Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Happy Independence Day, Malaysia. May we all live in peace with integrity and honesty.

picture source


Confucian Spirituality

Tu Wei-Ming was born in mainland China, studied in Taiwan, and pursued an academic career at Princeton and UC Berkeley. Now a professor of Chinese history and philosophy at Harvard University, he teaches and writes about Confucianism. He is a proponent of "the theory of Cultural China," an attempt to be Chinese within a global context.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Time to Sell Your Hardcopy Books?

John Armstrong blogs about why he is selling off portions of his large library.

Digital Books, the Internet and the Future

Home_Photo_books I am both a reader and a writer. I once had an immense library but I have sold about 60% of it in the last four years. I sold some of my best books earlier this year, removing about 35-40% of my theology section. I confess that this was not easy to do but it became increasingly obvious that it was the right thing to do.

read more

While I understand his reasoning in doing so, I am not sure it is the 'right' thing to do. I am still in the stage of building my library and is looking into addition space to store my books (I do not have a large basement). Maybe one day I will sell some of my books...maybe one day.



From South Africa with Love (5)

Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and very scenic landform that runs north-south for about thirty kilometres at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent in the Republic of South Africa.

The peak above Cape Point is higher than that above the Cape of Good Hope. The rugged sandstone (Table Mountain sandstone) ridge that rises from Cape Point at sea level develops into two peaks. There is a major peak that dominates the skyline locally but there is also a smaller peak about 100 m further south. The higher peak has the old lighthouse on the top.

graffiti "Malaysia Boleh" on second block from the top

The Cape of Good Hope; looking towards the west, from the coastal cliffs above Cape Point.

The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of Cape Peninsula, South Africa. There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, about 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the east-southeast.


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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run with the Horses

Run with the Horses

Text: Jeremiah 12:5


5 “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (NIV)

Sermon Statement

God is with you, will give you strength and will not let you face problems more than you are able to overcome

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Training of Generation Y

In an interesting article published in Medscape on Training the Physician and the Anesthesiologist of the Future by Alex Macario, MD, MBA the training program of anesthesiologists is presented.

Figure 1. Factors that influence the changing physician workforce.

However I am more interested in the way he discerns the different demographic of the various groups of people involved in the training. This has relevance not only in the training of physicians but also of other areas including theological education.

Figure 2. Recent generations by year of birth.

Alex Macario's study is focused on the United States but his characteristics of Generation Y is fascinating and will be useful for educators elsewhere in the world.

Table 1. Characteristics of the Millennial Generation

Largest generation of young people in the country's history, likely surpassing the aging baby boom generation (78 million)[3]
Economically, they may not be better off than their doting parents, especially after the 2008 worldwide financial crisis
The most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in United States history: 60% (a record low) are white, 19% are Hispanic, 14% black, 4% Asian; and 3% are mixed race or other.[4] They are comfortable with heterogeneity in living arrangement or socioeconomic class
Team-oriented, banding together to socialize rather than pairing off, acting as each other's resources or peer mentors
Civic-minded with a desire to make a positive contribution to society and to the health of the planet[5]
Have been spurred to achievement and display a self-confidence that reflects their being raised in a child-centered world
Comfortable with Web communications, media, and digital technologies (eg, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia)
Easier social communication through technology may explain the reputation of the millennial generation for being peer-oriented
Accelerating technologic change may create shorter generations, as young people just a few years apart have different experiences with technology[6]
Increased global exposure through the Web, leading students and residents in record numbers to seek international educational experiences
Many millennials (42% of women and 30% of men) talk to their parents every day and many are still financially dependent on their parents; this has led to a new acronym: KIPPERS (Kids in Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings).[7] As the skills required for certain jobs become more specialized, many young people return to school for professional degrees with the hope that this additional training will help them land a job. This creates more dependence on others, such as their parents, for financial support.

Education and training in the present have to be designed to factor in the demographic of the millennials if these programs are to be successful.

Worth thinking about.


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review of The Jesuit Guide

Here is a review of the book we shall be using for our online Book Club.

http://www.thinkingfaith.org/pics/articlepics/BOOK_20100826_1small.jpgBook Review: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin SJ
Reviewed by Sr Janet Fearns

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything describes itself as ‘user-friendly’. That is an understatement. James Martin SJ writes in a direct, conversational, highly personal tone, using uncomplicated language to convey profound concepts and reflections. One cannot devour several chapters in one sitting because Martin uses many thought-provoking anecdotes, often drawn from his own life, and asks challenging questions which require a reflective answer. Read more >>


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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Star Trekking across the Universe

One of my favourite Star Trek song


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Otherworldly books

I love science fiction books. For a long time, science fiction is my stable diet and is still is. However I also venture into the worlds of fantasy. This interesting article from AbeBooks , one of my favourite used and rare books store explores Otherworldly books.

Otherworldly Books

by Beth Carswell
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

In fiction, people and scenarios are invented, but some authors take escapism a step further and create entire cities, planets and universes. A creative and skilled writer can build geography, languages, races of people, musical instruments, regional cuisine, traditions and more, unlike anything we see in reality, and the detail can be impressive.

Perhaps the best-known example is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the fictional setting for most of his works. Populated by elves, talking trees, hobbits and more, Tolkien even included maps. When writing about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, JK Rowling went so far as to invent an entire sport, with its own rules and equipment.

Some authors invent not only unique worlds, but unique atmosphere to go with them. When constructing the planet of Pern (seen in the Dragonriders of Pern series), science fiction great Anne McCaffrey imagined a dangerous weather phenomenon called Thread. On Pern, Thread falls from the sky like rain, but is a deadly spore that destroys everything organic it touches, including humans. Those caught unawares risk being Threadscored or even killed. But since Pern had to be realistically inhabitable, McCaffrey combated Thread with the addition of fire-lizards and dragons, which, after chewing a specific rock called Firestone, are able to breathe fire and burn the thread before it falls low enough to endanger those on the ground. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

And McCaffrey is far from unique in her ability to conjure up astonishing animals. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy involves numerous worlds populated by talking, armored polar bears, animal representations of the human souls, nightmarish creatures called cliff-ghasts, and a fascinating species of animals called Mulefa, which have evolved the ability to use giant seedpods as wheels, increasing their speed and mobility in the world which has extensive dry lava beds to act as roads. Just to name a few.

read more

Out of This World Books

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Alice falls down the rabbit hole to find a bizarre tea party, an unusual game of croquet, a hookah-smoking caterpillar and more.

Dune by Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert

On the desert planet of Arrakis, Spice is the most precious substance in existence. He who controls the Spice controls the universe.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. LeGuin

In the island archipelago of Earthsea, legend says that humans and dragons were once one race, and magic is a real part of everyday life.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman

In The Other World, the parents with buttons for eyes seem ideal, at first - until Coraline explores and learns the sinister truth of their intentions.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle

The book's main characters 'tesser' to the alien planet of Camazotz, which is shadowed by The Black Thing, and has become a dark planet steeped in fear.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

Middle-earth is a vast and complicated place, with as many dangers, brutal terrain and evil forces as magic, wonder and creatures that defy belief.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

The illustrious planet of Magrathea is home to the now-defunct society of builders who created luxury planets for the ultra-rich of the universe.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint Exupery

B612 is an asteroid roughly the size of a house, and is home to three volcanoes and a number of Baobab trees which threaten to overwhelm it.
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
The Colour of Magic
Terry Pratchett

Discworld is flat, so yes, there is an edge one can fall from. It is balanced on the back of four elephants. The elephants stand atop an enormous turtle.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie

Neverland is an island in the minds of children where children don't have to grow up. It is reached through flight via happy thoughts.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

After a cyclone lifts Dorothy's house (with her and Toto the dog inside), she finds herself in Oz - land of munchkins, witches and flying monkey slaves.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Christopher Paolini

Alagaësia is a mountainous and highly-forested continent where one can find creatures like shades, elves, werecats, urgals and the very occasional dragon.
The Secret Country by Pamela C. Dean
The Secret Country
Pamela Dean

The Hidden Land is the mystical realm physically manifested by the game played by five young cousins. In it are witches, a magic ring, and frustrating unicorns.
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
A Spell for Chameleon
Piers Anthony

In the fantastic world of Xanth, one can find centaurs, mermaids, nymphs, curse fiends and more, and every human is born with a unique magical gift.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis

Narnia is a magical land created by the revered lion Aslan. Its inhabitants include animals (many talking), dryads, centaurs and other mythical creatures.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
J.K. Rowling

In the wizarding world, sports are played flying on broomsticks, the forest is full of talking spiders, mandrake roots scream, and one can learn to ride a Hippogriff.
The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Summer Tree
Guy Gavriel Kay

Fionavar is the first of all worlds. It is home to gods, demigods and myriad supernatural beings, including the weaver, who creates the tapestry of all stories.
Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber
Swords and Deviltry
Fritz Leiber

Visitors to the city of Lankhmar in the ancient world of Nehwon: beware of thieves, corruption, bandits, smugglers. Have a drink at the Silver Eel Tavern.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster

A bored little boy named Milo takes a trip to The Kingdom of Wisdom by way of a toy car and a magic tollbooth, and suddenly finds the world fascinating.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Salman Rushdie

In the magical story world of Kahani, the ocean is becoming polluted by sadness, tangling the story streams and making the world unhappy and frightening.

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Lord Foul's Bane
Stephen R. Donaldson

The Land is home to numerous races of sentient beings, cave-dwellers, parasites, the half-human merewives, and the monstrous, partially-formed Soft Ones.

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Tamora Pierce

The people of Corus, capital city of Tortall range from knights and noble-borns to peasants and farmers, to sorcerers - and their enemies.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Philip Jose Farmer

The futuristic planet of Riverworld is covered in lush vegetation but has no visible moon, or animals besides fish and worms - until the resurrection of humans.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

The continent of Westeros is populated by humans, giants, lizard-lions, direwolves and more. It also has unpredictable, irregular seasons, lasting indeterminately.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Princess of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Barsoom is a wild frontier planet, loosely based on the real planet of Mars.The terrain is desert and dry seas, and its inhabitants are Earthlings and natives of Barsoom.

What are some of your favourite otherworldy books?


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wiki for Scientists

One of the commonest complaints of scientists and people involved in research is the amount of time spent on writing papers, submitting them to journals, waiting for the peer-reviewed paper to come back and to rewriting according to specifications before these papers are published. The various journals realize this time delay and have taken the step of publishing papers online before the hard-copy comes out. Many scientists think that more should or could be done. Scientist Fabio Casati suggests that scientists should just post their papers in their websites like a wiki. Information Society Technologies (ICT) reports,

Don’t print it; post it

Following the lead of physicists and mathematicians who for years have been posting early versions of their papers on a website called arXiv.com for quick dissemination and peer critiques, Casati and his colleagues propose that all scientists jump start the dissemination of their findings by posting them online.

“The idea is that when people write papers, they put them on their webpage quickly, easily and for zero cost,” Casati says.

At the same time, Casati suggests, every scientist and research group can create its own “liquid journal” which groups publications that are interesting and relevant to a given topic.

read more.

Online The Scientist journal adds to the discussion. One of the worries is whether the papers will be up to standard. Wikipedia who have millions of articles boost an accuracy rate compatible to the Britannica. Will it work with scientific papers? Can scientists police themselves and an 'invisible college' acts to maintain standards?
Image: Wikimedia commons, Gflores

Now, information engineer Fabio Casati of the University of Trento in Italy and his collaborators are suggesting science publishing try something entirely new, taking full advantage of the rapidly evolving Web 2.0 technology.

They suggest making research -- including formal manuscripts, datasets, presentation slides, and other presentations -- available through the web without any sort of traditional peer-review process. That research would then be searchable and citable by the rest of the scientific community at no cost.

"In this way -- by looking at what people do in terms of reading, sharing, or connecting scientific knowledge -- we can have a way of finding out which scientific resources are considered good and interesting by the scientific community," Casati said.

Specifically, he and his team envision a new age of scientific journals, created by the users themselves -- the scientists. "I [could] have my own journal, which I maintain on peer review, for example," he explains. "[When I find an interesting paper], I drag and drop the pdf file [in] the journal" using the platform provided by LiquidPublication, which recognizes the file, obtains the url, and retrieves the metadata, etc. "I do this because I want to keep track of it for myself [and alert] all my team, [but] by doing this, we also share [our thoughts on the research] with the world."

Read more

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Monday, August 23, 2010

UKM Medical Fellowship Alumni Retreat 2010

35 years ago, I started a Christian Medical Fellowship in the new Medical Faculty of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia). This was a new university, the second one to be incorporated in Malaysia with the specific purpose of using Malay as the medium of instruction and to produce more Malay professionals. I am the third cohort of medical students. In my cohort there are 3 Chinese and one Indian out of a class of 160 students.

I became a Christian while I was in first year and started a Medical Fellowship. I later started another Christian group in Bangi which is the main campus. To this day, both Christian fellowships are still active in the respective campuses.

The mission of the Christian Medical Fellowship is to equip Christian medical students to be leaders in the churches after they graduated.

By God's grace, that mission has been fulfilled in many ways. Some graduates are pastors, Bible teachers, elders, ministry leaders and there is even one politician. And all are still practicing medicine and a few have specialist medical and theological training.

The UKM Medical Fellowship alumni has been meeting in camps and retreats infrequently over the years. Recently a few of us wants to make it an intentional annual retreat for encouragement and mutual edification.

This year the retreat will be held in Kuching, Sarawak from 28-30 August 2010. I have been invited to speak on the theme of "Transitions: Lessons from the Life of Caleb"

My three sessions will be:

(1) Become- developing a different spirit (Numbers 14:24) - to become a man/woman of God
(2) Be- possessing the land (Joshua 14:12) - to be a man/woman of God
(3) Bequest- upper and lower springs (Judges 1:15) - leaving a spiritual legacy

I have also been invited to preach the Sunday sermon at the First Baptist Church, Kuching

I am looking forward to the ministry and the fellowship.


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From South Africa with Love (4)

Seal Island is a small land mass located 5.7 km off the northern beaches of False Bay, near Cape Town, in South Africa.

The island is so named because of the great number of Cape Fur Seals that occupy it. There are a few sea birds as well. It is an outcrop of the Cape granite and rises no more than about six metres above the high tide mark. The island is long and narrow, 800 metre long and only 50 metre wide. There is no vegetation or soil of any significance

The dense population of fur seals at certain times of the year attracts the seal's main predator, the Great White Shark. Seal Island provides unique opportunities for those who wish to observe attacks by White Sharks on Cape Fur Seal and to observe social interactions amongst both species.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Running with the Horses


Saturday, August 21, 2010

CT's Boundaries in Grief

Top Story
Boundaries in Grief
Why medicine should never trade places with a time to properly mourn.

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