Remembering My Father

This time last year, I was in a daze. Jean, my brother’s wife, had called a few hours ago, saying my dad had passed away. I had then made my way from travel agent to travel agent, trying to get air tickets for KL.
No one really knew the exact time my father died. It could have been the night of 29/11/2006, instead of the morning of 30/11/2006. When my mother found him on the floor early in the morning and cried for help from an uncle, it was obvious that he had died for several hours already.

Tom, an uncle (my father’s younger brother) was in Malaysia on holiday at that time. He has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years but regularly spent his holiday in Malaysia. He was there a few days before my father died, and saw my father in the hospital. My father looked well at that time, apparently. He was the one who responded to my mother and found him on the floor at home that morning.

Time heals all wounds. Some wounds take longer than others but over time, most wounds get healed. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to heal this one. While it no longer hurts like it did in the beginning, it hasn’t completely healed.


Malaysian Lady Minister in Australian Cabinet

If she remained in Malaysia, she probably wouldnt even get a sniff at local government politics. Penny Wong is now an Australian Federal Government Minister, with Climate Change and Water as her portfolio, in Kevin Rudd’s new cabinet.Penny Wong

Opportunities? In Malaysia – zilch. Outside Malaysia = limitless. She came to Australia when she was 8, and in the same generation, has herself made it. Not that you need to be a federal minister to “make it” but just to demonstrate what a crappy set of opportunities Malaysia presents its non-Malay people. Shame on you, Malaysia.

Bad Back

Yesterday morning, after I pulled in to the parking lot at work, I reached to the back seat to grab my back pack. It was a little heavy with my laptop, a couple of bottles of mineral water, some files etc. As I lifted it off the back seat, something pulled on the left side of my lower back. It was painful but I didnt realise how bad it was until I tried to get out of the car.

I was stuck in the car – couldnt get out and I dont think I could walk the 15 minutes or so into the office. I sat for a while, tried to straighten my back and after a while, decided I need to see a doctor.

My back was crook, I was knocked out by the codeine the doctor gave me and have been home last couple of days. A bit weird to be at home when so much is going on in the office and this morning I decided to spend some time checking my emails.

60 of them… gotto go attend to them now.

Prophetic Word? Danger! Danger!

I have often doubted the modern day prophet, who whips up a sense of “wow” and excitement in a congregation, by their “prophetic word”. They’re often visiting speakers or just some de facto leaders of the wider church community who’d be visiting and given a cameo appearance during which some prophetic word would be dispensed to create a little excitement.
         Maybe they think the service has been a little dull, things have become all too predictable and regular so a prophetic word would be pulled out to add a bit of spice to proceedings.
         In our church, the pattern has taken this form. The “prophet” would call out individuals or small groups of individuals, and say individual 1 would go into some pastoral kind of ministry individual 2 would go into some prayer ministries, and so on. The opus moderandi works for groups too. Thankfully it hasn’t happened too often – I can remember no more than half a dozen occurrences over the past 3 years we’ve been in this church.
         With Nalliah’s spectacular miss, my doubt has been affirmed. Perhaps I can now change my name, unashamedly, to Thomas.
         Following my short and disrespectful previous entry, I received some “track backs” which lead me to some entries in some other blogs. These included the “Catch the Fire” blog.
         Maybe it is to lend credence, or maybe it is simply to maintain the momentum to Nalliah’s stab. Several others’ proclamations of similar “visions” were published. These included a Kenneth Copeland and a Karen Hetherington. They were called “confirmation” or “affirmation”. I’ve heard this principle before. Apparently when 2 or more independent persons heard or saw the same thing it was confirmation that the word was indeed prophetic, the flock can be at peace and be confident that the word would “come to pass”.
         Well, Danny, Kenneth and Karen all saw the same thing. Well they said they did. They said they saw John Howard and Peter Costello there, for the coalition’s 5th term. Rudd apparently came on strong in Karen’s vision but faded away, leaving John and Peter at the helm. Lo and behold – come to pass it spectacularly did not.
         John Howard has most probably lost his own seat and would retire from politics, never again to attract a crowd during his morning walks. Peter Costello looked dejected and demoralised when he gave a press conference yesterday, saying he would not be seeking to inherit leadership of the Liberal Party to lead the opposition. He seemed a little bitter, even. Maybe he genuinely believed the Nalliah mob and now regrets not being more aggressive in seeking to ask Howard to step aside to let him lead the election campaign. Therein lies my biggest reason for viewing these demonstrations of spiritual irresponsibility with anger and contempt.
         I don’t know if these self appointed prophets realise the sort of impact and potential destruction they wreak on the targets/subjects. When you tell someone you had a word from God that that person would undergo some experience or become something or undertake some tasks, how do you think that someone would behave subsequently? Does the behaviour not become affected at all?
         We all get ideas – sometimes they come in the form of visions in our minds. Depending on the company we have been keeping, the books we have been reading, the movies we have been watching, the news item which have been airing on the radio or television or simply on what we have been thinking about, these ideas and images linger and perhaps morph. Perhaps our consumption of stimulants also affects this.
         How can we be so presumptuous that these visions in our minds are necessarily messages from God to be dispensed to the recipients so readily? If I have been thinking about someone in church and I think perhaps that person should think about doing something, surely it is a huge jump – maybe even a whacky one – and highly presumptuous to say what I think is God’s message for that person? That surely is only my opinion. Several others may share that opinion. It is still only an opinion. It may be a commonly shared opinion. It doesn’t become a message from God – a “prophetic word” – just because we shared the opinion and we are all committed Christians.
         See what the Herald Sun newspaper got out of Danny Nalliah early November:
“If you have a party dominated by a secular Left-wing ideology, how could they then accomplish a morally sound agenda, which is Judeo-Christian-based?” Mr Nalliah said. (Herald Sun, 9 November 2007)
         Danny wanted a government which would deliver a “morally sound agenda”. I have no quarrel with that. I want the same thing. I don’t however, make presumptuous conclusions which equate what I want (which is a personal wish) to a prophetic word (which is God’s plan). Admittedly he is most probably a more godly man than me. That still doesn’t qualify his opinion for a prophecy.
         I think these gaffes are borne out a desire to entertain ourselves. Some of us think the gospel as presented in the Bible is perhaps too dull and unexciting we need to somehow spice it up to make it and the church more entertaining. Maybe they think that if you preach the same old message of God’s love and Jesus’ death and resurrection over a period of time it looses its attraction.
         Sprinkle some “prophetic words” however and things get a little more interesting. I mean it’s like the casino isn’t it? I say the little silver ball would fall on number 36 and it did, wow – that’s exciting! I say Joe Blog would have ministry “x” and he did – wow that’s exciting!
         The problem of course is that Joe may alter his life dramatically. And if the basis for this wasn’t God’s word but the opinion of ordinary men wrongly elevated to a “prophetic word” due to some delusions on the part of such ordinary men, it is a highly irresponsible and even reckless behaviour which should be censured. It harms that brother/sister and brings disrepute to the Kingdom of God.

Nalliah No Prophet

Kevin Rudd is in, John Howard AND Peter Costello are both out (Costello has declined to lead the Liberals). I guess Pastor Danny Nalliah will now say the Body of Christ did not unite in prayer and action? Or simply that God did not reveal what he said God did –
it was more Danny’s personal desire?

Danny Nalliah has confirmed for me that many of these so called modern
“prophecy ministry” is a gross misleading of God’s people. Nalliah, like many of these “prophets”, are no prophets. I think it is best they tell their flocks of that very obvious fact.

On Your Marks

Tomorrow, Australians go to the polling booth to decide if John Howard has had his day. The article below started by alluding to this election but the subject matter is actually on Malaysia. I’m reproducing it because as always, the writer was punchy and is void of any niceties. It is of course not the Malaysian way but he’s probably an Australian, although he has written about Malaysia for quite a bit. Again as always, this piece is a nice little summary of some of the things that ail Malaysia. I do not think his being an Australian makes what he has written any less true.Many people think tomorrow marks the end of John Howard. I do not think so. I hope I am right. I do not like John Howard – he’s gruff, doesn’t seem personable and isn’t someone you’d want to have a drink with. However, I trust him as a leader and as someone who would stick to what he believes would make Australia well.Kevin Rudd looks better – younger, more personable and definitely someone you’d have a drink with – certainly more than John Howard. With Kevin however, you’d probably listen to what he says and go away saying yeah right. You’d never hold him to his word because he’d change his position in a flash, not because circumstances have changed, but because his audience has.

Did Danny Nalliah’s “prophecy” influence me? I’m giving it the benefit of any doubt and say yes, John Howard will win, against all odds. Let’s wait till after tomorrow. Meanwhile, read what Michael Backman has to say… 

 From: Teh, IanSent: Friday, 23 November 2007 11:10 AMSubject: FW: Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way Thanks J. Actually had Tengku Razaleigh defeated Mahathir in the 1986 UMNO elections, he would have made a much better Prime Minister. Razaleigh would have given Malaysia a better chance at becoming quietly prosperous (and free), instead of being flamboyantly poor, and curtailed in every way. The greater tragedy is that most of the younger Malaysians think the world of Mahathir. In his 20+ years as PM, he may have made Malaysia visible but he also systematically dismantled all safeguards, opening the door for idiots and robbers who now rule the roost.   Best regards Ian Teh

Sent: Friday, 23 November 2007 11:08 AM
To: Teh, Ian;
Subject: FW: Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way

Sent: Friday, 23 November 2007 10:30 AM
Subject: FW: Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way

21/11: Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way

Category: Articles Posted by: raja petra Recent street protests have highlighted the self-serving nature of Malaysia’s GovernmentGUEST COLUMNISTSMichael Backman
The Age
THE Government of Australia will probably change hands this weekend. There will be no arrests, no tear gas and no water cannons. The Government of John Howard will leave office, the Opposition will form a government and everyone will accept the verdict.For this, every Australian can feel justifiably proud. This playing by the rules is what has made Australia rich and a good place in which to invest. It is a country to which people want to migrate; not leave.

Now consider Malaysia. The weekend before last, up to 40,000 Malaysians took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur to protest peacefully against the judiciary’s lack of independence, electoral fraud, corruption and a controlled media.

In response, they were threatened by the Prime Minister, called monkeys by his powerful son-in-law, and blasted with water cannons and tear gas. And yet the vast majority of Malaysians do not want a change of government. All they want is for their government to govern better.

Both Malaysia and Australia have a rule of law that’s based on the English system. Both started out as colonies of Britain. So why is Malaysia getting it so wrong now?

Malaysia’s Government hates feedback. Dissent is regarded as dangerous, rather than a product of diversity. And like the wicked witch so ugly that she can’t stand mirrors, the Government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi controls the media so that it doesn’t have to see its own reflection.

Demonstrations are typically banned. But what every Malaysian should know is that in Britain, Australia and other modern countries, when people wish to demonstrate, the police typically clear the way and make sure no one gets hurt. The streets belong to the people. And the police, like the politicians, are their servants. It is not the other way around.

But increasingly in Malaysia, Malaysians are being denied a voice — especially young people.

Section 15 of Malaysia’s Universities and University Colleges Act states that no student shall be a member of or in any manner associate with any society, political party, trade union or any other organisation, body or group of people whatsoever, be it in or outside Malaysia, unless it is approved in advance and in writing by the vice-chancellor.

Nor can any student express or do anything that may be construed as expressing support, sympathy or opposition to any political party or union. Breaking this law can lead to a fine, a jail term or both.

The judiciary as a source of independent viewpoints has been squashed. The previous prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, did many good things for Malaysia, but his firing of the Lord President (chief justice) and two other Supreme Court judges in 1988 was an unmitigated disaster. Since then, what passes for a judiciary in Malaysia has been an utter disgrace and the Government knows it.

Several years ago, Daim Zainuddin, the country’s then powerful finance minister, told me that judges in Malaysia were idiots. Of course we want them to be biased, he told me, but not that biased.

Rarely do government ministers need to telephone a judge and demand this or that verdict because the judges are so in tune with the Government’s desires that they automatically do the Government’s beckoning.

Just how appalling Malaysia’s judiciary has become was made clear in recent weeks with the circulation of a video clip showing a senior lawyer assuring someone by telephone that he will lobby the Government to have him made Lord President of the Supreme Court because he had been loyal to the Government. That someone is believed to have been Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, who did in fact become Lord President.

A protest march organised by the Malaysian Bar Council was staged in response to this, and corruption among the judiciary in general. But the mainstream Malaysian media barely covered the march even though up to 2000 Bar Council members were taking part. Reportedly, the Prime Minister’s office instructed editors to play down the event.

Instead of a free media, independent judges and open public debate, Malaysians are given stunts — the world’s tallest building and most recently, a Malaysian cosmonaut. Essentially, they are given the play things of modernity but not modernity itself.

Many senior Malays are absolutely despairing at the direction of their country today. But with the media tightly controlled they have no way of getting their views out to their fellow countrymen. This means that most Malaysians falsely assume that the Malay elite is unified when it comes to the country’s direction.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister and today still a member of the Government, told me several weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur that he could see no reason why today Malaysia could not have a completely free media, a completely independent judiciary and that corrupt ministers and other officials should be publicly exposed and humiliated.

According to Tengku Razaleigh, all of the institutions designed to make Malaysia’s Government accountable and honest have been dismantled or neutered.

It didn’t need to be like this. Malaysia is not North Korea or Indonesia. It is something quite different. Its legal system is based on British codes. Coupled with traditional Malay culture, which is one of the world’s most hospitable, decent and gentle cultures, Malaysia has the cultural and historical underpinnings to become one of Asia’s most civilised, rules-based, successful societies.

Instead, Malaysia’s Government is incrementally wasting Malaysia’s inheritance.    

Election Approaching, Rudd Awaiting

After midnight on 21/11, no electronic election campaign advertisements would be permitted. I don’t know if there is a similar blackout from the print media. On television and radio however, we would not hear anymore election campaign advertisements after tonight. Well, for the next 3 years anyway.
The last 3 Labour Prime Ministers have all been very flawed characters. By and large however, you knew who they were, before they became Prime Minister.
With Gough you knew his social agenda. It may have been the ideals of that time for state support nearing total state welfare which sounds repugnant to present thinking and his total, take no prisoner attitude as he steams ahead with his agenda may have seemed suicidal. For that he may have seemed irresponsible. He may have been an idealist, but irresponsible. Yet he made no bones about it. Everyone knew what he was on about. He didn’t try to manipulate anything to project a different image.
With Hawke it was the same thing. He was a womaniser and boozer. Yet he did not pretend to be something else. Keating continues to dish out his tongue lashings and continues to speak his mind about anything he has a view on. You always knew he would do that. I liked both Hawke and Keating. It was Keating who made it cool to appreciate antique clocks. If not for him, whenever I stepped into the antique shop of my brother in law (Daniel Ching) I would not have stopped to stare at these clocks.
Rudd however, is a different animal altogether. His public image has been a carefully crafted one. Just over a year ago I read an interview with him where he quoted Dietrich Bonheoffer extensively. He claimed to be devout Christian. I watched him spar with Joe Hockey, then the Minister for Human Services (or some ministry like that) and thought he was such an articulate, sincere and likeable man.
My perception of Rudd has changed. I now see him as someone who is prepared to lie about anything to get what he wants. Integrity is not part of his vocabulary. He’d go to a strip club and claim he’d forgotten (because he was too drunk). When I get drunk I want to sleep or pick a fight, not go to a strip club. Maybe he got drunk in the strip club, who knows? He faked things on television. Before an audience of mainly Muslims, he would not affirm his belief in Christianity (would not say Jesus is the Son of God). How can someone hold such polarised stance? You cannot say you are a devout Christian and express agreement with Dietrich Bonheoffer’s theological writings and then cannot bring yourself to confess Jesus is the Son of God. He’d say things for years which he would not permit his team to say, if it meant being against the grain of the moment.
He appears to hold no views, sways according to popular opinion and would not tell you the truth. In fact he would lie, if that makes him look good or better. John Howard may appear to be like a grumpy old man at times and his “liberal” (read conservative a la Thatcher) views may not always be agreeable to the average wage earners (like me) but you knew where he stands. With Rudd, his true colours may only surface if/when he becomes Prime Minister. It may mean 3 disastrous years which would take a long time to fix.

Howard Up Against It

The Australian Labour Party launched its official election campaign a few days ago in Brisbane, the hometown of its new found star, Kevin Rudd. On parade in this show, apart from the infamous “worm” (a gauge which sat at the bottom of the television screen during televised debate between the PM and Rudd, measuring audience reaction to a speaker’s speech – very shonky but had a huge impact in terms of creating the image of audience favouring or disliking a particular candidate), the other characters included past Labour Prime Ministers, Gough Whitlam (only Prime Minister in Australian history to have been forcibly removed from office outside of an election – read: sacked), Bob Hawke (he who publicly admitted to womanising and other moral flaws) and Paul Keating (he of the acid tongue and outrageous arrogance).

Each of these characters was charismatic in their own ways, very intelligent and very flawed character wise. Unfortunately Kevin Rudd is a bit like that. Finagling all the time, he has been caught out in these circumstances: drunk in a striptease bar, deceiving television audience, gagging his frontbench from saying the same things he has been saying and lying in a televised debate with his political opponent. Yet he is also extremely articulate and polished in his media appearances.

Earlier this week I watched Andrew Denton interviewed John Laws (a legendary institution in radio talkback host in Sydney). Laws related an incident where he pre-recorded an interview with Kevin Rudd. It was about 7 in the morning and Laws asked how the campaign was going. Rudd said he was so tired and Laws asked if he would rather be doing something else. Rudd said he was alright doing it but felt it was hard going and he was very tired. After saying this, Laws said Rudd was then pulled aside by one of his handlers and when he resumed the interview, he asked Laws if what he just said was recorded. Laws said of course it was – it was an interview for use in radio. Rudd said he didn’t realise it was recorded and said he’d rather Laws didn’t use that as he wasn’t aware of it. They agreed and when he “went on record” and restarted the interview, Rudd was a completely different person.

This told me two things. The first was that Rudd was a very inexperienced man – he should have expected that this exchange was going to be part of Laws’ show just over an hour away. That he didn’t suggested he was too tired to be attuned to this probability or he was too naïve, neither of which is a particularly glowing tribute to a leader’s make-up. The second was that Rudd was always careful about the image he projected. His media image is a creation. He plays the modern C-span politician to the hilt. He is a consummate modern, media savvy politician and would be unapologetic about having a media image which is completely manufactured. He isn’t necessarily the person he appears on television, radio or the newspapers. What he says or projects on television could be entirely different from who he really is, what he believes in and what he is likely to do.

I’m not sure I want someone like that as a leader.

Yet, John Howard proved a disappointment when he announced his education package a couple of days ago. He planned to provide rebates to all parents/guardians of school going children, including cash rebates to assist private school fees. This sounds to me like unadulterated bribery. It’s a sugary feel good quickie with no long term benefit to education (and therefore the skill levels and competitiveness of Australia) in general. Kiddo’s present school – the Mount Waverley Secondary College on Stephenson’s Road in Mount Waverley – may be a good school but the infrastructure is in shambles. Many classrooms are shed-like boxes. They are clean and comfortable but I don’t know if this is representative of the state of affairs of the public school system and the financial commitment of state and federal governments to education. I forget now what Howard’s package costs on the whole but surely if he could get states to match in on some agreed scale public education as a whole would benefit a whole lot more than dishing out lollies.

Is Howard thinking now defeat is staring at him unless he finds that rabbit soon? Was that why he took the step of cash rebates? Did he not think Danny Nalliah’s “prophecy” of his victory had credibility, or did he also think that “prophecy” was so circuitous and conditional one could never feel free to remove the quote marks? Whatever the reason for this disappointing step by Howard at the rate of progress it looks like Rudd would romp home. I honestly think Australia would be a poorer place (not just economically or financially) for it.

Kiddo, Theresa and I were at her Mac. Rob last night for an information night. It was the second time Kiddo visited the school, the first time for Theresa and the third for me. It was the first time we all heard the word “Mac.Robian”. I left work a little earlier than usual and drove the short distance from the office to the school, picking up Kiddo and Theresa along the way. They had made their way from the city by tram and stopped a block from my office. I was initially disappointed with the administration of the school, having found out that they had failed to act on my letter advising them of a change of address. Theresa had followed up with an email and that too wasn’t actioned on. We therefore missed out on a couple of communications and some forms, which they had sent to the old address. So we had to play catch-up with the notices and forms.

The sense of competition and the desire to do more was very evident during and after the meeting. A very passionate music director was faced with a queue of students and parents after the presentation which started at the front of the auditorium and snaked its way down to the hallway at the back. Most had simply wanted to hand in the music form (selection of instrument, tuition required and instrument hire). So again, the administration was a bit loose there. We finally left the place close to 9.30 and reached home only around 10.

We’ve been having a family (just the wife/mom and their 10 year old boy) with us for about a week and a half now, and last night when we got home, Theresa and I caught up with her to chat about how she has been doing with all the preparatory work. I feel her fear and her concerns and generally, appreciate her disorientation. There is so much to do. I’m disappointed with some of her friends, who helped her find their rental property. Against my advice, they committed to the lease without even seeing the property, when they were still in Malaysia. They relied on their friends to inspect the property and committed to the lease on that basis. It turned out that the property is in shambles. It is dirty and parts of the house are dilapidated, with a backdoor even missing a knob/lock. Their friends have not offered to help her with the fixing or cleaning and generally left her to her own defences. They came around and took her out for dinner last Friday but did little else. I’m sure they have their reasons but I feel that having committed her to a property which required so much work they could have at least asked if they could help. I kept asking myself how these friends could have advised this family to apply for a lease for a property like that. As a result, this family has been extremely slow in getting this place ready and despite having the lease approved and keys collected well before they arrived the house is still not ready and they are still squatting with us. Maybe I’m being unfair. She’s a nice person and the boy is generally well behaved so they have not been bad guests in any way and are welcomed to remain as long as they need to. On the other hand, I felt she should do more to quickly settle into her own house and prepare to live this new phase of their lives as early as possible. Postponing this would not help her in anyway, except maybe save a few dollars. If this was her motivation for not expediting preparation of her house then it is disappointing and she is being near sighted.

I remember my experience well. Theresa and I came to Melbourne in October 2004 and lived with her uncle in Blackburn, just up the road and as the crow flies from our present home. Theresa left to return to Malaysia after a week. I stayed on and 1 week later found the house on Muir Street in Mount Waverley. A day or so after signing the lease, I went furniture shopping, buying just enough to fit out 2 bedrooms, the living area, dining and a study desk. I also bought appliances – basic necessities like fridge, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, kettle, iron, television, dvd player and some pots and pans. These were basic models – enough to make the house a home. Not a luxury home by a long shot, just enough to provide comfort to cushion the pain of adjustment and being away from our home we’ve known all our lives. I cleaned, scrubbed and fitted and assembled the furniture. I took almost a week to do all of these. As soon as I fixed a bed, I moved out from Blackburn and into this house on 18 Muir Street, Mount Waverley which was to be our home for the next 15 months. While I enjoyed staying in the home of Theresa’s uncle, I wanted to quickly settle in so that I can be in a better position to help my family settle in, when they arrived. I guess we’re all different.

We knew this family (our present guests) from Klang, where they attended the church we used to attend there. Another one who was there before but is also in Melbourne now, called a couple of nights ago and wanted to have breakfast tomorrow with this family. We have so much to do, as does this new family, so last night we decided we won’t do this just now. Sometimes we lose sight of things. The new migrant tends to lose sight of the fact that for the migration to work it has to be seen as a permanent thing. I think too many migrants have a let-give-it-a-go attitude. So when things get a bit rough, they reconsider the whole move and let doubt set in. Of course things will seem rough. My constant line on this issue is that things in Malaysia seemed better and easier because we had then spent most of our lives there. Many took 10, 20 years to build the sort of lives they were enjoying. Why then do we dislodged ourselves, kitchen sink and all, go to a different country with a very different culture several thousand miles away and think life can have the sort of stability and normalcy again within a much shorter period of time, often months? The expectation is simply unrealistic. It would take a few years before life can resume any semblance of stability and equilibrium again. One must give it time.

And so that brings me back to my earlier point about settling in as quickly as possible. Settling in takes time. We must give it as much time as possible. It is therefore, in my mind, imperative that we make our home here in as many ways as possible, as quickly as possible. To facilitate that we must avoid the little things which tend to create the mood and atmosphere of living in a transient mode. Postponing decisions like purchasing basic requirements add to that. We simply have to recognise the decisions and steps which have to be taken take them and move on.

The established migrants also tend to lose sight – they forget how things were like when they first came here. They forgot how helpless they were and how much needs to be done before the home and surroundings can become warmer, friendlier and more secured and stable. I don’t know if meals together help settle one down

It is late Friday afternoon. I started this piece last night. It has been a long week. My colleague has so much on she’s freaking out and exposing frayed nerves everywhere and is near hyper. Another colleague, the departmental personal assistant, is whacking on a number stamp, numbering pages on a document. She was pulling and punching holes on a binder earlier. A Board meeting is coming up and she’s prepping the board papers for distribution. Combining these two activities, you get a cacophony of corporate hoopla which on a good day sets the adrenalin flowing a little faster. On a Friday afternoon it tends to make me give up as it tends to take my mind off to hinterland. Concentrating is too hard work and too frustrating. I have therefore been having trouble on this advice I have been working on and have decided to give up and maybe take a look at it sometime over the weekend. I thought I’d use this time to finish off this piece instead.


Why I Blog

I was asked again recently, why I bothered with a blog. I was told blogs are for techies or uni students having issues with focussing or social interaction, journalists or even politicians. Normal 42 year old working class man and father like me don’t keep blogs.
I don’t know about the profile of keeping blogs, but as far as I’m concerned, this isn’t a blog. It’s a journal. It’s my personal journal. I have been keeping personal journals for yonks.
As a school boy, I started an exercise book version and recorded my views and understanding of stuff I read, especially the Bible. This went on for a few years.
Just before I got into uni, there was a television program called “Doogie Howser MD”. It was a series about a boy genius who got into medical school in his early teens. The show always ended with him making an entry in his journal, except he did it on his PC.
I took cue and while in uni, I got my first IBM compatible PC and started keeping my journal in a 5.25 inch floppy disk. It then became a 2.5 inch version. You know – miniaturisation. I first saw the USB thumb drive in 2001– the whole 125mb of it and was so impressed I went out and got one (I still have it with me and kiddo now uses it for school work). I was going to resume my journal-keeping on it, till the World Trade Centre in NY got bombed and Bush flew into a rage which propelled him first to Afghanistan and then mysteriously, to Iraq.
In Iraq, the Baghdad Blogger was born and well, the rest was history. I started thinking about resuming my journal using that medium and I think in 2003, I took my first wobbly steps.
So you see my blog is simply a continuation of my journal. In fact, there were a few entries I found in one of my older floppies (disk, you twisted reader). To my amazement the contents (a couple of pieces about my workdays in uni in Sydney) were fully usable so they have found their way into this blog. It has always been about content, so they said. The media is only secondary, except as a high turnover commodity.
There you have it. This is a personal journal. It does not therefore, have an agenda. When I make an entry about Malaysia for example, it isn’t to preach migration or create displeasure with the government. While I often have a very real sense of self grandeur and importance, I seldom thought I could influence anything or anyone through my journal. This journal is a proverbial wank (pardon the crude reference – unfortunately it has become the most instantly recognisable word to convey my meaning). It isn’t to give voice to any cause. It is only my take on events, experiences and situations. It is no different from telling someone, over a cup of coffee, my opinion on something. I know I have a few people who read this every so often. I feel like I am telling these people how I feel.
Occasionally when the subject matter of my entry is a matter I think some other people would be interested to listen in on, I share it in the appropriate forum. Again, I don’t have an agenda.
These are just personal thoughts. When I make an entry, I find myself organising my thoughts on a particular topic. That has an amazingly calming effect on me. It “centres” me. It gives me a sense of proportion and bins any illusory thoughts and senses. It lulls me into a different world, one where I’m free to explore my own thoughts and feeling of anything and anyone.
More than anything else I guess, and this is especially true for the initial years of our still relatively new life here in Melbourne, it is a record of my experiences. I want to record events, incidents, feelings I had when undergoing certain phases or dealings I had with some people and generally put “pen to paper”, of how life is, down under. It has thus far been a beneficial exercise for me. Whenever I get a chance, I store in a corner of my puny mind, details of an incident worth “writing home about”. Actually that’s it. It’s like writing home. I feel like I’m on this journey and when there’s a sight which blew me away or caught me, I want to write home to tell people there, about it. Writing entries on this blog is a lot like that.