Archive | September, 2008

For the poor, the Millenium Development Goals are still too far

25 Sep

Eight years have passed since world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN Millenium Summit.

Ironically, there are also eight areas that were and are to be targets for these goals:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

To make these goals a reality, it is the responsibility of the nations who pledged their commitment to these goals to make good their promises.

Yet in the current economic climate, the poor are suffering more than ever and governments are ever more reluctant to commit their resources to MDG. In these times of trial, it is even more crucial that the poor, the disenfranchised, the disadvantaged are given the attention and assistance they need.

But in all the sorrow, the injustice and evil in the world right now, it is easy to say: “What can one person do?”

It takes just one voice per citizen, as a collective, to remind and urge world leaders to honour their commitment to MDG.

So today, I’m blogging for poverty and the MDG. What about you?

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Waiting for God to answer

24 Sep

praying What do you say when someone tells you she has left her faith, because she had called upon God and He did not answer?

(To said friend who somehow always ends up the subject of my blogposts, I apologise and hope you don’t think I’m ‘attacking’ you in any way)

Theologically, whatever I am going to say will not make sense to either logic or theology. It’s probably closer to New Age than I’d like and hopefully, God will not have me skewered in hell for heresy. But here it is:

I believe that faith is its own gift, its own reward, and sometimes its own curse.

If God and all that He stands for is a lie, then I will say that it is a lie I will cling to.

Which goes against my own position on Truth – that truth is absolute and there is no ‘my truth’ or ‘your truth’.

The problem with faith, is that it cannot hang on proofs or signs. You believe in what is unseen, in what cannot be proven and what goes against all tenets of logic.

My friend’s atheist friend, whose discourse I find rather distasteful, is now being as intense as an overzealous missionary but on a different path – trying to convert her to absolute atheism.

To said friend: I care for you, and I care enough to say that your choices must be your own and your decisions on faith must be yours. It is not my business to attempt to ‘save’ you or move you to one path or another.

Proselytisers annoy me, no matter what faith they profess, because I believe in the concept of Grace. Whatever you say to sway me, will not influence my faith. Faith is something I either have, or don’t.

Faith in the unseen is the cornerstone of who I am. Perhaps it borders on the mystical, even. but though I may be sceptical about many things, I believe there is a God. A God who I know is there because I know He is, though I cannot prove that He is there. It is the way a child would know that he has parents, because they are there. That there is wind, because it blows on his face. I will not argue for or against it, I will not think or be objective on this one single point. I believe there is a God, and I will always believe that.

Yet faith is often tested, and sometimes it passes…and sometimes it doesn’t. I have seen people walk away from faith, or return to it because of calamities in their lives.

But I say this – to show grief, to petition God in times of trouble, to ask that question “My God, why have you forsaken me (when I need you the most) is human. It is our nature to doubt, to question, to ask God to show us He’s there.

And I think for many of us, there will come a time when we will ask, dear God, why? Why? And no one can give us a satisfactory answer.

In the end, it’s a choice. Do we still choose to believe, despite the absence of proofs? Or will we just stop believing?

“Oh My God”:
Oh my God, look around this place,
Your fingers reach around the bone,
you set the break and set the tone
For flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain all fools say, "Oh my God."

Oh my God, why are we so afraid?
we make it worse when we don’t bleed,
there is no cure for our disease.
Turn a phrase and rise again,
or fake your death and only tell your closest friends,
Oh My God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief.
Weddings, boats, and alibis,
All drift away, and a mother cries…

Liars and fools, sons and failures, thieves will always say..
Lost and found, ailing wanderers, healers always say..
Whores and angels, men with problems, leavers always say..
Broken hearted, separated, orphans always say..
War creators, racial haters, preachers always say..
Distant fathers, fallen warriors, givers always say..
Pilgrim saints, lonely widows, users always say..
Fearful mothers, watchful doubters, Saviors always say..

Sometimes I can not forgive
and these days mercy cuts so deep,
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep.
While I lay, I’d dream we’re better, scales were gone and faces lighter,
When we wake we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other,

Sometimes I can close my eyes and all the fear the keeps me silent,
Falls below my heavy breathing, what makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder, we all have the need for wonder.
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the plunder.
Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven,
All the times I thought to reach up, all the times I had to give up.

Babies underneath their beds, in hospitals that cannot treat them.
All the wounds that money causes, all the comforts of cathedrals,
All the cries of thirsty children, this is our inheritance,
All the rage of watching mothers, this is our greatest offense
Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.

The terrible price of wanting it cheap

23 Sep

Now we’re all caught up in the scare of tainted milk products from China.

Oh, we point at unscrupulous officials and go on about thinking of the children.

But honestly, it’s partly our faults too.

We always want it cheap. We always want discounts, everything at the lowest prices we can get.

Because we refuse to pay fair prices for goods of quality, we end up with these rubbish manufacturers like Sanlu who churn out lots of milk products at the lowest, bargain-bin prices.

You get what you pay for, really.

Your children get sub-standard milk, we live in sub-standard housing, we have sub-standard Internet. Because we’re so used to cutting corners, to make more profits because see, see, we have to sell cheap.

China’s manufacturers are going to continue to make sub-standard products because, we, stupid penny-pinching morons, buy them.

And it fucking serves us right when our children die because instead of giving them what they deserve, we cut corners. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?

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Stumbling on secrets

23 Sep

Traversing the Internet on a whim (I am awesome at creative procrastination), I decided to Google my father’s name. Well, I found a few blogs detailing my family tree.

The last thing i honestly care about is my genealogy. Seriously.

But I’m a compulsive Web digger. After all, I boasted in university that “if it’s on the Web, I can find it.” So far I’ve lived up to that idle boast but now it’s no longer an achievement. The question now isn’t what’s on the Net, but what’s not.

I peer, I hunt, I slip and slide with Google’s algorithms and I find a few scattered accounts on various sites, his IC number and finally the jackpot – his blog.

Yes, my father has a ‘secret’ blog. Well, dad, you really shouldn’t have linked to it on your social networking site profile. It’s anonymous and it has links to quite a few other blogs including our ex-PM’s. Ah, my father is still Tun M’s man after all these years.

He doesn’t blog anything personal – it’s all politics and current affairs. There’s the odd photo here and there, commentaries on religion and a few links.

But I read this one post where he waxed about books and mentioned one that left a lasting impression on him, to the point he remembers where and when he read it decades ago.

And it just happens to be my favourite book…which I never knew my father had read.

Well, I guess I really am my father’s daughter, after all. 

Dad’s articulate and he even talks about how much he loves prose. It’s also disturbing that we share the same opinion of Anwar. Won’t say the exact words because I know someone will bloody Google it and find his blog. But if someone does find the URL, it’s not going to be me who leads them to it, Dad.

We’re so alike in a lot of ways, but despite us both being somewhat proficient with the written word, we’re horrible at saying what we mean to the other person in real-life. There’s always this awkwardness, this odd discomfort and the long, stony silences when I’m with him.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because talking to each other is too much like talking to one’s self. And despite our rather introverted natures, we both love to talk…to other people.

I love my father. He’s my personal yardstick for integrity, the gold standard for morals. He’s everything you wish a politician was, but honestly could never be. A truly good man could not survive politics and all its Machiavellian manoeuvrings. And I hope one day, that at least people know my father was a good man who raised a good woman.

And so I keep hoping.

Sleep. I need it.

22 Sep

The day’s almost over, but I’ll still make mention of a certain person’s birthday: Suanie. Because she’s just awesome like that.

In other news, I borked my second blog and ended up sleeping at 2 a.m, fixing the bloody thing. But at least I slept through the night for a solid 5 hours…which really isn’t enough.

There are so many things I should be doing but God knows I just feel too godawfully tired to do any of them. Am attempting to do some schedule thingy to give my life more order, more direction, more stability…but my body isn’t co-operating.

Stomach: I’m hungry

Head: I hurt

Arms: Ow ow ow ow ow

Body as one: So this is how a corpse feels like.

Fatigue. I has it.

Different faces, different blogs

21 Sep

foolingMucked about a bit with GIMP, and thanks to this tutorial I have a fun sketch-copy of one of my photos. But I spent most of Saturday learning how widgets work in Movable Type and damn, if I wish there was better documentation. Poring through all the pages on MovableType.org just made my head hurt. I miss how easy it was to skin my pages with WordPress but I don’t miss the mountains of spam or how easy it was to bork something and lock myself out of my own WP install.

The rest of you WP users : be ye not so stupid as this one.

And the result of my figuring out where all my theme files and how widgets work? I now have a blogroll, some nifty badges as well as my Twitter feeds and Facebook profile.

Once I got my blog all shiny and pimped (as far as my mediocre web design skills allow), I felt there was still something left to do.

So I created another blog.

Another one, you say? But all the other ones died slow, painful deaths!

The rationale is that despite embracing my ‘finger in every pot’ personality, I think my blog’s nature is rather schizophrenic. I mean, everything’s here – the books I read, the movies I watch, my personal views, my political rants and all that rather drowns out everything else I’m into – like tech, gaming, machinima and other random pursuits of geekiness.

I guess I just feel frustrated that not everything I’m into gets enough airing in this blog so I decided to just move my geek rants over to geek.ernamahyuni.com. Since this experiment might just end up like my short-lived Aggromonkey,com, I decided not to get another URL as yet. So let’s see if I can keep maintaining two blogs (my LJ doesn’t count as that’s one’s hardly updated beyond the odd emo rant) as well as contributing to The Mag’s blog, and the Tech & iPhoneTouch sections at Blorge.com.

Not that I won’t geek out here on occasion. Like I might say something like this:

ZOMG Six Apart added me to their Twitter feed! O.O

True statement. But hey, not like that’s going to stop me from writing about MT. At this point, I think I’ve become quite the Movable Type evangelizer. I love their TypePad anti-spam plugin which makes Akismet look like a baby padlock next to a garrison of guns, make them BFGs who will smite all ye spammers…sorry, that was the caffeine talking.

Why bother with multiple blogs? Aren’t they a hassle?

I guess I just wanted to give all my sides a good airing. See, I took Irene with me to a buka puasa the other day (one of my colleagues couldn’t make it at the last minute) and she noted not once, but twice that she saw different sides of me.

First, she saw me playing all nice and diplomatic with the PR reps. “Ah, now I see your slick side.” I never realised I put on a different play-face for PR people. Is that true, David Lian?

Then she sat in on a rather involved discussion I was having with two MIMOS reps on the state of programming and IT education in the country. Irene never thought I was that informed and knowledgeable on IT syllabuses, joint programs between vendors and institutions of higher learning, market demand and the like. Which rather depressed me. Do most people assume I know little about the industry, how it works and what it needs?

Yeah, yeah, a pity party of one it turned out.

Rather than mope and carry on about people not knowing what I know or what I can do, why not just blog about what I care about? If I’ve passion enough to care, that should be plenty fuel for blog posts.

So off I go to post to my, you know, other blog.

So many ways to Make You Feel My Love

17 Sep

I’m a little tired of thinking about politics. Instead I’ll dig up covers of my favourite Bob Dylan song and possibly my favourite love song, period: Make You Feel My Love.

My favourite version is Adele’s:

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawling down the avenue
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging down the rolling sea
And down the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
To make you feel my love