I Cannot Be Silent!

Had a few thoughts on Social Media in this generation, and Media as well. I’ll start with Social Media… Many people think that Social Media is light-hearted and all fun. It is simply a platform to show your friends your daily doings, your life summarised in pictures/tweets/etc. But not what many of you know… Is that…

There is POWER in Social Media.

Social Media has revolutionised the world we live in. What used to take a few days to send a “working email” can be done instantaneously with a simple messaging application. What used to take a few days to process takes seconds. What used to take a few hours to transmit, now takes a few minutes. Social media has changed what used to be a hassle, to a help.

On the flip side, while there are benefits to social media, there are also burdens. 2 mains burdens I feel that are prevalent.

Issue 1:

The generation we call the “Social Media Generation” or Millennials, the “Tech Savvy” generation, has kicked it to the extreme. They are consumed by social media. Many youths nowadays are glued to their handphones, their devices. While on the outside, they are “controlling” the device. While they are “in control” of the various functions of the device, in reality, the device is in control of them.

“Social media is a bad master, but a great servant.”

Social Media should be a TOOL. Not the TYRANT ruling our lives…

Issue 2: Seeing is Believing

Ever heard the phrase: Seeing is Believing? Many of us practise discernment in what is “FAKE NEWS” and what is not. We are trained… But for many of the youths nowadays, to them, seeing is believing. With the wallops of information coming in, it is very easy to be less discerning. And tempting to believe everything you see… Many of the youths are plagued with the idea that they can take everything on social media face value. Similarly to how Hollywood tells you what a perfect image of a man or a woman is like, and it puts a subliminal message into you, it is true for social media as well… With gargantuan amounts of information, you tend to filter less and take everything as face value. But we need to be discerning.

In line with this, let me talk a little bit about Media nowadays. Why the news/media was so reliable and heavily watched in the past was because it was actually factual and reliable… In other words, it was the TRUTH. But in light of the dawn of the new age of social media, many mainstream media has become irrelevant. People watch the news less, they are turning more into social media for their daily dose of happenings. These mainstream media channels are struggling, they are in a dire need to not just have more views, not just have more people subscribing. They are dying to be popular, successful and relevant again.

Many mainstream media channels are turning to sites like “reddit” to find the latest juicy gossips. What appals me is that when mainstream media goes to sites like reddit to probe, it makes me question the legitimacy of the news we are being fed. In school we learn during our social studies classes to make sure a source is reliable before quoting it, or even using it as a basis of any accusation or statement.

In the past without social media, these mainstream media channels (when they were still relevant) enjoyed being able to both be relevant, and to show the truth.

But in this day and age… In the name of relevancy, they omit the truth. It seems that the media nowadays, because they want to be more relevant, they don’t mind being more stupid as well. Because they want to be popular and juicy, they are morally okay with losing some of their credibility, morals and integrity.

Mainstream Media is…

A sellout to success.

A prisoner to popularity.

A captive to cogency.

What a warped and twisted world we live in…

But what does the Bible say about this? A few scriptures come to mind.

“You are in the world, but not of the world.”

“You are called to be the salt and LIGHT of the earth.”

“No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl. But it is placed on top of a lamp stand for the world to see…”

In a world full of deception and lies, fake news, and half truths, we are called to be the light of this earth. The Bible says, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl. But it is placed on top of a lamp stand for the world to see. In other words, when God has turned our darkness in our hearts into light, we do not hide it. We do not cower in the face of this dark age, we do not waver, but we should go out and do something. We cannot be silent.

We need to show the world that it isn’t just lies and deception. But there is still hope, there is still peace, there is still purpose, there is still true joy, there is still something greater to live for than yourself…

Ending it off with a quote from the late Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

No one lights a lamp to hide it under a bowl. It is time for the silent majority to speak out over the vocal minority. I cannot be silent anymore.

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How I grew up

I was born in the year 1999. This was me. (At around 7-8 yrs)

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Growing up in my family, I was eldest, so I had everything I wanted. Often overpowering and over-shadowing my younger brother’s voice in the family. I grew up successful. In Primary School, everybody wanted to do well in their CCAs, be popular, and get good grades. I had that. I was the Vice-Captain of my CCA, Badminton. I’d won many awards and medals. I was popular in school, because I was very naughty. I did many things to the extreme. There was once I peed into someone’s water bottle and made him drink it just because I didn’t like him. (He didn’t know it was pee in that bottle up to this day)

I did relatively well in my studies as well. I was integrated into the high-achievers programme for my Math, English and Science. (Chinese was from another planet)

But cut the long story short, my friend invited me into Heart of God Church. I came to church when I was 13. I remember forming a small clique with the people I didn’t even know because we were all connected by a popular game back then, called Vanguard. I remember my leader, Dominic, was so frustrated because every time we wanted to go somewhere after our service, I would be gathering the people to play Vanguard. Let me come back to this story in a while.

It is interesting to look at the world’s perception of youth. Really the world views the youth as people who need to be taken care of, not released in their strength. No one in the world sees any value of young people. Let me illustrate. Say if you are a 13 year-old boy and your parents give you $5000 to book a 3 day suite in Marina Bay Sands. And due to a few hiccups at work, they can only join you a day late, and you have to personally go and book the room. So let’s say, you walk into Marina Bay Sands alone, dressed in your favourite Singlet, Bermudas, and Slippers. How would the people look at you? The people are dressed exceptionally well in suits, prim and proper. Having their executive meetings. Discussing million-dollar deals. And you are sticking out like a sore thumb. What’s more, in their head, they are asking,

“What is he doing here?”

“Oh no, is that little boy lost?”

“Does he need help to look for his parents?”

I will end the story here. My point is, no one really sees young people as people who can be put in their strength, but people who need to be kept busy, or even taken care of. And coming back to my previous story about me coming to Heart of God Church, it was different. Pastors and Leaders always teach;

“Love picks up people in their Weakness, but respect releases them in their Strength.”

I was loved in church. Dominic, on many counts brought me out to eat and believed that I could be a leader. I remember Pastor How called me into his office one day, and believed in me. He said I could be a leader of 100s. I saw how much the youth was valued here. I knew I had value. I was believed in for not what I could do, but who I could be. I knew Heart of God Church was a place for me.

At a more recent stage of my life, God gave me a dream to lead 1000 people before I am 21. I lead 20 people now, and it was a really big dream. That week, I received a text from Dominic and Nicholas, they said they believed in my dream. They had done it before in church, and it is going to be easier because they knew what it took. I still have that dream. And I am still fighting for it. I live and breathe it day by day. I was an insecure 13 year old boy with unusual leadership abilities. I still have relapses of insecurity on many counts and the things I do. But my life was changed in Heart of God Church, and it will never be the same again. I am excited for what the future beholds.

Ending off with a scripture.

Haggai 2:9 (NLT)

“The future glory of this Temple will be greater than the past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place, I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies have spoken!”

All the honour and glory to God. My life was changed. And I will rise up… To grow in my character and run towards the future.

 

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