CEDAR has invited me to share my experience and reflections about the journey from involving in global development issues to local social problems, and how they have affected my today’s work. This is intended as such instead of a systematic analysis due to limited space.
[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2013 – Seeing It with Our Eyes ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER
Author> TANG Po Shan, Education and Promotion Officer
I often ponder this question: As a staff in a relief and development organisation that mobilises and encourages community concern amongst Christians, how deeply do I actually care about my society, or am I merely doing a job?
Indeed, it is wonderful to have work that combines one’s interests and ambition. It is a good thing if a person cares about his society and is able to work in a civil group or NGO, that promotes social changes through different channels such as education, services, community development, policy initiatives and social actions. Of course, caring for the society is not a privilege of a select few because it is our civic responsibility. In that face of various issues of modern society, we need skilled and able people, such as social workers, to act as frontline promoters and executors. My question is, when our work becomes routine, or when caring about society becomes a livelihood skill, would we be confusing means and ends?
I frequently ask myself, am I someone who cares about society? Outside of work, how much do I care about the society’s current affairs and how much am I concerned with the weak and disadvantaged groups? Do I keep silent in face of unrighteousness? Am I interested in spending time to listen to the poor? Am I willing to contact marginalised groups? I ask these questions not to set criteria, nor to imply anyone who fails to meet them would show that s/he is unconcerned, for I am against legalism. I believe that this is a kind of self-confrontation, to face my own life honestly, admit my self-righteousness and weakness and ask God to watch over me and have mercy on me when I fail.
Truly, concern for society is an attitude and one focus in our lives, and it should flow naturally from life. Caring about society is not about what we do but how we become someone who cares about other people and practises righteousness. I believe that, as Christians, caring for society is a spiritual discipline leading us to see people and the world as the Lord sees them, and in all areas of our life ‘to act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with God’.
When we have been at our daily task long enough and are so familiar with certain methods and teaching, things can become habitual, and even more alarmingly we ourselves do not believe what we say or do. This reminds me to reflect often on my work, challenge myself to leave my comfort zone and be courageous in walking the path of faith.
[ “SHARE” Sept-Oct 2012 – An Eye-Opening Experience of Poverty ] TAKING ACTION
Author> TANG Po Shan, Education and Promotion Officer
I met Tina during a ‘Deprived Community Exposure Visit’ held by CEDAR Club. She was then studying Chinese medicine at university and she wanted to know more about the world, especially the people she was going to serve.
I have seen Tina bring young people to several CEDAR Barefoot Walks. During our conversation, I discovered that Tina has been joining CEDAR events with her father since she was a small child, and members of her church are also regular supporters of Barefoot Walk. ‘I remember going to the first ever CEDAR Barefoot Walk with my father when I was a few years old, and we have been going every year since. It started as merely “something fun”. When I attended secondary school and served at my church’s youth fellowship, I encouraged fellowship members to support CEDAR and join Barefoot Walk. I changed from being a passive participant to an active promoter. My intent has also changed— I now truly agree with the idea behind the events and I want to express my care and concern for the poor through consistent action.’
Tanton, Tina’s father, has been a volunteer at CEDAR since it was founded in 1991. It was he who introduced Tina to CEDAR. Tina says, ‘Through CEDAR I have the opportunity to care about distant matters and not just the things I deal with everyday. News and information from CEDAR also helps me understand the poverty issues in the world.’ Watching his daughter mature, Tanton is very encouraged even though he did not have a predetermined goal for Tina in the beginning. ‘All that parents need to do is to lead their children to God, to nurture and to discipline them well. Our children observe what we do. We cannot force them do anything but let them explore for themselves. They will take the initiative when they find something suitable.’ ‘Actions speak louder than words’ may be a cliché, but it may exactly be the manifestion of integral mission—Believers living out biblical qualities in different aspects of life can make changes through their actions.
We cordially invite you to join this year’s Barefoot Walk:
Date> 10 November (Saturday) Time> 3pm Place> Central Registration and Enquiry> cedarwalk.org or contact us at 2381 9627
TAKING ACTION introduces CEDAR’s education and advocacy activities in Hong Kong; through participants’ sharing encourages believers to take action and practise their faith.