Saturday, December 31, 2005

...and a Happy New Year

Hola! Xin nian kuai le! Een gelukkig Nieuwjaar voor iedereen! Feliz Año Nuevo!

It is true that January 1, 2006 is pretty much the same type of day as December 31, 2006. The sun rises, the sea roars, the rain falls, wars are fought, people feel and live and love – another glorious day of being alive. But I suppose what makes January 1 a special day is the demarcation of a new beginning – a mental mark of a physical day in which to make the difference to live a better life. For we all make mental resolutions to do better and to do good, we all want to feel that this is the year when beautiful things happen.

In the last year, the world has seen much change – but relative to 2000 years ago, it is still similar, isn’t it? The sun rises, the sea roars, the rain falls, wars are fought, people feel and live and love. So what could make that extra difference this year you ask? You know the answer… “you” of-course. Even if you believe in reincarnation, the form and means by which you exist today is singularly different from any other time, so you could make all the difference simply by existing in this today. It’s easy to forget that tomorrow is promised to no one – not to the king, not to the rich, not to the strong, not to the educated, not to saints or sinners – it’s just this today. I forget this all the time. I forget that “manyana” is just a hopeful illusion. Every year, I make resolutions, sometimes I even make the extra effort of buying a glossy journal to record my disciplinarian guidelines – and then I immerse myself in tomorrow and forget today. “Tomorrow is good, but making today great, will make my tomorrow even greater” – this is my New Year’s resolution. And given that different cultures embrace different days for their New Year’s, it gives me every reason to renew my promise to myself every day – at least in the interest of being a citizen of the world.

Philosophy aside – on reviewing the latest NSA security situations for my Securities class this coming semester, I have become most interested in the perspectives that otherwise elude my basic logic. Here are two editorial from two diametrically opposing editorial views:

Thank Heavens for democracy that allows people the basic right to live and think as they wish to (within the law)! But how exactly is democracy defined? And is there only one standard of democracy that can be applied throughout civilizations and cultures across the world? What about “when in Rome…”? Who is right, who is wrong? What is worth a single life? And what can compete with the raw emotions of humans; the anger, the happiness, the prejudices, the insecurities, the personal and professional agendas? Who knows – but should you consider that tomorrow is not promised to you – you may be inclined to live your best day, every day, and allow someone else the same privilege.

The best part of my 2005 was the pleasure to be in a free country like the United States – where freedom does reign. What I know for sure is that if the rest of the world were to know the ordinary citizens of the US, they would understand exactly why this is the greatest country in the world. In my travels, I have observed what I term as the “national identity” of different countries, defined not by the government philosophies, but by that which exudes from normal people. For the U.S., it’s “freedom” and “laughter” and “generosity of spirit” – it is true.

May this year, be your best year ever - with much happiness, laughter, joy, and achievement - and may beautiul things happen for you! Talking of beautiful things, the best team in the world, Manchester United, won 4-1 against Bolton Wanderers.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas...

...or should I have said "Happy Holidays"? Either way - good tidings, peace, prosperity and happiness upon all.

Here is my holiday card, captured by my trusty Treo camera phone (oh, you didn't know my New Year's resolution had been to become a famous photographer too?).

The picture is titled - wait for it - "Bridge". Indeed - bridging any proverbial gap of differences - for after all, it's a short life in such beautiful world. Till the New Year let me leave you with the quote that I read first thing every morning: "the world belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams". It's true - when your dreams and drive are big enough, you begin to see the world for all it's potential and erase any limiting man-made boundaries...

...the ocean is no boundary when we are under the same sky

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bold! Winston

"Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts."

Friday, October 7, 2005

The Math of Peace

The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize joint winners are announced: chief nuclear inspector, Mohamed El Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog agency he heads. And you were expecting Bono and Bob Gedolf - for their whole-hearted campaigns to end poverty in Africa – admit.

The recipients are surely worthy winners "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way". Indeed – Peace!

I hereby grant Bono and Gedolf the joint Nobel Poverty Award "for their efforts to prevent poverty from being used for military purposes and to ensure that poverty for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way".

There was one year when 3 politicians were awarded the joint Nobel Peace Prize …very peaceful politicians! By the principles of Discrete Math, the negation of the universal statement (all) must be an existential statement (one or some) - thus the negation of "all politicians are peaceful" is "there exists at least one who is not peaceful". It is easy to understand predicates in Discrete Maths - it takes only "one" to wipe away the "all".