Tuesday, September 29, 2015

THE MEASURE OF STRENGTH

When I was younger, hot-blooded, obstinate, and short-tempered, I used to think that true strength was gritting your teeth and sticking by your decisions and stubbornly defending your stand no matter what.

Looking back now though, I think I have a different interpretation.

I think true strength, is...

   ...openness to the possibility of being wrong.
   ...receptiveness that someone else may be more intelligent than you.
   ...willingness to be challenged, then coming around to say " Hmm, I never thought of that. That never occurred to me, but it actually makes more sense. I agree with you. "
   ...humility to accept that you can't do everything on your own, and the grace to allow others to step in and help.
   ...possessing the courage, dignity, and maturity to turn from your fixed pattern of thoughts, to be keen and interested to discover differing ideas and conclusions which may very well be better than yours.
   ...being able to receive failure and rejection, and try again, and yet again with enthusiasm, and learning something new at every attempt.

There is nothing wrong, with admitting you were wrong.
There is nothing weak, in needing another person / people.
There is nothing cowardly, in forsaking old and less relevant perspectives to receive and adapt fresh insights.





Sunday, September 20, 2015

SINCE I LEFT

It has been nearly a year since I left. 

***
How is it, that in order to be considered a 'Christian' I have to...

Go to this certain specific building called 'Church'?

On this certain specific day, which has to be 'Sunday'?

At this certain specific time, which is 'from 9:00a.m. til 1:00pm'?

To carry out certain specific carefully instructed formalities such as ; sit in the pews, sing the hymns, listen to someone speak in the pulpit?

***
God is an awesome and almighty and incomprehensible being, and I feel that religion and the church tries to compartmentalize Him by putting all these formalities and rigidities in place. 

And if you do not do as the church does, think as the church does, say as the church does, you are not allowed to claim the faith.

Any questioning, pondering, or interpretation which deviates from theirs and you are struck down as a blasphemous rebellious heretic.

***
I still think about Him and love Him dearly.

Not a single day goes by that I do not confide in Him and thank Him for what He has done.

I do as much as I can to live my faith through my actions not just on Sunday, but every single Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday also. 

Not just within a building, but wherever my footsteps may fall.

Not just within the safe and closed and comfortable community that is the congregation, but whomsoever I have the fortune of crossing paths with.

***
Sometimes I bump into them.

They tut-tut disdainfully and ask me condescendingly why is it that I have been absent for so long.

With self-righteous piousness, they then sorrowfully attempt to address my ill-doing.

I keep my silence and remind myself that my faith is between Him and I, not them and I.

***
I claim and declare myself a Christian because I believe and live my faith.

Friday, September 11, 2015

HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY

I was having coffee with a work acquaintance of mine who has lived in Malaysia for more than 10 years now.

He was born and grew up in Singapore but worked in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan, before he came here. He alternates between Malaysia and Singapore, where his wife and children reside.

I asked him

   " Several Malaysians are grabbing any opportunity they can to leave, many of them across the causeway. "

   " Why would you choose to live and work here to earn our paltry Ringgit? What more when you have a family to support in Singapore? "

   " Isn't Singapore better, cleaner, more modern, more developed? Don't you have more freedom  for thought, for speech,  for liberacy? " 

***
He sat in silent amusement for a while. Then he responded.

   " The bird in the cage looks at the bird in the wild and says 'How lucky he is to have so much freedom! How amazing it must be to have the wind beneath his wings, to soar the skies, to be able to be with his siblings in the wild! How I wish I were him!' "

   " The bird in the wild looks at the bird in the cage and says 'How lucky he is to never have to worry about where his next meal will come from, or where he will sleep tonight! How amazing it must be to be cared for, to have comforts and luxuries all to himself instead of having to share with others in the wild! How I wish I were him!' "

   " My girl, the grass always seems greener on the other side. While Malaysia is far from perfect, what I know is that neither Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan nor Taiwan are free from different yet equally distressing problems of their own. "

   " I have been here for a long time. I have also lived in other countries prior. What I have to say about Malaysia is - things here are still pretty good and Malaysia is a relatively comfortable and peaceful place to reside in. " 

***

Happy Malaysia Day.