Wednesday, June 15, 2005

for my friends....

This entry is dedicated to my friends:

*to Kenneth for taking a risk in hiring someone with no experience, a head full of dreams and a hope in God. Thank you for telling me the hard things in an objective way and for having the courage to do what you knew you had to do.
*to JT, my mentor for being an example of a roaring lamb before i even knew what the concept meant.
*to Siew Lee, Thoy and Viv for the crazy times we shared in children's programs. thank you for your friendship and love.
*to Aikes and Lin for those endless blended blur of days and nights of the roadshows. thank you for your sense and sensibilities.
*to the drama team which kept morphing so i cant name names for fear of leaving some precious person out. thanks for the growing years.
*to Kim, my prayer partner and friend. thank you for your loyalty and faithfulness.

*to those of us who call Jesus, Redeemer, Saviour and Friend, may we remember to work for what will truly last beyond this life so that when we meet Jesus we will not be ashamed.

*to my friends who don't know Jesus as your Saviour. Let me humbly plead with you, what are you living for? how can you know your sins are forgiven? do you know Jesus loves you, died, was buried and rose again? He came the first time to be your Saviour. He will return as your Judge. Are you prepared? Are you ready?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV

To all of us involved in the story-telling industry who love a good story, the Bible is a true story. It is God's story. It's got drama, conflict, humour and best of all, we know the ending. You should read it sometime if you have not already. It's all true. Some of it has already happened and is happening. The rest is unfolding as we live. The story will last forever. We will too, either in eternal peace and joy in God's presence or in eternal damnation separated from God's holy presence forever. What will it be? The choice is up to you.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

for best results

For best results go straight to the bottom (beginning) of this blog and read upwards, it would make more sense to you as a reader because its pretty much chronological for now.
There are a couple more stories but i have to dig deeper into my memory to get them out. computer a little slower...old technology... :]
until the next time i miss a camp... (haha... i have managed to miss two so's becoming a habit) or have a window of time again, whichever comes first i will pound out the stories.

what were the returns?

"There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun; riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son. then there was nothing to support him. As he had come naked from his mother's womb, so will he return as he came.He will take nothing from the fruit of his labour that he can carry in his hand. This also is a grievous evil - exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?" Ecclesiastes 5:13-16 NASB

So what did I have to show after investinging seven and a half years of my life in the media industry? By God's grace, two souls. These two souls will go into an eternity with Christ. The seed also has been planted through the tracts and vcds given. By God's grace other roaring lambs will harvest these souls.

All the money earned has been reinvested, all the time invested cannot be retrieved, all the energy of my 20s has been used up.

Was it worth it? yes, it was.....but only because I chose to be a roaring lamb where God had placed me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I will never leave you....

When its time to go, its time to go....
On my first day at work, as I walked up the stairs for the first time, I knew that the day would come when I walked down it for the last time. I knew that God had opened the door for me to work in this company, however one day, He would require me to move on.
When did I know it was time to move on? I didn't. Every two years, I would ask God whether He still wanted me there. God had me move from position to position and program to program. As soon as I mastered a position, I was moved on to the next, no time to be complacent or complain.
I started as a producer of children's programs. I became a production coordinator of live shows. Then a production manager of drama serials. Whilst training to be a production manager, I assumed the duties of assistant director and facilities officer to understand the job scope. I even became the scheduler when no one wanted to do it.
The programs I was involved in were varied. Happy Times with Ronald McDonald, Disney Club Singapore, Live On 5, Roadshows, WTO Show, Growing Up, Triple Nine, VR Man.
When I finished season 4 of Growing Up, I felt that my time in TV was coming to a close. I felt the need to take stock and re-evaluate my life in the light of eternity. My time and energy could be better invested in things that would last into eternity. TV production is very temporal. My friend Siew Lee used to say, you are only as good as your last production. Out of sight, out of mind......
In fact, one day, my colleague came to ask me how long I had been in the company. He remarked that I was one of the few that had remained in the department for so long. Many of those who had joined the company at around the same time had left. I reflected and realised that I had spent my "20s" in the company! I had invested some of the best years of my life in this industry.
As I prepared to leave the company and after I left the company not knowing exactly what the next step was, God assured me through the following verse which came to me three times. Once in my personal time with the Lord, once in the material I was studying with the teen group, finally in the BSF material I was doing.

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" Hebrews 13:5b KJV

God was reassuring me that as I left the security of my comfort zone. He would never leave me nor forsake me. He never has and He never will.
Truly God is Faithful and True. He is dependable and reliable. He is El Olam, - the Everlasting God. To God be the glory!

a good name...

I was assigned interns every year. Some were as young as 15 years old, most were from the polytechnics or the universities, some were graduates who were looking for a way into the industry.
I treated all of them the same and gave them the same advice:

First impressions count.
It pays to be punctual.
Always inform of your whereabouts.
Reputation is important.

In this industry, reputation can make or break you. Some people are legends in the industry for their punctuality and kindness. Others are infamous for all the wrong reasons. Reputations stick and are hard to shake. If you have a good rep, it would be for life. If you had a bad would need a miracle....

God's word is true.

"A good name is more desirable than great riches: to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1 NIV

what a man!

JT is a man sent from God. He is a believer and he loves the Lord. JT was my first supervisor when I joined as a producer of children's programs. He was responsible for throwing me in the deep end so that I could grow and learn.
The most memorable lessons JT taught me were a mixture of production work and life - how to live it in a way that glorifies God.
Here are some pearls of wisdom I learned from this man who once walked around with a bible in his back pocket so he could whip it out and read it anytime.

1) "Work is easy, it's people who are difficult to work with." This was true and we often spent time trying to figure how to get two excellent workers who could not stand each other to work together.

2) "You call it as you see it. If the decision was good, praise God. If it was bad, take responsibility for it and try again." I was often terrified of making poor decisions when I was first appointed production manager. JT explained that sometimes there was no way of knowing for certain that the decision we were making was a good one but someone had to call it. He even offered to call it for me if I was too afraid to do it. That gave me courage and I learned to call decisions as I saw it. Of course, I asked God for wisdom as I made them.

3) "I cannot defend you when you have done something wrong" My colleague had done something wrong and went the JT for help. He clarified what she had done and pointed out to her what she had done wrong. He reminded her that she and the organisation would bear the consequences for the actions. He knew the position was not defendable.

4) "Don't be afraid to ask for help" When JT first became VP and had to submit budgets. He did not have a clue how to prepare one. He called the finance people and told them exactly that and requested their help to explain how to do it. Two people from finance were happy to accomodate the request.

5) "Your success is not measured by the size of your car" JT never said that but he lived it. It was such a sight to see his tiny royal blue nissan march parked next to the jaguars and mercedes benzes of his peers. No prizes for guessing which car got noticed the most :]

6) "Go home to your wife and kids" JT loved his wife and his kids to bits. He had their photos in his cubicle. He left the office promptly every day to go home to his family. What a man! What a husband and father! He often told fathers and mothers to go home to their kids.

JT was my mentor and friend. I learned much from his life and example. I thank God for allowing me to learn from this man who knew his God and lived by His word.

straight and narrow....

As in any industry, there are always temptations for us to turn from God and to go astray. The temptations are the same everywhere - the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
It is by God's grace that I was kept close to the Lord. Here are several reasons how I believe God spared me and kept me on the straight and narrow.
1) My colleagues knew I was a believer. I talked about God. I prayed before my meals. I gave out tracts (usually during christmas) I shared the gospel. Instead of making fun of my faith, my colleagues sought to keep me out of trouble and harm's way! Some even defended me and stood up for me by saying "She's a christian, she can't do that!"
2) I taught sunday school class at least twice a month. I remember thinking once that I would like to try smoking or drinking as a way of venting my frustration over something that had gone wrong. I could not bring myself to do it because I did not want to be a hypocrite on sunday. I could not stand in front of a class of young people on sunday and teach them how to obey God and do exactly the opposite on weekdays. It was the Holy Spirit Who was gently guiding my thoughts during those times of trial.
3) I know my parents covered me in prayer all those years that I worked in the media industry. God honoured the prayers of my spiritual authorities - my parents.
4) The people who influenced me most were believers. Thanks JT - my mentor. Thanks Kim - my prayer partner. Thanks Aikes, Julie and Lin - my friends. I have known since primary school that it is impossible to have a non-believer as my closest friend. Christian friends help each other focus on the Lord.
God is Jehovah-Tsidkenu - the LORD is my righteousness. He alone is able to make me righteous in His eyes through the blood of my Saviour Jesus.

seek first His kingdom

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33 NIV

This verse was given to me by my sister on my birthday a couple of years after I started working. She gave me a copy of Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" and scribbled the verse on the inlay.
I had become a workaholic. I worshipped my work. My work brought me tremendous satisfaction and achievement. I was beginning to spend all my time at work and neglecting time with my family. I still served as a sunday school teacher but sometimes it felt like I was serving more out of habit and obligation.
This was her way of reminding me to get back on track and seek God's kingdom first. God's way of getting my attention is recounted in "In all things God works for good..." It worked.
Over the years, I have discovered God's word is true. When I seek God's kingdom first even at my place of work, all these things were given to be as well - promotion, recognition, reputation, renumeration. Best of all, God gave eternal blessings which will last beyond this life. The salvation of friends who will spend eternity with God.

i would like to be a millionaire by the time i am 30...

Another of my friends came to Christ during my time in the media. He was not a colleague but we met during when I was working on live shows and we became friends.
He was a sincere and hard-working individual. His goal was to be a millionaire by the time he reached 30. He often talked about his plans and how he was going to achieve them. He had it all worked out..... until one day one of his plans failed. He was heart-broken.
I listened to him and prayed with him. He had many questions. I pointed him back to the bible. He came from a catholic home. I did not wish to engage him in a lengthy discussion on issues and opinions. So I encouraged him to pray and read God's word. I gave him a book that listed bible verses topically.
I was very busy one day when he called to have lunch. I was torn between getting my work done and reaching out to a friend. In the end, I chose to have lunch. People are more important than production.... During lunch, I shared the gospel with him and told him that he needed to come to God on God's terms and not his. He could pray and ask Jesus into his life anytime and anywhere. When he dropped me back at the office, I also alerted him to the explanation of salvation in the final page of the book I had given him earlier.
The next time we met was a few months later. At the end of our conversation, I plucked up the courage to ask him if he had received Christ as his Saviour. He said yes, he had done so by himself a few weeks back. I was overjoyed. God seeks and saves those who are lost.
My friend has since been baptised and joined a church and is active in serving the Lord. His heart's desire is to see his family come to the saving grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. God can use my friend to be a witness to his family.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
Did my friend become a millionaire by the time he was 30?
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17 NIV
What do you think?.....

Monday, June 06, 2005

with eternity's values in view

I had the privilege and honour of seeing my friend come to Christ whilst I was in the media industry.
I remember the first time I met my colleague. I thought she would make a great close friend. The only thing problem was that she was not a believer. We became good friends but I could not encourage her in the Lord because she did not acknowledge Him. Well, God answered that desire of my heart before I left my company.
My colleague was going through a bad patch and requested me to pray for her. I was surprised but encouraged by her request. We would meet after work on the rooftop. There was a lovely view of the area surrounding our building. I would listen to her and then pray for her.
As the crisis in her life worsened, we met more frequently. We wept and prayed together. My heart broke for her but I knew only Jesus could help her. One day, I brought her a cartoon tract and explained it to her. I told her that only God could help her but she had to come to God on His terms and not hers. I told her that she could pray to ask Jesus into her life anytime and anywhere.
One saturday morning, my friend called me at home. It had been a particularly bad night, she was tired of struggling, she made a decision that morning to surrender her life to Christ. I was so moved, I wept. I drove to her home on the other side of the island to assure her of her salvation. Praise God, she understood the commitment she had made. Words cannot express the joy I felt in seeing my friend finally come to the Lord. I had the privilege of doing some follow-up lessons with her after her conversion.
Right before I left the company, we went up to the rooftop to pray together. It was drizzling.....up in the sky, two rainbows appeared. It was a sight to behold. I explained to my friend the significance of the rainbow in the Bible. It was God's covenant to Noah that God would never destroy the world again through a flood. Two rainbows, one for me, one for my friend. I took it as a sign from God that He promised to be with my friend and me as we parted ways.
Recently, I had the privilege of witnessing my friend's baptism. She is attending church and growing in the Lord. The new work that Christ has begun in my friend will continue until the Day Jesus returns.
It was for this reason that I was placed in my friend's life. It is for this reason that we are placed where God chooses.
With eternity's values in view, Lord.
May I do each day's work for Jesus.
With eternity's values in view.

when everything that could go wrong, does.....

What do you do when everything that could go wrong does.... When the going gets tough, the tough run to God. :]
My good friend Aikes once pointed out to me that I made poor decisions when I made snap decisions. Upon reflection, it was true.
I developed a strategy to combat this problem. When I receive a piece of bad news, I would ask as many questions as possible to clarify where the problem lay. JT used to tell me....If you identify the correct problem, you would be able to apply the correct solution. If you did not, once you applied any solution, the problem would not go away because the problem had not been correctly diagnosed.
If I could buy some time before making a decision, I would. Then I would grab my book of bible verses and go into a room. I read scripture aloud, sometimes repeating God's promises until I calmed down. I would then tell God what the problem was and how I felt eg. frustrated, angry, etc. I would finally ask God for wisdom to solve the problem.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 NIV
God is good. He knows and cares about our work. However He is more interested in developing Christ-like character in our lives and a dependence and reliance on Him. Even if everything went horribly wrong (which happened frequently in production), the truth remains that God is Sovereign. Nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. God is Jehovah-Nissi - the LORD who is my banner.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." Proverbs 18:10 NIV

people are more important than production

This was the mantra I recited to myself on those days when everything that could go wrong did. Delays and cancellations cost money. Everything costs money.
But God showed me over and over again.. people are more important than production.
Here is a list of what happened during the drama years that cost us time and money
1) lead actor broke his nose
2) lead actor sprained his leg
3) guest actress had infected cornea
4) mother of lead actress came down with serious illness
5) lead actor had hot oil splattered on his face in kitchen accident
6) actors and actresses came down with the flu throughout the season
7) This list is not exhaustive but you get the picture...
This list can be examined from two perspectives. One was to focus on the inconvenience of all the happenings in each individual's life and how it cost the company time and money. The second was to see opportunities to show Christ-like care and concern for those who were hurting.
On one level as a employee of the company, it was my responsibillity to judiciously manage the time and money to the best of my ability. On another level as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, it was my responsiblity to reach out to people and earn the privilege to share my faith.
At the end of the day, when I stand before my Lord as Judge. He will not ask me about the productions I was involved in and how much money was saved or made. He will hold me accountable for the people He allowed to cross my path and whether I had pointed them to Him.

JESUS speaks their language too...

From Day one, my mission was clear. I was a christian and this company where God placed me was my mission field.
Every christmas was a wonderful opportunity to write a personal note of thanks to all who had worked on some production with me during the year. I included a tract with every note. I used biligual and cartoon tracts. Some even pinned the tract on their cubicle wall in front of them as decoration.
The last christmas before I left, I asked God for something different to give my colleagues who each had a sizable tract collection by now. :] God's answer came to me on the day after christmas.... give them the JESUS film! It was a brilliant idea. The JESUS film spoke a language that production people could relate to - the language of production.
After I distributed more than 100 copies of the vcd, I got some feedback.
The head of set design and props watched the movie and was impressed with the authentic setting, wardrobe and props. The head of sound production was impressed with the quality of the sound effects and soundtrack. She said it was realistic. An actor remarked that the role of Jesus was the ultimate role to die for. How ironic.... :] A producer brought the movie home to watch with her family. Her maid requested a copy to watch with her friends.
It is exciting to know that production people can be reached in their own language - the language of their craft. I pray that my ex-colleagues would look beyond the movie and be touched by the person of Jesus and his sacrifice for them on calvary's cross.
I continue to pray that all who received a copy of the JESUS film would watch the movie at least once and make that important decision that would change their lives and destinies forever.

be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves

I feel the need to share this story as a caution to those feel a burden to help people. My dad always tells me. We can only help those who:
1) need help
2) want help
3) with the help we can give
Only when these 3 criteria are fulfilled, are we the correct person to help those who ask us for help.

I met this man when I went to pick up some props for filming. He was in his 40s and told me he knew my dad. He used to attend church and was active. He even played a lead role in the church's musical. I had attended the musical and recognised him. He had stopped attending church and wandered away from God and I felt that I would like to help him so when he offered to go for a drink the next evening I agreed.
I went home and told my parents about him and how I would like to help point this man back to God. My dad cautioned me that it would be more appropriate for a man to counsel a man. I agreed so I called him and told him that I was bringing my brother along. He was not happy with the idea so I told my brother it was not necessary. I decided to go ahead and meet him as agreed upon. I requested my parents to page me so that I could return the call and tell them where I was having this meeting.
When I met up with this man, I told him that I had told my parents that we were having a drink together. I got into his car and we drove to a coffee shop. On the way there, he felt the need to tell me how women found him attractive. I was not impressed. We had a drink and my parents paged me. I answered the call and told them where I was. As we talked I realised this man was not interested in spiritual things at all and I could not help him.
After the drink, he drove me back to pick up my car. Along the way, he regaled me two tales of his exploits. I began to feel very uncomfortable but did my best not to show it. He did not make any unwarranted advances towards me but I was clear that his intentions were less than honourable.
I could not wait to get out of his car. When I was safely in my car, I shook uncontrollably for a few minutes. I knew the danger that I had been in. I was relieved that I had told my parents and that he knew that I had told my parents. I am sure that this important piece of information was a deterrent to him.
He called the next day to ask me out again - this time to a night-club. I told him that I would not go out with him again nor be his friend. What time I could spare would be spent with my family and that his unwelcomed tales of inappropriate behaviour offended me. I thank God for the courage to tell this man the truth.
This man needed help but it was clear that he did not want it and I was the wrong person to help him. He was older and more experienced than me and I was in way over my head.
God is my Protector and Preserver. He gave me wisdom to inform my parents of what I planned to do. Thank God that I did not drink any alcohol. I do not drink alcohol because alcohol impairs my decision-making ability. I am grateful for the courage to realise that I could not help this man and if I carried on I would have gotten into serious trouble.
In hind sight, the signs were all there. From the point when he objected to my brother's presence onwards, his intentions were clear. I am older and wiser now and feel the need to share this with those of us who have been brought up to help others. Let us heed Jesus' warning
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16 NIV

in all things God works for the good....

" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him , who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 NIV

One of the most difficult times in my working life arose when I was only one and a half years into my job. I was enjoying myself working as a producer of children's programs. I worked hard. I was responsible. I worked some weekends. I worked late. But all this was not good enough. I was called into the boss' office one day and told that I was to be re-deployed as a research-writer or a production manager. In a nutshell, I was not cut out to be a producer. I was devastated. I had failed. In fact, if the re-deployment did not work out within three months, my services would be terminated. I felt like someone had plunged a knife into my heart. OUCH! God, I can't believe this was happening....
I listened to the evaluation of my work and my mind reeled from the shock. I was hard-working and efficient but my work was not up to expectation. My dream was crumbling.......:[ However I was told my potential appeared to be in the area of production coordination. I was told that if I worked at it, I would become a production manager one day. I was not even sure that I liked what I heard. I went home and discussed it with my parents and they encouraged me to follow the advice given. My friends and immediate superior also encouraged me to do the same.
I was re-assigned to my new position as production coordinator of live shows. That by God's grace lasted 2 years. I was then made production manager and moved to the drama department where I remained until I left the company in 4 years later. It was true I was a better production coordinator and manager than producer.
At the end of my sojourn in the industry, I wrote a letter to my boss, thanking him for that difficult decision made at the onset of my career that placed me a position that best suited my strengths and talents.
I am grateful to God for the wisdom and grace He gave me to be subject to the authority of my boss. I learned that God works through my authority at work to place in a position where I can be at my best. After all, God is El-Elyon, God Most High. He knows what is best for me even when I can't see it immediately. When I could not see His Hand, I had to trust His heart.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

when you are tired, you make poor decisions

This is a short story with a simple lesson. During the WTO show, I would work til 2-3am in the office. We were trying to contact performers who lived around the world and in different time zones. At the end of one of the work days, my boss Kenneth told me to go home early and not stay late in the office. He noticed that I was tired. My office phone rang at 3am and I picked it up. It was Kenneth and I got a scolding. I was miffed. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Here I was trying to do my job and I was getting a scolding for it.
The next morning I was not happy when Kenneth called me to see him in his office. He told me matter-of-factly that when I was tired, I made poor decisions. Poor decisions left a mess that took time to clear up. It was true. He made sense. I appreciate Kenneth's honesty and directness. He was objective. It was not personal. To this day, I try not to make important decisions especially when I am tired. And also to rest so that I can be at my best when making important decisions which affect others.

you want to do what?.....when?.....

The biggest project I worked on was the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Show which was held in December 1996 on the musical fountain at Sentosa.
It was an ambitious production. The plan was to gather an international line-up of performers within five months, put up a stage over the musical fountain and have a live broadcast in the open-air in the middle of the wettest season of the year. I remember thinking that we had lost our minds. :] However in this business, the bigger the show, the better.
The funny thing was that I wanted to be a part of this show. I was assigned to do a drama serial when planning for the WTO show started. I wistfully thought how exciting and crazy it would be to work on this show....I did not share this with anyone. God read my thoughts and gave me the desire of my heart. I had not even prayed about it. I was re-assigned to the WTO show.
The following days, weeks and months were a whirl-wind of activity - planning meetings, recces, long-distance calls across the world and several time-zones, late nights, faxes and more faxes, confirmations and cancellations.
When the dust finally settled, performers from the UK, India, Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, the Philippines and Singapore descended on the tiny island of Sentosa for the week leading up to the show. Equipment included a sponsored grand piano, a one-tonne taiko drum from Japan, steel drums from South Africa and an entire orchestra's intruments.
On the night of the full-dress rehearsal, it poured cats and dogs. The non-toxic paint used to paint the stage got washed into the musical fountain's koi pond. It was quite a sight to see orange koi swimming in a pond of milky white water. The play-back tape got chewed up by the play-back machine. And all the orchestra scores got wet!!! They had to be hand-copied in time for the final performance. Production work is NOT for people with weak hearts but people with great faith. :] It's wonderful to know that God's people are found in all organisations including the Singapore Tourist Board and Sentosa Development Corporation. We all played our part by petitioning God for good weather and smooth running of the show.
On the afternoon of the final performance, big black clouds hung in a distance from the island. I prayed that God would send a strong wind to blow them away from us. God gave us perfect weather that night. God is Jehovah-Shammah - the Lord Who is there. He enabled everything to run smoothly. A "live-to-air" show with an international cast of performers, on the musical fountain in the open-air in the middle of the monsoon season - only El-Shaddai, God Almighty could have pulled that off. All glory to God!

people have names...

I am grateful for the example set by the children's producer who shared his experiences with me before I joined the company. Fatt Ping is a gracious, humble and accomodating man. He taught me all he knew and brought me around and introduced me to studio crew, editors, wardrobe mistresses, propsmen, set designers.
I shadowed Fatt Ping the first few days at work. I learned the most by watching the way he treated people. Fatt Ping always greeted everyone by name warmly. By the second day, I brought a notebook with me to jot down the many names so that I would address the individuals correctly when I next met them.
People have names and they need to be treated with care and respect. This was something I taught all the interns that I had the privilege of working with during the years that followed. It did not matter how brillant and creative you were, people would not respect you, if you did not respect them.

rock-a-bye baby

We were filming a nostalgic family drama about Singapore in the 1960s. The script required the main character to have a baby. With the baby came the need for a usable baby pram circa 1960. The props department spent a month trying to locate one at the second-hand stores and came up empty. The prams were either too old and dusty to put a real-live baby or too modern-looking. Calls to my relatives also proved futile. Everyone had junked their old prams ages ago.
The day before the shoot, we were SANS pram. What to do? Where to look? Oh Lord, help us please, I breathed.
My Facilities Coordinator, Sharon had an idea. She remembered an old pram at her old flat, maybe it was still there. We hopped in the car and drove all the way to Tampines. When we got there, we were told the pram had been junked some time ago. The next idea was to go to the Town Centre which had several stores selling baby things. We walked around; everything was too new and modern-looking for the period drama we were filming. Finally Sharon decided that we should try the cash converter store nearby. It was a place that sold second-hand stuff.
As we walked towards the store, there in the foyer sat exactly what we were looking for.....a baby pram which looked like it had come from the 1960s!!!
It was a miracle! The pram was in good condition and all that was needed was the bedding.
God is El-Shaddai, Almighty God Who knew our need and provided exactly what was needed right down to the look of the pram. Does God care about the work we do? Yes, He does and He was thoughtful enough to provide what was needed on time.
Praise God!

did you really think that God would let you get away with that?

My boss JT had a way with words. He told the truth, even when it hurt and OUCH! boy did it hurt this time. I was wrong and I knew it. I had done something wrong and now I had to face the music. I was glad that my boss was a believer and he knew that I was one too. He had once told me that God was interested in my work, I guess that meant God was also interested in the WAY I went about doing my work.
This story continues where the story "one blue 1968 alfa romeo please" left off.
Praise God we had the car and off we went to film and everything ended happily ever after....NOT! There was an important point we neglected to tell the uncle when we approached him for the use of the car. We did not tell him that the filming involved a stunt where a stunt man would roll over the car bonnet. I struggled whether to tell or not to tell. In the end, I took the easy way out and chose to keep quiet for fear that the uncle would not allow us to use the car for filming. We had come so far, we could not tell the truth and risk losing the car!
I came to pick up the uncle after his golf game. He was a fine gentlemen. He treated me to lunch at the club and even introduced me to his friends as if I were his daughter. All the way home, he spoke lovingly of his wife whom he insisted I meet when we reached his place. I met his wife briefly then took my leave, promising to return his car we had borrowed for filming by that evening.
My heart was full of joy as I sat in my car outside uncle's home and prepared to return to the office to work. Then the phone rang... It was the Assistant Director at the shoot. The car bonnet had been scratched and dented and one of the wipers broke! My heart sank into my stomach. I felt awful. Here I was sitting outside this nice gentleman's house knowing his car had been damaged and we had not told him the risk involved.
What was I going to do? I did what we all do when we think we would be found out. We try to cover our tracks... To cut a long story short, I spent the afternoon rushing around trying to get the damages fixed.
At 8pm, the car was delivered to the uncle's home. He came out to inspect the car in the night light. We made small-talk and he joked that if he discovered anything wrong with the car, he would know where to find us. I swallowed hard and fessed up. The wiper had been broken and replaced, the car had been scratched but polished, however the 3 dents were still visible. He bent over and examined the car and located the dents. I apologised for what we had done. He did not get angry, he remained gracious and friendly throughout.
The next day, I shared this story with JT who smiled, chuckled and asked...Did you really think that God would let you get away with that?
If I really think about it...... the answer would be "No." It was as my parents had always warned me throughout my growing years " sure your sin will find you out" Numbers 32:23b I am glad that God kept His word. My sin did find me out that day and it was a lesson I will never forget.
The story has an ending. The uncle sent the car in for repairs and sent us the bill. That was the right thing to do. We tried to borrow the car again some months later for a different purpose but we got a good scolding from the auntie. I could not blame her, we deserved it, we should have been honest the first time.

one blue 1968 alfa romeo please....

Filming this episode was a mini-drama in itself. The episode involved filming a hit-and-run accident with a blue 1968 alfa romeo. The car used for filming belonged to Nick, a colleague. Half of the scenes had already been filmed and we were scheduled to film the remaining scenes. A few days before the shoot, the car was hit by a taxi and had to be sent for repairs. Once repaired, we quickly re-scheduled the shoot. Two days before the second shoot, the car engine burnt out! This was unbelievable! We were running out of time and my part-time actor was running out of days of leave.
Nick who owned the car, was a car buff so he informed us that there were only four blue 1968 alfa romeos in Singapore. His was one. We had only two days to locate the other 3 owners to see if they would let us use their car for filming. We managed to call one but he turned us down. We also located a red alfa romeo but that was no good. We needed a blue one...
At 4pm in the afternoon of the day before the shoot, Nick came running into the office. He cheerfully asked whether the "uncle" had come to see us. We did not understand what he meant. He said he had seen a blue 1968 alfa romeo driven by a white-haired man on the road on the way to work. He assumed that we had succeeded in contacting this owner and that he was on his way to see us. Wow! So close and yet so far. Who was the uncle and where could we find him? We brainstormed...... he was probably retired and on his way to a game of golf...he could be at the nearby country club....let's go check the club carpark...we jumped into the car and off we dashed.
The club had two carparks. There was no sign of the car in the first carpark. We circled the second carpark....BINGO! There it was and there was an empty lot next to it too! I pulled up next to the car. We split forces. Two of us stayed with the car, two went to towards the club to locate the uncle. Within a minute we saw our colleagues trailing a white-haired uncle who was walking towards the car. As soon as the uncle reached the car, four of us introduced ourselves and explained our predicament and held our breaths...... The uncle was friendly and agreed to help! He would let us have the car at 6am when he went for his golf game and his only request was for a ride home at 12noon. What an amazing chain of events! What a miracle!
God is a precise God, answering right down to the minute detail and to the last minute. God is all-knowing. He is never late nor early, always on time. God cared enough to send us one of the ONLY four blue 1968 alfa romeos in Singapore when we desperately needed one.
By the way, this is the episode which won us the Asian TV award for Best Drama which I talked about in Dream Awards.

wood, hay, stubble....wood, hay, stubble...

There was another lesson learnt at the Asian TV Awards. (Read Dream Awards for the first lesson) As I held the trophy in my hands and the press flashbulbs went off, this phrase kept playing over and over in my head... "wood, hay, stubble....wood, hay, stubble..." God's word is true. What I held in my hands was exactly that. Next year someone else would be holding this trophy. The recognition that came with the win was fleeting and would disappear as quickly as it appeared. When I meet my Lord, this trophy would go up in flames when it is tried by fire. Hours, days, months, years from now, no one would know or care that we had won this award.

"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw (stubble KJV), his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he builds survives, he will receive his reward. if it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NIV

I was reminded why I was placed where I was. To be a roaring lamb. This was my mission field where I point others to God. Everything else was temporal....nice to have but won't last the trip to meet my Creator. Only what is done for Christ will last.

dream awards

Watching the Academy Awards was work. It was research. :] As I watched the different people go up to accept their awards and give their speeches, I wondered whether there would be a christian who would give God the glory. I day-dreamed... what if one day somehow I could go up, would I give God the glory?
Nice dream.... but it would take years of hard work to achieve. Nnaahh.. Back to life and reality.
Three months later, my colleague Emida and I were asked to represent our program which had been sent in to the Asian TV Awards. In the event of a win, we would go up and accept the award on behalf of the team. We teased each other about whether we had our speeches ready just in case....
Since our program was a drama, it was one of the final awards of the night to be announced. Our category was announced and clips from the other dramas from the region were shown. The competition was stiff. We were sure we would not stand a chance against Hong Kong. Drum roll...... we tied with Hong Kong for the win!
Everything felt like a dream and I had not prepared my speech!!!!
At the podium Emida said her peace and I was on. Everything seemed to happen in slow-motion. I managed to utter..."I thank God for .....and the rest of the words came tumbling out.
God was generous. He gave me the opportunity and I almost squandered it. Praise God for the courage to give Him the glory that He truly deserved. One more miracle, the program was edited for broadcast and by God's grace, my speech was not edited even though the program was over-running. To God be the glory. :]

rain, rain go away....

Interestingly like the farmer, we in tv production rely heavily on God as Ruler of ALL nature with regards to good weather so that we can carry out our filming especially for location shoots. I found myself pleading with God every time it threatened to rain. It did not matter where I was or what time of the day, every time it rained I would think of whether I had a crew on location shoot.
One afternoon, the winds blew, the leaves flew and dark clouds hung in the sky....there was an important shoot going on. We were filming a football scene for a drama at a stadium for the whole afternoon. We had actual players from a football club out there including a large cast of extras - an expensive and complicated location shoot.
I stood outside and watched God's power in the wind and the leaves, it was a beautiful and majestic sight but I cried out to the LORD to blow the black clouds away from wherever the filming was done. I went back to work and did not receive a call to cancel the shoot. Praise God for answer to prayer.
Two years later the Assistant Director of the shoot and I were having a conversation about God and His power. He was not a believer but had attended church as a youth. He excitedly recalled what happened that day. He said that dark clouds had gathered over the stadium. The cast and crew scurried around to complete as much of the shoot as possible before the heavens opened. Then the strangest thing happened.... it began to rain but only over part of the stadium where the filming was NOT being done!
Isn't that awesome? God is all powerful and able to rule over the wind and the rains as He chooses. We worship such a marvellous God. :]

Friday, June 03, 2005

journey to medialand

Just before I graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Arts (History & Psychology) in 1992, I had no clue as to what to do with the rest of my life. On a whim, my sister insisted that we try out as presenters for the Disney Club Singapore show. She said we were a "shoo-in" for success... we were identical twins...who could resist? We went for the auditions and I ended up interviewing the producer instead. The more I found out about producing, the more I felt.. this may be it...what I want to do for a living.
When I got home from the audition, I became taken with the whole idea of becoming a producer of children's programs. THIS was what I wanted to do for a living. I looked up the dictionary under producer. This was the beginning of my research for my job hunt. I watched every children's program available on TV, I scoured the newspapers everyday for advertisements on jobs as producers of children's programs, I prayed and asked God for this job. God answered in a most amazing series of events.
My sister was then studying at NIE to be a teacher and I sent her to school one day. I met a man who recognised me as the "daughter of so-and-so". He asked me what I planned to do since I had just graduated. I told him I was hoping to become a producer of children's programs. (I had not even sent my resume to Singapore Broadcasting Corporation the ONLY media company at that time) He said that he knew someone who was doing that exact job and offered me the person's contact number. I later found out that this producer was ONE of ONLY FOUR producers of children's programs at that time. God had arranged this amazing meeting with this man at NIE who provided me with my first real lead to the job of my dreams.
I called the producer who was very helpful. He told me he got his job one year after he was first interviewed for the post. He also held a masters in children's education. Hmmm... what were my chances...? general degree, no related qualifications nor experience....only a growing conviction that this was something I would like to invest my life in.
In faith I mailed my unsolicited resume to SBC and patiently waited. Within a few days there was an SBC ad in the papers asking for research writers, I sent in another resume. Praise God, I was called for two aptitude tests and one interview.
Meanwhile I was offered a job as a public relations officer in an educational institution. I took a step of faith and rejected the job offer since the media job was the one that my heart really lay with. God had opened so many doors towards the media up to this point, I could not just give up by grabbing the first unrelated job offer that came my way. Besides it would not be right, what if the media company finally offered me a job later what would I do? Quit the first one?
Within three weeks after my first interview and two phone calls to the media company later, God gave me the job of my heart's desire - to be a producer of children's programs.
God is Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. His grace was sufficient for me. I landed the job 6 months after I graduated from NUS. It was a short wait but this was the first of many faith-building lessons I was going to learn throughout my sojourn in the industry.
I started work on October 28 1992. My adventures in medialand were to begin....

roaring lambs

This blog is dedicated to all whom God has called to be roaring lambs. A roaring lamb is a believer who is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has the courage to make the Gospel a part of His daily life - by his life, looks and lips. We as believers are God's lambs but we can make a difference by roaring ie. not keeping quiet but spreading the good news of Jesus wherever we have influence. The term was coined by Bob Briner in his book by the same title Roaring Lambs. Bob was involved in sports broadcasting for many years in the US and has since been called home to glory. I read his book when I was in the media industry. This book and its sequel Lambs Among Wolves greatly influenced my perspective, thinking and focus whilst I was working in the media industry from 1992-2000. I recommend these two books to all who have been called by God to be part of "culture-shaping" industries such as theatre, journalism, radio, broadcasting, movies, sports. It is not by coincidence that we are given the privilege to be part of these industries. It is by God's design, plan and purpose. We can squander this opportunity or we can be salt and light where we are placed. We are called to be roaring lambs.
I am moved to start this blog 5 years after I have left the industry. I have always desired to share the experiences that God placed in my life to show His power and glory during those media years. With blogging technology, the time has come. May you by God's grace be drawn to worship and praise God for His mighty works. And more importantly recognise the need to use the opportunity you have been given to be a roaring lamb where God has placed you.