Yan's Corner - In Touch

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Bible and the Law

I am quite amazed by the way I am involved with the “law and lawyer” these two days.

First, my cousin, CY sent me the edited text speech of Anwar Ibrahim entitled “Two different kinds of lawyers” that was delivered at the Law Asia Conference in Brisbane, Australia on March 22. The two kinds of lawyer in Anwar’s words are first, the lawyers who know the law and second, the lawyers who know the judge. It was a good read.

Then, I encountered the lawyer of the third kind – the lawyer who is angry.

And now, the law and the bible. The New York Times reported on March 29 that “Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible.”

According to the report, the highest court of Colorado upheld a lower court’s decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty. The reason? Because the jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. The court said that the Bible constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called higher authority”.

Robert Harlan was found guilty in 1995 of raping and murdering a cocktail waitress. The jurors voted unanimously for death sentence on Harlan. However, the Supreme Court decided to change the death sentence to life in prison.

The judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case.

The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom.

The New York Times gathered some opinions from legal scholars. Here are some of the opinions:

… the connection between hard legal logic and the softer, deeper world of values is always present in jury rooms, whether acknowledged or not.

…"The court says we're asking you to be moral men and women, to make a moral judgment of the right thing to do," said Thane Rosenbaum, a professor of law at Fordham University School of Law in New York City, and author of the book "The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What's Right" (HarperCollins, 2004). "But then we say the juror cheated because he brought in a book that forms the basis of his moral universe," Professor Rosenbaum said. "The thing is, he would have done it anyway, in his head."

One juror testified she studied Romans and Leviticus, including Leviticus 24, which includes the famous articulation of Old Testament justice: "eye for eye, tooth for tooth."

Or have the higher court used "Love your enemies..." - the teachings from Luke?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lawyers' Words

My 9-year-old son wants to be lawyer when he grows up. He said so when he was in Primary one. Since then, he has not changed his mind. I have always thought that he wants to be a lawyer because one girl in his class has the habit of "threatening" other classmates that her parents are lawyers and the classmates would be sued by her parents if they are not nice to her. My son says she is proud, while I find that amusing. This is children's world.

But, certainly I am wrong. My son has his own impression of lawyer, despite the fact that the most often heard word is "sue you". Recently, we played a word game. He was to give me words that he thinks are related to "lawyer". Here are his list of words:


I was particulary interested in the word "Anger". "Are lawyers angry people?", I asked him.

No, lawyers are angry people only when they see injustices against others. That's a 9-year-old version of anger.

I have an encounter with an angry lawyer today. People are certainly angrier today than ever before in history. Anger is increasing so drastically that it is becoming safety factor. Are these your concerns? Road rage, air rage, sports rage - and I call the anger of this lawyer - court rage!

But, as I write this tonight, as I recal a child's words of lawyers, I am reminded of these verses from the Bible -

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.... Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. - Luke 6:27, 37

Thank you, my young boy, for your lesson of "righteous anger". I want to to add to your list of words connected with lawyers -

Servant leader

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Choral Speaking - Angela's Word

My son is going to join a "Choral Speaking" contest in school. Today, he came back with this poem that really amuse and entertain me. Most of all it enlightens me... Read it aloud and be enlightened too. What a way to get away from the complex world....

When Angela was very young
Age two or three or so
Her mother and her father
Taught her never to say NO
They taught her that she must agree
With everything they said
And if she didn't, she was spanked
And sent upstairs to bed

So Angela grew up to be
A most agreeable child
She was never angry
And she was never wild
She always shared, and she always cared
She never picked a fight
And no matter what her parents said
She thought that they were right

Angela the Angel did very well in school
And, as you might imagine, she followed every rule
Her teacher said she was so well-bred
So quiet and so good
But how Angela felt inside
They never understood

Angela had lots of friends
Who liked her for her smile
They knew she was the kind of gal
Who'd go the extra mileAnd even when she had a cold
And really needed rest
When someone asked her if she'd help
She always answered 'YES'

Angela was thrity-three, she was a lawyer's wife
She had a home and a family, and a nice suburban life
She had a little girl of fourAnd a little boy of nine
And if someone asked her how she felt
She always answered "FINE"

But one cold night near Christmas-time
When her family was in bed
She lay awake as awful thoughts
Went spinning through her head
She didn't know why
And she didn't know how
But she wanted her life to end
So she begged whoever put her here
To take her back again

And then she heard, from deep inside
A voice that was soft and low
It only said a single word
And the word it said was "NO"

From that moment on, Angela knew
Exactly what she had to do
Her life depended on that word
So this is what her loved ones heard:

"NO, I just don't want to
NO, I don't agree
NO, That's yours to handle
NO, that's wrong for me
NO, I wanted something else
NO, that hurt a lot
NO, I'm tired, and
NO I'm busy
And NO, I'd rather not!"

Well, her famly found it shocking
Her friends reacted with surprise
But Angela was different
You could see it in her eyes
For they've held no meek submission
Since that night three years ago
When Angela the Angel
Got permission to say "NO"

Today Angela's a person firstThen a mother and wife
She knows where she begins and ends
She has a separate life
She has talents and ambitions
She has feelings, needs and goals
She has money in the bank
An opinion at the polls

And to her boy and girl she says
"It's nice when we agree
But if you can't say 'NO', you'll never grow
To be all you were meant to be
Because I know I am sometimes wrong
And because I love you so
You will always be my angels
Even when you tell me 'NO'"

-Barbara K. Bassett

Monday, March 28, 2005

Personality Test

Ever done any personality test?

Remember the test that asks you to put in order your preference of five animals, namely, pig, horse, cow, sheep, tiger? If you have chosen the pig as your first preference, you are a money person.

Then the test goes on to ask you to use a word to describe sea, coffee, cat, dog and mouse? If you have said coffee is tempting, it means your perspective of sex is tempting. If you say the sea is uncertain, then it represents that your life is uncertain...

I remember that and when I have just finished the test, I thought, that really reads my heart. But, when I have chance to think it over, the test is set to trap anyone. Anyone will think it's really amazing.

Or have you done The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures four qualities of a person -- introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving?

The star has set up a poll to analyse the reasons why the graduates are unemployed few days ago. According to the poll results, there is a graduate who went for 100 interviews and still have not found a job.

Incidentally, The Washington Post carried an article on employers relying on personality test to screen applicants.

It reported that even before the candidates stepped through the door for the interview, their fate had been largely determined by a computer. They had taken a 50-minute online test that asked them to rate to what degree they agreed or disagreed with statements such as, "It's maddening when the court lets guilty criminals go free," "You don't worry about making a good impression" and "You could describe yourself as 'tidy'."

A score in the "green" range for customer service gave an applicant an 83 percent chance of getting hired, "yellow" a 16 percent chance and "red" a 1 percent chance.

The paper further reported that a recent survey found that about 30 percent of all companies use personality tests in hiring.

To many companies, the tests are as important, if not more important, than an applicant's education, experience and recommendations.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures four qualities of a person -- introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving -- is often used to help match people up with careers.

But Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology and human development at Northwestern Unviersity certainly does not agree with the personality. He said, "You are really doing a disservice to the complexity of human individuality."

Perhaps, The Star can set up another poll for the employers whether they are using personality test to determine the fate of the candidates.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Story in exclamation

I like the easter story of two women coming to Jesus' tomb to tend to his body. But when they got there, the stone sealing the tomb entrace had been rolled away. Jesus' body wasn't there!

The women immediately jumped to the conclusion that someone had broken in and stolen the body. The women had thought Jesus would be their deliverer. Now, that just looked like one more dreams only. Jesus was dead. Now, even the body could not be found!

Then the women saw two men - they were angels. They asked a question that changed everything - "Why do you seek the Living One among the dead!"

He is risen!!

I do not like using "exclamation marks" in my writings often. But, on easter, I have used four exclamation marks to end each part of my easter story. The last one "He is Risen" is given two exclamations.

Indeed, He is Risen - the one fact that Christianity is not a mere belief system, it is not just moral teachings of the good and evils, or the wise and good man.

He is risen means the one and only path to eternal life. It is not just Jesus alone who passed from death into life - but everyone who believes in Him.

The old saying claim that nothing is certain but death and taxes. With the "exclaimed" "He is Risen", only taxes are certain. With the resurrected Christ, we know that death is certainly not final!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Who is Terri? Who was Terri?

The Washington Post carries a story on Terri Schiavo captioned “Terri Schiavo’s Unstudied Life” on Good Friday.

The story was divided into two parts. The first part, “Who was Terri Schiavo?” told of Terri’s innocence and her dreams. Terri was just a girl next door - a girl who wrote to John Denver asking him to come sing at her wedding, a girl who went to Disney World for her honeymoon and hoped that she and her husband and children would visit the Disney World year after year, a girl who worshipped television stars..

The picture that the words suggest is touching. Her life was a series of choices. She made hundreds of choices every day. What did she want as a young girl? She had made her choices that which she desired most at the moment of decision. That’s the key: at the moment of decision.

She was a truly ordinary girl with simple dreams and an uncomplicated life. She was able to make her own choices.

Now, who is Terri Schiavo?

Terri Schiavo is everywhere. There are pictures of her on the front pages of newspapers, on the Internet, on every news network on TV.

The courts recognize that she is a woman who has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since the day she suffered heart failure 15 years ago. She cannot communicate, she is not cognizant of what is happening around her, her movements are nothing more than neurological tics.
Terri is not capable of making her choices now.

For the past 15 years when Terri was not able to make her choices, her parents and bushand have been locked in a grueling war, a war over money, over control, and, in the end, over Terri's choice.

Schiavo wants his wife to be allowed to die. That, he says, was her wish.

The Schindlers want someone -- the government, the courts, anyone with any possible authority in this situation -- to restore the feeding tube that was removed, by court order, last Friday. They want their daughter, in whatever state she is, to live.

Terri Schiavo is 41 years old. But who she was -- a shy little girl, a woman still able to find joy in a simple stuffed bunny -- will forever be suspended in time. Many want to make a choice for her.

But, only in God’s profound and infinite wisdom can such paradoxical varieties become light.
James Russel Lowell, the noted writer impeccably describes it this way –

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide.
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
With each choice God speaking to us
Offering each the bloom of blight,
Then the manor nation chooses
For the darkness or the light.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

A young friend wished me Happy Good Friday last night through the mail. I was quick to respond to him that we don’t normally wish people “Happy Good Friday”. But, we can wish people “Happy Easter”.

I responded immediately because I was much elder than him and did not wish that he went to wish other people “Happy Good Friday” also and might be laughed at.

Good Friday is not a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur. I am here on an official trip. Therefore when friends from Sarawak called this morning saying that they were not working today, I asked whether they were on leave. I was of course reminded that it’s Good Friday and a public holiday.

I did a google search on why it is called “Good Friday” and click on "I'm feeling lucky" just now and to my delight, I was directed to this site www.KenCollins.com and found the following:

Calling the day of the Crucifixion ‘Good’ Friday is a designation that is peculiar to the English language. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The Kar part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word care in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, it is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. They thought all was lost.

I’ve read that the word good used to have a secondary meaning of holy, but I can’t trace that back in my etymological dictionary. There are a number of cases in set phrases where the words God and good got switched around because of their similarity. One case was the phrase God be with you, which today is just good-bye. So perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday. But I think we call it Good Friday because, in pious retrospect, all that tragedy brought about the greatest good there could be.

I can see virtue in either terminology. If we call it Mourning Friday, as in German, we are facing reality head on, taking up the cross if you will, fully conscious that the Christian walk is seldom a walk in the park. But if we call it Good Friday, as in English, we are confessing the Christian hope that no tragedy—not even death—can overwhelm God’s providence, love, and grace. Either way seems fine to me!

Yes, why should we despair on Good Friday when there is hope in Him, and when there is the greatest good there could be?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

We've all a story to tell

My 9-year old scored "C", "D" and "A" for his Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia and English Composition respectively in his first mid-term test for Primary 4.

For a "C", he did a descriptive scenes in school after class.

For a "D", he wrote an imaginative story.

For an "A", he wrote a true story of his own encounter.

The moral of the story is -

Go forth and tell the story.
Tell your story, and tell Malaysia's story to the world.
Tell the story with pride and dignity,
with truth and transparency; and, with
grace and himility.

You read it today. Yes, I am inspired by the words of our Prime Minister on "Branding Malaysia". It's the talk of the bloggers today. Read one of the best writings by fellow blogger "desiderata' at http://desiderata2000.blogspot.com. I am not going to add on the "Branding", the "Corporate", but I like to work on the key words from the CEO's instruction from a small woman's perpective.

First, it is the word "Pride". The mention of "pride" is usually negative, it's the opposite of humility. It is equal to arrogance. It is the high esteem of a small soul. But here, pride is necessary to function as a dignified human being. It's not wrong to do well and be proud of it. So, tell your story with pride, but remember, it's not your human accomplishments. It's under the lordship of God.

Truth forms the stability, the sure foundation, for your life. Neil Anderson said, "Adopt a simple rule of behaviour: if it's the truth, I' in; if it's not the truth. count me out."

Grace is one of many manifestations of love. Donald Barnhouse's definition of grace may be helpful, "Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace." That's grace: No matter what you've done, no matter what you've become, no matter how you've rebelled against God, he stoops down and says, "None of that matters. You are my child, and I love you."

Yes, go forth and tell your story - of truth with transparency, grace, pride, dignity, humility and grace.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Words not said

This is taken from an older Danish novel called Borderliners, by Peter Hoeg:

“I did not say much, nor was it necessary. She sat on the box, leaning forward, and listened to me, even to my pauses. She heard everything, even things I did not say. We sat there and I knew this was how it felt to be totally accepted. You sit close to another person and are understood, everything is understood and nothing is judged and you are indispensable.”

I like that! Someone heard everything, even words not said. Someone listen, even to the pauses between words! Isn’t it wonderful?

But, in real world, it’s often not so. Words need to be said. Not only that, they need to be said loud and clear.

We have two children, aged 14 and 9. They are growing up in a “newspaper friendly” environment. They have access to newspapers, three locals and two nationals, English and Chinese.

Over the weekend, during my trip to the supermarket with my children, I was amazed by the children’s knowledge of the different promotions and marketing campaigns of different consumer goods. When asked, they almost said at the same time – mummy only read newspapers, newspapers don’t talk. These products are said in the television. Cool words are used to describe them. When these brands are sponsored by the online games we play, there are sounds too.

Yes, my children know all these products better than the titles of the newspapers that enter our house each morning. The newspapers have been there, day in, day out, ever since there were born.

Philip Yancey, in his book, “What’s so amazing about grace”, wrote, “As a writer, I play with words all day long. I toy with them, listen for their overtones, crack them open, and try to stuff my thoughts inside.”

Listen. Yes, he says he listens for the overtones of words. He stuff his thoughts inside. The words become his thoughts. His thoughts, his words. His words come alive!

My neighbour's garden

Last night in my Church executive committee meeting, the matter of building a tall fence was brought out for discussion. One of the intentions for building a tall fence was to keep the children next door playing basketball from climbing over the existing fence to pick up their basketball.

That brought me down to memory lane of my own neighbour who had a tall fence that looked ugly from my side. I guess, the fence facing his own house was well-painted. When I moved in to my house, the tall fence were there already. Therefore, the reason for building such a tall fence was not known to me.

Later, I had my first child. When she was 3, like all 3-year-old, she was curious as to what could be at the other side of the tall wall. I was then writing a column for a Chinese newspaper.

Here is what was written about the neighbour’s garden in my column one fine day –

It is a beautiful Sunday. My little girl shouts with excitement: "Mummy, come and look at our neighbour's garden!"

I look out of my window. My neighbour has just pulled down the tall wall. I see a big garden with trees and flowers. It is a very pleasing sight.

I have been very curious what is at the other side of the tall wall. My little girl has also been asking whether there lives a giant who does not like children.

Very often we are very self-centred. We are afraid things are not favourable to us. We may have shut out the curiosity of our neighbours by building a tall wall, what we are losing may be a helpful neighbour.

Sometimes, we appreciate only our own garden. The garden outside the tall wall may be more beautiful than our own garden…

Many years past, I still remember the glow in my daughter’s eyes and the excitement in her voice when the tall wall was pulled down.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

More than a companion

Andre Norton

Nothing in the world gives me greater delight than to indulge in a good book. A book is a best companion. It tickles every one of my senses. There are many like me, I know.

But, it is more than a companion to Andre Norton who died on 17th March (Thursday) at the age of 93 at her home in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

She requested that she be cremated with copies of her first and last books.

Andre was best known for her science fiction and fantasy novels, including the popular “Witch World” series. She earned a reputation as the “grand dame of science fiction and fantasy”. She wrote more than 130 books in various genres, including spy novels, gothic novels, adventure stories, mysteries and historical novels.

Among her best-known science fiction and fantasy novels are “Fur Magic”, “Dragon Magic”, “Star Gate”, “The Time Traders” etc. The “Witch World” series dealt with an imaginary planet reached only through hidden gateways.

Her skilful plots, imaginative settings had appealed to me when I was a young adult. The best thing is when reading her books, it's the feeling that the story was written for me. Her people are real - may be because her words are simple.

It was reported that Andre’s mother began reading and reciting poetry to her when she was 2.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Life's Obstacles

Last May, I met a lawyer turned educationist. She is a Singaporean. She has six children. Yes, six children. That’s very rare for a Singaporean. Her children are aged between 24 to 11. So, you can see that she is not getting any incentive for the many children, instead she was “penalized” for producing too many.

She told me she suffered many miscarriages before having the six lovely children. She said that God allowed her to go through the miscarriages so that she can identify with many women whom she meets along the way having the same problem. And she has been doing so over the past many years.

Today, I read from The Star, our own Malaysian princess telling her story. Read the story here.

Tunku Azizah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, the beautiful Tengku Puan Pahang had six miscarriages in nine years. After many trials and tribulations, today, she is a proud mother of five children.

And much more, she is using her experience to help fulfill the wishes of childless couples by launching the Tunku Azizah Fertility Foundation (TAFF). Each couple selected will receive three free fertility treatments worth RM15,000 each.

Troubles, trials and tribulations plague us daily. They pile on and press us down. Do we gripe, complain and grumble and consider them misfortunes? Or do we receive them in grace as the means through which God will do a remedial work in us? Do we endeavour to delight in these hardships and difficulties – and one day we can use our experience to bless others?

The Star further reported that the TAFF will be launched at the Mandarin Oriental on March 28. TAFF application forms will be available at hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Friday, March 18, 2005

"Textbook case"

It is a textbook case of how to deal with a hostage-taker.

In my earlier blog (February), I wrote of the top ten book sold by MPH last year. The third top book is “The Purpose-Driven Life”. And it’s this book that started the conversation between Nichols and Smith and touched the heart of Nichols and he eventually freed Ashley Smith from hostage.

The crime spree began when Nichols overpowered Atlanta Courthouse deputy escorting him to his rape trial on last Friday. Nichols took the deputy’s gin, then entered the courtroom where his trial was being held and killed the presiding judge and court reporter. He was also accused of killing a deputy who tried to stop him outside the courthouse and a federal agent during this fight with authorities.

Nichols then held hostage of a woman in her apartment. The woman is Ashley Smith.

I read with much interest on the account of how Smith was freed by Nichols. Here is an account as related by Smith:

We went to my room. And I asked him if I could read.

He said, "What do you want to read?"

"Well, I have a book in my room." So I went and got it. I got my Bible. And I got a book called The Purpose-Driven Life.

I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was Chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it. After I read it, he said, "Stop, will you read it again?"

I said, "Yeah. I'll read it again."

So I read it again to him.

It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was. What were you—what talents were you given? What gifts were you given to use?

And I asked him what he thought. And he said, "I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you."

Smith shared more with Nichols on her life and read Bible to him. Nichols told Smith he felt like "he was already dead," but Smith urged him to consider the fact that he was still alive a "miracle."

It's clear that sharing her faith with Nichols did much to help them both get through the situation ssafely.

Pizza for everyone Posted by Hello

Pizza for all

Pizza for all Posted by Hello

How about on a Sunday morning, you enter your Church, instead of the usual "Welcome" on the big screen, it reads -

"If your cell phone rings during the service, you have to buy pizza for everyone in attendance today."

That's a change. But cell phones have become a problem for many churches. I read from the Leadership Journal that one of the Mexican Churches have put up the number of the local Pizza Hut up on the screen with the wordings as above.

The journal further reported that some churches in Mexico are using state of the art technology to silence cell phones. Four churches in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey are using equipment developed by defense and military experts to jam mobile phone systems. The signal jamming equipment is packed into two wall-mounted boxes the size of small speakers. One is located beside the altar, the other at the entrance. When switched on before a service, the system causes a "no signal" message to be displayed on the phones.

Cell phone ringing is not a problem in my Church. I hope it's not a problem in your church too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

You are God's Creation

You're God's Creation - Creavity Workshop

This is dedicated to the 120 girls, aged 12-14, from Girls' Brigade throughout Sarawak who are now in a Juniors' Leadership Training Camp. (14-16 March, 2005 in Sibu)

Standing in front of such a big group of girls, each one unique in your own ways, I can't help but wonder: If the creation is this incredible, what must the Creator be like?

Look at the flowers. If you look closely enough, it speaks of a Designer who has an eye for microscopic detail - a Designer who cares about the little things. It speaks of a Creator who goes beyond the useful and necessary and fills his creation with delight after delight.

Or look at the stars. Thousands of twinkling lights, everyone as brilliant as the sun, every single star in its place.

Girls, of all the marvels of creation, you are the most marvelous. You are made in the image of the Creator. Your mind, your creativity, your ability to love, your ability to reason, all are expressions of God's image in you.

Of all the things in creation, nothing is better to display God's creativity than you are. So, be loving, be caring, be creative, be like your Creator more and more each day.

A Merry Heart

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, the Bible says.

“We believe laughing is good for your health. And we think we have evidence to show why that’s the case,” Michael Miller of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore says.

The Washington Post reported recently that Miller and his team asked 20 healthy men and women to watch chips of two movies. One is the violent opening battle scene in the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan”. The other one is a humorous scene from a comedy such as the 1996 “Kingpin”.

They discovered striking differences in the functioning of blood vessels depending on which movie the volunteers had watched. .

Overall, blood flow decreased by about 35 percent after experiencing stress but increased 22 percent after laughter -- an improvement equivalent to that produced by a 15- to 30-minute workout.

"Is it laughing or just feeling good? We don't know at this time. But clearly laughter is an active process, and probably a good belly laugh will be better than just smiling," he said.

Miller envisions a time when doctors might recommend that everyone get 15 to 20 minutes of laughter a day in the same way they recommend at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

"There's no downside that I know of to laughing," Miller said. "Based on these results, I am happy to recommend laughing to my patients."

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Wikis, quickies

The Washington Post reported in its education section that after Internet, Napster, other file-sharing tools, web logs, now the next big thing on campus is wikis.

What is wikis? Wikis got its name from the Hawaiian word for “quick”. Washington Post described it as the “scrappy little brother to the bog, an interactive web page that can be changed by anyone who stumbles upon it.”

While blogs let people publish their thoughts online, wikis take things a step further, creating freewheeling, collaborative communities: Students can edit one another's work, bounce ideas around or link to infinite other Web sites.

Students can go to a wiki he designed and highlight a phrase in a poem such as John Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale." From "tender is the night," for example, they could create links to their own essays, a scanned image of the ink-blotted original manuscript, artwork.

Some course sites read like journals, some like debates and some shimmy in and out of topics with music, photos and video pulling readers along. One student draws a picture of a poem; another makes a movie.

Wikis encourages creativity, removes the limits on class time, give professors a better sense of student understanding and interest and keep students writing, thinking and questioning.

Now, it looks like sitting in a classroom were hopelessly outdated.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Teh Tarik, Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak in space

BBC News reported on 9th March that Malaysian Scientists have already conquered most of the technical hurdles involved in sending someone into space. But one major obstacle still needs to be overcome.

What's it?

Malaysians love food. Malaysia's National Space Agency is now working to make sure that Malaysian astronauts can enjoy their favourite food while in space. The program, a joint US-Malaysian research project, is to decide how best to handle the roti canai to zero gravity.

It is called Roti Canai in space.

Zero gravity means no weight added to the body? Good news for weight watchers?

The Star reported that the other program is called Batik in space. It further reported that by 2007, the first Malaysians will be launched into space.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Gorillas in the Hello

Imagine every time you say a “Hello” over the handphone, you smile while reading an SMS on your handphone, you are pushing the great apes closer to extinction?

According the Sydney Morning Herald Ian Redmond, the chief consultant with the United Nation's Great Apes Survival Project, said that the mining of tantalum, a metal used in electronics, was a serious threat to gorillas clinging to survival in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said, "When you buy a mobile phone, a laptop or a games console you are buying tantalum capacitors. One of the metal's biggest sources is the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Henry finds more

I am now working to launch a project called “Cahaya Mata – Bunga Bunga Syruga". It literally means “Children – flowers from heaven”. This is a community project on parenting initiated by the Sarawak Society for Parents of Handicapped Children, also known as PIBAKAT.

As I work on the project, I begin to see areas in our lives where we should try to be more in touch with our surroundings and people; to love more and do more for others.

It also takes me down to memory lane of a 1991 film Regarding Henry - a man who has everything, but after a tragedy, he finds more.

Henry is a lawyer who makes a lot of money. He is only concerned with money and image. One evening, Henry goes down to a store to buy a pack of cigarettes. A robber shoots him. A bullet hits on the head. He survives the shooting. But his brain is damaged. He cannot remember anything. If that weren't enough, Henry also has to recover his speech and mobility, in a life he no longer fits into.

His marriage was in shambles before the shooting. However, Sarah (his wife) took him home and attends to his needs.

His relationship with his daughter, Rachel takes a new twist. Henry finds that with the mind of a child, he is able to communicate and befriend her.

It’s not so much of the story that is remarkable. But, it is the thoughts on what should be important in our lives. It shows an extremely accomplished and arrogant man having to relearn what it means to be “alive”.

He turns from an arrogant man to a helpless child and finally an innocent child.

He finds more!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

No entry

From March 21 2005, STI (the online edition of The Straits Times Singapore) will be a paid-access website. For many years, this online edition has been a site I visit most often for news and breaking news.

In a most FAQ, the webmaster says, “The time has come to market it as a product in its own right.”

How many will be like me with the feeling of being denied entry to a best friend’s home after so many years of free access?

Boeing CEO fired

We know boeing. We know what’s an affair. We may not understand why having an affair is an issue of poor judgment in Boeing Co.

Yes, Boeing Co. announced on March 7 that it forced its chief executive to resign. He was “fired” over affair with subordinate.

Lewis E. Platt, Boeing’s non-executive chairman said, “It’s not the fact that he was having an affair that caused him to be fired. But as we explored the circumstances surrounding the affair, we just thought there were some issues of poor judgment that impaired his ability to lead going forward.”

The CEO, Harry C. Stonecipher is 68, married with two children and two grandchildren.

Poor judgement?

Charles M. Elson, director of a corporate governance program at the University of Delaware said this when asked to comment by The Washington Post, "In this environment, office romances have serious legal complications today that they didn't have 20 years ago. It's not the relationship, it's the judgment that got you into the relationship that can get you into trouble."

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Sir Bill Gates?

No, not “Sir”. He is still Bill Gates even though the Queen has knighted him.

Bill Gates has received the honour in recognition of his business leadership and his philanthropy through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation has USD28,8 billion endowment and has given away about USD7.5 billion in grant commitments to health and education initiates around the world.

Why not “sir” with this Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire? British recipients of knighthoods are entitled to be addressed with a "Sir" before their names. The honor was long the preserve of senior soldiers, judges and other servants of the state, but recent years have seen the creation of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Elton John.

Gates is neither a British citizen or a member of the British Commonwealth, So he cannot be referred to as Sir Bill.

Bill said he is “humbled and delighted” by the knighting.

But, interestingly, he said he will eat his hat if HIV vaccine appeared within the next decade.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Making our days

I do not like doctors. My first impression of doctor was at the age of 5 or 6. It was when I overheard elders saying that the doctor said my dad would not have many days to live. This doctor was the best doctor in town then. I lived in fears for many years. My dad died 20 years later. In between the years, I met some good doctors, some “not-so-sensible ones” who often do not treat patients with much respect. When the doctor attending to my mother five years ago said my mum had only six months to live, he was right. When my mum died, I thought doctors seem to be able to play God!

For five years, I do not want to have anything to do with doctors. True enough, I did not see one for five years until last year, when my dad in law was warded in a government hospital for over one month. I met many dedicated doctors there.

I may have changed my perception about doctors. One of them becomes my friend and through him I get to know another doctor. They are both young, very young.

I enjoyed a very refreshing evening with these two young doctors recently. I found out that it doesn’t take much to make the day of the doctors also. Like us, a warm smile, a hearty laughter, a nice dinner will also make their day.

You may like to go to these links to read some articles on becoming a doctor and anticipated suffering ahead and more “suffering” ahead.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

As a child

In the chase of careers, personal pursuits and goals, Chris (my 9-year old son) always draw me back into the profound truth that “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt 5:8)

Baking has always given me tremendous joy. The menial tasks of mixing, kneading, waiting… The fresh aroma of bread wafting from the oven gives much satisfaction. I baked some chicken pies last Sunday.

Chris brought one to school to take during break on Monday. At the school gate today, he said, “Mummy I don’t want to bring any chicken pie to school anymore.” He continued, “It’s so special that my classmates asked where I bought it. When I said it’s my mummy. They all said that their mummies are not good, do not know how to cook and bake. I do not want them to feel bad about their mummy.”

Yes, through the arrival of Rachel and Christopher, God has opened for me a window of insight into the profound truth that –

Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark 10:15

The Little Prince

The Little Prince Posted by Hello

My 9-year old son still very much likes to listen to bedtime stories. We read “The Little Prince” last night.

I have two books, one in Chinese and one in English. These are two of my most prized possessions. Sometimes, I read it as a simple children’s tale. But, most of time I find it profound and philosophic.

The journey of the Little Prince was in itself a journey through life. Every character he met was actually among one of us. Do we have among us a king who exercised his authority with reason? Do we have a businessman who claimed that he owned all the stars because no one actually owned the stars and that he was the first to think of owning them? A vain man who wanted to hear praises from everyone?

The lessons the Little Prince were lessons we need to learn too. The value of friendship taught by the fox.. Are we not to learn from these wise words – It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye?

If you had read the Little Prince when you were a child, read it again, you will be inspired …