Saturday, 12 March 2011

Light and Salt in a dark and tasteless world or in a bright and tasty world

A Blessed New year to all.

I am quite burden with things going in Malaysia. On one hand is the government attitude towards brain drain; and on the other is the responses of ‘the almost and the already brain drain-ed people’. This is written in response to the article I have read which is printed below here.

http://news.malaysia.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4549563
By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 12/30/2010

Malaysia struggles to stem ‘brain drain’ as talent departs
When computer engineer Wan Jon Yew left Malaysia in 2005 for a job in Singapore, all he wanted was to work in the city state for a few years before going home. Now, he says, he will never return.
With a family, a home and a car, he now plans to settle in Singapore for good — just one of the many Malaysians stampeding abroad every year in a worrying “brain drain” the government is trying to reverse.
“I wouldn’t consider going back to Malaysia, I won’t look back. If I were ever going to leave Singapore, I would migrate to Australia,” said the 28-year-old, who now has permanent resident status.
“It’s not about the money. I could have a better quality of life in Malaysia with my pay. I could have a semi-detached bungalow and have a maid there, but I would rather live in a government flat in Singapore.”
Wan, who is ethnically Chinese, is one of some 700,000 Malaysians — most of them highly educated — who are currently working abroad in an exodus that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is struggling to reverse.
The “brain drain” has a number of causes. Some have been lured by higher salaries, but others blame political and social gripes including preferential policies for Muslim Malays, who form the majority.
Many feel constrained by life in a country where the ruling coalition has been in power for half a century, and where progress on freedom of expression, the right to assembly, and tackling corruption has been slow.
A decades-old affirmative action policy which hands Malays and the indigenous groups privileges in housing, education and business, has been criticised as uncompetitive and improperly benefiting the elite.
As a consequence, many of those who have left are members of Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, who make up some 25 percent and 10 percent of the population respectively.
Najib in December launched a “Talent Corporation” with incentives to woo back these highly skilled workers, as well as foreign professionals, to live and work in his multi-ethnic country.
Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy with a population of 28 million, has ambitions to transform itself into a developed nation by 2020, but a lack of human capital is a barrier to reaching that goal.
World Bank data cited by the Malaysian press shows that while globally the number of migrants rose 2.4 times between 1960 and 2005, Malaysia’s diaspora registered a staggering 155-fold increase over the 45-year period.
“I don’t want my children to go through the unfair treatment,” said Wan, who believes Singapore offers “fair competition”.
“I’m not proud of being a Malaysian because I think the government doesn’t treat me as a Malaysian.
“I would rather be a PR (permanent resident), a second-class citizen in a foreign country, than to be a citizen in my own country.”
Wan said his wife, an IT analyst, renounced her citizenship in July this year, joining a queue of about 30 Malaysians lining up to do so on that day alone at the Malaysian embassy in Singapore.
Commentators are sceptical over whether the government’s latest effort to reverse the “brain drain” will be successful, warning it will be tough to persuade those in self-exile.
“Money does have a significant role but the most important factor, I think, is opportunity. Malaysia is too politicised and opportunities are not evenly available to everyone,” political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan told AFP.
In one example, he said academics are reluctant to work in local universities as they must sign a “loyalty pledge” barring them from, among other things, criticising government policies.
“In such an environment, obviously those with talents will find opportunity elsewhere,” said the chief executive of think-tank the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).
Wan Saiful, who himself returned to Malaysia last year after living in Britain for 17 years, said the newly launched Talent Corporation will be “another expensive failure” if it does not tackle these structural problems.
“When I apply for a job, buy a house, register my children for school etcetera, why does it matter what my race or religion is? This should stop,” said the analyst, himself a Malay.
Ethnic Chinese and Indian professionals who have left the country commonly say they felt a sense of marginalisation in Malaysia.
“When I went back to Malaysia, it was a culture shock in terms of politically how they promote the rights of the Malays over everyone else,” said Chee Yeoh, a stock analyst who migrated to Australia three years ago.
Yeoh was educated overseas from the age of 10 and returned in 1998 to take up a position with a bank, but felt like leaving again “almost immediately”.
“I just didn’t feel at home in Malaysia. I can’t speak the Malay language — essentially I felt like an outsider even more,” said the 35-year-old analyst, who took a pay cut to move to Australia.
Najib has admitted the talent issues are “broad and complex”, and will not set a target on how many Malaysians he hopes to lure back under the new programme.
The initiatives include a “resident pass” which will give foreign skilled workers, and Malaysians who have gave up their citizenship, the long-term right to live and work in the country.
But Fong Chan Onn, Malaysia’s former human resources minister who was instrumental in previous “brain gain” efforts, said the government must tackle the issue holistically.
“The government needs to rectify this sense of marginalisation. We also have to improve the mechanism so it can be more effective to ask these talents to come back,” he told AFP.
“We have a long way to go. It is better late than never.”

Surely one will leave if we look for equality, justice and fairness. But in this world there are more than just these 3 criteria that can keep one person stay put in Malaysia. Such things like the followings are as equally important and crucial for any decision making.


1.   God’s Calling and Vision - this can propel any one to go against any other reasons of leaving. The idea of WHY AM I BORN IN MALAYSIA? Is it a mistake? What is God’s purpose for me? Is it only equality? Fairness? Justice? Finance?
2.   Passion and Vision against self-interest - many look at one’s own self interest and of course they are expected to make such decisions of leaving. Can we and do we have any moral obligation for the nation - at least to help make it better a little bit. Many will have left the Manchu China long ago and never return because they were treated and discriminated differently but there were people like Dr Sun Yat San, Mahatma Gandhi and others who thought otherwise.
3.   Social and Community responsiblity - our parents, family members and friends are still around. Only those who are given the opportunity to study elsewhere and overseas can get out - what about those who cannot? What will be the consequences for those who are left behind? What future do they have while ours are so bright? Are we happy to see them being discriminated against or treated unjustly while we enjoy the equality and fairness overseas?
4.   Passing Phase - I believe this is just a passing phase of our nation’s history and I don’t want to be left out of it. I don’t want to be someone who only concerns with enjoying the fruits and wash our hands on the toiling and preparatory work. I want to be a History Maker.
5.   Faith & Mission - my faith doesn’t teach me to abandon the boat where all my other brethren are still on board. Jesus Christ would have left us and forgotten about us after mankind has fallen into the problem of SIN. He did not forget us instead He purposely came into this world to be part of our struggle with the notion of bringing us out of the ruts. He did it on the CROSS but we still need to convince many to follow Him and take up the challenge to stay put until all are won over.
6.   Light & Salt - Christians are called to be the light and salt of the world. Where is our light? Where is our saltiness? Are we only called to be light and salt of the community in the so-called Fair & Just world and not in the dark and dilapidated world? Where will the light and salt be best at? In the Dark and Tasteless world or the Bright and Tasty world?
7.   What can we do? - If everybody says the same thing “What can I do?”, there will be no Mao Tze Dong, Winston Churchill, Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan, Mother Teresa, Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, etc… The world will be so different. You and I will still be illiterate and living in caves and die before we reach the age of 5. Of course there are many terrible guys who have caused great sufferings and bad things to mankind. We are to reject their styles but instead to imitate the great heroes and leaders of this world who have brought many great progresses and achievements to mankind and this world.
8.   Where are you when the world needs you? Where are you when your nation needs you? Where are you when your family needs you? Where are you when Jesus Christ needs you to be His hands and legs and witnesses?

May this New Year 2011 bring a positive revolution to your contributions to God’s Kingdom!

(December 31st, 2010 posted in another blog)

ACT OF GOD or HUMAN MISMANAGEMENT

The frequent occurrence of disasters certainly augers a serious re-look at the way we believe in God or don’t believe in God and the way we behave and live. To some, disasters come because God is angry with the sins of human. To others, this has nothing to do with God. It is completely the fault of human. Yet to some others, it is partially God’s design and human’s mismanagement acting together. To the rest, it is irrelevant whether they believe in God or not, as long as the disasters do not affect them. They will only show a sigh of sympathy or give a comment of an unfortunate incident that has happened when they see on the television or heard from the news media. Their sole agenda in this world is Survival, Pride and Comfort. A close examination will lead one to the understanding that the HUMAN agenda is the highest for majority of the people.

Survival

Many people, except a few percentage who are wealth, are just making ends meet daily or living averagely. This means they cannot afford to stop work. A common saying - ‘Stop working means stop eating’. Even those who are living slightly above average are subscribing to the same philosophy. They are also carefully monitoring their little wealth so that it will not go burst. But then in the recent episode of ‘credit crunch’, we can learn that their plans do not always work well. This is a message of SURVIVAL - the natural instinct of living beings. We work and save for the rainy days and some for their children (much less these days). People instinctively will move and migrate to a better and ‘greener’ pasture. The world is now like a global village with lots of people moving across borders and boundaries. It is like a borderless world. People too do not stay put in one place for a long time. More and more people are moving according to the suitability and sustainability of the place and environment. Though we are not the shifting cultivators of old, we can still be considered the neo-nomads of the 21st century.

Comfort

People these days are not easily contented in terms of wants. They keep climbing the economic ladder and unfortunately sometimes with unethical and immoral means. We praise and admire those who can still climb the ladder though legitimate, healthy, proper and competitive medium. Once people travelled by foot, and later cycled, and much later drove. Today people are not talking of driving as a means of transport rather the type of cars they are driving; similarly they are also comparing the type of houses they live in, branded clothes and shoes they wear, holidaying in the hotel rated with the most stars, changing the wardrobe as frequent as possible, the number of credit cards they have, etc. These have inevitably created a lot of wastage.

Consumerism adds to the problem of garbage disposal and elimination of natural resources. Someone recently lamented that the people of today has already completely used up all the resources that belong to this generation and the next, we are already using the resources of the generation of our grandchildren. All these are done in the name of COMFORT.

PRIDE

Basically, we cannot deny that we are a proud people. We feel that we are the cream of creation and the climax of God’s creatures. We felt that we are being told by God to have dominion over everything in the world, we have no problem doing that. In fact we have overdone it. We now do not only have dominion over the things of the world but we have also managed to exploit it. This is the PRIDE of man. We call ourselves BOLEH (which in Malaysian means POSSIBLE). We receive satisfaction by competing with each other to become the Best - even in the area of exploitation, extinction and destruction. We boast that we can do it by ourselves. We sincerely appreciate those who can and have done it according to proper guidelines and permissible limits. Sadly, there are many who have done it through unscrupulous means. Corruption is a deadly disease that has been eating up many nations and peoples. Many governments have not put enough efforts to eradicate this cancerous gangrene. Corruption has brought about many abuses - such as abuses of the environment, mental, health, politics, social behavior, communal living, religious beliefs, etc. People are still taking these abuses lightly. Many just close an eye to them.

Some thirty years ago, there were no such thing as bottled water on sale. Today everywhere we go, we are supplied with bottled water and are told not to drink unfiltered water due to water pollution. In the near future, we may have to purchase bottled oxygen because of air pollution. In the past we used to eat fresh foods but now we are told to eat healthily. But there are so many packet and can foods in the markets and we are also told to eat them and after that take food supplements. The foods we consume today seem less nutritious and are affected by insecticides, steroids, preservatives, artificial colouring, toxic ingredients, etc. Almost every other person is now eating health food supplements in order to stay healthy.

The abuses of the environment have also created a rapid and massive deterioration to the world we live in. The garbage waste and the environmental pollution have reached an alarming level. It has caused global warming, ozone level diminishing, unpredictable weather condition, unreasonably scorching sun-blaze, instability of the subterranean seismic plates, rising sea-level, depletion of agricultural land and green trees, destabilization of fresh water and sea-water desalination, irregular and extreme storms and cyclones, etc.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Be conscious with our environment! We are made in the Image of God. This is not a call to mismanage God’s creation rather a call to good governance and management of God’s world. We need to put aright the wrongs, deny the exploitation, reduce the excessive, reduce wastage, live simple, be contented, improve the environment, speak up against the violators, press the government to eradicate corruption and pollution, teach our children to be responsible humans, live as friends and good neighbours, communicate love and sharing, promote peace, restore humanitarian assistance and compassion, always ready to do good and slow to get angry.

By so doing, we can at least live a happy and meaningful life in this world; even if its volcanoes are going to erupt or the tsunamis are going to come. It is worth everything when we can live together happily without racial, political, social, economical, educational discrimination. We are not supposedly made or designed to live in war or terror. No God will ever command or teach its followers to kill or steal or destroy each other. Unfortunately, we have misinterpreted God’s good intention for our own PRIDE and EGO. This is exactly, at least we are told, how Satan has fallen.

Let us rise above the storms to return a world of peace, goodwill, fellowship, harmony, sharing, and with many meaningful and happy memories. It is not to late to begin now. WILL YOU?

Read the following report and think and pray over it seriously.

Indonesia hit by deadly tsunami, volcanic eruption


MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP): A volcanic eruption and a tsunami killed scores of people hundreds of miles apart in Indonesia - spasms from the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which spawns disasters from deep within the Earth.Tuesday’s eruption of Mount Merapi killed at least 18 people, forced thousands to flee down its slopes and spewed burning ash and smoke high into the air on the island of Java.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Sumatra, about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) west of the volcano, rescuers battled rough seas to reach Indonesia’s Mentawai islands, where a 10-foot tsunami triggered by an earthquake Monday night swept away hundreds of homes, killing at least 113 villagers, said Mujiharto of the Health Ministry’s crisis center. Up to 500 others are missing.
A rescuer wheels a man heavily burned in the eruption of Mount Merapi at a hospital in Pakem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia,
The twin disasters happened hours apart in one of the most seismically active regions on the planet.
Scientists have warned that pressure building beneath Merapi’s lava dome could trigger its most powerful explosion in years.
But Gede Swantika, a government volcanologist, expressed hope the 9,737-foot (2,968-meter) mountain, which sent rocks and debris cascading down its southern slope, could be releasing steam slowly.
“It’s too early to know for sure,” he said, adding that a big blast could still be coming. “But if it continues like this for a while, we are looking at a slow, long eruption.”
A 2006 eruption at Merapi killed two people, one in 1994 killed 60 people, and a 1930 blast killed 1,300.
After refusing to budge from the volcano’s fertile slopes, saying they wanted to tend to their crops and protect their homes, villagers started streaming by the thousands into makeshift emergency shelters late Tuesday. Many carried sleeping mats, bags of clothes and food as they settled in.
Officials said earlier that by closely monitoring the volcano 310 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of the capital of Jakarta, they thought they could avoid casualties. But the death toll rose quickly.
A motorcycle lies covered by volcanic ash at a village that is hit by pyroclastic flows from Mount Merapi eruption in Kaliadem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Police and volunteers were shown on Metro TV pulling at least 14 ash-covered bodies and carrying them to waiting vehicles.
Among the dead was a 2-month-old baby, said Mareta, a hospital worker who goes by only one name. The infant’s tiny body was draped in a sheet as his mother cried.
Three people at Panti Nugroho hospital died of burns after being hit by a searing cloud of ash, said Agustinus Parjo, a spokesman.
Even as they contended with the volcano - one of 129 to watch in the world’s largest archipelago - officials were trying to assess the impact of Monday night’s 7.7-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra that triggered the killer tsunami.
The quake, just 13 miles (20 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor, was followed by at least 14 aftershocks, the largest measuring 6.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The fault also caused the 2004 quake and monster Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
After Monday’s quake and tsunami, many panicked residents fled to high ground and were too afraid to return home.
That could account in part for the more than 500 people still missing, said Hendri Dori, a local parliamentarian, adding: “We’re trying to stay hopeful.”
Hundreds of wooden and bamboo homes were washed away on the island of Pagai, with water flooding crops and roads up to 600 yards (meters) inland. In Muntei Baru, a village on Silabu island, 80 percent of the houses were badly damaged.
With few relief workers able to get to the hardest-hit islands - reachable only by a 12-hour boat ride - fishermen searched for the living and dead. Corpses lay unburied because there was not enough outside help to dig graves, according to the Mentawai district chief, Edison Salelo Baja.
The island chain, 175 miles (280 kilometers) from Sumatra, has long been popular with surfers.
A group of Australians said they were on the back deck of their chartered boat, anchored in a bay, when the quake hit just before 10 p.m. Monday. It generated a wave that pushed their boat into a neighboring vessel. A fire soon ripped through their cabin.
Australians tsunami survivors Daniel Scanlan, left, and injured Robert Marino walk on the pier upon their arrival at a port in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday.
“We threw whatever we could that floated - surfboards, fenders - then we jumped into the water,” Rick Hallet told Australia’s Nine Network. “Fortunately, most of us had something to hold on to … and we just washed in the wetlands, and scrambled up the highest trees that we could possibly find and sat up there for an hour and a half.”
Ade Edward, a disaster management agency official, said crews from several ships were still unaccounted for in the Indian Ocean.
The quake also jolted towns along Sumatra’s western coast - including Padang, which last year was hit by a deadly 7.6-magnitude quake that killed more than 700. Mosques blared tsunami warnings over their loudspeakers.
“Everyone was running out of their houses,” said Sofyan Alawi, adding that the roads leading to surrounding hills were quickly jammed with thousands of cars and motorcycles.

(October 27th, 2010 posted in another blog)

What has happened to the world we live in?

What an earthquake?

On the Feb 27, off the coast of Chile, an massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck and it has caused the city of Concepcion to move 10 feet westward. (see quote from Live Science posted on March 9)

          “The massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile more than a week ago moved the city of ConcepciĆ³n at least 10 feet (3 meters) to the west, seismological measurements indicate. The violent temblor — the fifth most powerful quake ever measured — shifted other parts of South America as well, from the Falkland Islands (located just east of the southern tip of South America) to Fortaleza, Brazil, situated on that country’s northern coast. The quake occurred off the coast of the Maule region of Chile in one of Earth’s seismic hotspots where the Nazca tectonic plate is squeezed under, or subducted below, the neighboring South American plate. Tension builds up as the plates move against each other, and earthquakes such as the one that struck Chile on Feb. 27 relieve these pent-up stresses.”

Similar occurances have happened before such as the one in 1989.

          “During the 6.9 magnitude 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred along the San Andreas Fault in California, the Pacific plate moved 6.2 feet (about 2 m) to the northwest and 4.3 feet (1.3 m) upward over the North American plate.

In other news reports, it was reported that the chilean earthquake has shifted the earth axis. It looks like global warming and adverse weather changes are inevitable. Thus the warm places become warmer, and the cold places become colder. Or it might be in a reversed order - the warm places become cold, and the cold places becoming warmer.

It reminds me of the Biblical account in Genesis 10:25, “…One was name Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided…” and in Revelation 6:12-14, “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like a sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. the sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” It seems that the earth movement has always been there since the beginning of time. It will continue to move in a faster pace until it is unsuitable for human inhabitation. As we look at the rate things are happening these days, it does convey a picture that the movement of the earth is coming very close to the stage where it is unbearable for human to live in it. This will mean that we are now going to experience greater difficulty to adjust to the rapid drastic climatic changes.

What does this have to say to us ordinary people?
 
The one and only thought that has immediately come to mind is The End Is Near. We probably are at the treshold of the End Times. Many people believe that The End Times is a long period of dispensation. If may not be so as we observe the happenings in the everyday world. There are more earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tyhoons, cyclones, floods, landslides, forest fires today than before. In Matthew 24:4-8, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” No wonder we are feeling more difficult each day to cope with the reality. The pursuit of greater learning and more education is supposed to alleviate pains and provide better solutions but it has become a fallacy.

What shall we do?
 
I wish to quote a meaningful story/article which I have received in the internet. It is very meaningful and certainly does depict the intention I wish to convey here.

An Illusive Dream
 
A long time ago, there was an Emperor  who told his horseman  that if he could ride on his horse and cover as much land area as he likes, then the Emperor would give him the area of land he has covered. Sure enough, the horseman quickly jumped onto his horse and rode as fast as possible to cover as much land area as he could.  He kept on riding and riding, whipping the horse to go as fast as possible. When he was hungry or tired, he did not stop because he wanted to cover as much area as possible. Came to a point when he had covered a substantial area and he was exhausted and was dying. Then he asked himself,  “Why did I push myself so hard to cover so much land area? Now I am dying  and I only need a very small area to bury  myself.”

The above story is similar with the journey of our Life. We push very hard everyday to make more  money, to gain power and  recognition. We neglect our health , time with our family  and to appreciate the surrounding beauty and the hobbies we love.. One day when we look back, we will realize that we don’t really need that much, but then we cannot turn back time  for what we have missed. Life is not about making money, acquiring power or recognition . Life is definitely not about work!  Work is only necessary to keep us living so as to enjoy the beauty  and pleasures of life. Life is a balance of Work, Family and Personal time.. You have to decide how you want to balance your Life. Define your priorities, realize what you are able to compromise but always let some of your decisions be based on your instincts.  Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of Life, the whole aim of human existence. So, take it easy, do what you want to do and appreciate nature. Life is fragile, Life is short. Do not take Life for granted. Live a balanced lifestyle and enjoy Life!

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.


When we see the signs of the times, we need to ask ourselves one crucial question, “What the the eternal value?” The signs are clear but our eyes are blurred. We should be living with eternity in mind, and leaving behind a perpetuity legacy. We should not be overly disturbed by the changes of this world rather to rely and focus on the unchangeable Lord. The more the disasters and calamities occured, the more urgent for everyone of us to get closer to the Lord. There is no short cut except to spend time with HIM daily. Amen!

(March 10th, 2010 posted in another blog)

Allah Issue and Church Attacks

It was indeed a sad day for Malaysia when 10 churches, 1 school and 1 Sikh temple in Malaysia were attacked. Violence will never solve problem. In fact it will only escalate to more problems. Malaysians don’t behave as terrorists except that some people who want political mileage and fan up emotions of others thus resulting in such a mess.

Now the finger is pointing at each other as who is the one who has started this problem. According to the news, one government leader accused the Catholic Church for starting the court case and thus led to such violence. I am pretty sure this leader is not wide read or informed at all.

Let me trace some historical facts before we can decide. Of course, there are those who refuse to accept even the true fact of life is revealed. They will go on with their own selfish wishes.

Ever since pre-Malaya or Malaysia, the issue of Allah was never there. The British granted Malaya the Independence with a great respect to the muslim community, here is the Malays, with the law inscribed in the Constitution forbidding the propagation of other religions to the muslims. Christians were happy with it and did not challenge it at all. Since 1957, every community lived happily together. There was never any religious conflict at all.

It was in 1982 suddenly out of a blue, our former PM Dr. Mahathir introduced an enactment stating that the Christian Holy Book - the Alkitab - is now a threat to the national security. The Alkitab was banned. Delegations of Christian leaders went to see the PM many times and pleaded that this was unfair to our Holy Scripture and urged to remove the enactment. The then BN with all the component parties did not object to the ban or their objection was over-ruled. How can a Holy Book be a threat to national security? There was also no sign at all. Later another enactment was created stating that the Alkitab can only be used by Christians and in Churches.

Conitnual delegations met the PM and in 1986 a circular from the Home Ministry stated that 25 words cannot be used by non-muslims and this was superseded by another circular in the same year that only 4 words cannot be used without the following condition adhered to i.e. The Alkitab must be printed on its cover with the word “For Christianity” and to be used only by Christians.

Even with this decision from the Home Ministry, the custom officers at the ports continued to seize many imports of Alkitab (the reason is local printer was not granted with license). Each time the Christian leaders have to send delegations to meet the PM and HM to resolve this seizures. The officers (like napolean) never followed the HM circular.

In the 1990s, the Iban Bibles were confiscated. Again delegations were made and then then DPM Abdullah Badawi found out that it was not BM Bibles but Iban Bibles and that were released.

In 2009, another gazette was issued and stated exactly what was decided in 1986 that any publication with the 4 ‘forbidden words’ can only be used with its cover printed with the words “For Christianity”.
Unfortunately, the so-called government leader in the PM department who called himself a lawyer did not know the law of the country. The gazette clearly stated that as long as the cover of the publication is printed “For Christianity”, it can be used throughout the country Malaysia. The ‘Herald’ is clearly a Christian publication with the big Catholic Church title written there. Furthermore it is for internal circulation only and not for sale in the public.

Just to recollect our thoughts again:

1.  Christians love, respect and loyal to the Agung and all the Sultans in the nation, and have been praying for their welfare always.
2.  Christians have never challenge Islam or muslims in this country ever.
3.  Christians want to live in peace and harmony with other people, including the muslim brethren, in this nation Malaysia.
4.  Christians want to worship their God freely in the Christian way and expression and in each own language.
5.  Christians have always taken the approach to dialogue with other faiths, and are always looking forward to dialogue with muslims together. But not very successful.The muslims are not in the MCCBCHST - inter-faith council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism. They don’t want to join. Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first PM, declared the inauguration of the Council.
5.  Christians have always taken the restriction and false accusation by the government authorities positively without retaliation with violence, even when Christian Holy Book is considered as a threat to national security.
6.  Christians have taken the import ban and confiscation of our Holy Book without making a big issue in the press or demonstration in the street, but only to dialogue and sending delegations to meet the PM or HM.
7.  Christians have requested for printing permit in Malaysia for Christian own Holy Book and it was rejected. It was against the spirit of freedom of worship.
8.  Christians have willingly agreed to print the cover of Christian own Holy Book with the word ‘For Christianity’ though it is infringing on one’s right of worship.
9.  Christians, after 25 years, have silently taken in all the false accusations and endured all the inconveniences of the import ban and have to pay all the port charges because the government authorities and officers do not heed to the government gazette which they themselves have enacted.
10. The Christian Church has no choice but to take the government to court so that they can uphold the law they have created.
11. Christians are against all forms of violence, more so to holy places of worship.
12. Christians are urged to forgive all the perpetrators of the church/temple attacks.
13. Christians are encouraged to pray for the peace and harmony of Malaysia, and for all government authorities to act justly and practise fairly.
14. Christians are praying for an amicable solution to the heighten issue of word use.
15. Christian are peaceful citizens and only wish to see the reality of 1Malaysia.

(January 16th, 2010 posted in another blog)

DIOCESAN MISSION SUNDAY (FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING)

Diocesan Mission Sunday beginning from 22 November 2009

The Christian Calendar year begins at the fourth Sunday before Christmas which is known as the Advent Sunday, and completes at the last Sunday of Pentecost/Trinity which is the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King where Christ is lifted and honoured as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Every year our Diocese has designated the last Sunday of the Christian Calendar year i.e. the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King, as the Diocesan Mission Sunday. Incidentally, it is also been adopted as the Provincial Mission Sunday beginning 2010. This hopes to set off the tone for mission from now till the next Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King throughout the whole of 2010.

What do we do on the Mission Sunday?
 
1.  Churches are encouraged to designate this Sunday as their Parish Mission Sunday. Of course, some churches due to their own schedule and commitments might wish to choose another Sunday or Sundays as their own Parish Mission Sunday or Mission Month.
2.  Churches are encouraged to invite the preacher to preach on Mission.
3.  Churches are to encourage more prayer focus on mission work, mission workers, mission field, etc.
4.  Churches are encourage to take an offering for mission of the church and the diocese.

What do we hope to achieve with the Diocesan Mission Sunday?

 
1.  We hope to see all the churches in the Diocese seriously engaging in mission works. This is the way forward and it can avoid maintenance mode.
2.  There is still a lot of work to be done both locally and abroad - “the harvest is plentiful“.
3.  We hope to create mission awareness and eventually hope to raise workers for the mission fields of the Lord.

How do we plan for a long term Mission Awareness in the parish?

 
1.  PCCs are encouraged to include in the PCC Agenda an item on Mission & Evangelism.
2.  PCCs are encourage to set a budget for mission.
3.  PCCs are encouraged to appoint a person as Parish Mission Coordinator.
4.  Churches can circulate information on mission works in the parish, diocese and foreign mission agencies among parishioners.
5.  Churches can organise Mission Awareness Week.
6.  Church can organise Mission Prayer Week.

How do we get our parish started in mission work?
 
1.  Invite speakers who can speak on Mission, preferably some who have done mission themselves.
2.  Organise short mission exposure trips or join such trips which are organised by other chuches or the diocese.
3.  Start a Mission budget and have a Mission Coordinator.

What is the aim of this 2009 Diocesan Mission Sunday?

 
We aim to raise RM500,000 for the Diocesan Mission Fund. Don’t be frightened by the amount. If every member gives a minimum of RM1.00 per week to the mission fund (on top of your regular offering), we have no problem reaching the target. For example, we have 10,000 adult members who attend church regularly and each member gives RM1.00 per week, we will have RM520,000 per year. If each member gives RM2.00 per week, we will have RM1 million annually for mission fund.

What is the Mission Fund use for?

 
1.  Next year 2010 is our Diocese 40th year of formation. We wish to bless 40 children homes throughout the country. We have planned every Saturday in the Month of May for a Children Carnival in 4 places, namely, Penang, Ipoh, Klang, Johor Bharu. In each place, we will identify 10 children homes and invite our children and the children of the homes to the one day Children Carnival for games and recreation. After which we will present each home with RM5,000 either in kind or cash. This will amount to RM200,000.
2.  We have planned for 3 overseas mission exposure trips, February to Tiruchi, India; July to Taiwan (to the affected areas); October to Bangladesh. This will amount to RM50,000.
3.  We will continue to help the Church of the Province of Myanmar in the setting up of the School of Mission and Evangelism (SOME). Our aim is to train altogether 100 evangelists within three years in all the different dioceses in Myanmar. This will amount to RM50,000.
4.  We are anticipating and continuing in our efforts of Relief, Emergency And Crisis Help (R.E.A.C.H.) to the affected areas. We will also be organising a Crisis Relief workers training camp next year. We are still assisting Myanmar in the rebuilding of houses in the Delta regions and medical care; Philippines in the rebuilding of houses and churches due to a couple of tyhoons; Padang in West Sumatra in the rebuilding of houses and medical care. So far we have helped in the areas - Myanmar (2008), Sichuan (2008), Orissa (2008), Gaza (2009), Zimbabwe (2009), Sri Lanka (2009), Philippines (2009), Taiwan (2009), Padang (2009). This will amount to RM100,000.
5.  We will be supporting and expanding our assistance to the Orang Asli and Anglican Village Ministries. We are working together to see that the ministry will expand to other regions. The priority will be on the raising and training of workers for these ministries. This will amount to RM40,000.
6.  We will be embarking on the ministry of Intentional Discipleship. We hope to see all members of the Diocese is motivated and in active service for the Lord’s service. We are hoping to raise many disciples and from them train and raise 400 Lay Pastors and 400 Lay Readers by the year 2020. This ill amount to RM20,000.
7.  We are working with and through the Diocesan Missioners and Boards to identify strategic areas throughout the Diocese to be targets of evangelistic concentrations where we can plant churches, develop social outreaches and training centres. We hope to saturate the nation with the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. This will amount to RM20,000.
8.  We are working with the Diocesan Boards and Committees in the development of young people especially school leavers and campus youth, in the area of evangelism, discipleship, Christian formation, leadership, Christian spirituality. We are developing the Caleb Steps, the Anglican School of Disciples (ASOD) and Vocation Camps for both young men and ladies. This will amount to RM10,000.
9.  We are engaging in the mission works in the Province in the countries of Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, with particular emphasis and attention is given to three places, namely, Medan (Sumatra), South Thailand, Phnom Penh (Cambodia). This will amount to RM20,000.

Will you be praying for the Diocesan Mission involvement? Will you be giving to the Diocesan Mission Fund? Will you be involved in the mission programmes? Will you be considering to be a mission worker of the Lord?

Please make all donations and offerings by cheques payable to “DIOCESE OF WEST MALAYSIA” (please write Diocesan Mission Fund at the reverse side of the cheque) and send to the Diocesan office at 16, Jalan Pudu Lama, 50200 KL.

All glory to God in the Highest!!!

(November 22nd, 2009 posted in another blog)

Province of West Malaysia

WHY DO WE NEED A PROVINCE OF WEST MALAYSIA?

After the 2009 Synod Presidential Address, some lay people came and asked me the question “Why do we need a Province of West Malaysia?” I thought it is most expedient and appropriate to inform everyone what is inside my mind and thoughts. I will try to answer the questions posed to me earlier.

What is a province?
According to the Anglican ecclesial structure, a province is an independent ecclesial entity of a collection of dioceses (a minimal of four) coming together for greater ministry, mission, testimony, sharing and fellowship.

Can we not do evangelism and grow our diocese without becoming a province?
Of course, we can continue to grow our diocese and do our ministry as usual. Evangelism and ministry must go on with or without becoming a province. This is the basic call for all of us Christians.

What is the advantage of a province?
At least for our diocese, there are four main reasons.

1.Decentralisation – As the church grows in size and numbers, we need more leaders. One diocesan bishop will not be able to manage the whole diocese. In the early years, we were once part of the Diocese of London. Then later when the Diocese of Calcutta was established; all the churches east of Calcutta were under this new diocese. Later in 1855, the Diocese of Labuan, Sarawak and Singapore was established; and in 1909 the Diocese of Borneo and the Diocese of Singapore were created. In 1962, the Diocese of Sabah and the Diocese of Kuching were formed. Our Diocese was created in 1970 from the Diocese of Singapore. All these happened for the greater attention, growth and care for the churches so that greater ministry can be seen.
 
2.Incorporation Act – Our Diocese is under the Incorporation Act of the Parliament. It is prudent and sensible to act wisely and delicately on this matter. We are advised to preferably go for a change of name rather than asking for two or three Incorporation Acts for the different dioceses. So in order to create one or two more dioceses, we should look into creating four dioceses and at the same time a province with the aim to have all the dioceses/province come under one Incorporation act.
 
3.Properties – If we have a province, then all the properties of our diocese can come under the province and every diocese can share the costs and benefits. We can avoid the scenario that one diocese is rich and the next diocese is poor in assets.
 
4.Manpower and Resources – We can share the manpower and resources within the province. We have to avoid the situation that one diocese has many priests and the next does not have enough.
 
5.Delegation – All the new dioceses will be autonomous and carry on with their own ministry. This is an improvement over and against the present Archdeaconry structure where the Archdeacons do not have the role or responsibility as a bishop has. This is in the same manner where each parish has its own autonomy to do its ministry.

What will happen to our relationship in the Province of South East Asia?
We will still remain in the Province of South East Asia. Among the four dioceses in West Malaysia, we are relating to each other just like we are before but with greater diversity and autonomy for each diocese to function. Similarly, in Nigeria, there are 10 provinces within the Province of Nigeria; and in Australia, there are 6 provinces; in USA, there are 8 provinces; in England, there are two provinces.

Will there be more expenses for a province?
Certainly, there will be some extra expenses but I don’t think it will be very much more. The expenses are more or less the same with our present set up with Diocesan and Assistant Bishops.

What are the advantages in terms of ministry and mission?
There will be more attention and focus given to the leadership of a smaller geographical area. Even the remote areas where once they are not given priority can be attended to easier.

Do we have the numbers and manpower to become a province?
We already have the numbers and manpower of a province but the distribution is not evenly yet. We need to place much focus and attention to build up the North, South and East so that they also can have comfortable and reasonable numbers and manpower. Only then we will move to the creation of dioceses and province.

When do you wish to see the reality of such a province?
I hope that by 2010 we can start the process of the creation of dioceses and province. By 2015 I wish to see that we are allowed in principle to change the name from ‘diocese’ to ‘province’ in the Incorporation Act. Then the dioceses can be created one by one when each one is ready. By 2020, the whole process will be in place and completed.

Will the increase of bishops be top-heavy?
I don’t think so. I am creating many ministries for lay people so that they can also share in the ministry. The ideas of Hon. Lay Pastors, Lay Readers, Evangelists, Hon. Deaconesses, Deaconesses, Local Ordained Ministry (LOM), Non Stipendiary Ministry (NSM), etc. are to increase the manpower base so that it will not fall back on the bishop and archdeacons alone.

What should we be doing now?
We should be praying and continue in our church planting and mission work in an even fervent pace. We don’t have much time as we read the signs of times – days ahead are tougher and anticipating more troubles and disasters. We should work towards a sharing ministry with all the churches of different churchmanship and denominations for the sake of the Gospel. We should be more involved in social, community care, justice and green ministry to be salt and light of the world. We should be dropping our differences and work towards a more meaningful and healthier society, beginning with our churches.

What is your main purpose?
Our ultimate aim is not the province or dioceses rather to see our churches seriously and urgently having good and proper investments on earth for eternity benefits. 

(November 22nd, 2009 posted in another blog)

Discipleship 2

The recent episodes in Malaysia have caused much concern. These have not gone well with many Malaysians, both those residing within and outside Malaysia. The issues of the death of the political aide Teoh Beng Hock, the protesters using cow-head, Perak State Assembly fiasco, the banning of Herald using the word ‘Allah’, the canning of Kartika for drinking beer, police action and non action on demonstrations, MACC high-handedness, judiciary blunder, etc. have brought much uncertainty and worry to the nation. I fear that many have completely lost hope on the government, police, judiciary, and political appurtenances, and there might not have any U-turn. People are disillusioned and confused with the 1Malaysia concept. On one hand, the loud proclamation of unity, oneness, racial harmony, tolerance, co-habitation of 1Malaysia but on the other hand, political leaders of the same group and government authorities acting in contrary to the chanting slogan of 1Malaysia which now is more like 1001Malaysia.

What can we do?

In all the Biblical accounts, with diligent eyes, we read that all the children of God were faced with similar situations as in today’s Malaysia. It was the same in the days of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, the judges, David, the Kings, Jesus, Paul, etc. with the happenings in our nation in the ethno-lingo-religio arena. There were constant struggles and unrest throughout the Biblical account. That’s why the first comforting words Jesus said to His disciples after His resurrection was “PEACE, I give to you, My Peace I leave with you.”

Ethnicity

The ethnic issue was very real in all the Biblical accounts. The Hebrews were ethnically sidelined by the Egyptians during the days of Moses. The Canaanites, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and Philistines were ethnically discriminating against the Israelites. In the days of Esther, the Jews were almost annihilated by the Persians. The Romans during Jesus’ days were dominating and abusive towards the Jews. But Jesus was teaching “Walk the second mile”. This is not a task which was told to do to their fellow Jews but to the so called ‘enemy’ the Roman soldiers who were largely corrupted, unreasonable and abusive.

Multi-Lingual

The language of the people then was very much linked with ethnicity. Though there were many cases where one ethnic group learning the language of another ethnic group. In the time of Joseph and Nehemiah, we read about them speaking in one language and translating to another language. This is a common feature throughout the history of humankind. There was no problem in all the situations except in the case when the egoistic superiority was allowed to rear its ugly head. The people of Jesus’ days also spoke a variety of languages such as Aramaic, Greek and Latin (to certain extent), even the Bible was written in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. The Word of God was spoken and used in different languages. The importance is not on the language used rather on whether the message was understood properly.

Religiosity

Religion was then part and parcel of ethnicity. Baal deity belonged to the Canaanites; Chemosh deity to the Moabites, Molech was the Ammonites deity; Dagon was the Philistines deity; Rimon was the deity of the Sidonians, and Yahweh was the God to the Israelites. They don’t mix and have completely different style of worship and expressions. In many occasions, one was repugnant to the other.

As the days gone by, in the cosmopolitan cities, much toleration was seen as compared to the rural areas. Joseph, Daniel and Nehemiah were seen to have more toleration than the Egyptians, Babylonians and Persians respectively. They all served in the King’s courts yet holding true to their own beliefs while the Kings were of different faiths from theirs.

God’s Vision for the children of Malaysia

God in both the Old and New Testaments did not at one instant command His children to run away to another nation or find an escape route. Instead the opposite is true. In the case of Jonah who deliberately ran away from his own country, God intervened and he was brought to the very place he refuses in the first instant i.e. Nineveh city of the Assyrians. The second story was when Elimelech and Naomi leaving their home country to Moab for a ‘better future’. On the contrary, they were worst of in the foreign land. The exiles of the children of Judah in the days of Jeremiah happened because of the punishment of Yahweh God upon the nation of Judah. Everyone is expected to stay put until God says “Move”, as in the case of Abraham and Moses and the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night.

Today we in Malaysia should be seeking God for His direction and Will for us. Jesus and Paul while facing great disadvantage and discrimination did not at one moment contemplate of leaving their nation. However much dislike or hatred, Jesus has never instigated revolt or run away from the reality. Instead, He has been asking all of us to be ‘In’ the world but not ‘Of’ the world.

Global Village

We are living in a global village where mobility is easy and convenient. Many people move from one place to another seeking for jobs or earning a living or going for an adventure. This is precisely the reason that many will give when the environment gets tough and rough.

After the Independence of Malaya in 1957, many expatriates who were British left for their home country. The police force, army and civil servants were then largely ‘Orang Puith’. Obviously they had to leave. The first exodus began in 1957 until the late sixties. The ‘Orang Putih’ once considered this was their land and later found out that it was not any more. Of course, there were some who didn’t want to leave because they loved this land and people very much. They had to struggle with the question of ‘ownership’ which was caused by political decision. In the end, they had to leave.

The second exodus began after 1969 May 13 incident. The remaining ‘Orang Putih’ also left, for they suddenly believed that this land was not suitable for them and their children any more. At the same time, many locals also were fearful over the so-called racial riots which was in fact politically motivated. They too migrated to other nations; mostly to the western nations. They were the more able and wealthier ones. This happened in the seventies and it is largely motivated by racial unrest.

The third exodus began after the changing of the medium of instruction in the schools into Malay. This change has brought about much frustrations and distresses to many homes. They suddenly saw a gloom future for their children. With the legitimate excuse of securing proper education for their children, many migrated, this time again, to the western nations. Some to Singapore as well. The climax of this batch of migration was in the early-eighties.They were the learned and professional ones. This batch was affected by the medium of language used and, thus, education.

The fourth exodus was during the recession in the mid-eighties. Tin mines were almost completely closed. Rubber prices were very poor. Many people went overseas illegally to earn a living, hoping to earn some money for their family at home. This batch has created much family tensions and breakups due to the situation with one parent in foreign lands for an extended length of time while the other was at home with the children. There was vitually no father figure to this generation while they were growing up as children and teenagers.They were largely from the blue collar category. This is generated by financial wants.

The fifth exodus began after the 1987 ‘Operation Lallang’. Many chose to leave Malaysia purely for the reason of injustice and discrimination over ethnicity and beliefs. Racial, linguistic and religious considerations were manipulated by political masters for self gains and powers. ISA was indiscriminatingly used.
The continuing exodus is happening all the time since the nineties. Young people were encouraged to study overseas. For those who do not have the money, they were told to study in local private colleges that twin with foreign universities. On one hand, it is important to get a foreign degree which will be handy in jobs hunting; on the other hand, it can be a ticket to leave in case of any eventuality.

All these exodus have caused much brain-drains where today there are millions of former Malaysians who have become natural or permanent citizens of other nations. Still many are thinking and contemplating of leaving this nation for good. They have even told their children not to come back after their studies abroad.

What should the Church do now?

In fact, most of the people who took the exodus in the earlier incidents were mostly the so called good and faithful Christians. They are now serving in churches in their new found land as church leaders and pastors. The local churches are left struggling with poor financial and little personnel resources. The local churches have taken decades to grow and mature gradually. We thank God for being faithful and good to those who are left behind. Still many local Christians are talking and planning to leave but have not left yet. They are waiting to see whether this nation has any hope of turning around from deterioration before they take their final step.

Jesus’ teaching

When I look at Jesus’ teaching, I saw Jesus’ call for ‘Discipleship’. This is not a passive command as some theologians think so. Jesus’ teachings on ‘Turning the other cheek’ and ‘Walking the second mile’ can only come from one who has a true faith and complete obedience to Him. This is exactly the same as what Paul has constantly advocated with the concept of ‘Imitate me as I imitate Christ’ and ‘It is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me’.

Discipleship is not only knowing the Word of God but living out the Word of God through our lives. The author of the book of Hebrews affirmed that all Christians should not and ‘Do not just be hearers but be doers of the Word of God’. This is the process of sanctification.

Discipleship is knowing God’s Will for us in Malaysia and finding the right path and steps to trod on it. But God’s Will for all Malaysians clearly is to stay put in Malaysia and live as salt and light in Malaysia. Just as Jesus in His own days, He stayed to face the onslaught of the corrupted leaders both in the religious Sanhedrin and the civil Roman authorities and courts, and remained untainted.

Discipleship is speaking the truth in love but absence from violence and riots. It is doing good in the midst of evilness; giving to the needy in the midst of corruption; administering justice and peace in the midst of chaos; giving hope and courage in the midst of discouragement and despair.

Discipleship is reaching out and standing with the less fortunate ones, and at the same time ushering comfort and joy to them.

Discipleship is being prophetic to the interpretation of the signs of times and leading the nation to avoid disasters.

Discipleship is just becoming a plain human being who loves His creator and lives according to His desire.

Discipleship is “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”.

Discipleship is becoming a true Malaysian who loves the nation and her king, yet promoting justice, harmony and peace even while the leaders of the nation are not.

Discipleship is becoming ‘christ’ even when you know that there are others who want to persecute and crucify you for doing good and promoting peace.

Discipleship is duplicating oneself many times over.

(September 3rd, 2009 posted in another blog)

Discipleship 1

Today many Christians lead churches for various reasons. Here are some reasons which I have noticed over the past years of my ministry:-

1. Uncertainty - Some people lead or pastor churches because they are uncertain what other things they can do.
2. Fashion - Some feel that it is the IN-Thing to be pastors and so they have decided to lead churches.
3. Career - Some treat pastoring as a career though it may not pay well at least it is a secure job.
4. Ministry - Some wanted to do ministry like music, preaching, counselling etc. in the church so that is the logical area to enter.
5. Interest - Some become a pastor due to certain interests they have, like wanting to be musicians, worship leader, meeting people, leader, counsellor etc. So the church is a good place for these.
6. Evangelism - Some just want to do evangelism and save souls.
7. Church Planting - Some wish to plant and grow churches, and some for mega churches.
8. Fulfil Ego - Some wish to show to themselves and others that they can do something in the name of God.
9. Fulfilling the Call of God - Some just move along with the leading of God to do what He has planned for them, even to lead churches.
10. Fulfilling Parent’s Desire - Some just wish to fulfill the desire of their parents.

In these days, the concept of Discipleship or Disciples Making has fallen into one of the many categories or segments of the church’s aim. Nobody will say that he does not believe in Discipleship. Logically, no will say that because it is all written in the Bible. But in reality, a close survey of the programmes and activities of the churches in present days will reveal a lack of Discipleship development. This is often in contrast and contrary with the aims and purposes of the church. There are lots of equipping in mission, evangelism (i.e. reaching out), praises, rituals, worship, counselling, preaching, ministry etc. Even the cell groups are geared towards evangelism. The Bible study classes have, in many cases, geared towards acquiring Biblical knowledge. There are more passive learning than pro-active Discipleship learning in the present churches.
Of late, there is a come back in the area and concept of Mentoring. However, it is again the philosophy that has only come back. The real meaning of a Disciple is to become an Apparentice. It includes the real shaping and making of the thought-life, habits, world-view, practice, learning, and theology of the Apparentice. There is so much lacking in this area due to many reasons such as busy-work schedule, reluctance to open up one’s private life, reluctance on the part of the mentor to commit further, the attitudes of the teacher and student themselves, the expectation of the present world on the idea of success, etc.    

Most of the things the present churches are doing are good but there must be a strengthening and consolidation on the development of the Disciples Making and Discipleship. Jesus spent only 3 years with his disciples and expected them to change the world which they did. All great leaders are good disciplers. If you disciple one other person properly. After one year both you and him disciple one each then by the end of the second year there will be four disciplers. If this process carries on and multiplies, by the 10th year there will be a mega church of 1000, and by the 20th year there will be a mega church of half a million members, and by the 30th year one-fifth of the world has been reached, and by the 43th year the whole world has been reached. Of course, many will argue that the chain may be broken along the way. If it real does break, it is still a worthwhile exercise and high calling of God for us to attempt. The common quotation of William Carey has been often used: Attempt great things for God and Expect great things from God. If we are to abide by this saying then I would like to propose that the ‘Great Thing’ should be ‘Disciples Making’. 

Disciples Making involves mentoring, training, teaching, shaping, sharing, worshipping, fellowshipping, ministering, walking and doing things together. It is the commitment of the whole person to each other, both the mentor and mentee. In involves commitment to each other. It is almost like the idea of cloning - a direct duplicate of you. It is very vulnerable, painful and a very humbling thing to do but the end product is good and worthwhile.

(February 15th, 2009 posted in another blog)

Transformation 1

We have just entered into 2009 and many people are fearful of what is to come. We saw many disasters in 2008 - economic downturn, milk powder problem, cyclone, earthquake, floods, hurricane, etc. Everybody is hoping for the better days. Will there be any better days ahead?

Everything looks so gloom. Can there be any good? The Bible has warned us that the days ahead will be harder and flashed with more violence.

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘ I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
 

“Then you will be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:4-14)

Looks like there is little bright light ahead. Even the Bible does not seem to suggest any good future. But everyone hopes for a change to the better. Business people hopes for a better economy. Parents hope for a better future for their children. Singles hope to get married and have a good family. Citizens hope for a more peaceful and harmonious world to live in. Americans hope that President Barrack Obama will bring new motivation and changes to the economy. People all over the world hope for a better world to live in.

Do we have any choice? Many people have said and will continue to say that they are not the culprit and have nothing to do with the gloom and disaster in the world scene today. The figures are pointing in the direction of the governments and presidents. They are the decision makers and policy implementers so they should shoulder the blame. These leaders will say that their hands are tied and they cannot do anything to change the world - the environment is already affected, the recession is already coming, the diseases are already here, the priracy are being attended to, the crooks are being pursued, racial and religious conflicts are being attended to, etc. It seems that there is no solution to curbing all the problems in this world as long as there are people purposely creating havoc and destruction for their own gain.

A closer look at ourselves will reveal a reluctant acknowledgement of the fact that we all are also the culprits and have contributed to the aggravation of the deterioration of this world. If only we are conscious to the following facts, we can save the world by the Transformation of our actions:

* Conserve energy and water - if every one of us use less one litre of water per day, the world can save 6 billion litres of water. In a year there will be 2.2 trillion litres of water saved. This amount of water is more than enough to need the needs of the whole nation of Malaysia for a minimum of a month.
* Reduce the usage of plastic bags - if every one of us use one plastic bag less per day, the whole world will save 6 billion x 365(days) = 2.2 trillion plastic bags per year.
* Stop driving at least one day per month and car pool - we can reduce air pollution and petrol consumption considerably.
* Buy less and eat less and waste less - this can help reduce production and better for our health.
* Recycle all the recyclables - this can reduce environmental pollution.
* Repair the reparables - this can also reduce wastage and use less natural resources.
* If possible buy from shops that deal with recyclable goods and second hand goods.
* If possible share resources like CDs, DVDs, Books, etc.

We need to be pro-active in our actions if we really wish to see some form of transformation to our world. This will include the followings:

* Promote Peace - ‘Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of rigtheousness’
* Bless-Thou Attitude - ‘Look not at your own interest first …’
* Humility - ‘God oposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’
* Diligence - ‘Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth’
* Gentleness - ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger’
* Cheerfulness - ‘A cheerful look brings joy to the heart …’
* Positiveness - ‘Count it all joy when you meet various trials …’
* Integrity and purity - ‘The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to his sight’
* Prayer - ‘The prayer of a rigtheous man is powerful and effective’

The above are some suggestions to offer ourselves as the little light of this world. The Malay proverb goes: ‘little by little, a hill will glitter’. If only every one of us join hand in offering some positive hope to this world, transformation is within our reach. We are called to be the ‘LIGHT’ and ‘SALT’ of the world.

(January 23rd, 2009 posted in another blog)

A Green or A Red World

Everything these days has been greatly affected by the so-called POLLUTION. We now have to work overtime to arrest the downward slide caused by Pollution. There are generally three categories of Pollution, namely the Pollution of the Environment, the Pollution of the Mind and the Pollution of Lives.

1. The Pollution of the Environment
 
The global warming, the thinning of the ozone level, the extinction of animal spieces, the cutting down of forest, space and weapon race, irresponsible mining of minerals, irresponsible rubbish disposal etc. are some examples of the Pollution of the Environment. All these have affected us badly now. It will be worst off in 20 years time. Diseases, epidemics, and sarcity of healthy food will reign in the headlines in the coming years. The irreponsible manner of human consumption and lifestyle have aggravated the deterioration of the environment. What then can we do to arrest this deterioration?
 
Developed nations must take the lead to create a conscious and responsible lifestyle among their citizens. Some form of controls and denial of excessive and affluent lifestyle must be implemented soon. This has a lot to do with the Capitalism system. It seems that the more one earns the greater the necessity to spend more and waste more. The ‘Branded’ products have come forth because of this. Certain class of people will only use certain brand of products. Those who are not yet in that class are somehow lure to believe that the branded products will make them famous or great. This myth has somehow got into many people including those from the developing nations. The more attention of the capitalism system on the consumers the more tendency of wastage will be created. People will keep on buying and obviously they cannot use everything. So in the name of charity, these unused goods or extra items will be donated to charitable organisations. Some of these donated items still have the price tags on them, which mean they were not use at all. The more the wastage will lead to the diminshing of more natural habitats and minerals. Just imagine the 6 billion people demanding from the same natural habitat and environment daily, how much longer can this world sustain these demands? There must be a ceiling to one’s lifestyle i.e. how many shoes, shirts and pants can one own, how big a car can one drive, etc. This sounds like Communism. I am advocating a responsible lifestyle. Can we learn from these two extremes - Capitalism and Communism - and merge them together. This can be called a Responsible Capitalism or a Liberal Communism. Jesus has shown us His own lifestyle which is possible without the excessive and sophistication. Can we limit our own lives to live on the barest minimum, if not with a simple lifestyle? We must guard against wastage.       

2. The Pollution of the Mind
 
The degradation of moral and ethics in this present world is sickening. The internet and the media is full of low grade and sensual materials and advertisements. It all boils down to the dollar and cents. This sort of pornographic materials can bring in much money. This has attracted smuggling and illicit dealings. The next level is human trafficking and paedo-harming activities and so on. Finally it will lead to insane killing and murder of human lives as well as destruction of human minds. What can we do to arrest this degradation route?
 
Religion seems to bring in much conflict these days. Everyone wants to champion his own religion and belief. I believe there is a way out. It should be HEAVEN. People like to think that the way to heaven is the most important thing in religion. Infact it should be. Since everyone believes that he has a different way to Heaven and this has also caused lots of confusion and conflict. Let us leave out the way to Heaven for a while and look at the ultimate goal i.e. what is Heaven? If we trully wish to go to heaven then we have to know what is there. Everyone believes that Heaven is a beautiful and serene place which contains people who are good and peaceful. How can we imagine that heaven contains evil and wicked people such as murderers, killers, thieves, extortionists, rapists etc.? Can we build a Heaven on earth? Jesus has taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer - Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. So if we can promote peace and harmonious living on earth and create a Heavenly atmosphere on earth, I think we can begin to see the solution. Governments and all NGOs should jointly promote a positive, bless-you and do-good lifestyle, which is precisely what Jesus has advocated in the Gospels. He asked us to bless-others, even bless our enemies. Rewards and incentives can be given as recognition and appraisal to all who have promote peace, bless-you and do-good. More must be done. Token rewards are insufficient to advocate a change in lifestyle. Punishment or controls will not be effective to eliminate evil or wicked lifestyle. They can serve as deterents but the greater efforts should be put on pro-active and positive mental and attitudinal activities. Positive psychological and reverse psychological attempts can be employed. The golden rule - do to others you wish others do to you - must be upheld always. This is also the Heavenly Rule for all times. Let us work towards to build a Heaven atmosphere on earth.       

3. The Pollution of Lives
 
Wasteful living and sickening attitude has destroyed many lives. The adverse money making methods and irresponsible business dealings have also devastated many lives which I will called the Pollution of Lives. The food we eat seems to have gone through proper quality control but due to loose control and unscrupulous production methods, these have reared their ugly heads again and again. The many unknown or new diseases have surfaced in the face of the world at a very rapid pace that humankind has never experienced before. People have resolved to use melamine in food production. How sad? This is something unheard of previously. I don’t dare to imagine what is next? There is little or no sense of quarantine or allowable or permissible level in food production these days. Our lives have been polluted so much so that there is no reversal trend is possible. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the sunshine we enjoy have been hugely affected by unscrupulous people. In the so called advancement of science, many health food and supplements are produced to elevate the effects of pollution. Should this be required in the first place? Now everyone has no choice but to go for these health supplements. Are they really contributors to better health? Some have determined to go for organic food, others for vegetarian food, still others for alkalinic food. Which is the better one?
 
I strongly believe a moderate lifestyle with food consumption and a regular lifestyle of fasting and exercise will make the difference.  Moderate consumption and home grown food are the best. The modern city lifestyle is a hectic one and couple with many eat-outs. Many of these eat-out areas come with questionable quality of food. If we cannot beat it then adopt a moderate lifestyle with moderate consumption. It is probably the better answer. Jesus in the Gospels has reminded us to fast and live a simple lifestyle but Christians have not heed very much to His advice. Let us learn to fast at least once a week and adopt a more simpler lifestyle for us and our family.

Can these start with us today? There is no time to delay any further. Let’s get started now.

(December 12th, 2008 posted in another blog)