July 31, 2007

Tan Sri Bernard Dompok

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 4:59 am by egalitaria

Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok will be officiating the Merdeka Statement launch on Thursday. I’m looking forward to hearing what he will have to say. If you remember correctly, he was the one who resigned as Head of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity not too long ago. The reasons Nazri consequently gave were that he was influenced by Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, amongst others.

There must be more to it than that. One wonders about what takes place behind the scenes, what relationships and personalities need to be addressed and “taken care of”, to the extent that Integrity is no longer practiced nor preached.

Yes, indeed I am sure his views will be interesting. What better Minister to launch the Merdeka Statement, at a time where Integrity is so much needed in the country?

Free the People

Posted in Music, The Cause at 4:48 am by egalitaria

After the presentation I gave on Sunday, I twanged on my favourite Big Baby Taylor, a song I wrote 3 years ago on freedoms and justice. Basically, it is premised on the issue of how people are continually trapped in a system of injustice, systemic evil that corrupts the mind and soul. Oftentimes we do not realise how we ourselves are trapped in its cyclical movement as well, and so the song calls for us to wake up and liberate ourselves, in liberating the rest of society. It is all too idealistic I know, but hey, what else do we have to work towards if not for ideals eh? Here you go.

Free the People 

V1: Clipped wings are not wings at all,

Try to fly, babe, and you will fall.

Who cut your feathers when you were asleep?

What made you think them real?

They say the sky won’t be conquered by the weak and the frail.

V2: What if false tomorrows frame your nest?

What matters if you try your best?

If the web that surrounds all you live for abounds,

They say you’ve been put to the test.

Chorus:

Free the people so what they believe is free,

Free the people so they can be free to see,

Free the people so what they believe is,

Free the people so they can be free to

Be the people who choose to forever be free…

Choose to forever be free…

July 30, 2007

Justice in Malaysia

Posted in Reflections, Religion, Theology at 11:44 pm by egalitaria

This is the transcript of what I shared yesterday, on social justice in Malaysia.

I hope its contents are taken positively, not meant as a harsh criticism but a gentle provocation.

Much like what we do when prodding Malaysia along on its way. 🙂

Read the rest of this entry »

Pascal Lamy

Posted in Malaysia at 8:01 pm by egalitaria

Pascal Lamy, Sec-Gen of the World Trade Organisation, is going to be addressing Malaysians in August. I’ve been invited to attend his talk, and can’t help wondering whether there’s going to be any protests this time round. If I remember correctly, the last time Khairy J. was pictured in full view protesting in a crowd while sending a letter over to the American FTA negotiation team. Wonder whether he’s going to step up and do the same this year when Pascal comes round the neighbourhood. 😉

South Koreans in Afghanistan

Posted in Reflections, Religion at 7:58 pm by egalitaria

South Koreans are held hostage in Afghanistan. One pastor has been shot dead. Churches all round the world are praying for their safety and lives. No doubt it is wrong for this sort of injustice to take place. No person’s life should be held at gunpoint with no fair trial, no fair judgement, and so on. It is a violation of a human right.

Edited: I acknowledge the South Koreans were there on a medical mission, to help in hospitals and not necessarily “preach the gospel” as it is conventionally known. It is my earnest desire, and that of many others as well, that the Gospel truly encapsulates exactly this – helping and giving aid where needed, showing love, care and mercy, and justice to all alike. I affirm their role as care-givers in reflecting their Creator’s concern. 

However, my personal opinion is that Christians should seriously rethink their mission of “spreading the Word”. To most non-Christians this process is seen as a negative one, a proselytisation and encroachment upon others’ belief systems. I for one do not believe in shoving religion down anyone’s throats. I spoke yesterday at a church, saying that we need to desperately move beyond this whole system of 1-2-3 step salvation, passport evangelism that will get you into heaven.

Yes, I care about the South Koreans in Afghanistan and yes, my heart grieves for the 22 of them left there. I pray that the negotiation process will go well, between the two Governments. (South Korea is sending a delegation over as we speak)

But please, my heart grieves and bleeds more seriously for the misinterpretation of religion today. If we are going to change anything, it has to be the way we look at things. Paradigm shifts.

Jeff Ooi joins DAP!

Posted in Malaysia at 7:53 pm by egalitaria

Wow, primary political blogger Jeff Ooi, who started the ball rolling on a lot of people, has finally decided that politics is for him! He’s joining the Democratic Action Party (DAP), and is making a big announcement tomorrow.

If I remember correctly, he never thought that politics was the way to go. However, right now perhaps there are so many politicians blogging already that the identity of a blogger alone has been weakened. This is obviously a good sign for the opposition group that has been publicly enticing good, young, professionals, English speaking ones, to form part of the struggle. Indeed, opposition politics will be strengthened if it can attract such folk.

Let’s see now. Things will certainly get interesting now…

July 29, 2007

The Concept of Blogging

Posted in Malaysia at 2:13 am by egalitaria

In Nathaniel Tan’s statement after being released by the cops, (he was remanded for 4 days) he said that the internet policing officers themselves know and understand little of what a blog is all about. So much so that he had to explain how the blog operates, how comments are left on the site, etcetera.

In any case, I find it absolutely silly for bloggers to be held accountable for the comments that are left on their blog. Firstly, the concept of blogging itself means that there should be open discourse between blog owner and the public reader. Often the commenter does NOT agree with the blogger. Hence he writes something to draw out the discussion. To create debate, and there is space to do that online. It is ridiculous for the blogger to be held responsible for the statement/comment that he/she actually does not agree with in the first place! If you don’t want that, you “close” your comments, disallowing any discussion. The fact that comments are closed runs counter to the spirit of a blog – unless that is the intention of the blogger himself.

Secondly, comments left can be anonymous. So nobody can actually trace the comment that is left behind (unless you are an IT wiz and can search IP’s which I do not apologise for not being able to do).

Thirdly, there is a real possibility that someone else out there wanting to destroy your credibility and land you in jail, would post something seditious (being critical of Islam and the King, for example, which I would shudder to think of). This means that whoever in cyber-space who dislikes me just has to leave a comment on this post, for example (I really hope you don’t, please!).

Fourth, where do you draw the line? If, for example, I am a Malaysian living abroad say in Australia, who owns a blog and whose comment box happens to attract sarcastic statements? Will I be hauled up and called to Malaysian police stations? What about leaving such statements on other international sites like Facebook, the current hot favourite for social networking?  

The question on everyone’s mind now is exactly who is going to be called up next for “irresponsible blogging”, and for seditious/libel remarks against the Government/someone close to the top/anything really that irks someone who can pull strings.

Oh the earnest anticipation!

Finally

Posted in Malaysia, Religion, The Cause, Theology at 1:30 am by egalitaria

Spending time today thinking and reframing my theological understanding of social justice has been extremely good for me. It’s been kind of scattered the whole time, but because I needed to prepare for my presentation tomorrow, it forced me to sit down and conceptualise things out properly.

I hope it goes well! Will write excerpts of the paper I wrote here.

The framework goes something like this: Worldview, Beyond Packaged Salvation, Jesus’ Life and not just His death, Kingdom principles, Qur’anic views, Rights and Freedoms, the Malaysian context, Engaging Church with Current issues, and then moving into Action!

July 28, 2007

Mind of Inquiry

Posted in Philosophy, Religion at 2:05 am by egalitaria

Nietzsche says the following:

If you want peace and comfort in life, believe; if you are a true devotee to truth, inquire.

Now, are we willing to do this?

Well, Yes, if the role of religion is to liberate and free self beyond mere provision of peace and comfort. Which is it?

That Islamic State Issue

Posted in Malaysia, Religion at 1:52 am by egalitaria

I suppose I must tread carefully here. But I merely want to analyse and not conclude.

There are two kinds of reasoning, inductive and deductive. The first is where we look at evidence, and based upon these, draw a conclusion. For example, we might look at all kinds of trees and see leaves, and that these leaves happen to all be green in colour. We would induce that all trees have leaves that are green. On the other hand, deductive reasoning comes from a given rule or principle. Wikipedia: Where the conclusion is necessitated by previously known premises. For example, “all trees have leaves”, and “all leaves are green”, so therefore we deduce that all trees have green leaves.

Thinking about whether or not Malaysia is an Islamic state, I spoke to a friend last night that much of the tussle and debate is centred upon different interpretations of the phrase, and the fact that different parties are coming to different conclusions through different reasoning methods.

Someone who pronounces a country as an Islamic state may be doing so either through inductive or deductive reasoning. Depending on how WE want to individually interpret this will determine how we will react.

If we consider this to be a pronouncement made through deductive reasoning, we may be a little worried. Again, this depends upon (much like those probability trees we used to draw at school during Additional Math) whether it is made from a legal perspective or not. If it is, then we may be a little more worried because these carry legal implications. If not, then it is a cultural and societal issue – and although I have no problems with this, it may be wrongly used as a political tool.

If we consider this to be an announcement made through inductive reasoning, we have less to be worried about – to me anyway – because it is merely reflective upon the values and cultural practices that are already well in place within the system. Based on examples, an induction that we are an Islamic… country, state, nation, whichever you want to call it, is not as far fetched as we’d imagine it to be. Note: again there need to be distinctions made between what is a legal term and not, and politicians who don’t necessarily know implications of legal vs. sociological term should refrain from making statements before they know what hit them.

I think many Malaysians would be comfortable saying that we are Islamic. This includes me. But to conclude we are an Islamic State is not a completely accepted view.

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