Life Journal

If you're interested in reading my reflections on the Life Journal Bible readings, check out Ian's Life Journal blog.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Joni's new play area

Ok, after those three posts against bigotry, I'm back to my favourite topic: Joni! :-)

Our living room is oddly shaped, with a 3 meter X 3 meter area due to a crooked staircase that we never really knew what to do with. So we turned it into a colourful padded play area for Joni using rubber letters & numbers mats. I glued down the letters so that she can't peel them off. (Thanks to my sister's prior experience with these mats.)

Click on the photo on the right to see more photos of it.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Racist rumours against African students

One of my friends who is really a good and upright person forwarded me an email supposedly written recently by someone named Lim Teng Seng who claims that the Lim Kok Wing University is covering up a kidnapping and rape by a student from Botswana. It goes on to make racist generalizations about Africans. (The letter turns out to be at least 2 years old, as I found a copy online from 2006.)

It asks people to keep forwarding this email to put pressure on LKW to give justice to this girl, which is why my friend forwarded it. However, what this kind of email actually does is to foster more racist stereotypes against Africans.

What spurred me to write this blog is because such racist rumours crop up way too often, and very often it's against Africans. Ironic that it comes right after my previous blog post about Malaysian artistes working for anti-racism.

A friend of mine is a lecturer at LKW and she said, "I don't have any experience with Botswana students in this manner and haven't heard of any. My classes have a lot of African students but had no such experience.They submit their assignments and do their presentations on time. God has been good and has given me good students so far. I cannot generalise any group in this way. There are many hardworking students among the Botswanians."

Even if it were true that some Botswana student had kidnapped and raped a girl, it is wrong to slander all Botswana students. Let us ask ourselves, how would we feel if just because one Malaysian student kidnapped and raped a girl in Australia, then people in Australia start categorizing all Malaysians as kidnappers & rapists?

Let us not spread racism!

A few years ago, this kind of racism caused some African students to be arrested on suspicion of rape & murder. There was a huge racist outcry against African students. Big headlines were splashed all over most newspapers.

Turns out that the Africans were completely innocent, and were only victimized because people gave in to racist sentiments and suspected them. The actual rapist - murderers were local Malaysians!

And there were no big headlines declaring the Africans innocent! Instead, a small article on the inside pages. And the majority of people continued to assume that the Africans were murderers and rapists.

This kind of stuff really makes me ANGRY. Africans are also human beings, made in the image of God. And we Malaysians commit terrible sins against them by perpetuating the stereotypes.

Sure, there are individual Africans who are evildoers -- just as there are Chinese, Indian, Malay, and "lain-lain" Malaysians who are evildoers.

But to racistly stigmatize a whole continent is evil.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Be Ye Glad

In these days of confused situations
And in these nights of a restless remorse
When the heart and the soul of a nation...1
Is threatened by racist politicians

I am encouraged to find that our singers,
Our artists, and NGO folks,
Have gotten together a video
To promote love among all races:

The Malaysian Artists for Unity did this completely free of charge. The video & everything else is free for downloading from their website.

1This is a reference to the song Be Ye Glad by Michael Blanchard [lyrics][video/YouTube]


Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Muslims in America

Ok, today's blog entry has nothing to do with Joni for a change.

I came across this video that brought tears to my eyes:

It's noteworthy that this was done in the most bigoted part of USA, the South. And yet, the majority of the people who said anything defended the Muslim woman. 6 people supported the bigoted store clerk, 13 stood up for the Muslim woman, and 22 said nothing. The ABC TV people made a big deal about the 22, but I think they were just intimidated -- it wouldn't have made a difference if it was some store clerk being belligerent for any other reason than hating Muslims.

For all we disagree with America's foreign policy, one thing about the Americans is their sense of human rights.

I think a similar thing would happen if it was a Christian in an equivalent part of Malaysia who was being refused service... but how about if it were a Jew?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Joni visits grandparents Chai

Joni visited her grandparents on the Chai side of the family and her cousin Dylan (10 days younger, Ian's sister's son) was also there.

Click on the picture below to see the photos. Joni and Dylan

After Diane and Simon left with Dylan, Joni had fun on daddy's former bed: