Last holiday season we got invited by a family friend to a Christmas cantata at her church. After the wonderful evening of singing with a great choir and watching well produced skit plays we had a sumptuous dinner at the house of one of our close friends who were likewise invited to the event. What a great way to end a wonderful and memorable event for all of us. Memorable in the sense that beyond the usual perfunctory yuletide theme of peace it packed a message that surprisingly kindled a spark that lingered a bit longer, certainly longer than the exit from the car park 🙂 – let peace begin with me. With the tragedy of the massacre of the innocent children of Sandy Hook still fresh in our memories, how proper and fitting the message could be, as if shaking you up and saying – why don’t you do something ? Come to think of it, are we not sick and tired of all the gang wars, drug wars, religious wars and all the violence and senseless killings that never ever resolve anything ? And hey, I will not be arguing about control here. Where I live I can’t own a handgun unless I am a member of a gun club nor a rifle unless I have a license to hunt. These licenses aren’t rights but privileges subject to passing mandatory government safety courses and extensive background checks. I can only carry my handgun when I travel from my house to the gun club – nowhere else. I have no right to lug the gun around for self protection. Perhaps numbers could speak for itself. The metropolis where I live with a population of some 4M has less than 100 murders in a year. This could sound laughable, but my wife and my ex-wife (if I had any) will have to affix their signatures of approval on my application for a firearm license. Absence of such approval with result in rejection of the application.
Governments and religious fanatics who live for prophetic fulfillment are the main reasons why the killing continues. It somehow justifies their existence, of protecting people from the imaginary evil that supposedly lurks everywhere threatening to take over. Maybe our brains could overpower the machinery that perpetuates this paranoid thinking. Maybe we can focus on minding our own business, be less adversarial and be a bit more patient, tolerant of the simple mistakes of others. Maybe we could be less envious and hateful of the success of others. Maybe we should stop feeling too special demanding extra attention from others. Maybe we could tame our egos and start mingling with people and genuinely enjoy their company. If I start behaving this way, I could probably make my home and workplace a bit more peaceful 🙂
Here’s one man who started a simple handshake to an enemy of his country…
OK, let’s just say that all of us are gullible victims of information technology in that 8 out of 10 we don’t really need the gizmos and gadgets that we possess right now. It is nice to own a smart TV but it is not nice when you shell a grand for a middle of the pack model. The same goes with our personal computers and laptops. They become near dinosaurs in 3 years only to be packed in a balikbayan box and sent to a relative back in Pinas so we can justify buying a new one 🙂 . How many of us would love to lay his hands on a neat Windows 8 touch screen laptop these days but cringe at the high price. Well, there’s good news from the open system world. For 60 bucks or even less – if you chose to buy from China via Ebay and save on shipping charges- you could score an Android PC on a stick and beat the crap out of the smart TV and at the same time have a PC that could provide your basic computing needs – multi-media, browsing, email, document creation and decent gaming. Invest in a decent 20 inch HDMI monitor, a cheap 4 port USB hub, a webcam and you can build your own set top box that will allow you to do everything the PC does, including watching movies from online streaming services. Add a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to give yourself mobility to hop on your large screen HDTV in the living room and convert it into a super smart TV 🙂