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The tumultuous times in which we live today bring to mind how apt the opening words of Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ are to the present.

KUCHING, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA, December 23, 2016 / -- 2016 Christmas Message from Dato Sri Ang Lai Soon


The tumultuous times in which we live today bring to mind how apt the opening words of Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ are to the present.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

The worst and the best of times are encapsulated in the experiences of a seven-year old girl, from a besieged and devastated city recently who tweeted “I am afraid. How are you? I am on the run now… Please save us. Thank you,” as the armed forces were engaged in heavy conflict. Her mother messaged a couple of days later saying “Please, please, please help make this ceasefire work and get us out now. We are so tired”. Then hours later an NGO reported that the girl was safely out of the besieged and totally devastated city, and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation wrote in its Twitter account that “This morning the mother was also rescued from the city with her family. We warmly welcomed them”.

In the scheme of things an irrelevant and unimportant incident. But for the seven-year old girl and her family virtually a Christmas miracle. Perchance a reminder of the Christmas miracle?

And every day when I pick up the newspapers, listen to the news, or watch the news on TV, I read, I hear, and I see “the worst of times”, “the age of foolishness”,” the season of Darkness” and “the winter of discontent”.

And then confront the reality of our own situation and that of most of our fellow countrymen , which is that we live in a reasonably stable society, free of the strife and conflict afflicting so much of the world, even though we may not claim to have fully reached the age of wisdom.

We are free to celebrate Christmas, The End of Ramadan, Wesak Day or Deepavali, a fundamental freedom that is something to celebrate and, indeed, something to cherish in its own right.

Let's cherish this freedom by celebrating this great festival with your family and all your friends from different ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic groups.

Let's also spare a thought for those caught up in the ‘worst of times’, especially the children, the old and the sick, the women, the deprived, the oppressed and the down trodden and at the same time giving practical help, in the true Christmas tradition, to all in their hour of need.

May God bless our people and our country.

Merry Christmas

Ang Lai Soon

Chairman of St John Ambulance Sarawak Council
President of Sarawak Cheshire Home
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Distribution channels: Human Rights, Politics, World & Regional

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