In France new mothers can request the State public institutions for a free nanny to assist them with all the things that new mothers face — the need for someone to babysit, to do the cooking, buy the groceries, clean the house and do the washing, to give them time for needed breaks from the pressures that inevitably arise in modern environments when extended family assistance is not always easy to come by.
While I was in Singapore I read a horrific tragic news story of a stepfather who was to hang for drowning a baby that drove him mad with its incessant crying.
In France people get out into the streets to demand their rights and force the government to behave in the public interest. It is, after all, a publicly elected public body for the public interest. In Singapore and an many other places it works the other way around — governments keep themselves in power and free to do their own factional will by fanning fear among large sections of their citizenry or inculcating wherever possible a public fear of their governing power itself. And as Michael Moore points out in his new documentary, Sicko, no wonder some of those governments are happy to see a public suspicion of anything French. 🙂
How much more inspiring and hopeful for all is the story of Dr Caitlin McOmish recovery than being told, “It was a miracle”.
Armed with nothing but knowledge of the plasticity of the human brain Caitlan’s schoolteacher and science graduate parents worked to heal her brain through an intensive physical and mental exercise and stimulation program. When a baby, Caitlan contracted mumps and was diagnosed with irreversible brain damage as a result. She has now just completed a PhD in neuroscience at the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne. Who would want to swap the thrilling details — the human passion and the marvels of the brain — by hiding all that in the opaque lump of the copout line, “God did it”?
How much more useful for humanity that Caitlan used her recovery experience to generate an interest in finding a potential cure for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia than promoting prayer and faith.
Check out the story on the here.
Recently remarked on one aspect of Robert Pape’s study that potentially explains why Singapore has not been a target of suicide bomb attacks. But there’s another possible explanation also raised by Pape. And it may relate to the reason Christian fundamentalists have failed to push their Intelligent Design assaults on scientific reasoning in the public education sector in Singapore. Continue reading “two fundamentalisms under an authoritarian state”
Amid all the sights to attract a tourist in Singapore one that drew my attention was the t-shirt of a young Chinese girl traveling in the same train floor space on my way to their famous zoo. It was a “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us – Romans 8:37” t-shirt, with that phrase encircling the word “Conquered!” stamped over what I took to be a stylized map of Singapore. Happily the girl who wore it and her companion did not look like fearsome conquerors, and their cheerful conversation did not give any hint of either being among the humiliated conquered. It seemed almost like a unseemly invasion of their privacy for me to try to think of them communally praying for and singing of the conquering power of Christ in their lives, so I kept my thoughts at the sociological and historical level. Continue reading “T-shirts, Basilicas and the appeal of Power in Christianity”