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