Winning Is Only Glorious If You Play By The Rules

As I write this at 9.00am on Sunday 25 April 2010, polling has just begun and of course the outcome of the by-election in Hulu Selangor is not yet known. Nevertheless, what is already known is the way in which the campaign had been conducted.

A doctored picture of the opposition candidate holding a liquor bottle to his lip had been a centre piece of the ruling party’s campaign. (While the candidate in question had admitted to his past practice, the doctored picture was calculated to show his current physical form and to give the impression that he was downing an entire bottle of hard liquor, etc.) Millions of ringgit of tax-payers money had been given/promised to prospective voters in the constuency. (The actual amounts had reportedly been in the region of at leastRM51 million.) So much so that some quarters  have described this particular election as a “buy-election”. Even more grievous (flagrant, outrageous, atrocious) was the fact that a large block of voters in the constituency had had their polling stations relocated without being informed (until this matter was publicly revealed by the PR elections team). The large police presence in Hulu Sengor had been another factor that must be examined to see if the actions of police personnel had been fair to both sides of the contest.

Much more can be said about what went on in the Hulu Selangor by-election campaigns. I leave people much more knowledgeable and informed than I am to reveal the full story. It is important that they do so to prevent abuse in future elections.

My purpose in writing this post is to say loud and clear that winning is only glorious if you play by the rules.An Olympic medal has no value whatsoever if it was won by dubious and crooked means. It would be what we say is a hollow victory.

My old-school upbringing has taught me like many Malaysians that you win or lose properly. There is a certain decorum to be observed when you enter the arena of competition, be it the arena of sports, commerce, politics. The same rule must be applied to participating teams in the playing field, market-place, voting booth or the court of justice.

Sports is such good fun and entertainment for all in the entire globe only if the rules of each respective game are observed. An off-side goal is no goal. Discarding the rules is “just not cricket”.

If you can’t win within the rules of the competition, then you don’t win at all regardless of the results. This applies to both teams, both sides of the parliamentary divide.

I call for a post-mortem of the way/s the Hulu Selangor by-election had been conducted/waged. Let competent and fair-minded Malaysians  conduct this post-mortem and let us weigh the performance of both campaigns- their best and worse practises. Based on the results of this findings, some clear and concrete code of ethics should be laid down for the conduct of fair elections.

If as a nation we cannot assure fair elections, how can any side claim that our election results truly reflect the wishes of the voters and demonstrate the will of the people?

(Used with permission from http://ongohing.wordpress.com)

Why does a Chicken cross the road?

The short answer to that is “To get to the other side.”

However, since chickens aren’t as simple-minded as they may seem to be, it may be necessary to ask a further question: “Why does the chicken feel it needs to go to the other side?” or “What does the chicken hope to find on the other side which it can’t seem to find on the side it used to be on?”

And what if upon going through all the hassle and risking the traffic the chicken finds out that he has made the wrong decision and the promise of what he was looking for is after all not found on the other side?

Imagine the quandary the poor chicken now finds itself to be in. Does it make its troublesome return by recrossing the road or will it be better to stay put and put up with the frustration and discomfort of having to live with its mis-taken journey?

There is something else about crossing to the other side. The timing of the actual crossing is of vital importance. The chicken should bear in mind that to time its crossing during peak hours makes an already difficult crossing even more hazardous. Heavy traffic is very dangerous to crossing chickens unless that particular road has a prominent sign which clearly says, “CHICKEN CROSSING”. On the whole, given the generally poor road signage in the country, chickens are well warned not to solely rely on such road signs as may have been put up.

By observation, we all know how chickens tend to cross the road. There are generally three kinds of chicken-crossings. Some chickens just run across to the other side without looking (or thinking). There is seemingly no sense of timing. These type of chickens have been known to lose feathers, wings, limbs, or even tragically their very lives. Another type of crossing chickens also rush (or run) across to the other side but in an unpredictable zig-zag kind of manner. The risks involved and the results are generally the same as the first manner of crossing. The other type of crossing chickens, unlike the first two, generally have no timeframe in mind at all. They tend to take their own sweet time. With their eyes not on the traffic but on possible food that may lie in their path, they peck at each grain as they may come across and in this timeless manner proceed across the road. Predictably, the risks involved and the results of this third kind of crossing are generally also the same as the first and second manner of crossing.

With all this in mind, the question should be posed afresh: “Why does a chicken cross the road?”

Whatever the answer/s, the fact remains: chickens do cross the road, either from this end to the other, or from the other to this end. Chickens do have the right to cross the road. Let’s hope that they don’t hurt themselves, or worse still the entire farm. (To be continued…)

(Republished with permission from OnGOHing)

Deadly Silence

On 15th and 16th April 2010, the local press reported another serious case of child abuse. A 3-year-old child was battered to death on Tuesday, 14th April.  The initial findings of a post-mortem revealed that Jasmine Lee’s body was covered with more than 60 injury marks – indicating that she may have been tortured.  It is believed that the victim had been abused for more than a month and that she had been assaulted on a daily basis. The couple detained over the suspected abuse of the child have tested positive for the synthetic party drug syabu.

This tragic event reveals the indescribable suffering inflicted on this innocent child and also the horrific cruelty of her murderers.  Unfortunately, there is more to come.

A neighbour said he frequently heard the sound of a child screaming or crying late at night and early morning.  Almost every day, he heard this child crying and the sound of a woman scolding her but he did not know it was abuse.  He and other neighbours had been hearing the cries for over a month but did not want to get involved.

May this serve as a warning to all of us that, whenever we encounter something that appears to be evil, our deathly silence and non-involvement may result in tragedies which could otherwise be avoided.

Treat us with Respect

PRESS RELEASE 12TH APRIL 2010

TREAT US WITH RESPECT – MCCBCHST

The Emergency Meeting of the MCCBCHST Executive Committee held on 12 April 2010 wishes to register our displeasure and disappointment at the recent remarks of the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin referring to the status and members of the recently established Committee on Promoting Interfaith Understanding and Harmony under the Department of Unity and National Integration as “small fry” as quoted in Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider dated 12 April 2010.

It is unbecoming of a Minister more so the Deputy Prime Minister in the government to look down on leaders of the other religious communities in the country.
The various religious representatives of the MCCBCHST are committed to sincere and frank dialogue between different faiths as equals at the table.

It would be difficult to proceed with the stated goals of the Committee on Promoting Interfaith Understanding and Harmony if this matter is not clarified.
We hope the Minister responsible for the Unity and National Integration will clarify this matter so that the work that the Committee has set before itself can proceed with credibility.

Rev. Dr. Thomas Philips

MCCBCHST President

Jesus Christ Crucified, Raised, Exalted – His Father’s “Amen”

During his short public ministry, Jesus Christ (who often called himself the Son of Man) made many astounding claims concerning himself, all of which were foretold in the Old Testament.  If I were to make these claims about myself, I would either be admitted into a mental health ward or, more likely, be arrested under ISA for being a threat to national security!

1) HIS CLAIMS – TRUE OR FALSE?

a)   His person

‘Again the high priest asked him – are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’

‘I am’ said Jesus (Mark 16:61b-62a)

b)   His ministry

‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Mark 10:45)

‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’  (John 3:14-15)

c)   His death and resurrection

‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ (Luke 24:7)

d)   His exaltation

‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One’  (Mark 14:62)

Were all these claims TRUE or FALSE?

2) HIS FATHER’S “AMEN”

Amen means “so be it” or “I agree”

Paul prays that we may know the power of the glorious Father: ‘That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,’  (Ephesians 1:19-20)

The fact that the Father RAISED and EXALTED his Son Jesus Christ is clear proof that the Father approved his every thought, emotion, word and deed. And so his claims are TRUE!

POSTSCRIPT

But our gracious Father reminds us that there in one claim of Jesus Christ which is still unfulfilled and he warns us to be ready for this great event.

‘At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.’ (Matthew 24:30-31).

AMEN.

Good Friday – Why Good?

On Friday 2 April 2010, Christians will be remembering what happened on that first Good Friday – THE HEINOUS CRIME OF CRUCIFYING JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.  Why, then, do we refer to that day as ‘GOOD FRIDAY’?  To answer this question, we must ask two further questions: WHO WAS GOOD? and WHAT WAS GOOD?

1)   WHO WAS GOOD?

Certainly not the Jewish and Roman leaders who were responsible for the crucifixion or the two robbers crucified on either side of Jesus Christ.  What about the disciples, especially Mary, the mother of Jesus, the other women and John, who were standing near the cross?  Even they could not claim to be good, because since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the Bible makes it quite clear that ‘As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;”’ (Romans 3:10) and ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23)

But there in one exception – JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.”He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22). ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.’  (Hebrews 4:15)

And so we see the amazing scene on that first Good Friday – THE ONLY GOOD PERSON WAS JESUS CHRIST and HE WAS SUFFERING PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, VOLITIONAL AND SPIRITUAL AGONY ON THE CROSS.

2)   WHAT WAS GOOD

We can find the answer to this by discovering how Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the apostles Peter and Paul interpreted the death of Jesus Christ.  “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  (John 12:27-28). ‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’  (1 Peter 3 :18a).  ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this : While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’  (Romans 5:8).  ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’  (2 Corinthians 5:21).

A verse from a hymn by Mrs C. F. Alexander reinforces the fact that this Friday was GOOD FRIDAY.

There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin;

He only could unlock the gate

Of heaven, and let us in.

The Discomfort of Getting Off the Fence

No matter how uncomfortable a fence may be as an improvised seat, the alternative to sitting on it, that is, to get off from it may for many be not a very comfortable option.

The human anatomy having got used to a certain position or posture may prefer to stay in that position rather than change even if the new alignment will in the long run be good for the person’s posture and long-term wellbeing. In other words, if we have so long been on the fence, the prospect of getting off from it may not be an attractive proposition. “It has served me rather well for such a long time, why change now?”

Accordingly, many have chosen to stay immovable on the fence.

To be sure, some have little choice but to stay on the fence at least outwardly for reasons of their employment, business, association, family ties, and even personal temperament, etc. This is especially so when it comes to the matter of political partisanship. One’s job or circumstance may be such that to stay politically-correct (which may mean to stay politically neutral) may be the proper thing to do. Indeed, many who wish to be more involved have found themselves caught in such a predicament and often feel forced to remain more silent and still than they otherwise may wish to be.

Under such circumstances, it must be recognized that membership with a political party is thankfully not a prerequisite for a responsible citizen who wishes to engage the political process, that is, have his or her say about critical issues which impacts not only the governance of one’s country but impinges on the everyday life and aspirations of its humblest citizenry.

If, however, continuing to sit perched on the proverbial fence means that the citizens of a country want nothing to do with how the elected government of the country go about its business of running the country, and don’t care about how tenets of the country’s constitution  is being interpreted or summarily amended, and how the courts conduct cases brought before it, or how the police, anti-corruption agency, elections commision and civil service go about their business, etc., then for sure by sitting on the fence we won’t just be plagued with a sore bottom.

Something far worse will affect us as a nation. Indeed, the nation has for some time already been inflicted by a deadly ailment

For so long, the country has put up with so much abuse of power and violation of fundamental civil liberties that the time has come when fence-sitters must be confronted with their responsibilities to other human beings they share this nation with. This is not about joining a political party or always agreeing with any political party. It is about joining the chorus of concerned citizens many of whom are not officially aligned to any political party. These concerned citizens speak up and initiate appropriate action to blatant abuse of power. If we don’t wish to initiate our own action, we must at least join others who have taken the initiative before us and lend our voices and resources to them.

It may not be easy to get off the fence. In some instances, it will be very uncomfortable to take sides and identify with one side or the other of an issue. But as I have said before, when it comes to moral issues I cannot remain neutral. No matter how costly or uncomfortable it may be to get off the fence of perpetual neutrality, as an adult person I must do what I know to be right and speak up for those who have become much greater victims of abusers of power than I myself.

The time has come when we must choose between the discomfort of sitting on the fence and the discomfort of getting off the fence. We don’t always have the luxury of choosing between what is comfortable and what is not.

The future of our children and their children depends on what we shall do when faced with two distinct discomforts : the discomfort of sitting on the fence and the discomfort of getting off the fence. Perpetual neutrality on my part will inevitably pass the cost of perpetual abuse to my children and theirs.

(Republished with permission from OnGOHing)

The Discomfort Of Sitting On The Fence

Of all the places one can think of, the fence must be about the most uncomfortable place on earth to sit (or perch) on. To sit on the fence for a while may be alright but certainly not for long. Fences will poke and scratch us in our most tender parts of the human body. Sooner than later, you will find it better to get off the fence and take your rightful place on firm ground.

It is for me to decide to get myself off the fence. Getting off the fence constitutes a conscious decision on my part as an adult person where I wish to place myself, that is, on which side of the fence I wish to be. That is a decision I make for myself. Nobody can or should do this on my behalf.

Likewise, it is for others to decide to stay on the fence or when to get themselves down from their respective fences and when they finally do, to decide which side of the fence will best reflect their own views about life. That is each person’s human right, each person’s freedom to choose when to get off and on which side they wish to place their feet.

As for me, in the present context wherein we as a nation has found ourselves, quite clearly despite its very human imperfections, the PR’s (Pakatan Rakyat’s) stand on all the critically vital issues of grave national concern- press freedom, usage of “Allah”, judiciary, ISA, local government, civil service, police, MACC, “1Malaysia”, gender, religious, ethnic and cultural issues, elections laws and practices, economic policies, etc.- most certainly reflects more closely my own political aspirations and vision for the nation.

I constantly remind myself (and am reminded) that as and when PR forms the federal government, it may not (probably will not) be able to resolve fifty plus years of abuse and anomaly. As is clearly evident at state level, the civil service for one is not always cooperative or open to change and reform. Be that as it may, I am satisfied that in the main, the PR agenda for institutional change and reform is by far to be preferred than more of the same.

Quite honestly, speaking for myself, despite the rhetoric, sloganizing and even good intentions on the part of some in the present administration, more of the same is not tenable and in my opinion, disasterous for the nation and its people.

Yes in choosing to go with the PR I could arguably be bluffed by them once they form the government. But you know what? For me it is better to be bluffed once if it comes to that than to let the bluff of fifty plus years continue. If anything, the Malaysia I see today is far worse than my Malaysia during my school days some forty-five years ago. The intensity of abuse of the resources and the institutions of state is indescribable, unfathomable, despicable and contemptible. No amount of semantics and spinning can make such vast scale wrongdoing become sensible or acceptable or good by any definition or yardstick.

A country of such rich resources, human and inanimate, could and should have made our nation world class. My nation, Malaysia, has instead become a country of missed opportunities and unfulfilled triumph.

If we the people allow things to go on as it is, our children and grand children will live in a terrible, horrible cultural environment of disrespect and intolerance in a climate of fear and distrust.

My prayer and aspiration is for the nation politically to evolve a two-party or coalition system of governance whereby there is no monopoly or iron-clad dominance of political power but that each side would be given a fair chance to compete thus making reform and desirable change a constant need within each of the parties and coalitions. Democratic elections is when either side has a fair and equal chance to win office.

Therefore, today when several individuals are for reasons best known to themselves leaving the party and badmouthing the party, etc., I as a free individual person would like the world to know that I am here and now choosing to identify in an unequivocal manner my support and recommitment to PKR and PR.

I feel and think that PR for the grave political risks and resolve it has taken deserves my vote and my energies. I hope that for every departure, there will be many more arrivals to the cause of needed change.

From here on in my journey in life, I give up my non-partisan stance. I surrender my neutrality. That does not mean that I shall cease to be fair and reasonable to any one regardless of his or her political association. That does not mean that I shall just simply shout out abuse or whatever at anybody or rush to condemn persons or their roles and initiatives. That does not mean that I will be blind to wrong and silent to abuse wherever it is found. That does not mean I won’t listen to or be corrected by persons on the other side of the political divide.

There is a cost to my decision, however, a price to pay. In making my choice, to be fair, I am hereby withdrawing my association from any group or body where political non-partisanship is necessary.

As for me, I HAVE MADE MY CHOICE.

Republished with permission from OnGOHing