Sunday, June 23, 2013

Failure of humanity in Syria: What shall our world's important leaders ought to be doing very soon but failed?

Humanity has failed in Syria. Its civil war has produced what is to be considered gross violations of human rights on a massive scale: rape, innocent children unlawfully slain or tortured including women, hospital patients, medical personnel, cannibalism, and many more acts of savagery. Our world’s important leaders should have intervened immediately by finding a solution towards peace and stability in that country instead of giving aid for either side to further fuel up the fire. The civil war in Syria, which is now on its second year of intense fighting between the rebel forces who identified themselves as the FSA (Free Syrian Army) and dictator Assad’s government troops, has already taken an estimated 100,000 lives and counting, mostly of which are civilians consisting of women and innocent children, should be one that is not only considered as the most bloody in recent memory, but also brutal. It once again resurrected the barbaric side a human being is capable of transforming himself into, becoming one to possess the qualities only applicable to the Dark Ages of human existence.

A civil war, by its very nature, is an internal conflict which can be attributed to the cleansing of a nation by its very own people. But the Syrian civil war, as it unfolded, has become a proxy war for any parties with personal interests or hidden agendas in mind taking a slice of what was the need to get involve. The result: Syria became the battleground for mercenary fighters from both sides as well as a testing ground for the effectiveness of the newly acquired armaments as aids from allies. The civilian populations, as often the case in any wars, are the ones to be directly hit and affected and we could only see how they would submerge helplessly to endure such an infliction when something could have been done to save them from utter destruction.

The battlefield will have to formulate a complicated sense of equation by which to carefully weigh where, for the world’s powerful countries, to take side with. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has already expressed support for Assad’s opposition by planning to stage an air strike against his troops and by supplying arms to the rebels to help topple down the regime. Such a move by NATO should have gained criticisms from countries at war with terrorists and terrorism. The FSA (Free Syrian Army) rebel group, as reported, has some of its fighters linked up to Al Quaida--a terrorist group founded by Bin Ladin while Assad’s dictatorship has the backing of its Russian ally, as well as Iran and the Hezbollah fighters of Lebanon.

The United States of America should be the main draw to this in such a way that it could influence big time, whether to bring these two quarreling parties in the negotiating table or as the game-changer thrown into the equation to whichever it wishes to side with, to what Syria’s future should look like as the world observes. But Uncle Sam’s reluctance to engage yet in Syria has found a many a think tank to speculate hard and deep on this. Why was the delay in intervening when it has been very supportive in its other campaigns to break down regimes to pave way for the emerging new democracies in some of the Middle Eastern countries as well as in the Northern African country of Libya?

The United States, as the picture goes out, has been caught between two great walls. It can’t validate its support for the rebels since the rebels have been linked to a terrorist group Al Quaida and it would appear to the eyes of the whole world that America is not sincere in its war against terrorism should it publicly side with them. Meanwhile, Syria is one of Iran’s most important allies in the region and to help Assad to stay in power is no other than helping one of America’s enemies--Iran. But who knows the U.S. has already worked out secretly on this through its notorious CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). Israel’s entrance in the Syrian war could only make the whole scenario looking bad and as far more complicated, giving peace a very narrow chance to be attained at this time.

There will be more fighting, vengeance, hatred, cruelties, barbarism, and innocent lives to be lost in the Syrian civil war that went ugliest. I hope this will not make it as a build-up for World War III because there is a great chance it will lead up to that. The fire has been fanned from all directions but we, as citizens of this world, could still do something to keep it from escalating any further. Humanity has failed in Syria and our important world leaders, who are supposed to intervene and give peace a chance so as to make this world a better place in which to live, have been reduced to just mere hypocrites for this.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some tips on helping you become the best writer that you could be

Yes, that could be true. You could be a good writer than you think. But you have to believe in yourself first that you can. Forget about that favorite novel you are so much obsessed of reading or that favorite writer you wish to become someday. What you’re going to do now is to just focus on yourself and write the way you can.

You don’t have to struggle with writing, but make it your servant instead of a master. If you find it hard to start writing about just anything, then stop doing it in the first place and be productive in some things other than that. I’m not saying you must quit writing once and for all but it must be that you only have to make a break for a while and then make a huge comeback. I’m suggesting this because, from my own experience, it is always better to write when there is that free flowing of thoughts dictating your every longing for words to be written than to try to push hard on something you would only have difficulty knowing what to write about.

One best technique is for you to keep a small notebook that you must take with you wherever you may go. Then write all the best random of thoughts and ideas you have gathered throughout the day in your small notebook. You will be surprised to find out that after a few weeks or so your notebook is slowly becoming running out of space as it is filled with lots of what you need to write about.  Fortunately, nowadays, technology has made it all easier for us to store notes and messages through smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets with a much larger storage capacity. Anyways, this is how you’re going to do it:

  • Pick up the phrases and some keywords that would best support for your selected topic or subject and write them down on a separate sheet of paper. Juxtapose one phrase from the other until they match perfectly well.

  • Supplement it with as many a word you can add to the subject. Sometimes, ideas just suddenly pop up when you read something close to what you would like to expound about.

  • Edit. When editing your work, it is best to make it as simple as possible. You have to simplify everything in order for your readers to easily absorb of what it is you’re trying to convey about.

  • Relax. Drink a cup of coffee or two as you read and reread the finished product of your own work. You must remember that you’re dealing with the joy of writing and not the burden of it.

  • Although some people are exceptional writers while others could just simply express about their thoughts and emotions through the written words easily and a many more could not even start to write a single sentence for a particular topic, we have to consider the fact that writing is a gift inherent in everyone. There is that writer in each one of us waiting to be freed out.  You could be a good writer than you think. You only have to believe in yourself that you can. 

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    A gift for myself


    If time, as they say, is the best gift we could give to someone and vice versa, I am more curious to know what is that best of gifts we could as well give to ourselves. Of course, and for sure, it will be a subject of debate to many and may vary from person to person as each one of us has his or her own personal preference or opinion for what he or she thinks is the "best" that he or she could possibly give to his or her own self. Whatever it is, let’s leave it at that. But I wrote this article because this coming June 21st I will be turning 35 years old and I was thinking about what kind of gifts I would like to give myself on my natal day. So the story is going to revolve around me for that particular time of my life, not anyone else's.

    Having learned from what I will often hear about the best of gifts that should come from small packages and even in disguises, I think I already had an idea about what should be that kind of thing I’m going to soon receive for myself. While this life that I’m living, a gift as it already was to consider, has blessed me with lots of wonderful things as well as to give back what I can to it, yet nothing challenges me more than the idea of giving me something which I know is the best that I can give myself. Can you guess what is it?

    It should be the Gift of Love. Love is the lifeblood in everything that seeks for a meaningful experience through the appreciation of the goodness of a thing. It also implies action because I’m going to “seek” for that meaningful experience myself to make it happen.  It is through this appreciation of the goodness of a thing that something will abundantly flow from my source of what is a selfless giving towards my subject. It is naturally very generous and unconditional. 

    So whatever it is I’m going to do and give for anything and for any time, as long as there’s love in it, is the best gift I can give for myself. I’ll be turning 35 come June 21st so another year will be added into my life but, believe me, it’s just a number. I can always be the young at heart I would like to be. Wish me Happy Birthday anyway! Are you wrapping the gifts yet?

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Some thoughts on fatherhood

    Fatherhood, for me, is a special task that can expose both the worst and the best character of a man. And as we celebrate Father’s Day today to honor all the dads in the world, allow me to share to you some insights about how it’s going to become a good father--something I never quite understood from my father then until I became a dad myself. What does, after all, it takes to become a good dad?

    He's not going to be perfect though, of course, because we all know there's no such thing as it is. But some dads managed to make it pretty close at it and that’s very good. A good dad knows what's best for his children and makes all the difference in their lives. He makes sure he always had something good to impart to his children and shows to them the value of even the most little of things. He might be a disciplinarian or not, but what's important is that he takes into consideration that his children are human beings capable of making mistakes as a part of growing up. He instead encourages them to make up for these mistakes but also warn that a repetition of the same mistakes all over again will have to meet exact punishment.

    A good father knows when to apply discipline. He must be one with a good sense of humor, honest, committed, trustworthy, a lover, compassionate, open-minded, God-fearing, and most of all has time for his family. When it comes to family matters, the gift of time is valued more than anything else.

    A good father accepts about the fact that he can’t always fit his children into his mold as every child is unique and has different character traits and talents. A good father should not expect for his children to live the same kind of life that he does and to do the same kind of work.

    Fatherhood is such that will make our children to trust, love, and respect the adults of their lives. It is also, above all, to illustrate the importance of affection for a dad to love the mother of his children. To all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day especially to papa Rudy, brother Jun, and me.

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Signs of Times: Triangulating our spot in prophecy

    War. Famine. Greediness. Wickedness of man. Rape. Hatred. Flood. Earthquake. Murder. Poverty. Immorality. These are just some of the negative things that will headline every newspaper of the present time. Of course, we could find good news, too, but the bad ones, being the majority, often won the limelight to become the newsmakers. But have you ever wondered why these things are happening? Why the world has become so strange now and some people are becoming so indifferent? Did it ever cross your mind what causes all these? I think I have found the answer to all of these questions in the Holy Bible. We are living under the spell of a prophecy and to be able to know what it is being prophesied about us and our times is to understand why all of these things that are happening today happened.

    While history records past events, people, and their civilizations, prophecy foretells of things yet to come. Knowing what happened in the past and to trace back our origins is just great but to know what lies ahead or where we are heading is, for me, a very important thing to consider. So where are we now in prophecy? It all began and revealed by God through Daniel about King Nebuchadnezar’s dreaming of a human statue for what all of Babylon’s wise men at that time failed to interpret. The story about King Nebuchadnezar’s dream and of Daniel’s interpretation of such a dream could be read/found in Daniel chapter 2 verses 1 to 47:

    "1. In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.
    2. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king,
    3. he said to them, "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means."
    4. Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it."
    5. The king replied to the astrologers, "This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.
    6. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me."
    7. Once more they replied, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it."
    8. Then the king answered, "I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided:
    9. If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me."
    10. The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.
    11. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."
    12. This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.
    13. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
    14. When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.
    15. He asked the king's officer, "Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?" Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel.
    16. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
    17. Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
    18. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
    19. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven
    20. and said: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.
    21. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
    22. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
    23. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
    24. Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him."
    25. Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means."
    26. The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"
    27. Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,
    28. but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
    29. "As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.
    30. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
    31. "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue--an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
    32. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
    33. its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
    34. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
    35. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
    36. "This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.
    37. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;
    38. in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
    39. "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.
    40. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.
    41. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.
    42. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.
    43. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
    44. "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
    45. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."
    46. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him.
    47. The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

    The Book of Daniel in chapter 12: 4 also gave us a striking hint about the future which is today, considering technological advancement and the continuing quest to improve it: “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”

    In the days of Jesus, he also warned us in the book of Matthew 24: 5-7, about the present times that we’re now in, to be like this: 5”For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diver’s places.”

    The Holy Bible contains the Words of God. It should serve as our manual on how we should function according to the purpose that He wants us to be. He wants us all to “voluntarily” submit ourselves to Him, in a total surrender, and allow Him to be in full control of our lives. But He wants in such a way that, by our own will, we should choose Him that’s why He has given us the freedom (“Free Will”) to choose which way to go. The physical world that we are living today may come to an end, as it was prophesied long ago, but the Words of God should stay.

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    115th Philippine Independence Day: What shall our own history is going to teach us?

    Although it was short-lived, the Philippines made it to become Asia’s first republic. It was proclaimed at the balcony of General Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral house in Kawit, Cavite in the afternoon of June 12, 1898, so ending Spain’s almost 400 years of colonial rule. The Philippine flag, for the first time, lay unfurled and waved in the air, accompanied by bands playing the Marcha Nacional Filipina composed by Julian Felipe, a music teacher and composer who was appointed by Aguinaldo to lead the National Band of the First Philippine Republic, which later on became the Philippine’s national anthem.

    At the height of Philippine Revolution fought between Spanish authorities in the Philippines and the Filipino insurgents in the year 1896 to 1898, Aguinaldo went on a voluntary exile to Hongkong in compliance with what he has signed on December 14, 1897 known as The Pact of Biak-na-Bato which was a truce created between Spanish Colonial Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera and him to end the Philippine Revolution by giving him (Aguinaldo) and his fellow revolutionaries amnesty and monetary indemnity by the Spanish Government. He later on used the money to purchase firearms instead. Upon his return from exile in 1898, the truce signed between Filipino revolutionary fighters and Spaniards at Biak-na-Bato no longer observed and kept.

    The ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the Malolos Congress on September 29, 1898 and the framing of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899 should be forever remembered in Philippine history for such achievements. The Malolos Congress, by the way, was the constituent assembly of the First Philippine Republic.  The Constitution, aimed to protect the people (with individual and national registry rights) against the abuse of power, was written right after the American Navy's total annihilation of the Spanish flotilla in what was known as the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American war. Both the United States of America and Spain failed to consider an independent rule of the emerging revolutionary government led by Aguinaldo. Under the Treaty of Paris in the year 1898, which ended the Spanish-American war, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. The Philippines has yet to struggle for independence against another colonial power--the United States of America. Filipino-American war broke out in 1899 until 1902.

    America's colonial mission for the Philippines should be defined as one of tutelage and to prepare the country for eventual independence. But it may also be for some important reasons:

    • The American leaders during that time were so much concerned about the Filipino people’s incapability of a self-rule government, that in the process they also feared about the fact that if they would not take control of the islands another powerful country might do so.


      • The Americans during that time expressed a great desire for commercial opportunities in Asia by which the Philippines, being just strategically located, could offer best for that purpose and later on, they realized, could also serve well militarily. 


      • Some prominent figures in American politics during that time who supported  American Imperialism believed that it was the duty of the “White race” to govern the inferior races of people by bringing them the joys of civilization.


      • Many Americans during that time believed it would be just right for America to annex the Philippines and that it would be good for both countries.

      • Before the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, Commonwealth of the Philippines was formed with Manuel L. Quezon as president. After half a century of waiting, the United States of America finally granted the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946, becoming the first country in the world to have gained independence after World War II. It was not until the late Diosdado Macapagal’s presidency that the observance for Philippine Independence was moved back to the original June 12, 1898 date and that the July 4 date instead has since become the Philippine-American Friendship Day.

        Philippine Independence, which was first echoed by our noble ancestors who fought against Spanish colonizers and later on against American imperialists, must have proven the capacity of the Filipino to exercise his right to freedom, self-determination, and sense of nationalism. The struggles, sacrifices, and courage of our great men paving the way for the birth of our nation, should be such that we must not forget because, as a nation and a people, we have duties to fulfill and obligations to answer. One of such duties is to preserve, maintain, and keep active the right to liberty of every citizen towards nation building, unity, and prosperity.

        Our quest for “independence” did not end with the Western colonizers now all gone and neither have we totally attained it. There is another breed of oppression springing from within one’s own: A Filipino enslaving his countrymen and women. The divide-and-rule tactics and other dirty tricks of the past colonizers can still be seen and, in fact, applied today, substituted/transfused into what some, if not most, of our politicians/oligarchs becoming masters of such a craft.

        Celebrating the birth of our nation, for some, if not most, of the Filipino people of today, is nothing more than just a misguided sense of nationalism and somehow reduced to as just, as what columnist Randy David in his June 11, 2010 column of the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “On our nation’s birthday” puts it, “a vehicle for the realization of popular aspirations. It has since shed much of its progressive function. Today it mostly finds expression in pop markers of national identity--patriotic logos on T-shirts, caps, watches, bags, and bandannas, etc.--than in sustained efforts to develop our country and people, build on our cultural heritage, and map the future of our nation in a complex and uncertain world.”

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