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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sex, Money & Power

I went for CoUZ on Friday night, and I am totally happy I went because it really was worthwhile. Of all people, Ps. Chew came down to speak. It's really rare of him to do so, as he himself said that somehow he only comes to share once a year with CoUZ. I thought, "Hmm, this is something interesting to come back to, haha"

What he was talking about was not the title you see in my blog post above. It is related though, but we'll go through that later. The main message was simply this:


Integrity


I think any God fearing person would agree that integrity is one of the most if not the most important thing one can have. 

He shared a real life example of a girl who participated in an archery event (if I'm not mistaken, either that or shooting) in 2004 at the Sukma Games. She had already been given the gold medal but demanded a recount where it was found she only got second place. She then gave up what was not rightfully hers. 

Ps. Chew being a football fan, recalled a long time back when Robbie Fowler was at his prime for Liverpool F.C. He fell in the penalty box and the referee immediately signalled for a penalty kick to be taken. Robbie Fowler took the penalty, but he just kicked the ball far away from the goal. He had not actually been fouled.

He went on to talk about the more challenging issues that individuals face with integrity. For me, integrity is the action of doing what is right and pleasing in God's eye at any time, more so when it is inconvenient to do so. Yes, a statement that is easy to mouth out, but hard to do. Still, that is what it is. He said something that I think at least every Christian should know.

He asked us what we thought integrity was. So there were a number of people who just threw out their answers such as honesty, right and so forth. Ps. Chew said at a pastor's conference he went to, that when he asked the same question, the same answers we gave came back to him. However, for one pastor, he said, "Pastor, for me, integrity is holiness".

It just caught me right then. I heard him say that before, but to be reminded again in such fashion blew me away once more. It was such a great reminder for me, particularly when I'm starting my internship tomorrow where my faith, who I am will be truly exposed to people around.

He also brought to our attention, the three things that ultimately lead to the fall of the integrity of any person, man or woman. That's where the title comes in. He asked us to raise our hands as to which of the three did we think caused the downfall of a person's integrity and that night, plenty of hands went up for money and sex, with a few voting power.

Where do we go, what do we do as Christians as such things definitely come everybody's way at many points in life? Ps. Chew shared some of his own experiences in the past, but it all came down to this, the remedy for the loss at the expense of money, power and sex.

Crave power? Get security. The security found in who you are in God's eyes. The confidence we need, the sense of purpose is just so much more when you're secure in God. That's why, having a relationship with Him is so important. Its when you build a strong relationship, that is when you have great security in your God who is above all.

Crave money? Get contentment. This isn't just a universally known principal, its a Godly one. If you have all the parts of your body intact, enough clothes to wear, a place to stay, enough food to stay alive, enough money to get by, your life situation probably isn't so bad. God doesn't hate us having nice things, after all, he created nice things, but he doesn't want us to chase all over for that. If God can take care of the food and health of birds which are of little signficance, what more people?

Crave sex? Have discretion. Be alert, be aware of what is happening around you. Make your personal stand, and make it clear, not to compromise on boundaries that can harm you. After all, it is when one compromises that one has sustained damaged integrity. You know who you are, and if you are challenged, addicted, get help. Seek people who are trustworthy and have them help you in your situation.

God understands, God forgives, but its not a licence to let loose of His values you hold dearly. Be secure in the One you believe in. Take a stand and move forward in life with integrity. People will respect you for it. More importantly, God will honour you for it. 


Security > power | Contentment > materialism | Discretion > lust

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen

Malaysia has finally announced what almost everyone knew, but was never really declared publicly. Malaysia is officially in recession. Statistics have now shown that in the 1st quarter of 2009, the GDP of the nation has experienced negative growth, a contraction of 6.2 percent.

Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (a really awesome woman, seriously, google her up)


On May 27th, the Wednesday of this week, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz released a statement saying that that the deterioration was greater than expected and that the outlook for exports remained weak (The Star, 2009). She also mentioned, "Q2 will be similar to Q1." (Ng, 2009a)


The prime minister releasing the news

Then on Thursday, the prime minister echoed this news, "In tandem with the new developments, the Government is revising the real gross domestic product performance of Malaysia for the year to a contraction of between 4%-5% from a contraction of 1% and growth of 1% previously. The revision is due to very weak external demand, which plummeted more than we expected." (Ng, 2009b)

The following graph depicts the growth of Malaysian GDP released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia. The graph is updated as of May 27th, 2009.

Further Malaysian GDP related statistics can be found here. (Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2009)

It was reported in the Star newspaper that the decline in growth is largely attributed to sharp declines in the manufacturing sector (17.6 %), export oriented industries (23.1%), subsector electric and electronics (41.4%). Domestic based industries faced a 15.9% decline due to consumer and construction related subsector weakness (The Star, 2009).




References (APA format):

Ng, F.(2009a, May 28). Malaysia's economy contracts 6.2%. The Star. Retrieved 29 May, 2009 from http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/28/business/3996380&sec=business

Ng, F. (2009b, May 29). Malaysia's economic contraction revised to between 4% and 5%. The Star. Retrieved 29 May, 2009 from http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/29/business/4003154&sec=business

The Star. (2009, May 27). Malaysia's GDP contracts in Q1. The Star. Retrieved 29 May, 2009 from http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/27/business/20090527192807&sec=business


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Launching...




This one's a collaboration between a few friends that belong to the same group of people.

About us:
A group of people who think its a good idea to sit around on a Friday night talking about how God's pretty cool and how we could be a little more like him. Having fun, doing new stuff every now and then keeps it fresh!

I guess that describes what the blog's about. For anyone who feels open and free enough, just drop by, you may find an interesting read sometime.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At it Again


I've always found certain things easier to do here at home than in university. I'm sure a lot of people agree with me too. There's just something about being at home that provides the atmosphere for doing some things better.

For me, that one thing has predominantly been songwriting. I am not an avid songwriter. I'm not one of those people that can pen down 2-3 songs in a week. I am certainly not Switchfoot that have written over 80 songs since 2007, which has led them to already have release dates for albums this year and next. 

However, when I'm feeling it, I do try and see if I can get something good out of it. Being home, in my room somehow creates that space where I feel freer to try and be creative. Suddenly there's a lot more space in the mind to think about what you want to try and do. Its not to say that everything comes together immediately, I still get stuck, which I am now actually. 


'My tools: Sony mp3 player/recorder, Taylor 214 CE  acoustic guitar, Philips Headphones'


About a month ago, I wrote on this blog that Taking Back Sunday had inspired me to try something out. With that, I started putting a tune together while I was still in UTP. When I got back to KL, I begun writing something that I had been meaning to do for a while now.

I remember really enjoying one song I wrote sometime back, called Hearts United, and it remains the favourite song I've ever written. You can view a debut performance of it here. This time around, the song I started writing when I arrived back home is poking at places that make me feel this could be as good as Hearts United for my standards. It's slightly nostalgic as the reason I'm writing this particular song is the same as when I wrote Hearts United, so hopefully there'll be the same magic there. 

Well, while I'm doing my internship in the nation's capital, I hope to be songwriting during the weeknight and weekends. I would really like to make something good out of all this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Return to the Homeland

Kuala Lumpur, the very heart of the nation welcomes back Christon Emang as a temporary resident over the next 8 months officially from June 1st, 2009 until January 8, 2010. 



Sunday, May 24, 2009

CIS United vs Exams United

This week hails the final match of the championship, with finalists CIS United playing against Exams United. There was a large build up to the event with many CIS fans urging their favourite players on to outperform themselves in a bid to win the championship over a much strongly feared Exams United side


Many players from CIS Utd. felt the pressure mounting up to what many called the game of the season. One of the players Christon Emang said, "It's been a long season, and now it all boils down to this. Exams United has always been a tough opponent. They have a lot of good players like Economics and Business Systems Development (BSD), but we've got some quality too and I have faith in our players. Hopefully we'll match up to their standards"

Another CIS Utd. player, Thian Mei Fang was a little vary of the strength Exams Utd. have in star player Economics. "I've played against Economics before, and he's very good. Sometimes you think you know where he's going but then he performs a simple trick and you're caught out,, making you run back to try and catch up with him again. We are aware of the danger he posseses. However, we've come up with a game plan to contain Economics, so if we stick to that during the game, hopefully we'll be able to prevent him from scoring."

All this before-game talk had focused on the contribution of Economics to Exams United, and time would tell if he would make an impact in this highly contested final.

The final has already begun, and we have reached half time with both sides leaving the field. The score is still nil-nil, with either side yet to score. In the first half, IKM (Introduction to Knowledge Management) looked dangerous, with Christon having to track back several times to deter the unexpected threat from Exams United veteran, IKM. The highly rated Economics was largely absent from the first half, but looked to be extremely dangerous in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

Those 15 minutes proved to be decisive as Christon and Mei Fang tracked back and forth to stop Economics. The first half came to a close as Christon made a final tackle on Economics before the referee blew the whistle.

CIS United manager said, "Christon and Mei Fang have done well tonight, they've played their part in tonight's game. They've done their best, and they've given all they can. So for the second half, I'm going to substitute the both of them with our younger talented players. We have a lot of faith in these two rookies, Mellissa Lee Ai Lin and Daphnee Lo Kah Yii"

On the other side, Exams United manager was also making changes for the second half. "Economics didn't play as well as we thought so I'll be replacing him with Principles of Economics. I expect Ai Lin and Kah Yii to come on in the second half so I'll be replacing BSD with IPSP who knows them better, since he's played against these two players before."

The second half of the game promises to be a mouth watering encounter between the young stars found in Mellissa Lee and Daphnee Lo against upcoming Exam United rookies, Principles of Economics and IPSP.

Both Mellissa and Daphnee were excited but also were aware of Principles of Economics. "Principles of Economics is a really tough player, there's just so much you need to know about her game before you can really stop her from winning against you. Since this is the final, both of us have watched a lot of videos of Principles of Economics playing in previous games and we hope to be able to stop her from doing any damage tonight. It's a tougher war, but we're tougher 'warriors' now than before. We hope to play well, take one for the team and win the trophy tonight. We take pride in replacing quality players such as Mei Fang and Christon"

This is all for the first half report of CIS United vs Exams United. Stick with Living thoughts... Simply Loud for the final outcome in the weeks to come.

All the best to the two young rookies playing for CIS United in the second half. =b

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a walk in the Park

I may have mentioned it before, but I'll say it again that my favourite Manchester United player is Park Ji Sung, the one and only Asian man that currently stands strong in a fight for first team places.



'Park Ji Sung opens the scoring to send Arsenal packing from the UEFA Champions League'


In the year, 2005, Times Asia magazine labelled Park Ji Sung as one of A
sia's heroes. Coming from playing in the J-League, leading to impressive performances in the 2002 World Cup, a succesful time with PSV Eindhoven before Sir Alex Ferguson probably thought, "Buying this boy may be a good idea."

Park Ji Sung was determined to make his Manchester United career a success, even if he only played five minutes. He was quoted as saying, "I know if I do well during those 5 minutes, the coach may give me 10 minutes, or even 15. I'll take it slow and do my best." Would he live up to the title of Asia's hero? Would he truly be a success at Manchester United or would he be another Asian name taken in as  a gimmick to sell more shirts to the Asian market?

Four years on, and the young South Korean has proved he is more than just a face Asians want to have on the tv screen when they're showing the EPL. He's proven to be a top quality player and to be honest, I'm really proud of him.


'Park Ji Sung celebrates scoring against Middlesborough'


What do I like so much about Park Ji Sung. Firstly, he has to be among the most hardworking players in the team. Never once, have I ever seen a look on his face that says, "I've given up, let's just wait until the next game." His work rate on the field is excellent, running up and down tirelessly, defending and attacking on the wings. This is what I admire about the man, he just works so hard.


'He never tires, running up and down wearing out opposition players'


Finally, his hard work is really paying off big dividends, big time. Last year, Park Ji Sung played in both semi-final legs against Barcelona but was ommitted totally from the first team for the final against Chelsea. To be honest, Sir Alex had fielded a very good team already for the final but I was personally so dissapointed that Park  didn't get a chance, even just to be on the substitutes bench during the final. However, his fortunes are about to change.

Reading ESPN soccernet, Sir Alex was quoted as saying, "I still have to make the decision about what it's going to be (team selection for UEFA Champions League Final) but Park will not be left out - it almost broke my heart last year to do that."

Finally, a quality Asian player will play in the final of the UEFA Champions League, definitely the best match football can offer any player second only to a World Cup final. Well done Park Ji Sung, you deserve it. =)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Things in Place

I don't know, for whatever reason, today was a good Sunday for me. Most things seemed in place today.. the talking with people, the jokes, people, everything. I'm not saying much of substance here but, I just feel like saying it here anwyay. One of my best Sunday's here. It's nice to have days like these. =)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In-N-Out


Take this in, and move McDonalds, KFC, Wendy's and co. out! If anyone has this book, let me know! I'm really interested in reading it. 

In-N-Out Burger is a pretty cool fast food franchise with probably the lowest employee turnover rate among all its competitors in the industry. I think I'll enjoy this one, or maybe I'm just being seduced by the fact there's a burger on the cover. In any case, look out for this release by Stacy Perman.

It's been rated best of the month by Amazon.com for the month of April, 2009! That's not too long ago now is it?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Integrity

This is rather interesting actually, because as I'm writing this post, a few friends and I were just talking about this issue of integrity last night. I guess it's all a little timely with what's to come in this blog post.


The action in question 


Only a few days ago, Manchester United played against Arsenal in the second leg of a semi-final in the European Champions league tournament. Manchester United won that game 3-1, going through to the final, winning 4-1 on aggregate.

The most talked about event though, was not Manchester United's progression to the final of the European Champions league, arguably the best final match that football has to offer other than the World Cup. It was the red card received by Darren Fletcher for a tackle on Cesc Fabregas in the penalty box.

In football, when a player has a clear scoring opportunity and he is illegally impeded by an opposing player, in many cases, the opposing player is shown the red card and sent off. The ongoing debates on newspaper forums and ESPN's soccernet article comment sections all focus on whether Darren Fletcher's tackle was indeed a foul (hence and action of illegal impeding) on Cesc Fabregas.

Some people don't mind the foul being given, even the penalty. The thing is, several Manchester United supporters and neutrals feel he was harshly done by a red card. What is all the hulabaloo about? The reason is, now that Darren Fletcher has received a red card in the semi-final, he will no longer be able to play in the final of the European Champions league that his team has now qualified for. As I hinted in the paragraph above, the European Champions league final is a very big deal for any professional football player.

In my view, Darren Fletcher did get the ball first, before bringing down Cesc Fabregas. The question is that did he get the ball away far enough that Cesc Fabregas would no longer have a scoring opportunity if he wasn't brought down by Darren Fletcher? In any case, the referee couldn't see it from his angle, all he would have seen was Fabregas being brought down. With instinct I suppose, he would have given the penalty straight away because the tackle was in the penalty box and then a red card because he thought Cesc Fabregas was definitely going to score.

Moving away from my opinion of the incident, and everyone elses, lets focus on the man himself, Darren Fletcher. I want to let the following photos taken on the day show what happened as Darren Fletcher was shown the dreaded rectangular piece of red.


Rio Ferdinand (center) is shocked at the red given to Darren Fletcher (left)


Darren Fletcher immediately walks off the field


John O'Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Edwin Van de Sar and Ryan Giggs protest


While his teammates were protesting and while sports fans currently contest the referee's decision, Darren Fletcher didn't make so much as a whisper to the referee as walked off the pitch, being shown the red card. He probably hasn't had a press conference since, as no comments have been heard from him over internet news sources. Why did he walk off without an argument? Maybe he felt he did foul Fabregas, and that he was shown a card, regardless yellow or red because it was in the penalty box. Maybe he didn't argue because he felt there was no influencing a referee's decision after he had made one. After all, in the history of football, it seems impossible for player protests during a game result in a decision being overturned.

Regardless, I want to take this time now in tribute to Darren Fletcher, for the title of this post. A man of integriy is who he is. During the game, Manchester United were leading and it was already beyond Arsenal to get a way to push through the big scoreline. I quote his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson as saying, "Darren's so honest that where an old stager might have just said, 'Go and score,' he was still determined enough to try and do his job" 

Darren Fletcher if at all, is known to be a very hardworking player. Similar to the postures of players like Ji Sung Park, he runs a lot, and makes those tackles that need to be made. In his position, in any game, being the player he is, one thing that will always be in his mind is, "He's got the ball, I'm not going to let him score" I admire him for that, being true to himself, and not giving in during a difficult situation, and being able to be accountable for his actions and accepting the consequences. He accepted the red card and never complained at the referee even if he thought he was in the right. A man who stood for his own beliefs and standards in playing football. For that, I salute you Darren Fletcher. You just became one of my heroes.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I have to thank...

two new Taking Back Sunday songs for a song idea. Been a while since I've played my guitar, good to have this 'inspiration' to spur me on a little. Check out 'New Again' and 'Sink Into Me'. You can view it on YouTube,  listen to it on their myspace page or official website, http://www.takingbacksunday.com/ 


Saturday, May 02, 2009

The I *Heart* Revolution

I only just got back to KL, and on the day I arrived, when I saw this, I grabbed it straight away:



It's the I 'heart' Malaysia t-shirt by Giordano. Actually, Giordano put this design out a long time ago. I wanted to get it, but I didn't have the cash to buy stuff at the time. When I did have the cash, it had already been taken off the shelves as Giordano change their offered designs quite often. So, when I came back yesterday and saw it, I got it straight away. I even got the white coloured on as well.


There's a reason I like this design in particular. If you read a few posts back, when with Seven Sweet Surrender, the main idea was the Malaysian Dream, and I'm nowhere close from backing down from my belief in that. So I was prettty psyched to see this design back on the Giordano display tables.

I was talking to a friend, recently and she said, "I just wonder why people nowadays like those kind of shirts". I'm not so sure if people still wear those shirts nowadays since people have been wearing the I 'heart' NY from ages ago.

I just said thogh, "Maybe it's not applicable to many people, but I bought it because I think it reflects what I think about Malaysia."

She was a little surprised to hear that, to know people really mean or care so much about such wordings on t-shirts. That's just the way it is for me I suppose. I think wearing that shirt every once in a while also get's you going as a person that appreciates Malaysia without having to wait for the month of August or the end of August to be precise.

I do hope it sells well actually, because if it doesn't; to some extent it does reflect on a slightly sadder Malaysian society. If people can wear shirts like I 'heart' New York or I 'heart' Bali, why can't you wear one about the country you come from? Regardless, the main thing, I really like this shirt, simply because: