Singaporean Parable: Mr Chen and the Lost Student

The students shuffled into the lecture hall. Mr Chen, a polytechnic lecturer, took out his notes, setup his PowerPoint slides and was excited to begin teaching. As his usual practice, he marked the student’s attendance. He had a total of 100 students but when he called out the name Ah Seng, there was no response.

He called again. Still no response.

Ah Seng was known to often skip class.

Anxiously, Mr Chen scanned the lecture hall and could not find Ah Seng. 99 students were staring intently at him, ready to begin the lecture.

Mr Chen wiped the sweat on his forehead. Should he stay and teach the faithful students or hunt for Ah Seng the delinquent one? He asked them to read the textbook chapter and suddenly left the hall. The students were quite perplexed.

Mr Chen went to the canteen. Ah Seng wasn’t there. He ran to the school garden. Ah Seng wasn’t there.

He searched the whole school compound and went outside when he finally found Ah Seng. He was sitting at a coffeeshop smoking a cigarette and drinking Tiger Beer with some shady company.

Mr Chen grabbed Ah Seng by the collar and dragged him all the way back to the lecture hall. Ah Seng struggled and scratched Mr Chen’s face and arms but he wouldn’t let go. Along the way Mr Chen shouted to other surprised teachers, “I found Ah Seng! Let’s party!”

He brought Ah Seng into the lecture hall after two full hours had gone by. His whole shirt was soaked in sweat and blood snaked down his arms. Some students were sleeping, some were chatting. Mr Chen yelled in joy, ”I found Ah Seng! Let’s party!”

Think about it:

1. If you were Mr Chen, would you have taught the 99 students or find the delinquent student? Why?

2. How would you feel if you were the students in Mr Chen’s lecture?

3. How do you think Ah Seng felt when Mr Chen found and brought him back to the lecture?

As you might have guessed, this story was loosely based on the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7).

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