Monday, August 31, 2015

Paradise Lost in Our Midst

 Dr Abe V Rotor
 The endangered Philippine deer enshrined in a fountain at UST, Manila 
Skull of whale (Museum of Natural History, UPLB Laguna; whole trunks of forest trees carried down by flkood on Fuerte Beach, Vigan Ilocos Sur 
 Cattle ranch on a steep slope ripped of the skin of the mountain,Santa, Ilocos Sur
  Sunken town of Pantabangan Nueva Ecija resurfaces during a extreme drought.

  Sunken pier, Puerto Sto Domingo, Ilocos Sur; Shipwreck, Tacloban, Leyte
 Ruin of Intramuros, Manila, left by WWII 60 years after. 
 Death of trees and forests is happening all over the world.
 Berlin wall falls, Germany is united again in 1989 after 45 years
Atomic bomb obliterates Hiroshima, ends WWII, kills 100,000 in 1945

Two Faces of Nature in Postmodern Art

Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor

In this painting Romanticism is very much alive - subject, scenery, colors and the like.  It tells a story in the viewer mind, reminiscent of life experiences.  The bridge is symbolic of transition, connectedness, a rendezvous of characters, players of a drama.  Nothing seems to move - placid pond, moss-covered trees; autumn colors speak of "coming home." Postmodern art takes us some steps back to the "fine art" of art apparently lost behind new movements.    
This painting on the other hand, challenges the viewer to identify the subject in a kind of hide-and -seek game. He moves to a distance, returns - what is it really?  And he traces the intricate lines visually and with a finger over the overlapping colors, and there beneath the feathery foliage are hidden creatures.  It is abstract in the biological world where camouflage, mimicry and other forms of deceits are means of survival and dominance. These in various sophistication are not different from man's ways to cope up with the increasing demands and complexity of a postmodern world.  
Two views, two messages, two different feelings. In our postmodern world we long for the peaceful, rustic, unspoiled landscape, a retreat, withdrawing from the fire raging from the inside and outside.  It is  a craving tolerated at the expense of change and here man becomes an orphan having lost Mother Nature. Postmodern art offers man a chance to return to sanity, a renewal in the way he lives.  This is  is the essence of a new art's movement of Neo-renaissance.       

Are these real or just animaes? The country-bred associates them with reality, even if many of their kind are already gone; the streetwise may find it difficult to analyze; and the computer-TV kid definitely sides with the cartoons. What an art; three audiences, three worlds.  If postmodern art thrives on divisiveness of the same subject, then what is the purpose of art? Postmodern art has  indeed created contradicting versions, false impressions, inadvertent innocence and ignorance. Art educates, art enlightens, art unites - its movements flow like a river, from one source to one destiny, like humanity.      

What did the world look like before man came into the picture. Science and technology has opened an art movement and gave concrete basis to its theme and  character. Postmodernism of course, was born from scientific breakthroughs.  But art is more than formulas and equations. And the more we rely on the formal, essential, empirical, primordial, striving to seek for the missing link and the prima causa, the more we move away from the very essence of art - that which is a synergy of intellect, psyche, spirit and soul, that binds the rational being and the the fabric of humanity.       
Two forces of nature: cyclic and non-cyclic. Every thing in the universe is governed by these two models. So on Planet Earth, in the living and non-living world, in our lives, the march of seasons, in the life cycle of organisms - they follow the concentric model, characterized by repetition as if it is a plantilla. Nature is alive. She doesn't sleep. She can only rest like fallowing, aestivation, hibernation. She is as gentle as breeze and rough like a storm at sea. She is discreet like alpha radiation, silent as a dormant volcano, suddenly waking up. So with living things. They reproduce, form populations, reach a climax level and establish a niche. Populations interact, they compete. There is diversity. Balance of Nature is built this way and is always dynamic. How can postmodern art imbue these into the minds of younger generations?

The beginning of things is the most elusive of all adventures in any field. To what extent can postmodern art lead us to?  Will we ever succeed in understanding the beginning of life, the Black Hole, the end of space. Postmodern art has indeed removed much the barrier of thought and imagination. 

Evolution is now in the hands of man.  Fantasy has grown to reality; it is no stranger than fiction itself.  Man has changed life, playing God's role of creation. Man-made amino-acids make unbelievable combinations of proteins, the precursor of life. Genetic engineering relegates the infamous Frankenstein to the backseat. Why we can cross and combine genes irrespective of species, genera, phyla, across kingdoms of the living world!  Does postmodern art merely ride on his feat? Will it just drift with the current of "progress"? 

National Heroes' Day

Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

National Heroes' Day is a national holiday of Philippines, celebrated to pay homage to the National Heroes of the country. Every year this day falls on the fourth Monday of August. 
Initially National Heroes' day was celebrated on 30th of November as it was the birthday of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan. Later this day moves to the fourth Monday of August, to pay tribute to all other known or unknown men and women who sacrificed their lives for Philippine freedom. 

Philippines achieved its identity due to the noble deeds made by numbers of people, known as National Heroes. People of Philippines celebrate this day with a great enthusiasm. This is a perfect day to remember the life and work of all these great people.

10 CNN Heroes - the everyday heroes of humanity. .

 “They protect lions, teach music to injured soldiers and open new worlds to autistic youth. They help children who are fighting cancer, poverty and a lack of opportunity.”(Efren PeƱaflorida of the Philippines was  2009 Hero of the Year)

CNN Heroes 2014
Since 2007, the CNN Heroes campaign has profiled more than 200 people on CNN and Year 2014's top 10 were nominated by CNN's global audience and profiled earlier  on CNN. Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2014, in alphabetical order:

1. Arthur Bloom has used the healing power of music to help hundreds of injured soldiers recover their lives. His program, MusiCorps, pairs professional musicians with troops recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helping them play instruments and write and record music. "By injecting music into this space, we can inject life," Bloom said. "There's nothing injured about the way they do it. It's just good music."

2. Jon Burns is rallying fellow soccer fans to help children from poor communities in cities hosting the World Cup and other major tournaments. Since 2006, his nonprofit, Lionsraw, has engaged more than 500 volunteers in construction projects and educational programs that have benefitted nearly 6,000 children. "We're trying to harness the passion of football fans to make a difference," he said.

3. Pen Farthing, a former Royal Marine Sergeant, is reuniting soldiers with the stray dogs they befriend while serving in Afghanistan. His nonprofit, Nowzad Dogs -- named for the stray Farthing rescued during his tour -- has helped more than 700 soldiers from eight countries. "My connection with Afghanistan stayed alive because of Nowzad," Farthing said. "To be able to get that animal home to them, it closes the loop." Pen Farthing of the UK: 2014 CNN Hero of the year

4. Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg lost his 2-year-old daughter to leukemia in 1981. Today, his nonprofit, Kids Kicking Cancer, uses martial arts to help children battling serious illnesses manage pain during medical treatments. The group has provided free lessons and support for 5,000 children and their families. "They're often so afraid," Goldberg said. "We teach kids how to control their pain and make them feel powerful."

5. Leela Hazzah has dedicated her life to lion conservation. In 2007, she started Lion Guardians, a nonprofit that works with African Maasai warriors to protect lions. The group now employs more than 70 Lion Guardians throughout East Africa and has helped the lion population grow. "I know we're making a difference," Hazzah said. "When I first moved here, I never heard lions roaring. But now I hear lions roaring all the time."

6. Patricia Kelly is using horses to motivate at-risk children in Hartford, Connecticut. Her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen, provides horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year. "We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing," said Kelly. "They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it."

7. Annette March-Grier grew up in her family's funeral home. After her mother's death, she created Roberta's House, a nonprofit in Baltimore that helps children and their families cope with grief. Since 2008, more than 1,000 children have benefited from the group's free programs. "We're giving families in this city a sense of hope," she said. "We're helping to heal wounds and bring families back together again."

8. Ned Norton, for the last 25 years, has provided strength and conditioning training to people living with a variety of disabilities. He now trains more than 120 people every week through his nonprofit, Warriors on Wheels. "I'm building them up, building them stronger, so they can go out and live life like they're supposed to." Norton said.

9. Amid the violence in his native Guatemala, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes turned his family's home into a haven for young people. Since 2006, his nonprofit, Los Patojos (the Little Ones), has provided educational opportunities and support to more than 1,000 children. I want to inspire these kids," he said. "They are the ones in charge of writing the new history in Guatemala."

10. Dr. Wendy Ross is opening new worlds to autistic children and their families. Since 2010, her nonprofit, Autism Inclusion Resources, has helped hundreds of families navigate challenging social situations, such as sporting events and airport travel. "If you start taking steps outside of your door, your world gets bigger and bigger," said Ross. "We just want people to have opportunities."

The top 10 CNN Heroes of 2014 each received $25,000 for their efforts to help change the world. The Hero of the Year, chosen by CNN's global audience, received an additional $100,000.

CNN Heroes 2013 

Here are the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013, in alphabetical order: 

1. Dale Beatty: Making life easier for disabled veterans 
After Dale Beatty lost his legs in the Iraq war, his community thanked him for his service by helping him build a home. To pay it forward, Beatty co-founded Purple Heart Homes, which has helped build or modify homes for dozens of disabled U.S. veterans. "We wouldn't leave someone behind on the battlefield," Beatty said. "Why would we do it at home?"

 Infirmity is no excuse for not leading a normal life. In fact, among the greatest men and women in the world are on wheelchairs, directing the affairs of the state, introducing legislation in congress, and defending the constitution. They fought war and won.  It's the spirit in a frail body that made them victorious, the power of the mind and heart. 

2. Georges Bwelle: Bringing health care to the jungle
For decades, Georges Bwelle watched his father suffer, unable to get the medical attention he needed. Now a doctor, Bwelle travels into the jungles of his native Cameroon nearly every weekend, providing free medical care for those who don't have access to good health care. "To make people laugh, to reduce the pain, that's why I'm doing this," he said.
Barefoot doctors, they are sometimes called because they leave behind the amenities of comfortable living, as well as their sophisticated tools in hospitals, reminiscent of Dr Juan Flavier's "Doctor to the Barrio." More than health that they attend to the village doctor is often believed by the people as a know-all. The test of rural service is the extension of ones profession to the many facets of village life.  I remember there was once a book "Where there is no doctor" in English and Pilipino.  It was extremely useful where really there is no doctor around.  
3. Robin Emmons: Creating an oasis in a 'food desert'
More than 72,000 people in Charlotte, North Carolina, lack access to fresh produce. When Robin Emmons discovered this problem, she took action. "I decided to rip up my whole backyard and make it all a garden for people in need," she said. Since 2008, Emmons has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables for area residents. 

One of the topics dicussed on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) which Ms Melly C Tenorio and I have been conducting for a number of years now, focuses on home gardening that is applicable in both rural and urban areas by offering easy-to-follow models - virtually from A to Z. Here the models make a variety of plants to grow, from vegetables to orchard, herbals to ornamentals.  The key is to augment everyday needs in the kitchen, medicine as home remedies, as well as simple aesthetics for the home, healthful leisure notwithstanding. The whole concept centers on the principle of Bahay Kubo as an institution. 

4. Danielle Gletow: Granting wishes for foster kids
Foster children don't often get the things other children do, but Danielle Gletow is trying to help change that. She posts their wishes online so the public can help grant them. "I'm here to be the mom to all these kids who might not feel like they have one," she said. Since 2008, her group has helped grant more than 6,500 wishes in 42 states.

I appreciate Hollywood actor Brad Pitt and Angelina Jollie of their humanitarian project. It's heart warming to know orphans of different parentage given foster parent, home, and most importantly, future. Adoption is not uncommon, it is practiced in all societies with different policies, but the common denominator is, humanity must be whole and intact. An English poet beautiful put it, "when somebody dies, a part of each one of us also dies." When somebody triumphs a part in each member of humanity also triumphs.  Sp with healing, so with love. D Gletow must have the biggest heart of a mother. 

5. Tawanda Jones: Giving kids a way off deadly streets
Tawanda Jones is using dance to empower the youth of Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest cities in the country. Through Jones' drill team program, at least 4,000 children have learned discipline, respect and community service -- and all of them have graduated high school. "We need to take back our city and, most importantly, take back our youth," Jones said. 

"New York, New York" has versions at Tondo notorious district, on dumpsite communities and prison camps. There was a band and dance troupe at the Bilibid Prison (Camp Sampaguita) in Muntinlupa which was part of the prison's rehabilitation. The key is in the success of T Jones ability to instill discipline in children to discipline themselves, a self renewal with continuing and lasting effect on character formation as they aim for bright future.   
6. Richard Nares: Helping sick kids get to chemo
For many children fighting cancer, it can be extremely tough to make it to their chemotherapy appointments. But Richard Nares started a group that gives them transportation and support. "No child should miss their cancer treatment due to lack of transportation," said Nares, who lost his son to leukemia in 2000.
Victims of cancer are becoming not only more in number but younger, these include very young children -  not to mention other major diseases like damaged kidney and diabetes. Indeed, the very young patients are pathetic to imagine the lost opportunity of their youth, maybe even to imagine a lost generation where epidemic may build up. R Nares may be able to cure, but as Mother Teresa put it, she gives comfort and dignity in the sick and dying, in their uphill climb and uncertain future.    

7. Kakenya Ntaiya: Educating girls for the first time
Kakenya Ntaiya is inspiring change in her native Kenyan village. After becoming the first woman in the village to attend college in the United States, she returned to open the village's first primary school for girls (in Kenya). "Our work is about empowering the girls," Ntaiya said. "They are dreaming of becoming lawyers, teachers, doctors."

What happens when one finishes college in the city - will he or she go back to his humble place of birth and serve.  Which reminds us of Plato's famous allegory about shadows seen in the darkness of a cave, and when a member of the group freed himself and traced the origin of the shadows, he never went back to "enlighten" his colleagues. Enlightenment is principal to learning, to K Ntaiya's empowerment. How many schools on the other hand were put up by enterprising educators for the motive of profit?  
CNN Hero 2013  
8. Chad Pregracke: Cleaning up American rivers
Chad Pregracke has made it his life's work to clean up the Mississippi River and other American waterways. Since 1998, about 70,000 volunteers have helped Pregracke remove more than 7 million pounds of garbage from 22 rivers across the country. "Picking up garbage, it's tough, miserable and hot," Pregracke said. "We try to make it fun."
9. Estella Pyfrom: Bringing computers to kids in need
Estella Pyfrom used her life savings to create "Estella's Brilliant Bus," a mobile computer lab that provides tutoring for thousands of low-income students in Palm Beach County, Florida. "It's not just a bus, it's a movement," Pyfrom said. "And we're going to keep making a difference."

Bill and Melinda Gates, put up a foundation financed largely by their multi-billion wealth. Rationale: In spite of the fact that the world is "wired" by cyberspace technology, half of the population has so little to have for decent living - literacy, health, housing, longevity and the like - while the other half simply has too much affluence. Translated, the poor don't have the opportunity to build themselves up to have the capacity to rise above their present plight. Our own CNN hero Ka Efren PeƱaflorida's push part school brings school to the people; conventionally it is people going to school - in which case there are so few who can afford it. E Pyfrom works of this principle: reach out, take the school to the people, touch their lives. 
10. Laura Stachel: Lighting the way for safe childbirths
Laura Stachel created a special "solar suitcase" to help health care workers deliver babies in more than 20 developing countries. "I really want a world where women can deliver babies safely and with dignity," Stachel said. 

 I remember our own Dr Fe Del Mundo, whom Ka Melly and I called as local Florence Nightingale, devised an incubator for the nursery, simple yet efficient, the design was adopted in hospitals and clinics. Innovations are key to easy operation and application at the grassroots.
 CNN's Kathleen Toner and Erika Clarke contributed to the above report.
 Which made L Stahcel's contribution to health outstanding. Imagine 20 developing countries benefiting from her invention and its practical application.   

 (Acknowledgement: CNN Internet, TV broadcast, December 25, 2013)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Landscape of Life

Dedicated to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on his visit to the Philippines, January 2015
A landscape that lifts the curtain and opens a horizon on which each one of us passes but once, an experience more than destiny and eternity.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

A Landscape of Life in acrylic (2' x 5') by AVRotor 2014, showing details.

landscape that gains back clarity and focus, though slowly, from strained vision of light and shadow, fast moving cars and blinking screens;

A landscape that gets frayed nerves back to function in reflexes governed by the conscious and unconscious mind in peace and harmony;

A landscape that restores freshness and purity of the primary colors, and expresses the full colors of the rainbow with the hand, paint and canvas;

A landscape that makes forests lush green, distant mountains blue, trees in autumn in hues of yellow to red, and the sky azure as the deep sea;

A landscape that brings back consciousness to watch migrating birds in the sky, fish in the stream, and a drop of pond water teeming with life;

A landscape that sets the biological clock attune with the passing of seasons, and to understand the mystery of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring;

A landscape that is courageous to face force majeure and patient enough to bear the brunt as the landscape gains back its health and beauty;

A landscape that witnesses the transformation of a swamp into grassland and woodland in an orderly fashion that spawns biological diversity;

A landscape that establishes niches and bridges of past and present, tradition and modern, living and the non-living in Rousseau’s scenery;

A landscape that soothes noise into joyous sound, bleating and thunder as part of a Beethoven’s composition, chirping a language of praise;

A landscape that releases us from confinement in Plato’s Allegory to face the realities of the world, which is the essence of education;

A landscape that is viewed with the power of the mind, heart and spirit, be it real or abstract - yet it gives meaning to reverence to our Creator;

A landscape that lifts the curtain and opens a horizon on which each one of us passes but once, an experience more than destiny and eternity. ~ 

Dirge of a Dying Creek

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday
The afternoon sun casts an aura of the creek's once beautiful state with trees and shrubs lining its banks. Now the creek is virtually dead - biologically. Note highly polluted water and dumped quarry materials blocking the natural waterway. (Parallel Aurora Blvd, QC)  
Balete or Strangler's Fig clings on an adobe rock cliff.
Views of middle stream, and upper stream to the east. The creek is now an open sewer, ugly, obnoxious 

Outgrowth extends over the creek as if to hide its pathetic condition and man's indifference from public view, 

Just across the creek to the north lies a man-made pond of the Oasis - serene and aesthetic, except the foul air of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, methane, ammonia and other gases, being emitted by the nearby creek
Dirge of a Dying Creek                   
Once upon a time, so the story goes, clouds gather 
from the sea and land, cumulus to nimbus,
falling as rain, drenching the trees and grass and all,
and down the lake and river and field it goes. 

I was born this way, like my kin, many miles away,
children of Pasig River, seat of a civilization,
the artery of vast Laguna Lake and historic Manila Bay,
and I, a tributary of this magnificent creation.     

I lived in the stories of Balagtas the poet laureate,
in Rizal's novels, Abelardo's Kundiman song,
I throbbed with the happy heart of a living system,  
like the Rhine, Danube, Nile and Mekong.

I am part of history, obedient to man and nature's will,
I gave him clean water and fish, I sang lullaby;
laughed with the children at play under my care,
through generations and time sweetly went by. 

Seasons come and go, the story goes on - ad infinitum -
but where are the birds that herald habagat?
where have all the children gone after class, in summer?
reflection on my water, green carpet on my rock?

I am dying, dear mother, I long for you and my kin,
I choke with debris, laden with waste matter,
my banks are no more, concrete walls have taken over,
I am dying mother -  but my mother doesn't answer;  
my mother doesn't answer.  ~