells how Hans and Jan met in class. They told him exactly the same thing had attracted them to each other: a love for God and his mission, and a passion to serve children. The bride worked with Joseph in planting churches in Fiji - she leads worship, works with children, and is a vibrant minister. The groom likewise loves children's work.

After a half-hour message, given in English and interpreted into Mandarin, the couple steps onto the stage to exchange vows and rings. He kisses her, someone sings, and the crowd cheers.

There's a banquet set up in the parking garage under the building. White plastic chairs line a huge circumference around the buffet of hot dishes, desserts, and decor in the enter. There must be several hundred guests. Many are children and teens. It's noisy, friendly, and festive.

Looking through images online, I find my sister: doesn't this gal look like me? (She's prettier, but still... at some S'pore gala last year.)

At 3pm, W and I take the #12 bus to Chinatown. It takes an hour and twenty minutes to wind through the neighborhoods. We're both dehydrated and hungry, so we stop at the first place that looks decent. It's in the basement of a huge complex. The air-con is so high that our spicy hot bowl of noodles tastes just right. Mine is curried with egg, jalapenos, tiny tofu cubes, and cilantro. W's is hotter still, a red broth with thin noodles and an assortment of meats. I order a lemon grass drink that's perfumed like jasmine and rose water. Refreshing, and yummy.

We browse through the little streets of Chinatown to see what's new. Honestly, not much has changed. There are hundreds of vendors with assortments of Chinese lanterns, chochkes, souvenirs, kids' clothes with lots of embellishments, bracelets, lucky charms, and just plain junk. It's good fun. We pick up "Angry Bird" baby chopsticks for Kinsey (granddaughter) to play with.

We watch in astonishment at the square full of people who've paid their $3 to do Texas line dancing in the Chinatown Plaza. Some wear cowboy hats, some have boots and swinging skirts. They're all ages. Some 70-year-olds have the moves and shimmeys down cold. Other Western tourists stop and can't believe their eyes, just like us. (Videos, click here and here.)

We decide to take the MRT home. On two trains and a mile+ walk, it takes us 1:10. Bit faster. Better exercise, but less scenery. The humidity is 80% and the temperature is 31oC (88oF). Not bad. There's a gathering of Muslim men under one complex. The women sit on a rug off to the side. It's not mosque day but there are dozens gathered. We are traveling at a good clip as we angle through the apartments toward our own, and they hardly pause to glance up.

When we get home, we flip the air-con on to 27oC (80oF) and it feels utterly cool. W will get a cat-nap and then head to the airport after midnight to pick up Kirsten. Can't wait to see her.

Read more:
*I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2 NLT

*When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. Psalm 142:3 NIV

*Jesus said, “So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.” Luke 21:14-15 NLT

*Jesus replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Luke 18:27 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Almighty God, all things are possible through you. When we feel afraid, help us to remember your greatness and your goodness with wonder, love, and praise.

Steadfast God, we count on you to give us words and actions that nurture, heal, and serve. Watch over us and grant us strength and goodness. Amen.


  1. Chopsticks are really fun to use, but it will take time to master it. Initially it will be little difficult to hold the grip, and the food tends to drop many times you try. But once you learn how to make the proper grip through a balanced mix of your hand and fingertips, you will see yourself comfortably eating with the sticks.

  2. This is very useful information on wedding planning. Couple of months ago, I arranged my sister’s engagement party at one of exquisite New York wedding venues. Decorated venue in a lovely manner with lights and bouquets. Truly everyone liked decorating arrangements.