Monday, June 29, 2009
It was timely as many members had gone to GLS just about two weeks before this conference. From sharing by our cell members, I believed many were touched by the messages in Muar.
During the conference, I could feel the Holy Spirit moving amongst those who attended as the responses from the audience were tremendous. I felt the message of transformation was most appropriate as we need to be transformed from the inside to spread the gospel to the outside.
I also notice that Dr.Jonathan had changed his method of presentation. During his last visit, he was serious but now he is relax and made many jokes which related well with the audience. I believe it made it easier for people to receive the messages.
All in all a wonderful and powerful conference. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her 'teacher's pets..'
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs Thompson that she was still the best and favourite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favourite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story does not end there.
You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr Stoddard whispered in Mrs Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, 'Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you.'
(Teddy Stoddard is the Doctor at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)
Friday, June 26, 2009
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr on July 1, 1943. Early in World War II, the prayer was printed on cards and distributed to the troops by the U.S.O. However, the prayer is reported to have been used before that date in Twelve-step programs for those recovering from hurts, habits, addictions and hang-ups.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Sherman Kuek, SFO
Published in Catholic Asian News
(May 2009 Issue)
As Asians, one of our reference points in moments of crises is our forefathers. When Asian individuals and families are faced with crises and crucial decisions to be made, we are often told to turn to the wisdom imparted by our ancestors. This is perhaps exactly what we should do as we contemplate on the present economic situation confronting us and the rest of the world; we should turn to our ancestors in the faith, our Church Fathers. They certainly have a thing or two to teach us about economics and wealth.
In the face of present economic and financial crises plaguing the world, it is in order that we should examine what has been wrong with the economic system in the first place. Much finger pointing has been taking place, particularly among those blaming America for its implementation of financial systems that permitted for banks to grant unsafe loans since the 1980s.
This is not an economic article that assesses market mechanisms. It is a theological article that examines the human attitudes underlying those market mechanisms. Taken from that perspective, truth be told, a vast many of us might have been guilty collaborators in the success and the subsequent breakdown of these mechanisms.
The problem lies in society’s attitudes towards wealth and possessions. And this is by no means a new problem; just exploring some of the homilies preached by the Church Fathers in the third and fourth centuries would clearly point to the existence of this age-old human disease called “greed”.
THE TWOFOLD ECONOMIC CRIME
Humanity in the developed world as a whole has been guilty of a twofold economic crime: firstly, the obsession with abundance of private possession, and secondly, an obsession to the extent of an indifference towards the economic needs of our deprived neighbours.
This has been precisely the value undergirding the world economic system of the modern era, which propels the excessive drive for ever increasing profits without ethical controls. As a result, two thirds of the world population has lived in relative poverty as the wealth of the other third has kept on increasing.
Much of the suffering in the world today can find its roots in this reality which take a tremendous amount of honesty to acknowledge.
We (even well-meaning Christians) have often failed to distinguish between “wealth” and “riches”, and have misperceived these two terms as synonyms when they should actually be opposites. “Wealth”, referring to the creation of wealth, is to be seen as an activity sanctioned and blessed by God, whilst “riches” refers to the selfish amassing of commodities which results in shortage and the deprivation of others’ needs.
It is important that we understand the Christian calling to create wealth as a fruit of one’s labour, for this is an ordained means of one’s participation in God’s continuous creating acts for the betterment of creation itself. However, the creation and amassing of wealth at the expense of others is another matter all together. Unfortunately, such thoughts are often beyond the scope of our contemplation in our efforts for wealth creation.
As we return to the wisdom of our Fathers in the faith, we would perhaps be able to glean some crucial economic principles with the hope that it can aid an economic recovery for us (even if only a minor one).
THE CHURCH FATHERS ON ECONOMICS
St Augustine distinguishes between the “use” (usus) and the “enjoyment” (fruitio) of material wealth. Such finite commodities are to be merely instrumentalised for the service of God’s greater purpose. His concern seems to stem from the human inclination to possess these things for temporal and obsessive pleasure.
St Ambrose teaches: “Not from your own do you bestow upon the poor man, but you make return from what is his”. Basil of Caesarea is recorded to have emphatically asserted that the hoarding of wealth at the expense of one’s neighbour is to commit a wrong towards him.
St John Chrysostom also speaks of the failure to share one’s possessions as “theft and swindle and defraudation”. He reminds his listeners, “I beg you remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs”.
It is apparent from these instances that the tradition of the Church warns the wealthier Christians to be mindful of the plight of the poor. The failure of these Christians to provide for the sustenance of the poor constitutes a moral injury. Their ventures for wealth creation at the expense of those who had no ability to create wealth were construed as oppression.
It is this line of thought that is perpetuated by St Thomas Aquinas, as he seemingly reiterates the principle that each human person has an implicit or innate right to a means of sustenance, and that it is the rightful duty of those who possess excess wealth to provide a way of access for the poor. (In fact, according to Aquinas, in the case of a failure on the part of the wealthy to execute such provisions, the deprived are permitted the privilege of secretly or forcefully taking what is rightfully theirs!)
In accordance with this, the provision of wealth to the poor by the wealthy is not to be seen as a gift, but rather, a moral duty. Aquinas also emphatically prescribes the use of material wealth for the meeting of one’s most fundamental needs in life such that one is able to reasonably subsist. The breach of such prescribed moderation would render a human person beastlike.
Apparent, the Christian tradition upholds the virtue of temperance and the employment of one’s abundance for the welfare of the needy. It is precisely at this point that the peril of a modern economic culture has been found endangering to the spirit of the Christian faith.
Market players, Christians and non-Christians alike, have indulged themselves in the amassment of wealth with little or absolutely no regard for the wellbeing of the larger society. In most economic activity, the welfare of the neighbour has ranked last in our list of priorities. The present crisis is the resulting consequence of such attitudes.
THE WISDOM OF THE FATHERS FOR TODAY
Where do we go from here? This article has been deliberately focused on the wisdom of the Church Fathers with the hope of demonstrating that economic problems suffered by Christians and the larger society are an age-old phenomenon. But further to that, if there is anything that the Church Fathers offer affluent Christians like us who are caught in the modern economic rut, it is anything but a gentle word of comfort. In many ways, they would come across as saying, “It’s a good time to repent”.
For a fourth-century church leader like St John Chrysostom, the Christian community’s responsibility towards the poor is not dissipated and its conscience not free for as long as there exist the poor in the world. For far too long, we have ignored the economic wellbeing of the larger humanity, often justifying this nonchalance through our occasional Lenten almsgiving.
Chrysostom’s agony stems from the inequitable distribution of resources within his society. For him, such unjust distribution is the inevitable ramification of economic injustice, which in turn is the result of the very existence of the concept of privately owned wealth and luxury. Therefore, this leads Chrysostom to conclude that the categorical existence of “private property” is the source of social and economic evil.
Goods, he asserts, are placed alongside the human existence as a way of testing the human capacity to exercise stewardship with the poor in mind. However, people have become consumed by their love for such goods and degenerated into overt material obsession, hence a perverted economic system for illusory wealth creation.
Chrysostom also speaks of an idolatry which surpasses the abomination of pagan idolatry. Idol worship, according to Chrysostom, means worshipping something which God created. This he distinguishes from the idolatry of covetousness in that the latter pertains to the worship of something of one’s own creation, i.e. the voracious propensity towards acquisition. The latter of the two is considered a more hideous form of idolatry. As such, Chrysostom makes it his project to safeguard the wealthy from an obsessive concern over their possessions.
The only properties that are legitimate, as far as he is concerned, are those things that are required for one’s daily survival. These do not include exaggerated accesses and luxuries we do not need. Isn’t it true that people most usually face economic crises from trying to acquire luxuries rather than from trying to meet their simple subsistence needs?
The solution out of the present economic crisis is quite obvious, if only people would be willing to abide by the law of love and charity. Maybe the Christians should start first.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
(his blog: altang01.blogspot.com)
So Malaysia, as is the rest of the world is closing down schools and starting to quarantine travelers.
I want to raise two questions here:
(1) For a pandemic, aside from being a good traveler, it does not seem to be extra virulent or particularly dangerous. Most people infected by the virus recovered. If we take the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, we have a mortality rate of 0.4%. That is not exactly a killer like SARS.
(2) The spread is by contact, sneezing and coughing which is extremely difficult to control. Often many others would have been exposed long before the infected are traced by health officers and quarantined.
To the first question, should we panic? Or is there a need to panic? Apparently the panic is driven more by the media hype and the health authorities than what the plain facts warrant.
The second question addresses our present health measures. Trying to contain this infection is like trying to catch the wind. It is obvious that quarantines and closing of schools, factories or congress will do nothing to stop the spread. So why are so many countries and health authorities, not to mention a certain health minister and a deputy prime minister spending so much money and effort to catch the wind? Wearing face masks and giving influenza vaccine is known to be not effective prevention against influenza A (H1N1).
I will suggest that instead of instilling panic in our populations and wasting valuable resources in isolation and quarantine, we should
(1) allow the infection to spread. People over time will develop immunity to it. We call this herd immunity.
(2) focus our resources on treating those who became really sick due to this virus. There are anti-viral agents which are effective against the virus.
(3) educate the population about personal hygiene, especially hand-washing.
Following the news about the pandemic of Influenza A (H1N1), I wonder if the response is more political, emotional and knee-jerk rather than evidence-based medicine. It did take our mind off the world wide financial crisis.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.
During a small-group exercise at a seminar, we were asked to introduce ourselves without referring to our occupations. The challenge was to explain who we are instead of telling what we do. It was not easy to focus on being instead of doing.
Dr.William H. Thomas, a geriatric specialist, has pointed out that babies begin life by being. As we approach adulthood, the emphasis shifts to accomplishment. Then, as we grow older our energy wanes, we must refocus on being. “Elderhood beings us full circle”, Thomas says “to a life that favors being over doing. This is a gift of great value.
But the search for being isn”t confined to the sunset years. Jesus said the proper focus is the antidote for anxiety at any age. He told his followers to look at the birds and flowers, which are not defined by what they do, and yet God cares for them.
Oswald Chambers said: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow”…they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars, and the moon-all of these simply are as well, yet what a ministry and service they render”.
As Christians, our value to God comes not from what we do for Him, but in what we are to Him. Our being-more than our doing-glorifies His name.
Source: Our Daily Bread dated 13 th June 2006
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.'
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
'H-M-M,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.'
So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.'
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
'YAY!' she exclaimed.
'I don't have to fix my hair today!'
Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.......
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
Source:a blogger from Tangle site
Monday, June 22, 2009
He survived against all the odds; now Peng Shu Lin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again.
FunAndFunOnly (www.mails4u.net.tc) - SridhaR
When his body was cut in two by a lorry in 1995, it was little short of a medical miracle that he lived. It took a team of more than 20 doctors to save his life. Skin was grafted from his head to seal his torso? But the legless Mr Peng was left only 78cm ( 2ft 6in ) tall.
Bedridden for years, doctors in China had little hope that he would ever be able to live anything like a normal life again. But recently, he began exercising his arms, building up the strength to carry out everyday chores such as washing his face and brushing his teeth.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Read this informative article here..http://www.thenutgraph.com/protecting-kids-in-cyberspace
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Beautiful messages by both of them.
Soon King & Sarah thank you for the messages. God bless both of you!
Our congratulation to the newly wed Gabriel Ting the son of Sharon, and Elise the daugther of Chung Hian and Agnes.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
A wonderful story from a previous president