Points of Light in 2018

The Christmas tree that Teo Sia Cheng built.

This is the Christmas tree a dear friend of more than three decades, Teo Sia Cheng, made this year. I am not sure why Teo decided to make his own tree but I am glad he did.  It lights up a year that has been too dark for too many.

Teo lives in Malaysia.  He is a graphic designer and artist with a very fine design sense.

He does not call himself a Christian.  But if to be Christian is to have empathy and demonstrate compassion, Teo could light the way for many of us who find it easier to attend church than to practice loving our neighbors as generously as we love ourselves.

I remember with what devotion Teo cared for his mother through a long, debilitating illness, until she passed away.  All the intimacies of personal care, all the trials of hospital visits, all the sleepless nights fell to him, though I know he is not an only child.  I don’t think I heard him complain once.  Like Mary,who “pondered many things in her heart” but surrendered to the urgency of a divine summons, Teo manages always to convey a feeling of inner tranquillity and a readiness to respond to the needs of the Other. Whether it was to bring to my home fresh proofs of a publication in progress late at night so that I could review them hurriedly before catching a flight, or whether he had to wake at night in his home to tend to his ailing mother, he approached the professional and the personal with the same willing generosity.

I treasure Teo’s quiet, soft kindness. I value his view of his business as a creative service to be priced fairly, never taking advantage of his clients in any way. To him, “business ethics” is not an oxymoron. Some readers may know of Chaminade’s Hogan Program. The motto of the Program is “doing business things that make social sense and doing social things that make business sense.” How fitting that this Malaysian designer is the creator of the Program’s logo

In the spirit of the season, when our thoughts turn to years past, my friend thought to send me the newspaper account ( below) by another Teo–Teo Han Wue–who recalls a green Christmas in the remote rural village of his childhood in Malaysia, “where the trees glistened not with snow, but after the heavy December downpour.”

As one year closes, and another opens, may we each look for, and find points of light that lead to the Star. We may not all be artists like Teo, but we can each help create points of light in the lives of others. Like the villagers described by the writer, singing Christmas carols in Hokkien,  may we all re-imagine ourselves as “village angels” bringing good tidings where good tidings are most needed. It is one way to  live one’s faith or “eat religion,”  as the Chinese say.

And so, with gratitude for the year’s many blessings;  with hope for better times for the many who are hurting: Welcome 2018!


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Posted in Catholics and Culture, I BLOG
7 comments on “Points of Light in 2018
  1. 태정 says:

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    Happiest New Year, Dawn!!!
    I read this article with great sympathy, and your writings always remind me of an excellent essayist.
    Great in mindfulness, great in fluency^-^
    May God bless you and your family!
     ——— 원본 메일 ———

    보낸사람: Dawn Morais <comment-reply@wordpress.com> 받는사람 : leedynasty@hanmail.net 날짜: 2018년 1월 01일 월요일, 17시 33분 17초 +0900 제목: [New post] Points of Light in 2018

    freecatholic808 posted: ” This is the Christmas tree a dear friend of more than three decades, Teo Sia Cheng, made this year. I am not sure why Teo decided to make his own tree but I am glad he did.  It lights up a year that has been too dark for too many. Teo lives in Mala”

  2. Lynn Zempel says:

    This is not only a beautiful tree, your whole post glows with a real spirit. We too hope for more light and goodness in our troubled world. Best wishes to you, John and all those you love.

    Lynn and Alan


  3. What a generous comment, CY! John and I hope you will visit some day and that things are not too tense in Seoul as so-called leaders trade insults instead of working for peace.

  4. Elaine morais says:

    A very meaningful Christmas post, Dawn. I remember Teo very well. A kind, gentle human and an excellent designer.I would be most happy to use Teo’s expertise. Please let me have his contact details.

  5. gmayer1004@aol.com says:

    Dawn,  Thanks so much for this post!  I was moved to the core and some tears!  May there be more and more like Teo who get mainstream attention!    

  6. Teo can be reached at artature@yahoo.com. His phone number is 6012-292-9965. (Drop the 6 if dialing from within Malaysia, of course.)

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