After two exciting days in KL, we headed for a world about as different as you could find from Jakarta. Singapore. What a fascinating, thriving, well-educated, organized, clean and orderly country.
Along with the Weichers we were escorted by the Public Relations Representative for our church in the area, Eric Woon, who has quite recently moved to Singapore with his family after spending many years in China, had organized several memorable activities for the next couple of days.
Again, coming from the airport we were snarled in rush hour traffic even though there is an infrastructure of beautiful highways and a precise subway system that defies any on earth for cleanliness and efficiency. We arrived at the hotel just as the interview was to begin with a terrific young professional reporter from The Straits Times, one of the most widely circulated newspapers in Singapore. (FYI, the news in the paper and all the media while we were there was mostly about the search for Flight 307 that had disappeared in the Indian Ocean not that far from where we were.)
While Eric kept our reporter occupied, we somehow managed to get into a room, iron our clothes and get down to the interviewer and photographer within 15 minutes. Sadly we didn’t get a picture of this young woman who taught us a lot about the parenting culture of Singapore as we talked together.
Since the cost of living in Singapore is one of the highest in the world, she explained that both parents usually work and give much of the responsibility for raising the children and caring for their homes to nannies and maids. The educational system is also one of the most intense in the world so kids go to school for long hours during the week and cram school again on Saturdays. The demands on the children is so intense that she said parents would probably reject any ideas that included relaxing and marching to their own drummer.
In addition licensing a car to drive on the roads costs an average of $70,000 (that is not a misprint) in addition to the price of the car. Knowing that it was astonishing to see how many cars, mostly very expensive ones, were whipping around on the roads.
It was a terrific treat to be able to speak in a beautiful Buddhist facility at an event sponsored by Jamiyah, a remarkable Muslim organization that sponsors all kinds of community and multi- religious activities. They run a very successful school for young children from 2-6. It was our pleasure to meet first with the Muslim teachers and administrators of the school who were full of smiles and glowing with light. They had read our books and had excellent questions. They were worried about values training for their kids and were delighted when we offered the Alexander CDs and Joy School access to them.
The head kindergarten teacher below along with our wonderful new friend Eric:
We were welcomed to the event in that beautiful facility by a band of very enthusiastic young men playing drums In bright aqua outfits and turbans. They formed a corridor as we walked through and had big smiles on their faces as they pounded away. Wish I’d have had time to take a picture but….no!
We were introduced by the Speaker of the National Parliament, a lovely and very bright woman with five children who headed the department of Family and Community Development. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had that much support from the government for families in the US?
The program started with a young woman who was blind played a beautiful piano piece that she had created herself. A receptive audience and some beautiful gifts and presentations at the end made it an event that we’ll never forget.
Afterward we were treated to a lovely Singaporean dinner with our new friends, including Elder Woo, the area authority for our church, and his wife (left below) and school administrators with fascinating stories to tell:
The man in the middle was the Principal of the school and I believe the director of the organization. His magnanimous father had started the school and the organization Jamiyah and was a extraordinary humanitarian. He has recently passed away but what a privilege it was to meet his son who is carrying on his legacy and his colleagues.
These beautiful Muslim women were positively world class teachers with a very clear light in their faces.
The next morning was Sunday and we loved being able to attend church at the beautiful Singapore 1st Ward where met many of our dearly beloved Jane Boyer’s friends (she had lived there recently), Some also remembered Charity as she had visited Jane while she was there.
That afternoon we had a most delightful lunch at the Eric and Chew Yen Woon home along with with beautiful young daughters, one of whom entertained us by playing a gorgeous Chinese instrument which she had been practicing on for many years.
Somewhere in my computer I have a picture of that amazing instrument along with a video of this daughter on the left playing the instrument but it has disappeared but here is a page of the music. Go figure! Simply amazing!
These girls are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. They have been attending early morning seminary at the church which requires getting us at 4:45 a.m. every school morning to attend a religion class before school starts. They are truly heroic along with their stellar parents who have to drive them there and pick them up.
Their mother (on the left) prepared a meal “to die for” for us. It was astonishing!
It makes my mouth water just remembering it! How blessed we are to have had the opportunity to meet these fine people with such a sense of purpose and a gift for service with love!
That evening we enjoyed being in a packed chapel with mostly members of our church to speak about strengthening families. It was joyful to see all those bright faces of all ages and to imagine how many beautiful families they have created!
Times to store up in our memories forever!