Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Second Last Day

Tomorrow is the last day of the College's Semester. We have mopping up or a cleaning exercise to do after a 3-day sports carnival. I came back just in time to join my colleagues for the tug of war. Just a couple of minutes of pulling worked up a mighty sweat. I have mixed feelings now that my tenure is really coming to an end. Everyone is asking where I am going next or whether I am staying on at College. No signs until the last day of College. But I must soldier on. My job is practically done. Tomorrow I will chair one last faculty meeting, basically saying good-byes to my colleagues and tying up loose ends. I will miss them. At the evening we have a College gathering with community dinner followed by end-of-the Semester service. I have asked the worship team to play a Dusun song (most of my students are from the Dusun tribe, the majority tribe in Sabah). I have played the song countless times for the past few days and in a way I am somewhat confident that my future still lies with this Dusun community.
One visitor today told me "You are the only Chinese who speaks Malay well". Perhaps in my context yes but those like me who speak good Malay don't serve among the Dusuns. So I am the odd man out but no one notices that until a fellow Chinese or non-indigenous person mentions it. For the Dusuns they have long accepted me which in a way is heartening. To be effective cross-culturally and not feeling the odd man out is a practice well tried or life lived out in love for the community one serves. For Jesus he had to become man (incarnation), for me I had to be a Dusun to a Dusun, a Malay speaker to Malay speakers, and an SIB pastor to SIB pastors.

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