Monday, August 28, 2006

Missing 'my boys'

Our church missionary to Spain was bringing a group of young Spanish people to the UK and we were asked to provide accommodation for them.

I had refrained from offering because I knew we were going to be just back from a trip and there will be lots of unpacking, laundry, cleaning, etc. But husband agreed when approached ('cornered'?) by the minister's wife.

Our two young Spanish lads, the only boys in the team, came on Wednesday and left yesterday. They were no trouble at all and now I miss them. (I say 'lads' and 'boys' ... they are in their early 20s. Yeah, husband and I are well old enough to be their parents.)

Though speaking little English (which was one of the reasons they are visiting the UK), we managed to communicate adequately, if slowly. They left early each morning and let themselves in whenever.

On the first morning they were so shy they did not dare eat anything more than a bowl of cereal.
On the second morning they learned to use the toaster and made themselves some sandwiches for lunch.

On the third morning (Saturday), they left before I got out of bed! We were in bed by the time they got home later that evening.

Yesterday at church they presented their special items at service. I was very proud of how well 'my boys' were able to sing in harmony. (The younger one is training to be a music teacher.)

They are such lovely boys I found myself wondering if my son, when he grows up, would also be lovely like these lads are.

My young son is disappointed that they had gone, 'I thought they were staying a few weeks.'

'No, a few days,' I corrected him. 'Would you like them to come stay with us again?'

Unexpectedly, from a boy who is normally very, very shy, 'Yes.'

So we said to them, they are welcome back any time.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Doing right, doing wrong

Our six-year-old son told us early this morning what he had been mulling over overnight: "There is no right in doing wrong and there is no wrong in doing right."

We don’t know how he comes up with thoughts like this, but he did. It appears that he was pondering the relationship between right and wrong and he came up with this new (to us at least) ‘thought for the day’.

His thought (maxim?) reminds me of Pascal’s wager:

  • You may believe in God, and if God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
  • You may believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your loss is finite and therefore negligible.

Or:

  • You may not believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your gain is finite and therefore negligible.
  • You may not believe in God, and if God exists, you will go to hell: your loss is infinite.
Likewise I could apply son’s formulation to the environment.

Some people still insist: show me proof that my gas-guzzling habits (eg) are having a negative impact and I would start doing something about it. Or: there are as many scientists who believe in global warming as there are those who don’t.

For those of us who are already on the road to preserving this one God-given earth, these are mere excuses perpetrated by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson to keep themselves in a job, or people are just downright lazy.

But let’s start thinking: “there is no right in doing wrong” … if (IF) the earth’s precious resources ARE being depleted and global warming IS leading to disastrous effects including extreme weather, then there is no right in continuing to do those things known to exacerbate these effects.

“There is no wrong in doing right” … even if (IF) global warming is a myth and our selfish and excessive use of non-renewable resources do not affect the future generations one jot, still there is no wrong in being kind to those who come after us.

If you wish to quote or discuss my son’s maxim (for want of a better phrase), please attribute it to ‘LT, aged six’. The full identity of ‘LT’ will only be revealed when he comes of age and when I have his permission to publish his name.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Green with anger

There's been a lot of debate in Singapore in the last few weeks about how Singaporeans do not speak English properly. We speak a brand of Chinese-tinged English called 'Singlish' which is basically English spoken with a Chinese dialect (Hokkien) grammar.

I don't speak Singlish very well as I cannot speak Hokkien and so do not have Hokkien grammar to begin with (it's slightly different from Mandarin grammar, I believe). While I speak English quite well (I write it even better), what stumps me are the idiomatic phrases which I tend to confuse with Chinese idioms.

'Green with anger'. That's a new one. It's me being green and being diligent in the 3Rs -- reduce, reuse, recycle. It's me being angry that someone saw fit to walk onto my drive, removed the cardboard boxes in my green recycling box, dumped the cardboard boxes on my drive and walked off with my green box.

Yes, the audacity of it! This is the SECOND time in less than three months that our green recycling box has gone walkabout.

The borough has suddenly -- with little communication to the unconverted -- decided to institute fines on those who do not recycle, or put the 'wrong' rubbish into the main wheelie bin.

We've been separating our rubbish for years and so it does not really affect us. Suddenly my neighbours (obviously not immediate) realized that they need a green box to put their plastic bottles, jam jars, beer cans, newspapers, etc. As most of these have probably been used in the shed or house for other storage purposes, these people are now stuck.

The Council could not supply green boxes quickly enough and so some people STEAL other people's green boxes.

So now I am the one being stuck with a whole load of recyclable rubbish and nothing to store it in.

Bother!

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