Recently, as I left a shop, I overheard the man who had served me whisper in disappointment, "He called me ‘uncle,’ when he’s definitely older than I am." Since childhood, my Chinese culture has taught me it is polite to say, "Thank you, Uncle!" for help received.
During the Chinese New Year it is customary for hongbaos (small red envelopes containing money) to be given away. When parents give hongbaos to their children, it is also to wish them prosperity and success. Knowing that this sincere wish is insufficient, however, they also remind their children to study hard. Chinese people generally believe that a good education is the key to one’s success in life.
When I first heard of Sara Lee cakes, the name-brand caught my attention because one of the most common Asian family names is “Lee.” Being a Chinese Lee myself, I wondered if Sara was Chinese or Korean.
After the terrorist bombing in Bali in 2002, one man reacted by giving up traveling. Three years later, he finally took his family for a holiday in Bali, together with 50 tourists from Newcastle, Australia. The trip ended in tragedy when his family was caught in a suicide bombing at a café on Jimbaran Beach.
In Joel’s book of prophecy, God declared: “I am in the midst of Israel . . . . My people shall never be put to shame” (2:27). But earlier in the chapter God promised to fight against His people. A plague of locusts would descend like a ravenous army on the nation (vv.2-11).
A story is told of Scottish minister Alexander Whyte, who was able to look at the bleakest situation and yet find something to be thankful for. On a dark Sunday morning when the weather was freezing, wet, and stormy, one of his deacons whispered, “I am sure the preacher won’t be able to thank God for anything on a day like this. It’s absolutely horrible outside!” The pastor began the service by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that the weather is not always like this.”
Many people believe that Christians are told never to judge others. As “proof,” they quote Jesus’ words in Matthew 7: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (v.1). But a closer look at what Jesus said shows that there are times when we must make judgments.