Delivering babies was fun, and I am once again in the Department of Paediatrics. I have mixed feelings when it comes to Paediatrics. We have a rather strange relationship.
Paediatrics was one of my earliest rotation in Klang, got thrown into it when I was just 2 months in clinical medicine. Did quite badly. Now, in just 3 months from the exit exam, I have to revisit Paediatrics.
While it is definitely not my favourite specialty, I seem to have an unusual will to work hard. (I'm usually the rather lazy type. I am even trying to give up my Ally McBeal dvds!) Maybe it is because of the looks of those unfriendly serious Paediatrics MOs that made me want to surpass be better than them one day.
In the words of a child, "Huh! Tengoklah bila saya jadi lu punya Professor! Hahahaha!(evil laugh)"
1) Rankings is not everything. It is probably a mere guide for employes and potential students and also food for the shallow and superficialists. So, let's not get too excited. Who gave The Times HES the authority to come up with a ranking anyway? If ranking is everything, then we should also be worried that there other rankings that does not even list UM among world's top 500.
2) Celebrating our achievements and glorified status should also come with an equally zealous ambition to improve and improve and soar and soar to even greater heights. Take TOYOTA as an example. They are arguably the second largest auto-maker in the company. The CEO when asked about his feelings of reaching such great heights, he said all he is more concerned about maintaining and improving the strength rather than basking in the temporary limelight. In Malaysia, where maintenance is next to nothing, this could be the very reason why we are always under-achievers.
3) Let us face the facts, UM is not reaching its highest potential. We could be what NUS is. Compared to the glorious past, we HAVE DECLINED.
4) Nevertheless, we are still a viable university where great doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, etc. are made.
5) It is not the institution, it is the individual. One of the reason for UM descent in quality is because of students that are too ordinary, too common, too uninteresting - probably as a result of our mediocre secondary education system. Mahathir has paved the way for such mediocrity when he was Education Minister, beginning with the cessation of the use of English as the main medium.
6) We need progressive and ambitious LEADERS in our varsities. I am sorry, my dear VC, but I do not think you are the best person to be heading our premier university.
7) There should be no place for UMNO politics in our campus.
All of us have painful moments before, sometimes a little bit painful, sometimes very painful
A big slap on the cheek and you get pain on the cheek.
You accidentally poured a pot of hot boiling water on your foot, it is going to be so painful.
Our body is designed to stay away from pain, and to avoid anything that can cause us pain.
Pain is so much fearful that we use pain as a form of punishment. We use the rotan to scare our young kids from being naughty. We use the rotan to punish the criminals.
Pain is so scary that anyone who can demonstrate that he can withstand those pains; we see it as magical, supernatural.
Indeed, many people have suffered a lot because of pain.
Wars and bombings here and there have caused people lying helplessly with broken limbs and intense pain. It leaves people dead, and cause painful broken hearts to their loved ones.
Cancer patients, in their final stage, would have so much pain, that if without painkillers, they would wish to end the pain by ending their lives.
Pain is so terrible, we have come to think of it as a bad thing. We may even question God, why do you let us people have pain?
Why God, you created so much blessing for us, the beauty of the sky, the beauty of the flowers, of this earth, of the people, and yet, you also have the heart to create something so terrible like PAIN for us ? Why God? Why give us Pain?
Brothers and sisters,
A few weeks ago, I saw a lady with a bandage on the left foot. When I opened it to see, The lady’s big toe was missing – it is amputated. I also saw a very bad ulcer. It is very deep, full of pus, and blood, infected with bacteria; it is going to take a long time for the ulcer to heal. We call it a diabetic ulcer.
When I ask her, is it painful – she said, NO.
What? Such a terrible wound, and there is no pain? Wow, did she take painkillers? No! Wah, then she must be lucky, isn’t it, to be free of the pain. Isn’t she the blessed one from God, that God took away the pain?
No. It is because that she cannot feel pain in her left foot, that causes her to have such bad ulcers in the foot, until her toe have to be cut off to avoid infection and gangrene.
It is a normal problem for diabetic patients who did not control their glucose level properly. They lose pain sensation in their feet, and sometimes, if they injure their feet, or when they develop sores from shoes that are too tight, there is no pain to tell them that, they you got a problem down there. There was no pain to tell them - Go bandage your wound, go change your shoe.
People who have leprosy have their fingers, nose and ears falling off, because they also lose the pain sensation in those infected parts, that when they injured it, they do not know. Slowly but surely, those infected parts would fall off.
There are children who are born without the nervous system to let them feel pain.
They are normal kids just like the others, but they would not cry when they touch the hot boiling pot on the stove, when they touch the hot iron, they would not cry if you rotan them or when they fall on the ground hurting their knee.
They would rub and rub their eyes until it is injured, they can scratch and scratch their hands until it is bleeding.
There is no pain. And see what happens when there is no pain, we are harming ourselves more than good.
Yes, sometimes when we are in pain, we beg for relief. We can even pray for a perpetual period of painlessness, but if we think again, I am sure all of us would prefer to have the ability to feel pain and none at all.
The ability to feel pain is a gift. It is part of the wonderful body that God has created in us. Pain is an alarm system to tell us there is problem – tackle it for the good of the body.
Brothers and sisters,
It is the same thing with our ability to feel guilty. Just like pain, guilt is the early warning sign of danger, the first message to us that something is wrong.
Even when no one is looking, you would feel guilty when you have done something wrong. Some of us cannot sleep for days until we sort out the problem. some of us let the guilt continue forever that it haunts our lives forever.
As Christians, we acknowledge that we are sinners; we acknowledge that we have sinned, we have a sinful past and there is nothing we can do to clear off our sins, but we trust God has sent his son Jesus Christ to pay for our sins. We are forgiven, And we pledge to do good as Christians, to be like Jesus.
Yet, there are times that we messed up – we broke the promise to Jesus – and we commit wrong, we wronged our brothers, we lust after another person, we have greed, we have anger, we lied. And we felt so bad, we felt so guilty before God, after that.
Last year, I met up with an ex-schoolmate who told me he has now involved in illegal things. He was a Christian.
He told me, “I still believe in Jesus, I believe in God. But I dare not go to church, I dare not pray to Him, because I do not know how to face Him. I have done so many things, I am too ashamed to face up to God.”
That is an example of a person who is troubled by guilt. It is also an example of wrong perception to guilt.
Guilt was never designed to make us farther from God. It was not meant to separate us from God, of losing the right to talk to Him, to be with Him. God did not put a guilty conscience in us so that when we committed sin, we are full of guilt and dare not go near Him again.
Instead, guilt reminds us about our place, as moral beings accountable to God. It sends out alarm of danger in our life with God when we are courting with temptations to sin.
Guilt reminds us of our sins, and the need to be forgiven.
We are like small children who have played with mud outside, and are now very dirty.
God is like our mother who saw the dirt in our bodies, and reminded us how dirty we are. And the mother would ask the child to draw close to her, bring her to the bathroom, and wash off the dirt.
Can the small child wash off the dirtiness without following the mother to the bathroom? Can we clear our guilty conscience, our sins without going back to God.
The ability to feel guilty is the ability to be humble, and acknowledge our brokenness, that we have fallen short of the glory of God.
When we know how guilty we are, how sinful we are – we would know how much love God has to actually want to forgive us.
In closing, I want to say this – non-believers may laugh at us for always calling ourselves sinners - associating ourselves with crime, with wrongdoings, with sin. We look as if we always have the burden of feeling guilty, compared to the carefree, non-believers.
But we Christians should know better – we are the ones who should be carefree and happy, because we have addressed the issue of feeling guilty- we know that Jesus Christ cleared our guiltiness.
A Christian is a sinner; a non-believer is also a sinner. All of us are sinners. But a Christian is a sinner who has repented, who has said sorry humbled by the feeling of guilt, and return to the arms of God who has forgiven him.
When you have pain, there are 2 choices – take painkiller and temporarily you’ll forget about the pain, or get straight to the cause of the pain, and you should be free of the pain forever.
Similarly, when we are burdened by guilt, there are 2 ways. Try to run away from God almighty, or go humbly back to Him, and have your sins forgiven.
If you have sinned and today you are burdened with guilt, do not be ashamed to go back to Him in prayer. God is faithful, God is kind, he is always ready to receive us in His open arms. When we repent to Him of our sins, we would be forgiven, and live in happiness and in peace.
At the end of the day, if UM students are proud of their varsity and are having the most fulfilling education experience - it does not matter where we stand in those questionable international rankings. But are we proud and enriched? ...(2)
And so what if UM and USM managed to better understand the methodologies behind the rankings table? Would both universities then decide to adapt and change the way to run the university in accordance to the table's ranking criteria just to improve the university's ranking? That just sounds a little too silly, right?
Wouldn't it be better for both universities to just focus on improving the quality of academics and facilities at the universities? The rankings will then naturally improve if our academics produces enough quality research valued by the peers and published regularly in respected journals. I just hope that the university administrators and the education authorities will get the priorities right!
At the end of the day, if UM students are proud of their varsity and are having the most fulfilling education experience - it does not matter where we stand in those mysterious international rankings. But are we proud and fulfilled?
Whether UM is 89 or 169 is not just the welfare of the VC alone. The students burned their STPM midnight oil, struggled against an ambiguous meritocracy system to guarantee a place in this supposed premiere university in the hope of receiving quality education and services. Do we not have a right to be worried when what we see with our own eyes seemed to be tallied with what the drop in ranking tells us? Is there really no more space left for students to stamp their own mark in this campus?
101: Church – the bride of Jesus or merely a self-righteous organization for the rich and fortunate?
1) Some of us have become Christians for many years. Coming to church on Sunday, seem like routine. Something that we definitely do. We come, we sing, we hear, we keep in touch, sometimes we eat and then we go home.
Along Jalan Gasing,Petaling Jaya, one can find more than 5 churches. Being a Christian and going to church – seems to be the popular thing to do.
2) But yet, probably when there is someone who asks us Christian today. What is the most important thing about being a Christian? – There will be different answers.
Some will say – coming to church every Sunday is important - defending the bible and the doctrine is most important - singing songs - fellowshipping with one another - bible class, sermons like this is most important
But how many say – being kind to people is most important?
3) More than 2000 years since Jesus came down for us, we Christians seem to have organized ourselves very well. We have very large church institutions – the Catholics, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, and of course the COC etc.
Even among our disagreement over the doctrines, these different groups of people who all claim to be Christians have organized themselves very well. These institutions are big organizations. And of course, with big organizations – there are many committees, and committee members and committee heads, offices, buildings. We have become very organized.
There is nothing very wrong about being organized, but if we spend too much time on organizing ourselves, and miss the other things – then it is no good.
Churches have become an organization of believers – that we can be so self-sufficient, that we may begin to isolate ourselves from the rest of the society. We become big enough to have our own community.
4) We have a set of doctrines – a set of rules and stood firm about it, and become so protective of the doctrine that we may even fight with other people of the same faith because of different doctrines. This organization of Christian would quarrel with another organization of Christians because they cannot agree about certain understanding in the bible.
We call this kind of thing as Defending the doctrine, defending the foundation of faith.
But is there any transformation in our heart??? We spend so much time arguing about what the bible says, but are we doing what the bible says?
5) Is being a Christian merely joining an organization????? What is the most important thing about being a Christian – joining and be actively involved in this organization???
Is there any transformation – in our heart?????? Is there a change in the way we see this world? Is there a change in the way we treat people? Is there a change in the way we view other human beings in this world??? Are we being kinder to people? Do we see hope in every people? Do we see the need?
Very often, the way we treat the set of doctrines that we seem to be so proud – cause us to dislike the people in the society more.
We also begin to condemn other people for their sins. We look down on prostitutes, con-man, beggars who are lazy, criminals, lousy politicians, etc. We may say, ”This world no hope already la…so much sin, so sinful….they are going to hell. Thank God, I have my church.”
We are comfortable in our church. The church is a comfort zone. This large institution, I feel safe from the sinfulness of this world. But as Christians are we not supposed to be willing to go out of this comfort zone, and make disciples out of the people around us?
How different are we compared to believers of other faith? What makes us different from the rest of this world who have yet to know Christ? Are we transformed?
6) Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.
There should be RENEWING of our mind. TRANSFORM – change !
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
And he died for all, and those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old one has gone, the new has come.
Brothers and sisters, We need to renew our mind. We need to transform. We need to stop seeing people using our worldy eyes, but see people like how Jesus see them. Be kind to people like how Jesus was kind to them.
Our old self – which is selfish, which likes to condemn, which is unkind, which is sinful, which is stingy, all our bad attitudes and worldly thinking has to go. The old self has to go, and let our new self come. The new self, that reflects Jesus Christ in us. The new self is kind to people, that is willing to sit down and eat with sinners, that does not think that rapists and prostitutes have no chance of going to heaven, but that these sinners can be saved.
Therefore, it is not enough for Christians to just be comfortable in a huge organization with buildings, office, officers, committees members, intellectual bible discussion, hot debates. We also need to see like how Jesus see To think like how Jesus thinks To do what Jesus do
There is a danger that Christians will miss the whole point and concentrate on organizing themselves and activities for themselves only, and forget about the rest of the world.
We need to start building bridges to the community – show kindness and selflessness.
We have to be different in our workplace. Instead of being just like other people who talk about bosses behind their backs, who try to be lazy, Who use office materials for personal gain. We should show integrity in our work. We should show respect to authority and kindness to subordinates.
We have to be different in our household. Instead of quarreling, and talking about mother-in-law, and sister-in-laws, and being jealous of our siblings – we should be leading the way in creating a loving and caring environment at home.
We need to be different in this society. Instead of joining the rest of the world in condemning abortion, drug addicts, criminals – we should also be kind enough to see beyond the evil of such thing. To realize the brokenness of these people, to see the need to reach out to them. Not to approve of what they do, but to tell them – “Hey, you have done wrong, you have sinned. But Jesus Christ is here for you”.
7) Brother and sisters,
Jesus did not come down and die so that we can debate about the bible, So that we can wear nice clothes and come to church on Sunday, So that we can drive nice car to church on Sunday, So that we can have nice lunch after church on Sunday.
It is much more than that, Jesus came down to die for each and everyone of us, so that we may have life, so that we are a new creation.
Being a Christian, does not mean a new club member of a very nice, respectable club. Being a Christian means being a new creation, Seeing like how Jesus saw Doing what Jesus did.