Stories from Japan Disaster – Part 1

March 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

A friend relayed to me this touching story:

By chance, a group of volunteers encountered a young boy whose parents were killed in the tsunami. His father was on his way to pick him up from school when the tsunami hit. The young boy personally witnessed his dad’s car being slowly swept away by the killer wave, but was unable to do anything about it. He had not heard from either of his parents since.

For someone who had probably lost both parents in the tsunami, the young boy appeared incredibly calm though sadness was clearly visible. He was asked by the volunteers if he had anything to eat; he politely answered “no”. Hearing this, a kind person gave him some food to eat. After thanking the person, the young boy immediately went to the nearby shelter and gave the food to the aid workers there. He then went to the back of the line, awaiting his turn to receive a share.

Even in such a dire circumstance, this unfortunate boy demonstrated courage and unselfishness. This is the essence of the Japanese culture, and is something to be admired. More stories in the coming days.

Japan will rise again!

March 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami over the weekend. Hearing this news makes me a little sad, as I have always had a special connection with the Japanese culture and people. In fact, I have written extensively about the country here in this blog and elsewhere. Although it may seem gloomy for Japan at the moment, I have no doubt that the country will recover from this. It should be noted that there have not been even a single report of LOOTING or ANARCHY since the incident. This is in total contrast to what occurred following other recent disasters like the Haiti Earthquake and even Katrina. This shows us that the Japanese are strong and proud people who will rise up from the ashes to rebuild their country. Pray for Japan.

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

November 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Gratitude is one of the natural characteristics that keep the human race to together. Without it, human relations and societies will cease to exist. Consequently, even the most heartless person realizes a need for reciprocity; even the most selfish person understands the importance of gratitude. On this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to express my thanks and best wishes to all my loyal readers. God Bless!

In Brief: Youthful Persistence

December 4, 2009 § 3 Comments

A 68-year old South Korean woman recently passed the written exam for a driver’s license after 949 failed attempts. After hearing this news story, I am pondering a move to South Korea. Here in America, you are likely to be given a free pass after about 10 tries. But I am too principled to accept such.
~~~

In Focus: Sky City 1000

August 27, 2009 § 3 Comments

Would you like to live in such a city? I wouldn’t.

Video Credits: Observadora78

~~~~~

A Soldier’s Story

August 8, 2009 § 12 Comments

soldier.jpg

My uncle once told me–to put on a military uniform is to lose half of your ego. I have always found this to be true. Even though I am by no means a face reader, I have never failed to spot a military man or woman from even the thickest of crowds. There is something so disciplined and self-effacing about military people that sets them apart from non-military folks. I suspect all the cruel trainings these people are subjected to might have had something to do with it.

One thing I do know for sure is that military people are the bravest men and women a country has to offer. No one is more willing to sacrifice for his country than a soldier is. No one would put himself in the line of fire to protect his comrades, and to make way for them to move forward like a soldier would. Soldiers are indeed born of a different breed.

~~~~~

Ethan came from a long line of black berets. Both his grandfather and father died while fighting valiantly for their country. For 18 years, his mother had single-handedly raised Ethan and his two sisters. To feed her kids and pay for their education, she had worked as a seamstress, a waitress, a carpenter, a gardener, a nurse, and countless other jobs. Despite the hardships, no one had ever heard her complaining. She was a remarkable woman, people said.

Ethan and his mother had a very special bond. He once promised her that he would take care of the whole family when he grew up. He wanted to be the man of the house, just like his father was. After Ethan graduated from college, he shocked his whole family when he announced his plan to join the army to become a black beret. His announcement was greeted with dissents by his sisters. His mother, on the other hand, remained silent. As much as she didn’t want him to join the military, she understood the military blood that flowed within him. She did not want to keep him back.

A new war had started. Ethan’s unit was sent to the fiercest of the battlefields–an ocean away from home. During that same year, his mother suffered a serious illness; she passed away after 2 weeks in intensive care. Knowing how much Ethan’s mother meant to him, his sisters requested the military to grant him a special leave so he could attend his mother’s funeral. The request was granted, but Ethan declined to take the leave.

Ethan’s decision to stay with his units rather than to return for his mother’s funeral confounded his sisters. They tried to think of an excuse for his refusal but couldn’t.

On the day of the funeral, a special letter from Ethan was delivered to the family. When his sisters read the letter, they were sobbed with tears. But their tears didn’t come out of sadness; they were the products of joy.

“Mom, you know how much I love you. There is nothing I want more at this moment than to stand beside your grave to bid you a final farewell. However, every one of my comrades has a home they long to return and loved ones they would love to see again. I couldn’t bear returning to the luxury of home & comfort of loved ones, and leave my comrades behind in the heat of battles. Mom, please forgive me. You have always taught me to be a conscientious man. I shall not let you down.”

Ethan was killed by enemy fire 5 weeks later. He died in the arms of his comrades. Even as he was dying, he held tightly in his hand a photo of his family and wouldn’t let go. He was indeed a conscientious man.

[Simon N.]

~~~~~

Kindness is Payable

September 20, 2008 § 6 Comments

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vintage 02/2008

From the dawn of civilization, reciprocity has always been one of the gold standards of human relations. If you lend someone a favor, it is socially expected that he or she will repay you back in one way or another. The repaying, however, does not always have to be proportionate to the giving.

In recent times, the art of reciprocity has become no less a science. People have grown to be very hesitant about showing their kindness to others. They often bargain favors for reasonable returns. On the other hand, history has shown us that lending someone a hand without expecting anything in return may actually result in much bigger and better gains.

One famous instance of pure altruism took place during the Warring States period in China. At the time, there was a man named Han Xin. Even when he was still a child, Han was hailed by many as a strategic prodigy. By the age of five, he had already defeated all the local masters of GO. By seven, he was sought for military advices by generals and princes. Unfortunately, he would encounter a series of misfortunes in the years after which eventually reduced him to poverty. He was forced to leave his homeland, and subsequently became a wandering beggar.

During his wandering, he was often bullied and beaten by bystanders. Even little kids would throw stones at him and mock him in unimaginable ways. One winter, Han suffered an acute illness. Just when he was about to die from both the illness and hunger, an old lady who happened to pass by where he was took pity on him. She took him in, fed him, and had a doctor checking on him. The nice woman even gave Han some money so he could start a new life.

She did all that without knowing who he was or what he was capable of. Little that she knew, this seemingly insignificant man would later become China’s most celebrated general. The first thing Han Xin did after achieving success was to visit the old woman and handsomely repaid her for her kindness.

Another famous instance took place during the early days of the Mongolian invasion of Europe. When the Mongolians attacked the outskirts of Europe, many people fled from their homes and sought refuge in nearby towns and cities. Unfortunately, many cities refused to take them in for fear that it would drain valuable resources and increase the level of lawlessness. One Polish city, on the other hand, embraced the refugees. The refugees were fed and their needs were accommodated.

When the ferocious Mongol Horde started to move in and attack the inner areas of Europe, many cities were annihilated. To repay the gracious hospitality and kindness shown to them by the people of the aforementioned city, most of the refugees decided to stay put and even volunteered to be on the front line protecting the city. After several months of fruitless besieging, the Mongolians decided to withdraw their troops and left the city alone.

~Simon N.

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