Category: Media

A fortune cookie encounter

Tell me: when do you ever get a Chinese man offering you a fortune cookie? The stuff of novels and movies.

“Pick one and see what it says,” he said.
Fortune Cookie幸运饼干上说的是:“有耕耘必有收获。”

这是 King William St 按摩店的新老板。

我们聊了起来,我就告诉他,“我以前在这里干过活的呢,就是脚底按摩技术没学完。” 于是,他让我点评了员工们的按摩技术水平!




These days I frequently answer questions about what WeChat is, and I usually say it is like Facebook+Twitter+WhatsApp all in one.

Today I had to do the exact opposite and explain Facebook to a Chinese businessman! I said it was the WeChat of Australia. I then suggested that Facebook was a great tool to offer targeted promotions to tired workers in the Adelaide CBD.

Crossing the cultural (and age) barrier can be slightly jarring! At least the fortune cookie suggests that one will reap the rewards of their hard work.

In PR We Trust II

I’ve found another excellent excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth here. I have found it so worth reflecting upon – do read it.

In earlier chapters, Nancy articulates what has gone wrong with much of modern evangelical Christianity:

Evangelicalism still produces a celebrity model of leadership – men who are entrepreneurial and pragmatic, who deliberately manipulate their listeners’ emotions, who subtly enhance their own image through self-serving personal anecdotes, whose leadership style within their own congregation or parachurch ministry tends to be imperious and domineering, who calculate success in terms of results, and who are willing to employ the latest secular techniques to boost numbers.

The local rootedness of the traditional clergy had provided at least some measure of genuine accoutability: their character was known and tested in ongoing, long-term contact with a regular congregation… By contrast, the evangelist could dazzle [audiences] with sheer image-making and marketing hype. Many evangelical leaders became “successful, polished politicians” says Hofstadter, “well-versed in the secular arts of manipulation”.

It tells me things I recognise in my soul: a fierce ambition for immediate results and return for my hard work; yet on the other hand, also a growing yearning for life less frenzied, more ordered, more anchored.

Gold, silver and precious stones. Wood, hay and stubble. Could you tell them apart?

Having begun in the Spirit, are we now being perfected by the flesh? Gal 3:3.

How easy is it to abandon the sweet walk in the Spirit.

In PR We Trust

Sometimes, I find communications/advertising budgets staggering. Could it be that such investments are needed, because people have forgotten how to listen in our disordered world?

In her book Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey offers scathing critique on modern marketing techniques unthinkingly absorbed by Christians – projecting an idealised image that is not authentic, creating sense of heightened emergency so that money will roll in. She says:

Think of the ubiquitous fundraising letters that sound like they were all written by the same person – because they were ghostwritten by staffers all trained in the same techniques. Each letter creates a crisis mentality that is enhanced by melodramatic anecdotes, fake highlighting in the margins, and a signature produced by a machine. Where is the authenticity in all this? The name of a ministry leader appears at the bottom of the letter, but clearly it is not an authentic message from that person. It was produced by a committee of writers, marketers, and fund development professionals, carefully calculated to elicit a response. Should we shrug this off as benign deception? Or is it a serious moral failing that could spread corruption through an entire ministry? Can we compromise the truth without undermining our effectiveness for the Lord?

She later says:

Though Christians would never accept naturalism as a philosophy, many have absorbed a naturalistic approach to marketing, adopting techniques that treat a target audience essentially as passive “consumers” to be manipulated into buying a “product”.

Nobody truly wants the fiction of this noisy world. Humans look for space to be. The Quiet Place. The Sound of Silence.

The life of sensation is the life of greed. It requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet – Annie Dillard

Adelaide taxi drivers flying the flagI grew up with a strong sense of patriotism, very much identifying with the notion of nationhood. My brother and I used to wave Malaysian flags and jump up and down in front of the television watching our athletes compete in the Olympic games. Whenever a Malaysian won the rare medal, we would go on cloud nine. I swelled with pride to see them on a world stage!

We did not need great intellect or theological understanding to resonate with the soaring grandness of nationhood. It was part of our human makeup.

As Australia celebrates Australia Day, I am gently reminded of similar feelings of pride. Knowing that half of Adelaide’s taxi fleet will be flying the flag awakens something in me. It reminds me of a childhood game, how my brother and I used to count the number of cars sporting Malaysian flags each National Day. Some cars sported more than six flags. What a sense of exuberance!

Today, I don’t need to be a citizen to rejoice with the nation that now hosts me, and to celebrate all that is good in this blessed land. I don’t need to be white. It saddens me that people equate flying the flag to racism on an occasion like that—and worse, that the media perpetuates it!

Amid all the Aussie Day conversation taking place—some pleasant and others not so, I hope people focus on the meaning of the Australian flag and the celebration of nationhood.

If people have used the flag as a symbol of “race hate” or a “weapon”—to borrow the words of an Islamic leader—then clearly, they have missed the point of the flag. I am happy for my Aussie friends who fly their flag with pride. Maybe I’ll fly an Aussie flag too.

Flags indicate distinctive nationhood an invention of God. (Deuteronomy 32:8). My prayer is that Australia will prosper as a nation as it pursues righteousness (Proverbs 14:34).

A few Australia Day links I enjoyed:

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