Mark 3.31-35 (NRSV)
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3.31-35 (ABALV: Ah Beng-Ah Lian Version)
Then his lao bu and blaaders came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your lao bu and your blaaders and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my lao bu and my blaaders?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Lim peh ka li kong, here are my lao bu and my blaaders! Whoever does the will of Ti Pek is my blaaders and sister and lao bu.”
Southeast Asian Sub-Urban Jargons:
Lao bu: Hokkien vernacular for 'Mother.'
Blaader: Hokkien vernacular for 'Brother.'
Lim peh ka li kong: Hokkien slang for 'I speak as an authority to you' (Literally it connotes 'I am your father, you should listen to me').
Ti Pek: Hokkien vernacular for 'God' (Literally means 'Heavenly Father').
Tao Keh: Hokkien vernacular for 'business owner' or someone who is superior.
Selling salty-duck-eggs: Means deceased.
Tai Loh: Cantonese vernacular for 'big boss' (Literally means 'elder brother').
Ah Gong: Equivalent to the term 'Godfather' among Mafia.
This passage reflects Jesus’ reconstruction of traditional perception on kindred-ship. Jesus identifies his family members as those who carry out the businesses and legacy of God, as oppose to the usual conception that family members are only confined to those who are blood-related.
The idea of sharing the same blood is the major factor of one’s close family ties with the other. This is most typical for Asian businesses. When a ‘tao keh’ ventures into the business of ‘selling salty-duck-eggs’, his leftover business will usually inherited by a blood-related member, without much regards to the member’s ability, and not by any excellent loyal employees who are just non-blood related. Perhaps, a sort of blood-cronyism, one might say.
The same principle can be observed when a blood-related member succeeds the throne of authority in a gang rather than other non-blood related ‘tai loh’ when the ‘Ah Gong’ died.
These are examples of how commoners usually think of kindred. Many do not ridicule such practice even though sometimes it might be seen as injustice by, perhaps, the excellent loyal employees or the outstanding tai loh. But generally, inheriting businesses or legacy by blood-related members is seen as appropriate in the eyes of most SEA Asian. Blood governs kindred-ship, and thus also, the businesses and the legacy.
Jesus revolts against such constricted appropriation. He proclaimed that the inheritance of businesses and legacy should be the defining governance for kindred-ship, not the other way around. That means, it is the “kindred spirit” that should identify one as a family members, as oppose to the “kindred blood”. To Jesus, to call someone as ‘blaader’ is not limited to blood relation but also to identify him as someone who carry out God's business; a business that Jesus takes very seriously. It is through this similar vision and mission that binds non-blood-related people together as a family. And it is this that binds us, the believers, to Jesus as blaader, mother, and sister. Such identification carries the implicated responsibilities and sentiments to those to whom we identify as family members.