Jamie Oliver.

Heard of him?
jamieoliver

He’s a well-known chef who does TV shows, came out with his own magazine on food, products, and has written his own recipe/cooking books. (For more, click here.)

Beyond all that “he must be making lots of money”, I was really encouraged when I watched about this thing he started; Fifteen. Read on and click on the links to find out more!

Jamie Oliver combined two ambitions: to open a top class restaurant and to give disadvantaged youngsters the chance to gain professional training that would set them up for an independent, inspired and productive life.

Fifteen Foundation exists to inspire disadvantaged young people – homeless, unemployed, overcoming drug or alcohol problems – to believe that they can create for themselves great careers in the restaurant industry.

The Fifteen restaurants serve food of the highest quality made from the best ingredients:  their kitchens are where the apprentices learn their trade, and their profits help fund the programme.

Fifteen’s philosophy is to learn within the actual work environment, from experts in the field, surrounded by the produce, equipment and dishes that they will work with and be inspired by. Gradually, their levels of responsibility increase with the skill that they acquire through this direct participation in a fully operative business.  And with this grows their confidence and belief that they can achieve anything they want in their lives despite what setbacks they may already have experienced.

Well, Fifteen is one of his few other campaigns that are ongoing. Inspiring to see how far he has reached today, from where he was when he just started.

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berlari.

runningberlariposter

When one complains about human rights abuses in Malaysia, many Malaysians like to claim that at least we are better off than Burma. That is however not true for Burmese refugees in Malaysia. They may have escaped the horrors of living under the military rule of the junta in Burma, but here in Malaysia they live a life of fear all over again. As Malaysia is not a signatory of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Burmese refugees do not have rights in this country. Because of this, they are subject to all sorts of abuses, both by the authorities and fellow Malaysians.

Forced to hide in crammed apartments or makeshift encampments in forests, refugees live in constant fear of being detained by the Malaysian police, immigration officers and RELA volunteers. When caught, they are often abused, extorted for money, or sent to overcrowded and unhygienic detention centres. Sometimes they are even sold to human traffickers as slave labour or prostitutes. As the deplorable situation of Burmese refugees in Malaysia gains international attention, it’s high time for us to examine the human suffering we are causing.

ALARMING FACTS ABOUT BURMESE REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA

Burmese refugees and asylum seekers started running to Malaysia more than 20 years ago and the number has increased since then. Currently, there are more than 60,000 Burmese refugees registered with UNHCR but thousands more are unregistered.

Between 2002 to 2008, more than 4,800 Burmese were whipped for immigration offences.

In 2008, 812 Burmese children were detained in immigration detention centres.

In May 2009, two Burmese asylum seekers died at the Juru detention centre due to Leptospirosis, a disease linked to contamination of food or water. In August/September 2009, another six Burmese died due to suspected Leptospirosis.

In Malaysia, many refugees live in poverty. They have difficulties finding jobs due to their illegal status. Even when they can find jobs, they are usually underpaid and vulnerable to abuse from unscrupulous employers.

Refugee children do not have access to public schools. As such, generations of uneducated refugees are being raised here in Malaysia.

As refugees remain unrecognized by the Malaysian Government, they live in constant fear of raids, arrest and detention. Conditions in detention centres face continuous problems of overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, malnourishment and ill-treatment of detainees. Once detained, they never know when they will be released. Many have died in detention centres.

They cannot go back to Burma for fear of their lives, and yet everyday they live in fear here.

FURTHER READING

http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c125.html

http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/07/14/a-burmese-familys-story-of-multiple-arrests-weekly-bribes/6299/

Taken from http://www.running-suaram.blogspot.com/

Check out:

http://www.suaram.net/taxonomy/term/11

http://www.unhcr.org.my/project/unhcr/theme/images/swf/refugeesinmsia.swf

So much, for CHANGE.

Yeah, the who-ha(s) about the voting for the change of time of church service is “da” hottest topic of today.

Not to look down on anyone, or criticize, or be sarcastic on anyone, or making this a big big fat issue, but just some thoughts that we (including myself), could think about, how we can go from here, and lessons we ought to learn through this for the future.

Just a little flashback of events before this:

The church leaders gathered for a leader’s retreat. During that retreat, it was suggested by a young working adult that our church service time should be changed for a later time, 10.30 am. Then, it was announced to the congregation about this suggestion. Today, a vote was taken.

The main reason for this suggestion was because the young working adults found it hard to invite their non-Christian friends/colleagues to church.

“Working six days a week, having only Sundays as their rest day, being able to sleep in a little more, and yet, having to go to your church service which I don’t even know for what?”

Okay, maybe their friends didn’t say it that straight forward, but a simple “Huh, so early ah?” gives a hint.

Well, you might be thinking, why must we give way just for the young working adults? And then me leh? How? What about LYPG, CG, games? So rushing…

Relax, relax, rolex, rolex…

Put aside your worries a little while, take a deep breath and read on.

Why must we give way just for the young working adults?
1. To be relevant to the community.
If changing the time can touch lives and impact communities and lead people to the Light, then why not?

2. Cos it’s not just for the young working adults!
Hahaha. It’s also to cater to young families with kids (who sometimes are just so hard to wake them up), for those in the band, and for us, youth, to invite our friends to church. We don’t want “too early” or “I want to sleep” to be the reason for them not living in the Light.

3. Sustainability.
We, youth, come and go. But the ones that will stay put are the adults and young adults. The change of time is not just your our period of stay here, but it’s for a long run. Well, we wouldn’t want our church to be an aging society in God’s Kingdom, do we?

Back to the worries of our tight Sunday schedule..

There’s a reason why Jesus told His disciples, “O ye of little faith.”

If by faith we can move mountains,
by faith, we can make adjustments.

And yes, we have the right to vote,

we have the right to decide,
we have the right to make our stands,
we have the right to blame the leadership for poor planning,
we have the right to be disappointed by how some people reacted.

We can have all the rights we could ever think of in this world.
But how right, are our rights?

Jesus, had every right to condemn those who spat on Him, whipped Him, mocked Him, and nailed Him to the cross.

But yet, He chose not to have that right.

He chose not to have that right.
And He was right, not to have that right.

(I know you had to read that twice, right? :P)

To conclude,
what happened today was just a reminder for me (and maybe you) that I may have the right. But I need to ask the Right One if my rights are really right.

And, if I want to change the world, or change Kluang, I need to change the way I think, react, and… change church service time? Hahahaha.

That’s all folks!

Do feel free to correct my thoughts and words and add your thoughts! 🙂

US and, life.

Just when we thought that weekends were breathers for us, it turned out the other way. We end up tired, drained, and sometimes unable to finish up piles of homework.

Just when we thought we could handle them all, of course, with God’s help, we accepted all those responsibilities. Not even half way through it, we wonder why we took them up.

Just when we thought life as a Christian ain’t a bed of roses, we never expected life to be a bed of roses, plus the thorns. We doubt, we ask in our minds why we need to care so much of our studies, when all that counts is our relationship with God.

Just when we thought of how much we cherish and appreciate our friends, we find ourselves too tired to do anything. Too lazy to ask, to lazy to start that conversation.

We have our weekends loaded with church related activities.
We go to school and come back with more homework, more chapters to read, and more events to prepare for.

Then we head for tuition, thanking God that tuition isn’t an everyday affair and start planning what we should do after tuition.

The next day in school, we wonder how come everyone else knows what’s going on, while we rush to finish our forgot-to-do homework.

At home we try to study, but sometimes we just don’t feel like it.
We tell ourselves that we really need to study, time is really running out.

We end up staring at the same first two pages for hours.
We get so irritated with ourselves; we run to our bed, bury our face in our pillow, scream and start crying.
We journal and talk to God, then eventually fall asleep.

Comes another day, we lie on our bed repeatedly saying that we don’t want to go to school.
Why go to school when teachers constantly remind us of the coming exams, when we really…. haven’t studied?
It hurts our pride, it messes our life, it gets us irritated.

There are days when all we want is just some encouragement and a ear to listen too. We get upset when no one cheers us up. We get frustrated when people care, but not to our expectation: when they tell us what we should do, when we think we’ve them all under control.

We get emotional and just feel like not doing anything.

And being emotional, really, isn’t a very nice thing.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been through all those stormy and moody seasons.

And you know what, I’m still going through that now, but a slightly different one?

But I’m still surviving.

And barely.

Once again, reminding myself, to wait on Him.

His grace, strength and strength, and strength.

His strength itself, provides all that we need; sufficient, complete.