Friday, April 17, 2015

Going through Economic Turbulence with God's Help

I have always believed that I am recession proof. Or else I would not be doing what I have been doing for a quarter of a century. I have seen and experienced a number of recessions in my adult life. When I returned to Sabah to work in early 1988, Malaysia was then recovering from the recession of 1985-86. Then when I was Treasurer of SIB, the 1997 recession hit hard. Prices doubled in many instances. I was earning RM1,000 per month with a young family. How did I survive? God was good and is forever good. The denomination income increased by 49% from 1996 to 1998. From 1997 to 1998 when the recession was at its worst, church income increased by more than 20%, though my pay did not increase a cent over 3 years. I could not propose a new salary scale since I was Treasurer and had to live by example of frugality and perseverance. At the end of 1998 I returned to NZ at the height of the global recession and Universities were cutting back on scholarships but at the end of 1999 I was awarded a full 3-year scholarship without which there was no way I could have done a doctorate in the book of Revelation. I thought I was seeing a pattern here that with
God there is no recession for his servants. It was confirmed how God could bless in the most adverse of circumtances as the 2008 recession hit the global economy hard. I was offered a job in Singapore in Feb 2008 and started in July 2008. Within 3 months the Singapore stocks fell by 50%.
If I were just 6 months late, it would be unlikely I could have gotten the job, certainly not with the starting pay and salary package I received. God knows and His timing is always perfect. It is a matter of putting our trust in the good and mighty hands of the Lord. When I finally returned to Sabah last October, oil was still over USD 100 per barrel. In less than a month it had fallen to USD60 in Nov 14 and touched a low of USD45 per barrel in January 2015. The Malaysian economy, despite denials from some quarters, is heading towards some stormy weather. All the signs are not good. The Ringgit has fallen to 3.72 to the Dollar, 2.73 to the Sing dollar. It was 2.58 only a few months ago. The 1MDB debt alone is a whopping 16% of the national budget according to Nikkei Business review a week ago. Tough times will come, by year's end at the latest. We are in a bit of a glow at the moment because private consumption pre-GST would have done the country's economy some good. So we will see perhaps even 5% growth in the first quarter of 2015 but it will be downhill from now. Tighten your belts, be frugal and enjoy life because Jesus has come to give us life and life abundantly. My boycott of KFC coffee lasted a day and I am enjoying the aircond here with Ranau's mercury hitting 39 degrees at noon.

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