The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

Caroling Reflections of an ‘Expired’ M.. Posted on 28th Dec 2013, 3:13pm by Alvin

Traditionally, whenever the familiar conical pine trees appear with their commercial baubles and the wreaths and mistletoes appear on doorways, I always end up doing 2 things – 1. writing my Christmas cards; 2. writing a Christmas reflection piece. As with every Christmas celebration, there is always, the singing of Christmas carols. You hear the strains of familiar tunes in the shopping centres, over your car radios, and even in church.. But nothing beats hearing a live choir singing those melodious tunes.

CMS-CMG has always had her annual Christmas caroling session at Dr John Lee’s house in the Eastern part of Singapore. Its been so ingrained into my life, that it feels weird if I miss out on a session. Of course, as one evolves beyond M5 into, what I term an “Expired M”, one tends to migrate from being a part of the choir, to being a part of the audience. Oh believe me, I’ve been trying to sit in the audience for a few years already – I keep getting thwarted by the lack of junior tenors to prop up the choir. >_< Mebbe my first step to sitting in the audience, would actually be to find some junior tenor pillar instead. =p

That being said, it is very different singing Christmas carols, and sitting in an audience listening to a live choir. In 2012, someone told me,”I’m sure you’d rather be singing in the choir than sitting in the audience, right?” He didn’t know how close to the truth he was.

Caroling has always held a special place in my heart every Christmas since I entered Medical School. Coming into my 10th year of caroling, I dug up a short reflection email piece that I had sent out 10 years ago after my first Christmas caroling, which I shall reproduce below:

Caroling Reflections of an M1..

And it is so, that we end this year’s carolling session..

Just thought I’d pen down a few thoughts and memorable memories and recollections that came to mind..

My family and I attended Christmas Eve mass at my church just now, and they had a short carolling session before the mass began. “Nothing new,” so I thought, until my church choir started singing some of our carolling songs..

The first familiar song was “One Small Child”. As the organist played the opening bars to the all-too familiar piece, I realised that the arrangement was exactly the same as our carolling piece! =) ( Well, since I played the piano for this piece at Dr John Lee’s & Prof Hwang’s house, couldn’t resist trying to hear how well the organist was playing.. =P And I realised that I definitely need more practise? =P ) But my church choir was quite good.. =) and I couldn’t help coming in during the respective parts.. ( But if I may so shamelessly say, we’re better.. Muahaha.. =P )

Anyway, familiar songs like “Angels”, “Hark” and “O Holy Night” were sung, though not in SATB arrangement though.. =O mebbe that explains the few weird stares I got when I was trying to accompany in a tenor part for fun.. >_< But the feeling was different, sitting in the pews and singing normal christmas carols, being used to singing an almost different tune…

It all seemed like yesterday when we first started carolling practice.. I recall we barely dared open our mouths to sing, cos we were so afraid and uncertain of how we would sound like.. And we’ve come a long way since! =) Many thanks to the upper Ms who came down to help us! especially Ian, David, Darren, Germaine, Angela, and any other higher Ms which I have accidentally left out! =P The wacky practice sessions will always stay in my mind: with Ernest’s cookies, chocolates, and Ian and his “Weather’s Originals” and his musical-note-pipe which no one dares to use cos of ahem, hygiene reasons -_-“” .. =P ; Sops VS almost everyone else, cos the sops sing melody line while other parts are struggling over their lines.. Haha.. I’m sure the Sops put in a lot of hard work too, if not more, since they’re the melody line.. =) And all the solo practices.. =P A million thanks to everyone for being part of such wonderful memories.. =)

Our 1st session at SACH was a good start, though the Tanah Merah Station pple gave us weird stares when we tried warming up in a corner.. -_-“” It was really heartwarming to interact with the patients there after our songs.. There was this elderly female lady who was really nice and chatty, and talked to us about her elder sons and how’s she’s gonna be back home before Christmas.. =) dinner @ Cafe Cartel after that was great too.. =P Followed by Dr John Lee’s house.. Gosh.. O_O at least I was taken aback by the crowd size.. There were lots of kids and young pple there.. was a really fun experience.. =) And I’m sure no one will forget our “special performance” by Christopher and me (Last Christmas), and how we hid in the ****** to practise.. -_-“”””” Plus our item-choreography at Ernest’s house..

Our following session at Mt. A was a little off-colour.. =P cos we were still suffering the overhang effects of partying too late the previous night at Dr John Lee’s house.. =P went off-key a few times.. *Oops..* =P Though that evening’s performance @ Prof Hwang’s house was much better.. =) St Luke’s was OK.. -_-” except when we got cut in the middle of “Joy” and were chased from a ward by the nurse cos a patient wanted to rest.. =P We din get to interact with the patients cos of time constraints, which was a pity.. =(

And of course, yesterday! =) Our last minute item at the Children’s Cancer Foundation Ward was really great!! (Thanks Ian for coming up with the script! =)) Casting Denise as Rudolph, Serena as Mrs Claus and other reindeers… The kids were really quite happy to see us, and it was nice to see a smile on the parents’ faces too.. =) Hope we brought them some Christmas cheer.. =) And of course, our swan song for this year.. Prof Low’s party.. =) It was really wonderful to see so many upper Ms down for carolling.. =) We sounded the best last night.. =) and of course, due to intensive practice for “Jingle Bells” I still have the tune stuck in my head.. =P

Haha.. I’m sure next year will be a blast too! =)

~ posted at Sat Dec 25, 2004 12:28 am

10 whole years!!! Reading and re-reading that email, I can’t believe I actually wrote that email 10 years ago. Back then we were so young, full of energy, zest, and erm, youthful innocence and naivete? 10 years on, I still find the same cheer in those familiar Christmas tunes. =)

Beyond the timeless nature of the carols, there is something special about each year’s annual caroling session. Every year, we see new faces – new incoming M1s, returning seniors who have not appeared for many years; yet all singing together in musical harmony, and connecting with friends whom have not seen each other due to busy hospital commitments.

Undeniably, it is this fellowship and companionship with each other, that draws many of us back together year after year – sometimes desperately blocking call dates / rescheduling holiday travel plans / or requesting for call swap dates. I would like to thank the host for having us at his house every year! I hope that we would always have the opportunity to come together to bring joy to everyone! =)


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Past Blog Articles

2015 Jul: May You Rest in Peace
2015 Jan: Happy New Year 2015

2014 Dec: A Prayer for Deliverance 2
2014 Oct: Who are you, Where am I?
2014 Sep: A Prayer for Deliverance
2014 May: Behind Those Clothes
2014 Feb: The Red Packet(s)
2014 Jan: God Loves You

2013 Dec: Caroling Reflections of an Expired M
2013 Nov: Scripture Reflection for Physicians
2013 Oct: Hang on. We haven’t beat this thing yet.
2013 Sep: Me and My Ride
2013 Aug: A Gift of Life
2013 Jul: Finding Happiness in a Land of Plenty
2013 Jun: A Beeline
2013 May: Living My Love Of..
2013 Apr: The Healthcare Debate
2013 Mar: A Doctor’s Prayer
2013 Feb: Project Battambang ’12
2013 Feb: Mission Srolanth ’12: To Heal the Heart, with a Heart to Heal
2013 Jan: The Hardest Thing To Say…

2012 Dec: The Lost Art Of…
2012 Nov: Rome Sweet Home – Short Reflections
2012 Sep: He Keeps Falling
2012 Aug: God Decides
2012 July: Am I To Blame?
2012 June: Saving Fragile Lives
2012 May: Ruminations On Love
2012 Mar: The iPhone

2011 Dec: The Red Cross
2011 Nov: Give Thanks!
2011 Aug: Ashes – The Epilogue
2011 July: Charity
2011 July: Ashes
2011 May: Of Angry Birds & Cowardly Mice
2011 May: Notes From Salzburg On Good Friday
2011 Apr: What It Means
2011 Mar: A Job.
2011 Mar: Dear Father…
2011 Feb: Clothes, A Person Doth Maketh
2011 Jan: Wonderfully Made

2010 Dec: A White Christmas
2010 Dec: A Medical Christmas Carol
2010 Nov: Saying Goodbye
2010 Oct: I Am Always With You
2010 Sept: Be Joyful Always
2010 July: Managing Expectations
2010 June: But They Are Our Masters…
2010 June: Driving: A Means of Personal Formation?
2010 May: HO Welcome Tea
2010 May: The Rain
2010 May: A Missed Lunch
2010 May: Man In The Mirror
2010 May: Reflections At The End Of The Day
2010 Apr: Finding God In All Things
2010 Mar: Surely You Put Your Trust In The Lord?
2010 Mar: The Significance of a Name

2009 Nov: Batam: Beyond A Mission
2009 Oct: The Broken Rosary
2009 Sept: Love Note To God, Father
2009 Aug: Let God Take The Wheel
2009 Aug: The Prequel: The One About Graduation
2009 July: The Sequel: The Later Months
2009 June: First Month of HO-Ship
2009 May: “The House of God” by Samuel Shem
2009 May: In The Discipleship for Christ


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