Friday, May 27, 2011

i interact, therefore I am...

Relationships i am thinking is what makes the world tick.

The relationship with God - reminds me that I am his child, and his love motivates me to act.

The relationship with my family - reminds me that I have a family, that whatever comes between us, be it personality, life choices, far distances, I cannot change the composition of my family and will need to learn to love them for who they are.

The relationship with my friends - reminds me that I have a choice, that I have made the decision to love, and count them as important to me, more so than the average person walking down the street. that the beauty of this decision is that the other person, my friend, chose to reciprocate and together, we can walk life's (season) journey. (this formulated while exploring the topic amongst people I consider my best friends)
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the list goes on with my relationship with where I m brought up, where I have been educated, the frog that I am with etc etc...

I am currently reading something about Social Constuctionism, and the author has argued that what is constructed is dependent on the current social relations...For example,  Democracy being the preferred model of governance was a a legacy from the British, as a prerequiste for relinquishing power over our little tiny dot...

currently thinking about my research topic a little more. How is this related to my research? to the whole conversation on the "christian identity" of the organization. Some current thoughts include:

1) Who were the "players" that constructed this identity. Why is this Christian and what were some circumstances in constructing this?

2) How does this look like in a context where the "Christian identity" would need to be shared and reinforced in places like Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. Where the population is mainly from a different predominant faith and perception of Christianty can be very different from this identity that is set up.

3) As an individual who professes to be Christian, what does this mean to me in my day to day interactions with someone else. Does the relationship differ depending on the faith of the individual?

I was sitting beside an American lady who was into "Monastic living" ie being a monk on my way to Bangkok and after a while, started asking her different questions as to what she was up to, and some of her thoughts. That was a very fascinating conversation. She was brought up Christian but felt that Christianty did not provide her with answers in her life. She was particularly unsettled with the finality of heaven and hell, and not being provided with a second chance... She began with Zen Buddhism ( think Japanese Buddhism) and converted to the Thai type of Buddhism after reaching a plateau with Zen Buddhism.... This from what I have gathered from her and I am sure I am simplyfying what she said..

World Vision has begun Inter Faith dialogue and my question to that is "to what end". What are our motivations of that and how does this benefit the way we work? Some offices work provide an Orientation such that staff will understand the type of community that they are working in, while other offices work with Inter Faith leaders in generating understanding on Children issues/values.

I read in one of our WV literature that our Christian Witness needs to provoke the question where God is the answer. On the one hand, I am quick to judge the imperfections of our staff in "provoking the question" when I am privy to the naughty things that they are up to, yet on the other hand,  I feel humbled that God would use people, as imperfect as we are, to do that...  The question would then be... how do we develop our staff to provoke this question? Who is asking the question and how should we prepare to know them?

Some ramblings of an individual thinking through her research project. Today is a I am in awe of the diversity that God has created day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

being gay...

My crush has surfaced our assumptions about gays and our reaction towards them, whether we should vote them into parliament and what this might mean. Some of my very premature thoughts as I am supposed to work a bit more and sleep. The cough doesn't go and I feel groggy!!

I write as an individual who has gay friends that I sincerely love, and while sometimes feel like I do not know what to do, I am constantly challenged on my "stand" of why, of what it means to love, yet disagree with their lifestyle

Rationale. While I understand the argument that individuals are born gay, this is their sexual orientation etc, I disagree that they do not have a choice as this is "natural", and struggle to think that they will burn in hell for their sexual orientation... Haha, what does this mean? I think this means that everybody has a predisposition, some very heterosexual, while some more bisexual, and some I think might be more homosexual. I am thinking that in light of Romans 1: 21-27, individuals who might be more bisexual or homosexual might be more experimential and wonder why not. Why should a relationship be heterosexual? Why is it wrong if it is homosexual.Who/what is the society to say that it is wrong?

I think that as a society progresses, individuals are more able to "self actualize" instead of being bogged down by the other basic necessities, this allows them to be who they think they are, and in my little mind, this is why developed societies have a larger number of gays. In one sense, I think it is great that people have no fear to be who they are, and are encouraged in their self actualisation process, wihout feeling that the society is homophobic, and that they have to forever be guilty for who they are.

My stand. I must confess that I am not the most judgmental person in the world, if anything, I err on the other end. I struggle with what's right/wrong and think that life is shades of gray. live and let live. I may also add that boundary making might not be my best skill. However, based on the way that I make sense of my world. I need to love. I want my reaction to reflect the knowledge that you are a child of God, and because of that, I love you. While I do not accept your lifestyle, I respect the work that you do and treat you as an equal, instead of a sinner that is lower than me, and to whom I cannot talk to without feeling weird.

I guess the difficulty will then be, what does it mean that I do not accept your lifestyle? I guess this would mean that you know clearly that I think that you having a same sex partner is wrong, and that at the end of the day, if I believe that my God has made the right and wrongs in my life because he knows whats best for me, being gay cannot be the best thing that God has planned in your life. However, I do not feel that it is my space to shun you. judge you but rather to love you for you, and if to evaluate you for a job, especially in a non Christian environment, to evaluate fairly based on your knowledge and abilities.

This is much easier said than done. I think it might be awkward to be around gay people because they are different from me. However, I cannot let this difference drive us apart. How can they know of the God who loves me if the first message that I tell them is that being gay is a sin. And because of their sexual orientation, whatever they do do not add up to anything?

What more in a democratic Singapore. where it explicitly writes "We the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people. Regardless of race, language, or religion, to build a democractic society, based on justice and equality...." We have made it clear that we want our diversity to be our strength... so at a time when there is somebody different, but presents itself as a possibility with the relevant knowledge and abilities, is the person being gay the only reason to "pass" on this? What does this speak of to our children? Sure I don't want them to be gay when they grow up, but I do want them to be tolerant of the differences in a multi cultural society, to not be judgmental and to be able to live with people not like them.

Difficult. But perhaps to me, a person who passionately believes in human rights, equality of life regardless of where they come from and applies this to his life gets my respect. I see in him a man whom I can call a role model in promoting these values to the young in Singapore.

So gay or not gay, I am still a little smittened by you, person with the same birthday as me! :)

when 28 sounds a lot older than 27...

hello from the Philippines where I am here to learn bout suicide care, pastoral care and all things staff care.... I am trying to think of the link and how this might impact/ be influenced about the work that is done by the Christian Commitments department.. I think there is a lot of thinking involved, and perhaps, I need to do a better job at thinking faster ( if I don't want to think that I am not up to it...)

So, I just turned 28. And I am grateful for all the love shown through efforts of meal plans (despite busy work schedule,studying for exams), surprise cakes and just greetings of love on the phone, facebook that reminded me that I am not alone... It was nice to feel loved on a day like that! :)

I am sharing the room with my friend from Laos who has fallen asleep, wishing to dream of her husband and her son... we talked about the circle of life, and she encouraged me to not be afraid of life as it enfolds, that family, being a mother is a natural progression of things... haha... We talked bout the common friends that we both know, and also how their lives have progressed. some happy, some not as happy.. I am reminded that at the end of the day,... office politics come and go, but people still need to continue to live their lives... and that it is the relationships that reman at the end of the day...

Politics. Happens in the office and now in my little red dot. I am generally fascinated by the current elections in my country and people who know me will know I am having a mini crush on one of the gay candidates; that I think that the current ruling party needs to wake up and that we need a more representative voice in this country.

I love Singapore, and think that the love for this country increased while I have been living primarily with my suitcase during the past few years...people interested ask where I am from or what Singapore is like. Sometimes, Singapore is in China for them, sometimes, Singapore sounds like Narnia. something unheard of, perhaps like Vanuatu, Tahiti or somewhere exotic and faraway... When confronted with these questions, I think about what my response should be, while being mindful of the audience that I am confronted with. Short of being clean, efficient, small, and that it is a show of efficiency in this part of the world, what else do I say Singapore is? Today, my new colleague from the US commented that during his very short visit to Singapore for 2 days, he has heard many unsolicited comments from people in Singapore "promote" singapore, we are the best in x,y,z...  When I talk to my frog, he mentions that all I talk to my friends about is CPF, and property prices and money (and variations of financial talk like insurance)

So with this elections, perhaps I am thinking we can right all the perceived wrongs that I have seen, and make it a place that "I can call my home" (though ironically, I am not sure if I am going to stay in Singapore forever and ever...). I have been influenced by the Middle East Revolutions, elections in the "free world" and consider Obama one of my heros.. (now I am wondering if I agree with all that he does but I consider him a hero for having the guts to step out to do what he believes is right)... So, in the same token, I believe that all people have a voice, and if we as a country has chosen democracy as the medium whereby this voice is heard, we need to use democracy wisely, and as fair as we possibly can.. such that everyone's voice can be heard...

I am still thinking how this extends to media as we have seen how the STimes have not been the most fair, though I am not sure what fairness is. I speak to individuals that I find sometimes exasperating because they have believed the propaganda that we have been taught, and have not seen/heard enough to think otherwise. I respect them for not voting opposition just because, though feeling bit over zealous about my cause that I need time to calm myself down and not chew them up. I have wondered if this is how the evangelicals (or even the crusades felt) when somebody doesn't want to believe in the good news!

So in short, since many have expounded in long facebook notes..some of my political views... (just for record sake since the election fever will die in 4 days time)

- I support the SDP. If I can go vote along party lines. They get my vote, because I subscribe to a Competent, Compassionate and Caring government. (haha, 3 Cs of their website, tho not sure if I got all 3 right)

- I believe the govt's role is not to make money, but to secure the future for all. I am not really convinced that the Govt's role is in investment and if they should choose to do that, this should be channeled to GICs,temasek holdings etc. Essentially people who are able to do this professionally, instead of this being done by ministers and civil servants working in town councils...

- I understand the need for policies and structures, and am not disputing the successful implementation of policies. I believe that MPs of PAP could be doing this very well and this standard differs based on the type of MP elected. I however also believe that there is a space to challenge these policies and structures and perhaps this is the main reason why I am in favor of the SDP. The very reason that annoys people, I see in that courage to do something unpopular, and perhaps even legally wrong... But whose laws are we operating on? And why were these laws instituted? To protect a constitution/system? Is this constitution/system fair? right? just?  I see in Chee Soon Juan a man who stands by his beliefs, despite the difficulties that he has faced... No, I am not advocating that all rules should be broken, but rather, advocating that there are things out there that we should stand up for, despite human structures not promoting it...

- I also believe that SDP has very thought through solutions and a well crafted manifesto. True that this is not tried and tested, might also be true that this might be sounding bit socialist and not promoting of free trade with talk of minimum wage etc. But I do believe that these solutions are more inclusive, humane, and thinks of us as more than just numbers, gears in a well oiled machine. Some of the "traumas" in my little existence include time in NJC, when I felt intensely like my sole existence was to generate "As" , or the monetary value of my parents residential property was more important than any other reason for staying in some place. No, its probably not the government's fault for all that has happened in my life and I do believe that I am well adjusted in the Singapore system, having gone to the right schools, stayed in the right areas and mixed with the right company. However, I believe that there is more to life. True I find this most in my calling to my work and to my God, but I am thinking that this doesn't need to weigh in so hard for a young adult thinking what they want to do in life. Our life decisions should not be measured by our monetary value before our better senses try to remind us what we want to do when we grow up.

- I believe that God has called us to different professions, some to child care teachers, some to professors, some to lawyers, some to artists and some to pastors. While recognizing that the salary of these jobs might be different, I disagree that individuals need to be so penalized by the choice of profession they choose. I believe that they should still be able to fulfill their God given potential without having to overtly feel guilty about the choices they make, or worry about their family if they make it. My tuition kid wanted to be a child care teacher when she was growing up.. Now, because of the low pay of the profession (where she can't live a decent living in a 3-4 room flat, support her family as a filial child should), she has decided that she should study accounting as this is where the money is. I understand the rationale rationally... though I can't help but think, after all the efforts of my forefathers, my generation still does not feel empowered to fulfill their God given potential, or is made to feel guilty to do so. I admit that our government is doing more to this end, perhaps I am being impatient or overly harsh. But I guess I hope to think that the culture here would not be so afraid to fail ( because life has heaps of that), and that we would be challenged to try our best and be what we were made to be...

Ok, enough political talk. Political talk is scary. I can see why this is considered taboo in some cultures, it goes to the core of what a person thinks/does and because of its sense of urgency, sometimes, it is difficult to be neutral about it. Today, I think one of my friends married a woman in the right family as he was advancing his political agenda in his war torn country in central africa... (bizarre) I am also thinking that because it is so core, this is where we can be real friends, instead of just talking about the weather, where we can go for our next holiday, and what our bonuses might look like...

In this year, I want to learn to be grateful for the little things. I feel the age where I should know what I want to do when I grow up, and go do it. ie get married, have babies, have a real job and settle down. haha. I think i have 0 out of 4 and on days it feaks the daylight out of me. I wonder what I have done to become so alternative and if I have messed up so much in so short a time. It doesn't help that people do not know where some of my thoughts come from or I feel alien to people I have grown up with and whom I have loved for most part of my life. But yes, to feel grateful about life and not to take things for granted. Was talking to my roomie bout miscarriages, injustices, and the general bad things that happen to them (she was recounting bout individuals in the office). I need to start being grateful for the blessings that I have instead of thinking that I am entitled to them, and when they disappear, start being grumpy and jaded.

I have been feeling old and no longer the sweet young thing. I used to wonder if this is what God wanted me to do when I grow up and I guess I have grown up suddenly. To respond to this without feeling fear (of is this what I want in my life), of resolute (after running for a long time, fatigue sets in and I need to continue to rally myself on) and a sense of wonder (even when flying with a cold and irritating the man sitting beside me). I think that life is a gift and it is so very important to life everyday as is a gift... because time is short and one day before you know it, all the SKIIs in the world is not going to help with saggy skin.

Good night world and thank you Lord for your blessings aplenty!