April 30, 2006

Yang Penting

Posted in Personal, Reflections at 10:04 pm by egalitaria

Ada kalanya aku terlupa apakah yang terpenting di dunia ini. Dalam kehidupan yang tersesak dengan mesyuarat, terlalu banyak yang perlu dilakukan dalam sehari, malam dengan tidur yang tak tercukup, berita yang tidak boleh habis dibaca, ilmu yang tak terhingga untuk diperolehi, kebahagiaan yang tidak sempat dicapai, kegemilangan masyarakat yang kian sukar dirasai… 

Kadang-kala kita akan terlupa apatah yang paling pentingnya di dunia ini. Kutahu ada ramai yang tidak akan setuju, tetapi saya percaya dengan penuh hati, bahawa hanya Tuhan yang dapat memberikan jawapan hidup. Jikalau orang hidup hanya untuk masa dunia ini, pastilah terdapat suatu lubang yang kecil… tetapi semakin lama, semakin besar… 

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PAP Mountain

Posted in The Cause at 9:35 pm by egalitaria

What a big fuss is being made over James Gomez, representative of Singapore's Worker's Party. Distracted by the million and one things to get done, he failed to submit his minority certificate. Of course, Singapore is currently making a big deal out of the whole saga. When really, this matters little as he is not even contesting his seat in the election as a minority candidate.

In his public apology, he says the following:

I refer to my claim over the submission of the Minority Certificate at the Elections Department on 26th April 2006.

I wish to confirm that I did not submit the said application on 24th April 2006 due to too much distraction caused by the busy schedule leading up to nomination day.

Please accept my sincere apologies if my actions on 26th April 2006 caused any distress or confusion to the staff of the Elections Department.

And there are more reports on his Campaign here (his blog), currently being reported by Roderick Chia during Gomez's busy period. I've e-mailed to Roderick to ask more about Gomez's opinions and any stories from ground level to get their personal insights. I had the privilege of discussing bits of Singapore politics with both of them earlier this year.

A bit of info: Singapore is having its elections very soon, on the 6th of May. The PAP, or People's Action Party, has traditionally held most of the electoral seats in the government. This time, there are 47 seats up for grabs. The opposition parties have been very weak, but of late because of new demands from the younger generation who are inclined towards opting for freedom of speech and a more equal check-and-balance system, more are turning their attention to an alternative. It's old news that Singapore one-family-government has not hesitated to draw law suits against "feisty journalists and opposition politicians", even when the people involved were merely revealing cover-ups of corruption, like the National Kidney Foundation fiasco, as reported by Asia Times Online here.

No ground-breaking results will occur here, and rest assured PAP will still fly high in its mandate. But perhaps for the first time in many years, the people will at least have a chance to listen to alternative viewpoints.

Gatal-gatal

Posted in Malaysia at 9:05 pm by egalitaria

Malaysia's politicians have to seriously stop making embarrassing comments. We are slapping shame upon ourselves this way! Preposterous. I'm glad that this time, the women's groups were unanimous and quick in their responses. See this extract from Malaysia-today.net below, and the full report here

A Muslim parliamentarian from the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), who came under intense fire for describing divorced women as lustful and suggesting that many of them were prostitutes, has now been roundly criticised by his own party.He now also faces possible disciplinary action in the party.MP Abdul Fatah, from PAS, had said in Parliament on Wednesday that most divorced women were not 'sad and quiet' like widows but were 'easily spotted' at parties displaying gatal behaviour.Gatal means lewd or lustful in Malay and is usually used in a derogatory context.

Abdul withdrew his offending remarks in Parliament following an uproar.

But he remained unrepentant a day later, telling the party's Internet news portal, HarakahDaily.net on Thursday, that he was confident that divorcees constituted many of the country's prostitutes.

Code

Posted in Religion at 9:00 pm by egalitaria

Da Vinci Code

A huge banner of it covers the entire wall of Midvalley Megamall, the largest shopping mall in South East Asia, facing the highway where thousands of cars travel everyday. Picture of Tom Hanks the protagonist in the fast-paced movie, on the poster. Dark and looming. Highly anticipated.

The movie is a hyped-up version of the book by Dan Brown, released a couple of years ago and labelled as "fiction". The book claims that Jesus had a secret affair with Mary Magdalene and fathered a child, whose lineage in Europe can be traced today. Too many articles have covered this already, so I'll just place my advertisement and get along with it:

When? Thursday, 4th May 2006, PJ EFC

What? Da Vinci Code Forum

Who? Dr Ng Kam Weng, Rev Wong Fong Yang (of Kairos Research Centre)

Why? Responding to the Da Vinci Code and the claims it makes…

Read an editorial by Dr Tan Soo Inn on this issue below. Read the rest of this entry »

April 29, 2006

steif

Posted in Language, Personal at 12:37 am by egalitaria

heiß

kalt

aber steif und ein bisschen

müde

ich muss immer erlinnen, wir sind in dieser

zwischen Zeit 

April 28, 2006

MGG Pillai

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 6:56 pm by egalitaria

Ode to MGG Pillai, journalist who dared to speak out for a cause. He passed away this morning due to heart complications. His blog will now be a heritage site, his last article written just 8 days ago, for Harakah.

I must admit I didn't read his blog as often… but like all writers, his column pieces and articles will continue to live on after him.

Theo-on-the-Go

Posted in Religion, Theology at 12:13 am by egalitaria

These are some of the issues I've been thinking about recently, amongst many others. It is basically a very brief summary of the problems faced by Christians/non-Christians when the question of Science comes up against Theology. Very Simply Done. (adhering to the KISS rule)

If objective science really shows evidence of Evolution, how is this reconciled with the story of Creation in the Bible?

Some possible views:

  1. First Cause Theory. God created the first cell, and all further developments from that first cell, into the diverse conglomerate of creatures, took place according to evolution.
  2. Theistic Evolution. God's First-Hand in directing the evolution of creation of creatures. The belief in macro-evolution and not micro-evolution. So, God's invisible hand was there all along, gently directing each development towards a particular end in mind.
  3. It is impossible to reconcile the Bible and Evolution, because the very theory of Evolution itself states that it is based on the law of natural selection. This defeats the purpose of, and need for, a divine Hand. So,
    • Only Evolution is correct.
    • Only the Bible is correct. The "young earth creationism" theory that the Earth is only 6000 years old, according to the literal text in Genesis.

      The problem for Christians accepting either options 1. or 2. is that even if there was the possibility of a theistic evolution, in which God had a design-hand, there is therefore no ONE ADAM and ONE EVE. In Genesis, the Bible talks clearly about specific genealogies, with specific people. ("Adam had a son named Seth, who fathered Enosh, who fathered Kenan and so on….") To accept even a theistic evolution, one has to concede that Adam is no longer an individual person but a vague title given to represent the entire process of evolution.

      The second problem is that of sin. If sin entered the world through Eve and Adam, two specific people, at which point does sin enter the world through evolution? When Man becomes "conscious" enough to have sin enter him? The entire biblical theology of Original Sin then falls apart.

      Some responses to this are:

      1. The term "Father of" in the Bible may mean stretching many generations. "Years" in the Bible may be symbolic and not literal.
      2. Theory that God created the world 6000 years ago, but made it seem as if it had already existed for ancient of days. The "ancient world" was necessary for the next processes to take place.
      3. There is a huge time gap between verses 1 and 2 in Genesis Chapter 1. After "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth", there was a great period of time in which He might or might not have created other beings; we know not. This could also account for dinosaurs in this period. These created beings might not have had soul nor conscience. Thereafter, in verse 2 onwards, God decided to create a being in His very image, hence Adam and Eve.

      A very simplistic summary. It is always necessary for me to pen down my thoughts, preferably in numerical order, to clear up the constant mess and tangled strings in my head. At least the thought process becomes linear, if not ever solved!

      April 27, 2006

      Laughter the best medicine

      Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 11:38 pm by egalitaria

      Today I heard many funny statements that made me laugh out loud.

      "Equal opportunity for all does not necessarily lead to National Unity."

      "Having 5 more non-Bumiputera students placed in a specialised academic institution would not in any way contribute to Unity."

      "Islamic banking was introduced and nobody complained about it. Now it is introduced within the government's development framework. What's the problem with that?"

      "Hi!! Good morning!!"

      Okay, so the last statement came from yours truly, while greeting someone she honestly thought looked familiar and she recognised, thereafter mumbling a confused "ohh…. just greeting you, sir…"

      April 25, 2006

      Public Space Morality

      Posted in Malaysia, Reflections, Religion at 11:09 pm by egalitaria

      Do you know that Islam Hadhari is going to be (or is already) the basis for Malaysia to move forward in all levels of development? Yes, socio-economic development.

      Islam Hadhari was introduced in 2004 as a comprehensive and universal development framework for the nation.

      Let's investigate two ways I could respond to this:

      1) First, I could practise verstehen (read: German for understand), or putting myself into their shoes. Islam is a holistic religion, that basically sees the religion as central to how one views the world. In fact, it is no more a religion than it is a 'state of being', since the word Muslim really means 'one who subjects himself to the will of God'. So, anything under the span of the heavens that is under the comprehensive authority of God, is basically Islamic in nature. It matters not whether a label is specifically placed. A person who helps someone altruistically is practising an Islamic act. As a Christian, I understand this exact way of thinking. I would say the same, that a generous and selfless act is in fact Christian in nature.

      When you therefore are able to extract the morals away from theology of every religion, yes indeed religions do seem to preach the same teachings. Do good, be kind and gentle, forgiving to all, advocate social justice. This is the public space morality, the public sphere where commonalities can be addressed adequately – for the sake of society's good.

      However, things aren't usually so black-and-white. Hence, response no. 2…

      2) It is all well and good if all religions can really agree upon the public space morality. However, I do think this is only possible in terms of the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. In other words, we can conceptually agree upon what is good and bad. We can agree that intention to do evil is unilaterally a no-no. But the problem comes about when we talk about the daily practice of it. I am fearful that when there exists a contradiction on the definition of decency of dressing, behaviour and language, one religion's moral values might override another's. No guessing whose.

      As I responded recently to my own posting, it seems nothing will change if one party remains inward looking. They too ought to look into Max Weber's verstehen to comprehend that to a non-Muslim, even widely practised common Islamic moral values seem preposterous if imposed upon one.

      I personally agree with most of the Islamic (Hadhari) moral precepts (theoretically: belief in God, a just and trustworthy government, etc). But how about atheists and agnostics? What sort of public space morality is available to them, that which is congruent with Islam?

      Then I would have to go into a thorough study of the beginnings of Morality and Ethics: Kant and the like… How laborious! *grin*

      Adventure into Iron River

      Posted in Literature, Malaysia, The Cause at 10:18 pm by egalitaria

      DSC00028 (WinCE).JPGSo began my journey into the great Iron River district (Sungai Besi), in search of the Great Plan, the much-talked-about jewel that has not ceased to create a furor amongst Its People. Based on the instructions provided by the Map Maker, I braved the crowds of cars on the usual busy roads… and found the obscure Kedai Buku SPNB in the inner shrubs of the wood, the only shop that sells the 9th Malaysia Plan in the whole Klang Valley.

      DSC00027 (WinCE).JPGIt is located in Sg. Besi, upon Jalan Satu (One Road, literally lah!) and hidden away behind black grill. The shop is relatively small considering the fact that it is the only place selling official documents publicly – things like the Federal Constitution, other legal Acts, the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the full report from the Special Commission to investigate the Police Force, the report on Body Searches conducted by the Police, Economic Reports released by the Ministry of Finance etc.

      Browsing through the thick of the jungle, finally emerged with my spoils of the day with several juicy documents, which I think should be owned by all Malaysians alike. If you're a citizen of Malaysia, you ought to know what laws govern your every action. If you think it is important, or simply if you are interested to know what Malaysian laws are all about (since you are living in this country!), get a copy of the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act, Sedition Act, the Federal Constitution, and all others that pertain to your own businesses. I found out interesting things like Malaysia even has its own Martial Arts Act, Multimedia and Communications Commission Act! These form the very core of Malaysia. Since the information is being made publicly available to us, why not know about it? You don't want to contravene the law now, do you? As Robocop says, oh yes indeed, Uphold The Law.

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