Monday, February 27, 2006

We Were Comrades

In the past one month, I've met 2 of my ex-batchmates who are no longer with us in semester 5 bcuz they couldn't make it pass the killer final exam back in sem 3... I'm glad that I have the chance to meet them again, at least before they've totally disappear from my life... No, I dun mean that I'll forget all about them, but honestly, what's the chance of me meeting them again in the future when they're either studying abroad or a different field? It's great that I have some sort of conclusion to 2 of my frienships, for I've always hated things to end unconclusively.

Nevertheless, when I think about their situation, I can't help but feel this intense sadness that must have been surrounding them all these time. We were... comrades, in a way, entering med school 2 years ago, probably beaming with pride, for who can deny that only the cream of the crop can make it into med school? We 'battled' together, with the hours of lectures, countless CSU sessions, and the awfully stressful exams. We spent lots of money here in med school, all hoping that they're worth the investment in the end...

Can you imagine how it feels like in the end, when, after you've spent almost RM 100,000, all the money is gone to waste bcuz you can't pass one exam? Some more heartless people might argue that if they can't make it thru, that means they're not fit to be a doctor, for who wants a doctor who knows less than two thirds of the knowledge that is imparted to us? We're dealing with human lives here! But when I think about it, who are we to give such judgements, for who knows whether we'll survive the obstacles in the future ourselves? Will more of us fail along the way and dun have the chance to recite the Hippocratic Oath? And will some of us ended up changing their profession after realizing that Medicine is not their calling after all?

We were comrades, we faced the same trials before, and it's truly saddening that not all of us pass thru the filter. And what's even more saddening is that these drop-outs who can't make it dun have a proper chance to say goodbye to us, the rest of his comrades, but juz disappear unceremoniously, disappear from most of our memory... When we've all graduated, I wonder will we ponder about the people who were with us before, but unfortunately not with us now in the graduation gowns?

People forget too easily...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Selective Over!!! ...Soon!!!


After 35+ hours worth of research and writing and that damned citations, I've completed by literature review assignment!!!

Argh I should have known that exams are WAY better than write-ups, anytime! Shouldn't have chosen this stupid selective topic in the 1st place! Man the alcohol group is SO lucky...

Oh well all that's left for me to do is to print it in the E-lab tomorrow... er, I mean, next morning... er I mean in a couple of hours time. Man, it's 6am already... I've been working on that damned paper almost non-stop since 3pm yesterday...

Gosh my afternoon nap time has juz been switched with my night sleeping time, thanks to the stupid timetable for my selective and the horrible write-up I juz finished. Sleep from 5 am to 8 am, then 1 pm to 8 pm...

My world is crumbling into a huge pile of mess! I dun even know whether my meals are to be called 'breakfast', 'lunch', 'dinner' or 'supper' anymore!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bringing Glory to God... Are We?

We Christians always pray that we could bring glory to God thru our lives. Which makes sense, since we're all supposed to be ambassadors for Christ. But truly, how many of us truly yearns to do so, and how many actually did juz that?

Come to think about it, who brings the most disgrace to God? Is it not the Christians themselves? Who among us aren't hypocrites to a certain extent, who among us practise exactly everything that we preach? Who among us don't contribute their parts into further deepens the stereotype of the 'typical bible-thumping, narrow-minded, Christian' by totally neglecting our PR status with the non-Christians?

Even the worst atheist targets their criticism much more often on the believers themselves rather than God himself, and when you think about it, some of them rings true. For example, God commands us to go out and spread the gospel to the people, but never has he said that GETTING people CONVERTED is of our concern. We are supposed to be mere messengers, not forceful converters, no matter how much love we claim to have for them that we wanna see them saved. To forcefully and persistently pushing someone towards accepting Christ not only increase the person's uneasiness with Christians, it shows how lacking the believer's faith is in the power of the Holy Spirit. Isn't a person's decision to accept Christ as his saviour a direct influence of the Holy Spirit, rather than the persistent "gospel-shoving" of that believer?

I believe that we are to show them the gospel by lying it out on the table and explaining it to them, not shoving it into their mouth and persistently annoys them hoping that one day a miracle will happen and they'll become Christians. A friend of mine tells me why he dislikes Christians: When his newly-converted Christian uncle came back from Australia, the first thing he do is trying to remove the idols from his Taoist mother's house and stated that he wanted to destroy these 'false deities'. He won't stop bugging his mother to accept Jesus as the only way to salvation, and hurls insults and all towards her Taoist faith. One might argue that he is motivated by his concern over his mother's salvation, but what impression does that give to non-Christians? Does the self-important, self-superiority image of Christianity brings any glory at all to God?

All of us Christians should keep this in mind at all times: Just as we are God's ambassadors and God's glory can be bring about thru our everyday speech and actions, we are equally at risk of bringing shame and disgrace towards God by our everyday speech and actions. But despair not my brothers and sisters, but believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and stop the reliance on the self over God, and your spiritual fruits will be abundant.

But seek first humility, humility before God and men, and all these fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, will blossom within you.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nursery/ Nursing Home

Read something that's really thought-provoking in a newspaper a couple of days ago, sent by an anonymous author via sms:

"Parents send their children to nurseries, so children send their aging parents to nursing homes."

Think about that...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Flying Car on Google Earth

A flying car is captured on Google Earth on the 23rd of January, 2006. Someone page Mulder & Scully to investigate!!! *creepy X-Files theme song playing in the background*

The truth is out there!!! >=)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Unwanted Advices

I've always appreciate advices and personal insights from my friends. They help me to perceive events in a different perspective, and sometimes when I'm truly stuck, their assistance really help much in getting me out of the mudhole I've gotten myself into. Some of their perceptions are even permanently absorbed and become homogenous with my worldview!

However, there exists a kind of people, who can't help but constantly giving out advices no matter how unwanted they are, and who can't stop passing judgements on other people's perception based on theirs. Their self-righteouness is incredibly repulsive, and yet, they are totally unaware of their flaw. They have this twisted idea that they are doing this to help, but to many, what they said are perceived as harsh criticisms, or worse, an outright insult.

These people really need to realize that just as much as they find other people's perception to be unpractical/stupid/wrong, it is only fair for them to realize that others may think of their perception as unpractical/stupid/wrong. This... my-ideas-are-the-right-one-so-just- do-things-these-way-or-you're-an-idiot attitude should be dealt with... But how to do so for a guy who detests an outright confrontation like me?

I'm sick of listening to all of their self-righteous judgements and unwanted advises (heck if their advices so successful, why aren't they?), but I'm also sick of avoiding them just so that I won't explode one day and give them a piece of my mind (which probably will lead to a permanent rift between us).

How do one live peacefully without the harassments from all these repulsive individuals?

And so, I choose avoidance. Friendship estrangement is still better than frank hostility. Sad, but necessary. You just cannot like and please everyone.

(P.S.: Matt, in case you're feeling paranoid, not this is not about you. =P)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Burden of Intelligence

Intelligence is a burden. Blessed with a higher intelligence, one still has to among the average Joes, and playing the game at their level in this world. As much as he realizes that morons surround and suffocate him, he have to live with it, for society consists mostly of such.

It's annoying when the majority are idiots. Makes life so unnecessarily difficult for an intelligent person to play along with their silly games. No wonder most eccentrics are geniuses of sorts: play your game a bit different, and people will cry foul and make a laughing stock out of you.

Perhaps segregating society into their respective intelligence level is a good idea... Let the peasents govern themselves, while intellectuals can form and shape a more enlightened future for themselves...

Man I'm such a fantasizing elitist... >=)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cage of the Mind

I often hate myself for building a cage around me when what I really yearn for is to be completely free. Problem is, I don't really know what it is that traps me within.

Is it superficial politeness born out of cultural expectation?

Is it a longing juz to be normal?

Or is it juz plain guilt?

Which explains why I'm always stuck in a cycle of sparks of interest, enthusiastic growth, eventual boredom, burning conflicts, and then rapid destruction followed by a period of depression before a new beginning blossoms.

Sometimes the only way to be free is to tear down everything that is close to you, everything that you hold dearly. It is only when you've lost everything are you truly free, for obligations and restrictions will no longer bind you to your knees.

But is freedom worth the price of losing everything?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Freedom of Expression vs Respect towards Religion

I found a rather interesting piece of news in the NST yesterday concerning a controversial comic strip published in a French newspaper depicting the muslim prophet Mohammed that sparked protests all over the muslim world. Here's a link to CNN's report of it:

Papers reprint Islam row cartoons

I've always support freedom of expression, but I nv really consider about its justification when used to blatantly insult people's faith and religious belief. I have seen comic strips that uses Christian and Jewish religious figures in the papers here in M'sia, but really they ain't such a big deal. Some are slightly offensive, but ntg that will make me burn the papers, start a boycott or anything like that.

Nevertheless, I believe that everyone should respect each others' belief too, me being a ardent follower of the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. One shouldn't use the freedom of expression as an excuse to make fun out of ppl's beliefs!

Still, after viewing the published comics, I must say that it isn't exactly THAT insulting. And neither are they caricatured for purely amusement purposes, for they do conveyed satirical undertones about the muslim world. The muslims do have the right to protest and all, but to go as far as to burn flags and effigies or boycotting a nation's product is juz exaggerating, and maybe even a bit silly.

The response shown by these angry ppl disturbs me more than it amuses: the fact that they can react so violently to some small, mischievous jokes juz doesn't make any sense. Perhaps these fanatics are a bunch of walking timebombs - make us angry and we'll kill you all! or something along that line.

Oh come on guys, things aren't really that bad! Lighten up! As one of the comic says, all religious figures from different religions have been caricatured all these time. Why make such a big fuss over such minor trivialities? Channel more of your energy to please God as you deemed fit instead!

Nevertheless, I think targeting the jokes on the image of muslim extremist would be a better choice over the founder of the religion himself. After all, I don't think the shortcomings of the followers of a religion should be blamed upon the founder himself! Replacing an image of a fundamentalist over Mohammed himself in the following comic does stir up something that's thought-provoking, dun u think?

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Current Thoughts On Christianity

I haven't been attending church services for years now, but I wanna stress that it doesn't mean that I've abandoned my christian faith. On the contrary, I believe that it has grown much since the last time I attended church. The problem is that somehow I have this strong feeling that my deeper understanding of my faith has becoming increasingly incompatible with the (mostly) fundamentalistic beliefs of my ex-church, as well as the increasing displacement of rituals over love for one another.

My recent Christian growth is heading more and more towards liberalism and anarchism - I've come to realize that God, though an objective being, cannot be experienced by us finite human, as an objective whole. We, the creations, are divided from our creator bcuz of our limitation in time and space (not to mention thought capacity etc etc), can nv fully comprehend God until we unite with him in spirit, until we depart from our material world. Therefore, God can only reveals himself to us in glimpses of his true self, for the human mind is incapable of understanding God without associating God with something that exists around us. Therefore, biblical portrayals of God are mostly symbolic, for example: our heavenly Father. The ideal idea of a father taking care over his children, further superimposed with the word 'heavenly' to describe his sovereignty.

Therefore, if what we understand with the word, or concept of God, is not only as far as how much he reveals himself to us, but also in the limitation of our material world. Which is why God often reveal his power thru power over Nature: e.g. splitting of the Red Sea, Jesus calming the storm, the Great Flood etc, in order to display his infinite, omnipotent power to us humans.

Thus I reached the biggest discovery I have in years: that Christianity is a purely subjective relationship of one individual and God himself. No one can truly claimed that this is how God like and your concept of God is wrong, for no one has truly comprehend God, or capture the entire essence of what God truly is. God reveals himself to all of us in a personal manner, therefore, different people may have different perception of who or what God is, but no one can claim complete understanding of God himself, for our thoughts and senses are limited in our finite world.

Fundamentalist will argue that the bible has revealed everything that has to be known about God, and therefore Christianity should be an objective truth, with fixed laws and what is true and what is false, what is righteous and what is sinful etc etc. In my opinion, a quick look at the apostle Peter's vision in Acts 10:9-16 will reveal that the things that are mentioned in the bible are not absolute, constant fixations, but are fluid and subject to change, if it is God's will. God proclaim that the animals that are used to be unclean according to the law of Moses are now clean, symbolising that Gentiles too can now come to God, not juz the Jews.

Another example: When God as Abraham to sacrifice his son on the altar for his honour, does it not seemed to contradict God's commandment of "thou shalt not kill"? Of cuz, Abraham did not kill Isaac in the end, but that does not change the fact that God did command Abraham to do something that many christians will nowadays perceive as heresy. Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and Christian theologian, call this the "Teleological Suspension of the Ethical", and he concluded that true faith in God would means to side aside all forms of morality and even biblical law in order to fulfill God's will.

In other words, one's relationship with God should supersedes conventional morality and even biblical laws in order for it to be truly pure and genuine. What is wrong in the sight of a believer towards a seemingly erring fellow believer is not necessary wrong in the eyes of God, and therefore, a believer has no right whatsoever to judge another person to be sinful or otherwise, eventhough the bible may state the a particular action/concept is wrong, e.g. Peter's vision, Isaac's "sacrifice".

So, if what is right in God's eye can only be known for sure by God himself (unless he chose to reveal it to all), then Christianity is a subjective faith, where one's understanding of God should not be determined by an institution (i.e. the christian church) or other fellow believers, but derived directly upon the individual's relationship with God himself, and how God chose to direct the individual.

So, what are the implications of such a belief on the "teleological suspension of the ethical"? It would mean that it is normal that there are diverse opinions and beliefs in God, for Christianity, or the relationship between Man and God, is purely subjective. Thus, my view on Christianity would be one of extreme individualism and liberalism - that faith in God depends on individual subjective experience, and it is the right of believers to hold and express views which differ with the conventional, orthodox belief.

Well, now that I've come to this conclusion, how does this discovery affect me? My biggest problem now is that I'm having difficulty having fellowship with my fellow brothers and sisters without having to resort to a fixed set of beliefs on who God really is, how are we supposed to worship God etc etc. I've been to many churches, but many seemed to place themselves, their denomination, to be exact, to be at least a little higher than others. While few denominations accuses publicly of other denominations as heresy, there seemed to be a strong sense of distrust and sense of superiority over ppl who are not from their denominations.

I have seen and heard many charismatics teasing conservative christians on how dead and boring the worship sessions are in conservative churches. The reverend from my ex-church once say that he suspected that the charismatic has roots in New Age movements. A friend of mine sees Catholic beliefs to be heresy, while my cousin told me an incredibly disturbing statement from his charismatic pastor: The Devil loves people who worship God by standing still (or something like that, can't remember the exact statement). Some claimed that you're only truly saved after you speak in tongues, while others believe that speaking in tongues is a manifestation of demon possesion.

Why are churches seeding strife and promote xenophobia instead of uniting believers under one Body of Christ? What is the true purpose of the christian church in the 1st place? To issue decrees, to uphold rigid dogmas, to exercise power over the religious communities? Since when did God command the creation of an institution to act as some sort of "belief police"? Yet throughout history, many bodies have act as a governing force over the religious communities, e.g. the Pharisees, the Inquisition etc.

In my opinion, christians are united, no matter how diverse our opinions are, by common intuitions and experiences. Therefore, the purpose of a Church is to provide some sort of supportive framework, in which all believers can come together to discuss, share and explore the multiple facets of God, to encourage one another in testimonies and assistance, and to worship God in our own manner, without inhibition nor judgement from any fellow believers. Yet so far, I have yet to encounter a church like that.

The closest thing that I've encountered that resembles this ideal gathering of believers is my batch's cell group. All of us come from different christian background, and many of us have different opinions of our faith, but we are united together by a common thing: we all are saved by our faith in Christ's sacrifice for our sins. Here, we truly come together, not to criticize each other nor to decree any dogmas, but to discuss and share new insights of our faith with all, and encouraging one another with our testimonies and the lessons we've learned from the past, and to worship God as a syncitium.

The fact that I've found such an ideal fellowship brings about a question: when then, do I choose to skip so many of the CG sessions lately? The answer is simple - while we started off pure and united, something foreign that is not with us from the beginning has joined our midst. At the beginning, it was a really good thing, for it brings new insights to all of us about the nature of our faith. But as time passes, this figure becomes more and more dominant, more and more vocal bout his particular beliefs, and suddenly, one day, his entire presence seems to dominate the group. Prayers are lead forcefully by him, testimonies and encouragements are forced out forcefully by him, and ultimately, what's best for a believer and what's not is forcefully decreed out by him.

Having witness how the purity of the original fellowship has been tainted by this presence, I've slowly, disappointedly dissappear from the group, and now continue on with my quest on seeking another ideal fellowship of believers. Truth is, one of my friend accurately predicted this very outcome when I told him why I love the CG so much some time ago, that things will change as time passes... Sigh... But I guess that Change is inevitable in our material world...

So, ya, here I am, mostly on my own now, continuing my journey to further understand God and where I stand in the whole picture. I truly yearn for a constant companion in this mostly lonely journey of mine, where we could both continuously share new insights and encourage one another for the rest of the journey. Guess all I can do know is pray for God's providence then... <=)

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.
(In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love)

- Moravian Church Motto -

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Anyone wanna join me for a cup of coffee here? Hehe...

Taken at Stesen Bandar Tasik Selatan.