William Wan is the General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, Chairman of Prison Fellowship Singapore and Vice-President of the Singapore Scout Association. He is also a Justice of the Peace, and a lawyer who speaks and writes passionately about matters of the heart. A retired ordained minister of the United Church of Canada and the United Methodist Church (USA), he is a recipient of numerous awards including the Board of Police Commissioners’ Civilian Commendation and the Solicitor-General’s Award for Crime Prevention (Ottawa, Canada); and in Singapore, the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award, the Singapore Scout Association Distinguished Service Award (Bronze), the Council for Third Age’s Active Aging Award, and the Abdeali Tayebali Lifetime Achievement Award. A published author, he contributes regularly to the Straits Times columns, CNA Commentaries and Today's Manager. His latest book is Through the Valley: The Art of Living and Leaving Well (Straits Times Press, 2019).
"In the beginning was the Word..."
The Word became flesh
And dwelt amongst us
The Bible still dwells amongst us
God’s Word in human flesh
But words are fragile broken vessels
to carry living waters
sound bubbles bursting in mainstream denominations
empty declarations dancing in winds of sectarianism
questions and answers
playing hide and seek
smiling like the Cheshire cat
Words expand contract
distort in time and distance
captives of culture and customs
victims of modern preunderstanding
Words are elastic
in time hardened and moulded
by plastic hands of theologians
amplified by eisegesis
echoed in unintended
ping pong amid existential struggles
Words slip and slide and shuffle
under the microscopes of scholars
defying linguistic skills to deal them
rationalistic understanding to hold them
Words break and are broken
words mean something
but do not always mean
what we mean
Who dares use words?
So we keep them from us
at a safe distance
the Word came near to us
swathed in flesh
housed in clay
birthed in time and space
a loaf broken
a cup poured out
a body rent
bridging heaven and earth
Redemption announced in unspoken words
written upon a tree
dying, died and came alive again
words in three languages
Because it is God’s Word
in human fragility
we need to handle with care
in light of the Lifted Paradox
God has spoken
and is speaking still
To communicate the Word
in time and space
is to interpret
First, the text
then the context
never a pretext for a proof-text
that’s the explicatio
now the applicatio
the Word in one hand
the newspapers in the other
But which informs which?
Depends on which overpowers which
for the Word was overpowered then
it is being overpowered now
by powerbrokers on the right and left
stretching the Word to bridge heaven and earth again
each struggling to apply itself
wholly to the words
each struggling to apply the Word
wholly to itself
Who is nearer heaven
I cannot tell
but this I know
the Word on the cross
was firmly planted on earth
to rise towards heaven
Jesus Sat and Ate with Sinners
"While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors
and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples...”
Jesus, He sat and ate with sinners.
But I am a middle-class Christian
who lives in a clean and green suburb
dressed in Armani suits complete with
Ferragamo ties and Bally shoes.
I do not sit and eat with sinners.
Sinners, I am told, mug and
rob people on the streets.
But I work hard with hardworking
people in plush skyscraper offices
high above everyone on the streets.
I turn exponential profits from
produce grown by farmers who
work ten times as hard
making a hundred times less than I.
But I do not rob.
I merely make handsome profits.
My children are bright.
They study in private schools.
They excel in academic pursuits
and in sports and social relations.
With sound minds in sound bodies
their future is as bright
as the healthy sparkle in their eyes.
The farmers’ children are unschooled.
They labour in the fields
their bodies caked in mud
to produce what I want
at prices I determine.
I wonder why some are leaving the fields
to rob innocent people on the streets.
I have nothing much to do with them
except to buy their labour cheaply.
I help them to subsist
on bread and water
to enable them to produce
meat and wine for me.
Jesus sat and ate with sinners.
But I am a Christian
and I help to produce sinners
with whom I do not sit
and with whom I do not eat.
—Washington DC, 1992
Melvin Sico is a corporate finance specialist with over ten years of experience. He has a background in investment analysis, equity research and structured finance. Melvin has covered a wide spectrum of industries including telecommunications, biotechnology and healthcare. He has experience in financial modelling, valuation and investment due diligence.
It is postulated that in the crucible of our skulls
we create the markets, and the markets create us
and every need is met, every desire satisfied
by those who meet in the middle
handing out the price closest to the asymptote of the curve
and, mundus vult decipi, we commit ourselves to work
an honest day’s toil.
Viewed from a distance, all is well
from the Sermon on the Mount
to the Consensus at Washington.
Come, come closer, to see that those
who sit by the window, seeking The One
who walked on water,
who cast out the money changers,
will be left behind
in the Rapture of those who sought and claimed
the gold of Parvaim.
Ophir lies on an unreachable shore
and the exponentiation of loaves
does not lend itself easily to charity
as it is practiced in our compact with serfdom
(is the person of the Christ risen).
O apotropaic corpus
deliver us from those who seek
to win over all,
but grant we do not see
the wicked slaves, reaping
where their masters did not sow.
We the children of the Most High
have become the offspring of Hayek,
serving two masters
with vats bursting with wine.