Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great to be Home

After being away for 4 days it is good to be in familiar surroundings. After I've settled my stuff I read my mails and find this one really speaking as if I was the writer, only that she wrote it much more eloquently. PM Najib blew it, that's what I'll say and after you read this open letter tell me if you would do the same.
 
Farah Fahmy is based in London, and has written for the media. She is intrigued by trans- and international relations between Malaysia and the Rest of the World.

Advice to the PM

July 19 — Dear Datuk Seri Najib Razak,
After your mishandling of the Bersih demonstration, I thought it only right that I offer you some advice. Of course, I am nothing more than just a citizen — one who lives abroad, to boot. Still, hopefully you’ll find my advice useful.

First of all, did any of your many advisers try to stop you from unleashing tear gas on those demonstrators? No? Well, my advice to you would be to sack the whole lot of them. You see Datuk Seri Najib, there’s one thing many people in Malaysia just don’t seem able to understand (especially those in government!): demonstrations, in themselves, won’t tarnish the reputation of a country. No, it’s how the authorities respond to demonstrations that could hurt a country’s image.

How would I know? Easy. I’ve seen many a demonstration in Britain. People protesting against meddling in the countryside; people protesting against the war in Iraq; people protesting against student fees. Yes, there was public disorder during some of these demonstrations and allegations of police brutality, but you know what, none of it tarnished Britain’s reputation. Why? Because the authorities here are accountable for their actions, and the police would be, and have been, called to account if there was even a whiff of impropriety.

Contrast this with the reputation of countries like Bahrain and Syria. Meeting demonstrators with violence is a recipe for disaster, and both countries have rightfully been condemned for the way they treat their own citizens.

And so, back to our own country. You claim that demonstrations are not part of our culture. Actually, whether demonstrations are our culture or not doesn’t really matter, does it? What matters is the fact that there are Malaysians who are unhappy enough about the state of things to partake in a rally. Whether it was 6,000 or 50,000 is also a moot point — forgive me for stating the obvious, but isn’t it your job to serve all Malaysians, whether you agree with their views or not?

In any case, if you really want those foreign companies to invest in our country, threatening your own citizens is not the way to entice them in. Far better to show that we are a country that’s mature enough to embrace a whole host of diverse views, and that you yourself lead a government that is open to dialogue and discussion.

In fact, that was what you should have done from the outset. Great statesmen don’t send in the FRU against demonstrators. Great statesmen listen to what people have to say, and are courageous enough to lead against popular opinion. A majority of Malaysians were against the demonstrators? So what? The acid test for a democracy is how it treats its minority: that minority isn’t just those who are of a different race or religion, but also those who hold a different view from the majority. On that basis, unfortunately, if anyone was grading our country, we’d have failed miserably.

After all, what was the harm in starting a dialogue with Bersih? Their demands don’t seem that outlandish to me. In fact, those demands would form the cornerstone of any electoral rule for a mature democracy. If the government still disagrees with Bersih’s stand after discussions, then fine, come out and explain why. We’re all adults, aren’t we?

Following the demonstration, there have been plenty of accusations that Bersih is partisan. Again I ask: so what? What does it matter if an NGO is supported by the opposition? If what is being fought for is for the good of all Malaysians, then what does it matter whether that particular cause is supported by the opposition or not?

The Malays have a saying: buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih. Not everyone who disagrees with the government is out to destabilise the country; some of us genuinely want to better ourselves and our country. In Britain the political parties are not above copying each other’s ideas (and anyone else’s, for that matter) if they think the ideas are good; in Malaysia unfortunately we seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that anything that doesn’t emanate from the government must be bad. In this, the path towards mediocrity and stagnation lies: how can we innovate and move forward if we don’t question ourselves and embrace change where it is needed?

Holding a proper, independent inquiry would also help. I note that the Health Ministry will be investigating allegations that tear gas and water cannons were fired into Tung Shin Hospital . Well, that’s a step in the right direction, but even better would be an inquiry led by an independent body, not a governmental one.

As you were only just recently in the UK , you can do no worse than to see how the UK handles such things (not perfectly, but still better than Malaysia). If you read the news, you might even have noticed that Rupert Murdoch will be facing a UK House of Commons Culture Committee to answer questions on the phone-hacking scandal. The Commons Committee, in case you weren’t aware, is made up of MPs from different political parties. Why not, as a first step to restore your credibility, establish a similar parliamentary body to investigate the Tung Shin allegations?

Alternatively, you could emulate David Cameron and establish a public inquiry into what went wrong. Did the police act without provocation, as some allege? Or did protestors instigate the violence, as others allege? Were people prevented from reaching medical help? Were the tear gas and water cannons necessary, or were there other things that could have been done to disperse people peacefully? Was it lawful to declare the demonstration unlawful, given that our constitution gives us the right to “assemble peaceably”?

These are all important questions that need answering. In the UK the judge leading the phone-hacking inquiry has the power to summon media owners, editors and politicians to give evidence under oath. Believe me, the reputation of our country would be enhanced, not tarnished, if we had a similar inquiry.

Finally, I would end my advice by quoting another Malay saying: Berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah. My advice would probably be highly unpopular in many quarters, and there will be those who say to do these things would be to invite questions on “sensitive” matters. I say, a true leader is one who convinces people to go along with him, even when many don’t agree. So, forget the past and think about the future. Malaysians of today are not the same as Malaysians of 1969. Transparency, accountability and openness are things to be embraced, not feared.

Well, as I said, I’m only a citizen. Doubtless you will have plenty of advice, Datuk Najib. I only hope some of mine is of use to you, for the sake of our country.


 
 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Mother's Day

Yesterday was made for my mother. If you don't believe, ask her. She had been looking towards this day since earlier this year when I went home to see her on Chinese New Year and promised her that we will celebrate her birthday this year on the actual day according to the lunar calendar. I told my siblings to set aside this day to be home. I believe day in and day out my mother had been longing for this special day to arrive, so much so that when I saw her on 28th her calendar is already displaying 29th! Her birthday.

An old person doesn't hope to live for many more years. Mother said this may be her last birthday on earth. I said no, every year hence we will celebrate her birthday in a grand way. To an old person crossing a year is akin to a high jumper scaling new heights when he sees the crossbar above his eye. Therefore every senior birthday is a RA RA day, like telling the birthday kid, you've made it! At the end of last night's dinner, as I was settling the food bill, the proprietor commented my mother looked young and healthy. I said her condition is due to her positive outlook in life due to love and support from her family. Incidentally she is the grand matriarch and the last surviving member of her generation.

During the drive to the restaurant last night my car CD coincidentally played the Happy Birthday song. It was unplanned. So we sang and wish her happiness and good health. Mom was contented and sang along.

At the restaurant more than half the guests were already seated and mother went round greeting her friends. They belong to her church. I was shocked that the expected turnout would be TWO tables more than the 10 we booked. All ended well when we added two more when the non-birthday diners vacated their tables and we took over theirs.

Dinner started on time at 7.30pm with my mother's pastor praying for her longevity and gave thanks for the food. Midway through we set up the birthday cake and my pastor brother sang to mom a special birthday song before we all arise to wish the birthday girl many happy returns of the day. Cameras flashed as this special moment was captured digitally for posterity. And after the guests have left we took turns to take group pictures with our beloved mother and grandmother.

Our heavenly Father smiled upon my mother and granted her a special birthday yesterday. May He continue to watch over her for many more years to come.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weekend in Sitiawan and Ipoh

Blogging from the lobby of Orient Star Lumut in Perak waiting for our room to be ready. The weather is hazy, must be the spillover from the open fire burning in Sumatra just across the Straits of Malacca. We are back to celebrate my mother's birthday tomorrow. The drive from Seremban was leisurely with my wife and grand daughter behind me. Took a lunch break at Bidor and met a church friend couple on their way up to Cameron Highlands. The food at Pun Chung is really expensive. No wonder we see fewer guests eating although it was just 12.30pm. Arrived OS at 3.30pm and was disappointed our room is only being prepared. But the free wifi help overcome the dismay. Tonight will be a gathering of all relatives who came back, including those from the States and UK. Grand daughter is excited to be going for a dip in the resort pool later. I called my old classmate to set up a meeting tomorrow afternoon. It will be a tight weekend.

Room finally ready at 3.55pm. Will blog later.

Room standard is average but facilities poor. No room directory, no baggage rack. Minimal toiletry and beverage packs. For the price we pay Regalodge Ipoh is of better value at cheaper rate. The only comparable feature is free wireless wifi in the room as well. The pool does not have a shower to wash before a bather enters the pool. The taps to wash the feet should have at least one above the head for showering.

Breakfast was all local fare, pretty average. The only reason I can think of why the room rate is high is the pool and gym facilities. The resort has a private beach not recommended for swimming but there is space for beach volleyball. As the weather was cloudy and balmy we decided not to swim in the pool. Lunchtime we met up my old classmate in Kampong Koh. I gave him some old vinyl records that he appreciated very much.

My 3 grandkids had a whale of their time playing in the kiddy pool this afternoon and refused to stop until made to.

Tonight was a grand affair. Relatives and friends gathered over 12 tables in a local restaurant to celebrate my mother's 86th birthday. Tonight she was the happiest person on earth.

There is no sunrise as our room faces west with a view of the naval base. As I stood on the balcony I felt the rain breeze and saw wisps of mist rising from the trees of the nearby hill and heard the birds sing. Time stood still. I wish I can stay longer but we are checking out today for the drive to Ipoh to visit my wife's father. He turned 93 last month. After an overnight stay we will drive home to Seremban.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Zealand On My Mind



It seems like only yesterday I was there but when I checked my journal, my God, it was 5 years ago during the spring of 2006 when we took a self-drive holiday there with friends and mainly in the South Island. How fast time flies!

The natural beauty and serenity of the meadows and distant hills had always entice me but for lack of time I've relied on my journal to recall the good days. The opportunity to re-visit NZ surface when I discover late last year that my good friend Aaron had migrated there and retired in Auckland. So a 2 in 1 trip is being planned next year after Easter (which I am told is a busy peak season to avoid) to revisit NZ, this time avoiding popular destinations we've been and to discover where else are scenic and pleasant to go. It will not be a self drive but a coach holiday as it will be too strenuous on me alone to drive. Choosing April in the autumn will enable us to see NZ in a different season.

The earthquake tragedy in Christchurch last year and tremors felt again this year jolted me and made me despair and doubt if I should be there at all. But I shall put my trust in God that all will be well wherever we travel. My tentative itinerary is to arrive at Christchurch and join the TranzAlpine train journey through the Southern Alps to Greymouth on the west coast and visiting Punakaiki's rock formation, then onward to Blenheim and visiting a winery before heading to Picton for the Interislander Ferry ride through the Queen Charlotte Sound across the Cook Strait to Wellington, the capital city of NZ.

After one or two night stay in Wellington we will head north to Taupo and Rotorua (we've been there but these places are worth a re-visit, especially Huka Fall which is really sparkling fresh in our minds) then to Auckland for a city tour before moving towards the final destination in the Bay of Islands. We may or may not go to Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of North Island but we may just do it to balance our drive to Bluff on the southern tip of South Island in 2006, even if only to boast that we've been to the extreme ends of NZ.

The tour will end on our return to Auckland where we will stay a few days with Aaron and Gabrielle, maybe doing some nearby short trips and catching up the missing years. The holiday will take up around 18 days, hopefully more leisurely than our 12 days trip previously. A local travel agent is customizing this package for us to compare with a similar package offered by an NZ travel company.

I am excited just thinking of this trip although we are not done yet with our upcoming Hanoi holiday in October.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Playground in my Mind

When this old world gets me down
And there's no love to be found
I close my eyes and soon I find
I'm in a playground in my mind
Where the children laugh and the children play
And we sing a song all day
"My name is Michael, I got a nickel
I got a nickel, shiny and new
I'm gonna buy me all kinds of candy
That's what I'm gonna do"


See the little children
Living in a world that I left behind
Happy little children
In the playround in my mind

Oh the wonders that I find
In the playground in my mind
In a world that used to be
Close your eyes and follow me
Where the children laugh and the children play
And we sing a song all day
"My girl is Cindy
When we get married, we're gonna have a baby or two
We're gonna let them visit their grandma
That's what we're gonna do"
"My name is Cindy
When we get married, were gonna have a baby or two
We're gonna let them vist their grandma
That's what we're gonna do"


See the little children
See how they're playing so happy
In the playround in my mind
Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba
La la la la la la la

Children playing father and mother after they observed their parents. Like cook cook or play doctor and nurse, kids just want to imitate the adults not knowing how hard it is when confronted with the real world one day. But the pleasure of pretending and make believe is the joy of being young and innocent. Adults want to relive those moments obviously longing to be carefree again, even if in our minds.

The above is the lyrics of a popular song by Clint Holmes in the early 1970s that again help restore old memories. Those of you of my age group will find it familiar too. Here's a YouTube clip.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Careplus First AGM



Today we awake extra early at 6am, bathed, dressed in our best, had coffee, then drove over at 7am to pick up our daughter, son-in-law and their children for the drive to Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, venue of Careplus Group first Annual General Meeting. An Extraordinary General Meeting will follow to obtain shareholders consent to 3 important resolutions proposed by the directors. This is a momentous day since the company was publicly listed in December last year. Many new developments and changes have taken place and will continue to take place as we evolve rapidly. I'm going to change and have my drink. It will be an interesting and busy day which I shall be updating here later.

5.00pm
The drive to Tropicana took almost 2 hours due to Monday morning jams after the Damansara Toll but we arrived in good time before the meetings start at 10am. Put up the corporate logo on the backdrop, took some pictures and signed in at the registration desk. I felt proud today as a very significant event. A few shareholders have arrived earlier than us and I greeted them. We had arranged for refreshments to be served at 9.45am for shareholders so they won't be hungry. All in we had about 38 attendance which was decent and within our projected turnout of 50.

At 10am sharp I called the meeting to order and disposed off all the resolutions and queries by 11.30am. Three shareholders were quite vocal in asking questions and commenting why we did no provide door gifts, even insisting we mail them to their houses! One asked if we can consider serving wine like some other companies do, even at the directors own expenses. We've expected such comments and I was relieved that I did not face a barrage of embarrassing questions. All in all, a wonderful first AGM to remember by.

Tropicana is troublesome to access from the south although the facilities are good. Maybe next year we will consider a different venue.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And Honey I Miss You



This is a really sad song that I could not fully understand the grief when I first heard it. Who was 'Honey'? How old was she? How did she die? There was no clue in the lyrics and the song remained a haunting favorite of mine. Listening to it sends the shiver down my spine and the feeling of intense loneliness of losing a very dear one.

Bobby Goldsboro sang it exceptionally well through his quivering and strong voice. It was released in 1968 and immediately rose to #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart selling over a million copies. It was possibly Bobby's most successful hit. Bobby is 70 now and sells paintings. Check HERE.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Something from Nothing

Time and again we see ourselves from the side of our shortcomings and our lack of whatever we envy in others, and then lose the joy of living our lives to the fullest. Rather than spreading joy we sow negative attitudes. But look at what I share below. Maybe the singer in her growing years discover she lack what normal people possess - arms and legs. Maybe she discover she can't walk, can't groom herself without assistance. But she discovered friendship and she discovered her singing talents. And she glow herself in what she has and can do to show the world she is more normal than many of us are. Watch her growing years and realize that her life is owed to her parents who chose NOT to abandon her but gave her life, support and opportunities. In developing a disabled child they have had their lives enriched and transformed. We often fail to appreciate what we have until we lose it. Then again, those who don't have develop skills from what they lack. Isn't it amazing? Isn't life a paradox?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Best Time Managers

I receive the below article from a friend without the source given. Whoever wrote this I am acknowledging your work.

Busy people are organized because they keep things in priority. Ever wonder why busy people are always on time?

Do you know people who are always late? Regardless of the event, I have friends that are always 30 minutes late. Everyone has just as many hours in the day as everybody else does, so why are some on time and others not?

Psychologists would say those who are fashionably late want to be in control or want to make an entrance so they can be the center of attention. I used to see it as being inconsiderate or wanting to show off. I think if those people wanted to be on time they could, but for whatever reason, they aren't. But for me, when I'm running late it's a time management issue.

Time management is learned. You can't buy it, you aren't born with it, and nobody else can give it to you as a gift. You have to work on it. If it's a priority to you you'll make it happen.

Here's what Time Management is to me...knowing the difference between when you have time to do something and when you don't ...that is time management. Time management is the key ingredient for busy people who seem to get more done and become more successful. Ironically it's the busy people who have more leisure time for themselves. What? I don't understand how when you are busy, busy, busy, that you can have more time for yourself. It's Time Management.

During the course of the business day when someone wants to stop you and chat, busy people will say, 'I've got to go now or I'll be late, sorry, catch up with you later.' What they are saying is, 'I've got to respect my time and the commitments I've made. I need to do this now, because I'm busy and won't be able to do it later if I stop and chat with you.'

# 1 Plan Ahead.

Busy people have a plan. They write it down on a Day-Timer or calendar. They have a schedule and they have personal things scheduled months in advance and meetings planned days and weeks in advance. They make sure there's room for impromptu meetings, hallway chats, paperwork, research and whatever they need to do because it's on the schedule.

# 2 Prioritize

They respect their plan and prioritize accordingly. Busy people put a good deal of thought into their time and schedule. Isn't it interesting that the more time you spend thinking and planning about how to use your time, the more time you have?

# 3 Delegate

Busy people effectively delegate tasks both at the office and at home. If a busy person volunteers to organize or chair a fundraiser event, they eagerly delegate to others so as not to clog up their personal or business plans.

# 4 Don't Procrastinate

More importantly they don't put off tasks they can do right now, I mean right here and right now, today, not after lunch, now.

When I'm late to a meeting and running behind time, it's usually my fault. I was either on the phone chatting, on the Internet goofing off, or was not paying attention to the time and my schedule. That's when I go back, look at my plan, my priorities and how I may have procrastinated.

On a scale of 1 - 10 I think I am a 7 in time management. What about you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love is Always Sixteen



I want to share this lyrics of the song entitled 'Always Sixteen' by Billy Ray Cyrus. I could not find his song on YouTube to share here.

Old Mr. Johnson and his wife attend my church.
Fifty-two years and they still love like it's the first.
He holds the door, she holds his hand, they kiss a little.
He helps her in the truck, she slides right to the middle.
And so one day I ask him how they keep the fire alive.
He said: "You see two old people, but somethin' down deep inside.

"Love is always sixteen.
"It's always the same, though people might change
"Its forever young:
"Love don't have to turn cold, though lovers grow old.
"Love don't have to grow weak,
"‘Cause love is always sixteen."

Baby, don't you find it just a little bit peculiar,
However close we get, we're never too familiar.
Everyday I wake up lovin' you so much it hurts,
And, baby, every kiss we kiss still feels like it's the first.
And it turns me on to know this feeling's never gonna fade.
I'm still gonna want you even when we're old and grey.

Love is always sixteen.
It's always the same, though people might change
Its forever young:
Love don't have to turn cold, though lovers grow old.
Love don't have to grow weak,
‘Cause love is always sixteen.

Through all of its phases, it's timeless and ageless.
You’re like the sun in a clear morning sky.

Love is always sixteen.
It's always the same, though people might change
Its forever young:
Love don't have to turn cold, though lovers grow old.
Love don't have to grow weak,
‘Cause love:
‘Cause love is always sixteen.
Is always sixteen.




This is an appeal to the older people: do not let the glow of your yesteryears dim and fade, nor feel embarrassed to show your affection to your beloved wife or husband. Love is ageless, love is blind. Be forever united in body and soul through your physical expression of your gentle and kindly love. Be patient and lend your listening ears. Be willing to repeat yourself when the first attempt wasn't well heard. Laugh when you forget, it will soon come back. But never forget whom you love, 'cos love is always sixteen for those whose love is evergreen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nobody Likes To Pay Tax

Especially if the taxes paid are not put to good use. Taxes are contributions to the government to cover their cost of running the state or the nation. I suppose there are no countries, except Brunei, that do not levy taxes on their citizens and corporations. So we resign to the fact that tax is as inevitable as death, the only difference being taxes come every year but death only once.

Although we dislike taxes we like refunds. It's like an unexpected bonus. So when we discover we are entitled to tax rebates our first reaction is to celebrate. Some are more cautious, they put the cash aside for a rainy day.

Another approach to saving taxes is when certain expenses are allowed as non-taxable expenses. This means you can take them off your gross taxable income and save on the final tax paid. For example, if your tax exempt expense of 1,000 dollars fall into the 20% tax bracket you save 200 dollars lower tax. Effectively your 1,000 dollars donation cost you just 800.

Tax exemption is a form of incentive to encourage taxpayers to make donations to qualified charities which the tax authorities have given approval to collect tax exempt donations. This practice make it easier to canvass for donations as the donors get a tangible saving. The 'loser' is the tax authority but it is a larger scheme to encourage taxpayers to contribute back to the needy social projects.

After being in operation for almost 3 years the society I head, PBSNS, is given tax exemption status. It is indeed a happy moment for both myself and my staff there. We hope with this impetus we will drive faster towards strengthening our work to train the learning disabled in Negeri Sembilan.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Dog is a Man's Best Friend

But is a man a dog's best friend? After watching the video below I think you may disagree. I am moved to tears when I watched the purity of animal friendship. I don't believe this script was rehearsed, who ever believe a dolphin will protect his new found friend from the sharks and deliver him safely to his mistress? It put to shame our human loyalty and friendship which often are based on conditions. Please watch the video to the very end. My only regret is the text on the screen wasn't in English but the lyrics are and the message is delivered clearly. Friendship must never be based on rules.



Thanks Al for introducing this to me and my guests on this blog.

Rainbow



Which kid is not fascinated by the rainbow? Which science student doesn't know how the colors are arrived? Which father or grandfather, upon seeing one after the rain, did not rush indoor to carry his child out excitedly to show her this glorious creation?

The rainbow belongs to my memory through 3 songs: Rainbow by Russ Hamilton, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland (check THIS post) and Sing A Rainbow by Cilla Black.

Orange and yellow and purple and green
orange and purple and blue

Red and yellow and pink and green
orange and purple and blue
I can sing a rainbow
sing a rainbow
sing a rainbow too

Listen with your eyes
listen with your eyes
and sing everything you see
you can sing a rainbow
sing a rainbow
sing along with me




It is a wonderful children song to teach the young ones. I think you'd agree that Cilla had a soothing voice with the xylophone accompaniment. The Bible made a reassuring reference about the rainbow. After the great flood that God destroyed the entire world except for Noah and his family and all the creatures he brought on board, the rain ceased and a rainbow came out. Upon this sign God made a promise that He will never again destroy mankind by flood.

Nowadays, due to increasingly heavy air pollution it is harder to see well formed rainbows except where the skies are clear. Rainbows are formed when the sun rays pass through fine water droplets at a certain angle in the air which refract the light into its 7 component colors. I committed them to memory through this mnemonic: ROYGBIV. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.



Rainbows gives me a youthful attitude. They excite my spirit and put songs in my heart. I hope you do too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Owning, Licensing, Sharing

We use things every day, be they at home, in the office, while shopping, traveling, holidaying, in government offices or visiting friends. We are used to the concept of ownership. In our minds things - be they actual physical items like chair and television, or music records/cassettes/CDs, or software like Microsoft Windows and Apple Apps, even Googles or Yahoo! we think someone owns them when they are used by another person. Which is basically true but the user is not necessarily the owner.

I think Bill Gate, the iconic founder of Microsoft Corp, is credited with the concept of licensing, which merely give users a right, usually conditional and restricted one, to use a product, commonly a creative one like software program, books and music. So we pay to use or enjoy such products which we may not transfer the right of use to another, commercially, although for personal use the rules are usually relaxed and overlooked. I think licensing is a great concept, when you get used to it. I protested many years ago, arguing why, having paid to buy, the product is not ultimately mine. Yes, long ago when I bought a music record I actually own it and the songs on them that I can sing, copy and give to others. Effectively this concept is open to abuse and exploitation, like photocopying books is hurting the writers and publishers. I suppose licensing came about to plug this loophole although there are still a lot of piracy.

Not everything can be licensed but many things can be owned, leased or rented, particularly if they are expensive, not easily moveable, an assembly of many components and depreciable, i.e. of diminishing value over time. To own is a natural instinct of man, a symbol of control and absolute right of use. Licensing is a strange idea to societies that are developing, where concepts like intellectual properties are alien to them. How do you own sound, words or design? But as the world begin to recognize and appreciate the creative skills of people, their rights to protect their livelihood have been transformed into the right of owning their creative works and not to sell but license their works for use and for pleasure. From this line of argument I believe it is becoming universally accepted that we cannot own creative works but rather pay for the privilege of using someone else's idea or creation.

More and more creative workers are moving into sharing their works, often for free. Sometimes just asking for donations. Sharing may be a step towards creating a more powerful end product. I've used many freewares that eventually ceased to be free, but became sharewares which require a token payment. Yet there are still thousands of developers who continue to bless users the world over with their programs without asking for payments as long as they are for personal use. The world is a better place because of selfless sharing. It also start a movement of putting up their works on the Internet for public consumption, for free. Although some do so with motives of profit but taking off this veneer we as users are grateful that not everything in life that we use must be paid for. One of the services I'm grateful for is Google Mail, more popularly called Gmail. It is as free as I don't abuse it, overuse it to beyond the storage limit. Other products I appreciate are several free Apps from the App Store and the Android Market for my smartphone as well as Wikipedia.

Using free products tend to instil a reaction to similarly contribute back by offering one or more of your own work back to society, for free too. Personally it is a healthy growth towards global sharing and not seeking a monetary return.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life is a Circle



We want to have a perfect life, a perfect circle always attracts and appeals. As a kid in school we are taught how to draw shapes and while drawing squares, triangles, trapezium and rectangles are easy, drawing a circle usually ends up with the ends disconnected or misshaped and usually looking like an oval. With practice we usually can draw a near perfect circle unaided without a compass.

Life is like a circle. It starts with a dot and slowly grow into a curve that follow the direction our heart and mind set. As we grow the line grow in the direction of our life goal and if we can view it from above sometimes we find the line zigzaggy sometimes disconnected, sometimes shooting off at a tangent. But I think that our life line will always want to find its home, that is where it started when it began as a dot. We want to find closure to our life, to return to where we came from. Like a runner at the starting block, he will run his race to the finishing line, that is where he began.

I'm sure we all desire a good life, perhaps a perfect life even. We want to be able to look back often to see that the path we plotted, the plans we executed, the people we meet and befriended are all part of the larger scheme to fulfill our life's goal. If that circle is not fully round it is to be expected. This world is after all imperfect. But what many of us want is to be able to sleep assured that the race has been run with the circle finally connected. So wherever you are, is your circle taking shape?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Il Volo

I am not much of a follower of opera singing. I've listened to some songs by the world famous Three Tenors (represented by the Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti) and Il Divo, a not too recent discovery (in 2004) by Simon Cowell of the American Idol fame. But the fresh and bold singing style of this new group who called themselves the Il Volo, comprising three Italian boys aged between 16 - 18 who launched their career in 2009 is bound to trigger global attention especially among the teen set who can relate to them. I like their rich voices and varied styles. Listen to their video clips below and see if you disagree.







Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Loveliest Sound

To a mother it must be the first cry of her newborn child, to a young man in love, sweet 'hello darling' over the phone, to a student waiting for his exam results, 'you've got 11As!' and to a patient awaiting his medical exam results, 'you are healthy, nothing abnormal'. To a grandfather, I think it is the conversation with his grandchildren.

Let me share with you my unspoken joy when my grandchildren converse in their unadulterated innocence what's on their mind and I reenter my very own childhood to engage them at their levels. It was thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying, beyond words, and I let myself flow into them and taste those precious seconds and minutes. Right now my 18 months grandson is babbling his sentences that I understand not a word but I babble back! Am I nuts? You bet but this moment will pass in weeks and months when he start to pick up and use words I taught him. Does he know what he was telling me? Will he remember? Does it matter?

Yet I will always remember all the lovely and happy sounds and words my grandchildren speak to me. They are more precious that pearl drops or gold. Even as they grow older we will still have our conversations between them and grandpa. And I shall teach them, share with them, encourage them and build their spirits up to be people who care for others. It shall be my legacy for them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seremban Growth Corridor



A massive development project is being undertaken right outside my backyard. Not literally but if you look at the location map HERE as well as the masterplan HERE you will see how very close Bandar Sri Sendayan (BSS) is to where I stay, Rasah Kemayan. We are squeezed between BSS on the left and Seremban 2 on the right. Right now property value in Rasah Kemayan is below market as buyers are more attracted to infrastructures rather than spaciousness but this may be RK's selling point in the coming years when buyers discover the privileges of open space and relative tranquility in a country living environment. As and when the connecting road between RK and BSS is built I expect the real estate in RK will be better appreciated.

Last Sunday we took a slow drive into BSS and looked at the design of the CosmoNix double storey semi-D house. We love the sensible and practical layout, especially the 2 rooms on the ground floor concept which seems to prepare for elderly living with a live-in maid. Thoughtful and should be emulated by other socially responsible developers. The price was also affordable at well below RM600,000 and best of all the quality workmanship and furnishing are mouth watering. Unfortunately the project is too far away for us to consider investing. Later we looked at another semi-D project nearer our home and found it wanting.

The desire for new things is always prompting but the feel of familiarity always pulls one back. To me it is very true. It is difficult to justify going somewhere else from a place my eyes, my ears, my entire being have grown familiar to. The sound of a distant drone of passing cars tells me that this is my home, and the screeches of birds on the tall trees outside my gate in the evening. And the absence of commercial vehicles especially trucks and buses make this place quieter and less polluting. My house may be 15 years old but it has a charm that visitors like. Maybe I need to maintain it more but I'll wait till my new neighbor is done with his rooms extension project first.

Photo Credit: www.1sendayan.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

MD or CEO?



Back in the old days I never heard of CEO and President was always the President of America. Today these American terms have become widely used in the corporate world and I use to get name cards or emails with the owners described as CEO or President. I guess they sound powerful and important, more important sounding than MD or Chairman which are British terms for the top manager of a business organization and head of the organization who is hierarchally higher. Impression aside is there any differences between the 2 positions apart from the fact one set is British and the other American?

A CEO is Chief Executive Officer and an MD Managing Director. Status wise I view CEO as lower ranking to MD because he is not necessarily a director. He is firstly an officer and his job is to execute orders from the Board. Of all the executive officers in his company he is the head so he is CEO. The equivalent of General (or Group General) Manager is the American's Chief Operating Officer or COO. The CEO is answerable to the Board of Directors for the performance and financial returns of the business. A CEO may be a director only if he is appointed in by the nomination committee which comprises board members.

A MD do the same work as a CEO but he is the appointee from the Board to run the business. So a MD is a full-time executive director in charge of the overall business. He wears 2 hats. As a director he is part of the team steering the growth and future of the company. As an executive he takes care of the business and reports to the Board. A MD can be terminated but still remain on the Board unless his directorship is removed by a majority shareholders vote. A CEO who is a non-director runs a greater risk of losing his job for poor performance. Both CEO and MD draw high salaries and perks for the great responsibilities in their jobs.

A CEO is usually recruited from outside for his track records and is contracted to fulfil the objectives for his employer. His appointment is subject to renewal. A MD is usually someone who knows the business well, mostly a co-owner or major shareholder of his company. He will have vested interest to manage the business to his best ability.

Although these titles are used interchangeably there are subtle differences as explained above. Nowadays many companies like to use CEO as it is more fashionable. MD sounds 'old' and colonial and better fitted to older directors while the younger ones prefer to be CEOs. Here, in this picture, Malaysia Airlines decided to cover all bases by describing their chief executive as MD and CEO. Does that add double the stress to him? Maybe, judging by the dismal performance of the national airline this year and his unsmiling face. On the other hand, Air Asia's boss Tony Fernandes (below) did very well in spite of high fuel price.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kuala Lumpur ... San Francisco

Tens of thousands of angry Malaysians gathered in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to demand for removal of malpractices in our electoral process. Some 44 years ago, people of all age gathered similarly in San Francisco for a much different reason. The Hippies Movement was beginning and the Flower People set a movement spreading peace and love.

"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival. McKenzie's song became an instant hit. The lyrics tell the listeners, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair". "San Francisco" reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and was number one in the United Kingdom and most of Europe. The single is purported to have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The song is credited with bringing thousands of young people to San Francisco, California during the late 1960s. I hope it brings back very good memories for you.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Today, as Bersih Marches



I did not go for the march partly because I am a senior person (defined as anyone above 60) and partly because I have to be at the airport this afternoon. But I want to document my life today as BERSIH marched to show the government that tainted electoral process is unacceptable and must be reformed at all cost.

This morning my family and I went for dimsum breakfast at 9.30am in Seremban town. There was a police roadblock on the opposite side in the direction out of the town into the highway. I thought, "Oh well, why are they blocking those leaving the town, do they think some of the drivers are heading into Kuala Lumpur to join the other supporters knowing well that all entrances into the city has been blocked?"

At 11.30am when we return home we were caught by the same roadblock. It seems the police were instructed by their superiors to inconvenience the public. All they managed to fulfill was stop a few motorcyclists for having expired road tax or driving licences. I thought the whole exercise was malafide, not done rightly but to instill anger and frustrations at the authorities. Why must ordinary citizens have to be inconvenienced for an event about to occur 70 km away?

At 1.30pm we left for Kuala Lumpur International Airport to welcome my brother coming in from Taipeh at 2.15pm. I was happy the police are not putting any road blocks on the highway or the road into the airport. It would be a bad impression to air travelers to and from the airport. BUT when we left the airport at 3.30pm we were caught in a long jam along the road from the airport into Nilai. The reason: a police roadblock. The BERSIH rally in Kuala Lumpur was already in progress and due to end by 4pm. I wonder what is the police trying to do here, on the road not at all heading into Kuala Lumpur? Several cars went into the emergency lane and backed all the way (a dangerous stunt) to the slip road behind to go to their destinations. Another car in front of my car decided to cut across the 5 ft wide road divider between the space of some shrubs to the opposite direction. He must have been very very annoyed and angry. I took it in my stride and soon we reached the police roadblock. One personnel was holding a pump gun, another waved us through as we slowed the car, a few others were at the road side, again checking on some motorcyclists. The drive home thereafter was smooth.

I checked my online news for latest developments and discovered that the rally was partially successful in forming in the Stadium Merdeka and several hotspots along Jalan Pudu. Read HERE. The police also arrested several leaders as reported HERE. One cabinet minister confessed the government shouldn't have blocked BERSIH as reported HERE which caused great harm to the government. The march was marred by one casualty, a death was reported HERE.

The police claimed only about 6000 protesters managed to march and they arrested 1401 of them. A very very good rate of 23% which is of course untrue. BERSIH organizers claimed a much higher number of 50,000. The real number may never be known but certainly significant enough to rock the nation. While the protesters took on the police PM Najib was elsewhere promoting his popularity and down playing the rally.

A serious analysis of the rally suggested that the BN government may lose the next election.

This evening at 7.30pm, long after the BERSIH protesters have ended their crusade at Stadium Merdeka, the roadblock that I saw this morning was still checking vehicles leaving Seremban. I though, "Duh, you guys not listening to the news or what?" Anyway, after our dinner in town we returned home via another route without any roadblocks.

In the latest online news an article HERE reminded us of the first BERSIH rally in 2007 and how it impacted the 12th GE in 2008 that robbed the government of its 2/3 majority in Parliament. Looks like the BN government failed its history test.

Photo Credit: The Malaysian Insider

Friday, July 08, 2011

Today's Bible Verse

It s appropriately a warning to the people in power. There is nothing else to add. Allow me to repeat it below.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

1 Corinthians 3:18-20  (NIV)

Stirring Shit

Reading THIS report this morning, I thought the UMNO politicians are really wading into deep shitty water trying to read too many possibilities into the King's agreement to meet Ambiga and making him to be like a puppet. Doesn't the king have his rights and discretion to see whom he likes even in his official role and what about his own belief? If I am to give my 2 cents worth it is this. The king is worried that riots and police clashes will erupt on July 9 and wants to exercise his peacemaking role to prevent it. As a fatherly figure he ordered both PM Najib and Ambiga to negotiate an amicable solution. As a fatherly figure he has a right to meet up with his subjects with a grouse, in this case Ambiga representing BERSIH. If Najib can have access to the king why are other groups or citizens denied and if the king agree to meet them who are the rest of his subjects to question his decision? Using the legal or illegal status of BERSIH is questionable. It is only Hishamuddin's opinion that BERSIH is illegal, no judge has declared them to be. In the mindsets of many Malaysians, BERSIH is as legal as the 62 NGOs it stand for.

Najib was quick to respond to the king, offering BERSIH the use of a stadium in place of a street march. For awhile Malaysians heave sighs of relief that a solution is eventually found. BERSIH agreed and wanted Stadium Merdeka. The government said NO, the police said BERSIH must apply for a permit for a public gathering, Hishamuddin said as BERSIH is illegal the police cannot issue them a permit, someone else have to apply for a permit. Another UMNO minister, Rais Yatim, waded in and said no stadium in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur can be used and told BERSIH to hold the event inside a stadium within a state under the administration of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat. Fine, the Shah Alam Stadium seems an appropriate choice but the police once again frustrate the movement by insisting for a permit. Read HERE.

So we are back to square one. BERSIH finds itself cornered and checkmated into submission have announced HERE that they will meet in Stadium Merdeka as planned.

A simple order by the king to resolve a simple public event that the police could have easily managed has now turn into an uneasy and international news by the refusal of the government to be willing to be a peacemaker too. I await the development of the next 30 hours and pray that no one is going to sabotage the event, putting the blame on the organizers and Pakatan Rakyat, and risking public disorder and violence. May God be merciful to Malaysia.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Are We Ready To Have A Female Prime Minister?



In Malaysia where Muslim male dominance is very much a protected territory, to even think of this possibility may be considered blasphemous. But the pressure in on to consider the best leader for the nation, corruption clean, popular, good looking, young, energetic and fresh irrespective of gender. Among the uprising stars is the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah Anwar, who has won over many supporters, young and old. Read THIS report. Her being an opposition lawmaker may have contributed to her status but judging her on the basis of her capability I believe she deserve our vote. In her resides the hope of restoring the Malaysia we yearn for. With so many nations and multinational corporations, banks and international agencies now under leadership of capable women, the latest being the election of Yingluck Shinawatra as the new prime minister of our neighbor, Thailand, and last week, the appointment of Christine Lagarde as the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund. There are many other renowned and lesser known female leaders who have done wonderfully such as our Bank Negara governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who was appointed to the post in May 2000 and has held it till today. A list of female global leaders may be found HERE.

The 13th general election will be staged soon. What is the opposition strategy? Will Nurul get a chance, if not at least the deputy PM? Personally I vote for someone I can trust whatever the gender.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Words of Wisdom in the Bible



The Bible is a great book, a resource of wisdom that enrich both young and old. Do not feel compelled to resist it because you fear being converted. No, the Bible is a collection of many books that can teach us to become better human beings if only we are willing to read and open our hearts and minds to think about them.

The Bible help us express many of our inner feelings in words we cannot put on our lips, with thoughts that cannot form clearly in our heads, and with emotion we find hard to recognize or ashamed to confess. The Bible is a story of human failures and errors and how God help deal with them. One of the greatest books in the Bible that profit anybody is the Book of Proverbs. Perhaps it should be called Book of Wisdom instead for clarity as some people may have mistaken it to be a collection of proverbs. From this book one can discover a storehouse of good advice and warnings which are sorely needed in this morally decaying and misdirected society we live in. I should say this book is a lighthouse to guide those trying to rediscover their true bearings in life in a non threatening way. Today I'd like to share this basic verse with you.

In the very first chapter are found these exhortations:

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction
And do not forsake your mother's teachings
They will be a garland to grace your head
And a chain to adorn your neck.


When we see so many families breaking apart and children disobeying their parents, and growing up to become irresponsible adults and future parents themselves we can expect our society to consist of more and more delinquents and law breakers. To be good parents you must have good parents, and good teachers. If you have both you will not worry in failing as responsible parents. However, if your parents fail to guide you, even if you had good teachers, or you refused to listen, you are likely to fail as good parents, and for that your children will suffer, not of their fault, but the fault of your stubbornness and our school syllabuses that fail to emphasize and teach moral values.

A good tree grows from good ground and bear good fruits which passerbys enjoy. Likewise a nation that raise up her people to be morally upright citizens will be strong and be looked up by other nations for leadership and advice.

It is not too late to heed good advice. No parents destroy their children with bad advice and teachings for doing so is destroying their very own good name. So heed advice from your parents. If they sound like nagging it is because they think you have not heard it well the first, second or third time. Good advice is always worth repeating for the urgency of correcting errors is great. Don't wait until your parents are dead and you realize you should have listened to them years ago. A good advice heeded help prevent years of sorrows and much loss. Be wise to receive and apply good advice instead of testing every situation guided by your own wisdom and instinct. History is valuable only if we learn from its mistakes. The wheel need not be reinvented in every generation. Be consumers of wise words instead and then pass them down the line to your children and grandchildren and even to your neighbors. They will profit immensely from your valuable teachings.

What is the garland and chain referred to above? Like medals they are given to those who know when to listen and apply what they have learned for they are true champions in righteous living.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Happy Days



If you are 50 and above you'll smile remembering the comedy sitcom of the 1970s entitled Happy Days. Remember The Fonz (acted by Henry Winkler, seated above), the vain one who's always combing his slick hair to impress the girls? I love the TV series which always remind me of those beautiful days when I was launching out my life after graduation, getting married and starting my career. Happy Days was about life in a mid-western city in America during the 1960s. It made me think of my own life around that time and it was a happy memory. East or west, people all share the same cravings to be happy and youth was always the best time to express them. We did not understand then what responsibility is and sacrifice was an unknown human quality. It was only when we become adults that we realize how good being young was, and even today we yearn to be young still. Our pursuit for happiness begin to take a back seat as we grow older. Building career and rearing a young family become top priorities. Many a couple lapse into a relationship that is lacking in vitality and oooomph. Those who became disillusioned succumbed to separation and even divorce. Those who survived are able to rekindle their past and revive happy days of their own, holding hands and hugging each other in old age. It is wonderful to see senior people displaying love openly.

Happiness has always been our living goal. When we cannot achieve it we rely on our happy memories to relive them. Is the definition of happiness today different from that of the 60s and 70s? Perhaps the nostalgia of watching and listening movies and songs of yesteryears really help restore our happy days.

This may be the reason why oldies are making a comeback on television, movies and radio stations. If there is a time machine I think many of us will book tickets to go back to the era we believe will give us the feel good feelings.

I wish you happiness wherever and whoever you are, and may your smile light up your immediate space and make those around you happy too.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Is There An Afterlife?



Millions of people have asked and are asking this eternal question and no one is able to answer it. But it does not stop answers from theological perspective and it is surely comforting that we are given some direction as to where we are heading. Here is an article I grabbed from GotQuestions which I reproduce below in its entirety.

The book of Job asks the question about an afterlife very simply: “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14). Asking the question is easy, but the difficult part is finding someone to answer the question with authority and experience. “Death and taxes” have said to be the two universals that everyone living can expect to deal with. But while everyone is handled somewhat differently by government taxation, death is the great equalizer that treats everyone the same.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for people to be afraid of death. The ancient philosopher Epicurus (341–270 BC) recognized that the fear of death was present in everybody and therefore he sought a way to remove that fear. Epicurus taught that humanity not need fear death because human beings are nothing more than a composition of atoms which at death simply disperse and that is the end of things. Epicurus didn’t believe there were any gods to fear or anything to face once a person breathed their last. His teaching of maximum pleasure in this life with minimum pain and suffering dictated that everything ends when death occurred.

One of the groups the Apostle Paul encountered in his trip to Athens were the Epicureans, who listened to Paul’s Mars Hill address up until he mentioned the resurrection of Jesus and then abruptly ended the discussion (Acts 17:32). They had been bathed in their teacher’s philosophy and likely knew well the statement made by Apollos the Epicurean who said during the founding of the Areopagus where Paul was speaking, “When the dust has soaked up a person’s blood, once he is dead, there is no resurrection."

But after thousands of years since that time, the fear of death remains fixed in many people. The book of Job describes death as the “king of terrors” (Job 18:14). This fact is visible in the movie “The Bucket List” where the character played by Jack Nicholson, trying to come to grips with dying, says: “We all want to go on forever, don’t we? We fear the unknown. Everybody goes to that wall, yet nobody knows what’s on the other side. That’s why we fear death.”

But one person has gone to that wall, gone through to the other side, and come back to tell us what to expect. He alone possesses the authority and knowledge to tell everyone the truth about the afterlife.

The Expert on the Afterlife
From a historical perspective, no historical scholar disputes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. There is no debate about His teachings or the fact that He reportedly did miraculous things, and there is universal agreement that He was put to death by crucifixion under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate. Jesus went to the wall of death and through to the other side.

The resurrection puts Jesus in a place of being the sole authority and witness able to answer the question, “Is there an afterlife?” And what does He have to say? Christ makes three basic statements about the subject of life after death:

1. There is an afterlife.
2. When a person dies, there are two different eternities to which he/she will go.
3. There is a way to ensure a positive experience after death.

First, Christ most certainly affirms there is an afterlife in a number of biblical passages. For example, in an encounter with the Sadducees who denied the teaching of resurrection, Christ rebuked them by saying, “Regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken" (Mark 12:26-27). Jesus clearly told them that those who have died centuries before are very much alive with God at that moment.

In another passage, Jesus comforts His disciples (and us) by telling them specifically that they can look forward to being with Him in Heaven: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going” (John 14:1-4).

The Afterlife - Two Eternal Destinies
Jesus also speaks authoritatively about what types of destinies await every person that dies: one with God and one without God. In Luke’s account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus says, “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom" (Luke 16:22–23). One aspect of the story worth noting is that there is no intermediate state for those who die; they go directly to their eternal destiny. As the writer of Hebrews says, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Jesus speaks about the two final destinies again when He is confronted by the religious leaders in John: “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:25-29). Christ restates the matter very plainly in Matthew when He says, “These [unbelievers] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

The Afterlife - What Determines Our Eternal Destination?
Jesus also is clear on what determines each person’s eternal destination—whether they have faith in God and what they do with respect to Christ. The book of John contains many statements made by Jesus on this subject, with perhaps the most famous being these: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:14-18).

For those who repent and receive Christ as their Savior and Lord, the afterlife will consist of an eternity spent with God. But for those who reject Christ, their destiny will be spent away from God’s presence. Jesus contrasts these two destinies in the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The Afterlife - Conclusions
Speaking about life after death, G. B. Hardy, a Canadian Scientist, once said, "I have only two questions to ask. One, has anyone ever defeated death? Two, did he make a way for me to do it also?" The answer to both of Hardy’s questions is “yes.” One Person has both defeated death and provided a way for everyone who puts their trust in Him to overcome it as well. Epicurus may have believed that everyone fears death, but the truth is no one who trusts in Christ needs to be afraid. Rejoicing in this fact, the Apostle Paul wrote, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’" (1 Corinthians 15:54–55).

© Copyright 2002-2011 Got Questions Ministries.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

An Unfortunate Upcoming Confrontation



When I read THIS morning report fear curled up inside me as I await the dreaded confrontation next Saturday afternoon as two forces or more are set to face each other. The BERSIH demonstrators claimed theirs will be a peaceful march. However, all it take is some instigation to set a chain reaction that can jeopardize the event out of control that the police will find it necessary to start firing their water cannons and tear gas. People will be certainly be injured, lives may even be lost. Most certainly the event will attract international coverage and whether the march ends without untoward incident or not, Malaysia will find herself in the news again for the wrong reasons. Stock market, investor confidence and tourism will surely be affected.

It is not too late to reconsider a permit but the ultimatum appear intractable. The bridge had been burned and the stage set for a face off. Why is it necessary to arrive at this blockage? Are there no real solutions in sight? Just give the marchers a route inside the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex under police supervision for 2 hours and the event will fizzled out. Do not play with human emotion. It has been shown to be lethal and powerful enough to down a government or dictator.


Update July 4. Further to the King's advice to both BERSIH and the government to negotiate a solution Najib offered THIS solution. Why has it got to be commanded by the King to have this option given?

Another support for using a stadium HERE.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Malaysian Government I Want

I want a government that respect citizen rights, especially minority rights, since their interests are often overlooked and exploited because they don't have the say to defend what are due to them. I want a government that respect alternative views and suggestions, even from their political foes, for the sake of adopting the best decisions. I want a government that care for all citizens without being appealed to. I want a government that is compassionate to those who are disadvantaged and will stand up for them and be their champion. I want a government that treat the people as if they are family and will protect them, whatever their race and background, anywhere in the world. In other word I want a government I am proud of, that I can trust to be my protector and defender, to whom I can be loyal and revote into power. And I want a government to whom I can trust my children and grandchildren to. This government must be good and trusted stewards of our national wealths. In other words, a corruption-free government responsible to Malaysians of this and future generations.

Today I've decided to give my moral support to the Bersih 2.0 rally by placing the banner above until 9 July 2011 because the government must seriously look into its shortcomings and because the organizers have put their lives and future in jeopardy in fighting for a reformation of our flawed electoral system that creates loopholes to manipulate electoral results and favor their outcome to the government in control. This will frustrate the citizens from electing lawmakers of their choice and therefore interfere with their constitutional rights to choose a government they desire. My appeal to the government is this: Fight Fair and may the Better Man Wins.

I am not doing this to support hooliganism but credible and concerned Malaysians who want a more just order. The police should allow the rally and monitor the participants to ensure their objectives are met peacefully. They are fellow Malaysians. Prime Minister Najib Razak has given the full responsibility of ensuring law and order to the police. It is time they live up to their role as security provider for the people.

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