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!

Planning Ahead

Planning Ahead

save by planning ahead

“Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15).

Trained initially as a teacher, I learned and picked up a lot of new ideas on salesmanship when I switched and took the plunge to selling life insurance on a commission basis as a career. Without the safety of the “security cheque”, I was inevitably faced with the challenge of having to plan and work my plan for my daily, weekly and monthly survival. That slogan: “Nobody plan to fail but most fail to plan” became deeply ingrained in me even till this day.

In retrospect, looking at it in perspective, the words will only ring true if you and I have the power and ability to control our life and destiny. Circumstances will change, job security vanishes, new career looms and new and alien environment requires us to adjust, adapt and adopt life unplanned for. As a new Christian then, I couldn’t really understand the significance of the wisdom in Proverbs 20:24, which says: “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”

Life is fragile. It is one of vanity and futility. Yesterday is dead and gone. Tomorrow may never come. It’s ridiculous to dwell on past glories. Today is the time for each of us to consider where and how we are investing our time and energies. Oftentimes, at deathbed you’ll hear of regretful wishes like ”I wish I had spent more time with my family and kids.” All the worldly plan of making those million bucks is furthest from the mind of the would-be deceased. Ask the Lord to give you His priorities for your life and he will set you straight.

Everything ultimately comes to an end. Life has its beginning. Life has its end and over these two facts we have absolutely no control. I used to preach these words: “From the womb to the tomb, there is but one room. It’s either heaven or hell where we for all eternity will ‘yell.’”Yes, be prepared and plan ahead for that mansion above. “If there’s will, there’s a way” so they say. But it needs to be added “ . . . provided it’s God’s will.”

    Paul Chong