Sharing of common sense and wisdom…

Archive for September, 2011

RING THE CHURCH BELL…


Contributed by:   Church Goer  (from Cairn, Australia)

This morning in church I suddenly realized that the church bell was silent. Yet I didn’t notice earlier that the bell was actually been silent for quite a long period.

It is a small brass bell hanged on top of the church bell Tower. There is this gentleman whose name is Frederique Korad (we call him FK). FK has been with this church for about 30 years. Nobody exactly know since when he has been in charge of sound system for church service, but all knew that he’s the key man to operate & train other church members on the sound system.

Other than operating & supervising the sound room system, FK also did a very good job every Sunday service. He has a talent in ringing the church bell at 10 am sharp on Sunday when the service starts. FK was able to hold the long rope hanging down from the bell tower, tied to the brass bell, and solidly he could swing the bell rope with precise timing for each hit that created a clear resounding vibration. One hit after another, the church bell was sending out crystal clear music to the ears… flew into the nearby community, every Sunday in the past.

But now the beautiful sound of the bell is dead. For FK has since absented from the church service. He was in a dire state of physical well-being, down with terminal liver cancer. Somehow, as it is, nobody takes up the job of ringing the church bell since FK’s absence. Maybe the church members have forgotten him as well as the inspiring sound of church bell…

And maybe, just maybe, one day the church members will recall those wonderful sound coming from the bell tower.  FK had done a good job ringing the bell over past many years.

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A Long Shot for Tao Li


18 Sep 2011  SUN

Commentary by:  A Sideliner

A new swim coach was hired for Singapore national swimmer Tao Li, from the Singapore Swimming Club, reported by local news.  

Apparently the British coach Turner was smart enough to state well beforehand that, for Tao Li to be a hopeful medal winner in the 2012 London Olympics, the swimmer must improve her performance in the pool by 4% off her current low standard.   

A Very Long Shot indeed…

That’s to say, if Tao Li fails in her bid in the next Olympics, is mainly due to her performance. This is an intelligent statement, as observed by some. Because it’s well known by now that the swimmer never admit her own problems whenever she failed, instead she would blame others especially the training regime designed by coach.

With her current 50m Butterfly performance already sliding well below her competitors in the World Swimming Championships not long ago, some people do have reservation about whether the swimmer can achieve even harder challenge in the 100m Butterfly event, in 2012 London Olympics.  (As 50m Butterfly is not an Olympics approved event).  For the start, she needs to achieve below 57 sec. in the 100m Butterfly to be hopeful for an Olympics medal. That’s provided that others won’t improve theirs…

News Reports That Make You Think


17 Sep 2011  SAT

Extracted and posted here are three news reports that will make you think… harder.

#1  Commuting Around In Town Isn’t That Difficult… When You Adapt

Somewhere in Asia... commuting around town is not that difficult.

 

#2  About News Reporting In The Lion City

 

#3  “SEMPER FI”

In real life, whether or not you are a hero, you still have to work in order to get paid…

Play By The Rules


PLAY BY THE RULES

16 Sep 2011

Interesting News Extract

By:  Roadsider

The Lion City state Singapore went through a General Election (parliamentary polling) and a Presidential Election (non-political) in May and Aug this year respectively.

The following news extract is from the Lion City state’s local media.  An interesting read indeed.  The news report seems to highlight that the government’s major challenge is to communicate well & convince different electorate profiles due to people are having greater political awareness and concerns these days. Regardless, the people in Lion City are fairly matured and intelligent in their judgment of political agendas yet remain relatively sober in casting their votes when the time comes.  Singapore has progressed to be a matured society and successful in many areas.  

Deeper Meaning To ‘Minimum Wages’


14 Sep 2011  Wed

Commentary by:   Pipi Indocham

Extracts of ST Interview, Republic of Singapore

THE MEANING BEHIND ‘MINIMUM WAGES’ FOR A NATION

As reflected in the ST Interview article, professor Aneel Karnani advocates that  minimum wages for a nation is of no harm because per capita GDP often does not reflect the true wealth distribution of a nation.  And in a developed nation, not all sectors of trade & business could achieve Productivity growth, up to a point. (See the attached portion of the interview).

Such argument cannot be settled once and for all easily. Each nation has its own peculiarity about economic, social and political systems.  But, as a whole, to achieve a more balanced society in terms of fair distribution of wealth and economic output, the following equation is a sober one:

Fairness of Wealth Distribution = Productivity + Value System + Adequacy of Basic Social Security Net

Economists should strive to recommend practical approaches towards the achievement of the above formula.  Either side of extreme measures for the Western and Eastern value systems will not yield optimal results.  Productivity remains an important tool for measurement of individual contribution to the economy of nation; but it is NOT the only tool to be based upon for solving the wealth gap of rich and poor.  Ultimately, any government per se, has the responsibility to ensure that the bottom 10 – 15% of its population do not end up in the trash!  That’s the meaning of providing adequate social security net to everyone.  Based upon its social or cultural values, nations should define What’s Basic Needs to be provided for its people.

Productivity can raise overall competitiveness of economic state BUT it cannot fulfill value system that’s also needed for nation-building and long term survival. 

When The Sky Wants To Rain


13 Sep 2011  Tue

Contributed by:  Joshua (Pastoral in Hong Kong)

WHEN THE SKY WANTS TO RAIN

This is a story told to me recently by a friend of mine, a Japanese native who lives in South Africa for the part 20 years. His name Hiro Watanabe. We met a couple of days before, when he was in town for a short conference.

When we met at the hotel cafe for a chat to catch up, Watanabe  told me this, “when the sky wants to rain & the mother wants to wed; it’s best to let it go.”  Initially I could not understand the meaning of the analogy.  Then Watanabe explained to me that it is a classic Chinese statement by the late great leader of communist China, Mao Tze Dong. Apparently Watanabe had learned Chinese language and its culture way back when he was studying the language in Beijing the 80s. He especially likes to study history of civil war in China and the cultural revolution.

Watanabe explained, in the 70s when Mao was informed of his long time comrade general Lin Piao staged a mutiny and defecting to the Soviet Union, Mao just made the above remark calmly. What he meant was, if an event was inevitable and beyond human control, you have to just let it go. It’s no point holding on to it yet hope against hope.

My friend was using the statement of Mao (above) to relate his sentiment about what happens to his son. Apparently this son of him has over time, developed into a personality of “Blame”. Regardless of what happens, this young man would ultimately adopt a blame culture towards others, including his own parents. My friend worked to save up quite a sum of money to send this son overseas for post-graduate studies at one of the top universities in Europe. Watanabe and his wife have maintained a simple lifestyle these days because he retired a few years ago. But soon he noticed that his son got into this blame culture even onto them. The young man on one occasion blamed his mother for “making him a mother’s boy” and therefore it might caused him to lose his girlfriend; also blamed my friend for insensitive to his thinking etc. This young man also mentions about how good the others who “treat” him to expensive meals, how lucky the other’s parent are rich people, etc.

Apparently this young man has become rather materialistic in his thinking in that he develops self-consciousness in comparing everything. The worse part comes from his mentality that his parents owe him a living and lack of material cares.  The young man has lost quite a few personal friends over a short period of time.  A few were not considered to be good material but some were rather good & proper. Apparently all the broke-off were the result of highly emotional outburst…

I could understand such a character, I told my friend, that his son is probably being “trapped” in a straight & deep silo that projects the world only as the size of its opening.  Things appear to him within a still and set condition. Such personality development tends to end up what is commonly known as the “Blame Culture”. In that, the others must be wrong and he’s among a few who’s most right. In behavioural terms, such personality tends to show emotional aggression outwardly towards people he deals with. Such personality only looks for praises and remembers in short time, good treatment From others.  But one simple neglect could easily trigger an emotional aggression outburst from him.  Put it simply, taking things for granted and put blames onto others easily…

My friend appears to be in the situation like what Mao had expressed, “When the sky wants to rain…”, nobody could change the outcome. But on the other hand, he remains sober, acknowledging the fact that we are all human and make mistakes. And finally Watanabe says, “At a particular moment, I just knew that the element of heart to heart talk with this guy is gone…  It will never come back again. I won’t share my deep sentiment and hard truth of life experience with him anymore…for he doesn’t value but scorn at that. That’s a sad thing.” He continues, “But life goes on, it’s still early to close the episode. Let’s be patient and see how this young man fairs when he’s at the age of 40.”  I asked my friend, “Why 40?”  And he gave me a smile, “That’s an average age in society when the moment of truth (of ones true calibre & success) is shown. It’s universal.” 

Watanabe added with some relief, “At the same time, i have thought of this issue that most parents feel so attached. They try very hard to wholly own a big piece of their children’s success or failure, making it an integral part of their life…”  He carried on, “But now I realize that we can’t. It is only good that after we parents provide our kids the necessary food and education, we learn to let go. Most of them won’t appreciate too much about what we provide them, they take it as normal, just parents duty.  With this son, I have let go like what Mao had said. Whether it is success or failure for him it remains 100% his life, not ours. We mustn’t enforce or try to own some pieces of their life and  make it ours to feel happy or sad. We have our life and let’s stick to that. That’s what i called, Unloading.”

I agreed with Watanabe, in that it’s not wise for parents to try living their life plus their children’s too.  There’s a time to let go. The children never appreciate that anyway. Watanabe declares, “From now on I won’t take my son’s success or failure in life that seriously.  I have done my part. I have unloaded any meaning whatsoever from his success or failure. It’s his life, rewards and pains; and we need to respect that. Each one of us should live our own life properly. Allow your kids own their life fully and live it to the fullest.”

Closeness breeds contempt, I remember this phrase. Maybe my friend Watanabe is right. We all need patience to wait for God’s plan for each of us… there isn’t any clear revelation in this era… one has to be thankful of even little blessing in life to remain calm and collected. And my final word for my friend, is to let his son live his OWN life and then he could learn from the pain of failures and great joy of even little successes. Then, hopefully he will not blame others along the way but be wholly responsible to himself for a life he lives.  I watched Watanabe walking away towards the hotel lift lobby, after we finished the conversation and said goodbye to each other. I noticed in him a sense of loss – something he knew he would never regain in the future. I knew what is that element. But I also saw that he walked with lightness… he has unloaded something too.

So, when the sky wants to rain; let it be… as Mao said.

No Logic Could Explain Faith


8th Sept 2011  Thur

Contributed by:   Joshua (pastoral)

CAN GODLY MEANINGS BE EXPLAINED IN PLAIN LOGICS?

I have a friend who’s studying his PhD in an elite US university said this to me recently,

“I just wondered and realized that there’s no way one could use plain language and logics to convince and make clear subjects such as Faith, God’s doing, and throw light onto divine topics.”  He went on, “Therefore it is important that we realize there’s no common language to explain fully God’s creation and Salvation….” 

I incline to agree with my friend on this. That’s the main reason why religions must introduce Ritual in order to “align” their believers mindset to such an extent where some form of “unified” actions are perceived to be the right way to endorse their faith and intra-religious communication.

Christians should take note of the three key elements mentioned in the Bible:  (1)  Faith, (2) Hope and, (3) Love.  Love is the foundation to reinforce Faith and continues to grow one’s Hope. There’s no need explicit languages or logics to explain Love. It’s completed through action.

Community services can do so much BUT it has to be gauged by the motive behind doing all this. Those that are “motivated” by personal motives/mindset should not be encouraged. NGOs are the best approach towards organising community services for the needed groups.  We heard some cases of churches that lost their head into meaningless activities externally and fail to “feed their flock of sheep”.  They become sorely driven by activities and not meaning.

In conclusion, pastoral meaning and its sacred calling become just another career (job) choice to some “career pastors”… Surprisingly, traditional churches are facing even tougher challenges.

There's Faith, Hope & Love....

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