4 Billion Hungry People Vs 100 Women


The women that made a difference … Posted by Hello

This article appeared in the PostMag dated 28th May, a Saturday pullout of The Borneo Post. It was an interview by Frank Julian, a journalist of The Borneo Post while the Internaional President was in Sibu on 1st May. Thanks to The Borneo Post for permission to use this in my blog … The Girls’ Brigade Malaysia has just concluded its Annual General Meeting and National Officers’ Retreat at Water City Resort, Malacca today. While at the Meeting, I shared with some over 100 women this statistic –

Three billion people go to bed every night hungry. However, four billion people go to bed every night hungry of a word of encouragement …

Right after the sharing, one woman came forward and thanked me for the sharing sessions, and said specifically that she did not want me to go to bed tonight hungry of a word of encouragement.

I was touched….

SIBU: Little is known about the Girls Brigade. Many people equate it with other uniformed bodies such as the Girls Guide, Scouts or the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

Girls in uniform doing drills, camping, tying knots, cooking and many other stuffs are what many people associate with the Girls Brigade.

What is so great about the Girls Brigade? What good is it to a member, to the people in general, or to the world?

“The Girls Brigade is a union of three Christian organisations for girls – all sister organisations of the Boys Brigade – The Girls Brigade, The Girls Guildry and The Girls Life Brigade. All three organisations provide training to develop the mind, body and spirit and to inculcate a sense of responsibility through useful Christian service,” said Girls Brigade International Eighth President, Hee Piang Chin.

It all started in 1893 when Margaret Lyttle formed the Girls Brigade at Sandymount, Ireland. Seven years later, The Girls Guildry was formed in Scotland with the aim of helping girls to become mature Christian women. The Girls Life Brigade was later formed in England in 1902 with a motto “to save life” and the aim “to help and encourage girls become responsible, self-reliant Christian women”.

The union of the three organisations was announced worldwide in the following press statement on Thursday, June 25th 1964. It was formally confirmed on June 10th, 1968 and the united body took on the name of The Girls Brigade.

The movement is international and interdenominational. Its worldwide membership embraces many races, languages and dialects. Today, the Girls Brigade can be found in more than fifty countries and nations throughout the world. It also has affiliation with Christian youth in Europe.
In 1927, a young Girls Life Brigade officer from the 1st Gateshead Company, Durham, Elsie Lyne came to Singapore to teach at the Methodist Girls School. She started the 1st Singapore Company and in July 1928, the Company was formally registered with the GLB HQ in London. This marked the beginning of Brigade in Singapore.

Lynne together with Agnes Richards and Miss Joyce Lovell later began the Girls’ Brigade in Malaysia by starting off with Girls Brigade in Penang in 1938. Girls Brigade was formed in Sarawak in 1967 and in Sibu in 1970.

So much of history, but what good does it bring?

“Our aim is to help girls to become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ through reverence, self-control and a sense of responsibility to find true enrichment of life,” said Hee during an interview at The Borneo Post’s office here recently.

This was very much connected to Girls Brigade motto, which is to Seek, Serve and Follow Christ. Every girl is deemed to be important and they all can become leaders.

“We teach them how to handle social ills facing the society nowadays such as temptations, drugs and so on. It is getting more challenging in this Information Technology era where many children are addicted to computer games and exposed to lots of things in the Internet,” said Hee who have been in the Girls Brigade for over 30 years.

In short she said the Girls Brigade, which is very much connected to the church does what is right for the girls by teaching them Christian values.

Asked what have changed since she first joined the Girls Brigade when she was twelve, she said the fundamental was still the same.

“What we do now is to make activities more appealing to the young ones, suitably with the change of time.”

She said the Girls Brigade provides a great learning environment and a venue to make friends. It nurtures the spirit of comradeship among the members.

“In the Girls Brigade, we believe in servant leadership where we lead the girls not from the back or in the front but around them. The officers set themselves as exemplary to the girls and of course we did ‘kick’ them from behind when we train them,” said Hee in jest.

Activities are no longer confined to drills or other girlie things. According to Hee, Girls Brigades in Asia Fellowship which members are Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei now send their members to serve in underdeveloped or developing countries in Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar and East Timor.

Taking Cambodia for example, Girls Brigade members were sent there in 1998 with the objectives to help the Cambodian girls and women help their family to escape from the clutch of poverty.

“We set up a centre in Songkhem for us to teach the girls and women the many living skills that could improve their household economy. We teach them handicraft, English and other things.”

The products, such as woven bags bearing the trade label “Villagework” are sold throughout the countries in this region.
It is to provide village women with employment, to bring meaning to their lives, to nurture their worth as persons, and to help them realise their potential and purpose in life. It is also hoped that the GB influence will be infused within this context of business as well.

The efforts very much helped to reduce if not prevent the Cambodian girls and women from involving themselves with negative activities such as prostitution, begging and others alike to support their living.

“We are working on East Timor. At the moment we are exploring what can be done in the country. After three to four months, a report will be made on the exploration and after that we will send some girls to run a camp there.”

As an initial move a team comprising Rev Dr Lorna Khoo, Iris Lee, Lucilla Teoh, Moses Yeo Pee Hock and Jasper Sim were sent to East Timor to conduct a three-day training course from September 16 to September 18 last year.

Thirty five teachers from 18 schools, of 10 various villages came for the Basic Officers’ Training Course. Alpha course was introduced as the Girls Brigade Spiritual programme and was well received too.

A GB half-day camp was organised on the third morning of the training (24 students from 13 schools came, age ranging from 10-18 years old). This camp served to allow teachers and students to experience their first Girls Brigade programme.

At the moment there are 12,000 Girls Brigade members in Asia and most of them are volunteers.

Talking about funding, Hee said it was a bit of a problem but it was not an issue to the Girls Brigade in carrying out its activities.

“We believe in God and that He will open some ways for us to do the good works. Some way some how, would meet the needs through good budgeting. The issue that Girls Brigade has is parents. Some parents did not understand what we are doing and percept that our activities consume a lot of their children’s time. They worried that their children would not have time for other important thing such as study.”

She stressed that Girls Brigade plays a good role in educating and building good character of the children.

Girls Brigade would continue to train and nurture its members into becoming good servants of God. Because of its good works, governments of countries where it has members recognize it. In Malaysia, it is recognized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Hee said Girls Brigade would continue its works in character development of the girls and tries to expand its wings to more countries or places especially in Asia.

LV Handbag

I like a Louis Vuitton handbag very much. I have been talking to my sister over the years that I like the LV handbag carried by a doctor’s wife. My sister, being a collector of LV, Prada handbags told me that handbag costs over 1,000 Singapore dollars. The price puts me off.

However, I have not stopped liking that handbag. Owning one is not a must. And buying a counterfeit LV, Coach, Prada, have never crossed my mind.

The Los Angeles Times reported –

While the savvy bargain hunter can tell the real Coach handbag from a fake, many discerning buyers are missing one critical detail – that purse or DVD for sale on the street corner might be funding a terrorist organization.

Lt John Stedman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was among those who testified that items such counterfeit Coach and Louis Vuitton purses as well as CDs, DVDs, and tobacco were among goods that have been seized and linked to terrorist organizations.

The California law enforcement agency said it established a connection between the street vendors and the Lebanon-based Hazbollah mostly through admission by those arrested.

If you think of buying a fake LV handbag, be sure that the money you paid does not go to assist terrorist organization.

Today’s posting was actually written last Saturday (29th May) at KLIA while waiting for the transport to go to Malacca. Reaching Malacca, I shut myself out of the world while still enjoying the fellowship of 100 over women/girls from all corners of Malaysia in a Girls’ Brigade National Officers’ Retreat.

Forgetting the lyrics

One fine morning last week, I was playing Emi Fujita’s Camomile Blend in the car. Her sweet and soothing voice sang “First of May” very differently. My 9-year old son was in the car. Just as I was about to drop him off at his school’s gate, Emi ended her “First of May” with her “when I was small, and Christmas trees were tall, do…do….do….do…”. My son remarked, “I know why she has to sing do…do…do…, I suspect she has forgotten the lyrics”.

Two and half month ago, I strolled down Bintang Walk in KL, I walked into one of the music store. I heard a clear, sweet sound. I asked the sales assistant what CD she was playing. She handed me this CD, Camomile Blend Emi Fujita. I bought the CD and the other one Camomile Extra also from Emi Fujita.

For the past two and half months, I have been listening to this sweet voice and have not got tired of it. She sang many of the old songs like Moon River, Wishes (le couple ver.) & Red is the Rose beautifully.

Camomile is the result of a collaboration between Japanese vocalist Emi Fujita and Norwegian musicians Rita Eriksen and the band VAMP (Oyvind Staveland, Tobjorn Okland and Carl Apeland). The album has a total of 14 tracks, ranging from traditional Irish ballads to contemporary pop tunes.

Get one and listen – with a good book and a cup of hot coffee. It’s definitely a good way to de-stress yourself from a hard day work. Even if you forgotten the lyrics, you can do so with “do…do…do…” Who cares?

Star Wars, Shoe Wars

I have two confessions to make –

I have only watched Star Wars 1. I could not remember what’s it about.

I have no intention to watch Star Wars Episode 3.

I am really not a “cool” woman. But, everybody is talking about it. I thought may be I could invite a young friend to write in my cyberhome in order to stay “current”. So, I asked a young doctor to tell me what it’s all about. Here it is –

To be truthful , it was a bit boring initially. I could not work out what was happening. And I nearly fell asleep.

Then with my good memory of Star Wars 1 and 2 , the picture became clearer to the ordinary audience like me.

The third episode is actually meant to precede SW 1 and 2.

The SW 3 movie showed how Luke Skywalker and his sister came to the good side and their father in the bad side. And why their father DarkVader is in the black metal suite.

A long movie and if you want to see , I think you may consider taking a cup of coffee before the show to keep you awake.

Not so good as SW 1and 2.

The sound system plus the movie nearly made me sleep ……

Now back to my Star Wars 1. I was chatting with a colleague of my age, 40 something. He said people of our age watching Star Wars could be more for the memories of Star War 1 or 2. I almost exclaimed “YES”. It’s the memories.

I remember watching Star Wars 1 with a guy. I could not remember his name. But, I remember he looked like a Taiwanese film star. This Taiwanese film star later jumped to his death in a suicide.

During those days going out to movie with a guy meant something. You kept a distance. You made sure shoulders did not rub. Hands did not touch. And most of all, you did not meet anybody you knew.

Yes, nothing happened throughout the movie. I was sent home – no holding of hands, no accidental touch throughout the movie. No popcorn. No talking during the movie…

Yet, I could not remember a single scene of the Star War.

But, the “war” really started after the movie. It’s not “star war”, but “shoe war”. This guy went to Kuching the next day. He called one night asking me my shoe size. Wearing few sizes bigger than the ordinary girl, my shoe size was as sensitive as the age of a woman. I was offended and never wanted to see him anymore.

So, that ended the “Star Wars”. Later, I found out that his sister owned a shop selling shoes, he was trying to be nice to get me a pair of shoes from his sister’s shop.

We started with the “Star Wars”, but ended with me walking out of his life, not in his shoes.

I am – Somebody

The other day I was trying to search for the background to a poem titled “I am – Somebody”. Many years back I remember hearing this on one of the children’s program. Here is the background to the poem and also the poem itself –

I Am – Somebody is a poem by Reverend Jesse Jackson, which he recited on Sesame Street in 1971. This inspirational free verse poem was unparalleled with anything ever attempted on children’s television in content and delivery, and to an extent still is. The poem fulfilled Sesame Street ‘s initial curriculum for serving the under-privileged city youth, as well as offering cultural understanding. Kids of all races were scattered all over the Sesame Street set, on the street, benches, fire escapes, led by Jackson in the poem.

The following is this poem, in the original structure as written by Reverend Jackson. Lines of “I am/Somebody” or “But I am/Somebody” were recited both by the children and Jackson.

I am
Somebody!
I am
Somebody!
I may be poor,
But I am
Somebody.
I may be young,
But I am
Somebody.
I may be on welfare,
But I am
Somebody.
I may be small,
But I am
Somebody.
I may have made mistakes,
But I am
Somebody.
My clothes are different,
My face is different,
My hair is different,
But I am
Somebody.
I am black,
Brown,or white.
I speak a different language
But I must be respected,
Protected,
Never rejected.
I am
God’s child!

Thanks to “google” for such wonderful search engine. I also stumbled into a site called “I am somebody” and was really amazed by the hosts of this cyberhome. The site contains poems on “I am somebody”. I could not stop myself to write a note, and much to my delight, the host wrote to me and sent me a poem –

Hi, it was good to hear from you!
God bless you!

This one I wrote for people like you:

Giving thanks – leaving comments

To be somebody is to give thanks
For the small things in life
It is to leave a comment
On a poetic blog of a stranger
Expressing appreciation with one word: cool!
Telling how you will use it
In blessing relatives and friends
When your footsteps are a trail

Of thanks and appreciations
Of positive and encouraging words
Of real and virtual smiles
Then everyone you encounter
Will think that you are really somebody
To be somebody is not to take things for granted

But allowing yourself to be surprised
At any little token of goodness
And every expression of kindness
Giving glory to the Creator
He is the source of the beautiful life
Of a grateful heart

Yours in Christ
Erling

Visit my websites:
http://erling.typepad.com
http://erling.typepad.com/somebody
http://erling.typepad.com/norsk

Visit the sites above and be delighted. Here is one for frequent travellers that gives me much insight, also from Erling –

Spending time in airports
To be somebody is spending time in airports
Waiting for the next flight
Hoping it is not delayed or being cancelled
Looking forward to arriving the destination
To be somebody is to make time meaningful
By observing unique people hurrying to their gates
Or study those who are waiting like you
Spending time waiting for the next flight
To be somebody is to utilize the waiting time
– in airports or elsewhere
Through deep meditation or silent contemplation
Or by releasing your creativity
By writing simple poems

If you don’t write poems, like me, learn to appreciate poems, leaving some comments. Any site of good poems and delightful thoughts is here http://desiderata2000.blogspot.com. Visit and leave your comment and be somebody!

I am Miri

My two journalists are featured in the “I am Miri”. “I am Miri” is a series of “faces” being featured in the celebrations of Miri elevating to City Status on 20.05.2005. The faces chosen are based on races and professions.

I am very impressed by this series of advertisements with just two faces everyday labeled with names, race and profession and “I am Miri”.

Yes, a city is all about people, isn’t it not? A story was told of an old man who was sitting at the entrance of a city. He was approached by two men and he gave him totally different opinion about the city.

The first young man approach him and asked:

“I am not from here. Tell me old man, how are the people of this city?”

Instead of answering his question, the old man asked:

“In the city where you come from, how were the people?”

The young man responded,

“Egotistic and wicked, so much so that I could no longer take it. That is why I prefer to leave.”

The old man then said, “Pity, my dear. I shall advise you to continue on your way. People here are equally wicked and all are egotistic.”

A little later, another young man approached the same old man and said:

“Greetings to you who is wise with age! I should like tosettle down in this place. Tell me, how are the people wholive in this town?”

And, the old man asked him:”Tell me first, where from do you come, and how were the people there?”

The young man said in an enthusiastic voice: “Honest, good, and welcoming! I had only friends there, and oh how I was pained to leave them!”

The old man said:

“Well, here, you will also find only honestpeople, welcoming, and full of kindness.”

A merchant who was watering his camels not far from these exchanges and had heard all, asked the old man:

“How is it possible, old man, who I know tobe wise, to give two truthful, but diametrically opposite, replies to the same question? Is it a case of April Fools?”

“My son,” said the old man, “Each one carries, in his heart, his own universe. And, that is what he will find every place he goes.Therefore, regardless where he goes, that will always be what he finds.”

I am Miri, I am honest people, welcoming, and full of kindness. Shall we wish “I am Miri” such a city with each one carries in his heart – honesty, welcoming, integrity, kindness?

Shoes, Choices and Decisions

I have a dream that I have been dreaming over and over since childhood. It’s a dream about going somewhere without shoes. It may be going to school, going to work, going to a party, or going on a trip. There are different occasions, but the horrible part is always “with no shoes”. Or sometimes, it was dropping the shoes into the river or from a tall building.

During my childhood days, I stayed in a small village. Having a pair of shoes was then a luxury. Most of the children went to school bare-footed. I was no exception. The school was about 20-minute walk from my house. It was a small road.

I always interpret the dream as “fear” and “insecurity”.

On one occasion when I was conducting a Million Leaders Mandate to a group of Girls’ Brigade Officers, I shared with them this dream. I could not remember why this dream was shared. But, I know it was shared in connection with the lessons that I delivered on fear and insecurity.

One of the participants thought it could be “choices”. She thought I have too many choices and could not decide which shoes to wear, and ended up with not wearing any shoes.

Last night as I prepared my lessons for sharing during the coming Girls’ Brigade Malaysia National Officers Retreat in Malacca at the end of the month, I came across this very interesting story on shoes and choices. Here it is –

Joseph Henry used to tell a rather strange story about hischildhood. His grandmother paid a cobbler to make him a pair of shoes.

The man measured his feet and told Joseph that he could choose between two styles: a rounded toe or a square toe.

Little Joseph couldn't decide. It seemed to be such a huge decision; afterall, they would become his only pair of shoes for a long time.The cobbler allowed him to take a couple of days to makeup his mind.

Day after day, Joseph went into the shop, sometimes three or four times a day! Each time he looked over the cobbler's shoes and tried to decide.

The round-toed shoes were more practical, but the square toes looked more fashionable. He continued to procrastinate. He wanted to make up his mind, but he just couldn't decide!

Finally, one day he went into the shop and the cobblerhanded him a parcel wrapped in brown paper. His new shoes!

He raced home. He tore off the wrapping and found a beautiful pair of leather shoes – one with a rounded toe and the other with a square toe!