Australia: The Question of Becoming A Republic

By Paul Chong Sunday 30 August 2015

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As I sat at our little breakfast table having my late dinner of rice porridge, fish & some vegetables, I listened to the speaker on the ABC addressing an enthusiastic audience over the question of Australia becoming a Republic. For as long as I have lived in Perth since 1982, I have heard for countless times the word “Republic” but to no end.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Australians will ever change. I am a Chinese by Descent . . . an Australian by Consent. I have lived here longer than I have ever lived elsewhere. If I may compare myself (certainly not in the same status) to Warren Buffett, the American self-made billionaire, who has lived in the same modest home he first bought over 30 years ago, I have dwelled in our little holiday home sitting on the escarpment of Perth Hills for nearly 30 years. This is my own paradise with vista vision to the valley, the City of Perth & beyond.

To-night as I walked down the slope of our home to throw away the garbage, it was foggy, rainy, cold with a light wind & the city lights were shrouded by fog. It was dark & wet.

In 1984 I wrote a little book entitled “How to Have Motivation Unlimited” predicting that Australia would become a poor cousin to its neighbouring Asian nations. True enough. Just take a look at Singapore, a little city state without any natural resources & impoverished as compared to the great “Down Under”. Singapore however is not lacking in the wealth of people resources with the drive, courage & determination to make it work under the great leadership of the late Lee Kuan Yew.

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WHEN I first arrived in Perth (1982) solely focussed on giving our three children a brighter future, some friends were telling me that I would find the Australians as “White Malays”. You all know at this stage what’s happening in Malaysia. Today (Saturday 29 August 2015) people globally joined hands in mass BERSIH 4 rallies (Bersih means clean). The Malaysian government UMNO/BN has been milking the country clean through its catchword of CCN practice of corruption, cronyism & nepotism over a period of more than 50 years since its independence from Britain. Now the catchword is changed to CNN (confused not with the famous media CNN) which stands for Corruption, Nepotism & “Najibism”. This time BERSIH 4 movement has been the result of recent WSJ revelation that MR2.6 billion (US$700 million) went missing from the funds of 1MDB, proclaimed investment front for the Malaysians under his chairmanship, into the personal bank account of Najib,chairman & the incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister.

In a quick flashback, I have witnessed in Australia the economic downturn of the early 1980s – the “Bottom of the Harbour” scheme, the achievement of late Alan Bond, the flamboyant house painter who became infamous as a rich oil painting collector with his ponzi business schemes. He was the hero for first winning the America Cup in 1984.

Politically, the scenario was one of in-fighting, incessant rivalry between Andrew Peacock and John Howard, the likes of Paul Keating, reputably proclaimed by his predecessor Bob Hawke as the best Finance Minister in the world, back-stabbing leadership between Julia Gillard & Kevin Rudd . . . the fast changing of guards like changing daily clothing. Hope that things would be different now under the reign of Tony Abbot. Yes, Anthony John “Tony” Abbott MP is the 28th and current Prime Minister of Australia. He has held this position since 2013, and been Leader of the Liberal Party since 2009. We pray, hope & trust for a hero he be in returning Australia to its former glory.

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All these years that I live in Australia, I have known but one good leader in the person of Robert Menzies. He was like John Howard inclined looking towards England – the helpless far-off motherland. That tie is still strong among the Aussies, and until such time the umbilical cord is severed, Australia will forever drift along.

“No worries. She’ll be right mate” attitude is deeply ingrained in the mind & hearts of the Australians. They will never see that to grow to progress is to change. Change will be hard to come by. What we need is not a BERSIH movement but a mental revolution. “Life isn’t a bed of roses” so said Malcolm Frazer, the has been prime minister. Roses are beautiful but their thorns are prickly.

Perhaps, OBAMA could come over to Australia to inculcate the change concept among the Australians. However, I reserve my comments . . . certainly not the way the president is dragging the nation down economically & politically.

As for Malaysia, Najib Razak, who scored 5 straight A’s in his term as Prime Minister of Malaysia. This is in reference to his follies with the murder of Mongolian beauty queen Altantuya, Anwar Ibrahim, a former Deputy PM, with sodomy charges, the forbidden use of the word Allah by non-Muslims, trying to block Azizah, wife of Anwar from being the chief minister of Selangor and last but least the recent Aircraft crash of MH 17. The end of his era is nearing its end!

Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd

It is the kind of leader at the helm of the nation that will prove the positive outcome of the nation. A country must be able to decide its own fate & that will demand a good strong man – a man with the vision, courage & the right focus to steer the nation through the roughest oceans.

During tough times, the overjoyed concept of “sun, sand,sea & surf” must be forfeited. Australia’s economic future is tied to its Asian neighbours – the very people at our doorstep . . . not motherland England nor the far-off American shores.

Be a republic, a change is refreshing & rejuvenating. Let’s turn on a new page in the economic & social life of the Aussies. Find the right leader!

Inward, Outward And Upward Looking

INWARD, OUTWARD

AND

UPWARD LOOKING

Inward as China used to be, outward as it is & upward for what it will be!

(By Paul Chong)

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Of the nations in the world today, China stands out progressively tall and strong. It is as though a sleeping dragon is finally awakened. This appears to be the fear of the West. Though an economically strong China is good commercially for all the trading nations in the West, politically China poses a great threat. It is feared that “once China stands up, it won’t topple or be toppled.” That was why precisely Napoleon in his wisdom and conquering days decided to let China sleep and not to rouse her.

In retrospect, China is undoubtedly the world’s greatest civilised nation over a continuous period of thousands of years – a civilisation undiminished and unbroken, unlike past civilisations like Egypt, Greece, or the Romans. By any reckoning, China should have by now be far more superior than the rest of the world. Why not?

Of the many reasons why China did not progress beyond its initial lead in technology and discovery, the main cause of which can largely be attributed to its inward looking policy. . . viewing all territories outside the Great Wall of China and its boundaries as barbaric in nature. This nationalistic pride and closed door policy led to its seclusion, totally depriving itself from the inter-change of ideas and exposure to new scientific developments and industrial growth. While China lavished in its culture, philosophy and essentially non-materialistic form of development, it began to lag behind the West in terms of economic industrial growth. In preserving its civilisation from being tainted by corruption, disruption and deterioration, it never knew new growth, development and discoveries elsewhere in the whole wide world. The “Middle Kingdom” realised too late the encroachment of other nations upon its shores and territories. Countries like Britain, Portugal, Japan were making inroads into China through modern superior arms of war instead of its age-old “kung-fu”.

To grow, to progress is to change. Sentiment must give way to progress. There is no room for inhibition to changes. Change needs to take place before growth and progress can be attained. Its attitude more than aptitude that scales the altitude. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the great former prime minister of Singapore, is credited for the great strides achieved by the City State. His visionary ideas have no room for inhibition to change or any hindrance.

Now, what a change has come about as a result of Deng Xiao Ping’s visionary concept of “Xiang Qian Zou”. In Mandarin, it means “Forward Move”, but by replacing the middle word with the similar pronunciation, it becomes “Moving Forward With Money”. This started a great frenzy for the Chinese striving for monetary progress in all spheres of work and life. China has made a quantum leap – virtually a country with no phone to the modern technology of mobile phones! But capitalistic way of life does have its price.

Greed always breed a profound loss of goodness in mankind. Simple honesty, truth, kindness and compassion are lost in the process. The dollar sign is etched prominently on the foreheads of goal-getters. It is evident to an outside observer that the whole civilisation is transformed overnight. China, in its forward economic stride, has done away with its traditional large families, and its door is wide open to the corrupt western way of life. There is a price to be paid, for consequential results cannot be avoided.

We are not here this morning to discuss the forward march of China and the loss of a whole generation of tradition, custom, simple curtesy and good manners, which comes about as a result of its Cultural Revolution.

We want, however, to draw a comparative study between China and the United States of America, which has only a history of some 200 odd years, and yet progressively more advanced. Why is this so? The irony of this is even more profound when we compare US with Great Britain – the tag of British “greatness” pales in significance. And to think that America started as a colony of Britain! What then is the significant attributable factor?

This factor is spelt out very clearly when we look at the green bag note. It says very clearly: “In God We Trust”. It is this upward and outward attitudinal outlook that make all the difference between Britain and US, and China and US. The Americans look upward to God for all its needs and provisions since the first Pilgrim Fathers stepped on the shore of the new continent. Because of its explicit trust in the Lord, America has been greatly blessed and it prospered beyond the realms of other nations with similar history or longer history.

Apart from this upward attitudinal outlook, it practises an outward outlook beyond its shore and adopt an open door policy in the many aspects of its economy. In so doing, it was able to absorb and gain both from within and without the world the wealth of knowledge towards its rapid advancement.

On the personal front, the individual must avoid being inward looking. The classic example is drawn from the Pharisees, the elite Jewish ruling council, high-browed, stiff-necked and self-centred in character. They rejected Jesus as the Messiah (the Jews’ promised deliverer) and till today they are still awaiting His coming. Ever wonder re the plight of the “wandering Jews”? Being persecuted and hated wherever they are? It is without doubt God’s punishment of the Jews for crucifying Christ on the cross! Not until the Jews find their roots in the Messiah Jesus, will their wandering stop!!

In Matthew 23:13, it reads: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” It is interesting to note that Israel, the chosen one, was largely ethnocentric, much against God’s ecclesiocentric view of encompassing also the Gentiles in His overall plan and purpose. God chose Israel in preparation for the complete unwrapping and disclosure of His universal intentions. In de Groot’s words, “Israel is the opening word in God’s proclaiming salvation, not the Amen.” Like Jonah Israel turned away from the Gentiles in introverted pride. Jonah wanted a God cut according to his own pattern, cold and hard with an unbending will set against the heathen. He could not stand to think of the gentiles as part of God’s salvation scheme.

Verse 27: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Verse 39 concludes with this: “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ’Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

How prophetically true what Jesus said! Until and unless the Jews find repose in Jesus, their perils will not be over!!

In John 14:6, the terminology is always on the personal basis: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus has given us the road map guiding us upwards to heaven, and to stay in the centre of God’s will. You need not worry about tomorrow and trust Jesus to guide you one day at a time, and to follow Him even though you don’t know the way. No other road map is required.

Abram followed one day at a time. He walked by faith and not by sight. As in Genesis 12:1-5, we read:

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people & your father’s household & go to the land I will show you.”

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless

you; I will make your name great, and you will be

a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever

curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be

blessed through you.”

So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went

With him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he

set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew

Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the

people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for

the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram (whose name was changed by God to Abraham) is the classic example of the principle of “walking by faith, rather than by sight . . . one day at a time”. In walking with the LORD, ourselves must be erased, the LORD must be raised. There is a definite attitudinal shift from self-centredness to God-centredness.

In John 15:5 it says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Thus the way to be is: inwardness to upwardness. Amen.

Be Thankful For The Roses

Be Thankful For The Roses

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“Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being,

praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul,

And forget not all his benefits –

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

(Psalm 103: 1-5)

It’s said that we can worry to sickness. On the other hand we can will ourselves to health. Whatever the circumstances, our state of health depends upon our frame of mind. With changing times and circumstances we need to learn to tune our attitude positively along.

As the years ahead of us diminish with the accumulation of the years behind us, living beyond the three scores and ten years of age is by the grace of God. We should be thankful for the bonuses ahead, and all the more grateful for the good health that we enjoy. Understandably, health and life are not within our power of control. Therefore, cherish lest you perish!

In the rose garden, people admire the different hues of beauty of the roses. However, there are those who complain about the thorns. But life is never meant to be a bed of roses without the thorns. As a young man, I love roses but never wanted to grow them simply because of the thorns. With love and admiration for the roses, I learnt to accept and respect their thorns.

All things are beautiful, but circumstances and motives of gain, greed, power and control turn them otherwise. For instance, gunpowder initially in the hands of the Chinese was used for celebration purposes as firecrackers. No sooner when discovered by the Westerners, guns and ammunition and other weapons of destruction took over.

In this beautiful Psalm above, there are seven meaningful verbs, well chosen to instil a process of hope and positiveness . . . forget, forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, satisfies, and renewed. Let our lives reflect these positives and steer onwards and upwards towards our ever-forgiving God, faithful and true.

Paul Chong