Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Leader Who Earn My Respect: When I Think of Tok Nan (1944 - 2017) I Think of King Cyrus

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Adenan bin Satem (27 January 1944 – 11 January 2017) or as the people called him, Tok Nan, was the fifth Chief Minister of Sarawak. He officially took the oath of office in a ceremony held at Astana on 28 February 2014. He was born in Kuching, Sarawak during its occupation by Japan in World War II. He received his early education at St. Joseph's Primary School, and later at St. Joseph's Secondary School. He once worked as a journalist and teacher before pursuing his studies in law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. I like what The Coverage writes about him, “Talk about Malaysia’s Barisan National (BN) political party and most will reply with an endless barrage of hate and disapproval. In Sarawak however, one BN man is apparently doing all the right things to capture the heart of Sarawakians.” Yes, I wish Tok Nan doesn’t represent BN at all, but like it or not, we all love him as a person and leader of Sarawak!

When I think of Tok Nan, I think of King Cyrus the Great (600 or 576 – 530 BC). This pagan king is important in Jewish history because it was under his rule that Jews were first allowed to return to Israel after 70 years of captivity. Before Cyrus issued a decree to free the Jews, prophet Isaiah already prophesied about him 150 years before Cyrus lived (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 4; see also 41:2-25; 42:6). King Cyrus also very active in assisted the Jews in rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem under Ezra and Zerubbabel. Cyrus restored the temple treasures to Jerusalem and allowed building expenses to be paid from the royal treasury (Ezra 1:4–11; 6:4–5). Besides his dealings with the Jews, Cyrus is known for his advancement of human rights, his brilliant military strategy, and his bridging of Eastern and Western cultures. He was a king of tremendous influence and God used him mightily.

Tok Nan was a Malay and a devoted Muslim as far as I know. These facts doesn’t stop us from respecting and loving him as a person and leader. Sarawakians love for him doesn’t affect by his race or religion, we love him because he genuinely love the people. As YB Baru Bian writes in his Facebook account: “We have lost a CM (chief minister) who truly cared about Sarawak and Sarawakians of all races, ethnicity and religions. He chose to carry on with his role as CM even though his health was declining. He did his best for Sarawak and I had the greatest respect for him.” That’s why when I think of Tok Nan I think of King Cyrus.

Let me explain. The Jews honoured Cyrus as a dignified and righteous king even though he was a pagan king; people from different races and religious honoured Tok Nan as caring and chief minister berjiwa rakyat even though he was a devoted Muslim. In history, King Cyrus was thought of as a ‘messiah’ and liberator; Tok Nan was our answered prayer when we asked for leader who fear God and ruled people justly. King Cyrus unites his conquered nations; Tok Nan represents the true spirit of 1Malaysia. God’s use of Cyrus as a “shepherd” (Isaiah 44:28) for His people illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases”; no doubt God raised up godly leaders such as Tok Nan in the midst of our corrupt government. I personally believe Tok Nan’s heart is in the hand of the Lord too.

When I think of Tok Nan I think of King Cyrus. But then again, they are totally different. Tok Nan doesn’t rule on his ‘throne’ like Cyrus. Tok Nan loves to be with the people. He walks among us. He eat moderately and he speaks our language. He was not power-hungry leader like many leaders today (read 10 Reasons Why Adenan Satem Is Winning The Hearts Of Sarawakians). I don’t know much about politics or about his personal life, but what I do know is that Tok Nan have my respect. I will remember him as champion of Sarawak rights and model for righteous leader. Thank you Tok Nan for everything and may God have mercy on Sarawak. Lord, raise up leaders like him! Amen.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It Was the Day When the Man's World Made Good (Genesis 2:18-22)

I use this picture because the almost-real first humans in the internet are not appropriate :P

God said, ‘It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.’ So God formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air… but he didn’t find a suitable companion. God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man. The Man said, ‘Finally! ...
(Genesis 2:18, 20-22, The Message)

Throughout the Creation story, a phrase repeats over and over again: “God saw that it was good.” The day was good. The night was good. The seas were good. The dry land was good. The trees, the plants, the mountains, the rivers, the birds, the fishes, the land animals, human beings – God saw all of it and affirmed that it was good (Imagine “like” and “love” bubbles come out through Creation FB page).

So I was a little curious when God declares that something is not right, not good. “‘It’s not good for the Man to be alone,” God says. He healed the Man’s loneliness by creating a companion out of the Man’s very flesh and bone. His rib. “Finally!” the Man said (or in other translation “At last!”). That little exclamation is telling. It is the day when the Man’s world was made good!

This was before the Fall, remember.

The Man had the delights of the Garden of Eden spread out before him. He even had the full presence of God. And yet in the absence of another human being with whom to enjoy it all, the Man couldn’t truly enjoy it! Everything is good, but not enough. Something was missing until… the Woman.

This is the story of humankind that God creates in His own image. Because God is the God of Trinity (or more accurately, (3) Tri- (1) Unity), we are made to display His being, His relationshipness. We are made for relationship, not for self-sufficiency. It’s not good for us to be alone.


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Monday, January 2, 2017

Made to Reflect the Original (Genesis 1:26-27, 31)

God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’ God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female… God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!
(Genesis 1:26-27, 31, The Message)

Being human mean we are prone to do errors, to sin. But there’s a lot more than that! We are all made in the image of God. That urge to create, to bring order out of chaos, to make our mark on the world; the anger we feel in the face of injustice, the pleasure we feel in the face of beauty, the hope we feel for a better future – all of that is the image of God finding expression in us, human beings.

It is true that the image of God we express is distorted, even fractured. But there it is nevertheless, shown when we interact with one another, burst forth in our longings for more. God’s image in us forever calls us back to the One who is its original.

That realization changes the way we look at ourselves (Look at you!). It also changes the way we look at others. “There are no ordinary people,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “You have never met a mere mortal.” Once you open your eyes to see the original God and start seeing the image of God in yourself and others, the world will never looks the same again. Yes!

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