Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dance of the Butterflies


Abe V Rotor

What has the late morning sun in store
To meet a pair of butterflies serene?
An old walk they made into dancing floor,
Near a chapel covered with mossy green.

Fluttering side by side, they swept the air;
Their shadows following the same tandem;
What music, what rhythm this lovely pair
Make, their wings flashing a pair of gem!

Would butterflies too, make for the altar,
Like humans do to seal a common bond?
Then love’s the same, that fate is in a star,
For those with wings and those having none. ~~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Return of Balloon Frog Symbolizes Nature's Victory

But Nature’s victory does not mean man’s defeat; rather it is man’s submission and obedience to Nature’s laws and order, the key to his survival and that of the whole living world.

Who does not rejoice in finding again the native kuhol, martiniko, ulang and gurami in the rice field?  Oriole, pandangera, tarat and pipit in the trees? Tarsier, mouse deer and pangolin in the wild? And the return of ipil-ipil, kamagong and narra in the forest? And of course, Haribon the symbol of Philippine wildlife and biodiversity.






Dr Abe V Rotor

The first time I saw balloon frog or tukak bat’og was when I was a young farmhand. Its name is familiar because bat’og, battog or battobattog, in Ilocano means pot bellied. At that time anyone who exhibited a bulging waistline was associated with this amphibian. But there were very few of this kind then. The war had just ended and people had to work hard.

Hardship tightens the belt automatically, but peacetime and the Good Life opens a new war - the “battle of the bulge.” Today two out of five Americans are obese and Europeans are not far behind. Asians are following the same trend, as more and more people have changed to the Western lifestyle that accompanies overweight condition, whether one is male or female.

But actually Bat’og is all air. It’s like balloon short of taking off. But once it wedges itself in its tight abode not even bird or snake can dislodge it. Not only that. It feigns dead and its attacker would simply walk away to find a live and kicking prey.

Nature’s sweet lies are tools of survival. When it faces danger Bat’og engulfs air and becomes pressurized and distended, reducing the size of its head and appendages to appear like mere rudiments. And with its coloration that blends with the surroundings, and its body spots becoming monstrous eyes, who would dare to attack this master of camouflage.

Not enough to drive away its foe, Bat’og uses another strategy by producing deep booming sounds coming from its hollow body as resonator. I remember the story of Monico and the Giant by Camilo Osias when I was in the grades. The cruel giant got scared and rushed out of his dark hiding when Monico boomed like Bat’og . Actually it was the unique design of the cave’s chamber that created the special sound effect and ventriloquism. The vaults of old churches were similarly designed this way so that the faithful can clearly hear the sermon.

The exhausted Bat’og deflates and returns to its chores, feeding, roaming around and calling for mate – and rain, so old folks say. Well, frogs become noisy when it rains. Biologically, egg laying is induced by rain. Eggs are fertilized in water and hatched into tadpoles that live in water until they become frogs. Bat’og has relatives that live in trees and their tadpoles inhabit trapped water in the axils of bromeliads, bananas and palms. Or it could be a pool inside the hollow of a tree.

After I left the farm for my studies in Manila, I never saw any Tukak Bat’og again. Only a trace of that childhood memory was left of this enigmatic creature.

Then one day, in my disbelief Bat’og resurrected! For a long time it has long been in the requiem list of species, ironically even before it was accorded scientific details of its existence. Well, there are living things that may not even reach the first rung of the research ladder, either they are insignificant or new to science. Who would take a look at Bat’og?

I believe a lot of people now do. People have become environment-conscious after the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, the emergence of Greenpeace movement, and birth of "heroes for the environment". Who is not aware now of global warming, especially after viewing Al Gore's documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth? Who have not experienced calamities brought about by our changing climate?

What changed the thinking of the world - a revolution in our concept of survival - is that all livings are interconnected and that the world is one systemic order, that the survival of one spells the survival of all creatures and the preservation of the integrity of the biosphere and therefore of Planet Earth, and that there is no living thing that is too small to be insignificant or useless.

Of all places I found Bat’og one early morning in my residence in Quezon City. I would say it instead found me. There in my backyard, ensconced in a gaping crack in the soil covered with a thick layer of dead leaves lay my long lost friend - very much alive.

Hello! And it looked at me motionless with steady eyes. It was aestivating, a state of turpor, which is a biological phenomenon for survival in dry and hot summer, the counterpart of hibernation when organisms sleep in winter and wait for the coming of spring. My friend was waiting nature's clock to signal the Habagat to bring rain from across the Pacific come June to September, a condition necessary for its amphibious life.

Slowly I lifted my friend and cradled it of sort on my palm. And we rolled time back fifty years ago. And before any question was asked, it was already answered. It is like that when two old friends meet after a long time. I remember when journalist Stanley found the great explorer Dr. David Livingstone in the heart of Africa in the 19th century, Stanley simply greeted, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" and the old man lifted his hat and gave Stanley a firm handshake. This became one of the most famous meetings in the world.

You see an event earns a place in history, or in the heart, when it permeates into the primordial reason of existence, which is Reverence of Life.

Reverence – this is the principal bond between man and nature. It is more than friendship. It is the also the bonds of the trilogies of human society – equality, fraternity and liberty. It is the bridge of all relationships in the complex web and pyramid of life. It towers over equations and formulas in science. It links earth and heaven, in fact the whole universe – and finally, the bridge of understanding between creature and Creator.

Bat’og is back. How easy it is to understand a creature however small it is, if it is your friend. Yet how difficult it is to define the role of a friend. The fox in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’ novel, The Little Prince, warned the little prince, “If you tame me you are responsible to me.” The little prince simply touched the wild beast.

Taming is the ultimate submission to humility. And the greater a person who humbles himself, the truer a friend he is.

How do we relate this principle to our being the only rational creature? The dominant species over millions of species? The God-anointed guardian of the Earth? The custodian of creation?

Allow me to have some time with my long lost friend. Either one of us is the Prodigal Son, but that does not matter now. Let me join Darwin and Linnaeus and Villadolid et al.

That was a long time ago by the pond that had dried in summer. As a kid on the farm I have known the ways of my friend. Bat’og would stake its prey - termites, ants, beetles and other insects. Like all frogs – and toads – the adults and tadpoles are important in controlling pests and diseases.

One of its relatives belonging to genus Kaloula was found to subsist mainly on hoppers and beetles that destroy rice, including leafhoppers that transmit tungro, a viral disease of rice that may lead to total crop failure. Such insectivorous habit though is universal to amphibians, reptiles, birds and other organisms. If only we can protect these Nature’s biological agents we would not be using chemicals on the farm and home, chemicals that pollutes the environment and destroys wildlife.

Bat'og and its kind protect man from hunger and disease. They are an important link in the food chain. No pond or ricefield or forest or grassland is without frogs. There would be no herons and snakes and hawks and eagles. No biological laboratory is without the frog as a blue print of human anatomy. And The Frog and the Princess would certainly vanish in the imagination of children.

Bat’og is a survivor of chemical genocide. It is the timely age of enlightenment of people returning to natural food and the spread of environmental consciousness on all walks of life and ages that came to its rescue in the last minute. So with many threatened species.

Who does not rejoice at finding again native kuhol, martiniko, ulang and gurami in the rice field? Oriole, pandangera, tarat and pipit in the trees? Tarsier, mouse deer and pangolin in the wild? And the return of ipil-ipil, kamagong and narra in the forest? And of course, Haribon the symbol of Philippine wildlife and biodiversity.

It is indeed a challenge for us to practice being the Good Shepherd, but this time it is not only a lost lamb that we have to save, it’s the whole flock.

Tukak Bat’og symbolizes the victory of Nature. But Nature’s victory does not mean man’s defeat; rather it is man’s submission and obedience to Nature’s laws and rules and therefore, the restoration of order on Planet Earth - our only spaceship on which we journey into the vastness of the universe and the unknown. ~

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Self Administered Test on Living in Austerity (True or False 25 Items)

Abe V Rotor

Answer Yes to items you are presently practicing and/or those which you agree with.

1. You would rather buy things in volume like a sack of rice, a dozen eggs, a gallon of vegetable oil, to get discount prices and sufficient supply for a week.

2. You keep these tools and materials which you personally use now and then in various handiworks such as house repairs and gardening: a pair of pliers, hammer, set of screw driver, nails and screws, GI wires, electrical tester, and the like.

3. You would rather have your laundry and ironing once a week rather than daily or every other day, scheduling it usually on a weekend, thus saving precious water and electricity, and getting more helping hands from the family.

4. As a general policy of any state, the government should pursue a self sufficiency program in food, particularly staple (rice and corn) as the best way to insure food security, even if there is adequate supply in the world market.

5. In economics, austerity is when a national government reduces its spending in order to pay back creditors. Austerity is usually required when a government’s fiscal deficit spending is felt to be unsustainable. Austerity must cut down spending on development projects (countryside development funds from pork barrel), welfare and other social programs (subsidies and charitable expenditures).

7. The best way to save money is to set aside immediately a part of your salary, say 20 percent, and budget strictly the 80 percent. This is more effective than setting 20 percent after having budgeted and spent 80 percent of your salary.

8. You participate in the informal economy just like the farmer’s wife who goes to market to sell farm products and comes back with various household supplies. This is contemporary barter system. This is entrepreneurship on the grassroots.

9. Food supplementation reduces our dependence on conventional food, discovery of new food sources like seaweeds, wild food plants, as well as the discovery of new ways to prepare food comes at the heels of austere living. Hamburger from banana flower (puso), Ipil-ipil for coffee DON’T – use roasted rice instead or roasted corn, papait vegetable, the many uses of gabi, substitution of wheat flour with rice flour. Substitution of staple food with root crops (sweet potato, cassava) to save on precious rice.

10. Post-harvest losses reduces our supply, in fact to one-half, that by saving even only 10 percent of what is wasted, would be sufficient to fill up our annual deficit in rice and corn. Austerity is reducing our waste on all levels – production, post-production, food preparation.

11. Austerity is the most practical weapon to fight obesity. It means avoidance of junk food, moderation in eating, and consumption of natural food. It is also favorable to health. Less kidney trouble, liver ailment, cardiac problem, high blood pressure. It means less hospital cases, cancer, ulcers, less alcohol consumption, etc. Austerity means natural beauty, good fit, good stride, and happy disposition.

12. There are more and more good schools in the provinces and chartered cities. We would rather send our children in these schools for practical reasons.

13. Grains would rather be used directly as food and lessen the amount of using them in producing animal protein by feeding the grains to poultry and animals. By doing this we maximize the value of food and make them available to ordinary people.

14. Israel as an emerging new state adopted an austerity program lasting for 10 years (1949-1959). When USSR collapsed, Cuba adopted an austerity policy (1991 onwards) to be able to survive as an “orphaned socialist” state. Austerity is aimed at attaining self-reliance at a time of crisis.

15. Private banks or institutions like World Bank-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) may require a country to pursue an austerity policy if it wants to re-finance loans that are about to come due. The government may be asked to stop issuing subsidies or to otherwise reduce public spending. We call this as “IMF conditionalities.”

16. People’s power – the cry of the first EDSA Revolution – fizzled out because the newly acquired empowerment was not used put to proper use as evidenced by unsuccessful cooperative movement, agrarian reform which turned out to be confrontational between right of property and right of tillage, rampant and blatant graft and corruption in the government, declined productivity in agriculture and industry, spread of poverty.

17. Family planning refers to limiting the number as well as proper spacing of your children. If there is a sin of commission or omission, there is also a sin of neglect – and if that neglect is within the knowledge of the sinner, and the consequence is the ruin of the lives of those under his care as parent, atonement is almost unthinkable.

18. It is easier to meet our needs than our wants to most people although to many, affluence is pursue even before needs are met.

19. Youth today are torn between choices of white collar jobs and blue collar jobs. They are lured to easy education – diploma mill, and on the modern method of leaning on the computer which actually does not offer an “end course” that makes one a professional like a doctor, lawyer, agriculturist, and the like. Austerity calls for a re-definition of courses that are functional in nature and p[practical in application, and relevant to the changing times.

20. Limits to growth come like a moving vehicle suddenly running out of fuel, its tires worn-out and flat, engine conking out, while the road is getting rougher, narrower and steeper. Austerity is applying the brakes before all of these happen. It is anticipating the limits to growth, before it turns against you.

x x x

ANSWERS: All True

24-25 Outstanding
21-23 Very Good
18-20 Good
15-17 Fair
12-14 Passed
11 and Below - Listen regularly to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air)738 KHz DZRH, 8 to 9 o'clock in the evening Monday to Friday [www.pbs.gov.ph]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Philippine Indigenous Orchid (Cymbidium Finlaysonianum),

Dr Abe V Rotor

Inflorescence of C Finlaysonianum; closeup of flower

Growth habit of the indigenous epiphytic orchid, and pods

It is a native orchid. I found it clinging on a fallen branch of a big tree in Mt. Makiling forest. Being an epiphyte I tied it on the trunk of a talisay (Terminalia catappa) at home in Quezon City. It was not difficult for the new transplant to find a new home - in our home. It is because just across the wall at the back of our house is the sprawling La Mesa Watershed. It must be the "forest climate" that approximates that of Mt. Makiling in Laguna, that this native orchid got acclimatized easily.

Among the five Cymbidium species, C. Finlaysonianum is the most widely distributed throughout the Malaysian area, It was collected by Finlayson in Chin-China in the nineteth century. It was dedicated to him by Lindley, who originally described the plant in 1832. There is also a close relative, Cymbidium atropurpureum, its name taken from its dark purple flowers. Because of its closeness to C. Finlaysonianum in all morphological aspects, botanists consider it to be a variety of the latter.

The leaves of this species are leathery and coarse, 35 to 40 inches long and 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide. The raceme is pendulous, about two to four feet long and many-flowered. The flowers are two inches in diameter, sepals and petals rather narrow, long, and colored dull tawny yellow with a reddish-brown median line. The labellum is three-lobed, the center lobe being whitish with a yellow disk and purple-crimson apical spot.

Unlike most domesticated and hybrid orchids that bloom any time and for long periods, I observedthat this wild orchid is sensitive to photoperiodism. It blooms usually in summer - in March and April - and the flowers last about two weeks. I like the characteristic mild fragrance specially in early morning.

Orchids are among the easiest plants to propagate, vegetatively that is, either by tillers (shoots), or by tissue culture, a specialized laboratory procedure. This compensates for the extreme difficulty in propagation by seeds. The seeds of orchids are the most difficult to germinate. Even if they do, survival rate is very nil. It is because the viability of orchid seeds is very short and difficult to monitor.

I have yet to succeed in germinating the seeds of C Finlaysonianum. Even if I fail, I am delighted to have a wild orchid luxuriantly growing in my home - its home. ~~

References: Philippine Orchids by Reg S Davis and Mona Lisa Steiner

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Malunggay is the most popular tree vegetable in the tropic.

Malunggay grown from cutting

Abe V Rotor

In the province no home is without this small tree at the backyard or in a vacant lot.

The leaves, flowers, juvenile pods and young fruits of Moringa oleifera (Family Moringaceae) go well with fish, meat, shrimp, mushroom, and the like.

It is one plant that does not need agronomic attention, not even weeding and fertilization, much less chemical spraying. You simply plant an arm's length cutting or two, in some corner or along the fence and there it grows into a tree that can give you a ready supply of vegetables year round for many years.

What nutrients do we get from malunggay? Here is a comparison of the food value of the fresh leaves and young fruits, respectively, in percent. (Marañon and Hermano, Useful Plants of the Philippines)

• Proteins 7.30 / 7.29
• Carbohydrates 11.04 / 2.61
• Fats 1.10 / 0.16
• Crude Fiber 1.75 / 0.76
• Phosphorus (P2 O 5) 0.24 / 0.19
• Calcium (CaO) 0.72 / 0.01
• Iron (Fe2O3) 0.108 / 0.0005

Owing to these properties and other uses, rural folks regard malunggay a “miracle tree.” Take for example the following uses.

• The root has a taste somewhat like that of horse-radish, and in India it is eaten as a substitute to it.

• Ben oil extracted from the seed is used for salad and culinary purposes, and also as illuminant.

• Mature seeds have antibacterial and flocculation properties that render drinking water safe and clear.

From these data, it is no wonder malunggay is highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists for both children and adults, particularly to nursing mothers and the convalescents.

Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom, AVR, UST Manila

Traditional tips when buying fruits, a short list.

Pineapple is harvested when its "eyes" are well developed,
and the base of the fruit has started to turn yellow to orange.
Banana (Senorita variety) falls off from the bunch when
fully ripe. Thus it should be harvested green.

Abe V Rotor

What part of a fruit is the best? The best part of papaya is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color. In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.

Lansones – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.

Cucumber – Choose the size for pickling or about. As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured. Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous.

Squash – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap. The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.

Ampalaya – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.

Watermelon – Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger. If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit.

Banana – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.

Caimito – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana) and tiesa (Lucoma nervosa).

Chico – Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.

Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green, cracks along ridges.

. Guyabano (Anona muricata) - Fruit is well expanded, turns light green and shiny, and yield to pressure. Avoid mishapen and damage fruit. Bottom part is more fleshy and soft.

Sugarcane for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.

Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom, AVR, UST Manila

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Part 1: Yes, you can predict natural events (with plants).

Fire tree blooms only in summer. Early
rain brings blooming to an abrupt end.

Abe V Rotor

1. Kapok laden with pods means there’s going to be a poor harvest.

Ceiba pentandra, or cotton tree, has large secondary roots to compensate for its lack of primary root that can penetrate the deeper source of water. Nature endowed this plant with fleshy trunk and branches to store large amount of water for the dry season. Insufficient rains or early onset of summer triggers flowering, as it is the case in many species under stress. Thus it is one of the indicators of poor harvest farmers rely on. It has been observed that a bumper crop of kapok fiber occurs during El Niño, a climatic phenomenon characterized by extreme drought.

2. Someone will die if the fire tree blooms.
It sounds more of a plan than prediction. In olden times there are tribes that go headhunting when the fire tree (Delonix regia) is in full bloom. In the Philippines the early Ilongots of the Cordillera Mountain used to descend to claim their victims from among the lowlanders. The sacrifice was part of a ritual to win a woman’s heart. How true is the story, we do not know. But among the Aztecs and Mayans, sacrificing human beings to their gods was a common practice before they were converted into Christianity.

One explanation of this belief is that the fire tree blooms to its fullest in the face of extreme drought, most likely due to El Niño, a condition that causes untold death and misery. It is the upland dwellers that is worse affected, forcing them to go to the lowlands in search for food or seek refuge, inevitably causing trouble.

2.Sporadic and massive brush fire accompanies dry spell or predicts the coming of the El Niño phenomenon. Usually it is at the end of the rainy season that grasses like talahib (Saccharum officinarum) and cogon (Imperata cylindrica) reach the end of their life cycle. In the absence of subsequent rains, these ignite into brush fire, so bad in certain cases that even trees and whole forest burn. Worst scenarios are forest fires as what happen in Australia last 2006, and Indonesia in 2000, the latter sending smoke as far as the Philippines.

3. Flying kites while rice plants are in bloom causes poor harvest.
You risk your precious kite from sequestration and even face beating from the old folks when you fly kites before the rice panicles have fully set. Old folks won’t let you call the north wind too soon because it is the cause of poorly filled grains.

It is not the children’s fault at all. The initiative of kite flying is the Siberian wind (amihan) which may arrive early. In short, kites are an indicator and not the cause of poor harvest. The rainy season (habagat) simply ended too soon, depriving the rice crops of soil moisture they need at maturity, while the chilly Siberian wind affects pollination and grain formation.

4. Color of Hydrangia flowers tells us if the soil is acidic or alkaline.

Have you wondered why there are pink and blue Hydrangia, a popular ornamental plant found growing in Tagaytay and Baguio? This annual plant is nature’s litmus paper turning from pink to blue if the pH (power of Hydrogen) is basic or alkaline, and blue to pink if acidic if the soil is acidic. Thus pink Hydrangia tells us that the soil it is growing on is acidic. Acidic soils are usually rich in organic matter or rich in hydrogen ions. High Aluminum content is one of the causes why Hydrangia flowers are pink. Blue flowered Hydrangia is likely to be growing on alkaline soil which means it is rich in hydroxyl ions. A clinical eye can even gauge the pH level by basing it on the varying levels of coloration occurring as sky blue, lavender - or combined hues of blue and pink which means that the soil has a neutral pH which is around 7.

Hydrangia is Nature's litmus paper.


Reference: Living With Folk Wisdom, AVR, UST Manila

Monday, October 12, 2009

Waterhole

Alug - Waterhole, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

Abe V Rotor

Memories come easy on this foot bridge
Many years ago I built across a stream;
Stream in monsoon and pond in summer,
Alug, as the old folks call it - a waterhole.

It was my waterhole, I saw the world in its water,
Images of airplanes cruising, birds migrating,
Clouds in many patterns, many faces and hues,
The arena of wit and skill, fishing for hours.

And fishing not for fish but dreams,
Dreams about far places, of beautiful things,
Dreams almost real, even as they fade away
Into ripples and into the dusk.

One day I woke up and found my waterhole
Swallowed up by floodwater from the hills,
Washing away the air castles I built,
And down its path it tool summer away forever.

I walked the bridge to its far end and beyond,
And down the river to the sea I cast my pole.
It was a fight I fought, it was no longer game,
And it was neither fish nor dream I caught.

Waterhole in summer is the oasis in the desert. Life surrounds this vital spot, while beyond if dry, uncertain and dangerous.

Why move away from the waterhole?

But people do. They seek adventure. They renounce comfort. They want to search the primary source of that life that sustains this spot, like tracing the source of a river. In doing so, they risk their lives. They venture into the future.

Those who succeed find a bigger world where the rain brings life, and where the sun always shines after - giving life to that bigger world, and through the network of waterways and aquifers, share a part of that life-giving substance to that waterhole, the oasis in the middle of wasteland.

Few return to tell the story, but the legend lives on. The new generation gazes at the horizon once more like a cycle. Beyond the waterhole is a land that is dry, uncertain and dangerous. ~

Reference: Sunshine on Raindrops, AVR, Megabooks

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fallacy of Greatness

Mosaic portrait of Alexander, the Great


Light from the Old Arch 2, AVR

Reflection of Doom

Dr Abe V Rotor


Fountain of Knowledge, University of Santo Tomas, Manila


Reflect not my folly and greed,
Never Narcissus of old;
Of the deities on his shoulder,
Of youth never growing old.

Reflect not of the future gloom,
Of Heaven denied and lost,
Lost pristine and the butterflies,
And of the Malthusian ghost.

Death is an empty shell I see
Lying in the murky depth,
And a lone deer in memory
Shall man someday pay his debt.

The Good Life, oh we always say,
Is progress and destiny,
Taming both time and space
To create our sense of beauty.

Narcissus, what lesson have you
Taught mankind since you fell in?
Oh, beauty, the land of the doomed,
Where lust is the greatest sin.
x x x

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reflections over a Rainbow

Morning Rainbow, Bamban, Tarlac, 2006

Dr  Abe V Rotor

1. Truth we seek, its bulk lies under;
Iceberg tip we ignore danger;
Mum are we, within is anger -
All of these set us asunder.

2. True feelings that we may fall short;
Repressed until the water burst
Like waves rising, dying in froth,
But never satiate anger’s thirst.

3. Denial in the beginning,
Like anger provoked will prolong;
Futile in time and bargaining -
Acceptance last - the saddest song.

4. All you give your cattle and sheep
Is a sprawling green meadow,
Away from your watch and shadow;
Content they are - so with your sleep.

5.
Better the Noble Savage lived
Than c
ivilization to Mankind,
In a Garden we long envied,
Sans want, war and its evil kind.

6. Look at the arrow and the bow,
The first machine before the plow;
A hunter’s life that man had ceased,
To found the land of love and peace.

7. A wall unseen by the other,
Behind we refuse to be seen,
Of what we are and what had been –
Break it, and be a true brother.

8. Kindness but without honesty -
That is sentimentality;
Honesty but without kindness -
Simply that is plain cruelty;
Peace - that the duo must harness
To bring light to humanity.

9. Judgment isn'nt just conformity
That binds a class and society;
Not for the rich or any sect –
But of the heart and intellect.

10. If my life's to be lived with love,
Learned and shared by one or many;
Through others it's this way above,
I shall have left a legacy.~


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Self-Administered Test on Anxiety, Phobia and Depression

Aftermath of tidal wave, a traumatic experience (Morong , Rizal)

Give our children a break. They are overburdened,
a major cause of
anxiety and behavioral problems.

Abe V Rotor

1. All of us are invariably victims of anxiety. Our aging parents, retirement benefits, sex life, health – name it, real or imaginary – and you have it, irrespective of sex, age, domicile, profession, work, race, creed, etc.

2. There is something mysterious about anxiety, its dualism. It is a normal response to physical danger so that it can be a useful tool for focusing the mind where there’s a deadline looming. But anxiety can become a problem when it persists to long beyond the immediate threat, which leads to depression.

3. While we worry for certain things and situations, other people simply don’t - they simply don’t care.

4. People who are mediocre – more so if they did not reach higher education – are more subject to anxiety than intelligent and highly learned people.

5. Uneasiness, lightheadedness, clumsiness are the first signs of anxiety.

6. Nausea, panic, fears of losing control or dying are advanced signs and symptoms of anxiety.

7. Sweaty and cold palms and feet may be due to nervousness which is a natural reaction.

8. Dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain are some psychosomatic symptoms.

9. Many of the things we worry about are baseless, if not nonsense.

10. Animals appear to feel anxiety – an instinctive response necessary for survival.

11. Rats and chicken freeze in place momentarily when subjected to sudden fear stimulus. The opossum feigns dead which is actually an involuntary fear response.

12. Anxiety helped in human evolution. Records of anxiety show how humans shared the planet with saber-toothed tigers. Without it few of us would have survive, if at all.

13. Mass anxiety humans suffered during the two world wars was revived by terrorism which attacked the Twin Towers of New York.

14. Anxiety disorder affects 19 million Americans, 25% not having any medical treatment. It is steadily rising in all countries where Western influence is getting stronger.

15. Mental illnesses account for 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability in Asia.

16. In Cambodia an estimated 75% of adults who lived through the Khmer Rouge era suffer from extreme stress or post traumatic stress disorder.

17. Highest rate of suicide: Sri Lanka per 100,000 – 55; followed bt Japan (25.2; S Korea – 19.1; China 17-20; Singapore, India, Thailand, Australia, US and Britain

18. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that severely alters the way a person actually thinks and behaves hallucinations, delusions, confusion, withdrawal, agitation, emotional numbness – about 50 percent of patient can expect a full and lasting recovery

19. According to Sigmund Freud, one kind of phobia may be more biological in nature, while another may be more dependent on psychological factors.

20. Stress – any external stimulus from threatening words to a gunshot, that the brain interprets as dangerous.

21. Fear – The short-term physiological response produced by both the brain and the body in response to stress.

22. Anxiety – A sense of apprehension that shares many of the same symptoms as fear but builds more slowly and lingers longer.

23. Depression – Prolonged sadness that results in a blunting of emotions and sense of futility; often more serious when accompanied by an anxiety disorder.

24. Panic disorder – This is recurrent, unexpected attacks of acute anxiety, peaking within 10 minutes. One finds himself in a situation such as in a crowded elevator. If extreme anxiety symptoms appear, the person may be suffering of anxiety disorder that needs medical consultation, even if this is occasionally experienced.

25. Specific Phobia – This is characterized by consuming fear of a specific object or situation, often accompanied by mild to extreme anxiety symptoms. It may just be plain hate, or fear, say heights. Behavioral therapy – gradual introduction of the cause, until enough courage is built; and cognitive therapy – re-orientation of perception or behavior, may be needed independently or jointly.

26. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - a preoccupation with specific thoughts, images or impulses, accompanied by elaborate and sometimes bizarre rituals. Even if they are irrational thoughts, repetitive ritual (e.g. hand washing, prayer), time consuming – researchers are certain whether of not OCD is genuine anxiety. Whatever it is, it does respond to treatment.

27. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – repeated, anxious reliving of a horrifying event over an extended period of time. It is not anxiety if the experience fades away steadily, but if it may persist, and sometimes PTSD will not appear until six months after the event. This is caused by recurrent recollection or dream of the event, feeling the even to be still occurring, experience reminding you of the event, and difficulty in avoiding thought associated with it.

28. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Excessive anxiety or worry for days or months, but does not affect quality of life. Characterized by restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension. Have three or more of these symptoms confirm a person is suffering of GAD.

29. Anxiety is inherited, thus children suffering of anxiety are most likely candidates of depression. Some people seem to be born worriers. Some anxiety disorders are known to run in the family. If the genes involved are reinforced by environment, the expression become more distinct. (Nature-nurture)

30. Identical twins are more likely show stronger tendency to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, even one with low genetic vulnerability could develop a fear of something that may even be greater than one with high genetic vulnerability.

31. Many kids may outgrow their anxiety disorder to become well-adjusted adults. Anxiety and depression have similar underlying biology. Anxiety may surface early in life and depression later. But researchers are divided in this observation.

32. Anatomy of anxiety as explained to the ordinary citizen goes like this - The senses pick up a threat – a scary sight, a loud noise, a creepy feeling – the information takes two different routes through the brain – but it takes the shortcut – the brains automatically engages an emergency hot line to the fear center – the amygdala

33. FFF (Fight, Flight, Fright) - Adrenaline shoots into the muscles preparing the body to do the appropriate action.

34. Digestion Shutdown – Brains stops thinking about things that bring pleasure, conserve energy otherwise wasted on digestion, hence vomiting, defecation, urination may occur.

35. Behavioral therapy – Best for phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panic disorder is to expose patients to a tiny bit of the very thing that causes them anxiety.

36. Cognitive therapy– rethinking, behavior modification through proper advice.

37. Tranquilizers – Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft are best known among the antidepressant drugs, the newest group is norepinephrine which control emotion and stabilize mood. There is need of doctors’ prescription for all these drugs.

38. The most practical therapy is exercise – talk therapy, simple exercise (at least 30 minutes), brisk walk. Exercise releases natural opiates called endorphins.

39. Lifestyle Changes which include cut back or eliminate the use of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, are helpful in overcoming anxiety.

40. Actually yoga, meditation, guided imagery, aromatherapy, massage have any
therapeutic value to anxiety.

41. Troubled lives in our modern and industrialized world has lead to increased divorced rate in Asia - highest in S Korea, H King, Japan. Singapore and China in decreasing in this order.

42. In Western countries, it is the man who normally initiate divorce; in Asia it is the woman.

43. Identify the following phobias: Ablutophobia – fear of bathing

Fear of heights, Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos, Ilocos Norte

44. Acrophobia – heights

45. Agarophobia – open space

46. Agyrophobia or dromophobia – crossing the street

47. Amaxophobia – riding in a car

48. Ambulophobia – walking

49. Aviophobia – fear of flying

50. Androphobia – men

51. Gamophobia – marriage

52. Ecclesiophobia – church

53. Gerascophobia – growing old

54. Hagiophobia – saints and holy things

55. Anthophobia - flowers

Answers: All True

Reference: The Science of Anxiety Time 39 to 47 pp July 8, 2002
Lost Lives Time November 10, 2003
What Scares you? Phobias Time April 2, 2001