Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Coolin' off period for General Elections?

Anyone heard of a 'coolin' off' day before voting? Read here if you don't believe me.

Hmm... whoever gave such a highfalutin idea?

I have only known of someone getting 'heated up', or rather to be precise - 'lighted up' during a 'Meet the People' session. Surely I have never heard of anyone flamin' up before voting. Maybe only the human torch.

Perhaps the ugly truth is that the people have stored pent-up 'heat' throughout these years. Heated and worked up because they have not been voting for the past donkey years.

Or perhaps the day of elections will be a hot one. You know, higher mortals can predict 'golden era'. So one can surmise Election Day will be hot with a 'golden sun' in the sky.

Surely you would have thought Singapore being a developed country would have her mature citizens voting with their cool heads.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rest (Part 2)

Matt 11:28 - 30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

These verses are often used in evangelical outreach - rest for the weary souls from worldly affairs, materialism chasing, personal glory and success building. Only Jesus can fill the void in our hearts and bring refreshment to the needy soul. But during the time of trial, new revelations about this verse emerged.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rest (Part 1)

It has been a good long while since I have written any encouragements. Allow me to give you a glimpse of my struggles in the past two months.

I have been swarmed at work since my Sydney holiday trip on 1 Oct. I have been working at least 55 hours per week including weekends. My customers are UK-based, thus conference calls usually start at 7:30pm and end around 9:30pm.

I had a new assignment to a project which had gone off-rails. My job is to get it back on track. All sounded easy until I realised the huge financial impact for the year if this project fails. All other projects within that account are tentatively ‘put on hold’ until this project goes successful ‘live’. To miss the deadline is to miss two major payment milestones. Now that something the executives do not want to hear.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What language does your heart speak?

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Our senses are bombarded with a lot of news and information everyday. Most news we hear from the media and sometimes even well-meaning colleagues and friends are usually not healthy news.

“1 in 11 Australian women will develop breast cancer before the age of 75.”
“If your family member has died of cancer, you had better go for a check-up.”

Is that good news to you at all? Does it not cast doubt, bring fear and worry into your life?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

General Motors (GM) ran out of gas

Wow... how the mighty automobile icon of America has fallen! It actually ran out of gas!

GM stocks tumbled from a >$20US two years ago to a mere $2.67US today! And GM is now considering (or perhaps have already considered) bankruptcy. Just a year ago, the reowned financial institution Citibank fell heavily, wiping out 93% of the stock value. And not too recent it traded for $1.00US! Wonder if one can actually buy a bank from eBAY.

What gives? Why the sudden shake-up? Didn't we pay millions to the top executives to put in place robust measures so that the company stays afloat during crisis? What had happened?

I am fully convinced that paying top dollar to senior executives will NOT steer a company away from disasters or crisis. I believe rewards and encouragements go all the way down to the last man in the company doing mundane or administrative tasks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We are worth much more

If you happen to see a $10,000 dollar bill (I know it doesn't exist but let's assume it does) in the mud, would you pick it up? Many I know would pick it up because of the stated value of the bill. There is substantial value in it.

Does it matter if it is made of paper? Does it matter if it is covered in dirty, yucky mud? All these matters little to none at all. All because of the value stated on the paper.

Likewise, God sees the value in us. We are so precious in His sight that He sent His only Son to die for us and redeemed us back to Himself. Once in a while, we fall into mud (ie sin). But that does NOT change the value He had placed on us. There is nothing the washing of the water (ie Word of grace) cannot do to wash the exterior.

The purchasing power He had used to redeem us back gave us our worth. It was an overpayment for us in fact. More than we could ever think of. We deserved only the lowest but He gave us the Highest.

If a friend tells you that the $10,000 dollar bill is only worth $10 dollars, would you believe it?

None of us would. Simply because we can see the value for ourselves. Someone had printed the value on this piece of flimsy paper.

If we can believe the power vested by the monetary authority on that paper (even though it is just a paper), surely we can more than believe the Creator and Almighty who had placed our precious worth in His Word. He calls us Beloved, Redeemed, Precious, Children of God, Sons and Daughters, Heirs, a Holy Nation and Royal Priests.

The $10,000 dollar bill was just an illustrated value.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are worth MUCH MORE than that. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Eph 2:4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
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.

Friday, May 08, 2009

What happened to Jesus during the three days of His death?

I pray this sharing will shed light to what happened to Jesus during the three days of His death.

I want us to focus on Jesus - God's redemption and the eternal home He had prepared for us. I do not find joy speaking about Hades or hell. However hell is as real as Jesus claimed it to be.

Read Luke 16 The Rich Man and Lazarus
19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.

23In hell (original Greek is Hades), where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' 27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

This story is real.
So is Lazarus. He is not a story-made person by Jesus because Jesus does not use real names for parables in which He uses "There was a certain Jew, rich man, priest" etc. So we know a beggar named Lazarus actually existed during Jesus' time. And this story is not a parable but an actual situation.

Both died. Where did they go?
Lazarus went to be with Abraham in a place called Abraham's Bosom while the rich man went to Hades, or Sheol and was in torment, awaiting judgement. It was not clear why Lazarus went into Abraham's Bosom and why the rich man went into Hades.

However it cannot be that the rich man was rich therefore he went to Hades, or sheol. Because Abraham himself was rich, and so was Jacob and David, etc. I strongly suggest that Lazarus believed Jesus while Jesus was on earth while the rich man rejected Him. But that is another topic for discussion beyond this subject matter.

Where is Abraham's Bosom? Where is Hades?
No one could be justified through the Law. All have sinned through Adam's one disobedience. Yet there is a group of people known as the Righteous Dead. These are the people who believed in faith that God will provide a saviour and Redeemer in time to come. These people looked forward (or ahead) by faith that one day their sins would be cleansed and taken away completely. Not covered by sacrifices of the blood of bulls or lambs which were temporary.

That's why Abraham, even when he had lied was not struck dead. This included Jacob. All these people lived before the Law. Even after the Law was given, God's judgement was tempered with mercy. That's why David pleaded mercy when he committed adultery. Yet a death had to be wrought for his sins because David lived under the Law. However David looked forward for a time in future when he prophesied "Blessed is the man whose transgessions are not counted against him"! That's us, brothers and sisters in Christ. David saw us as - Blessed!

These people were put in a holding place called Abraham's Bosom. For those who rejected God's provision for a Saviour, they were put in Hades, a place of torment awaiting God's judgement. These are two different places because there is a great chasm between Abraham's Bosom and Hades (or Sheol) as mentioned in the story. These rightoues dead waited patiently for His death for them to be set free. That's where Lazarus went, I believe.

Hades is also a place of darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth. See Luke 13:28 "28"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out." And Matthew 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Where is Paradise?
Recount the thief who asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus assured him "Today you will be with me in paradise"?

The thief too looked forward for his sins to be forgiven and he was counted as part of the Righteous Dead, awaiting the Saviour to cleanse and save him completely. Hence I believe Paradise is in truth Abraham's bosom because Jesus had yet to ascend into heaven. First Jesus must pay for the sins he had carried (see later).

Where was Jesus in the three days He died?
We know that when Jesus died, He carried the sins of man throughout time, even those of Adam. Thus Jesus died a sinner, even though He committed no sin. There is a deeper purpose why He died a sinner too.

First He descended into the lower regions (Hades, or Sheol) carrying our sins. He died a sinner. One of his victorious work was to wrestle the keys of Death and Hades from the devil, which He did.

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."
9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

Revelations 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

And then He crossed over and went to Abraham's Bosom to bring the Righteous Dead with Him into heaven. See in Ephesians "He led captives in his train"? These were the Righteous Dead who could not ascend into heaven because of Adam's sin.

Another supporting verse John 10
14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

There are other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I believe most refer to the sheep from another pen as the Gentiles. But can it also not refer to the Righteous Dead?

These righteous dead were those people (ie Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, including the thief, etc) who died before Jesus' death but were awaiting for Him to come and free them and bring them into heaven. Thus when Jesus died, the tombs of many holy men broke open and they became alive in Christ!

Matthew 27: 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him?
John 20 Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary could not recognise Jesus because He was in his glorified form. She only recognised Him when He called her and opened her eyes. When she looked to embrace Him, He told her not to touch Him. Yet in later scriptures, we see that He allowed Thomas to touch His side and hands. Why?

Because His work as High Priest had not yet been completed. Remember He still had to present His blood before His Father in the Holy of Holies and sprinkle them before the Mercy Seat. We also know the physical tabernale is a shadow copy of the one in heaven. Thus the final work was God's acceptance of His blood and believing man is completely cleansed and sins taken away. Jesus was doing the exact priestly work as required in the Old Testaments. He came to fulfil the Law, every bit of it, such that it satisfied God completely! For more understanding, read Hebrews in details to see Jesus' priestly work.

Hence He told her, "Do not hold (or touch) me as I have not yet returned to my Father." A High Priest cannot be defiled or touched just as he enters the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood upon the Mercy Seat on top of the ark. Likewise Jesus was carrying His own perfect blood for the cleasning of all of those who believed in Him, including the Righteous Dead. If only Mary's eyes were opened, she would have seen the spirits of many righteous men of the Old Testaments around Jesus.

So when Jesus went into heaven carrying his blood, the angels sang in joy. Man is now allowed into heaven for the first time. And heaven exploded with:

Psalm 24: 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Because of the perfect sacrifice and atoning work of Jesus was completed. The Lamb that that was slain was obedient till death and fully glorified God in Himself.

What is hell then?
Death and Hades are not a state of mind or being. Because Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire which is called Hell. How could a state of being or mindset be thrown into hell? It does not make sense. Hell is now a place for those who rejected God's redemption through Christ. It is also for the devil and his fallen angels. It is a place completely separated and apart from God. There is no redemption here. It is the second death.

Confusion also arose in 1 Peter 3:19...whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

That word preached is NOT 'the gospel preached for redemption' but 'to herald, or proclaim Lord's judgement' that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Not as a particular teaching by Catholics who hold that there is a second chance for redemption.

Jesus literally went through three days of 'hell' to save us completely.

May you be blessed by this sharing.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Is love a chore?

I read something about reasons for obeying and serving God. Are we doing it because because He first loved us, or we love Him, or because it is the right Christian thing to do, or because we want His blessing, or because we fear His wrath?

1 Corinthians 13:4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.

I used to think this is the kind of love we must exhibit as Christians. I used to think this is the kind of love I must show to my neighbour. I was wrong. I can never in my lifetime reach or achieve this kind of love. Only God can. Thus this verse is the kind of perfect love God has for us.

Love will automatically fulfill His commandments, of which the two pillars are based upon - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind. And love my neighbour as myself. I can never do it. But Jesus can.

This love as described in both Corinthians and the Law comes only when we know how much we ourselves have been loved by God. And this love was shown when Jesus willingly died for me. Without accepting His love, I can only sustain my own kind of love. My own selfish love.

Perfect love casts out all fears. This love comes only from God. There is no other perfect love, except that which a righteous man died for sinful men to redeem us back for His own. His blood shed completely cleansed me so much that I can stand before a holy God righteous and pure, and dispel the accusations thrown at me. His blood has drawn aline around me, protecting me and crying, "Redeemed!"

Love covers a multitude of sins. How much and how deep is the multitude of sins? Wide enough when His arms were thrown open wide on the cross. Deep enough that He went into the very depths of hell to wrest the keys of death back for us.

When this love displayed by God through Christ sits rooted within you, you don't have to be told not to kill your neighbour. You won't steal his stuff either. You won't commit adultery because you love your wife. All these are possible when we are first filled with His love for us. We, on our own, can only love so much.

Obedience out of fear has good short-term effects - but for how long? Eventually people will just run away from the prospect of an angry, judgmental God because we could not fulfill what is required from Him. Or turn away as the Israelites did because fulfilling those laws becomes a chore. How can we even fulfill the first commandment which is to have no other gods before or besides God? Who can truly say God is always #1 in our lives all the time?

And wanting blessings alone without knowing His love is only selfish gain. It is not worship of God but worship of self.

When we come to understand and experience how much God loves us, worship becomes a natural response. It fills our entire person even as our souls' longings are satisfied. We no longer fear Him because His perfect love for us, shown by sending His Son while we were deep in sin, drives out all our fear. And receiving His blessings is as easy as a child receiving from a loving father.

In Proverbs 10:22 (Amplified Bible) The blessing of the Lord--it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

This is the kind of blessings I want from the Lord - no sorrows and no toiling (or self-effort). Some people have told me this refers to spiritual blessings. Think again, if these blessings are spiritual, how can sorrow be added to them? Surely it means more than spiritual blessings. Can it not mean *gasps* material things too?

A story I once heard:
There was a woman who was married off to a tyrannical man. He dictated her every move and made her his servant. He wrote a list of her daily duties: waking up at 5am everyday, cooking his breakfast and serving it to him in bed, making coffee, getting his newspapers for him to read, basically waiting on him hand and foot. She was miserable.

One day the man died, and the wife was free. She married again later, to a patient, gentle man who loved her. One day she was looking through her stuff when she found the old list her husband had drawn up for her. She realised suddenly that she did the exact same things for her current husband - but because now she did them out of love, it was no longer the chore it had been.

Friday, April 17, 2009

No way, Jose... er, Josie

The response from DBS in relation to Josie Lau's appointment as AWARE President is laughable.
Banks worldwide are facing very challenging times and her role as VP in the credit card space today is even more challenging, given the environment we are in,” the spokesperson said.

How ironic and absurd. If I remember correctly, one of the core values in large MNC is to do volunteerism work, isn't it? I guess it isn't so for DBS since there aren't gonna be any monetary gains.

I felt it was eerily high-handed and arrogant like the PAP. Pray tell me, do you pay her after-hours 24 x 7? What has her role in AWARE got to do with her VP appointment in DBS? Are there conflict of interests between the goals of AWARE with that of DBS for you to make such a statement? My finite mind thinks not.

Let me ask you a truthful question:
Can you be certain none of your senior management has ever held a post as an Executive Committee member in golf resorts or town clubs before? I think you'd better do your checks before you response to my question.

Anway who are you to tell what I can or cannot do in my free time as long there is non-conflict of interest and it does not degrade my performance at work? You don't jolly pay me for after-hours outside the office and it is not as if Josie gave a credit card fraud teaching session to your competitors.

For that matter, I know of a Victorian senior policeman who is casually employed by universities to give talks on youth and crimes. And yes he is paid hourly. I am proud of him because he went beyond his call of duty to teach and enhance public awareness in youth crimes since he has the knowledge.

In Australia, organisations allow and encourage employees to be part of the volunteerism work. Hey, the staff are even honoured for their effort especially during the Victorian Bushfire Black Saturday!

I wish you could praised her. Praise her for her dedication and for her leadership qualities which the members saw to lead them. In addition AWARE is a non-profit organisation to help women, and doesn't even come close to the functions of golf resorts or town clubs.

Our Minister Mentor says it best about knowledge sharing. To quote:
"Singapore will assess a country’s ability to absorb the transfer of ideas and knowledge before deciding whether to collaborate with the country on joint projects."

Oh wait, being an AWARE President doesn't benefit the bank. Hey, you don't even get paid. You should have assessed if AWARE is able to absort your transfer of ideas and knowledge before you decided to collaborate with them.

Heh, no wonder Josie, you got the shaft. I guess you are only allowed to hold appointments where there are significant financial gains, connections or networking.

You can forget about being a president. That goes for us, lesser mortals.

Friday, April 03, 2009

There are Leaders, and there are Leeders

Told missus that the Top 10 Best Paid Politicians should be filled with all Singaporean ministers. I wonder if their salaries include other director fees they had received. They beat even the second-placed Donald Tsang hands down without a blink of an eye! (Read the rest in The Australian)

Anyway, I had a good laugh when there was a proposal to up the pay of Australian MPs. Result? There was a furore and backlash by the public to even dare mention it during this period.

In addition I was following the G20 summit in London. The Australian showed all the other countries' figures. There were Korea, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, even Luxemburg! But no Singapore. Checked the actual countries - no Luxemberg. Luxemburg was categorised with Singapore and Switzerland on the tax havens list. Read here.

Then I realised Singapore was not invited because she was not in the Top 20 largest economies of the world! But her leader sure is paid the highest. Mind-boggling, isn't it? Sheesh we must really be so unique.

Indeed there are Leaders, and there are Leeders.

  1. Lee Hsien Loong - Singapore
    Salary in dollars - $2.47 million
    Salary in local currency - S$3.76 million
  2. Donald Tsang Yum-Kuen - Hong Kong
    Salary in dollars - $516,000
    Salary in local currency - HK$4 million
  3. Barack Obama - United States
    Salary in dollars - $400,000
  4. Brian Cowen - Ireland
    Salary in dollars - $341,000
    Salary in local currency - €257,000
  5. Nicolas Sarkozy - France
    Salary in dollars - $318,000
    Salary in local currency - €240,000
  6. Angela Merkel - Germany
    Salary in dollars - $303,000
    Salary in local currency - €228,000
  7. Gordon Brown - UK
    Salary in dollars - $279,000
    Salary in local currency - £194,250
  8. Stephen Harper - Canada
    Salary in dollars - $246,000
    Salary in local currency - C$311,000
  9. Taro Aso - Japan
    Salary in dollars - $243,000
    Salary in local currency - Y24 million
  10. Kevin Rudd - Australia
    Salary in dollars - $229,000
    Salary in local currency - A$330,000

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Missing links?

This 'thoughts and rambling post' was in draft. Until the recent Cabinet re-shuffle announcement triggered the release.

Currently I am pretty busy at work. Blog time is whatever spare time I have. Being busy is a good thing in this 'so-called' time of downturn. Well, I had never believed in downturns as a matter of fact. My perception is what people often see as failures are really opportunities. Read Joseph (of Eygpt) in the bible and you won't be far off.

Anyway back to the main topic. This re-shuffle got me seriously thinking about the recent slew of questionable and mind-boggling events that had occurred recently.

David Widjaya's death
The MSM (mainstream media) reports were highly suspicious when they began to publish the likely causes of the death in spite of in-progress investigations. More sickening was pointing the finger at World of Warcraft. Right... that made me a 'suicidal person' since I had been playing it for many years. The most striking thing was that an official coroner's report had yet to be published!

I did remember commenting on MM Lee's statements some time ago about the Mat Salamat's escape. He said those statements while an independent inquiry was investigating. MM Lee is a very highly respectable person in Singapore. His words can effect and affect the outcome of a situational crisis. So it was no surprise when the independent inquiry report showed the lack of vigilance and total complacency. Duh! I for one felt two persons actually walked away scot-free.

Anyway it was as if MM Lee had either knew the details of the report beforehand or that he had sat with the 'independent' inquiry throughout the investigations.

Censorship on Dr Alan Ooi's farewell letter
Now that was really uncalled for. What was the MSM trying to achieve when it played the 'mind-game' of censorship?

Don't you think the truth will be out sooner considering how information is now shared on the Internet? Well it cuts across human barriers for one. The later the truth got out, the more the disgruntlement is bottled up. Be it through blogs, alternative reads, or just foreign press coverages - when people want to get the information, they will get it.

And I had to read the whole letter posted online by the Wayang Party instead of the MSM (though Wayang Party initially posted a partial letter to protect the farewells to personal friends and family).

Following this the MSM decided to publish the letter as an act of damage control. At a national level, it seemed all good to put to rest unanswered questions about the death of a scholar. The catch however was that a whole paragraph about Dr Allan Ooi's grievances with the SAF was 'snipped out'! And we had to read the unadulterated and unblemished version in Wayang Party blog!

Wow... that sure was a sinking feeling, isn't it? To have the truth withheld from me. What are you hiding? Could it be true about his grievances? Even if it was, it should be the people to decide how they want to digest the information. These are real opportunities for Ministers and SAF to stand up and respond. Instead the MSM chose the censor... what gives?

It's no fancy that the bloggers had a field day of throwing 'rotten tomatoes' and 'bad eggs' at the MSM. So much for our national paper global rankings.

CDC 8-month bonus to 2 senior managers
I will never blog about it. Except now.

In my opinion that is NWC (National Wage Council), PA (People's Association) and/or Dr Teo Ho Pin's business. And they are free to declare it and rightly so too, without any misgivings or misinterpretations. Well, on a personal note, to say 'I don't know' is a lousy answer to give to the press. Afterall Dr Teo himself is drawing money from the taxpayers too.

Just like the Perm Sec Tan Yong Soon open declaration in spending S$46,500 to learn French cooking. It's his business anyway. Who am I to say if it was well-spent or not? It's not as if he had taken his salary through underhand methods. And I truly respect him for even saying it aloud. Takes a lot of guts and confidence. Hmmm... perhaps not so smart in this 'economic recession'; maybe he should have published it in ICON or Plush magazines. At least the people who read them are in his category.

The disgruntlement became more acute within the blogsphere when the online media started a 'black-out' on this topic (read here). To make it inaccessible is to openly declare that 'we have something to hide'. Well, sort of.

This categorises under a major PR department glitch.

BBC interview with PM Lee
In the recent interview, PM Lee was asked, “Finally, Prime Minister, I read that you are apparently the highest paid head of government in the world. Your salary is about four or five times what President Obama gets. Are you worth all that money?”

PM Lee laughed and said:
"I am not comparing myself and I don’t look at these rankings. We go on a system which is open, honest, transparent – what is the job worth, what is the quality of the person whom you want. We need the best people for the job and these are jobs where you make decisions which are worth billions of dollars.

And you cannot do that if you are pretending and you just say, ‘Well, we are all in it for the love of King and Country’. We want it to be honest, we want people not to come in for the money. But at the same time the sacrifice cannot be too great. And at times like these, you want the best possible government you can have."

Now you have just gone and shot yourself in the foot.

In lieu of the recent predicaments by the MSM in trying to publish 'half-truths' or hide them (I don't know which), how can you say "we go on a system which is open, honest, transparent"?

What about how the President approval of touching the reserves? Was it open? Or based on trust? Surely not open if you had asked any man on the street until you were pressed for more answers.

Let me also draw you to the recent Town Council, Temasek and GIC invesments. Can you truly say it's transparent? I'm not too sure... and if I have doubts, it means you haven't been very transparent at all.

So if there is 'little' openness and much improvement for transparency (in my opinion), how can the word 'honest' be thrown it? It's pretty contradictory, don't you think?

And to top it off - now hear this:
Your whole answer (yes, your answer, PM Lee) was MISSING from Straits Times publication!

Why? Isn't the act self-contradictory again? It looked so, so silly from my point of view. Really. Anyone can just pick it up the missing pieces quickly (just like here) especially reading from other foreign online press. So it behooves me about the unnecessary censorship.

I'd reckon the current MSM wouldn't had 'blacked-out' your answer if there had been another independent media publishing the full transcript of your interview with BBC.

I just don't know where to hide my embarrassed Singaporean face. Again I ask - why?

Cabinet re-shuffle
Why on earth do you need these people when you are the highest paid politician in the world?!!

  • 1x Minister Mentor
  • 2x Senior Ministers
  • 2x Deputy PMs
  • 3x Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office

Mind-bloggling, isn't it? Gee, that's a lot of top-notched salaries to give out. And under the super-super scale salary scheme, they must be drawing millions! They must be truly the best politicians in the world.

On a personal note, if I were a Chairman of a company, I'd fire the CEO straightaway. Either the CEO is totally incompetent, or his workload is so uniquely 'out of this world' that he needs all these 'supporting' seniors. I wonder also how in the world does one justify drawing all these million-dollar salaries without declaring their assets?

So where does all these ramblings lead to? I'd reckon the missing links are choices and competition.

Think about it. They are the same reasons why many readers turn towards online media like blogs and foreign press to have an alternative read. It is not that the current newspaper is lousy (well, it may be but that's another topic) but people want choices and competition. We want to see from another angle but alas, we don't really have a choice, do we?

I mean if I want to know more about aerodynamics physics, it would be foolish to just read from a book or article or from one author, wouldn't it? And how much I want to read depends on how much information I want to get from the various sources of whitepaper, academic books and analytical findings.

We agree that not all these theories are correct. Well, so does reading it from one academic source alone, isn't it? In fact it's even riskier!

And how does one get better in sports or in a soccer game? Well, simply pit your skills against your opponents on a level-playing field. Of course sometimes the referee is kayu (biased).

So why should it be different in reading about news and politics in Singapore? Wouldn't alternative read enable us to question and fine-tune the system better? If we are really open, honest and transparent, then healthy competition should be encouraged. Shouldn't it?

Competition brings in healthy checks. More often it draws the best candidate too! If the government can think that a company would pay a lower wage to a foreign talent to compete on the same job, would not the people think likewise to have a lower-paid government yet performing up to par with the incumbent?

I mean that's why we have tender processes to evaluate and pick out the best company to deliver the solutions. And that's why we have more than one interviewee for a job opportunity and then another round for the short-listed candidates. To instill choices for employers and competition among the employees.

Shouldn't it be likewise for elections and MPs representing us? But we don't seem to have such a choice because the MPs and policies have already been selected for us. At least for me because I have never had a chance to vote.

Why would it then be different in Singapore politics and the MSM? Perhaps the missing links are choices and competition.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheer genius, or complete dodo


Speechless. Flabbergasted. Silenced. Call it whatever you want.

After reading this article from Today, I no longer know the depth of rubbish-ness that can come out from the Singapore msm (main stream media). Seriously. I don't know how to react, or comment any further.

Maybe it is such a brilliant move to be so unorthodox, obscure and uncomprehensible that bloggers kena stunned (caught off-guard). I mean, how are we going to answer that article? Snubbed. Totally pwned.

Either it's sheer genius, or complete dodo.

It's like saying we should go back to postage because emails and e-cards are causing world-wide companies to be obliterated. Fax machines will no longer exist and post-boxes will no longer be seen. And stamp collectors will soon fade away. There goes First-Day covers...

Wow, where did that analogy come from?

I don't know. Just like the electoral boundaries, the lines keep changing until it's all blurred now. Perhaps it is using ridiculous and highly questionable articles to increase readership. Maybe there is an angle which I had failed to see. Mayhaps it wants to test its media boundaries, or even try to stretch the limits of Singaporeans' patience to get a reaction.

I really don't know.

This is my fourth article back to back concerning the Singapore msm. Doesn't help when the press is ranked a lowly >140 out of 195 countries.

You are losing readership because you suck. No one wants to waste money for useless stuff that continues to produce junk, especially in a recession. Either you change your content or ship out. As far as I can remember, the blogging community has been telling you for ages .

You still don't get it, do you? Anyway, the Elite One has spoken. Doesn't matter a hoot to him, so why should it bother you?

"Singaporeans are free to read whatever they want, the influential founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew said of his country, which ranks near the bottom on a watchdog's index of press freedom."

Sheesh, I'm beginning to sound like a broken record now...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Did you leave your brains on your desk, or was it bashed out?

Online editor of Straits Times, Joanne Lee, wrote such a stupid, moronic piece of goondu (silly) junk that left me aghast and disgusted.

Appalled to be precise. First I have politicians who claim to be qualified psychiatric doctors enough to call an opposition party leader lunatic. Now I have editors who are qualified Aunt Agonys enough to give domestic violence advice to public.

I bet she must have left her grey matter on her desk when she wrote it! Perhaps her boyfriend had bashed her on the head hard enough to write in such a concussed state.

By gawd, she is the _EDITOR_, mind you! Not just some freelance, or small-fry journalist! Doesn't it make anyone wonder about the quality of journalism the msm (mainstream media) has been dishing out these days? Why would anyone want to pay to read junk anyway? And to think I had just blogged about it here and here.

And it has to be Straits Times again? Wow... these days they seem to be desperate for readers thus these controversial articles to boost their readership.

Stupid is as stupid says, dear Joanne Lee.

It’s like saying maybe a wife should change her attitude towards sex if her husband had raped/violated her. Afterall, the husband had provided for the family so she should change herself to suit his needs. What a dumbo statement!

At no point, even provoked should a man hit a woman. Period.

So just because a driver in front of me provoked me, I can come out and bash the daylights out of him so that he can LEARN something from my bashing?

Gee, are you nuts?!! Just look at the picture and you say it's semi-ok? Or do you have to write some moronic commentaries to get paid? Wake up your idea and get a life!

Here is what Joanne Lee wrote. You make your own judgement, readers.

Was Rihanna semi-responsible?
March 13, 2009 Friday, 06:08 PM

Joanne Lee looks at her own experience with dating abuse.

I ONCE dated a guy who hit me.

Not in the full-on Chris-Brown-biting-Rihanna's-ears kind of way, but we'd argue and he'd get so worked up, he'd punch the wall and shove me around a little. (It'd usually be a one-off punch because he was inherently a decent guy who knew it was wrong to hit anyone.)

Domestic/dating abuse has obviously blown up in the news since the R&B stars' violent episode last month came to light and Chris Brown was charged in court this week. Oprah Winfrey dedicated her show to the two of them and, while sending her love to the two, also said: "If a man hits you once, he will hit you again."

Initially, the condemnation all over the Internet and media was against Chris Brown. A man raising his hand against the weaker sex is just something absolutely socially unacceptable.

But a second strain of judgement has surfaced, turning against Rihanna, saying: Yes, she might be a victim but she also probably provoked Chris Brown to violence.

Domestic abuse social workers would absolutely dismiss this secondary reaction, and I don't purport to know the natures of Chris Brown or Rihanna at all, but I can understand why some people would think the victim is not entirely blameless.

You see, my ex was Chris Brown's age, 19 (give or take) at the time. We were young, we had tempers and we had not the maturity to control those tempers. When he hit me those few times, I'll freely admit, I had a part to play in the outcome.

When I was younger, I was argumentative and it didn't help that I had a way with words - twisting words, to be precise. If he got frustrated and ended up hitting out at animate (me) or inanimate objects (mirrors), I honestly can't say it was entirely his fault.

Was this the case in Rihanna's situation? I don't know. Is it the case in all domestic abuse situations? Absolutely not. Some men just cannot control their violence and there is nothing to be done for it except for the woman to leave the monster to protect themselves and, God forbid, their children.

But what I do know, is that in my case, I contributed to his anger - which is why I forgave him time and time again (not that there were many times) and did not leave him. When we broke up in the end, it was for entirely different reasons.

As far as I know, he's now happily married, a father and doing well in his career. As for me, I think I've learned to bridle my tongue and be a more give-and-take kind of partner. (And I stress, give-and-take. Not give-and-give.)

So my humble advice to anyone out there facing mild cases of domestic/dating abuse is this: If you can help the situation by changing yourself, perhaps that's something to try if you truly love the guy.

Operative word: MILD.

If he's saying "I'm going to kill you", arm-locking you and biting your ears, no matter how much you look within yourself to try to improve your relationship, I really doubt your man is going to grow out of his temper tantrums.

Rihanna, leave the dude already.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I must be a mushroom

That's how the Singapore msm (mainstream media) and SPH (Singapore Press Holdings who owned the msm) treat me. A mushroom. Why?

Because they keep me in the dark and feed me nothing but bullsh*t all day.

I could have included Temask Holdings also owns SPH. But I won't sink to your underhand methods and rather keep things in perspective and objective. However you, SPH, time and again have brought in unnecessary details to smear others.

For a good example is bringing in Chia Tik Lek's Tan Lead Shake's name in an article over his brother's death. You also did not fail to mention him as the Slippers Independent Candidate in an election. Pray tell me, what has that got to do with the death?

But for Mas Selamat's escape, you conveniently heaped the blame on us Singaporeans for being complancent, on the guards and duty officer-in-charge, and the upgrade of the TV cameras, etc. Everything except the real people who ought to get the boot - MHA minister and the Head of the Detention Centre.

Does not take a rocket scientist to wonder why you are stuck at 154th media position in the world.

Now there is a furore over how the MSM skewed the article to pin the blame on Dr Allan Ooi. And even censored parts of the letter to protect the SAF. Oh the audicity of it!

I mean what have we been fed all these years?! Yes, bullsh*t.

So I concur then that the government must have foreseen huge investments and profits in mushroom farms in the coming years.

Coz definitely we are all mushrooms.

More read here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What you read is not what you read

Oxymoron? Yeah you bet!

Especially when SPH has sunk to a new all-time low in gutter journalism. Yes I'm refering to the death of Dr Allan Ooi.

See for yourself here and here.

Everyone was taken for a ride if you had just gardner the contents from SPH. I mean it's so blatantly different and the spin story will spin you until you feel the late Dr Allan Ooi is just a love-sick puppy. Which he is NOT!

Really, I’m absolutely disgusted and appalled that even a letter has to be censored! I mean it’s his last letter for God’s sake!

Why would you do that, SPH? Isn’t it as bad as North Korea to have a tightly-controlled media? Why hide the facts and truths? It doesn't bring you any glory except now you have lost your pride and credibility? And it’s not as if in recent years you have had any.

You used to be good. I liked reading the newspapers many years ago. I don’t know what had happened. You had just lost the plot. Totally.

Thank you Wayang Party for portraying the truth. I cannot imagine how we would think of the late Dr Allan Ooi if you hadn’t published the first half of the letter not omitting SAF.

You truly sicken me, SPH! I’d never thought you will sink to a new low. Pui! You had left an utterly bitter (and not even close to satisfying) aftertaste as my punchline for this blog Kaffein-nated goes.

No wonder your government bosses are so afraid of the Internet because truths will be exposed and outrightly published without your control. And you have sought time and again to discredit bloggers, especially socio-political blogs.

So now I being to wonder if you had been telling us the truth about the recent deaths of David Hartanto Widjaja and Zhou Zheng.

I feel total disdain for you, SPH!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One man's ideas? I think not

If you want to have an analytical overview and alternative read about what PAP claims, go no further and read Part 1 and Part 2. These articles are a really, really good. I think these should be in the history lessons, or at least an economic model of how not to screw up.

I have always had my misgivings whenever the PAP blows its trumpet that the modern day Singapore attributes herself to the wisdom and analytical vision of my godfather - LKY. Eversince I had started reading alternative views and commentaries (with just a simple pick up of an SDP newsletter at Orchard Road ages ago), I had begun to suspect that there are underlying truths that will never be published or made known publicly. You can get yourself a copy of the book - 'A Nation Cheated' here. There are also other alternative reads.

These articles not only walked through how Singapore had progressed through the years but also debunked the fact that the succes of Singapore was just LKY’s vision and wisdom that brought her thus far. Rather LKY had also followed other economic models, an example is the Switzerland one. There is nothing wrong with such claims but to attribute the country's success were based on his ideas/vision and his alone is a tad far off.

No, I am not saying he did not contribute to the success. In fact, I rather liked certain policies like making education compulsory. Yet again, it was not just his idea alone. Another one of the good policies is the death penalty on certain major crimes like drug trafficking, firearms possession, kidnapping, murder, etc. I am not a strong advocate on death penalty because life is precious. However there are some 'jokers' who are not only a menace to society by their mere existence, they are also sinisterly dangerous to our kids and well-being. They ought to be locked up for life, or perhaps life snuffed out of them.

Of course we have questionable ones like the 'Speak more Mandarin, less dialects' and the 'Stop at Two' and many others which we are now seeing the 'side-effects'.

I have digressed.

Now that Singapore has developed and progressed (at least at the educational and academic level and has been called a developed country), I believe we ought to be mature enough to handle alternative political reads. Many of my colleagues and friends (while I was still in Singapore) still hold the passive approach that 'government knows best' and continue to have the 'don't touch this if it ain't broken' attitude.

Like I have written a comment in Lucky's 'Diary of a Singaporean Mind', many Singaporeans need to open up their thinking and see the world for themselves. I do not claim that I have reached a thought level good enough to advise others. But after reading the comments published by some (young?) Singaporeans in response to the David Hartanto Widjaja saga, I could not help lamenting that they have a rather silo view of 'the state media is always right else it won't be published, will it?' mentality.

So much for musings. I believe it's time to move on from our past victories and successes so often trumpeted by the PAP who claimed to have brought Singapore thus far. It is starting to sound like a broken record these days.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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

More photos as promised (see also Part 1 and Part 2).

The remaining three days of our trip were spent at Cradle Mountain. There is a reason why it's called Cradle Mountian.

The drive from Launceston took slightly more than two hours at a good leisurely pace. We stopped for lunch break at a small town named Delorain. Remembered we did a couple of wrong turns too during the journey.

A very beautiful countryside church

Once we reached the base of the Cradle Mountain, the drive got more scenic and beautiful . It was drizzling on our way up so there was a misty and surreal feeling like we were in heaven when we finally reached Cradle Mountain Lodge. We stay there for two nights.

During the day, there are a lot of graded forest walks and hikes (check here). We took The King Billy track (~1 hour) and also the 45-min The Waterfalls Walk (Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls).

We were told the weather changes frequently. So we brought along our jackets. As usual Rachel became grouchy and irritable after a while as there wasn't any kids to play or chat with. And missus showed her displeasure. I got sandwiched in-between.

Beautiful, lush and natural forest

Sunlight creeping through the canopies, on the forest floor and a creek

Family shots, waterfall in the background

It got colder at night. and the wild noturnal animals came out looking for food. In fact there was a wallaby standing just outside our cabin door. We also came up close and personal with different varieties of possums running along the rails and beams.

Another small creek, a wombat having lunch out in the open

Trekking to Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls, Rachel the Amazon Princess
(Apologies: too dark to take good pictures of the waterfalls)

On the way back to Hobart we stopped by Richmond. The Richmond Bridge (built in the 1820s) is the oldest bridge in Tasmania. The town itself was quaint and cozy.

Beautiful mansion overlooking the Richmon Bridge

Beautiful and all grown-up Rachel

Did you see how much my dear princess has grown up? She indeed looks so different from her earlier photos (see here and here). Gee, they grow up so fast. Don't we love family trips?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Latest: Got money also cannot use?!

This 'no travel deposit' feature in the new ez-link card is a no-brainer (read here).

Here are my long-standing grouses against the LTA and transport companies (which I think are all in cahoots together):
  • Public transport is er... public transport.

    What can I say? I don't know how you justify your profits if you are providing a public service. Shouldn't your profits be channeled back into the public in terms of stablising fares and providing better systems?
  • When you lower your fares, you say as if you have done us a great service and feel that you have given me an orgasmic feeling. You don't. Get over it.
  • From the newspaper article: "But the Land Transport Authority (LTA) explained that the new features of the card make this system more convenient."

    Shouldn't you be making the system more convenient for the PUBLIC? Gee, this one absolutely no-brainer. I guess the word public is no longer in your vocab.
  • Nobody asked for special features like Mobile TV, electronic tags or cards, or even high-tech transport systems implementations.

    If you had taken public transport like we do, you will find that people just want to get from one place to another through the more accessible route, at a reasonably comfortable journey and in the quickest time.

    All other jazz pales in comparison.
  • If you want to move towards a cashless society and use the latest technology, by all means do it. Support yourself with the profits you have been having all these years. The common man should not be penalised.
  • Paying for something which is useless is... useless. The inital purchase of the ez-link card can't be returned. Till now, you have not told me what I can do with this card?
  • Do care to explain how much you have earned from advertisement alone? I could hardly look outside the windows these days without straining my eyes when I visited Singapore three months ago. They have been blanketed by your advertisement posters.

    If you already have a steady stream of income from these advertisements, how come you are still justifying transport hikes? Reminds me of TV licenses.
  • Now you implement an absolutely confusing system/policy and we have to adapt. See how moronic your statement in the article is:
    "When you bought the old ez-link card, you had to pay an extra $3, known as a travel deposit, and this was not reflected in the card's balance.

    So, when the card reader shows a balance of $0.01, there is actually $3.01 still on the card. And you can still take a bus or a train.

    With the new card, the $3, which is no longer known as a travel deposit, is reflected in the card balance. That's all.

    Wah how come so cheem (hokkein meaning complicated)? There is $3 but actually it is $0? Pray tell me, which smart-alec government scholar made simple mathematics so complicated? At least in the old card, the travel deposit is not reflected. So when you reach $0 or close to it, you know it's time for top-up.

    Now it is there but still cannot use? Sounds like the dreaded CPF blackbox. *koff koff*

Thursday, February 19, 2009

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


The bane of man. If it hadn't been for missus' constant nagging reminder, I would have conveniently forgotten about them. I am certain God thought Adam had procrastinated far too long in naming all the animals He had created.

Left alone, I reckon Adam will still be naming them today. No wonder God said Adam needed a helper. And a secretary.

Remember to thank missus, dear readers. Here's Part One to refresh your memory.

Some coastal beach (very cold with Antarctic wind blowing)

We travelled from Hobart to Bicheno. Along the way, we visited the Freycinet National Park.

The park is very scenic and beautiful. I was told the hike to reach the Wineglass Bay lookout used to be >2 hours from the old carpark.

I believe the Tasmania Tourism Board decided to spare tourists like me from fatigue torture and had constructed a new carpark further uphill. It now takes 1 - 1.5 hours.

The hike up was totally worth the view as you can see below.

Rachel trying to convince the wallaby to hike along

I think it retorted, "Are you crazy?!"

Do you see the mountainous backdrop in the photo below? The Wineglass Bay is just behind it. No wonder the smart wallaby refused to tag along.

Rachel's partners in 'crime', family photo

Solid as a rock

Breath-taking scenery! Worth every effort...

... and the after-effects

After spending a night in Bicheno, we continued our journey to Launceston.

Launceston is much smaller compared to Hobart but definitely more bustling than Bicheno. Bicheno feels like a surfers' town.

We visited the Penny Royal World & Gunpowder Mill. Unfortunately it was under renovation and closed to public. There is also a nearby hand-made sweet factory named Gourlays Sweet Factory.

Gunpowder Mill and Gourlays

Quaint cafe and service apartment reception

Random photos shots, prominent windmill in town
Click to view Part One. I will be uploading Part Three with Cradle Mountain photos soon... :P

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of godhood, divinity and deity

Before you read further, this is a political rant. Just read an article by Gerald Giam (read here).

I will like to respond to that letter. (Un)fortunately I don't subscribe to lousy newspapers which people use to pick up dog poo. This satirical strategy-game advice I have written has this underlying statement:

"We make lousy gods. Stop playing one!"
There are numerous PC games like 'Black and White' and Sims-series to keep your air-level godhead and godhood status satisfied. Bear in mind, your worshippers have a 'happiness index' too. As in the games, there are repercussions if you are a lousy god.

Anway, here is how not to bring your 'diety' status to an all-time low:
  1. Be wary of burnt offerings.
    You may consider it pure joy when people 'tithe' or bring offerings to you through taxes you have imposed. However a minority might be fanatical enough to decide that burnt offerings albeit human ones are the holiest.
  2. Size does matter... with shoes.
    Being a lousy god, you might jumpstart a shoe fetish or craze among the public to own the largest and fattest size. Both American and Chinese gods have had no trouble reading labels and their respective sizes in close personal encounters of the flying types.
  3. Use better priests.
    Wisecrack statements by your clerical mouthpieces like "...squandered opportunity for a higher degree of self-regulation", "I am so happy whenever I see my monthly CPF statements", "5-day week is to be more reproductive" to "lesser mortals" don't make you popular with your worshippers.

    You need an A-team to deliver best results. If the A-team fails, use foreign imports. It's cheaper anyway.
  4. Do unto others as you would have others done unto you.
    Packing off your old, ex-worshippers into neighbouring countries will not only incur the wrath of your worshippers, it stirs righteous indignation among your neighbours. This hurts diplomatic ties big time. Not unless you want to get pk-ed and pwned.
  5. Some LEEders don't know when to quit.
    You don't get many chances to restart in failed missions. So 'save' often and quit while you are ahead.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

(Testimony) More than a conqueror in Christ

I have been wanting to publish this testimony that I had written in early 2009 and emailed to my friends. Now I wish to share it with you readers.

May you be blessed by the goodness of God.

Wishing you a blessed 2009.

I executed a project implementation on 2 Jan. Towards the end of the day, I received an email from a senior manager (whom I shall call Cathy) from my client company. She had accused me of executing the implementation without her approval. To add fuel to the fire, another manager from the client company (who was covering for the approvers on leave) had said that no approvals were required since the implementation was not pertaining to any production environments.

I called Cathy to explain the situation. She was furious and adament that I had flouted a very serious offence. Before putting down the phone, she would escalate to the senior management accordingly. Though she was rather rude and aggressive throughout, I responded politely and professionally.

Initially I did not take her threat very seriously until I read her email sent within the next few minutes. It was addressed a very senior vice president in US (whom I shall call Dave). He was the senior project executive handling my client account. To make matters worse, this email was copied to all the senior directors of her company.

I was pretty much in a state of shock. I immediately forwarded the email to my reporting manager lest he gets a call from US. I doubt he could do much since it had bypassed even the technology head in Australia.

It was already close to dinner time and we had already decided to eat out. While driving, I told Selene that whatever the situation, it would be turned into my favour. Somehow God is going to change the bad spotlight into a blessing where my name will be remembered well among the senior management of both sides.

Of course things are easier said than done. My human nature reared its ugly head.

At 4:30am I woke up feeling concerned. How God can save me goes against all human logic and reasoning. How could I sit still and do nothing? I brought out my laptop. Perhaps I should pen an explanation to Dave and copy a few senior managers to back me up.

I felt trapped and hopeless like the Israelites. In front of me was the vast Red Sea and behind me was the marauding Egyptian army. With despair flooding my soul, all I could think of were the 'what-ifs' scenarios. What if I had lost my job? I have a house mortgage to pay and I am the only breadwinner. Already many companies are retrenching their staff. Would this not be a good reason to fire me? Would God bless me with this job and yet take it away from me? I was settling for the best scenario where I would get a stern 'tick-off'.

Admist my fear, God's still small voice spoke. Just a word "Shalom". Peace, be still. My raging sea immediately lapsed into tranquility. "I will be your Shield and Mighty Tower. The battle belongs to the Lord."

And behold, a new mail alarm box popped up.

Dave had replied her email. To summarize he sternly told Cathy off (our client, mind you) and that he did not like her tone. He would not conclude without knowing the facts. Five minutes later, I saw Cathy's reply. I thought miserably, "This could well turn into a open war with each senior director taking sides and pouncing on each other's throats!"

To my astonishment, Cathy apologized. No, you did not hear me - she APOLOGIZED for her tone and will instead better her communication skills. Her email was sent to the same distribution list of seniors. She mentioned that she would also work closer with my company to improve the process. As if it wasn't enough, she sent me a personal note (copying Dave) to ask me to accept her apology. She would like to treat me to a cup of coffee as an apology. Even my manager was stumped! Anyway, he was in the midst of replying to Dave when I informed him the matter was settled.

Woot! Praise God! Imagine if I had tried to explain.

As God told Moses and the Israelites to "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord", God had perform the same miracle and opened up my very own Red Sea! The good news for everyone is - God is still in the business of opening up our Red Seas today. He is the God of the impossible!

Now how victorious can it be? Too good to be true? I beg to differ because I have an awesome Father. If God is on my side, who can be against me? God didn't say there won't be any weapons formed against me. But He did promise that those weapons formed against me cannot prosper, and every judging words against me shall be condemned. Hallelujah!

Now I have an even deeper understanding of being 'more than a conqueror' in Christ. It simply means Christ will fight our battles and all we need to do is rest. Once the battle is over, all we need to do is pick up the spoils of war. We are already victorious through a battle we didn't fight. Now that is more than a conqueror!

Just like a husband who works hard and brings home the money. And his wife gets to spend every single cent of it. The husband is a conqueror while the wife is more than a conqueror. Just joking :P

Remember Simon Peter? Jesus told him to let down his nets. And Simon hauled up a net-breaking, boat-sinking, load of fish. So much that he had to yell for the other boats to help him. Who attracted the fish to the boat? Jesus the Conquerer. Who got the spoils? Simon the more-than-conquerer in Christ.

That's you. That's me. That's for everyone who believes in Him.

There is a catch though: you simply have to REST and TRUST Him who is able.

Jesus + Anything = Nothing;
Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Help for bushfire victims

Many people have lost their homes and loved ones in one of Australia's worst tragedy. If you wish to donate, go to the Australian Red Cross website (more details).

Let us provide whatever assistance to the victims, be it through prayer and donation (financial, clothes, blood).

Australian Abortion Laws To Blame For Bush Fires?

For my Singaporean friends, I am alive and well. Thank you for your concern.

These are my thoughts and opinions in response to a certain dream from a person named Danny Nalliah linking abortion laws to the bush fires (read here).

I have been waiting for preachers to come forward and proclaim God's judgement upon Australia and Victoria. Seems like it's so common these days - doom and gloom. If they really had a word (or dream) from God, I'm sure the disaster would have been averted if they had stood up before then. No offense, gee anyone could have done it, with or without a word of knowledge. Even a terrorist claims his god is just and mighty in the 911.

If you want to see here how a disaster was averted as God gave a word of knowledge, see here (in Youtube) by a healing evangelist named TD Joshua. For info, see the other videos how a leg cancer was healed and also how a dead man had been raised.

So what is the difference between us Christians and the rest of this world?

The BIG difference is while we were lost in sin, our God came down and showed us how much He loved us by dying on the cross for us and saved us from the uttermost. All these He had done while we were still deep in sin.

There are some things flawed in his account:
  1. How can anguish and agony and death bring glory to God?
    The God I know who loves the world enough to send his Son to die for us while we were sinners. If his theory holds true that God is judging the world, He wouldn't have sent a saviour. He would have sent a destroyer.

    And God didn't send a destroyer, He sent His own Son whom He loves.
  2. Since when in the bible has God's wrath brought repentence?
    Rom 2:3 clearly states "So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

    Read again. God's kindness leads us to repentance, not His wrath. If it was His wrath, the people of Israel would have turned to God. But they didn't.

    See the Samaritan woman example. It was an encounter with Jesus and His love for her that brought her change. Jesus didn't condemn her at all. Look at the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."

    When people know how much God loves them in Jesus Christ, they will change and sin will lose its hold. The more we focus on sin and how we should address it, the more we give sin power and sin consciousness and will soon get entangled in its snare.
  3. What about Jonah? Didn't God's wrath was averted when Jonah preached and the Ninevites repented?
    Read carefully again. Jonah's words were "That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah knew his God. Do we?

    Anyway, he was to preach that God loved the Ninevites in spite of their sin. Instead he preached judgement. And he had hoped that through the message of judgement, they would turn further away from God.

    See Jonah 4:1 "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry." If he knew they would be changed with his preaching on wrath and judgement, why would Jonah be angry?

    And "5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city." Jonah was expecting judgement to come upon the city. However God had compassion and by God's grace, the city repented and was spared.

    That was why God asked Jonah, "Why are you concerned for a vine you did not grow? If you can be so concerned about a mere vine, how much MORE am I concerned about the city who knows neither its left hand from its right hand!"

My personal thoughts:

  1. The world preaches doom and gloom all day.
    God through Jesus preaches love and hope. We the church are not like the world.
  2. Disasters and calamities are NOT from God.
    The keys of this world had been given by Adam to Satan when Adam fell. Satan still rules and holds sway in this world on how it is run. However the good news is his time is limited when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus is restoring what the first Adam had lost to us His bride. Not only that, He is giving us greater honor than what the first Adam had because Christ is the firstborn of the new Adam.

    Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord:
    "Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.

    God is putting every enemy under Jesus' feet and the last enemy is death. This is an on-going process and each day Satan is losing his grip while more and more people turn to Christ.

    However one day, we will be raptured and that's when Satan's full fury and anger will be unleashed on the earth. "We are light and salt of this earth" - our presence are vital to the world not going amok!
  3. In the old covenant under Law, when a person sins, he has to pay for his sins and curses follow through. Sometimes this comes in the form of diseases, disasters, failed crops, drought, etc.

    It is not that God brought the curses. How could God be evil? Rather God had to remove his protection and that was how Satan could enforce disasters and diseases upon a person. Eg. The snakes in the wilderness. All these while the snakes had been there with the Israelites. But God protected them from the snakes until the Law came. Then God had to be the Righteous Judge and remove His protection whenever the Israelites sinned.

    In the new covenant in Jesus Christ however, all sins of mankind had been put on Jesus' body at the cross 2000 years ago. There is no more curse on a believer in Christ, UNLESS the believer chooses to believe he can still be cursed under the old Law covenant.

For further read, read my response here on the global economic recession.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Singapore Budget 2009: Wage Credit

Regarding the employer's CPF contribution reduction in the Budget 2009, I have coined this synomyn LPO-RPI. It means Left-Pocket-Out, Right-Pocket-In.

The budget attempts to 'save jobs' by having a wage credit for companies. Up to 12% of the first $2500 of wages will be subsidised by the government. It seems like a really innovative approach at the first glance.

I have a different take altogether. In the nutshell, nothing has changed for the common man actually.

In this wage credit, the government tops up the remaining employer's CPF contribution. This top-up amount is taken from the CPF. After topping up the employer's contribution, it goes back to you and back into your CPF account. And ultimately back into the government's hand.

CPF (can't touch this) -> Wage Credit -> You -> CPF (can't touch this)

All in all, there is nothing to 'dip into the reserves' coz it's all transparent to you. It's like using your own money to fund yourself.

CPF is not like an account where you can withdraw at your whims and fancy. Neither were you given cash. So I do not see how the budget has helped a common man in this aspect. The only advantage it has is the employer pays less CPF contribution. How that constitutes to you saving your job is yet to be seen. I hope it does.

However this employer CPF contribution policy is also set by the government. So if companies feel the pinch, isn't it because this government's policy has created such scenario? Wouldn't it be better if the employer's CPF contribution be part of a worker's pay?

I do not want to dwell into past histories of the benefits of the CPF. There are a few angles to look at it.

Basically I do not think this Budget 2009 was impressive. One would have thought 'rainy days' might demand a more radical approach.

Let's hope I am wrong.