Sunday, November 29, 2015

Trying to understand CHC remaining 17,000

The one Kong Hee supporter I cannot figure out why she still support him is Elim Chew. So when U@Live featured her recently, I took the chance to listen to her. Over many sittings of a few minutes each time I finally got to the end and am still no wiser.

Here is a clip of CHC supporters. Elim Chew appeared as the second interviewee.

If detractors of CHC think it is the simple sort of brainwashing like we read about among cults, this is deeper.

Look at another personality who appeared at U@Live. Dr. Tan Lai Yong is also a dedicated Christian but does not appear to be cut from the same cloth as Elim Chew isn't it?

It is a confusing world. Our Muslims friends are perplexed about their faith as well. They are working through a thousand years of liberal practice of the faith against an ascendant Wahhabism.

CHC is a purveyor of the Prosperity Gospel. Dr. Tan Lai Yong is closer in mindset to the faith practiced by Mother Teresa. It is wealth vs poverty. Today Dr Tan is not running around trying to help people succeed in business. He spends a lot of time with the under class especially the foreign workers. As for Elim Chew, money may not be the sole focus, however in her work even if money is not everything, everything is somehow connected to money. I keep hearing in my mind's ear Nic Vujicic speaking fee is now $125K. I learned that from Elim Chew.

Do the 17,000 members at CHC know what is happening to their heart and soul? Is Dr. Tan version of the faith compatible with theirs?

Update: 5:35 pm

I just came from reading this fine blog post by a Christian lawyer on Kong Hee's appeal against the sentence that was recently meted out to him. He had systematically and eloquently tore apart Kong Hee's facetious arguments and lies which can be found here.

Kong Hee has twisted and abused scripture to suit his nefarious purposes. Readers should bear in mind he was writing solely for his 17,000 member congregation only. He needs to protect his investment.

Now who will join CHC? I know but it is too terrible to write. So I will just leave something familiar as a reminder from Matthew 7

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

And if you do not do the will of God, you cannot understand what he has been trying to tell us from the Bible either. So be very careful with what is said. Judge what was done because words are cheap. If this is too difficult then ask yourself who imitates the historical Jesus as recorded in the Bible.

Update: Who is Jesus? 8:30pm

There are many Jesus' out there. There is one in the Quran, the Hindus have also found a place for him in their pantheon. Some Buddhists also suggested he was one of the Buddhas. Even Deepak Chopra wrote a book with Jesus as its title and before I forget, he is included somewhere in Sai Baba teachings as well!

Christians do not consider those I just enumerated as the true Jesus. Neither do such regard him as the Jesus of the Bible. I want to ask a question, "Who is the Jesus of Kong Hee? Who is the Jesus of Elim Chew? Who is the Jesus of Dr. Tan Lai Yong?" Finally, "Who is the Jesus of Mother Teresa?"

Seems to me only the Real Jesus is the one who matters, at least for believers. In that case it must mimic the relationship Jesus had with his followers both when he was here and when he had left them bodily and remained with them spiritually. The relationship we have with him here and now must continue into the life beyond this one. In this sense Mother Teresa and Sadhu Sundar Singh to me captured the relationship we ought to have with Jesus best.

So I don't care too much about what Kong Hee preaches but what is his relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it like the one Paul had? Of course this relationship whatever it is must also show up as how one lives his life too. Tycoon Jesus? Spare me that. Don't get me wrong, it is not wrong to be rich but how to live a luxe life of a rich man and has the right relationship with Jesus is the issue. The Bible gives us many examples on how to maintain a rich relationship with Jesus as a materially poor person but far less guidance for the rich folks. Don't ask me why, it is just like that. You can try to fill in the gaps or choose not to be rich and have a clearer idea how to maintain this intimacy with Christ. At this point it is best to quote Mother Teresa,

To a man who once saw her cleaning the wounds of a leper and said, "I wouldn't do that for a million dollars," Mother Teresa replied, "Neither would I. But I would gladly do it for Christ."

Mother Teresa regarded that act of cleaning the leper's wound as doing it to Jesus. That is truly something for relationship.

I think I have succeeded but at the cost of many more words than I would like to make what I said was too terrible to write, writable.

Kong Hee was a great taker with a golden reputation in church as a great giver. How Elim Chew fails to see that is simply beyond me. The more than eight decades old Mr and Mrs Tan at U@live asked some very good and skeptical questions of Elim's success. They were very polite but to put it across bluntly, the point is Elim Chew's story is simply surreal. Does it have a Bernie Madoff character to it? I don't know but I am sure time will tell. Meanwhile I have no reason not to give her the benefit of the doubt but I would also be cautious. Who is this Tycoon Jesus? Nick Vujicic knows him as well. We live in interesting and dangerous times.

SIA is a great way to fly; Jesus has become a wonderful and easy way to get rich!

Update: Nov 30 1:35 pm

Elim Chew in her U@Live presentation made much of the need to put in that magical 10,000 hours of hard work to be world class. Like many, I first read about this in Malcolm Gladwell best seller, "Outliers" but I never took it hook, line and sinker. I am sure to do well at anything you have to work very hard. It would be feedback that would guide you and help you make adjustment towards achieving your goals and achieve success. It cannot be an arbitrary 10,000 hours. Nevertheless I sold it to my children this 10K hours because it is easy to make a compelling sale to them. For Gladwell he made a big mistake. He had chosen to tell stories that is easy to sell and popular to make more money even if it was at the expense of truth. You see that is the problem with all these self help and feel good dogmas of success. It is dishonest. Some will find it to be true and they are just lucky. The majority will not but they often do not give up. They keep trying! And that is the tragedy of Elim Chew's formula for success. Ditto Nick Vujicic and the Prosperity Gospel Kong Hee preaches.

CHC members in their heart of hearts aren't after a relationship with Jesus Christ. They are after what they were told a supernatural tycoon Jesus who owns the whole universe and can give them a heaven on earth and a plus version hereafter.

I have presented this to my daughter before. I asked her, which is easier? Pray to God constantly and fervently for exam success or study hard to get your As? She said praying is easier. I replied then you shouldn't pray but work hard at your studies. CHC is probably full of members who believe in "prayer" because it is more pleasant and easier than blood, sweat and tears to achieve success.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Adam Lambert: Christian self defeating petition

I am glad that I had no time to blog about this earlier today. Mothership has done a much better job than I could which very closely reflected my thinking on this matter. Therefore I can just add what is missing in their article.

Someone in a WhatsApp chat I participate in had posted the petition to the group urging us to go and sign the petition against Adam Lambert performing at Count Down 2016 two days ago. I pretty much explained to the group what Mothership had put up at their article. However I also added that whilst faith makes people wise and free, religion often makes them stupider. I was amazed the sponsors of the petition could imagine this was the right thing to do. They can be sure this will not even go down well with the public and should consider themselves doubly fortunate if much of Singapore's society mostly just ignore them.

I also find it unacceptable the petition sponsors were anonymous which led me to suspect the usual personalities and organizations. Quickly the name that surface in my mind is none other than Lawrence Khong.

Personally I am against the lewd performances which Adam Lambert had put up in some concerts, but beyond that I know almost nothing about him other than he came in runner up in American Idol once. Now if he conducts himself appropriately whilst in Singapore I have no problem with that but I am also not showing up for that concert or even watch it on TV.

At the end of the day the Christians look like losers from these thoughtless initiatives. If they want to show society their way is the better way, do so not with talking and protesting but with good lives. As is, it is often impossible to tell apart the Christians from non Christians. If they are already light of the world then they didn't need to come up with this petition. Because they fail to assert the positive influence in society they hoped which the Bible tells them they ought to they have resorted to such silly self defeating antics.

Update: Dec 8 12:45pm

Hear some common sense from LKY himself. He explained himself to NUS students in 1990 shortly before he stepped down as PM.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Understanding China's Military Revamp

I have no time to record everything on my mind about this issue. Mainly for a while I have been trying to make sense of what China is doing claiming much of the South China Sea. I thought it was smarter to do that in the more distant future. I am sure to look at it in Cold War terms is definitely off the mark and I believe as Xi Jinping again reiterated in Singapore recently China's intentions are peaceful.

To me China is mostly inward looking. Anything they do outside China has its reason back home. Just as Zhu Ronji had used the WTO to spur reforms at home, Xi Jinping is doing something similar with the Chinese military by using claims on the islets in the South China Sea to whip their military shipshape. Look even the Russians have quietly reorganized their armed forces which caught the world by surprised when they annexed the Crimea. Everyone is aping the Americans. Understandably the Americans would feel less secure about these developments because the military gap between them and others are narrowing. This will bring about a less posturing US and more cooperation with the rest of the world to achieve common objectives. We read too much American publication without thinking about our own interests.

Wasted money on a Prolink Keyboard

Bought this Prolink keyboard from Sitex yesterday for only $27 but the happiness of getting something good and cheap evaporated when I discover they fail to pack in the nano receiver! I called up Cybermind at Sim Lim Square (they are the good guys, no friends of Jover types) but they insisted I bring the product back to Sitex for an exchange. Well I am not spending money on petrol, parking and most important my time to save $27. I told him on the phone I am going to throw this Prolink away. It is not their fault anyway. Prolink did a bad job. Then he pleaded with me to wait till Tuesday and bring the product to Sim Lim Square. They will make the exchange for me but I don't think I want to bother. I would have bought the Arc Keyboard but they raise the price from $49 to $75. I am not paying that especially when my last one didn't even last two years.

I rediscovered my old Logitech K270 when I searched the cupboards. I am going to use that for now. Quite happy finally to be able to get the unifying receiver to work with my M235 mouse as well.

Update: Dec 6 3:35 pm

As we had lunch at Fatty's this afternoon, we took the opportunity to pop by Cybermind and got a one for one exchange, no questions asked. Quite pleased with Cybermind.

Now I have packed it away as a dumb spare. Prolink really don't make their stuff very well e.g., it is not easy to pull out the batteries from the mouse.

Really better off staying with Logitech or Microsoft.

Adding to our Home Team Image

Respect! Nothing contributes more to the image of the uniformed officers than authentic examples like these. Ditto for nurses and teachers too.

As I recall two of my children most dedicated teachers, I feel the Home Team needs to better motivate and lead their officers. They left the police force to become teachers, fed up with the way it was led.

You will not become rich as an officer but it is a very meaningful career. If you make lots of money what are they good for unless you already have a clear mind what to do with them before becoming rich? Try to give it away and you will find that is harder than making it in the first place.

Sure, it is wonderful to be rich but this is only true if we are rich in every sense of it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

No MRT when GCE A Levels still on

Wonderful eh? No MRT service on a day when the GCE A Levels is still on! I haven't checked the social media chatter but I don't think commuters are taking this as quietly as previously.

Literature paper today. Will the trains be operational by the time for students to make their way to their JCs for the afternoon Bio paper?

The damning thing about these breakdowns is that only God knows when they happen. We also know they will keep happening but have no idea when.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Very Old Mistral desk fan

Just applying the suction end of the vacuum cleaner to this old fan blade caused it to begin to break up. Time to throw it away. I don't know how long this trusty Mistral has been with us. Could be as long as 20 years because we were already using Mistrals since our time at Pine Grove. We have since switched to KDK which is quieter.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chew Eng Han as conscience for Kong Hee

I read this story in PDF but here is a link to the online version. Earlier I had done two e-paper cuttings from the article.

The defense said the six of them did not materially benefit from their financial deception. I think this is only true because of the manner CAD had chosen to frame the case and prosecute them. Not sure about the five but Kong Hee culpability was clear as day isn't it?

Kong Hee and Ho Yeow Sun didn't live it up with their salaries. They have a very large discretionary account not well known to members except from the most brainwashed for financing their luxurious lifestyles.

Chew Eng Han was clearly unfortunate. I can imagine lots of people would have fallen into this trap but were not chosen.

Comments on Facebook show that this sentiment is widely shared.

Viewing this case holistically from the moral and religious perspective, Kong Hee is guilty as hell. Like my lawyer friend remarked to me yesterday, Kong Hee got off very lightly. With aged parents and two deaf-mute siblings, Kong Hee should have been mindful how much his family needed and depended on him. A most unfilial son.

Update: 10pm

As usual TNP value added is not to be shy about the embarrassing details. Well it actually showed much restraint already but is much more than ST is willing to share. The 17,000 remaining suckers with CHC ought to buy and read TNP for this story! Raffles Institution must have dearly wished they never had someone like Kong Hee as a pupil.

Update: Nov 24 9:15am

Mothership suggested that it is only fair MSM should grant the six leaders from CHC to share their views on this matter.

Well I think it didn't occur to Mothership that perhaps CHC do not want to provide the other side of the story! They are the ones who loved to carry out activities in the dark. Why would they want to bring it out into the light? There is nothing praiseworthy except to their brainwashed flock who had been trained how to interpret evidence.

What is the moderate Muslim?

The moderate Muslim to a non Muslim like me is a moving target because no Muslim see himself as extremist and so they end up accusing each other who practice it differently as extreme, either conservatively or liberally.

I am quite irritated with this issue but I feel I have to spend some time on it after I saw this from an American friend.

The following from LiveLeak supposedly exposed to us non Muslims how a whole congregation of Muslims saw themselves as moderate. To me that is hardly moderate! This was in America.

To non Muslims, as long as Muslims set themselves apart from the broader society they cannot be regarded as moderate as we superficially understand them and prefer to accept them. Socially it is going to get harder and harder to accommodate this version of Islam.

Then I saw and grudgingly spent an hour watching Dr. Bilal Philips explained in Malaysia who is the moderate Muslim. His background is Salafism but he is against the likes of ISIS, Boko Haram etc., but before that I went to familiarize myself with Winston Churchill first hand observation and opinion of Muslim society as he experienced for himself when he was in the Middle East as a young soldier. See the following links (Snopes, The Federalist papers, Wikpedia)

To save time when I return to this post in future, the following words of Churchill is worth recording,

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

And enduring Dr. Bilal Philips for an hour indeed helped me to understand a little why Churchill had felt that way.

Here in Singapore I have utmost respect for my Muslim friends but with little understanding of their religion. The quickest way I can access Islam is through my own grasp of Christianity. Among the Christians there are also those who preach a return to the early church as well, i.e., similar to Salafism call to return to the original Islam of 1,400 years ago.

I get a bad feeling that the Salafist juggernaut is almost impossible to resist. How I wish we could put them in a bubble to try and fail just for them to learn it doesn't work. Similarly Christian preachers trying to return the churches to the early Christians era is also an unworkable idea.

Finally when I did quick check on Bilal Philips, I don't think ICA would admit him into Singapore. He styled himself as a moderate Muslim because all good Muslims believe a true Muslim by definition must be moderate! Until a Muslim terrorist begin to attack you, it is hard to tell if such is a true Muslim. Until they had tried and failed in at least an attempted terrorist act, it is hard to identify and watch them.

Update: Nov 24 9:00am

It wasn't that long ago I came across polls suggesting that the majority of Malay Muslims in Malaysia rank religion ahead of bread and butter issues. This morning my daughter alerted me to the Pew Research findings: 1 in 10 Malaysians thought well of Daesh.

Imans like Dr. Bilal Philips whilst not supporting Daesh, Boko Haram or Al Qaeda nevertheless prepare enough Muslims to be more easily influenced by extremist and violent interpretations of Islam.

Now I understand the extremist ideology better. Wahhabism came and told nominal Muslims that they were believing and practicing Islam wrong. Many of the Muslims they reached knew next to nothing of the Quran. As such they were easy pickings. If they were already well taught it would have been different. Wahhabi ideas will immediately faced challenge. Now you want to teach them other interpretations of the faith, it is going to be very hard.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Which diet plan works

Finally the science is starting to confirm my hunch all along. The diet to control weight is personal. Truly one man's meat is another's poison here.

There is one strategy that would work most of the time and you would know quickly to adjust if it didn't: don't eat till you are full. If this doesn't work, change the diet.

Sure stress can also complicate a person's diet plan with an additional variable which makes it very confusing what works for you.

In the end it is best to learn to listen to your body but it is also terribly hard to explain how to do it. I once had a frozen shoulder and I massaged myself out of the problem. A similarly afflicted friend when to see the orthopedic surgeon which recommended surgery. He refused and finally chanced upon trigger point therapy. It worked for him.

To listen to your body successfully you need to achieve the right balance between confidence and fear. That is the starting point of listening objectively. Most people lean one way or the other and so failed to get this right.

The fact that the one size fit all diet plan has turned out to be the holy grail of managing weigh should have hinted long ago that everyone needs a custom solution right? But it is always so hard to get people thinking outside of the trench they had already fallen into long ago.

BreadTalk serves Sucker's Test

BreadTalk never apologized for its serial deceptions. Repeatedly adding insults to injuries have led to a stinking brand name which customers have avoided in droves for many lesser known bakeries.

Now BreadTalk is staging a comeback. Its character has not changed, only the clothings have. If you are still a customer you are going to pay for their new look and do but what is the benefits to you? I am going to Baker Talent and others. Stick wth BreadTalk and wait to discover how they are again taking you for a ride because its true character must eventually surface again.

Where is your apology Mr. Quek? But alas the time for that had come and gone.

Update: Nov 22 10:10am

I am hopeful that many will not fall for this Bread Talk scam. If what Y.P. Lim said about his prices are through then I think Mr. Quek had lost touch with his customers completely because his bakery chain is clearly positioned to reach most wage earners here. At this time with cost of living rising rapidly, people are sensitive to prices.

Kong Hee was hoping for a hefty fine

I think no sentence is short enough unless it is a hefty fine. Then CHC members would be happy to cough up the money. He is used to publicly praying but privately using money to solve problems. It is a big problem when the judge says No.

In fact Justice See is already merciful with his judgement. Remember the prosecution had asked for 12 years. Many people were even thinking the prosecutor was asking for too little. I am not a lawyer but I know there are rules about such matters.

Well Kong Hee shouldn't be feeling so sad if he is convinced he is going to prison for Jesus right? In many places, Christians don't even get the chance to go to jail. As near by as Indonesia some are lynched or burned to death. They consider it fortunate if only their homes were razed to the ground and escape with their lives. The problem here I feel is that Kong Hee was all along making use of Christianity to satisfy his ego. It was hard to imagine he was ever a believer because no Christian would try to embarrass Jesus as he had. Remember you aren't so much judged by CHC members as the public. With his wife in charge CHC is totally discredited, there is no need to Crossover.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christianity here: The Fallout from CHC

Well that is quoting one of CHC members and there are thousands of them like Mr Lew. This is worrying isn't it? Yet those who know are not surprised. Such brain washing happen to all religions. It is particularly severe and dangerous with Islam at the moment when you see where Whahhabism has taken some of them, and by some we are talking millions since the religion has more than a billion believers.

It is time to forget about the CHC leaders, focus on its remaining members instead.

"...because I believe in what God is doing in our church."

Many of us outside CHC would think Mr. Lew is deluded and the few thousands with him. However my other worry pales in comparison to the many Mr. Lews. I am more disturbed by the local Christian leaders here. Why don't I see them publicly disapproving of what Kong Hee and his gang had done? Don't they realize this is going to turn off and away so many from the faith? I think their priorities are warped. The result is we will have many Christians who eventually give up on going to church. Alas, they are more enthusiastic and energetic attacking LGBTs than cleaning their own house.

Non Christians reading this should be careful not to be conned into becoming believers for the wrong reasons. Know what you are believing. The presentation of the Gospel must be transparent and honest. No China Wine subterfuge. There must be the confession and repentance of sins instead of God offering forgiveness up front without the prior step.

It is impossible to tell the saved from the unsaved in churches these days. In general people will not find Jesus in our churches. What a mess we are in. I think Kong Hee was never a believer. As such he cannot show you how to be one in the way God will accept. In my mind's eye I spot that sacrilegious China Wine again.

It will be a healthy sign if CHC membership continues to shrink because Ho Yeow Sun is the simply the next con after Kong Hee. This sort of religious influence in our society is a cancer and I wonder if there are any secular excuse we can use to fix this. We are not letting deviant Islam get away and that should inform us to nip deviant Christianity in the bud as well.

Population Policy: The PM flipped the prata

The PAP government had flipped the prata on this one because we cannot be persuaded to have more children and a younger demographic profile. In fact their former policy on population gravely offended us. The PM has learned and I wished it had been sooner to make lemonade when politics served him lemons.

WP Chen Show Mao was right about the correct attitude to ageing and the old but the key point is who is going to craft and implement practical policies on the ground?

This is a relative world. What we need to do is cope with ageing better than most countries especially those who have a more advantageous demographic profile. Consider ourselves lucky that China is ageing rapidly as well. If they have the same age profile as Indonesia, it would be impossible to compete with them. As for Indonesia with lots of young people I don't see how they could get their act together when so many are missing out on getting the education they need in the new economy. Ditto India, Africa, Brazil and the unemployable young for the Arab Middle East. These places with an abundance of young blood are still in the process of turning an asset into a liability. Saudi Arabia is obviously unsustainable. In the long run the Saudis versus the Iranians, it is clear the Iranians would win.

To these lame duck countries, their best bet is another time. Let their best and brightest go to America, come to us as well and in another time return to save their country. The regimes they presently suffer under, they have no hope.

Damaged micro SD card

This 64GB micro SD card is most likely kaput beyond repair. I think its controller chip is damaged but how I do not know. I think I have tried everything I could have with changing settings, formatting etc., I even sourced and install the SD Card formatter.

So now this card is good for read only. Dumb.

Ichiban Sushi up prices

I thought I could feel in my gut that this was coming. Last evening we had dinner at Ichiban Sushi. We sat down to newly printed menus and I could just sensed that the prices have gone up. Indeed it has. Many items we often order are up by a dollar.

The restaurant is as popular as ever. Don't the other diners even noticed?

The last time they increase the price for Ichiban Don was in 2012. I had tracked that too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

MOE recruiting fewer teachers

I just read the ST story. Articles like this have the familiar feel of a TV 8 drama. Same story line only change the numbers and names. What is missing is that the new teachers are often better than the old ones with far more experience. At least this is the experience of my children. I suppose in many instances you can't teach old dogs new tricks.

As usual government everywhere rarely do things incrementally. Just look at how rapidly they are cutting back on hiring. Many wannabes teachers are disappointed. I think they should keep trying because teachers do resign and places open up. Those with a deep passion for teaching never give up. I hope MOE keep record and track how many times an applicant applied.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From Secret Lab to Toyogo

After Secret Lab we dropped by Toyogo which is close by to pick up some plastic drawers. They always have offers. This time we bought two and get the third one free.

Bought the Secret Lab Omega Chair

Visited their office yesterday at Bendemeer Road, test the chair and ordered it. They delivered it today.

Excellent customer service, both pre-sales and delivery.

Price: $499 plus $35 for delivery and assembly.

They smsed me before showing up.

And this is a heavy chair: 25 kg.

More info.

Is he a Christian? From Jimmy Wee to Kong Hee

Came across this story in the ST yesterday. Jimmy Wee has had a hard life solely due to his harmless tumors all over his body. Fortunately for him there are always some of us who would look beyond that and give him the opportunities to make a living.

I admire his fortitude. He didn't want handouts. He wants to earn his own keep.

I don't know how but I hope he stays healthy for a long time.

But why am I blogging about him? It is because he reminds me of the Gospel story. By that standard Kong Hee is not a Christian. But who am I to judge? I told myself, just for a moment pretend I am IBM Watson the victorious computer playing Jeopardy and of course Chess. By that Kong Hee is not a Christian.

I have taken the liberty to reproduce a portion from the ST story below.

Modern Christians are really odd. They thank God for saving them from hell but never like Jimmy says as shared by his boss, "...he even asked if I was sure that I would hire someone like that." Christians no longer ask and find it incredible that God will forgive them. Today they see God as Santa Claus giving them health, wealth and happiness. Salvation is a free gift. They have cheapened his grace.

"...he expertly cleaned plate after plate at the back of the restaurant" That is how Jimmy repays the kindness shown him because those who offered him jobs weren't obligated to. They could hire others. As it turns out his boss even defends him against others asking him to be sacked. Christians have no such gratitude except for those politically moments of assent and expression, otherwise they hate and sparingly love like anyone.

"I do not want to embarrass my boss...." Kong Hee has embarrassed Jesus Christ big time. Fortunately many of us can tell the difference between the two.

Here is a repentant John Newton as played by Albert Finney in Amazing Grace. That is how a Christian is born. It is not the Prosperity Gospel way.

Therefore many Christians will not make it and can't really tell who will. Perhaps we can be sure of a few but unsure of the majority eh? E.g., John Newton must have made it right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Attack on Paris: ISIS is finished

I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of ISIS. Attacking Paris with such audacity was a big mistake but for a group blinded by eschatology that was inevitable. ISIS calculations relied on gathering the world's armies against them for a final show down when their Mahdi will appear to save them from imminent defeat. There is no realism in such calculations. People ought to let God be God eh? Never force his hands because he does as he wishes. In this sense the atheists are wiser.

ISIS will not get its wish granted because they can be destroyed in a targeted manner. No gathering of huge armies, the age of the Crusades are long passed.

It is absolutely important that ISIS must not be destroyed by following their script of their end of days prophecy. This is the best way to discredit them. In this sense Obama is right not to put massive boots on the ground. Destroying their means to survive is best and I was happy to read about A10 and AC-130 gunships destroying ISIS road tankers yesterday.

The calculations is quite simple. ISIS keep pushing it without regard for the line in the sand. What saves them is the position of Assad. If the west is willing to compromise on Assad then the path to take decisive action against ISIS opens up. By attacking Paris they just did that.

The right way to annihilate ISIS is to also demolish the ideas that gave rise to them.

Update: 8:05pm

WSJ Washington Bureau Chief doesn't get it. You cannot or mustn't defeat ISIS with a script that interpreted the Quran as telling them would happen!

Some of these arrogant know it all western journalists fail to do their homework.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lee Wei Ling: Sixty is an important number

Until I read Dr. Lee Wei Ling today, I didn't know how important year wise the number 60 is. That is the age of very noticeable decline. 

But some people don't seemed to be constrained at all after turning sixty. These are the lucky ones. I just saw S Gunalan on TV just now. He is old, fit and still running. 

Someone left this as a comment to the above article. I thought it was quite helpful. 

Don't assume you can do better than Ron. So plan accordingly.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

ISIS attacked Paris: Their strategy

The media is overflowing with the recent cowardly act of terrorism on Parisians. This will never be forgotten and so there is no need to blog about it. Besides from time to time we will be reminded of what happened during the eve of this weekend.

How could one of the most policed cities in the world appear to have been attacked so viciously so easily? I think Paris is just very vulnerable. Eventually we will read analyses of that but only up to the point the authorities are sure ISIS already know as well. Then the info is useful to inform and educate the population. A vigilant and cooperative people can do a lot to thwart future attacks.

Did Paris suffer a huge hit from this attack? It could have been much worse. Clearly every venue of attack the objective is to create mayhem at least as grave as the one in Bataclan Theater. Security thwarted that at the national sports stadium. Just imagine the explosives belt had exploded inside the stadium. We will be talking of thousands of deaths now as panicked spectators rushed for the exits.

Therefore security agencies now have big fat hints the preferred targets ISIS will attack and the results they had hoped to achieve. ISIS got far less than what they had planned to wreak on Paris. No wonder they failed to celebrate as expected.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Reminiscing Yosemite

Always wanted to take the kids to Yosemite and we did that last year staying at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.

Got this email today. It is almost a year since we visited. Just a few days stay had endeared us to this place. One daughter read up extensively on John Muir over and over again.

So we visited in winter, with its quiet charm. Next time and that must be many years away, we shall try for an Autumn experience.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Egypt: Fools for failing to get real

Why are some countries e.g, Egypt such losers? The short and quick answer is that they consistently fail to get real with the facts. This time it is this air crash and there will will be many things else down the road as that had been before. Sure, the cause of the crash is not yet irrefutably confirmed but people making decisions that affect the lives of people must apply Occam's Razor. That would lead to an explosive device set off when the plane was flying.

Well Egypt is far away but a useful model to help us understand some of our neighboring countries which also often fail to get real and therefore keep sabotaging themselves.

Keep staying foolish Egypt and the world will pass you by.

Update: 6:55 pm

Just convenient I come across this after the above. Malaysian leader played politics and failed to have the sense of reality regarding the importance of English. They are paying the price now.

You can find equivalent stories for each of our ASEAN neighbors.

Najib is still in denial.

“I know there are students who score a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 3.5, sometimes up to 4, and still cannot get a job because they cannot convince their interviewers that they have what it takes to lead. 

 “They lack leadership skills and the ability to articulate well,”

They always are in denial or they would have fixed their problem.

RIP Helmut Schmidt

I was telling the others about this event when I read news of Helmut Schmidt passing this morning. I was amused by the public banter between the two elder statesmen. I didn't know they were so familiar and such good friends with each other.

I was too young to really understand what was happening when Helmut Schmidt was West Germany's Chancellor, but I had a good impression of him simply because my father said he is a very good and capable leader. I remember feeling disappointed when he quit his post and Helmut Kohl which I called the bear took over. I didn't understand why he had to go when he was a good leader. Politics elsewhere is quite different from Singapore. This is just a way of quickly explaining without shedding any light right?

Well RIP Helmut Schmidt.

To CHC members: why you so stupid?

My friend complained he had been misquoted in the ST article. Well that is often the case when you are a source among several sources for a media story. It is like you ride the same bus with others but the media assume that you are also going to the same place!

The comments left for this story on Facebook is even more interesting. I think as a society it is doable to tell CHC members wherever they go that they were foolish to keep giving money to the church to the point they prefer to hide that they are from CHC. This will check their growth and that is important because Sun Ho is now in charge which must be understood as nothing in essence has changed.

I am disappointed that in general Christian leaders here have been more embarrassed than angry with Kong Hee. Pastor Benny Ho said this thing started in the Spirit but end in the flesh. Guessed he hasn't lived it to really know what he was talking about. It has always been the flesh in disguise as the spirit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Khaw Boon Wan: Mastering political communication

Looks like Khaw Boon Wan is mastering the art of political communication. It is too bothersome to explain how he is achieving this. You only need to read his latest blog post to understand why. Finally he has also gotten the pulse of most commuters here. Most important he never make any unrealistic promises or at least appear to have made such promises.

Update: Nov 11 8:30 am

I was doing some housekeeping and come across this. How convenient. My point? It was important that Khaw started on the right foot and in the right way. This is a story from October 10. Having done that you just keep building up and that is easy because that is the only way to go when you have hit bottom. In this sense he was fortunate the second time to come take over at the right time. First time lucky succeeding Mah Bow Tan and now Lui Tuck Yew.

Mysterious and tragic death of Catholic High Boy

I think two days ago my daughter told me one of our students returned from a trip to Shanghai and shortly later died. I thought this was most tragic for the family and my thoughts drifted to those who had died in the Mt. Mt Kinabalu earthquake. I even imagine this unfortunate student to be a primary school child.

I was wrong.

I was too busy to learn more until the story begun to appear on Facebook. Today I read he was cremated and I feel a very deep grief for his mother. She is a single parent and Luke Chan was her only child. She shouldn't have but it is perfectly understandable that she is blaming himself for the death of her son (read story). Many people will be praying for her.  You can be sure she will be chronically depressed and frequently suicidal but she will at least keep herself well to learn the cause of death of her son. People following this story should know what to pray for.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Self Checkouts: Productivity or FW management?

So many blog posts I wanted to make but not the time to write them over the last few days. I wanted to write about the Xi-Ma meeting and Xi Jinping official visit here as well. I thought the mood was really upbeat.

We visited Ikea recently and noticed half their checkout area has been dedicated to self service counters!

The public message is about raising productivity but I think the larger impact is reducing the need for foreign workers to man the cash registers. Sure, we will be benefiting both ways, no problem.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

From Kausikan to Balakrishnan

Looks like our foreign policy has taken a more muscular tone and Bilahari Kausikan was simply opening the gate for the others to follow. If that was the plot, I will take back what I said about Mr. Kausikan. Let's go for it. We need this because we lost our Lion in March this year, now we must show the nasties in our neighborhood we are a pack of wolves not to be trifled with.

I assume beyond the public gaze, foreign powers will test if we still have that iron in us after LKY passed away. I made a post then about Israel's President doing us a favor during LKY's funeral.

Why shield the public from the ugly realities of geopolitics and risk nurturing a generation of softies?

The choice brutally frank words V. Balakrishnan used can be found in Today's.

GE: What LKY dividend? We were in touch!

IPS had just systematically and professionally confirm what we already know. That there was no LKY dividend as I posted here in July. The government mustn't rubbish all netizens' postings on social media but learn to judge which ones reflect the ground correctly.

Such feedback is timely, cheap and most valuable for the leaders who by the curse of human nature will always after scoring success become complacent and out of touch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

LKY: "I will move my troops in..."

The PM made a big deal of this in his Facebook post. He is not leaving it to the media to carry this for him. What for? The standards of reporting keeps falling. SPH is increasingly losing the appropriate cast of mind writing for Singapore. At the same time he has such a huge following among netizens. Nevertheless he failed to reach me. I first caught wind of this from Shanmugam.

It is already getting clearer why Bilahari Kausikan had been beating the drums so publicly about developments in Malaysia. This is as old and original as engagements in the animal kingdom. You posture first to send a clear message. If the other side crossed the line in the sand you make good your threat.

I think the SG government would love to send a message to Chinese Malaysians that voting for DAP is not in their interest. The Malaysian Malays must not be frightened into playing the race card to protect their position and privilege. If the Malaysian Chinese thought they could recreate Malaysia to be like multiracial and meritocratic Singapore they are sorely mistaken. It will all end in tears or worse. I guess I am observing our government pulling out all stops to make it clear to them because the stakes are so high.

LKY is gone but I have no doubt LHL will do exactly as his late father had warned. Let's try to make that a remote possibility whilst there is still time.