Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Failed bible - burning a sign of people’s maturity

There was sigh of relief when the proposed bible-burning event did not materialize last Sunday in Butterworth. As I drove through the place I felt happy that not a single ill-motived person was in sight. The failure of this bible-burning event showed 2 important developments of Malaysian society;
1.The elevated level of maturity of the Malaysian people at large. The vast majority of Malay Muslims are not easily influenced by the racial and religious provocation of a few radicals among them. The Christians too are wise enough to ignore such provocations and act with great restrain so as to maintain the peace and harmony
2.The evil motive of the mainstream media that blew up the issue to confuse and arouse the people especially the Malay Muslims. This too did not have the intended effect to instill fear and confusion among the people  
These two positive attributes in the people of all races are the most promising developments that augurs well for the future of the nation. It gives hope for a more peaceful and harmonious future in our multiracial and multi-religious nation.
Peace and the Allah dispute
The Allah dispute is threatening to tear apart Pakatan Rakyat especially PAS and DAP and may even be the cause of a Pakatan defeat in the coming elections. The swift turn - around by PAS on use of Allah by non-Muslims followed by the goodwill visit by Tuan Guru Nik Aziz to DAP chairman Karpal Singh and the Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang may be an indication of severe undercurrents, which outsiders  may not understand.
The Christians were indirectly the cause of Tengku Razaleigh's failure in the eighties due to the crucifix issue. Do the Christians want to be the cause again of Anwar Ibrahim’s failure this time around with the Allah issue? The Christians like all other peace-loving Malaysians also want political change they do not want to be the obstacle to the change of government at the 13GE.
It is time for the Christians to rise up in wisdom to drop this Allah claim now so that they can successfully bring about a change of the government first. They have made known their rights on the issue of Allah but they must also understand the anxieties of the ordinary Malay Muslims who are highly anxious of "giving up" Allah as they were brought up over 50 years of politicised Islam under Umno rule to think they alone have exclusive rights to Allah.

Anwar Ibrahim by taking a liberal stand in support of our claim of Allah, has risked losing the support of the Malays that may affect his chances of capturing Putrajaya.The mainstream media will leave no stone unturned to label him and Pakatan as traitors to the race and religion. Let us not let him down and his sacrifices by being adamant in our claims to Allah now. After all God by whatever name we call Him is God.
As Christians we must turn to our Master and Lord, Jesus, for guidance on this important issue that we are facing today. Jesus had 2 choices on being unjustly sentenced to death – to fight his mighty opponents with force or submit to their judgment. Of course he made the more difficult and humiliating choice – the cross. Yes, he chose to offer his other cheek when struck on one. His action then is very clear on what ours should be today.
Our church leaders on behalf of all the Christians in the country must come together and consider very carefully what they should do to put an end to this dispute that may threaten the peace and harmony among the races. They must put the well-being and peace of the people above all other considerations. A graceful way to get out of the impasse for now is to issue a statement like this,

"Historically and constitutionally we are of the opinion that we have the right to use Allah in our scriptures and worship like Christians in other parts of world, but due to the anxieties and fears expressed by our Muslim brethren in our country, we will drop this claim now for the sake of goodwill and harmony to prevail among the Muslims and Christians.

We continue to pray to the Almighty that a day will come when all Malaysians can pray together side by side free to address the one true God in the name they choose. God bless Malaysia".
The Allah dispute is a chance to show our commitment to peace, which should not be compromised for any reason whatsoever. It is a chance to show our tolerance and goodwill even to our fellow citizens of a different faith. It is a chance to put to practice which Jesus himself demonstrated while here on earth. What we do now really depends how much we want to be like Jesus bearing in mind that it is we who need God's protection not God who needs ours.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday Reflection 27 Jan 2013

Live not just preach the Good News
In the Gospel last Sunday, Jesus clearly spelt out what he was on earth for and what we should also do to fulfill our own lives in this world.
“The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”(Luke 4:18)
In his sermon, the celebrant spoke about the declining morals today which he said was because the people do not want to follow the laws of the church which they think are too suppressive of their freedom. On the contrary he said the laws of the church are meant to liberate the people from sin not stifle their freedom to do what they like.
He spoke about the rising promiscuity in society today; premarital sex, contraception, pornography and stealing and he asked how we could be happy indulging all these immoral acts. We look around we see evil everywhere – corruption, racism, cruelty, greed, hatred and violence. Those in power abusing their power to suppress the poor and ignorant and others abusing religion and God for their abnormally greedy needs.
True people today are questioning every laws and values that were held so dear over so many centuries. Not only laws on sexual morality but on almost every aspect of our lives. Good has become bad and bad become good. Why are we facing such an hypocritical life in the world today?
It is important to ask ourselves 2 main questions:
1.How have I contributed to the declining morality today?
No one particular individual or group can be blamed for this situation we have today. All of us, parents, teachers, pastors and political leaders in all levels and leaders in whatever organization we belong to, are all responsible for the rot we have today.
Do we practice what we preach to the children and others under our care? Do we follow the very laws and rules that we want others to do so? Are we showing examples by our own good and morally righteous behavior?
Very often we preach one thing and do something else. We ourselves continue to do immoral things but expect others to be all good.
2.What can I do to reverse this immoral trend that is fast becoming the way of life?
The only way is to lead by example. Youngsters today hate to be told what to do and they will rebel if forced to do so. But they will be subtly influenced by our living examples that will slowly instill good values in them. Such slow infusion of the right values by example will lead to the adoption of the right approach when they are faced with difficult situations later in life.
Jesus said he came to bring the good news to the afflicted, to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. We cannot be Jesus to do all these, which he did but we can refrain from doing anything that oppresses others and deprives them of their freedom and rights. The least can do is to demonstrate the right values to our children and others under our care. The Good News which  Jesus brought  cannot be preached but lived.
From my own experience I understand fully how difficult it is to bring up children with good values in an extremely evil world today even by being good parents ourselves. There is no way children can grow up to be morally upright if we ourselves don’t indulge in such virtues for them to see.

The Gospel reading
 Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21
1 Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have reached their fulfilment among us,
2 as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3 I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus,
4 so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.
14 Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside.
15 He taught in their synagogues and everyone glorified him.
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read,
17 and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:
18 The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.
20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 Then he began to speak to them, 'This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.'

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Who says I must respect Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam just because he was anointed Archbishop? Najib too was anointed by UMNO to be Prime Minister but he has not earned my respect. Yesterday the sycophant rag, the STAR,  front-paged “UNITY PLANS FOR GAZA”! An apt headline would be “UNITE  TATTERED 1MALAYSIA”! This is one “shepherd” who strayed from his priority, to allow Mahathir’s proxy Ibrahim Ali to besmirch his motto/slogan: 1 Malaysia.
The Sun also front-paged Najib’s who pledged solidarity with the Palestinians and backed reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. In the name of Allah, even the OIC cannot bring these two fractious muslim groups together, fat chance the scandal-strapped PM of a corrupted country can bridge this gulf between the factions HERE. There is in town a homegrown NGO that goes by the name of COMPLETE, admittedly striving to champion the Palestinians. Even this group has two factions, one siding Fatah, the other Hamas as a fund raising event recently proved. Perhaps, Najib could do well to unite COMPLETE before venturing into Gaza.  
Now, back to Murphy Pakiam. If my uncle, Datuk Tan Cheng Or, was not bedridden he would give two tight slaps to his former student Murphy Pakiam!  In 2007, The Herald and Pakiam, as its publisher, filed for a judicial review after it was ordered to stop using the Arabic word "Allah" in its publication by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs. On the last day of 2009, HE was not in court when the High Court Judge allowed for the use of Allah in the Bahasa version of the Bible. The government appealed against judgement and Murphy dutifully followed Najib to the Vatican!
Within two months of Pakatan taking Selangor, the parish priest of St Paul the Hermit was granted permission from the Selangor Government to build a new church. The priest of this poor parish approached the Tan Sri Archbishop for funds to initiate proceedings. The Bishop told the priest to get his parishioners to raise funds. The parishioners are by majority, poor estate workers. And the Right Honorable Pakiam’s motto is: Mercy and Peace.

A group of Catholic doctors on their own time collected medicine and made nocturnal visits to  Mynmarese immigrants hiding in the jungle. The Tan Sri heard about this and stopped the doctors from their “clandestine” trips to give aid to the disadvantaged. Mercy?
And now Ibrahim Ali wants to burn the Alkitab and our SHEPHERD continues to pray(????) for guidance amidst an embarrassing silence? Thank God a national group representing the evangelical Christian community has stepped up to the plate to tell Najib to practice what he preaches! Tan Sri Murphy continues to twiddle his thumbs! Impeachment is a secular penalty. Is there an ecclesiastical equivalent or should the shepherd go to pasture to bring back some dignity to the office! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013