“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
The ancient wisdom from the Book of Changes above reminds us how many adventures in life begin. My own journey all the way from Malaysia to Norway began after a comment I left on a blog in 2010.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Religion, Ethics, and Society program coordinated by the Institute of Religion, Philosophy and History. I also appreciate the academic environment, intellectual freedom and the stipend from the University of Agder (UiA) necessary for the completion of my PhD journey.
Now to express thanks and appreciation more personally:
First, more than a thousand thanks – tusen tusen takk -- goes to Professor David Herbert for being an exceptional main supervisor that has patiently guided me through this project. His intervention at critical moments during this process kept me sane. I am grateful for his openness and genuine interest in my growth as a researcher, a scholar, and a fellow human being.
Professor Jan-Olav Henriksen, my second supervisor, kept me moving on with insightful questions and general advice. At crucial moments, he made sure I would take the next step.
Professor F.Leron Shults played an important a role to get me started (and cheered me on near the end); Professor Ole Riis, who coordinated my ‘initiation’ course REL 600 on Theory and Methods, provided my first ‘dyne’ during a cold winter, and the extra Danish support and humor was most welcome.
Former institute leader Årstein Justnes ‘mindfully’ settled me into this new ‘mileu’ and I appreciate current institute leader Ingunn Breistein for facilitating my process towards completion.
Both Professor Pål Repstad and Professor Paul Leer-Salvesen have been helpful at different junctures personally and practically. During my 90% PhD seminar, Professor Knut Lundby (University of Oslo) offered insightful questions, incisive comments, and positive feedback were exactly what I needed at the right time.
Hilde Daland has been an extraordinary librarian. Many thanks also to Kari-Mette Walmann Hilde, Hilde Inntjore, and Irene Trysnes for providing help in practical ways.
Fellow PhD companions have enriched me deeply: Tale Steen-Johnson, Linn-Mari Solberg, Anne Mari Røsting Strand, Morten K. Beckmann, Sivert Skålvoll Urstad and Caroline Hoel (who I am grateful for the extra help during the final days).
To Levi Geir Eidhamar and Anne-Lisbeth Eidhamer for their kindness, hospitality, and spending time with my family -- terima kasih banyak banyak.
Professor Iain Sutherland’s (Noroff University College) timely ‘fresh’ read of the manuscript and feedback was a needed bonus.
Thanks to Professor Kenneth Surin (Duke University) for introducing me to Enrique Dussel’s work and unforgettable walks and talks at AAR San Francisco 2011 and Chicago 2012; and to Dr. Patricia Martinez for quiet support and openness to share life experiences.
Former Bishop Philip Lok and current Bishop Aaron Yap of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM), and the Church, for encouraging me along this journey.
Both Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM) and Bangsar Lutheran Church (BLC) have inspired me in my quest for knowledge, wisdom, and transformation.
Friends in Conversation (FIC) gave me ‘a safe space for dangerous conversations’ and I appreciate the personal support and intellectual stimulation from the Core especially Yoon Yew Khuen and Christopher Chong.
Wes Roberts has been a fatherly mentor that keeps me grounded in my ‘circle of life’. Whether it was meeting face to face for the first time or sharing life consistently over Skype all these years, Wes is graciously amazing.
Jon Andreas Lauvland and Maryann Jortveit not only welcomed us at Odderness Kirke but also transformed Kristiansand into truly our second home through the love and care they have showered on the Kit family.
To the Kit Kids: Gareth (gentle and intelligent), Elysia (creative and inquisitive), Ewan (strong on fairness and caring), and Anja (who was born when I started the doctoral program), all of you have taught me the joy of discovery and the wonder of being a child.
And finally to my lovely wife May Chin, thank you for sharing this journey with me. Indeed I could not have done this without you.
I dedicate this project to you and our wonderful children.
-- From the Acknowledgements in my PhD Dissertation, "Transforming Solidarity: Social Discourses around the 'Allah' Controversy in Malaysian New Media (2007-2014)", defended on 5 December 2014 at the University of Agder.