We have the news of the passing away of two top singers, Whitney Houston of the West and Feng FeiFei of the East. People in the West may not know Feng FeiFei (The Singing Queen with a Hat) but her standing in Chinese Community is no less than Whitney Houston of the West. FeiFei could be said to be the Houston of the global Chinese Community. She was the top singer for 40 years!
Both had great impacts on the world (East or West) with their songs and voices. But their death and life styles were in sharp contrast.
Whitney Houston started with singing in the church and became a great success. However success seemed to be a cause for her decline. There were probably many factors and understandable factors that caused that. Her story was well known and need not be repeated. The good thing was her attempt to make a come back and we were all saddened by this mysterious death.
In contrast, FeiFei was praised and respected by the media, her colleagues, her fans, relatives and those that work with her and for a long period of 40 years! She had a long lasting and loving marriage with her husband. Her husband died from cancer in 2009. Sorry that she also died from cancer. But her death was so different from any other celebrities. She died on 3 Jan 2012. Chinese New Year 2012 was on 23 Jan. She wanted everyone to have a good and joyful Chinese New Year. So she left instructions that her death was to be made known after the Chinese New Year season. What kind consideration had she shown to the world even with her death?!
What bothered me about their deaths was that FeiFei was not a Christian (most likely a Buddhist and was brought up with traditional Chinese Culture with her mother having a strong influence on her life and career) and Houston was brought up in a Church. Many famous singers were brought up in Church and many suffered the same problems with chemical addictions, divorces and bad lifestyles. Instead of they influencing the world with their Christian light, they let the world get into them!
Of course, there are always bad sheep in any culture and race. I should not be bringing the bad of one and compare with the good of another. This contrast is great and serves as a warning or wake up call for us to raise questions and explore deeper.
How can we prevent success from destroying us?
Success did not spoil FeiFei but did for quite a number of gospel singers of the West.
We have quotes, even from the Bible (e.g. Luke 16:10), that success did not change a person but only bring out what was already there in the person.
For those of us that grow up in Church, especially our 2nd and 3rd generation Christians (typical of a Chinese Family like me who receive Christ as the 1st generation and bring up our children who also receive Christ as 2nd generation), how can we ensure that the good Christian values are passed on. (Chinese has the additional advantage of Chinese Cultural values on top of our Christian values. But Chinese and Christian values are essentially the same. See Chinese Classics & The Bible and so Chinese Christians have double doses of good values).
The factors that help us be strong and not be destroyed by success seems to be:
- strong teaching of the words from young ( Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.... Proverbs 22:6)
- family values, unity and support.
- support from a close group of friends (brothers and sisters in Christ)
- mentors that help those in time of needs.
- Have our Church been stressing too much on evangelism and too little on discipleship? We seem to make babies and discard them.
- Have our Church been neglecting the family and the close fellowship and strong grouping to help each other?
Salvation is just a start.
May we all, with the true grace of God, giving us the power to live out the Christ within, be the light that shine, and that we be able to spend time and resources to train up our next generation, to give support to those in need in our midst, and truly build up this Body of Christ here on earth.