Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sufficient evidence to prove Teoh Beng Hock was murdered?

I wonder what will be the outcome when the report goes public on 7 January ....


Tue, Dec 29, 2009

National

IMG_0369BKUALA LUMPUR: Teoh Beng Hock was murdered. Top Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand (picture) has sufficient evidence to prove that he was killed.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat organ, Suara Keadilan, reports in its latest edition that her forensic report will be presented at the January 7 inquest into Teoh’s untimely death.

The weekly quotes unnamed Health Ministry sources as saying that Pornthip reached her conclusion after a second postmortem at the Sungai Buloh hospital.

The report adds that Pornthip has made known her findings to all TBHock 1relevant groups, including the Teoh family and the Selangor government, which commissioned her services.

Teoh (picture) was the political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah. Yong is the Seri Kembangan assemblyperson and a member of DAP, a member party of the ruling coalition in Selangor.

On 15 July, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), investigating allegations of misappropriation of state allocations, raided Yong’s office. Teoh was questioned as a witness at the Selangor MACC office later that day.

At about 1.30pm the following day, a janitor found Teoh’s sprawled body on the fifth floor of the building.

The coroner’s court allowed Teoh’s remains be exhumed on Nov 21 for a second-post mortem.

Earlier in October Pornthip told coroner Azmil Mustapha Abas that based on photographs of his remains, she was 80 percent sure that Teoh was murdered.

The second autopsy was witnessed by British pathologist Prof Dr Peter Venezis acting for MACC, Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim and Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar.

X-Men: Magneto Testament

Yesterday I picked up two new comic books from my local library that I had booked a few months ago. I had a good evening curled up in bed reading them.

One of them was X-Men: Magneto Testament. All five volumes of the mini series in one glossy graphic novel.

It is an "origins story" that seeks to piece together and harmonize (as there are discrepancies) the various snippets of Magneto's origin from years of comic book story telling by many different writers.

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD! But I have tried to be as general as possible and it is based on history so .... :-)

It has no typical comic superhero story-lines - no Magneto using his mutant powers etc ... well just once but he doesn't know he has this power ... But it's a great read as it strives to be as historically accurate as possible so it is a good historical graphic novel (unlike Dan Brown's DaVinci code!). It's a story of how Magneto (Max Eisenhardt) as a young boy learns to survive and fight to protect his family and the girl he fell in love with from his time as school boy and then in war torn Poland, and finally in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It does help make the Magneto character all the more human and conflicted and adds more depth into why he thinks the way he does.

Lots of great moments in the book.

Magneto does try his best to not retaliate despite all the injustice (following the advice of his teacher and friend who tells him "The Japanese say that the nail that sticks up gets hammered down."). But it is hard and when he snaps and retaliates, he indeed gets "hammered down".

How he loses hope and decides to die till he sees ....

And I like this conversation (Magneto's in red) with his fellow inmates (not that I agree with his reasoning but I can certainly understand and sympathize):

October 5, 1944:

The resistance sent a note ...

No. No more delays.

Kapo please ... they're BEGGING you not to fight.

The Germans already took the names of three hundred Sonderkommnado in Creamatoria IV and V ....

They'll kill THEM next week and the REST of us within the month.

You don't know that.

Don't lie to yourself. This is the END.

The resistance says if we revolt, the whole CAMP will suffer.

PFT.

On Kristallnacht, my father wanted to fight, but then the Nazis might have killed the whole family.
In the ghetto, I could have gutted a Nazi murderer. But then they would have killed a hundred Jews in retaliation.
Two months ago, I could have pushed the Haupschafuhrer into the fire pit. But then they would have killed the rest of my work crew.

So to save everyone, I did nothing. And guess what? They killed them all anyway.

Okay enough spoilers except to say that there is a bonus true story with reproductions of actual artwork (portraits) by an artist who was forced by the Nazis to paint them in Auschitz. The artist is still alive today.

I wonder if Marvel will have the guts to make this it a movie like they did to tell Wolverine's origins. But then I doubt it ... stories about the Holocaust is not PC today and such a movie probably won't make much money ... :-(

I found this graphic novel it compelling and I intend to hold on to it a little longer before returning to re-read the in depth end notes and extras (many are not in comic book form but little essays).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ramblings on my mixed Kiwi Christmas holiday season

I think I have become more "kiwi" this Christmas holiday season ... I have always been fascinated with how things kind slow down here during mid December and January and how so many people disappear for their annual Christmas holiday breaks. Even church attendance drops as members take off for their holidays. Then there's the frantic holiday shopping sprees to take advantage of the huge Christmas and the Boxing Day sales. As I came to NZ in late Jan 2007 and went back to Malaysia with the family in 2007, I was not affected in 2007. In 2008, well, I was still in my super savings and frugal mode - with the purchase of a house and a whole lot of other commitments. Christmas holiday season was pretty quiet for me.

Then came 2009 and with my mum visiting and planning to stay for 5 weeks plus (and over Christmas too) ... and I knew it was the ideal time to experience a typical Kiwi Christmas holiday season. So with money saved and time blocked out ... we went for 2 holiday breaks - Rotorua as a base earlier in the month and a just before Christmas, a camping holiday. And also went to check out some Christmas and Boxing Day sales. Interesting experience!

I have never spent so much money in a month in my entire life (getting a car and paying the house down payments does not count :-)) and I found it liberating. Perhaps this is a good once a year thing to do. For those of you who know how stingy I am when it comes to spending money (unless it is ministry) ... I found a way to spend without feeling "guilty" .... Here's how I did it. I set aside the rebate money the government gives back to me for my donations to charitable organizations (church is one of them)!! I look at the rebate as extra money and a kind of "reward" for my giving! :-)
Okay ... what did I personally get myself for Christmas?

1. The satisfaction of going away on a real family holiday that is not paid for by someone else (like my mother or brother) or a half holiday (mostly work but some free time) that has to be negotiated as a condition for being a camp speaker.

2. I bought myself a $30 itunes card (to buy stuff for my itouch Christmas present).

3. A new 20 inch TV for our room (with a free DVD player) so I can watch my magic DVDs in peace! I really want to block time next year to work on my magic hobby cum ministry.
Getting a new TV was a tough one to get as I could not find a CRT TV. Did not want to get a 2nd hand one and wanted a new one but I found out that they hardly sell them anymore and the only ones I could find were display units. So I ended up getting an LCD TV. Salesperson was wee bit disappointed with me as I told her .... the cheapest one please and that is my final word. LOL. $300 ++ is a pretty good price.

4. A USB charger (for my itouch)

5. A bluetooth external speaker (cheapest one again) for my car as NZ has finally passed the law banning use of mobiles while driving. At first I did not think I would need one but I have noticed that of late I get a lot of calls when I am driving.

6. Was keen on a $97 samsung camera but was sold out as I did not do what most Kiwis would do. Wait in line early for the shop to open and then charge in! Not sure I want to do that. Maybe next year ... Though I did bring my mum early (first in line) for a Boxing day sale (shoes)

But it was also a mixed experience for me as this year it was pretty exhausting for me. My fault I guess as I pushed hard for a number of church based activities (which I am so pleased had so much enthusiastic support from my church members) - our games nights, outreach BBQ, carrolling etc ... and the fact that due to the holiday season I felt it unfair to ask others to take the pulpit so I had (and still have) a heavier pulpit schedule. Also so many unexpected emergencies ... It does get tiring to be on holiday and yet have a lot of work to do. Crazy juggling!

Today I am back at work to focus on some preparation for our watchnight service and my next Sunday sermon, plus handle a number of administrative and pastoral matters. AND interestingly, it feels good to be in the office! Too many distractions at home and snatching an hour or so every how and then to check my e-mail, call someone, make some notes etc is not the best way to work.

Okay back to work ...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blessed Christmas everyone!

May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year!!

Christmas is quiet here for me in NZ and it is a nice change from the hustle and bustle I have grown accustomed to!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Intwernet archeologist finds friendster (The Onion)

I'm off for a camping holiday tomorrow with a group of friends from church. Am in church waiting (on my day off too!) for a geothechincal engineer who is almost 2 hours late!! A bit sore at him for asking me to come in early - 8;30 AM to open up for him and not or calling me to let me know he is running late

While waiting I found this hilarious piece on the Onion. I forsee more of such networks dying!
Yes he's here!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My new favourite Christmas carol



This has been a quiet morning ... and so far, a quiet afternoon as well and I am thankful to God for this. It has enabled me to spend time correcting and working on my carol sheet chords as I am the sole guitarist for our carolling team (tonight and tomorrow afternoon / night). As I think of Christmas and our purpose for going carolling (to share the Christmas story via Scripture and song) to different groups on non Christians, I found myself wishing that we could add this carol onto our carol sheet. But it's not exactly a crowd favourite ...

Anyway this carol, "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" is fast becoming my favourite Christmas carol. The tune and lyrics have never failed to move me since I first took the time to sit down and listen to it (surprisingly only last year!). Last Sunday I closed my Advent sermon with this youtube clip of the song (below). Not my favourite version of the song as I like the traditional version but I liked the video adaption (images)

Here's a site that tells the story behind the carol

"Christmas Bells"
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"



Okay, back to work ... still need to put in more work on my Sunday sermon. And if I fail to blog for a while ... hope you have a blessed Christmas!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Freedom to Refuse Love - Henri Nouwen

The Freedom to Refuse Love

Often hell is portrayed as a place of punishment and heaven as a place of reward. But this concept easily leads us to think about God as either a policeman, who tries to catch us when we make a mistake and send us to prison when our mistakes become too big, or a Santa Claus, who counts up all our good deeds and puts a reward in our stocking at the end of the year.

God, however, is neither a policeman nor a Santa Claus. God does not send us to heaven or hell depending on how often we obey or disobey. God is love and only love. In God there is no hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. But just as the father of the prodigal son let his son make his own decision God gives us the freedom to move away from God's love even at the risk of destroying ourselves. Hell is not God's choice. It is ours.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Information overload ... so thank God for prayer

Over the last few days I have been privy to many P & C matters. Matters that I cannot share with others. I started this morning feeling exhausted. I tried to turn in early but tossed and turned in my a tiring dream filled sleep. Too much on my heart and mind and it does not help that it is a super busy period with caroling, 6 sermons to preach in 2 months (5 more to go!) and a service to lead the worship (and I am also on leave for half of the time!). And then today I had two more P & C matters to listen to!! I feel so drained and my mind has been lapsing into occasional momentary "zombie like" ("catatonic" is too strong a term :-)) moments. The thought of having to deal with a couple more delicate P & C pastoral matters before the week is up is almost "paralyzing".

It is a huge privilege to be a pastor ... to be taken into a person's confidence and told things deep within a person's soul - sometimes for counsel but always for prayer. But it is hard because for some matters I wish I could talk to someone about the matters at hand - to gain counsel and support but ... there is a need for confidentiality.

It is times like this though that I have come to appreciate the privilege and gift of being able to go to God in prayer. It is an incredible feeling to know that God is with me and is listening to me, knowing my struggles of inadequacies ... and will do something about everything that concerns me.

Philippians 4:
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Interestingly, God laid it on my heart to preach a month ago on prayer and I hear my own message on prayer coming back to me and helping me "re-focus". And though a second sermon on prayer has been postponed, the work done on the message for the second sermon too is still fresh in my mind. God is good all the time!! And all the time, God is good!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Annual Church BBQ


Our annual church BBQ held on 5th Dec was a great success. Some photos can be found on our church website - click HERE. Then look for:

KCC BBQ December 5th 2009
The annual KCC BBQ was a relaxed affair, with members and neighbours meeting and talking over food and carols. The weather was lovely despite a week of rain preceeding it - praise God. Click HERE to see pictures of the
BBQ.

Was particularly pleased that among the many neigbours who came and enjoyed themselves, many were first timers and almost all our Hindu neighbours came! Was great too that the local High School teacher in charge of TT came with his wife.

Weather was taken care of in a marvelous way by God. One week of heavy rain ... and then came Saturday and the ground dried up so well we could sit and play games on the grass without even a tinge of muddiness

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm back from my holiday

Got back from my family holiday earlier today. A wonderful but tiring holiday ... which I suspect is normal? :-) Will blog on it next week... Just too busy right now preparing for a busy next few days of ministry and my Sunday sermon needs fine tuning!


Till then ...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy (but hopefully enjoyable) week ahead

Despite the poor weather forecast, am hopeful for good weather for our church friends and neighbours BBQ tomorrow. Fingers crossed!! (in prayer that is ... :-))
Going to be a busy day preparing and running the BBQ. Thank God for an incredible team of people handling the BBQ - enthusiastic, energetic and well organized!

Glad that I am not preaching on Sunday but I am going to go and standby mode in case I need to as this Sunday's preacher's son got rushed to hospital earlier this morning. Quite a number of other emergencies and pastoral matters currently happening. Praying all goes well as I am going for a long planned family holiday on Monday.

Been playing around with my new itouch / ipod - my Christmas present from my mother! :-) Nice but still not used to it yet. Was fun using gmail on it though. So much easier to do a quick check of my emails.

Ah and my credit card details were stolen yesterday ... hmmm,.... so now no credit card for a week or so. Real pain as unexpectedly I need my credit card this week! *sigh*

I may not be posting for a while but "I'll be back!" :-)

P/S: Forgot to mention that I had a nice though short visit with Dr. Alex last week (he was in Auckland for a couple of days on the way to Ozland). Now I know another reason why he is into spiritual formation ... he can really draw all kinds of stuff out of me! (like a therapist) LOL!! Positive stuff lah ... no laments! And he gave me a stack of "Spiritual Formation the Run". Will enjoy giving them away soon!!










Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My son Andrew got baptized on Sunday


My son got baptized on Sunday. Great day for the whole family especially since my mum's arrival on Saturday meant she was there for the baptism!

For more photos, click HERE (church website) and follow the link under Baptism Service November 2009.


Are you listening? Are you ready for Jesus (and Christmas)? (pastor's notes)

Just posted up my Pastor's Notes. Click HERE to read it.

Not been blogging much as I have been pretty busy. Lots happening and my mum arrived on Saturday :-) and my boys are basically on holiday as their exams are over. Steven has just one more paper tomorrow but it makes little difference :-)