Gong Gong says

This is a posthumous blog of our father's (Lim Kok Ann) life. When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography. We'd like to celebrate his life by sharing his autobiography through this blog.

"I have dredged these anecdotes from memory just to pass the time; if they amuse my grandchildren their purpose will have been served; if they provide any instruction, it will be a happy coincidence; that they are disjointed is probably to be expected.

Aurora was the name of my grandfather’s house in Kulangsu.   Amoy, where I spent the first five or six years of my life.   I still have vivid memories of events that took place when I was barely three years old.

Lim Kok Ann
October 1996"

Sunday, February 08, 2009

4:15 I am found.

Note: The section title is from Amazing Grace:
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Earlier in the year my ulcer had acted up again as it was apt to do and I had gone to see Professor Khoo Oon Teik a couple of times. On the second occasion he asked me if he might pray for me. As I considered myself a free-thinker, I could not see any objection to Oon Teik’s suggestion and agreed. I don’t remember what Oon Teik said in his prayers, but I was moved by his message that God was the Healer and the doctor only his instrument. Rosie was with me then as she had been getting treatment from Oon Teik for her high blood pressure, and I had gone along with her to get some advice on my ulcer condition. Before we left Oon Teik suggested that we should attend church. This appealed to Rosie very much for though she was not a Christian she had a very good friend in college who was a Christian and had heard much about Christianity that interested her and at the same time was mystifying. I had stopped going to church because I felt that the teaching of the church was inadequate to meet modem situations, but Oon Teik was teaching, “Jesus is alive and well.”
One of the immediate results of Oon Teik’s prayers was that I decided to give up smoking. I knew that smoking aggravated gastric ulcers, and I felt that it was unreasonable for me to ask God to heal my ulcer while I continued to undo his work at the same time. I had given up smoking two or three times in the past and had gone back to the habit after varying periods of one to six months. On this occasion, however, I broke the habit “cold turkey”, that is, without trying to reduce smoking gradually, but just threw away the cigarettes I happened to have, and never smoked again.

The resolve to give up smoking had an unexpected side effect when I was in Baguio because the constant need to refuse offers of cigarettes reminded me that I was collaborating with God in healing my ulcer and the sense of the presence of God in my life was often with me. I recalled that some who had wanted to give up smoking had asked for prayers to help them do so, but I was able to give up smoking without any fuss. Was this part of God’s work in healing my ulcer? And, as I reflected on the absurdity of some of the decisions of the Match Jury, I could not help feeling that there was something not quite right with what I was doing with my life.
"Here I am,” I said to myself, “at the top of my profession, Professor and one-time Dean of Medicine, MD and all that, also at the top of my hobby, Chairman of the World Championship Match Jury, making decisions, subject only to veto of the FIDE President, also, President of our Zone, and what have I been doing? I have been discussing what colour of yoghurt Karpov should have. Surely, this shows the truth of what the Teacher says, ‘All is vanity; man is like the grass in the field that blooms in the day and is cut down in the evening and cast on the fire.’”

The sequel was that when I got back to Singapore I was ready to listen to things spiritual and so Rosie and I went along on Oon Teik’s invitation to the Billy Graham Crusade that was held at the National Stadium. When Billy Graham made the altar call Rosie and I went forward and met Oon Teik near the stage and he helped us say the Sinner’s Prayer to yield ourselves to God. After this we were asked to attend follow-up classes at Oon Teik’s house which was in College Road where I stayed not so long ago because Oon Teik had succeeded me as Master of K.E. Hall.


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