Friday, July 31, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" (Talk 2) - Part 5

The 18th century Revival undeniably successfully transformed England. Further to that, Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong cited the Christian movements in South America and Eastern Europe where depressed Christians came up to reform the society.

"It was the commitment to gospel, to God, that drove the reform movements," Bishop said.

"What is of significance is God-driven commitment towards transforming society. Number (of committed people) is rather unimportant," Bishop reiterated.

If John Wesley and the revival laid the foundations of social-political transformation, what does that have to teach us?

"It simply tells us that national transformation is a possibility," Bishop made it very clear to the audience.

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong quoted Cf. Robert Bellah, a Berkely sociologist, saying," I think we should not underestimate the significance of the small number of people who have a new vision of a just and gentle world. In Japan a small minority of Protestant Christians introduced ethics into politics, and had an impact beyond all proportion to their numbers. They were central in beginning the women's movement, labor unions, socialist parties, and virtually every reform movement. The quality of a culture can be changed when two percent of its people have a new vision."

The picture shows the pipe organ in The Masland Methodist Church. This is one of the more outstanding features of the extended church. Photo: (Thank you, Brother David, for the use.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation (Talk 2) - Part 4

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong quoted Luke Keefer and his writings, saying England was the only nation in Europe which successfully carried out a social revolution in the period 1763 - 1914 without widespread of violence. "As such, England was admired by foreign observers for its unique blending of personal freedom and social stability," Bishop made further quotation.

"As Halevy saw it, it was a matter of Methodism acting in concert with other factors in the complex British scene which produced the England of the nineteenth century. This interpretation may not sit well with Marxist philosphy, but it fits very well with the historical data," Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong added.

Bishop cited moral and slavery reforms as two of the distinct evidences of the 18th century Revival which transformed England.

"Slavery was definitely against God's will. William Wilberforce fought hard for years in the parliament to bring about a dramatic reform in slavery system in England. The work of William Welberforce and Clapham Sect followed immediately after the work of John Wesley and the Early Methodists. It is clear that Wilberforce and his co-workers built on the fruits of the revival," Bishop said.

The picture shows another wonderful song sharing during the convention. Photo:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" (Talk 2) - Part 3

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong provoked the thinking of the audience by making a call on them,"Don't sit on the fence! Don't worship two Gods."

"Is the church now sitting on the fence?" Bishop put it to the church members.

Moving on from there, Bishop stressed that there must be revival in the church first before it can transform the nation.

Did Methodistism transform England in 18th century? Was John Wesley actually used by God to transform the nation?

Marxist and secular historians generally sought to play down John Wesley's contribution. But others argued that John Wesley and the 18th century Revival played a significant role.

Bishop went on to point out that discipline and transformation actually lifted the power up in the society then. He called the church revival in England a bloodless reform by John Wesley.

The picture shows Johnny Tang & Mrs sharing a song of praise at one of the sessions during the convention. Picture:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" ( Talk 2 )- Part 2

'Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" comes from John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement.

In his introductory remark, Bishop made it crystal clear that " this theme is not a Methodist version of the Reformsi slogan used by certain politicians in our country". The theme has its root way back to England in 18th century.

John Wesley and his preachers asked at one of their Annual Conferences, " What may we reasonably believe to be God's design in raising up the Preachers called Methodists?"

And the answer given in the Large Minutes (1763) was: "To reform the nation and, in particular, the Church; to spread scriptural holiness over the land."

Bishop stressed that John Wesley's statement has got to be understood against the background of 18th century England, a country then in a state of gross spiritual, moral and social decline.

John Wesley recognised that sinful humanity stood under the judgement and wrath of God. At the same time he was concerned over the need for spiritual and moral reform in the nation.

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong further spoke to the audience that "John Wesley understood very well that spiritual and moral change came only through deep-seated repentance."

And for that to happen, John Wesley believed that the Church had to be fully committed to the task of evangelisation, and work towards a widespread revival that would bring about holiness in personal and social life, and transformation in the nation.
The extended Masland Methodist Church has magnificent interiors. This church was the venue for the 9th Methodist Convention.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation (Talk 2) - Part 1

The Convention's theme "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" is also the GC's theme for the next four years.

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong expounded the theme exceedingly well, manifesting conciseness and clarity in his points, and was unreservedly straightforward in putting forward his views which were perceived to be sensitive.

Bishop divided his theme talk into two parts. I regretably missed part 1. From some of the church members I spoke to, I was made to understand that the theme talk was well received.

The theme talk (2) was scheduled on day 2 of the Convention. It was equally an eye-opener and it raised the eye-brows of many. I followed through with note-taking to the best of my ability. At the end of Bishop's talk, an urge rose high up inwardly to share the message in my blog.

Boldness and openness were two of the main features of the theme talk. Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong essentially opened up the mindset of the audience, taking them to face up to the challenge of standing firm as Christians in this era of reform.

Thank God for speaking to us through Bishop!
Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong's theme talk was translated by Rev Dr. Tie king Tai (on the left ). Photo: Wong Meng Lei

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - The Future Of Sarawak From A Christian Perspective - Part 21 (Final)

Brother Tan Kee Hian incorporated the key principles of blue ocean strategy in the storyline. As such, he made no specific reference to the strategy in his entire proceedings.

However, he quoted an example of Methodist University College to illustrate the key principles to enable the audience to have a better grasp.

Touching on Methodist University College, Kee Hian provoked the thinking of the audience by asking whether the proposed university is just an addition to 70-100 universities and colleges already in existence? Kee hian said it might be a good thing to do so, if imparting the principles as stated by Rev John Barrett. The key principle here is to have first commitment to imparting good education, with commercial return being a secondary onjective.

However, Tan Kee Hian went on, greater impact could be achieved by taking a Blue Ocean Strategy approach. The essence of Blue Ocean Strategy is to formulate strategy in an uncontested developmental space. The set-up of the proposed Methodist University College should be strategised as not just another "vanilla" university education. Rather it should be planned out as something creating exceptional values for students, parents and the nation. For example, vocational, technical and semi-professional expertise and capabilities are critical for moving up the value chain.

On economic aspect, Kee Hian quoted the example of larger-scale eco-tourism.

On social aspect, Kee Hian cited caring for the elderly and elderly as coaches to younger people as examples.
Tan Kee Hian is a widely acclaimed Blue Ocean Strategy consultant. His consultancy work has taken him on an extensive global journey, travelling from East to West, covering both rich and emerging nations. With his knowledge and expertise in strategic planning, Kee Hian hopes to be able to shed light in Sibu on its struggle to grow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sibu Kidney Foundation (SKF) - Annual Thank-You Dinner 2009

The medical panellists posing for a group photo with the VIPs. Photo: Wong Seng Lung of United Daily News.
Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. Wong Soon Kai, Chairman of SKF, gave an opening address. Dr. Wong was a well-known surgeon before he joined politics. He moved his way up with extraordinary might to take him to the apex. Before he retired from his political career in 1996, he was Chairman of SUPP and Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak.

VIP Table - The thank-you dinner touched the heart of everybody.

Sing Kwong Supermarket sponsored some hampers for lucky draws.

Premier Hotel came in with a room voucher to excite the evening.
Daniel Ngien, Deputy Chairman of SMC, presented a prize to a lucky winner.

Oliver Kuok was on stage to give away a prize.

Wong Ching Yong made the winner smile all the way up to the stage.

Sibu Kidney Foundation is a charitable institution set up with the objective to provide patients with renal failure subsidised dialysis treatments.

SKF was the brainchild of Datuk Hii Yu Chiong when he saw the rising needs more than ten years ago. When the Foundation came into being, it was widely viewed as a blessing to Sibuians.

SKF is not self-funding at all. The daily operation financial needs largely come from public donations. Without the social-caring public members, the Foundation would not have been what it is today.

This annual thank-you dinner is the traditional way to show appreciation to those who have been giving a helping hand.

An entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Datuk Hii Yu Chiong used his golden fingers to draw a lucky number.

For more information, you may visit the Foundation's website at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - The Future Of Sarawak From A Christian Perspective - Part 20

After his illustrative outline of broad economic development directions for Sarawak, Kee Hian moved on to touch on social development directions for the state.

Brother Tan Kee Hian illustrated 5 key areas that Sarawak may embark on to upgrade its social developments.

1. Accelerate the development of human capital and knowledge. Tap the easy access to talented non-Sarawak


2. Re-align education policy (or certain portion) with development stage and market realities.

3. Healthcar

- Give better coverage especially to rueal areas and lower income people.

4. Create emplotments for local talents and workers. Raise productivity and earning levels.

5. Infrastructur

-Investment and quality should be consistent with economic status.
At the public forum last year at MPI, Tan Kee Hian shared his experiences in his global journey as a strategic consultant. Photo: Terrence Tan of MPI

Monday, July 20, 2009

Allen Turns 17 Today

Allen turns 17 today! Before he cut his cake and made a personal wish, I snapped a photo of the birthday boy for our file.
Yian spent the morning to come out with this luscious Peach Cheese Cake for Allen. Allen loves peach-flavoured cake. When he came back from school this afternoon, he was overjoyed to see his favourite.

We went dining out this evening at Furama Seafood Restaurant to celebrate Allen's birthday. The six-course decently priced dinner was sumptuous and mouth-watering. This Hot Dish Combination was pretty enticing.

Allen received a few birthday presents, including one handsome ang pow from his grandma.

This succulent Double Taste Spare Ribs was irresistibly good.

Salad Fish Steak - you have to try out to find out!

Gao Yang Xu Association Sibu - Education Awards Presentation

This annual event of Gao Yang Xu Association Sibu was a treat to the offspring of the members who excelled in UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM.
In essence, the awards are a recognition of achievements in academic field at primary and secondary levels. It works wonderfully well in inspiring students to aspire to do better.
I was just average during my school and college days. Whenever academic awards slipped by, I was overwhelmed by feelings of admiration. Subsequently this was turned into a driving force for me to work harder in my academic pursuit.
Back to the awards presentation yesterday morning at the Association's hall, we were delighted that the event was well responded with 47 students being awarded for achieving outstanding results.
This joyous occasion for the deserving students ended with a light refreshment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Manna Cafe & Gallery Revisited

The mouth-watering Sarawak Laksa.
It looks tempting - Love Paradise.

Saturday night is a nice break time for families, giving them the much-needed dining out or going on shopping spree together.
I took Yian and Pauline for hanging out at Wisma Sanyan tonight (Saturday, July 18). Wisma Sanyan is by far the best known shopping mall in Sibu. It may not be that posh, lush and grand as those in KL, but it is idyllic with good ambience for shopping and hanging around.
We popped in Manna Cafe & Gallery for some refreshments. Checking back on my blog archive, I found that our last visit there was on November 30 last year. We had had an enjoyable break there.
Looking through the menu presented to me by a friendly waiter, I noticed that several items had been made unavailable, notably my favourite dessert ABC Special.
Eventually we settled on Sarawak Laksa (Pauline's favourite), Love Paradise and Cincau With Milk. The taste turned out to be quite delicate and to our liking.
During our patronage there, the cafe was quiet and slow in business. Perhaps some thoughtful input in the menu innovation may help. This sort of eatery business is getting more competitive nowadays in Sibu. If you stick to the "business as usual" mentality, then you may lose out in the wind of change.
We had had a wonderful time at Manna Cafe & Gallery.
The refreshing Cincau with Milk!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - The Future Of Sarawak From A Christian Perspective - Part 19

Sarawak has immense untapped potentials for further developments to transform the state. In other words, Sarawakians should be optimistic about the future so long as the state's economic directions and our governance are right and proper.

Take the example of our rich natural resources, Sarawak is potentially an emerging state with a shining future if we tread along in the right directions under sound leadership.

Brother Tan Kee Hian in his proceedings touched on broad economic development directions for Sarawak in the state's look-out for greater growth. In an illustrative manner, Kee Hian outlined 7 directions which the state may embark on to lift up its outlook.

In Brother Kee Hian's wordings, the 7 development directions are as follows:

1. Continue to develop existing industries:
- Like oil and gas (O & G), and tourism.

2. Leverage low-cost hydro-energy to drive further industralisation.
-With due consideration for the environment and people development.

3. Aggressive push to go downstream in key commodities:
- Palm oil, timber

4. Develop and upgrade agriculture and aquaculture sectors:
- Science-based and industrial scale
-Commercially-driven enterprises

5. Develop and strengthen local SMEs in focused sub-sectors:

- Align with industrial development plans
- For example, raw materials, products and services for oil and gas, agriculture/aquaculture, aluminum smelter,
hydro-electric plants, etc.

6. Grow domestic consumption.

7. Step-change in execution.
The photo shows Tan Kee Hian speaking at a public forum last year at Methodist Pilley Institute on the outlook for Sibu. Calling Sibu a "slumbering giant", Kee Hian delivered extremely thought-provoking views about Sibu.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MAF of Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church - "Jesus Loves You" Badminton Competition (Grand Finale)

Rev. Ling Sheng Guek shared a message at the closing.

Standing proud, the runner-up posed for a shot.

The intensity shot up skyhigh as the competition entered the finalist stage!
The moment I entered Centenary Hall of SMK Sacred Heart, I felt waves of the heat of excitement filling up the whole place. Rounds of cheers by the respective cheer-squads almost sent the roof vibrating, making the matches even more nerve-racking.
Taking a step nearer to the court, I was mesmerized by the powerful smashes and strikes. Altogether, they drove the event to its height, keeping, unbelievably, all the eyes glued to the competing teams.
When announced, the final results did not come as a surprise, with Huai Ang Methodist Church and Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church snatching all the titles. The deserving teams did wonderfully well.
Champion: Huai Ang Methodist Church - Red Team
1st Runner-up: Huai Ang Methodist Church - Blue Team
2nd Runner -up : Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church - Blue Team
3rd Runner-up: Sing Ang Tong Methist Church -Red Team
Rev. Ling Sheng Guek in his closing message called on the players to endeavour to the best of their ability in heading towards their goals. "Bear in mind always that Jesus Christ loves you and He will not forsake you," Rev. Ling said.
After giving away all the abundant prizes, the event was drawn to a close at 11:00 pm.
The photo shows the champion of the badminton competition.

Sarawak Australian Graduates Association (SAGA) - AGM Cum Luncheon

SAGA's AGM held 0n July 11 at 12:00 noon at Kingwood Hotel was a meeting cum luncheon event, getting members together in a posh hotel function room to rub their shoulders over some fine delicacies.

It was a heartwarming noon time that we met to transact the business of the association before we settled down to indulge in great foods.

AGM of SAGA was very much a business as usual, not having very much to rack our brains, except on some forward-looking views proposed by our immediate past chairman YB Datuk Robert Lau. There was some hand-showing exercise to get the business of the AGM through.

Both Dato' Sri Wong Soon Koh and Datuk Robert Lau were invited to address the meeting, giving their views on the future of SAGA and sharing their old time memories in Australia. They exhibited a good sense of humour and this earned them rounds of applause and laughters.

The luncheon meet ended at about 2:00 pm, leaving all those present looking forward to having another one soon.

We grabbed the opportunity to take a group photo for our file. Photo: Wong Seng Lung, a reporter of United Daily News.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It Was Much More Than Just A Teh Tarik!

I fixed up with Dr. Dennis Ngien for a meet this morning before he flies back to Canada tomorrow!

Our gang met up at Cafe Palmelia for a chat over aromatic teh taik. This coffee-house is a wonderful venue for such get-together over some decently priced drinks.

Teh tarik is Premier Hotel's flagship hot beverage with popularity building up over the years. If you missed it, make sure you get hold of it on your next visit here.

Dr. Dennis Ngien shared with the gang that in Canada, teh tarik is also served in some Malaysian restaurants at CD$ 5 per glass. This price seems a little bit steep in Malaysian standard. Despite the price, the size is smaller than Premier Hotel's and its taste is less comparable. This is certainly a compliment to Premier Hotel.

This morning we particularly dwelt on sermons in church services. Dr. Dennis Ngien is a renowned theologian. With his wide exposure in theological lecturing, mentoring and preaching, Dr. Dennis Ngien shared with the gang some to-the-point and practical views.

This teh tarik session with the insightful Dr. Dennis Ngien was pretty enlightening and joyous, having a lot to gain.

We look forward to "ganging up" again on his next trip back to Sibu!

Monday, July 13, 2009

MAF of Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church - "Jesus Loves You" Badminton Competition

The event organiser Thomas (right) and the official photographer Ah Chiong.

Thomas introduced the stage to the floor.

All the players lined up for the opening.

A scene in Centenary Hall of SMK Sacred Heart.

A scene on the stage.

In a true manifestation of the love of Christ Jesus, MAF of Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church is putting hands together to organise a two-night districtwide badminton competition. Themed "Jesus Loves You!", this event is perhaps the first of its kind to share the gift of love with some non-believer players. You may call it evangelical in nature.
This competition, to be held on July 13 & 15 at Centenary Hall of SMK Sacred Heart, is open to all the MAFs in Sibu East District. Essentially a reach-out event, it attracted a total of 10 teams to come under one roof for a common sharing purpose.
The organiser imposed no joining fees. All that each team has to fulfill is to include two non-believer players.
I went there both as a supporter and in my capacity as Chairman of MAF of Sibu East District. But due to my commitment with another meeting, much as I wished to stay on, I had to leave early.
DS Rev Wong Koi Fo was invited to share a message at the opening ceremony. In his address, he brought to the players both good news and bad news.