Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Deviance versus Defiance

Social normality and societal expectations are often a construct, created to control the behavior of individuals within a society, bearing different codes in different cultures. What is ethical code of conduct in one country may be unethical in another, and what is expected of us as members of the society is constraint within the social construct.

In a society where freedom of expression and speech is prevalent, the culture frequently breeds complacency and people demand their rights to information among other things. In a less privileged society, the culture breeds obedience and people conform to a kind of self regulation in adhering to pre-defined social norms. Neither of the two extremes is ideal, hence a balance is always sought.

Where freedom is restricted, people who question the authorities are often seen as deviants. Prolonged restrictions however beget defiance at every opportunity available, especially when a rule is in the gray. For example, when the news tell of a magazine or a book that is banned because of inappropriate content, citizens rushed to find ways to obtain the material so they can know what has been restricted or what is hot and juicy. Human behavior is such that the more one is told not to commit a wrong, the more likely the person will choose to defy, if not in front of authorities, will be committed underground.

This is simply the force of nature at work, where unlike poles attract and like poles repel. Many governing systems using authoritarian or socially responsible do not seem to realize that restrictions and constrains breed contempt and opposition, thus increasing defiance. People who defy are not totally to be blamed and variations from norms need not necessary become deviancy. All of us differ in opinions and each of us interprets things differently, yet not of our own, but of a framework within a constructed way of thinking, what is known as hegemony. While we choose to believe we are the ones making up our own minds on issues, we are in truth making decisions based on our upbringing, and our upbringing is based on the education we received, taught by the same people who construct the culture and beliefs.

There is in fact only a thin line differentiating deviancy and defiance, and the people of the new generation knows this very well. What parents and society think of children who disobey and do things their own way are a result of too much constrains and restrictions, and without freedom, people cracked under the yoke, resulting in defiance. This is essentially the state of the society today.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Effects of Negative Publicity

Negative publicity about blogging recently has affected many people, including the non-bloggers.

News pertaining to the jailing and punishment of bloggers over offences of sedition and porn has raised considerable concerns in the public community, resulting in negative effects and pseudo-perceptions of blogging and online activities as a dangerous affair.

In a blog created by a student less than a month ago, the blogger wrote about how she has secretly started her blog and how her parents would 'kill' her if they found out. A few days after she wrote that blog, she has ceased blogging completely, leaving her last words as having been found out.

The news is not without having an effect on me too. Don't get me wrong, I am not against blogging. I have been blogging for sometime, and I have found it extremely helpful for sharing, educating, and getting to know new friends. What I am saying here is its effect on me resulting from the daily hounding of my better half who reminds me constantly of the dangers I may be in, getting upset over my 'addiction' to online activities. The truth is, I barely spend more than five per cent of my available time in Net activities, even though I do communicate in online communities and blogs. I suspect the real reason is probably because I have not been spending enough time with my companion, but considering the fact I am a worker and a student at the same time, I am in actuality already barely grasping with time.

The way news is presented can affect the way views are perceived. If presented negatively, its effects may result in unfair perception of blogging and online activities as totally bad. In reality, however, blogging is a useful way of communicating and sharing, and online activities have helped build a unique sense of closeness in a global world, which have never before been possible prior to the introduction of cyberspace.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Online Journalism

Online Journalism
Going through the process of designing a news web site as part of the learning requirements for Online Journalism, the task ahead is not only challenging, but also demanding skills in conceptualization, news sense, story consideration, and some coding to reap the unique benefits that comes exclusively with online news reporting.

For example, when writing news stories, consideration must be made on how to engage the readers' attention and understand their habits and needs. One such consideration may be to provide hyperlinks for extended readings in addition to guiding a sequence for reading. Slideshow, such as a pictorial presentation of news, is a good idea to provide 'news in pictures', with individual captions to explain the photos, so as not to allow ambiguity or misinterpretation.

News stories can have a summary lead to draw the interest of the audience, and the content of each piece of news should be independent from the need to read previous entries for background or complete story. Linear writing allows the reader to scroll down to make a complete reading without having to click on another page for the story. Headlines of news stories should convey the content with a straightforward approach rather than 'funny or cute'. HTML coding is another area that needs to be learnt so as to provide essential customization of web pages. In short, all that needs to be done is to:

  • Use hyperlinks to allow readers to extend reading if required
  • Combine linear and non linear storytelling
  • Give the audience choices, yet guiding them along a sequence of reading
  • Incorporate captions for individual photos in slideshow rather than simply throw together a bunch of interesting photos
  • Provide a good lead for each story to draw audience into reading further
  • Provide sufficient linear reading without requiring hypertext to other pages
  • Use meaningful headlines rather than the funky
  • Get familiar with HTML even if a web authoring software is available

For a sample web site that includes all the points mentioned above, visit News Beat.

Dube J (2003a) 'Online Storytelling Forms', Journalism.org - Journalism Tools, www.journalism.org/resources/tools/writing/lessons/storyteling.asp (Accessed April 15, 2004) pp.1-3.

Dube J (2003b) 'A Dozen Tips for Writing News Online', Journalism.org - Journalism Tools, www.journalism.org/resources/tols/writing/lessons/tips.asp (Accessed April 15, 2004) pp.1-3.

Ward M (2002) 'Chapter 6: Who's Afraid of HTML', Journalism Online. Focal Press Oxford: 150-163.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Private Lives in Public Eyes

I use to record my daily activities in a diary when I was younger. These records are meant for self-edification for the private use of the individual writing the diary.

Today, web diaries (blogs), Internet communities, and other gratifying services and products allow individuals to share their private lives with many. Blogs allow the individual writer to share his or her life and deny or grant comment for feedback. It allows people in the public to know a person's private life and identify with the person as if he or she knows the individual.

Celebrities host web sites to draw people to buy their services and products while letting their audience identify with them, giving the public individuals the feeling of knowing them personally through participating in forums, group discussions, comment on photographs, giving testimonies at celebrities' personal profiles in what is called Online Communities, like Friendster, Hi5, and MySpace.

No longer is a diary for private use. It is now for the public eye, added with multimedia features incorporating sounds, videos, images and interactivity. If you are an individual unknown someone, you can become a celebrity through Net communities and blogs. You need not have to put your face on the line, and can hide behind a mask of avatars if you mind, but you can't escape the public eye.

Is this the kind of publicity you need for your private life? Communities such as these are just great ways to celebrate the broken line of private individuals in the public eyes of a small world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Imagined Communities

People who study Mass Communication or related fields would have often heard the term 'imagined communities', which refers to the publics as target audiences or subjects under governance.

These days, imagined communities can be very real, especially with interactivity of communication on the Internet. Take the example of forums. People participate and voice their views publicly, but these people do not reveal their real names and often use short names or nicknames to hide their identity. These are people I would term as real imagined community or communities, since there are so many forums on the Net.

Another imagined community which is very real indeed is what known as Online Communities, such as the popular friends’ community sites like Friendster and MySpace. People participating in such communities often feel attached to the imagined friends they have in their list and through participation in their forums and multimedia groups, people begin to identify and feel belonging as if they know each other personally.

For example, models, movie stars, and popular personalities have their fan clubs formed in groups where audience can subscribe to access photographs, chats, discussion messages and many more. The star of the object needs only place occasionally entries of messages, say, to describe themselves, and all subscribers will be able to know the object intimately, sharing with others of like minds.

These imagined communities can become very real, depending on the amount of participation by the individual in commenting or writing testimonials on their imagined friends' blogs, profiles, and photographs.

With such technology these days, people do not feel as lonely as they should be, because they can imagined virtually the 'friends' they have, but in reality, such 'friends' are often imagined and some are represented by avatars, which essentially are fake identities, so whether the other party is real or imagined, disguised or true, male or female, it is up to one to decide to what extend he or she should indulge in this unreal world!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Confession of a Pusher

You may be wondering what a pusher has to do with writing or journalism, but do not be mistaken, this article is not about drugs or about acts outside marriage. It is about what captures the attention of the readers and about captions and headlines, so if you wish to know what the pusher's confession is all about, read on, for the story begins here ...

It irks me that I am a pusher and I have to do it daily. It is not as if I am enjoying it, but rather I don't have a choice.

Let me tell you my story, how I became a pusher. I work it a place remote from public transport and I have to take a feeder bus to reach my destination. Each time the bus arrives, a huge crowd will gather to enter to a one-door entrance up the bus. There is no queue to decide who goes in front of another nor the cue to know the exact spot where the bus will stop, so everyone has to move discerningly in anticipation, to position a good spot when the bus is seen arriving.

When the bus arrive and stop, all hell will break lose and everyone will be rushing to get up the bus relentlessly. Some passengers however will be stricken with fear of stampede and freeze without moving forward, and that is where I become a pusher.

I push people to move forward to reach the bus. Many people surrounding the bus will try all angles and means to make their way forward and up, inch-by-inch, step by step, but with some fear stricken people ahead, there is seldom chance to reach the goal. The only way, therefore, is to PUSH ahead using a finger or one's body, with a stare that can kill, to make sense to the person ahead, to quit being a stumbling block and move forward and up.

This is my story of how I became a pusher, and it is an unpleasant daily experience for me, because I have always pride myself in acting gracefully, but for this case, I do not have a choice, so if you are one of my victims, I hope you will understand.

As you can see from what is written above, a header or a title of an article plays an important role in drawing the attention of readers and target audiences. Like tabloid news, however, sometimes the content of the story may fall short of expectation of what the headline may have promise. This is what is known as sensationalizing news, which often leaves the readers disgruntled at the end, if he or she ever reads to the end.

A lesson for the writer or journalist is therefore to write responsibly, professionally, and credibly, in providing a content that substantiates what the headline promises.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Conversational Writing

When writing for the broadcast media, it is usual to write in a way similar to a conversation, such as talking to someone or an audience. This is called conversational writing.

A common practice of conversational writing takes place when we chat and give comments in blogs. People use conversational writing or words to chat with others on the Net, and some use words in chat to flirt with others whom they can only 'see' or imagine from photo images or avatars representing them.

In the 'real' world, people who flirt online may really be quite tamed, while people whom seemingly keep silent and use ordinary pictures to represent themselves on the Net may be reversed.

Words, verbally spoken or casually written, are often assumed harmless because people on the Net seldom meet each other and unless they do, nothing physical can happen. However, the truth about words is that it can send sensory signals to a person's innermost being, triggering roaring desires hidden within.

Whether we think of words as harmful or otherwise, it is prudent for us to be wise, to note the things we say, to keep ourselves from harm's way!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Blog Disaster: Death of Free Speech

The death of the freedom of speech and the dangers of blogging are not something that happen only in countries that practise communistic or social responsible models, but also in countries that uses the freedom of the Fourth Estate or the Western model.

In August last year, Friendster, the online social networking organization that promotes self-expression among peers, fired one of its employees for her personal Web log. Read the story by Stefanie Olsen, "Friendster fires developer for blog" at news.com (assessed July 28, 2005) for more information.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Friends or Avatars

AvatarsWriting an article these days require the writer or journalist to be conversant with the language of the Internet and the web. For the next 3-6 months, my studies will encompass the topics of online web journalism, radio and television journalism, and journalism ethics.

In the World Wide Web, many people get to 'know' each other through blogging, chatting, and emailing, and in many cases, these people do not meet the other face to face or even see their real faces. A photograph of someone on the Net, even with a name attached to it, is seldom the actual face of the person you are communicating with. It is usually just an avatar.

An avatar, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is "an image which represents you in online games, chat rooms, etc." This essentially means a picture which is not you, placed anywhere online in the Internet or the World Wide Web, to represent you.

This form of representation can be discreet or exploitative. Discreet means to put an image that is obviously not you to represent you, such as a cartoon, a comic character, scenery, or something else. Exploitative means stealing or borrowing someone else's image to represent you.

For example, when John communicates on the Internet to write blogs or to chat, he uses avatars, obvious avatars that let the other party knows he does not want to be seen. He does not steal or borrow someone else's identity to pretend it is his. His many cyber friends also use avatars, but unlike him, they use cool pictures of images to represent themselves, mostly stolen identities or impersonation. It may be the real person is not handsome or pretty, but to have images that attract a person in order to be friends is not always ethical or acceptable at times, but then again, maybe, like John, they have something to hide, just as John discreetly hides behind avatars.

The 'reality' is, as users of the Internet, many people represent themselves using avatars. This can pose a problem. If some day a person gets close to knowing another on the Net and they wish to meet, it may turn out to be a shock when they do, because being beautiful or handsome sometimes plays a very important role to chemistry. As long as avatars are involved, people on the web are just 'real' individuals who hide behind masks!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is It Worth It?

As I walk this narrow way
Where the sun shines and set everyday
The things we count valuable
Will sooner or later fade away
Let me learn to count my days
To walk upright in acceptable ways
To live my life worthy of the call
To lead the world to a place above

This poem is written as an afterthought from an early morning nature walk.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The World Beyond

There is a world we look beyond
A place we long to go
The place we can only presently dream
Of peace and joy we yearn to have
Free of dust odours and pollution
Utopia of nature undefiled
An environment only of pleasant smell

The World Beyond

In hearts within we long to possess
The place in God can we only have
A promised land of blessings beyond imagination
A truth we can only see to comprehend

To catch a glimpse of the world beyond,
view the picture at this post,
created using 3D art by

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Writing for the Faith

I wrote a few articles on the topic of voyeurism and morality recently at FaithWriters.com.

It talks candidly about the lust of the eyes, pornography on the Net, and perceived moral standards. If you wish to read them, go ahead and access the articles,
Voyeurism the Visual Sin and Morally Acceptable.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

International Journalism: Freedom of Press

International Journalism
Different degrees of press freedom is found in different parts of the world. Whether the country you are in is practising Western or Authoritarian theory of the press, it makes no difference to the fact that press freedom is relative and subjective. There is no true complete press freedom whether you are exericising rights to the Fourth Estate as watchdog of the state or constrained and restricted by governance.

Take the example of the Western free press where the government is not allowed to intervene with news written by journalists. Exemption from government's intervention in the free market may mean freedom from the government, but it is not freedom from the media owner. Where the survival of a newspaper is dependent on advertisments and subscribers, how free do you think news can be? News is written for its readers and what the readers want to know and hear is what determines the content of news. If a journalist writes something true, but is of no significance to the audience's life, the papers do not sell. If the papers do not sell, the publication cannot survive, and advertisers will not spend money on a poorly circulated publication. For this reason, some newspapers are circulated free, but these papers are unsustainable for serious news in broadsheet press. In other words, there is no freedom in free market press and the content of the papers are determine by advertisers and subscribers.

In an Authoritarian press environment, the control is primarily from the government. There may not be need for a law to censor what is allowed and what is not, because coercing through actions is good enough to perform wonders. Say a wrong word and you get sued or replaced, and automatic self-censorship and self-regulation wil fall in place. In so doing, the audience reads from the news, socially constructed perspectives of events, controlled by governance, to read and see things the way they planned.

Whether you are in a country that practices Western or Authoritarian or Communist or Developmental theories of the press, it is more or less the same. The content of all press is controlled by some form of governance and the only difference is in the degrees of 'press freedom'.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Original Writings

We reap what we sow and we write what we read. That is why our writings are seldom original. Much of our thoughts are built from what we know through reading. Our logic is built from accumulated knowledge from past experience and from studies. Past knowledge is a killer of originality. We need not plagiarize when we write, but we frequently borrow ideas from someone or somewhere else.

In this information age, we are seldom a witness to actual events. The news or stories we read or hear each day is often relayed to the journalists from a source. Relying on source can lead to bias reporting and yet journalists are expected to be objective, impartial, and balance in their reporting. This is a lot to ask of anyone, for a thought or hypothesis we add to what we write is often social construct. We are what we are because we have been molded thus to be, systematically, through education, through regulations, and through depravity.

If someone says he has an original idea, he is almost certainly a liar. Few are the things we see and hear are truly original. They are all borrowed ideas, combined from different sources, formed as one to be considered new, but there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NAS)
That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

No Free Speech in Blogging

Blogging can be dangerous, especially if your blog entries contain comments relating to the Singapore government or any person representing that government or its agencies. If your 'true' identity is traceable within the blog, you can be sued for any defamatory statements made on the Internet.

Tracking the identity of a blogger can be easy, especially if your true data has to be provided to the company hosting your blog. A host company, whether local or oversea, can be forced to reveal information of their users when a court order is served.

In a case on the Internet, a Singapore student in the United States was forced to shutdown his blog because of a comment he made on a government agency. Chen Jia Hao, 23, a first-year graduate student in the chemical physics PhD program at the University of Illinois, has to unreservedly apologize to The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) of Singapore for unspecified "defamatory statements" made against the agency and its chairman Philip Yeo.

Today, the blog site of Chen no longer exist apart from an index page containing the apology. This issue has "raised concerns among international press freedom groups that Singapore, known for its strict controls on the traditional media, might be widening its scope to crack down against dissent on the Internet" (AFP 2005).

"We are troubled that the government has raised the spectre of costly legal action to chill commentary on the Internet," says executive director Ann Cooper of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in an interview with AFP.

International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders told the AFP press that "such intimidation could make the country's blogs as timid and obedient as the traditional media" (AFP 2005).

AFP (2005) "Student apologises to govt agency for Internet criticism", Singapore Window,
http://www.singapore-window.org/sw05/050509af.htm, 3 May 2005 (Accessed 16 June 2005). Agence France Presse.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Narnian Story - A Book Review

The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is the first of seven books written by C S Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia, including the prequel, The Magician's Nephew. Narnia is a magical place beyond the world we live in, a place where animals talk and trees walk, and where time in that world spans across many years while time on earth remains unchanged.

A story built with enchantment and fantasy, it begins with four children playing a game of hide and seek. Lucy, the youngest of the four, stumbles upon a magical wardrobe that allows her to enter into another world in the land of Narnia where she meets a faun. Edmund also enters that world, but refuse to admit it because he was enchanted and addicted to the 'turkish delight' offered by the White Witch. When Peter, the elder brother, and Susan, the elder sister, with Lucy and Edmund finally enters into the world of Narnia, Edmund chose to betray the others and seeks to report to the White Witch their whereabouts. The other three meets with Aslan and the war begins between good and evil, with Aslan dying for Edmund and the world to free them from the curse, and restoring Narnia with the appointment of Peter as High King, Edmund as king, Susan and Lucy as queens.

C S Lewis, in his seven books on The Chronicles of Narnia, presents the stories with intriguing equivalence to the Christian faith. Similar to the Bible, the first book or the prequel begins with the creation of Narnia and explains how the White Witch entered the world. The second book explains how the Creator, Aslan the Lion, has to die to redeem the world and when he arose from the dead, weaken the power of the witch. The final book, The Last Battle, is an equivalent of the Revelation in the Bible, where a new world is opened up to accomodate the faithful demised characters of the former Narnia, where judgment is pronounced for those who are on the side of the White Witch.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Writing Beyond Cultures

Writing Beyond Cultures
When you read my entries at this blog, you will notice that I sometimes use International English instead of American English. This is because what I have written here may have come from what I have written for another part of the world.

As a writer, I frequently have to customize my writings to fit the preference of my readers and their modes of reading. Juggling the two English language is no easy task. Where I live, people use International or British English. Where I study via distance education, I use International English too. Where I work, however, I use American English and when I write articles on-line at web sites such as faithwriters.com, I use American English too. The type of English I use depends on my target audience.

When I want to emphasise something in an article, I often write to emphasize the word, and while I write on the subject of favouritism at faithwriters.com, I have to clearly write favoritism, not favouritism. In the web where readers and writers of different cultures meet, there are readers who sometimes comment and correct writers in the way they write. In a case I know, I saw a reader cautioning the writer to be careful to write 'favoritism' without a 'u', although in truth there is nothing wrong with it, because the writer is writing from another part of the world that uses International English.

A thing to learn about international writing is therefore about our readers and about gatekeeping by the editors. The style we write in one country may be unsuitable for another, and even though the language used is all-English, the way we write is crucial if we want to pen our writings for international read. To be an international writer, we have to learn the ropes of international practices and customs. We must learn the style to adapt, so that our audience will read what we write. It is important to know that not all things about writing are about the language. Writers must be able to adapt to styles and variants in language to target an international reach.

Friday, April 29, 2005

International Journalism - A Book Review

Information Age JournalismInternational journalism involves many facets of news reporting and includes areas like press freedom, news sources, objectivity, culture, and audience trends. Vincent Campbell (2004) in his book, Information Age Journalism, wrote on this subject. This blog entry provides an overview and critical review of the book.

The first chapter introduces the historical background of how journalism began and how it became what it is today. Current crises involved in international journalism mentioned by Campbell (2004) include technological development, emergence of commercial newspaper and broadcast industry, digital convergence, declining audience and diversity, tablodisation, and threats faced by journalists in non-democratic and developing nations (pp.3-27).

The second chapter looks into four theories of the press and explains why the belief of press freedom without state intervention is a myth, as there will always be some form of control, regardless of political or economic reasons.

The third chapter illustrates this point by showing how free market journalism and the role of journalists as watchdog in maintaining democracy in the Fourth Estate also face problems, such as audience preference for entertainment to serious news, reliance of news organisations on advertising revenue, influences of owner on editorial, and professional competition (pp.54-78).

The fourth chapter discusses the reliance of reporters on their sources for news (pp.80-83), and explains the importance of relationship between journalists and their sources. This relationship, however, can result in journalists' sympathetic tendencies to the cause and endanger the balance of neutral viewpoint in news (p.86).

News selection and gatekeeping are discussed in the fifth chapter to explain why audience's interest precedes the importance of news (pp.117-123).

The sixth chapter discusses the ethical issues of gathering and producing news, and the limitations of professional codes (pp.127-152). Issues discussed include human rights and privacy, taste and decency, confidentiality of information, bribery to write preferentially, news fabrication, unqualified account of events, erroneous foreign feed, adding of unknown facts, distorted presentation of information, and defamatory libel.

Threats to objectivity of journalism are covered in the seventh chapter (pp.153-154). These threats include the emergence of free market and commercialisation (p.156), exclusion and inclusion of ideologies (pp.166-167), reliance on official sources for news, and the dangers surrounding journalists' opinions and actual 'facts' (pp.173-175).

The eighth and ninth chapter looks into alternative news sources such as participatory and literary journalism, conglomerate influences, entertainment, sport, and lifestyle news.

The tenth and final chapter concludes the book by looking into the globalisation of journalism in the information age, wherein, Campbell says, "newspapers never really developed into international titles" because of the difficulty in producing and distributing news in synchronised content across countries, language barrier, and literary rates in certain countries (p.230). The rise and fall of foreign correspondents (pp.230-231) and new technology used in news gathering are briefly mentioned before the book concludes with considerations of the extent gatekeeping can be exercised in the new information age (pp.254-255).

As can be seen from the overview above, Campbell covered a large part of his book on topics pertaining to issues encountered by journalists in general news reporting situations, rather than in international context. The first two chapters provided a relative good start into the understanding journalism in a global scale, of the present day crises in journalism and the foremost important four theories of the press, with provides essential reading introducing international journalism. The topic on globalisation provides a good focus on journalism in international context, but it is only covered in the last chapter of the book, which leaves the rest of the chapters focused on general journalism topics. A first read of the entire book gives the reader the impression that the author may have realised nearer the end of the book that he has not met his intented goal and attempts to cramp everything on journalism in international context within a single chapter at the end.

Campbell, V. (2004) Information Age Journalism. London: Arnold.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Between Learning and Writing

The last two months have been really tough for me, struggling with work and studies. On the one hand, I have classes and study assignments due, and on the other, I have been working overtime quite frequently at certain time of the month.

I am back to full time work at the technology desk, but this time with a difference. I may be working for a technology company, but I am no longer an analyst or a consultant, but as a writer, a technical writer, that is.

Writing has been my joy, and over the past years, I have struggled as a freelance journalist and writer for magazines, primarily in information and communications technology writings, but not limited to such subjects. Before I became a writer and journalist, I was in the technology line for about ten years in many areas, from technical support to professional services to project management and so on. I had enough of that and I believe I have enough of catching up with technology each day, with knowledge obsoleting every other day. It was a struggle.

Just yesterday, I handed in a study assignment which was due two weeks ago. Although I have been granted extension for the submission, it is the first time I have to beg for extension twice, just to get enough time. Overcome by fatigue working through the nights and the early mornings, my weekends are either momentary breathers or completely burnt. After handing in my first study assignment, I looked at my calendar to find the next, only to realise in shock I am already late with a day to go for another subject's assignment! I guess, once again, I have to play the begging game, and this is just for two study units this term, with three waiting the next semester.

That's my life in a nutshell, at least for now, struggling each day to balance work, study, and spiritual health. The only consolation is that I have only one and a half year to go to complete my studies, barring any unforeseen.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Memories are things we cannot hide
The things we sometimes hope to forget
Yet there are things we hope we'll always remember
Or our achievements and our past will be gone forever
For if our identity is erased without a trace
It will be hard to live by the mercies of God's grace

Without memories
We will not know
What we have lost
Or what we have gained
To appreciate the things in life
That keeps us alive
To know what is worth
And what is not worth keeping
To give more than receive
To do good things
To live and appreciate
The things we have
The nature and the air
The beauty of God's creation everywhere
The water we drink
The air we breathe
The things we take for granted
And assumed always there

O God bless our memories
To remember the good
To learn from the bad
To move on to live our lives
To the fullest we know how
In ways guided by Your Spirit
In faith and love
In fruitfulness and charity
To do the right things
To bring good memories

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Exploited Passion

There is a passion that man knows not
A passion only employers seem to understand
The passion they call passion for the job
That accepts all things beyond boundaries
Mediocre pay and many other duties

The dictionary defines passion
Of a very powerful feeling
That goes beyond love hate anger and emotion
The drive to reach and achieve
The unseen impossibilities
A suffering that endures inflicted pain
The state of being acted upon
In subjection to external influence
A disorder of the mind
A kind of madness
To which we choose
A state we express our passion
Of madness or of drive
Is up to employers to define

To a person who wish to join
Only the passionate will they employ
Of one who works the extra mile
With passion and love to die for
Of expressed willingness to take
Beyond ascribed duties for position engaged
The one who is unconcerned for wages paid

The passion only employers understand
Is not a passion any heart can comprehend
It is a passion underlining sufferings
That endures inflicted pain
From external influence imposed
To mean passion in subjection
In bringing disorder of the mind
To drive us crazy far beyond
The state of madness for simple minds

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Breaking Routines

The thing I like about using a public transport stored value card is the freedom to decide even at last minute my final destination. If I board a bus and change my mind where I wish to go, I freely choose to go some place else to disembark. I need not worry about the discrepancy I did not pay or have overpaid, because with the card, charges only deduct when I disembark. So I frequently change my mind where I wish to go in order to build flexibility to cultivate creativity.

Creativity is about observing things differently, seeing things as we have not seen before, reading details we frequently ignore. We sit on a chair daily, yet we seldom really care, to explore and see what material it is made of, whether there are any loosen screws or cushion tear, what mechanism is in it, how it turns, what type of rollers is used, because we fail to see things with a creative mind.

Creativity is also about being always ready for changes, a circumstantial or deliberate act to be different, to do things differently, and to break from routines. We can go to a regular destination by a different route on a different day, or walk a different path to where we work. We can take public transport instead of driving, or take a bus instead of the subway train.

Creativity is about listening or hearing the things that surround us, the noises and conversations people share, the sounds of nature and music everywhere. It is about smelling things in our surroundings, of fragrance and flowers, perfume and odors, food and many others. It is about being sensitive to our five senses.

In a busy world today, the things we see, smell, and hear, we seldom care more than superficial. We take for granted the things we have, and we fail to stop and listen. We do not pay attention because we are too busy, and it is for this reason I occasionally take a break, away from society, to get away from routines, to retreat, recreate, and rediscover self, to restore my soul, to make myself whole. As travelers for a little time while on earth, we need to regularly calm our souls, to enter into a mood of relaxation, to pay attention at all occasions, to close our eyes and ear all things, the likes of birds chirping, cricket and grasshopper calling, the dragonfly buzzing, the pin dropping, even the clock ticking.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Photo Journalism

Photo Journalism
Photography news reporting can be interesting when it is placed in context with a written story. Being able to take good pictures is certainly a desired skill for any journalist, whether it is writing for print or digital media. Photo journalism however can be very dangerous if taken out of context.

One of the myths about journalistic photography is the perception of 'seeing is believing'. We assume visual representation in photographs is the equivalent of seeing the actual event, hence genuine in every respect, capable of conveying the truth about the happening. Unfortunately, all these are just mere perceptions as photography only records what has been captured and do not interpret the meaning of the picture. A photograph is therefore not seen reality, thus cannot be true evidence of what had happened (Kuhn 1985, p.26). Furthermore, with digital editing capabilities, creative intervention can tamper the authenticity of what is actually 'seen' through the camera eye.

Another misrepresented truth is in the area of photography portrayal of people. In 1988, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented an exhibition of Nicholas Nixon's photographs called 'Pictures of People.' Among the people pictured by Nixon are people with AIDS (PWAs), each graphically portrayed as someone of colored skin and to be pitied or feared, often in a dehumanized state of deteriorated health. This pictorial message however is far from the truth, as many PWAs can continue to live a relatively long life after diagnosis through the use of experimental drug treatments. The real reason for the high death toll is in fact due to government inaction and the inaccessibility of affordable health care due to institutionalized neglect as a result of racism and sexism (Crimp 1992, pp.117-118).

Media representation of PWAs affects how viewers perceive the victims. Photography journalism can convey messages out of context when presented without the corresponding written story. Audiences can be manipulated if they fail to deconstruct media representations to understand the perceivable reality. Images from photography like the PWAs must be understood as simply representations, formulated not in relation to the 'truth' of the image, but in relation to a social governance and construct.

Crimp, D. (1992) "Portraits of People with AIDS" in L Grossberg, C. Nelson and P. Treicher (eds), Cultural Studies. New York: Routledge: 117-131.
Kuhn, A. (1985) "Lawless Seeing", The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul: pp.19-47.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Inspirational Nature Walk

PhotosAs a writer I often make time to go for nature walks to think and to get inspiration from God. I walk in early morn in solitude with nature, to calm my inner spirit and to heighten my senses in listening, smelling, touching, feeling, and seeing.

I hear the birds chirping, the insects flying, and the sounds of waves hitting shore. I feel the breeze and wind caress my face. I smell nature and the fragrance of flowers in the air. I see falling leaves and flying birds and ants marching the floor endlessly without despair. I see chameleons crossing my path and I see squirrels climbing trees.

In nature I discover myself, a human being created to love nature and co-exist with others as well. In nature, I discover my inner love for writing, a longing desire ever growing, to pen my thoughts and share to the world, how great is our God, Who created us into being.

Walk with me and share my thoughts, view the photos of my nature walk.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Living With Uncertainties

Jessica has recently resigned from her job due to poor health and stress but fears for her survival and financial future. She starts looking for new jobs hoping to find something less stressful, but fears she may not be up to the job. She constantly asks herself questions of 'what if I take this job and it is just as stressful?' and 'what if I take this job and a better one comes by?'

There are many people who live their lives in fear of uncertainty and of the future. Living a life constantly plagued by 'what if' can be miserable because without assurance, Man often fails to see a positive future, so they attempt to predict the foreseeable. There is of course nothing wrong in taking measures to prevent the 'what if' that can happen. However, we must always remember forecasts and preventive measures seldom turn out the way we expect, and changes are bound to happen. The Bible agrees on this point when Jesus says:

"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'" (Luke 14:28-30 NAS)

The future and what it holds for us is not something we should try to predict, for it is by faith that we should build our confidence in God. If we live our lives in fear of the unknown and the possibilities of the future, we live meaningless lives, deprived of the abundant life God has intended for us.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2 NAS)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NAS)

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8 NAS)

If we therefore wish to live fulfilled lives, we need to first know some certainties in life, the certainty of eternity - of death and life. If we are Christians, we are certain of eternal life in Jesus Christ, so there is no fear in the end of life. It is the certainty of death that tells us our purpose of life, to do the will of Christ, as sojourners on earth passing by temporary lives.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27 NAS)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:1 NAS)

Therefore, knowing the uncertainty of life on earth, we should bravely face each challenge without fear. We may be uncertain what is next to come or what if something does not happen the way we expect it to come, yet we can be assured all things work together for the purpose of God.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NAS)

So, the next time we raise a question 'what if', ask what is there to fear if God is supreme in the situation? Whether it is now or the future, need we then fear our inabilities or the unknown possibilities? If we have asked God to be the Lord of our lives, will He decide to do otherwise?

… what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11 NAS)

Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:26 NAS)

There is therefore no need to fear about the future or about uncertainties, so long as we have received Christ. Instead of asking questions of 'what if', ask 'what is there to fear'? If God is supreme in our lives, we know for certain that all things will work together for the purpose of Christ.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Overcoming Anger

We frequently see expressions of anger and sometimes experience flare-up too. We get angry when someone breaks a promise or when we are unable to get what we want. We also get angry because we fail to meet our own expectation or because we do not measure up to perfection. We get frustrated at people when we see them do things we considered as undignified or deviant. We may even be unhappy for being angry with people and sometimes ourselves.

There are many reasons why we get angry but we must always understand that anger in itself is not wrong. What is wrong is dependent on whether we are angry for the right reasons.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said:

"Anyone can be angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not easy."

The Bible talks about an anger that is righteous and holy, such as the holy anger of God:

And they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed. So I have consumed them in My anger. (Ezekiel 43:8b NAS)

In this verse, we realize even God gets angry too and He has the right to do so because He is a holy and righteous God Who cannot let His holy name be defiled by the sins of Man. Jesus Himself was angry and cast out the people who were buying and selling in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17). God must also have been angry when He sends an angel to strike Herod because he did not give God the glory (Acts 12:21-23).

As we can see from the narrative above, anger in itself is NOT sin. Anger can be holy and righteous if it is for the right reasons.

Most of us however are angry not because of holiness or righteousness. We often get angry without first investigating the truth or without considerations for the circumstances of others. Regardless whether we are Christians or not, we need to learn to be "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger" (James 1:19 NAS). We may get angry and yet do not sin if we are angry for the right reasons. However, whether it is for the right or wrong reasons, our anger must always be kept in checked and not consume us or be carried forward to another day so that we do not sin.

This is what the Bible says about handling anger:

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Ephesians 4:25-16 NAS)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NAS)

So when we get angry the next time, remember not to flare-up, but stay compose. Learn to forebear, investigate the truth, and be forgiving.

This approach however is not going to be easy, especially if you are not a Christian. To the non-believers, they must work really hard at self-control, and sometimes this method doesn't work too well for a person with a temper. For Christians, this can be cultivated quite easily because it comes natural with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whose fruit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23 NAS).

If you desire to have the power to overcome sin and therefore anger, all you need to do is to acknowledge your sinfulness and invite Christ into your life, and He will freely give to you His Holy Spirit. Once you have received Jesus into your life, the Holy Spirit dwells in you, and you will be able with His power overcome the desire of the flesh.

In his epistle to the Galatians, Paul teaches:

... walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (Galatians 5:16-17)

Let us therefore who possess the Holy Spirit in us, not get angry unduly, remembering always not to let anger be brought forward to another day. Where forgiveness is necessary, confess and reconcile with the other party within the same day, and DO NOT let anger accumulate, because it can consume us to the point of bitterness. Confess to God and acknowledge our sins if we have been angry for the wrong reasons, and let the Spirit of God Who dwells in us mold and change us as we walk in His word (The Holy Bible) daily.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Beyond Valentine

Happy Valentine A day to remember the greatest love on earth,
Of Jesus Who died for us while we were yet sinners,
Of One Who willingly lays down His life for another,
To save the lost world from death eternal.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 NAS)

... God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NAS)

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him. (John 3:17 NAS)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Christian Writing

FaithWritersI have not written Christian articles for a very long time, not since I last wrote for a newsletter of a church I have left many years ago.

As a Christian and a freelance writer I feel it my obligation to write about what I believe apart from writing for commercial print and digital media. Therefore, when I came upon a web site that welcomes contribution of Christian articles, I immediately signed up with them to be a participant. That was what I have been busy with over the last week.

It has not been easy writing religious related articles, especially when it has been a long time since I last wrote on such topics. In fact, I find it more difficult to write things related to Christianity than to write for commercial media. Anyhow, for a glimpse of what I have written thus far, feel free to read my articles at

Monday, January 24, 2005

Academia vs Experience

It has been said that the early bird catches the worm, but in the real world this may not always be true.

Early birds or capitalists who have been actively engaged in playing the lead role in coming up with new products and services may have reaped manifold in comparison to late comers, but they are not always the winners of the race.

For example in the academic world, there are people who ace all their papers in exams and achieved the highest academic qualification within a short time, while there are also those who achieved their academic qualification late in life. Yet in the secular sense of the economic world, both may be great achievers in their own respect, and in some cases, the late academic achievers may be better off than the early. To understand what I mean by this, let me illustrate by telling you a story that happened in real life.

Hector is a software analyst who has not achieved a degree in Computer Science. While working in a technology firm, he learned hands-on how to implement networking for corporations. When he was required to get himself technically and academically certified for Internetworking, he was able to score high marks because of his experience, in comparison to the degree holder who lacks the practical hands-on.

From the factual story mentioned above, it is clear that people with skills and expertise in their field of work demonstrate better performance and possess perception that is quite different from the pure academic achievers. Unfortunately even though this is a fact, not all employers however recognize this truth, partially because certain governments, especially in Asia, strongly believe in academic achievements and have thus molded the society to think the same.

If you are among the people who are not the great academic achievers or who are latecomers, you must therefore be discerning and not be disheartened, because you can often be better secular or economic achievers than the academics.

Therefore, when writing becomes a pressure instead of pleasure, it is time to retreat and rediscover inspiration within nature.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Inspiration vs Hard Work

We usually think more creatively when we are relaxed. Unfortunately, many of us think at the worst of times and often under pressure, when we are forced to make decisions.

As a writer, I often have to muse and think over the subject before I write, and I write best when I am relaxed. I get inspired easily when walking through the woods or while taking long nature walks. Unfortunately, such luxury are seldom available when I am on an assignment, which often has short deadline, so I do the next best thing, similar to what everyone else do when they are pressured - research and compile, then write.

Research and compilation is common in most environments, and if you know the process of problem solving, you will probably know what I mean. In a corporate environment, problem solving means identifying, analyzing, implementing, and evaluating. This is not dissimilar in any other environments.

First, research and gather as much information on the subject as possible. Next, sort out the useable from the unusable then select what goes into the story. Finally write in one's own words the story based on all the information gathered, re-reading it to edit and modify where necessary.

A story written based on hard work is seldom satisfactory to the author, but at least it gets the work done. In a perfect world, the author has a lot of time to think, and if one gets a chance to write a novel or a book, some inspiration will definitely be essential. However, if writing is a daily or periodical routine that makes up a high percentage of press news and factual content then option two will be more appropriate in solving the immediate problem.

Therefore, when writing becomes a pressure instead of pleasure, it is time to retreat and rediscover inspiration within nature.

Friday, January 21, 2005


There is communication in silence where the absence of words communicates many things.

Silence reads messages in the eyes, understands the language from the body, and sees gestures that tell many tales. When someone talks to you and you remain silent, it reveals your disinterest or your ignorance. It communicates your lack of attention and a listening ear.

When someone says 'silence is golden', he or she refers to solitude, and not the absence of sound. True silence is about being quiet at heart and mind, and being of few words. It is about thinking before speaking and speaking only when necessary.

Complete silence living in the city is quite impossible, but true quietness is amidst the noises, maintaining silence in the heart and mind. If your mind is not in turmoil and your heart is calm, it is then that true peace has been attained in silence.

Quit meaningless chatter!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Emotional Intelligence

"Anyone can be angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not easy." - Aristotle

Understanding one's emotion to behave in a way that is socially acceptable is certainly not an easy task. It requires "a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and action" (Salovey and Sluyter 1997, quoted in DeJanasz et al., 2001, p.9). This social intelligence is what we call today as emotional intelligence or EQ.

Emotional intelligence is about developing an awareness of one's feelings and emotions to response appropriately according to the situation at hand. It requires skills like self-control, zeal, persistence, and motivation to adapt and navigate within a society.

According to experts in the field of behavioral studies, there are six fundamentals for achieving emotional intelligence. They are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills, and group work skills (DeJanasz et al., 2001, p.10).

Self-awareness requires the self-analysis of behavior in understanding the way we conduct ourselves, our motivation, our modes of thinking, acting, and interacting. It includes understanding one's own personality or the relatively stable set of characteristics, tendencies, and temperaments formed by inheritance and by social, cultural, and environmental factors (Maddi 1980, p.10; DeJanasz et. al., 2001, p.4).

Self-regulation is about regulating oneself to adapt to situations, exercising discretion, cultivating trustworthiness, conscientiousness, innovativeness, with the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses.

Motivation is about what drives us to pursue one action over another. By understanding one's core drivers, whether positive or negative, one can discover the roots of one's behavior and make adjustments necessary to modify it.

Empathy is the ability to understand others and putting oneself in the shoes of another, to read and respond to others' feelings.

Social skills relate to one's ability to interact smoothly in managing interpersonal relationships and the emotions of other people.

Group work skills focus primarily on organizational or communal collaboration and cooperation, teamwork, conflict management, and the willingness to work toward common goals.

Emotional intelligence is related to several personality traits such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience, agreeableness and the kinds. To some extent, EQ can be learnt but people in general do not naturally develop it by just understanding what it is. It requires coaching, constant practice, and adapting from others' feedback (McShane and Travaglione 2003, pp.125-126).


DeJanasz, S., Dowd, K., and Schneider, B. (2001), Interpersonal Skills in Organizations, Irwin, McGraw-Hill.
Maddi, S.R. (1980), Personality Theories: A Comparative Analysis. 4th edn. Homewood, Il, Dorsey Press.
McShane, S. and Travaglione, T. (2003), Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim. NSW, McGraw-Hill.
Salovey, P. and Sluyter, D. (1997), eds., Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Educational Implications. New York, Basic Books.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Discovering Self

Not long ago I wrote on the subject of Personality Traits and a few people have asked me whether there are tests available that can help a person discover oneself. There are of course many methods of evaluating oneself through personality tests, but there is no one particular place or site that dare claims to provide a complete analysis of a person's personality in uncovering one's strengths and weaknesses in entirety. A good start in understanding oneself is to take a simple test such as What Number Are You?

Using this test I discovered myself to be a peacemaker who is emotionally stable and willing to find common ground with others. My friends and family often look to me to be the mediator when there is conflict and I am generally easy going and accepting. I take things as they come and avoid conflict most of the time. I am content when things are calm.

This reading or analysis to some extent expresses my sentiments and knowing this fact helps reaffirm the understanding of myself. Understanding self however is just the first step. If a person is starting on a career, this information may help direct the right direction to bridge the gap, but if the person is mid way through a career or finishing his or her dues, this test remains an analysis for knowledge because one cannot in real life change a career to become a social worker or peacemaker to serve all mankind because of a discovery of self. To what end then is the purpose of personality tests?

In my opinion, personality tests are only for discovering self for the purpose of understanding one's own character. In understanding one's character, one can then adjust and change to adapt to the situations one face in his or her environment. Hence if you ask me about personality tests, I will say there are plenty out there on the Internet, but if you ask what you can do in discovering your personality, the answer depends on where you are at in life and in what situations you are in, and from there it is up to you to see what next steps to take.

From the way the test works, it appears the number scored doesn't really matter. It's just a reference to associate the type of personality a person majors. What matters is the description of the character. Does it describe you accurately? Accuracy of the test result is dependent on how true you are in answering the questions and how well you know yourself. If an answer is in the borderline, you'll need to pick one that is most frequently true and what's closest in describing you.

As a suggestion, you may want to consider taking the test at different days and at different time of the day because your feelings probably differ when you are busy, angry, or when sad. Results can differ depending on mood too!

Have fun discovering yourself and let me know your results!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Late and Awake

Have you ever deliberately stayed up late in the night because of a reluctance to let a day pass by? You have been working hard the whole day and despite tiredness, you stretched yourself through late night because you feel unfulfilled without spending a few hours for personal time each day.

Time for self or personal time is what many people treasure most. It is this time that most found lacking because a third of their time has been spent on work, one third on sleep, and the little time remaining for self. Many sleep late because at the end of the day they feel a vacuum in themselves because of a lack of satisfaction or the need for accomplishing some aim or purpose, apart from regular occupational work.

For me, I spend much time on-line late into the early mornings because of my refusal to let my personal time go by without accomplishing something. Whether it is catching up with friends via e-mail or chat on-line, writing a blog article of my thoughts, or doing something I like, I constantly dragged on the time available before I will myself to sleep. The consequence of this is a lazy morning going to work or going about doing the things that brings in the bread and butter. This may be the reason why many people are seen sleeping in the morning on public transport - to catch up the lost sleep before occupational work commence. Such a practice however is not at all a healthy lifestyle.

Symptoms of people who practice such lifestyles may indicate a certain level of dissatisfaction at work. When a person does not find satisfaction at work, he or she seeks pleasure in other forms, and such other forms hopefully can be fulfilled through the little time remainder at the end of the day. Without satisfaction, man will find it hard to move forward in life because of a lack of aim and purpose. A fulfilled life is not always about material gains. In fact material gains are quite meaningless and do not in anyway satisfy the vacuum within man. Man is after all created different from other living beings with a spirit and a soul, and without God no genuine satisfaction can be derived.

If you are like me in some ways staying up late into the nights, share your comments at this blog. Tell me your reasons for staying up late and let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


If a mobile phone rings during a seminar attended despite a prior request by the organisers to turn off all phones, which group of people will immediately come to mind to blame? Is it the youngsters or the adults?

The scenario described above is fairly common and often happened in public meetings.
It illustrates the prejudices that all of us possess to some degree or a great degree. We always think negatively of people of a certain group based on race, age, occupation, financial status, or the kinds. For example, when we look at people of a particular race, we often feel certain the types of behavior to expect. We assume a certain group of people frequently spit on the floor and we constantly view negatively of another group of people who constantly block passageways. Which group of people do we assume are not educated?

Preconceived ideas of people within a certain group although can be generally true at times, are in reality not the entire truth. Not all people of a certain group or genre behave in the way we think they usually behave. People are not robots. They are not programmed to behave in specific ways. Some may have accumulated bad habits as a result of the society or culture they live in, but not all are the same because individuals change and vary in behavior. No two persons are created the same.

The next time we meet a person, try not to jump to conclusion or think negatively of that particular person. Always ask the question, are the assumptions we have of them prejudices or are they true. If the answer is prejudice, then erase it out from the mind, and view the person as someone yet to be discovered. If the answer is true, then consider whether he or she may have changed. Learn to give others second chances. Never ever coin a person by the group he or she is in or by the people he or she associates.