Pokemon Go ban

The Star, dated August 11, carried a story “Pokemon Hunters are Going Too Far” and, in that article, there is a photo of the St Anne’s Church, Bukit M

Aug 19, 2016

Dear Editor,
The Star, dated August 11, carried a story “Pokemon Hunters are Going Too Far” and, in that article, there is a photo of the St Anne’s Church, Bukit Mertajam with a sign “No Pokemon.” In the same article, it is mentioned that the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Penang also does not take this phenomena in a positive light.

I do not know why the Church here, almost always, react to something new in a negative way, much like how the Islamic authorities do.

I do realise that the recent excitement about Pokemon Go can cause some congestion, etc, but, on the whole, I think it is a harmless game where people just walk around. Why doesn’t the Church think out of the box and use this opportunity as a way to evangelise? For example, look at the reaction of one Baptist Church in the US to this Pokemon Go craze.

Negative posters like “No Pokemon” will put many people off, especially the young. I don’t understand why the Church does not, instead, welcome these people and put up posters etc. telling them about Christ instead. Pope Francis always challenges the Church to reach out to people outside the Church (the gays, divorcees, etc.) and go out of our comfort zone. Whereas here, the Church can’t even stand some Pokemon Go gamers!

On another matter, but very much along the same vein, I read the article “Final farewell in the long goodbye” written by Ms June Wong (The Star, August 10. 2016). In it, she relates how her late father, a lapsed Anglican, wanted a Christian funeral and the family (I suppose the family are not practising Anglicans as well) actually looked up the Internet for the telephone number of an Anglican Church and, lo and behold, someone answered. The author wrote, “When I explained our predicament, he (the dean of the church) immediately assured me he would help.” The staff of the church personally called the family the next day and “promised the man would be given a Christian sendoff as he wished.” When I read the article, I asked myself, if that man was a lapsed Catholic, and the family had called a Catholic Church, would that man have been accorded a Catholic burial? Would there have been someone who would have PERSONALLY called the family and assured them not to worry and that the church would arrange the funeral for them etc. I doubt very much.

The Catholic Church here, in some ways, is very cocky and arrogant, because it has become a ‘big’ church, so the church ‘can afford’ to put up signs like “No Pokemon” and say no to everyone else who is outside the church.

Pokemon Go is now a fad and like any other fad, interest in it will wear out with time, so why is the church so upset about this little inconvenience?

My hope is that the local church will think outside the box and engage with people, be it Pokemon Go gamers, gays, the unchurched, the young, lapsed Catholics, the unwed Catholics, etc. etc. with the language the church has been screaming so loudly for the past eight months: the language of mercy instead of the ubiquitous “NO” signs.

J. Wang
Via Email

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