Preserving Tradition

What traditions are worth preserving? our contributing writer, Charissa Ee, asks All-important questions to get us started on a meaningful new year ahead.

BREAKING TRADITION

Every Singaporean Chinese family has their own traditions that are unique to them. My family is without exception. As a Peranankan family, our traditions include certain types of food like Ayam Buah Keluak for our reunion dinner. This year, I felt the need to reflect more deeply on my family traditions because my only surviving grandmother decided to break with tradition. She wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year at a restaurant.

When she broke the news to the family, we were all at a loss for words. We had gotten so used to our Chinese New Year routine that we assumed this year would be no different. We were so thrown off center that we needed to reconvene over ‘Whatsapp’ to discuss this change of plans. That one decision to break with tradition got me reflecting about Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” [NIV] We know that Paul wrote this to the Romans particularly because they had such a strong culture that permeated throughout their empire.

APPRECIATING TRADITION

My grandmother’s decision made me re-evaluate the Chinese New Year rituals we had come to know well in our family. Of all the various traditions that my family has, I’d like to share one that perhaps does not conform with most other Chinese families. Interestingly, both my paternal and maternal grandparents shared the same tradition of giving an ang pow (a red packet containing money) to each of their children and grandchildren regardless of age and marital status. This is quite unusual because most Chinese families believe that once you’re past a certain age, or if you’re married, then you no longer qualify to receive an ang pow.

Not only did my grandparents instill an uncommon practice, they made sure that their ang pows were of substantial value. They wanted their red packets to reflect their belief that influence comes with giving and giving generously of everything that we have, be it money, time or energy. Being believers they walked and lived out Psalm 112:9 “They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.” [NLT]

My family has taught me that influence doesn’t come from being persuasive. Instead, it comes from giving what we have in life regardless of its value. Over the course of these many Chinese New Years, I’ve realized that I have used my ang pow money towards my friends or towards attending workshops, buying books etc. In other words, I’ve used my ang pow money on things that could grow me as a person.

This year, I’ve decided to use my ang pow money as a yard stick to evaluate how I have been using the talents that God has endowed upon me.

USING TRADITION

Last year, one of my goals was to grow one of my Top 5 ‘talent themes’ (personal-character attributes) of StrengthsFinder® (a personal strengths assessment test) from infancy to maturity. Of all my Top 5 ‘talent themes’, the theme, Command has always gotten me into trouble and very misunderstood. So, I decided to put it to good use by offering to foster delinquent dogs from a local shelter. Through the grace and strength of God, I managed to foster and rehabilitate 5 dogs amidst a highly stressful and heavy work load. What I loved about the experience was that I got to know 5 new pre-believing families. On top of that, word got around that I could help others with problem dogs and by the end of 2015, I got to know more pre-believers in that one year than I ever have in my entire life. Looking back, Psalm 112:9 came very much alive for me.

As I look towards this Chinese New Year and the year ahead, I’m re-energized because I know that if I make the effort to invest in my talents, His might and His Spirit will bring about growth and influence.

SHARING TRADITION

As you think about Chinese New Year, what are some traditions that you have as a family that has spiritual significance? If you’re a parent or grandparent, be sure to specifically share why these traditions or family rituals are important. The Bible is full of rituals that God wanted the Israelites to remember not because He wanted a scared cow but rather because He knew that rituals shape our culture. Culture shapes our values and influences the way in which we do things and the life choices that we make.

As someone who grew up with dogs, I know that regardless of breed, size, and background, ALL dogs share the same rituals in greeting one another and how they behave in pack. You will notice that every dog seems to know what to do despite not knowing or having met the other dog; dogs share the same language even though they are raised in different households.

Every dog owner knows that in order to have a well-adjusted dog, it is highly important to be able to communicate effectively to your dog through training. Because they do not speak English, the onus is on us – beings of higher intelligence – to be the ones to learn how to speak ‘dog’. Dogs will only listen to you if you actually mean what you say. Dogs are loyal and highly social creatures that need to live in packs like we do in families. In every pack there’s a top dog. But no matter which country they come from, or which breed they are, they all follow the same rituals of meeting, greeting, playing and living with one another.

PRESERVING TRADITION

So why are dogs so in-tune to a united ritual unlike us humans? Why can’t we, the modern-day church, be as unified? What rituals have we preserved or lost that has caused us to be so removed from the natural world? Why can’t we seem to agree on what defines the Kingdom of God?

In a fast-changing city like Singapore, what is worth preserving in our culture? Perhaps the more important question we should be asking is – What traditions can we preserve to create the Kingdom culture that Christ so often speaks of in the New Testament?

Charissa is a trainer for both humans and dogs and loves to put her observations and musings down in writing on her blog “The Orange Chalk”. Very often, you’ll read about her rescue mutt, Lady-Mae, whom God uses to refine Charissa to serve like a servant and lead like royal.

WHAT'S ON IN COOS

Events on August 24, 2019

9:00 am: Korean Style Bouquet Workshop

Annyeong! Come join us for a fun DIY Korean-styled Bouquet Workshop. We will be using fresh flowers to create a korean-style wrapped bouquet. All materials and tools will be provided.

It cost $80 per participant, or $150 for 2 pax if you are bringing a friend.
As sharp tools will be used, the workshop is suitable for participants 12 years and older.

Dates: 24 & 25 August 2019
Time: 9am to 11.30am (24 Aug), Room 302
1.30pm to 4.00pm (25 Aug), Room 201
Location: Room 302
Click for more events

9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 2 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
Click for more events

2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

4:00 pm: COOSkidz Birthday Party - Robot

Click for more events

4:30 pm: Youth Service : Guest speaker Max Jeganathan

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

5:00 pm: Waggy Walk with Your Furkids!'

Calling out to all COOS members who own a pet dog/s to join us in this gathering to walk our dogs which will take place on the 4th Saturday of each month. Invite your friends and neighbors so that we can also promote bonding which each other! Meeting point and ending point at COOS Plaza. We will be walking along the Alexander Canal for our first walk on 24/8/19. Register through this link and QR code.
Location: Meeting point and end point in COOS Plaza
Click for more events
Events on August 25, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events
Events on August 29, 2019

7:30 pm: Choir Performance

Location: Church of Our Saviour, 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events
Events on August 31, 2019

9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 3 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
Click for more events

2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

3:00 pm: Flea Market

Volunteers needed for outreach initiatives to our community for the Flea Market! Gather your family, church friends or cell members, go into our neighborhoods (Stirling, Dawson and Mei Ling) at your own time and invite the residents for the flea market event on 31/8 and 1/9. Every flyer has a $10 value coupon attached so that they can exchange for the items at the flea market! Contact Tan Choong Meng at 81235996 for any enquiry.
Location: Atrium
Click for more events

3:00 pm: Flea Market

Looking for volunteers to set up booths to run a flea market in COOS! Gather a few friends or cell members, collect unused clothes and accessories, mend a stall at the atrium. Proceed of the sales will go towards the Geylang Ministry in COOS! If you are interested, please register at the admin counter or at this google link. Contact Tan Choon Meng at 81235996 for more information.
Location: Atrium
Click for more events

4:00 pm: Alpha Parenting Teenagers Course

A course for parents with children from 11 - 18 years old. It equips carers of children with strategies and tools in building a healthy family life. It is relevant for people of all faith.

Date: 31 Aug, 7, 14, 21, 28 Sep, 5 Oct
Time: 4pm - 6pm
Venue: COOS

Register at admin desk or scan QR code or thru this link: https://bit.ly/2vq7ClL
Location: COOS
Click for more events

4:45 pm: Evergreen Fellowship Talk

Evergreen Fellowship is organising a talk by Mr Benny Ong on "Understanding the difference between Advance Medical Directive (AMD), The lasting power of Attorney and The will.
Location: COOS AUDITORIUM
Click for more events
Events on September 1, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
Click for more events

SERVICE DETAILS

MAIN SERVICES (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 2.30pm
Sunday | 8.30am and 10.45am
YOUTH SERVICE (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 4.30pm
*Except every 1st weekend of the month, where youth joins main services.
SERVICES & OFFICE LOCATION
130 Margaret Drive Singapore 149300
It is a 10-minute walk from the Queenstown MRT Station.The bus-stops nearest to the church are served by
SBS Bus 51, 111, 145, 186, 195 and 32 and TIBS Bus 970.

The office is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 5.30pm.

Click here for more service details.