Thursday, March 27, 2014

Confiscate Catholic church property and assets to give to the poor

I'm listening to the news about the pedophile activities and cover ups by the church leaders here in Australia.

It seems the whole thing is epidemic - not just here in Australia but also in Europe and America.

The horrifying thing is that the church leaders who moved the pedophile priests to unsuspecting congregations and covered up their crime - are still in power. I mean WTF?

I think with all the fubar stuff coming out of the Catholic Church with pedophile priests and a church leadership that actively covers it up - one great idea is confiscate half of all church property and assets and sell it off. I really don't understand how a church which has a religion based on frugality and giving can be so sinfully wealthy. The Vatican should be invaded and all its treasure and assets which came through the sale of indulgences should be given to the poor and needy.

I mean isn't that what Jesus was preaching about - sharing your wealth with the poor?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Australian justice system is fubar

The Australian and most Western governments and public seem to have a very breezy tolerance for violent crime against women. As a Singaporean I find this very hard to understand.

Anyone who infringes upon the sanctity of another individual, esp. a stranger - and rapes or bashes the person deserves no less than the harsh penalties.

If it was up to me - convicted hardcore rapists should be fed to sharks alive - and include the lawyers and judges that sympathize with the fiend.

It will cost over $100,000 a year to house, feed and keep the rapist of Jill Marr in prison. Seriously WTF for? The $100,000 could be spent on better public housing, education, road safety, hospitals. Its just a dumb fuck thing to do to try and rehab violent rapists - hang the fuckers - or tie them with weights and drown them in the tide if you're squeamish about hanging them.

In Australia - you get mass demonstrations for saving trees, kangaroos, wombats, the war on terrorism etc.. but very few big demonstrations against lenient sentences for rapists.

Sometime back ago - two sisters Colleen and Laura Irwin were raped and murdered by a felon that the Victorian Govt had imported from Western Australia and deliberately put him next door to the women without their knowledge - so that his chances of rehab would be better. When the Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks heard from the tragedy - his first response was to say that while it was a horrible thing and his sympathy goes to the family yadayada - the system was working well.

Seriously if I was king - I'd place every single violent parole offender next door to his family. No problem it seems to his logic cos they served their time already and are OK!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jesus, the Bible and 21st century morality

There has been some furor among some of my Christian friends regarding whether it is acceptable to allow homosexuals to marry.

Sometime ago, I would have taken the Biblical approach - homosexuality is a sin and therefore homosexuals cannot marry. Lately, however, I've become more reflective on the whole issue esp. on the need to regard the Bible as the absolute Word of God. And the appropriateness of enforcing a Christian Biblical standard onto non-believers.

The Bible has a lot of things to say - Jesus did say sell all your possessions and give to the poor. He also said during the time approaching his crucification that we have to carry a sword and before that He said turn the other cheek if someone strikes you. Do any of the Christian leaders in Singapore do any of that - esp. living frugally and giving all they have to the poor... noooooooooooo. Funny that :)
Anyway, should Society legally allow homosexuals to marry?I'm not a homosexual. I love women. Having said that - I never asked to be a heterosexual; I am one. I was born this way. No amount of brainwashing is going to convince me otherwise.I think if someone is born a homosexual - and please no frivolous campus jokes - why should we as a society prevent two consenting homosexual adults from doing what other consenting heterosexual adults from doing?Ah, then someone will say - well, they can't have kids - ergo, their relationship is a sham. I think that is a ridiculous argument. What if a heterosexual couple is barren, unable to conceive - should we ban them from marriage? Or if a married couple chose not to have children - should the marriage then be considered null and void?

Recently some of my Christians friends had an argument over the issue. One of them was presenting very valid points for pro-homosexual marriage. Jesus for example never condemned homosexuality. But what I found very troubling was the fact that my other Christian friends - some whom I really respect - instead of debating on the issue - were resorting to name calling. They called him a troll. They started parroting each other's accusations against this "heretic"; and I thought they were rational sensible people. If this was 2,000 years ago, they would have all been picking up rocks and stoning the dude for stepping out of line. Modern day Pharisees.I don't have the answers to all the questions and problems regarding homosexual marriages.But I turn to the words of Jesus - in this case: "the Sermon on the Mount"In particular Matt 7:1212 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 I'm not sure which Torah or Old Testament Jesus was reading from - but my reading of Jewish Law with its endless rules ordained by God - esp. with references to the brutal executions for non-virgin brides - doesn't connect. Read Deuteronomy 22 . No, don't you dare say "context"!!! I say its fucked up to brutal kill a young girl on a wedding night just because her hymen was already broken. I don't care who said it - even if it was God. Its monstrously disgusting now. And even it was 2000 years ago, its still fucking monstrously wrong to kill a young girl 2,000 years ago. I don't know how that command got in - but I think its one of the most evil things I've ever read, its fubar. I wouldn't do it 2000 years ago and not now. If you want to argue "context" I suggest you take a sharp rock and smash yourself in the head with it a few times just to find out how it feels. I am absolutely ashamed of my Christian friends who actually dare to defend this piece of legislation.

But Jesus' words - those words - "Do to others what you want them to do to you" is powerful to me, its eternal, its holy. I believe it. Jesus said many things - but this word sticks with me.I believe in marriage. I want to get married one day to the woman whom I love and who respects and cherishes me. So if someone else wants to marry the person he or she loves - even if they are of the same gender why should I stop them or enact rules which make it illegal for them to do so? I cannot in good conscience forbid someone to do what I want to do.

Society is such an artificial construct. Essentially we make the laws in the land based on our conscious. I cannot in good conscious pass a law forbidding them to get married. Because Jesus said  in the book of Matthew 7:12.12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.There are also other unpleasant stuff that Jesus said regarding sin, eye gorging, mutilation, lust, wealth distribution, and divorce. If Christians want to regard the Bible as the absolute Word of God - I suggest they think seriously consider applying those verses in their own lives before behaving like modern day Pharisees.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Christianity, predestination, Fred Phelps is dead

We are all destined to die... .
But not all are going to live.

One of the stumbling points for me as a Christian was the whole idea of predestination and the omnipresence of God.

When I was in University I attended a Christian group. We did Bible Study every Friday, attended weekly prayer meetings, went to church every Sunday and tried to preach the Gospel of Christ to our non-believing friends - Without fail. We also believed that the Bible was the absolute Word of God. Going on dates.. kissing was frown upon - much less premarital sex.

Looking back  -that was such a narrow use of my time and youth.

There are of course different ways of interpreting the Bible - or basically choosing what to ignore, play down, or emphasis. Back then there was a huge fight between the Charismatics and the Evangelists Christians. The former choosing to emphasize spiritual experiences like experiencing the presence of God, speaking in tongues and miracles and the latter emphasizing the reading of the Bible and the de-emphasis on "God's speak", miracles and spiritual experiences. I can't believe I wasted so much time worrying about that sort of stuff instead of going out with girls and enjoying life.

The guy in charge of the Bible study was a hard-core Evangelist and decided to choose a staunch conservative Anglican priest to be our Bible study coordinator. We spent one year or so discussing the doctrine of predestination - which to him was not so much doctrine but fact. And that literally blew my mind. Because predestination does not allow for free will. Everything was ordained. Even the choice of becoming a Christian was something enabled by God. Everything was by grace - there was no free choice in the matter because we were all godless sinners condemned to die in eternal damnation.

But that begged the question - if there is no such thing as free will then wtf are people going to hell for? It also makes God into quite a monster.

It also took our Bible study group into murky waters which didn't really help the spiritual growth of our members - basically its like teaching extreme drift driving techniques to beginner drivers.

It also fucked up my mind that year.

It poses a crazy conundrum - if God is loving why has He chosen to choose some people to be saved and not others. If He is all powerful why did He plant the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden knowing full well Adam would eventually be tempted to eat it and condemn trillions of human beings to eternal damnation. If God is love how has He chosen some people - trillions of people - relatively speaking good people - to eternal damnation to everlasting torment?

(At this point I should have thought about it very very long and hard and realized - a significant section of the Bible was utter rubbish - and I really needed to do something else on my Friday and Sundays. Anyway...)

Looking back I'm not sure that whole teaching episode was inspired by God. One of the hallmarks of the Spirit of God is the spirit of gentleness (which was not particularly evident in the O.T... but nevermind) - not ruthlessness - if you do believe in an Almighty God you realize that it would be easy for Him to write in the sky with flaming letters "Repent or Die and Spend Eternity in Damnation"- but He doesn't do that. Instead we get Rainbows. There must be a good reason why. So just because you got the knowledge for the salvation of people's souls - that doesn't give you the right to ram it down people's throats.

Christians like most human beings don't get it - which explains why we spent the last 2000 years fighting religious wars and burning or torturing people who have a different point of view - see the Witchcraft Trials in Europe for some fucked up shit.

Anyhow, I've come to the conclusion that there really is only two important rules in the Bible. As Jesus said to Nicodimus - "Love God - and Love your neighbor as yourself (or treat other people like you yourself want to be treated." If Christians followed that - the world would be such a better place. But they don't - that's why we had over 2000 years of religious wars, witchcraft trials, persecutions, oppression of women, slavery, colonialism, etc..

The problem is - Christians choosing to love the Bible more than God. If you believe that God is Love (2Corinthians13) - then it stands to reason that you won't go around being such an arsehole to other people like forcing women and children to live with abusive husbands and fathers - or for that matter starting Crusades, discriminating against non-believers, Colonialism, etc...

But many Christians want to follow the Bible to the letter and often live miserable lives - fine. But then they want others to be just as miserable and hateful as them. So we get people like Fred Phelps a Baptist preacher who goes around picketing funerals with horrible slogans. Don't these people have better things to do with their lives? Honestly, are there no more orphans and widows or homeless people in America (whom they can help)?

Read this below.

BTW the hardcore Evangelist we had in Uni eventually became an agnostic and stopped going to church.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Singapore - some thoughts on scholarships for foreigners

Offering Scholarships to foreigners are rather pointless in Singapore's context

Some thoughts on the way home... The air pollution rating is utterly horrible today. I wish it would rain - and rain hard. But nada - not a drop. Thank goodness our water catchments are doing their job - thank you people who designed the water storage system :)

I'm feeling in a somber, contemplative mood - I just attended my uncle's birthday and it is so sad to see him so frail. He suffered two strokes but what is depressing is to see how his wife is treating him - almost like a school kid child - barking orders at him, handling him like a mannequin... His mind is still sharp but his speech is slurred and his body movements affected by Parkinsons as well.

Anyway -  so what's the deal behind the freebie scholarships to foreign students? It seems a great idea to attract foreign talent - and after all we shouldn't forget the Singapore is a city founded by migrants.

But I think it is seriously flawed - no one seems to ask the question - why would they want to remain here? Would they remain here? With a good education and - no ties to this nation - family or history - they would be better off traveling overseas to greener pastures. And I bet virtually all of them do.

Does anyone keep track of the number of foreign scholars that actually do stay and settle in Singapore?

It was the same case with the Hong Kong migrants in the 1980s - Singapore opened it doors wide for them - but they simply used our nation as a stepping stop to migrate to other places.

On a sidenote - is there also any point in importing Sportsmen and sportswomen from China to help us help win trinkets at the Olympics? I mean seriously - wtf for? Its like some father paying some stranger's kid to play sports because he can't be bothered motivating his own children.Where is the glory in that? With that sort of thinking you might as well importing foreigners to be our politician or run our military. That's not so far fetched - it seems Gurkas are used to guard our top leaders - hey, might as well pay them to run the whole show (sarcasm).

A nation is very much like a family. We belong to each other. We all share certain ties, beliefs, values - based on familial, historical and cultural factors that make us want to live here, together and most importantly help one another and contribute to the greater society. 

Loyalty is Sold not Bought. You cannot purchase a foreign people's love and affection and make them want to live here - that is the government's mistake. It might work for other countries - like Australia - which are blessed with natural resources and have access to good social welfare, cheap property, car, schooling, and a generally more comfortable lifestyle etc.. but for Singapore? The uniqueness of Singapore is something which will attract only a certain type of people. You cannot purchase new citizens. They themselves have to come here willingly of their own accord. And many of them do already.

On the whimsical note - Singaporeans love Singaporean food. There are some Singaporeans who can't stand living overseas because they can't bear to be without their char kway teow or chicken rice or curry chicken or fishhead curry. This might seem insignificant but it binds us together. This is our culture. Can you pay a foreigner to eat curry and love it?

The foreign scholars on the other hand have no ties which bind them to the country. Most of them once they get their free lunch degree they will probably head off back home or to the US, Europe or Australia etc..They have no stake in this land - their parents do not live here - they were not born here- they did not grow up here - all they have is a free lunch - a scholarship - an education which they can use elsewhere. And why shouldn't they move? After all Singapore is one of the most expensive and crowded places to live - you have to love the culture and the people to want to live here.

Singapore should do all it can to help its own people first and foremost. Most of the people live in government housing, rely on public transport and generally put up with a lot of shit from the overpaid paternalistic govt servants. Singaporeans get no free lunch. Its not right that the Govt should then offer it to foreigners.

Wouldn't it be better to spend Singapore's tax payer money improving education prospects for locally born students?

Should a father adopt and nurture other children if he is dissatisfied with his own child? Does he think that if he lavishes money on a stranger's child he will win their affection?

Apparently - the Govt is currently forking out $354 million dollars for foreign scholarships... compared to $174 for local scholarships.You also have to remember that scholarships for Singaporeans issued or given by the Government or Ministry of Education (even on behalf of other nations) usually have a string of complications attached to them. Foreigners however are free to flee - quite a lot of them do apparently. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The failure of the Examination Culture in Asia

I am continually dismayed by the sheer obsessiveness of the examination culture in Asian societies. I guess its reflects our predilition towards conservative - logical and structural ways of behavior. But the problem is that it breeds inertia, rigidity in thinking, cowardice in forward planning, lack of real thinking (imagination), and a morbid obsession with paper qualifications.

A society which draws its leaders from an exam culture can never really grow. Biggest prime example - China. Leaders should seriously study how China manage to stagnate for the last 600 years with its exam culture mentality. All their top scholars, the best and the brightest, kept China languishing in stupid traditions and archaic conservative mindsets so much that it was a 3rd rate nation by the 19th century.

Look at Japan - its been stagnating dramatically since the 1980s too - wtf is the point of forcing its youth to exam-hell lifestyle? Sacrificing their youth for what??? Their birthrate is plummeting. Their regional towns are becoming old-folk villages. Their nation is dying and all their impressive scholars don't know how to solve it.

I'm not saying we should do away with examinations for schools. Exams set clear standards and enforces a set fixed standard that everyone has to go through. This seems to work best for logic based courses - ie math or language.

Countries which have removed examinations from the classrooms like Australia are finding that a lot of the children are coming out illiterate and poorly educated for the obvious reasons. Without the means to gauge the child's level of education - a great number number of children in America, Britain and Australia are "sleepwalking" through school.

America in a way is no better. Their society is morally bankrupt- there is a culture devoted to the divorce of personal responsibility - its always someone else's fault - preferably some corporation that they can sue. Their leaders are grossly incompetent. And they have a debt which may never be paid back in a thousand years. Most Americans are addicted to legal or illegal drugs or morbidly obese. However they do produce leaders that can think outside the box - Steve Jobs for example. Harvard Uni dropout. He would have only been qualified to hold a temp teacher job in Singapore.

Back I digress... exams are only good to a certain extent. You need exams to qualify for all the vocational jobs - medicine, pilots, plumbers, math teachers, engineers, lawyers etc.. But exams can never produce leaders who can think outside the box, exams can never create the entrepreneurial spirit, exams can not produce imaginative and creative individuals.

Exams often only test the students on information that is dated - old.

Exams are also sometimes counterproductive to the spirit of education - because they produce students who want to game the system and only study specific topics to get the right answers. They aren't interested in thinking and analysing the problem - they just want to produce model answers. That's basically bullshit. Education is suppose to help people think - to give them the tools needed to work out problems themselves. The current model seems to be simply creating a generation of parrots.

And God help us all if the state has a list of all the "right answers" for the students. Then the country is pretty fucked.