Deacon Chin Sin Wee, OCD
Often, many of us who are “privileged” to be baptised as Catholics when we are infants, take our faith and “rights” as Catholics for granted. For others like Deacon Chin Sin Wee, who came to know about Christ much later in life, the understanding and appreciation of the faith of our forefathers takes on a different meaning altogether.
Born in Senai, Johor in 1962 to a traditional Chinese family practising Taoism and Buddhism, Chin, the 11th child among 13 siblings attended Chinese primary and secondary school education before pursuing his tertiary studies at the National University of Taiwan for four years.
He graduated with a degree in foreign language and literature and spent three years working as a social worker for refugees in Thailand, which sparked his interest to help people especially the less fortunate. He spent another 14 months in France travelling and studying. His interest in Catholicism was sparked during that time by the humility of Pope John Paul II leading the Catholic flock and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
He also learnt more about the faith from a French Catholic family whom he stayed with during this 14 month sojourn in France. Chin said their way of life and their reverence inspired him to learn more about Christ.
When he returned to Malaysia, he joined the Lion Group where he served seven years and climbed up the corporate ladder to become the company’s Human Resources Manager at the headquarters in Shanghai China.
He decided to leave during the economic downturn in 1997 and returned to Malaysia where he set up his own trading company.
He frequently joined his Catholic friends who were actively involved in the St Ignatius Catholic Church, and at the age of 42 decided to start learning more about Christ and Catholicism through RCIA.
Even then, Chin said, he had a difficult time trying to understand as he was used to reasoning and being contemplative about everything in life.
“My philosophy in life till then was to be a good person, I was not even religious to start with. But throughout my life, I was searching for beauty, truth and goodness which I believed would lead to happiness.
“I was even contemplating if I wanted to be baptised. It was only when I started praying that I had a breakthrough and things changed from then. I found that I was always drawn to prayer life,” Chin added.
A year after being baptised and much soul searching, Chin attended an annual retreat of the Carmelite Order of St John of the Cross and was attracted to the spirituality of the Order.
He decided his calling was to dedicate the rest of his life in prayer and two years after being baptised, he joined the Carmelite seminary in Singapore and persevered seven years.
After his ordination, Chin will be helping out at the Hsinchu Church parish in Taiwan, where he will help in formation at a novitiate there.
“All my life, my happiest times were not when I was earning a good income but when I was helping others. It was Jesus’ pure love that led me to find what I was searching for always - beauty, goodness and truth,” he added.
Deacon Chin has decided to keep his Chinese name instead of taking on any other Christian name.
“My second name Sin means new and Wee means great - it lends new meaning to where and who I am today,” he added -- By Regina William