#264 possible quake predicted 2 years ago

No one expected an earthquake to break out in Haiti even though she was warned 2 years ago by scientists a quake was possible. No one believed this could happen as there was no quake for the last 200 years in its natural history. No one was prepared for this tumultuous magnitude.

The 7.1 magnitude Richter scale earthquake literally wiped away the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince — its infrastructures and all government buildings; presidential palace, justice palace and the churches and cathedrals and the 5-star hotels…many, many others. These buildings were supposed to withstand the quake but… Naturally the loss of human lives outweighs all — the nationals (an estimate of 150,000 or more dead in a city of 3-4 million people without mentioning those homeless and missing), foreigners and peacekeepers.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the West, if not in the world. This is the result of greed and corruption of governing leaders who thought of themselves rather than the people. Is this one ugly face of democracy?!

The aerial view of the island is made up of Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the Dominican Republic, it’s green but on the Haiti side, it’s brown, little vegetation. Were the people in Haiti so poor that they exhausted that they could find in order to survive? Interestingly, the quake whose epicenter struck close to the Haitian capital did not affect the Dominican Republic.

However the Haitians are resilient. One witnesses those surviving are grateful they are alive.

Children as young as a few years old were rescued from the rubble after several days without nourishment or liquid; a few elderly in 70s and 80s; and the one in his 20s after 11 days! One cannot underestimate the will and  inner strength of man…

Looting was evident in all places of tragedy when aid was slow in coming after several days fled by.

Though the promised aid was forthcoming but food and water was slow…so very, very, very slow in reaching the people in need…naturally a hungry man is an angry man.

How do you survive and keep sane and good when your loved ones are missing or dead? Dead bodies strewed everywhere. The stench in the air. People are in state of shock. Rubbles strewed all around. Buildings collapsed. No home to return to. Literally nothing!

My impression of Haiti was Haitians practised voodoo which is one black magic or dark forces which even seeped into the churches – the Catholic cathedral and the Episcopalian cathedral! Can this quake wipe out this voodoo practice?!

Can Haiti start from ground zero? I know the people have the ability but… Will the necessary aid and billions of funds raised get to the people there?  (I hope NOT those American contractors assigned to build Haiti though!) Are there good and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves for nation-building?

On Russia Today Spotlight tv program, I heard an interview where this young Haitian student working on his postgraduate in Russia is very articulate in his understanding of his own country and insight into the devastation.

Those Haitians studying overseas will not be able to receive funds from home any more…

I pray for God to raise good, upright and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice for the new breed of Haitians.

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#214 food scare

Milk, an essential for babies and now cup noodles, the popular fast food for adults especially the elderly who found this convenient to prepare.

All one needs is to pour hot water into the cup and wait for several minutes…voila, the food is ready for eating! Mind you, the price for a cup noodle is not that cheap…but for convenience, to fill the hungry stomach and saving time in this fast track life is an alternative choice!

Tainted milk in China stole the headlines at a time when the global financial crisis was looming large, now this cup noodle scare in Japan where insecticide is found! Is there something more sinister?!

About a million cups were recalled. This scare comes at a time when prices of some staple foods are on the rise!

The Nissin Foods product company was founded by Mr Momofuku Ando. Died at ripe age of 96, he was born in Taiwan in 1910 and returned to Japan in 1933. According to sources, he was inspired to provide cheap food for the masses after witnessing people queueing for hot ramen (noodle) at a black market stall during the time of food shortage in WWII.

Interestingly the first instant noodle came on the market in 1958 but the cup noodle in 1971.

#181 olympic champions

The secret to these champions at the Olympic Games is sheer dedication, persistence and diligence (hard work), tears and disappointments together with the faithful support of one’s loved ones like mother or father.

It’s not the intake of special foods or drugs which the world record breakers in Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt! Their diet is as ordinary as you and I. Usain Bolt and the Jamaican medalists ate lots of yam (their staple diet?), an energy food.

Michael Phelps has a wonderful testimony where he did fumble in life along the way but he has the courage to make a comeback and stood tall on his achievements. Despite his attention deficit syndrome, his mother loved him the way he is and she must be one really proud mother today!

I recall reading Eric Liddell’s testimony where he ran 3 events in one day on the track and won gold medals in 1924 (France) — he enjoys training without shoes on the rugged mountains of Scottish highlands close to his church and where he lived.

The Indian medalists like Sushil Kumar, the wrestler and Vijender Kumar, the boxer (the Kumars are not blood relatives) lived in terrible conditions while training — without sponsors or government support.

The persistence and not giving up of Indian Abhinay Bindra, 25, won him gold in the 10m air rifle competition in the first few days of the Games.

I’m sure there must be unpublished stories of all the champions at the Games like the Kenyan marathon man, Sammy Wanjiru, who clocked 2 hours, 6 mins and 32 secs; and many African athletes and sportspersons who won medals.

Whatever has been said of the communist countries like China and Russia and others, one merit is the government nationally support the area of sports and athletics — and the athletes and sportspersons trained and performed with national pride!

Glad that these champions proved enhanced performance drugs is NOT the way to win!

#148 foods

Why are there foods categorised into good foods and bad foods?

Is food bad for one’s health as a result of over-consumption?

Food glorious food! Take in moderation, food is good and nourishing the body.

However when one enters 60 years of age, one’s metabolism slows down markedly. Intake of foods are less likely to digest properly resulting in accumulated wastes which then build up toxins (?).

I’ve known of many who had a changed of diet contracted cancer.

There must be a balance in intake of food with physical exercise and a peaceful sound mind and intellectual stimulation to make life exciting, interesting and meaningful.

#146 what is the human limit?

Can world athletes compete at any international events without taking performance enhanced drugs?

What is the use of competing when an athlete takes something to boost his performance? Will he honestly be proud of the fact that he/she is the fastest person in world? Is this a show of human prowess? What is the use of clocking the fastest time then — i.e. with the aid of high performance drugs? Will these drugs not give side-effects eventually? 

On the intellectual front, either an individual has it or none…so why not the physical aspect of the athletes?

Talent is based on man’s natural abilities of an individual through the nourishment of food and physical skills — without the use of enhanced performance drugs.

In the forthcoming Youth Olympics in 2010, will one see the teens in some countries take enhanced performance drugs just to win the event? Will this drug thwart one’s growth? Will there be freaked humans?

If so, will there be a tampering of genes to enhance one’s performance?

#127

Will there be fewer obese kids around now that the food prices soared especially in the more affluent countries?

The only sad situation is the really poor suffer for want of basics.

It seems the world leaders were making concerted effort to eradicate poverty only to find food prices soar — the days for cheap food is gone — poverty remains. Indeed the poor will always be with us.

What can we offer to these poor to help them rise up? The really poor are too proud to reach out for handouts as dignity is the only left as a human.

One weapon to fight poverty is good governance — governing leaders who are concerned for the welfare of the people and to weed out corruption.

#104 aftermath of cyclone in burma

What manner of man is the head of the military junta? A case of mixing politics and humanitarian aid? Pride?

Six days passed after cyclone nargis swept through the Irrawaddy Delta and Rangoon, the head of state is slow to respond to international relief initated by the world — food and medicine. What a tragedy indeed!

Each passing day sees more people die without food and water, disintegrating dead bodies causing water-borne diseases and access into affected areas blocked making relief work impossible!

Storms batter Burma every year. Though warned on its severity given 48 hours before by the Indian meteorologists (in 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh claimed 143,000 lives), the scale of devastation revealed the people woke up on Sunday to rude shock and anguish.

Why were people not evacuated in the fierce wind-swept and flooded areas?

Cyclones are caused by huge revolving winds (in tropics clockwise circle) around a central area of low atmospheric pressure. Its destructive force is the fierce winds churning up the sea, causing giant waves and surges of water rushing inland with deadly power flooding the low-lying coastal areas. The heavy rain falls brought serious flooding around the rivers and delta.

Is the head of the military junta punishing the people for being fed up with his regime? Is he waiting for constitutional referendum on May 10th to decide further action? Is he so sick that those around him are paralysed to decisive and humane solutions?

During the protests, there was mobilization of the military; this devastation, few military personnel seen.

Under military power since 1962, will the Burmese rise in revolt and oust the military junta like the collective action created in the Philippines?