In the month of August, we sat down with sister Jane in the kitchen area to get to know her better. In fact, what the writer thought would be a 30-minute interview evolved into a 3-part interview! There were so many things being shared but for clarity, this article has been shortened to capture the key points. Have a chat with Jane if you wish to find out more!
Tell me about yourself. You can talk about your life in terms of jobs, interests, hobbies etc.
As my numerical ability is not the best, I did not work in banks or finance. I also did not do a 9-5 job. In fact, I went through 5-6 jobs before I retired.
Wow! 5-6 jobs? What were they?
My first job was with the Ministry of Environment. I spent 2 years there as a clerical officer in enforcement. As part of my job, I would issue fines to those who violated cleanliness standards.
My second job was with Yamaha Music School on the 6th floor of Plaza Singapura.
I am familiar with that! I used to take my music exams there.
Are you? Back then, Yamaha had a cafeteria called Do-Re-Mi where we would be able to enjoy a staff discount. This cafeteria no longer exists.
I spent 6-7 years helping with publication and promotions. Yamaha had a bimonthly bulletin published in English and Chinese. I was in-charge of the Chinese bulletin, which included finding the printer, designing the layout of the bulletin and writing the articles within.
I also did promotion of musical instruments, especially when a new product was launched. Our main income source was from the sale of piano and organs. I recall that we once sold 191 pianos and organs within 3 days and set a new record!
Image: Grand Piano Image: Organ
There were multiple Yamaha branches located in Asia and a part of my work was in organising musical festivals (e.g. piano festival, violin festival, guitar festival) for musicians from different parts of Asia to take part in. After the event, I would interview the contestants or winners and write articles featuring them.
In my third job, I worked for Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), which is Mediacorp's predecessor. I was attached to 2 different departments - variety shows (4-5 years) and sports programmes (2 years).
Some variety shows I worked on include talent competitions, weekly live variety programmes and the new year countdown. As the assistant to the producer, I would do the bulk of the background work (planning the order of the show segments, liaising with artists etc) and take note of all the directions from the producer in terms of the camera shots, lights, sound etc.
While I was with the Sports desk, we would cover major sporting events such as the SEA Games, World Cup, Olympic Games and S League. I remember that during the SEA Games, the whole crew went to Brunei to cover the events and for the World Cup and Olympic Games, we were placed on 24-hour standby at the studio.
In my fourth job, I was based in Hong Kong for almost 10 years working for Visnews, a joint venture formed by Reuters, British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
Visnews was the first to bring international news footage to different corners of the globe. Visnews had news staff stationed in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York who were dispatched to various locations to record footage. We would cover news on global events of interest, such as the 1986 Marcos’ deposed from the presidency in the Philippines, 1989 June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre, the 1991 Gulf War, and coverage about the Vietnamese refugee camp.
Image: Taken in the Visnews office in Hong Kong
My role was to get the footage recorded from the cameraman, hand it over to the editor for editing, ensure quality sound and footage, before booking the satellite path for transmission of the footage as well as writing down the details on what the footage contains into the Telex.
Note: Telex is a telecommunication service that provides text-based message exchange over the circuits of the public switched telephone network or by private lines. The technology operates on switched station-to-station basis with teleprinter devices at the receiving and sending locations. (Wikipedia)
The world changes so fast! No longer do we use the Telex today. Technology has moved so rapidly and has brought with it significant changes. There is a need to adapt to changes and pick up new skills quickly
In my 5th job, I helped my friend to bring foreign participants into Singapore to attend various conferences and exchange programmes. This stint did not last long.
In my final job, I went into the property industry and was a property agent involved in the selling and renting of houses for about 6 years. To become licensed, I had to take an exam on 3 subjects: HDB and private property rules and regulation, property law and property land development law and regulation. In fact, I spent a solid 3 months studying for the exams!
When I first started, I had no income in the 6 months and had to spend money on advertising. My mother then helped to recommend clients to me. Through word of mouth, my patience and service orientation, I had more and more clients and eventually did not need to spend as much money and time advertising myself. In fact, I was one of the top 20 property agents each year!
Wow, that is a really illustrious career that you have had! What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like to listen to songs and watch Youtube. Besides English and Chinese songs, I listen to a wide variety of songs including Vietnamese, Japanese, Mongolian, Indian etc. I also enjoy watching K-pop boy bands dance as I admire their powerful dance moves acquired through years of training.
Before my marriage, I went backpacking for 2 months and visited 14 countries. From all my travels, the one thing I miss most is Hong Kong’s milk tea.
Image: Visiting the Masai Village in Kenya
During Covid, I was scared of getting dementia, so I tried to memorize the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1). Then, I moved on to memorize the whole of Genesis 1. Thereafter, I went to memorize Ecclesiastes 3 and 12.
Switching topics a little, how did you come to know about God? What was the process like?
In 2006, I lost both my husband and father within 2 months of each other. This dealt a serious blow to me and I fell into serious depression.
Then, a lot of people around me were Christians and they had asked me to visit their church. I had been to a few churches. However, I did not feel comfortable in any of them and thus did not want to go.
One day, I dreamt of my husband. In my dream, he asked me to go to a place and he would meet me there. This was a 1 storey house in a big compound and to go there, there were many crossings. To me, the crossings seemed to be a reference to church.
I did my desktop research to look for a church and found Lim Ah Pin Church of Christ (LAPCOC). I then recalled that I had received a flyer from LAPCOC at my doorstep but had kept it away in a drawer. It was then that I went to look for that flyer and to give the church a call.
I want to encourage everyone to do tracting. Do not lose heart if nothing happens immediately. Sometimes, it is not the right time but know that your tract can impact someone’s life down the line.
I called and it was Jedediah who answered. I told him, “I don’t know anything about church. Can I still come?” I came to LAPCOC and attended the worship with the Chinese congregation. Jedediah’s sermon “Don’t sleep” and the hymns deeply touched me. I kept coming to LAPCOC and attended church services. Since then till now, it has been almost 16 years.
In 2007, I was baptized, and leading up to this, Jedediah was the one who taught me the Bible.
After I was baptized, I went on the Israel trip with 36 church brethren and my 2 sisters in November 2011. Then a new babe in Christ, I was not super familiar with all the places and their significance within the Bible. I only know that Jesus was in Israel so when there was an Israel trip, I wanted to go. My focus instead was singular: I wanted to be close to Jesus. Due to depression, I just wanted peace which I found in God.
Image: Trip to Israel
After I came back from Israel, I decided not to take any medicine as I did not find that I was feeling any better. I read the Bible and I had finished the whole book twice but I still didn’t know. One day, I read 2 Pet 3:8:
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
I felt insignificant as God is so powerful in contrast. From there, I learnt to be humble, be patient etc. Slowly, I got better, and after 2012, I was well on the way to recovery.
I hope to share my journey to help others in a similar situation.
I want to backtrack a little. Even while I was battling depression, I managed to get my mother to come to church and she even got baptized. That was no mean feat as she was the type of mother who told me to “worship whoever I wanted but to leave her out of it”. Perhaps she was touched by my regular attendance of worship service even while I had depression.
You never know what impact your conduct has on others! Don’t give up and continue shining as light in the world.
When I got baptized, I was 50. I am thinking, if God can wait for me for 50 years, why do I not have the patience towards my friends and family? We should not give up on them as God’s timing is there. So long we do what we can, God will ensure things happen according to his timing. It may be difficult to bring your immediate family to church but don’t give up.
Thank you for sharing your journey so candidly with us! Do you have any special memories in church?
I want to be early for worship. God is my VIP. If I am late, I will feel bad and feel that I am disrespectful towards God. I want to be early to prepare my heart and mind to receive my VIP.
One day, I arrived at church early and I saw brother Chong Ping, sis Germaine, and brother Axel preparing the Lord’s Supper. Then, brother Axel was primary 4 or 5. While his parents did drive, he would make the effort to make his way to church from the east all by himself to help prepare the Lord’s Supper. He did this every Sunday for many years. Many young children or teenagers like to sleep in during the weekends. Yet, here was a young boy who sacrificed his sleep to serve in the church. I was very touched by his example and his heart. It was brother Axel who inspired me. In fact, children can be an example too - it does not always have to be an adult.
I have done the Lord’s Supper for over 10 years now and I continuously derive meaning in my service to God. I would like to mention a number of sisters who also help with the Lord Supper. Lately, sister Guek Hoon and Rachel, Constance and Sharyl have also joined me to prepare the Lord Supper in the morning. Sister Sau Ching, Lillian, Carol, Rachel, Guek Hoon and Michelle help to wash the Lord Supper trays. I appreciate it very much that sis Kwee Eng and Hwee Chin organise the sisters - Wai Kheng, Susan Goh, Carol, Guek Hoon, Chee Ming, Sew Hua and Geok Eng etc. - to prepare the bread for the Lord’s Supper. At the same time, I would like to thank brother Mike Yeo as he would volunteer to buy lunch for everyone who is staying back to prepare the bread.
What would you say are significant changes you notice about yourself after you became a Christian?
After I became a Christian, God has opened my eyes to the beauty and the positive side in everyone. I now see the world in a more positive light and I feel more at peace.
I am also continuously adding to my Christian knowledge. I would like to thank brother Jimmy. Every morning, except Sunday, I will read his devotion. From there, I gathered a lot of Bible knowledge.
Any final thoughts?
Have you ever wondered why I get Rachel and you to be involved with clearing up the Lord's Supper? I think everyone can contribute and when they have something to do, they will feel a sense of belonging.
We can also learn from Jesus in terms of how he served others. If Jesus can help his disciples wash their feet, we can do small and simple acts of service to help others. For example, greeting children and visitors. They may feel shy to greet us first but we can take the first step to greet them and make them feel welcome. In their own time, they will respond accordingly.