Category Archives: News and politics

Engagement Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is James, I am Tane’s dad.

I have asked to be allowed to speak: to mark this happy occasion with a few appropriate words, to which Tane has graciously granted me his permission.

First of all, I wish to thank you all for coming, to share and celebrate the occasion, but especially those who have travelled the farthest.  I see a few Wellington friends here: (name them).  Welcome to you.  Welcome to Tane’s Aunty Naomi, who travelled all the way from Dunedin.  Where have other people come from?

I wish to express my immense joy and pride in my son, especially at this time.  When they were growing up, my 3 children always knew these 3 things:

  • We loved them all equally; there are no favourites.
  • If two of them argued unreasonably, then the 3rd one won the treat. This was usually Hamish.
  • I have always been proud of each one of them.

Tane was born on Star Wars day: May 4th, 1997.  I infected him with the love of science fiction early, and we’ve enjoyed discussing many shows of that genre.

His names means “Sunday Man”.  He was born on a Sunday, and was in church the following Sunday.  I’m pleased to report, he has never chosen to leave since.

Tane, in Maori means “man”, kind of like “Adam”, because he was our first little man.

Tane lived 6 months in Africa from June to December 1997.  He left NZ as a 7 week old new-born and returned a 7 month old rug rat.

Tane was baptised July 4th, 2005, when he was 8 years old, at his original home church of Wellington Elim.  I baptised him, because we were home-schooling him at that time, and we were his Bible teachers.  A funny thing happened when I dunked him: his bottom came up.  I froze, because I didn’t know what to do next (“he’s not completely immersed!”).  Somebody had to remind me to let him up.  No harm done.

We moved into Manurewa on May 18th, 2013, when Tane was 16.

He met Jess at a Church Youth Group in 2014.  They have been inseparable ever since.  When Tane went with Jess to her second school ball in 2015, is when I knew this was getting serious.

I couldn’t be happier for Tane in his choice of girl.  Jess has won me over, despite my reservations about their youth, for many reasons, these are just a few:

  • She’s a most excellent cos-player. For those not initiated into geeky things, this means she makes and wears her own costumes to science fiction conventions and such.  For 2 years running, Tane & Jess have won our church costume talent show as: Tarzan & Jane one year, and Mary Poppins and Bert the next.
  • She’s beautiful. ‘Nuff said
  • I doubt she knows this, but I was very impressed by something I overheard said one particular day. In our own wedding vows, Fiona and I promised mutual love and respect, but individually, I promised to support her and Fiona promised to follow me.  This may be quaint now, but it’s a vow we’ve always kept.  What I overheard was, while Tane was trying to sort out his tertiary study options, moving back to Wellington was a possibility, to which Jess’s response was a matter-of-fact, to paraphrase a certain Bible verse, “where you go, I will go.  Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”  Jess, you won my heart then.  John and Donna, I congratulate you on raising a wonderful daughter.

Tane proposed to Jess while on holiday in Paris on 17 August 2016, which brings us up to date.

As of yet, there is no wedding date to announce, because Tane has just learned he has been accepted into Unitech’s Drama Programme.  This potentially means 3 years of tertiary study.  Realistically, I would expect a wedding before then, so watch this space.

In conclusion, an engagement is a fun, but also serious occasion.  It is a binding promise, of the further commitment to come.  It is an opportunity for them to say to us, “This is our intent” and for us to say to them, “we will support you”.

To that end, will you please be upstanding, charge your glasses, and repeat after me: “we will support you.”

Week Ending 13-Dec-2015

This week:

  • Went to Tane’s Senior Prizegiving and Leavers Ceremony for Manurewa High School. He won 1st in Drama.
  • Missed Hamish’s Prizegiving at St John. He won RSA Companion Award.
  • Helped Aimee finish her final project task: the evolution of the technological advancement of the bow and arrow. I have no problem with using the word evolution in relation to inanimate objects. But Biology started complex, and evolution is logically impossible in relation to living things.
  • Attended Aimee’s school prizegiving.
  • Attended Infosys Christmas party as a representative of Spark. Had a fun time playing pool.
  • Had an interesting conversation on my way there with my Muslim colleague about interpretation of the current troubles. We agreed that there is an unseen element involved. We don’t disagree on the cause. My interpretation is that there is a Satan with a diabolical plan. His is that there are people trying to get rich from oil.
  • Apparently Paris is close to an accord on Global Warming, despite the scientific evidence against it. A global conspiracy to steal wealth and redistribute it.

We Have An Eye-Witness

I had a really interesting conversation this week, sitting around at lunch break in the staff dining area. I innocently mentioned a story I heard on the radio. Apparently, you can pay $12,000 to have your ashes sent to the moon. I don’t know whether this is true. But I expressed a preference to turn my ashes into a diamond. It just appeals.

My work colleague immediately moves on from this topic to dismissing any possibility of life after death. This I took as a direct provocation of my worldview, which is widely known at work, and completely off topic.

At first, I let him wax on, unsure where he wanted this conversation to go. Another colleague expressed his cheerful ignorance of what comes next, leaving open any and all possibilities.

I felt in this instance, discretion was the better part of valour, and decided to merely leave a small gem. So I stated, “It depends on your worldview about whether you believe there was an Eye-witness who went there and came back to tell us about it.” This was my subtle reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I believe my oblique reference was understood.

There was stunned silence. I took that as my queue to return to work.

#SparkInnovation14

Does Spark need a Chaplaincy?

  • If yes, what would it do?

My Motivations in asking the question:

  • My career has peaked. There’s nowhere vertical for me to go. Therefore, in order to be more fulfilled, I have to incorporate more of my outside interests into my work. Hence, offering my marriage counselling, spiritual guidance skills.
  • Nearly every week, I observe within Spark, demotivation, depression, crises. I am fundamentally loyal to this company. I would like to offer something to help.

Relevancy:

  • The first session I attended this weekend was “Plane crashes & Ebola: are your travel plans affected?” The discussion transitioned into doomsday scenarios. I was fascinated. The veneer of civilisation very quickly disappeared in that discussion, in that people were actually contemplating bombing potentially innocent boat people. To me, this prove a lack of moral centre. We agreed that empires fall. Is the American empire about to fall?
Empire Prophet Expression
Greek Aristotle There is no good in mankind
Judaism Jeremiah The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Christian Paul All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Humanism Philosophers Man is a helpless victim of this environment
  • The second session was “3D Printing & the Internet of Things”. 3dhubs.com provides a 3d printing & delivery service.
  • The third session was “Odd Hobbies”. We are unique human beings, with diverse enthusiasms. My contributions (from more mainstream to less so) were:
    • Squash
    • Blogging (somebody else wrote “TV & movies”
    • Attending Conferences (somebody else wrote “going to sci-fi conventions”)
    • Speaking/presenting
    • Marriage counselling
  • The fourth session was, “Business Patterns” and how to use them to improve business. The problem of entrenching success, is it makes the process inflexible. However, in order to allow flexibility, requires delegated authority, which incurs risk.
    • I liken this to fatherhood: leading the family. If they were warned, then they are being disobedient. If they weren’t warned, then they are not disobedient, they are merely childish, and shouldn’t be punished.
    • Likewise, the owner of the company decides what is best for the company, and needs to communicate that, then allow their people freedom to work within that paradigm. This is a Biblical model of hierarchy.
    • Also, I’m raising generals, not soldiers.   Therefore I’m going to teach them how to think, not what to think.
    • But, organisations like McDonalds, who have a repeatable process, want drones to follow the process.
    • But if I’m a start-up, I’m going to hire pioneers, who thrive on the chaos of creativity, and need to be entertained, and hate structure. Structure may come later, but when, and to what degree?
    • The owner is the visionary, but needs to hire either employees to follow, or consultants to recommend new directions.
    • Nobody here liked my suggestion that any organisation is like a family, in that Dad sets the direction. (I love stirring the pot.)
  • The Fifth Session, “What has technology done to humanity?”
    • Why I Think This World Should End: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ1qlSjL_9g. This video talks about the negative aspects of our society and recommends that the antidote is love.
    • Are we too loosely allowing future generations to view bad things? What has changed between the 1950’s and today? Culture, technology, expectations, values.
    • It’s feeding our insatiable appetite of inquisitiveness.
    • My slant: “there is a Book, that talks about Man’s propensity to use technology for self-advancement, instead of contentment. At the Tower of Babel, Man tried to eliminate God from their society, and failed.”
    • Computers allows us to do things quicker. We’re doing the bad things quicker. Technology amplifies what’s there.
    • In the Humanist Manifesto, which is the predominant philosophy of Western Society, the promise was that Science would solve all our ills. The problem is, that Science is driven by fallible human beings. A good case in point is fat was discovered to be “bad”, was removed, but was replaced with salt and sugar. The result: incredible obesity. So, the philosophy is corrupt, because its basis (a purely good humanity) is false.
  • The sixth session: “Does Technology enable or relieve loneliness/isolation, especially in the elderly?” What can be done to improve the situation in 2041, when 1.3M Kiwis will be over 65?
    • Is the Hugging Chair (in Japan) a good idea? Just because they built it, and it’s being used, does the need exist? Nobody doubts the need for real hugs. Can technology replace that? I doubt it.
    • My slant: The Wheton Law applies: “Don’t be a Dick.” Invest in relationships now, so that people want to interact with you later. It doesn’t really matter what technology exists in the future, if humans don’t want to talk to you. The Hugging Chair is tacky.

I’m going to blog this now, so that you get a feel for it.

What does Hamas mean?

Leviticus 25:23

  • “The land must not be sold permanently because the land is Mine, and you reside in the land as foreigners and strangers.”
  • This has direct relevance to the conflict in Palestine today.
  • We weep for both sides.

What does Hamas mean?

  • HAMAS = violence or violent men
  • Psalm 140: Deliver me, on Jehovah from evil men. Deliver me from Hamas…

Charter of Hamas, founded 1998

  • To obliterate the Jews.
  • We have to weep for both sides, but we have to understand both agendas.
  • There is nothing in their charter about caring for their own people.

  Continue reading What does Hamas mean?

Indonesia Mission Trip July 2001

I found these old hand-written notes of mine in a big tidy-up.  I thought I’d share them before I disposed of them.

Tues 17 July 2001

06:00 Woke up in Jakarta.  Watched “Rocky 2” on TV.
08:00 Had breakfast @ hotel
09:30 Were picked up from hotel by “Alex”
11:45 Flight from Jakarta to Solo.
Had Sate lunch in car & bought monitor for US$125.
Sam paid for everything, even the postage from the hotel.
16:00 Arrived @ the School.
Immediately, Augusta, James and me set up the new PC.  The hub’s going to be tricky.  Will deal to it later.

Must help Augusta with library tomorrow first, before he leaves on Friday.

18:00 Dinner with the Family, consisted of rice, fish, water cress, some Chile sauces, brown sugar cakes, iced tea, red bean buns, oranges & a rice soup.  Delicious!  Dinner is served promptly at 6pm.

Sam treats his servants very well, compared to South Africa, I told him.  Sam posed me a very tricky question: Alex wanted to give him a 22-carat gold right with Topaz.  Same wanted to know what I thought!  I asked him what he would like me to think.  In the end, he accepted, but told Alex bluntly that Sam is probably going to give it away.

20:50 Spent some time on-line, but couldn’t get web browsing to work.  I’m writing give myself something to do, to stay awake.

Wed 18 July 2001

A good day’s work.  Spent the morning with Augusta down @ the library, installing my library database & customising it for their use: adding a Students & Lecturer module so that borrowers can be viewed, selected by combo-box.

Each day is a culinary delight.  Authentic Indonesian cuisine 3x a day.  They are filling me up, no problems.

Sam tried to have me on about snake meat today, but Carol can’t lie.

Thu 19 July 2001

On the reverse of this sheet is the address of Paula Tyas in Solo.  Apparently it’s a main road, and easy to find.  Will go to visit her soon.

Got the server connected, but had to move it back into the main office space, out of Carol’s office.  Now her PC won’t connect, although it is making the hub light come on.  All other PCs are now sharing a server data folder & each other’s printers.

Actually managed to surf on-line tonight, and successfully connected to my emails.  Still can’t download though, which is a real blow, given the financial constraints of the telephone call.

Had problems sleeping last night, in that a mosquito got into my room.  Eventually ended up with a pillow over my head.

Finished reading a good book, I Talked with Spirits.  Am still reading Your Work Matters to God.

Managed to have a hot shower tonight.  It really is very pleasant here & very cheap to live.  If I could work here, I would live like a king.  Sam & Carol have already asked if I’m interested in Kalimantan.  I’ve said I’d like to see a job description.  I even offered to write one from Carol’s spoken word.

Got my 1st roll of film back & into a folder.  Wrote captions, too.

Friday 20 July 2001

Bought several things from Solo:

Description

Rp

NZ$

Pepsi Cola can

2,375

0.50

2 outfits for the boys (1xshirt, trousers & sandals each)

240,400

50.00

Matrix CD

39,000

9.00

2 x Babylon 5 CD

88,000

20.00

MS Visio (for home)

36,000

8.00

MS Office (for the STTT)

54,000

12.00

Dune CD

58,000

13.00

20m RJ45 LAN cable

108,000

24.00

Muppet

110,000

24.50

Fixed the cable: was a fleck of dust on one of the pins on the head of the cable.  James re-strung it for me.

Missed morning prayers again (05:30).  Went to eventing prayers instead.  Dragged James along as my interpreter (19:00 – 21:00).

No time to email this evening: Watched Part 1 (of 4) of Dune instead.

I’ve got Rp.333,000 left of my original Rp.1,200,000.  Am tossing up whether to buy VCD player vs. DVD player vs. VCD+MPEG3.

Trained:

  • Christine how to Mail Merge (Advanced)
  • Yehezkiel how to load Lotus & save as Excel.
  • Suhendar how to log in successfully to new LAN.
  • Carol how to view message size in Outlook.
  • Sam how to switch between laptop & external monitor.
  • Augusta (yesterday, he’s gone today) how to fix laptop stuck key.
  • James how to ping the server.

Augusta: nick-name is Utha.

Saturday 21 July 2001

Have just got back to my room to discover it’s sprung a leak.  This unseasonably wet weather has broken through my ceiling.  The time is 22:30, too late to bother the Family, so I’ll just make do with the spare bed.  The reason I’m so late to bed, is because I’ve been enjoying my Babylon 5: In the Beginning VCD.

This afternoon, spent the whole afternoon at the house of James, watching the rest of Dune on his large screen TV.  I prefer the solitude and control of a PC, myself.

Spent the morning with Carol, helping her to create her first ever Job Description, for the position of a Computer Trainer in Kalimantan.  She will use the template for more vacancies, too.  We soon realised that the position does not allow for a family to live there.  Pity, another opportunity bites the dust.  Lord, I have faith You have the perfect marriage of my skills, gifts & abilities with more opportunities like this one, here @ the School.

Amen.  I’m not disappointed.  A bit relieved, really.  I can continue focussing on Mana (Information Systems Limited – my own company) for another year.

Sunday 22 July 2001

Nice, slow start to the day.  Went to church @ 11:00am at the home of a Southern Baptist Missionary couple.  Of course, it was in Indonesian, but James again interpreted for me.  His boy Christopher is disruptive.  Glad my boys aren’t that bad.  This couple, the Masons, are shortly returning State-side on furlough.  Met their replacements: a 30-year veteran missionary in Indonesia, who has never gone native, apparently.

After lunch, I got a ride into Solo and got dropped off at YAKKUM Central Office.  (I had previously visited the Surakarta Office.)  Met Paula Tyas.  She took me to her village.  She took me to her village.  She showed me around (and I suspect showed me off).  I gave Rp.100,000 to their church.  I didn’t buy a Rp.200,000 chair!  The 1-hour trip took 2 hours to return, because their van is not as powerful as Sam’s.  But, we sang many Christian & non-Christian tunes to while away our time.

Upon my return, I discovered that someone had phoned in a bomb threat!  That was interesting, but we just carried on.  I’m glad my family are not here.

I watched Babylon 5: A Call to Arms on VCD.  I’ve never seen this one before!  I’m so happy to have it.

Good night, my love (22:07 Indonesian, 3:07am NZT).

Monday 23 July 2001

Straight after breakfast, drove back into Solo for a spot of shopping.  (First of all, got up for prayers @ 5:30am.)  Bought external modem so that can now move e-Vectra into Carol’s office, and she doesn’t lose her emails.  Picked up 20m cable for Sam’s office.  Will wire that up somehow tomorrow.  Have asked for the price of a PCMCIA LAN card for Sam’s laptop.

Went back to Mata Hari for more VCA’s, but couldn’t see anything I liked.  Think I cought a cold from the car’s air conditioning, blowing down on my forehead.  Tried to have a sleep after lunch.  Managed to sleep in the car on the way back to School.

Watched my Matrix VCD.  Nothing much else left to do.  Everything’s in place.  Sill no-one around the office for me to help.  Gotta remember to wear trousers around the office, to help maintain the professional image.

I just took a good look at myself in the mirror, and I’m getting fatter, not thinner, being here.  No exercise.  Not good.  Will fast tomorrow.

Bought post-cards in town.  Came home and wrote one for each member of my family.

Bought a CD with Exchange Server 2000, but unfortunately, it requires Windows 2000 Server, which it didn’t come with.  So, I cannot enable internal email and auto-dialup and automatic internet email forwarding and proxy server to enable all PCs (including Sams laptop) to browse the web through Carol’s new external V.90, 56kb modem.  I was looking forward to doing all that, but perhaps it is not meant to be.  After all, the “Amazing Networking” CD on cost Rp17,500 (NZ$4.00!).

Tues 24 July 2001

Skipped prayers & breakfast.  Helped Carol with various, small computer-related problems.  Started new database for Suhendar Ong, to receipt Students fees.  Over-sought (over-saw?) installation of new cable from the hub to Sam’s office.  Went to Solo.  Bought MS Windows 2000 Server.  Bought more VCD’s.

Came back.  Watched Star Gate.

Emailed Russell, Steve & Fiona.

Paula rang again.  Will try to see her again.  Thursday @ 10:00am @ YAKKUM Office.

Fasted lunch.  I’m still fat.

Wed 25 Jul

Sam went away.  7 hours East.  Ministry.  I was sad to see him go.

Email from my wife cheered me up.

Completed data entry & 1 report for Suhendar’s DB.  Will need to train him on it tomorrow, and adjust the report for the pre-printed line-form paper, when it arrives.

Visited Ambon Children’s Refuge.  Met Jimmy.  He told me his testimony.  Very powerful.  Watched his sister get murdered.  Jesus prevented him from attempting to take revenge.

Watched:

  • “SG” with Carol.
  • “Analyze This” by myself in the office.
  • “Unbreakable” until mid-night

I have decided that since I have finished all my pre-set work, I am therefore on holiday.

Thu 26 Jul

Work up late for breakfast (not to mention, prayers @ 5:30).

I was going to help Christine with some computer questions she had, but instead I took the opportunity to catch a ride into Solo, with Betty & Nocke.  They went to pay the rent on the 3 children’s homes.  I went to see Paula Tyas for the last time at YAKKUM.  She said we couldn’t go to see Rusdiyanto because the situation over in Kartasura was too dangerous for her.

So, I helped a few people with a few computer problems.  I really could make a huge profit and live like a king in this country with my training, skills & knowledge.  Lord, what is your plan for me?

Had lunch, visited another Ambon Children’s home, then back to the School.  Another lunch awaited me.  James was back (he had gone with Sam, but wasn’t needed, so got sent back).

I wrote some more for Suhendar’s DB.  Had a shower.  Had dinner, this time with Carol (first time together at a meal today, unusual).  After dinner, I watched some VCDs with James:

  • Enemy of the State (review)
  • The Waterboy (view)

Fri 27 July

Woke @ 6:30am.  Missed prayer meeting, but in time for breakfast this time.  Worked a little bit in the office.  Decided didn’t have enough time to complete Suhendar’s database.  James came and took me to the gardens next door.  Paid Rp2,000 each (US$0.20 = NZ$0.50).  it was worth about that much.  Not much to see nor do.  It’s a picnic spot, with some really grotty chldren’s swings and stuff.  They were emptying the pool, which looked unhygienic anyway.

Went back to my room to read.  Some more Bible.  Nearly finished my textbook, too.  Will finish it tonight.  Had lunch.  After lunch, had a nap.  Woke up at 3pm.  Jimmy was here to take me to the waterfall, as arranged 2 days ago.  The walk down took me past a line of trees, from which monkeys were freely roaming onto human habitats.  I didn’t realise, it cost Jimmy Rp3,000 x 4 people.  He wouldn’t let me pay him back.  He said he wanted to bless me.  The four people were me, Jimmy, Wawan (the bus driver from yesterday) and Sam (Nocke’s youngest son).  It was a big trek back up the stairs after my swim.

Helped Carol with some more computer, then it was dinner time.  I said grace.  “Puji Tuhan, Terimah kesih okuna mekanan.  Amen.”

After dinner, James came around one last time, to watch “The X-Men” on VCD.  He had a special limited edition.  Extra scenes.  Glad I’ve seen it.  Glad I didn’t go to the movies.  Wrote & sent email.

Good night.

Current Thoughts on Schooling

Background:

  • After 14 years, Tane decided to try schooling out.
  • He went in at year 11, NCEA1, to a decile 8 or 9 school.

Yesterday:

  • He attained over 25% of NCEA1 (at least 22 out of 80 credits).
  • He completed his bit-part in the school musical.
  • He got cyber-bullied.

Today:

  • I’m 80% certain he will choose to come back to homeschooling next year.

Thoughts:

  • He’s not failing the school system.
  • The school system is failing him.