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Pictographs

posted Apr 22, 2011, 6:20 AM by Charlie Anicete


Unless you're a child, birthdays come and go, often without any fanfare, just some food and drinks, and perhaps a cake with a candle on top for the romantics.  And gifts are out of the picture.

The usual monotony was broken when my niece Terê gave me a simple birthday card.  It was done on plain bond paper using a pencil and an eraser (if you work near kids, you notice the eraser is busy).  Well... in short, that made my day!

Little things matter a lot, especially if you see the underlying effort and thought invested in the task.

Communication is universal regardless of age, and it's not even a human monopoly.  Other life forms use it.  Adults invariably use letters, numbers and other symbols in their messages.  Children on the other hand use drawings no matter how rudimentary they may look.  And since they are virtual pictographs, the readers understand the message.  Obviously we cannot over-analyze the drawings.

Pope Benedict XVI once said that "children truly are the family's greatest treasure and most precious good."  Especially for the parents, we should nurture the children and give proper attention to them.  The little thing you utter today may go a long way.  And because of this, people around kids should shun saying bad words.  There are many things that turns me off, and cursing is on top of the list!

Surely as children, we can remember one person in our lives who we idolized and gave us good advice and pointers growing up.  We can become such person to the young ones.  "All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it" (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).

Admittedly it's difficult with this kind of media, inclusive of the Internet's dark edge, but let's preserve our little angels' innocence, and protect their dignity as human beings, sons and daughters of God above.  Our Lord Jesus Christ himself mentioned it in Matthew 18.6; 19.14 (RSV):

"...But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

Aftermath

posted Oct 12, 2009, 8:04 AM by Charlie Anicete   [ updated Oct 12, 2009, 9:06 AM ]

Sat image of Luzon (NMFC MODIS) >1 week after Parma; rivers s... on Twitpic No Current Tropical Cyclone Warnings (JTWC NMFC): Sat Image :) on Twitpic
These last two weeks was a period of upheaval for our country, meeting 2 strong typhoons, and we are now living it their aftermath--great devastation, never before seen in history.  The image on the right shows a satellite image of Luzon (NMFC MODIS) more than 1 week after Typhoon Parma's first landfall; rivers are still swollen. Weather is fine with a ridge of high pressure area extending over Northern Luzon. The image at the extreme right shows a hemispheric satellite image (JTWC NMFC) demonstrating no current tropical cyclone warnings; TS Nepartak is moving northeast, while TS Parma is moving westward. A Low Pressure Area (LPA) however is seen about 700 km east of Catanduanes island. Hopefully this fine weather continues.

As of this writing, the combined figures are mind-boggling.  About 1.3 million families were affected, translating to about 6.6 million individual persons, or 7% of the national population.  Of these affected people, 952 lost their lives, and many are still missing.  Thousands of houses (about 66,000) were destroyed.  The total damage to agriculture, infrastructure and many utilities amounted to more than P15 Billion or roughly about $320 Million, or about 1% of the national budget for 2009.  To restore electricity, some areas will have to wait at least a month. The socioeconomic devastation will now be slowly felt my all, more so for the poor.  In many places floods are everpresent; some estimates say floods will recede in 3 months, especially in areas near the lakes and rivers.

Incidentally the Gospel passage yesterday (Sunday) talks about giving away "all you have" for the kingdom.  Many people lost everything (albeit by force of nature) and many more gave away some treasure for their relief, which has to continue for a long time.  Let's do whatever we can to help our neighbors rebuild their lives.  Relief from all groups is welcome, be they private, or government; the private component may cease (hopefully not), but the government portion must continue and be sustained indefinitely.  If anything has to be done, it should be done, and forget politics.

Part of the gospel goes...

And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10.21-27 RSV)

Typhoon Lands

posted Oct 2, 2009, 8:07 PM by Charlie Anicete

Typhoon Parma: about 360 km NE of Manila, moving 315° @ 7 kn... on Twitpic Multispectral Sat Image (JTWC): Ty Parma (Pepeng) accelerated... on Twitpic

About 12 hours ago, slightly weakened Typhoon Parma (local name: Pepeng) was located at about 360 km NE of Manila, moving 315° at 7 knots (13 kph), in the general direction of Isabela province Saturday (image 1).  A multispectral satellite image obtained now shows the further weakened typhoon accelerating to 22 knots (41 kph) moving NW, located just east of Isabela (image 2, both from NMFC/JTWC).  It's obvious by now that typhoon Ketsana's (Ondoy) fury will not be repeated in Metro Manila, and other nearby provinces.  Brace yourselves, people from Isabela, Cagayan and other adjacent provinces. Incidentally, one knot (nautical miles per hour) is equal to exactly 1.852 kph.

Kudos to members of the Police (PNP) and Armed Forces (AFP) as they are rarely mentioned in the media, nevertheless they are the unsung heroes.  While many others are also giving relief and assitance, they are really the frontliners; before politicians and actors come, they have already cleared the way.  For responding to the call for help from our countrymen in dire need, I also pat the backs of many folks.  The work is not over (may continue indefinetely) but it's okay to pause and think about this once in a while.  To all: keep up the good work!  To our very much affected people: keep the faith, keep the hope, things may become worse before it becomes better. May God be with you and all!

On a related note, some sort of order must be implemented in the relief areas.  Relief giving should be an art: there's a minimal structure that should be there before distribution is allowed.  A few unruly people must not cause anarchy; people can't kill just to get aid!  In crisis or not, discipline must be maintained.  The elderly and children can't fight it out against these rouges.

"One great form of wealth is kindness. It does not diminish no matter how much you give. It increases the more it is shared."

Supertyphoon

posted Oct 1, 2009, 10:19 AM by Charlie Anicete   [ updated Oct 1, 2009, 10:51 AM ]

Supertyphoon Parma 10-01, max winds: 220 kph; gusts: 260 kph;... on Twitpic
NMFC/JTWC - mtsat 2009-10-01 05:30 See the extent of TS Parma... on Twitpic

After 24 hours and using the previous parameters, the shaded area now is forecast to include the entire Luzon island and Samar; it is affecting Samar by this writing.  Using NMFC/JTWC (mtsat 2009-10-01 05:30), we can see the extent of Typhoon Parma (locally named Pepeng); the associated clouds are now covering the entire country, especially the eastern sector.  The eye of storm is located about 460 km east of Samar island, moving in the general direction of Northern Luzon (image on right).

The latest image (left) demonstrates supertyphoon Parma (2009-10-01) with maximun winds of 220 kph, gusts reaching 260 kph, and moving NW at 22 kph (http://www.wunderground.com).  It is category 4 (up to 250 kph) until it makes landfall in Northern Luzon on Saturday.  Superimposed is the satellite image showing the extent of the typhoon.

Let us hope for a non-destructive outcome, or better still, for it to change course and dissipate away from land.

Bracing for another Storm

posted Sep 29, 2009, 8:25 AM by Charlie Anicete   [ updated Sep 29, 2009, 9:06 AM ]

Tropical Storm 19W (Parma), forecast as of 2009-09-29 (NMFC/J... on Twitpic

After being battered by tropical storm (TS) Ketsana last Saturday where at least 240 people died and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes (as of this writing), another TS is coming--Parma (19W).  Its effects are expected to be felt this weekend; northern Luzon is a possible landfall (NMFC/JTWC).  As many more weather disturbances are expected after this, let's all pray for a tamer storm.

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