What I learned from my wisdom tooth

Maybe it’s called a wisdom tooth because it can teach us some things about life…

So, I had my first wisdom tooth extraction. Did I see it coming? No. Was I prepared going into the dental clinic a few days back, that my “toothache” would require a procedure on the spot? No. Did I regret the visit? No.

Because more than just fixing my problem, the experience taught me a few things.

1. Don’t wait till you’re in pain before visiting the Dentist

That was literally the last thing the nurse said to me before I left the clinic, of course, in a more Singlish way. Going to the dentist, I learnt:

  • My teeth weren’t as clean as they seemed
  • My teeth could have used regular cleaning by the dentist
  • My wisdom teeth do exist and have been growing “behind-the-scenes”

Yes, my last dental appointment was years ago. Is it because I wanted to be filthy? No! I just did not see the need to visit the dentist because I brush regularly and had it all taken care of. Well, that’s what I thought.

And isn’t this the same for our lives as well? Many of us do not consider a need for God – the greatest “Doctor” and “Dentist” in our lives. It is only in times of pain that we look to something or Someone higher for help.

Yeah, I have learned not to make that mistake again – either physically or spiritually. We are all not perfect. Our inner selves aren’t as clean as we want to believe sometimes. It could use regular maintenance and cleaning by God. And most importantly, there are always things beneath the surface we do not see, that He can reveal and fix before it causes us further pain. Choose to go to Him daily.

2. Removing a wisdom tooth is uncomfortable and even painful, but is good in the long run

For all of you who have been through an extraction before, you know it does not feel good. My dentist did a great job and I felt no pain in the whole process. But it still was uncomfortable! I mean who likes having to keep your mouth open, trying to breathe through your nose while someone else is trying to pull a tooth out from the back of your mouth using some tool or device? And of course, there is that sore afterwards.

But man, am I glad I did it. Now I do not have to worry about chewing food on the left side and feeling that sharp ache. And with confidence, I can even say I would not have to worry about it anymore in the foreseeable future!

Mirroring this to our lives again, it is the same with allowing God to remove negative or harmful things from our hearts. For some of us, it’s insecurity. For others, it’s fear. Or maybe, it’s bitterness, selfishness or anger or pride…

The process may not be easy and we may need to humble ourselves to admit we need change, but it sure is good for us in the long run! Just like how I chose immediately to remove my wisdom tooth, I want to obey God immediately and change quickly whenever He corrects me.

3. Getting an extraction costs, but is surely worth it

One last thing I found particularly interesting is how the dentist constantly tells me how much the procedure would cost me. It is almost like he did not want me to be surprised or shocked by the bill at the end. It was clear he wanted me to have a choice, and to be sure of what I am in for.

Before doing anything, he showed me the total cost of consultation, X-ray, extraction and sterilisation. If there was any price I was not willing to pay, say the extraction that would cost me hundreds of dollars, I could opt out and just have the X-ray first and do the extraction another day.

Yes, the entire visit cost me $300, and I did consider whether or not to spend that money for the extraction. But I am glad I did it. There was just no better alternative! It was well worth it. Would I rather spend some money which could be earned back or suffer more pain? The answer was clear.

This reminds me again of our relationship with God. Jesus makes it clear to us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28-33) of following Him. Because as a Christian, our problems don’t automatically go away. As a Christian, we face challenges too. As a Christian, we learn to obey and trust in God even in times when it is difficult to. However, what we get in return is a pathway to joy and freedom that is eternal.

What is $300 compared to long-term painless eating?

What is humility and having faith compared to eternal life?

Nothing.

Entering the 2020s

First post of the decade. Second one about crossing into a new one. Just a random “diary” kind of entry.

Was just lying in bed two nights ago and it kind of hit me. This past decade was the one that changed me the most as a person. It formed the transformative years of my life.

At the start of the 2010s, I was a totally different person and would have never imagined how I would be by the end of it.

In this decade, I tried out martial arts (for awhile). In this decade, I found my love for movies – especially the MCU. In this decade, I picked up the acoustic guitar. In this decade, I discovered my passion for writing. In this decade, I experienced four phases of life – secondary school, polytechnic, army, university.

There were so many other things that happened in this span of 10 years, but nothing transformed my life like the following: coming to Heart of God Church and knowing Jesus.

In 2011, I became a Christian and everything has been the greatest adventure since. It is hard to believe just 10 years ago, I did not know God.

More than the skills, experience and interests I adopted along the way, with Christ and church, I have found true joy, purpose and relationships for my life. I enter the new decade with faith, friends and family – more than I ever had before.

It’s crazy. In this next decade, I am going to enter my 30s (though not that soon). I am going to experience the next phases of life – love, career and family.

But no matter where life takes me, I set my eyes again, like I did in the 2010s, on the one Person that is always there for me.

If there is only one thing I can bring from my life in the 2010s to the 2020s, it is my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I may not know what the future holds, but I know Him who holds my future.

And that makes all the difference.

Life is too short

For some reason, New Year’s Eve feels a little bit different this time. Maybe it’s the fact that we are crossing into a new decade, or maybe I am just feeling sentimental. Either way, time flies.

The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. And the faster time passes, the shorter life gets. Which is why I feel…


Life is too short to be petty. 

Life is too short to hold grudges.

Life is too short to make enemies.

Life is too short to complain.

Life is too short to fear.

Life is too short to be selfish.

Life is too short to be negative.

Life is too short to just gain personal success.

Life is too short to think small.

Life is too short to give up.

Life is too short to use it on oneself.


Life is too short not to be generous.

Life is too short not to forgive.

Life is too short not to make friends.

Life is too short not to give thanks.

Life is too short not to take a leap of faith.

Life is too short not to love.

Life is too short not to smile and laugh.

Life is too short not to make a difference.

Life is too short not to dream big.

Life is too short not to believe.

Life is too short not to use it on others.


Life is too short… to live for the short-lived.

The magic of animated films

Why do animated films mean so much to us?

This is a question I started asking myself recently just for the fun of it. Just last week, the Frozen 2 trailer came out and last I checked, it has garnered more than 30 million views on YouTube. With the excitement seen here, as well as for the recent release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and numerous upcoming titles such as Toy Story 4, it seems that animated films strike a chord with most people. And no, it is not just kids.

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Frozen 2 (2019)

I am talking about full-grown men and women, myself included. You don’t have to look far to find people who are still excited about such films even though they are way past their “early years”. Just look on the Internet or look at your friends.

And that honestly has got me wondering – why do animated films mean so much to us? It isn’t exactly erroneous to say that most animated films made by the likes of Disney and Illumination are targeted towards a younger crowd. But either way, we still see adults equally (if not, even more) hyped up about these movies, queuing up for tickets at the box office.

One reason I can think of is nostalgia. My mom makes joking remarks about me when I watch animated films. She always says these films are for kids, and teases a 23 year-old me for watching them. This applies not just exclusively to animated films though. She says the same for superhero films. And that could be because our parents didn’t grow up watching these characters come to life. Guess who they recall watching most of these movies? Their children – us.

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Toy Story 4 (2019)

When Woody and Buzz Lightyear embarked on their first adventures, most of our parents were already in their adulthood. They might not have been drawn to watch Toy Story because there were other more “mature” movies available to them.

But for me, once I began to have a basic understanding of the world around me, I was already seeing Toy Story frequently playing on TV. Animated films formed a significant part of my childhood. I presume this is also the case for many of you. Maybe that is why we get so thrilled finding out there was a sequel to Finding Nemo, 13 years after the movie came out.

Movies like Finding Dory, Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 throw us all into a frenzy because these stories were huge parts of our childhood. Watching these familiar characters return brings back loads of good memories and maybe even reminds us of the happiness we felt as a child.

But is nostalgia the only reason we get so easily attached or attracted to animated movies? I’d like to doubt so. If nostalgia was the only reason getting us to watch animated films, why do we also look forward to watching brand new ones?

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Assuming you are a little closer to my age, when films like Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon and Frozen came around, we were not really young anymore. Want even more recent titles? Sure. Rise of the Guardians, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Moana, Coco are all titles that come to mind when it comes to animated films released in recent years. Yet we love them all equally. One of my favorite animated films of all time is Inside Out, a film that was released in 2015 when I was 19. I find myself more interested in animated films the older I get!

Perhaps, the “magic” of animated films is not really found in their ability to bring us nostalgia, but in their ability to bring us back to a simpler time. When we were young, our knowledge of the world was little and our imagination of what was possible – limitless. Now that we are older, maybe that’s not the case anymore. When we were young, our view and belief of the world was purer; maybe now, not so.

Perhaps, animated films serve as a reminder to our inner selves that we should never stop imagining. These films have always fueled our imagination in our youth and continue to bring out the child on the inside. Deep down, though our minds have long matured (and rightly so), our inner child remains; and he/she believes in and yearns for a world that is beautiful, colorful, even a little magical like how it is in many animated films.

The “magic” of such films lies in their power to remind us what true friendship (e.g. Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon), heroism (e.g. Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph) and family (e.g. Incredibles, Frozen, Coco) are like. Though we should definitely grow out of our childish selves, I say we should remain child-like in our faith towards humanity and the world as a whole.

Good people do exist. Good things can happen. Maybe it’s time to gather some good people around you and catch some good animated films again, don’t you think? See you at the cinema.

How I find true Rest

It’s Chinese New Year – the best time to connect with our family members and friends. No matter whether you are reading this while on the way to a relative’s house, in the midst of a conversation (I hope not), or while eating handful after handful of snacks, I am going to keep this post short so I will not hold you back and keep you on your devices for too long. After all, like I’ve just said, CNY is about spending time with people.

But more than that, public holidays like CNY are a good time for us to rest. I believe different images just showed up in your head when you read that. For some people, “rest” means having a weekend getaway, vacation or a gathering with family & friends. For others, it’s playing recreational sports, exercising, or going for a hike. Or maybe, it could be engaging in a hobby, painting, reading a book, eating, or just simply sleeping.

“Rest” is something we always associate with things or activities that makes us feel relaxed and recharged. We rest in things we find certain levels of fun or peace in doing. And it is no different for me.

Just last week, I went to the National Gallery with a couple of friends. I can’t even begin to describe the level of “tranquility” I was at after taking a short tour around the art museum. Then the next day, I went cycling from the East Coast to the city with another bunch of friends. It was a pretty quiet afternoon and we cycled & skated while appreciating the Marina Bay skyline on the horizon. Eventually, we came to our last stop – the 100th Starbucks outlet in Singapore, where the River and The Esplanade could be observed from within the cafe.

Fast forward to two days later, I was on a day trip to Johor Bahru, where I had tons of food, a massage and a Lazer Tag game with once again – the craziest group of friends. That was just three days ago.

Right now as I am writing this, I am in the comfort of my room, contemplating what movies to watch at the cinema the next few days after house visits, and which Netflix shows I need to catch up on. All these things I have described are what personally brings me a certain level of rest, fun, and sometimes even peace. If you were Marie Kondo, you would say these are things that “spark joy” in my life.

But as I am thinking about the concept of finding rest and peace this festive season, I can’t help but be reminded of a couple of verses I came across in the Bible a few days back. Because while there is nothing wrong with recreational activities and doing things that we enjoy, true lasting peace and rest are not found in those places. I have to remind myself that true rest is found in a Person.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

While I had a great time at the National Gallery, I no longer feel the “good vibes” I got from there six days later. However, if you ask me right now if I still feel rested and at peace, my answer would be a resounding “Yes”. Because my rest is not found in circumstances, but in Christ. Think about it – if circumstances can give you rest, then circumstances can also take away your rest.

But if our rest is found in the God of peace, who promises to never leave us, then we will have the peace of God that will be always present despite what kind of day we are having.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

The peace of God is something that transcends situations and happenings in our lives. Even when it shouldn’t make sense to have peace in a certain moment, the peace of God can still be present. It surpasses understanding, and can guard our hearts and minds from negativity. It’s not just a peace that floats around, waiting to be dispelled. It is a strong peace – a shield that defends.

This week, apart from all the feasting and family bonding, let’s find time every day to be with God, shall we? He will give us a peace on the outside, but also peace from the inside out. And this peace will not just give us rest from work, but it will give us rest to work. We will have strength to run towards our goals again. Just like what my pastor has proclaimed, I believe this year, we will have rest from petty fights, battles with “enemies” and even personal struggles.

We will have peace with people and peace with ourselves. This will be a time when we will have a peace to build. A peace to build what? A peace to build relationships with our family & friends. A peace to build up our finances. A peace in our health to build up fitness. A peace to build up ourselves in faith and in our walk with God. Last but not least, a peace to build ourselves up for the future.

Alright, it’s time for me to go fill my belly with CNY goodies. I wish you peace & rest in 2019 and a Happy Chinese New Year.

Thank you for reading. Peace out.