God-incidence

“God-incidence” is a new word that was coined by someone which I believe refers to a coincidence that had been divinely arranged by God.

I had one encounter of a God-incidence just two days ago.

Re-nacting the scene 

God-cidenceI tried to arrange dinner with my ex-secondary classmate, Pete who is also my neighbour. But he replied that he was not available. So I went home and slept over my dinner.

Upon waking up, it was 10pm!? And I went down to grab my late dinner when I ran into Pete who was on his way back. Ha ha…

I asked him if he wanted to join me, but he declined. And off I went with my search for dinner.

Divinely arranged

Fifteen minutes later, just as I was about to tuck in my meal. Guessed what?

Correct! It was Pete walking by.

This time he joined me and explained that he was looking to buy something, but the shop was closed. Hence, we caught up quite far bit over an hour before we headed back.

The best part was where God was part of our conversation and we discussed some of his theories like Big Bang, Chaos and Complexity (Wah… cheem sia =P) which he believed were more logical than the creation story of Adam and Eve.  

Though a believer in God, he never quite found relevance in Christianity with his personal aquaintences with other Christians. Therefore, I am praying that somehow I can play a part to be a “bridge” for him towards the Christian faith.

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Wages At the Top

Nov 1st 2007
From Economist.com

BERTIE AHERN, Ireland’s taoiseach (prime minister), has good reason to smile. He recently accepted his 26th pay rise in ten years, taking his annual salary to €310,000 ($446,000). He is now better rewarded for leading a country than most of his counterparts, including George Bush.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s pay increase this week of around 140% only bumps France’s president up to $346,000 a year.

Heading a small, rich country is the best bet. Earlier this year, Singapore’s prime minister was awarded a 26% rise to some $2.1m.

Salary at the top

Read the latest related TOC article on Ministerial salaries here>>>

S’pore Inflation Hits 16-Year High

Last Saturday’s Straits Times headline read: October inflation hits 16-year high of 3.6% . It was definitely loud and clear, and grabbed the attention of many Singaporeans like myself.

The ST reported in that article that DBS Bank’s Irvin Seah “fell over his chair” when the figure was revealed. “This is way beyond market analyst expectations,” he further added. “We knew inflation would go up. We just didn’t know it would come so quickly.”

That was the kind of reaction that the news of the inflation had.

Though the affects of rising costs had been felt for 1-2 months ago, this latest news was a confirmation of the dreadful reality that the average Singaporeans had been living in.

Reasons for inflation

It was mentioned that prevailing oil and food prices contributed to the rise in inflation. China, for instance, reported that prices last month rose the fastest in a decade.

And disturbingly, the 2 per cent hike in the goods and services tax (GST) in July was attributed as another major cause for the already rising prices.

This is definitely not good news, especially for the lower income group. Already the income gap has been widen and with this inflation, life with be more difficult in coping with the high cost of living in Singapore.

The GST hike in question

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first announced his plans to increase the GST prices from 5 percent to 7 percent on 13 November 2006, here was his reason:

Speaking in Malay, Mandarin and English, Mr Lee explained that the hike was necessary to finance the enhanced social safety nets, needed to help the lower income group and he emphasised that the offset package would more than counter the rise in GST.While Singapore’s current model to tackle the widening income gap is sound, Mr Lee said the government would take on two approaches to deal with the new environment – to strengthen the safety nets and tilt the balance in favour of the lower-income groups who do not benefit from the fruits of economic growth.

However, from the recent article by Reuters about Singapore’s economy boom widens income gap and with the figures of the swift-arising inflation presented to us, things do not seem to be happening in favour of the lower income group at this point of time as planned.

In fact, it appears that things are worse off than before- the gap widening more and the lower income struggling even more to survive or keep up.

Uncovering the real deal

PM LeeBut with all honesty, how can a GST hike help the lower income when they are the main group people that would feel the affects?

Even the rich (those that should be the ones heavily taxed) with their busninesses and investments get tax rebates on GST and corporate tax schemes that works to their advantaged. And we all know that legally, there are ways to avoid being tax and keeping/earning more money as owners of businesses.

So the rich gets richer if not remain rich and the poor even poorer.

How can this be for the lower income group?

Therefore at this moment, it looks like it is the lower to middle income (the mass) group that are truly footing the bill for the economic development in Singapore with the high income group continuing reaping the “juiciest” fruits of our economic growth.

This cycle never ends.

What is the real agenda?

But to be fair, the full intented results of the GST hike might not have reached its potential yet. Therefore even with the contradicting predicament, we should still wait and see if PM Lee and his party delivers the goods for the lower income.

My personal view is that the GST hike was not the main agenda to help the lower income group, but an excuse to soften the resistant towards the idea. As it seems the real agenda is uncovered little by little with all the buzz on our economic development.

In short, our raised budget are mainly channelled in footing the massive bills incurred by our investment in R&D, Intergated Resorts, F1 Race and etc…

To this, I question if the lower income group has really benefitted from this developments. Cos I seriously doubt employment/business opportunities would be made primarily available for them. Instead, I forsee that our lower income group will be slogging and begging even more for whatever “scraps” that are left behind.

My Doodling:

Couldn’t agree more with this brother’s thoughts. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing- Jesus is why we do what we do.

God is never more interested in how many people we reach out and attempt to save than He is interested in how much (big of a heart) we love people as He loves.

God Seeks Men, not Men Seeks God

It is not uncommon to hear comments from others including Christians saying why Christians are so “aggressive” in getting people to convert, or why for that matter should Christians evangelise?

And to uncover the answers, we only have to look to God and understand His heart.

God from the beginning

God since the very beginning has been the initiator of the God-man relationship. Even when the first man fell from perfectation, God sought him from the bushes.

In bringing about His redeemtive plan for man, He had called the father of Israel, Abraham who eventually left his country to prepare the way for his descendents.

When the Israelites were held in slavery in Egypt, He freed them by appointing Moses, but not before appearing before him with the burning bush.

For us to know God is His idea and His original plan, not ours.

Jesus Christ- God seeking men

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

The birth of Jesus Christ is the epitome of God’s love seeking to save us man. Jesus came from heaven and made Himself a man in order that He could show us The Way, The Truth and The Life.

Christianity is unique among all other religions in this world as it consists of not men seeking God, but God seeking men.

Therefore, Christians ought to be His rightful ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal to men through them.

God is the Strength of My Heart

“When my heart was grieved 
    and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; 
    I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you; 
    you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, 
    and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? 
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, 
    but God is the strength of my heart 
    and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:21-26 (NIV)

How God Looks Out for Me

Two incidents within this week got me marvelling at how He looks out for me. It is just amazing to know how God loves me and cares for me or each one of us for that matter.

First was when I was thinking, “Now tight budget, how to meet my friends over dinner this week to catch up?”

God provided.

My colleague from the Finance Division called me to collected money dued to me which I was not even expecting. Wow!

Second was during one breakfast, I had ordered porridage for take-away. A piece of pancake had caught my eye but I didn’t buy it.

Incredibly, as I was paying for my take-away, the stall-owner out of so many other choices took the pancake and gave it to me for free!

She explained she was going to close early that day, so she wanted to clear her food.

Wow… God loves me leh… (c.f. Psalm 139)

Thank You God for showing me that You really care for every matters- big and small- in my life! =)