Friday, August 1, 2014

The Thinker: What is he telling us?

Dr Abe V Rotor
1. We think clearly about a problem.
2. We think of all possible solutions.
3. We accept the best and act upon it.

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, famous French sculptor. 

Suppose we don't arrive at anything concrete? The problem persists, there is no clear solution, what shall we do?

We forget the problem, temporarily, if it defies solution. 
The servo-mechanism within us will do the job for us subconsciously by utilizing the ingredients of our past successes. (M Maltz)

12 Ways to Enhance your Personality

Dedicated to the late Jesus T Tanchanco, former minister and administrator, National Food Authority (1971-1986)

Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Live in the present. Live today. 

2. Forget the mistakes of yesterday. Yesterday has gone forever. 

3. Stop criticizing yourself and stop criticizing others. 

4, Yearn for self-improvement. 

Dr and Mrs Abe V Rotor exchange pleasantries with former NFA administrator Jesus T Tanchanco (right) during the last homecoming of former NGA-NFA employees in 2012.  It was the last meeting with this great man.    

5. Hold on to your self-respect by appraising yourself honestly. 
6. Learn to listen to others. It helps remove bias from your opinion. 

7. If you have a goal, reach for it. 

8. If you make a mistake, try again. 

9. Don't be timid in conversation. 

10. Exercise your imagination creatively to achieve success. 
11. Do one thing at a time. Shoot for one goal at a time.

12. Believe in the Providence not for luck but blessings.

From my old files I found this article designed for framing, so that it can serve as a daily personal reminder. Spontaneously I thought of my boss for fifteen long years, the admirable and respectable Jesus T Tanchanco, former administrator of the National Food Authority under the regime of President Ferdinand E Marcos.  During his time the Philippines became not only self-sufficient in rice and other major agricultural commodities, but a net exporter as well. The Philippines attained the status as exporter of rice in Tanchanco's time like Thailand and Vietnam today.   I realize that the success of a leader - a government official - depends largely on personality which is the embodiment of all qualities of a person.    

Fantasy Art for Children

"Fireworks in the sky, what a sight! 
   Like a thousand fairies in the night."
Dr Abe V Rotor

Calendar art may die and be forgotten in time.  But to many people, calendar art lives on in the imagination of children. Such is the art of "Fuji" in an old calendar. With the diverging trends in art today, I found Fuji's paintings beautifully modern with the ambiance of old and new converging harmoniously. Color beams with light, and light spills into aura or shadow or over a river flowing and sky delightfully exploding. 

Children love this kind of paintings, the subject being children with whom they identify themselves.  It is as if they are in the painting, or they are performing on stage. They dance, they marvel at fireworks, they catch butterflies and fireflies, climb a stairway to the stars. And for the grownups, they simply wish they can be as happy as children - again. 

So tame the bonfire rises into the sky
to court the stars and moon to come down;
round and around all night they go
with songs and laughter through.
A magic tree a giant fan reflecting on a lake
beneath a herd of horses playground;
the north star shines like compass in the sky
from faraway young riders are bound. 
 Catching butterflies along a stream
silvery in the morning sun;
and flowing down with their dream
and laughter and forever fun. 
 Flowers and butterflies, 
and a stairway to the stars;
a wise fox on the guard
for children never sleep.   
Fireworks in the sky, what a sight! 
Like a thousand fairies in the night.

Acknowledgement: Calendar courtesy of former Senator Butz Aquino, art lover and long time boss and friend. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Painting with Earth

"As long as our value system continues to unify our well-being from a part organic and a part spiritual, we will find our existence genuine and our uniqueness innate wherein the aesthetics enriches us to appreciate more the enigma of creation as an immortal truth." 
- Joannes Paulus T Hernandez
Paintings by Joannes Paulus Tolentino Hernandez
Verses by Dr Abe V Rotor
These are paintings made of local materials, principally earth mixed with paint and applied by hand and brush. These were made by Joannes Paulus Tolentino Hernandez, a student of mine in environmental science at the De La Salle University in DasmariƱas, Cavite, in 2002. I stumbled on these experimental paintings on paper among my old files, and realized how unique they are with the use of earth as medium to express man's submission to nature and a holy spirit.     
Plate half full, half empty,
abandoned, morsels spill 
for lack of taste or appetite,
hunger far from fill. 
what a waste, grace defiled,
sans prayer and will.  
Labyrinth in a fish tank 
with just a start and end,
in between a maze looms
endless in every bend, 
decoying the bold or lonely
to a test to the end.     

A subterranean window 
with new life's beginning;
it is the return of a lost spring
long in peaceful slumber;
window of a cave dwelling,
after the Armageddon. 

A cross, but what does its color tell us,
but blood, precursor of dust and ash? 
Arise from the earth once more, oh man!
Would you be a Homo sapiens again? 
Or a genie, and no longer his master? 
Will you too, be both sane and insane? 

"The transformation of energies and the conversion of the inorganic to organic nourishment of photosynthesis is the authentic nature of Genesis from which everything else follows." - Joannes Paulus T Hernandez

Fusion - The Other Path of Evolution

Dr Abe V Rotor

Sargassum fish cleverly intertwined and camouflaged, exhibiting combined  characteristics of plant, animal, and protist, the natural landscape under the sea, notwithstanding.   Paintings in acrylic on glass panel by the author, c. 2003

Evolution is when the simple becomes complex,
      and the complex into intricate;
yet the intricate to complex, reverting into simple,
      when fail the process to replicate.

Evolution is forward and backward through time,
      simultaneous, spontaneous;
an explosion of diversity of all kinds imagined,
      in chains, webs and continuous. 

Evolution is untrodden, unguided, by chance
      in a million possibilities beyond
the eye or lens, and probing mind and will,
      in the depth of sea, or just around. 

Evolution is de-volution, shrinking, thinning -
      extinction by nature and by man - 
plant-animal fusing, moneran-protist pooling;
      prelude to a living world gone. ~

Rudyard Kipling: "If"

"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it ...  
you'll be a Man, my Son." Rudyard Kipling

Dr Abe V Rotor

There's one thing that summarizes the theme of Kipling's works in general. If you are a child and read Kipling, you are challenged to grow up into a responsible adult - full and ripe, responsible and true - perhaps ahead of your time and that of others. The poem, If, epitomizes a son becoming a man - or a daughter becoming a woman.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them, "Hold on!"

If can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you will be a man, my son!

Calamities continue to claim lives and properties, even as previous victims have not yet recovered. Typhoon Yolanda cut a swath of destruction and desolation unprecedented in Philippine history. 

War erupted recently on the Gaza Strip at the Israel-Palestine border.   Civil war threatens Libya and Egypt as they struggle for democracy after a long period of dictatorship. Racial and religious conflict rock Iraq and Sudan. 

Separatist movement in Ukraine aided by Russia may break into civil war. The conflict has claimed innocent civilians including the downing by missile a passing Malaysian commercial airplane that resulted in the death of 298 passengers and crew members. 

Terrorism in on the rise in many countries, including the Philippines, principally by the Abu Sayaff. The world is threatened by the breakdown of peace and order on one hand, and the decline of economy, exacerbated by man-induced disasters principally global warming and pollution.           

Hard times breeds the Man of the Hour. It awakens the child to become man.

  • He is the Boy on the Dike who plugged a leak in the dike with his arm in order to save Holland from the engulfing sea. 
  • He is the boy who carried an apple on his head which his father, William Tell, must hit with arrow in order to gain their freedom from the dictator Gessler. 
  • He is the orphan Oliver in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, who became a victim of a cruel and unjust society, but was able to rise from his woeful state. 
  • He is the boy in Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island who found a treasure not only of gold and silver, but an immeasurable one - treasure of becoming into real man. 

  • He is our own, an eighteen year old who saved two families before he lost his own life in Pasig during the flood. 
  • They are the two teenagers led by a police officer who heroically ferried 130 victims to safety at the height of the flood in San Jacinto, Pangasinan. 
  • He is the young Rizal, the young Bonifacio, Mabini, del Pilar et al destined to become heroes of their country. 

While Kipling glorified the common man - the common soldier in his works (Plain Tales from the Hills, and Soldiers Three), this Nobel Prize winner in Literature equally prodded children to become responsible, as clearly manifested in his Jungle Book, which became a children classic all over the world. His advocacy is also shown in Kim (1901), an adventure book in the Himalayas, which is perhaps his most felicitous work. Other works include The Second Jungle Book (1895), The Seven Seas (1896), Captains Courageous (1897).

What make a child to be a man to Rudyard Kipling are basically the same to Mark Twain, which are early freedom and love of adventure, coupled with discipline and virtuous grooming under a natural setting - Kipling, being the immanent- moralist; and Twain, the liberal sociologist. Twain's characters - Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, and Mowgli in Kipling's The Jungle Book turned adventurism into heroism in their own right.

There are models of girls-turned-women ahead of their time.  

  • Take the case of Joan of Arc who was then only 16 when she led the French army against the English invaders,
  • the blind and deaf child who was able to overcome the world of darkness and silence and became one of the most famous women in the world - Helen Keller. 
  • the orphan girl in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett who rebuilt a forgotten garden into a "piece of Paradise," 
  • the Railway Children by Edith Nesbit who carried on a responsible life while their father was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. 
  • Lest we forget Heidi by Johanna Spyri, an all time favorite story for girls. Heidi rose from the circumstance of being unwanted to become the light and inspiration to many.

Millions of boys and girls all over the world, if given the same chance and test, are the characters to whom the poem, If of Kipling is addressed to - be it in times of extreme difficulties or peace.

This article is dedicated to the young people who crossed the bridge to adult life through deeds that proved themselves responsible citizens and children of God, heroes notwithstanding, during the calamities. ~

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Simple food preparation for enjoyment, health and economy - and other advantages

Dr Abe V Rotor
1.  Edible fern salad (Plus red egg, tomato, onion rings and vinegar)

Simplify Food Preparation

1. FRESHNESS: There's no substitute to freshness - fruits picked from the tree, newly harvested vegetables, newly dressed chicken and slaughtered meat. 
2. CLEANLINESS: free from contamination, healthy source of crops and animals, strict sanitation and quarantine, free from radiation.
3. SIMPLE PREPARATION: broiled, steamed, boiled, blanched, and the like.
4. AVOID PROCESSED PRODUCTS: canned, hammed, pureed, and the like.
5. HOMEMADE: direct choice and preference of recipes, others
6. ECONOMICAL: less handling, less processing, less advertising.
7. EDUCATIONAL: to children, members of the household and immediate community.
8. PEACE O)F MIND: food security from vetsin (MSG), aspartame, olestra or fatless fat, decaf, enhancers and preservatives, toxin.
9. HEALTH: investment and legacy to children and future generations.
10 PRODUCTIVITY: enjoyment in life and good health = high productivity. 
11. BONDING: with family, friends and neighbors
12: VALUES: free from guilt and fear, fulfillment, and confidence,        

 2. Twin fried eggs over brown rice (onion leaves topping)

 3. Halaan shell soup with sili (pepper) tops (thickened with corn starch)

4. Green corn on the cob (Serve with buko or young coconut juice or just water)
5. Nangka served whole  
6. Empanada and ukoy (Eating while cooking)
7. Broiled tilapia cum scales (Burnt scale removes fishy taste and smell)
8. Tamales (fish steamed in banana leaves, add tomato, ginger,onion and a dash of salt)

9. Paksiw sapatero fish (Just don't overcook)

10. Arusip or lato (Caulerpa) most popular sea vegetable. (You may add red
tomato and onion)