Life is Not a Coincidence

An ex-colleague of mine passed away yesterday.  Many in the office were rather surprised ‘cos he seemed fine in office the day before.  I also happen to be a friend of my colleague’s son (used to be from the same church), and his daughter was my primary schoolmate.

At the wake just now, i found out that my ex-colleague died of kidney failure.  He has been suffering from diabetes from some time now but it seems that he did not manage the illness very well.  His son also didn’t know that the father had diabetes till 2 months ago.

Chatting with some ex-colleagues, i got to know my late ex-colleague better.  He was a conscientious worker who nary took a day of medical leave.  Even on days that the doc gave him a MC to rest at home, he would return to office to submit the MC first, before going home to rest.

In my memory, this ex-colleague of mine was a quiet man.  He stayed out of all office politics, and was happy to just do his own work.  We chatted occassionally and he was a nice enough person.

Thinking back to how his daughter used to take the same school bus as me, and how his son was in the same church choir as me, and how i got to know this ex-colleague when i went to work at the ISP helpdesk after my A levels, i cannot help but “marvel” at all the coincidences.  Life is stranger than fiction?  Actually, i think not. 

I don’t think life is about coincidences.  Instead, i believe that God has it in His will for us to meet specific people.  It’s not about 6-degrees of separation.  It’s about us always being in God’s plan.  So if God has destined for u to know Person A for e.g., even if u miss the opportunity once, God will provide other avenues for u to know the person.

I think the lesson to draw here is that we should always cherish the people around us…. our loved ones, our friends, etc.  Not for the cliche reason that “life is short”, but ‘cos these people are not in our lives ‘cos of a coincidence.  The fact that God had allowed us to meet them means that we’re expected to touch their lives in some way, and vice versa.

Anyway, it’s late and i’m awfully tired.  Need to rush some work early tomorrow morning ‘cos i left before i could finish it today… thankfully, my boss was ok when i explained that i wanted to go for a wake.

Exhausted now.. can hardly keep my eyes open.  Goodnight people. 

The Stench of Hypocrisy

Saw this article on the Channel News Asia website today.  I like what it says.  🙂

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Title : Activists not convinced S’pore-bashing Paul Wolfowitz on their side

Date : 19 September 2006 1348 hrs (SST)

The irony is that he is normally the target, not the man on the high horse.
When World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz took it upon himself to champion the cause of the civil society organisations (CSOs) – by taking a swipe at Singapore – he did not convince too many activists that he was on their side. On the other hand, he has managed to irritate a number of Singaporeans.

When Singaporean authorities wanted to keep a number of activists at bay for the duration of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -World Bank meetings here, Mr Wolfowitz publicly termed the move “authoritarian”.
He went on to say that a lot of damage had been done to Singapore and that much of it was “self-inflicted”.

While a compromise of sorts has been struck on the activists issue, some Singaporeans are outraged by Mr Wolfowitz’s public comments.

Said Ms P L Tay, a manager in the tourism industry: “I found it rude and I feel very sad because the amount of preparations that we put in was humongous, be it retailers, the police, hoteliers or the airport staff. We literally closed down the country for you. You’re a guest and you can be diplomatic even if you are not happy about something.”

Echoing her sentiment was law graduate Siow Jia Rui, who felt that it would be naive to think that the IMF and World Bank officials were unaware of Singapore’s strict stance on protests.

He said: “The IMF and World Bank are in a position whereby they know their personal safety will not be in doubt and they look good when they say they want to engage the CSOs, but their hands are tied because, ‘Sorry, Singapore does not want to let them in’.”

The delegates are able to breathe easier this year because unlike at previous meetings, whereby they “get slammed left, right, centre”, a lot of CSOs are firing their salvos at Singapore, which takes some heat off the delegates, he argued.

According to local media reports, World Bank officials are said to be privately “very happy”with the arrangements by the S2006 organising committee for the meetings.

Some observers also found it hypocritical that the World Bank, which is now stressing its liberal image, had picked an unobtrusive site for the protests even though Singaporean authorities had offered it more prominent venues.
So was Mr Wolfowitz right to criticise Singapore?

Ms Sandy Krawitz of ActionAid International said bluntly: “When it comes to democracy, the World Bank and IMF are no experts.”

Describing Mr Wolfowitz as the “architect of the Iraq war three years ago” and touching on the controversy over his appointment to head the World Bank, as well as the anti-democratic manner that the IMF and World Bank hammers out economic policies for developing countries, Ms Krawitz argued that the two institutions knew exactly what they were getting into when Singapore was picked as a host venue in 2003.

Also, the two institutions should have started liaising with the Singapore authorities “way ahead” of this month’s meetings if they were keen on engaging the CSOs.

Added Ms Krawitz: “I think that when you point your finger at someone else, you’re pointing the other four back at yourself.”

Ms Shalmali Guttal from Focus on the Global South has reason to be bitter. She is one of the five activists who will not be allowed into Singapore. She would like an explanation for that.

Even so, she does not buy the World Bank’s efforts to ingratiate itself with the CSOs, when it is a target of much of their ire. Besides, she says she has nothing against Singaporeans.

“Singaporeans have been so nice,” concurred Ms Krawitz. “I really do understand the Four Million Smiles campaign.” – TODAY/ra