Saturday, November 21, 2009

25,000 children die per day due to poverty

Facts About the Worlds' Children

2.2 billion worldwide
143 million are orphans
2 million were HIV-positive at the end of 2007
25,000 die per day due to poverty
3 million have no shoes
Every three minutes in a developing nation a child dies from malnutrition
9.2 million who were born in 2007 died before age 5
One in seven have no access to health services
400 million have no access to safe water
One in three do not have adequate shelter
121 million are not educated

Sources: U.N. AIDS; U.S. DOJ; UNICEF;

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Every life is comprised of a few themes

Preaching to the De-Churched: An Interview with Mark Batterson
Michael Duduit
Executive Editor of Preaching

Preaching: Your congregation is also known as the Theater Church. Why is that?

Batterson: I went into church planting with a traditional mindset: meet in a rented facility so you can buy or build a building. Problem is, on Capitol Hill property was going for about $10 million an acre.

Preaching: That's a challenge!

Batterson: Yeah, we were not going to buy property and build something. Long story short, we were meeting in the movie theaters at Union Station, which is the most visited destination in D.C. About 25 million people pass through Union Station every year.

You know, sometimes I'm slow picking up on these things, but at some point I thought to myself: Here we are meeting in a movie theater in Union Station, with amazing screens that we use for videos and worship projection, and there are 48 food court restaurants right outside our front door. And how many churches have their own subway system?

And then I thought to myself: Why would we build a building when we can be at a place like this? So that vision of meeting in movie theaters at Metro stops was birthed. We're now one church with nine services at five locations, four of them movie theaters. And then we own and operate the largest coffee house on Capitol Hill. God has blessed us over these 13 years. And, for what its worth, we are 70 percent single, 20-somethings; so a lot of emerging generation folks are coming to church, and we're doing our level best to reach them for Christ.

Preaching: The vast majority of your people come from an un-churched or de-churched background. How do you go about reaching those "de-churched" folks?

Batterson: That's just someone who grew up going to church but quit going. I've read statistics that as many as 61 percent of 20-somethings quit going to church at some point, and we kind of get them on the rebound. It's amazing how many people were checked out for five or 10 or 15 years, and we find them or they find us on the rebound. We love being a church for those folks who left the church for one reason or another. That's really who we're targeting and part of the reason why we're trying to meet in marketplace locations. It makes it a little bit easier for them to walk in our front door.

Preaching: As you do that, tell me about the approach you take to preaching. If we were to come to one of your locations next Sunday, what might we see and experience?

Batterson: Those of us who are preachers, we eat and sleep and breathe these things called preaching and teaching. I'm going to say up front that even 13 years in, I'm still trying to find my voice; and I make no apologies for that. I have not arrived, and I continue to try to sharpen my edge as a communicator. I do that by listening to a lot of podcasts—I have a steady diet of preachers in my own life.

If I were to describe one thing that makes us somewhat unique, it is that while we are very biblical in our approach, we do try to brand our sermon series. Let me give you an example. We did a series on First and Second Timothy that was expository in nature; but instead of titling it "First and Second Timothy," we decided to title or brand that series "Potential" because we felt like it was all about a guy named Paul who saw tremendous potential in a kid named Timothy. By branding it that way, we felt like it would speak to some of those deep desires in people's hearts to reach their potential.

We're not watering-down or dumbing-down the message of the gospel. In fact, you're never going to reach your potential outside a relationship with Jesus Christ as Creator and Savior. So, we're pretty straight up in the way we communicate from Scripture—we don't pull punches—but we also try to bring a little bit of creativity to bear in branding those series in a way that wouldn't just appeal to the people sitting in our church but encourage them to invite their un-churched friends.

Preaching: How long would a typical message be for you?

Batterson: (Laughs) I think I'm at a stage where I'm getting a little bit more passionate, and sometimes that means I get a little bit louder and a little bit longer! Typically speaking, I usually preach anywhere between 37 and 43 minutes. Our service times are about 65 to 70 minutes, so we don't have long services; and sometimes I have a tough time keeping it in check. But on a normal weekend, somewhere right around that 40-minute mark.

Preaching: There are a number of people who insist that because of declining attention spans, preachers have to offer shorter and shorter messages. Yet it's fascinating that pastors who have churches that are reaching lots of young adults today are not preaching 15- or 20-minute sermons.

Batterson: Number one, I think that young adult demographic has a longer attention span than we give them credit for. But you've got to be a good communicator, and you've got to utilize story and illustration and find ways to mix it up. The other thing I'm finding is that they want you to get in their faces and speak the truth. They want you to challenge them, and I'm very encouraged by that. I think it's a great day for preachers with this upcoming generation.

Preaching: A friend of mine speaks weekly to between 800 and 1,000 20-somethings, and he started out trying to be very creative and innovative. Finally they came to him and said, "No, tell us what the Bible says, what it means, and what we should do about it." They really want to know the truth of God's Word.

Batterson: I think that's bullseye. That doesn't mean there isn't an appreciation for creativity. We try to bring creative elements into play. I've often said that I think the pulpit is the least effective place to preach. I mean, if you can get off-site and preach in a creative location—listen, Jesus preached from boats, you know? Yet I've come to an even deeper conviction this year that it's not my creativity that's going to change people's lives, it's the Word of God. It's the Word of God that will not return void, so we need to preach the Word. I would say, "let it rip." We need to put it out there and go for it.

Preaching: You've got a couple of great books that have become very popular with churches in terms of launching bible studies, and sermon series and other things. The first one has one of my favorite book titles of all time, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. That's just got to be one of the all-time best book titles ever done. And then another one that you have is called Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God. Did these grow out of your own preaching ministry?

Batterson: They did. Here's a little back-story on In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. The entire book really revolves around one little story kind of buried in Samuel about one of David's mighty men, Benaiah, who chases a lion into a pit on a snowy day and kills it. It's just an amazing story. I heard a preacher preach out of that text when I was 19 years old, Michael. And somehow that story just captured my imagination and kind of got into my spirit; and I thought: If I ever write a book, I would love to write a book on that story because I love Benaiah and this idea of chasing lions.
I held on to that idea. And so years later I wrote that book—it came out in 2006—and did a sermon series as well. For both books we actually created Web sites— and—with all of the videos and graphics and transcripts and anything anybody could ever want, and it's all customizable. And so hundreds of churches have done series on those books, utilizing some of those resources on those Web sites; and it's been really neat to see a lot of churches just get the DNA of those books and utilize them on a church-wide campaign.

Preaching: Your most recent book is Wild Goose Chase. What is that book all about?

Batterson: Well, you know the Celtic Christians have this name for the Holy Spirit, An Geadh-Glas, or the Wild Goose. I love that! It sounds a little sacrilegious, but what a great description of the Holy Spirit—you know you can't track or tame a wild goose. There's this kind of element of danger, or a little hint of mystery. And what a great description of what it's like living a Spirit-led life—you're not going to know where you're going all the time, and that might cause a little anxiety; but we also have another name for it, adventure. And so really it's a book that invites people into the adventure of living a Spirit-led life or chasing after the wild goose. It's a book that invites people into that adventure of following after the Holy Spirit.

Preaching: Both books came out of sermon series that you did. Do you preach mostly in series, and how far out do you plan your series?

Batterson: We do series the entire year. Occasionally in between—just to take a little bit of a creative breather—we'll do a buffer Sunday. Sometimes we'll call it PBJ Sunday, peanut butter and jelly. We'll kind of strip it down, not a whole lot of creativity.

We'll often celebrate communion those weekends and do kind of a back-to-basics message. But by and large it's sermon series.

We do a staff retreat in November, and we begin strategizing our sermon series for the next year. By the time we're done with that meeting we will have a rough strategy of those series that we're going to do throughout the next year.

By the way, this might be really kind of a helpful tip: we do an annual survey every year before that retreat; and one of things I do in that survey is to pitch a dozen sermon series ideas to our congregation and say, "Which one of these series would be most helpful to your spiritual growth?" And we track those numbers—the ones that come back with a very high percentage, it's a pretty good bet we're going to do those series. And then, interestingly enough, the ones that come back very low—in other words, the series that people don't want to hear—those series will often end up making the cut, too, because we're wondering, "Why don't you want to hear about this?"

So we'll put together that strategy. That sounds better than it really is because about 70 percent of those series will make the final cut. Then what will happen is we get into a year, we just feel like God's moving a little different direction, and we'll pull the plug on one series and plug in another series. It's not a perfect science, but what really helps me is that then I can read strategically months in advance as we're gearing up for different series because we'll know what we're doing. It also enables our creative team to put together elements in advance. So we try to plan out that entire year in advance.

Preaching: As you come into that November staff meeting, have you already sketched out some of your ideas about some of those series? How much of the final decision on the series is yours as opposed to a consensus of the group?

Batterson: We have a teaching team, and I speak about 36 weekends at this point. I used to do 48, but we have two other people on that teaching team. And this year we did something a little bit different. I said to them, "Instead of all the series being my decision, why don't you guys pitch a couple of sermon series ideas; and then you can plug me into the series where you want to do it." I'm definitely a key determining factor, even in delegating a little bit of that responsibility; but it is a little bit more of a team effort than just me making that decision.

Preaching: How many weeks would a normal series be for you?

Batterson: We try to do anywhere between three to five weeks. We think if it's a two-week series, we will not pull out all the stops and do banners, posters, invite cards. It's a little bit pared down because you don't get as much bang for the buck. But if it's a three- to four-week series, then we tend to pull out all the creative stops. We really brand the entire series to the hilt and try to have all of those different elements in place. We've found that if we try to go more than six weeks, we start losing a little bit of the attention span or that series starts losing a little bit of its momentum.

Preaching: Are there certain series you've done in recent years that you've felt really resonated with the congregation?

Batterson: Yeah, you know the very first series that comes to mind is a series we did called the "Elephant in the Church." It's a play on that little phrase the "elephant in the room," an obvious truth that everybody ignores. In keeping with what we're seeing with 20-somethings saying, "Hey, get up in my face. Challenge me. Speak into my life," and in part I think because we're in the bastion of political correctness here in D.C., we just wanted to talk about some of the elephants that are in the church—some subjects that are very difficult for us to talk about, but we need to talk about them. And that series was such a huge success the first time around that it has become an annual series.

The topics will range from alcohol—which is kind of controversial depending on your church background—to consumerism, that we want to challenge people to confront the materialism that we see in the church and in our culture. There's the political elephant, which is an interesting one to preach here in Washington, D.C. We actually did that message right before the last election. And so that series has been wildly successful in part because it's a little controversial. That series, all of the branding, and some of the video trailers that we did, the graphics are available at If folks want to think about doing that series, they can certainly use everything we've done. The only think we'd ask is: Come up with some of your own elephants, do it better than we did it and then share it with someone else.

Preaching: Are there some things you've learned about preaching and communication that you wished you'd known when you were first starting out?

Batterson: (Laughs) Fortunately I had a wise mentor very early on who encouraged me to preach one-point sermons. I'm not at all against multiple points or even alliterating those points as a kind of memory tool. But I've found that sometimes saying one thing, and then turning the kaleidoscope to reveal different dimensions of that or to come at it from different angles, I think that can be a helpful tool.
I remember a conversation with a member of our congregation whose name I won't mention, but who was a cabinet member and a name people would know. I was a young preacher, and he was attending our church. I remember he came up to me after one of my sermons and said "Pastor, that was a great series of sermons." He very kindly and in an encouraging way said, "Listen, that sermon was great, but it was pretty long. Your first half was really good, but I forgot it because your second half was really good too."

I always struggle with the question: Can I say more by saying less? I strive toward that. It's kind of the "bed of nails" principle. If you lie down on one nail, it's going to puncture the skin and penetrate; but with a bed of nails, the pressure is diffused across a thousand nails and nothing ever penetrates—it doesn't really make its point. I think the same is true with preaching—we've got to try to have one primary point that we really drive home, and then everything else kind of surrounds that point and helps make the point.

Preaching: You mentioned that you were fortunate to have a mentor. Put on your mentoring hat for a moment. If you're sitting with a young pastor, trying to give some counsel about ministry, about preaching, what would it be?

Batterson: I think one of the first things that comes to mind is, find your voice. Listen to as many people as you can; but at the end of the day, what does God want to communicate through your unique personality? Through your unique life circumstances? Through your unique gifts?

And be comfortable in your own skin. I think early on I was trying to be a pastor, trying to be a preacher. More and more now I'm trying to be myself. And people respond to that, the authenticity when you're just being real. And so I think part of finding your voice is, in a sense, discovering your unique contribution to the kingdom of God.

C.S. Lewis said every life is comprised of a few themes. And I think discovering those themes helps us be confident as we communicate. On the flip side, it helps us realize that if we aren't careful we might ride on those hobby horses and preach on the same things week in and week out. And so part of finding your voice is: what are those life themes that God has woven into your life?

The second part of it is gaining more confidence to preach on tough topics. You know, we are not doing people any favors if we dance around the difficult subjects. How can we complain about some of the sexual depravity in our culture if we aren't talking about it from the pulpit? I know those are touchy topics, they're difficult to communicate about, but we've got to have the boldness. Part of finding your voice is the confidence to be able to communicate on tough topics but do it in a way that is more concerned about being biblically correct than politically correct. And in those moments when God's put something on your heart, let it rip.

My word of encouragement would be to thank God for His anointing. I don't know that I can even define it. I don't even know exactly what it is, I just know I need it. I know when I have it, and I know when I don't. And I think as preachers that keeps us humble.

At the end of the day, I think God's anointing is Him taking whatever message we've communicated and using it beyond our ability. It's an amazing thing — once those sound waves leave our lips and somewhere between there and hitting the ear drums of listeners, the Holy Spirit goes to work. That's when preaching is that wonderful tag team. The anointing of God, I think, can accomplish things in peoples' lives that we certainly can't.

Find this article at:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Kissed Facebook Goodbye

Christians Foregoing Facebook for 'Digital Fasting'
Bobby Ross Jr.
Religion News Service

In the world of faith-based social networking, evangelical Christian leader Mark Oestreicher commanded a huge chunk of cyberspace.

Known as "Marko," the technological hipster amassed 4,000 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers and 2,000 daily readers of his blog.

But then he decided he'd had enough -- and unplugged from his online circle of friends.

"It's not that I don't think online connections are real. It's just that they are perpetually superficial," said Oestreicher, former longtime president of Youth Specialties, a company based in El Cajon, Calif., that specializes in youth pastor training materials and seminars.

In an age when many religious leaders embrace the latest technology and even "tweet" from the pulpit, some -- like Oestreicher -- are reassessing the potential negative impact of online overload.

"Unplugging has become essential to my spiritual journey and truly hearing God," said Anne Jackson, an author, speaker, and volunteer pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn. "For me, all the noise can drown that out if I'm not careful."

Jackson, author of the book "Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic," maintains a church leadership blog at that draws 150,000 page views a month, by her estimate.

She has 6,700 Twitter followers.

But earlier this year, she closed her Facebook account -- saying goodbye to 2,500 friends -- and committed to spend less time on Twitter and her blog.

She finally acknowledged what her husband had hinted for a while:

She had become a little obsessed with her online persona.

"For me, Facebook was a problem," Jackson wrote in an essay titled, "Why I Kissed Facebook Goodbye."

"I don't believe everyone should quit using Facebook, or be afraid of it if one hasn't started," she added. "We just need to be aware of the ways any form of media can interrupt our time with God or those closest to us."

Balance is the key, said Peggy Kendall, an associate professor of communication studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., who has researched the impact of technology on society.

She bristles at the notion that online connections are "perpetually superficial."

"While there are certainly limitations to online communication, there are also significant benefits to communicating online that one can only rarely experience face to face," said Kendall, author of the forthcoming book "Reboot: Refreshing Your Faith in a High-Tech World."

In the old days of youth ministry, a pastor might endure years of junior high gym nights and overnight retreats before a student would feel comfortable enough to share deep hurts and uncertainties and ask authentic questions, she said.

But in an age of texting and instant messaging, a student might divulge "intensely personal things" within days of getting to know the youth pastor, Kendall said.

Students "have found that the hyperpersonal nature of online communication provides them a safe place to be real and communicate freely," she said.

Rather than unplug entirely, Kendall advocates that people of faith periodically "fast" from technology -- to assess what's helpful about their online activities and what's simply distracting.

This concept has become a "huge conversation" in the classes that theology professor Dillon Burroughs teaches at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"I call it `digital fasting,' although I recommend short breaks since it is like asking someone my parent's age to stop using a phone or reading a newspaper," said Burroughs, a former pastor who networks extensively with ministry leaders and has more than 38,000 Twitter followers.

During the week, the Rev. Margot Starbuck, a mother of three who works as a writer and speaker, said she writes, blogs and typically replies to e-mails within minutes of receiving them.

"If I'm not at my computer, I'm wondering what I'm missing," said Starbuck, an ordained Presbyterian pastor who lives in Durham, N.C. "I check e-mail first thing in the morning and often as the last thing I do before bedtime. I am not proud of that."

Even on Sundays, when she wasn't technically working, she found herself staying busy with e-mail and computer games.

So, she implemented what she calls "Unplugged Sabbath" -- no computer all day long.

"When I wake up in the morning, when I'd typically start mentally tuning in to work on the computer, I find I have nothing better to do than crawl in bed with my daughter," Starbuck said.

"After worship, when I don't have to be about my own business, I'm freed up to take a hike with my family and be entirely present to them,"

she added. "By the time evening rolls around, I don't even want to check the e-mail that's backed up all day."

In Oestreicher's case, he said he's not suggesting that everyone delete online profiles and stop using the Internet.

Rather, he said he made a personal decision to choose "best over good" and stop constantly checking his Blackberry for updates.

Trying to maintain hundreds -- and even thousands -- of online connections distracted from his real-life relationships with his family and colleagues, he said.

Months after unplugging, he voiced surprise at how little withdrawal pains he experienced.

"I think that was primarily because I so immediately saw a return of four things I was hoping for: time, presence, focus and creativity," he said. "My family could tell the difference, and my co-workers also. It was rather astounding, actually."

c. 2009 Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Malachi 2:14 the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her

Malaysian falls to her death after discovering affair
Other News & View
Tuesday November 3, 2009

A MALAYSIAN woman fell to her death from the 11th floor of an apartment in Singapore after discovering her husband’s extra-marital affair, reported China Press.

Xu Ya Niang, 54, was seen sitting on the edge of the kitchen’s windowsill by her daughter before she fell to her death at 5.40pm on Sunday.

It is learnt that she had earlier confronted her husband over his alleged affair with another woman but he instead threatened to divorce her.

According to her daughter, Xu was depressed over the past few weeks after seeing her husband walking with a woman.

“We stopped her from committing suicide a few times before,” said the daughter.

She said her father was aware that her mother was sitting on the windowsill as he was browsing the Internet in the living room.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

God has given us a spiritual compass to guide our path

Our Spiritual Compass

Theme: The Bible is our spiritual compass.

Object: A compass

Scriptures: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

I am sure that probably all of you have seen a compass. A compass is used to find the right direction to get you to where you want to go. The compass has four main directions, they are North, South, East and West. The needle of the compass always points North. If the needle is pointing in that direction (point to the North) and I want to go South, I would go that direction (point in the opposite direction from what the needle is pointing.) With the needle pointing North, if I wanted to go East, I would go in that direction (point to the East.) If the needle sometimes pointed North and at other times it pointed to the South, East, or West, I would never be able to use the compass to find my way. I would wander around, hopelessly lost. The compass must always point in the right direction if we are going to use it to guide us.

When we are trying to find our way through the journey of life, God has given us a spiritual compass to guide our path. That guide is the Bible, God's Holy Word. The truth that we find in the Bible never changes. It will always point us in the same direction. It will always point us to Jesus.

Some people use their feelings to help them to decide what they should do. That's no good. Our feelings change from day to day and they cannot be trusted. Besides that, just because we feel good about something doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

Some people choose what they will do by what's popular. That is no good either. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do, does it? Tomorrow everyone might be doing something else.

There is only one thing that we can trust to always point us in the right direction, and that is the Bible. It will always point to Jesus and Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me."

Father, we thank you for giving us the Bible to be our guide through life. Help us to remember that we can always depend on the Bible to point us in the right direction. Amen.

Without a compass ~ people are lost & starve to death! Without the Word, people died spiritually!

Woman, 2 boys starve to death in speedboat drifting at sea

Published: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 7:36:00 PM
Updated: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 9:04:53 PM

Eight other passengers rescued

JAKARTA: Three out of the 11 passengers on a small speedboat died as their boated drifted in the Sulawesi Sea for eight days.

The boat had run out of fuel after the skipper failed to find the way to TawiTawi in the Philippines after the compass failed.

The eight others were rescued at about 10am Sunday by fishing vessels and taken to Tolitoli in Central Sulawesi, said Ilham, secretary of Ogotua Mukim, as quoted by Antara news agency.

All the passengers are believed to be Malaysians.

Ilham said skipper Sapil Mahmud, 40, had identified the dead as Rosida, 30s, her two-year-old son Arisman and a 16-month-old boy Jonathan, and said the boat was headed from Lahad Datu in Sabah to TawiTawi when the mishap occurred.

He said the skipper had tried in vain for four hours to establish the direction to TawiTawi after the compass failed and the boat ran out of fuel.

Ilham said the woman and the boys succumbed to starvation and the heat. The boat had run out of food and water.

The bodies have been brought to the Ogotua community health centre in Tolitoli Utara and might be buried late Sunday, he said, adding that the other passengers had also been brought there for treatment.

Ilham said the survivors were Abd Siman Abbani, 34, Hiya Jaini, 40, Naslin, six, Rosima, three, Ronal Karsa, 39, Jonathan's father (unidentified), Ema Karsa (Jonathan's mother) and Jonathan's sister, Jasmin Roy, five.

"They are under treatment and the important thing is to make sure their condition is stable," he said.

Meanwhile, three fishermen from Lingayan, an island off Tolitoli, who had stumbled upon the drifting boat gave their statements to the Tolitoli Utara police station.

Charge d'affaires at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta, Amran Mohamed Zain, when contacted, said the mission was getting more information and would send assistance if they were confirmed to be Malaysians. - Bernama

Bimbos in prisons?

Malaysian girls easily duped
Sunday November 1, 2009
The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian lasses are an easy lot to charm. They are easily smitten by sweet words and gifts, making them an easy target for drug-trafficking syndicates looking for mules.

This is the view of Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay, who said young Malaysian girls, some fresh graduates, were easily conned by men from the syndicates to travel abroad with a package.

“Some of the girls meet the men abroad and some meet them in Malaysia.

“There have been cases where girls just knew the men for a day and were willing to travel around with a bag, not knowing the contents,” he said at the launch of the Wanita MCA women and children’s aid and public complaints bureau in Kepong yesterday.

Also present at the event was Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

He said there were currently 1,565 Malaysians jailed abroad and 60% of the cases were drug mules.

“Thailand has the highest number of jailed Malaysians at 52. In Peru, 12 out of the 15 Malaysians jailed are girls,” he said, quoting 2007 statistics.

He added that 25 Malaysians were jailed in Taiwan, 11 in China, 12 in Spain and one in Chile.

“Six in China have been sentenced to death. Since 2007, about 30 Malaysians are in death row,” he said.

Kohilan added that the syndicates, mostly comprising African men, would give the young girls free flight tickets and cash for shopping as part of the trip abroad.

“There is no such thing as a free trip.

“Parents should be mindful of such trips and keep a close watch on their children,” Kohilan said.

Who's beating the crap out of the Indian man?!

Now, the Indian man cries domestic violence

Published: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 5:08:00 PM
The Star

Domestic violence is the number one cause of suicide among married men, according to India's National Crime Record Bureau

NEW DELHI: If 'Men are from Mars, and Women from Venus', then, who's beating the crap out of the Indian man in the sanctity of his marital home?

It appears that the standard roles appear to have been reversed, at least in India, if the cries of battered husbands are anything to go by.

Now, helpless and harassed men are demanding protection from their abusive wives and in-laws.

While stringent Indian laws have protected the fairer sex from domestic violence, now it is the Indian man who laments he is out in the cold.

An increasing number of men fall victim to domestic violence, either in cities or rural areas, according to social activists, though hard data is not readily available.

"Domestic violence against men has been prevalent but not reported because men are too shy to report that they are abused by their wives.

“Many men suffer in silence," Neeraj Aggarwal, coordinator of the Save the Family Foundation, told Bernama in a recent interview.

The foundation, a social organisation set up in 2005 to hear domestic grouses from married men, has set up over 100 helplines across Indian cities and towns.

It receives about 400 calls every week from harassed husbands.

Last Sunday, the group even staged a silent protest in the Indian capital to highlight the plight of men who suffer ill-treatment from their female partners and the lack of proper pro-male equality laws.

"Indian laws are so biased towards women that Indian men dare not lodge reports. The judiciary is under pressure from radical feminists and the courts will only listen to the woman's side of the story," said Aggarwal.

Cases of women ill-treating their husbands and the latter's parents, verbal and emotional abuses and even husbands threatened by their in-laws are common grouses faced by the men, but they hardly receive any attention, complain activists.

According to India's National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 57,593 married men committed suicide for various reasons in 2007, as compared to 30,064 married women.

"Domestic violence is the number one cause of suicide among married men.

“According to an NCRB survey from 1996 to 2007, 156,000 married men committed suicide but the government had turned a blind eye.

"The data clearly shows men are also abused but their sufferings are suppressed. They don't have any communication channel and the attitude of society makes them suffer emotionally," said Virag Dhulia, public relations officer of the Bangalore chapter of the Save the Family Foundation. - Bernama

Mixed up? Messed up?

Students denied varsity places because of mixed parentage
Sunday November 1, 2009
The Star

KUCHING: Three bright students were denied places in university matriculation programmes because they are of mixed parentage.

Awang Adrian Awang Kasumar scored 10As in last year’s SPM and was active in school activities.

Although his father is a Malay, Awang Adrian does not enjoy bumiputra status because his mother is a Chinese convert.

Another SPM top scorer, Marina Undau (9As), also had her matriculation programme application rejected by the Education Ministry because she is a product of mixed parentage.

Marina, from Sri Aman, has an Iban father and Chinese mother.

Awang Salleh said his son’s application for the matriculation programme was rejected four months ago, and that the Public Complaints Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Department had given the reason that Awang Adrian did not have a bumiputra status.

The contractor said he was shocked to learn that as a bumiputra himself, his son was not.

“This is not right as the biological ethnicity of the father must be a dominant factor in determining the status of the child,” he told The Star yesterday.

He wanted to highlight the case of his son after reading about Marina’s plight in local paper Borneo Post.

He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to look into the issue in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

Meanwhile, Malaysianmirror on-line portal highlighted the case of Daniel Ibau, who failed to get into the Labuan Matriculation College although he was one of the top students in SMK Wira Penrissen in Kota Samarahan.

Daniel, of Kayan-Chinese descent, is a Science student who scored 10As and 1B in last year’s SPM.