Sunday, 30 December 2007

Letter from parents of the late Kerk Zi On

i received a phone call on friday night from mrs kerk, mother of the late Kerk Zi on. she phoned in from australia to request for my email to send me this letter which i am putting up on the blog. in her email, she asked me to forward the letter to all those who had been praying with them over this matter.

since, the readers of this blog have been praying together with them, i want to post this letter as an encouragement to all. some have asked me about the parents of Zi On. the letter is self-explanatory. it is an amazing testimony to the faith of the parents and that of Zi On himself.

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Dear friends and family members,

These past 20 days have been the most traumatic and painful time for our family.

As the search turns from survival to body search, it is difficult to come to terms with ourselves that our dear son and brother Zi On will no longer come home.

Psalm 42:3 precisely describes our daily routine:

My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me
all day long, “where is your God?”


We know all of you are anxious to know the latest developments of the rescue efforts. We are very sorry for not being able to write to you earlier as emotionally we were not in a position to do so. We are being briefed each day by the Brisbane Marine Police on their search outcome. However each time we receive the same sad answer: “We wish we could give you better news, but we are sorry.” Until today the search is still going on, our hope seems fading, but we hang on to Psalm 130:3-6

“If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who can stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning…”


Out of deep our sorrow, we sometimes carelessly blame ourselves and each other for not doing the things we should have done for Zi On and for not saying words we should have said to him. Deep in our hearts, we heard ourselves painfully crying:” We have not loved you enough On, our dear On.”

We always think there is a tomorrow, little have we realized the reality of Psalm 39:5

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.”

At Moreton Island, we wept and cried out, looking at the endless sea and its the surging waves. “On, On, where are you?”….,“Zi On, come back, Papa Mama are here to take you home.”

Then the Lord slowly and quietly begins to comfort us, and we learn to surrender our dear son and Kor Kor to our Heavenly Father and Divine God with this assurance from His Word in II Timothy 1v12:

“But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed unto Him until that Day.”

Amidst our grief, other signs of comforts began to fill our hearts. We discovered the following when we painfully went through his belongings and when we recalled through his friends and our own memories of his short earthly journey:


1. His devotional diary. We greatly treasure this find. From it, we are assured of his faith in God; we are humbled by his profound thoughts on the teachings of Jesus and touched by his sincere application.

2. His prayer requests. He has listed down some 17 prayer requests which we believe are his current.

3. Love is a better way. We his parents and his dear brother recall how his life is characterized by gentleness and loving kindness. Many who had known him share with us how much they cherish the memory of his smiling face, his gentle acts of kindness and love for people. Many will miss him as “Zi On always has time for others, he is a good listener.” “ He is the most humble person I have ever met,” said his best friend.

4. Testimonies of his friends. In tears, many of his friends came forward to relate to us their experiences and friendship with Zi On and how Zi On meant to them. Many testified that their lives had been blessed by him. We believe that not even Zi On himself knew what kind of impact he had on the lives of his friends in his short stay in Brisbane.

5. Encouragement. We attended a few services at the Hope Church at the Queensland University, where Zi On was attending. Cho Tan and I shared something about Zi On and to brief the congregation on the outcome of the search. We were deeply moved by the tearful faces of many in the congregation and their sincere comforting words of encouragement.

6. His commitments. We tried to “walk through” some of his last journeys by meeting his friends and attending the Cell group meeting of Judah 8. We are greatly touched by their love for Zi On and now also given to us. We are comforted by their witnesses that Zi On had re-committed his life to God and had indicated his desire to know more about Him.

7. His search for a purpose in life. For many years Zi On was searching for his purpose in life as Cho Tan recalled his sharing with his mom. In one of his diary pages, Zi On wrote :

“I want to be a man of substance”
“I want to be a man of drive”
“I want to be a man with more compassion and empathy”……


8. Born for greater thing. And he also wrote :
“I believe I am born for greater thing” than merely getting a job and earning a living. ………….He never would have perceived that his vision is finally fulfilled at the painful cost of his earthly parents and brother.

The Brisbane Police Inspector told us that based on the various statements recorded from all the witnesses, they will recommend for a National Bravery Award for Zi On for standing forward to save someone who is in danger. We are grateful for the recognition, however as parents, no award is more endearing than the life of our son. They call him “Hero” here, but we only want our son back, if God so wills.

Someone said he should have thought of his parents before he entered the sea to save the girl whom he does not even know. But then, as the Inspector commented “Bravery is an instinct, love is an instinct, courage is an instinct”. It is either he has it or not. But we know if Zi On has these beautiful tributes, it is only because God has endowed him, and all glory be given to God.

The years of training in the Boys Brigade and the grooming in responsibility as a Sergeant and as Band Major of the 1st Teluk Intan Boys Brigade Company no doubt had helped to lay the foundation for his sacrificial act. But God alone deserves all honour.

B.B. Malaysia, we know that you are at this moment sharing the grief with us for the loss of your Sergeant. May this spirit of bravery and love shines forth in your Sergeant evolve into a driving force that will eventually push the mission of BBM to a higher ground.

To all our friends and Zi On’s friends, and to all our relatives and family members, we want to thank you for standing by our side in this hour of our pain. Your prayers, words of comfort and sympathy through SMS, e-mails and phone calls, and many and various supports rendered to us, are deeply appreciated.

Isa. 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways.
As the heaven is higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”


We may not know why God has allowed this to happen, but we do believe that He has a higher purpose which we still cannot perceive now, but we will one day.

Our humble daily prayer now is Psalm 143:6,8
“I spread out my hands to you, my soul thirsts for you like the parched land. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

We give thanks to God who daily bears our burden and who has a bottle for our tears.

Through the kindness of our and Z On’s friends, a few internet websites had been set up to keep you posted on the latest developments and to provide a platform for you to pay tributes. You may lock on to the following websites for more information at:

1 http://www.zionkerk.blogspot.com
2 http://www.oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com
3 Summary of different blogs posted by various parties at :
http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/2007/12/further-tributes-to-unsung-malaysian.html

More updates will be posted on the blogs from time to time.

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we must never forget that He came to die that we may live. His resurrection is our hope. In this hope, we wait for the day when we will see Zi On again in heaven.

We take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.


In His Love,
Kerk Choon Keng, Cho Tan and ZiLu
25-12-2007

Friday, 28 December 2007

pradis 6.0 free giveaway (offer still on till 31st dec 2007!)

sometime ago, i posted the entry about pradis free giveaway from ezondervan. in case, you missed the original offer, it is still available till 31st dec 2007. so, you got 3 days to go to the site, register, and get us$25.00 worth of free ebooks. i went for 4 ebooks each at us$5.99. hurray for freebies!

http://www.goavmod.com/ezondervan-pradis/index.php?option=com_registration&task=register

You’re just minutes away from your customized Christian reference library (and $25 of product FREE). START NOW!
1. Visit the eZondervan store*.
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Use code AVZCS8 at checkout.
One-time use per household.
Offer ends December 31, 2007.


remember to enter the code AVZCS8 during checkout. however, if you have already registered the last time, the code doesn't work as one household is entitled the offer only once. (hint: however there are ways to get around this, especially if you have large family members!)

thanks to pearlie for the info.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

another death

this piece of news just came in. this is shocking especially in the time of christmas when we speak of peace. there seems to be no peace in pakistan where unruly elements are bent on destroying whatever little hope of democracy and peace.

death seems to be the emphasis this month for me. first, it was our daughter's god brother, zi on, who gave his life to save a person he did not know. see the posts on kerk zi on on this blog.

then, just this morning (27th dec), my uncle, lee eng huat, passed away in k.l. he had a fall and broke his pelvic bone recently. during his hospitalization, he suffered, i think, 2 heart attacks without his knowing. his blood pressure went down, his kidneys began to fail, so the doctors put him on dialysis. efforts by the doctors did not work and he lapsed into a comma. the funeral will be this saturday in p.j. followed by the cremation.

of course, now this death of benazir from a suicide bombing. not that i am a strong fan of hers but at least she offered some hope of peace and democracy to this volatile nation.

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Pakistan on the brink as suicide attack kills Benazir Bhutto

PAKISTAN opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber as she left a public rally today, threatening to plunge Pakistan into a civil war.
Benazir BhuttoThe former prime minister was caught by the blast as she was driven from the rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

She had just addressed thousands of people in a public park as part of her campaign for the country's parliamentary elections which are due on January 8.

Her supporters gathered outside the hospital where she died and began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf.

Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

Her lawyer said: "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."
Ms Bhutto ,54, served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996.

She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile last October after agreeing an amnesty deal with President Musharraf over corruption charges.

Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

The assassination threatens to plunge a nuclear armed Pakistan into civil war, opposition groups warned.

Riaz Malik, of the opposition Pakistan Movement for Justice party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), warned: "The impact will be that Pakistan is in more turmoil – it will be the start of civil war in Pakistan.

"There is a very real danger of civil war in Pakistan."

He said that while suspicion was likely to fall on insurgent groups based in the northern tribal areas near the Afghan border, the killing was bound to increase dissatisfaction with the regime of President Pervez Musharraf.

"There will be a lot of fingers pointed at the government," he said.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the killing of Benazir Bhutto as a "senseless attack".

An official for the US State Department official said: "The attack shows that there are still those in Pakistan trying to undermine reconciliation and democratic development in Pakistan."

India said Bhutto's assassination a terrible blow to the democratic process.

"In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country," said Sanjaya Baru, spokesman for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Amit Roy, a writer and commentator on Pakistani politics who knew Ms Bhutto, said she knew the risks of returning to campaign in the elections but was determined to win.

He said: "In one of my last conversations with her I said, almost as a joke, that she should leave politics and become an academic.

"But she felt that it was always her ambition to return to Pakistan as Prime Minister. She knew the risks but was determined to stay."

BENAZIR BHUTTO FACTFILE

* Born June 21, 1953. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and was president and later prime minister of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977.

* Educated at Harvard and Oxford universities. Returned to Pakistan in 1977. Inherited leadership of the PPP after her father's execution in 1979 under military ruler General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq.

* First voted in as prime minister in 1988. Sacked on corruption charges in 1990. Took power again in 1993 after her successor, Nawaz Sharif, was forced to resign. Removed from power in 1996 by Sharif.

* 1999: Bhutto and husband Asif Ali Zardari sentenced to five years in jail and fined 8.6 million on charges of taking kickbacks from a Swiss company hired to fight customs fraud. Conviction overturned by higher court.

* Joined an Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy with her arch-rival Sharif in 2006.

* Returned to Pakistan in October 2007 from eight years of self-imposed exile. Military president Pervez Musharraf granted her protection from prosecution in old corruption cases.

* On her return, as she was driving through Karachi, a suicide bomber struck killing 139 supporters and members of her security team.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

prosperity gospel is dead?

prosperity gospel is dead?

if you thought that it was dead, it ain't. watch this compilation of videos from the God channel and hear for yourself what these prosperity gospel preachers are saying!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs0OvGKr8cM



thanks to tim bulkeley

what has the OT to do with English football?

Thanks to claudio mariottini for the link.

in the movie kingdom of heaven, saladdin was asked by balion 'what does jerusalem mean to you?'. his answer was simple: 'everything!'.

in a similar vein, what has the OT to do with english football? read on, especially the part highlighted in bold!

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Liverpool 0 United 1: Verdict
Stuart Mathieson 17/12/2007

AS a Premier League title pointer this proved conclusively that Sir Alex Ferguson has more chance of chalking off another League trophy towards his goal of overhauling Liverpool's record 18 crowns than Rafa Benitez has of ending the Merseysiders' task of winning their first for 18 years."

That's why we are champions," roared United's followers in the Anfield Road end after Carlos Tevez had produced a smash-and-grab winner in the first half.

They were alluding to the fact that in that first 45 minutes on this hostile territory they hadn't produced an effort on goal until the Argentinian's 43rd minute breakthrough.

Last March the Reds had suffered a backs-to-the-wall pummelling here before John O'Shea's dramatic injury time winner sent United back along the M62 believing that with nine games to go, they had struck the most significant title race blow and the silverware was being polished at Stamford Bridge in readiness for being transported back up north.

O'Shea's Kop heartbreaker had showed just what true champions are about. Digging in against the odds, and snatching victory is one of the key ingredients anyone worth their salt can dredge up.

There may be a lot longer to go in the 2007-08 race but this could be every bit as damaging to Liverpool's hopes if not Arsenal and Chelsea's just yet.

Challengers

This day could be seen as the pivotal point as to when the anticipated four-strong chase for the title was whittle down to three challengers.

Liverpool did not have the air of a team who have the nous to tackle days like these.

On the other hand the Reds clearly showed once again that they can cope and triumph in any scenario thrown at them.

It wasn't a day when finesse would have the upper hand, it was very much another occasion for an intense raw war.

It was also a day for converting what rare titbits came your way in the opposition area. In that area Liverpool were a very poor second to United.

Benitez's side shaded the clearer opportunities that were too rare to make this a classic Premier League advert.

Anderson had to rescue United with a hack off the line from Harry Kewell's penalty box drive after 25 minutes and Fernando Torres's finishing ability looked over-hyped as he steered the rebound wide with his head from close range.

It was their most potent fleeting moment.

Part of the build-up to this clash had been taken up with the head-to-head comparisons between the Spaniard United couldn't entice to Old Trafford and the South American who was prepared to go to court to move to the Reds.

Tracked

Ferguson had admitted that United had tracked and attempted to lure Torres to Manchester on numerous occasions.

Last summer the Reds had enquired again. Many believed, with good reason, that the former Atletico Madrid hitman's qualities were a necessary different option to add to the champion's firepower. Had he given the nod early, then maybe United wouldn't have had the stomach to pursue the tricky switch of Tevez from West Ham. But Torres chose the tapas environment that is now Anfield to Old Trafford. It left Fergie and the United hierarchy making the concerted and difficult Tevez option their spearhead priority.

This was certainly the day when it became worthwhile.

Torres suffered the taunts from the travelling Reds that he should have signed for a big club while Tevez became one of those overnight Old Trafford legends like Diego Forlan and O'Shea in recent years for scoring an Anfield winner.

Whatever he does in the future he won't forget, or be allowed to forget, his first ever away goal for United.

And with more speculation that Nicolas Anelka is a January target for United the 23-year-old is building up a goal record to fight off the attentions of any newcomer despite their pedigree.

After eight goals in the comfort of Old Trafford this was some place to break your duck and prove you are not a homer!

Brimstone

Amid all the typical fire and brimstone and good honest working your socks off, it was the one moment of real quality from the Reds. It had training ground written all over it as Liverpool bought the decoy runs of Vidic and Ferdinand hook, line and sinker.

As everyone tracked United's big guys, Ryan Giggs pulled his corner kick back to the waiting Wayne Rooney.

He struck a ferocious low drive that Tevez managed to divert into the roof of the net in front of the Kop. It doesn't come much sweeter.

United's backroom staff have been using Old Testament readings to inspire the Reds during their gym work - well they certainly seem to get some divine inspiration when they travel to Liverpool!

Rooney was counting his blessings too that he escaped being hit by a golf ball thrown from the crowd. Police are investigating the incident.

Liverpool had the air of a team who know that United have got their measure even in front of their own screaming hordes and with Vidic and Ferdinand resolute at the heart of the defence and Hargreaves and Anderson, making their debuts in this showdown, there was never any serious passage of time in the rest of the game where United fans would have felt they were not going to win.

Once again the celebratory scenes at the end were of a bunch of players and a support who knew they had made another significant Premiership statement, while the Anfielders still have the look of a side who know that they are still short of shedding their tag as the fourth team in the Big Four.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Website for Kerk Zi On

friends have helped to create a website for Kerk Zi On. check it out here:

http://zionkerk.blogspot.com/2007/12/initial-post.html

Zi On's cousin, Eu ling, is asking for photos, news, your thoughts and anything you might have about Zi On so that a book in his memory can be created. Please email your thoughts, prayers and/or photos of Zi On to ZionKerk07@gmail.com or euling@rogers.com.

updates have been made to the blog entry on 'Further Tributes to an Unsung Hero':

http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/2007/12/further-tributes-to-unsung-malaysian.html

The Full Length 'Infamous' Lingam Video Revealed

Video Penuh VK Lingam (Full VK Lingam Video)
14 Disember 2007

Berikut adalah klip video penuh dimana peguam V.K. Lingam dirakamkan berbual dengan Ketua Hakim Negara, Abdul Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim di dalam satu konspirasi untuk menjamin pelantikan hakim-hakim yang tertentu ke badan kehakiman negara. (the following is a full video clip where lawyer V.K. Lingam is recorded having a conversation with Chief Justice Abdul Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim in a conspiracy to guarantee the appointment of judges to the judiciary - translation mine).

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1448344299428080800

Sila rujuk juga kepada kenyataan penuh daripada Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim mengenai pendedahan klip video ini. (please also refer to the full statement by Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim concerning the exposure of the video clip).

Transkrip penuh : (Full transcipt)

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Note : Parts are slightly inaudible. This transcript may not be entirely accurate.

Lingam
The CJ (Chief Justice - judiciary's No 1 post) said his relative is now the Agong, so he wants to stay on to 68, so, Tengku Adnan said - I told Tengku Adnan, yesterday I had a meeting with him - he said PM is already very angry with him … and … he said no problem, he is going to make you acting err... confirm your position as PCA (President of Court of Appeal – judiciary's No 2), working very hard, and then get Tan Sri Mokhtar as CJM (Chief Judge of Malaya – judiciary's No 3).

Ah, so we just keep it confidential. I am working very hard on it. Then there is a letter, according to Tengku - I am going to see him tomorrow - there is a letter sent to … ah … CJ - I mean Tan Sri Dzaiddin - that Datuk Heliliah, …er Datuk Ramli and Datuk Maarop be made judges, and he rejected that Dr Andrew Chew and apa itu Zainudin Ismail lah because Zainuddin Ismail who condemned your appointment and Tan Sri Mohtar's appointment.

And then you also, it seems, wrote a letter for the remaining … confirmed as judges. As per our memo, I discussed with Tun Eusoff Chin and we sent the same memo to PM. I just want to get a copy letter that this has been done.

And then Tan Sri Dzaiddin said he is going to recommend six people for the Court of Appeal, but until today the letter hasn't come to PM. He never discussed, but neither he has sent the letter to PM. He has not sent. So, I know it is under the constitution, for judges all, that is your job, Datuk, to send, but we don't want to make it an issue now.

Ah, okay. Actually I told Tengku Adnan to inform PM, PM to call you for a meeting. But I will organise this so that Tengku Adnan will call you directly. And then I got your number, I will tell him to call you directly to for you to meet PM lah. Ah… So should be okay, then ar… correct, correct, it is very important that the key players must be there.

Correct, correct, correct. Correct, correct. You know that the same problem that Tun Eusoff Chin had. He tried to do all this and yet he has run out of soldiers. He couldn't do it because many were from the other camp. Last time was unfortunate because Tun Daim was doing everything sabotaging, you know lah…

Otherwise how are things with you - everything is okay? No, don't worry. You know sometimes Tan Sri Vincent said that half the time we are talking about judiciary rather than doing the work. But if I don't do this part, my work will be useless. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Ah, yes. Correct, correct, correct, correct, correct. Right, right, right. Correct. Ah. Ah. Right! Susah. You see he has now asked for six Court of Appeal judges, so that he can put his men before he retires.

Correct, correct, correct, ah, and then, ah, ah, correct, correct, correct, correct, correct.

Ah, never mind, I will do this, I will get er… Tengku Adnan to arrange for PM to call you and Tan Sri Vincent Tan for PM to call. You know why, actually, I am very grateful to Tan Sri Vincent Tan, You know why? I brainwashed him so much I even quarreled with him.

One day I went to Vincent Tan's house, I fired him at night in his house. I said bloody hell, if you don't do this who will do it? All these people, Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, Tan Sri Zainal all fought for …that. Then he called Tengku Adnan. Tengku Adnan he said, saya bukan Perdana Menteri Malaysia lah, you know. If the old man doesn't want to listen to me, go to hell.

He quarreled with me. I said never mind, never mind, Tan Sri, you talk to PM again tomorrow morning to put Datuk Ahmad Fairuz to CJM. So next day morning he went and he called me back 9.30 that he said PM has already agreed. So I said never mind, we hope for the best. So I said no harm trying, the worst that it can happen is you lose.

Being the old man, he is 76 years old, he gets whispers everywhere, and then you don't whisper, he get taken away by the other side. But, now the PM is very alert because every time he gets letters from Tan Sri Dzaiddin, he calls Tengku Adnan, he says discuss with Vincent, come and discuss. And…

Yes, yes, ya. Correct, correct. Ya, but you see although I know PM, but my views … I am a lawyer in practice… my views are… I go through them, I go through them lah.

Ah. Ah. Ah. Ah.

And then Dzaiddin will go and tell them you went and saw PM and make a big issue out of it. Oh ya, I think so, I think so.

Okay, fine, fine, fine, fine. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Right, okay, okay. Ah. Ah. Correct, correct.

Now I heard Raja Aziz, Raja Aziz ah, two weeks ago spoke to my lawyer Thayalan, and another lawyer Anad, in the High Court - they have a case with each other. So, Thayalan and Anad asked Raja Aziz, how is Tan Sri Wan Adnan?

He said he is on his way down. But you know what is the shocking thing he said? Datuk Fairuz became CJM. He overruled everybody, in three months time, he is going to be PCA, and six months time, he is going to be CJ. He said I can't take this shock. He told lah. Ha!

It seems ah that they are going to organise a campaign … they are going to organise a campaign to run you down. But you just keep quiet - don't say anything. Don't … even the press ask, you said I leave it to God, that's all. Don't say. I really like your message. You said I work very hard, what can I do? I leave it to God. That's the best answer, Datuk, that you can ever give. Ah.

Yes… I will also get Tan Sri to remind PM to put a Tan Sri ship this year lah. You know, this will elevate you, you know.

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. Ah. Steve Shim got so fast, Tan Sri Chong waited for a whole year to get Tan Sriship.

Ah. My God, that's why, ah. Correct, correct, correct, correct, ya, ya, ya, ya, right, right, right, correct, correct.

Don't worry, we organise this. And if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to meet you privately, they will, I will call you. We organise a private arrangement, in a very neutral place.

No, don't worry, Datuk, I know how much you suffered for Tun Eusoff Chin. And Tun said Datuk Ahmad Fairuz 110 percent loyalty. We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of PM and for the sake of the country. Not for our own interest, not for our own interest. We want to make sure the country comes out well.

Well, you suffered so much, so much you have done - for the election petition, Wee Choo Keong, everything. How much, nobody would have done all these.

Yes, you know. Ah. Good lah. You don't worry. I am constantly working on this. I…

Ya, ya, don't worry, don't worry. We work hard on this er Datuk. And if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku want to see you, I will organise it in a confidential place.

Okay, Datuk, all the very best. God bless you and your family.

Okay. Thank you, thank you. Bye-bye, bye-bye.
(Off Camera Voice)
Who is that Dato?

Lingam
Chief Justice Malaya.

(Off Camera Voice)
Who is that?

Lingam
Dato Ahmad Fairuz.

(Off Camera Voice)
Oh .. Ahmad Fairuz.

Lingam
I put him up there. Don't tell this, please. I cannot tell this to Manjit. And he is acting President Court of Appeals Number 2 post. He is next Chief Justice. He always says "I leave it to you."
(Off Camera Voice)
I thought you were very close to Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk?

Lingam
He is Eusoff Chin's man, Eusoff Chin retired. But Dzaiddin hates Eusoff Chin, you understand? Ah..

(Off Camera Voice)
Because you know I...I...I..as far as I know you are very…

Lingam
Eusoff Chin and I are extremely close. Because you know...Yeah. Eusoff Chin in power, I can straight and get in Pom! Pom! Pom! Pom! But now Dzaiddin is there. So Dzaiddin is attacking our cases. That means what? James Kumar is aligned to Dzaiddin. But Dzaiddin is retiring in 15th of September. He is finished.

(Off Camera Voice)
Next year?

Lingam
So Dzaiddin really wants to go...Don't worry. Dzaiddin recommended Malik Ahmad to be Chief Judge of Malaya. But we went and "cut" "cut" cut" cut" I and Tengku Adnan and Vincent told PM. I stop him for now, because he is anti-PM. We put Fairuz in. And we put...I told you three months ago he became CJM [Chief Justice Malaya]. He said "Don't believe." Then he got it. He rang up to thank me. And all that. He now acting PCA because Wan Adnan is sick. Right? This. Apart from law knowledge you need kow tow. Please understand that. You need to know the emperor. Knowing the law doesn't give you the winning formula, you must also kow tow to the emperor. Correct or not? So now I am working very hard. So he agreed to meet Vincent Tan and PM and…what you call Tengku Adnan.

(Off Camera Voice)
Do you think Vincent has an interest over PM?

Lingam
You don't know about the history. Businesswise may not be successful. Robert Kuok is very brilliant. Lim Goh Tong is very rich. Vincent Tan, you know what PM say? He went to Averton he went to Langkawi. He said bincang. I want you to build a hotel here. His wife pulled him away. [Inaudible] He said Dato Seri I will think about it. The wife pulled him away. There is another [inaudible] cannot get a bank loan. Vincent there. Vincent, can you build a hotel? Ready for next Air show?

I want you do it in 6 months. `Datuk Seri, Don't worry, I will get it done.' He paid double the price to get all of them. A big loss lah. Then Solomon Island and Fiji and all, he said, Vincent go and invest there, he went and bought...[inaudible] the government factory [inaudible] you do this project a bit and cover up your loss. PM will do what he want to do to cover your backside.
(Off Camera Voice)
Vincent is very close to him.

Lingam
hat's right. Don't ask… because Vincent has taken me to PM's residence… the house ... [inaudible]... Anwar's case… the lawyers…Wee Cheong ... [inaudible]. But I cannot go and talk to PM just like that and say promote this and that…

Because ah, he knows… I am a… but when PM calls me on Anwar's case, I can tell him… he'll listen…But if I go promote so and so, that means I got interest. So, I don't do that. I use Vincent and Tengku, go and do that. I don't f*** them up. They go

and do that. But I tell you this lah. Don't tell in front of people, of course. Life, one thing go confidential wrong is dangerous. Ah. Never, never say…You should… never. Even though to PM. You should never say. I don't know. I always say "I don't know." That's all.

(Off Camera Voice)
Everybody... I think many people know. Even the son case, everything I talk the father, …. Talk until he agreed.

Lingam
You know me [inaudible]. But I never talk about it. Even the son's case, I do everything. I talk to the father...Talk until he agreed. But if it is a big crisis that affects him, ….I can talk, he will listen. But if I want to favour somebody, that I cannot guarantee. Because my interest is not his interest. You know what I mean. Tomorrow invest your interest involving your father, I can come say this this this, you will listen. But tomorrow I appeal for me, you are not obliged to listen. Because you are a politician, PM. Politician is what is your interest, not what is my interest. But if I am giving advise on your interest, you will listen. On my interest, you will not. You must be careful about this.

(Off Camera Voice)
Datuk, I need to ask you this question.

Lingam
Ask me. Ask me.

(Off Camera Voice)
For a while now …

Lingam
Because we can talk behind these people.

(Off Camera Voice)
Actually, I think, you know, Daim has more equity interest in Berjaya than Vincent Tan, isn't that true?

Lingam
Let me tell you something ... [inaudible] was bought by Daim ... [inaudible]. Later on he did some deals where Daim supposed to help him. One or two he helped. Supposed to give him some money. Didn't give. Part was paid, part not paid. Later on Daim called up and he got paid.

Do you hear the people sing?

one of my favourite songs is from Les Miserables - 'Do you hear the people sing?'

play the clips from youtube and watch the amazing performances:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmaTNf4YhEs



this clip below has the international singers singing lines in their own language (the international singers are those who have played the role of Valjean in their own native country. spot Takeshi Kaga from japan who is the Iron Chef) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPpkTgMbhRU&feature=related



----------------------------------------------------------------

not to be outdone, we have our own malaysian version of this song by wiliam leong. can someone put it to tune and let us sing it les miserables style?:

Sajak William Leong
MR PRIME MINISTER DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?


Mr. Prime Minister,

First there were 2,500.
Then there were 138,000.
Now there are 30,000.
Tomorrow there will be more.
The day after even more.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Do you hear them?
Do you hear the people sing?
Do you hear the song of angry men?
Do you hear the music of the people who will not keep silent any more?
Do you hear the beating of the people’s hearts?
The beating of their hearts for justice is louder than the beating your police can give.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Do you see them?
Do you see the people’s tears?
Do you see the people in a sea of yellow two kilometers long?
Do you see the tears on their faces?
The tears from their cry for democracy are more than those your tear gas can cause.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Do you feel them?
Do you feel the people’s force?
Do you feel the strength of the people who will not be marginalized and oppressed any more?
The strength of their resolve for equality is more than the force of your water canons.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Do you know them?
Do you know the people’s dream?
Do you know the dream of the people for justice, equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
The power of the people in their thirst for justice, is stronger than the brute force you can ever muster.

Mr Prime Minister,

Do you hear the people?

by
William Leong Jee Keen
26th November 2007


from http://www.suarakeadilan.com/isi/

A Question of Fairness

Some rallies are allowed:

26 July 2006, Khairy Jamaluddin led a fiery mob to rally against attacks on Lebanon at the KL Convention center. LEGAL OR ILLEGAL UMNO RALLY?

Watch Khairy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkRag7hlW_I&NR=1

Some rallies are not:

(and some get tear gas and chemical laced water shot at them)

Bersih rally at: AL JAZEERA news

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1_GQ-K7P_w

Hindraf rally at:

AL Jazeera - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNph1xJo6MU

ISA Deja Vu!


it has finally happened. the government under Mr Clean PM Adullah Badawi has used the ISA to detain the 5 hindu lawyers of Hindraf. read bobjots' write-up:

http://www.bobjots.org/2007/12/hindraf_5_charged_under_the_is.php

i have argued in earlier posts on the ISA that it must be abolished. see the below:

http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/search/label/ISA

http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/2007/10/eve-to-20th-anniversary-of-op-lalang.html

if you have not viewed the suaram video on the ISA at their recent seminar, go to the above link. my video on the ISA in the above link is meant to be informative, so that readers understand what exactly is the ISA, its origins, its impact in the 1987 Operation Lalang, and why it must be abolished today!

the original use of the ISA has long been forgotten. today the ISA is used indiscriminately for all sorts of cases. it is clear that in this case of the Hindraf lawyers, when the charges cannot stick, use the ISA!

while i do not agree with the overt racial overtones of the Hindraf lawyers nor do i think their charge of ethnic cleansing is true nor do i support open street demonstrations, nevertheless i agree that true freedom of speech cannot be denied to every Malaysian citizen. it is our right to speak up what are obvious deficiencies in the system and the neglect for the Indian community in the past. one cannot ignore the voices of 30,000 Indians who wants a 'fair deal'.

statements made by the PM about the 'balanced' racial composition of the Cabinet is a laughing stock:

"At the IMT-CT SME conference and Expo 2007 the PM went on record to say,"Half of the cabinet is non-malays,non UMNO members and non-muslims". If we refer to the Prime Minister Office web-site we will find that 69% or 22 out of the 32 cabinet Ministers are from UMNO, 23 out of 32 cabinet Ministers are Malays, 25 out of 32 ministers are bumiputra and 23 cabinet Ministers are muslims."

maybe the PM counted everyone in, incuding Parlimentary secretaries etc, so that number is more balanced out among the races. but it is clear that the ratio of cabinet ministers is not balanced! one only wonders what else is correctly understood by the PM.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

free one month access to 10 theological journals

for those who did not sign up for the free 1 month access to sage journals (the offer expired at the end of nov 30th), here is another offer from sage for 10 theological journals. the offer is good until 31st january 2008. here is your chance to download foc articles of interests for your reading, assignments etc.

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further tributes to an unsung malaysian hero

update: other blogs and orgs have paid tribute to this unsung malaysian hero. pls pay a visit there. the list is growing.

(updated 26.12.2007 )

http://oceanbiru.blogspot.com/2007/12/unsung-malaysian-hero-has-been-taken.html

http://oceanbiru.blogspot.com/2007/12/man-following-footsteps-of-his-parent.html

http://oceanbiru.blogspot.com/2007/12/loved-mozart-and-bach-and-spurs-and.html

http://www.bobjots.org/2007/12/updates_on_missing_swimmer.php

http://www.bobjots.org/2007/12/greater_love_has_no_one_than_t.php

http://knotsofgervienetics.blogspot.com/2007/12/in-memory-of-zion-kerk.html

http://whimutt.blogspot.com/2007/12/unsung-hero.html

http://taipingcoffee.blogspot.com/2007/12/tribute-to-malaysian-hero.html

http://1stklbb.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/please-pray-for-kerk-zi-on-and-family/

http://blurangel.com/blog/?p=1463

http://blurangel.com/blog/?p=1485

http://understanding-axiao.blogspot.com/2007/12/nearly-end-of-year.html

http://understanding-axiao.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6400931826

Shisira.blogspot.com

http://lipkeng.blogspot.com/2007/12/for-hero.html

http://babybodybuilder.blogspot.com/

http://blueyjo.blogspot.com/2007/12/hero-rip.html

http://zionkerk.blogspot.com/2007/12/initial-post.html

http://zionkerk.blogspot.com/


Monday, 10 December 2007

missing swimmer

re: some corrections made to the info given

29/12/07 - some info is corrected in the blog entry below. thanks to the kerks for pointing them out. my apologies to them and to our readers for the inaccuracies.

it has been 6 days since kerk zi on was swept away. chances are almost nil that a person can survive that long in the sea. police search is now concentrated on finding the body. and even that, chances of finding the body is slim as the waters around there are known to be infested with sharks.

there has not been much news from australia. here is an old clip from the yahoo7 news from thursday (one day after the fateful event). it shows the place where the event happened which perhaps can give us a perspective of things.

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=248153&cl=5344883&ch=885636&src=y7news

i will be blogging my thoughts on this event (but not immediately as it is still trying to sink in)(seriously, no pun intended). it is hard to accept the fact that he is gone (to be with the Lord). i first knew him when he was about 8 years old when my wife and I moved to teluk intan wesley methodist church in december 1990. he and his brother were cute kids, each one having a temperament which were poles apart. zi on was taller and more sober about things while his younger brother was shorter, plumber and with a jolly good nature. even after we left teluk intan in mid 1993 (for my studies in singapore), we made our regular visits to the home of the kerks. mr and mrs kerk became our daughter's god-parents soon after she was born in December 1991. they have been wonderful god-parents for our daughter (and the main reason why we asked them was because we could see that their christian parenting obviously works. zi on and zi lu were 2 boys every parent could be proud of. mrs kerk has 2 more god-daughters). staying with the kerks was a regular affair, as often as a few times in a year.

we saw zi on growing up year by year, doing well as a member of the teluk intan 1st company boys' brigade, becoming a sergeant and receiving the President's Award in 2000. even when both brothers went to australia for their university studies, we would catch up with them during chinese new year holidays when we visited the kerks as they made regular trips home during university breaks. zi on finished his first degree but wanted to further his studies in another field. it was probably with a little reluctance that his parents agreed with his plan. he wanted a change which was the reason why he applied to both melbourne and queensland and it was the latter that he went to do his masters.

there will be a lot of unanswered questions as to why such a thing could have happened: where was God in all things? couldn't He have saved zi on too? why did God allow this to happen? why do bad things happen to good people? why does God test us sometimes to our utter limits?

i have worked on some of these issues in my last book 'Job Made Simple' and in subsequent posts will make mention to them. my next book is 'Ecclesiastes Made Simple' (it will most probably be dedicated in memory of zi on) and have begun preaching on the book chapter by chapter once a month at Wesley Methodist Church Segamat. Only just yesterday i was preaching on chapter 4 on Qoheleth's arguments why life is meaningless and vain if there is no God. The Teacher made 4 observations about life and how life does not make sense (a striving after wind) if God does not come into the big picture in our lives. Likewise, as I shared about zi on with the church at Segamat, it was as if his life was that perfect illustration of why it is so importnat to have God in the big picture. If not, his death would be in vain and his saving the Korean girl whom he doesn't know seems an useless act. but for mr and mrs kerk, his brother zi lu, and the many others we know him personally, we all know that zi on's death was not in vain.

'There is no greater love than this when a man lays down his life for his friend and no greater love than even this when a man lays down his life for someone he does not even know'. The Reb

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Latest news on missing swimmer

THE family of a Malaysian-born man missing off Moreton Island yesterday spoke of their pride in their son's heroic final actions as hopes of finding him alive all but evaporated.

Zi-On Kerk, 25, was last seen assisting a young Korean woman in Honeymoon Bay on the northern tip of the island at 3.40pm on Wednesday.

Police described how he threw the woman on to rocks, possibly saving her life before he was swept away by a wave.

Brother Brian Zi-Lu Kerk, who flew to Brisbane from Melbourne to be with his grieving parents, said it did not surprise him to hear Zion had put someone else's well-being before his own.

"He was always helping people. He has such a kind nature. It's just like him to do something like this," said Mr Kerk fighting back tears.

"He's not a big guy. He's like a stick and he was not a strong swimmer . . . It's such a shock," he said. "He will always be my older brother."

Mother Chong Cho Tan who flew from Malaysia last night with Zion's father Kerk Choon Keng, said her eldest son was a sergeant in the boys' brigade who kept a "low profile".

"He was a loving son, a good brother. We're a very close family," Mrs Tan said.

She said Zion had studied commerce and accounting in Canberra before moving to Brisbane to undertake a master's degree in property valuation at the University of Queensland.

"We're hoping for the best but if God has taken him then we have to accept that," Mrs Tan said.

Mr Keng said the family had been briefed by the water police and understood the search would soon become a recovery operation for his body.

Inspector Mark Jones said Zi-On's family would accompany water police to Moreton Island tomorrow to view the search area.

Friday, 7 December 2007

missing swimmer

latest news from australia about kerk zi on, our daugther's god-brother.

---------------------------------------------------

Search fails to find swimmer missing off Moreton Is
Posted December 7, 2007 20:27:00

Map: Cape Moreton 4025
Police say they hold serious concerns for the safety of a man who is missing off Moreton Island near Brisbane.

The 25-year-old university student disappeared in rough surf while trying to help another swimmer at Honeymoon Bay on the northern tip of the island on Wednesday.

The other swimmer made it safely back to shore.

The state Water Police coordinator, Acting Inspector Warren Francis, says an air and sea search today has failed to find him.

"We've used some devices that help us track the movement of the water and where a swimmer would have gone and that indicates to us that it would have been a very local issue," he said.

Acting Inspector Francis says there are serious concerns for his safety.

"We refer to medical experts in survival medicine and they give us what we call a timeframe for survival and I must say that we're pretty well outside that time now," he said.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

need your urgent prayers

need your urgent prayers. my daughter's god-brother is missing at sea in australia. heard the news from her godparents mr and mrs kerk choon keng from teluk intan. their eldest son, zi on, swam to save a girl from drowning but was himself swept by a rip into the sea. he is still missing. his parents have left tonight by plane for australia. i append the yahoo australia news and brisbanenews below:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yahoo Australia
Thursday December 6, 07:25 PM

Rescuer missing off Moreton Island

Concerns are growing for a man who went missing in the ocean off Queensland's Moreton Island after going to help a woman in difficulty.

Police said seven boats and three helicopters searched without success on Thursday for the man, believed to have been swept out to sea shortly before 4pm (AEST) on Wednesday.

The man, thought to be aged in his 20s, entered the water at Honeymoon Bay, on the northern tip of Moreton Island, to help the woman, a police spokesman said.

The woman eventually made it back to shore but the man, who was part of a touring group, has not been seen since.

The search would resume early Friday morning, police said.

The missing man, a 25-year-old Malaysian national, has been hailed a hero after apparently sacrificing himself to save the woman who had been caught in a rip and dragged out to sea.

Network Ten reported the pair had been part of a group of 15 students from the University of Queensland and were swimming at Honeymoon Bay on Wednesday when the woman got into difficulty.

Trevor Hassard from Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island said the man managed to rescue the woman from the sea and move her to safety on rocks but was unable to climb to safety himself.

"In doing that, he put himself out of the reach of the rescuers," Mr Hassard told Network Ten.

"It's absolutely and completely heroic."

---------------------------------------------------------
Brisbane News

A Malaysian student has saved a woman from drowning off south-east Queensland and likely lost his own life in the process.

Police said the 25-year-old man went missing off Moreton Island after helping a woman in difficulty shortly before 4pm (AEST) yesterday.

The pair were with a group of Malaysian students from the University of Queensland camping at Honeymoon Bay with Brisbane-based Blue Planet Tours, said Trevor Hassard from Moreton Island's Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort.

The group went swimming in the bay and soon found themselves caught in a rip.

"As they came out past the rocks, they were yelling and screaming,'' Mr Hassard told AAP today.

"The Malaysians who made it to the rocks leaned over and grabbed the people as they went past and they were very successful,'' he said.

"They got down to two people left, a male and a female in the water and the man was within reach.

"But he actually grabbed the female who was out of reach and pushed her towards the people who were rescuing other members of the group.

"She got pulled out of the water but in pushing her within reach, he pushed himself out of reach.

"He saved her life but it is likely that he lost his own.

"It was absolutely amazing - a totally selfless thing.''

Mr Hassard said people had been lost at Honeymoon Bay in the past.
Conditions there varied so people staying at the resort were advised not to swim there.

"We have a policy where no one is allowed in the water past their knees at Honeymoon Bay,'' he said.

Police are talking to Blue Planet Tours to determine what happened.
Its manager, Ian Stuart, said the company had been "devastated'' by yesterday's events but declined to comment further.

An air and sea search was due to resume at first light tomorrow

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Happy Hannukah (corrected)

sorry for the boo-boo on last entry on happy hanukkah (which i removed)! thanks to peng shyang who pointed it out to me. it is not that i didn't know, i guess it was probably i was too busy preparing to go to teach the TEE course the next day that i was not even aware of what i was writing!

hanukkah is of course the feast of lights or dedication. it was to commemorate the restoration and cleansing of the Jerusalem temple after it was defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes IV when he sacrificed a pig on the altar. this started the maccabean revolt which lasted about 5 years (168-63 BC). when the seleucids finally left palestine and gave the rule back to the jews. the first thing they did was to remove and replace the defiled altar. the Temple was cleansed and hanukkah came to be observed.

TEE Module in Malaysian CARE center

i will be away from this wednesday till saturday, teaching a 3 and 1/2 days (or 28 hours) TEE module on Biblical Interpretation at the Malaysian CARE center. This TEE module is mainly for the Malaysian CARE staff as part of their in-house training and on completion, a CertCM is awarded. as such, the courses are designed for a lower level (more for laypeople wanting to have some sort of training but not geared too much towards the academic side). some other people are also taking the course on audit.

as i do not like to travel everyday from seremban to kl, i will be staying at hotel seri petaling (the closest hotel available). so, i may be without email or internet contact for the next few days. on sunday, i will have to make a 2 hours drive at 6.45am to go to segamat to preach and conduct holy communion in the wesley methodist church. that's is all in a few days' work.

Monday, 3 December 2007

busy day

monday was a busy day. busy not in work but in repairing my old faithful car. i have a 1983 madza 323. bought it when it was 5 years old from my cousin for rm 16k in those days but used it for the next 20 years. it is now 25 years old. a classic. but as it gets old, spare parts are harder to get. this morning i sent my car to a new mechanic. the old one couldn't solve my brake pump problem. 6 months ago, he suggested changing a recond model but from a different make of car. that was not cheap . rm 148 for the recond model. after a few months the brakes didn't work well. imagine driving a car with a faulty brake pump. sometimes you can brake, other times you can't! the times when you can't brake, you have to pull the handbrake in order to come to a stop! 2 weeks ago, i sent the car back to him and he suggested changing the pistons inside. paid another sum of money but the problem still persisted.

the new mechanic, appu, is great. he knows his stuff. has a band of workers under him. all indians and a few foreigners. they all looked up to him like a king! he sugested changing to the original madza pump. got a recond madza model but the booster pump was faulty. got the shop to change another but the only one nearest to it was a different make. but it worked. since i was there, took the opportunity to change rear brake pads and mini pumps and a left rear rocker arm. everything came to a hefty sum of rm 315.00!

this is quite a sum considering the fact that if i sell my 25 year old car, i probably get only rm 1k to 1.5k. so, the repair cost came to about a third or a fifth of the cost of the car! would it be cheaper to sell off the car and buy another second hand model? or continue to keep the car since it is almost 'worthless' (but still good for town driving)? after all, if i sell it off, what can i get for rm 1k to 1.5k?

there must be an OT lesson somewhere here! keep and don't forget the old, for old vintage wine is better! or don't waste time with the old. go for the new. new wine is cheaper and best.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Light a Candle

splim emailed me about the coming event this sunday. he was worried that he was hijacking my blog again. friends, anything to do with social justice and righteouesness can never be out of the purview of the reb. the reb is a strong advocate of amos 5:24: 'but let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream'. after all, the reb's favourite passages in the Bible are the OT prophets! and garth hewitt is also the reb's favourite musical social interpreter.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

There is a call to light a candle for all the underprivileged and marginalized Malaysians this Sunday, 2nd December at 8.30pm.

For more info please go to

http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/

Not sure whether you have seen some of the photos of last Sunday Hindraf rally. Really bleeds my heart to see how our police/govt treated the marginalized. Didn’t participate in this one because of TEE and wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do in view of the racist/religionist nature of the organizer. But on hindsight maybe I should have. It’s really not about who was organizing it but the cause. Just like Bersih which many felt was an opposition parties thing. I walked on 10/11 for a cause and not because who was behind it. Similarly, 25/11 was the day Malaysians of Indian descent wanted to tell us they have been marginalized and oppressed long enough. Another reason I didn’t go was also fear. I had this prejudice that Indians can be very emotional and violent. I was wrong and have repented. You must look at some of the photos where they took in all the chemical laced water and tear gas without much retaliation. The most was just throwing back the canisters at the police.

Below is a song by Garth Hewitt one of my favourite Christian artiste who writes and sings against injustice and for freedom.

Light a Candle
Light a candle in the darkness
Light a candle in the night
Let the love of Jesus light us
Light a candle in the night

Like a flicker in the darkness
Comes a mother’s desperate cry
And a baby’s voice in answer
Brings the coming of the light

He didn’t come in wealth and grandeur
He didn’t stand with men of power
He had no status to commend him
He was homeless he was poor

But he came to heal the wounded
And he came to heal the scars
Of a world that’s bruised and broken
Where the image has been marred

And we see him in the hungry
And the homeless refugee
In the sick and dying children
His arms reach out to you and me

And I feel his breath upon me
And he whispers “Follow me”
And he grants his fire within me
Says let it shine for all to see

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

after the TRAC session

the 32nd session of the TRAC ended yesterday with the ordination of two elders, rev. joshua khong and rev. buell abraham, the accepting of a new lpl holder, mr. yip (who incidentally is STM's business manager and layleader of TUMC church), and the reading of the yearly appointments. there were a few changes in the pastoral appointments, but the reb is seconded full-time to STM for another year (but with a monthly responsibility to wesley methodist church segamat to do holy communion).

so people asked 'how did it go'? well, for the reb, it is so-so, the same thing year after year. now that i have attended TRAC sessions since 1984, the initial excitement and exuberance as a young pastor has long gone. if only i don't have to attend...? just wishful thinking.

as for the reaction to bishop's talks whom everyone was praising highly, i left a long comment here at chee keat's blog:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4080345968472581964&postID=7391448609213237767

Saturday, 24 November 2007

At the TRAC Session

left yesterday morning from kampar with a pastoral colleague from teluk intan and made the drive to penang. we are staying in hotel vistana. our pre-conference ministerial session began yesterday at 2.00pm. we discussed the usual stuff and went through the previous minutes. there were two pastoral colleagues who applied for the elder's ordination and the candidates were interviewed by the fellow ministers. the good news is that both were unanimously accepted for ordination and full connection into the TRAC Methodist church. this will be done at the end of the conference. after the meeting, there was some time to catch a good swim in the hotel pool to relax after the long drive from kampar to penang. dinner was at the nearby restoran original penang kayu nasi kandar. food was tasty and good but pricey!

this morning is free and time to catch up with some reading. the session will begin late afternoon with roll call and a welcoming dinner. at night, i'm off with steven (jacks says) and girlfriend to taste some authentic penang hawker food. it is a shame to come to penang and not get to eat some of the delicacies.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

the amber spyglass

so, i finished the book tonite as promised. but what a letdown, what an anticlimax! i was expecting more but as my daughter perceptedly commented, 'pullman seems to have run out of ideas!'. i think i would agree with her.

after the big battle between the forces of lord asriel and metatron, culminating in the drop into the abyss, the suspense is still there. what happened to lord asriel and mrs coulthier? did they fall in too? did they perish together with metatron? what about the assassin? man, what a letdown. he didn't even get near to do his job to kill mary but drowned in a pool of water. what about the Dust? ok, now we know why they escaping all over the place. every window cut opened with the knife let the Dust escape (but every window cut opened also creates a Specter? that takes a ton to swallow).

anyway, with a few minor surprises here and there, the ending is quite lame. everyone goes back to his or her own world. so, the boy Wiil and the girl Lyra loved each other but this is not to be. they go back to their own world and that's it. that's all? yup, that's all folks. unless, pullman was thinking of a sequel (is lyra's oxford supposed to be a sequel or an entirely new series on its own).

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The golden compass - Part 3



in the little spare time that i usually have at night before i sleep, i will try to read something light. so, since i have finished the golden compass (but don't have the subtle knife), i might as well read the amber spyglass (the last of the pullman's trilogy). about to finish the book which i will by tonight.

without the middle book, there's a lot of guesswork needed - like 'who is will?, or dr. mary malone? etc'. yet, it is possible to move into book 3 without book 2 without missing too much (except things like the origins of the knife which can cut into other worlds, that Dust is called Shadows in our world etc). the beginning of book 3 doesn't mention much about Dust but only in the second half. it took some time to find out why the 3rd book is entitled amber spyglass! once that is revealed, everything falls into place. the 3rd book picks up the pace towards the end, culminating in the big battle (like the LOTR and Narnia) between good and evil and the meeting between the 'tempter' and lyra.

it is interesting to do a further critique of pullman's 'theology' i.e. his understanding of God as a created being himself, Enoch who became Metatron, ghosts and the land of the dead, Dust and Shadow, angels 'weaker' than human beings, what happened 300 years ago at the same time in all the worlds etc. a comparison between the eschatology of Narnia and His Dark Materials would make an interesting thesis (both masteral and doctoral)!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

No holiday for the Reb

finally finished all my marking of assignment and exam papers for the in-campus students for the year 2007. i still have 3 more piles of TEE student's assignments but those will have to wait.

this week on thursday, i will be driving back to Kampar and spending a night with my parents. the next day, i will pick up a pastoral colleague and proceed to penang where the TRAC Methodist Church in Malaysia will hold their annual conference from 24-27th nov 2007 at the vistana hotel. the ministers who are elders will have a pre-conference meeting on 23rd nov. i will come back to seremban by wed 28th after breaking journey in kampar on the 27th night.

so, it is no holiday for the reb as there will be business sessions during the conference. but i will treat it as a 'small break' from routine at the seminary. at the same time, i am packing along my thesis to bring to the conference to work on it. already on my last chapter (chap. 7) and hope to finish everything by end of the year. in december, i still have one TEE course to teach at Malaysian CARE center from 5-8th Dec.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been with us for 60th years. Some of the scrolls are found completely intact (all the chapters of the book are found in the scrol) while some others were broken off at the end or at the bottom. The majority of what has been discovered are fragments in hundred of pieces. Because it took a very long time to piece together the many fragments and decipher them, many conspiracies theories arose that those who studied the DSS knew about some dark secret and the church was now suppressing the truth from the rest.

for those interested to read the English translation of the DSS, one can look for the following:

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible
By: Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, Eugene Ulrich

Friday, 16 November 2007

60th anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls



ever since i saw some of the dead sea scrolls on display in the shrine of the book museum in jerusalem in 2005, i always wish to spend more time with this fascinating find. someone called it the monumental find of the OT in the 20th century. this year, 2007, is the sixty anniversary of their discoveries in the judean desert. here is an article from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) about a conference in jerusalem to mark this anniversary.

-------------------------------------------------------

Sixty Years Since the Discovery of the Dead Seas Scrolls

In honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Israel Antiquities Authority is convening an international committee of experts to offer advice on the Digitization of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is regarded as one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century. These ancient Hebrew scrolls were accidentally discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in November 1947, having been hidden for almost 2000 years in remote caves in the Judean Desert.

The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal a wealth of information about the history of the Second Temple period, a time of crucial developments in the crystallization of the monotheistic religions. Some of the scrolls, biblical and sectarian, were written as early as the end of the third century BCE but most of them date to the first century BCE and the first century CE. They contain fragments of all of the books of the Bible (with the exception of the Book of Esther) as well as a complete text of Isaiah. Especially significant are the fragments of the Apocrypha, previously known only in Greek and Latin. The scrolls preserve the original Hebrew and Aramaic versions. The sectarian texts reflect the beliefs and apocalyptic expectations of the community that wrote them.

During the first forty years since their discovery only a very small number of the c. 900 texts known to us today were published. In the beginning of the 1990’s, shortly after the founding of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Authority initiated the establishment of a committee of scholars for the advancement of the publication of the scrolls and appointed Professor Emmanuel Tov of the Hebrew University to head it. The publication project, which included dozens of scholars from all over the world, was completed in 2001 and was celebrated in a festive ceremony that took place at the residence of the President of Israel.

The conservation and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls have concerned both scholars and conservators since their discovery. Conservation measures to preserve the scrolls were first taken by researchers during the early 1950’s. In the ensuing years it has become clear the scrolls suffered extensive damage due to inappropriate conservation measures that stemmed primarily from a lack of knowledge. Therefore, concurrent with the establishment of the committee of scholars, the IAA set up a unique conservation laboratory dedicated solely to the preservation of the scrolls. The laboratory’s treatments are accompanied by constant research and professional consultation with experts from all over the world. The conservation work is ongoing; the task is extremely complicated and time consuming. However, in light of past experience the IAA is collaborating through the Italian Ministry of Culture with Italian experts in conservation and preservation of ancient manuscripts to re-examine the current methods of treatment and to research conservation problems that have yet to be solved.

In addition, since many of the thousands of fragments of scrolls were only photographed once, close to the time of their discovery in the 1950’s, the IAA has decided to convene an international committee of experts to evaluate innovative techniques and methods of documentation. The committee will assist the Authority in selecting the most appropriate means of digitizing the scrolls for publication, research and conservation purposes. Invited experts will include, among others: Prof. Yaacov Choueka - The Friedberg Genizah Project; Dr. Greg Bearman - JPL - NASA; Prof. Ferruccio Petrucci - Image Spectroscopy, Uni. of Ferrara; Simon Tanner - King's Digital Consultancy Services, London; Orly Simon - Head IT Department, JNUL. All together we will have ten experts from various fields of photographic technologies and managing of digital projects databases.

The conference will take place in Jerusalem from November 4 -7, 2007.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

the golden compass - to ban or not to ban? Part 2



so, the debate continues on - to ban or not to ban the movie? why ban the movie when the books on which the movie is based are not banned? if the movie is deemed 'offensive', so are the books. the books have achieved a huge fan following, with one critic comparing the trilogy to the Lord of the Rings and the Narnia Chronicles. one even called pullman the 'last of the great fictional writers of the 20th century'. concenring his style and writing, i would definitely agree.

as i mentioned in my earlier post, if christians are offended by the movie (or by the books), they can always practise self-censorship (just as they did with the harry potter series). let us not be like Garfield (one of my favourite cartoons) who when he couldn't sleep at night woke up poor Jon and said, 'If I can't sleep, neither can you!'

in my opinion a better way to respond is to talk with our children about the form of 'atheism' found in the book (as charged by many Christians). actually, it is not even 'atheism' in the trilogy. if pullman was pushing his atheistic agenda, why bother to talk about God, the church etc? he could have abandoned them completely and write his triology purely on a materialistic or secularist level. the fact that he still uses these themes can bring another debate - was pullman trying to discredit the institutional church and her beliefs in God? i prefer the latter view, as i think pullmann was trying to put across his reaction. ok, maybe he had a bad childhood epxerience with the church or something happened that caused him to look down upon the church. that's his view, we can accept that. it is true that the institutional church through the ages has committed many 'gross abuses'.

so, let us talk about pullmann's 'reaction' with our children. they are never too young to understand important topics like these. my 2 children are 'critics' of the church in their own right - they know when a pastor on the pulpit is not 'preaching the word' or 'when the action of a local church is not a christian one' etc. after all, they are PKs (pastor's kids) all their life. they can tell me when pullmann is trying to pull a fast one on the church in his trilogy. when they cannot understand some other things like the meaning of the Oblation Board, here is an opportunity to explain to them the meaning of the word 'oblation' and how pullmann is trying to connect it with the hideous experiments on the children in the artic.

even if our children are too young to understand all these things, we can always tell them that the triology is basically fiction (although based on many actual facts. i find pullmann's description of oxford city in lyra's universe a very accurate description of Oxford as it really is, having spent a considerable amount of time living there in the last 6 years. the description of the part of the city called jericho and the river isis brings back memories since the place where i studied called OCMS is near jericho). the triology may be based on the idea of a multiverse or parallel universes which co-exist with one another, things which we cannot 'prove' anyway. ideas like travelling through diferent universes still remain on the fiction level. or the fanciful idea that our daemons can be outside us and talk with us and change shape at will!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

BERSIH peoples' protest in kuala lumpur 10th nov 2007

by now, most of you will have read about the BERSIH people's gathering in kuala lumpur. my friend bob has written extensively on his blog, so that there is no need for me to repeat. go to his blog here:

http://www.bobjots.org/

and steven's blog:

jack said

the national newspapers, star and new straits times, reported only a turnout of '4,000' people. do you believe that? see nat's blog for the actual real pictures:

nat's blog

and also from this blog:

sagaladoola

Friday, 9 November 2007

the golden compass - to ban or not to ban



a friend asked me to comment on the upcoming movie based on phillip pullman's book 'the golden compass'. he quoted an email that is circulating around the internet. read the email below and my response to it at the end:

--------------------------------

Dear All


There will be a new children's movie out in December called "The Golden Compass". The movie has been described as "atheism for kids" and is based on the first book of a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" that was written by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist who despises C. S. Lewis and the "Chronicles of Narnia". His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.

Clearly, Pullman 's main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "my books are about killing God." He has even stated that he wants to "kill God in the minds of children". It has been said of Pullman that he is "the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed."

While "The Golden Compass" movie itself may seem mild and innocent, the books are a much different story. In the trilogy, a young streetwise girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle to ultimately defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God. Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." In the final book, characters representing Adam and Eve eventually kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH. Each book in the trilogy gets progressively worse regarding Pullman 's hatred of Jesus Christ.

"The Golden Compass" is set to premier on December 7, during the Christmas season (and staring Nicole Kidman), and will probably be heavily advertised. Promoters hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie, that they will enjoy the movie, and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

Please consider a boycott of the movie and the books. Also, pass this information along to everyone you know (including church leaders). This will help to educate parents, so that they will know the agenda of the movie. This is sent out to those of you who have kids or friends with kids, grandkids or have influence with kids. So many things today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent. FYI.

Don't let kids see "The Golden Compass"

For anyone with kids, grandkids other relatives or friends who this may concern, please check it out at http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp and it is true. Read the info in the link.


--------------------------------------------------------------

My response:

the email has been going around lately. seems to quote 1 general source for its criticism's of pullman, my guess from bill donohue and the catholic league. if you read snopes' writeup, at the end of the paper, there are some others who disagree that the book is anti-christian. rather, they say the book is anti-religion or more especially anti-organizational religion.

i have only read the 1st volume. my children have vol 1 and 3 (and i will try to read vol 3 although without vol. 2, it will take some time to bridge the missing gap). as a writer, pullman is far better than j.k. rowling. his trilogy is probably of higher quality than harry potter and on level with narnia.

pullman's anti-christianity is general knowledge and his works designed as a counter to lewis' narnia is well-known. does that mean we ban pullman's books? people will say that is rather biased on our part. if we can go on public to publicize the narnia movie, why ban the 'his dark materials' movies? we cannot decide for the rest of the non-christian public what they can watch or not watch. if we want to 'ban', we do it among our own christian community by educating our readers and viewers.

public banning does not solve the problem. the da vinci code movie is a good example. by banning DVC, we give more publicity to it and made it one of the best sellers. christians should have ignored it on the public level while we go around our church level to educate and inform. by also banning it on the church level, it also doesn't solve everything. it will make our children more curious to watch. there will be ways for them to find a copy. rather, we can sit with them and explain those difficult things from the books or movie.

when nicole agreed to appear in the movie, eyebrows were raised because she is a catholic. but her decision was entirely a professional decision. she is an actress and she acts according to the movie's demands but that does not imply she necessarily agrees with the author's beliefs.

i for one will look forward to the movie to see how well it has been adapted for the big screen. we all know from the LOTR's trilogy that the adapation was hopeless in many ways e.g. love scenes put in when there was none. but friends, remember it is hollywood. they have to adapt it in the way the producers think will 'sell' the movie. so, forget about those parts of the adaptations but see the rest of the movie. treat it as any other fictional book. pullman may have indeed intended it to be a critique of organizational christianity but there is a lesson we can learn here. for me, any critique of organizational christianity is welcomed as a good corrective for christians in case we have been so institutionalized that we do not even know it!


Post-Note:

Ben Witherington has a post on this with comments. see his tuesday nov 6th post at:http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Review of Bible Study Packages

Bible Study Software packages

1) Review of the top five packages
2) Other software, including free stuff
3) Personal recommendations


----------------------------------------------------------------

1) Review of the top five packages

John Glynn has produced a wonderful review of the top five, and this email is
really just an adjunct to his work. See:

http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/GlynnReview.pdf
[http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/GlynnReview.pdf]

a] Libronix (Logos) the big one - http://www.logos.com/products/bstudy.asp
[http://www.logos.com/products/bstudy.asp]

b] Accordance the pretty one - http://www.accordancebible.com
[http://www.accordancebible.com/]

c] BibleWorks the all-in one - http://www.bibleworks.com
[http://www.bibleworks.com/]

d] Gramcord the old one - http://www.gramcord.org [http://www.gramcord.org/]

e] Pradis (Zondervan) the sturdy one -
http://www.zondervan.com/interactive/pradis
[http://www.zondervan.com/interactive/pradis]

PCs run them all (Accordance via an emulator) .
Macs run Accordance (and soon, Logos too)
All of them are growing and improving constantly, especially in the realms of grammatical analysis, secondary literature and background sources.


2) Other software, including free stuff

The Sword (free: PC, Mac & PDAs): http://www.crosswire.org/index.jsp
[http://www.crosswire.org/index.jsp]

Online Bible (free: PC): http://www.onlinebible.org/html/eng/starterspack.htm
[http://www.onlinebible.org/html/eng/starterspack.htm]

Bible Windows (PC): http://www.silvermnt.com/ [http://www.silvermnt.com/]

E-Sword (free: PC): http://www.e-sword.net/ [http://www.e-sword.net/]

AnyText (Mac): http://www.linguistsoftware.com/atse.htm
[http://www.linguistsoftware.com/atse.htm]

Bible Database (free: PC): http://bibledatabase.org/full.html
[http://bibledatabase.org/full.html]

Theophilus (cheap: PC): http://www.theophilos.sk/ [http://www.theophilos.sk/]

QuickVerse (PC): http://www.quickverse.com/shopfiles/default.asp
[http://www.quickverse.com/shopfiles/default.asp]

More details: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/TTech028.htm
[http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/TTech028.htm]


For PDAs (ie Palms, Pocket PCs, phones & iPods):
=======================================
BiblePlus (Palm, free, very good):
http://palmbibleplus.sourceforge.net/pbmanual.htm
[http://palmbibleplus.sourceforge.net/pbmanual.htm]

Olive Tree (all PDAs, scholarly, using Gramcord texts):
http://www.olivetree.com/index.php [http://www.olivetree.com/index.php]

Bible With You (Palm & Pocket PC, new, using Accordance texts):
http://www.gmpsoft.com/ [http://www.gmpsoft.com/]

Laridian (Zondervan, all PDAs): http://www.laridian.com/
[http://www.laridian.com/]
Quickverse (Palm & Pocket PC): http://www.discountchristian.com/qvpdastd.html
[http://www.discountchristian.com/qvpdastd.html]

More details: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/TTech021.htm
[http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/TTech/TTech021.htm]

Comparative review: http://www.mobiletechreview.com/software/bible.htm
[http://www.mobiletechreview.com/software/bible.htm]


3) Personal recommendations

Accordance is the one I find easiest to use and most powerful. It is less
pretty and slightly slower on the PC because of the emulator. It exports
Greek & Hebrew in Unicode, so that you can create documents which are
future-proofed and readable on PC or Mac.

BibleWorks is what I use mainly on a PC, mostly because it starts up quicker
than Accordance on a PC, and has most of the same tools.

Libronix is necessary because it has exclusive rights to so many important
works, but personally I don't like the interface.

Online Bible is useful on one of my old laptops, because it is so fast. Basic
searches only, but that's all you need for sermon writing.

The Sword online is just the thing when you are at an internet computer. Its
Web 2
programming means that it can have pop-up lexicon and parsing for Greek - see

OT LXX & MT at
http://crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?key=Gen&add=LXX&add=WLC
[http://crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?key=Gen&add=LXX&add=WLC]

NT parsed Gk at
http://www.crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?add=WHNU&add=NASB
[http://www.crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?add=WHNU&add=NASB]

BiblePlus on the Palm is what I used most. In my pocket I carry: various
Bibles in English, Hebrew, and Greek (with basic parsing & lexicon); Targums
in Aramaic & English; complete Josephus, Philo and even Nag Hammadi. Views
two versions at once with a split screen. All free!

Download from http://palmbibleplus.sourceforge.net/pbmanual.htm
[http://palmbibleplus.sourceforge.net/pbmanual.htm]

Sunday, 4 November 2007

a world map of bible bloggers

john hobbins has done a great service for bible bloggers by creating a world map (actually a list) of bible bloggers. if you are interested to find out who is blogging on a certain bible subject or find a blogger who writes on a particular biblical discipline, this list is extrmely useful (not to say it will take up a lot of your time going through the links). the list is not complete but it being updated.

2 malaysian bible bloggers made it to the list: pastor tony siew (revelation is real) and yours truly (oldtestamentpassion).

See
http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2007/11/a-map-of-the-wo.html