When good and bad is crystal clear


Someone mentioned, yesterday morning, that in the front pages of news coverage, COVID stories have been replaced by the war in Ukraine. War is upon us. Many believe this is not a war of the Russians’ making. It is a war of Putin’s making.

So in a special prayer meeting in St Alf’s yesterday afternoon, many prayed that Putin would change, or be removed. He comes across however, as a very powerful person in Russia so I’m not sure his removal is a realistic hope and yet, that’s why we pray. God can and often does, work wonders.

For the sake of the people of Ukraine (and many other parts of Europe), I sincerely hope God works his wonders, and soon.

Sunday morning at St Alf’s was special in that for the first time in nearly 2 years, not only can we meet freely, but also without having to wear a mask. It was wonderful to see familiar, whole faces again.

In recent weeks, some old colleagues have made contacts. Michael Loke and Philip Koh, through Lim Liang Hua, made contact after so many years. Philip is preparing to give some talks in a Monash Malaysia Business School and he wanted to cite the Phileo experience. “The Phileo Story”, a book that was recently re-published, told a story of an enterprise that is a microcosm of corporate Malaysia. Philip wanted some inputs, from a “field soldier” I suppose, as data for his presentation.

It made me recall some hairy experiences and I guess for the first time since nearly 20 years ago, I shared those experiences with David, my brother. He said he never asked why we moved out of Malaysia to come and live in Melbourne but he guessed it had something to do with what happened when I was at Phileo.

Men like Putin and Mahathir make decisions and take actions that cause all sorts of upheavels in many lives. Why do they not care? Can their “larger, macro visions” simply dismiss considerations of micro concerns? I know there are always complex permutations of issues and there can be no perfect outcomes – there will always be adverse unintended consequences – but there are decisions and actions that can be nothing but bad, evil even. Surely they – men like Putin and Mahathir – know when such decisions and actions are before them.

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Why do I keep reading the papers?


I normally start the day with letting the dogs out. Then it’s my reading time (Bible) and then I go for a walk/jog before I come back, get cleaned up, have brekky and then into my study to start the work day.

All useful tasks so far.

Then I start to look at some headlines in the papers, and the futility of the day starts.

CS Lewis on newspapers

Increasingly, I wonder why I bother reading the papers anymore. News mostly don’t really reflect what most people think or how they live. Opinion pieces only add to the state of confusion. There are experts or opinion writers on opposite sides of just about any issue you can think of, and increasingly the tent has shrunk so that you’re either in or out, either in this tent or the one across the ditch. Differing opinions no longer live together. So a lay person who just reads stuff on papers or any other non specialist publications, no longer knows what to think.

A piece in The Australian is what make all this gel enough for me to make this entry. It’s about mask wearing during this pandemic. Covid 19 was christened in 2019 so this is into its “4th” year now. This piece said “experts” like Dr Anthony Fauci and other in WHO had said mask wearing was useless. They said this in March 2020. As late as 31 March 2020, scientists in the National Institutes of Health (the umbrella body that Dr Fauci is part of) said masks didnt make any difference. This echoed what WHO said. But – on 3 April 2020, all that changed and masks suddenly became very important. It has been since and today, you can’t go into any building or public indoor places, without wearing one. I often feel stupid wearing one when I’m shopping, in a restaurant, or in church. Yet I wear one because apparently, “experts” (now) say it makes a difference.

I no longer want to read (or watch/listen to) “experts”. Maybe there are just too many people thinking they ought to have a say and be listened to.

Experts’ Folly

Times are “a changing”


Recent sports headlines are showing how sophisticated leading characters of our nations’ major sporting codes have become.

Pat Cummins is the captain of the Australian Cricket Team. He’s come under fire in recent days for his role in the sacking of Justin Langer, the coach. Yesterday, after days of screaming silence, he fronted the press. What he said showed how calm, thoughtful and sophisticated the new captain is. He’s more than just a millenial woke young man. He is perceptive, considerate and well… impressive!

Here’s a clip from The Australian newspaper today.

A second story to have grabbed the headlines was on the alleged behaviour of Simon Goodwin, the senior coach of the Melbourne Footy Club (AFL). Melbourne are the reigning champions and loom large as a club to beat in coming seasons, so this is a big story. He was alleged to have been abusive and bullying towards the ex club doctor. His reaction too, showed strength and a sophisticated take on what the press had simply tried to make out as bad behaviour on his part. In other words, I was impressed with this reaction too.

Here’s a clipm from the Herald Sun today.

I’m really encouraged that these two are not letting the press set the agenda. They calmly fielded what the press threw at them and said stuff that made the public think a bit more. It’s about time we saw more of that – standing against the apparent tide and say hang on….

Something to be positive about, I guess…

2022


I can’t believe January 2022 has come and gone. It has been a bit of a whirlwind few weeks, and I’ve been sloppy with my entries here.

Kiddo and Mic came down to Melbourne about a week before Christmas, but headed off to Tassie the next day for a wedding. They came back a couple of days before Christmas and it was lovely having them here for a couple of weeks. We ate a lot, walked a lot, and went to various places just for fun. We got together at Jason and Mel’s on Christmas Eve and it was really nice to catch up with the usual guys, including the Hipos and made some new friends. We went out to Docklands on New Year’s Eve and I think that’s what got Kiddo done for – she came down with strong symptoms of Omnicron. They went out to a clinic in Glen Waverley to get a PCR test and queued for about 5 hours but got turned away at the last minute and with rapid antigen test kits in short supply, they never got tested. Tress and I later picked up symptoms too but for the same reasons, we never got tested. We simply isolated ourselves for about 10 days and then only went out sparingly.

Kiddo and Mic went back to Canberra in the second week of 2022, and life returned to normal for everyone. Tress and I have continued working from home however, as this quick spreading Omnicron has returned most workplaces to that working mode. I think the dogs (particularly Oreo, the younger one – “Padawan”) missed Milo, Kiddo and Mic’s dog, and Oreo’s ears would prick up when we mention Milo.

Working from home meant I had to put up with the building activities on our neighbouring lot (eastern side). The demolition work started towards the end of last year and they’d been prepping the concrete slab, which is now all poured and set as of a couple of days ago. At the same time, we received a notice from our local council that our other neighbour (on the northern side, adjoining our backyard) is applying for a building permit. They’d be demolishing the existing house and will put up a large 4 bedroom double storey new home. So, it looks like the building/construction activities will go on for a while around us.

That got us thinking about what we should do with our own home. It’s our 15th year here now and I said to Tress the other day, that we’d probably need to only think about this more seriously about 5 years from now.

I have been reading through the books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles and one of the constant themes about David was he always turned to the Lord as a first port of call, before embarking on anything. I think Tim Keller said in one of his messages (I’d been listening to his podcasts) that for most of us, we’d think, plan, come up with options and strategies and then commit all of that to our Lord. David simply turned to Him and probably then did the rest. I’ve been thinking if I should start to put the David model to practice, and really acknowledge that God is God, and Lord.

I picked up another weber barbie a couple of weeks ago – it’s a kettle with a cart, called the “Performer”. I had a first cook last weekend and the chicken was super juicy. I’m hoping a pork belly will be my next cook. Jason said this was my new toy and I guess he’s right.

So, as the new year kicked in, as I continue to plough away at my new role and look at all the construction/building activities around me, I hope I turn to the Lord as a first port of call, on a more regular basis. Meanwhile, I’ll have some fun with my new toy.