Andrew Goh is more than wise, and witty. He is also a wordsmith! His editorial is always my first read whenever the Impact Magazine comes in the mail. In the latest edition, (https://www.impact.com.sg/single-post/2017/01/23/Words-And-Even-More-Words) he quoted M. Slozberg, and added on with his usual uncanny insights –
Miriam Slozberg cautions: “We know that the benefits of using Social Media are profound. Through social networking, many businesses have grown, and individual users have blossomed many great friendships and found support when needed. Social Media can be a huge blessing. However, at the same time, if you are not careful with how you use it, Social Media can be a huge curse.”
Apparently what we post on Social Media is never lost (shades of “once saved, always saved”?) She adds: “What you put out in your social networks is out there forever. Just imagine a potential employer or collaborator reading a Facebook post of you ranting about how you hate life or using every curse word in the book – you can kiss your opportunity goodbye.”
The “Delete” button is misleading once “Send” has been pressed.
Truly, here’s the gift that keeps on giving … even when we don’t want any more of it, thank you. But as the British say so well, “in for a penny, in for a pound”. And what a pounding it has been.
Matthew 12:36 (KJV): “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
Idle words? Hmmm. Hitting the nail, right on the head. No exaggeration. Enough said.
Indeed, “what we post on Social Media is never lost” and how it reminds me of timeless words of James Chapter 3
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Social norms and civility has probably curbed gossips uttered or passed on to the few we come in contact. But words, through social media as comments, critiques, criticisms, opinions, observations – has a life of its own, far beyond the reaches of our tongues – reaching to people and groups we hardly envisage or imagine!
So what do people blog or babble about? Anything and everything!
And it is becoming a syndrome (google – a characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behaviour)
THE RED APPLE
There was a group a boys, wandering, – and wondering, at an apple tree, with one red apple and ninety nine green apples. One of them challenged – yes you guessed it – ‘who can bring down the red apple with a stone’.
Why the red apple? Why did the world’s press and news columns pick on LKY or Singapore? You get the idea. There’s more glory and glee than hitting a green apple
Many years ago, I hosted two Swiss scientists at the China Town Hawker Center. One of them said, “Oh, where are the policemen?” He had read that Singapore was a police state. I teased in return “Not so loud, they are all around us, in plain clothes”. Or the occasion when my UBC professors who came here twenty years ago realised that what they read in Canada about Singapore were not factual, but fabricated! (e.g. http://honestreporting.com/)
Comments are free. But they must be factual and fair.
Why do so many blog about my pastor Joseph Prince? Because he’s like the red apple – too prominent and prodigious. The film star / celebrity portrait on his bestselling books. The outstanding (architecturally I mean or is it outlandish?) church he pastors. The thousands (millions via TV) who eagerly and enthusiastically watch and listen to him. The testimonies that extol the impact and influence of his Grace sermons.
No it can’t be. How can a tiny nation Singapore pull off so many achievements that elude even Western (better?) countries? How can an Asian LKY be respected and consulted even by world (western) statesman? No, it can’t be – and so those who hold the pen would bring forth their searchlights and scour all that comes forth from LKY, and even resort to tarnish our beloved founder statesman and our nation. There’s glory and glee in blogging about a red apple.
W Safire definitely wasn’t a fan, and writing about Singapore and LKY probably garnered more mileage than writing about a green apple.
I found a transcript of a 1999 interview – LKY faced off with Safire, – speechwriter for US president, NYT renowned columnist. His views and writings were as free as the US could be, and LKY was more than a match when giving him an audience. And in his usual style, LKY was sharper, faster. Factual, fair-handed. In comparison, WS was out of his depth.
LKY to William Safire : [Laughs] I am not saying that. You are reducing it. You are caricaturing what I am saying.
WS: Here comes a prickly question. You mentioned corruption and nepotism earlier today. What about Singapore? Would your son be Deputy Prime Minister if he were not your son?
LKY: If he were not my son, he would be the Prime Minister. I’ll tell you honestly, I stopped him, because he can run faster than any of the others. But I told him it would do him no good. Just stay out of this race. And his generation, his peers, know that I am not boasting when I tell you this.
WS: So you don’t foresee a dynasty?
LKY: I am not that bereft of satisfaction with my life that I need to live vicariously through him. In fact, if he doesn’t measure up, it is better that he does not show up, because he’ll just besmirch the family reputation.
WS: About your book. You just wrote a book; I bought the book.
LKY: Where did you buy the book?
WS: In Washington, D.C. It wasn’t easy, but I found it. Have there been any negative reviews of your book in Singapore?
LKY: A few. Not written by Singaporeans.
WS: But published in Singapore?
A: Oh, yes. By xxxxxxx. Condemning it day by day. It’s dutifully published. It gives me publicity. [Laughs] Look. I can stand that. Not to worry.
“It gives me publicity”! Yes that’s something. I found out one local blogger having 19 postings on Joseph Prince. (I’ve yet to find out how many postings he made on those in his fellowships. OK, I understand, they have to be red apples).
Indeed comments on social media are free. But are they factual and fair-handed? I do my due diligence – for myself. Its life and death! Have I been listening to a false teacher? Well, I always tell myself, my mind and senses must be like a parachute – it only works when it is open. And I don’t think I am superficial. I too scour words and precepts that are preached and proclaimed, “in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain” (Galatians 2) But my conclusions are definitely not final and conclusive. As Paul wrote “I know whom I believe” (2 Tim 1) and “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3). So I rather spend my time truly knowing Him, and making Him known, rather than spend my time focusing on things, ideas, concepts, opinions, people – writing about what and where I ate for breakfast, or my observation and opinion on this and that, and who and who. Oops sorry, I am now guilty of being free with my opinions. I better watch out, or I end up having policemen, psychiatrists and social workers (from Andrew Goh’s editorial mentioned earlier) ticking to follow me in my blogs . If anyone, I rather that I’m being followed by the Companion, the Comforter, the Covering, the Captain, the Counsellor Whom my Lord Jesus sent to guide my in my pilgrimage.
If you came this far reading, thank you for reading. My opinions, observations, conclusions are far from final. Only Jesus is real and true. May you know HIM, for this is eternal life, that you know HIM.