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Stewardship of Money and Living in London on a Student Budget

September 30, 2014 1 comment

It’s that time of the year when sunny days get colder and the student hordes throng the streets of London. I’ve had a good time meeting the first arrivals, urging them to make the most of their few years abroad.

rocket, fig, proscuitto, mozzarella salad with linseed vinaigretteIt’ll be a sad thing if all they had to show at the end of their degree was, erm, a degree, selfies in front of tourist attractions, signed menus from Michelin restaurants, and a life partner to eat in said restaurants with. There’s much more to life, boys and girls! Away from the usual societal crutches of home, this is the perfect opportunity to think carefully and independently about life – to investigate properly what truth is and so set valid life goals according to that truth. After thorough investigation, Christian claims, as set out in the Bible, seemed overwhelmingly true:

  1. the deadly problem we all face is that we are all under the wrath of God for failing to acknowledge him;
  2. nothing we can ever do or say will be able to turn away God’s wrath on the Last Day;
  3. but God sent his Son Jesus to save us from this – if we trust that what God promised is true – ie. that Jesus’ death is sufficient to save us from the consequences of our sin.

Because this is such an important thing for this life and the next, I would highly recommend everyone to research this for themselves. A Christianity Explored course is a great place to start! And London universities are well served by good churches like St. Helen’s Bishopsgate and Euston Church.

While the important stuff gets sorted, there are also daily necessities to consider. (Ah but, really, who ultimately provides us with money to buy food with, enables food to grow as they should, regulates the seasons, gives us breath?) As a student at a Bible course, living off my own savings, I had to be careful about spending, but also not let frugality be an idol; to be so able to work the budget as still to be generously hospitable about housing and feeding people. We usually think that “good stewardship” of God-given money consists merely of avoiding conspicuous consumption, but miserliness too fails to properly invest God’s money for his work.

Food
Because the United Kingdom produces its own food and local food is more likely to be less expensive, it is best to eat the season.

Street markets are your best bet for fresh food. I don’t mean the organic hipster places but the “ethnic” sort in East London – for example, along Whitechapel or in Shadwell. Vegetables are usually sold by the bowl – £1 for whatever is in the bowl. And I have managed to bargain for more to be stuffed in the same bowl…

Check London Farmers Markets for more English/continental produce. Although basics are on the whole more expensive, this is for you if you care about provenance. And there are some bargains at closing time or on things that don’t usually figure in the modern London kitchen – like duck hearts, other offal, pork bones for ramen bases. Even the more posh farmers’ markets are worth checking out: I’ve gotten good bags of pesticide-free fruit and vegetables for £1 each at the Marylebone Farmers’ Market and chicken carcasses for stock (but with enough flesh left on it for a meal for one or two) for 25p each at Borough Market.

It’s also worth being a regular at your local butcher and fishmonger who may throw in stuff for free once they get to know you.

wild blackberries wild blackberry tart

Foraging has saved me a bundle on fruit and herbs. But obviously you need to be sure not to poison yourself, especially with the mushrooms. Check out recipes and advice at Forage London.

Marked Down GroceriesIf you really need to use a supermarket, you can compare prices at mysupermarket.co.uk. There isn’t a particularly generally cheap(er) mainstream supermarket: Tesco and Sainsbury’s might sell different goods more cheaply. Lidl, Aldi, and ASDA, although not known to be upmarket, have own-brand products that stand up to more expensive own-brands: like olive oil and charcuterie. Check for Great Taste Awards as well. There are also treasures in Lidl’s wine bins (eg. Bordeaux second growths).

Waitrose does really deep discounts on well-kept but expiring food. I usually snap these up for the freezer – good for lazy evenings and unexpected guests. It’s also worth signing up to be a Waitrose member for free coffee (espresso, cappuccino, latte) and tea daily, additional discounts, and a free well-written magazine every month.
Marked Down Groceries Marked Down GroceriesThe other great thing about Waitrose is that it applies original bulk-buy discounts to stickered items. In this instance, Waitrose technically paid me £0.11 to buy 18 sausages off them!

Marked Down Groceries Marked Down Groceries
Marked Down Groceries Marked Down Groceries
Marked Down Groceries Marked Down Groceries

Marks & Spencer stores tend to clear out their bakery sections at a good yellow-stickered discount about 6.00 p.m. (store-dependent) every day so you can get proper bread/pastry your dinner/breakfast there. The city center stores are also good for discounts on dairy items like milk and cheese.

Approved Food has a bit of a niche selling food near or past its best before date at good reductions.

Coffee
Brewing your own probably gives you a better cup and saves you loads off Costa lattes. Worth checking out online coffee companies for promotional discounts – eg. Pact Coffee delivers your first order for only £1.

Clothes
By the fact that everyone can tell me a mile away by my clothes, it is clear that I don’t really have much experience in this area. But for fig leaves that don’t look too cheap, TK Maxx has good stuff. There are loads of charity shops around. Also look out for clothes swaps.

For camping/hiking/walking clothes, footwear, and accessories, try the Army Surplus Store

Hair Cuts
Get them free by being a real live model for hairdressing students or juniors. Have a look at this Time Out article for details.

Cookware, homeware and home electricals
Check first if anyone has anything to give away on London Freecycle or Gumtree or a whole list of alternatives on the Guardian Green Living Blog or on the London Re-use Network. Otherwise, compare prices at:
Robert Dyas
Argos
Lakeland
Poundland, 99p shop, 98p shop…

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse
Reuse jars as cups and for storage. Reuse can and coffee cups as pen and pencil holders. Reuse fruit crates for shelves. Reuse wine cases for bookshelves.

Transportation
Cycling around London is free, though you’ll need to acquire a bicycle and an all-important bicycle lock.

Bicycles
Freecycle, Gumtree, . Or ReCycling and other sites listed on Bike Hub. Cycle training, if you live in Tower Hamlets, is free.

bicycle maintenance club bicycle repair and maintenance tools

You’ll want to keep your ride in good shape, so pop down to the free bicycle maintenance workshops.

Trains
The Man on Seat 61 has good advice about this.

Leisure Activities
It helps to live in areas that the government thinks need a leg up. In Tower Hamlets, for example, there is free tennis and relatively cheap admission to swimming pools.

For theatre, opera, concerts, check out the TKTS website for discounts, or (if appropriate) hunt for student standby tickets or platform seats.

Lots more tips at moneysavingexpert.com.

Summer Camp

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

summer camp venue room for talks, summer camps
red leader booklets, summer camp summer camp
double decker beds, summer camp camp beds, summer camp
table football, summer camp news of royal baby, summer camp
Country Life magazines, summer camp summer camp
catapult, summer camp treehouse, summer camp
padder courts, summer camp night swim, summer camp
crocker, summer camp

Thank God for magnificent schoolgrounds for our campsite, sunshine, running barefoot on the lawn, reaching the finals in the padder tournament, the patient cheerfulness of ALs with the demise of Hobie the Hobart industrial dishwasher, a comfortable leaders’ room, loads of fun and laughter, the happy news of the arrival of the royal baby, very decent food thanks to a team of cooks, even more nourishing spiritual food from the main talks and focus talks and Bible studies, being able to get alongside ALs to teach and encourage and edify because there is no sin that is uncommon to man, the Book of Colossians on continuing in the Christian life, ALs being comfortable enough to insert my name into popular tunes and sing them over (and over and over) the course of several days – in a bid to irritate, good honest chats by lakes and sitting atop castles looking at the sea, ALs being so happy to see the last of me that there was a chase round the pub as i attempted to avoid their bear hugs/rugby tackles, loads of prayer to start and end the day and at needful times in-between, numerous encouraging postcards/cards received at just the right time during camp, clean clothes thanks to people doing the laundry, realising again that God has deliberately entrusted the treasure of his gospel to jars of clay…

porridge for breakfast, summer camp bacon and eggs for breakfast, summer camp
waffles for breakfast, summer camp croissants for breakfast, summer camp
pancakes for breakfast, summer camp bologanese, summer camp
lasagne and peas, summer camp meatballs and jacket potatoes, summer camp
banoffee pie, summer camp hot cocoa, summer camp

Still loads to learn and repent of, but what a privilege and what a joy to serve Christ and bring glory to him in this way.

Hobie the Hobart machine, summer camp washing colourful plastic cups, summer camp
Hurst Castle, summer camp Hurst Castle, summer camp
talk summaries, summer camp white toy cat as idol, summer camp
industrial washing machines, summer camp dry racks, summer camp

A Frugal Hungry Student In London Eats Decently For Less Than £1 A Meal

June 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Though, assuming an average of 3 meals a day, this is 3 times the poverty line budget of £1 a day.

The School will attest that feeding church associates, apprentices, and ministry trainees, is like opening your storehouse to a family of locusts. They are always ravenously hungry, but are on a strict budget because of fundamental lack of funds, or being very conscious of the provenance of their supporters’ finances, and also because of the principle of the stewardship of money – that is, that what one has in one’s savings account isn’t really one’s own. Just like everything else in our lives (our gifts, our experience, our very breath), the money isn’t totally ours – God gave this to us as trustees to be used for his glory.

Yet at the other end of the spectrum, it is too easy for our sinful selves to be obsessed with saving money and getting the best discounts, to the detriment of our health (thereby then decreasing the amount of ministry that can be done) or to the detriment of our priorities in life (there being no inherent goodness in getting the best bang for our buck).

For my own future reference, here’s what can be had for less than £1 a meal:

Breakfast
Sonata strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, Dorset Cereal granola, strawberry yoghurta healthy energising bowl of strawberry yoghurt, sweet small Sonata strawberries, blackberries, blueberries sprinkled with Dorset Cereal granola for crunch;

or

English Breakfast Muffin
English Breakfast Muffina filling Duchy Originals English muffin stuffed with bacon (part of a 2 kg pack from Smithfields), sunny-side-up, and cheese…to be washed down with a mug of good hot coffee or tea.

Lunch/Dinner
Purple Sprouting Broccoli being steamed in pan

Peri-Peri Chicken + Steamed Purple Sprouting Broccoli + Wild Ricesteamed purple sprouting broccoli (with flowers), brown basmati + red carmague + wild rice, spicy peri-peri chicken drumsticks;

or

"Revitalising Tonic" Chicken Soup + Spring Greens + Wild Rice“revitalising tonic” chicken soup (Chinese herbs from a packet someone brought me from Singapore – so perhaps that’s cheating a little), stir-fried spring greens, brown basmati + red carmague + wild rice

or

Roast Pork Belly with Crackling

Roast Pork Belly with Crackling1.6kg roasted pork belly with superbly crunchy crackling, delicious caramelised onions, sweet potato mash, steamed spring greens.

New Word Alive 2013 at Pontin’s, Prestatyn, North Wales

April 10, 2013 1 comment

New Word Alive 2013 (NWA 2013) Christian Conference, Pontin's, Prestatyn, North Wales New Word Alive 2013 (NWA 2013) Christian Conference, Pontin's, Prestatyn, North Wales

Prison-block-like Pontins accommodation notwithstanding, a Welsh flatmate and I were warm and toasty in our little apartment in just-above-freezing spring temperatures, waiting for the evening celebration to be beamed through New Word Alive TV. Outside, one group of kids were cheering as “Tonight’s Going To Be A Good Night” boomed out from one of many white marquees.

Dan Strange, New Word Alive 2013 (NWA 2013) Christian Conference, Pontin's, Prestatyn, North Wales

Had a great time at New Word Alive 2013. A buffet of Bruce Ware on christological doctrine, Christopher Ash on the later chapters of the Gospel of John, Dan Strange on apologetics in the mornings (Sam Storms was moved up to Mike Reeves’ spot (notable quote from blur member of the audience:”Sam Storms? Who is he? Is he a superhero?”)) and loads more talks and seminars throughout the day, glorious singing, being able to chat and pray with random strangers from different countries and cultures. (It would be difficult, however, to say I agreed with all the speakers…)

New Word Alive 2013 (NWA 2013) Christian Conference, Pontin's, Prestatyn, North Wales

As an old-ish friend said as we exchanged notes on the second day, NWA was not a place to hide from people – more than half my classmates from the School were there in various capacities, loads more people from Church, there were people I knew from Singapore (rebuke from a brother:”Pleased to see me? Don’t lie! I’ve tried contacting you for the last 6 months and you’ve never replied!”), and there was even a primary schoolmate whom I hadn’t seen since primary school!

Self-catered breakfast, New Word Alive 2013 (NWA 2013) Christian Conference, Pontin's, Prestatyn, North Wales

Quite an intense few days of “work” as well, leading a group – getting up early to pray with the team, preparing Bible passages for sessions, cooking meals for people and getting to know group members more so as to serve them better,
Two sets of footprints in the sand. Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales
chats while walking along Barkby Beach (not so as to have an appropriate setting for serious conversations but because it was nice to get out and smell the sea!), nightly Grill-A-Christian in Mandarin courtesy of a Chinese flatmate etc.

Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales Seagull in the sky. Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales
Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales
Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, North Wales

Can’t think of a better way to spend the Easter holiday week. Cheekily deviated from the set questions (with the blessings of the speaker) to force the group, kicking and protesting loudly, to really engage with the text of Scripture. And tried to get them to actually focus on Christ rather than merely talk piously about focusing in Christ (too tedious and boring, dahlings). Hopefully, didn’t make too much of a hash of things but I can trust, regardless, that the Word + Spirit dream team will do their work!

New Word Alive 2013, Pontins, Prestatyn, North Wales

Am leery of the highs produced in the artificial environment of Christian camps and conferences (in that they are high energy, high excitement environments; not that they are inauthentic). Any self-improvement boot-camp might induce an apparent change in someone. So while I wanted to push group members as far as God demands in Scripture (that is, very very far indeed), I did not want to create any expectation of this conference being a life-altering experience (while not discounting that God might wish to work in an individual’s life in such a way!); rather, the hope was that through clear and faithful teaching of God’s word (at NWA and in their own churches and bible study groups), their minds and hearts would be changed by the Spirit to be more and more like God’s, and their lives would then inevitably reflect this.

Some Flat Whites of Cambridge

March 27, 2013 1 comment

Snowy fields outside Cambridge

Snowy fields outside Cambridge

As the Great Anglia train rattled through snowy fields up to Cambridge, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

The intention was to talk to various people about Singapore student work – to see how we could help each other (if at all) help Christian students to grow in love for God and people here and when they returned to Singapore; but I had no concrete plans how we might do this. Was certainly not keen on any sort of society or other formal organisation – we have far too many of those things and their hierarchies and inherent power structures and insistence on justifying their own existence long after the need for them has ceased to, I think, tend to (as one might expect of sinful humans, though thankfully, this might not always be) detract from God and gospel. There was no elitism in choosing to head to Cambridge after Oxford – it was just known to have a good concentration of Singapore students and a thriving biblical Christian community. Looked forward to hearing what the more experienced might have thought through already.

Corpus Christi Chapel, Cambridge
random photo of Corpus Christi College Chapel

Enjoyed a very good discussion over a home-cooked lunch before making it right on the hour for evening service at St. Andrew the Great (aka. STAG). Was pleased to have someone else, independently, question if there was really a need to emphasise home-going. The rationale for having separate international group bible studies has usually been (i) to address language difficulties; (ii) to address discomfort with the host culture; and (iii) to get internationals to think about applying Christian truths to their life when they got back home. My queries on reason (ii) have had to do with the unity of the church and loving all members of the body regardless of race or class or culture; and on reason (iii) – whether the emphasis should really be on faithful living in all situations whether single or married, student or working, in London or back in one’s own country, rather than attempting to apply every passage to future life the home country – because that would be too narrow a view of Christian living and might run the risk also of legalism.

Discussed this further with some international workers today. Still much to think about.

Was pleased too to find Cambridge to be in a better state, coffee-wise, to Durham:

Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers Hot Numbers

At Hot Numbers Coffee (Unit 6, Dales Brewery, Gwydir Street, Cambridge. facebook), I had their house-roasted El Salvadorian Finca La Fani in a flat white. It was fairly well-made, though the milk was a bit stiff, with bright citrus acidity that punched you in the saliva glands. Wonder if it would have worked better straight up.

Fitzbillies Fitzbillies
Fitzbillies Fitzbillies
Fitzbillies Flat White, Fitzbillies

Didn’t expect much from the Brazilian-Ethiopian Climpson & Sons (possibly their 50% Ethiopian Sidamo and 50% Brasil Fazenda Paraiso Sidamo Espresso Blend?) flat white at Fitzbillies (51-52 Trumpington Street, Cambridge) – it looked like a pretty enough Cambridge institution to get by on the seat of its chelsea buns without serving up decent brew. But this was yummy hot cocoa in a cup. The milk was a bit weak but didn’t detract too much from its deliciousness.

Massaro Massaro's, Regent Street, Cambridge
Flat White, Massaro's, Regent Street, Cambridge

The espresso beans at Massaro’s (85 Regent Street, Cambridge) were a house-blend delicately roasted by Has Bean Coffee. Very nice indeed.

Mission Week and the Coffee Shops of Durham

February 14, 2013 1 comment

Homemade Burger Dinner

A yummy smoky homemade burger dinner at the neighbours’, with roast chillis stuffed with feta, washed down by vintage cider, the night before.

Chinese New Year in London Chinese New Year in London

And after a full Sunday that included popping into the Chinese ministry’s Chinese New Year celebrations to hang out with some Singapore visitors (despite understanding very little of what was going on),

Victoria Coach Station in the sleet

fought driving winds and sleet to get to Victoria Coach Station in good time for the overnight National Express bus to Durham.

Durham Castle at night Silver Street at 6am, Durham
A river in Durham Rowing on a river in Durham

Wandered around the town at 6am-ish, enjoying the quiet cobblestoned streets and the cold,

Esquires Coffee, Silver Street, Durham

then, when it opened, a hot pot of tea at Esquires Coffee (22 Silver Street, Durham) and a reviving square of the brownie some very kind person had baked for my journey, followed by a whirlwind of getting to know almost a hundred new faces and incessant chatting over ubiquitous milky tea and cold hot cross buns.

Seating for Uncovered Lunch Bar Uncovered Lunch Bar, Durham

And then, to use the specialist terminology of mission weeks, mornings were for First Contact, lunch for Lunch Bars, and evenings for Evening Meetings. Michael Ots was particularly helpful, i thought, on the question “Why Should God Limit My Sexuality?” (mp3 here on the See For Yourself website). Long talks with some students who were curious about the evidence for the Christian faith.

Spent downtime with John Stott and other CUGs at various coffee shops around Durham. The company was stimulating, and the delightful character of the cafes a better reason to visit than the coffee:

Al fresco seating, Flat White, Durham Al fresco seating, Flat White, Durham
Flat White, Durham
Flat White, Durham Flat White, Durham

Flat White (21A Elvet Bridge, Durham) – probably your best bet for a somewhat decent cuppa. The smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel was appropriately chewy and therefore, excellent. Typical indie decor consisting of ephemera and quaintness.

Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Treats Coffee Shop, Durham
Artwork, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Treats Coffee Shop, Durham
Broccoli quiche, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Loo, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham

Treats Coffee Shop (27-28 Silver Street, Durham) – relatively generous portions and so, popular with students. One group got two unequal slices of a tea cake, the larger of which being a quarter of a loaf. Loads of power sockets, a good clean loo. Despite the presence of an espresso machine, the “flat white” they served up was coffee from the heating pad with frothed milk.

Leonard's Coffee House, Durham Leonard's Coffee House, Durham

Leonard’s Coffee House (1 Back Silver Street, Durham) – The Pidgin’ Loft upstairs was a nice place to sit and chat, while looking out windows.

Vennels Café, Durham Vennels Café, Durham
Old Singer Sewing Machine Table, Vennels Café, Durham Vennels Café, Durham
Sugar bowls, Vennels Café, Durham Stove in fireplace, Vennels Café, Durham
Earl grey tea in vintage china, Vennels Café, Durham Coconut apricot cake, Vennels Café, Durham

Vennel Café (71 Saddler Street, Durham) – two floors of old Singer sewing machine tables, creaking wooden floor boards, dried flowers hanging from rafters, real fires in fireplaces, loose teas in vintage china, and scones in the morning.

How You Can Tell This Is A Christian British Kitchen
how to tell a British Christian household – tea for all tastes, numerous cups and teapots in expectation of guests

Kind strangers took me into their homes and lives. Comfy beds and hot showers, great conversations to midnight in freezing living rooms (there being no money to fix broken radiators) about the challenges of being a Christian teacher, and of being Geography or English majors (professors with entrenched postmodern mindsets penalising those with Christian worldviews and those who read the text with the goal of determining authorial intent).

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31)

My Life Would Be Complete If...

“Little Japan” in West Acton and Celebrating Chinese New Year

February 8, 2013 1 comment

“What food from home do you miss?” is a question frequently asked of foreigners.

My inconsiderate murders-small-talk reply used to be “nothing”. Have since repented of such impoliteness and have gone on to add that I do miss Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

While the extended answer is mostly for the furtherance and promotion of conversation in social situations that require this, it was a good opportunity, when i hit a brick wall in putting on a meal for Chinese New Year (having googled and discovered that i have little idea how any of the dishes taste, much less how to cook them), to check out Japanese food in London.

West Acton West Acton
West Acton

On the extreme west arm of the Central Line, there is a little huddle of Japanese shops just beside the West Acton station, possibly due to the proximity of the Japanese School: Yo Yo Kitchen (owned by Yoichi Iguchi, buyer of most of fish for most of the Japanese restaurants in London, says its website), various Japanese property agents, and Atari-ya.

Atari-ya. West Acton Atari-ya. West Acton
Atari-ya. West Acton
Atari-ya. West Acton

Atari-ya is da bomb: miso, kombu, tofu, crab sticks, Chinese cabbage, edamame, shiitake and enoki mushrooms, daikon, wasabi, instant noodles, goma and ponzu and soya sauces galore, green teas, sashimi, thinly-sliced beef and pork for shabu-shabu, potato salad, crabs, uni, roe, mochi, rice seasoning, sushi rice, etc were stacked neatly in the small corner store.

Ingredients for Shabu-shabu + others Shabu-shabu for Lunar New Year

At nightfall, we had a greatly encouraging time (an overused culturally Christian phrase) over katsu curry and shabu-shabu.

Homemade katsu curry rice

The updates from various people who’d returned to Singapore from the UK or who’d been sent by churches in the UK to Singapore were read and relished, and as a special treat, a video sent over by two pastors.

Most Singaporeans seem to dread returning to Singapore after the expanse and freedom and excitement of living abroad. Perhaps they’ve come to faith in Christ, or have grown tremendously under good faithful-to-Scripture teaching in London, and think that the spiritual riches of the Word properly preached and a mature community of believers might not be found any where else.

A few things i might have attempted to say over dinner:

  • God is the God of the whole world – not just the God of a few choice churches in south England. Therefore, God is at work also in Singapore and everywhere else on this earth and in this universe (even on Mars, in case any one was thinking of settling there);
  • as people of the risen King, we should be concerned with our master’s business rather than our own;
  • what God works for, and therefore what we work for, is God’s own glory. This would be disgustingly ego-centric except that He really is the center of the universe and everything does, in actual fact, revolve around Him;
  • we do not get trained up here at what people might think are the best churches or under allegedly the best teachers so as to construct a sparkling spiritual CV, in parallel to our impressive academic or work CV. These opportunities God has given us are for the service of his people and for his glory and we will do well to humbly acknowledge that we are not an evangelical elite;
  • do not be anxious about anything but in prayer and petition, bring our requests to God, and the peace that surpasses understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ (Philippians).

People (perhaps politely) said they were heartened by the meet-up, loved hearing about the ministries in difference churches, wanted regular updates, and were eager to go back to serve God in Singapore, in whatever situation he put them in. Brilliant.

Four or five people, separately, suggested starting some sort of club or society for Singaporean would-be returnees in London. Am not keen on this, because defined groups tend to be exclusive, prone to internal hierarchies and encourage the desire to be validated within the group rather than striving to please God, and in time, the group agenda and politics sometimes obscures the original motive.

  • Would like the purpose of encouraging Singaporeans or the Singapore-bound to have a right view of God’s work in the world (and specifically on The Little Red Dot) to be transparently obvious.
  • Would also like this purpose not to reside only within a certain special-interest group but be the general understanding of all believers.

However, some good points have been made in defence of defined groups. Guess will file this away for mulling over another time…

_____________________________________________________

Other sources of Japanese food products in London/the UK that looked somewhat promising:

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