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Last updated 3rd February 2018

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                                     February 2018

Dear friends,

  Dear Friends,   For various reasons I and some of my friends are anxious about using contactless payment. The main concern is security: is contactless payment safe to use? Most of the retailers in this country provide traditional cash or card payment alongside contactless payment anyway.  

However, this maintaining of traditional methods of payment is out of date in the eyes of most Chinese. Tourists who have visited the West comment on social media that the West is still stuck in the 20th century.  For in China payment is now done by scanning; shoppers using their mobile phones scan the shops’ QR code to make a transaction.  I was amazed to watch this happening in a small breakfast bar on a street corner in Beijing last October.  Even some beggars now display a QR code for donations beside their begging bowls for change.    

This revolution in financial transaction has hastened the transformation of many other aspects of social life. For example, my sister is able to make hospital appointments for my mother, and even, amazingly, order and pay for a takeaway for mother from a different city 700 km away! I can only be amazed by the IT transformation (or revolution as it sometimes called) of Chinese society and of the lives of those that I know in recent years.   

Yes, IT has transformed not only China but the whole world, and has brought much improvement and convenience.  Twenty years ago I had to save up for a monthly telephone call to my parents in China; today I am able to communicate with them whenever I wish with a free app on my mobile; we can hear each other’s voices, see what we are doing, send still pictures and do much else besides.  Of course, more importantly, IT enhances technology in all areas of human life.  

However, while I am amazed by the all the wonders of the IT revolution, I am also anxious about some of its side effects.  These are not new; they merely take different forms.  For example, some people who now usually buy things on line and pay by electronic transaction have forgotten that the ‘invisible’ transaction must have solid currency as its foundation.  While we celebrate that we are able to take photographs at any time and anywhere, children as young as 10 are under  pressure to constantly take selfies and post them online; bullying, which used to happen only in schools, has now spread throughout social media.  

We humans are wonderfully made, and we are capable of creating and inventing new things; yet human hearts remain the same.  Wherever there are achievements to be celebrated, evil sneaks in and uses every opportunity to lead us further from God.  In the midst of wonderful human progress we must be watchful and open our eyes and ears to God.