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LETTER FROM THE CLERGY
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
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methods of payment is out of date in the eyes of most Chinese.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
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.