Friday, December 12, 2008

Who do you say I am?

I had just received a phone from a dear brother-in-Christ. He mentioned to me that a lifegroup leader had pronounced that this financial meltdown was God’s way of teaching the world, especially the US and Europe.

Rather I have asked him to ponder, “If it is so, why doesn’t the lifegroup leader quit his job right now so that he can achieve God’s will in his life?”

I remembered the tsunami and also 911 - the fall of the Twin Towers. Many people had lost their lives and loved ones. Can you believe preachers proclaiming that it was God’s judgement upon the world and America? Can you accept that Aids disease came from God to teach homosexuals and drug users a lesson?

The world in its chaotic state has been going into overdrive towards self-destruction ever since the fall of Adam. The devil has also been working overtime to seek, kill and destroy Man, whom God created in His image.

Can you see a God who is pleased when people lose their lives? Is that God’s will?

Of course we know (I hope) our Father is not like at all like this. He does not bring sickness, famine or poverty. I was taken aback actually because those condemning words had been spoken by a lifegroup leader.

I can understand when the world points an accusing finger at God for catastrophic events because they do not know Him. But for a Christian to agree with the world’s understanding and also attribute disasters to God is a very, very sad thing.

When the world proclaims doom and judgement, it is nothing new because they do not have hope.

But if the church of Christ says the same things, how are we different from them? Surely we have the answer. Surely we know and can reveal Christ who is the hope of the nations. Surely we are called the salt and light of the world.

If the church does not have hope, who else can share the gospel of hope and the good news to this lost world then? What good are we then in this world?

Jesus assured us with His answer. He said, “I came not to only to give life, but give life MORE abundantly.”

Life abundantly. Life-giving answers. A hope and a peace that the world does not understand.

Who do you say I am?
After putting the phone down, I felt God prompting me, “Son, who do you say I am?”

“You are my Father, who loves and cares for me enough to send Jesus to die in my place and redeem me. Even though my salvation is free, it came at a very costly price – the death of Your Son.”

Then the Holy Spirit reminded me with this verse, “Blessed are you for this was not revealed to you by man, but by your Father in heaven.”

John 3:16 (Amplified)
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.


Most of us know this verse John 3:16 by hard. But many may not have remembered the next verse.

John 3:17 (NIV)
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


God is not on a ‘condemnation’ hunt. The world itself is already condemned. That’s why we need a Saviour.

Do you know that God loved us so much that He is willing to give up His only Son? So why would God want to bring added famine and poverty into this world when it is already spiralling out of control?

Shouldn’t God bring THE answer to the world? Why add more sorrows?

Think about it. Will these so-called disastrous acts of God steer people towards God and know Him as a loving Father, or will such acts make people avoid God altogether?

Romans 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?


It is God’s kindness and goodness that draw people to Him. Just like how the sinners and prostitutes were drawn to Jesus. Not his wrath. In fact wrath and judgement create a barrier between God and us. They establish a chasm to distance us from Him.

Is that God’s will to put a distance between Him and us?

Read again slowly:
For God so GREATLY LOVED and dearly prized the world that He even GAVE up His Son…

God so loved the world (with us sinners within) that He willingly gave up His Son to take our place. Instead of us facing His wrath and judgement, Jesus took our place. He was separated from God as He soaked up our sins. In exchange we are accepted before God through Jesus' shed blood to make us righteousness by faith.

Remember Jesus shared this parable:
Matt 13: 44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.


The man/merchant in the story is God, who gave up His best (Jesus) so that he could buy (redeem) us back. He saw us as treasures of great value. That is what God’s love is all about.

We were like the hardened criminal Barabbas who was set free in exchange for the sinless and perfect man - Jesus. Jesus died in his place at the cross while Barabbas walked free.

Matthew 27:46
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus had never addressed God as “Eloi” in His life because God was always “Abba, Father” to Him. But now we notice the distance between Father and Son.

God couldn’t stand the sight of His Son because Jesus carried the sins of the whole world – past, present and future. Jesus was ugly, cursed on the cross and marred with God's judgement. “Condemnation” was upon His head.

So God turned His back upon Jesus and embraced us instead. He cast Jesus from His presence so that we can be accepted in the Father. And God’s fiery judgement and wrath fell upon the sacrificial Lamb so that we can now experience God’s love and kindness.

Jesus took every stroke and penalty of the Law upon Himself that we may have the blessings that come apart from the Law.

Why?

We are His beloved now
That we can be close to God. That we can call God – Abba, Papa. That when Jesus died a lonely man, God can say to us, “Child, you are mine forever.” Yes that is how much God loved us.

So much enough to sent His dearly beloved Son to die for us to redeem us.

Going by the same grain of thought, why would God want to punish the world if He had already sent His Son to save us? Isn’t it contradictory?

Do let me know if you had ever read in your bible where Jesus once told a man with a shrivelled arm to stretch forth the other arm. Looking at the normal arm, He pronounced, “Be withered!”

Then Jesus preached a convicting sermon to warn everyone that God is against sin. Looking at those withered arms again, he left them crippled and unhealed to remind the man never to sin again.

Did such a thing ever happen in the bible?

Or perhaps Jesus called down fire and brimstone upon the woman caught in adultery? Or stirred the storm further into a greater frenzy to teach faith to His disciples whom He called “O ye of little faith!”

Why would a doctor inject you with sickness only to administer you with his saving medicine? Would any father purposely put his son’s hand into the baking oven to teach him about not playing with fire?

How would you feel about such a doctor? Will you ever visit him again? What about the father? Would you ever do such a thing to your son?

Gee, there is only such a place for these people - in the mental asylum!

Yet we see God in such a way. And even preached Him to be such!

What will people think about this almighty yet vengeful god? Would you want to draw close to him? Surely not I! I’d rather be far from him lest I incur his wrath.

Therefore it makes no sense that Christians speak of my Father as a God who is out on a sin and condemnation hunt; when in truth, He had sent His son not to condemn the world but to save us.

Let him who has ears, let him hear.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Trip back to SG, TKL for Singapore President

Just back from Singapore for a 2-week holiday.

Wow... so much has changed, especially within town. So many private apartments were torn down to make way for high-rise condos. I think many of these owners have struck 'en-bloc' pot of gold.

What I like about Singapore after one and a half years hiatus:
  • Food, glorious food.
    From rojak, to peranakan food, to hokkien mee, to just plain hawker centres (no foodcourts please. The food usually sucks!)
  • Accessibility.
    Quite impressed with the transport system actually. The digital display of the arrival times is a very good way forward. Also the SMS to find out when your bus is coming. Definitely a plus!
  • Shopping.
    After 9pm the nightlife in Orchard and various hawker centres in the suburbs are still vibrant. Gee, it's usually ghost town in Melbourne and I believe for other parts in Australia.
  • Family, relatives and friends.
    Of course the usual catching up. Felt like a CEO filled with lunch and dinner appointments nearly everyday.
Dislikes:
  • Weather.
    Hot, humid and wet. What do you expect during monsoon season?
  • Crowds and congestions.
    Gosh, the jam packed crowds in the trains and buses. Not to mention it was off-peak hour at 2:30pm! Everywhere there are people of all nationalities and races. No wonder Singaporeans have expressed their unhappiness over lack of personal space. I felt stressed even while driving as compared to Melbourne.
  • Cost of living.
    Way too expensive as compared to the national average wage.
  • The Straits Times.
    All about damage control, one-sided reports and commentaries. Give me a break! And there is this happiness index by the Newpaper. Total waste of space. Er, who decides what components make a common man on the street happy btw?

Also the papers were abuzz with the latest saga:

Tan Kin Lian is keen to run for presidency. Cool or what?! This threw a curve ball because TKL is not on the same platform as Andrew Kuan. TKL was once the CEO of NTUC, a not-easy to meet criteria in order to run for presidency.

About time someone not handpicked by the government steps forward. And the best thing is - we get to vote!

TKL mentioned that if he can gardner 100,000 petitions, he will truly step up the plate.

Singaporeans have always complained that they don't have a choice. Well now is your chance. Don't hesitate and sign the online petition.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Two Robbers in Our Lives

Have you met the two robbers in your life? And do you know their names?

Let’s look at this passage where their names are revealed.

Luke 23:39
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Do you see the name of the first robber?

The First Robber – “If only…”
The first robber told Jesus, though insultingly, if only Jesus was Christ, He would be able to save Himself and us.

He had pushed Jesus into the past.

“If only I had listened to my parents, or if only I had been wiser…”
“If only I hadn’t given in to him…”
“If only I had more options…”
“If only the financial situation was better…”

This thief suppresses you from rising to new challenges. He batters your confidence so much that you cannot lift your head up but rather hang down in shame. Your eyes are clouded with a veil to not look ahead towards a hope and a future because of your past failures. Each time to you make an effort to enjoy what you already have, he comes and robs your joy.

See the man who hurts his wife with condeming words. Though she is virtuous and good to him, he snaps back with contempt. He cannot forgive himself for his adultery two years ago. Each time his wife loves him, he punishes himself because he feels he does not deserve her.

Look at another woman who cannot love her child because many years ago as a teenager, she had an abortion. So she feels guilty for the unborn child and turns to drinking to drown her sorrows, indirectly neglecting her present child.

Observe the girl who had been sexually abused when young. Though she has met a wonderful man in her life, she feels dirty each time he touches her. She isolates herself and shuns his love. He feels frustrated.

Draw yourself to the boy who was rejected by his father. He cannot understand why his present wife hurts him with words of ‘too possessive’ or ‘too controlling’ when all he wanted to do was to show his concern and love for her.

Hear the elderly man's bitter ramblings. He had lost all his life savings – be it through squandering, gambling, investments, or was cheated of all.

The “If only…” thief brings a heavy burden of un-forgiveness, sorrow and pain. He reminds you life is unfair. He robs you of joy, success, peace and love.

The Second Robber – “What if...”
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

The second robber though respected Jesus pushed Him into the future.

“What if my investments are lost in this financial crisis?”
“What if he doesn’t love me?
“What if my child doesn’t make it in life? Or turns to the wrong side of life?”
“What if I am not the father of the child?
“What if this lump is cancerous?”

Each time you look ahead, the thief tells you how bleak the future is. There is little or no hope in life. Every man for himself, the fittest will survive.

This thief cripples with the fear of tomorrow. He burdens you with the unexpected, the “of all the people in the world it will happen to me” mentality. You will find it hard to hope, to dare or to love. He reminds you of those who tried and failed. You conclude that you are no better.

The “What if…” thief robs you of faith, hope, future and a sound mind. He burdens you with fear, worry, anxiety and confusion.

They stalk us all round. Some of them whom we have (un)wittingly invited them into our lives and have housed them for so many years. We have even grown so accustomed to them robbing us blind and have accepted them as our allotment in life.

Though in the past and future, they are very much present and alive in us.

Even if blessings have been poured out bountifully and abundantly upon you, you are oblivious to them. It seems like these blessings have slipped through your fingers like grains of sand. You cannot grasp or hold on to them long enough to enjoy them.

Both these thieves have robbed you at every corner of your life. Yet many of us cling to them.

Jesus is the answer - Today
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, TODAY you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus stands in between the “If only…” and the “What if…”.

Today. That is God’s timing, He lives in the present. The ‘NOW’.

That is how God introduces Himself. The God of Now – I AM. That is how Jesus introduces Himself – I AM the Good Shepherd., I AM the Resurrection and Life, I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life.

I AM. Now. Present. Today.

The mana from heaven that the Israelites ate was sufficient for each day. Enjoy it now. There will be mana again for tomorrow. No need to worry. Don’t fall back on yesterday’s mana because it will turn bad.

Pray tell me who the mana represents? Is it not the one who calls himself the Bread of Life?

Jesus said the devil comes to seek, kill and destroy. The devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. But the Son of Man has come to give us life. Not only just life but life MORE abundantly.

See God’s provision now, see His hand of blessings upon you now, look at Jesus and behold his matchless beauty and His loveliness.

Live in God’s timing. Now. I AM.

Look at the Samaritan woman by the well. She forgot herself in Jesus’ presence. She traded her past when she beheld the Man of her dreams, and went ahead with joy and gladness into the future. She was filled with so much joy that she evangelised to the whole town. Yes, the very same town who scorned her and condemned her for her wayward lifestyle.

She saw and met Jesus in the present. She forgot her past, and feared no longer for her future. She was changed inside-out.

Just a mere look at Jesus and his beauty – know that all your past sins have been washed away as white as snow, and the uncertainty of the future no longer holds sway over us.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

So do not worry about tomorrow but look towards the Lamb God has provided. Rest in His finished work to cleanse you of your past. For there at the cross you will find your Rock of Peace.

Still not convinced?

John 11:19
and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Martha pushed Jesus into the past when she told Jesus – If only you had been here, Lazarus would not have died.

After Jesus replied to her, she pushed Him into the future with “in the last day”.

Jesus responded, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life”. He is I AM. Now.

And you assumed the financial institutions would have learnt from the previous recession studies. You thought you could trust the future predictions from analysts and gurus.

Haven’t we wised up? But day after day, we continue to trust the market reports and their answers.

The truth, my friends, is that they don’t have the answer. But someone does – his name is Jesus.

You can believe Him for He holds the future. Your future. Make no mistake He has seen your past. That’s why He came to die while we were yet sinners. You can trust Him for your every need and want because He cares for you.

Rest easy in Him. He is the Lord of the yesterday and the future. He is our very present help in times of need.

Don’t let the robbers steal what Jesus has done for you. Don't be like Martha.

His grace is more than sufficient for you today. Draw from Him each day as mana from heaven. It is more than enough for everyone and everything – marriage, finance and daily provisions.

Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Come, behold Him, the King of Kings… now.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Photos galore @ Tasmania (26 Sep - 4 Oct) - Part One

It was indeed a blessed and memorable family holiday. Faithful as always, God had kept the weather beautiful for us. Even though it forecasted rain that day, it was sunny and bright... until we stepped back into the hotel.

I know it sounds cliche. But hey, I am the beloved child of God. I was deciding to delay the visit to the Royal Botanic Garden but through a turn of event, we decided to drive straight to it. You see, it was supposed to be a heavy downpour that day. However we took the step of faith. You can see from the garden photos below that the sun was up and shining bright. It was hard to imagine it would rain. But rain it did after we had left the garden and driving towards our hotel!

And this wasn't the only time. We had planned to hike the following day after reaching Cradle Mountain. I was feeling tired after the drive from Launceston and we decided to rest that day. Well, it rained. No prizes for guessing the weather on the day we planned to hike. I'll tell you in Part Two about the Cradle Mountain visit.
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Hobart is a very beautiful city. Reminds me alot like Ireland - coastal feeling with the sudden wind chills. The whole place has this the quaint, Europe-py feeling. Totally awesome coz both missus and I love Europe!

Anyway from the airport, you'll cross this beautiful bridge into Hobart. I had managed to take this shot from near the Royal Botanic Garden.


Bridge into Hobart


Ship going to Antartica, Europe-feel

Hobart city is pretty small as compared to Melbourne. I think you can cover it all in less than half a day. I hear it used to be a whaling port.



Wharf side photos

When in Hobart, never miss the Salamanca Market which is held every Saturday morning. Fantastic atmosphere and lots of interesting stuff to see. It's like the Pasar Malam in Singapore but with a much different feel. Gypsy, Europe, Swiss-sy feel.

We bought and tried the fruit leather, banana cake, Manuka honey, a potato dish which I forgot the name (yes the one with sour cream, bacon bits with some interesting fillings), bratwurst sausages, ginger bread, gypsy food, etc. Basically eat and eat. Good stuff!


Salamanca Market on a Sat morning

The Royal Botanic Garden is fantastic. There is an Observatory, a castle (I think it has been converted to a government house now), some nice history and a very intricate tapestry inside the house where the wooden sculpture man is standing. I took a lot of photos but could not display every one of them. Don't give this place a miss. You can be sure you won't regret it.




Royal Botanic Garden

We visited the outskirts of Hobart like Battery Point, Sandy Beach and the University of Tasmania. Except for Rachel (who was more interested in the playground), we loved Battery Point because the houses there had so much character.


Lovely houses at Battery Point


Where's Rachel... and missus?


Rachel playing at a nearby playground in Battery Point


Lookout point near the University of Tasmania

(Part Two coming with lots more photos...)

Updated: Part Two and Part Three

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One month crash update

Hadn't been blogging for quite a while. That's what happens when you are swarmed at work, coupled with Rachel recovering from various bouts of illnesses.

Two months ago, she first experienced sudden chills that shot her fever up to 40.1-40.4C. It was a Friday night. As since I did not have any project implementations that weekend, we had planned to go out as a family. So our weekend outing was thrown out of the window.

High fever broke on Sunday and I thought everything was slowly returning back to normal. I hadn't slept well. Woke up numerous times to sponge her and give her medicine. Boy was I cranky. It was as bad as my project implementations except that I don't get paid for the sleepless nights.

On Sunday she developed bacterial tonsillitis. Her fever returned and it hovered around 38.5 - 39.3C for the whole week. She had to take an antibiotics course. So poor Daddy. He was in a very sour mood because he was the only one who would fuss about his princess. The Queen? She said God will take care of it (er, quite true actually) and her beauty sleep was as precious as her darling daughter. Afterall there is Daddy.

In between I had encountered major project issues with difficult stakeholders. Quite sure I had committed murder numerous times in my heart when I was speaking to them. Practically sapped whatever strength I had left. In addition I had a couple of fiery bust-ups with a very unreasonable resource manager (whom I had 'murdered' in my heart numerous times) and also a heated disagreement with my direct reporting manager.

I literally cried. Cried out to the Lord for deliverance. And during those quiet moments with Him, He had never failed to strengthen my faith. In fact I picked up the guitar and worshipped Him every night. Each worship session lasted more than an hour - tears, sweat, casting cares, painful disappointments... yeah I threw them at Jesus' feet. We also prayed over Rachel and protection for the family after each worship session.

I cannot remember a time when my spiritual hunger was so intense, and how God gave me the awesome revelations about Christ within His Word. I don't know how to explain - 'Your Love is better than life' is so very real. The closeness I felt was as if God could have just whisked me up to heaven should I utter a request for it.

So each day through the trials and struggles, God's Word and faithfullness kept me literally alive. I clinged unto Him like a ship to the lighthouse in the midst of a howling storm. To Him who is steadfast and the Rock of my salvation. No one can help me, no one can understand the turmoils that Daddy went through. Three days after recovering from her tonsillitis, Rachel came home with flu. So another two days away from school.

A few weeks later, a boy kicked her in the stomach in school. She complained of a tummy ache that night. The next day in school, she started vomitting - 5 times! Yeah when the going gets tough, the tough freaks out. I freaked out.

I had to struggle if the kick in the stomach was the cause of the vomitting. If it was, then it must be something very serious like an internal injury. However the doctor assured us that it was gastro-flu. Rachel has mild fever of <38.5C. So another three sleepless nights to ensure she had medicine and drank enough fluid.

Through all these, I wonder if I had done something wrong or sinful that had displeased the Lord - that He allowed one thing after another to happen. That was how the devil wants me to see - my effort in sustaining myself. However the Word reminded me that Jesus, not only as our High Priest, was able to understand every struggle and temptation known to man. Jesus came as a man.

Not too long ago, God reminded me that Adam and Eve had the whole garden to enjoy - every fruit from every tree are theirs and theirs alone to enjoy. Yet the devil will continue to point to the ONE tree whose fruit God knew Adam and Even could not handle, let alone eat.

Similarly there are so many truths in God's Word - His promises, His blessings, His assurances. Yet in the struggles, we choose to see the ONE thing (like in my case Rachel's sicknesses) and 'tempt' God for answers. The devil keeps us focus on our troubles and symptoms. But all it takes was to look at Jesus and His beauty.

Isn't it amusing? Why do we keep looking for the ONE thing just to prove that God... is not God as He claims to be in His Word?

I realise how we see God (ie. we give weight to His Word) will determine the outcome of our struggles. Having a good opinion of Him will see us stronger, emerging better in understanding His love for us. As simple as each time the devil throws a lemon at us, God turns it into lemonade. That is how we ought to see our Abba Father is.

Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

In order for God to fight for us, we need only to be still. And witness His deliverance. Often we try to be God and that complicates things.

When man works, God keeps silent and withdraws; when man says 'I cannot' and let go, God moves to work in our favour.

Just like King Jehoshaphat "The battle belongs to the Lord" passage, I believe strongly that when an aggressor (or the devil) attacks or steals from a Christian, there is a risk where he has to pay more than what he has taken (the bible says 7-fold repayment!). This applies only to those who put their trust in the Lord to allow Him fight their battles. When all is over, they only need to pick up the spoils of war.

Tomorrow we'll be flying down south to Tasmania for a much needed break. Eight days of holiday with family... wow. It's going to get better, that much I know how my Father will bless it.

In addition, we have bought a one-year old Honda Odyssey at a super-duper bargain price. It has clicked only 16,000 km and the price I paid was more than 10k off the market price of a similar luxury model and year (2007). No, it has never been involved in an accident (and never will). Brand new leather seats, with sun roof. I can still smell the newness.

Well, that is another awesome testimony.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Of foreign talents and imports

I have been reading and following these articles for a long time. I have also submitted my comments in the articles.
While reading the article by Xtralicious, I felt a need to pen down my thoughts.

The first word came to mind:

Prostitute.

I don't know. Not wanting to sound crude but don't you think Singapore is a bit tad too desperate and 'opening her legs too easily' to get FTs?

And worse, throwing money and citizenships to entice them? At least a hooker gets paid. Yet my government gives money out to them.

Again I want to stress: I'm all for FTs and imports. But only when the job/task cannot be filled in by locals or maybe we have a major shortfall. So I'm all for hiring system administrators from India, developers and architects from China, etc to support the growing economy.

But table-tennis? Football? Aww, c'mon!

I'm very, very sure there are local athletes who want to be part of the Olympic team to represent Singapore but they can't get in because some 'Xiao Qiang' or 'Xiao Li' had been sponsored by our dear government and brought in instead.

Is this national pride, I ask you? Will it come to a stage where the highest salaries and perks will draw the best atheletes in? Isn't it like the English Premier League (or Geylang)?

BUT the difference is: a football club has stakeholders. It's all about money and success and delivering the results to be top of the table.

However this IS a country. My country. With common folks and citizens, our fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, ah-peks and ah-mas.

My country citizenship can't be so easily bought (or given out so easily for the matter) at the highest price (or sponsorship) available.

Can it? Does it even matter to the government how my citizenship is so valuable to me because I had served National Service for 2.5 years?!!

Anyway, where do all these stop at? More athletes from other countries? Isn't it running like a corporation now? Maybe the rot has set in already!

Now it feels so cold and clinical. No wonder the atmosphere is driving her own citizens in droves to other countries.

Yes congratulations to the paddlers! They did very well on an individual capacity at an international level. I applaud their skills in representing the Singapore team and getting a silver medal at the highest accolade - the Olympics.

But my heart does not share in their victory. My heartbeat does not sync with their achievements somehow. There seems to be a chasm and it's hard to explain.

I do find it difficult to celebrate their success at a national level.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The fall of Hitler: ERP gantries

Can't stop laughing! Chio-kar-peng (fall down laughing in Hokkein). Thanks to mrbrown once again.

Of course if you understand German or aren't a Singaporean, it will be hard to understand what the joke is all about.


(click here to watch from YouTube)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

This... is... so... KEWL!

Rock on, mrbrown. Run for MP, we'll vote you in!

Listen here.

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Love song for Singapore by mrbrown

The trains they come and go
Filled with faces I don’t know
Sometimes they don’t stop for me

I live near Woodleigh MRT

The city’s changing every day
I saw a new gantry on the way
That is why I sold my car

Why the bus-stop so damn far

You took so much from me
Got no cash to take taxi


But I’m still in love with you
But I’m still in love with you
(And) when I grow old, and don’t do what I’m told
I will still be in love with you

I can’t afford a holiday
Everything has gone up but my pay
Can’t go out with all my friends
Can’t afford the latest fashion pants

You promised me paradise
Overflowing with abundant rice
I used to go for lunch buffets
Now my breakfast’s half a yeow char kuey

You took so much from me
Got no cash to go high-tea

But I’m still in love with you
But I’m still in love with you
And when I grow old, and don’t do what I’m told
I will still be in love with you

You took so much from me
Got no cash to go high-tea

But I’m still in love with you
But I’m still in love with you
And when I grow old, promise me you won’t turn cold
Cos I’d still be in love with you

Took so much from me
Got no cash, but I’m happy

I am still in love with you
I am still in love with you
And when I grow old, and don’t do what I’m told
I will still be in love with you…

Friday, August 08, 2008

Happy National Day, Singapore

Like it or not, this video clip so reminded me about my NS days.


(link here if you cannot watch it)

I swear I felt a tear duct opening up. I'd be lying if I say it didn't stir up nostalgic feelings within me when I watched it. I felt patriotic. I felt Singaporean. A part of me wanted to embrace these youths and tell them, "Hey I understand. I've been through that sh*t. We all are kakis, abang-adek."

None of us who have been through the 2.5 years (that was the length of service during my time) can say the Army didn't change us.

Someone commented to me: "Why am I so bitter with the government?"

Read my lips: I'm NOT.

I'm sad. Disappointed that my birthplace is no longer my home. Or whatever is left of it. I no longer understand the policies. I no longer buy the 'carefully structured' speeches my politicians and most MPs make. I fail to understand the race to be #1, to be a rich nation with billions of economic worth with no heartware to understand the daily struggles of the low-income bracket families. Or the struggles of our past elderly generations who laboured for the country during their youths. It was as if they were robbed of it for somebody's cause.

To tell them they cannot enjoy the fruits of their labour, to work longer, retire later. To tell them their wage increases will cause inflation and to suck it up yet increasing their own salaries to astronomical sums.

These make me sad. And angry.

I feel patriotic when I speak up. As Barack Obama puts it, “Dissent does not make one unpatriotic.” - June 30, 2008.

Again, I will like to clarify - I believe FTs are important in a country. I, too, am considered an FT in Australia. However the policies that the .sg government has put in place do disadvantage our local youths.

Even for your death or disability in the Army, your family is paid peanuts. And not the 'peanuts' coined by our dear Mrs Goh CT to the tune of 60k/month (search "NKF golden tap Durai" in Google).

Happy birthday, Singapore.

PS. To all the gals who have wondered why your young men kept talking about their army days, it is for the same reason you go toilet together in pairs. We never outgrew the bonding we felt during those years of service.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jesus was born on Bethlehem

I'm sure family and friends are going to get 'blown over' by this video treat!

Rachel the 5+ year old pianist will sing you a song which she had composed. She had just started piano lessons 3 months ago. I think she's doing great and enjoying herself. Just like Daddy!



(Link here if you cannot watch it)

Many thanks to missus for capturing this awesome but hilarious video. Indeed these are precious moments that pass us by if we don't stop and enjoy them.

PS. I know the subject header is not grammatically or biblically correct. Don't need to spam with comments :P

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where are your accusers?

She was a pawn in their religious fervour, an object of scorn. They had already known of her affair with a married man. If not, how else would they find them?

They hauled her through the public marketplaces. The men whispered in hushed condemning tones while the women folk held tightly to their men. He had promised to leave his wife after each love-making. But each time it ended with “Await my good news”. Good news indeed, she grimaced bitterly. Where is he now?

The church leaders scoffed at her when she questioned about the other guilty party. She had no right to speak, they told her. She was guilty as dead. Through the streets they dragged her in search of the Rabbi whom everyone called Jesus.

She had heard rumours of this Rabbi. He was the Holy One of God. Nothing escaped him without Him knowing. His prophetic eyes will search out every sin in her life and expose all of them in public. He will humilate her. Afterall, He had already called the scholars and theologians ‘Brood of Vipers!’

How much more will he condemn her adulterous affair! Surely he would leave the worst of his choice words on her. Then he would call down fire from heaven to consume her.

Let this be a lesson to all. The Law must be upheld and regarded in the highest as he proclaimed over her charred body.

Now she stood trembling in fear before Jesus. Surrounded by her pastors,the church elders and leaders, they scrutinised her every movement. Their eyes pierced her soul, searching every fault hidden in dark corners. Their judging lips brayed “Condemnation! Blood payment according to the Book!”

Yet he did not give more than a glance at her. He bent down and began to write on the ground. A crowd had already gathered. Her accusers lifted their voices and commanded Jesus to pronounce a judgement upon her based on the Law of Moses.

He straightened up and said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

She squeezed her eyes shut. The stones will strike her any moment. She could almost feel them now. I bet the larger stones will be from my pastors. They have been counselling me against the affair. I have failed. I deserve the worst.

*Shuffling of feet*. No stones touched her still. Breaking her fear, she heard a gentle voice asking, “Where are your accusers?”

She opened her eyes. The crowd was still there but their faces had softened. Her accusers were no where to be found.

“No one,” she answered in barely audible tones and still in puzzlement.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and sin no more."

These few words remained etched in her heart eternally - “Neither do I condemn you”. She felt the power in those words.

Power to liberate her from her bondage. Power to remove all condemnation. Power to renew her and restore her whole again. Power of God’s love flowing through her.

Most of all, power to fall in love again. With the new man in her life - Jesus. One who will never leave nor forsake her. One whose words holds true and eternal.

Ask the Samaritan woman by the well. Cross-examine the woman with the issue of blood. Interview Mary Magdelene.

You can also question all the prostitutes, the tax-collectors, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the sick and those who called on His name to save them.

Judgement, condemnation.

They were familiar with these. Often pronounced on them by the Pharisees, religious leaders and the world. And rightly so because they deserved every bit of it.

Grace. Forgiveness.

These they found in Him. They knew they were helpless. Lost and needed a Saviour. And they received much more.

(John 8)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When did LKY and ST become flip-floppers?

I was a bit stunned at the audacity of it all.

First LKY claimed in the defamation suit against CSJ that the IBA (International Bar Association with 30k strong members) had praised Singapore's judicial system. And the association had even sent him a letter of approval.

IBA is a world recognized body. Its endorsement of Singapore judiacial system is like a stamp of approval. It's like having ISO9001 on your IT processes.

Then SDP called the 'bluff' when it verified with IBA. IBA not only denied having sent any letter, it produced a 72-page report criticizing Singapore on the human rights issues and press freedom.

Ouch.

Now I have Straits Times rebutting IBA's report here.

So I'm wondering now, first you used IBA's name to bring up Singapore's judicial system. Now you rebuke the same very association for publishing a report.

So which is which? You mean Singapore is so unique that only the PAP government can define what is right?

It's like telling International ISO9001 that they have got it all wrong. They don't really know our IT processes, so they shouldn't be telling us what to do, what to change. Put it bluntly, it's like telling ISO9001 - YOU SUCK!

Right. Who used IBA's name in the first place? Surely it wasn't CSJ.

Ahh... the absurdity of politics. No wonder I'm no politician.

PS. Sometimes I wished we had more humble ministers who would admit their mistakes when they boo-boo. Not 'sorry that it had happened'. But simply 'SORRY'. It soothes an angry soul.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Solve the puzzling disconnect

Today publishes
This is the part that puzzles me:
"The spokesman said plainclothes officers on routine anti-crime operations in the area heard a loud knock on their vehicle after stopping at the traffic light.

They saw an Indian man walking away. When the officers identified themselves and interviewed the person, he became abusive and refused to furnish his particulars, saying he is an American citizen and the Police has no right to check on him.

Despite repeated warnings to stop his verbal abuse, including a racist slur against one of the Malay officers, he continued to be uncooperative and persisted in his abuse. "

Puzzling questions that ran through my mind:
  • Now why would an Indian man out of the blue knock on the police vehicle? Did the police officers see the Indian man knock on the vehicle? Could it be another person?
  • How come so 'zun' (coincidentally accurate in Hokkein) that it 'happened' to be Goplan Nair?
  • Did the Indian man had sudden revalations from divine above that the car was a police car and knocked on the car to confirm?
  • If anyone had knocked on my car, I wouldn't be the least concern as long as the car was not damaged. Neither do I need to identify myself as a police officer and interview him.
  • And why did the Indian man (if it was indeed Goplan Nair) insult the Malay officer with a racist slur? I mean he's already out of bail, why does he want to have a civil charge against him?
Of course when you don't have the full picture, one tend to over-exaggertate. Enjoy my 'conspiracy' theories:
  • They were 'subtlely' following Goplan Nair and were discovered. This got them infuriated and decided that Goplan needed to pay for exposing their 'stake-out'. (If only they were so vigilent towards Mas Selamat.)
  • The Indian man needed help, knocked on the car to call for assistance but got the arrest instead.
  • The knocks on the police car were big dents. How was the driver ever going to return back to the police station? Oh, he knows the number of forms he had to fill for the car damages during operational duty.
  • The police car following Goplan nearly knocked him down. He was furious. Knocked on the car and demanded an explanation. Got arrested instead.
  • One of the officers showed Goplan the #1 sign with his finger while driving by. Goplan retaliated.
  • One of the officers shouted, "Damn Yankies". Goplan retored with a racial slur.
I don't know... there seems to be bits of disconnect all over.

As usual I will be fed with bits of disjointed information. Soon enough a whole big story consisting of bits and pieces will be revealed. It will be so ludicrous that I can even believe 'pigs fly'.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Shame on you, Mdm Yeong and Today! Shame, shame!

Re-reading the transcripts from this blog (it is very accurate since you'll see the written transcripts and the audio ones) and also the audio clip from SDP website, you'll find that Mdm Yeong and the Today newspaper had 'conveniently' left out Dr Chee's words to make him sound like he had accused them as 'murderers', 'robbers', 'rapists' and 'child molesters'!

Here is the ploy exposed -

From Today:
Mr Davinder Singh: “ ... And to conclude on Dr Chee’s submissions, he says that he doesn’t wish Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong ill. In that same breath, he says he stands by The New Democrat article, which alleged that they are ‘criminals, corrupt, and covered up matters in the NKF’. And under his breath he’s now just said ‘murderers and robbers’.”

Dr Chee: “And rapists, too, you might as throw it in, you know, right? Child molesters”.

against what was actually said in the audio clip and in the written transcripts:

Dr Chee: “And rapists, too, you might as well throw it in, you know, right? Child molesters”.

---
Can you see how Mdm Yeong and Today 'conveniently' left out the word "...might as well..."? This totally changes the statements from one of allegations (from Davinder Singh) of CSJ towards the PAP leaders to one of downright accusations by CSJ to the PAP leaders.

The former makes CSJ sound like he had accused LKY and the PAP government with these degratory terms. The latter gives me the impression that since Davinder Singh had alleged CSJ to imply that the government are 'murderers' and 'robbers', other degratory terms might as well be thrown in.

Wow... didn't know Mdm Yeong is so smart. Must have been a scholar. A good one too. Until exposed through the new media - Internet. Why don't you do us a favour by showing us the whole transcripts instead of partial information?

*clap clap clap*

Shame on you, Mdm Yeong. You have 'lied' to Singaporeans.

Shame, shame.

Mdm Yeong: Chee Lies Again

Taken from Today Online.

CHEE LIES AGAIN: MM’S PRESS SEC

Yeong Yoon Ying
Press Secretary to Minister Mentor


In a letter to Today, Madam Yeong Yoon Ying, the press secretary to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, responds to opposition politician Chee Soon Juan’s call forMr Lee or his counsel to produce part of a transcript from last month’s court hearing to assess damages arising from the libel suit against Dr Chee.

YOUR report “Nothing to do with political freedom” (3 July 2008) refers to my letter to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and toDr Chee Soon Juan’s response published on his website.

In my letter to the WSJ, I said that in the recent defamation cases, Dr Chee had called Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew ‘murderers, robbers, child molesters’ and ‘rapists’ in open court.

Dr Chee alleged that I had lied, and challenged me to produce the relevant transcript.
I enclose p. 115 of the verbatim court reporting transcript of the hearing on28 May 2008. Line 11 onwards reads:

Mr Davinder Singh: “ ... And to conclude on Dr Chee’s submissions, he says that he doesn’t wish Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong ill. In that same breath, he says he stands by The New Democrat article, which alleged that they are ‘criminals, corrupt, and covered up matters in the NKF’. And under his breath he’s now just said ‘murderers and robbers’.”

Dr Chee: “And rapists, too, you might as throw it in, you know, right? Child molesters”.

Mr Singh: “And this is the man who says “I don’t wish them ill”.

Dr Chee has once again lied toSingaporeans.

---
Alright let's read the partial transcript of the court proceedings which caused this ruckus.

I don't know about how the legal terms or procedures are. On paper, it states Dr Chee has labelled the leaders as 'murderers and robbers', 'rapists' and 'child molesters'

But my understanding of the words exchanged is: Dr Chee is so fed up with the legal proceedings and misinterpretations that sacarsm has ruled his words.

Take for example (or lack of better of at the moment):
A wife was quarreling with her husband. She accused him of not spending enough time with her. In her opinion, he was more interested in golf and his golfing kakis, one of whom was a woman named Mary. (No offense to any Marys here.)

He tried to defend himself with reassurance of his love and time.

In response to him with frustration that nothing was going to change, she shot back, "Since you are so defensive, you might as well start an affair with Mary since you are spending so much time with her in golf!"

Now on paper technically, she did tell him to have an affair.

However in context of the heated argument, she was insinuating that her husband's love and time for golf was driving their marriage apart. It was as if he had committed adultery. But did he commit adultery? Of course not! Was she asking him? By no means. Was she implying he did? I do not think so.

It stems from frustration with a man cornered. It's like following up with a statement, "Since you claim this to be so, you might as well put in such-and-such. It makes no difference to me."

So, Mdm Yeong, I've said numerous times. Don't show me partial transcripts. It can deviate from the truth and the context it was quoted upon.

Take the 'text' out of 'context', it becomes 'con'. Till now, you have yet to show us the full transcripts.

For you readers, hear the proceedings and read the transcripts from the SDP website and make your own judgement and conclusions.

What is Patriotism?

I was reading this blog about his Singapore life. Till date, he is still figuring out what patriotism means.

I, too, asked myself the question and the scary part was I don't really know. And then a flurry of words came and here is my response to him:

"I have migrated. What I had suggest(ed) to many Singaporeans is to stop seeing the world through the tainted glasses the media and government want you to look through.

See the world for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Singapore is a really fine (pun intended) city. But I do not see my next generation growing up in that kind of environment anymore.

Choose wisely. It still is not a bed of roses elsewhere, but you realise you have a choice in how you want your life to be. Back in Singapore, you don't have choices. It's a rat-race, do what they tell you or fade away and die in the background.

Patriotism? I'm still figuring it out today. But I can summice like this to what runs through my mind:

A patriotic person is akin a solider in the Iraq war. He gives of himself for the country, knowing the risks and glories, yet chooses to be a soldier because he believes in what the country (not the government) stood for. It is no loss that he sacrifices himself for the cause. He is not motivated by greed, nor by political means, nor by the media. He does what he chooses to. He has a choice.

Kaffein"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

.sg Politics is not good for anyone

I have been telling myself: Stop writing about Singapore politics. You are just gonna get the hurt.

But I can't help it. For the past year, the unfolding events, laughable responses and published stories in the Straits Times unfurled within me a whole ruckus of disgruntled emotions - derisive, fuming mad, hilarious, ludicrous, incredulous, absurdity... the list goes on.

It's like watching a comedy... of errors.

It shows how the government thinks of us Singaporeans. Stupid enough to swallow the whole bait, sinker and hook.

Aww... c'mon, give me something more credible to chew on, instead of spin stories. It's sickening and frustrating enough letting me bits and pieces of disjointed information. Then you try to piece all these into an incredulous story for me accept.

Here are the not-too-recent 'jokes' that got me all agitated:
  • Ministers' pay
  • GST for the poor
  • Increase of ERP, increase in utilities and cost of living, bus fares, taxi hikes
  • Mas Selamat sage, 'independent' report, response from WKS, PM
  • Petrol tax from MBT. opposition comments from Hen
  • Singapore Dissident
  • CSJ defamation suit, calling him a 'psychopath'
  • ST gutter journalism, etc

Now we have this latest report by a certain Yeong Yoon Ying, Press Secretary to Minister Mentor.

I winced in disgust. You mean just because you wrote something with eloquent government speech means it is credible? I'd bet WSJ thinks otherwise.

Two Views of Freedom of Speech and Law in SingaporeJune 30, 2008
Your editorial ("Democracy in Singapore," June 26), relying on a "partial transcript," has misunderstood the issue in the libel case involving Dr. Chee Soon Juan and his sister.

The case had nothing to do with political freedom. It was for defamation arising from the Chees' false claims that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew are criminals and corrupt. Despite being advised by a Queen's Counsel, they failed to produce any credible defense or evidence to back up their claims.

Having lost, Dr. Chee in open court then called the Singapore leaders "murderers, robbers, child molesters" and "rapists." The Chees also rebuked the judge, ignored her orders and shouted her down. In Ms. Chee's defense, her lawyer could only claim that she was "almost paranoid." This is why the judge sentenced the Chees to imprisonment for scandalizing the court.

Many opposition politicians routinely criticize government leaders, but are not sued because they have not uttered slanderous falsehoods. Contrary to your editorial, Singapore upholds free speech and the right to disagree, subject to the law.

Singapore's laws must be decided by Singaporeans, not by foreigners like Gopalan Nair, who is a U.S. citizen, or by the foreign media. Foreign media are entitled to report and comment on what is happening in Singapore, but they circulate here subject to Singapore law. They have no right to defame, to give a skewed account of court proceedings, or to engage in Singapore politics, for example, by campaigning for their version of Western style "democracy" for Singapore.

Yeong Yoon Ying
Press Secretary to Minister Mentor
Singapore

This is a joke itself, Mdm Yeong. You are not doing anyone any favour, really. Internationally and locally especially. Singapore is already world-wide infamously known to be an authoritarian state. So prove them wrong.

SHOW US THE TRANSCRIPT!

Settle it once and for all. Put the nail into the coffin so all words will be hushed. I've said again, your words prove nothing. It's empty talk. Unless you have something to hide...

Now see how Singapore Democrat has responded. Plain simple facts baring the truth (according to their side) to let every reader hear the transcripts and decide for themselves. (For readers, read here)

---
The PAP responses these days have really gotten weirder and weirder. I have to contend with "Singaporeans are complacent", "What to do, it has happened", "Let's move on", "I am appalled and flabbergusted", "GST is to help the poor"...

Are these responses et all? Or just hog-wash? Spin stories?

"If you love Singapore too much, first it will break your heart, then it will break your soul." -Alfian Sa'at

How apt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Told you so: Straits Times is going into gutter journalism

Not sure if you had read the article about Tan Lead Shake published in the Straits Times.

The first glaring mistake mentioned Tan Lead Shake was a member of Singapore Democratic Alliance. I was like - huh? Is this another political ploy to undermine SDA (or the opposition for the matter)?

It's such a unforgivable mistake that I find it hard to swallow it as "it was an honest mistake".

Read it for yourself here.

Woo... the Straits Times is sinking to a new low.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Can you spot the difference?

From the Straits Times by Li Xueying (read somewhere online but can't find it now) and Legal News Archive states that there is an ongoing probe into how court recordings landed on SDP website.

Right. I don't think anyone denies the fact that if the parties had signed a written agreement, then they should not publish. But if they had not, what's the investigation about? To bring fear into people who are publishing online? Anyway I believe it was an observer who published them. Did the person sign such a document?

I think it's better for Straits Times to come out and publish all that had happened so people like me don't get one-sided views (albeit SDP's). C'mon it's such a publicised affair in Singapore and all you have are (poorly-written) stories from people like Chua Lee Hoong (whom I think had just shot herself in the foot)?

Mayhaps 146th position seems fitting.

---
The law article extract reads:

"According to lawyers, parties involved in a suit at the High Court can apply for copies of the official recording, for a fee, to help them prepare their arguments for the next day.

They have to sign a written agreement 'not to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, any material contained in the transcript or on any audio record supplied to us'.

Parties are not allowed to have their own recorders in court. Neither are observers or journalists allowed to (I think it refers to recording media).
" (bold italics mine)

and here I have SDP's version of the drama in the courtroom:

"One, halfway through a session on the first day (26 May), a group of men (7-8 of them) barged in and without so much as acknowledging the Judge took up positions around the courtroom. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was then ushered in. Dr Chee asked the Judge whether these people could identify themselves and to state the reasons for their presence. Mr Davinder Singh, the plaintiffs' counsel, had not applied for permission for these persons to be present.

In addition, one of Drew & Napier's partners, Mr Hri Kumar who is also a PAP MP, was seated beside Mr Lee Kuan Yew in courtroom. Mr Kumar was not involved in the case. His only function seemed to be to keep the Minister Mentor company. Again, no permission was sought for his presence and Judge Ang did not ask who Mr Kumar was and what he was doing in her courtroom.
" (bold italics mine)

Question: Why aren't these 'people' thrown out of court? Is it different strokes for different folks?

Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interesting insight into .sg journalism

Nothing much to summarise about the article links. They are very good reads about the state of Singapore journalism although these articles dated quite a few years back. The shocking thing is these articles already foresaw the direction .sg journalism will go back then. Scary.

Read it for yourself here and also here.

Another interesting read here from the Australian (albeit an old post).

---
Trying, trying very hard to update my blog with pictures but no avail.

Been busy whacking a free online and addictive game called Hero Online. Doesn't need much CPU power and memory but the graphics, sounds, online community and quests are pretty good (considering it's free!). Fair bit of grinding expected but all in all, a good game at 8/10.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wasted potential by Chua Lee Hoong

I chuckled at the absurdity of this Singapore Straits Times article penned by Chua Lee Hoong (THINKING ALOUD - The squandered potential of Chee Soon Juan).

Linked the article from another blogsite as I have to subscribe to ST to get the article. *mutters*

Is it because she has never seen CSJ 'grilling' our beloved MM and PM? If you read the transcript post below, I thought CSJ was pretty prepared, sharp and knowledgable. Imagine the stress he has to go through in defending himself, and also in knowledge of the few supporters he has. He's like an egg smashing against a wall.

Yet in spite of the challenges, I think he handled himself well. In fact, my respect for him has gone up a notch.

What was she thinking again? First she flames the bloggers in a previous article for them being critical of the government's handling of the Mas Selamat saga. Now she states CSJ is wasting his potential.

Is she advocating that one has to join PAP in order to be considered using his potential well? Does one has to align himself with the idealogy of the incumbent party to be potentially useful? Then people like Martin Luther King would be considered wasting his time and potential.

I'm sorry to say, Miss Chua Lee Hoong, not everyone is like you.

---
PS. If CSJ and SDP are not all credible an opposition as you claim, why are you writing a full article to 'condemn' him and smear his name over the mud? Gutter journalism, I'd say.

What has ST become seriously? *shakes head in disbelief*

Anyway, you gotta see this video.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Can't find actual transcipts of exchanges between Lee and Chee?

Funny thing is I have to find the actual transcripts (though not verified if contents are accurate but they do look accurate enough) from various blogs. I can't even find them from any government sites or from Straits Times. Can someone please link them to me?

And why are the actual transcripts so easily obtainable from the Singapore Democrat (link here)? I want to read it from actual government or PAP sites to see how they compare. This will let me have a better overview of how the court session went.

C'mon, Straits Times and government bodies, you should be more detailed and impartial. Not that I support any party but aren't your articles too biased? Let the people decide for themselves.

Another read here.

Sheesh...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Have you been forgotten?

Have you been forgotten?

Have you been labelled a failure, a 'has-been' before? What about the times when you fail to meet to the rigorous and harsh standards that society has placed upon you? How about the numerous times when life dealt an unkind blow to you? And cripple you with labels like:

- Shape up or ship out
- You can't seem get it right
- I don't think you are up to our requirements. I'm sorry I can't offer you that position.
- The company doesn't need you anymore. You have been retrenched.
- You are not as beautiful as you think you are
- You are not smart as your classmates. If you were, you would have been the top 10%, etc

Everyday we are bombarded by the media, by people and even good-intentioned friends who define our successes in life. The TV media, books and magazines invade our thoughts and subconsciousness with:

"Buy this product, it will make you look even more beautiful"
"Join this program and keep your shape."
"Maybe you need more training or skills"

It simply means "You ain't good enough!"

Failure is no stranger to anyone. Ever experience living in a deep hole dug by people from which you could never crawl out?

I have a story to tell. I was often in the top 10, cream of the crop during my primary school days. There were high expectations of me to bring glory to the school and make my parents proud.

I have passed the national IQ exam, I was selected for the Gifted/Music Elective Program, I represented my school in an international Maths and Science test. Every other way I turn, success seems to be just around the corner. I was the envy of many. Who could have asked for more? I was made for success.

I took my PSLE in Primary Six. My results were shocking. Mediocre was an understatement. Unbelief was on everyone's lips. There was even a call by my teachers to recheck my results with the Ministry of Education. Perhaps there was a slip-up.

Finally it sank in whatever the reasons. Failure. Defeat. What a letdown. My world fell apart. I was unable to reach everyone's expectations. Soon everyone turned their attention to those who had made it. I was soon forgotten and left on the shelf.

Such a place exist in the bible.

Lo Debar. A place of no pasture. A place of naught, nothingness. A place for forgotten people. Even the name 'Lo Debar' sounds morbid and melancholic.

And the bible tells of a story of a fugitive prince who had lived in this place called Lo Debar. Let's read his story.

2 Samuel 4:4
  4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

This young man used to have everything working for him. He was a prince, his grandfather was King Saul and his father was Prince Jonathan, a respected son in Saul's kingdom and army.

Now when Saul and Jonathan died, there was fear in Saul's household. Why? Because of rumors that the new king would put Saul's descendants to the sword. Not only did Mephibosheth lose his kingdom, he lost both his legs. Now he was a cripple for all his life. And the nurse hid him in this place called Lo Debar.

Think about it, all his life, he had feared this man called David. His nurse must have taught him why she had to run away. After all King Saul had tried to kill David numerous times! Why wouldn't David hunt him now? And who knows she might even have blamed King David for the cause of his crippled legs.

Each and every single day, he was living his life ranging from fear to anger to hopelessness. Lo Debar. A place for forgotten people.

2 Samuel 9
David and Mephibosheth
  1 David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
  2 Now there was a servant of Saul's household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?"
    "Your servant," he replied.
  3 The king asked, "Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?"
    Ziba answered the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet."
  4 "Where is he?" the king asked. Ziba answered, "He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar."

Can you imagine being Mephibosheth? The worst of your fears has come when one day, a messager brings a summon that the King requires you to be in his presence.

Woe to me, King David has come for my head. Isn't it bad enough that I'm in some forgotten place? What does he want from a cripple? Why is he still affer my head!

But is King David really asking for Mephibosheth's head? Is that what we think of God? A god who is after your blood when you sin? A god who keeps a watchful eye to admonish you each time you fail? A god who remembers your wrongdoings?

  5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
  6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.
    David said, "Mephibosheth!"
    "Your servant," he replied.
  7 "Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table."
  8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

See how David comforted the misguided prince fears. "Don't be afraid". Isn't it so like Jesus? Fear not. Don't be afraid. Shalom. Peace.

See how Mephibosheth called himself - a dead dog. Thinking himself dead, and just a lowly lifeform. Just like us. I blew it. I've failed. I'm defeated. Lost and forgotten.

And we think God is pleased with such statements. See how David responded to Mephibosheth.

  9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.
  10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table." (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
  11 Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's [a] table like one of the king's sons.
  12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet.

Did you see that? Read it aloud!

So Mephibosheth ate at David's table LIKE ONE OF THE KING'S SONS! Do you see how God wants to put you back in the position He has destined you to be? Not as a lowly servant, a dead dog but as a prince, an heir in His Kingdom!

Can you see the many, many parallels in this wonderful beautiful passage in the bible?

Like Mephibosheth, we were once princes and princesses. Our lineage was traced to Adam, the image of God. The glory of God surrounds Adam in the garden.

Like Mephibosheth, we fell and became crippled through Adam's sin. The glory was lost, we thought we were forgotten. Lost in sin.

Like David, God gave grace when He said "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Jesus is our Jonathan. He represented man and made a covenant 'pact' with God.

In fact Mephibosheth is to pay the price of death for his grandfather’s sins. But he didn't. Not only did King David returned back all that belonged to Mephibosheth, he wanted the prince to sit at his table and feast all the days of his life! Don't you see beloved? God wants you to be with Him all the days of your life, including on this earth!

Like Mephibosheth, whom David treated him like his own son, we are now children of God, sealed on the day of redemption through Christ.

Did Mephibosheth deserve it? Afterall his grandfather had tried to kill David. And he had all these years lived a life in fear of King David. He might have even hated King David for making him a cripple! Misguided, misconception, bad opinions of David. Isn't it like many of us who think God is eyeing us and waiting for us to fall? And then point an accusing finger at us about our unrighteousness and weakness? Surely not!

Did we deserve how God is lavishing His love and goodness upon us? Definitely not! Why? Because God is love. For God so loved that He gave His Son...

Just like David, God not only reinstated us, He called us to sit in heavenly places with Him, lavished us with the riches of His glory, surrounded us with His favour and protection and invite us to feast at His table! All by His grace.

Like Jonathan who made a covenant pact with King David, Jesus made a new covenant with God so that through Jesus' death and blood, we are now called Sons and Daughters of God when we receive Him.

What have we been thinking all these years? That God demands holiness from you (as if we reach His holiness according to the Law)? That God wants you to tithe, give till it hurts, go for missions, and sacrifice yourself more for Him?

I'm not sure about you. But I come into the presence of the King to receive and enjoy His goodness, His grace and mercy. The God I know demands nothing from me. Anyway, I used to be from Lo Debar, a place of no pasture. I have nothing to give.

Only God gave freely, Jesus died willingly for me. And I receive. When I experience the overflowing love and grace of God, I will be moved to give of myself to Him. Not because I need to prove Him anything but He had loved me for who I am. These 'works' of tithing, living a life pleasing to Him comes naturally because He first loved me.

They are the fruits of His love working within me, not my own works.

So my encouragement is: come to His presence with joyful, warm hearts, knowing that He readily invites you to His table.

Epilogue:
As you come to the feast, you will notice familiar faces of people who had failed.

You notice a woman who clings to a hem of the garmet (yes, you recognize her as the woman with the issue of blood). You see a handsome young man with long flowing locks of hair and tresses. Oh, Samson!

You see a king who had committed murder, adultery and had caused the death of his son. Yet God called him a man after his heart - King David.

A tanned fisherman smiles at you with once tear-filled eyes of denying Christ. Simon Peter. You behold the Pharisee of Pharisees who once called for the blood of many a Christian. Apostle Paul!

You see men who lied out of fear and cheated with treachery - Abraham, Jacob. You recognize people who told God "I can't do it" - Moses, Jeremiah.

They all look at you with understanding eyes. They were once like you - crippled, fallen and labeled 'Failure' by world standards. Lo Debar.

But they have experienced grace and mercy in the presence of the King through Jesus Christ his Son.

Ephesians 2
  6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
  7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
  8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
  9not by works, so that no one can boast.

You see Jesus opening his arms wide (just like He did on the cross) to bid you ‘Come’.

Lo Debar no more. Heavenly places.

Never forgotten. Always loved.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mornington Peninsula, Day 2

(continued from Mornington Peninsula, Day 1)

The next day on 5 Nov 2007, we met up a couple of migrant families (most importantly with their kids too so that Rachel could play with them) in Dromana.

Dromana is a seaside town along the coast of Mornington Peninsula. It is a very beautiful place as you can walk to the beach just 50m from the town shops. There is also a nice pier for fishing and the awesome horizon ends with the tips of the coastal lands jutting out towards the sea. Nearby there is a large playground as seen in the photo below. Wonderful place for a relaxing time with family or loved one.
Dromana Town, pier and large playground

Of course, we have the grumpy Rachel who acts out whenever she receives a scolding or time-out. Classic photo to blackmail her when she gets older. LOL!


Grumpy Rachel

Australia is like heaven for kids. They learn through playing and interactions. Tell me, which kid doesn't like to be carefree and play whole day long? Sometimes we do wish we can turn back time and re-live our childhood. Why grow up so fast when adult life can often be wrought with stress and responsibilities?


Rachel's friends, Rachel running to make sandcastles, Isabelle and Rachel


High-point of Arthur's Seat in Dromana, down south to beautiful Sorrento

More photos of Gold Coast trip coming up soon!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

(In)Famous Quotes

I have always wanted to compile the list of quotes. You know those LPPL ones which leaves you with duh?!!

Managed to chance this. I had a good laugh:

Anyway, I've read another blog article about a man going to jail for 21 months for making a false report of spotting Mas Selamat (read here).

One commenter wrote:
"Everyone is equal but some people are more equal than others.

This man made a mistake so he has to pay and will be used as a example for all the other mischief makers.

The men in white only make honest mistakes and will be used as a example for all as a learning example.

That is the way it work(s) here."

Classic.

---
Will be updating my blog over the weekend with more photos. Work-wise, it has cooled off and there are no more weekend implementations to burn my weekends.

Also our family will be heading to Goldcoast (1 - 7 Apr) for a much needed break.

Imagine what I felt when Rachel told me one day regardining my late nights and weekend work, "Papa, I don't want you to go to work anymore!"

Looking forward to the family trip. Woot!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So busy I hardly have enough sleep

I'm so busy at my new job.

I have been thrusted into the deep end of the pool, which is the implementation phase. Some colleague had asked me: What did you say during the interview so much that they threw you straight into the implementation phase of this program? They are the worst kind of projects you want to do.

This program (collection of projects) which I am involved in is a very, very visible project. Our client is a major player in Australia. And the stakes are very high too. There are a lot of senior level management folks eyeing the status of this program every other day.

From the moment I joined since late Jan this year, I had my weekends 'burnt'. Once I had to work for a total of 76 hours in a week. Another implementation saw me with 46 straight hours without sleep. It's akin to playing a game with high stakes. The difference is that I don't get to 'reload the game' if it fails.

So I apologize for not updating my blog for the past couple of weeks.

I did manage to squeeze in some famliy time though. During one of those rare weekends in which I did not have an implementation (there was an implementation actually but it got postponed. Boy, did God know I needed that rest!), we visited the Melbourne Aquarium. I had taken some photos but I am too busy and tired to upload them.

During these times of 'trials and long-suffering', I clinged unto the verse in Exodus in which God told Moses to throw a branch into the waters of Marah (which means bitterness). The waters immediately became sweet and the people could drink it. It became life-giving.

Jesus is the Branch (of Jesse, see Isaiah) in the situation I'm in.

Where He is, there is always sweetness and fragrance. Where there is death, He is Life. Where there is lack, He is my abundance. Where there is dryness, He is the refreshing rain.

So in all my project implementations, the results are always successful. Each and every single time. Even in the midst of extreme challenges and near backout/rollback, Jesus came in and brought life to the dying and hopeless siutations. Just when everyone wanted to give up, everything clicked and fell into place.

It was as if i had conjured up some miracle and brought the schedule back on track. The truth is I did no such thing. I just rested in Him - the battle belongs to the Lord.

I have had rave reviews about my project executions coupled with many commendations from my stakeholders. My 'style' of project execution had been a role model for the other project managers to follow. The senior management is now giving me bigger and harder projects to implement.

Am I that capable or intelligent? I honestly don't think so. Could I multi-task well and manage so many people and track every individual activity? Ask my missus and you'll know that I could hardly hear her calling me while watching TV.

But I know someone who can. His name is Jesus.

He is the Branch in my bitter waters of Marah. He is the one who spoke "I AM" to the legions of Roman soldiers and they fell before Him. He is the one who calmed the raging seas with a word, "Shalom (be still)!".

He is my Shalom. May He be yours too.