Friday, April 27, 2007

Incredibly Called!

By Yoke Yeow, The Tent

The Incredibles was truly incredible to watch. Trust Brad Bird to write a story that's fall-off-your-seat entertaining and emotively satisfying all at once. Having given us years of irreverent Simpsons and some heart-warming work like the Fox and the Hound, Bird is a master at his craft of story-telling and irony. And what a story of ironies it is!

First there's Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible. A herculean hunk who files insurance claims and cramps himself into a tin can for an automobile. Then there's his wife Helen, the Elastigirl (probably inspired by Plastic Man?), a body-stretching crime-fighter now mother of two and lawkeeper at home, doing all she can to hold together their precarious existence. Dash - now that's a character I can identify with! - capable of sound-barrier-breaking speeds but whose only expression of talent is tacking teacher's butt and losing at races to conceal his abilities. And Violet, the proverbial wallflower girl whose gift of invisibility helps her fade ever more into the background. Sad?

Sad it is. Yet the irony in The Incredibles is often the irony in our own lives. We too, are often forced to go undercover. The bigger part of our life stories are chapters of confusion. We try to make sense of our station in life and make good of our calling (whatever THAT may be!) While we plod on in the doldrums of work our gifts and passions get buried in increasing layers of disillusionment and despair. We strive to make a living but never actually LIVE. Not the way we were meant to anyway.

Our gifts may not necessarily be the popular ones, or sensational like superhuman strength or subsonic speed. But in big or small ways, the one who stands against the norms, who dares to make a difference, and hold on to the Truth against opposition is the real hero. The real hero is the one who exercises faith, believing when all around have given up. Who exercises hope, giving everyone the courage to press on against all odds. And the one who will continue loving no matter how much it hurts. Faith, hope and love - sounds familiar?

I believe there's a hero waiting to be set free in each of us.

I guess that's why I had to fight the urge to jump and cheer when Elastigirl blew up into a parachute bringing Dash & Violet to safety. Or when Dash whirred his feet to propel the boat that was his mother and run flaming circles round his captors. And when Violet bubbled up her force field for the first time, shielding everyone from the onslaught of heavy fire. I found myself rooting for these undercovers breaking loose and rejoicing in their moment of triumph. But it's not just the triumph of good over evil that fired up my heart. Or the good guys giving the bad guys a sound thumping that gave me satisfaction.

No, I find it was their triumph over internal obstacles that satisfied the most. When they find the joy of finally doing what they were made to do. When their outer blows were aligned to their inner passion to give to the world what they were given. When they broke free of their self-imposed bars telling them to be less than what they could be. When faith, hope and love brought Purpose and Passion together.

Well, maybe I'm just a die-hard fan of the superhero-comic genre, trying to derive meaning from a fantastic animation flick. But while I am trying to make sense of my job, ever trying to move from career to calling, the Incredibles are my heroes for this moment in time. In a world of little hope, this production goes down as a classic for me. As John Schuster says in his book, Answering the Call, it is in the time of doldrums and meaninglesness that we must mightily believe that we are called to a deeper purpose and pursue that with all our hearts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mission As Peace-Making

NECF interviews Tan Kang San: The world has shrunk with increasing interconnectivity, but it does not seem to make it easier for missionary work in general. With rising religious tension on this side of the pluralistic world, it can be said that the resistance towards Christianity is greater. What is the role of the Malaysian Church in peacemaking?

Tan Kang San: Increasing connectivity is no longer confined to media, travel and communication, but has resulted in ‘new social conditions’ whereby distant events have local impact almost immediately. So, modern Christians feel the resistance against Christianity is ‘greater’ from this sense of immediacy and awareness of alternate responses from people of other faiths. Just as Christian persecutions in Muslim countries were reported internationally, sufferings of innocent lives in Muslim countries have caused inter-religious conflicts globally. Silent apathy and ‘minding our own business attitudes’ are becoming less of an option because this religious tension is felt within our neighborhoods.

Peacemaking is integral to the mission of the Church and the Church has much to offer in terms of fighting against injustices regardless of race and religion. We can do this nationally, so that the dissenting Malaysian Christian’s perspectives on war and conflicts are heard in local media, and eventually it will contribute to the general discussion globally. We can do this locally, whereby our prayers, relief efforts, and compassion transcend race and religion. I find Walter Wink’s Engaging the Powers quite insightful. The powers are not simply human structures or demonic in nature, but they possess an inner spirituality or corporate culture that dominates and controls. Extremism and fundamentalism seem to be the dominant players in religious conflicts while the silent majority is helpless because the enemy is not so easily identifiable.

Finally, there is also a place for intra-dialogue within the Christian Church globally, whereby Western Christians discover diverse Christian positions from Asia or Latin America on the issue of global conflicts.

* Dr. Tan Kang-San is Head of Mission Studies at Redcliffe College, UK and is the Official Spokesperson for World Evangelical Alliance on Interfaith Issues. Previously, Kang-San served with OMF International. Kang-San will be teaching a course for pastors/lay leaders on “Old Testament Theology for Christian Ministry and Mission” at Bible College Malaysia from Aug 5 to Aug 10. For further details, contact Registrar at:

Orang Asli baptism

Recently CDPC OA team witnessed baptism service conducted on orang asli. It is a very significant event especially to the OA ppl themselves. They see it as their big day as this marks a new resolution in their life to deepened their walk with the Lord.

This baptism was conducted on the river in the midst of jungle. Both young and old together came together to sing praises to Yesus. As our team sang with them, there is bond & fellowship among us. Yes indeed Yesus has unite each one of us.

Click here to
read more [in malay version]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's Our Attitude

by Pauline Jasudason for iBridge

A kerosene lamp flickers brightly above while Brian and I pick out prickly bones from our fried fish. Mariamah (not her real name) keeps adding on to our plate as we dine outside her two-bedroom house in an oil palm estate on the outskirts of Ipoh. The hot night air weighs heavily upon us, but her large family gathered around the dinner table chats and laughs obliviously, while Mariamah tells her story.

They cut off electricity and water supply almost immediately, she said. We've lived here four generations now. My ancestors cleared this land, working like slaves. Where will we go?

"They" are a Malaysian plantation giant with government interests. They employed Mariamah since her teens in the late sixties. "They" sold off the estate, without telling the workers, because the land was earmarked for development.

The laborers were offered only paltry compensation. (A rubber tapper for 30 years, earning 200 ringgit a month, receives a compensation of 6,000 ringgit. What can he do with 6000 ringgit? Buy bricks to build a retirement home?)

The community fought to be heard for four years with petitions, letters to chief ministers, members of parliament, and court proceedings. Finally they won , but not without, they said, being harassed by thugs and even police officers.

What can I do?

In church I would sing about 'freeing' the 'downtrodden' but suddenly they were flesh and blood before me. As students, we were sent into communities in and around Ipoh. In every slum or squatter area, a tussle for dignity was taking place. What we saw humbled us and made us open during this particular leadership camp. We learnt not to judge or take pity, but to listen with compassion.

This was my first direct encounter with injustice. I witnessed the workings of a 'sinful structure'. But, what shocked me most was that their stories never made it to the media. All my life I've been shielded from the humanity going on in squatter communities. Their occasional claim to infamy is usually when they resist eviction they deserved anyway (so we are told!)

These are invisible people with unheard struggles.

Face-to-face with this reality I am forced to ask: How do I respond? What can I do?

The ministry of compassion

Those estate workers we met hinged high hopes on us. As university students we should rally to their cause, raise awareness, show the whole world their plight. If more people knew, more people would fight for what's right. But we could not promise them anything. We were, after all, 'model students' who abided by the AUKU (Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti) – the law that bars political activism, or anything similar, among undergraduates. But in reality, the whole situation was just too overwhelming for us.

Today, five years later, I read in my Bible: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and declare that the time of the Lord's favor has come.' (Luke 4:18-19)

The 'anointed' Christ is divine but also human and humane. He identifies with the weak, the marginalised and the oppressed. And I am called to follow in His footsteps. To continue His ministry of compassion. Yet, I am acutely aware of my limitations. I am just one person after all, and I'm certainly no Messiah. Where do I find the courage and the resources to right so many wrongs and fight for justice?

It's in the attitude

My life as a Christian must be seen and not just heard. I must walk the talk. And I am called to do what I can, not what I cannot. I have not gone back to that estate outside Ipoh since, but the experience has changed my mindset forever.

The biggest struggle is to translate the 'mindset change' into concrete, everyday actions. Along the way, I've figured it's helpful to borrow the motto of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: doing "small things with great love".

One glimpse at unfairness, one moment of illumination – and it's almost impossible to go back to comfortable ignorance. Over the next few months, this column will, hopefully, explore avenues of living out faith in the midst of the human condition. Let's walk this one together. READ ON

Monday, April 23, 2007

Church-Based Theological Education

First Baptist Church, City Discipleship Presbyterian Church, PJ Gospel Hall, St. Paul’s Church

Course Name: Church History 1
Description: The purpose of this course is to survey the church's history from the apostolic era to the beginning of the Reformation (30 - 1500 A.D.) with a special emphasis on theological controversies that have affected Christianity.

Dates: 28 Jul 07, 4 Aug 07 & 1 Sep 07 (3 Saturdays)
Time: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
Venue: First Baptist Church, Lot 8 Jalan Pantai (9/7), Petaling Jaya

Cost: RM240 (credit) & RM130 (audit)
Credit: 2 Credit Hour/Unit awarded by Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary.

Closing Date: 1 Jul 2007
A late payment fee of RM20 will be imposed for late registration.

For more information or to register, contact the Registrar, Ms. Doreen Chan, via h/p at 016-2830918 or email

About the Course Instructor
Dr. John Mark Terry is Professor of Missions at the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary in Penang. His PhD is from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Terry has taught at various seminaries in Asia, Africa and the United States of America and written articles and books on missions and evangelism.


Course Name: Parables

Description: The purpose of this course is to investigate what a parable is, how parables have been interpreted throughout the history of the church, and what basic principles should be followed in interpreting them. These principles will then be used to interpret certain key parables with an emphasis on preaching the parables.

Dates: 21 Jul 07 & 18 Aug 07 (2 Saturdays)
Time: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
Venue: First Baptist Church, Lot 8 Jalan Pantai (9/7), Petaling Jaya
Cost: RM80
Credit: 1 Credit Hour/Unit awarded by the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary
Closing Date: 1 Jul 2007

About the Course Instructor
Dr. Ben Merkle holds a Ph.D. in New Testament studies and lectures in the region. He has published many scholarly articles in the field of biblical studies.

How Do You Prepare for Mondays?

I don't hate Mondays. Really, I don't.

However, on many Monday mornings, my heart sits somewhere between being burdened by anticipated cares of the week and genuine gladness of heart. I'm essentially uninspired, lethargic and not particularly amazed at God's grace. Sound familiar?

That's admittedly not a particularly good attitude to carry forward into the week. So by God's help, I'm hoping for a change this week and taking a cue from how 19th century pastor, George Mueller prepared for Mondays (actually, it's how he prepared for every day) -

"According to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. "

Think you have responsibilities? George Mueller was a man of immense responsibility, overseeing care for more than 2000 orphans - all this accomplished without government assistance, personal wealth or corporate sponsorships. Despite his many noble responsibilities, he placed as his highest priority to have his heart happy in God, each and every day.

How did he go about pursuing and practicing this? He offers an important hint by the following quote:

"But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How to obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ."

I'm applying this by looking to God to reveal himself through his word. In particular, I'm looking for the portrait of Jesus Christ in the passages I read, reminding myself of his work of sacrifice on the cross, meditating on his love. I'm doing so with confidence that my lethargic heart is no match for God's inspired words to me. Here's what God graciously turned up for me in Psalms 130:3-4

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

Buried in the Book of Psalms, is this wonderful gospel picture, speaking of God's holiness, our depravity and his provision of forgiveness. I'm meditating on those verses together with 2 Corinthians 5:21.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Today, let's focus on that bit of good news till we get happy in God.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

John Piper's advice on What to Say About Virginia Tech

21 Ways to Minister to Those Who Are Suffering
April 16, 2007

After the Columbine shootings, John Piper wrote up 21 ways to love and comfort the hurting by trusting wholly in God's sovereignty over all things. He revised them after 9-11. I posted this a couple months ago, but I want to again in light of the Virginia Tech incident that is still developing.

As lovers of an all-powerful God, let us be prepared to love people in their pain by empathetically and mercifully pointing them to a God who is in control.

21 Ways to Minister to Those Who Are Suffering
(Bible verses to accompany each item on this list are available in the full article.)

Read the full list here

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two Paths Of Obedience

Two Paths Of Obedience by Dr Goh Chee Leong, an article written for Graduate Christian Fellowship

I think all of us as Christians agree that our responsibility above all things is to follow where God leads us. We all believe in divine guidance, even though they may be differences in how God chooses to communicate this guidance to us. The more difficult challenge of course is not discerning His will but having the strength to submit to His call when it is revealed.

We realize of course that God's calling will lead all of us in different directions. Some may be called to take the path of upward mobility while others will be called to head south.

The Path of Upward Mobility

There are ample examples in the Bible of God placing key people in key positions. Both the stories of Daniel and Joseph provide good models of God developing young leaders and then empowering them to wield Godly influence at key moments in history. Many sermons have
been preached on the need for committed Christians in positions of leadership in all areas of society and industry. God's name is glorified when his servants of high profile reflect His attributes of love, grace, holiness and integrity.

Some among us may be called to this high road of power and influence. Of course, men like Joseph and Daniel never sought power as an end; rather they pursued righteousness and received power quite unexpectedly as a result of God's provision. As their examples
demonstrated, God will tests these potential leaders and only give them power when they have proven faithful and obedient in the smaller tasks. He does this for good reason, for power and wealth, as we know, corrupts.

God has blessed some of us with talents and gifts of intellect that will no doubt enable us to climb the corporate and social ladder as far as we wish to go. We work hard and are committed to transcend mediocrity. This success is not a bad thing in itself, for God may indeed have designs to use us as leaders and people of influence and power. However, those who are called to this high road thread a dangerous path indeed. Many have lost their souls trying to serve both God as well as their personal ambitions. There is a fine but clear line between being driven by a desire to obey and being driven by the desire to succeed. Mother Theresa once remarked; "God has not
called me first and foremost to be successful. He has called me to be faithful."

The young Christian graduate who sets out with the genuine desire to earn wealth in order to support God's kingdom may at some point be so obsessed with achieving his goal that he forgets the motive behind it. This moral tension becomes more apparent when faced with ethical
dilemmas that pit following God versus corporate success.

I recently remarked to a college CF that we should start inviting more speakers who have the experience of being held back or fired from their jobs because they chose to follow God rather than their own ambitions. We should remember that Joseph was held back for quite awhile in his "political career" (due to his faithfulness) before he rose to the lofty positions he finally held.

The Path of Downward Mobility

It was Henri Nouven who taught me the phrase downward mobility. His own life of course reflected this thinking. A famous professor of theology at the peak of his academic career at an ivy league university, Nouven heeded God's call to abandon all fame, fortune, power and influence to serve as a Priest to a mentally disabled community for the remainder of his life. God had called him not be upwardly mobile but like Christ to lower himself in the eyes of society so that he could be closer to God.

Some of us will be called to walk this road of downward mobility. It will lead us away from the limelight and places of profile to the quiet corners of this world where God's plan is no less important. It will lead to sharp drops in the key performance indicators (KPIs)
that are used by this generation to measure success. People while openly stating their admiration for our commitment will behind our backs quietly remark "what a waste of talent."

This is the path of John the Baptist, the old-testament prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah, and most of the apostles like Paul and Peter. It is the path of missionaries, social workers and Christian workers. It is a call to free ourselves from the wealth and position that so
often limits mobility and time. It is not the road reserved for those who cannot "make it" up the upwardly mobile path, it is certainly not the consolation prize for those who lack talents to succeed in other professions. Some of us are called to this path simply because it is
God's will and part of God's larger design.


The Kingdom of God needs young men and women in both these paths; the one that leads to high profile leadership and the other that leads down the social ladder. God places equal emphasis on each. There is no thought of which is greater than the other. As Paul remarks, we
have been given different gifts in order to play different roles.
All roles are important in God's church.

The question is whether we are on the path God has called us to, and if we are, are we being faithful in playing the role God wants us to play.

Dr Goh Chee Leong

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Should Christians Emigrate?

Bishop Hwa Yung posted a timely reflection on the moral issue of emigration when the going gets tough... Here is an excerpt from the NECF article:

"Most of the time, we allow the negative circumstances around us to determine the course of action we take in life. Often, we fail to begin with God, with who He is – the Lord of history – and of what He can do through His people who trust Him.

The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation to those who believe, as Paul wrote. And this is not just in the narrow sense; God’s salvation will necessarily have socio-economic and political implications for the nation as well.

We need to take our eyes off the negative circumstances around us and recognise that if this is where God has called us to be, then He will also make available to us His power, to proclaim His gospel of salvation, to build His church and to transform the society in which we live into something better. We need grace sufficient to grasp afresh such a vision of God.

If this is the vision that we need, what concrete shape will it take? Dr. Isabelo Magalit, a respected Christian leader in the Philippines once wrote an article entitled, "I have a dream."

In it, he spoke of seeing, coming out from the Christian student world of this present generation in East Asia, men and women who truly know God and His Word and whose lives are fully yielded to Him.

From amongst such men and women, he sees many going into full-time ministry as pastors, evangelists and theologians, labouring to build God’s church in East Asia. Others amongst them would enter the professional fields such as law, business, engineering, politics and government, and journalism, and from within these professions exert a positive and powerful Christian influence in our society in Asia, and turn it towards a more righteous and just and godly direction.

Then he sees Christian homes springing up all over the region shining with the glory and beauty of the gospel in the dark world around them. Finally, he spoke of the pouring forth of the next wave of overseas missionaries from Asia into all the world. Towards the end of Dr. Magalit’s paper, he said, "Share my dream. Take your place in it. Stand up and be counted for Jesus."

This is the sort of vision we all need to recapture today."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Pressure of Novelty

Stuart McAllister will be speaking at the RZIM Reasonable Faith Training Camp: "Christ among other lords" in Melaka this coming weekend.(I'm looking forward to make a trip there to meet the Agora Spore gang!)

Born in Scotland, he majors in topics like pluralism, postmodernism and consumerism. Check out his interesting mini-biography here which includes some imprisonments in Europe. Two articles from Just Thinking columns called Permanent Things and the church and culture in the 21st century are highly recommended reads.

But here's an excerpt from a favorite of mine called the Pressure of Novelty:

"What disturbs me personally—and many people whom I have talked to across the country and internationally—is the growing trend to ignore Christian history, to devalue Scripture, to reframe worship, and to lessen the role of discipleship, holiness, theology, and content. What matters is whether God is “experienced” (something I also seek), whether worship is compelling (a commendable value), and whether people actually come (a valid desire). However, this tendency and practice of avoiding the past is distracting, and I believe, wrong.

Speaking of this trend, Christian scholar R. R. Reno says, “In all cases we are modern insofar as we will not suffer that which we have received. We must step back in order to unburden ourselves, to lighten our lives so that we can be raptured away from the hindering, limited, ruined forms that the past has imposed on the present. This is the spiritual pattern that makes modernity modern.”

Within the mythology of modern and post-modern society is the deep belief and value that only what works or satisfies in the present is to be allowed. Thus a creeping evolutionary notion is married to an existentialist demand, and then served up with a muddle of therapeutic and marketing requirements, which begins to alter beyond recognition the thing (the Christian faith) that is the target of such enthusiastic revision.

Commenting on what he describes as the breathless pursuit of relevance, Os Guinness writes, “By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.”

Another speaker to look out for is Aussie John Dickson and we could check out his free online resources here.

Here's an excerpt from his award winning book Spectator's Guide To World Religions:

"If Christianity is uniquely true, its beauty will be best seen only when viewed amidst a full and fair account of the alternatives. Let me give you an analogy that comes to mind. Imagine yourself as an art curator who is convinced that one piece in his collection has an unequalled quality. What will you do? Will you dim the lights on the ‘competitors’ in the gallery and put the spotlights on your favourite piece. Of course not. That would be a sure sign you were not actually convinced about the special beauty of your treasured masterpiece. I mean, if you’ve got to obscure the other pieces in order to make your favourite one look good, something is clearly
wrong. A truly assured curator, that is, one with a deep confidence in the excellence of his prized item, would place all the gallery lights on full, confident that as careful art-lovers inspect the whole collection, viewing all the works in their best light, one painting, in particular, will draw people’s attention.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Voice Of Young Malaysians

Tricia posted the 1st Young Malaysians Roundtable Discussion Consensus Document

We, the participants of the Centre for Public Policy Studies (Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute) - National Young Lawyers Committee (Bar Council) 1st Young Malaysians Roundtable Discussion on National Unity & Development in Malaysia “Challenges & Prospects for Nation Building” held in Kuala Lumpur on 3 April 2007, having shared experiences and perspectives on the issues relating to the subject-matter and found the same to be empowering and beneficial state as follows:

I. On Sustaining Open and Constructive Dialogue

We recognise:

1. That we have reached a stage in our nation’s development that necessitates a level of honest and critical introspection and self-examination which are crucial elements in understanding ourselves as a nation.

2. The youth as an essential segment of Malaysian society whose views must be included without restrictions in forging an identity for the nation, thereby requiring their greater education and participation with concomitant strategies and mechanisms for enhanced engagement with them in dialogue.

3. The roles of Government, non-governmental organisations, religious groups, business enterprises and in general, civil society as key role-players and leaders in initiating and sustaining continuous dialogue in more open and wider public spheres within the scheme set out above.

4. That constructive dialogue is a very important tool in building bridges between ethnicities, cultures and religions, and is a crucial step towards enhancing inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations towards national unity.

5. That dialogue should be conducted in an open yet safe atmosphere of mutual understanding, acceptance and respect, and that knowledge should be exchanged through a process of sharing and discussion in a non-judgmental and non-discriminatory way. In particular, “enforced solutions” including threats of violence or coercion must be avoided.

II. On Ethno-Religious Politics and Implications on Nation Building

We recognise:

6. That the key to developing a strong and united Malaysia is to be founded on core principles of justice, equality and respect for human rights and fundamental liberties of every person regardless of race or religion, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

7. That the interests and needs of the disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable be accorded due recognition.

8. That any level of apprehension experienced by young Malaysians towards ethno-religious policies has a real and tangible effect upon nation building, materialised in the present and experienced in the future.

9. That ethnic-based politics and racist ideologies in any form be rejected.

III. On Education Policies and National Development

We recognise:

10. The importance of Government’s education policies within primary, secondary and tertiary level institutes as instruments that should promote national unity.

11. That Government’s education policies should however reflect the reality of Malaysians and their ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.

IV. On Forging a Young Malaysian Identity towards National Unity

We recognise:

12. The need to forge a Malaysian identity towards shaping a future founded upon national unity, especially among the younger generation which will form the future of our Malaysian leadership.

13. The time has come for Malaysians to move beyond its “accommodation-ist” approach to interacting with one another in terms of mere tolerance; towards a full appreciation, understanding, acceptance and equal treatment of every person regardless of race or religion and in embracing all diversities and complexities.

14. National unity should move beyond a superficial interpretation based on form (e.g. food, language and traditional festivals) towards one based on essence, substance and shared values (e.g. mutual respect, love, justice and equality).

V. Conclusion

We note the urgent need to ensure sustained and effective implementation of constructive steps towards achieving the above. In particular, we state the following:

15. There is a need to stress common and shared values of every person regardless of race and religion, and to eliminate the misuse of identification by ethnic or religious background.

16. There is a need to de-construct arguments or discussions entrenched along racial or religious paradigms within our nation, moving towards an egalitarian issue-based paradigm.

17. Further, there is a need to foster and implement strategies to better manage ethno-religious politics, in particular those which are in conflict with national unity policies.

18. All educational institutes should incorporate programmes and training modules that seek to improve ethnic and religious relations, bearing in mind historical, anthropological and sociological aspects with the aim of promoting national unity and racial harmony.

19. Malaysian educational institutes in particular its educators should enhance teaching and research standards encouraging critical thinking including allowing greater acceptance and diversity for divergent opinions with the aim of being international leaders in their fields.

20. There should be concerted efforts to determine factors which repel young Malaysians from their home country, with a view to encouraging Government and civil society to seek solutions and strategies towards eliminating these negative features.

We urge the Government to engage, increase its co-operation with, and support the community of young Malaysians through their representation and active participation at youth movements, non-governmental organisations, religious groups and in general, civil society particularly in relation to the nation building process and in the implementation of the above.

We urge the Government to accept and act in accordance with the principles contained in the Convention of the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

We further urge key policy-makers that the views, perspectives and opinions arising from this Roundtable Discussion are taken into serious consideration during the formulation process of Government policies and practices.

Lastly, we encourage all individuals in society, young and old, to collectively share in this vision as we continue to shape a Malaysian identity for the future of our nation.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Choosing Babies

Technology Review: Choosing Babies

A growing number of genetic tests can be performed during in vitro fertilization, before pregnancy even begins. Is that a good thing?

By Emily Singer
The following article appears in the March/April 2007 issue of Technology Review.