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  • Writer's pictureEdmund Ng

E01: Joining the SSC Community: Expectations and Etiquette

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Helen is a housewife who has just lost her mother after the old lady was diagnosed with cancer four months ago. She misses her mum dearly and she often cries when reminded of her. Amid her grief, she also discovered that her teenage daughter is having doubts about her gender identity. Helen is at a loss as to how to handle the situation.

Earlier, Helen’s brother Sam had lost his job because of a false accusation that he stole something from the company. He has been jobless for over a year. He is angry with God and he has stopped attending church. Lately, he often isolates himself in his room and he is showing symptoms of falling into depression. He has attempted suicide at least once.

In our fallen and chaotic world, life has its many challenges and complexities. At times, we may be faced with overwhelming difficulties or we are concerned with the struggles of a family member or close friend.

We long for a community where we can freely pour out our sorrows and find support, helpful guidance, and encouragement from fellow sojourners in life who understand what we are going through.

SSC invites you in

If we struggle with life’s difficulties alone and in silence, our agony can imprison us toward hopelessness and mental paralysis. Bottling up the pain intensifies the need to mask it. However, by voicing out our difficulties and sharing them with others, we can often break the secrecy that perpetuates them. Indeed, an agony shared can be an agony halved.

Thus, we invite you to join our SSC community to do life together and learn from each other on how to overcome our many daily struggles. We want to hear you share your life stories and be a genuine participant in our caring community. We all have some life stories that throw us off balance. Without your stories, we are just processing information. We will not have a beneficial time together. By sharing what’s in your heart, you will soon discover that you can be real with us without being offensive or boring.

So, pull up your chair and log in every Saturday morning to our circle of hospitality, acceptance, and friendship.

We offer you a healing place for sharing your stories, extending forgiveness, finding hope, and pursuing reconciliation. Through our conversations, we hope that many of us will find more meaning and purpose out of the mess that is part of our modern living.

Our goal is to support individuals in facing their struggles with the right perspectives so that we will grow in hope, love, and truth.

Monthly mental health topic

Apart from the daunting external circumstances around us, some of us may also be struggling with certain internal mental health issues which stifle our ability to cope with life normally. These mental health baggages may be inherited from our parents, imposed upon us by other people, or we may develop them along the way through our ignorance or carelessness.

A proper identification and understanding of the mental health issues can give us insights into their etiology and help us better manage our maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. However, a supportive environment is equally critical for expediting the recovery. As a caring community, we can learn together how to accommodate all the abnormalities around us and effectively offer empathetic support to those who need it.

On the first Saturday of each month, a teaching video on a specific mental health topic will be uploaded to YouTube. Please watch and learn from the videos as much as you can before we come together the following three Saturdays so that we can talk about the monthly topic on the same page

Our posture for coming together

What ought to be our demeanor to cultivate an accepting and caring community? The following posture is important for us to help shape the culture of our community:

a) We want a spirit of give-and-take to characterize our discussions. Let us cultivate a fellowship that is spontaneous, safe, and carefree. Enter when you want and leave when you must. Our conversations are informal and unpretentious. You don’t have to state your name and there will be no recordings.

b) We must have mutual trust where we can reveal the most tender and vulnerable stories of ourselves without fear or worry. Your life story is a gift from you and you are asking us to steward it with love, care, and respect. There will be no place for harsh responses, criticisms, broken confidences, or jealousies. We earn trust by first trusting others.

c) Let us be authentic to ourselves and to others. Hence, please let go of any temptation to self-promote or shame others. Be other-minded of another’s worth as your own. Free ourselves from harboring any resentments against anyone.

d) Please don’t try to be an expert or advisor. The bottom line is that we don’t really know what another person truly needs. Just try to be discerning and respectful as a friend ought to be. No one needs to prove to be one up above another.

e) Never get into an argument. It is not about who is right or wrong. In life, there is often no one right answer only.

Three other essential fellowship e-manners

The following are three additional fellowship e-manners that we need to be intentional on:

1) Passing judgment: As Helen tells how she struggles to talk with her daughter, someone interjected, “For this sort of thing, you cannot bid around the bush. You must confront her direct and tell her that homosexuality cannot be tolerated in the family.”

Instead of seeking to understand the confusion and encouraging both mother and daughter to explore the significance and implications of her gender dysphoria, a judgment has been rendered. Let us refrain from passing any judgments against anyone. No matter what their faults, imperfections, or weaknesses, let us allow space for each other’s differentness. We want to celebrate each life as a unique person worthy of our respect.

2) Spiritualizing or preaching: When Helen talked about how she misses her mother, someone started to advise her, “Come on, Helen. Your mum is old already and all of us die someday. So, move on. You can let her go because you have God. Just cast all your cares on Him.”

There are always people who use religious Scriptures or spiritual clichés to avoid engaging with the real problems that others are struggling with. Instead of spiritualizing or preaching, let us offer listening ears to Helen as an avenue for her to verbalize her longings and ventilate her emotions. Those who grieve need to process their loss experiences before they can fully accept the reality of the loss.

3) Minimizing: Sam was asked if he still harbor any suicidal ideation at this point in time. He confided that there are still times when he entertained the thought of ending it all. Then someone tried to summarize his sharing by minimizing his hurts: “You are just going through one of the low points of your life. In life, we all have our ups and downs. You should not take the easy way out by killing yourself. Very soon, such periods will come to pass, so just hang in there and persevere through.”

On the contrary, Sam’s suicidal thoughts need to be validated and given serious consideration. This should include arranging a convenient access to someone that he can report to and talk with immediately when he experiences a strong suicidal impulse.


Let us work towards cultivating an easily accessible caring and beneficial community in cyberspace that we can link up with from the comforts of our home. While we are all broken and fragile, we are at the same time unique and precious. As such, each of us is worthy of respect and a decent life. Our prayer is that through the sharing, belonging, and support that you receive as part of the Safe Space Community for Asians, not only will you overcome your difficulties and pains in life, but also live a life that is more authentic, purposeful, and fulfilling.

8 Apr 2022

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