Categories
Faith Palestine & Israel World

Through the Fire of Persecution

The cab was entering the roundabout, I pointed at a nearby spot and signalled the driver to stop there. I clumsily got off the taxi with my camera and bag and he thanked me for the little tip. “Ma’a salama,” I bade farewell to him with my broken Arabic as he began to drive away.

Those were the last words in our short time together.

Those were also probably the last words between us in this life. What’s the chance of us meeting again? A traveller from thousands of miles away, and a taxi driver among the thousands of men of the same trade in Amman.

I started walking to the church to meet Pastor Hanna Massad. It was 2011.

Categories
Hong Kong Photography

Spring Dew, Icy Cool

Never has there been a rope long enough to slow down the sun,
Water flows, clouds pass, endless lamentations.
When I try to buy the sea from the goddess,
All that remains is a cup of spring dew cool as ice.
– Li Shangyin, “Visiting the Mountain”

從來系日乏長繩,水去雲回恨不勝。
欲就麻姑買滄海,一杯春露冷如冰。
—李商隱《謁山》

Categories
Faith Palestine & Israel Photography

Co-existence

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
— Matthew 5:9

Photostory (24 photos)

Categories
Faith Palestine & Israel Photography

Holy Land

I’m willing to give up everything for an end to the occupation, which causes such a blight on this land that it’s impossible for me to feel holiness where there are deep injustices taking place.
— Aaron Rotenberg

Photostory (24 photos)

Categories
Faith Hong Kong

Peace with Thy Neighbours

In Luke chapter 10, the author tells the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a lawyer tried to test Jesus. First, he asked Him what should he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer, according to Luke, was “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

But the lawyer did not stop there and pressed on, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus then told the now renowned parable, in which a Samaritan came to be the lifesaver of a traveller who was robbed and beaten to half dead.

The story is provocative in that, a priest and a Levite passed by the traveller before the Samaritan did. They were people that the Jews held in much higher regard. But, the good act was not carried out by these venerated people, but by a Samaritan to whom the audience consider to be enemy.

Essentially, Jesus turned the question from “who is my neighbour?” into “to whom am I a neighbour?”

Perhaps it’s fitting to apply this parable’s teaching in today’s Hong Kong, a city so divided that some of the “yellow ribbons” and “blue ribbons” are increasingly hostile to each other. If you, just in case, are a “yellow ribbon”, then who may be your neighbour? And in case you are a “blue ribbon”, then who may be your neighbour?

What if you are a police officer? What if you are a protester?

If, one day, you happen to see your neighbour “robbed and beaten to half dead”, will you be moved with pity and show him/her mercy?

And we have the perfect example set by Jesus, who tells us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, that we may be children of our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:44-45). He who when suffering on the cross, prayed to the Father to forgive those who put Him there.

For this is the message that we have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, so that His love can be perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

Adapted from the transcript of my Reflections on Peace on RTHK Radio 4 in 2016.

Categories
Faith

Peace with the Creatures

Two years ago, an animal rights society in Hong Kong was accused of putting down a lost cat erroneously. As a matter of fact, this organisation whose mission is “to promote kindness to animals”, is actually responsible for taking the lives of thousands of them every year. Ironic, isn’t it?

While people can debate if these people are doing their best to prevent cruelty to animals, one cannot deny that, one of the root causes, is because some people treat their pets like possessions or merely commodities, they do not care much about them, or even abuse and abandon them when they have lost interest. No love is lost when there is none to begin with.

On another note, a sister once told me that she became a vegetarian after learning how all those delicious dishes are made and prepared from animals being slaughtered. Indeed, the modern city culture has removed from most of us the gruesome scenes and details of animals being killed for food, replacing them with the Disney-style perception of animals.

Animals are part of God’s creation, and while God has let us to have dominion over them and given us the rights to consume them for food, He did not tell us to disrespect them or induce unnecessary pains on them. And they can be God’s vessels as well, remember when Balaam refused to listen to God, it was a donkey who saved his life.

So let us remember the meekness of the Son, who does not break the bruised reed, and the loving-kindness of the Father, who feeds and remembers the sparrows, and be at Peace with the creatures.

Adapted from the transcript of my Reflections on Peace on RTHK Radio 4 in 2016.

Categories
Faith Palestine & Israel

“Holy Land” in Twenty Eighteen

7 years have passed since the photos in Holy Land were taken. Few positive changes can be found on the ground… if not the other way around.

Indeed, 70 years have passed since one diaspora found their homeland and brought forth another.

Since then, Peace has been a frequent traveller, alien to this place. Away most of the time, occasionally staying, rarely for long.

Her friend, Love, seemed to have deserted the land altogether.

But Faith urges us on, and we, encouraged by Hope, continue to seek the wanderer and the lost.

Kyrie eleison.

“Holy Land” in CCLC Bookstore. Photo taken by Louise Pang

The second donation from the proceeds of this book has been made to Gush Shalom – an Israeli peace group founded by Uri Avnery, who penned the writing A Bird’s Eye View in Holy Land.

This bi-lingual book is now distributed by VW Link in Hong Kong (who also carries the Chinese edition of Palestinian Memories). And, as before, is available digitally on Google Play and iTunes.

2018-Aug-6: The book is now also available on Amazon Kindle.

Categories
Photography

Hehuanshan

Slideshow (12 photos)

Categories
Faith Hong Kong Palestine & Israel

Expressions of Faith

A Reflection on Israel/Palestine and Hong Kong

Being a faithful witness to the Lord in our lives is an often discussed topic among the Christian faithful. Individual believers who follow the teachings of the Lord and glorifies Him through their daily deeds should be commended and encouraged indeed. At the same time, congregations, denominations and faith-based organizations may also engage in various social dialogue, and drive or oppose the implementation of government policies in order to bring about justice and peace. While being different in aspects, both types of actions can be considered “expressions of faith”, witnesses to the world by believing individuals or communities.

Meanwhile, the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948 is considered by many believers to be a divine intervention, a validation of Biblical prophecies, or even a sign of the End Times. However, those who understand the historical background are few and far between, even though the event was arguably driven by “expressions of faith”.

Auschwitz concentration camp (C.Puisney, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust under the Nazi German rule had its roots in the long history of European anti-Semitism. For example, in 1475, a “ritual murder” happened in Trento, Italy: A boy named Simon was found dead, and the few Jewish families living there were framed for it and tortured by the religious-political leaders. They were forced to confess that they killed Simon to fulfill their ritual requirements, and as a result were either executed or incarcerated. Though the Roman Curia was suspicious of the authenticity of this “blood libel” case as we call it now, for various reasons, Little Simon was canonized as a Saint nonetheless. Only in 1965, after almost 500 years, was Simon removed from the Roman Martyology by Pope John Paul VI. And Little Simon was not the only blood libel case during all those years. Throughout the history of Europe, the Jewish people were negatively portrayed and persecuted since the time of Jesus’ death, in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies, the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Death, the Crusades, to name a few. Being a foreign minority in Europe, the Jews became a convenient scapegoat of the power and people whenever problems arose.

Categories
Hong Kong Photography

Mid-Autumn Festival