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.
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.
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!
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.
August 27, 2009 § 3 Comments
Would you like to live in such a city? I wouldn’t.
Video Credits: Observadora78
September 20, 2008 § 6 Comments
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.
September 18, 2008 § 11 Comments
Imagine a world without inventions and innovation. What a scare thought! Inventions are a critical component of the human progress. They keep us moving forward and improve the scope and magnitude of our lives. The two earliest inventions were fire and the wheel. Incredibly, these two things are still very much relevant today.
Personal computer and the World Wide Web are two recent examples of modern inventions. You would not be able to read this post without them. Of course, there are numerous other important inventions and innovation. Some help improve our lives; others take them away. This begs the following questions:
Which invention(s) do you believe to be the most important? Which one is your personal favorite? Which one is the most dangerous?