The Irony of Unlikely Friendships, or so

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

We cannot choose our friends.

Friendship is a linking

between a heart

and a heart.

Not a liking because

but a liking despite.

A ready embrace regardless

of who, with whomever anywhere anytime.

A recognition and a response regardless

of whatever had

for whenever.

Because the link, if true, stays.

Forgotten for a while, maybe.

But stays.

Because, just because,

we dared to be honest

that a link is forging.

(23 September 1995, Bacolod City)

The Credenda

I first read this charming little book, called The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino and Buddy Kaye, some 37 years ago. That’s where The Credenda is found, a packet of wisdom.

If you haven’t read it, you won’t regret if you try and look for a copy. It’s just a short read and I hope you still have the child in you to allow you a tear or two as you get inside the story, of a friendship between a boy and a star.

I post The Credenda now to say THANK YOU to the inspiration and encouragement it has brought me along my journeys. May it also bring you lightness today as you read or re-read it.

Take care!

The Credenda

Turn away from the crowd and its fruitless pursuit of fame and gold.
Never look back as you close your door to the sorry tumult of greed and ambition.
Wipe away your tears of failure and misfortune.
Be at peace. Already it is later than you think, for your earthly life, at best, is only the blink of an eye between two eternities.
Be unafraid. Nothing here can harm you except yourself.
Do that which you dread and cherish those victories with pride.
Concentrate your energy. To be everywhere is to be nowhere.
Be jealous of your time, since it is your greatest treasure.
Reconsider your goals. Before you set your heart too much on anything, examine how happy they are who already possess what you desire.
Love your family and count your blessings. Reflect on how eagerly they would be sought if you did not have them.
Put aside your impossible dreams and complete the task at hand no matter how distasteful. All great achievements come from working and waiting.
Be patient. God’s delays are never God’s denials. Hold on. Hold fast.
What you sow, good or evil, that you will reap.
Never blame your conditions on others. You are what you are through your choice alone.
Learn to live with honest poverty, if you must, and turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave.
Anxiety is the rust of life; when you add tomorrow’s burdens to today’s their weight becomes unbearable.
Always learn from others. He who teaches himself has a fool for a master.
Be careful. Do not overload your conscience. Conduct your life as if it were spent in an arena filled with tattlers.
Avoid boasting. If you see anything in you that puffs you up with pride look closer and you will find more than enough to make you humble.
Be wise. Realize that all people are not created equal, for there is no equality in nature, yet no one was ever born whose work was not born with him or her.
Work every day as if it were your first, yet tenderly treat the lives you touch as if they will all end at midnight.
Seek out those in need. Learn that he or she who delivers with one hand will always gather with two.
Be of good cheer. Above all, remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.
Look up. Reach out. Cling simply to God and journey quietly on your pathway to forever with charity and a smile.

Please feel free to download. Photo is by Elliott Engelmann (thanks!).
Please feel free to download. Photo is by Simon Berger (thanks!).

Battosai No More

Fight and Live to Tell

A post about chosing life.

This scene is from Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014).

Kenshin was the best assassin of the past government. He was famously known as Battosai. He had since sworn to not kill anymore, carrying a sword that has the sharp egde at the wrong side.

The new government has asked for his help to kill a rampaging ex-assassin, who is threatening the safety of the nation.

Aware of his weakness after a recent duel, Kenshin asks his teacher (also called “master”) to teach him the ultimate sword tehnique of their school so that he can defeat the enemy.

His teacher agrees. They fight-train —physically, mentally, emotionally— a holistic approach.

Teacher tosses a real sword to Kenshin. It is a real fight with real swords today.
He’s figured out that he’s afraid of neither his teacher nor of death.
But his teacher has warned him that if he cannot figure out what’s wrong with him, then he will not be able to defeat the villain. Moreover, he might even die in today’s training-duel, without having learned the final technique at all.
He resolves that he will not die just yet, and fights back. After some time, he eventually slashes at Teacher and scores a point!
His guilt has made his fighting resolve distorted. His guilt has numbed his positive purpose for fighting, which was why he was defeated recently — his sword broken, and was not able to rescue Kamiya Kaoru also.
His fierceness in fighting will not return if he continues to be weighed down by the guilt of having killed so many people before.
He has to embrace his guilt, forgive himself, and be positively fierce again in order to defeat his enemy, who is also the enemy of the people whom Kenshin is trying to protect.
(This has something to do with his failing to rescue Kaoru. She was shouting at him to look after himself, to fight fiercely but to stay alive, but he was distracted by his fear for her safety . So, Teacher seemed to be saying that being on the defensive position, on the side of the helpless people, has somehow weakened Kenshin’s fghting prowess).
(I wish I can understand Japanese!) Teacher seemed to be saying that Kenshin has denied his life-loving fighting self—his innate positive personality, and his life’s discipline and upbringing with his Teacher—ever since he resolved not to kill anymore. Indeed, his Teacher never trained him for the purpose of killing, but so that he can protect people. However, he made choices that led him astray and caused him to kill even defenseless people. The senselessness of his deeds caused him to gamble with his life many times—fighting fiercely without regard to his own life. So now, if he can resolve his guilt and embrace again the purpose of his life’s training, then he can fight the villain and live to tell about it.
Teacher’s important lesson: YOUR LIFE IS AS WORTH AS OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Kenshin and I learned something very valuable from Master today.

Domo arigato gozaimashita. (That’s a very respectful ‘thank you very much.’)

Rage is a Beautiful Thing

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Rage is a beautiful thing.
It is all color and explosion and loud clanging and bursts of the imagination.
A frightening outpouring,

of profuse dialogues, diatribes, monologues,
a searing tongue-lashing in the spirit of release,
an action scene inside one’s own inner theater,
a skirmish, a silent movie, shared with nobody.
Like a whiplash, released into the vastness of the forgiving sky.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

Chiaroscuro (light and dark)

Meditate.
Live purely.
Be quiet.
Do your work with mastery.
Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds!
Shine.

-(I have yet to verify if this is really the Buddha’s)-

The power of this group of words put together is enhanced by its bareness.

It is so powerful that after reading it, one is compelled to blessed quietness, and so, to rest.

My picture here is not of the moon, but of the yang—the active sun, searing and unforgiving.

Nevertheless, it cannot force its way all the same through kilometers upon kilometers of cumulonimbus thickness—however gossamer this body of suspended water is.

Such contrasts is what makes up our earth, and meditating on our inadequacies side by side these contrasts may help us chance upon the courage to break out of our own heavy and dark clouds.

The constant will to shine is what makes us alive.

Oh look! No chemtrails! A happy day!

Reluctantly Giving In

This unattractive to me!

Right. A smartphone is this unattractive to me.

I had held off getting one because I did not need it. But, at last, the pandemic will render me immobile until I get one. I will find it difficult to transact online with my bank unless I install its Online Banking Application. To my horror, it cannot be installed to my computer. Why? Because the app is a Mobile App.

Because I haven’t owned a smartphone at all, it took me a while to understand that platforms and applications may work for either computers/laptops or smartphones. However, this “or” is non-inclusive for many of these apps, meaning, for only one or the other, and only occasionally for both.

This bothered me considerably because I was used to logging into my bank’s portal using my computer for almost a decade. So, this is my first gripe about having to go online here in the Philippines: that banks here are giving more of their attention to mobile-phone banking versus making it accessible with a regular desktop computer or laptop. Would this be going backwards, a regress, or is this a leap in the dynamics?—in that, since most of the Filipinos who go online do so using their smartphones, this paradigm is more profitable.

Compare the screen sizes!

Which leads me to my second gripe about going online (that is, being forced to go online because of the pandemic): that, since most who go online use only smartphones, then the implication to online-learning is tremendous. It is so inefficient that it has become detrimental to leading healthy lives.

Now, those who have never used a smartphone, like me, find it horrendous to be forced to do homework and exams using a smartphone only. Navigating webpages using a netbook is quite challenging and stressful when one is after narratives and the big picture. How on earth could this be justifiably done using a narrow screen the size of my tiny palm?

For the sake of survival, I reluctantly give in to the idea of owning a smartphone. Yep, after all these years of holding out. I mourn the loss of my stand. I wonder how my students think of me now, of my advocacy against the indispensability of smartphones for their wellbeing. Yep, I showed to them graphic clips of parading smartphone zombies. And a TEDx talk by a smart young lady who discourages attachment to the smartphone lifestyle.

Because it does stay that way: smartphones are not indispensable in order to stay human, to become human, to thrive. Smartphone abuse, which is today’s norm, is in fact highly detrimental to humanity.

I have to get a smartphone so that I can do online banking and similar essential processes. But I will do my best to keep resisting its deceptive charm. My hope is that someday the smartphone lifestyle becomes downgraded as a result of alternatives developed toward having steady online presence without being caught in the trap of a smartphone’s sugary distractions.

Reasoning Together

I challenged my students regarding the current Israel-Palestine issue but only a handful of them took it. They have their own reasons for not doing so, foremost of which was school-fatigue. Online classes left them more than exhausted, both in body and in mind.

I challenged them to give biblical support for siding with the plight of the Palestinians caught in the conflict.

The few who responded to my challenge took not a few words to get to their point. Mostly what was mentioned was God’s gift of land to ancient Israel. Indeed, my students had a good point there.

After I heard them out and it was my turn to speak, I gave them only two short points for them to ponder on and to expound against.

…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…
(from the Book of Isaiah)

ONE, that Jesus points to loving God, and to loving one’s neighbor as one loves one’s own self, as the greatest of commandments.

In the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 22:
(verse 36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
(verse 37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[see Deuteronomy 6:5]
(verse 38) This is the first and greatest commandment.
(verse 39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[see Leviticus 19:18]
(verse 40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
[NIV]

TWO, that biblical Israel was bound with/by a promise to obey God if they were to stay in the land.

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people . . .” (Exodus 19:5).

“Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do’ ” (Exodus 19:8).

The Israelites agreed to God’s terms, and He confirmed His commitment to them. “. . . This is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you’ ” (Jeremiah 7:23).

“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant . . . I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you. If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Leviticus 26:14-18).

Shalom.

Happy New Year

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Let us keep on being hopeful this new year, and all days thereon.

 happy

Let us hope for each other.

Let us pray for each other, wherever we are in the world.

I wish all your dreams fulfilled.

Amen.

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Update. 15th July 2021. Good morning, dear Everyone. Here are the words of that prayer. Thanks for dropping by and praying with me. I am calling on all of the efficacies of prayer, on all the collective love of all sincere hearts that selflessly wish for only goodness to all of humanity and all living creatures, big and small in the biosphere, in all parts known and unknown, from the deepest of the ocean floors and caverns and cliffs to the highest of the habitable atmospheric layers that can sustain metabolism... I am calling on all pure intents for the support of life, love, freedom, respect, celebration, sustenance, generosity, humility, understanding, acceptance, goodwill, health, mutual dependence and mutual giving, and thankfulness... I am calling on all the powers of LIFE and the celebration of life and acceptance of all peoples... Let us bless the earth, let us bless one another, let us pray for each others' lives, let us focus our wishes on each others' wellbeing and inner happiness and continuous hope and never-ending supply of strength for the will to live and let live... I call on all powers of life to curse the greed that is enslaving the systems of this earth... I call on all greed to be found out and to be defeated and to be banished... May it all happen. May it be so. It will be so. It is. Amen. Amen. Amen.

“Race” should have been made obsolete a long time ago.

❤ ((!egad! 😳 the pretty red heart has been changed to a black one! I like my hearts red!… ottoke???!!!))

————————————————- To the post now (updated with info on 2 documentary films about the First Nations):

The conclusion is this:

Thus, given current scientific data, biological races do not exist among modern humans today, and they have never existed in the past. Given such clear scientific evidence as this and the research data of so many other biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists that demonstrate the nonexistence of biological races among humans, how can the “myth” of human races still persist?

If races do not exist as a biological reality, why do so many people still believe that they do? In fact, even though biological races do not exist, the concept of race obviously is still a reality, as is racism. These are prevalent and persistent elements of our everyday lives and generally accepted aspects of our culture.

Thus, the concept of human races is real. It is not a biological reality, however, but a cultural one. Race is not a part of our biology, but it is definitely a part of our culture. Race and racism are deeply ingrained in our history.

Excerpt from: “There Is No Such Thing as Race” by Robert Wald Sussman, here:

http://www.newsweek.com/there-no-such-thing-race-283123

heart  Here’s a similar article: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/01/racism-science-human-genomes-darwin

There’s no sense in referring to persons by the color of their skin. It’s a subtle form of discrimination at the least.

On to a related topic…

500-nations

This is an excellent huge documentary film first put out in 1995 in a series of parts. It was hosted by Kevin Costner and it is accessible in YouTube (just look for it); or simply buy the DVD. It has also come out in book form so you can try looking for it in your favorite bookstores.

If you hear somebody say that this or that civilization was the best ever, caution, because that person has not actually done research and so the rest of what he is saying could just be his opinion backed by half-truths (ergo, not the truth).

If you liked 500 Nations or if you are interested in the current events associated with the First Nations (American Indians) then you won’t regret seeing this documentary (it looks at the Lakota today; and please “share” it as well as download it if you can 🙂 THANKS!):

heart Peace heart

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heart 🙂 I made my ‘hearts’ for here 🙂

Hoping for Hope

(Update. 14th July 2021. Good morning, Everyone. As you can see, this post is already more than half a decade old. And this is on politics. We know how things in politics change very fast. I ask myself how much Pres. Duterte has changed over the years while he’s the president. Honestly, I have no answer. I am a bit disappointed at how much he missed doing what he had planned to do at the start. I’m sure he is, too. My heart goes out to him. His dear friend, the Honorable Perfecto Yasay, Jr., whom he appointed as Secretary for Foreign Affairs (please see blow) is not with us anymore. He succumbed to cancer-complicated pneumonia last year. May he rest in peace. Of what I can sense from the president’s speeches lately, he has become increasingly tired, more tired than when he first said so years ago. I’ll see which Filipino-authored biographies of his speak out from the heart of the common Filipino. Oh, no foreigner-authored biography for me, please. It will be bound to be propagandistic (just being cautious here!), for the revenue and fame. Thanks all the same.)  

. ❤ .

I’ve just decided that the world is free to condemn Duterte an a_s.

However, for us who understand what’s happening, he’s our chance at making it good in this life ever since European Christianity destroyed our society until today (one can read about it in, for example, “Colonial Mentality: A Review and Recommendation for Filipino American Psychology” by E. J. R. David and Sumie Okazaki, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign). That’s about 500 long years. But whereas Europe has “devalued Christianity,” we to this day remain a “God-fearing people,” maybe all not meticulously “religious” but certainly with a very strong sense of the spiritual <<< this I have no doubt.

The other day an illegal-drug laboratory capable of producing 400 kilos in one day was discovered. The operators abandoned the building when Duterte won the election.

The world can call us a nation of idiots, that’s fine. We’ll just do what we think is right. Anyway, when Duterte talks publicly he actually means it for our consumption, ergo his complete array of colorful expressions — such contextual emphatic expressions that non-Filipinos will find difficult to understand — so that we finally begin to think for ourselves, be free from “colonial mentality” that is our bane.

We had been stu_id as a people and now is our chance to make up.

The industrialized world does not know all this, how we have suffered all these centuries, so they have no right to meddle with how we solve our problems. Instead they should be asking us in what ways we need help, because we urgently need help. But Duterte will not sell our national soul just to get help. If we can educate ourselves to the truth within Duterte’s term, either before he retires or before he is assassinated, then we’d have a hope at stopping the oligarchs’ excesses and give more chances to our poorest folks to better their lives.

The world condemns Duterte just on the basis of his stupid stupid mouth but for us his mouth is the least of our problems. And if indeed he was a cold-bloodied killer then that’s his business before God. (How can his neighbors of/for decades love him if he violates human rights?) But right now he’s not being a cold-bloodied killer as a president. I understand what’s happening. As of now he has restored the power of the law in the land. He constantly lectures us in all of his speeches that we must abide by the law. We have hope now in witnessing the culture of impunity disappear among the elite moneyed class. These are little gods, out of the reach of law. These elite are the remnants of the colonizers. Duterte has made enemies among them simply because he won the election. (There are mga elitista, many of them, who work for the plight of the people, and they are not part of who I’m referring to. There are non-elitista who are biased against Duterte simply because they are embarrassed of his rough ways and they want to distance themselves from him — these are the ones who are slaves to colonial mentality and many of them are fans of Leila de Lima<– that’s link to a video where she hysterically defends herself in front of media, a very un-lawyer-ly and cowardly procedure, instead of facing her accusers at the parliamentary investigations.) 🙂

The police and the wo/men-at-arms have once more become honorable to the people’s eyes. They’re back with their dignity in their correct places because they are sure now that the law will not abandon them to the moneyed-powerful. My people have not felt more safe and more hopeful for a very long time. The 700,000 who voluntarily identified themselves to the police got scared of the power of the law by way of the police. This was what Duterte wanted to happen. The majority were identified, had their names put on record, and were released back to their homes. The rest of us who have not violated the law are not scared of anything at all.

When the world calls Duterte an ass it’s us the people who feel the pain and we are at a loss because the world is more quick to condemn that to find out what’s true. The only way to stop Duterte’s foul mouth is to simply not provoke him in the first place. If the world thinks we’re a stupid primitive bunch, then so be it. We are only trying to survive as humans with dignity.

Here is the Philippines’ foreign policy (DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay privilege speech, UN General Assembly, Sept. 20-26, 2016). The Secretary of Foreign Affairs Pefecto Yasay, Jr. is a pastor’s kid, a lawyer and teacher in the U.S., and Duterte’s dormitory roommate while both were in law school. Watch and listen:  https://youtu.be/ySLG0NVdUZc

—–> Here is a summary of that speech from the UN webpage, below. (Source: https://gadebate.un.org/en/71/philippines )

Statement Summary: PERFECTO R. YASAY, JR., Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that after his country’s hard-fought and hard-won independence, it zealously valued and guarded its rights and liberties through democracy and a system of checks and balances.  Five months ago, the people had elected new President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with an unprecedented and resounding electoral mandate.  For far too long, the Philippines had been unable to fully advance due to corruption, worsening crime, and the prevalence of illegal drugs, and corruption had become the breeding ground for the illegal drug trade.  The Government was determined to eradicate illicit drugs and their manufacture, distribution and use.  The rule of law and strict adherence to due process fully governed the campaign against corruption and criminality.  Noting that the Government’s actions had grabbed national and international attention for all the wrong reasons, he urged everyone “to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals, without undue interference”.  Extrajudicial killings had no place in Philippine society, and the Government did not and would never empower its law enforcement agents to shoot-to-kill any individual suspected of drug crimes, though police had the right to defend themselves when their lives were threatened.

The goal of the Government was to “leave no one behind” in its development strides, he said.  The Philippines continued to enhance the delivery and quality of social services, including in health, education, food, water and housing.  As one of the most disaster-prone and vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change, the Philippines reiterated its call for climate justice and the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in the implementation of obligations under the Paris Agreement.  The country remained committed to the rule of law and to peace, including the recent decision on the Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague with regard to the disputes in the South China Sea.  Noting the final and binding nature of the Arbitral Award, the Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing peaceful resolution to regional disputes.

Here’s another speech that Secretary Yasay gave on September 15 at the CSIS Southeast Asia Program (Center for Strategic and International Studies):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1F1kgh7cbg

. ❤ . I pray that no evil intents interfere with the plans of the president and his cabinet for the nation. I pray that the cabinet officials and their staff stay motivated and creative in all their activities. I wish them all the best of health. I pray that the malicious elements in the senate and the house of representatives listen to their conscience, and change their hearts for the better. I pray that the elite who insist on being blind, up there in their white fanciful tower, come down and have their fancy shoes dirtied with farm manure so that they begin to see reality. I pray that the youth, the young ones who are in schools, study their lessons well and study some more beyond what their teachers could deliver to them because there’s much more truth out there that is not taught in our schools. I pray that all teachers and all of the religious and sacerdotal add to their duties the aim of eradicating “colonial mentality” from the nation’s collective consciousness. I pray for the complete healing of everyone who has decided to turn their backs on drug addiction, and start to be really happy. I pray that persons in government who used their positions for the purpose of enriching themselves stop at their tracks and start giving back to the people the money and goods that they have stolen from everyone. I pray that the person on the street, the ordinary everyday person, hold on to his/her God-given strength, continue to hope, continue to work hard and honestly, until our nation is collectively delivered from the constant threat of poverty. I pray that Filipinos all over the globe take care of their health, stay sane and reasonable, not be blinded by the power of money, and stay spiritually intact in the face of any form of discrimination and cold treatment. I pray that the foreigners in my country stay safe, healthy, happy, and appreciative of the people’s friendliness. And I pray that the little ones, the children, imitate the president’s sweet little daughter and not follow our Tatay or Lolo Digong in speaking bad words. 🙂

My dear president, my virtual teacher, our leader, our elder brother, our friend, please continue to be in good health, stay humble, stay grounded, don’t forget to pray everyday, don’t forget your children’s and grandchildren’s birthdays, stay strong-willed, stay sane and lucid, stay reasonable, stay “transparent”, and manage your stress so that it doesn’t affect your rational judgments. Stay compassionate and sensitive to the poorest among us. May God bless you, our nation, and all peoples of the world.

battle-of-bud-dajo-march-7-1906

Source of picture above:  http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/moro-insurgents-1906/

That was the picture that Duterte was referring to at the meeting with the ASEAN leaders. Here is an account of that meeting:  https://www.eaglenews.ph/duterte-shows-obama-asean-leaders-photos-of-moros-killed-by-americans/

…   and here is an account in relation to the picture when he was not yet a president: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2005/10/the-bud-dajo-massacre-a-hundred-years-later-will-america-apologize-2/

…  and here is a 2011 scholarly/academic study of that 1906 event

Hawkins, Michael C. “Managing a Massacre: Savagery, Civility, and Gender in Moro Province in the Wake of Bud Dajo.” Philippine studies 59, no. 1 (2011): 83-105.

We are not a country of haters. Japan was not less cruel to us (that’s why my grandfather had bitter memories of such cruelty) but we have no problems with Japan anymore. My cousin even teaches English to school kids there and is now starting her own family there, too.

Stay well, everyone, and let’s try to be happy in whatever peaceful we can. It doesn’t need much to be happy (yeah, and here’s my recommended book on that topic: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28254.Stone_Age_Economics

🙂

❤ .