Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A palindrome is a word or sentence that reads the same backward as it does forward, such as tot, boob, mom, dad, did, non, noon, racecar, deed, level, pip, rotor, civic, pop, madam, eye, nun, radar, toot, and many others. Mathematics, too, has arrangements that could be called palindromes. For example:

21978 x 4 = 87912
10989 x 9 = 98901

There are some complex examples of reversal, mixing addition and multiplication:

9 + 9 = 18 81 = 9 x 9
24 + 3 = 27 72 = 3 x 24
47 + 2 = 49 94 = 2 x 47
497 + 2 = 499 994 = 2 x 497


A friend forwarded an article about “The Exotic Rainforest” collection with photographs of the rare parrot flower (impatiens psittacina). The author, in a matter-of-fact tone, described lengthily the research he did to prove that the rare plant is not a hoax, that it is real, and that it is not an orchid species.

The plant thrives in the rainforest of Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and portions of East India. It is known to the people of Thailand as “Dok Nok Khaew” (dok = flower, nok = bird, and khaew = green or the word for parrot). So the translation would be Flower Bird Parrot. It is not an orchid, it is one of the rarest members of the genus impatiens. The Thai law made it illegal to own, collect, or export the plants or seeds. A botanist described the species as resembling a “cockatoo suspended by a string from its shoulders”.

Like many flower species, this plant has a limited blooming season, only in the months of October and November. The plant grows tall and apparently will not survive without moist, humid, tropical, rainforest conditions. It is variable; it comes in blue, pink and yellow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


… come, come my children,
I will teach you the way of the Lord …

Parents, teach your children to love God. If you teach your children to love God and obey His words when they are small, you will save them and yourself many heartaches when they are older. Gather the family for a time with God in Holy Bible reading and prayer each day. Let every one take part. Pray together over the problems of each member of the family. Thank God together for His blessings. Go to Sunday school and church together. Encourage your children to give their lives to God at an early age. As you worship and serve God together, His love strengthens family ties. As the saying goes: “the family that prays together stays together”.

“… train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not turn from it…”

Proverbs 22:6

Monday, April 28, 2008


For all we know, driving is a full time job, and we must give it undivided attention. The first thing I tell a cab driver is to concentrate on safe driving and refrain from using his celfon, or I’ll shout stoppppp!!! and help myself out of the car immediately before anything happens.

My colleague will spend the next three months in the hospital, he lost his baby girl, his wife’s right arm was amputated, his two sons were miraculously uninjured, and the driver, who was his best friend, was killed instantly. All these happened so quickly, my friend couldn’t even recall anything at all. What caused the accident? His friend was speeding over the posted limit. Every hour of every day, on every mile of roadway, many drivers are ignoring legal speed limits, racing to tragedies like this one.

Too often there is difference between what we know and what we do. Our attitudes and emotions influence what we do, acting as filters so that our behavior does not always reflect what our rational mind would tell us is the correct action. We don’t do what we know is best for us. We know it is safer to wear seatbelts, but we don’t always do it. We know that following the speed limit is best for everyone on the road, but we don’t always do it. We know we should drive defensively and pass carefully, but we don’t always do it. Why? For some people it’s a feeling of being invulnerable. For others it amounts to feeling helpless. Then there is arrogance. And let us not forget impatience and its associate, anger.

Much too often, however, it takes stronger medicine: an accident involving family members or a close friend—or us. Unfortunately, however, this convincer may come too late. We, or someone we care about, may be seriously injured or even killed during the learning process.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Of crime and punishment!

I have read True Crime, Master Detective, Murder Most Foul, and True Detective for as long as I can remember. I am also an avid reader of legal cases and proceedings. I have a good collection of crime books based on real life situations, revealing astonishing known facts about real acts of villainy, and they probe fascinating, missing traces and facts that confound the law. At times I feel a strong urge to become part of an elite squad of detectives trying to solve theft and fraud to murder cases.

What drives a person to commit heinous crime? How can someone take the life of another? There are probably many reasons for committing the act, but how they can do it is in their mental makeup. Would capital punishment handed down to law violators help solve human lawlessness? What could possibly be too cruel and unusual punishment for the gravest crime committed?

There is no question that punishment serves many purposes. For many reasons, the issue of punishment is of vital concern to civilized society, with the end in view of knowing the effects and the best way of carrying it out. We want to punish, but we also want to know that such punishment is justified.

Friday, April 25, 2008


An aerial view of Jabal Qarah Mountain, embraced by old Qarah Village in Al Hasa. The palm groves are seen surrounding the village on all sides.

The Al-Hasa region is the largest oasis in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It has a dry, tropical climate, with a five-month summer and a relatively cold winter. It is famous for its palm groves and the Jabal Qarah Mountain.

... chunks of fallen limestones near the entrance to the cave ...

The Jabal Qarah Mountain, east of Hofuf, is one of the tourist attractions of the region. Date palms encircle this hill in a fascinating view that shows nature’s beauty and charm. It’s worth mentioning that the hill contains a cave, which is very cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The mountain is also known as Ash-Shab’an (the satiated). It is surrounded by rivers and palms. It is named after a large, well-known eastern village in promixity of the mountain.

... limestone ledge ...

... these limestones have really taken shapes ...

... one of the limestone pillars ...

... it's hot up here, sadiq! ...

The mountain has series of very deep and narrow joint-controlled fissures in a massive limestone outcropping. Most passages are open to the sky, but cool air settles in the fissures. The cave's main passage is almost three meters wide and 30 meters high. Most of the passages are illuminated during the brightest part of the day, but some passages beneath breakdown wedges attain absolute darkness for short distances. The floor generally is smooth and slopes gently toward the entrance.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Herbal medicines? These words remind me of Quiapo Church, where many people after saying prayers throng the many stalls in the area. You can find several vendors offering plants, probably most of them taken from their own backyards, saying this and that offers panacea for all body pains. One has to realize, however, that these are not just ordinary stems and leaves. From experiments inside the labs, herbs are proven to contain medicinal values.


Broadly defined, products of plant origin used primarily for the seasoning of food to give it flavor and aroma. Herbs, such as parsley, bay leaf, or tarragon may be more precisely defined as fragrant leaves grown in the temperate zone. Anise, mustard, and sesame are examples of flavorful seeds, some of which grow in the tropics and some in temperate regions. In another group are the lustlly flavored vegetables—onion, garlic, chives, celery, or sweet peppers—which are used for seasoning, as well as for their food value.

“… are you going to Scarborough Fair,
parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!...”





Herbs strong enough to add a distinctive flavor accent include sweet basil, dill, mint, sweet marjoram, tarragon, and thyme. Pungent herbs, such as rosemary, sage, oregano (also called wild marjoram), and winter savory should be used with discretion.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008



Dubai in Summertime!!!

Dubai is an Emirate of captivating contrasts. From the timeless tranquility of the desert to the lively bustle of the souk, Dubai offers a kaleidoscope of attractions for visitors. The Emirate is both a dynamic international business centre and a laid-back tourist escape; a city where the sophistication of the 21st Century walks hand in hand with the simplicity of a bygone era.

In a single day, you can experience everything from rugged mountains and awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches and lush green parks, from dusty villages to luxurious residential districts, and from ancient houses with wind towers to ultra-modern shopping malls.

These contrasts give Dubai its unique flavor and personality, a cosmopolitan society with an international lifestyle, yet with a culture deeply rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Since earliest times Dubai has been a meeting place, bringing together the Bedouin of the desert interior with the pearl-diver, the merchant of the city with the sea-going fisherman.

...for a guided tour, visit...


A huge rock in a village of Al-Hassa region, SAUDI ARABIA raises 11 cms from the ground level once in a year during the month of April and stays elevated for about 30 minutes !!!

They say that 17 years ago, a man was shot dead behind this rock as he was hidden there. This encounter happened in the month of April 1989. You can see the fresh blood stains on the rock. Most surprisingly, when the rock raises from the ground, these stains become darker, fresher and wet. Local residents tried to wipe off the stains several times, but after some time it appears again on the rock automatically..... isn't it astounding ? Have a look....

Do you dare probe the strange, incredible, sometimes terrifying, but always fascinating mysteries of the unexplained!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


What is a soliloquy?

It is the act of speaking while alone, especially when used as a theatrical device that allows a character’s thoughts and ideas to be conveyed to the audience. It is also defined as a section of a play or other drama in which a soliloquy is spoken. It is derived from the Latin word, soliloquium “a speaking alone”. Latin solus “alone” + loqui “speak”.

Here is a very touching soliloquy that I love so much; author, unknown! While the main character was written for a small boy, it is best interpreted by a young girl. I had the opportunity to coach two of my piano students, as part of their class participations. Both girls interpreted it so well that those who witnessed both performances couldn’t help crying from beginning to end.

Get ready with your hankies!!!
…. lights ….. camera…. action …!!!

Alms...., alms...., alms…. spare me a piece of bread…. spare me your mercy…. I am a child so young, so thin, and so ragged.

Why are you staring at me? With my eyes I cannot see, but I know that you are all staring at me! Why are you whispering to one another? Why? Do you know my mother? Do you know my father? Did you know me five years ago? Yes..., five years of bitterness had passed. I can still remember the vast happiness mother and I shared with father. My mother was playing on the piano, while I danced and danced for them. We were very happy indeed.

Suddenly, five loud knocks were heard on the door, and a deep silence ensued. Did the cruel Nippons discover our peaceful home? Asked Mother! Mother ran to my father’s side, pleading, “please Julian, hide there in the cellar, they cannot find you there”. I pulled my father’s arm, but he did not move. It seemed as though his feet were glued to the floor.

The door went “banggggg”, and before us five ugly beasts came barging in. “Are you Captain Julian Santos?,” roared the ugliest of them all. “Yes,” said my father. “You are under arrest,” said one of the beasts. They pulled father roughly away from us. Father wasn't given a chance to bid us goodbye. We followed them mile after mile, we were hungry and thirsty. We saw a group of Japanese soldiers eating. Oh, how our mouths watered seeing the delicious fruits they were eating. Then suddenly, we heard a voice calling, “..... Consueloooooo ….. Anitaaaaa ….. Consuelooooo ….. Anitaaaaa ….. Consueloooooo ….. Anitaaaaa …..!!!."

We ran towards the direction of the voice, but it was too late. We saw father hanging on a tree……… dead………. fatherrrrrrrr!!! Oh, it was terrible!!!. He had been badly beaten before he died….., and I cried vengeanceee...!!!, vengeanceee...!!!, vengeanceeee...!!! Everything went black. The next thing I knew I was nursing my poor invalid mother.

One day, we heard the church bell ringing, “dinggggg..., donggggg..., dinggggg..., donggggg!” It was a sign for us to find a shelter in our hideout, but I could not leave my invalid mother, I tried to show her the way to the hideout. Suddenly, bombs started falling; airplanes were roaring overhead..., canyons were firing from everywhere ..… booommm!!! booommm!!! booommmmmm!!! Mother was hit, her legs were shattered into pieces. I took her gently in my arms and cried, “I’ll have vengeanceee!!!, vengeanceee!!!” “No, Anita, vengeance….. it is God’s,” said mother. But I cried out vengeanceee!!!. I was like a pent up volcano. “Vengeance is mine not God’s”. “No, Anita, vengeance is not ours, it’s God’s”. These were the words from my mother before she died. Mother was dead and I was blind. Vengeance is not ours? To forgive is divine, but vengeance is sweeter!

That was five years ago, five years ….. aaalllmmmsss..., aaalllmmmsss..., aaalllmmmsss..., spare me a piece of bread. Spare me your mercy. I am a child so young, so thin, so poor, and so ragged. Vengeance is not ours..., it is God’s... it’s God’s….. it’s….

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Taking Off To Singapore

From the sleek skyscrapers of the central business district to some of the Asia’s best shopping with the malls on Orchard Road. From the lazy drift of Singapore River’s traditional bumboats to the wild adventure of the Singapore Zoo’s night Safari. From the teashops of Chinatown to the kebab grills of Arab Street to the curry houses of Little India.


flight delayed!!!… what do I do now??
it's gonna be a longgggggg wait ugghhhh!!!

I asked the saleslady if I could
have one picture with her, she stared
at me and said, in a mild voice,
“… sorry, not allowed …”!!!

…. boring… boringgg…
it’s another three hours of waiting …
aaahhhhh… !!!


A visit to Singapore guarantees to be an exciting experience. The city of skyscrapers, five-star hotels, cable cars, beach resorts, and the famous hospitality and smile. The city is a blend of modernity, sophistication, and antiquity. A culmination of old and modern co-existence. The present Singapore is alive and vibrant, full of life and vigor, and a continuous dream of a more prosperous tomorrow.

Singapore is a dynamic, modern Asian city, where culture and color tantalize the senses from the minute you touch down. A place where the melting pot of cultures delivers an ancient traditions, arts and architecture. This irresistibly lively metropolis represents a fine synergy of east and west.

Full of life and vitality—the city has so many places to explore; Singapore Zoo, one of the most beautiful zoos in the world, the Jurung Bird Park, home of over 600 species of colorful birds, or visit the surrounding islands.



Some of the most exciting bandas
at Singapore Orchidarium




Right on Singapore’s doorstep lies the nature-lover’s paradise that is Sentosa Island. Take the nature walk up the Dragon Trail through lush secondary rainforest and soak in the scenic views at the summit of of Mt. Imbiah, overlooking picturesque neighboring islands.