Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"It has always been a dream of mine to play for my country in the Olympics and I plan on coming back with a gold medal.” Anthony Carmelo, member of the US National Basketball Team to the 2004 Olympics

In the Olympics, the US basketball team lost to unheralded Puerto Rico with a stunning 92-73 score. The underdogs definitely humiliated the highly favored "Dream" Team, which has a collective player's income of $100 million. How the mighty have fallen.

Channel 4 of course showed the game one day delayed. And not surprisingly, the not-so-live telecast had oodles of commercials. The ratio of commercial was almost ten ads for every two basketball possessions. Absurd! What a way to bamboozle the viewers.

Friday, August 13, 2004

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." Eric Liddell, as played by Ian Charlson, from the movie "Chariots of Fire"

Read in paper that Filipino athletes will receive eight million pesos each if they win gold in the Athens 2004 Olympics. I am not against a policy granting incentives to people for excelling in their respective fields of interest. But what is sad is that there seems to be a lot of cash to give after the event, but there seems to be no support in preparing them to compete. It is just like leaving a child to study on his own, sans books and references, then promising him a present if he gets high grades in school. How pathetic!

It is even much sadder how it seems to appear that in order for us to achieve, we would resort to "dangling" money to our athletes. Whatever happened to the so called "Olympic spirit?" When competing in the Olympic games meant glory and honor for one's country? Or is there no such thing?

Well, it is also amusing to note that even in the early age of the ancient Olympic games, politics and commercialism was already present. There was this story from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/spirit.html of an athlete from Crete, who then represented Ephesus the next festival.

This is what the site says:
Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own" a line from the song Blue Moon

Read on paper this morning: A blue moon will occur on August 30.

A blue moon is the extra full moon, or the 13th instead of only 12 full moons in a year. The blue moon is considered to be the second full moon in a calendar month.

Astronomers say that two full moons in one month may occur in any month except February, which is shorter than the lunar cycle.

Monday, August 09, 2004

"To subdue the enemy without fighting, that is supreme excellence." from the Art of War by Sun Tzu

This may already be a bit stale. But I guess I just had to let it out of my system after reading a similar opinion about the decision of Philippine government to pull out its 51-man team from Iraq in exchange for the release of Filipino hostage Angelo de la Cruz from his terrorist captors.

By now, we all know that Angelo de la Cruz is already released by the terrorists. He has returned home to his town in Pampanga. It is all water under the bridge now. The result has been successful for the Arroyo administration and for Angelo de la Cruz, but I still tend to agree with the opinion that we should not have given in to the terrorists' demands (although it would be unfortunate to the family of Angelo de la Cruz) and pulled back the Filipino troops. I cannot imagine how difficult it might be for Gloria Arroyo to decide. Because whatever decision she may have would have a negative consequence on her administration, and her image.

When does one favor sympathy over a national interest? How does one choose between the life of a single man against the security of a country? By giving in to the demands of terrorism, didn't we just "negotiate" with them? No-negotiation was a policy which this administration has for a long time stood for.

I wonder, how would other countries trust us when we have betrayed an agreement we have entered into?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

“I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.” Aunt May from the movie 'Spiderman 2'

To give up the thing that we want the most must be a very difficult choice. What could substitute such a thing that we should be willing to give it up? There are instances that we do not have any choice at all. And oftentimes, what are taken are the things that we want the most. What do we do then? Shall we blame God, or fate or fortune?

I believe that we should face reality, that tragedy happens. So that when the inevitable comes, we are at least prepared to confront it head on.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I notice "Christians" with the same rough attitude, if not worst, than those who are “non-believers.” The sad thing about it is when we brush it aside, if not totally ignore it, because we are already "forgiven." Isn't there still such a thing as ethics? And doesn't ethics apply to Christianity as well? Or is it just "morals" that Christians should be on guard with?

What is sadder is when we show double standards with these. What do I mean? There are instances that we show compassion towards other people, but contempt towards our brothers. We often hear our pastors talk about words such as love, grace and mercy. But words such as gentleness, humility, kindness are often also emphasized. Are these even neglected? Should we show these attitude only to those whom we "share" the gospel to, and the opposite to fellow believers?

Perhaps it is because we take for granted our brothers. Since we know that fellow believers would understand us when we are not careful with our actions, it may already be a license for abuse. We might think that "since I and my brother both know the love, and mercy of Christ, he will already understand me if I will be less careful and show my rude side." But what if we're wrong and they won’t understand?

Monday, July 26, 2004

"People need stories more than bread itself. They tell us how to live, and why." - the storyteller from Hallmark's Arabian Nights

This morning, instead of listening to the Pastor preach on a Sunday, I decided to attend the Sunday school. The Sunday school was located in a rented movie house. I sat there watching about a hundred kids, toddlers to their near teens, listening keenly to a teacher. She was enthusiastically telling her “teletubby” version of bible stories. She keeps repeating words over and over again to put emphasis on the lessons. From time to time, she mentions words like “grace” and “mercy”, which was foreign to me until I was in my high school.

During a lull, the children started going around in their own way. Some of them were running to and fro, inside and around the theater. Others were crawling behind the seats, trying to hide from their teacher and from other kids as if it would mean their life or death if found. Some just sat there, eating cookies, completely detached from what is happening around them.

Similary, adults often act in almost the same manner, completely frenzied, mostly nonchalant about the trouble going around in society. We thread on our own, indifferent about others, for as long as we have our “cookies.”

We live in a disarrayed society we try so hard to control. This sometimes result in an orderly or organized chaos, or to put in the other way around, in a chaotic order. Perhaps our only difference from them is our years of existence? The dangerous and sad thing about it is when we commit the mistake of equating age to maturity.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life." - Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

What a long day it was. In the morning, we had to practice songs for the church service tomorrow. By afternoon, we had to practice for the choir's songs for the anniversarry on August. By the early weeks of August, we shall have to practice daily, after office in order to learn the songs. To serve is costly. And that cost sometimes bring people into conflict against their own schedule and against relationship towards others. The ministry, although it has its so called "glamour" certainly requires devotion of one's time. And when someone is unable to manage his time, that is when conflict comes in... and the pressure and tension builds up.

It is quite ironic that in a christian ministry devoted to music, it is so difficult to get people into harmony.