Wednesday, February 22, 2017

God Is In the Business of Impossible (Genesis 17:15-19)

God continued speaking to Abraham, ‘And Sarai your wife: Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah. I’ll bless her—yes! I’ll give you a son by her! Oh, how I’ll bless her! Nations will come from her; kings of nations will come from her.’ Abraham fell flat on his face. And then he laughed, thinking, ‘Can a hundred-year-old man father a son? And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?’ Recovering, Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, keep Ishmael alive and well before you!’ But God said, ‘That’s not what I mean. Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son. Name him Isaac (Laughter). I’ll establish my covenant with him and his descendants, a covenant that lasts forever’
(Genesis 17:15-19, The Message)

Sarai was 90 year-old when God gave her a fresh start. No longer would she be known by the old Babylonian name she had been born with. From Genesis 17 onward, she would be called “Sarah” – Princess – and she, like her husband (Abram, previously renamed as Abraham), would be the mother of nations. Name is so important. It represent who we are, our origin. Good name is crucial for a new identity. Abraham and Sarah’s names are God’s prophesy of what they would become.

I’m thinking of Abraham… how his faith were stretched… he had been called upon to believe some wild things (Up-In-The-Sky-Kind-of-Promises!) over the previous 30 years. But the thought of his 90 year-old wife would “give you a son” was too much. Too impossible for him – and probably too stress – that he laughed! Abraham being Abraham, he gave God a suggestion, a solution: “Oh, keep Ishmael alive and well before you!” What he meant was, “Lord, why couldn’t Ismael, be the son of the promise? Let him be!” Perhaps Abraham truly love Ishmael. Perhaps Abraham sick of waiting. Perhaps he felt bad for the boy Ishmael, son with the servant woman Hagar. Illegitimate or not, he was till Abram’s flesh and blood.

Let me reason for Abraham… Hey, Ishmael, his son, was already there. Why wait? I think it is quite awesome if God were to make a great nation out of Ishmael (in fact, God does it). But to imagine an as-yet-unborn son of a 90 year-old woman? To me and Abraham… that was impossible to imagine...

About two thousand years later, God did the same impossible promise. Elderly Elizabeth who were barren bore a son, John the Baptist and Mary, a virgin, bore child Jesus the Messiah (read Luke 1 and 2). Both were impossible cases, but as Gabriel, the archangel said, “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, Msg). God had His own plans, His plans will come to past. He is in the business of impossible. “That’s not what I mean,” God insisted, “Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son.” God was doing something utterly new to Abraham. In the end, Sarah gave birth to a son named Isaac (read Genesis 21).

When God plans to do something, something great
Hold fast to His promises, He keep His promises,
Remember: “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and My Fellow Malaysians, Let Us Pray for Pastor Raymond (Missing for A Week Now)

One of the saddest crimes is kidnapping or human stealing. Every day whether you turn on the news or go on the web, you always see kidnapping crimes going on worldwide. This is probably the most severe form of stealing. In the Old Testament this was punishable by death. Exodus 21:16, for example, says, “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.” This was what was happening back in the slavery days. It is not applicable today, but still, this law shows how serious this crime is (I checked: A Malaysia’s 1961 law states that kidnapping carries a life sentence or a death sentence, preceded by a whipping).

According to police, Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, 62-year-old, of DUCM (Damansara Utama Methodist Church) is believed to have been abducted by a group of masked men after he was seen driving along Jalan Bahagia, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, in his car between 10.30am and 10.45am on Monday, 13th February 2017. It has been exactly a week since his disappearance. “My children and I are very anxious for Raymond,” writes Susanna Liew Sow Yoke, Raymond’s wife on her message thru WhatsApp, “How can this blatantly happen in broad daylight in the peaceful place of our home land.”

Susannah continues, “I believe that the people who took my husband from me are no ordinary abductors because of the following reasons:
§  They were masked
§  The abduction was professionally and deftly executed, taking less than 60 seconds
§  The abductors had money, or were backed by money, or by an organisation with money as the cars they used were expensive SUVs, at least one of which was a black Toyota Alphard
§  The abduction was planned, timed and executed at an opportune moment, which suggests that they were waiting for my husband who drives an old Silver Honda Accord bearing number plate ST 5515 D.

Someone in the group calmly filmed the entire abduction while other masked members of the group re-directed the traffic. According to witnesses, at least five masked men were involved. According to CCTV footage, at least three black SUVs stopped in the middle of the road.”

Koh and his wife has been involved in many church charity and community work with a group called Harapan Komuniti, which he founded more than 10 years ago. Harapan Komuniti holds free tuition classes for children and English lessons for adults. Koh is well-known for the controversy in 2011 where the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) accused him and his NGO for proselytising Muslims following a disrespectful raid on a thanksgiving and fund-raising dinner at the DUMC. (Actually, Jais raided without search warrants). Demi Membela Al-Islam wordpress on their 14th October 2011 entry accused Koh and Susannah of converting people – especially Muslims – to Christianity (and putting Koh, Susannah, and Daniel Ho’s pictures as wanted figures). These liars accused them of gaining lots of money, around RM30,000 – Rm40,000 for every convert from the Christian Organization from Australia. This is a lie from the pit of hell! If it were true, I shall quit my job and focus on converting Muslims in Malaysia and beyond. The Worldwide Christian conspiracies (which is fuelled by hundreds of rubbish ‘literatures’ sale in Malaysia’s bookstores under the “Agama” section) is created by small-minded, spiritual-freak, die-hard religious people!

But I won’t deny pastor Koh’s involvement in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, to the Malays. He is an evangelist, he evangelized people no matter who they are, provided that his audiences are willing to hear the News. No manipulations. No force. Not for worldly reasons. I believes he evangelize to the Chinese, the Indians, the foreigners, the marginalized and disables, the rich and the poor, children and adults. The Good News is for all people, no other race is lower or higher than the other. That’s what pastors – and Christians – supposed to do! I’m proud of Pastor Raymond.  

If you’re not keen of the fact that he is a Christian pastor (you refuse to be move by his faith), then you should be compassionate for him as a person, as a law abiding citizen who has done nothing more than help the underprivileged regardless of race, religion or nationality. As Malaysians, we should stand together asking for mercy and justice. Dear polices, please update us of your investigations? Dear government officials, why nobody say anything? Dear government-based media (national TVs) why there is not a single news report of this kidnapping? It’s been a week for God sake!

Let us continue our prayer for Pastor Raymond Koh and his family. Susannah writes, “Let us persevere in prayer for the prayers of the righteous avails much. Let us continue to love God and do good to our neighbours. Raymond would be very happy today if he knows not only Malaysia is praying for him but also the whole world. Raymond always stood for justice, righteousness and truth. He always reached out to the poor, needy and marginalized. He even loved his enemies. Jesus was his example.” Amen.

[P.s: The family of pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo is offering a reward of up to RM10,000 for any information on his whereabouts. Please WhatsApp Jonathan at 011-3973 2670]


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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Simple Book Review: "Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ" (1996) by Robert H. Stein

Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ (1996)
by Robert H. Stein

This book is very scholarly, I mean, technical but not that hard to understand. It seem like Professor Robert Stein aims at writing this book for seminary students. Prof Stein is a fine evangelical New Testament scholar. In this book, he draws together the results of a career of research and writing on Jesus and the Gospels. “Every episode in the life of Jesus is here treated with historical care and attention to its significance for understanding the life and ministry of Jesus.” To me, this book give inquiring minds a sure grounding in Jesus the Messiah.

This book is divided into 2 parts and 19 chapters:

Part One: Key Issues in Studying the Life of Christ

1)    Where You Start Determines Where You Finish: The Role of Presuppositions in Studying the Life of Jesus
2)    Where Can We Go? Sources for Studying the Life of Jesus
3)    When Did All This Take Place? The Problem of Chronology

Part Two: The Life of Christ

4)    Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary: How It All Started
5)    What Was the Boy Jesus Really Like? The Silent Years
6)    The Baptism of Jesus: The Anointing of the Anointed
7)    The Temptation of Jesus: The Battle Begun, the Path Decided
8)    The Call of the Disciples: You Shall Be My Witnesses
9)    The Message of Jesus: “The Kingdom of God Has Come to You”
10) The Person of Jesus: “Who Then Is This, That Even the Wind & Sea Obey Him?”
11) The Events of Caesarea Philippi: The Turning Point
12) The Transfiguration: A Glimpse of the Future
13) The Triumphal Entry: Israel’s King Enters Jerusalem
14) The Cleansing of the Temple: God’s House – a Den of Thieves
15) The Last Supper: Jesus Looks to the Future
16) Gethsemane, Betrayal & Arrest: God’s Will, Human Treachery & Governmental Evil
17) The Trial: The Condemning of the Innocent
18) Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, Dead and Buried: Despised & Rejected, a Man of Suffering
19) The Resurrection: “Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead”?

This book is very helpful for my personal and groups study on the Gospel :)


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During the Covenant Making Abram Fell Into a Deep Sleep, So God Slapped Him? (Genesis 15:10-22)

God said, ‘Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, and a dove and a young pigeon.’ [Abram] brought all these animals to him, split them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other. But he didn’t split the birds. Vultures swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram scared them off. As the sun went down a deep sleep overcame Abram and then a sense of dread, dark and heavy…  When the sun was down and it was dark, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch moved between the split carcasses. That’s when God made a covenant with Abram: ‘I’m giving this land to your children, from the Nile River in Egypt to the River Euphrates in Assyria—the country of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites
(Genesis 15:9-12, 17-21, The Message)

Either you don’t understand what you’ve just read or you’re saying What?!! to this bloody business, I find that this encounter is interesting. Abram killed three large animals, cut each in half through bone and muscle, and laid the pieces out. But lucky birds, their bodies remain in one piece (but probably their heads were chopped off. Easy dead). Imagine the smell of meat and blood. Thus, Abram had to scare the vultures off.

I assumed Abram probably recognized the making of the familiar ritual – the Cutting of a Covenant – during the Old Testament period. When two kings made a covenant, they sometimes cut an animal in half and walked between the pieces as way of saying, “If I don’t keep this agreement, may I be like this animal.” Sometimes both parties walked between the pieces, sometimes it was only the weaker of the two kings.

As the sun went down a deep sleep overcame Abram and then a sense of dread, dark and heavy.” Many commentaries tells us that Abram woke to a vision of God. In a form of “a smoking firepot and a flaming touch” God passing between the pieces of the animals. If it was God, then I assured you, it was not the weaker of the two parties putting Himself on the line for the sake of the Covenant, but the stronger. The only One. I interprets it as of God was saying, “If I don’t give this land to your offspring as I have promised, may I be broken like these broken animals.”

God came to the man and woman who waited in faith. There is no record of Abram walking between the pieces since God’s Covenant is not a bargain between equals. It is totally dependent on God’s initiative of grace. Abram role – our role even today – is to receive what God gives, obey what God commands and so live in the enjoyment of God’s blessings. I learned, through my darkest moments, when I don’t understand why I have to wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled, I know that that is precisely the moment for faith to hold on to God’s Word and to say,

I know that the God who has brought me to this point is not going to let me down now, so I am going to confirm my commitment to Him, whatever the appearance may be, because He is committed to me forever. Amen.”

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Friday, February 17, 2017

A Lesson from Impatient Wife, Soft Husband and Proud Servant (Genesis 16:1-6)

Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child. She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, ‘God has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.’ Abram agreed to do what Sarai said. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place. He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.

Sarai told Abram, ‘It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse. I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May God decide which of us is right.’ ‘You decide,’ said Abram. ‘Your maid is your business.’ Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away
(Genesis 16:1-6, The Message)

This is both encouraging and troubling: Abram’s life of faith was up and down like roller coaster. Encouraging because mine is like that too; and troubling because his doubtful- attitude is like mine too. Huh. In Genesis 15 we saw Abram believing God’s big-scale promise to make him a great nation. But in the next chapter we see him taking matters into his hands again.

Knowing Sarai couldn’t possibly bear children at her old age, she invited Abram to sleep with her maid Hagar in hope that she would bear a child (on behalf of her since Hagar was her bondage-servant) who would be the beginning of Abram’s great nation. At least start with one child. The promise, after all, said that Abram would become the father of great nation – it didn’t specify that the children he fathered had to be legitimate. Hello!

So Abram slept with the servant woman – clearly put: having sex – and she got pregnant. Soon Sarai began to realize what a mistake she had made. Hagar the Egyptian “looked down on her mistress.” She became proud, and probably felt loved by Abraham because she bore his child. This is a better drama than TV3 Malay drama. So Sarai could no longer stand the sight of Hagar. In her eagerness to help God keep His promise and in her unwillingness to wait for God’s timing and somewhat became queen control, Sarah traded in her dignity, and Abram (sadly) had let her. It was a tragedy, disastrous. Abram became soft. Hagar became proud. Sarai became abusive.

Wait. That’s what I learned from this story. It’s hard, but wait for God is the best thing to do. On waiting Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people.”

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Abram, Look at the Stars, Look How They Shine for You (Genesis 15:1-6)

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.’

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’

And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness
(Genesis 15:1-6, ESV)

By now Abram was an old man. His wife, Sarai, was old too – in fact, decades beyond childbearing age. So when God came to him in a vision (you may called it ‘dream’) and repeated the promise He once made with Abram, it’s not hard to understand Abram’s doubt and fear. “I continue childless,” he said, “and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus [his chief servant].” Lot, his nephew has gone; and Abram had left his families behind. Since he doesn’t have any children or other close relatives, by law of the land, his chief servant will inherits his properties (unless he go back to his home town). I imagine it was a painful thing for Abram to think about: It wasn’t even a distant relative, but a servant who would inherit everything he had worked for.

Even though God seems to be ‘last-minute’ to me, it wasn’t what He had in mind when He promised to make a great nation of Abram. He wasn’t talking about servant(s) that will inherit his properties and promises. No, as unlikely as it sounded, God was going to give Abram his very own son.

God took him outside the tent [still in a vision, probably in spirit?] and told him to look up to the heavens. “Number the stars, God said, “if you are able to number them.” [Again, I imagine Abram tried to count the stars with his finger and murmured 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…] “So shall your offspring be.”

Abram probably lifted his head once more, this time he looked at the stars not as numbers but possibilities. He took in the vast and shimmering sky – each star a son, a daughter, each one a blessing to the rest of the world. And somehow, Abram’s faith restored – Abram believed again.

I hope that this story – God’s Story – will lift up your faith again, restore your believe in God’s promises again, hope in Him again. May God’s righteousness be with you as you believe in His goodness and promises in His living Word.
[P.s: I’m not sure what “counted it to him as righteousness” mean; could it be God counted Abram as righteous because of his act of believe?]


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Simple Book Review: "Letters to Home: Young Malaysians Write Back!" (2016)

Letters to Home: Young Malaysians Write Back! (2016)
edited by Ooi Kok Hin, Aish Kumar & Nik Mohamed Rashid Nik Zurin

I seldom read books by local writers. I plead guilty. It turned out I’m very impressed by this book. 24 universities, 7 countries and 1 hope, hope for Malaysia. “The voices and issues discussed reflect the diversity you’d expect to encounter in any modern and plural society such as Malaysia,” writes Ooi Kok Hin, one of editors. “You will find stories and essays about nasi lemak and the brain drain, JPA scholarship and Malaysia Airlines, politics and economics, welfare and ideology, immigration and refugees, cynical Malaysian and idealist Malaysian, interracial marriage and financial literacy, and even heaven and hell.”

0) Introduction
1) Sakuras Are Beautiful, But Nasi Lemak Is Better (by Azalia Zaharuddin)
2) Separating Ketuanan Melayu and Affirmative Action (by Fikri Fisal)
3) Investing Without Returns (by Ng Jung Kian)
4) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (by Aish Kumar)
5) Semantics and the Voters Psyche (by Zaryff Razali)
6) Pendatang (by Tan Heang Lee)
7) The Global Competition for Talent Between the United States and Malaysia (by Billy Hoo)
8) I’d Love to Get to Know You Better. Wanna Go Out and Have a Chat? (by Nurul Ismawi)
9) To All Malaysians, Welcome Home (by Ooi Kok Hin)
10) Do Not Ignore the National Language (by David Lim)
11) Are We Doing Enough to Protect Our Environment? (by Rexy Prakash)
12) Chasing Heaven, Finding Hell (by Tharmelinggem Pillai)
13) One Teh Tarik, One Nasi Lemak (by Abdul Rahman Shah)
14) The Change From Within: A Kelab UMNO with Non-Malays (by Shamil Norshidi)
15) Our Disabling Attitude Towards Malaysian with Disabilities (by Shahir Shukor)
16) To Intermarry Or Not to Intermarry? (by Benedict Weerasena)
17) Imperialist Linguistics: Why My Language is Better than Yours (by Nik Mohamed Rashid Nik Zurin)
18) Of Reading Books and Money (by Achmad Bakhtiar M Yuni)
19) Dear Typical Malaysian (by Justin Lim Jia Tian)
20) Us Rude Malaysians! (by Sarah Syahirah binti Abdullah)
21) Curbing the Mahasiswa, Creating the Pelajar (Fikri Fisal)
22) The Great White North: Things You Might Not Know About America’s 52nd State (by Nizhan Faraz Risal and Eddy Arief Zulkifly)
23) A Walk In Kelantan (by Asyraf Muiz Roslan)
24) I Work Hard but Still Get Less (by Hasbullah Faudzi)
25) I Can Only Hope (by Ian Chew)
26) A Letter to My Students (by Izzat Adha)
27) Leaving the Orphanage: An Adventure Upon the Coming of Age (by Puteri Eleni Megat Osman)
28) Nasi Goreng Kampung vs. Nasi Goreng USA (by Mohamad Syazwan Abdul Rahman)
29) It Takes All Kinds to Make a Nasi Kerabu: Celebrating Diversity in Harmony (by Mohd Izzuddin Ramli)

By favourites are chapters #1, #2, #5, #6, #8, #9 (most dear to Sarawakians, especially), #10, #11, #12, #16, #20 and #26. I recommend this book for students, staff worker, politicians, and for those who care about Malaysia – and what others think about it :) [P.s: Kamu boleh jumpa buku ini di Popular dan MPH Bookstores. Berharga RM20.00 je]

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Simple Book Review: "13 Things that Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time" (2009)

13 Things that Don't Make Sense:
The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time
by Michael Brooks

I like to think of scientists as being on top of things,” writes Michael Brooks, “able to explain the world we live in, masters of their universe. But maybe that’s just a comforting delusion.” Science starts to get interesting when things don’t make sense. Even today there are “experi
mental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss.” 

I enjoy reading this book, but there are some terms (actually lots of ‘em!) that I totally not familiar with. I also have to confess that I skipped reading some pages, simply because… it’s boring. Many times too, I communicates to the book, ‘If only they know God of the Bible, this can easily be explained.’ Nevertheless, I agree with William Leith, “Reading it [this book] will make you feel clever.” I do feel clever now.

Here are 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense:

#1 “The Missing Universe”: We can only account for 4% of the cosmos
#2 “The Pioneer Anomaly”: Two spacecraft are flouting the laws of physics
#3 “Varying Constants”: Destabilizing our view of the universe
#4 “Cold Fusion”: Nuclear energy without drama
#5 “Life”: Are you more than just a bag of chemicals?
#6 “Viking”: NASA scientists found evidence for life on Mars. Then they changed their minds
#7 “The Wow! Signal”: Has ET already been in touch?
#8 “A Giant Virus”: It’s a freak that could rewrite the story of life
#9 “Death”: Evolution’s problem with self-destruction
#10 “Sex”: There are better ways to reproduce
#11 “Free Will”: Your decisions are not your own
#12 “The Placebo Effect”: Who’s being deceived?
#13 “Homeopathy”: It’s patently absurd, so why won’t it go away?

I recommend this book only if you’re interested in science... and mystery... hmmm... yeah, mystery :)

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Simple Book Review: "How to Think Like Bill Gates" (2015) by Daniel Smith

How to Think Like Bill Gates (2015) by Daniel Smith

Bill Gates or William Henry Gates III, founder of Microsoft (with Paul Allen) thinks differently. Gates sees and thinks differently than most people do. He has an amazing ability to find the flaws, see opportunities and “connect the dots” as Steve Jobs famously said. Gates can zoom in to details with precision or zoom out to the big picture. He also has the ability to focus on the merits of the idea or innovation before worrying about the business case. Here are 10 ways (in summary of 26 chapters of this book) to Think Like Bill Gates:

#1 Prioritize
“What’s the next best thing you should be thinking about?” It starts here. Time is your most limited and precious resource. This is about asking whether the problem is even worth your time. Before you throw cycles at it, figure out whether it’s worth it. Is it significant? How much time should you spend on it?

#2 Ask Smarter Questions
If you want better answers, ask better questions.

#3 Make Data-driven Decisions
This means getting informed, before you make your decision. This means evaluating the sources of data.

#4 Divorce Your Ego
Rather than focus on whether you’re right, it’s about whether the solution is right. It’s about being able to beat up the thinking, without taking it personally.

#5 Frame the Problem
Framing a problem is simply how you look at a problem, just like how you frame a picture. It’s about choosing what to focus on, what’s in and what’s out

#6 Get Perspectives on the Problem
This means being able to switch your perspectives. Rather than see the glass half-full or the glass half-empty, you should see both.

#7 Model the Problem
One of Bill Gate’s favourite tools is his whiteboard. A whiteboard makes it easy to sketch out ideas and visualize them. A whiteboard can help whether you’re trying to map out the problem or draw a solution.

#8 Think Strategically
Strategy guides your actions. You can think strategically along different lines.

[P.s: I bought this book, worth Rm73.90 (hardcover) for only Rm15.00. If you watch a movie at cinema, it will cost you around Rm13.50. But then, most movies doesn't have a long-term value.... Book does :) Invest (more) money on books, you'll never regret it]

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Simple Book Review: "How to Think Like Steve Jobs" (2013) by Daniel Smith

How to Think Like Steve Jobs (2013) by Daniel Smith

A short but concise book about the amazing life of a genius: Steve Jobs. A visionary world class. Never compromising and always striving for excellence. Settling with nothing except the best and insanely great. Jobs, a man of excellent taste in technology, art, music and probably life… maybe. For sure he love keeping things simple as possible but remarkable. Held more than 300 patents under his name and in group.

I particularly love the dedicated section of this book in which the author has mentioned about specific details like Steve's mentors, books, his past works and so on. This book is divided into 2 parts: #1 Get to the top, and #2 Stay at the top. A peek at Steve bookshelf is confirming that he was a highly spiritual and diet conscious. He can be an ‘asshole’ sometimes, but compare to his great achievements… I say, his assholeness can be discounted. An excellent Entrepreneur. One of our greatest modern innovators. He called himself a discoverer. Steve Jobs is one of my favourite persons.

Some of his great quotes in this book:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.”

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Simple, good book

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Tinjauan Buku Secara Ringkas: "Kembara Kepimpinan" (2015) oleh Roshan Thiran

Kembara Kepimpinan (2015) oleh Roshan Thiran

Lama sudah saya tidak membaca buku dalam bahasa Malaysia. Apa yang menarik minat saya tentang buku ini ialah #1 Ianya berkaitan dengan kepimpinan, salah satu tajuk yang saya minat; #2 Tiada unsur agama, penuh dengan contoh-contoh yang menarik dan bahasa yang mudah difahami walaupun saya pendapati beberapa kesalahan ejaan (tidak seperti kebanyakkan buku-buku BM yang lain yang sangat berbau perkauman, unsur agama yang melampau dan kualiti bahasa yang rendah); dan #3 Setiap bab disampaikan dengan jelas.

Roshan Thiran ialah Ketua Pengawai Eksekutif (CEO) Leaderonomics, sebuah perusahaan sosial yang menyokong perkembangan kepimpinan di semua peringkat umur di seluruh Asia Pasifik. Sebelum dia balik ke Malaysia, dia pernah bekerja dan ditinggal di Amerika Syarikat, Eropah dan Asia dalam pelbagai peranan dengan General Electric (GE) and Johnson & Johnson selama lebih kurang 15 tahun. Salah satu kata mutiara kegemaran Roshan ialah “Hidup adalah sama ada sebuah pengembaraan yang berani atau sesuatu yang tidak ada apa-apa pun” (Helen Keller).

Buku ini mengandungi lapan belas bab (kegemaran saya ialah bab ke 5 yang mengisahkan tentang kepimpinan Jose Mourinho):

Bab 1: Mengapakah Ianya Berbaloi Sekiranya Anda Mengotorkan Tangan Anda?
Bab 2: Tidak Mengapa, Biarkan mereka GAGAL!
Bab 3: Kepimpinan itu sesuatu yang ekstrim
Bab 4: Ingin Menjadi Genius, Berlatih Sajalah!
Bab 5: Membina Pasukan Berprestasi Tinggi – Pengajaran dari Kepimpinan “The Special One”
Bab 6: Perbaiki Tingkap Anda yang Rosak
Bab 7: Berbaloi ada Keriangan di Tempat Kerja
Bab 8: Jangan Bersaing, Berkolaborasilah
Bab 9: Diam dan Camkan Gorila
Bab 10: Sekarang Semua Orang Boleh Berangan menjadi Keusahawan
Bab 11: Luaskan Minda Anda
Bab 12: Kaedah “Pementoran Terbalik” terbukti Berhasil
Bab 13: Urusniaga yang Digerakkan oleh Tujuan
Bab 14: Untuk Membina seorang Pemimpin, Sebuah Komuniti Diperlukan
Bab 15: Pasukan Impian Tinggal Satu Impian
Bab 16: Tiada yang Mustahil
Bab 17: Apakah Strategi Kasih Sayang Anda?
Bab 18: Ini untuk Mereka yang ‘Gila’

Kamu boleh mencari buku ini di MPH bookstore. Ianya diterbitkan dan diedar oleh MPH Sdn Bhd. Cepat la beli sebelum habis :) [P.s: Pihak MPH Malaysia boleh bagi commission ka?]

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Simple Book Review: "How to Read Darwin" (2005) by Mark Ridley

How to Read Darwin (2005) by Mark Ridley

I tried to read Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species one day, but I couldn’t because the book is so thick and very technical. So I tried to read a book about The Origin and the man – How to Read Darwin – though it was easier to read yet at some points I feel lost.

Charles Darwin is best known for his work as a naturalist, developing a theory of evolution to explain biological change. Darwin was “a historical figure, who revolutionized biology, and his influence can be traced into all corners of modern culture – not just in biology, but in philosophy, the human sciences, theology, software engineering, literature and the plastic arts.” Darwin was also a mastermind. Ridley in this book focus primary on The Origin of Species and secondly on The Descent of Man to understand the man and his thoughts.

In the first part of The Origin, Darwin makes the case for evolution (Fyi, Darwin himself used the expression ‘descent with modification’ rather than ‘evolution.’ The term ‘evolution’ came to be used soon after Darwin’s book was published in 1859). According to the theory of evolution, the various forms of life on Earth – trees and flowers, worms and whales – all descend from common ancestors. The second part considers the process that causes evolution Darwin argues “that the process he calls natural selection drives evolution.” Then he also explain about the terms “heredity” and “variation” for “his whole theory depended on them.”

There are ten chapters in this book:
1)    ‘One Long Argument’
2)    Natural Selection
3)    Difficulties on Theory
4)    Hybridism and Biodiversity
5)    The Geological Succession
6)    The Case for Evolution
7)    The Social and Moral Faculties
8)    Natural Selection as Affecting Civilized Nations
9)    Sexual Selection
10) The Expression of the Emotions

I make it a habit to not only read books that I agree with. I read widely. This book is among the books that I don’t really agree with.

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Simple Book Review: "Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate" (2012)

Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate (2012) 
by Dan Miller & Jared Angaza

So do you want the passion of youth or the wisdom that comes with age? Perhaps a better question is: Do you have to make that choice? No. You can have both. It is possible to maintain the passion of youth into old age and to attain the wisdom commonly associated with maturity at an early age. You can expect to have both no matter where yo
u are in your life’s journey. Nothing is sadder than a young person with no passion. And few things are more pathetic than an older person without wisdom. 

Wisdom without passion can feel like having an expensive car with no gas in the tank. And passion without wisdom can appear as a car with no steering wheel. “Wisdom Meets Passion,” writes the authors, “will show you how to blend the two – equipping you to accomplish your greatest financial goals, experience the thrill of fulfilling relationships, create meaningful work, and complete your purpose and calling here on earth no matter which age group you represent.”

I like how the book was written. Many examples, fill with inspiring quotes, refers to many books and about a dozen of suggestions for personal development and success. If you like to read self-help books like me, or if you’re tired of the same old advise from self-help books – I recommend you read Wisdom Meets Passion because this book won’t let you live a life of mediocre and challenge you to risk new possibilities :)

P.s: Thank you Hanna for this book. Love it!

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Simple Book Review: "Think Like A Freak" (2014) by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Think Like A Freak (2014) by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

I love this book! Really, this book offer to retrain my brain! At the beginning of this book, authors tell us how to take a penalty kick. Facing a penalty, goalkeepers dive to the left 57% of the time, and to the right 41%. Which means they only remain in the centre 2% of the time. Which is why you’re 7% more likely to score by shooting at the centre of the goal than to the corners. Yet, only 17% of penalty kicks aim for the centre. Why? Because “protecting your own reputation by not doing something potentially foolish – you are more likely to kick toward a corner” but if you “trying to win the game for your nation even though you risk looking personally foolish – you will kick toward the centre.” Authors conclude: “Sometimes in life, going straight up the middle is the boldest move of all.” They encourage us to – take risk – and think like a Freak!

This book is based on unconventional analysis and clear data explained in captivating stories such as the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, how Martin Luther affected German economy, Zappo and “The Offer”, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics – all with the goal of retraining our brains.

Here are some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak: #1 Put away your moral compass—because “it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it”; #2 Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to; #3 Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions; #4 Find the root cause of a problem—because attacking the symptoms, as often happens, rarely fixes the underlying issue; #5 Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world; #6 Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day; and #7 Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because “you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.”

After finished reading this book, I feel smart – I’m a Freak!

[P.s: If you like Malcolm Gladwell’s books such as The Tipping Point and Blink or Dan Ariely’s books such as Predictably Irrational and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty or Rolf Dobelli’s The Art of Thinking Clearly – you gonna love this one!]

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Simple Book Review: "Genius Test: The Complete Guide to Genius. Could You Be One?" (1996, 2006)

Genius Test: The Complete Guide to Genius. Could You Be One? (1996, 2006)
by British Mensa Ltd

Reading this book – I assured you – doesn’t make me a genius (though I felt like one when I read it in public). But I believes that every one of us have a potential to be a genius. What we need is not to find out who, but how. The aim of this book “is to examine what genius actually is, what acclaimed geniuses of the past were like, and whether it is possible for us to emulate them or, at the very least, to expand our own powers significantly. It is fashionable in certain psychological circles to claim that we all have amazing powers which, if only they could be unlocked, would astonish those who know us. This might be true. It’s the unlocking that proves to be the problem.”

In this book, Mensa (is the international society for people with a high IQ) help us to look at the factors which make up the genius personality. If we know these factors, we can cultivate and unlocked our own geniuses. #1 Obsession. “The only thing which seems to be true of all geniuses is that they were totally obsessed with whatever it was they became known for”; #2 Vision. It is “the capacity to see something which is not apparent to other people… without vision, genius cannot exist”; #3 The Test of Time. It “is the way in which [their ideas] stands the test of time”;

#4 Inspiration. “…the genius must be able to inspire his public… it is that inspiration which becomes a very powerful force in deciding whether the genius gets the recognition he deserves”; and #5 Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (or be curious). “There is no great genius without some touch of madness,” write Seneca.

Since Mensa is full of people with a high IQ, does it mean that the higher the IQ the more genius one is? Not necessary. “I think that all geniuses must have been highly intelligent,” said Robert Allan, CEO of Mensa Foundation for Gifted Children, “but by no means are all highly intelligent people geniuses.” Good to know!

Inside this book, there are lots of mental challenge exercises. To test IQ there are spatial reasoning, numerical reasoning, vocabulary and verbal reasoning tests; to test Creativity there are creative brainstorming and practical puzzles; to test Concentration there are two tests to do; to test Knowledge Skills there are artistic knowledge, literary quiz, music quiz, philosophy and science (my result is very poor in this, though I thought I can get higher mark for philosophy and science, but…); and lastly there are Personality Test which consist of assertiveness, arrogance (the book claim that “to be a genius you probably need to be arrogant.” Well), charisma, conceptual thinking, control, deferred gratification, determination, enthusiasm, group dependence, inspiration, obsessiveness, self-image and vision.

There are about a dozen of tests/puzzles that I don’t know how to solve or have any answers for (especially on Knowledge Skills. Very hard!). And there is one question that I suspects to be an error (Test 1, Spatial Reasoning, Question 22, page 65. I asked my friends but none of them can answer it). This is a fun book.

If you have read Tony Buzan’s The Genius Formula or Edward de Bono’s Serious Creativity or Michael Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, you going to love this one too!

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Simple Book Review: "Maximized Manhood: A Guide to Family Survival" (1982) by Edwin Louis Cole

Maximized Manhood: A Guide to Family Survival (1982) by Edwin Louis Cole

Personally I’m concern about the image of manhood today, especially the rise and exposure of K-Pop to Christian men. Korea have such a great and wonder culture, I like it – in fact I’m going to Korea this year! – but the image of manhood portrait by K-artists are awkward, ‘beautiful’ men rather than manly men (mostly, but not all). I know personally few of my student-friends who are greatly influenced by the K-pop culture, that their dresses and ‘beauty’ products are way too many than any of my girl friends’, even my mother!

Will the real man please stand up? What it mean to be a man today? This book is the answer I’m looking for. It is a book that is unabashedly, uncompromisingly written to men. There are many books about men, but precious few written to men – to us, to me. This book is sole purpose is to maximized manhood. “Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice,” writes Ben Kinchlow, “This is a book about that choice.”

Edwin Cole listed 5 reasons taken from 1 Corinthians 10 why men today don’t get to maximized manhood in life: #1 Lust. “Now this lust is not necessarily sexual lust… This is the lust that is based on satisfying self at the expense of God and others. It’s the preoccupation with what self wants. This is the satisfaction or gratification of the flesh… Lust today keeps men (and women) from maximizing their potential”; #2 Idolatry. “Idolatry is a value system that we create, and in which we esteem something to be more worthy of our devotion than devotion to God. Power, prestige, education, money, business, religion, popularity, ego, pornography – can all become idols.”

#3 Fornication. “Actually this includes every kind of sex sin… Both single and married men – young and old – are subject to the desires, appetites, passions and temptations that take their toll and prohibit them from becoming what God intends them to be”; #4 Tempting Christ. “Tempting Christ is demanding that God do what is contrary to His will, or inconsistent with His character… Lying and cheating in relationship and business and demanding that God bless and prosper it is tempting Christ”; and #5 Murmuring. “Murmuring in its simplest form is nothing more or less than ‘negative confession.’” These are five basic sins, and especially for men is this – sin of fornication.

As man (and woman) of God, we must take sins seriously. “We don’t talk about sins today,” explained Cole, “we talk about problems… If you only have a problem, you can get sympathy for it… Sins, on the other hand, have to be repented of, confessed, and forsaken.” Cole also urged men to be the priest or spiritual leader in the family, lead wife and children in prayer, study and obey God’s Word, decisive, be a peace-maker especially at home, and to be tender and tough at the same time, “Leadership in the home by the man requires toughness as well as tenderness.” Finally, men must also build a good character. Edwin writes, “It is the longing of every woman to have a man with character in the house. It is the need of every child to have a man at the helm. It is the crying need of every church to have real men at work in its ministry.” He continues, “You can derive spirituality from women in the church, but you get strength from the men. Same in a home, and in a nation. Churches, homes, nations, are only as strong as their men.”

One most memorable quote from this book that I wants to remember for my lifetime: “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous” (So are Christlikeness and womanhood). When the life of Jesus comes forth in a man, they are maximized. The fullness of their personality and character are brought forth. The highest good of every individual is to be like Jesus! “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.” Be a man!

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