Monday, December 10


My best friend was a Christian. A kind-hearted Christian Chinese girl. Somehow I was always welcomed in all my friends’ homes, and hers was exceptionally welcoming. And at age 14, I thought being a Christian was glamorous. It sounded better than being called a Tao or a Buddhist, anyway.

So when two of my close friends started to preach to me about Christianity, I was ready to be influenced. It wasn’t difficult to like the thought of being a Christian – I was already studying in a Convent school where nuns still commanded respects, read English books about Christian homes, and all my Chinese friends have chosen our own English names although not everyone was a Christian. We all thought it was fun to have English names. So being a Christian sounded like the most logical step at that time. There were Chinese Buddhists and Chinese Christians. A Chinese Muslim was almost non-existent during those days, at least in my world-view. So I listened as they told me about Jesus, the Saviour, and Trinity, and the uselessness of praying to manmade idols. Of course, not being taught about the Tao and Buddhist beliefs also made me vulnerable to such influences.

Conversion into Christianity was simple. I’m still amazed at how prepared both my friends were in converting me. They were ready; they must have had planned it all along for days with their pastor’s guidance. Anyway, all I had to do was to bow my head and repeat some lines after them, among them to accept Jesus as my Saviour. Of course, I was told that all my sins were forgiven. No need to go to church for confirmation, no need to sign any documents, no need to even note down my name at any church registration. Well, at least I was spared from all that. That’s how simple it was to be a Christian. Of course, I was only fourteen. It had happened to me, it could happen to any naïve child.

Naturally, I was invited to church. The church’s van would fetch me on Saturday mornings for Bible class. My mother knew but she didn’t oppose. Looking back, it was strange how my father seemed to be oblivious to my ‘disobedience’. He was never at home when the van arrived. The following year, I went to another church, and attended the weekly assembly for teens. It was clean fun; we sang songs, talked and shared stories. I even joined them for two excursions, all expenses paid for by the church. My mother signed the permission forms knowing that she couldnt afford take me to those places with her meagre salary, while my father thought I went on school trips.

Even then, I was already bold. I fear nobody but God. Problem was, I didn't know where God was. As I attended different churches and their services, I started to have doubts about Christianity. I wondered why they have so many churches and different ways of praying. Why they still have statues of Mary at Catholic churches. Why some have unmarried priests and confessions, while others have pastors with families. Why Christians from different churches don't agree on a way to pray to the same God. It was a nagging thought that delayed my baptism for years.

How did I live my secret life as a Christian in a family of Buddhists? It was easy, because I didn’t look any different. I ate the same food, wear the same type of clothes, and behave quite in the same way. Only difference was, I just went through the motion when asked to pray to the family altar, without actually praying. Then before I sleep, I’d pray the ‘Christian way’ and read the bible that my friend gave me. And yes, I read the whole bible twice. It was the Good News Bible, in English.

I lived life as a Christian until I attended college. Then my life took a different path. Before I could get myself baptised, I met someone who was to change my life, gave me happiness as well as great pain. Because of him, I ‘sort of’abandoned Christianity at the age of twenty.


  1. Yes, it is easy to keep a Christian faith in secret because they show no obvious outward actions/appearances.

  2. hullo aliyah,

    hi! my name is siehjin and i stumbled upon your blog while searching for something else.

    i actually work with a Christian organisation called Scripture Union (SU). we are what is called a para-church organisation, meaning we are not a church but we work closely with many different kinds or denominations of churches.

    anyway, better get to the point before i bore you to death. i just wanted to respond to your question about why there are so many kinds of churches and different ways of worshipping God (although it might be a little late, heheh).

    actually, the core beliefs of every church are the same. an example of a core statement of beliefs can be found here:

    any church that is christian will hold to these beliefs as true; if a church claims to be christian but disagrees with one of these statements, it's most probably a cult (ajaran sesat).

    these, then, are the non-negotiable things that all christians hold to. but in terms of actual practice, there is freedom to worship God in many different ways as long as those ways are not expressly forbidden in the bible or morally wrong.

    for example, there are churches which worship God with loud music and dancing; at the other end of the spectrum, there are also churches which worship God with no music and just standing still. in my understanding, neither are right nor wrong; they just have different ways of approaching God.

    yeah, it's quite different from islam which has everyone worshipping in exactly the same way. but i hope that my explanation may help you understand christianity a little better. =)

    God bless,

  3. Hello Siehjin,

    I was reading the comments on Sis Aliya's page and I read read the website you posted here.

    The first statement of faith is
    "We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God."

    I find that it is very similar to Islam's Quran but it just struck my mind, which Bible are the Evangelicals are talking about in the website? I need to know since there are so many versions of Bible out there.

  4. Hello Siehjin,
    Thanks for sharing the information.
    I notice that the Evangelicals are what we would generally refer to as the Protestants. What about the Catholic church?
    As you've read, I have referred to the differences of worship in Catholic and Protestant churches, both which call their congregation as Christians. Do you mean to say that it's the churches themselves that decide how to worship God?