In the past few days I have found myself driving by the place where I spent three years in high school. For a variety of reasons, I have found myself in the neighborhood. As I enjoyed some unusual local vegetarian food, I found myself thinking about the changes in the local scene over the years. In high school, we looked down on the emerging Singapore Housing Development Board projects. At the time, they seemed out of place in Singapore. The concrete towers that were designated homes for those that did not belong anywhere else.
My memories of those days are sketchy. If you had painted a picture of the future, I would have laughed and walked away in disbelief.
Decades later, I look at HDB communities differently. If I am looking for local coffee and great food, HDB Food Courts (hawker food) is the venue of choice! When I think of places I recommend people consider living, a HDB flat is near the top of the list. For shopping, HDB markets have options open 24 hours a day. Most importantly, food options are there for those willing to experience something very different.
As I enjoyed the dishes, I found myself looking across tables filled with people involved in each other’s lives. The towering blocks are their homes, but life is often lived out over the community table – sharing food, enjoying a conversation, and settling debates. Whatever you might say, this community cared about each other. The laughter, scolding debates, and quiet conversations told a story of people involved in each other lives.
As I watched and listened, I could see God at work. I wondered where the community stopped. I concluded that it went as far as I could see and probably father. Someone had called, Divinity had answered. Old words rang true; “Look at this: look who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him.” (Psalm 4.3)
The food was a great discovery. I have been reminded of more. It is encouraging to see God engaged in life’s fine print.