The politics of Happiness

May 3, 2010

There is an interesting news from Nature journal on a book written by a law professor Derek Bok, a former Harvard president.  The title of the book is “The Politics of Happiness”.

These are some excerpts from the Nature news:

In The Politics of Happiness, law professor Derek Bok, a former Harvard president, argues that it is time to rethink the goal of politics: to promote well-being rather than wealth. His appeal that this is both necessary and timely rests on two key points: first, that there is an increasingly solid body of evidence about the causes of happiness and its individual, social and environmental benefits; and second, that most people are unaware of and need education about what will give them lasting satisfaction.

Happiness is a legitimate goal for government policy, Bok argues, because it is more than a private, transient feeling. Lasting happiness — well-being or ‘flourishing’ — depends on the ongoing process of how we live our lives. Well-being encompasses close relationships, utilizing our strengths, helping others, having a sense of purpose and believing that what we do makes a difference. Hence the pursuit of lasting happiness can lead to the development of more productive, cohesive, caring and sustainable societies.

Bok’s second contention is based on studies revealing that people do not understand what will make them happy, and thus fail to act accordingly. The solution, he asserts, requires a political response through mass education. Wealth, possessions, appearance or fame do not bring lasting happiness, despite the messages promulgated by advertisers and the media. Bok proposes transformative education such as coaching parents, instructing teachers and providing school children with the know-ledge of how to lead satisfying lives. Quality programmes that improve social and emotional skills in school children, or broader projects such as the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York — which supports families through parenting workshops, pre- and after-school programmes and child-oriented health schemes — have demonstrably improved personal development, relationships and academic achievement. Happiness is a skill that can be learned.

We may have been wrong to believe that economic prosperity would bring happiness, but the evidence suggests that happiness and social well-being are likely to bring economic prosperity. Moreover, where prosperity arises from post-materialist values, it has the potential to enhance well-being without costing the earth.


abstinance, not condom, is the solution

February 3, 2010

New study shows the effeciency of abstinence-only education. Let’s promote abstinance,

article: Abstinence-Only Education Linked to Decreased Promiscuity in High-Risk Teens: Study

Study: Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months

A memory with Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong

July 1, 2008

When I attended a wedding in Indonesia, I heard the news that Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong has returned to the Father’s home. I was quite surprise. I didn’t know him very well or in person. I have met him several times, during my university days when he celebrated mass and when I came and visited him at St. Joseph old folks home when he already retired as the archbishop of Singapore. It is this last visit that impressed me a lot and which I would like to share.

I came to St. Joseph old folks home together with Maya and her choir to visit the parish priest who was treated there as well due to some bone fracture. After the visit, we decided to come to the archbishop emeritus’ room and have a short chat with him.

He looked older the the last time I saw him (during university days) but he was so happy to welcome us. He loved to chat and talked with all of us. He asked questions to everyone of us, where we came from, are we singaporean, or malaysian, or indonesian, etc. He also joked and made us laugh often. What a wonderful time 🙂

Then he showed us an artwork. It was a gift by his fellow bishop (from Bishop of Penang, if I am not mistaken). The artwork was made of stones of different sizes and colours.  Those stones were arranged in such a way that it forms a picture, a palace, with some trees, and rivers.

Then he started to ask us what this picture is all about. Then one of us started to guess, it’s a palace, a kingdom. Then he nodded happily. It is a Kingdom! And we are a kingdom people, he said. He started to talk about christians as a kingdom people.

And he showed us again the little stones that form all the pictures. He told us these are precious stones. And he asked who are these precious stones. We made it again to guess, this must be all of us christian. He looked happy 🙂 We are the precious stones, he said. All of us are precious in God’s eyes and we all build the kingdom of God. The kingdom is built upon the precious stones and Jesus is the corner stone.

He started to share about the twelve stones that become the foundations, and he moved on to share about Heaven and what heaven looks like. At the end, we have to go back, and he told us to come again and have a chat with him next time.

I never had the chance to have a chat with him after that time. But the meeting that day made a big impression in my life. This is the man who shepherd the church in Singpaore. Though he was just in his room, in this old folks home, he didn’t stop preaching the Gospel. He couldn’t stop sharing the faith. He kept on sharing the good news, through his joy, through his friendliness, and even through a piece of artwork. He preached about his faith and his hope in Christ using a simple gift given by his fellow bishop.

I thank the Lord for such a shepherd. I knew him only for a little while, but he has given me the message. We are that precious stones, each and everyone of us is precious, and one day, we will meet again in Heaven, in that Kingdom that we all long for.

Till we meet again your grace and thanks for shepherding us.

Statistics for Church in Singapore

May 26, 2008

Last Catholic News presented the result of a survey done in Singapore catholic churches. You can find the news here.

Look at the age range where less people attend the mass at weekend. The lowest is for age range 20-39 years old.

They also tried to interview people asking the reasons for this suprising statistics. You can read it at this page.

What the Lord is asking of us?