Monday, June 30, 2014

Four Old Chinese stories by Liezi, Chinese Philosopher

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Liezi, or Lie Yukou, is the author of the Daoist book Liezi, 

1. Man who Lost his Axe 
Prejudice and suspicion

A man who lost his axe suspected his neighbor's son of stealing it. He watched the way the lad walked - exactly like a thief. He watched the boy's expression - it was that of a thief. He watched the way he talked - just like a thief.

In short, all his gestures and actions proclaimed him guilty of theft.

But later he found his axe himself when he went out to dig. And after that, when he saw his neighbor's son, all the lad's gestures and actions looked quite unlike of a thief. (Lie Zi*)~ 

2. Man Who Loves Sea Gulls 
Hidden Intention is known

A man who lived by the sea loved seagulls. Every morning at daybreak he would go to the seaside and play with the gulls. Hundreds of gulls would come to him and not fly away.

His father said, "I heard that seagulls like to play with you. Catch a few for me so that I can play with them too."

The next morning when he went to the seaside the seagulls swooped about in the skies but none came down to him.

One may try, but unable to, hide one's inner thoughts. Even birds and animals can sense one's true feelings.

3. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Behaving by own volition 

On the way to Song, Yang meets a man at the town of Ni. The man has two wives, one is very attractive and the other one is quite plain. But the man favors the not so attractive one.

So Yang asks him why. The man answers:"The pretty one knows she is pretty. I don't. The plain one knows she is plain. I don't. A bad person knows he is bad. I don't."

Yang says:"I will remember what you just said. The Saint behaves as a Saint, by his own volition."

4. The Sky is Falling

Worried about nothing

Once there was a man from Qi, who was worried about falling sky and sinking earth.

A friend, worried about his worrying, came to calm him.

He said to the man, "The sky is all air, nothing but air. As you inhale and exhale, and breathe air into the sky all day long, there is no need to worry about falling sky."

The man then asked, "So the sky is just air. Then what about the Sun, the Moon and the stars falling from the sky?"

He replied, "These are only twinkling objects of air. Even if they fall, they won't hurt you."

The man continued, "What about sinking earth?"

He replied, "The earth is made up of solid blocks of earth, which filled up all spaces. There are no empty spaces. If you stamp you feet on the ground all day, the earth will not sink."

*Liezi, (Chinese: “Master Lie”) or Lie Yukou, is the author of the Daoist book Liezi, which uses his honorific name Liezi. There is little historical evidence of Lie Yukou as a Hundred Schools of Thought philosopher during the Warring States Period. This could be due to the burning of books and burying of scholars which occurred during the reign of Qin Shi Huang. However, some scholars believe that the Zhuangzi invented him as a Daoist exemplar. 


In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, which are often shortened to "yin-yang" or "yin yang", are concepts used to describe how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, high and low, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, male and female, sun and moon, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality of yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science, philosophy, medicine, martial arts.

Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects. In Taoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole.

 In the ethics of Confucianism on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu (c. 2nd century BC), a moral dimension is attached to the idea of yin and yang. Along with Confucianism, “Daoism” (sometimes called “Taoism“) is one of the two great indigenous philosophical traditions of China. 

Taoism is an Eastern religion/philosophy with perhaps 225 million followers. Although it is more accurately referred to as a philosophy, books on world religions inevitably include it with other religions from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism.
The exact number of followers is impossible to estimate because many of its followers also identify with other religions -- often Buddhism and Confucianism -- and because it is impossible to obtain reliable polling information from individuals in China.
Taoists were heavily persecuted in China for years after the Communist victory in 1949, and during the cultural revolution from 1966 to 1976. Some religious tolerance and freedom has been restored over the last three decades.

Acknowledgment: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica. other Internet and printed sources.


Dr. Abe V. Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Each tree a mark of time, 
From past to the age of space; 
Of deeds, passing wind a chime, 
Spreading peace and grace. 

In handshake they seek across 
The seas and to the stars, 
For some brethren long lost 
Bearing hurt and scars. 

Strong against the storm, 
Their timber will not give 
Only to time and reform; 
They stand as long as they live. 

And many a man well in thought 
Walks, arch above his head; 
To honor what he had fought, 
For the tears he had shed. 

Walk to the gate, hurry, 
The Sentinel will not wait; 
Night falls, dark and dreary, 
Go before it’s too late. ~

Brown eggs are preferred over white eggs

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Brown eggs come from native fowls that subsist mainly on farm products. They are very resistant to the elements and diseases that they simply grow on the range. White eggs on the other hand, come from commercial poultry farms and are highly dependent on antibiotics and formulated feeds. Another advantage of brown eggs is that they have thicker shells. Besides, their yolk is brighter yellow as compared to that of white eggs.
Preference to natural, and organically grown, food is gaining popularity worldwide. It is because many ailments, from allergy to cancer, are traced to the kinds of food we eat. Many kinds of allergies have evolved from genetically engineered food, for which they have gained the reputation of Frankenfood, after the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, published in 1818.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ageing is like wine, it becomes mellow with age.

Only good wine becomes mellow with age. Old age is the time you harvest what you planted in youth. The man is the child of yesterday - but the child in you must always live on.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Now in their early seventies, author and high school classmates, enjoy the fruits of a well deserved life in their respective professions, families, leadership and service to humanity in the fields of law, business, agriculture, education, media, engineering, civil and military service. This group represents other alumni of the Divine Word College of Vigan, formerly Colegio de la Imaculada Concepcion. This article is dedicated to the memory of their mentors, principally Fr. Panfilo Guianan (HS Director), Rev Frs Salzman, Leisring, and Creder, Mr Ricardo Avila (principal), and Mr Demetrio Rotor (adviser). And also to the memory of their classmates who have gone ahead. This article is an expression of gratitude to their Alma Mater.

1. Ageing is like good wine; it becomes mellow with age. But only good wine becomes mellow with age. And the longer ageing is, the better is the quality of the wine. We can compare it also with wood. “A seasoned timber never gives (up).” A seasoned teacher is wise.

2. Ageing distills knowledge into wisdom. It’s the ripening of fruits on the tree. Knowledge is not all useful; it leaves a lot of wastes. Which I call infollution (information pollution). Like the so many flowers and developing fruits of a huge mango tree, those that fall are useless knowledge; those that do not ripen are knowledge that can’t stand by themselves. Only those that remain full and ripe at the end are like wisdom. Wisdom is tested by timelessness and universality.

3. Old age is harvesting what you planted in youth. The man is the child of yesterday. Start early in life to plant the seed of success, more so, the seed of service. Monuments are not built for no reason at all. And even without a monument a good deed is monumental in the hearts and minds of those you serve and those who believe in you – especially those you have changed their lives.

4. Ageing physically and physiologically - this is inevitable. But don’t let the mind and the heart age prematurely and uselessly. Like faculty, practice makes them alive and full. Reason, thoughts, imagination, love, compassion should not go to waste by chronological age.

5. The child in you must always live. That Little Prince that rules over the grownup in you that says “a matter of consequence is not only those that are urgent and important,” is also preserving the ideal. Idealism must live together with realism.

6. There are those who are late bloomers; they bloom with age. Catalyze the blossoming of the beautiful things – how late they may come in life. It is better to bloom in old age than to blossom early – and the blossom just fades away. You’ll even regret it because it could mean to you as failure.

7. In old age don’t lose your trophies and medals - because of one false move, worst, if deliberate. Or because of a persistent habit you thought you can get away with even in old age. There is nothing more regretful if you fall into disgrace in old age – you don’t have a second life to amend for it.

8. Hold your horses. Stop, look, listen. Getting older adopts “slow but sure” attitude towards situations and decisions. “Quick to think, but slow to act,” may be appropriate in old age. That is why in traditional societies, decision makers are old people, village elders.

9. Make your assets grow for others, as you prepare to leave the world. Have the philanthropic heart. You can’t take your riches to your tomb. The Egyptians never did. The young pharaoh Tutankhamen left his belongs for the afterlife in his tomb, now in the Egyptian Museum. . Economics does not work well with each one of us holding a treasure chest and locking it up. Imagine if the world is dominated by Madoff, by AIG, by Lehman Brothers - even with their generosity.

10. Older societies are more peaceful than younger societies. Make peace as you grow older. Old men don’t go to war. It is the brave who dies young. “Where have all the flowers gone?” speaks the youth cut down in their prime. All wars – ancient, religious, political – the young is the sacrificial lamb. People as they grow older can’t simply be made easy tools for power and greed. .

11. Expanded family ties; three generations not in a row, but in a chain. For the first time in the history of man that four three generations live under one roof. And soon four generations - as longevity increases. While in the city the family is getting small, agrarian families is expanding because of longer life span.

12. Scientific and technological thrusts are toward ageing, longevity: rejuvenation, on-site cloning of tissues and organs, ergonomics (designing tools and materials that fits well to the comfort of the user) - geriatrics, gerontology (all about the science and caring of the aged.)

13. Extension of retirement, active retirement – this is the trend today for old people. Soldiers become security guards; teachers become professor emeritus, executives as consultants, professions doing odd jobs. Age of retirement is not after all boring. So when does one really retire?

14. Foster, adopt, and have the needy, the homeless, the orphaned, the abandoned as your own children especially if you are childless. Even then, by the time you are very old, your children shall then be on their own. Be like Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie who have adopted children of different color. Sponsor scholarships for the deserving but are unable to pursue their studies.

15. Resurrection and immortality are myths. Humans will always remain mortals. More than a hundred corpses of rich Americans are in cryonic tanks waiting for the time to resurrect the. DNA extracted from cadavers and human fossils will never make a living replica of the departed or deceased.

Famous Filipino writers (left to right): Sedfrey Ordoñez, Ophelia A Dimalanta, Hortencia Santos Sankore, Larry Francisco, and Jose Garcia Villa

16. Life cycle is universal given to everything, living or non-living. But with man’s rationality we can plot our life cycle, on so many socio-economic matters. The late Justice Secretary Ordoñez wrote a book, Life Cycle. He said the inevitable is biological, but the way we live our lives, is within much under our control and will. “Men choose to live long which they have no control of, yet refuse to live nobly within their will.” So said the great Roman Philosopher Cicero.

17. Nature is selfish within your lifetime – you care so much for those close to your genes, to the point of dying for them. But nature, after you are gone is altruistic after you are gone; it distributes your genes to where they will most fit in the name of evolution through which a species should be best equipped in order to survive. We can hardly trace our family tree beyond the third generation. Where are the offspring of the pharaohs, of the King of Siam?

Severino Reyes a.k.a. Lola Basyang, wrote his first story for children at the age of 75. He wrote hundreds of children's stories for the stage, comic books and cinema.   Top TV hosts and artists Ms Lisa Macuja and Luz Fernandez (Lola Basyang) perform on screen and stage Severino Reyes' Obra Maestra -  Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. 

18. Kindness is key to fulfillment; it is also the Golden Rule. “Treat an old man as you wish men to treat you when you are old.” Say Chaucer in Pardoner’s Tale. But be kind yourself as an old man or woman. And that kindness must be unconditional. ARK in Evan the Almighty means – Act of Random Kindness. That’s the way to change the world, so said God in that film.

 Fr James Reuter SJ, playwright, author, spiritual adviser
and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, remained active way past ninety.

19. Don’t just pass people along the way. Stop, help them, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, comfort the lonely, and heal the sick. In Matthew 25, Christ said, “What you have done to the least of my brother, you have done it to me.” Indeed this is the most meaning act of a human to humanity. You deserve a place in heaven.

20. Facing death is a beautiful thing to one who has reached old age. It’s like a candle in its final brightness. Angelus to the old who is dying unifies the family, gathers the broken fragments of relationships. Bonding is strengthened. It’s time for the living to say the kindest things about the departed. Let the occasion be a memorable and lasting one. Dying is leaving to the living a new hope, renewed love, and a new beginning.

x x x

Angelus on the Farm

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
Angelus, painting by Fernando Amorsolo

Homeward bound this loving pair
and their children to their lair,
the trail of darkness and prayer
and lay their tools at the stair.

The carabao is led to its pen,
this faithful abiding friend;
the couple look up to Heaven
to bless their young children.

x x x

Friday, June 27, 2014

Verses to Live by - "Life is more than the sum of its parts."

Dr Abe V Rotor

Home, Sweet Home with Nature in acrylic, AVR

How wonderful is creation
when we realize in a miniscule
the universality of the simple
linked to the complex,
where every living thing is part
of life’s interrelationship;
like a chain, its strength
is shared by all its links
in place cooperating.

The world will never be set apart
and this is true to all;
for what we need is just a spark,
that created us all.

Life is more than the sum of its parts,
It dies as each creature departs;
Synergy its secret of unity,
its harmony and mystery. ~

Living with Nature, AVRotor

Morning in the Forest

Painting and Verse by Dr Abe V Rotor

On-the-spot painting in acrylic. Courtesy of Dr Romualdo M del Rosario.
La Union Botanical Garden, Cadaclan, San Fernando LU, 2000 AVR

Weaned from his cradle, his forebears' bastion,
Ventured he 
on the plains yearning to be free;
And up the road to civilization - 
Now Homo sapiens, ruled the plain and sea. 

This self anointed king and conqueror, 
Built temples, worshiped the Golden Calf; 
Raped the land, sowed poison and terror, 
Then sought divine grace on his behalf. 

At the edge of the forest, there's new dawn, 
Remnant of his abode long forlorn;
The survivor of the Armageddon 
Comes home - the Prodigal Son reborn. ~

Morning in the Forest, AVR 2010

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life's Beginnings in Abstract Art

The evolution of art goes with the evolution of thought, it rides on theories how wild they are, it soars with the imagination virtually without limit. The biggest obstacle and therefore challenge  to the artist is to capture the essence of an abstract subject and give it a form in a manner that his art becomes a functional one for its understanding by the viewer and reader. 

Experimental paintings Dr Abe V Rotor

Early transition creatures from the dawn of life, referred to as protobionts were not living cells as we know them.  They probably had few of the characteristics of living cells today. The mechanism for the emergence of the first protobionts called chemical evolution, was originally explored by Aleksandr Ivanich Oparin. 
Oparin suggested that collections of molecules were continually coming together in a probiotic soup, and that the ones that persisted the longest would come to predominate.  Somehow the chemical evolution led to the first self-replicating entities, or protobionts, and once this had happened, biological evolution took over.
But what cannot be explained up to now by scientists, even with countless experiments conducted in the laboratory, is how these collection of chemical molecules evolved into living cells - much more into living organisms.  This will certainly remain as the greatest mystery of life.  What makes a living cell? 

What makes cells as living organisms themselves in the likes of monerans and protists? And cells becoming organized into complex organisms in unimaginable diversity that compose the living world today. Here is a representation of a protonucleus, evolving from non-nucleated cell into protoplasm that has a defined nucleus, scientifically called prokaryote and eukaryote, respectively.

What is missing in the chemical evolution scenario must have been provided by the master of the evolutionary process, Charles Darwin.  What scientists tried to establish with Darwin's biological evolution is the link between the two processes, that can be tested and therefore set some rules. The necessity for Darwinian mechanisms becomes vividly apparent when we consider how different protobionts were from the nonliving collection of molecules around them. 

How are these protobionts characterized?

1. They were able to approximate replicas of themselves.
2. They were able to survive under savage environmental conditions.
3. They were somehow able to draw energy from that uncompromising environment
4. Death must have put in an early appearance - death is inseparably associated with life.
Death, like reproduction, is an essential part of Darwinian evolution.

It took a long, long way for life to reach the stage when life is ultimately associated with living things we know today.  And in their unimaginable diversity, we seem to care the least where life came from and how it began. Indeed life today is so tenacious and omnipresent on the Earth that it is difficult to imagine our planet without it.~ 

Reference: The Spark of Life : Darwin and the Primeval Soup, by Christopher Wills and Jeffrey Bada 2000  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Clay and the Child

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
 Future scientists attend a Summer Workshop in Lagro QC

Knead and mould, knead and mould,
     Time may tarry with its demand;
Let not the clay sit still, I am told,
     and wait for the child to be man.

Knead and mould, knead and mould,
     Again and again, and trying still;
Godly and oblate, lovely to behold,
     For Heaven's sake, don't move the keel. ~

Building Bridges

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
Lost in thought and direction on an overpass, Sta Mesa, Manila

Language, it comes in many different ways,
only few teachers like you hone it to its best,
bridging tongues across the oceans,
thoughts and faith, labor and rest.

It is all but one bridge you did build,

and never made one your own,
while everyone wants to build bridges
even as the seed is yet to be sown.

The world is and will always be set apart

and this is what matters truly at all,
for what we need in life is just a spark,
the spark that made us all.

You're a teacher, through faith and skill,

of peace, not only of the language spoken,
but the language of the heart -
the language of peace after the word is spoken.~

Dedicated to my co-teachers in media and language at Saint Paul University QC: Prof Nelia Pagoso and company, on the occasion of my retirement from teaching.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Part 1: Food Self-Sufficiency Project Models (A to J)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

These gardening models have been developed from studies and observations of successful projects locally and abroad. They serve as guide to participants and listeners of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (School-on-Air) to help them in their projects, particularly in times of food scarcity, such as the present situation caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

But even during normal times, these models are useful to gardening enthusiasts, especially children and senior citizens who find this hobby highly rewarding to health and leisure, and as a source of livelihood, notwithstanding. Those who are participating in projects in food production and environmental beautification, such as the Clean and Green Movement, and Green Revolution projects, will find these models similarly valuable.

One however, can modify them according to the peculiarity of his place, and in fact, he can combine those models that are compatible so as to develop and integrate them into a larger and more diversified plan.

One who is familiar with the popular Filipino composition Bahay Kubo, can readily identify the plants mentioned therein with those that are cited in these models. And in his mind would appear an imagery of the scenario in which he can fit these models accordingly.

Here is a plan of a Homesite - an ideal integrated garden around a home in a rural setting. Compare this with Bahay Kubo. Update it. Innovate it according to your concept, situation and needs. Allow innovations as long as these do not lose the essence of the plan. You can even expand the area, adding more features to it. In effect, this Homesite model becomes a model farm, a Homestead - one that has economic and ecological attributes that characterize the concept of sustainable productivity cum aesthetics and educational values.

I invite all followers and readers of this Blog to adopt these models in their own capacities wherever they reside - in the rural or urban area - and whenever they find them feasible, and thus join the movement which PBH has been carrying on in the last twenty years or so.

It is for this nationwide campaign that PBH has earned, among other programs, the Oscar Florendo Award for Developmental Journalism, indeed a tribute to all those who have participated, and are going to participate, in the pursuit of the noble objectives of this campaign.

Keep track with the development of this project, learn more about its practical methods and techniques, and participate in the open forum of the radio program. Most important of all, share with the millions of listeners your experience with your project on how you made it a successful and rewarding one. Which therefore, makes you a resource participant to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid. Tune in to Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 KHz AM Band, 8 to 9 o'clock in the evening from Monday to Friday, with Melly Tenorio and Ka Abe Rotor.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Part 2: Food Self-Sufficiency Project - Urban Vegetable Gardening Models (K to Z)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Children, Children - Four Scenarios

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
There seems no sense of hurry, and little of duty
for these kids to be in school, to read and write;
living more in the past than today or tomorrow,
spending their childhood fully and bright.
Curious these children are, a helicopter alighting in their midst,
this big bird, airplane or Superman, they see in the sky;
Flash Gordon is true after all, so with astronaut Neil Armstrong,
setting dreams of adventure that they will someday fly.

Signs the hands tell us, the language unspoken, 
faces full of smiles, and all the icy world broken;
wait till they become grownups and learn to frown,
like us now wishing our younger days are reborn.   

They have learned life early with a little of everything,
yet 'round a bowl of rice fullest is their joy and hale;
wish there were seven loaves of bread and some fish
that once fed a multitude - and know the prayer as well,
that unlocks the power, that no one shall miss a meal.