Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Sombre Thoughts at Christmas

DSC01566I’m finding this Christmas slightly more gloomy than before. The weather is probably partly responsible. It’s been raining almost quite predictably every day. It’s either sun in the morning followed by rain in the afternoon to evening, or it will rain in the morning and be sunny thereafter. Yes, this is the typical Singapore climate, it’s usually wetter and cooler this time of the year.

But it hasn’t always been like that, and particularly since the weather nowadays is so unpredictable, I don’t automatically assume that it has to be wetter and cooler in December anymore.

However, it’s not really about the weather that’s making things gloomy. It’s the news about what’s happening in this world. Some sad stories.

One of them is about Jason Chee, the Singapore navy serviceman who met with an accident in which he lost three limbs. He is left with only two fingers in his remaining right arm. He only regained consciousness a week after the accident. I think most of us can’t even begin to imagine the shock and devastation that he must have experienced. He had to be sedated, twice. It is just so horrible.

As you might have read, Jason lost his mother recently. He looks after his elderly father, and cooks for him every night. He was only a month away from the end of his current navy contract, and had plans to continue his studies. This is such a tragedy.

Please pause for a few moments to pray for Jason Chee, and his family. Over on the Internet, people are offering all sorts of suggestions as to how we ought to take care of this Singaporean son. I hope some of these suggestions see the light of day, and something positive can come out to lessen the pain of this tragedy.

We are all saddened by the many other senseless loss of lives of our servicemen. This navy incident seems to be quite different from the other recent army mishaps. But our Ministry of Defence hasn’t been very forthcoming with information and details surrounding the incident, so we don’t really know what happened.

Nevertheless, I certainly hope that armed forces doesn’t need more reminders about the importance of safety. Not just defend the country, but also protect the safety of the men charged with defending the country.

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Another incident happened a little over a week ago, on the other side of the world, in Newtown, Connecticut. At the Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 children and 6 adults perished after having been gunned down by a 20 year old, whom had earlier shot his mother to death at their home.

America was shocked. The 20 children were all aged 6 to 7 years old. I watched some of the news reports online, particularly interviews with the affected families, and I felt overcome with sadness.

The Newtown shooting is somewhat unique because of the age of the victims, as well as the fact that there were hardly any non-fatal injuries. In other words, once targeted, the victims had almost no chance of survival. There was just one lone survivor in this shooting.

The Americans believe in their right to bear arms. Most of them anyway. It is in their constitution. The constitution isn’t going to get changed any time soon. Meanwhile, the American people need to think hard about how they want to deal with situations like this. They are quite divided, and American politicians mostly avoid get caught up in this controversial topic.

In a press conference to address the tragedy at Newtown, the National Riffle Association blames video games and movies for gun violence. I don’t know if it is just some people, or most people, or perhaps everyone except the members of the National Riffle Association, who find that argument just totally insane. Yes, guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But surely guns play a big role in these situations. In the United States, some 10K people die from gun related violence each year.

I’m glad ordinary people here in Singapore aren’t allowed to carry guns. We don’t live in fear of drive-by shootings. Sure, we have other sort of crimes, but we have one less type to worry about.

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Christmas is supposed to be a happy festive season. It is the celebration of Christ Jesus’ birth. As we go about this holiday season, please spare a thought for those who are not so fortunate.

People who have lost loved ones. People who are in difficult situations. People who are struggling to live. People who are hard pressed to find happiness this Christmas.

Being able to celebrate Christmas is a blessing.

Merry Christmas.

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