My Read of the Month:

Title: Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart: Bringing Strength into Balance
Author: Stu Weber
Published: 1997
Genre: Christian Living; Male Discipleship
Ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After reading this book, I understood what James 1:27 meant. The role of a man designed by God is ordained to be a king, warrior, mentor and friend as explained by the author.

A lot of the instability, violence, and confusion that we see in our today’s world can be pointed to man’s lack of responsibility in fulfilling his role to lead, love and care especially in his own family.

This book helps to encourage a man in being a man; a man that would bear up and stand strong under tremendous weight and pressure in his responsibilities as husband, father, etc… It also provides biblical advice  or counsel on the “how to” in being a man.

It truly highlights how we as men have a massive responsibility in constantly growing in our stature and standing in our families and communities. When the man is fully functioning in his role, we can experience peace and order.

Who should read it: As long you consider yourself a male, you should read this.

More Traces of Melamine Found

Seems like this melamine saga is far from over. Now more products have been found tainted with melamine.

View the latest list here>>>

Of Milk and Malady

Who’d have thought beneath the gaudy glory
the pomp and pleasantry of Beijing Games

A game of conspiracy was brewing its
Own media maelstrom of milk and malady

These malevolent manufacturers
There’s madness in their methods surely
Four babies dead, thousands more sick maybe

No longer just a tragic footnote contained
in faraway China, in Singapore
thousands more madly ring service hotlines
shouting hotly the hottest buzzword – Melamine

Poem composed by Betsy Tan

Nation Building or Party Building?

Some time ago, I came out from a Grassroots Induction Programme feeling intoxicated after being overly-fed with PAP-ganda.

This was a session organised by the People’s Association (PA) and I was there to discover more about the overview of the association.

Interestingly, the PA’s vision is “to be a leading organisation in building an active community where all contribute readily to the nation.”

However after listening to the speeches and reading through the handed materials, I concluded that the vision of the PA should be more accurately communicated as “contributing readily to the PAP”, and not our nation.

In fact, after understanding that the PA’s existence was to achieve a political objective- “namely to strengthen the Government’s presence among the people” to counter the communists’ stronghold, it seems that this association is some what a white elephant.

With the communist threat out, why do we need PA?

The PA- Party’s Association

Isn’t the PA supposedly a people’s association? Apparently, all of their board of members are PAP politicians led by the chairman, PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Mind you if the PA is indeed for the people, I think it would have been appropriate for representatives from the opposition parties of Potong Pasir and Hougang to be part of the board in contributing to our community.

Well, it looks quite clear that the PA is just another one of the PAP’s lap dogs to propagate its party’s agenda (please note party, not nation). Another top-down approach.

More down-up approach

Even the NTUC, a union set up for workers is no longer for workers. This is apparent when we see that the core leadership is headed by PAP ministers.

Presently, Mr Lim Swee Say who holds a ministerial portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office is the union’s Secretary-General.

Such institutions such as the PA and NTUC should be voicing the opinions of the people. But these days, the reverse of the government talking down to the people is more obvious. When this overly happens, we need to be wary as the people like you and I will be least heard more and more over time.

Here is an excerpt from a letter in ST Forum that best describes the unhealthy socio-political state we are in:

“Instead of CASE taking up the cause on behalf of investors, it is former Income chief executive officer, Mr Tan Kin Lian.”

Mr Chua Sheng Yang

I really wonder how CASE being affliated and part of the NTUC family forgot to protect our consumers’ interest? Maybe if you know the answer, please share it with me.

Enough PAP-ganda

When I wake up, I am in my HDB flat. I make sure I switch of my SP Power-ed lights before I leave my home to take either the SMRT or SBS Transit transport to work. If I am late, I would  call for a Comfort Delgro cab on my SINGTEL mobile. My route to work will pass by POSB, SP, ITE, NUS, NUH, ST Kinetics, JTC, AH and A*Star. And work gives me money to contribute to CPF and GST,  and also to relax and watch MEDIACORP tv and read SPH papers.

Every where we turn, we see them. I believe fellow Singaporeans are getting sick and tired with each passing day by being “talked down” in what we need to do and what not to do.

“Marry early”

“Make more babies”

“Put money in CPF and can take abit out when 55”

“Put off retirement and work till 65”

“Pursue education”

Every where we turn, we hear the same party’s voice.

If it is not enough that we have to leave full decisions of our nation into the hands of the ruling party, it is equally disturbing that when we choose to speak up and voice our opinions we stand a high chance in getting slap with defamation like Dr Chee Soon Juan or the late JBJ.

So the question begs to be answered: Is what we’re claiming to be building for our nation or for a party? I leave that answer for you to decide.

Blogger’s Note: This entry was also published on The Online Citizen (TOC) on 28 October 2008

God in Government & Politics

I believe many Christians are for the motion that Christianity in politics should be doing more to ban abortion or to enforce laws against homosexuality.

Not that I approve these acts of immorality (in accordance to scripture), but politics in the government isn’t as straight-forward and simple as the State comprises of people from a multi-religion, multi-racial and multi-cultural background.

Even if a government were to ban abortion, would that really put a stop to abortions from happening?

Likewise, if a gambling law was enforced which worked against the construction of the Integrated Resort (IR), would we be naive to think that people will not gamble?

The biblical role of the government

According to Darrell Dow in an article Christians and Government, God created civil government for three primary reasons:

  1. To protect human life that is made in the image of God (Gen 9:6)
  2. To defend the law-abiding from law-breakers (Rom 13:3-4)
  3. To provide for a peaceful and orderly society (1 Tim 2:1-2)

Its role is to restrain evil by exacting negative sanctions which is limited to the administration of just laws to defend life and property, punishment of criminals, and to defend the innocent.  The government is not meant to be a redemptive institution.

With God’s love and truth being the fundamental modus operandi, Christianity and politics in government should exhibit respect to others and not enforce religious laws on others.

The government is not the same as a Christian organisation even if the President or Prime Minister is a Christian. For a Christian organisation, the Christian leader can easily address issues to its members as it is assumed that all believers subscribe to the same book- The bible.

Wherelse in the State, not all people subsribe to that same book, hence the bible cannot be used as a justification or reference for setting public policies and laws.

Being salt and light in the government

In an article- Christian View of Government and Law written by Kerby Anderson, the author said that “the Bible does not propose nor endorse any specific political system.

The Bible does, however, provide a basis for evaluating various political philosophies because it clearly delineates  a view of human nature. And every political theory rests on a particular view of the human race.”

He went on further to add that the government is unambiguously a “legitimate sphere of Christian service.”

In view of this, we as Christians have an obligation to fight for our godly biblical values and to correct the evils within the political system. But the challenge is doing it with love and truth, not out of bigotry or self-righteousness.

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”

1 Timothy 2:1-2

As marketplace ministers, we are also called to government and politics, and to be salt and light; participating from the inside, as an elected representative or a civil servant, or from the outside, as a lobby group or advocate.

By being an active citizen, we are doing God’s work in politics and playing our part in obeying His Great Commission.

Q&A: Barack Obama

Interviewed By Sarah Palliam and Ted Olsen

You’ve talked about your experience walking down the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ, and kneeling beneath the cross, having your sins redeemed, and submitting to God’s will. Would you describe that as a conversion? Do you consider yourself born again?

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful.

I didn’t ‘fall out in church’ as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn’t want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.

There is one thing that I want to mention that I think is important. Part of what we’ve been seeing during the course this campaign is some scurrilous e-mails that have been sent out, denying my faith, talking about me being a Muslim, suggesting that I got sworn in the U.S. Senate with a Quran in my hand or that I don’t pledge allegiance to the flag. I think it’s really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam. I am respectful of the religion, but it’s not my own.

One of the things that’s very important in this day and age is that we don’t use religion as a political tool and certainly that we don’t lie about religion as a way to score political points. I just thought it was important to get that in there to dispel rumors that have been over the Internet. We’ve done so repeatedly, but obviously it’s a political tactic of somebody to try to provide this misinformation.

Read the full interview here>>>

Who Will Be the Next US President?

Uncanny resemblance between the two? Ha ha...

Uncanny resemblance between the two? Ha ha

It will be exactly two weeks from now that the US and the world will know who will be the next US President to lead for the next four years.

The latest polls from Gallup, the Washington Post, Ipsos and Ramussen put Senator Obama on 52 per cent, 53 per cent, 48 per cent and 50 per cent to Senator McCain’s 42 per cent, 43 per cent, 39 per cent and 36 per cent nationally.

Will it be the Democrat, Mr Barack Obama or the Republican, Mr John McCain?

If you are clueless who they are and what they stand for, you can visit this site for an overview comparison of their plans and policies.

But on a personal note. Whoever it might be, it beats having Mr Bush around. Thanks to his leadership, whoever becomes the next President will inherit a big mess to clean up.

Christians Overtaking S. Korea, Buddhists Worry

Worried South Korean Buddhists are protesting against what they perceive as Christianity’s increasing dominance over the nation’s politics, especially in the light of the current man in office.

By Edmond Chan

Christianity’s rapid expansion in South Korea is due to the faith having brought modernisation with the introduction of Western medicine, education, and even democracy.

While Buddhism on the other hand with its focus on meditation, prayer, and seclusion in temples, “failed to play an important social role” according to a Religious Freedom expert, and is viewed more as a cultural heritage than religion.

South Korea has the highest proportion of Protestant Christians in Asia, at 29.3 percent of the 48,850,000 people. Buddhists account for 22.8 percent of the population.

Eleven of the twelve largest Christian congregations in the world are located in Seoul alone, including the largest congregation, Yoido Full Gospel Church, which boasts 800,000 members.

Protestant churches also stage all-night prayer marathons, and are known for their evangelical zeal, with the second highest number of missionaries dispatched all over the world, next to the U.S.

Read the full article here>>>

Right and Decent Thing to Do For Your Citizens

This is an excerpt of a comment taken from the ST discussion board:

If a war were to start today, the govt will immediately mobilise our NSmen in the country’s defence, I have no doubt about that.

NSmen will be reminded of their pledge to protect the nation and no doubt the PM and his cabinet will go whole hog on national TV to remind NSmen that they would be defending not only the country but their loved ones and remind them of the consequences should the enemy were to overrun this place.

But when there is a crisis such as the present when thousands of Singaporeans watch helplessly as their life savings are going to literally disappeared into thin air THE SILENCE OF THE PM AND HIS CABINET IS VERY VERY DEAFENING AND TELLING INDEED!

What has happened to all those theories about social, economic, military and psychological defence under the oft-repeated TOTAL DEFENCE concept promulgated by the govt? Are they all merely theories? Intended merely as propaganda to keep Singaporeans in line only?

Read the full comment here>>>