Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to Work

A year after I left my full time job as a project executive in a big company, I'll be going back to a 9 - 5 job - this time with Habitat for Humanity Malaysia. I've come to know about HFHM setting up its national office through a church member, Aunty Julia. & I'll be joining them as Information Officer. HFHM is a non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. And since my desire for TOUCH is that in the near future would become an official non-profit organization, this job currently seems like a perfect place to learn and be trained.

I've yet to put pen to paper, but I consider myself to have started work this past Monday. That day, I tagged along to a fishing village settlement far away from the city (because a fishing village has to be by the sea, you see). I wish I could show you some pictures now, but that has to wait until HFHM's involvement in the project is confirmed. You'll have to take my word for it - their houses aren't livable. It feels as if no amount of desperation & effort on their own would get them out of such a situation. Without help from outsiders, they & their future generation will not have the things that you and I have - a decent home, money to spend, education...

After the visit, I just felt overwhelmed by the whole thing, but yet optimistic & glad that I would be able to venture with this tribe on a journey towards wellness & wholeness. These days more & more I am realising that keeping the commandments of Jesus isn't just about not sinning. It's about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, defending the weak... Justice, compassion, righteousness... This is worship, and I am very grateful for my opportunity in HFHM to do just that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Of Cyber Cafes & PC games...

Lately parents are very concerned with their kids spending too much time on the PC, in cyber cafes, playing games with friends... & some are talking about how the devil is stealing away our youths through this means & are calling cyber cafes evil. I would like to address this issue here.

First of all, let me say that I'm now blogging from a cyber cafe near my house. The glass doors are so dark that you can't see anything from the outside; the lights inside are rather dim too, the only things bright enough are the computer screens. This cyber cafe uses headphones, so the only noise come mostly from the gamers shouting to each other - sure they are shouting profanities at one another, but I hate the sub-woffers & high volume speakers more.

The absence of internet connection from my house is causing me to make frequent trips to this particular cyber cafe. I see students coming in right after school to play their favourite games. I hear them shout profanities at each other, it's part of their daily lingo - that's really troubling. It's almost as if they don't have parents, so it's ok to say those things they say. & of course the fact that they spend so much time & money on playing in a cyber cafe is no doubt worrying.

But suppose there is no cyber cafe anymore - where would these youths be? A mamak stall, karaoke, a pub, or maybe a back alley somewhere? So we remove all these things just so that they stay home - will they stay home? If a kid spends too much time alone in the room, shall we remove his / her room? Suppose you remove all distractions, will they stay at home? & even so, will they be turn out good, or okay? The fact is that moral decline in our world has always existed - way before there were video games & mamak stalls. To pin this on where your kid spends most time in or what he does is to be totally missing the mark. Cyber cafe, like most things, money for example, are neutral things. It's what you do with these things that separate good from evil.

Oh, have you ever noticed how many people die from road accidents every year? Cars are EVIL. No Christian should ever use a car. EVER. Walk to the nearest church & attend there. Quit your job & work for the bookshop near your house. So many people die of accidents, so surely we must remove cars...

I think what parents want from their children are simple. Obedience, spend more time at home, make effort in their studies, have more healthy activities... Don't fight something negative with a negative action. You're only making things worse. Go to the root & make positive changes, don't just touch the surface & think you can solve everything.

Will write more (and better) after more thought...

Monday, July 07, 2008

As Malaysians Pray

You could notice how Malaysians' concern towards our nation's political scene by how fast newspaper are being snatched up in the local 7-11. More & more, people are shedding away apathy & beginning to form opinions & eventually, take sides. As price hikes continue to trouble the middle - low income citizens, it's pretty apparent that Barisan National is losing its supporters & Pakatan Rakyat is getting stronger.

As most of the nation (I think) are banking on the new Pakatan Rakyat to save the day, I want to remind Christians to place our hope & faith only in God & God alone. No matter what political opinions you have, this sticks. No matter which political party you think will run the country better, pray that God's will be done in Malaysia. And continue to pray for the current government. Pray for wisdom, fear of God, compassion, justice & righteousness to be upon them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Recap: Parents' Appreciation Day

Well Parents' Appreciation Day has come & gone. Apparently the food wasn't great, not up to the parents' standard lah. It's a good thing that several families didn't make it, because we had shortages!! Apart from that, the event went quite well, surprisingly. The planning was rather slow, then hectic at the end, so I didn't know what to expect on the day itself. I discovered one leadership key through this: Do all your worrying & rushing at the planning stage. Once the day comes, just relax & ENJOY. Note down all mistakes made, & make sure they are rectified for the next event.
We kicked off with 2 games, in which the parents just went crazy!! Some of the youth gave feedback that they never thought their parents or the adults in church were capable of such madness... Watching them have fun & let loose was a lot of fun. Haha. Daniel & Anndrea did pretty well as master of ceremony. Once the food came out of the kitchen, the performances began. Daniel & Ben Soo sang their self composed song. "Always There". Ben Soo also sang "Daughters" by John Mayer (with Jezreel & Jason), he did so well someone commented that he reminded him of John... John Denver... Haha.
I thought the speeches were amazing. Jean & Sabrina gave sweet & touching speeches. Then Samuel, Chi Wing, Brian Ong helped lighten up the mood with their humour. I felt they set the tone for the evening lah. Jason, on work & holiday back here in Malaysia after 9 months in London, spoke about being away from family & understanding the weight of a parent's responsibility. Finally I took the stage, addressing the parents as youth leader. All those that spoke before me really gave me confidence, considering that it's my first time addressing the church from a pulpit (well, half of the church anyway). I think I did pretty well. Sadly, Joseph didn't bother to get a second tape, so he recorded only half of my speech. Sad sad... We ended by getting all the families together, I prayed for them & then we took group & family photos.
At the end of it, parents came to me to thank me for my leadership - that's how touched they were!! give me hugs some more... But honestly, for once I really felt that I didn't deserve credit at all. Credit should go to every other person who contributed to the event. It was a group effort. The kitchen staff were organized, disciplined & had good response. Ushers were great too. Everybody did their job & they did well lah. I'm proud of what the youth have done that day.
I believe this event will be a great starting point for partnership between parents & youth workers to better serve the youths - which only means better things are ahead...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The 2 Songs

Here are the 2 songs written by Benjamin & Daniel Soo. Performed during Fathers' Day. This low quality recording is served as a teaser only. Hope we can make an MTV soon. Hehehe.