Friday, 23 January 2009

happy OXpicious NIU year

Chinese New Year
2009 - The year of the ox


2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949

Low and steady marks the ox’s character. Bona fide leaders, they are grounded, determined and highly dependable. They have the ability to motivate and inspire confidence in others as well. Those born under the sign are meticulous, systematic and real sticklers for details. They can be straight-laced and prefer routine, aiming to trash things out in a methodical manner till it bears fruit. Simplicity and straightforwardness govern their personality.
However, the ox has a temper and it’s wise to get out of its way when it rears its horns. It is also a sign that it’s overly proud, refusing to seek assistance. The ox chooses to depend on its head to reason things and finds it hard to tolerate the weak. Chauvinistic and even tyrannical, the ox is often grumpy, bigoted and refuses to forgive or forget for that matter.

Famous people born in the Year Of The Ox:

Armand Assante, Charlie Drake, Clark Gable, Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Peña, George Clooney, Gregory Nava, George Lopez, Jack Lemmon, Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Jim Carrey, John Corbett, Jorge Garcia, Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightley, Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, Moctesuma Esparza, Napolean, Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Newman, President Richard Nixon, Richard Gere, Robert Redford, Rock Hudson, Roselyn Sanchez, Shirley Bassey, Sigourney Weaver, Van Gogh, and Walt Disney.

The Chinese zodiac signs are determined by the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling one's birth year has a profound influence on personality, and destiny. The saying is: "This animal hides in your heart."
the reb: so, what does the year of the ox holds for us? the chinese soothsayers or fung sui experts are saying that we need to brace for the year of the ox. there will be hard or obstinate times ahead of us just like the ox's temperament.
To all readers and followers of this blog,
wishing you all
a Happy OXpicious NIU* year!
('NIU" is chinese for 'cow')

Thursday, 22 January 2009

another free hebrew resource

another free resource for learning ancient hebrew. here is the link to robert holmstedt's webpage where you can download his hebrew textbook as a pdf file f.o.c.

virtual tour of the noble sanctuary

The January/February 2009 issue of Saudi Aramco World magazine (v60 #1) featured the announcement of a virtual walking tour of Al-Haram Al-Sharif (i.e., The Temple Mount).

click on the icon at the lower right corner on the picture and it will lead to another page below:

enjoy the sights since it is now difficult even for malaysian pilgrims to walk up to the mosque area from the wailing wall.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

court case over the use of 'Allah'

for all malaysian christians who are following the case of the government's ban on the use of the word 'Allah' for God.


January 19, 2009 PETALING JAYA, Malaysia (UCAN) --

Parishioners here have held all-night vigils the past two weekends to pray for a favorable outcome to a long-running battle between their Catholic weekly and the government on the use of the word Allah.

For the past few years, Herald has been engaged in a dispute with the government on the use of the Arabic word for God in the section of the weekly printed in Bahasa Malaysia, the national language. The Home Ministry has maintained that Allah refers exclusively to the God of Islam.

Parishioners of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, have prayed overnight in the church on Saturdays, from 7.45 p.m. until 6 a.m., starting on Jan. 10.
One parishioner, who requested anonymity, told UCA News their action intends to show not only the government but also Catholics that all people have the constitutional right to call God Allah.
"It is like forbidding us to call our father 'Daddy,'" she asserted.

In its Jan. 11 issue, Herald informed readers that on Dec. 30, 2008, the eve of the expiry of its publishing permit for that year, the ministry prohibited the printing of the Bahasa Malaysia section until the case is resolved by the High Court. The court has set Feb. 27 for the hearing.

The front-page article said the weekly's publisher, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur, notified the ministry in a Jan. 2 letter that the restriction is in "clear contravention of the spirit and intent of the National Language Act 1967."

According to the report, the archbishop warned that the Church "shall be constrained to seek legal redress in the courts" in the absence of any response.

Published on behalf of the bishops of peninsular Malaysia, Herald is available also in Sabah and Sarawak, the states comprising eastern Malaysia.

In its Jan. 18 issue, it reproduced a Jan. 7 letter from the Secretary of the Quran Publication Control and Text Division of the Home Ministry, addressed to Archbishop Pakiam. The letter said the ministry had reviewed its earlier decision and would allow Herald to print its Bahasa Malaysia section provided the word Allah is not used until the matter has been decided in court.

In the meantime, Archbishop Pakiam has applied for a judicial review of the ministry's directive.
Jesuit Father Simon Yong, the St. Francis Xavier parish priest, responded by e-mail to queries from UCA News. "We are praying that God will be favorable to us in the sense that we feel our right to practice our religion has been curtailed," he said. "We are not happy and we've spoken, but it does seem that our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. God can move hardened hearts. When Jesus wanted to select the 12, he spent a night in prayer."

The priest added that that the prayer vigils show Catholics' resolve in asking God for help after depending for too long on their own strength.

According to 2008 government estimates, the country presently has about 27.7 million people. Previous government figures have indicated that about 60 percent are Muslims, 19 percent are Buddhists, 9 percent are Christians and 6 percent are Hindus.

The Jan. 11 issue of Herald put the number of Catholics in the country at nearly 900,000. It said at least 600,000 of them are from Sabah and Sarawak, and "communicate mainly in Bahasa Malaysia."

Monday, 19 January 2009

time for laughter

(hungry ghosts festival celebration - offering food and paper money before it is burnt)
just a story...

how would an american chinese celebrate the hungry ghosts festival in the United States? this festival is an annual affair observed by chinese around the world. they believed that once a year, the doors of hades will open and hungry ghosts will roam the earth in search of food. the chinese will offer food to placate these hungry ghosts so that no misfortune will befall upon the family of the living. apart from food, paper money or hell banknotes are burnt so that the ghosts can return to hades with some cash.

(hell's bank notes- note the high denominator. ghosts are actually quite rich or unless hell is a pretty expensive place to live!)

with the world turning high-tech, paper money is only one of the accessories burnt for the ghosts. today it is not uncommon to see families burning paper TVs, paper computers, paper Benz, paper notebooks etc. even paper money cannot be compared with a hades credit card or hades bonds.

so, if you are an american chinese observing the hungry ghosts festival in the US, you will need to take a rain check firstly on the food to be offered. cannot be the usual boiled chicken or roast pork here. this is America. you got to offer wendy's burger, AW's hotdog, KFC chicken, and a Subway thrown in with a big Coke or Spiritzer.

secondly, for the money, chinese Hades bank notes may not work in that part of hell. you got to have the American version - Hell's banknotes in US currency. yes, hell's greenback. still the currency to have even in hell.
(a chinese 'paper shop' where paper things are made for the ghost world)

thirdly, accessories are too common in the US to placate these hungry ghosts as they are already loaded with the latest gadgets. if one were to offer such paper accessories, it has got to be the latest paper blackberry to keep in touch with other kindred spirits or a paper MP5 for the latest Hell's top 100 hits or paper GPS (global positioning system) to go with the paper single-seater sports Benz or a 100" HDTV and paper bluray player to offer 24 hours online entertainment