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Growing Closer: Chua Siang Yee


We kickstart this year’s Growing Closer series with Bro Siang Yee. Siang Yee was baptised and joined LAPCOC in 2018. He is the husband of Sis Jasmine Yong and you may also know him as part of the bulletin committee. He shares with us his start to the year and interesting facts that you might not have known about him beforehand!


Farand:

Hey Siang Yee, how has the year started for you? Any New Year resolutions?

Siang Yee:

It has actually been a really busy start to the year at work, so I have not really had time to sit down and think about the year ahead. But top of my list are reading more books, learning something new and more importantly, I plan to start transcribing the New Testament, as I think that is the best way to commit it to memory.


Farand:

Transcribing the New Testament is really admirable and seems like a worthy and massive undertaking. Much respect. How do you plan to go about it?


Siang Yee:

Actually the plan is to do it a chapter a day. I think there are around 260 chapters in the New Testament, so hopefully I will be done around the end of the year! I'm now trying to find a good notebook to write in. Open to recommendations!


Farand:

That’s an amazing goal to set! As we publish this, it will be midway through Lunar New Year celebrations. How will the celebrations look like for you and your family? What do you dislike and love the most about this period?

Siang Yee:

Actually we don't really do much, just a few big gatherings where all my relatives gather at one place. Much easier this way as compared to visiting many different houses (although some would say that is a meaningful exercise). I love catching up with my relatives, many of whom I don't see enough of. I also like how everyone is generally happier during this period, which makes for a really festive and warm atmosphere. Nothing to dislike really, it's a really festive and uplifting time of the year.


Farand:

Maybe taking a step back, you joined LAPCOC in 2018 but perhaps you could introduce yourself briefly?

Siang Yee:

I was introduced to the church by my then-girlfriend, now wife, Jasmine Yong. I started visiting in early 2017 and was baptized in January 2018, after several lessons with brother Paul (now at ECOC) and brother Ben Kwan. Job-wise, I am a lawyer and currently work at the Singapore office of a British law firm. Before that I was a journalist at The Straits Times for about four years, writing mostly about local and international sports.

Farand:

Covering sports sounds like a really cool gig! Is that something you follow closely on a personal basis as well? Any highlights in those four years?

Siang Yee:

Yes, sports is a big passion of mine. I always tell people my dream was to become a professional footballer, but because I was never good enough, I chose the next best thing – which was to write about it. There are many highlights for sure. My time at the sports desk coincided with a golden era in Singapore sport, from the opening of the newly built National Stadium in Kallang, to the hosting of the Singapore SEA Games and many other international events. Maybe the two most memorable events are (1) when my favourite team Arsenal visited for the Premier League Asia Trophy. I got to interview the team on several occasions and it was really amazing to see your favourite stars up close; and (2) when Joseph Schooling won the Olympic gold. I was the swimming reporter at the desk and have been covering Jo for many years, so it was absolutely magical to see him win the 100m butterfly. I was especially pleased for his parents, who I know have sacrificed a lot for their son's sporting dream.

Farand:

Oh wow! Historical! Faith wise, what was your background before you got introduced to the church? As a lawyer by training, I imagine you have a rather systematic and logical train of thinking. How did that play into your conversion?

Siang Yee:

Before I joined the church I was a free thinker, and there was a time where I was quite opposed to the idea of religion. As for what changed, I'm not sure if it was my legal training per se (bearing in mind I was only a few months into law school at the time). I think maybe in the past, I did not bother sitting down and actually thinking about religion. When I met Jasmine, I was inspired to finally apply my mind and engage with the faith – that meant being open-minded, considering opposing views, asking probing questions and being honest with myself. In the end there was enough evidence for me to accept the faith - and I have had no regrets since.

Farand:

That’s great to hear. Now, we are both in the bulletin committee and since last year, you have coordinated and edited all the men’s article on a monthly basis. I’ve been quite impressed by the range and quality of the articles from the brethren but am curious to what your experience and thoughts are on it.

Siang Yee:

First and foremost I want to thank all the brethren for their help over the past year. I'm immensely grateful for their thoughtful pieces, and I can tell everyone really puts in a lot of effort into coming up with something insightful. I've learnt a lot from reading and editing the articles. I think it helps that the writers come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences – this means they offer unique perspectives on how we should be guided by our faith, and how it can be applied to deal with the many challenges that life throws at us. It's been really inspiring and I look forward to the next 12 months of articles.

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