Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Narcissus Butterfly

Dr Abe V Rotor 
If Narcissus is dead, 
why do butterflies visit the water?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Anecdote - Personal Art of Story Telling

Dr Abe V Rotor
The word anecdote means unpublished. True to its nature an anecdote is typically oral and ephemeral.

It is a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident. It is always based on real life, an incident involving actual persons, whether famous or not, in real places. It sets a stage of provocation, more than mere entertainment or narration.

US President Abraham Lincoln, father of the Anecdote (Photo Credit, Internet)

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as the father of the Anecdote. He used it effectively in his administration as president of the United States. And people today use the same technique on many occasions.

What make a good anecdote?

A. It is characterized by
• Witticism
• Humor
• Positivism and inspirational
• Informative and educational

B. It is a combination of these elements that make a good story, depending on the topics and application.
• As a speaker/ resource person
• Presiding in meetings and conferences
• Informal gatherings /parties
• Writing, news, features
• Broadcasting – radio and TV

C. Stories are used as tool in
• Driving a point indirectly and diplomatically
• Hitting the nail on the head, so to speak
• Friendly advice and reminder
• Admiring a person, institution or place
• Tapping a shoulder in words, kudos, congratulations

D. An anecdote is never
• Moralism (Even a homily should strive not to proselytize.)
• Criticism, especially on persons
• Bulgarism – discreet, dignified, unkind words are avoided.
• Familiarism – not all too familiar topics
• Fatalism – bato bato sa langit syndrome
• Propagandism – and not politicizing

Here's a popular anecdote about US President Abraham Lincoln after delivering his famous Gettysburg Address. As a background to the story, Edward Everett a popular elderly to his community was the first to deliver a very long speech before Lincoln delivered his very brief address.

This is how Quote Magazine describes the occasion in an anecdote.

Perhaps Edward Everett talked a bit too long at Gettysburg, but he was an old man then, by the standards of his day – within a few months of his seventieth birthday. And this was the culminating glory of a long career. But Everett was among those who perfected the classic qualities of the Lincoln address. In a note to the President the following day he said: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

With his customary graciousness President Lincoln replied: "In our respective parts yesterday, you could not have been excused to make a short address, or I a long one.”

Among the finest anecdotes in the world are those written by, or attributed to, the Father of Anecdotes, Abraham Lincoln. Here are selected anecdotes reflecting the character of this great leader, anecdotes that continue to influence the thinking and temperament of the world.

Went around it
Lincoln is reported to have said: “Some men are like the stump the old farmer has in his field – too hard to uproot, too knotty to split, and too wet and soggy to burn.” His neighbors asked him what he did about it. “Well, now, boys,” he answered. “I just plowed around it.” That’s a good thing to do with the obstacles that we encounter. (Thomas H. Warner, Church Management)

Presidential Polish
During the Civil War days a foreign minister to the United States was shocked when, on a call to the White House, he found President Lincoln shining his own shoes. He told the President that in his country it was not the custom of gentlemen to polish their own shoes.

With his customary resourcefulness and nimble wit, President Lincoln replied, “Then whose shoes do they polish?” (The Red Barrel)

Lincoln’s Enemy
Abraham Lincoln was questioned by one of his advisers as follows: “Mr. President, I cannot understand you. You treat your enemies with such kindness. It would seem to me that you should want to destroy them.”
“My dear fellow,” said the President. “I do destroy my enemy when I make him into a friend.” (Anonymous)

Musical President
Throughout his life, music was a solace to Lincoln. “His musical tastes,” says a biographer, “were simple and uncultivated, his choice being old airs, songs and ballads.” On one of his walks through Washington during the war, Lincoln passed a schoolhouse where children were singing. He took off his beaver hat and heard the song through, his face brightening the while.  Then he straightened up and walked off with a more elastic step. (Sunday Magazine)

Using Words Carefully
If the story of the Creation can be told in 400 words, if the Ten Commandments contain 297 words, if Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address was only 266 words, if an entire concept of freedom was set in the Declaration of Independence in about 1,300 words – it is up to some of us to use fewer words, and thus save the time energy, vitality, and nerves of those who must read or listen (Jerome P Fleishman)

Lenient Treatment
Lincoln was often the despair of his generals because of his lenient treatment of cases where soldiers were absent without leave.

“If the good Lord has given a man a cowardly pair of legs,” Lincoln reasoned, “it is hard to keep them from running away with him.”

“What made the deepest impression upon you?” inquired a friend one day, of Abraham Lincoln, “when you stood in the presence of the Falls of Niagara, the greatest of natural wonders?”

“The thing that struck me most forcibly when I saw the Falls,” Lincoln responded with characteristic deliberation, “was where in the world did all that water come from?”

Simple Abe
Abe Lincoln was a simple man with honest generous impulses. When he was a candidate for the legislature, it was the practice at that date in Illinois for two rival candidates to travel over the district together. The custom led to much good-natured raillery between them.

On one occasion he had driven out from Springfield in company with a political opponent to engage in joint debate. The carriage, it seems, belonged to his opponent. In addressing the gathering of farmers that met them, Lincoln was lavish in praise of the generosity of his friend.
“I am too poor to own a carriage,” he said, “but my friend has generously invited me to ride with him. I want you to vote for me if you will but if not then vote for my opponent, for he is a fine man.”

Roland Diller who was one of Lincoln’s neighbors in Springfield tells the following story:

“I was called to the door one day by the cries of children in the street, and there was Mr. Lincoln, striding by with two of his boys, both of whom were wailing aloud. “Why Mr. Lincoln, what’s the matter with the boys?” I asked. “Just what’s the matter with the whole world,” Lincoln replied.

“I’ve got three walnuts, and each wants two.”

Story telling is an art. Strive for the state-of-the-art of story telling - through anecdotes. ~

To reach your destination fast, go slow

Dr Abe V Rotor
A young man was driving a caleza (horse drawn cart) loaded with coconuts on a market day. “I’ll be late and won’t be able to sell all my coconuts,” he said to himself. 

Whereupon he saw an old man on the roadside, stopped and asked, “How I can reach the marketplace the soonest I can, Apo Lakay (old man)?”

A typical caleza, a popular means of transportation during the Spanish period.

The old man glanced at the loaded caleza, smiled and said, “Just go slow anak (child), and you will reach your destination.”

The young man thought he was talking to an ulyanin (a forgetful person). Actually he was asking something he did not have to ask in the first place. 

So he cracked the whip and his horse galloped even if the road was rough and rutted. The nuts kept falling along the way so that he had to stop now and then to pick them up.

The old man is  right after all.

This story is relevant to us living on the fast lane, and in keeping up with the Joneses, for that matter. I can only imagine how the simple folk philosopher would give us the same advice.~

Friday, June 23, 2017

We Brought Nature to a Forum

Dr Abe V Rotor

Author receives Plaque of Appreciation as speaker on Humanities and Sustainability from Ms Violeta M Bonilla, president DARE Foundation and Mr Naoya Nishiwaki, president of Panasonic Philippines, sponsor of the forum.

All smiles mark the culmination of the forum on Environment: Greening the land for sustainabilitity - opportunities and constraints at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman QC, 

Participants' profile represents media, education, local government, entertainment, students, agriculture  business, industry, environmentalists, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and various professions.  

Twenty Major Environmental Issues

By Dr. Abe V. Rotor

Wall Mural Tropical Rainforest by A V Rotor 2000

"The ultimate test of any civilization

Is not in its inventions and deeds;
But the endurance of Mother Nature
In keeping up with man’s endless needs.”
                                               AVR, Light in the Woods

No period in history has man influenced the environment as much as what he is doing today in pursuit of seemingly unending affluence. And instead of “tailoring his lifestyle to the environment” as what his ancestors did for centuries, he is modifying the environment in order to meet such affluence.

Environmental Issues

1. The environment has changed a lot in the last two hundred years since the start of industrialization, which is also the start of the modern age. The biggest effect to human health contributed by this era is widespread pollution. Pollution is the by-product of industrialization, and the scourge of modern living.

2. Pollution is no longer confined within geographic divisions of land, water and air - or in a particular country or region; it has grown into global proportion. The effect is worldwide in the form of global warming, causing more erratic climatic disturbances, thinning of the ozone layer, worsening effect of acid rain, among others. Pollution allergy cases arise directly from garbage, smoke from factories and vehicles, acid rain contact, sudden changes in temperature and humidity, ultraviolet rays near the ozone hole - and most specially from the gas-fed engine.

3. Modernization and the “good life” have brought about affluence, first to the industrialized countries, and later to countries which followed the same Western World model of development. People want goods and services beyond their actual need. Affluence - more than necessity - has greater impact on the environment in the form of depletion of natural resources and pollution. Affluence in the extreme is indeed a wasteful land destructive style of living.

4. The increase in population continues in geometric pattern, reaching 7 billion to date. At its present trend, another billion people will be added to the world’s population in the next 10 years or so. New settlements, bigger cities, increasing population density predispose people to various pathogens and allergens.

5. The general trend all over the world is exodus to urban centers. Metropolises and megapolises with 10 to 20 million people ensconced under crowded condition are not uncommon, with Tokyo, New York and Mexico City topping the list. Meantime villages grow into towns and towns into cities. The ratio of rural dwellers to city dwellers will soon reach equal proportion, and is likely to overtake the latter. People crowd in subdivisions, condominiums, malls, schools, churches, parks, in great numbers sharing common lifestyles and socio-economic conditions, thus predisposing them to common health problems and vulnerabilities, including disruptions of basic services (brownouts, water interruptions, and the like).

6. Destruction of the environment is a consequence of increasing population and affluence, leading not only to loss of productivity of farmlands, but also loss of farmlands to industry and settlements. This leads to the irreversible destruction of ecosystems like the lakes, rivers, forests, and coral reefs. Loss of health of the environment means loss of health of living things. And loss of environment is loss of life itself.

7. The ecosystems bear the brunt of development and progress. These are the sanctuaries of biological diversity, the natural abode of organisms assigned and organized in their respective niches. The ecosystems are organized into biomes, biomes into one biosphere. The ultimate cause of extinction of a species is in the destruction of its natural habitat. Man’s existence is highly dependent on a complex web of interrelationship with the members of the living world that by disturbing the integrity of this order will affect humans, and other living things as well.

8. Humans continue to invade the wildlife, and as the wildlife shrinks, the displaced species invade human habitats in return. Finding sanctuary in his home, backyards, farm, park and other places these species transmit deadly diseases like SARS, HIV-AIDS, Ebola, and Bird Flu, allergy notwithstanding.

9. The “Good Life” spawns obesity and other overweight conditions with millions of sufferers around the world. In the US one out of five persons is an obese. Obesity is a product of sedentary living and imbalance nutrition, and suspected to be viral. Victims suffer of various health problems, and the difficulty in getting adjusted to an active life style. Because of their conditions they are merely spectators, rather than participants, in games and other physical activities, thus exacerbating their pitiful condition.

10. “One-half of the world’s population has too little to eat, while the other half simply has too much,” as revealed in How the Other Half Dies, a book by a former UN expert, Susan George. The hungry and undernourished are mostly children, no less than 800 million of them living in Third World countries. For one who is hungry most of the time, it is difficult to diagnose the effects of hunger and physiologic imbalance from those of the accompanying symptoms of diseases and ailments. It is as if these symptoms were all welded into one.

11. Global warming is changing the face of the earth: shorelines push inland, islands sink, lowlands turn into swamps, while icecaps and glaciers disappear. As sea level rises there is need of relocation, and building new settlements. Adaptation is key to allergy resistance and immunity, but this is not possible overnight; it takes a lifetime if not generations to obtain. Indeed displacement of settlements and change in living conditions predispose people to ailments and allergies.

12. Globalization is taking place in practically all aspects of human endeavor – trade, commerce and industry, agriculture, the arts, education, politics, religion and the like. The world has shrunk, so to speak, as it travels on two feet: communications and transportation, Traveling from one place to another across latitudes and longitudes predispose one to unimaginable kinds of ailments, allergies, and discomforts. Permanence of domicile has given way to transience, to impermanence.

13. Homogenization involves pooling of genes through inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages resulting in various mestizos like Eurasian, Afro-Asian, Afro-American, Amerasian, and the like. Mélange of races results from East and West marriages. Biologically it is the native genes that provide organisms resistance to pests, diseases, and adverse conditions of the environment. Native genes lose their effectiveness when “thinned out” too far. In the process their gene pool narrows down and may ultimately disappear. Mestizos of subsequent generations are likely to lose such advantage.

14. Science and technology as the prime mover of progress and development has also brought doubt and fear to man’s future. The first breakthrough is the splitting of the atom that created the nuclear bomb, the second is the invention of the microchip which shrunk the globe into the size of a village, and the third, Genetic Engineering now enables man to tinker with life itself. Each invention or discovery bears heavily on the way man lives, beneficial or otherwise. Radiation related death still occurs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima 50 years after the bombing. The young generation spend more time with the computer and TV than with outdoor activities and with nature, Gene Therapy – curing gene-link diseases before they are expressed – is revolutionizing medicine. Naturally all these have repercussions on human health and welfare.

15. Revolutionary industries have been born out of these breakthroughs and related discoveries linking them with the business world and growing affluence, giving rise to in vitro fertilization or test tube babies, surrogate motherhood, Human Genome Project (HGP or gene mapping), multiple childbirth, DNA mapping, etc. The prototype human robot is born, and he is not defect-free. In fact he is more dependent on medicine, and could not possibly withstand the conditions of the natural environment the  way normal individuals do. Indeed he will lead a very dependent life.

15. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

16. Green Revolution has expanded to cover non-conventional frontiers, invading the seas, deserts, watersheds, highlands, and swamps. On the other hand it has began adopting a revolutionary approach through Genetic Engineering – that is, the splicing of genetic materials between and among organisms that may not be at all related, pooling traits as scientists deem desirable. Thus the introduction of GMOs and Frankenfood, which are now in the market. To augment limited farmlands, aerophonics (farming rooftops), hydroponics or soil less farming, urban greening, and organic farming, are being developed, as measures to bring nature closer to settlements, and augment urban food supply.

17. Agriculture today depends heavily on Post Harvest Technology. To bridge the production source with the consumption end, the farm and the market, is no easy task, especially with perishable goods. Thus the proliferation of processed goods, supermarket, and fast food chains, ready-to-eat packs, sophisticated culinary art. Many food additives and adjuncts are allergenic, from salitre in longganiza to pesticide residue in vegetables, MSG in noodles to Aspartame in fruit juice, formalin in fish to dioxin in plastics, antibiotic residues in meat, poultry and milk notwithstanding.

18. Modern medical science is responsible in reducing mortality and in increasing longevity. But it is also responsible for the many ills of today, from genetically linked abnormalities to senility related ailments. It made the exchange of organs and tissues through transplantation possible, and lately tissue cloning - which some scientists believe will make people live as long as 140 years. Bodies are ultra wealthy individuals lie in cryonics tanks waiting for science to discover the secret of resurrection. As a rule, evolution culls out the unfit members of a population to keep the gene pool healthy and strong. This is true to all organisms. Only man can influence his own evolution and that of other organisms, thus putting Darwinism in his hands.

19. Exploration has brought man into the fringes of Planet Earth: into the depth of the sea and beyond the expanse of the Solar System, ushering the birth of inner and outer space science, and preparation for interplanetary travel. Man is are learning to live outside of the confines of planet earth. He has succeeded in probing the bottom of the ocean, put up a city in space - the Skylab, and aiming at conquering another planet – a long distant goal of assuring the continuity of mankind after the demise of the earth.

20. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

*Part of paper, Humanities and Sustainability , Environmental Forum "Greening the land for ustainability: opportunities and coinstraints" UP Diliman October 17, 2012

Poem 1I asked God for More 

                                                          Dr Abe V Rotor

                 Virgin Forest: only 3 percent is left in the Philippines.

                             Requiem to a forest, Brooke's Point Palawan

I asked God for food, clothing and shelter
     and He showered me
these necessities I can not live without -
     they are the Earth's bounty;
I settled down on fertile hills and valleys
     and multiplied freely.

I asked God for power to boost my strength,
     and He gave me energy;
I leveled the mountains, dammed the rivers
     and conquered the sea;
raped the forests, prairies, lakes and estuaries,
     a world I wanted to be.

I asked God if I can be god, too, all knowing
     with my technology;
broke the sacred code of life and of matter,
     changed the Great Story;
annihilated life unfit in my own design,
     and set my own destiny.

I asked God if He is but a creation of the mind,
     and rose from my knee;
probed space, rounding up the universe,
     aiming at immortality;
bolder than ever, searching for another home,
     and wanting to be free. ~

Acknowledgment: Photos, Dr Julie Barcelona 

Poem 2: "Please, come, and I'll give Thee rest." 

Dr Abe V Rotor

Wall mural and pond, at home, by AVRotor 2010

The walls I painted hills and valleys and forests, 
    towering to the roof I painted blue, clouds rising, 
birds flying in flock to meet the rising sun, as fresh
    as the morning air, chirping sweet songs, circling;

And below a dozen pako fish wake in the golden 
    reflection of morning, eager for food and company;
I wonder if ever they feel the confines of a den,
    for I have faithfully copied Rousseau's scenery.  

Dream no more I said to myself, of Paradise Regained -
    It is here, in the very core of being next to the heart
and soul, this Phrygian landscape with touch of vane,
    the essence of contrition and amendment for my part.

For nothing is unforgivable, that Sin inherited by us
    from our ancestors - we're doomed, deprived of heaven
on earth. No! the gifts the Creator have been passed
    onward, and here I created a piece of that lost Eden.

Here I see God across the wall, and above my head,
    His harmonious creation over land, across the sea,
I am part of the cycle of life everyday, even in bed,
    as seasons come and go, here I feel always free.

When lakes and rivers dry, and the sky no longer blue;
    as cities grow, land fills with waste, air no longer fresh;
I pick my brush, say a prayer in color, shade and hue,
    Inviting my Creator, "Please come, and I'll give Thee rest." ~  

Home, Sweet Home by AV Rotor

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Humanities: Nature in Paintings (Part 1 - Scenes)

Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor 
Idyllic Farm Life, acryllic (36" x 60") 1996

Morning in the Woods, acrylic 2009

Fertile Valley, acrylic (36"x48") 1992

A Walk on Sacred Heart Novitiate Grounds, QC
On-the-spot painting, 2000

Flying Kite, acrylic (36" x 48") 1998

Old Boat Sitting on Reef, acrylic, 1990Tabon Cave by the Sea, Quezon, Palawan.
(11"x14") On-the-spot painting in oil 1986
Rock Pool, acrylic (11"x14")

Waterfalls in acrylic (36"x60") 1990

Tropical Rainforest Mural 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Commencement Address: Together we move towards a progressive tomorrow

Neither can we stop time by “holding the hands of the clock, nor conquer space by confining ourselves within walls.” Without exception we “pass this way but once.” - avr
Sabay-sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan

By Dr. Abercio V. Rotor, Ph.D.
 Guest of Honor and Speaker
   Grade 6 Graduation Ceremonies, April 7, 2017
San Vicente Integrated School, San Vicente Ilocos Sur

San Vicente Integrated School today as it was during my time some sixty four years ago - same building, same playground. Where has education changed and gone? One can only surmise what lies ahead of these school children. It is the duty of us, we who have spent the formative years of our lives in this school, to guide our younger brothers and sisters, our children, and grand children.
Many years ago I was sitting where you are right now – proud, hopeful, and filled with joy and inspiration. In my time, it was also graduation in this school, then San Vicente Central Elementary School. That was in 1953. How many years would that be since then?

While you are counting the number of years, let me tell you a story. It’s about Juan Tamad in Philippine folklore when he was young - probably of your age. One day a kindly gentleman, a balikbayan, found Juan loafing under a mango tree. After a friendly introduction the gentleman gave Juan an unsolicited piece of advice.

 “You see Johnny, when you go to school and finish your studies, you will meet  people and visit places here and abroad. You will find a good job.  And you will free yourself from the cares and worries of life.” The gentleman paused, waiting for a response.  But there was none.

So he continued “You will simply enjoy the leisure of life.” The balikbayan flashed a friendly smile, thinking he had driven well his point.

The simpleton momentarily stopped scratching the ground, looked at this new mentor and casually spoke. “And what do you think I’m doing now, Sir?"
Whatever happened to Juan Tamad is well known to us Filipinos for we have accepted him as a comic character, but in real life Juan Tamad and his kind ended up a failure.

The story has similarities with a story, Rip van Winkle, written by Washington Irving in the late 17th century.

Rip van Winkle was a very lazy person, a henpeck husband who left home and went up the mountain alone on a leisurely hunting adventure.  He did not return until twenty years later. He fell asleep for twenty long years!

When he found his way back to his village nobody recognized him. He was now very old and looked very strange with his old clothes and long beard.  He mentioned names they could not recall. Finally he asked the villagers, “Who am I?” as if he was still dreaming.  

Everything had changed, it was a new era. America was now an independent nation. Madam Winkle had long been gone. When he finally reached his old home that was virtually falling apart, he saw a young man idly scratching the ground with a stick.

“I am Rip Van Winkle!” The old man introduced himself.  Exasperated he cried “Can’t anyone recognize me?” He paused and took a closer at the young man, examining him from head to foot. He looked familiar. "Who are you?" he asked.

“I am Rip van Winkle,” came a wry answer. He was Rip van Winkle Junior.
Now let me continue my message to you.

Between 1953 and 2017 – that’s 64 long years -  the world has vastly and irreversibly changed, and in fact, in this span of time which included the second  part of the twentieth century considered as the industrial and modern age, and the beginning of this new millennium –  our world has been moving on a course different and momentum faster than at any time in history.  This is the kind of world you are going to set foot as you study further, and as you prepare for your career and future.

This is the challenge of the theme of your graduation: Sabay-sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan. (Let’s move together towards a progressive tomorrow.)

But what is graduation really?

Graduation is springtime.  It is metamorphosis. For you who are graduating today, it is the beginning of a voyage into a world that is uncertain and as rough as the sea itself.  

For me on my part, it is coming home from that world that you are going to seek. In Pilipino, “Patungo pa lang kayo, ako’y nakabalik na.” Like the biblical Prodigal Son I am back home to the arms of my father, our venerable patron saint, San Vicente Ferrer. There at the altar of his church is written, Ur-urayenka Anakko. (I am waiting for you my child.) Yes, I have come back to his longing and loving embrace.  

What have I to tell you about that world believed to be full of promises of fame, riches and pleasure? What’s really in store in that world I saw, and a part of it, for sixty-four long years?    

Let me tell you, it is not a comfortable one.  In fact it is a very serious world; it is on the other side of fantasyland in comics and movies. It is the real life and there is no other choice. It is not the kind of world associated with the folkloric  character, Juan Tamad, or the world of Rip van Winkle who woke up after twenty long years, a stranger to his home, neighbors, and even his own son.  

It is a postmodern world – a world of the future we seem to be living today.  Everything  is changing very fast, and we are adrift without defined direction and goal.  We seem to be living in extremes. In our search for true happiness we experience deep sorrow. Glorious victory and devastating defeat.  You will realize the value of time to move forward, and a time to retreat. A time to be with others and a time to be alone – to meditate and reflect before moving ahead again. Uncertainties lie at every crossroad, and you cannot simply stop at the middle. You must decide and move on. 

Neither can we stop time by “holding the hands of the clock, nor conquer space by confining ourselves within walls.” Without exception we “pass this way but once.”

In life, we pass this way in a hurry; we live on fast food, crave for instant products, instant relationships, and ride on fast transport moving from one place to another, yet always looking for freedom and a destiny. There is always that sense of urgency as if we are in a race, a race without a name. 

Which leads me to tell another story.

A young man was driving a caleza loaded with coconut (buko). “I’ll be late and I won’t be able to sell my coconuts,” he said to himself.  Whereupon he saw an old man on the roadside. He stopped and asked. “How can I reach the marketplace the soonest, Apo Lakay (old man)?”

The old man glanced at the fully loaded caleza, smiled and said, “Just go slow, Anak.”

“Crazy,” the young man muttered and cracked the whip sending his horse to gallop not minding the rough and rutted road  The nuts kept falling along the way so that he had to stop now and then to pick them up.

The old man was right after all.

Graduation just doesn’t send you off, much less if you think you are unprepared.  You have yet another phase of study ahead. Just don’t indulge in wistful thinking and careless haste. Stop worrying, look ahead and listen to your calling. Examine yourself not what people think of you, but what you can see in you - your potentials.  And remember there is always something you can be at your best, something over and above that of others. You have your forte. It is a gift the benevolent Creator has given you – even if you did not ask for it.

I refer you to the eight realms of Multiple Intelligence. It means the intelligence of a person is spread out in eight areas. No one is grossly judged or denied when it comes to mental faculty. As you grow up you will realize how gifted you are in certain realms that compensate for other realms you may not be as gifted. You will realize the interconnections of realms that compose your talents. In other words, talents are a combination of related realms.  And what is most surprising is that talent is not the sum or total contribution of such realms, but of their synergistic effect. Synergy is a mystery. To illustrate, if your right hand can carry fifty kilos and your left can carry another fifty kilos, you think your maximum carrying capacity is one hundred kilos?

Wrong. You can carry much more – with will and determination.  That is synergy which emanates from the human spirit.

Now what are these realms of intelligence?  As I enumerate them, rate yourselves - each one of you – accordingly to assess your own potentials.  Graduation is a time to assess your capabilities and know yourself before you pass through the gate of your school and face the realities of life.

Not in this order or sequence, the realms are: interpersonal (intelligence of human relationship), intrapersonal (intelligence of spirituality), kinesthetics (athletic intelligence), linguistics (intelligence of languages), dialectics or logic (intelligence of philosophy and mathematics), music (intelligence in auditory art), spatial  (intelligence in visual arts), and naturalism (intelligence of good relationship with the natural world).

Please always bear this in mind, there’s no normal person who is flatly denied of intelligence. “Walang tao na bobo,” pardon the word. “Meron lang mga bagay na mahina siya. “ On the other hand, there are areas he can excel. This is the law of compensation.  Build of this strength and strengthen those you are weak. And remember there are early bloomers and late bloomers. You may be closer on either side or in between these extremes.  And remember, there is nothing late as long as you live, as long as the sun rises and sets.  

Dr Jose Rizal, our national hero, is the epitome of multiple intelligence. He was prodigiously gifted. But the ultimate expression of such gifts was his deep commitment to a cause – a noble cause - for the good of his country and his people. Greatness is in dedicating our gift of intelligence to such purpose, not only for our own good, but more for the betterment of others. They call this virtue selflessness.  It is selflessness that we can best offer our prayer of thanksgiving to our benevolent Creator.

Allow me to tell a final story.  It’s about three workers. 

Three workers were engrossed doing their assigned tasks when Rajah Soliman, then king of Manila during the pre-Hispanic era, arrived at the construction site. He was so casual in attire that no one recognized him as the king. While inspecting the progress of his project he came upon three workers. After observing them for some time, he asked each one of them what he was doing.

The first worker said, “I am making a perfect block of stone to make a solid and strong wall.” The king nodded with a smile and commended the worker.

Then it was the turn of the second worker. “This is my source of living to support my family so we can live decently.” The king nodded and commended the worker.

Finally, it was the turn of the third worker. The king asked him the same question.

“I am building a fort.” he said with a sense of pride. The king nodded and smiled.

At the end of the day the king called for the third worker who answered, “I’m building a fort.” The king made him overseer of the whole project.

Guess what happened to the first and second worker?

The king called for them, too. He made the first worker architect of the project, and the second, head of the king’s household.

And they all live happily ever after. ~

Congratulations to you the graduates, your parents and teachers, and to all those who contributed to your success, and the success of this occasion. Last but not the least, congratulations Principal Beatriz Riotoc and staff of San Vicente Integrated School, my alma mater I will always love.

Letters to our children, first of a series

Before the computer age parents used to write their children intimately in their own handwriting.  With or without any particular occasion,  parent-children bonding is sealed in letters that express mutual love and respect, bring surprises and reminiscences.  Here is a letter written by parents to their 16-year old son studying in a Manila university. 

Dr Abe V Rotor

When you open and read this letter you shall be in uniform. seated comfortably with your classmates, your teacher giving instructions that you devote some precious minutes of concentration.  It shall be a moment out of 365 days, two-thirds you spend in school, and out of 17 to 25 years of schooling.  May this letter therefore, contribute to the significance of this occasion. 

Communication is vital in keeping the family closely knit .  There is no substitute to letter writing in spite of the popularity of the computer. 

You live in two different worlds.  One world is found in the school, the other outside its walls. The first is the ideal; the other is the real one.  One is kind and patient; the other cruel and demanding. One emphasizes principles and theory; the other practice.

One teaches you never to indulge in vices, the other even advertises vices.  In one you play the music by notes, in the other you play by ear.  In one you keep the trash in the waste bin; in the other, on the street. 

You find a homogeneous, fine company in school; outside is a heterogeneous society.  In one you hear the echo of your voice mixing with other voices in vibrant, happy sound; in the other, it dies in thin air, or in a crowd. Or it mixes with cries and moans.  You have the privilege of education; outside millions of children like you are deprived of this privilege.

For the coming years until you become 21 or so, you will be witnessing the daily drama of these two worlds, and you will realize their great disparity.  Do not allow yourself unprepared, more so to be caught between two rocks, so to speak. We have seen failure in those who waited for the dividing wall to dissolve, failure in those who crossed it too soon, and failure in those who became prisoners behind it.   

You are in your right direction and you pace is just right.  Just trust us to guide you.  Be as obedient as you are.  Be as industrious and sincere.  Be kind always to your sister and brother.  Study hard.  Keep faith in the Almighty and mankind.  Be healthy and strong.  Keep you chin up, even in defeat. 

You must prepare yourself early in life to adapt yourself to the outside world.  Do not be just a witness or spectator, be that actor on the stage of true life. Our responsibility to you, as well as your sister and brother, is not only one of that of a teacher.  As your father and mother, we will strive to help you cross the bridge more that the care of anyone or any institution.  We will strive to fill the gap in whatever way we can to make it less difficult for you to succeed.

May you find this special moment a time of reflection.  Remember to read this letter again when you are not in school, where the world is real.  Reflect on it once again.  Keep the message in you heart and mind as you walk through life's rosy and thorny path. 

You Papa and Mama 

Letter to Matthew Marlo, 16
July 15, 1997

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Romanticism; Undying Art Movement

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Serene, its perspective far and deep,
houses by the seashore asleep,  
red and roan fading into the distance; 
in harmony and balance.

Jean-François Millet - Gleaners - Google Art Project 2.jpg
The Gleaners painting by Jean Francois Millet 

Three women at sunset gleaning 
 at harvest's bidding, 
so with life before the end of day
   gleaning as we pray.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Fine Edge of Awareness

The Fine Edge of Awareness
Dr Abe V Rotor

Consciousness is biological and instinct, then the fine edge of awareness follows, and the young is introduced into the world of grownups. What lies ahead is a long journey through which life is lived, distinctly yet collectively, linking generations, and intertwined as one beautiful tapestry of humanity.
Taking time out on a holiday or vacation invigorates the body, tempers the mind and heart, nourishes the soul. Bonding keeps the family closely knit, yet it opens opportunities to grow with the community and the institutions.    
Nature and nurture are like horse-and-carriage in child development.  They are the  greatest teachers that make the difference as children become adults.  

bangkal tree serves as extension of a nearby church where the faithful participate in the holy mass.  

Awareness is like the light of dawn, emerging from the darkness of night, and little by little opens the curtain for the day's drama, revealing the characters who are none other but us. 

Awareness comes early and ends with the last breath, a womb-to-tomb phenomenon of life, taking no exception, unless by circumstance consciousness takes the wrong turn.

Awareness to a child is innocence imbibing the stimuli that the five senses perceive, whether these be desirable or not, for which reason the role of guardians is most vital.

Awareness builds knowledge, hones sensitivity and creates a sense of awe and wonder at creation, in order to know more about the world, and to accept those that cannot be explained. 

Awareness builds love in its countless expressions, from self to neighbor, family to community, ultimately to humanity and God - love that brings peace and unity in the world. 

Awareness is building lines of communication of understanding among people, and among creatures, the environment, the universe, through the power of the mind and sincerity of intention. 

Awareness is knowing the limits of man in his pursuit of happiness, power and glory, through his technology, more so in recognizing the impact - good or evil - of his pursuits.

Awareness is keeping the environment clean and orderly, preserving its pristine and balance state, by following the laws and rules of nature in whatever human activity.

Awareness is giving and share equitably, for "having too much means others have so little", greed the greatest sin, the root cause of war, the biggest denial to fellowmen and to God.          

Awareness is lending a hand unconditionally, taking the road less trodden and being a  Samaritan in one's own way, reaching out for the hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, and lonely. ~