For the Children (part 1)

Children Of The World by Romero Britto

I want you to know you are beautiful.

No, not because you have those eyes,

No, not because you have that skin,

No, not because your house is this,

But in you is a blank art-piece.

Pure, untouched, responsive to Love.

You who within, God placed a Promise,

That this world may understand His Message.

His Message of True Peace.

-Growing Tree

Once there was a little girl. A bright young girl. Full of energy, full of wit, full of kindness. Like everyone, young and old, she yearned for love. And from her family, she received so much. Soon, she had to go to school.

Everybody was excited. She had gotten top grades, and was promising according to her teachers. But her family didn’t know of another pain she would face. They wouldn’t have imagined it…

One day at home, she looked through her mother’s dresser. She took out the powder, and shook so much of it out and into her palm. She covered her face, she covered her limbs and ran to her grandmother and mother.

“Am I beautiful now?” she asked.

And she isn’t the only one.

[to be continued]

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Flying Cars, Robot Maids, and Laser Guns| A MUST WATCH AND READ| SPREAD AND DO CHANGE!

Hi guys! Here is a piece written and delivered by a good friend of mine! His message cannot be more timely! I won’t talk much anymore since his message is the focus of this post! Please! Spread this! And inspire and do change in your own little ways too! “Every single grain, drop, iota, and atom counts!”

[TRANSCRIPT]

Flying Cars, Robot Maids, and Laser Guns

By

Alfonso Manalastas (Computer Studies Program)

When I was much younger, I imagined a future world that spanned a colony of concrete skyscrapers, the sky flooded with flying shards and splinters of steel, life slowly dissipating, and the sun nowhere to be seen. This is a fault that cannot be attributed to my once naïve mind, oh golly, no. Being born in a generation saturated by Technicolor images of “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” aired in primetime, coincidentally at the height of the “Back To The Future” franchise that depicted a highly futuristic 2015.

2015 is but a few months from today.

You see, as a young boy, I thought that by this time the world was going to be swell, and majestic, and awesome in every sense of the word. I thought that by this time, we would see flying cars that travel faster and higher than commercial aircrafts we see today, ones that could literally cross-continents in a matter of minutes. Like if you want to have Breakfast in Paris, no problem! Lunch in Italia, why not? And if you’re in the mood for something more exotic, you can always go to India for dinner.

Robot maids will be scattered about everywhere, all at our command and disposal, each one of them specifically designed to cater to all our wants and needs, like “Uh, excuse me sir. Would you like to have some tea or some wine?” Right? And oh shucks, who hasn’t dreamt of shooting laser guns? They’re exactly like regular guns except they shoot lasers!

But standing before me is a completely different world. I see right in front of me an audience filled with people who have perfectly capable hands, eyes that beam of dreams, with thirst for life, and curiosity for knowledge. But outside the very walls of this institution, all I see is a wasteland. A dark, concrete abyss, remnants of what used to be a paradise. And then I begin to realize that maybe the problem isn’t that the world did not turn out as I hoped it would be, but that as a young boy I believed that in order for the world to be swell, and majestic, and awesome in every sense of the word, that all it needed are flying cars, robot maids, and laser guns.

Our generation is fixated on the concept of progress so much that even as young boys and girls, social constructs have implanted a certain algorithm in our minds making us believe that in order to create a perfect world, that technology, industry, and even warfare is the only way to go.

Now, my young travellers, allow me to deconstruct that algorithm for you:

One: every member of the Urian population bears with them a piece of plastic called an “ID”. Under each is the caption “I am an Urian, I grow trees.”

Two: each one of those Urians spend hours falling in line to get their ID pictures taken, making sure that their faces turn out as beautifully as they could ever hope for. We spend so much time doing that instead of, well, actually growing trees.

Three: a total biomass of 42,000 square feet of coral life is destroyed after a ship skims through the subterranean ecosystem in the Tubbataha Reef.

Four: approximately 350 endangered sea turtles were found dead in a Chinese vessel a few miles off the coast of Palawan.

Five: all 298 passengers on board were killed after an aircraft was shot down the Ukrainian skies by a man-made weapon.

Six: On November 2013, the Western Black Rhino was declared to be officially extinct.

Seven: According to conservationists if nothing is done, the Northern White Rhino and the Javan Rhino will soon follow.

Eight: The primary source of their extinction? Murdered by us humans.

Nine: Miss Earth, to us, is a woman who strips down to her underwear and parades her half-naked body, her porcelain white skin, and her 20,000 peso hair and make up professing to us nothing but generic sound bytes about how important the natural environment is as if we don’t know that already.

Ten: Let us ignore the fact that the Miss Earth beauty pageant is a project that costs millions and millions of money that could have been otherwise been spent in actually making a difference.

Eleven: Welcome to the pornography of environmentalism where to represent planet earth as its human embodiment, one must be intelligent, beautiful, and have a vital statistics of 36, 24, 36.

Twelve: In Israel, it is normal for people to gather around in tents with food and beer on hand as they watch bombs fall over the shores of Gaza to the sound of dying children, kind of like watching fireworks on a bright New Year’s Eve.

Thirteen: The year Israel began to attack Gaza, over 1000 people died.

Fourteen: The year the Al-Qaeda struck America during the 9/11 terrorist attack, 2,900.

Fifteen: During the Holocaust, 11 million.

Sixteen: Blood diamond in Zimbabwe.

Seventeen: The Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Eighteen: The Korean War.

Nineteen: The Vietnam War.

Twenty: The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Twenty-One: When will we ever stop destroying everything around us? We are supposed to be a community.

I have been alive for 21 years. It means that for 21 years, I have seen the world wronged 21 times. But as I grow older, I refuse to accept that the world has no hope. I refuse to believe in flying cars, robot maids, and laser guns, and instead, I choose to believe in our sense of community, in our respect for all forms of life, and in our ability to inspire human compassion. Because standing before me is an audience filled with people who have perfectly capable hands, eyes that beam of dreams, with thirst for life, and curiosity for knowledge. All I see are Urians dedicated to keeping out past from defining us as we move forward in our conquest towards molding community and sustaining ecology.

The work has just begun.

 

Literary “Analysis” 2: Blind Man and the Sun |T.O.A.

A/N: Final share! I really find this piece heart-warming and mind provoking. The analysis is very rough, I admit. But I hope the message still comes through! 🙂 Peace!

BLIND MAN AND THE SUN

Short Story, by Su Shi (Su Dong Po) of the Song Dynasty

 

Once upon a time, there was a blind man who did not know what the Sun is. So he asks other people to explain.

One man said, “The Sun is shaped like a copper plate.” So the blind man banged on a copper plate, and listened to its clanging sound. Later when he heard the sound of a temple bell, he thought that must be the Sun.

Another man said, “The Sun gives out light just like a candle.” So the blind man picked up a candle to feel its shape. Later when he picked up a flute, he thought this must be the Sun.

And yet we know that the Sun is vastly different from a bell or a flute; but the blind man does not understand the differences, because he has never seen the Sun and only heard it described.

Analysis:

From the first intake, it would seem most fitting to approach this piece of literature using the Imitative Theory primarily, and the Affective theory secondarily.

Su’s use of the two characters can be immediately construed to mean more than their literal sense. What the Blind Man and the Sun represent exactly, however, would entail proper study of the exact timeframe when it was written and the state wherein the author was when he wrote it.

Taking from the personal background that is noted of the author, one can deduce that this short story is another expression of the values of that he stood for being raised and educated through his highly-educated mother and his town’s Taoist priest. Whatever are the values aimed to be addressed in the piece are surely addressed through the story of the blind man trying to grasp something that he had never seen.

A probable answer to the true identity of the Blind Man could be Wang Anshi, a political figure who, along with this faction, was the common subject of criticism by Su. Or could the Blind Man be an imitative depiction of himself, written during his time of exile and poverty in Huizhou/Huangzhou? Was this short story a depiction of an inner realization? It was in Huangzhou that Su had reached his literary zenith.

With all the questions, one lesson drives the whole story. Perhaps the ambiguity of the true identity of the Blind Man and the Sun was the intention Su had when he penned this story. Perhaps the author left the answer relatively limitless so that the lesson he tried to communicate would make a more effective impact to the heart of the reader. For the lesson answers the questions, “How do we expect to find something we cannot grasp? With our limitations, how must we approach the understanding of things?”

Literary Analysis 1: The Hundred Word Eulogy by Hongwu Emperor|T.O.A

A/N: Aye! Pretty busy, but World Literature gives me time to write! Our take-home exam was to make (beginner’s level, people) a critical analysis on 3 chinese literature of our choice. ‘Twas, alas, my first time to do an “analysis” based on literary theories that we were taught 😀 Enjoy (hopefully)!

THE HUNDRED-WORD EULOGY

By The Hongwu Emperor 

or Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋)

 

Chinese

至聖百字讃

乾坤初始

天籍注名

傳教大聖

降生西域

授受天經

三十部册

普化衆生

億兆君師

萬聖領袖

協助天運

保庇國民

五時祈祐

默祝太平

存心真主

加志窮民

拯救患難

洞徶幽冥

超拔靈魂

脱離罪業

仁覆天下

道冠古今

降邪歸一

教名清真

穆罕默德

至聖貴人

穆罕默德

清真北寺

English

Since the creation of the universe
God had already appointed his great faith-preaching man,
From the West he was born,
And received the holy scripture
And book made of 30 parts
To guide all creations,
Master of all rulers,
Leader of the holy ones,
With support from the Heavens,
To protect his nation,
With five daily prayers,
Silently hoping for peace,
His heart directed towards God,
Giving power to the poor,
Saving them from calamity,
Seeing through the Unseen,
Pulling the souls and the spirits away from all wrongdoings,
Mercy to the world,
Transversing to the ancient,
Majestic path vanquished away all evil,
His religion Pure and True,
Muhammad,
The Noble High One.

Analysis:

The most fitting approach to the analysis of this largely unknown yet relatively controversial literary is to examine it from the historical background wherein the author writes and from there, aim to deduce what he meant to express through the eulogy.

From Arabia to China, the fact that the Emperor (and said founder) of the Ming Dynasty would ever write about an Arab man, is astonishing at the outset. And even more striking would be the type of literature written- a eulogy, one of high praise, – which was dedicated to a man whose “culture” would be prejudged as the stark opposite of the author’s!

But after close inspection of what is again, largely unknown facts, the existence of such piece of literature isn’t all that surprising. Before the advent of the Hongwu Emperor’s reign, his life-story would explain the certain affinity communicated in between the lines of the eulogy. Zhu had been a member of a local rebel army that sought (and succeeded) to overthrow the preceding Yuan dynasty. Time and history can tell that years in struggle with “brothers in arms” forms unique bonds between men and transforms the beliefs and ideals of those involved. The Red Turbans, the rebel army to whom Zhu held position, was fusion of people holding different beliefs (from Confucianism down to Zoroastrianism, and most probably, Islam).

Surprising, indeed! Thinking of Chinese culture, one would be prejudiced that the only spiritual influence running through its people would be that of Buddha, Confucius or Lao Tzu. But the complete venture into the country’s history reveals a culture that was steadily enriched through years of influx of different beliefs and ideologies, inxcluding that of Judaism and Catholicism. The surprise is lessened if we remember a much more familiar historical fact, – the Silk Road, – that connected the East and West.

Combining these data together with the literature in focus what then, can we deduce? The complete answer might require a lengthier presentation than this.

From a superficial analysis, The Hundred Word Eulogy may attest to a more open and multicultural-embracing China, which could be evident during the Hongwu Emperor’s reign.

The eulogy could also be interpreted via the historical accounts of the Hongwu Emperor’s earlier life up until his experience with the Red Turban army. Perhaps there lies the beginning of the connection that the Zhu found with the “Arab desert man”*. And basing on what is quoted through history, it was a strong affinity that is most evidently and popularly expressed in the eulogy.

What is certain is that the outlook that the Hongwu Emperor held towards a historical figure is an absolute contradiction to what is commonly branded upon Muhammad nowadays-a barbarian, paedophile and tyrant. It makes one wonder: are we, of the current era, reading our history right? Or are we missing a huge piece of a puzzle?