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


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.]


Poetry: In Exile

May 12, 2009 § 16 Comments

My homeland
Is where the river groans,
And where the tall grass dance,
And where the cricket chirps,
In the night,
Bringing about a douse of mixed feelings.

My homeland
Is where the rooster crows,
And where the piglets oink,
And where young ducks wobble,
In blistering winds,
Hardening up the heart and soul.


If you happen upon my land,
Do me a favor
And tell the river to stop mourning,
Because better days are ahead.

If you encounter the old faithful oak,
Offer him a little hug
And spare him a tickle or two.

If you pass by the field of crops,
Don’t forget to take a short respite
To smell the sweet tomatoes
And fragrant rice.

If you come across a wooden house,
Sandwiched between the coconut trees,
Gently awake him from his long slumber
And tell him to prepare for his master’s return–someday.

If you meet the people,
Returning home after a long day at work,
Tell them to cease their longing
And live outside the shadow of unhappiness
And sorrows.

Oh Stranger! Why life has to be so depressed,
So unfair, so full of conflicts?
Oh Stranger! Will my last wish ever be fulfilled?

Where Am I?

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