by Jason Wong
first heard of Jason Wong because of the Yellow Ribbon Project in 2004 and then the Dads for Life movement in 2009. I remember he was invited to preach one Sunday in SJC and he shared on Dads for Life. I remembered his passion for God’s work. So when Pastor Lucy, my Treasure Trove team mate Low Yee and Pastor Henry mentioned Wong’s book Trash of Society to me, I felt I just had to read it.
I finished it over two days. It is easy to read. Each chapter has segments in which Wong shares an episode in his life and follows this with a biblical reflection. This book draws you in as Wong shares his journey with God honestly and clearly. This book honours God who has taken an ordinary Singaporean, albeit a Colombo Plan Scholar in economics, challenges him to go be with the trash of society and guides him through 24 years in the public service helping prisoners, abused children and youth at risk; radically transforming our prison culture.
Wong shares his low points as well as the highlights. I teared reading about his willingness to be a ‘fool for Christ’, and how his resilient faith enables him to keep going. When the Yellow Ribbon Project was first mooted for example, he had no funding and no concrete plan though by faith he had invited the President of Singapore to its launch at the Indoor Stadium, a 7,000 seater. On that night it was at capacity and YRP has helped to transform the thinking behind ex-offenders; convincing employers to employ ex-offenders and reconciling families broken by the incarceration. Its impact is felt still 14 years on and has gone international.
He also addresses the elephant in the room — the episode when he decided to wash the feet of prisoners one Sunday during a chapel service. This act, considered unwise by someone who was slated to head the prison services, helped break the bondage many prisoners were under and brought healing to many through the Holy Spirit.
Yes, this book will challenge you to make God at the centre of every aspect of your life and to allow Him to be the captain of your life. The book ends when Wong leaves the prison services to join the then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (where God ;leads him to set up Dads for Life). His experiences there will form the basis for his next book. I can’t wait.
Lucilla Teo, Treasure Trove Team Member