Rachel Tan of Singapore

    “Rachel Tan of Singapore,” Liahona, Mar. 1996, 2

    Making Friends:

    Rachel Tan of Singapore

    Eight-year-old Rachel Tan loves to explain to new friends about her name. “My full name is Rachel Tan Jiayu,” she explains. “Rachel is my Christian name, Tan is my family name, and Jiayu is my generation name.”

    Rachel and her younger sisters, Deborah and Emma, live in Singapore, an island nation famous for its many tourist attractions and its diverse cultural background. Deborah’s parents, like many Singaporeans, are Chinese. Others who live in Singapore are of Malay, Indian, Arab, Eurasian, or Caucasian descent. Traditional Chinese names start with the family name, but many today add an English or Christian name at the beginning.

    Rachel’s father, Tan Su Kiong, works as an architect. Her mother, Hazel, is an office worker. So on the weekends, the whole family looks forward to spending time together at home and in church.

    Rachel and her sisters enjoy going to Primary. “My favorite Primary song is ‘A Child’s Prayer,’” says Rachel. “The message is very special to me, so I really love to sing it.” She also likes the various activities in her Valiant class, especially when the class is asked to draw gospel pictures.

    Rachel remembers one special class project. “It was Easter Sunday, and we made paper flowers for our mothers. We put perfume inside the flowers,” she recalls. Her mother thanked her many times for such a wonderful gift.

    Since Rachel’s parents, like many Singaporean parents, place much importance on their children’s education, Rachel does her best to excel in school. One of her favorite subjects is English. “I like to do exercises such as filling in the blanks and completing the sentences,” she explains. In fact, her dream is to become a teacher someday. In addition to working hard on her studies, Rachel also earned a medal in a recent athletic activity.

    At home, Rachel, Deborah, and Emma like to play games. One game they like to play is “Teacher, Teacher,” in which each of them takes turns as teacher, student, and principal. They also spend time with their favorite collections—Rachel with her stickers, Deborah with her stamps, and Emma with her “junk bag” contents.

    Rachel especially looks forward to family home evening and nightly family scripture reading. Although there are some words in the scriptures she doesn’t find easy to understand, she still keeps on reading since she knows the blessings of daily scripture study. “We take turns reading chapter by chapter,” Rachel explains. The entire family is now reading the Book of Mormon.

    Rachel and her sisters have favorite scripture heroes. “We like Lehi, because he’s a very righteous person,” says Rachel, “and we also admire Nephi for his obedience.” Moses is their favorite Bible hero. Rachel’s favorite Book of Mormon story is the conversion of Alma the Younger.

    Singapore may be small, but this island nation has many beautiful places. A favorite destination for Tan family outings is the Merlion monument, where a sculpture of a big sea lion greets visitors. “Our family also likes to go to East Coast Park, because there’s a playground and we can have picnics there,” says Rachel.

    Rachel thinks it’s a blessing to belong to the true church. She knows that she and her family can help the Church grow in their country. Rachel knows that the best way to live the gospel is by being obedient to her parents. “We help them a lot,” she says proudly. “We study hard to make our parents happy, and we make all sorts of things for them.”

    Like the rest of Singapore, the local Church members are of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, but all are united in living the gospel. In her own way, Rachel Tan knows that being a good daughter and sister is an important way of living the gospel.

    Photography by Dino V. Panti

    Rachel (left), her parents, and two sisters, with the modern city of Singapore in the background.

    Playing a color-matching board game is a favorite activity for Rachel (center) and her sisters, Deborah and Emma.

    Rachel and her mother visit the Merlion monument. The lion’s head represents the word Singapore, which means “lion city”; the fish body represents the sea.