Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What Logic?

Last November, my family received a traffic summon (by post) for speeding. As faithful citizens of Malaysia, we immediately went to the traffic police station to clear our "debt". It must be noted that it has been a common practice in Malaysia to receive a discount upon request. Therefore, we went to the "discount" department and hand in our earnest request.

After looking at the date of our summon, the police smiled at us and said in Bahasa Melayu, "Ni tak boleh diskaun, hanya saman sebelum bulan sembilan boleh diskaun." In English it roughly means "We cannot give you a discount, discounts are only given to summons dated before September." We were bemused and stunned by his reply. I understood that they gave discounts to summons dated before September in order to attract drivers to pay their long overdue summons. Fair enough. As for citizens who pay their summons in time, they should be given a better discount as a reward for their sense of responsibility. Yet, not only are they not given a better discount, they are not given any discount at all!

Isn't the government sending a message to the citizens: "Do not be foolish and pay the summon in time, for you will have to pay the full amount. Let the summon expire first, because after that, we will offer you discount prices. So, wait!"?

Talk about improving efficiency.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

To Be Truly Human

As a start, if we acknowledge that God is our Creator, it makes sense to acknowledge that he has the sole prerogative to define what a human is and how humans ought to live their lives. Thankfully, he did not leave us without a clue. In fact, he came to the world in the form of a human being, living among the human race for about thirty years, so that he may show us how a human ought to live.

Therefore, what is the goal(s) of every human? We have but only one goal: to be truly human (Read theosis). In order to be truly human, we look to the incarnate Christ, striving our very best to imitate him, for his life reflects the standard that our Creator has set for us. To put it in another way, our only goal in this life is to be like Christ!

Sadly, apathy seems to be the curse of this age. Human beings seem not to have any meaningful goal in life other than the endless pursuit of temporal possessions. The word 'conviction' seems to be an uncommon word even among Christians. We need to move beyond having a superficial belief into a conviction that there is nothing else in this world that is more important to us than becoming imitators of Christ.

Therefore, let us return to the written word of God, study the Jesus of the Gospels again and again and again, until we are able to unearth the values and principles that govern his life and actions. Then, we can start our journey towards becoming like Christ. Yet, we will also realize that one has to be totally radical and insane to become like him, for his standard, which is also the standard for all humans, is foolish in the eyes of the world. But with the conviction that this is our goal in this life, we advance anyway. Foolish we may be, but we want to become truly human anyway.

Thus, just as the athletes during the time of Paul fixed their eyes on the goal at the finishing line so that they can run in a straight line; so let us fix our eyes not on temporal possessions, but on Jesus Christ alone, aspiring to become like him. Let us cling on to him as if nothing else matters.

Then, when we finally reach the end of our race, when we meet Christ face to face, he sees a true human, he sees himself.

"The Son of God became man, that we might become God."
St. Athanasius of Alexandria


Monday, January 08, 2007

To My Dearest Sister

Just as the world has moved into a new year, today marks the beginning of a new year in your life. And as I wish you "Happy Birthday", I will also like to say a big "Thank you" to you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for:
- being responsible of choosing and paying for most of my clothing, lest I run out of clothes to wear;
- never forgetting to buy presents for me whenever you go on an oversea or outstation trip;
- providing me with financial relief when my personal treasury reaches the danger level;
- being the program planner of the family, always knowing where to bring us for delicious food and good traveling spots;
- giving me support, advices, encouragements (sometimes warnings *cheeky grin*) whenever I need them;
- and, so much more...

Lastly, I really thank God for creating you and placing you in this family. You have been (and will always be) a dear sister who is close to my heart.

Jie, happy birthday and I love you.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Flood for Thoughts (2)

2. When we arrived at certain houses, we were informed that we were not the only people who were providing them with help. Before us, there were already other religious associations and political parties that have been providing food and new clothings to them for the past few days. When we heard that there were other religious associations that were aiding them, a natural feeling of disappointment emerged within us. We felt that their effort was lessening the impact of our help on the victims; for the victims would see them in the same way as they see us - people of love and concern.

Yet, it is at this moment that our true colours are revealed. It seems that we are more concern about giving them a good impression of ourselves and Christ, rather than fulfilling their immediate needs. As we dispatch the items to the victims, will we feel that our efforts are wasted if we do not have the chance to share the gospel with them or even tell them that we are Christians? Or can we believe that even that silent act of giving them a packet of fried rice is already bringing a smile to our Father?

Rather than seeing other helpers as rivals, we need to discard our narrow-mindedness and respond with joy and thankfulness that these people, in spite of being adherents of other religions, serve the same cause as us in helping the needy ones. Furthermore, it will be even better if people of different religions and political parties could work together in helping the flood victims. By creating a partnership among the various groups, the manpower, the items and other resources could be fully utilized. Yet, many would be reluctant to work together, as it would certainly make it difficult for one group to make a good impression on the people over the rest. Thus, to make the partnership possible, each group has to lay aside its hidden agendas and motives and work together to serve one single purpose: to help the needy ones.