Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Big C

There is one thing many Malaysian politicians lack: Credibility.

Too many of our politicians have told outright lies or stuck their foot in their mouth one time too many, to the point that I don't know who's telling the truth anymore.

Like the boy who cried wolf, we don't believe them anymore. The only reason they are in leadership is because of their position, not their character. We follow their lead because we have to, not because we want to.

It's a sad situation when you can't trust a person's word, because there's nothing left in the relationship but the shell.

Which is why the ninth commandment says, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah

Something very significant happened in KL on this day 39 years ago... that changed the course of history.

What really happened? Who was involved? When? Where? How? Why?

Time heals, but only if we treat the injury properly.

What we need is truth, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Question is, Who will make the first move?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yangon or bust

The Myanmar/Burmese military junta is getting on my nerves. Firstly, I think they are a bunch of idiots. Secondly, they will go down in history as complicit murderers of their own people if they don't get their act together and start allowing the international aid to reach the stricken victims of Cyclone Nargis.

I'm not sure how to pray for the situation. Should I pray for a change of heart among the paranoid ruling generals? Or should I pray for a change of heart of President George Bush so that he will order a covert operation against the junta? Send in a couple of squadrons of special forces to take out the junta, reopen the airport and ports, and deploy a massive airdrop of supplies to the isolated villages. Piece of cake for the mighty U.S. of A.... if only they wanted to. They did it in Iraq -- liberty and justice for oil. They can do it in Myanmar too -- liberty and justice for all.

I think I'll just pray for the first scenario.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kingdom matters

Jesus did not preach about religion. He did not preach about becoming a Christian. He preached about entering the Kingdom of God.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matt 5:1-12

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

KL Sux

Specifically, I am referring to the KL traffic. I am increasingly convinced that the KL road traffic system was designed by a bunch of chimpanzees at Zoo Negara during their free time. And the road signages and arrow paintings were done by a bunch of pre-schoolers with big white brushes and UHU glue.

This evening I took 50 minutes to drive from Hotel Maya on Jalan Ampang to Kar Long restaurant on Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, which is just off Jalan Pudu -- a total journey of 5 km. That's an average speed of 6 km/h, slower than walking. Jalan Imbi was at a standstill for minutes on end. I didn't manage to find out why.

On top of that, the road signs were exasperating. The new "road signs" that have been put up tell me everything except what I want to know. They keep pointing me to other roads which are many many turns away, e.g. every other sign points to Jalan Tun Razak or Jalan Bukit Bintang, but there's no sign telling me exactly what road I am on, or the name of the road at the junction I am approaching. I keep wondering, am I on Jalan Kia Peng, or Jalan P. Ramlee? I see a sign that points ahead to Jalan Imbi, but when I arrive at the junction of Jalan Imbi itself, there is no sign confirming that it is what it is. Have mercy on me, I am still new to this mish-mash of one way streets in KL.

Why can't we just do it like the Americans, and signpost EVERY intersection with big bold signs telling me the name of the road immediately in front and left and right of me. They should mount the signs on the traffic light posts, and not tuck the signs somewhere in a shady corner. How do they expect motorists to see the microscopic signs while negotiating traffic and avoiding other manic drivers.

I think seasoned KL folks just memorize the turns without referring to road names. Ask any KL dude for directions, and he'll most probably say turn left, turn right, go straight straight straight, turn right at Shell, then turn left at the mamak. No mention whatsoever of proper road names. So what's the purpose of road signs then? They are just put up by advertisement companies who sell the ad space on the reverse side of the road signs.

The other thing that nearly killed me was arrows on the road. They are all painted at the point of no return, i.e. by the time I see the arrow, it is too late to change lanes. And for goodness' sake, why do they keep painting straight arrows on turning lanes?! If it is a turn-only lane, then the turning arrow should be painted 200m before the junction, to give motorists time to change to the correct lane. But that still wouldn't solve the problem of queue cutters.

In the end the thing that saved me was the Rimman UBD Street Directory that I was flipping through while stuck in gridlock, coz I made a wrong turn no thanks to the street signs, but quickly regained my bearings after consulting the Street Directory. I made an accidental "detour" down Jalan Kia Peng, then righted myself at Stonor and Conlay before rejoining Raja Chulan and turning right to Imbi.

I was also praying that God would teach me true patience. Notice I said "true" patience. It's easy to be patient when one is not tested. I did let a total of eight cars cut in ahead of me at various junctions, but I also almost got rammed sideways by a taxi driver who didn't believe in braking early although I was already halfway across the lane. He did flash his headlights at me, like, that would help to prevent a crash??? Well, there was one nice guy in a brand new S Series who waved at me and let me merge ahead of him along Jalan Raja Chulan. It's good to know there are still some nice people left in the world. :)

But anyway the food was very good, and it was a treat by my uncle's friend from Singapore. So, for now, I am appeased. :P

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday musings...

The Word of God to me today (as shared by Jon):

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9.


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On another note... I have been repeatedly reminded of my new official status as "uncle". Yes, my brother and sister-in-law became proud first-time parents on May 1. Oh, the beauty of life. :)

I've also been pondering over my own epic recollection of my Reef Check experience in the previous post. While I really appreciate the beauty and wonder of God's creation of the natural world, I still remember one incident when a wise guy challenged my concept of "appreciating God's creation". I was talking about going to Taman Negara to enjoy God's creatures, when he pointed to himself and declared, "I am God's creature too."

That got me thinking... yea, people are God's creation too. In fact, humans are the crown of creation. We are infinitely more valuable than tigers and turtles. So, yes, while I enjoy coral reefs and montane forests, I need to remind myself that people are more important. Having said that, the reason we protect and conserve our environment is for our own sake, and for our neighbour's sake. It's for the health and well-being of humanity, because we are inextricably interconnected with the natural world around us. And we're responsible as stewards of God's creation. It's for us to use, but not abuse.