Friday, July 27, 2012

Composting weed tea problems dangers

I've been doing some research into compost weed tea and the amount of the information is quite a lot.

Click here for details - or just use to do a search on "compost weed tea".

Anyhow, it turns out that my idea of compost weed tea is known as non-aerated compost tea.

The literature suggests that keeping the weeds submerged in this watery solution for 3 months will kill everything.

However, as you may have smelled, your brew may contain dangerous e-coli bacteria. All that awful stink strongly suggests that something pretty disgusting and toxic is brewing in that wheelie bin. On the bright side, think of all the hated weeds that you've placed in that brew. I don't know about you but it makes me smile to know that the oxalis weeds and their tenacious children that I just spent precious hours removing are drowning in that horrible gunk.

But really unless you plan to be doing something stupid like drinking the mixture or spraying it onto your salad or onto plants which you will be consuming shortly - I don't think the "tea" should be a problem.

The whole point is really to kill weeds and  the seeds, bulbs and to use their very rich nutrients to enrich the garden. All that dead green matter would still be organically rich.

Right now there are plenty of healthy garden worms - the strong red variety - living in the top part of the tea float mix. Some of the weeds float up, eventually they sink to the bottom though. But I take the healthy existence of the worms as a sign that the compost tea mix is getting OK.

I'm a conservative gardener so what I do is to pour most of the gunk into my open compost bin where I keep most of the leaves and lawn clippings. (you might see a potential problem there). Then after 6 months - 12 months - the mix goes into my dalek bins (black compost bins where the ordinary house fruit/ food waste goes into).

The compost tea school however disdains this old-fashion method of compost - going instead for something more technically minded, and faster.

They use a formulae of mollasses, fertilizers and air pumps+heaters to create an aerobic compost mix. The infusion of air supposedly causes the good bacteria to grow and for the whole tea to mature at a faster rate - one to two weeks. They also sieve out the old weeds/seeds/bulbs using strainers (old pillow cases, hessian bags, etc..) But to be honest that seems like too much hard work. And its liable to get messy.

I like my solution of using a wheelie bin and dumping all the weeds into it - leaving it there soaking in gray water for 6 months untouched except for the occasionally stirring before using it - diluted of course into the garden soil or pouring it straight into the compost bin. It seems a much more simpler and easier solution than fiddling around with aquarium pumps, pillow cases and molasses formulas.

I try reading some of the compost tea formulas like this one

But seriously it just looks way too complicated for me.

Meanwhile I've ordered two more bins from Aussie Waste Management and am looking forward to filling them up.

I am really anxious to know how long it will take to disintegrate the weed seeds/bulbs in this solution. So if you happen to know, let me know.

I began an experiment placing the noxious weeds in a small 5 litre barrel filled with water and covered with a plastic bag to see how long it would take to destroy the weed seeds+bulbs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Its 1.38am Sunday

Went for evening service - decided not to go for supper - came back and hello, mum is still not back.

She left at 10am for her church service but has disappeared since then. Called my sister but she's not there.

I hope she's at a friend's place but I wouldn't be surprised if she's at a Tabarat squandering the family fortune on the pokies (gambling machines).

I don't understand her gambling addiction and her desire to deflect blame by picking on any cock thing that I do to complain about.

Yesterday I had spent a day doing gardening - pruning the roses - and I had left the red bin containing the cuttings outside the front door. When she saw that - she freaked out and complained to my sister that I'm totally useless/idiot/moron/bloody idiot etc.. No mention of thanks that I do at least take time to attend to gardening chores.

I recently got an invite to go diving in Galapagos with a group of professional UW divers. It seemed quite cheap $2800 for a week including dives at Wolf and Darwin. I declined the awesome offer - mum is scheduled for an MRI and I've got to attend that event.

I try my best to be a good son but I think the hardest part is to face unwarranted criticism and unkind acts from your own mother. God I hope I don't become like her when I get old. 

In the meanwhile I baked an Orange cake while waiting for her to show up. Cake is out of the oven but no sign of mum yet. Going to get some sleep. I'll try and go to the gym tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gardening blues

After spending two months overseas- I went scuba diving in Dayang, Layang Layang (Sabah), Moal Boal/Oslob (Cebu, Philipines) and a couple of days in Phuket getting massaged to death - I had to fly back home. Got an email from my brother-in-law back in mid-June telling me my mum suffered a stroke on the weekend (funny, I was praying about her when the event occurred) and I rushed back sans diving gear.

Anyway the old dear seems alright - but the doctors found some scar tissues in the brain which has to get checked out later on.

Meanwhile my garden looked alright. The dude I hired to come did his job. Well, he didn't do the top garden bed. But at least he did some serious work as opposed to the other jokers I hired the previous times.

Unfortunately the damn clover oxalis are still back in force despite repeated treatments of herbicides and weeding.

I hate the weeds so much. They suck up so much nutrients and to prevent regeneration you are advised to throw them away. What a waste.

I've been conducting an experiment. Rather than throwing them away, I am placing the oxalis into 140l wheelie bins and make weed tea.

 I buy them from Australian Waste Management which supplies them around $50 - $70. There is a $35 delivery charge per delivery so you save if buy more.

Click here to go there:

I chose the 140litre because the size is just right for me and my garden. The larger ones are just too big to man handle around - plus the bigger they are they harder it will be to scoop out the gunk.

Alright, weed tea is basically weeds in a container filled with water. Leave it alone for a week and they start to decompose and stink. Really stink. After about a month, the tea will stink so badly that any residue that gets onto you will make you only attractive to drunk skunks.

It will take ages for you to get the odor off you if you get it on your skin. Be warned.

But hey, on the bright side - all that awful oxalis and weeds -  is IN that infernal solution. Think about that!!!

So I leave the weeds in that solution for a long while. About 1 year. Earlier  on I may scoop out the stinky "tea" and pour it onto my lawn or open compost box. If any of the seeds regenerate at least on the lawn or open compost bin they would be easily identified and chemically destroyed in safety away from my precious real plants.

I try and not pour it onto my garden beds in case its contaminated with live grass seeds. If possible I keep it all in for as long as possible to totally eradicate the oxalis bulbs.

Actually come to think of it - I need to conduct an experiment - get oxalis bulbs, grass seeds and put them in three small containers filled with water and leave it there to rot for 3, 6, 12 months. And then try and plant the mix in pots to see whether the damn things grow back.

At the moment I don't know how long it will take before the oxalis bulbs gets disintegrated in weed tea.

But I've bought 2 wheelie bins and I'm buying another two more.

The contents of the first 2 wheelie bins have practically liquified. They were stuffed full of weeds and covered in water for over a year. Most of the weeds have been totally disintegrated but some of the more fibrous ones (uncut rye and kikuyu grass) are still in fiberous intact states, still dead but just one yucky spaghetti lump. I should have emptied out the contents ages ago rather than recontaminating it by throwing in more newer weeds. But 2 bins were never enough for my garden.

(postscript note: after about 2 years, it looks like most of the oxalis bulbs are dead. I emptied 80% of the content out already and it looks like they have all disintegrated. There might be some weed seeds hidden in the sludge at the bottom of the bin. But it looks like the experiement is going well. Having said that, its hard to say until after about a year or so after I've poured out the stuff. If my garden gets mightily reinfested with weeds I'll certainly let you know).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Holiday Sidewinder and Andrew Stockdale sing Fleetwood Mac

I watched their performance on the weekend (on TV). And wow, I was mesmerized... actually more by Miss Holiday Sidewinder - a curious stage name.

Its a beautiful performance of Fleetwood Mac's classic.
Click here if the embed link does not work.

I really like this song because the words are so real, the emotions sung so raw, the need for love so strong.

I also found the song to be a little interesting - notice that its the woman who is inviting the man into her home. Usually, its the other way around. Its the man who has built/purchased a home and seeks a woman to share it with. But giving the woman the ownership of the home immediately empowers her - she is the one who invites the man into her domain, into her territory.

On one Freudian level, the song reflects sexual intercourse. Instead of house read vagina. The woman allows the man into her body. He doesn't take her forcefully or unwillingly but is welcomed inside. And there he finds himself at peace, at home so to speak.

Here are the lyrics:

Is love so fragile and the heart so hollow
Shatter with words impossible to follow
You're saying I'm fragile
I try not to be, I search only
For something I can't see
I have my own life
And I am stronger than you know
But I carry this feeling
When you walk into my house
You won't be walking out of the door

~ Lovers forever, face to face

My city or mountain
Stay with me, stay
I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me, my lace ~

You in the moonlight

With your sleepy eyes
Could you ever love a man like me?
And you were right, when I walked into your house
I knew I'd never want to leave
Sometimes I'm a strong man
Sometimes cold and scared
And sometimes I cry
But that time I saw you
I knew with you to light my nights
somehow i would get by.

~ Lovers forever, face to face

My city or mountain
Stay with me, stay
I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me, my lace ~

Monday, July 16, 2012

Living with people suffering from bipolar disorders

Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic-depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or a mixed state in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These events are usually separated by periods of "normal" mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling. Severe manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes.

One of my relatives that I'm close with suffers from some mental disorder. For many years, I suspected that this person suffers from bipolar disorder. I've tried my best to try and help this person - but its especially difficult when X refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem. I've heard from other people that X has admitted something is wrong with her. And recently, X suffered from a stroke? and was admitted to the hospital for a week.

At the heart of X's problem is the inability to admit mistakes, apologize and to fucking move on. X bears grudges and is keen to point out every kind of mistakes or errors while being silent on X's own fucking epic disastrous mistakes.

Trying to put up with X's shit is driving me insane. I need to go for a run.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Demon of Destruction

I celebrated my 1st birthday there
And her reply was "So?"

I try and reason with the woman
To no avail
A pointless waste of time
A waste of precious breath
She won't stop til she destroys everything we held dear

The demon of destruction that she has allowed to harbor in her soul will see to that
Bitter, malicious, hate, foolish, proud - she has allowed it to plant those seeds in her heart
And how they have grown to overwhelm her soul

The demon seeks to destroy all that we love
To tear, to destroy
Like a fire she won't stop til everything has turned to ash
Meanwhile we wait silently through her mad rampage
And I pray that we don't ever become like her
Or allow that vain spirit a foothold in my life

But time is on my side and so I wait
I wait for the Day of freedom
When she grows weary and exhausted
And the fire is finally extinguished
And the demon of destruction finally returns back to the hell hole where evil came from

I bid my time
And wait as I have waited before.

So much has been lost
But what was once lost may yet be recovered
May the Lord give us back ten fold what the locusts have eaten

But this evil presence that has plagued us
Its reign is strong in the land
In her heart
This demon of destruction
torments her and her us
I will not let it defeat us in the end
I will wait it out
Patiently I wait for its reign to come to an end.

Matt Corby's song - Brother

I don't usually listen to popular music. But this song blows me away.

Its about a man who offended his friend and is overwhelmed by his feelings of guilt and shame and trapped by his cowardice to apologise (or do whatever is needed to mend the relationship).

Sometimes we don't do the right things. I like this song because it acknowledges our human weakness. Its a powerful song.

Click here for the youtube link

Sorry, I can't embed the video due to Multiply's RSS framework.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Human Sexuality

If God didn't want men to be looking at women - why did He make them so beautiful and desirable?

Sometimes I don't understand why religion has taken a very negative view on human sexuality.

In fact, I'm more disgusted by the number of people who are delighted when a female (or male) gets into trouble due to promiscuity.

Men and women like each other. If its consensual, what's the problem?

When I see Priests, pastors, who frequently condemn a friendly attitude towards sex- and who later are exposed as hypocrites. I'm not pleased. But I wish they would get a life.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Genre: Horror
Prometheus the movie: I like it. I like it a lot.

When I was a child, I used to marvel at the awesome Science Fiction art done by master artists like Chris Foss, Vincent di Fate. They were inspirational, beautiful, magnificent artwork. They filled me with awe, wonder, excitement - they captivated my heart and imagination.

Beautiful, well crafted things fascinate me. And 30 minutes into the film - I'm pure joy at the sheer beauty of the set design and mesmerized by that haunting soundtrack - Chopin Prelude Op 28, 15 - listen here:

In fact, I think I could just watch the film with Ms Vickers (Charlize Theron) and David (Fassbender) walking around that huge space ship discussing the meaning of life or whether androids can dream electric dreams. There were similarities with other films - David's voice and sinister child-like curiosity and malevolence which bears a striking resemblance with the computer Hal (Space Odyssey 2001) that I also found cute.

This film is not for everyone -so if you are into action films with plenty of pew-pew scenes - minimal dialogue, plenty of female nudity and sex scenes, or if you are intolerant of illogical plots - then I may suggest you look elsewhere.

OK - so the scenery, set props, spaceship design, and Charlize Hardon:) in a jumpsuit are bound to win the Academy Award for sheer awesomeness. But what about the plot, acting, etc..?

Acting wise - I thought they all did a good job - see Charlize Theron - but plot wise was for me a tad disappointing.

Ridley Scott seems to have lost his touch - what we get in the 2nd half of the film is more like a B-grade Horror film. Stupid people doing illogical things which gets them killed. What we needed to see was a great sense of foreboding, dread, and an inescapable sense of despair - see Shutter Island, Inception, and the first Alien movie. I thought the Chopin's piece was foretelling that?

Anyhow - let's recap - the big ivory colored alien spacemen (BIAS) came to Earth and created life millions of years ago - they spent their time cultivating it - hence the drawings in different civilizations and times. However 2000 years ago - during the time of the crucification of Jesus Christ - something bad happened and the BIAS lab millions of years away get all killed mysteriously. Apparently we are meant to believe that its somehow people's fault. Let's see - technically Advanced space alien that can travel light years got infected by their creation's evil.

Hmm... so when the spacemen were watching the stoneage man's cannibalism, brutality, countless tribal wars, Mayan human sacrifices, and the multitude of horrors humans were inflicting on each other - they couldn't tell that we are capable of acts of great evil as well as good? And they were actually surprised that a provincial Roman governor executed JC, their messenger? Hmmm... maybe they weren't as intelligent after all or maybe they were untainted by evil and totally innocent? It has a nice Garden of Eden echo to it and makes for a nice wooly-headed background - like carpet under your feet.

More on religious parallels later on.

So back to the present - two Scientists/archeologists discover a dozen of ancient drawings which seem to point to a distant solar system that contain a planet like Earth. They - Holloway, a male scientist who screams woohoo a lot and Elizabeth Shaw, a devout Christian female scientist - notice the cross around her neck -convince Weyland, a Rupert Murdoch archetype, the CEO of Weyland Corp, that this could be the place where the Alien Space Gods who created mankind live.

Weyland is so impressed that he spends 1 trillion dollars of the company's money to sent them far into space to track down the planet.

Apparently inflation has really wacked out in the future because even with 1 trillion dollars Weyland can't hire a professional group of astronauts. So we're saddled with a motley crew made out of the "wrong stuff" - the typical smart ass spaceship captain, the (I F@#king goofed up) Navigator from the Spaceship Icarus (from the movie: Sunshine), a geologist who got his degree from the School of Scottish Soccer Hooligans - notice his fascination with balls and the usual riff-raff from the slasher horror movie genre - Alien fodder.

This haphazard approach extends to the science team who behave in a untypical stupid un-scientific ways like landing straight on the planet without first sending a probe, or conducting a planetary survey etc.. No, they just rush in, land and by some hapchance come across an Alien Space Temple - which they immediately rush to check out. No thought seems to be given to the possiblity that life or other cities may exist on other parts of the planet.

The shambolic attitude carries on - the scientists remove their helmets in the Alien space world in effect contaminating their environment - and allowing themselves to be infected with whatever bacteria human science hasn't encountered yet.

Then they make the Greatest Discovery of the millennial, they find a decapitated 2000 year old alien space head which for some inexplicably reason is still alive after 2000 years - and then they experiment on it without even a surgical mask or contain in a sterile contained environment. Considering that they are suppose to be top notch scientists it is baffling to see them experiment with the alien head with the aplomb of Sec 1 school students.

The only one who seems to have a clue is the humanoid robot - David. But he behaves like a child, curious. Constantly wanting to touch things - open Alien space doors - and seeking to conduct secret experiments with space alien goo, alien/human fetus. Typically the humans constantly choose to remind this machine who is built to replicate humans, esp. Holloway, the male scientist - that he is not a human and has NO SOUL.

Hey sister soul sister... there are many religious metaphors and Christian allusions running through the show - I think its a nice touch, cute, but I expected more subtley. But Ridley Scott keeps slapping us our faces with them and its gets damn irritating.

1. Prometheus - the god who gets his abdomen ripped out (endlessly, he regenerates) for giving fire to the humans.

2. Female Hero Scientist - rips out her belly to take out the alien space fetus

3. Alien - impregnates host through the mouth and fetus rips it way out through the host's stomach

4. BIAS Space Alien, with Jesus Christ like cloak, has to drink a cup to kill himself to create the world. He hesitates too.

5. Holloway allows himself to be burned to death carrying on the Prometheus theme.

Rain in Spain Falls mainly in the Plain... boring.

I was esp disappointed when Rupert Murdoch look-a-like got beaten to death by the BIAS spaceman - his last dying words were "So there's nothing out there?" Insert Atheism vs Religious arguments here. Frankly, how tediously predictable. I'd expect the rich old dude's last words to have been - "Damn should have stuck to the cryo crap", not a nod to religion, esp. when he came all the way out there to beat death and old age.

So I have some problems with the film - but then I see gorgeous Charlize Thezon with her golden hair walking down that white luminous spaceship corridor in her jumpsuit - and I go... wow, awesome, God loves man.

Ridley Scott seems to have lost his killer touch. To have clouded his film with 3rd rate religious metaphors, stupid stupid scenarios like the two lost frightened stupid 3rd rate geologist/biologist who get lost in the BIAS temple and who nearly die of fright upon finding dozens of dead BIAS spacemen and then freak out when they learn of a possible alien presence- but then suddenly become all too friendly when they see two Snake like creatures emerging out of the black goo. I mean, c'mon. WTF? Did Ridley Scott spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make a B-grade horror film with million dollar props? Disappointed, Dude.

But, let's not be too critical here- we did see Ms Royal Hawtness Charlize in a space suit. Let's keep some perspective.

OK. But we do have the ingredients of a possible epic here. Now this is how I would have done it.

Sticking a bunch of losers and misfits onto an alien world and watching them die miserably deaths is so predictable and boring. Instead, I would written the science team as extremely disciplined, skilled, integrated, coordinated and militarily trained. (Who despite all their superb training get killed by an incredibly horrible beast - now that's epic).

That's the way it should be if you had a budget of 1 trillion dollars and a spaceship carrying the CEO and also the heir to Weyland Corporation.

And did we even need to have the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" riding along as well? Frankly I'd have dump her back on earth along with the loony "Let's get Drunk cos I couldn't find any Live Space Aliens" boyfriend. Their characters were a joke - A ( for amateur) grade scientists. If they were going to come along - I'd make sure they had a very secondary role. The scene where Dragon Tattoo lady knocks out two co-workers- then runs out to get a emergency cesarean to pull the squid like Alien creature out of her belly and then gets her abs stapled before running all bloody to Weyland's room and then goes to join the final mission - was absolutely hilarious - in a bad way. Who the hell dreamed up this crap?

No surprise but I'd have put Charlize Theron - Ms Vickers - as the main heroine. The Alien's franchise has always been about a strong woman who survives against the odds and defeats the evil monster. I'd have soften her image a bit - make her character "religious" - and she's coming for the ride (instead of sitting in the comfort of her million dollar condo or scuba diving or skiing in some paradise) because she loves her dad, Mr Weyland.

I'd also have written a bigger role for Guy Pierce (or an older actor) - Weyland. I'd also have got rid of all that awful makeup and fire the makeup artists who made him look like the Star Wars Emperor!!! Can't they find a decent old actor? Sean Connery? Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister Game of Thrones)?

Weyland is there because he's seeking to attain longer or immortal life and also because he's actually curious about the big questions of life.

Vickers however is a believer and is closed minded about such things - all she wants to do is to help dad with his mad quest and then return him back to Earth. Cast wise: I'd give her a soul mate so that she can have a sounding board. I'd have chosen Chris Evans because I liked his character in Sunshine.

Vickers is a hardened leader but she has a soft spot for dad. It is clear that she loves him a lot. She feels the need to maintain a tough demeanor so that she can maintain her control over things, over men, etc.. In terms of character development - we see her mellowing out as she attends to the sick and injured and slowly cracking under the strain of leadership. But of course in the end, we get that "Rocky" moment, where she gets off the dust and the bodies of her dead men, and fights back and wins.

Anyhow, after conducting a rigorous planetary survey - the probe robots find the temple and the scientists proceed there on a secondary transport ship, leaving the mother ship orbiting in space. With the state of the art weapon system "Starcraft/Appleseed" mechsoldiers, they look unstoppable. The temple is big so the groups split up to examine the alien artifacts. The scientists/biologists/etc.. are all extremely excited.

But Vickers remains on vigilant.

One group led by Holloway finds the room filled with jars and filled with what looks like black oil, some of them have fallen down and cracked open. He wants to conduct a closer examination and take samples. Vickers orders them to retreat and let them robot probes take samples. But Holloway steps inside ignoring her, they look inert but upon further examination, more black goo oozes out and envelopes him and his team. They start screaming. The eyes turn black and they turn into what looks like zombies. The survivors rush out but Vickers does not hesitate she fires a missile and seems to destroy the whole lot of them utterly, much to the dismay of bleeding heart Dragon Tattoo girl.

Vickers immediately orders an evacuation. All samples are dumped much to the dismay and disgust of the scientists.

DT girl however is inconsolable. But she receives a brief transmission from Holloway who says he is alive and needs help. She convinces David who is programmed to help save human life (not destroy: first rule of Robotics).

They leave the spaceship to go look for Holloway... Vickers is not amused when she finds out. With stony indifference, she prepares the ship for takeoff without them. And for good measure plans to Nuke the place. The scientists and her father however are horrified. We didn't travel half way across the Universe to abandon and destroy such a major discovery.

She doesn't listen. And the ship slowly takes off. But from the side of the Temple, a shiny object emerges. Before anyone can say, "Fuck, its a gun." It fires a bolt of high energy at the ship, all power is suddenly lost and the ship plunges to the ground. Blackness.

When they wake up, Vickers asks her ship's engineers how long it would take to send another rescue craft down to save them. But in the meantime, they have to deal with that strange alien space gun. But most of the heavy machinery and weapons were damaged during the crash.

What will Ms Vickers do next? She mulls over the options -

1. Move to a safe zone and get the mothership to nuke that Alien Space Temple and gun

2. Go to the Temple and destroy that gun.

Easy. Option 1. However, dear Daddy had decided to remove the mothership with any plantary bombardment weapons to make space for more science research equipment - which causes Vickers to snarl, "All that f*&ing NASA Shit and they didn't realize that f@3king Temple had a motherf@3king big ion gun?!!!!"

Looks like they have to do it the hard way. Thank goodness Vickers likes it hard.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Some thoughts on the City Harvest Church situation

I find it very sad to read about the recent alleged financial mismanagement of funds at City Harvest Church  And so I don't. From the little I know about CHC - esp. the wife's involvement with the music industry and the church's involvement in sponsoring her career I find it very dubious and disheartening.

I do not doubt that the church probably does some very good things for the community. But I'm not too surprised if the allegations are true. Personally I find churches which emphasis a doctrine of health, wealth and prosperity a little odious and going too far. God was never meant to be an ATM machine for Christians

As Christians we shouldn't be too shocked or even disillusioned.  Even during the time of Jesus - one of the disciples, Judas, was stealing from the finances. Then you have Jacob, Samson, King David/Bathsheba/Solomon etc.. And if you care to dig deeper into church history - you'll find a lot of corruption going on. Just Google "the Sale of Indulgences" - you won't look at the ornate and beautiful Church buildings in Rome and Europe with such glowing optimism.

Scandal (impropriety) easily happens when you give a small group of individuals an excessive amount of power- we only need to look at the Great Financial Crash of 2009 - whole nations were duped into financing a property bubble orchestrated by banks and traders and it all came crashing done. The  banking staff responsible for that almighty catastrophe are still being awarded obscene salaries and fat bonuses instead of being thrown in jail. Where is the accountability there? Before this there was the Long Term Capital Management fund collapse - then the tech crash. Anyone remember Nick Leeson who bankrupted the Barings Bank with unauthorized trades that lost nearly a billion dollars? Why isn't languishing in Changi jail? No one seemed to learn a damn thing.

And what about our own Govt and its investment arms? A lot of people are wondering how the wife of a Prime Minister can hold such an important position despite a record of appalling losses. And who says Christians aren't the only ones who plead the need to forgive? One of our Presidents inquired about the nation's reserves and was rudely told to come back in 10 years. WTF indeed. Imagine a publicly listed company telling its share holders that it didn't know the state of its financial health and to not ask such impertinent questions ever again!!!

But that's what happens when you give a small group of individuals practically unlimited power - and don't hold them to account. Churches by their very nature are suppose to be spiritual places run by leaders of great spiritual excellence. We trust them to do the right thing. But we should also realize that we're human. We are not perfect and we do make mistakes. Just as we trust fathers not to rape their daughters - just as we trust mothers not to drown their screaming babies in the bathtub - we trust that church leaders will not cover up the misconduct of a Priest who molests his choir boys and shifts him to another unknowing congregation - we trust and hope that the people in authority do what's right and just and fair.

I've always been a bit skeptical about mega churches - they always seem to have a cheerleading - rah rah zing boom rah attitude. God helps anyone who tries to sing a different song from the hymn book.

And its not just the Charismatic churches that are at fault. When I was a student - the conservative church that I was attending had another church building project fund - and the preacher was urging people to give above and beyond - give in faith. Give! Give!! Give!!!!!!! I was only a student and gave til I ran out of money for food. As people who believe in the power of prayer, in the ability of God to move mountains, to heal the blind and the deaf and the dead, to turn water into wine, all this talk about faith giving, the obsession over money left me as a young fervent believer feeling a tad confused. The verses in the Holy Scripture are there of course to be quoted. But I think the whole emphasis was wrong.

But when we assume too much. When we become complacent. When we see what's going wrong but are not allowed to speak. When the system is designed to shut up dissenters. Things start going awry. Then no one should be surprised about the awful odor.

One of my cousins asked a few weeks back before the scandal broke whether I was concerned where my offering money was heading. Yes of course. But to a certain degree I regard my monetary offering (which is terribly small and irregular by the way) as a duty and obligation before God. I do not want to be like a relative who although he was a high ranking church leader was extremely cynical about Missions and church offering. We give because it is what God wants us to do. We pray that our church leaders will do what is right with our offering. Because on that Day, we are expected to give an account to God for all the things we have done.

And it is also up to us to try and hold the church leaders to account. Gone are the days of Inquisition and church sanctioned torture - nowadays the best they can do is to ostracize members. Sadly sometimes that subtle threat is more than enough to keep people quiet. Don't rock the boat!! Christians forget that Jesus walked on water.

Leaders of churches wield a tremendous amount of power. They are suppose to be mouthpiece of God - the disciples of the disciples that Jesus ordained to bind whatever on earth and it will also be done in Heaven. Believers listen to them and trust them. With that power comes great responsibility, great sacrifice and greater judgement.