According to a recent news report, one in five Singaporean marriages in 2017 were inter-ethnic. These mixed marriages were often inter-religious unions as well. The report highlights how parents generally expect their children to fall in love and marry people of their own race. Though mixed-race relationships are more common nowadays, such couples say that they still get strange looks in public and often face parental objections. Society is still not fully accepting of inter-racial marriages.
About Sim Kay Tee
Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.
Entries by Sim Kay Tee
Our names identify us. With more than 7.5 billion people in this world, it is my name that marks and differentiates me from the rest of humanity. My name affirms that I am an individual, unique, one of a kind. And my name tells a story—the story of my life.
Once, I was asked to teach the gospel of Matthew to a Bible study group. I was given a lesson plan that began at Matthew 1:18; the first 17 verses were excluded. When asked about the omission, the organiser told me that there was nothing for me to teach since this passage is taken up by a long list of unfamiliar names. He didn’t want me to bore the class with the lengthy genealogy.
When she was in primary school, my youngest daughter was assigned a class project to trace her family tree. She came to me for help. Sadly, I was only able to identify with certainty family members of the previous two generations! When they were teenagers, my father and his older brother left their family in China to seek their fortune in Singapore, just after the Second World War. I have no knowledge of any relatives living in China today.
My wife knew her days were numbered. The prognosis for her late-stage cancer gave her “a few months” at best. She was prepared to meet her Lord. One night, I asked her what was the one thing she wished she could do before she left. She said, “I want to carry my grandchild”. Soon thereafter, she went home to her Father’s house. Her wish remained unfulfilled.
At the close of a recent wedding ceremony, the minister pronounced a benediction on the newlyweds. Concluding, he emphatically prayed that the couple would “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28), which immediately brought about an even louder chorus of “Amen” from the congregation. No pressure?
Finding Your Roots is an American TV series that examines the family histories of well-known celebrities with mixed ancestry. One featured celebrity guest, embarrassed to discover how one of his ancestors was a slave owner, admitted that “the very thought left a bad taste in my mouth”. Would Boaz, I wonder, be similarly embarrassed by his mixed lineage?
Marriage is intimately personal, a sacred union between two individuals, a man and a woman. But it is never a private affair; marriage must involve the community. The couple would want the blessings of God and their community as they start a family. In many wedding services, the presiding minister will conclude with the congregation praying for God’s blessings upon the newlyweds. I believe the communal approval and prayers encourage the permanence of the marriage.
After recounting the story of Ruth in the Bible, the teacher asked his Sunday school class, “What’s the name of the man who married Ruth?” Six-year-old Tommy confidently shouted, “Boaz!” The teacher then followed up with another question: “What’s the name of the other man who didn’t want to marry Ruth?” Another student shouted, “my friend!”
YMI (which stands for Why Am I?), is a platform for Christian young people all over the world to ask questions about life and discover their true purpose. We are a community with different talents but the same desire to make sense of God’s life-changing word in our everyday lives.
YMI is a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries.
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