Rear View Mirror

 - The World -

 -Francis Makoof


Thursday, May 12, 2005



This is a test post from

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005

The international media is giving a blanket coverage of the passing of Pope John Paul II, who passed away at 9.37 pm on 2nd April 2005, at age 84, after 26 years as the Head of the Catholic Church.

Much had been written (and here ) about the life of Karol Wojtyla who became Pope John Paul II in 1978.

What do I remember most about this Pope, who has become a towering figure of the late 20th century and who was the most-traveled Pope in history?

One image stands out for me which I will never forget:

The Pope sitting in the room in the prison having a conversation with his would-be killer, Mehmet Ali Agca.

1981: Pope John Paul II meeting with Mehmet Ali Agca in prison

The Pope forgave him. It was a very touching moment.

One commentator's views best expressed my thoughts when the Pope decided to meet his would-be killer:

For 21 minutes, the Pope sat with his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca. John Paul's words were intended for Agca alone.

When the Pope arrived in his cell, Agca was dressed in a blue crewneck sweater, jeans and blue-and-white running shoes from which the laces had been removed. He was unshaved. Agca kissed John Paul's hand. "Do you speak Italian?" the Pope asked. Agca nodded.

The two men seated themselves, close together, on molded-plastic chairs in a corner of the cell, out of earshot. At times it looked almost as if the Pope were hearing the confession of Agca, a Turkish Muslim. At those moments, John Paul leaned forward from the waist in a priestly posture, his head bowed and forehead tightly clasped in his hand as the younger man spoke.

Agca laughed briefly a few times, but the smile would then quickly fade from his face. The Pope clasped Agca's hands in his own from time to time, At other times he grasped the man's arm, as if in a gesture of support.

The two talked softly. Once or twice, Agca laughed.

The Pope forgave him for the shooting. At the end of the meeting, Agca either kissed the Pope's ring or pressed the Pope's hand to his forehead in a Muslim gesture of respect.

The Pope said as he emerged from the cell: "What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as brother whom I have pardoned, and who has my complete trust."

As John Paul rose to leave, the two men shook hands.

1981: Pope John Paul II with Mehmet Ali Agca

The Pope gave Agca a small gift in a white box, a rosary in silver and mother-of-pearl. The Pope walked out.

It was a startling drama of forgiveness and reconciliation. On one level, it was an intensely intimate transaction between two men.

The meaning of John Paul's forgiveness was profoundly Christian. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him.

Christ preached forgiveness, the loving of one's enemies. It is at the center of the New Testament. Stated nakedly, superficially, the proposition sounds perverse and even self-destructive, an invitation to disaster.

It is difficult to imagine a world willing to follow John Paul's example, ending that stuttering repetition any time in the near future.

Forgiveness is not an impulse that is in much favor. It is a mysterious and sublime idea in many ways.
To me, it was an ultimate act of compassion and forgiveness to someone who had acted towards him with extreme hatred.

For many of us, whenever we are angry and vengeful to those who hate us, just take a moment to reflect this act of compassion of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) .

It is so easy to believe in one's own faith and religious belief.

The Pope showed one should live by one's faith and one's religious belief. The core ingredient of the Christian faith is love and compassion... and to love your enemies.

As an apostle of Christ, Pope John Paul II had done plenty to show us the way to God.

Rugby: The All Blacks Haka

I am a rugby fan. Two teams stand out : The New Zealand All Blacks and the Wallabies of Australia.

There is a ritual in the All Blacks team. Before the game starts, the players will gather at the center of the rugby field and face their opponents fiercely. Then they begin some kind of a war-dance. In Maori language, this ritual is called the "haka".

The haka is part of the Maori warrior's conditioning for war and battle.

The ALL BLACKS HAKA is called the Te Rauparaha Haka

The All Blacks Haka

Before the start of the Haka, one member of the ALL Blacks will be nominated as a Haka leader.

He is normally an All Black of Maori descent.

He will cause the Haka to be performed by his team members with the following call:

Ringa pakia
Uma tiraha
Turi whatia
Hope whai ake
Waewae takahia kia kino

Translation: (by New Zealand Rugby Museum)

Slap the hands against the thighs
Puff out the chest
Bend the knees
Let the hip follow
Stamp the feet as hard as you can.

Then together with the rest of the team members, he begins the haka, with the whole team facing its opponents. The players will start with knees bent, arms stretched across the chest and legs stomping:

Ka Mate! Ka Mate!
Ka Ora! Ka Ora!
Tenei te ta ngata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A upane ka upane!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!


It is death! It is death!
It is life! It is life!
This is the hairy person
Who caused the sun to shine
Keep abreast! Keep abreast
The rank! Hold fast!
Into the sun that shines!

Saturday, April 02, 2005


April Fool's Day... in Malaysia, the Attorney-General says it isn't funny and will call in the police

Each one of us is allowed to have his/her day, even a dog is allowed to have its day. There is Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Teachers' Day, Secretaries' Day.... God knows how many more.

Life can be fun too, for us to act like a fool or to be fooled, once a year.

April Fool's Day is celebrated in many cultures

But it wasn't funny for the powers-that-be in Malaysia.

An independent Malaysian online website put a fast one on its readers.

Guess what? The Malaysian Attorney-General is furious , and has asked the police to investigate on the April Fool joke.

This is despite the on-line website had even let off on the joke on the same day.

What was the joke? An article saying there will be impending graft charges against three ministers and one chief minister.

If you are journalist, remember this. Malaysia does not recognise the existence of April Fool's Day. On April 1st, no jokes allowed especially involving politicians.

Here are the 100 TOP April Fool's Day Hoaxes of all time.

Some ideas of pranks for next year, you can visit the Pranks Institute

Friday, April 01, 2005


Let me say this first.....

I have been wanting to start a blog where I can say what I want about everything I like and everything I dislike. I have more dislikes and than likes.

It took me a good seven months for this idea to materialize, all because I don't know what to call my blog.

Firstly, I need to ask myself "What do I want to say?" . Is there anything worth talking about?

If none, go to sleep.

I will not write about myself... hell, who cares? Unless you are Bill Clinton.

What about happenings in my neighbourhood?... Too boring. None of my business, unless a crime is committed. My neighbours can look after themselves.

I also realise that after watching CNN or BBC News on TV, I can get emotionally entangled with what I hear and see on the news. A realization I do have very strong views about what's happening in the world.

And why not? 9/11... that infamous date. Though I was in another part of the planet, that event in New York affected my life... my travels, my perception of others and my view of everything else, including my views on how America engages other nations.

To cut the story short, I am going to write about how events around the world are going to affect me, the little person, who is trying to live a normal and simple life and to leave this world in a normal and simple way.

Why call this "Rear View Mirror?"

I had this idea from another blogger from Malaysia.By the way, the blogger, with a by-line of Mack Zulkifli has an interesting phrase for weblogs.. he calls it "nano-publishing." There was this debate about the role of the media and how the internet, as the new media, affect people. One reader to that blog quoted the famous aphorism by Marshall McLuhan who said, "The medium is the message".

But the blogger retorted back, "The medium is a rear view mirror".

I thought... hey, he is right. After all, the media talk about events of the last hour and the last minute. We take note of an event that is passing or had passed, and if that event affects us in some way, we make a judgement and then form an opinion.

That kind of sums up what this blog is all about. Comments, opinions, judgements, etc.

We are all entitled to our opinions. We can agree to disagree. Or disagree to agree, if that is possible.

Now... what's happening.......?

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