I was feeling very down. But it was the season of celebration, and I cannot let my feelings spoil the joyous mood for the other members of my family. It was the 1st day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a very auspicious day for the Chinese Community. This was the time when all the members of my family will gather together at my parent’s house for a family reunion to renew our ties and where we will exchange the latest news about the goings-on with cousins, uncles, aunts and so on.

Unfortunately for me, it was during this time that I was suspended from work. Some charges had been made against me by my Section Manager and I had to be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation by the investigating officer.

To me, all the charges against me were very minor, hardly the stuff that warrant suspension from work, domestic enquiry and termination from work. But all these were carried through by the Section Manager as a legal means to remove me from her job section.

She knows how it works. According to the local labor laws, in order to terminate an employee, the company must be seen to act reasonably towards the employee, giving him/her a chance to change before giving him/her the final boot.

I must say she was a very determined and creative person when she carried out her plan.

She started to monitor my every movement. And so the sequence started. At the very first opportunity that presents itself – when I left the worksite when a machine has developed a fault – she initiated a charge against me. The show cause letter that I was issued with requires me to reply within 2 days. I did reply to that letter giving my reasons.

As it turned out, she was not even aware that there were standby machines available when she made the charges against me. Naturally, the charges had to be dropped. But the damages had been done – a lot of time wasting paperwork and ultimately, negative comments added to my personnel file. She did achieve her target – to let the process run its course – from verbal warning, written warning, domestic enquiry, to finally termination.

So as time went on, the Section Manager did manage to pick up more incidents that she can creatively classify as violations. Everybody in the department was expecting this but nobody dared to say anything, because after all, we did sign a declaration on our Job Description with a catch-all phrase, “to follow all other instructions from the Superior that may arise”. This means she can charge me with “insubordination” whenever I did not follow her instructions to the letter. It was so easy for her to pick on me.

The day finally came when she managed to initiate a domestic enquiry, and I had to answer to her ridiculous charges. I was suspended from work. The date for the domestic enquiry was fixed and the end of my career at the company was drawing to a close.

At that time, I remembered our Lord Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his passion, fully aware that His hour of suffering and death was approaching fast. Even though my experience was relatively mild, the feeling was sickening. I knew that there was nothing much I can do against the “authorities” – the appointed Domestic Enquiry Panel members who were managers themselves. I can only speak the truth and hope that they can accept my point of view, but I knew my chances of winning the case was slim – even my witnesses dared not speak up for me for fear of repercussions later on.

I can fully understand their concerns. I do have a family to feed too. But losing my job is frightening and worrying. But I trusted in the Lord that he will see me through, maybe not with this job, but others…

Back at my parent’s house, my relatives were beginning to sense that something was disturbing me. Then we received a telephone call. It was from my 4th aunt and she said she will be coming to visit us in a few minutes time.

That was a real surprise. She is staying overseas! Now she said she will be with us in just a few minutes!

I must confess that I have not been keeping in touch with her all these years and so I was not really close to her. I was not really excited when she said she was coming. I was expecting just a normal, boring “getting-to-know-you” session full of shallow polite conversations of absolutely no importance. But I was in for a surprise. The Lord had a mission for her!

My 4th aunt is strong in her Christian faith and the Lord used her to bring me some cheer. She was in her 70’s, but what I found was a dynamic person, full of energy, simple and humble, approaching me and sharing her own work experience. She shared about the difficulties she faced in her business, how a well-known professional responded positively to her business partnership, how her life was changed and so many other details of her life that made a difference, all because of her faith in the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

When the time came for us to bid each other goodbye, I felt that I had known her for a very long time. It was a very emotional moment of departure and I felt very sad.

I can recognize the Lord in her. His spirit was there. The Lord was leaving and I felt very sad. And yet, I felt thrilled that I have met the Lord and I have spoken to him personally and he has comforted me tremendously. I felt so full of awe at how the Lord uses his servants to encourage me to stand firm in times of trouble.

Footnote: As it turned out, I went through the domestic enquiry, and as I had expected, I was found guilty by this “kangaroo court”. But that was not the end of my career. Much to the surprise of the Section Manager, and everyone else, including myself, I was reinstated by the General Manager, who was somehow moved to take this unprecedented step! Praise be to God!