Monday, May 28, 2007

For The Record V

I have been away for quite a while in attending my personal matters. During this period, events have unfolded and developed, while settings have reset and altered. The facade of our humanity's realm shines ever brightly with a vibrant and exciting colour. The world is indeed changing constantly.

My last post of this title was on 6 February, 2007. To pick myself up from where I had stopped, I read and burrowed through the clippings of on-line news frantically, typing in keywords and searching for matters I have faint memory of. From Indonesia's disasters, Philippines' elections, France's inauguration of new President to Sino-Japan relationships and developments, I struggled to keep my self and soul close to what has happened and happening still. Along the way I was blessed with good fortune to learn more than I wish to look for.

18 February, 2007 - At 5.00 local time Tornado hit Gondokusuman, Umbulharjo, Danurejan and Pakualaman Subdistrict, Yogyakarta Municipality, Yogyakarta Province. Heavy rains and tornado caused building damage and population displacement. It is estimated that at least 1100 households are damaged. The highest number of damaged houses is found in Gondokusuman (742 units), Umbulharjo (165 units), Danurejan (139 units) and Pakualaman (20 units). Metrological reports predict further rainfalls in coming days. It is estimated that disaster caused injury to 49 people, no death case reported. All victims have obtained medical treatment at the nearest hospital.

1 March, 2007 - Ramush Haradinaj (seen here with his wife Anita), a rebel commander who turned to politics and later to become Kosovo's Prime Minister for 100 days before being indicted by UN prosecutors in 2005, pleaded not guilty at the international war crimes tribunal to multiple charges of involvement in the murder, rape and torture of Serbs and suspected Serb collaborators in the province's 1998-99 war.

9 April, 2007 - Election-related violence continues to rise in the Philippines, just over a month before congressional and local elections. Authorities say four poll-related incidents, including a bomb attack, have occurred in the last week. The Philippine National Police have reported 46 poll-related violent incidents in the country since January, when campaigning started for the May elections. A bomb attack occurred in Lanao del Norte province in the south on Easter Sunday, where seven people were injured, mostly supporters of the province's Governor. Two people were killed in another poll-related incident in the northern province of Isabela, also on Easter Sunday. The fatalities included a relative of a mayoral candidate. A candidate for governor in the north and a local election officer in the western province of Palawan were shot and killed in separate incidents during the week.

12 April, 2007 - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the establishment of a mechanism of high-level economic dialogue, in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On the same day the Chinese Premier delivered a speech in the Japanese Diet, drawing references from numerous historial episodes to reiterate one single point: the wish for a long-lasting friendship between the two countries, and the many generations that are to come.

16 April, 2007 - At about 7.15 a.m., gunman Cho Seung-Hui, a Korean student of Virginia Tech, walked into a dorm and opened fire, killing two students. Two hours later, he re-appeared and shot up a classroom across campus, killing 32 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. On the same day The gunman committed suicide, bringing the death toll to 33.

4 May, 2007 - Scottish National Party (SNP) has broken Labour's eight-year dominance of the Scottish Parliament when it emerged from the 2 May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local government elections with 47 seats, one more than its rival The Labours. The Tories ended up with 17, the Lib Dems with 16 and the Greens two. A new political setting was forming at the horizon of The Scotlands.

16 May, 2007 - Nicolas Sarkozy was officially invested as France's new president following a handover ceremony with outgoing head of state Jacques Chirac at the Elysee palace. The 52-year-old right-winger was ceremonially proclaimed France's 23rd president by the head of the Constitutional Council after a private meeting with Chirac, the 74 year-old President who has been in power for 12 years. The results of the May 6 election marked the end of the battle between this former Interior Minister and head of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), and Socialist Segolene Royal, who the former promised a radical economic and social change.

23 May, 2007 - The charity Barnardo's has warned that nearly one in three of Welsh children are living in poverty, occasionally going without food or heating. Its research found numbers had fallen from 33% to 28% in the last five years, but was 2% lower than the UK average. Despite the fall in the number of children living in poverty, the charity says Wales has seen an increase in the proportion of working households living below the poverty line.

Hannah Erickson, a mother from Cardiff, has an 11-month-old baby called Dylan. After paying all her bills, she is left with around £10 a week to cover clothes for herself and her baby, bus fares and other essentials. During the winter, she did not have enough money to heat her flat. "Because it was so cold I had to put £20 a week in the gas, and it ran out, so I went without gas for three days," she said. "It made me feel very, very bad because I couldn't provide the gas for him (Dylan) when he needed it."

Entangled in the recent Wales elections and political maneuvers that saw the Labours securing a minority identity of 26 out of the 60 seats, and the opposition parties contemplating a coalition to force them out, the future of these mothers and children hang dreadfully by the hands of these politicians, engrossed and absorbed in the usual ugly power-struggles of a short-lived, temporal political joy.

25 May, 2007 - North Korea fired several short-range missiles on Friday, but the United States and its Asian allies said the launches were part of normal military drills and would not affect talks on Pyongyang's nuclear arms program.

27 May, 2007 - Top diplomats from 46 countries in Asia and Europe meet in Germany from Monday for talks ranging from the Darfur conflict and the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises to global warming. The eighth Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers comes after new French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that major international issues cannot be resolved without the cooperation of China. China is the leading customer for Sudanese oil and sells arms to the Khartoum government, which is accused of supporting Arab militia in Darfur in a brutal campaign against non-Arabs which the UN says has left 200,000 dead and two million displaced.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Mentor - Daisaku Ikeda

My mentor is a great human. I would like to state this first before penning down any other matters of him.

My mentor is born in a seaweed-producing family. In short he is a commoner. Due to the social circumstances brought on by the World War II, he did not have the opportunity to enter a University. However, fate brought him to meet his mentor in life - Josei Toda, the second President of the organisation Soka Gakkai, where he learnt almost everything from him. Topics ranging from astronomy, economics, maths, chemistry, philosophies, comparative studies, politics, laws, Japan's and the world's histories, arts and literature of the various major civilisations. In his own words, he learnt "98% of what he knows" from his mentor.

My mentor has a mind as clear as the blue sky. He has a heart as encompassing as the ocean, and he has a life-condition as vast as the universe. In all of his 40 over years as a peace activisit and humanist, he has not stopped for a single day in promoting a culture of peace and dialogue - something the world was not interested in when he began his journey way back in 1975. Some scholars then had held talks and discussions with him, but for the world to seek out his thoughts and views in hope for an immovable and dignified path of life, it took him this hard-fought 30 years to revert this seemingly-irreversible tide of humanity's spiritual decadence.

On one hand he had to fight the political persecutions he came face to face within Japan, when he took over Mr. Josei Toda to become the 3rd President (of the Soka Gakkai) in 1960, while on the other he had to withstand the attacks from within the organisation itself - many were prepared to bring him down and out of the organisation, out of jealousy and misunderstandings, and eyeing on that prestigious presidency they attacked him without reservation.

In the midst of these, he had to speak and pray patiently yet fervently behind the scene, for his precious innocent members who took up faith for the very simple reason of wanting to be happy, to be strong and awakened to their true missions in life. This was the hardest of all - to awaken the deluded with one's words and actions to their true purpose in life, while withstanding ungrounded persecutions and vicious attacks.

The foundation was laid in Japan in a span of 15 years. Then in 1975 he wrote the significant one word - 'World', under the 'Citizenship' column when registering the 'Soka Gakkai International' which he founded. That identity holds monumental brilliance in his life - it speaks for oneself the enlightened condition one single great life that is born into this world, and for the world as well. Till this very end, this identity has never waned or faded for a single moment. Year by year, month by month, where tides ebbed and seasons changed, my mentor has single-mindedly permeated his very entire life through and through with this one single thought of laying down his life for the purpose of establishing a world free from pain and suffering, absence of hatred and hurt, and away from human cries and tormenting weepings. In a word, he wants an ocean of clear conscience and sunrays of philosophical enlightenment to engulf the entire blue planet. My mentor has never sought an alternative in this life-and-death pursuit; never would he want to accomplish anything else less.

In a nutshell, he has shown the world how a human should behave. On the other hand, he has also shown the world how humanity should live. This, in all levels, is a life-draining task for anyone to undertake. It is an almost superhuman task by itself. My mentor loves humanity dearly. Nothing gives him more pleasure than to see one human being, rising from the muddy pond of suffering and misery, to blossom and spring up with joy, basking in the warm sunshine with laughter and happiness. He has indeed given his all to what he has set out and fought for.

On 7 October 2006, my mentor accepted his 200th designations of honorary doctorates, professorships and equivalent honours:- Though the world may not rejoice at his accomplishment, I will state here that he shall be remembered for generations and generations, eras and eras, and many aeons to come. His name shall rang aloud, just like the gigantic bronze bells of the Rome's cathedrals that toil its ringings far and wide. His name shall be engraved in the hearts of millions, and his legacy as a human being, wholesome and authentic, shall be carved on the annals of the human history. He truly is a 'world-honoured' individual.

I have a great mentor. What I must do now is self-evident. From here I shall begin a new journey. An inner journey of struggles, victories, defeats and fulfillment. As the wind blows and howls, one disciple perseveres on.