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Archive for June, 2010

Simplicity in nature can be translated into simplicity in our daily lives.

The bamboo – its heart is empty.

It has become my friend.

The water – its heart is pure.

It has become my teacher.

by Po Lo-t’ien

Bamboo symbolizes humility and simplicity, and water purity. And I love the beauty and wisdom of this poem when I came across it recently.

Along the journey of life, I have met people who assess and treat you on what you are – your position, bank account or where you live. And, on the other side, there are those who, like the bamboo, reach out to you on your humanity, just as another person.

(pic: cepolina.com)

The bamboo’s way is tons better. I’ve found that when you approach others with an open mind, paradoxical as it sounds, this attitude brings both tranquility and adventure. When one has less material requirements  to “filter” or view an acquaintance or another individual, the simplicity brings with it a certain kind of relaxation. And at the same time, it enables you to get to know a wider range of people, which equals more fun.

Divesting the mind of material judgements and self-serving motives can be a tough task, but I believe it  is worth pursuing.

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Sticks and stones may break my bones...(Pic: AP)

Senator Jake Knotts seems to enjoy labeling people in a most distasteful way.

The  South Carolina state senator called a Republican gubernatorial candidate of Indian descent a “raghead”, on a political talk show. Then he went on to refer to Obama:

“We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.”

He later apologized, saying that his slurs were meant as a joke. Well, not many people are buying his explanation. Seanna Adcox of AP (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37518532/ns/us_news/) writes:

“Joke or not, his comments echoed some of the racially tinged attacks on Obama by far-right ideologues who question his U.S. citizenship or his Christianity, by noting his father was Kenyan and he lived as a boy in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.

“”Raghead” is a derogatory term used for people of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, or for Muslims, deriving from stereotypes about turbans and other national headwear.”

Knotts...lambasted for his remarks. (Pic:AP)

Sometimes, the mind boggles at the way some public officials conduct themselves. A holder of public office is expected to act with a certain decorum, and intelligence in public life.

Knotts’ defenders said that the senator is known for speaking his mind. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to speak your mind, or criticize, on policies and actions. But for a public official to call others, especially the President, by a racial slur is a new low.

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A sculpture of Shakespeare among the blooms. “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players;” (from As You Like It.)

Flashback: memorizing the Bard’s plays for exams.

The present: traipsing around in the Shakespeare Garden.

Wonderful experiences, both.

Learning to appreciate William Shakespeare’s poetic language, wit and wisdom was due, quite considerably, to the excellent literature teachers at my old high school, TKGS in Singapore.

And last weekend, I spent a light-hearted day visiting the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. It has several themed gardens including one inspired by the Bard.

The Shakespeare Garden is designed to look like an old English country scene. It features many plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare plays such as roses, poppies, violets, pansies and rosemary. A small plaque next to the plant displays the relevant quote or verse.

And thus I present scenes from the garden, and some favorite lines from Shakespeare’s plays.

"Speak low if you speak love." ( from Much Ado About Nothing.)

"I like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it." (from As You Like It.)

“This above all: to thine own self be true,..” (from Hamlet.)

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