Sunday, September 30, 2007

Everyone has a prejudiced thought

I covered a sort of People's Power--small-town Antioch-style, with about 350 people in attendance. What struck me was the diversity of our community that I was not really aware of until now.

Jewish, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, were only some of the religious organizations that came out to show support for the recent "hate-crimes" in the county. The Muslim mosque was burned down and vandalized, an African-American family's home was ransacked and a deaf man was attacked.

It was poignant to see the community get together in support. Many walked side-by-side, making new friends, expanding their horizons. Many have said, "An attack of one faith is an attack of all faiths." Check out the article here and don't forget to check out the slide show. Photos by my friend , Richard Wisdom.

Tolerating diversity is one thing. But truly ridding our hearts of prejudice is another.

I remember getting into the way of a road rager. He called me a "dumb ass." I shouted back "pig" because he was fat. (But my husband is well, kinda overweight). And that lady in the grocery store, who scolded me, without even asking for an explanation. When I tried to explain, she told me "talk to the hand." I called her "Ugly" among other things in Tagalog and challenged her to take the fight outside in the parking lot. And the gay person who put me down so he could take the credit at work? Well, you can imagine what I called him. . .And yet, one of my closest friends is gay.

And I realized, we all have our own prejudices. Really, we do. Search deep down and you will find it--appearance, weight, race, religion, adoption, second wives, sexual preference, intellectual capacity, and even employment status can be used against you.

So I'm thinking, getting along with the diverse people in America is still a veneer. From the outside, we are polite, tolerant, even kind. But when they step on our rights or insult us, don't we fight back with racist or prejudiced comments all at once?

Senator Tom Torlakson was right when, at the rally, he said, we are taught these prejudices. We have to show our children to treat each other equally, with respect and love.

Even when they put you down or insult you. . .

Sign up anonymously and tell me your prejudices.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Getting Ready for Peace

Statistics are out in the East County. Out of the 118,000 population in Antioch, 30% are Caucasian, 30% Hispanic, 23% are African American, 6% are Filipino, 5% are Asian, 5% are others.

A couple of hate crimes have happened in the East County. The Muslim mosque was deliberately set on fire and a family in Brentwood found their home ransacked and spray-painted with hate messages. Lately, a group of deaf teens were attacked.

As a response to all these, the East County United Group and the Interfaith Peace Project got together to stage a rally on September 23, to promote peace and tolerance.

Read the article here.

As Interfatih Peace Project representative June Kirk said, "I think peace begins at home. We need to come together as a community in love and support and tolerance for one another.

If you believe in peace, join the rally tomorrow. See the article for details.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thoughts Become Things

photo from Linguist Wannabe (

Have you read The Secret yet?

I have read it cover to cover last month and now, I am reading it again. Sometimes, I read a book many times, finding that every time I read it, I find something else.

The Secret taught me about the Law of Attraction--that you attract into your life what you think about, positively or negatively. If you think that you will never make it, you won't. If you think you will not become rich with the work you do, you won't.

So we writers say, "No one gets rich writing." Is it a shock that I am not rich now?

We should always think about the things we like to attract them like a magnet.

"Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones. . ."

I am examining my life. I reflect about everything I have right now and The Secret could be right.

When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher (done that), a stewardess (done that) and to have my own family (doing that). I wished with all my heart that I could have happy, healthy, loving children that I will prioritize over a career (done that). And so, though sometimes, being married and raising 5 of them is hard, I make decisions everyday to reinforce my dream family.

And I am having it now. I am grateful and on my knees that I have what is important to me right now, walang labis, kulang ng konti in the financial side.

At this point, I see myself retiring in Tagaytay. I knew that when it took me 3 years to pay for a small lot there. Where we will get the money to build, I don't know. But then again, I didn't know where the money came for the lot either. But the money came.

The Law of Attraction says that the money came because I thought of retiring there and worked towards it. The Universe opens the windows of opportunity for all of us to get what we want. Kinda like in the movie, the Matrix-- guiding Neo away from the agents. So when they say you are in the right place at the right time, the law is in action. The Universe shows you the way, gives you the resources, and the introduces you to the right people to guide you towards your path.

In our last day-off, my friend, N, and I discussed The Secret. We know that there is One Source that always was, always will be. And it makes sense that this Source is abundant and generous, that it shouldn't be a shame to ask.

And though we kinda know the theories behind the new mindset, living them out is another story.

We realize that there are many things to unlearn. For my part, I should unlearn to avoid richness and saying that I have money because somehow, when I was young, I learned that being too rich is bad, specially if you did not work hard for it. So when I had money, I hid it (still do).

I have to learn that money is good, specially if you could use it to share or serve. . .

I have to unlearn that being the best you can be is not being boastful or arrogant. You can do your best and still remain humble. I have to accept that I have the potential to make a lot of money and go for it.

Though I am very blessed, I find that it is quite difficult to unlearn the things I am afraid of. And these fears limit me.

Let me try to wish for a cruise for me and my kids. I didn't dare wish for it because other people might think it is frivolous. I want to learn who the "other people" are. They are the faceless critics I hear in my head--sometimes it's an aunt, sometimes a grandmother, sometimes a bad experience with a rich classmate in high school. I am also sure that if good and abundant things come to me, they will not feel bad. It is all in my head!

I also didn't dare wish for the cruise because it might come true. I realize that I was afraid of it. Until I heard the story of a family who went on a cruise and gained memories to last a lifetime.

What are your thoughts? Have they become things?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lighting Up the World

Rolex Laureate 2002 award-winning electrical engineer Dave Irvine-Halliday is a man with a mission: bringing light to homes, schools, and temples throughout the developing world.

In 1997, at a colleague’s invitation, electrical engineer Dave Irvine-Halliday spent his sabbatical leave from Canada’s University of Calgary in Nepal, helping the University of Tribhuvan in Kathmandu launch its electrical engineering degree.

(David Irvine-Halliday)

While there, he took a side trip into the heart of the Himalayas, on a trek along the Annapurna Circuit. Along the way, he visited a small village where he noticed that children were forced to study in the dark—or more likely, were not able to study at all—after the sun went down because there was no electricity.

Irvine-Halliday saw the light in his mission. If you were his wife, would you allow him to pour your family’s entire life savings, and the maximum limit on three credit cards into an organization that would Light Up the World?

Yes! Apparently, you would!

Working from his lab at the University of Calgary, he devised a plan for bringing low-cost lighting to villages without any reliable power supply: He would create energy with a pedal-powered generator, a hydro generator, or solar panels, then run lines into homes and connect them to low-energy (LED)lamps. In 1999, Irvine-Halliday went back to Nepal with his wife and one of his two grown sons to try out his idea. It worked.

By the end of 2001, Irvine-Halliday’s rechargeable, battery-powered, white LED cluster lamps were illuminating more than 700 homes, schools and other community buildings in remote villages in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.

Today’s high-brilliance, white LED lamps can light a Nepalese village of 60 households consuming the same amount of energy as a single 100-watt light bulb in a Canadian home.

Light Up The World is not only donating light to the very poorest, but is also promoting job creation and assuring long-term viability for the project.Irvine-Halliday founded, financed, and turned-over Pico Power Nepal, a LED manufacturing firm, to Nepalese locals to ensure its sustainability and to generate employment and income in the area.

The average "one-time" cost of equipping a home with lighting is set to fall below $40. Not to mention the environmental benefits the system has versus the 300 million batteries discarded in Nepal each year, makes for truly a brighter alternative.

Light from kerosene lamps is poor, inefficient and unsafe. Toxic fumes inhaled because of close proximity to the lamp cause respiratory illness. Kerosene lamps also cause many fire catastrophes, burning both homes and bodies.
Check out the countries Light Up the World Foundation has impacted here.

Irvine-Halliday defines his success in his interview:

"I suppose success is when the 2 billion people in the world presently without any electricity of any sort actually have some form of safe, healthy, and affordable lighting. . .Light the Wolrd has refocused my life. I am turning 60 and this, without a doubt, is the next chapter in my life."

How can we change the world today?