Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Emergency

This is really uncalled for.

At approximately 12 am, a strong tremor was felt in PJ; whereby even residents living in the second floor of a condominium could feel it.

Perhaps some credible information would help-

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.

THERE IS NO TSUNAMI WARNINGOR WATCH IN EFFECT.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS ORIGIN TIME - 1610Z 28 MAR 2005
COORDINATES - 2.3 NORTH 97.1 EAST
LOCATION - NORTHERN SUMATERA INDONESIA
MAGNITUDE - 8.5
EVALUATION- THIS EARTHQUAKE IS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE PACIFIC. NO TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS TO COASTLINES IN THE PACIFIC. HOWEVER, THIS CENTER DOES NOT HAVE SEA LEVEL GAUGES OUTSIDE THE PACIFIC SO WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DETECT OR MEASURE A TSUNAMI IF ONE WAS GENERATED. AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME THE DANGER HAS PASSED IF NO TSUNAMI WAVES ARE OBSERVED IN THE REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER WITHIN THREE HOURS OF THE EARTHQUAKE. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.

Source: PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS
ISSUED AT 1629Z 28 MAR 2005

It was a 'surprise', 'shock' or an 'abrupt awakening' for residents staying on lower levels because the previous tremor which was felt last December 26, turned out to be from an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale; of which triggered a deadly tsunami; yet, the 'lower-ground' residents didn't actually feel the tremor until being told by their 'higher-ground' neighbours.

And as such, a commotion quickly followed.


Efficient networking services through high-speed Internet tell us that the tremors were felt in various places in Malaysia, namely towns and cities in the Northen Region such as Taiping, Alor Setar and Kuala Lumpur. However, the tremor was also felt in Kuching.

The crowd has dispersed since, but the insecurities and the dreaded nostalgia lingered in the minds of many who felt the tremor the second time within 4 months.

Major news networks, both regional and international are already reporting the quake which hit Northen Sumatera, Indonesia. Do tune in to the Internet and television news networks for updates.

Residents along the coastline of Penang Island are advised to relocate themselves to higher grounds for fear of another occurence of a tsunami. Do take heart.

And for the rest of us, let us pray for the safety of the ones affected- both directly, and indirectly.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Listen.

It is Easter morning -light broke in.

Jesus was resurrected on this glorious day.

The victory is won. The wages of sin has been paid. The defeat of Satan is done with.

There is much to be rejoiced today.

However, let us not forget the mute and the lame, the oppressed and the weak, the persecuted and the poor.

And listen to the cries for help around us.

The rape case of Mukhtar Mai

Do we hear her weep?

Raped by 4 men in her village, supposedly to pay the 'debts' of her 12-year-old brother's alleged affair with an older woman of a higher chaste in Pakistan. Her father and brother stood amongst 150 men outside the hut while they heard her scream for help. None of them responded for her plea of mercy. Now, fighting for the acquittal of the men to be charged for that heinous crime, she toils, weeps and stands in the face of anguish and humiliation every day as she retells her story, so that no woman would have to be sacrificed in the name of 'honour'. The messy Pakistani legal system is making her journey even more difficult to go through. The acquitted men- those who must have been her neighbours, friends of her brother and her father were released before, only to be rearrested recently on the orders of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. They would be detained until the Supreme Court decides the final appeal.
Let us pray that the Supreme Court lives up to the purpose of its existence this time.

The Terri Schiavo case

Whose voice is actually hers?

The battle continues, for both her death and her life. Her parents are fighting to keep her from death, even if it means for her life to be solely dependent on the feeding tube. Her husband is fighting to give her an end to the pain she has been going through for the past 15 years- by letting her slip into death through starvation when the feeding tube is removed. Both have argued that they were representing the voice of Terri Schiavo. Now, the Congress of the United States of America claimed to be her voice too. The Supreme Court of Florida has rejected an appeal from Terri's parents to keep her daughter alive. The end has begun, but the legal wrangle continues. What happens when euthanasia is continually justified with 'hoping to give their loved ones a painless death'? Where is the line drawn between the independence of the country's judiciary system and legislative system? Who defines the quality of Life?

Some observations made-
2 countries- One, with a well-structured legal system, another virtually has none. But both ended up being tangled in the complexity of justice and honour.
2 women- One screamed and shouted. Many heard, but few listened. Another has too many voices speaking up for her. Nobody knows which voice to listen to.
2 high-profile cases. What about those who are fighting without the media's publicity, the Government's aide and the support of their loved ones?

I am reminded by the Man who also suffered great injustice and was condemned to death more than 2000 years ago. The Man who was sacrificed so that sinners like us could live. The Man whom men cried out 'valiantly' for His death. The Man who was "oppressed and afflicted, yet opened not His mouth, as He was being led as a lamb to the slaughter"- Isaiah 53:7

The Man who is also God.

He has cleansed our sins once and for all, so that we who live, can now have true LIFE.

As we rejoice, let us also remember.

And listen to the cries for help around us.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Solitary dance

I looked across;

A woman in her mid-thirties was by the empty streets. Garbed in the most unattractive green vest, with probably only gloves to adorn her wrinkled hands, she began to sweep the floors with admirable diligence. The cars did not bother her, neither did she with the cars...nor anyone. No one to trip over her broom; nor stepped unto that collected pile of dust and falling leaves. The streets were her dance hall; its dim streetlamps cast a silhoutte over her crooked posture against its concrete floors. It was as though she was alone, yet; not quite...not quite. She began that solitary dance; her broom caressing the very ground her foot landed on and off. And as she made a dramatic swirl; her broom followed suit. Her grace came to a complete halt, and left her invisible audience mesmerised.

It is hard to fathom, how we; supposedly the wiser lot, could allow ourselves to be enraptured with that Mercedez Benz, that Escada dress, that Bvlgari watch, that high-paying job, that condominium overlooking the Twin Towers; and justify our worldly desires with nobility and dignity. Yet it is the sweeper; who wakes up at 4 every morning, who submits to the aloofness of the sleeping city, who sweeps the streets when no one could see, much less give her a standing ovation; does her work quietly and humbly, just so the next day; the streets were made pleasurable and tolerable for one to walk on.

Perhaps, it is only when we do not have a full understanding on nobility; that we may demonstrate the fullness of it.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sisters

"Why do you think you should be allowed to have more pocket money than your older brother?"
"Because I think I ought to be compensated for having to sleep next to him for the past 11 years!"

-Cory, an 11-year-old boy, discussing his rights with his parents; taken from "Boy Meets World"

I have been sharing my room with my sister for the past 19 years. Let me count the compensation I deserve...:)
Like other siblings, we share a love-hate relationship. Not that 'hate' is a hate word in the same sense, but there were indeed some good ol' times of pillow fighting, hair-pulling, near-strangling- one would have thought that we were enemies living under the same roof!

Despite the subtantial amount of violence that has been part of the input of our upbringing, I must say that my sister has given me much to be joyful about of this life. Even as I am trying to do her justice by hoping to whip up a write-up about her that would increase her 'market share', I find myself, being more compelled to write about her in a more child-like manner.

I am after all, her little sister.

So, in a clumsy manner; this is what I think of my sister.

My sister is a fearsome tigress.
She's is fiercely protective of me, to the extent that it is highly speculated that this protection she has for me has driven a number of potential suitors away.

My sister is my Hector, when I am the foolish Paris.
She believes that she holds the exclusive rights to act as a big bully against me. She would not,however, in any manner; withstand anyone who is trying to utilise this copyright. She stands up for me, whenever I am wobbling at kneepoint; even if it means facing ugly confrontations, duels and swordfights.

My sister teaches me to sing "la-la-la" in the face of worries.
I tend to care for unnecessary details so much that I end up being sick for worrying. She always manages to knock some sense into me in discerning which is worth gold and which is worth sand when burdens become too heavy for my small shoulders; and pushes me to let go when all I've been carrying are merely sand.

My sister is my army commander.
She teaches me the times when I should use WMD (Weapons for Mass Destruction) ie flare my temper, 'retreat' or 'attack'; to ward off potential bullies if she were not by my side; since I have mentioned earlier that she holds exclusive rights to acting as one against me. Our chief commander is however, God; therefore we are constantly at His mercy to refrain us from abusing our 'powers'.

My sister saves my money on postage to "Aunt Agony" by being one.
She is my most trusted counsellor and I would listen to her advice first, before I turn to anybody else for a second opinion; which by the way; is usually redundant for she gives first-class advice, anyway.

My sister is my partner in crime.
We make a fine collaboration when it comes to performing pranks on our friends. She is a master planner, a fine voice-impersonator and an efficient coordinator while I would usually take up the role of a "I-don't-know-anything" stand-in. We did pull out some classic pranks on our beloved friends, much to their chagrin- that we are bestowed with the nickname "The horri-gi-ble, terri-gi-ble and veggie-table Yong sisters". Such recognition!:)

Having read the roles that she play in my life, it is little wonder why she deserves special mention in bohtea. She is CHARMING, SMART and TERRIBLY WITTY and a linguist on par with L.M Montgomery.

She loves children, and has an amazing testimony on how she is called to work with special children. She writes, in my opinion; better than I do- having won several essay-writing competitions in school, that illustrated her passion for writing. One can view her classics in her blog, in which she dedicates to the development of the children that she worked with and also in the field that she is currently pursuing. She is God-fearing, attends church regularly and works actively in the Christian Fellowship of her campus. And, she is single... (offers must come with my approval, please stipulate time and date for interview appointment)

But, seriously...
Ji (how I address my sister sometimes),
Though more often than not, the best thank-yous were never in words; nevertheless, I am overwhelmed by the support that you have given me, the rebukes that you have waken me up with, the patience for tolerating my unnecessary grumbles and criticism, the long and lonely hours of prayers; for a change of heart in me to turn to Him, the courage you displayed in a world of cowardice, the strength in times of weakness, and most of all; the love in which you have showered upon me with great generosity.

I'm everything I am, because you loved me.

Here's to the most wonderful sister in the world.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fool's sophy

Perhaps, what fooji said about me recently is true; it is the tea.

Perhaps, it is the average sleeping hours of 4 1/2 hours.

Perhaps, starring at taxation textbooks makes staring at a blank wall more worthwhile.

Perhaps, I should start writing fiction.

Perhaps, "there is no such thing as science v. philosophy after all, rather; science v. bad philosophy"

Perhaps, the whole point of my existence has finally come to play-
"Police in Mexico City, one of the most crime-ridden capitals in the world, have been told they must read at least one book a month or forfeit promotion. The mayor of the district where the scheme is being implemented believes that it will improve their work. There is a popular conception that Mexican police are corrupt, incompetent and lazy. Mayor Luis Sanchez believes he can fight low standards in the force by encouraging higher levels of literacy.

Along with guns, bullet-proof vests and handcuffs, police in the district of Nezahualcoyotl will now have to take a book with them. If they do not read at least one a month, they lose their chance of being promoted.

The list of recommended titles includes such literary classics as Don Quixote, The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz, and, on a lighter note, The Little Prince.


There is no chance of anyone getting away without doing the reading.
The policemen will be regularly tested to make sure they have read the books they name". Read: full article

Perhaps, I should just pack my bags to Mexico and become a policeman.

Or a painter.

Frida Kahlo to be exact.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Foolsophy

Immanuel Kant, dubbed as 'one of the most influential figures in Western Philosophy' took me for a ride with his fundamental premise of thought.

A summary of his theory on reason and freedom.
He presupposed freedom as the centre point which holds reason together since he believed that reason can only be fulfilled with assumptions that empirical observation cannot support.( as paraphrased)
In his own words, "Reason creates for itself the idea of a spontaneity that can, on its own, start to act--without, i.e., needing to be preceded by another cause by means of which it is determined to action in turn, according to the law of causal connection". In its intellectual domain, reason must think of itself as free.

I beg to differ on this, though. I cannot help but to be reminded by Jonathan Edward's allegory on free will, so to speak. To put it simply, if we were to look in retrospect, we would find ourselves consistently behaving in a certain way due to a past event, which then affect the way we react in our present situation. "I cannot help but to be reminded..." indicates that though I have the inclination, a tendency to be reminded of Edwards' philosophy on Man not having free will, I am actually inclined to think this way because I have read his views on why Man do not, in any real sense; own absolute free will at all.I read his views on free will because it provides the reason as to the doctrine of divine election. The chain, goes on; leading to more retrospective causal effects that lead me into thinking and behaving in this manner. My course of actions, thoughts, and Reason therefore; are not independent of the events which happened prior to the way I am acting or thinking now. If so, then I can safely say that reason does not own freedom in any real sense.

On motive of doing good deeds.
Kant said that we can control the will that direct the motives of us doing good deeds. "The kind act of the person who overcomes a natural lack of sympathy for other people out of respect for duty has moral worth, whereas the same kind act of the person who naturally takes pleasure in spreading joy does not. We might be tempted to think that the motivation that makes an action good is having a positive goal--to make people happy, or to provide some benefit. But that is not the right sort of motive."

On the contrary, Jonathan Edwards' differing view is this - "In some sense the most benevolent, generous person in the world seeks his own happiness in doing good to others, because he places his happiness in their good. His mind is enlarged as to take them, as it were, into himself. Thus when they are happy, he feels it; he partakes with them, and is happy in their happiness. This is so far from being inconsistent with the freeness of beneficence, that, on the contrary, free benevolence and kindness consists in it.

Both preached freedom in two different senses, one presupposes freedom as the centre that holds reason, whereby without it; reason cannot stand; our faculty of reason would fail. The other; disregard Man as having any absolute freedom in any real sense, despite us perceiving the act of being 'willing' to do something as an indication of freedom.

However, I couldn't help ( no free will, perhaps?) but to think that the latter must have been a more joyous and much happier man than the former.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Observatory.

One of my favourite pastime is to record still images that are seen through my eyes, though 'defective' they may be ( for I cannot survive without my glasses).

Nevertheless,

"A picture is worth a thousand words".

These photos represent my feelings, my views and my perspective of LIFE- and now, they are open for sharing.

Have a pleasant viewing.
tehtarik's humble photoblog

Feel free to drop your comments at bohtea blogspot... and drop by for a cup of virtual tea.:)