Opposition MP Sylvia Lim was a member and cantor in a choir at St Mary of the Angels for many years. And although she has not gone to confession for a while, she still tries to read the Bible daily.
These were some nuggets of her faith journey that Ms Lim, chairman of The Workers’ Party, shared at a dinner talk organised by CANA The Catholic Centre.
The April 24 event was part of CANA’s Talk of the Town series, which aims to have well-known personalities share how they integrate faith and life.
About 50 people attended the talk, held at the Catholic Centre’s Crossings Café at Waterloo St.
The evening took place in the form of a conversation with facilitator Winifred Loh, a Pauline co-operator working with the lay arm of the Daughters of St Paul.
Ms Lim shared that in the course of her “political journey”, she had experienced moments of intense introspection during which she asked herself whether she was doing the right thing, or how long she could or should continue.
However, every time she experienced doubt, there would be a sign of affirmation from a member of public which encouraged her. At such times, Ms Lim said, she is reminded of God’s presence.
“Because I always feel whatever we are doing now…whatever vocation we are in…I think God calls us to do these things.” She added that it is important to be “open to God to see whether He wants us to continue or wants us to change course”.
Responding to questions from the floor, she shared that she would pray whenever she had some major decisions to make. She would also try to follow the daily readings that the Daughters of St Paul offer, and tries to start the day by reading the Word of God.
Ms Lim was also asked by a member of the audience how she reconciles her Catholic faith with certain policies that may contradict it.
Ms Lim highlighted issues such as the death penalty, casinos and abortion which the Catholic Church has a stand against.
She said that the reality of party politics was that one had to toe the party line unless one was prepared to resign.
However, she noted that while her party did not call for the abolition of the death penalty altogether, it argued against it being mandatory.
When asked whether she tries to share her faith with her colleagues, Ms Lim answered that it is “not in my nature to evangelise” as others may have their own religion which they are comfortable with.
On what has shaped her character and thinking, Ms Lim mentioned her father as being very influential in life. She also draws strength from a particular Bible passage from Corinthians.
Ms Lim added that she is also impressed with the late former South African President Nelson Mandela, who said hatred “clouded the mind”, something which leaders could not afford to harbour.
Towards the end of the conversation, Ms Lim encouraged those present to be “comforted” that whatever role one plays, one is contributing to society or, as the Bible puts it, contributing one’s talents in the service of others.
The evening concluded with Ms Lim singing On Eagle’s Wings, with those present joining in.
Members of the audience told CatholicNews they were impressed with her sharing.
Ms Natasha Yong said that Ms Lim seemed genuine and down-to-earth.
Ms Catherine Tan said the Workers’ Party chairman appears to be just like any other Catholic, and is happy to know that she depends on God’s Word in her daily life.
Mr Justin Tan told CatholicNews that “it was a good idea” for a public figure to share about her faith.
The next Talk of the Town event is on May 22 at 7pm at Crossings Café. The speaker is MP Christopher De Souza. Dinner is provided at $25 per person. Contact CANA at 6338-4080 for more information and registration.
By Darren Boon