#272 transparency at the new creation church

News received that the New Creation Church pastor Derek Prince has volunteered his services. This indeed is noble on the pastor’s part.

According to its church goers, New Creation pioneer leader and deacon Jack Ho said it was a “good time to let members understand more about these businesses”.

This would help them “answer with more certainty” if they were asked about the companies, which are fully—owned by the church

MediaCorp understands he spent about 30 minutes listing the five companies, among them BrightStar Child Development Centre, Omega Tours and Travel and Rock Productions

He also told members that Senior Pastor Joseph Prince is now a volunteer at the church and has not received any salary since late last year.

Since 2004, Mr Prince, one of the church’s founders, had asked New Creation to stop paying him but council members rejected the request until last year. [http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4132757]

Should a church own business companies? If the church did, is she required to pay corporate tax annually?

Can a house of prayer or a church dapple in making money? In the gospels, Jesus lashed out at businesses conducted in the church premises.

What is the meaning of tithing for a christian?

Can charitable organisations set up business companies to ensure there was sufficient funds to enable the organisations to carry on whatever they stood for?

If so, can this come under the umbrella of charitable organisations? Should the public continue to give?

What is charity? What does raising money for a charitable organisation mean?

#271 begging

Of late I met some strange ways of begging.

Yesterday at a bus stop, a Malay elderly lady didn’t flag the bus when the only bus that ply along the road arrived. I was waiting for a friend. When the bus passed by, this elderly lady carrying a ten dollar note on her left hand and fifty cents on her right. She asked for fifty cents so she could board a bus.

I asked, “Do you have an elderly buscard?” She showed me the concession card hung around her neck. One stop away was the Gombak MRT station where she could top-up the card. As I do not understand or speak Malay, I gave her the fifty cents. I also approached some Malay passerbys to tell her that she could top-up her elderly card at the MRT station. They talked to her and she walked to the MRT station.

When my friend arrived, I said, “We should follow the Malay elderly lady to help her.” Strangely when we reached the MRT station, this Malay elderly lady refused to go the station with me mentioning the word, ‘Bedok’ when I persisted.

This exasperated me as the train ride or bus rides to Bedok meant she might have to pay double the fare if she didn’t use her elderly concession.

Then I saw a Malay young girl and asked her to explain to the elderly lady that there is an officer at the MRT control station who could service her even when she cannot see. The elderly lady still refused. The young Malay girl couldn’t accompany her as she was waiting for her mother as her sandals broke.

A Chinese lady sitting around asked and I explained to her. As I talked and observed this lady’s reaction, it dawned on me this could be a scam.

Is this a scam where the elderly has been asked to beg and in return she has to give a cut to whoever taught her to beg in this manner?

Generally when we see an elderly person, we would give without question. Is this scam to exploit the frail elderly and those kind-hearted?

Corner of Raffles Hotel facing City Hall cross-section: Several weeks ago I met a 45-year-old Chinese lady poorly dressed with unkempt streaks of grey hair asking for two dollars so she could buy some food to eat. I offered to buy her food and she turned around to question my sincerity. This aroused my curiosity. I asked, “Why are you begging?” She spoke good English. By sight, one could dismiss her mentally unstable but not when talking with her though. She came all the way from Toa Payoh to beg! She said, “I’d been tricked many times in following those who would buy me food and then told me they changed their minds.” She added she wanted to get a job but… Looking at her appearance, I said, “If you wanted to go for a job interview, you have to dress tidily and comb your hair otherwise the hirer imagine you’re making a fool of the hirer and yourself”. In the end, I added, “Since you doubted my sincerity, why should I trust you?”

On one occasion at Bugis Junction, an elderly Indian man came to beg money for food. I offered to buy him food as I thought he might use that money to buy booze. Strangely he rejected my offer and quickly disappeared.

In my personal experiences helping the poor and sick, these will never resort to begging however bad their situation. These poor would rather die with dignity!

Lately, I see individuals sitting by the road or pathway leading to MRT stations begging — looking pitiful, lame and frail. Some on wheelchair…

I cease to buy packets of tissues from those elderly as the tissue-packets came from suppliers who get a cut from that sold!

Are these part of a syndicate scam?

#263 cosmetic appearances

I gather the new young generation is going for cosmetic surgery to look better — beautiful or handsome — in order to clinch a job OR get (clinch??) a spouse! If this is true, they’re bucking the trend of the Koreans or the Japanese or the China Chinese!

What a sad state! But then someone has to make money from the naivettes!

Since the recession, even though this has not impacted that much in this part of the world, there is the ‘frugalista’ (from Investopedia) group where these keep up their appearances by buying from 2nd-hand stores for clothes or going for the less expensive trendy cheaper range of clothes but going for expensive haircuts.

Often times I wonder about keeping up with appearances.

I certainly have experienced when I decided to do some real shopping, I’d dressed down. Guess what? I’m NOT served. The salesgirl would look me up and down, and decided to move away. I smiled to myself. I am the queen here as I have the money! If these salespersonnels have jobs of their choice, they would not be in this line.

This experience proves why some salespersonnel bring in more sales. However the sales manager might pitch to them that they need to know which customer would bring in a sale. Psychology or otherwise, it’s the personableness and persuasiveness of the salespersonnel who  brings in a sale.

However when I decide on window-shopping, I would dress better and, well, well, well, I received attention. I smiled to self as I enjoy watching the reaction of the salespersonnel when they could not persuade me.

You see salespersonnel do not know the real value in making money. A sale is a sale so long as the cash register tinkers. By selecting the better-looking and better-dressed customers, one might just lose a sale to a less-dressed customer who had entered!

Job-selection: looks might be important but at the end of the day, it is performance that works the miracle. So whether better-looking or less, it’s one who can deliver the quota or rake in more money for the company that counts. If the company did not make money and go bust, would the staff continue?!

As the proverb goes: Never judge a book by its cover.

Besides, cosmetic surgery makes one look plastic!

Beauty comes from the heart — a gentle and quiet spirit (New Testament Bible) — NOT outward appearance as fashion suggests!

#250 where is customer service at ntuc finesse supermarket?

Today while shopping at the Bukit Timah NTUC Finesse supermarket, I find workers at the fresh vegetable and fruit produce rather irksome.

My friend and I were trying to decide on some freshly packed salads when a worker came around to shove my friend aside. When I questioned him why was he so rude, his answer was: “I thought you were talking.”  The disgust was we received no word of apology!!!

In the first place, there was presumptuous on the part of the worker. Mind you he is only a WORKER and NOT customers! How dare such presumption!

WORKERS are paid to render service and CUSTOMERS paid for the services. If there is NO CUSTOMER, workers are NOT paid and soon workers will be out of job!

If the supermarkets want to survive, I suggest the management consider the RIGHTS OF CUSTOMERS and offer GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE!

Is this the new generation of WORKERS? Is this how the management is training its workers?

Is this what service means here in Singapore especially at the high end of the NTUC supermarket?

 

In the 1960s, at tender age, I remember shopping at Cold Storage, the high-end supermarket that treated their customers as kings.

All fresh produce and products were nicely placed on the shelves before the supermarket actually open its doors for service.

Today, generally Cold Storage still remain the same but not all outlets though. Marketplace and Kimisawa are worth the mention on generally courteous service. These are high-end supermarkets unlike…

 

By contrast today, we find workers streaming in at the same time as the customers. Often times, these workers are always in the way of customers and workers feel they have the right of way and boldly asked customers to move aside for them to trolley their produce or move aside for them to place the produce on the shelf!!!

Singapore has been talking about offering good customer service. Where is customer service especially at the high-end NTUC supermarts? Are these workers trained to be rude and abrasive and presumptuous to customers?

#249 law to cane for drinking beer

Can the civil law pass judgment to cane one for drinking beer?

Has Malaysia become a theocracy where there is law to cane a muslim for drinking beer? Should a verdict be passed in the law of courts? Is this not a religious issue? Is Malaysia mixing religious law with civil law?

It is an offence for a muslim to take alcoholic drinks. However should this be applied in their national law?

How are those caucasians in the West converted to Islam taking this law when a social drinker can be caned?

#245 hiv positive: suffering silently

I’m grateful to Shane, a New Zealander, for sharing his journey that he was HIV+ on this   ‘Death Diminishes Me’   [produced in NZ] on BBC World radio on 17 July 2009:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/07/000000_global_perspective_death_diminishes.shtml

Trust that this will speak to those who champion and are proponents of the homosexuality and gay community rights which is a controversial issue and a taboo subject for the average person!

#240 thai red-tees

Sad indeed to see and hear that the red-tees protestors (of ousted and exiled Thaksin) stormed into the venue where the Asian Summit leaders were to meet over the weekend. The leaders were evacuated and the meeting cancelled.

These protestors appear to become bolder and bolder as the day passes…

“The government can’t do anything,” said Lada Yingmanee, a 37-year-old protester. “We will show them what tens of thousands of unarmed civilians can do. The people will finally rule our beloved Thailand.”

Speaking to the crowd at Government House, the prime minister’s office, a protest leader, Jakrapob Penkair, said a state of emergency was “a declaration of war against the people of Thailand.”
He added: “They will try to disperse the crowds, but we will remain at Government House. We will start a people’s war.”

They became lawless to the point of attacking the car of the prime minister! Have they disregarded the Parliament which appointed Abhisit as their prime minister?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7989023.stm

 “I believe the people have seen what happened to me,” Mr. Abhisit said on television shortly afterward. “They have seen that the protesters were trying to hurt me and smash the car.”

Do these protestors have an alternative person in mind if they had wanted the present prime minister out? Or are these protestors fighting air?

Have the red-tees fallen into the hand of Thaksin who had been making nightly broadcasts (according to sources) from Dubai, UAE?

In the midst of the global financial crisis and economic downturn, are those without jobs joining in these groups hoping for a miracle? Or, is this one way of making a few bahts to survive for the moment?

“We need reconciliation, and I don’t see any sign that it is coming,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University. “Signs are pointing in the opposite direction, which is that things are going to get worse.”

It is a situation that Mr. Thaksin may be hoping to exploit, Mr. Thitinan said, in which he could return as the only person to bring the red shirts under control.

“Right now the red shirts are on the resurgence, and we don’t know where they are going with it,” Mr. Thitinan said. “But the pendulum is likely to swing to very suppressive tactics and brutal and harsh reactions from the right, the establishment.”

#238 offering directions when asked

I had an interesting encounter this morning during my morning walks.

A Chinese China gentleman asked in Chinese language, “Do you know where the school for safety first is?”

My first thought was the driving school nearby…I asked, “Safety first…what do you mean? I don’t know of such school.”

He continued to ask, “A school?”

“I know of many schools around here,” I replied without understanding what he was asking. He persisted and I gave him direction to the nearest school.

He walked on and I was heading for that direction. After a short distance, he turned around and we met again. I asked, “Is that not the place that you’re looking for?”

He said, “No, I’m looking for a school that teaches safety-first to foreign workers in building and construction work.”

I still didn’t understand him but decided to ask an Indian elderly man passing by while interpreting for him. To my horror he was asking for direction to an institute that trains foreign workers on industrial safety-first.

I gave him the wrong direction…did that out of goodwill!!!

I reflected: For such matters, would it be prudent if he approached a man rather than a lady passerby for direction?

Would it be better had I said I didn’t understand him and walked away rather than giving wrong direction?!

If I had walked away, would I give the foreigner the impression that I was callous and unfriendly? If I gave him the wrong direction, this would exasperate him even more!

#220 graciousness on mrt

I was somewhat embarrassed when a girl in her late teen gave up her seat for me when I got on at the Jurong East station on one MRT ride towards town yesterday afternoon.

At first I thought she was getting off at the next stop but to my dismay when I lifted my eyes from my book, she was standing around the pole between the two doors of train carriage. I asked the boy seated next to me to reserve the seat while I went up to the teen and asked, “How many stops more before you’re getting off?” She replied, “A few more.” I showed my gratitude and waved her goodbye when she got off at Tiong Bahru station. She made my day.

Three cheers for the new and younger generation. This was not the first time I encountered such graciousness from the young but on several occasions.

However I watched disbelieving at some middle-aged men who would fight for a seat with a lady! At times, when a pregnant lady was standing next to one, the middle-aged gallantly took the seat! Sic! Sic! Sic!

While I was in Taipei (Taiwan), I was highly impressed by the fact the young automatically stood up for their elderly on MRT.

At the Bangkok MRT, commuters lined up to get on the train even at peak hours. By contrast to Singapore, before you could get out of the train, people were pushing their way into the train even when the train was quite empty.

#213 european rights prize

Hu Jia, a prominent activist and currently serving jail sentence from China apparently won the European rights prize. What does this prize stand for?

Will this prize given to Hu Jia encourage more dissent in China?

When people are given the housing and food, will they rise up against the leadership of a country?

Will any nation in Europe give a red carpet for Hu Jia & family to live there? If they had given him the prize, surely they could go a step further in offering political asylum! That surely is freedom of expression for people like him — an opportunity to express his freedom then!

Then, he & his wife will discover if there is…

Is the West using this human rights weapon to minimise and causing dissent in a country that is a rising economic power?

There is great poverty in India yet… However India has a Ghandi proponent for peace. Yet in his lifetime, no one in the West took note of him!

Human rights issue is relative. What is democracy?

Where has democracy brought the West today? Drugs, promiscuous sex, guns, gay rights…whatever social ills there is.

The latest financial crisis is a result of greed of a few. The few squandered the resources of many? Living on borrowed money? Resulting many are having to live on the streets soon!

Today, anything and everything can be turn into weapon of discontent and dissent!