Sunday, February 24, 2008

Square Watermelons

Lessons of the Square WATERMELONS

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how I would assume the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, "How can we provide one?" It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon..

The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn't nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn't assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.

This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

What does this have do with anything besides square watermelons? There are a few lessons that can you can take away from this story which help you in all parts of your life. Here are a few of them:

Don't Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things.

Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.

Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.

Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.

Impossibilities often aren't: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error.Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

*Just received this from email, Mom sent it. Thought it'd be good to share. Besides, it's a great lesson for all of us. Hahaha, SQUARE WATERMELONS!!! That's cool!

Friday, February 22, 2008

People Power Revolution Memories

Since today, 22 years ago, is the first day of the People Power Revolution, I would like to share the memories that has been left behind from the past events. Those who have this copy, I know you remember this. Here are the summary of events that took place in 1986, where the people from all walks of life gathered to cry out,

For the first time, poor Filipinos and rich Filipinos, Communists and Church leaders, classes which would never have associated in the past, gathered together in national unity and put their lives at stake to fight for a common cause.

Former President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law and the assassination of Marcos’ main opposition leader, Former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, sparked the beginnings of the revolution, but it was not until the fraudulence of the 1986 Philippine Presidential Elections was discovered, that the movement really began its momentum. This led to Mrs. Corazon Cojuanco-Aquino, wife of "Ninoy" assuming the presidency, while Ferdinand Marcos was made to leave the country.

The Year of Promise
This is the Declaration of Participation made, to legalize you had been part of the 
People Power Revolution of 1986.

Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino was assassinated at the airport right after his plane landed. He was to return after his exile for the Presidential Elections, but never had the chance. People gathered around the airport with their yellow shirts, and yellow ribbons and streamers tied all over the place. This symbolized the "Hope" of his return. This color continued to rest in the hearts of the people, to those who had endured the long waits and the battle against the government they had to bring down. The mother of this historical revolution is none other than, Former President Cory Aquino, who had touched the hearts of the people who cried, "Tama Na!"

Will "History Repeat Itself" today? Will we ever hear the cry of the people once more? Will tomorrow be a brighter, "
Yellow" day? Or is it just another day to be forgotten?

What is the importance of
democracy, when there is no freedom and peace? How long will the people find the right candidates to help build a better nation for all? Where do we start?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wala Nga Bang Kapayapaan?

Ang aking mga pangarap
Ang mga munting pagasa
Sa ikabubuti ng bayan
Para din sa kabataan
Di ko lang nga maintindihan
Kung ganito ba talaga
Ang buhay...
Ang buhay...

Dapat bang tayo'y magkaisa
Kung puro away lang nga talaga
Ano ba ang katotohanan
Sino ang may kasalanan
Di ko lang nga maintindihan
Kung ganito ba talaga
Ang buhay...
Ang buhay...

Sana naman magkasunduan
Tayo'y lahat naninirahan at namumuhay
Di na natapos ang katwiran
Puro na lang katiwalian at kaguluhan
Wala nga bang kapayapaan...wala nga...
Wala nga bang kapayapaan...wala nga...

Paano na ang ating kinabukasan
Lahat naman ay nagsisisihan
Sino nga ba ang karapat dapat
Mamahala ng ating bayan
Di ko lang nga maintindihan
Kung ganito ba talaga
Ang buhay...
Ang buhay...

Di na ako makapaniwala
Sa lahat ng nagkakasala
Pwede naman magkasunduan
Dapat lahat makinig ng tunay
Di ko lang nga maintindihan
Kung ganito ba talaga
Ang buhay...
Ang buhay...

Sana naman magkasunduan
Tayo'y lahat naninirahan at namumuhay
Di na natapos ang katwiran
Puro na lang katiwalian at kaguluhan
Wala nga bang kapayapaan...wala nga...
Wala nga bang kapayapaan...wala nga...

I wrote this just now, thinking of making a musical composition. I never thought it would be that easy to write a song. I guess when you are really inspired, everything goes smoothly. I hope this reaches the souls of those who feel the way I feel. Isn't it too much already? We should protect our minds from the poisons of greed, anger and delusion. We should actively protect the world from disasters and pollution and keep society free from violence.

What is the truth? Why do we keep ourselves from the goodness of living a good life, free from the guilty pleasures that molds the society that only adds lust, greed, dishonesty and war between people? Why must our children suffer any longer? Aren't we supposed to build a brighter future for them, instead of building up the problems that they will have to face in the later years to come?

Must we run, when we can walk?
Must we weep, when we can smile?
Must we hate, when we can love?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Response

This is a response that I have written to those who commented on my article, "Yet Another Controversy of a Crying Nation"

Greetings to
mschumey07 and A Simple Life!

I am very thankful for a wiser being like you to comment on my article,
"Yet Another Controversy of a Crying Nation". It is indeed helpful for me and for the youth to understand why things are they way they are, especially in the midst of this chaotic government we are supposed to look up to. Nobody really knows what is right when wrong is committed and otherwise. Everything seems the same, and as far as I know, "History IS Repeating Itself" and forever will be. Unless, we all accept "Change" and conceive "Change" as a "Good Thing", rather than a "Root of New Problems".

I, myself have experienced the
1986 People Power Revolution, at a tender age of 5. Yet, I remember everything that happened, and it still strikes me until today. Early morning of February 24, 1986, we were taken from my house to a safe place up north, when the clashes between the loyal government troops and the reformists began heating up right in front of my eyes. I remembered the "Huge" Tank that ran over the road we just played on and the roaring sounds of the "Tora Tora" planes flying above our house. My brothers, our little neighbors and I were playing at the garden when everything started to happen. I always have that "Deja Vu" whenever I watch those War Movies, when they pan on a neighborhood, alarmed by the coming of the war, where the children look up to see the fighter planes flying across the skies, and the mothers would take them inside the house for safety. In our case, we were all taken, the children and the women, inside the powder room in the ground floor of the house. Little did my dad know that my youngest brother, who has 11months then, was still outside in the garden. He came back with my brother and shut the door. We waited for some time, I think that must have been an hour, all stuck in the powder room, praying...praying...praying...

That was then...I remembered watching the news on TV instead of playing, being a 5 year old then, it should have been another fun day. Not that day, I watched as the people here and there, violently and peacefully together, praying and ranting at the same time, armed men marching helplessly and preparing for battle, the sounds of the bells of the churches and the roaring fighter beasts flying above the skies...those were crystal clear in my mind as I was annoyingly insisting for answers to my questions back then, and until today, I feel strong as it did back then, when 3 years before that, before my other brother was born in 1983, I saw in the newspaper, Senator Benigno Aquino was shot dead. I didn't know who that was, but I heard his name over and over again. I just saw the photo and I knew that was the same man I kept hearing and hearing...

Then I heard...
"People Power"

What is People Power, I thought...what did it mean? If this definition gives the meaning of it, then why, have we not felt it and why has the government let the voices fade away? Has it been 22 years since then?

People Power is true democratic power, providing the basis for all citizens to participate in governing ourselves.

I have yet to know what will happen, but I am aware of what might happen. What people don't know is that we all have power, it is only up to us how and why we use the power we have over the things around us.
I Advocate Change, only if it means to live in a brighter, dignified and peaceful world. Let's start with our country. Let's show the world that we are not a developing country anymore, but a country seeking its place where the good people are.

Thank you for shining your lights upon me. I have been blessed to see the world as it is and was given the chance to make it a better place where
UNITY and TRUTH crosses paths.

Dewi Magenta

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yet another Controversy of a crying Nation?

For the past weeks, my country, The Philippines, has been experiencing major setbacks that is making everything seem to be incredible and almost absurd! I'm not political, but in terms of voicing out my opinion, I am aware of my rights. As a citizen of a nation, one must be aware of the things around them, not only to the extent of my interests, but for the sake of others as well.

Here are the details of my story:

On February 5, 2008 at 4:40pm, a man named Rodolfo Noel I. Lozada, Jr. has step foot on Manila International Airport aboard Cathay Pacific Flight CX 919 from Hong Kong, only to be taken by men whom he didn't have any recollections of knowing. For travelers, we know that as soon as you get down from the plane, we usually go on que for Immigration to have our passports stamped upon arrival. Then we go claim our baggages and head for the Arrivals Exit to meet those who we know would be there to see us, like friends or family. That is the usual procedure, right?

This was not the case for the man I have mentioned. Upon his arrival, coming out of the tube where it connects the plane and the terminal,
5 men met him at the terminal. One of them carried his baggages (laptop and small suitcase), two men escorting him alongside, and two other men walking in front of him. This was shown on the CCTV camera of the airport. He was taken to a different route, other than what I have mentioned on arrival procedures. This man was taken to the Departure Area and down to the Tarmac, where only VIPs are taken. He was then escorted to a new group of men at the Tarmac and was made to ride a civilian car, a Toyota Altis, Plate UJJ 556. While this was happening, his family and friends were waiting at the Arrivals, but did not even see him. Apparently, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and the Senate Sgt.-at-Arms, was also there because he had a Senate Warrant of Arrest. This man, also called, Jun Lozada is the star witness on this controversial multimillion ZTE Broadband Deal between the government and China's ZTE Corporation, a case that has been sweeping up the newstands and on TV and Radio all over the country for the past year. The whistleblower of this controversy, Joey De Venecia, who testified in the Senate last year, came up to tell the whole nation that there are anomalies in the government. This year, Jun Lozada is set to reveal the mysteries that has yet to be unfold about the government.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

From the Tarmac, Jun Lozada was turned over to Senior Superintendent Paul Mascariñas, PSPO deputy director, and they took off, leaving the airport. This time on, started the so-called "abduction" that became a media frenzy, making Lozada's family worry to the point of filing a Writ of Amparo. The Media, the Senate, and all those concerned were up to their heads trying to locate the whereabouts of Jun Lozada. As reported, he was driven around the metropolis up to Los Banos, Laguna and back to Quezon City, because the Media was becoming "In Heat" already.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Here is the exclusive interview made by GMA7's Mike Enriquez on Jun Lozada's expose.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Upon watching the news, listening to the radio, and reading the newspapers for the past year, ever since this ZTE-NBN Controversy broke out, I have not taken any sides on any matter. I do not need to take sides, because what I want is the whole story. For people who are not aware of this controversy, you can also visit this site for more information:

In my opinion, as it should matter, I represent the voice of the youth. I believe that it is my responsibility to voice out what matters and what makes sense. What is my talent for, if I do not make use of it? So, I am starting to make sense out of what I have learned while growing up. Let me tell you stories from the past, the present, and the coming future, for it matters to be of great help not only to those you are close to, but also to those who have been trying to make our world a better place to live in.

Let's fight for our rights to speak! Let those who needs to speak up, SPEAK UP! It is the right of the Philippine Nation to know the truth. How else can we move on if we continue to overshadow the truth? Let's not make what is right, wrong and what is wrong, right...

Glitter Words

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Zen Koans

I have stumbled upon some Japanese parables called Koans, that I really like and these are a few of them. Koans are tools that Zen masters use to teach their students to break down the barriers to proper enlightenment. For soul searching, find what is best for you when things go otherwise. Be brave and stand up for your principles, because after all, you alone, is living your life...

My Heart Burns Like Fire
Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said:
"My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes."
He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life:
1) In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
2) Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.
3) Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.
4) Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
5) When an opportunity comes do not let it pass by, yet always think twice before acting.
6) Do not regret the past. Look to the future.
7) Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
8) Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

The Stingy Artist
Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting he always insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He was known as the "Stingy Artist." A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting.

"How much can you pay?" inquired Gessen. "Whatever you charge," replied the girl,
"but I want you to do the work in front of me." So on a certain day Gessen was called by the geisha. She was holding a feast for her patron. Gessen with fine brush work did the painting. When it was completed he asked the highest sum of his time. He received his pay. Then the geisha turned to her patron, saying:

"All this artist wants is money. His paintings are fine but his mind is dirty; money has caused it to become muddy. Drawn by such a filthy mind, his work is not fit to exhibit. It is just about good enough for one of my petticoats."

Removing her skirt, she then asked Gessen to do another picture on the back of her petticoat.

"How much will you pay?" asked Gessen.

"Oh, any amount," answered the girl. Gessen named a fancy price, painted the picture in the manner requested, and went away. It was learned later that Gessen had these reasons for desiring money. A ravaging famine often visited his province. The rich would not help the poor, so Gessen had a secret warehouse, unknown to anyone, which he kept filled with grain, prepared for those emergencies. From his village to the National Shrine the road was in very poor condition and many travelers suffered while traversing it. He desired to build a better road. His teacher had passed away without realizing his wish to build a temple, and Gessen wished to complete this temple for him. After Gessen had accomplished his three wishes he threw away his brushes and artist's materials and, retiring to the mountains, never painted again.

In The Hands Of Destiny
A great Japanese warrior named Nobunaga decided to attack the enemy although he had only one-tenth the number of men the opposition commanded. He knew that he would win, but his soldiers were in doubt. On the way he stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men:
"After I visit the shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, we will lose. Destiny holds us in her hand."
Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered a silent prayer. He came forth and tossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that they won their battle easily.

"No one can change the hand of destiny," his attendant told him after the battle.
"Indeed not," said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, with heads facing either way.

Zen Dialogue
Zen teachers train their young pupils to express themselves. Two Zen temples each had a child protégé. One child, going to obtain vegetables each morning, would meet the other on the way.

"Where are you going?" asked the one. "I am going wherever my feet go," the other responded.

This reply puzzled the first child who went to his teacher for help. "Tomorrow morning," the teacher told him, "when you meet that little fellow, ask him the same question. He will give you the same answer, and then you ask him: 'Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?' That will fix him."

The children met again the following morning. "Where are you going?" asked the first child. "I am going wherever the wind blows," answered the other. This again nonplussed the youngster, who took his defeat to the teacher.

"Ask him where he is going if there is no wind," suggested the teacher.

The next day the children met a third time. "Where are you going?" asked the first child. "I am going to the market to buy vegetables," the other replied.

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him.
"You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon.
"Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."