Showing posts from April, 2020

Productivity at All Costs?

A friend of mine has a 2.5-year-old son who used to go to pre-school on weekdays while both his parents worked. When the circuit-breaker measures against COVID-19 recently took effect in Singapore, he and his parents found themselves - like most Singaporeans - confined to the house. As part of the nation’s home-based learning drive, his pre-school teacher emailed worksheets to his parents every day, which they ignored for a week while trying to juggle working from home and taking care of their toddler. Then, the teacher called and asked them to submit the worksheets. Nowadays, the parents (who thankfully still have a dose of common sense) take turns to do the daily worksheet and then let the child doodle on it before submitting it online, in what they call a “team effort”.

When I heard this story, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The idea of 2.5-year-olds having homework to submit everyday - not to mention in the middle of a worldwide pandemic - simply boggles the mind. Stories…

Which Pandemic Are You Living?

In the past weeks, I have often felt as if I was living in two worlds. When on the phone with family and friends in Singapore, while listening to international news, or joining in various prayer events against COVID-19, I am in a world where anxiety over the COVID pandemic is front and center, with its grievous toll of thousands dying alone, overburdened health systems, and the valiant sufferings of frontliners. This is a world of masks, hand-washing, daily case number updates, and - thankfully - inspiring acts of kindness between people.

Some of the people around me in Metro Manila, though, live in another kind of world. I became acutely aware of this on the first day that we were locked down. Jose (not his real name), a homeless man whom we knew, rang the bell. I had never seen him so terrified. The local officials were asking him to get off the street or be arrested. But where could he go? The street was where he lived and collected recyclables for a living. He needed rent money, …

What does it mean to be a witness of Christ?

Our guest writer is Leonard Mah S.J.

Many of us who are familiar with the Easter story and resurrection of Christ will generally identify the first witnesses to the Easter miracle as the holy women (Mary Magdalene being the most prominent) who came to visit the tomb of Jesus.  However, if we were to read the gospel account of Matthew, we would see that there were other human witnesses present too with the women. These would be the Roman soldiers who were assigned to guard the tomb of Jesus.  They were present when the violent earthquake struck and the angel of the Lord came and rolled away the stone (Matthew 28:2).

We can only imagine how these Roman soldiers would have felt when they saw the angel descending from heaven. It might have been the equivalent of watching a scene right out of a horror film for them (with the cast consisting of other-worldly beings), except that it was for real (there wasn’t a movie industry in those ancient times anyway).  St Matthew even notes that …