Book Features

your key takeaways from this book

Passion

Your talents, skills and desires are building blocks for what you make of your future. It’s never too late to realise your passions and pursue it.

Purpose

Passion without purpose is like a sports car with fuel but nowhere to go. Finding your purpose on earth can take years, if not decades.

Partner

It’s not just about partnering with the right person for life, but surrounding yourself with people who can and will fuel your passion and purpose in life.

Pushing Your Limits

Find out what forms and justifies your limitations and seek to push the boundaries. Nothing can’t be done unless you say it can’t be done.

As featured in

Book Snippets

some sample pages from this book

“I’ve written this book so that each chapter is a bite-sized read, comfortable enough for one sitting over a cuppa. It is a recollection of various milestones in my life and the lessons I’ve gleaned from my journey. I’ve scribbled in so many journals since my teenage years and in the process of writing this book I’ve had to revisit some of them. I chuckled at my writing, my silly thoughts, my candid behaviours and childlike perspective to life – yet, these were significant moments that shaped who I am and what I live for today.”


Sypnosis

What does it take to craft a legacy that sticks?

In this intimate memoir of life, Deborah Chan shares the lessons she has learned on her journey from a young girl who questioned her identity, to a woman, wife and mother of two with relentless gusto to live to last.

Here, Deb offers a glimpse into pivotal events that shaped her perspective on life; a striking stint in the ghettos of New York that rocked the world, her quest in finding her life partner, her unquenchable thirst to travel, a heart-wrenching story of becoming a mother and her radical move to Cambodia’s countryside with a baby, her husband and a few bags in tow.

Exploring her past with insight, her present with humility, and her future with hope, Deb reveals her private struggles and triumphs while providing words of wisdom and crucial life questions for youth and young adults.

Her bite-sized short stories will resonate with many young people who want to live and not just exist, but at the core is a timeless message for people of all ages: Life is more than just me, I and myself. You are called for a greater purpose. The world needs you.

Sypnosis

What does it take to craft a legacy that sticks?

In this intimate memoir of life, Deborah Chan shares the lessons she has learned on her journey from a young girl who questioned her identity, to a woman, wife and mother of two with relentless gusto to live to last.

Here, Deb offers a glimpse into pivotal events that shaped her perspective on life; a striking stint in the ghettos of New York that rocked the world, her quest in finding her life partner, her unquenchable thirst to travel, a heart-wrenching story of becoming a mother and her radical move to Cambodia’s countryside with a baby, her husband and a few bags in tow.

Exploring her past with insight, her present with humility, and her future with hope, Deb reveals her private struggles and triumphs while providing words of wisdom and crucial life questions for youth and young adults.

Her bite-sized short stories will resonate with many young people who want to live and not just exist, but at the core is a timeless message for people of all ages: Life is more than just me, I and myself. You are called for a greater purpose. The world needs you.

Chapter 2

Life is a journey and we will never know how long it will take until we reach the finish line. Some are given the privilege of living a hundred years while others only have a few short years, some only a few minutes. However, regardless of the span of time we are granted, our life is marked by what we make of it and it starts with finding out who we are.

As I was growing up, I had to find my roots and dig deep to find my identity. I had great parents, and two siblings which I got along with and fought with at times. I attended church every Sunday, went to a local school, looked forward to annual family holidays and had a pretty normal Malaysian suburban childhood. I appeared to have a happy, content childhood with a nice home to go back to, all bills paid for and a seemingly carefree life.

But I struggled with issues that were masked with happy smiles. I struggled with low self-esteem, I constantly compared myself to others. I was never popular, the smartest, most talented, or the prettiest. In school, I was an average student, never the class monitor or someone the teacher would choose to represent in special events. In church, I was always compared to my best friend, a gorgeous Chinese-Indian girl with round sparkling eyes, a great smile and wonderful personality. At piano class, I dozed off while completing my theory papers and barely passed my exams. At ballet class, I was bigger and taller than all the other girls, not as demure or elegant. But at home, I was always reminded that I am special, loved and treasured. Home was my sanctuary; however, outside those walls, my struggle with low self-esteem continued.

I made a mental note that ‘I wasn’t good enough’ and shrunk into my shell observing from afar. There were umpteen times when I wished, “I could be like….”, or thought,“If only I was more attractive and outgoing…” or considered what it would be like if, “I was super smart and had it all together”.

I turned to writing at a very young age, pouring my heart and soul as I scribbled and tried to make sense of my thoughts. Then I stumbled on a verse in the Bible that said, “We are God’s masterpiece”. I looked up the dictionary and found the definition of ‘masterpiece’ as ‘a person’s greatest work of art’. The very best of God’s talent is represented in us when He created us. I made it my quest to find my worth and value in the One who created me.

Chapter 5

That night, I found the Metro Ministries website and downloaded the internship form. I filled it up and scheduled a few meetings to share my desire with some leaders. Of course, my parents had to give me the green light as I was only 18 years old and this was not a normal holiday. This was a four month internship in the ghettos of New York, somewhere they had not even been before and perhaps knew little about.

My parents gave me their full support and didn’t bother to convince me out of it. In hindsight, perhaps they knew that their sure-minded daughter would have a million reasons for every one they came up with. We met our pastor to share the news and she was overjoyed and encouraged me to pursue the internship. Before we left the meeting, she prayed for me and told me to read Psalm 91. Little did I know, that verse kept me going for the next few months as a series of events unfolded.

I boarded the plane in September 2001. It was the most teary-eyed farewell with family and friends who came to send me off at the airport. This was my first solo trip and some friends thought I was crazy to go that far and to a place that was infamous for gang fights, drug dealers, gun shots and incessant chaos.

I arrived in New Jersey and spent the first week with my childhood friend. We ate stacks of pancakes, helped out at her parents’ Chinese takeaway restaurant, went to the beach, and walked the stretch at Jersey Shore Ocean City while admiring the waves and beach bums basking in the sun. We spent a full day at Six Flags lining up for crazy roller coaster rides, drove into New York City, wandered around Times Square, roamed Battery Park and got tickets up to the World Trade Centre. I had the ultimate American experience that left me craving for more.

I finally enrolled into the internship after the week long holiday. The Metro Ministries headquarters in Brooklyn, New York was going to be my home for the next four months. We were introduced to other interns from different countries such as Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom and China. As we were to share a home together, we were each given a bed and a tiny cupboard to store stuff. The first night was especially exciting. We had a big ‘family’ dinner in a room filled with fairy lights and a banquet table overflowing with food. We ate and chatted, ate some more and talked into the wee hours of the morning.

September 11, 2001 – The next day, we gathered in Metro’s main office building and were divided into small teams. I was introduced to Nena, a petite and incredibly stunning Latin American with big round eyes, Adele, a lanky, funny and warm-hearted Hollander, Angel, a teenage boy who once roamed the streets aimlessly but was now giving back to street children and Matt Helland, an American intern.

Midway through the meeting, we were interrupted by an unprecedented event. Live news on TV were showing images of the World Trade Centre in smoke. A plane had just flown straight into one of the towers. “How could this be?”, there wasn’t much time to make sense of things. Within seconds, we scrambled up the stairs leading to the rooftop and got there in time to witness the horrific scene of the second plane crashing into the other tower. In a flash, the World Trade Centre, an iconic landmark of New York’s buzzing metropolitan vanished into a pile of smoke and debris. Time stood still.

Chapter 10

Our team consisted of medical professionals and enthusiastic members who helped with packing and dispensing medicine and running children’s programs. We arrived in Siem Reap, met with Pastor Sam and drove straight to Battambang Province. It was a three hour journey and we passed acres of paddy fields on the dusty highway. There was not a tall building in sight, except for some wooden shacks and stilt houses.

We stayed in a guesthouse, a simple room, surprisingly fitted out with air-conditioning and a hot water shower. Wasting no time, we headed to the pharmacy to purchase medicine and medical supplies. That night, we stayed up all night re-packing the medicine into small ziplock bags for easy dispensing. The next morning, we drove to the village to set up our medical clinic in a vacant school.

People had already begun to gather, as we drove towards the school, we saw a line of women and children making their way there, men with families whizzed by on their motorbikes, heading in the same direction. At the school compound, we saw even more people who were squatting around because there were no chairs. Working swiftly to get the stations in order, we quickly laid out some tarps and politely gestured for them to wait their turn to see the doctor. The patients were weighed and their height recorded, next their blood pressure was checked and recorded, then a blood test was done to check their sugar levels. After completing the preliminary tests, they proceeded to see a doctor for consultation. There was a room to dispense medicine, a room to check their eyesight and another to learn basic dental hygiene. Everything was makeshift, tables were put together to form a counter and cloth was dropped over a fastened string to make a curtain for body examinations. Each doctor and medical student had a translator to help facilitate the dialogue. We worked round the clock from morning till sundown that day and saw more than a hundred patients.

That first trip to Cambodia sparked a new avenue of friendship for me. As with all mission trips, we make new friends and try to keep in touch. In the 1990s, we communicated via email or even wrote letters and mailed them. But with the advent of Facebook, keeping in touch became so much easier.

Hence, every year since 2009, we have made annual trips back to Cambodia, each time doing something different to meet a different need. One year, we helped lay the foundation of a three-storey school block, another year we ran a series of training workshops for teachers, and yet another year, we organised an English camp for 500 students during the Khmer school holidays.

All this while, Terence had a desire to spend more time in the field. Since that trip in 2009, he prompted me to think about uprooting and starting a short stint in Cambodia. Year on year he would ask if we were ready and without a flicker of doubt I would answer him with a firm, “No”. The reasons were too many; we were climbing the ranks in our careers, we loved the Royal Rangers ministry in church which we were actively serving in, we wanted to travel more, it was too difficult to leave my family and comforts and we wanted to start a family soon. Terence knew too that we had too much going for us to uproot and leave. Uprooting just didn’t feel right, in fact, I thought to myself, it probably would never feel right.

Chapter 13

We had been too preoccupied with making our one year look good on report that we missed the point of relationship building and discipleship. After that wake up call, we retreated, re ected and made some changes to our day-to-day schedule. We took up Khmer language classes so that we could communicate with the locals better and we hosted many casual lunches and dinners for different small groups with the intention of getting to know our friends better. We welcomed people into our home despite our busy schedule and spent hours chatting over sour mango, papaya salad and fresh coconuts.

Coming from urban Petaling Jaya, my view of a friendly neighbourhood is when we cordially greet each other at the gate and exchange casual conversations occasionally. However, no matter how warm our urban neighbourhoods may be, our homes were still a private space and we would only make visits if there was an appointment made. Impromptu visits were very rare and reserved only for family. But living in the countryside meant otherwise. We had friends come by uninvited, just because they were passing by or they had a few hours to spare. Neighbours would just stroll in because a cow wandered into our compound. Friends would come in, stay for a chat and then leave. There was no knowing when and who would turn up. Initially, this was quite uncomfortable as I’m not a huge fan of unpredictable events, but I learned quickly to share my personal space and in doing so, I realised that a part of my heart opened up as well. A friend also told me towards the end of the stay that if people felt comfortable enough to visit you at any time, it meant that they trust you like family.
Children always outnumbered the adults; coming with their siblings, they would fill up the tarps quickly. They enjoyed singing, playing games and mingling with each other. Deep down, I think they loved the presents at the end of the program. We gave out goodie bags stuffed with snacks, stationery and some toys. The bags were often transparent and the children’s faces would light up after receiving the bags, peering intently into the bag. They were always grateful, putting two hands together in a slight bow to say thank you. This was something I truly appreciated.

There was one particular village, Srolao Chhrum about 100 kilometres away from Battambang town that was incredibly difficult to get to. It took us an hour and a half on the road and another hour and a half on a tractor to reach the village. Excited for an adventure, we left Seth with his grandparents who came to visit over Christmas. We thought it would be best to go without him as we were unsure of the conditions in the village. We arrived at the intersection where the good tar road ended and a tractor was required to take us in. On a flat wooden board, we piled up the supplies, some boxes of bottled water, tents, tarps, our bag packs, gifts and second-hand clothes to give away. Twenty of us sat along the edge of the wooden platform with our legs dangling out and we held on to the board as we bumped our way in. Our knuckles turned white from the intense grip and we held onto each other for balance. The sun beat hard on us and dust covered our faces. The face masks we wore created thick layers of perspiration and it was uncomfortable to breath. The land was bare, deserted and everything was dried up from the lack of rain. There were random stilt houses along the trail, but it was not big – in fact, it looked so small and poorly put together that I wondered how it stood the test of heavy downpours.

We finally arrived on site and was told that we would sleep in an abandoned, dilapidated school building. The walls were torn out leaving gaping holes for the sun and insects to creep in. There were thick cobwebs hanging overtop the beams and the floor was partially cemented and gravelly. We pitched some tents inside and proceeded to build a fire for the night. Out of nowhere, as soon as the fire was set ablaze, children came racing to us. We spent the night singing songs and playing games while speakers powered by a generator blared music as the villagers danced all night long.

Live To Last Book Cover

A timeless message for people of all ages

Life is more than just me, I and myself. You are called for a greater purpose. The world needs you.

Get your copy now

Endorsements

what others are saying about Live To Last

Rev. Dominic Yeo

Rev. Dominic Yeo

Senior Pastor, Trinity Christian Centre; General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Singapore.

If your desire is to make your life count for eternity, let God inspire you through Deborah’s journey. Challenge the standards you live by and choose to take that first step of faith in putting God first.

Hannah Yeoh

Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri/State Assemblyman, N31 Subang Jaya, Selangor

It is uplifting to read of the account of young people like Deborah stepping out of the comfort zone into the unknown, upholding convictions and paying the price for following Jesus. Radical discipleship involves just that and leaves no room for apathy.

Hannah Yeoh
Sandra Chin

Sandra Chin

Senior Associate Pastor, Acts Church

This is a down-to- earth, honest sharing of real life by Deborah! Love the true stories that will help so many who are going through something similar or may go through any one of the stages of life described in this book, to say, “Hey! I’m not alone and there’s someone here who’s made it through, by God’s strength.” This is an inspirational and faith-filled account of a very courageous young woman. A must read.

Christine Phang

Missionary

‘Live to Last’ by Deborah chronicled the God-focus life of the author, and discovering the amazing grace and plan of God as she follows each step that was paved for her by God. This book will uncover the wonderful and surprising plan of God once we yield to it. It will inspire you to soar above your limitations and the courage to venture to the unknown but perfect will of God.

Christine Phang

About the Author

Deborah Chan

Deborah Chan is married to her teen-hood sweetheart, Terence Ooi and together they are the parents to Seth and Enya Ooi. She has over 12 years experience in community development projects and missions work, most recently completing a two year tenure in Battambang, Cambodia partnering with an international NGO. Previously, she has also invested time in local communities in Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia), Aceh and Dumai (Indonesia), New York (USA) and Chiangmai (Thailand).

Professional Experience

Professionally, she is a freelance writer and sustainable tourism consultant. Deb's writing has appeared in Travel & Leisure, Asian Geographic, The Star (Malaysia’s leading newspaper), Going Places Magazine, Wild Asia, Smart Travel Asia, Yahoo! Travel, Greenty and Live & Inspire. She continues to tell travel tales on her website; www.ardenttraveler.com. She has assessed over 70 sustainable tourism award applications and visited over 40 sustainable tourism operators across Asia using the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria developed by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Deborah holds a Bachelors in Mass Communication with double majors in Journalism and Cultural Studies.

Passions & Pursuits

Individually and as a couple, Deb and Terence have travelled to five continents and isn’t planning on stopping despite having young ones in tow - in fact, they both agree that the adventure is now more exhilarating! With the same zest for life, Deb and Terence hope to encourage more young people to step out of their comfort zones and pursue God and His purpose for our lives. As a family, the Ooi’s now reside in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and works amongst and for the marginalised. Their work takes them into the rural interiors of Sabah where they love on, mentor and work together with the indigenous people of the land.

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Outlets

Major Bookstores

MPH

Times Bookstore

Klang Valley

Silverfish Books

Canaanland Bookstore

Burning Bush, DUMC

Treasure Chest, Metro Tabernacle

Kota Kinabalu

Salt X Paper, Jalan Dewan

Pustaka SU, Wisma Merdeka

Footprints, Centrepoint Sabah

Cana Cafè, Taman Fortuna

Others

Penang:

Gerakbudaya Penang

Singapore:

Trinity Christian Centre, Paya Lebar Rd

ebook available here

Contact The Author

Contact The Author

Deborah is passionate about connecting with today’s young generation. Individually and as a couple team, Deborah and her husband, Terence delivers talks on a spectrum of topics such as, community development, missions, parenting, leadership, social media awareness and sustainable tourism on local and international platforms. They also travel within Asia to organise and run children and youth camps.

To book Deborah for a speaking engagement, writing assignment or event, contact her directly at


deb@livetolastbook.com