Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Seldom Malaysia becomes huge news in the world but when Kartika, a part-time model was caught drinking beer and punished with caning by Islamic Laws, it was on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and practically right around the globe.

Meanwhile in New Zealand the Government who has an anti-smacking Law was challenged by parents who think that smacking a child is a correct form of discipline. Although the Government came out with the Law, the enforcement part is difficult. But the parents are concerned about it as they fear being harassed by the Law when they discipline their children in their own home.

Thus the big question, “To smack or not to smack”?

I believe the most quoted biblical reference to discipline a child is in Proverbs 13:24
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

Some argue that you can’t take an ancient text and apply it today. And also Jesus did not smack the children.

First of all, I want to say this, caning or smacking a child in appropriate measure will not kill him/her. No one dies from caning unless it is done with intent to kill or injure. Pain is a good way to deter a child from going the wrong way.

Secondly, let us be realistic that caning will not solve every problem in a child. It must be mixed with tender care and love and lots of patience. If caning is the only discipline in a home, then a child may grow up thinking punishment is the only way to change.

Thirdly, children who are disciplined and understand its usage, they will grow up thanking their parents for guiding them. Fear of caning to a child means fear of consequences when he/she grows up. There are consequences in wrongdoing. In my 2-sen opinion, I object public caning as this would bring shame publicly. Disciplining a child should not bring shame to him publicly rather generating remorse inwardly.

The Bible is ancient but it is God’s fresh Word for all generations! It is like a old, old telephone directory, as long as it still gets through, it is useful. Jesus never smacked children because Jesus left them to responsible parents to do the job.

PS: Kartika is an adult and caning an adult especially a lady is humiliating. Anyway, she is a first time offender and already repented. Society must discipline hardcore offenders harshly as only God can change them (I have seen God changed hardcore criminals) but must rehabilitate first-time offenders!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The Storm that some said was God's signal.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church today voted to allow individual congregations to bless same-sex marriage in the church. More than 60 over % voted "YES" to the issue. It has been quite a debate in the United States about gays and lesbians' rights to marriage and their adoptions of babies. Religious groups especially the CHURCH in the States are the last bastion of pillars homosexuals fight to bring down. Today they have torn down another strong pillar after the Anglicans were done with.

Homosexuality is a such a huge group in America today that they are almost seen as part of a culture there, perhaps it already is. It is not strange that Churches are grappling with issues like this one. Shunning them would be turning them away from Jesus, their only Saviour. Accepting them would be detrimental to the stand of the Holy Bible we hold so dear.

Leaders of the Lutheran denomination met in Minneapolis few days ago to allow married and committed homosexuals to become pastors of their churches. They said homosexuality was not "central to our faith". While they were meeting, a tornado swept through the place causing some damage and disrupted their meeting. Some said God disapproved the meeting and sent a storm but the leaders laughed it away.

What is my stand?

We should welcome homosexuals into the church and that God accepts them now as they are. When they become Christians, they have to build a relationship with God by doing what God said. One cannot ignore some parts of the Bible that says, homosexuality is sin. The church must teach that and as the same time, release the homosexual Christians to grapple with their own conviction. I am totally against same sex marriage in the church and taking them as leaders of the church. This is a dilution of God's Word of a healthy normal relationship between a man and a woman.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Usain Bolt from Jamaica dipped below 9.6 seconds for the first time in the world when he won the 100-metre race couple of days ago. To be exact, 9.58 seconds, which once was thought to be humanly impossible. But now, Bolt has bolted that record and some are wondering whether he could run even faster than that. Imagine running less than a second in 10 metres! 10 metres = 30 feet. It is absolutely flying! Super human so to speak!

Yes, Usain Bolt finished his race in record time and got his glory. Medals, fame and money (& lots of "honey" too) all come with his great athletic skills. This is a worldly glory and to God, He would not be there to cheer him on even though Bolt may dip below 9 seconds one day. God would cheer those whose journey is not a sprint.

A sprint is like a star who shines so bright in a day and Ka BOOM, explodes the next. God cheers those who choose to run on and on for His glory admists distractions and disturbances. Troubles and trials for these "marathon" runners are just temporarily glitches towards the high-calling race God marks out for them. They will not be turned on by the bright lights of the world but will keep running towards the finished line where Jesus Christ stands waiting. A cheer from Jesus Christ from heaven is better than the roar of millions in this world.

Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrew 12:2). Jesus holds our hand from the starting line to the finish line. The journey may fill with treacherous roads but as we fix our eyes upon Him, it is going to be an adventurous run.

Today, there are countless people who give up their journey, their torches snuffed out, signifying nothing. The one who runs to the end will make the difference. Their journey are filled with life-touching stories and testimonies. At the end of their journey, not only their own family members are saved and transformed, there will be fresh crop of young people rising up to run as well!

(Heb 12:1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

PS: My dad was saved a week ago. He had a communist ideology and also believe in anihilation of soul once we died. I thank God that in my marathon race, I could see him being on the side of Jesus Christ, his Saviour and Lord!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last night I went to a dinner hosted by GMT (Global Ministry Teams) for their graduating students. The ministry is founded by none other than Ps. Irvin Rutherford. These students from all over the world would come and do short-term missions training for 3 months. Although it is short term, but when I witnessed their passion, they are going to be missionaries for a long time to come.

I sat next to an Indian graduand Ajay James and we instantly felt a connection. He told me about how Christians in India in certain places are being persecuted. But the thrilling part of the story is the more they are persecuted, the more people accepted the Lord. Hallelujah! The speaker who spoke that night confirmed in my spirit that souls are coming to the Lord in their thousands because of God's servants who lived and died for the sake of the gospel.

I was blessed to see passionate servants of God who stand ready to fulfill the Great Commission. Most of them left the comfort of their homes and families to serve God. Are we willing? Or rather, am I willing?

I read this in their says, statistics that changed my life...

27 Million : - Number of people who are bound by modern day slavery.

80% of which are women and children.

50% of those women and children are forced into prostitution.

4,400 : - Number of languages that are currently without Scripture portions available.

World : - 1/3 well fed - 1/3 underfed - 1/3 starving.

1 Billion : - Number of people who cannot read or write their own name, much less read the Bible if it is available in their language.

1% : - Percetage of missionaries that work among people who live in un-reached people-groups and they comprise 40% of the world's population.

40,000 : - Number of people who starve to death every single day in a silent tsunami.

Words to ponder....

(Jonah 4:11) But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

Friday, August 7, 2009


When I read Datuk Dr. Denison's response to PAS' banning of alcohol sales in Star opinion column, my heart gives several thumbs up for him. This is exactly what every Christian should respond. Thanks Datuk! (I had the privilege to sit in his class for a course of social studies at BCM. He has such genuine concern for people and the country)

Principle Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnic Studies,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

THE move by PAS to implement a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol in all Muslim-majority areas has now given us an opportunity to draw up guidelines on the sale of alcohol.

While PAS’ call for a ban might seem drastic, this view should not be seen from a high moral ground or only from an Islamic perspective, but an opportunity to recognise the problems associated with alcohol abuse which is recognised by all major religions of the world.

PAS was speaking for the Muslim community, but many of the social issues and abuses are among non-Muslim communities.

Society has already accepted that certain types of human behaviour can affect oneself and others.

In the case of smoking, the Health Ministry and other authorities have undertaken many measures to restrict where one can smoke in public places, and on sponsorships and advertisements by cigarette companies.

These initiatives have been taken in the interest of the common good of society.
Although the proposal for a total ban that called for abstinence was not effective in the past, there is still an urgent need for Malaysian society to discuss this issue further from the negative and abusive aspects of unrestricted sale and availability of alcohol in our society.

Some restrictions on the places and locations where alcohol is sold are necessary. For example, not permitting the sale of alcohol in or near residential areas and schools might be necessary. This will therefore include all kinds of residential areas.

Designated places where sales and consumption can take place should be regulated by the local authorities. For example, it might be healthy not to consume alcohol in a public park or even during a football game.

While the suggestion is being advocated by PAS, my interest is from the viewpoint of a sociologist who does a lot of social work. I am also a Christian by conviction and belief. Therefore, let us not discuss social issues and concerns from a perspective that divides us but let us find alliances and collaboration across religions.

There are so many silent sufferers. Especially women and children who are victims of alcoholics and husbands who have a behavior problem as a result of consuming alcohol.

Alcohol producers, promoters and retail people have not taken action in educating the general public on the potential substance addiction. The Government has not done enough to address the abusive behaviour and health-related problems.

Currently, there are hardly any counselling programmes, and the ones they do have are inadequate. There are also no rehabilitation services like rehabilitation for drug addiction.

I strongly advocate that alcohol producers and the industry pay a levy from their annual sales for public education on alcohol abuse and addiction. At the same time, they should take greater responsibility for rehabilitation of alcoholics.

Some systematic intervention programmes are necessary to assist women and children who face abuse and violence. Federal and state agencies must address these concerns.

Maybe the Selangor government could take the lead in providing the guidelines necessary for healthy living and ensure that all responsible will put human lives before profit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I admire some people here in Malaysia and one of them is none other than Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, the President of the Malaysian Medical Relief Society or MERCY. With a pool of more than 5,000 volunteers, Mercy Malaysia is actively involved in numerous projects in countries like Myanmar, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka

In 2006, Datuk Dr. Jemilah Mahmood was conferred the highest honour by the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, USA, and received the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award. This award was created to celebrate human rights and non-violence.

According to Wikipedia...

Through MERCY, she has brought together Malaysians (and some non-Malaysians) from all walks of life with the common goal to serve those in need, irrespective of race, religion, culture or boundary.

In 2003, she was shot in her left hip during a MERCY mission to offer medical relief and supplies to Baghdad hospitals. After dropping off supplies at two hospitals, MERCY’s two vehicles were shot at by some Iraqis who mistakenly thought the ambulances were Syrian after experiencing rocket fire in the villages from alleged Syrian fedayin. The Syrian driver and an Iraqi hospital staff accompanying them were killed in the incident. She said the doctors at Chiwader hospital had wanted to remove the bullet but she did not want to take up their time and medication. She was still walking around with a bullet in her left hip, five days after being shot.

Last week, she resigned from MERCY because she was appointed United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Humanitarian Response Branch chief in New York.

As a Christian, I am challenged by her untiring service for humanity. I believe Jesus wants us to empowered our Faith by serving others, regardless of race or religion. No one cares how much we know until they see how much we care. Not just to convert people but help with a genuine concern for those who are helpless.

Indeed, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood is a towering Malaysian that this country is so proud of. Well done!