Tuesday, June 27, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 5:16 pm

It was reported in the Star Online today that the state of Kelantan will offer RM10,000.00 cash to each Muslim preacher who marries an orang asli woman and naturally converts her. Apparently, apart from a fixed monthly allowance of RM1,000.00, muslim preachers in the state also receive free accomodation and a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The State Religious Affairs committee chairman (Hassan Mahamood - PAS - Tawang) was quoted as saying that the state government was unhappy with the conversion rate of the orang asli, who traditionally do not subscribe to any main religion.

It is quite obvious from the above that:-

  1. PAS does not believe in freedom of religion in this Country and is going on a crusade to convert non-muslims (beginning with the orang asli) through monetary incentives. Rate of conversion from one religion to another (be it non-muslim to muslim, buddhist to christians, hindu to buddhist, buddhist to hindu, etc) is not the business of the government of the day. Conversions should be left to the respective religious bodies and the government should only interfere if the ways and means of conversion have resulted in a real threat to national security (violent protests, crime based on religious reasons). Apart from that, PAS should concentrate on efforts to improve the standard of living of the Kelantanese people. Why else is Kelantan lagging behind in developments?

  2. Whilst it is not reported the source of the monetary incentives, one suspects that it could be from the tax payers' money. If indeed, it was from the tax payers' money, why should non-muslims fund this exercise? If it was from funds contributed by muslims, I have no quarrels. Even so, is there not a better way to utilise the funds (eg. islamic education, etc)?

  3. Thirdly, with such tempting monetary incentives, is it foreseeable that the muslim preachers would enter into marriages of convenience? Is there likely to be "real love" between the two?

  4. And we all know this:- once the orang asli spouse converts into a muslim, it is nigh impossible to denounce the religion.

  5. What next after the orang aslis? The other non-muslim races in Kelantan?

Enough said.

You make your assumptions and conclusions from the report. I just find this piece of news a bit hard to swallow.


Monday, June 26, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:46 am

Yesterday, I gave a testimony at the 10.00 service in my Church in conjunction with Small Group Sunday.

Small Groups (also known in various other names such as Cell Groups, Care Groups, etc) are important components in a church and it is vital for a Christian to belong to one. In fact, Christ modelled His ministry in a small group by living out His life amongst a group of 12 men (later known as the Apostles).

Makan-makan after small group activity

When I was writing out this testimony, I had to keep it short for otherwise, it could end up being as long as the sermon. There REALLY is so MUCH to share about the small groups.

I thought I would share my testimony here with you.

Good morning.

My name is Gary Ng.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour back in 1998 and began attending Sunday worship service at KL Wesley Methodist Church on a regular basis at the end of year 2001.

One of the reasons why I chose to attend the worship service here is because I remain anonymous. I can come and leave the church without anyone noticing me. That was great, or at least, in the initial years.

For 2 years, my only Christian involvement was to attend the Sunday worship service. However, I began feeling that there is still emptiness within me in my walk with God.

I was struggling to find what it means to be close to God and to be His follower. I was unable to understand the Bible though I tried reading them in earnest. I was unable to pray apart from asking God to protect and bless my life as well as my family’s. I knew then that I must be missing out on something.

I contemplated attending a small group but there was a fear in me. I was, after all, an infant Christian and I was of the view that only the matured Christians attend small groups.

Nevertheless, after much pondering, I summoned courage and signed up for the Alpha course with my wife. We began to know other members of the church. After we completed the course, we attended a small group in Ampang.

For the last 3 years, I have been attending small group meetings and am currently involved in the ministry as a small group leader in Cheras.

My spiritual walk with God has grown ever closer through my attendance in the small group meetings. I learnt that attending a small group does not require Bible knowledge but rather, whether you are willing to allow God to work through you for the good of everyone in the small group. I also learnt that my small group members are also like me, ordinary people with life’s problems with whom I could relate to. Through sharing our struggles, we uphold each other and keep ourselves accountable to one another in our Christian walk.

I am now able to pray with confidence as well as being more sensitive to God’s teaching through the small group sessions.

My small group members have also been there for me during my testing periods and this has made me realise how God extends His love and care for me through my small group members.

Last year, my daughter of 2 years old was diagnosed with coxsackie and upon hearing the diagnosis from the doctor, I was momentarily at a lost wondering what I shall do. The doctor informed that we would need to continue monitoring the condition as it may get worse. It was then that I remember that I have many brothers and sisters in Christ whom I know in the small group. I began to sms to them requesting them to pray for my daughter’s healing. Through the networking of the small groups, my request for prayer was transmitted throughout the church. Praise God, my daughter was healed immediately and did not show any sign of worsening of the symptoms. If I had not been in a small group community and had continued being a Sunday Service worshipper with no connection to church members, I would not have brothers and sisters in Christ to turn to for prayer and would probably be worried sick.

Truly, I have no regrets of having joined a small group. If you have not, it is my prayer that you will do so.
Christmas 2005 Gathering


Friday, June 23, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:32 pm

Children are God's gift to parents.

My friends (Kelvin and his wife Elizabeth and daughter Abby) came visiting in March 2006. Abby had two hats. My daughter Nicole was pretty much occupied with the hats together with Abby and Kelvin took the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures to record that moment.

Two hats are all it takes to bring joy and laughter to kids.

We were all kids before and probably spent hours amusing ourselves with simple things (I used to roll a coconut on the ground and was fascinated by its unpredictable course due to the uneven shape of the coconut! - I will put up the photo when I scan it).

(Here it is! Scanned today on 27.07.2006.
This photograph was taken at my grandma's house many many years back.
The building at the background has since been demolished.)

As we grow older, we tend to forget the simple things in life and fail to see the many blessings bestowed upon us. I am grateful that God continues to remind me of His grace. I hope you will too!

I leave you with the pictures below :)

Check out my hat!

Let me see…

Looks ordinary at the back

Let’s check the label…

You should check out my hat.

I think this hat is too big for me.

Help! The hat is swallowing me!

Finally, I can see!


Thursday, June 22, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:23 pm

Your Brain is 60% Female, 40% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve
What Gender Is Your Brain?

What the? I never realised that I have more "female" brain matter compared to "male" brain matter. I will have to ask my friends about that.

You Are Elmo

Sweet and innocent, you expect everyone to adore you. And they usually do!

You are usually feeling: Talkative. You've got tons of stories to tell. And when you aren't talking, you're laughing.

You are famous for: Being popular, though no one knows why. Middle aged women especially like you.

How you live your life: With an open heart. "Elmo loves you!"
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

I grew up on Sesame Street in the late 70s and 1980s. Back then, the main characters were Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Groover and Oscar. There was no Elmo.

Ernie was my favourite character...always likes to play pranks on Bert. I was hoping that the test will reveal that I am "Ernie".

Elmo is my daughter's favourite character though. Perhaps she saw me in him :)


Wednesday, June 21, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:53 am

My friend, Kelvin, forwarded to me this email.

Why Disneyland Is Not Interested In Johor

Recent conversation between President of Disneyland International(A) and his Senior Vice-President of International Marketing(B):

A: So what's the latest on the international front?
B: Let's see. Yes, we have an enquiry from Malaisher.

A: Malaisher? Where's that? In Thailand?
B: No, that's somewhere south of Thailand.. Small country, shaped like a banana.

A: Okay, what do they want?
B: They are interested in setting up Disneyland there.

A: Oh really? That must be near Hongkong. How are we doing in Hongkong?
B: Oh Hongkong is fine. That's because the weather in Hongkong is great, very conducive to outdoor action for the whole family.

A: What about the weather in Malaisher then?
B: Blistering hot, up to the thirties. Then they have two monsoons, six months apart.

A: Hmm, go on.
B: And when it rains, the place floods like hell. Cars washed away, trees uprooted, landslides.

A: You're kidding.
B: No sir. I've got a report here that says only 4 days ago an Indonesian community was washed away by a landslide.

A: Indonesian community? I thought you said Malaisher?
B: Oh yes, but they have hundreds of thousands of illegal workers, mainly from Indonesia.

A: What's the crime rate like in Malaisher?
B: Pretty bad. Snatch thieves, children kidnapped and killed ... last week a little girl was found dead. And the crime rate is expected to go up.

A: Expected to go up? Who said that?
B: The police themselves. They threatened to let the crime rate go up if the government sets up a commission that all of them don't like. See, it's here on the Net.

A: They even circulated that kind of threat on the Net?
B: Apparently a dumb corporal did it by mistake.

A: Tell me more about the police there.
B: Well, a report here says last week there was a peaceful demonstration against some tariff hikes and the police bashed them up, beat the hell out of them. I've got pictures.

A: Sounds brutally efficient.
B: Not really, cos last month there was another demonstration; this time against a forum that was being held in a hotel, and the police couldn't control that crowd. They actually asked the people in the forum to go home.

A: What more can you tell me about Malaisher?
B: Let's see ... oh yes, they produce fake DVDs by the thousands and actually sell them openly.

A: Gee, that bad huh? Well we can't let them touch our merchandise then,can we?
B: No sir. Oh, one more thing. They support Iran's nuclear program.

A: Tell me you're kidding!
B: No sir, they just had a regional meeting and their PM declared his stand. It's all in their on-line news.

A: Alright, listen. I've heard enough. We are not sending Mickey Mouse there

Why won't they consider? My further two-cents worth:-

1. It's too hot to be standing under the hot sun for the rides. And when it rains, who wants to take a ride?

2. There is already one in Japan and one in Hong Kong. Why would they want to invest in another location in Asia? After all, there is only one in Europe (Euro Disney) and two in the United States.

3. I can imagine there will hardly be any takers for anyone who wants to don the Mickey Mouse and friends' costumes and walk around in the hot blazing sun.

4. Do we have enough tourists to sustain the economic viability of the park??? We all know Japan and Hong Kong draw millions of tourists every year and it makes sense for Disneyland to build a park there to capture the crowd. After all, even without the tourists, the population of Japan and China itself is big enough potential to generate income. Not in Malaysia though.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:32 pm

I have a washing machine at home.

And I must confess that I am a fan of Electrolux. Dad used to work for Electrolux in the late 70s till 1991. So, in a way, I was exposed to its products ranging from vacuum cleaners to floor polishers to kitchen appliances to lawn mowers.

Naturally, when I had to buy my first washing machine, Electrolux came to mind. And it had to be front loading. I had bad experiences with top loading ones. Some of my towels lost its fluffiness (fibre??!) after a couple of washes and felt like washing boards rather than soft fluffy towels. Good for skin scrubbing though.

Anyway, since I stay in an apartment, I had to resort to buying a dryer as well. The yard is too small and there is insufficient sunlight to dry the clothes especially on rainy days.

Somehow, the fragrance from the "softener" which I use during the wash cycle is preserved in the drying process and the clothes still smells fresh.

Air-drying can be frustrating at times. Especially when your neighbours below start cooking sambal or fry fish and the smoke leaves your clothes smelling the same.

Both the washing machine and dryer have made life much easier for my family. But the ultimate would be a Clothes Folding Machine. Imagine, after having your clothes washed and dried, another machine of yours does the folding.

So far, there is none in the market....or at least, to my knowledge.

Meanwhile, I shall take cue from the Japanese on how to fold clothes.


Thursday, June 15, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:55 pm

Take this test at Tickle
Pablo, You're Princess Leia Organa
The Classic Star Wars Test

Brought to you by Tickle

"This is some rescue. When you came in here, did you have a plan for getting out?" Technically you're a princess, but there's nothing dainty about you. When your royal blood runs hot, you speak your mind and tell it like it is. Only a true leader would have the courage to stand up to an enemy as ruthless as Darth Vader, and like Leia, your strength lies between your ears (although you're never afraid to go head-to-head with the boys).

You are the type of person who fights for their causes. You are a defender of the downtrodden and an inspiration to all those who have been oppressed. You may come off as a little headstrong and cocky, but how else could you pull off the "ear-muff" hairdo?

Hey, listen! I don't want to be Leia.

Aside from the fact that she's a woman (and I am not), I also found her rather irritating at times with her regalness.

But then, after reading the part about being "the type of person who fights for their causes... a defender of the downtroden...", perhaps, maybe perhaps, it is true after all since it is my profession to protect my client's rights.

Secretly, I was hoping that the result would end up declaring that I am Yoda.

Yup! That green coloured Jedi Master.

Jedi Master Yoda

Yoda is a favourite amongst fans of Star Wars.

He portrays wisdom, calmness and wit.
Wonderfully, he speaks and amused, you will be. Nimble is he and great is his lightsabre skill.

He was my boyhood hero actually.

Perhaps, I don't have as much of the same character as Yoda and that's why I am more like Princess Leia instead.

Still....his image my profile shall be.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 6:03 pm

I watched Korea beat Togo 2-1 last night in the Fifa World Cup 2006 Tournament.

I am fascinated by the Koreans who have great team spirit and determination despite being 1-0 down before half-time. I must say that whilst I was impressed with their workrate, I couldn't help but wonder whether they will win the match especially when they had to play against players who were physically stronger, taller and bigger. Many a times, the Korean players were brought down by tackles, some good, some clumsy.

Nevertheless, after much pressing, the Koreans won a free kick when Park Ji Sung was fell just outside the penalty box. Park was one of the more creative players on for the Koreans and he also plays for Manchester United, the club which I support.

This is Park Ji Sung.
(Picture taken from Manchester United's Official Website)

The tackle by Jean-Paul Abalo resulted in a second yellow card being flashed out at him and he had to leave the field. Lee Chun Soo took the freekick and scored Korea's equaliser.

South Korea's Lee Chun Soo , left, scores against Togo during the
Group G match between South Korea and Togo at the soccer
World Cup 2006 at the World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany,
Tuesday, June 13, 2006. The other teams in Group G are France
and Switzerland. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
AP (Fifa World Cup 2006 Website)

He celebrated.

And he continued celebrating.

I must say it takes a bit of getting used to seeing a blonde Korean. He definitely came to impress and he did.

But the best was yet to come. In the 2002 World Cup which was jointly held by Korea and Japan, Korea's darling was a striker named Ahn Jung Hwan. He was their pin-up poster boy who broke the hearts of the Italians. This time, he broke the hearts of the Togolese nation who have qualified for their first ever World Cup.

He struck the winning goal in the 72nd minute. It was a beautiful goal which every player would be proud of.

He celebrated.

He is going to be more popular in Korea than ever. Perhaps not to the Italians nor Togolese.

The nation celebrates.

South Korean soccer fans react after their soccer team scored the second goal
against Togo during 2006 FIFA World Cup Group G game, in Seoul Tuesday,
June 13, 2006. South Korea defeated Togo with 2-1. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Copyright: AP

I celebrated. It was a win for Korea...the fans were magnificient with their support.

It was also a win for Asia.

Daehan Minguk!

(Photo credits to the Fifa World Cup 2006 website and Manchester United Football Club website)


posted by PabloPabla at 1:51 pm

The Dangers of the Rat Race
Anna Aven

When I lived in the city of Los Angeles, the rat race metaphor for life took on a whole new meaning. People everywhere, racing around to get somewhere, to do something. To live in LA is to live in your car a lot of the time. For some unknown reason, no one seems to live near where they work; so mornings and evenings consist of the entire megalopolis switching places in some gigantic game of musical chairs. And if you miss your traffic window, then you are the one left in the wrong place when the music stops.

But we can’t just blame big cities for the rat race; the rat race finds its way to just about every corner of the country. The American dream seems to have solidified into working for the next big thing—not just to survive or to give your kids a better future, but to get a better car, a bigger house, or simply bigger and better things that we’ve been convinced by advertising that we positively cannot live without. So we rush about trying to make more money to get to a better place in life so that we can buy a bigger house and have to make more money to keep it up. And we get sucked into the lie that somehow all of this is what is fulfilling.

The letter of James has something to say about the rat race and striving for riches. James 1:11 says that “the hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” It’s been said that we can’t take anything with us, and this verse illustrates that fact. All the stuff that we get here on earth stays here on earth, so if our lives have been spent focused on the things this world cares about, then what we have done will not last.

Our focus then must be on what God cares about. James also says this: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you(1:27). Can riches be an asset to caring for those in distress? Of course it can, but riches can never be an end in itself because it just fades away. If God blesses you with money, then refuse to let the world corrupt you—spend wisely and help those in need. And don’t succumb to the pull of the rat race that would constantly keep us working for the next big achievement in the world’s eyes, because those things are temporary and fade away.
(Taken from The New Living Translation Website)

Are you caught up in the rat race? It's okay but you may be missing the point.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19 - 21 NIV)

Do we not feel all the more insecure the richer we are? The fear that our investments will not reach the targets we set, the fear that our house may be burglared and that our precious items at home will be lost, the fear that the more cash we carry the more we stand to lose in the event of a robbery, etc? It is ironic because the world teaches that the more we have (material gain and political power - in society or organisation), the better our life will be. Yet, I personally believe no one can testify that the more they gain, the more secure they become.

Jesus said "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all this splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)

How much time to we spend with our family members? How much time do we spend with God? Are we managing our gifts (talents, wealth, health, etc) well by contributing it back to our family and society?

Perhaps, it is time for us to reassess our priorities in life.


Monday, June 05, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 12:12 pm

After the Parish Games on 27.05.2006, I realised that I am terribly unfit (read: muscles aches and shortness of breath after a few sprints). So, last Friday, I bought me-self a cheap cheap set of ping-pong bats from one of the oldest sports shops in Klang Valley (G. S. Gill). Two ping pong bats plus 3 balls for RM15.00 (there's a sale, so I got it for RM14.00).
Actually, my office is above G S Gill...so, there is really no excuse to say I can't find one nearby. Moreover, Pertama Complex which houses one of the largest numbers of shops selling sports equipment / attire is just 400 metres walk down the road. I REALLY have been procrastinating!

On Sunday afternoon, as scheduled earlier with Siaw Hui (my SG member and neighbour and school mate), I got myself to the ground floor of my apartment in my almost brand new pair of sports shoes (which I had to buy for the Parish Games. My previous pair was past its shelf life) all eager. Wife and daughters came along and it was great to have a "family" sporting time together.

My wife is quite a good player....better than me, I would say :) And after some earlier "swatting of air" strokes, we finally got the momentum going. It was great to finally sweat it out again. Siaw Hui, my wife and I took turns with some "informal" breaks in-between to distract Nicole (who was desperately trying to ping-pong even though the height of the table is at eye-level).

Though I was more accustomed to the pen-hold, I decided to try out the shakehand grip which is the more popular form of grip today. I think I'm beginning to like the latter grip as it is not as awkward to hit a "backhand" stroke.

Next game shall be this coming Sunday. And I can't wait for that session.... better hit it whilst the enthusiasm is still hot!