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Bible Study: Genesis 8

Chapter 8: Genesis 8:1-22, a new beginning

After forty days and forty nights, God stopped the flood but Noah stayed in the ark very much longer until the waters totally subsided. When Noah came out of the ark, he offered burnt offerings to the Lord. Humanity was given a new start with Noah. The human race started all over again with just twelve people. Humanity was given a new lease of life, a second chance to do it right one more time.

Verses 1-5, 1 God remembered Noah, all the animals, and all the livestock that were with him in the ship; and God made a wind to pass over the earth. The waters subsided. 2 The deep’s fountains and the sky’s windows were also stopped, and the rain from the sky was restrained. 3 The waters continually receded from the earth. After the end of one hundred fifty days the waters receded. 4 The ship rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on Ararat’s mountains. 5 The waters receded continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were visible.

God remembered Noah and all the living creatures inside it. He sent the wind to blow over the earth and stopped the rain from falling from the sky and waters from gushing out from below the sea. After 150 days, the floodwaters gradually subsided, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat on the seventeen-day of the seventh month. The tops of the mountains became visible on the first day of the tenth month.

Verses 6-12, 6 At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ship which he had made, 7 and he sent out a raven. It went back and forth until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8 He himself sent out a dove to see if the waters were abated from the surface of the ground, 9 but the dove found no place to rest her foot, and she returned into the ship to him, for the waters were on the surface of the whole earth. He put out his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ship. 10 He waited yet another seven days; and again he sent the dove out of the ship.11 The dove came back to him at evening and, behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from the earth. 12 He waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; and she didn’t return to him any more.

At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out a raven. It went back and forth and returned to the ark. After this, Noah sent out a dove but it returned back to the ark. Seven days later, Noah sent out the dove again. The dove returned with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth. Seven days later, Noah sent out the dove again, and this time, the dove did not return to the ark. So, Noah knew that the water had finally subsided and the ground was dry.

Verses 13-17, 13 In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth. Noah removed the covering of the ship and looked. He saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ship, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, including birds, livestock, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth.”

On the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and one years, the waters totally subsided. On the twenty-seven days of the second month, the surface of the earth was dry. God commanded Noah to bring his wife, his sons, his daughters-in-law, animals, creeping things, and birds out of the ark. God commanded Noah to be fruitful and multiply to replenish the earth’s population.

Verses 18-22, 18 Noah went out, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, after their families, went out of the ship. 20 Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 Yahweh smelled the pleasant aroma. Yahweh said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. I will never again strike every living thing, as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”

Finally, Noah, his family, animals, livestock, creeping things, and birds came out from the ark. Noah built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings of clean animals and birds to the LORD. The LORD accepted Noah’s offering and promised that He would never curse the ground to strike every living thing in the same way. God promised Noah, times, seasons, days, nights, weeks, months, and years. This was the first time that burnt offering was mentioned in the Bible. Another first for Genesis. Noah and his team were in the ark for more than 1 year.

Application:

God remembered Noah. God remembered you. God never forgets. Even though a mother may forget her breastfeeding baby, God will never forget you, Isaiah 49:15.

Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not

forget you!

Noah offered burnt offerings to the Lord. Today, we do not burn an animal sacrifice to God because Christ had offered Himself as the perfect sin offering to pay the penalty of our sins for us. We offer our praise, worship, and body as living sacrifices to serve Him.

Only God can stop the flood at His own timing. Similarly, only God can stop the covid 19 pandemic at His own timing.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us a new beginning, a new start, a new life, a new spiritual rebirth. Thank you that when we are in Christ, we are born again, born from above, regenerated, and became a new creation. Thank You that the old self of the flesh has gone and the new life in the Spirit has come. Thank You for giving us a second chance, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Newsletter: retirement

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Reflections of a blogger

never a dull moment

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing fireworks on a dark sky with a sunset over a mountain
Fireworks over a setting sun, captured on iPhone 11 plus pro

I retired from medical practice almost three years ago due to an accident that paralysed me from below my neck. I thank God for miraculously healing my paralysis. The simultaneous onset of the Covid 19 pandemic back to back with my accident gave me no choice but to retire for good.

Ever since then, I had no regrets and did not look back. I took up blogging, photography, writing, and book publishing to occupy my time. These are the things that I have wanted to do but never had the time to do when I was working.

Retirement was very challenging initially because I have so much time on my hands and don’t have enough things to do. Overnight, my circle of friends was drastically reduced. Suddenly, I do not have to do ward rounds. Suddenly, my phone stopped ringing except for scammers. I felt alienated, isolated, secluded, and cut off from the world. I felt that nobody was interested or wanted to know whether I am existing or not. Fortunately, I had a church family where I could serve full time, teaching, preaching, interceding, counselling, visitation, and so on.

But retirement was not all doom and gloom. There were more positives than negatives. I have freed myself from the tyranny of the urgent. I have freed myself from chains of the Goliath of medical practice that tied me down twenty hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a quarter of a century. I have freed myself from the responsibility of patient care, running a practice and on call.

My stress level was drastically reduced. I have better control over my time. I could do things out of interest in my own time and leisure. I could take a long holiday and be away from home for as long as I want without worrying about patients, clinics, and hospitals.

The burden of running a practice is forever behind me. I have finally earned the rest that I longed for. I became an author, publisher, blogger, and amateur photographer. There was never a dull moment.

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Bible Study: Genesis 7

Chapter 7: Genesis 7:1-24, the flood

God commanded Noah and his family members to enter the ark. God made all the male and female animals and birds chosen by Noah, to enter the ark. God closed the ark and sent the rain from the compartment of water above the sky and waters from below the sea to flood the earth.

Verses 1-4, 1 Yahweh said to Noah, “Come with all of your households into the ship, for I have seen your righteousness before me in this generation. 2 You shall take seven pairs of every clean animal with you, the male and his female. Of the animals that are not clean, take two, the male and his female. 3 Also of the birds of the sky, seven and seven, male and female, to keep seed alive on the surface of all the earth. 4 In seven days, I will cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights. I will destroy every living thing that I have made from the surface of the ground.”

God commanded Noah to bring his family members into the ark. He commanded him to take seven pairs of clean animals, two pairs of unclean animals, and seven pairs of birds into the ark to preserve their lives. In seven days’ time, God sent the rain to flood the whole world for forty days and forty nights. God destroyed everything that was outside the ark.

Verses 5-12, 5 Noah did everything that Yahweh commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. 7 Noah went into the ship with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, because of the floodwaters. 8 Clean animals, unclean animals, birds, and everything that creeps on the ground 9 went by pairs to Noah into the ship, male and female, as God commanded Noah. 10 After the seven days, the floodwaters came on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the sky’s windows opened. 12 It rained on the earth forty days and forty nights.

Noah obeyed God and did everything accordingly. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood came. Noah went into the ark with his wife, three sons, three daughters-in-law, animals, birds, creeping things, etc. Seven days later, God sent the flood. The fountains under the sea broke opened and flooded the earth from below. The compartment of water above the sky broke open and water poured down from the sky. The great flood took place on the seventh day of the second month when Noah was six hundred years old. The flood lasted forty days and forty nights.

Verses 13-16, 13 In the same day Noah, and Shem, Ham, and Japheth—the sons of Noah—and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered into the ship— 14 they, and every animal after its kind, all the livestock after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 Pairs from all flesh with the breath of life in them went into the ship to Noah. 16 Those who went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God commanded him; then Yahweh shut him in.

According to the LORD’s commandments, the eight family members of Noah, the pairs of animals, live stocks, birds, and creeping things, went inside the ark seven days before the flood came. When the door of the ark closed, those outside the ark perished.

Verses 17-20, 17 The flood was forty days on the earth. The waters increased and lifted up the ship, and it was lifted up above the earth. 18 The waters rose, and increased greatly on the earth; and the ship floated on the surface of the waters. 19 The waters rose very high on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered. 20 The waters rose fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.

The flood went on for forty days and forty nights. The ark sailed on the water like the titanic. Even the highest mountain peaks were covered under the water by twenty-two and a half feet. One cubit is one and a half feet.

Verses 21-24, 21 All flesh died that moved on the earth, including birds, livestock, animals, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All on the dry land, in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Every living thing was destroyed that was on the surface of the ground, including man, livestock, creeping things, and birds of the sky. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ship. 24 The waters flooded the earth one hundred fifty days.

All human beings, animals, livestock, creeping things, and birds outside the ark perished. Only eight human beings survived the flood. Today, all eight billion world inhabitants are descendants of Noah. God gave all human beings a second chance, a new beginning to start over again on a clean slate.

Application:

If you are in a flood now, do not despair. Cry out to God and He will rescue you just as he had rescued Noah and his family. God is the God of creation, salvation, redemption, and reconciliation. God is a God of the miracle. With men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

God is a God of a second chance. God will give everyone a second chance to start all over again, with sins forgiven, justified, and declared righteous

The ark is a type of Christ. If you are in Christ, you are born again into a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”

Entering the ark speaks of grace. The dispensation of grace will be over when the ark is closed.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the true and the living God. Thank You that You are the God of the Bible, the God of creation, salvation, redemption, and reconciliation. We call upon Your name. We build an altar in our lives to worship You. We surrender all our fears, worries, and anxiety to You. We pray that You will rescue us from the flood of our lives, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Memoirs of a Doctor: chapter 1

Snippet from Memoirs

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CHAPTER
ONE

GROWING UP IN
TANJONG MALIM

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
– A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens. 

I belonged to the baby boomer generation. My life story began in the year 1952 when I was born in Tanjong Malim – a very small, insignificant town in the Mualim District of Perak in Malaysia. It is located 70 km to the north of Kuala Lumpur and 120 km to the south of Ipoh, sitting on the Perak-Selangor border, where the Ulu Bernam River provides its natural dividing line.

IF NOT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD

According to my parents, I was born in a shophouse where they lived. In those days medical facilities were poor and so was transportation. There was no ambulance service, and my parents did not own a car. My mother did not have enough time to rush me to the hospital when she went into labour pain. 

So I was born at home and my delivery was assisted by my mother’s friend who happened to be there at the time. My mother was very grateful for this and they became best of friends ever since. On looking back, I’m convinced that it was God who rescued me. If not for the grace of God, I certainly would not be around to tell you my story. 

PRAISE THE STARS

My grandfather being the patriarch of the family was assigned the task of giving me a name. He came up with the name, Chan Sing which means, “praise the stars” in Cantonese. Chan means to praise, and Sing means stars. According to my grandfather, I was born on a night when there were plenty of stars in the sky. 

So he praised the stars and called me Chan Sing. To him, I was one of those twinkling little stars in the dark starry night. This reminded me of Vincent Van Gogh’s song, starry, starry night. So this was how I came into this world and how I got my name. 

The origin of my name reminds me of the story of Abraham (Abram) in the book of Genesis. God promised Abraham that He would bless him with posterity:

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12: 2-3  

However, after many years went by and still not having any offspring, Abraham was worried. So one day, God appeared to Abraham in a vision and gave him a promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky:

He took him outside and said, “look up at the sky and count the stars if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “so shall your offspring be” – Genesis 15:5

UNIQUENESS OF TANJUNG MALIM

Tanjong Malim is a unique town sitting at the border between two states. One half of the town is in the state of Perak and the other half is in Selangor, divided right across the middle by the Ulu Bernam River. Back in those days, even the water in the river was unique. One half of the river was clear while the other half was muddy – clear on the Perak side and murky on the Selangor side. 

The town is famous for its Yik Mun Pau or dumplings, made by the Yik Mun family, which is still available today. Tanjong Malim is also home to the famous Sultan Idris Teacher’s Training College, inaugurated in 1922, now called the Sultan Idris Education University, and the RM 1.8 billion Proton City township, which houses the Proton car assembly plant, established in 1996.

MY GRANDFATHER

My grandfather came from China in the 1940s from a town called Sei Wooi in the Guang Doong district. He had two sons in China but for some reason, he came to Malaysia with only one son, my father, and my grandfather’s wife. 

Unfortunately, his younger son, my father’s younger brother was left behind in China under the care of relatives. So my father did not have any siblings in Malaysia. My grandmother passed away before I was even born so I do not know anything about her. 

My grandfather was a cobbler. He operated a one-man business, repairing and restoring shoes. However, due to alcoholism and opium addiction, he was always living in poverty. He was a kind-hearted man and I loved him very dearly. 

I remember him taking me to the barber whenever my hair grew a little too long for his liking. He always told the barber to cut my hair really short much to my anguish. My grandfather passed away eventually due to old age. His death had a profound effect on me because this was the first time that I experienced the loss of someone really close to me.  

My mother originated from another town in Perak called Bidor. She came from rich family background. Her father owned land and plantations in Bidor. She was third in a family of six siblings comprising two boys and four girls. She was her father’s favourite daughter. My parents met through matchmaking as this was the custom in those days. As alien as it is today, people in those days did not usually fall in love and choose their spouses. Their parents chose life partners and arranged their marriage for them. 

NO. 22, CHONG AH PENG STREET

My parents owned a tinsmith shop at number 22, Chong Ah Peng Street, which was located in the town center. This shop was still there in its original condition until 2019 when it was torn down and rebuilt. I was fortunate enough to do a photoshoot of this shophouse in 2018 with the 7 of us who lived here in 1958.

It was divine providence, grace, and a miracle that brought us back together for a grand reunion in Tanjong Malim for this historic and rare photoshoot in 2018. 

Back then, we were all kids, and I was only 6 years old when we had our photographs taken. For the 2018 photoshoot, every one of us stood in front of the shop according to our same position as in the 1958 photograph.

TOUGH BEGINNINGS

I am the youngest in a family of 4 siblings, 3 boys and 1 girl.  I have 2 elder brothers and 1 elder sister. My second brother passed away peacefully in his sleep in Singapore in 2009 at the age of 59 years. I am now left with 1 elder brother and 1 elder sister.

 My late parents were very poor when they were in Tanjong Malim. The tinsmith business was slow, and trading was very difficult. Malaysia was in a deep recession then and the economy was extremely bad. They were always in debt, living a hand-to-mouth existence. They were Taoists who were deeply steeped in idolatry and ancestor worship. 

Growing up in Tanjong Malim was very tough for me due to poverty in extremis. Malaysia and the rest of the world were in a deep recession. Tin, rubber, and commodity prices were at all-time lows. We could not afford many things. Even the purchase of food and sundry supplies was on credit. My family was one of the poorest families in Tanjong Malim. 

We lived in a rented shophouse. My father rented half the shop downstairs and one of the rooms upstairs. The remaining rooms upstairs were rented out to other tenants. The other half of the shop was rented out to a car and motorcycle repair shop which was very noisy and dirty. The place that we were living in was not conducive to any form of study.

THE CURFEW

I remember that there was once a curfew in Tanjong Malim. I think it must have been during the time of the Malayan Communist Party insurgency. We could not go out of the house at certain times of the day. We were under curfew and locked down. It was much worse than the present COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. 

I can still vividly remember my late father cooking pigeons for lunch and dinner. In those days, we had pigeons in the house. They flew in by themselves and when we fed them, more would come. 

My late parents also reared chicken, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Every Christmas, my parents would give turkeys as Christmas presents to the estate manager who was our client. We also planted vegetables for our own consumption. Even though my parents were poor, they provided for all their children’s needs. In fact, I don’t ever remember us starving or lacking food at any time. 

GOOD TIMES IN BIDOR

I spent a significant proportion of my childhood days in Bidor where I had many cousins, especially during the school holidays. My cousins were the children of my mother’s elder brother, and her elder and younger sisters. We had such good times playing games that children played back in those days like marbles, catapult, spiders, fighting fish, tops, kites, and so on. The distance from Tanjong Malim to Bidor is only 62 km or 45 minutes drive by car. I used to take a bus on my own from Tanjong Malim to Bidor.

My late “big uncle”, my mother’s elder brother was especially good to me because I was good at my studies. He bought many brand-new watches for me. In those days, watches were considered expensive items. He was a very good saxophonist often playing in the house, at weddings, funerals, and other private functions. He could not read music but play extremely well by ear. He was Bidor’s equivalent of Kenny G. 

My uncle worked as a projector operator in a movie cinema theatre. Often, he would take me and my cousins to watch movies in the theatre free of charge! Chinese New Year was almost always spent in Bidor and we played firecrackers and received Angpows from all the uncles and aunties. My auntie, my big uncle’s wife, would buy breakfast and supper every day for the children without fail.

I remember a massive flood occurring in Tanjong Malim in 1971.  The whole town was flooded, and the water was up to waist level in our shop. The flood took several days to subside, and it badly damaged our furniture and office equipment. Cleaning up after the flood was in itself a great big undertaking! 

IMPETUS TO SUCCEED

My parents were very superstitious, believing strongly in traditional Chinese medical care and healing by mediums. They were also very involved in Chinese temple worship. This childhood background spurred me on getting a good education to free myself from the bondage of poverty and get a better quality of life. 

It also gave me the ambition to become a doctor at a very young age. I wanted to treat sick people based on proper medical science and not based on a superstitious belief system. The two local general practitioners near my late father’s shop became my role models. 

According to my parents, when I was a baby, I was very sick with measles, had a high fever, dehydration, and almost died. But miraculously the fever resolved, and I survived. God was there again to preserve my life so that I am now able to tell you my story.

SCHOOL DAYS

I studied in the Methodist English Primary School from 1959 until 1964 and moved over to the Methodist English Secondary School from 1965 until 1969. I do not remember very much about my primary school years. However, I do remember that on my first day at school, my parents secretly put onions and sugar canes into my school bag. They believed that onions would make me intelligent because “onion” in Cantonese means “intelligent”

They also believed that sugar cane will make me sweet because sugar cane is sweet. When one of my classmates opened my bag and saw the onions and sugar cane, he laughed and laughed until I did not know where to hide my face anymore. 

This same classmate became my best friend in primary school, and we did many things together. We read books in the library and tuned in to the radio together for pop songs from performers like Cliff Richard, Shadows, Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, Bread, Air Supply, Monkees, Marmalade and so on. 

He combed his hair high, like his idol, the late king of pop, Elvis Presley. He also idolized Mary Poppins, and so he called himself Poppy Leong. We played tops, catapult, and marbles, caught fighting fish from rivers and spiders from trees, flew kites, rode bicycles, played games, and participated in the Boy Scout movement. 

One day I was very sad when my best friend suddenly left the school without informing me and I never got to see him again. I did not have a chance to say goodbye to him and did not have any closure. I remembered him telling me that he might have to follow his parents to Seremban someday, but did not give me any forwarding address. 

I lost touch with him until 2015, after a lapse of 48 years, when we were united again thanks to Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, e-mail, and social media. He is now living in Jakarta and I have visited Jakarta twice just to meet up with him. The last time we met, he had forgotten about onions, sugar canes, Elvis Presley’s hairstyle, and Mary Poppins. To my amazement, he did not even remember calling himself Poppy Leong back in those days!

ENCOUNTERING THE GOSPEL

When I was in primary school, there was a free period every Friday morning, where students were free to do whatever they wished. During this free period, I liked to attend the chapel service in the school church. I remember on one of those Friday morning chapel services, my class teacher, the late Mrs. Jothi told the class about the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-32, in the most masterly manner:

A man had two sons. The elder one was good and the younger was bad. The younger son took his share of his father’s inheritance, left the town, and squandered all his money on wild living until he was bankrupt and had to feed pigs. 

When this prodigal son came back to his senses, he returned to his father’s house. To everyone’s surprise, the father welcomed him back with open arms and hosted a grand feast to celebrate his return. In this parable, the father represented God. The prodigal son represented those who had run away from God, but God never gave up on them.

Although I was a free thinker, the parable of the prodigal son had a deep impact on me and got me thinking about God. 

ROLE MODEL BROTHER

I was passionately involved in the Boy Scouts movement and participated in all their activities. The movement instilled good leadership fundamentals in me. My elder brother, Chan Wing, who was 2 years older than me was a King Scout. He was also a Head Prefect, my role model, and mentor – a student who was highly regarded by his teachers and scoutmasters.

  Chan Wing inspired me to excel in the Boy Scout Movement. We were inseparable and I learned a lot from him. The scoutmasters who were impressed by my brother’s achievements within the movement also nurtured and trained me too.

THE SCOUT’S JOURNEY

My journey as a scout started off as a Private. I worked my way up the ladder by passing tests and accumulating badges. The first badge, the Tenderfoot was relatively easy to pass but subsequent badges got incrementally harder. 

A scout must be able to tie different kinds of knots and identify trees, birds, and flowers. Our swimming, hiking, trekking, and jungle survival skills are also tested. The final hurdle is to get the King Scout badge. As for me, after a lot of hard work, as well as guidance from my scoutmaster, I finally became a King Scout.

SUNGEI BILL CAMPSITE

I always looked forward to scout campfires, camping, and other activities. Camping was the highlight of my scouting days. Our campsite was in Sungei Bill – named after a river with the same name. 

On arrival at the campsite, we would set up our tents. We had to dig a drain around the tent in case it rained. A single tent could accommodate up to four people. There were many large, rounded rocks in the middle of the river emerging above the water. 

For dinner, the senior scouts would boil rice and cook curry chicken with potatoes. They would also fry mee and mee hoon (rice noodles and vermicelli), and so on under the supervision of our scoutmasters. 

As I remember, the boy scout’s chicken curry rice was most yummy. I can still picture the spectacular scene – sitting on top of one of the large rocks while eating dinner and watching the beautiful scenery. The soothing sounds of the running river and the nearby waterfall encapsulated perfect peace. 

Dinner would be followed by the campfire, whereby we sing songs, strum guitars, play games, share testimonies, and so forth. “It Only Takes a Spark” and “Kumbayah” were among my favourite campfire songs back then. 

At night, we had to do sentry duties, taking turns to guard the campsite in case there were any intruders namely wild boars, tigers, or other four-legged “friends”. Fortunately, we did not encounter any snakes, but leeches and mosquitoes were plentiful. On some nights when we were lucky, could see owls with their two eyes peering at us through the night. 

To stay awake, we drank thick black coffee all night long. We kept the campfire burning both for warmth and to keep mosquitos and bugs away. Our Wellington boots adequately kept the leeches at bay while we patrolled the campsite carrying our torches on our rounds. 

The symphony of sounds of the jungle at night was unique and entertaining. The majestic night sky with the moon and myriads of stars, show-casing Almighty God’s dynamic painting.

SECONDARY SCHOOL

I was not much of an athlete and not particularly talented in sports. To compensate for this deficiency, I worked really hard academically. I was good in my studies, consistently finishing top of the class. This resulted in me being regularly chosen by the teachers to be a prefect, class monitor and other prominent academic roles. 

In fact, as I remember, almost every year, I would be awarded book prizes and cash awards which made my parents happy and proud. 

In secondary school, I did a lot of things that I should not have done. I remember going hitchhiking twice with another boy scout, once to Penang and another time to Melaka. This was to fulfill the requirement to attain the King Scout badge. 

I did not have much cash in my pocket. I also did not inform my parents because they would not have allowed it. I used to go swimming in the Simpang Empat river with friends without informing my parents. 

On one occasion, I had leg cramps while swimming and almost drowned. I screamed for help and someone pulled me out of the water just in time before I went under! Looking back, it was God again who saved my life. As far as I can remember, this was the third time God saved my life up to that point. 

PETS & HOBBIES

I had pets too. They say the dog is man’s best friend. From my experience, this is very true. I had a dog, called Bobby, a mongrel. I brought him home when he was just a puppy. He was a loyal, friendly, playful dog and I liked him a lot. But as he was growing up, he needed a lot of attention and care. 

When I realised that I did not have the time to look after him properly, I gave Bobby away to a farmer. I blindfolded him and took him to the new owner’s lorry and Bobby was transported to his farm in another town. 

Two weeks later, to my surprise, Bobby came back to me, dirty, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. I broke down in tears when I saw him. I was so heartless to send him away, but he faithfully came back to me. Ever since that day, I looked after Bobby until he died. 

I also had two monkeys, one a male and the other one a female. The male one was called “Abang”, but I cannot recall the name of the female monkey – talk about exotic pets! I liked reading the novels of William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Enid Blyton and so on. 

One day after reading the book Robinson Crusoe, I built a treehouse at the back of my father’s shophouse. Every night, I would climb up into my treehouse to read books. This was my secret hiding place. 

OTHER RECOLLECTIONS

I remember an incident where a Malay lady was swallowed alive by a crocodile when she was washing clothes and bathing in Ulu Bernam river. Everyone in the town was shocked by this incident. 

Another heart-wrenching incident was that of a passenger whose head was severed when he popped his head out from the train as the train was passing through a bridge. 

The sides of the bridge were very close to the window of the train. After this incident, someone pretended to be a ghost and frightened the people living near the train station. Fortunately, the police caught him, arrested and charged him in court. 

Then there was the sad incident of May 13, 1969, when riots broke out in Kuala Lumpur and many people lost their lives. Thankfully, Tanjong Malim was peaceful and did not have any riots or civil disturbance. 

In 1969, when I was in Form 5, a fire broke out in Behrang Station, a satellite town near Tanjong Malim. A whole row of shops in the town center was burnt to the ground. I remember accompanying one of my friends to his house after school. 

He was still in school uniform when he reached home to find his house completely destroyed. Fortunately, his family members were able to run out to safety in time before the fire engulfed their home.  

I used to cycle from Tanjong Malim to Kalumpang, and from Tanjong Malim to Behrang Ulu and Behrang station to visit my classmates who lived there. We cycled in a group so that we could chit-chat all the way. 

When cycling from Behrang Ulu and Behrang Station to Tanjong Malim, we had to pass through a graveyard that was near the main road. Whenever we passed through this graveyard, it was always late in the evening. I remember us cycling really fast within the graveyard area for fear of devils coming after us! 

There was also the incident where an Indian scoutmaster in his forties disappeared suddenly and was never seen again. Even his family members did not know what happened to him. It was postulated that he was kidnapped by communist insurgents and killed in the jungle somewhere. 

 On the music front, I was active in a band called the Asteroid where I was the lead guitarist. It was a 5-piece band, with a singer, a drummer, a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, and a bass guitarist. We were invited to play in the annual school talent-time, weddings, and private functions. 

This band was partially reunited when three of us got together as a 3-piece band in our MES class of 69 annual reunions in 2018 and 2019. Sadly, one of the other guitarists, a former classmate of mine, passed away in 2020 due to liver cancer. 

 SOJOURN IN KUALA LUMPUR

After the Form 5 school certificate examination in 1969, I had to wait for several months before the results could be announced. During this period, I went to Kuala Lumpur with a group of friends to work in a bakery on Pudu Road. I remembered we were being exploited by the company. They paid us peanuts and made us work long hours. 

We started work at 8 am and worked until 10 pm, after breakfast, a lunch break, a dinner break, and two tea breaks thrown in between. Breakfast and tea breaks were always tea with bread and kaya. It was nice to eat the bread that I baked through blood, sweat, and tears. After finishing work, we slept in the worker’s quarters within the bakery complex. 

I made some good friends in the bakery. I remember this handsome boy, who took a liking to a beautiful girl who lived in the neighbourhood. The girl liked him too, but they had a wide chasm between them. The boy was uneducated, and the girl was educated. The boy was poor, and the girl was middle class. 

They were from diametrically opposite backgrounds. He dated her on Sundays, which was our weekly rest day. The last I heard was that it did not work out for them. After the bakery stint, the boy left Kuala Lumpur, broke off with the girl he loved, and became a drug addict. I was very sad to hear about this. 

THE STORY CONTINUES

This was my first experience with working life and earning my own salary. It was the first time I left Tanjong Malim, and the first time I lived in the big capital city of Malaysia called Kuala Lumpur. When the results were announced and I was told that I passed, I left the bakery job immediately and returned to Tanjong Malim. 

I left Tanjong Malim in 1969 to continue my Form 6 education in Telok Intan, another town in Perak, 86 km away. After leaving Tanjong Malim, I lost contact with almost all of my Methodist English School Tanjong Malim (MESTM) classmates except for those who were selected to study in Telok Intan. 

In 2015, through Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, e-mail, and social media we were able to reconnect and formed the MESTM Class of 69 common interest WhatsApp chat group. This culminated in the first grand reunion in Shah Alam Club in 2016, followed by three more annual reunions in 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

A smaller sub-group within the larger group also made several overseas trips to Perth, Jakarta, Medan, Lake Toba, and Vietnam. We also have yearly gatherings during Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, and birthdays. However, our activities were curtailed in 2020 due to COVID 19 pandemic but we’re looking forward to continuing our activities once the haze lifts. 

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bible study

Bible Study: Genesis 6

Chapter 6, Genesis 6: 1-22, Noah’s Ark

As the people on earth became more and more wicked. God decided to wipe out the world’s population. God preserved the life of Noah because he was righteous and he walked with God. God drowned every human being on earth except Noah and his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law.

Verses 1-4, 1 When men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 God’s sons saw that men’s daughters were beautiful, and they took any that they wanted for themselves as wives. 3 Yahweh said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; so his days will be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that when God’s sons came in to men’s daughters and had children with them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

This is a difficult passage. As human beings continued to multiply on the earth, they became more and more wicked. Who were the sons of God and the daughters of men? There are two schools of thought. Some scholars believed the sons of God were Cain’s descendants and the daughters of men were Seth’s descendants. Others believed the sons of God were fallen angels (demonic spirits) and daughters of men were women. According to the second school of thought, the sexual union between demonic spirits and women gave rise to a hybrid race of giants or Nephilim. Nephilim in Hebrews means, the fallen ones.

Verses 5-8, 5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. 6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. 7 Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground—man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky—for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes.

As time went by, the LORD saw that human beings became too wicked. The LORD decided to wipe out all human beings, all the animals, all the creeping things, and all the birds. But Noah found grace in the LORD’s eyes. God preserved the lives of Noah, his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law. Out of all the millions of earth dwellers, only Noah was righteous in the LORD’s eyes.

Verses 9-12, 9 This is the history of the generations of Noah: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God saw the earth and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

This is the third time, the word generations or genealogy was used, compare Genesis 2:4, and 5:1. Here is the genealogy from Noah who was blameless, righteous, and walked with God. Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. God saw that the earth was so corrupted, so evil and so full of violence.

Verses 13-15, 13 God said to Noah, “I will bring an end to all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them and the earth. 14 Make a ship of gopher wood. You shall make rooms in the ship, and shall seal it inside and outside with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it. The length of the ship shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

God disclosed to Noah His plan to destroy all the people of the earth. He commanded Noah to build an ark from gopher wood. He commanded Noah to waterproof it by applying pitch on the inside and outside. One cubit is 18 inches or 1.5 feet. The ark was massive! Its length was 450 feet, its width was 75 feet, and its height was 45 feet.

The word gopher appears only once in the bible. Until today, the identity of gopher wood remained unknown.

Verses 16-17, 16 You shall make a roof in the ship, and you shall finish it to a cubit upward. You shall set the door of the ship in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third levels. 17 I, even I, will bring the flood of waters on this earth, to destroy all flesh having the breath of life from under the sky. Everything that is in the earth will die.

The top of the ark was covered with a roof and had one door, and three levels. The LORD will bring in the flood to drown the world’s population except for Noah, his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law.

Verse 18-22, 18 But I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ship, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ship, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.20 Of the birds after their kind, of the livestock after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort will come to you, to keep them alive. 21 Take with you some of all food that is eaten, and gather it to yourself; and it will be for food for you, and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did. He did all that God commanded him.

The LORD confirmed the Naohic covenant with Noah. He shall spare the lives of Noah, his wife, sons, and his daughters-in-law. God commanded Noah to bring into the ark, one pair of male and female of all the living creatures on earth, and all the birds of the sky to preserve their lives. The LORD commanded Noah to bring sufficient food into the ark. Noah did everything according to the LORD’s commandment.

The Noahic covenant also stipulates that God will not send another flood to destroy the world. God sent a rainbow in the sky as a sign of the covenant, Genesis 9: 11-13.

Genesis 9: 11-13, “I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off anymore by the waters of the flood. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.”

Application:

Noah built an ark and preached to the people about the coming flood even though no one had ever seen rain or flood! Noah was a man of great faith. He faithfully built the ark and preached God’s message even though everyone was mocking him. He was the only righteous man in the community of violent, wicked, evil, godless, and perverted people.

God gave grace to Noah because he was Godly, righteous, faithful, and walked with God. Are you walking with God?

The ark is a type of Christ. Those who entered the ark were saved from death. Today if anyone is in Christ, he will be saved. To be in Christ is to believe that Christ died for him to pay the penalty of sin. There is no other way to salvation except through Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, John 714:6. Jesus is the door, John 10:9.

John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

John 10:9,” I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. Thank You that Jesus Christ is the door, the way, the truth, and the life. Thank You for salvation and justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
bible study

Bible Study: Genesis 5

Chapter 5, Genesis 5: 1-32, Genealogy from Adam to Noah

Genesis Chapter 5 traced the genealogy from Adam through Seth all the way to Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Verses 1-5, 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him in God’s likeness. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them. On the day they were created, he named them Adam. 3 Adam lived one hundred thirty years, and became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he became the father of other sons and daughters. 5 All the days that Adam lived were nine hundred thirty years, then he died.

This is the second time, the word generations or genealogy was used, compare Genesis 2:4. This is the record of the genealogy from Adam to Noah. God created Adam in His own image. He created Adam and Eve and blessed them. When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son called Seth. Adam died at the age of 930 years. From now on, there would be a series of death. The wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. Everyone died except Enoch. Everyone died before reaching 1000 years of age. By God’s reckoning, 1000 years is as 1 day and 1 day is as 1000 years. By God’s reckoning, everyone died before 1 day.

2 Peter 3:8, “But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”

Verses 6-8, 6 Seth lived one hundred five years, then became the father of Enosh. 7 Seth lived after he became the father of Enosh eight hundred seven years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 8 All of the days of Seth were nine hundred twelve years, then he died.

Seth fathered a son called Enosh at the age of 105. He lived 912 years and died.

Verses 9-11, 9 Enosh lived ninety years and became the father of Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after he became the father of Kenan eight hundred fifteen years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 11 All of the days of Enosh were nine hundred five years, then he died.

Enosh fathered a son called Kenan at the age of 90. He died t the age of 105.

Verses 12-14, 12 Kenan lived seventy years, then became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after he became the father of Mahalalel eight hundred forty years, and became the father of other sons and daughters 14 and all of the days of Kenan were nine hundred ten years, then he died.

 Kenan fathered a son called Mahalalel at the age of seventy years. He died at the age of 910.

Verses 15-17, 15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, then became the father of Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after he became the father of Jared eight hundred thirty years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 17 All of the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety-five years, then he died.

Mahalalei fathered a son called Jared at the age of 65. He died at the age of 895 years.

Verses 18-20, 18 Jared lived one hundred sixty-two years, then became the father of Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he became the father of Enoch eight hundred years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 20 All of the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty-two years, then he died.

Jared fathered a son called Enoch at the age of 162 years. He died at the age of 962.

Verses 21-24, 21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, then became the father of Methuselah. 22 After Methuselah’s birth, Enoch walked with God for three hundred years and became the father of more sons and daughters. 23 All the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not found, for God took him.

Enoch had a son called Methuselah at the age of 65 years. Enoch lived 365 years and was raptured to heaven. He had a close relationship with God. He did not die physically. Enoch was the first person to be raptured to heaven.

Verses 25-27, 25 Methuselah lived one hundred eighty-seven years, then became the father of Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he became the father of Lamech seven hundred eighty-two years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 27 All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty-nine years, then he died.

Methuselah fathered a son called Lamech at the age of 187 years. He died at the age go 969. Methuselah was the oldest man to have lived on earth. Hebrews for Methuselah means, “his death sends”. God sent the flood immediately after the death of Methuselah.

Verse 28-31, 28 Lamech lived one hundred eighty-two years, then became the father of a son. 29 He named him Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, caused by the ground which Yahweh has cursed.” 30 Lamech lived after he became the father of Noah five hundred ninety-five years, and became the father of other sons and daughters. 31 All the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy-seven years, then he died.

Lamech fathered a son called Noah at the age of 182 years. Hebrews for Noah means rest. Lamech died at the age of 175.

Verse 32, Noah was five hundred years old, then Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah fathered 3 sons called Shem, Ham, and Japheth at the age of 500 years. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, Adam, Seth, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enosh, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah.

Application:

Are you saved? Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?

The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Sin entered the world through Adam, Romans 5: 12. Through the sin of Adam, all people were made sinners and condemned to death. Through the obedience of Jesus Christ, all people were made righteous and received eternal life, Romans 5:18-19.

Romans 5:12, “Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so death passed to all men because all sinned.”

Romans 5: 18-19, “So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life. For as through the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, many will be made righteous.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for salvation and justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Thank You for sending Your One and Only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life on earth and to die a cruel death on the Roman cross to pay the penalty of our sin for us. Thank You for sanctification and the gift of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.