To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom. Dietrich Bonhoeffer:


Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.---RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.---ABRAHAM LINCOLN
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.---ALEXANDRE DUMAS
“It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones" --- Alexander Solzhenitsyn quotes (Russian novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature (1970), b.1918)
“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.” ---Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Birthday Thanksgiving 2011

2011 has been a bit a  frustration for me as I made plans especially for my birthday this year to celebrate at home in the Phils however, due to some circumstances, I didn't make  it.  It's not the first time though as far as I can remember, I thought of  supposedly a very  special gift for my loved ones years ago but a tragedy happened. I don't know, sometimes I get to assume that I shouldn't be planning anymore as for some reasons they just don't happen. Or at least just keep some thoughts to myself especially on travel plans. Sigh.

There are things in this world that are beyond our control and no matter what, we can't do those things all by our own, I am of course not exempted to that fact. I've fully accepted that reality. Possibly I have just learnt enough to be firm on things that I can and can't do, regardless I am aware that in some way these annoyances don't really feel better and since I don't want to be stuck on anything that would certainly drag me down, I just take the moments of doing things that would pay for the wasted plans.

I still have hundreds of reasons to be thankful, I've have had much blessings that I cling to and these give me more strength in my daily undertakings. My family alone is my greatest gift, I feel I am the luckiest on earth having such a loving family. Friends, too who have been there for years and the many new acquaintances that remind me on life's lessons and beauty.

It took long for me to finally decide where to have my birthday dinner. At first, I wanted to have it in this certain cafe in a hotel which I thought worth the price but later I found out that the drinks were very limited and saw the photos on food that in my opinion not really that enticing to the senses. Anyway, checking my budget and list, I finally settled in Sta.Fe. One thing I love about the place is that my guests can choose any dish they prefer aside from the fact that the restaurant doesn't serve Thai food. It should be cool to stay away from anything like it at least for a dinner. Of course, I love Thai food I just go for  alternatives this time. :)

This is indeed a thanksgiving as life is a precious gift despite the challenges. I believe there's no room to be regretful in life, the gift alone is incomparable and the added year to living is definitely right  to be thankful enough. I am grateful and happy, too as I learnt that my family celebrated my birthday as well at home. They did the same in the past years, last year my mother took the family and relatives to a  buffet restaurant for my birthday bash even of me not being there. And this year, they cooked some dishes  for the celebration at home. 

This makes me really feel extraordinary most especially that I never told them to do so.  My family  makes it a habit to celebrate our birthdays even of us not being at home. And of me being here away from home, then I should celebrate my very own birthday at least of thanksgiving. It's double three and still COUNTING--yes, both the age and blessings. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pre - Birthday SPREE

Thought of  going  to the  place I finally decided where to have my birthday this year. It's a fave place by the way I used to drop by the restaurant after work and do some shopping at times in the shopping mall where it is located. Thailand has fabulous foods and I have no problem dealing with the spiciest of the spiciest foods if that is the correct term hahaha! Yet, sometimes I crave for steaks and just something different. Sta.Fe Steak house is a good place,. it's one of the restaurants I often visit along with Fuji and Black Canyon. I don't go to Black Canyon that often though these times, not as much as Fuji and Sta. Fe.

Sta Fe. has new set of menus and I was amazed learning about their Gangster promotion in the other branch. I asked the staff if they had the same promotion in some other branches she confirmed yes, so I thought it would be good to reconfirm since tomorrow is my birthday bash.

I found out the Gangster menu is only in the Mall Bangkapi but that has no reason to worry as I noticed that they have more fabulous menus and not pricey. I had New Zealand mussels, spinach soup and iced lemon tea. I had a good meal despite of  the mussels being loaded with garlic, I just think it was too much. I love garlic though as it's healthy. After dinner, I confirmed my reservation for tomorrow and picked  my preferred table.

Went to Doi Chaang after for dessert, the cafe offers organic coffee. I didn't have caffeine, I had blueberry frappe instead paired with low cholesterol chocolate cake. It felt great taking my time in there while people watching. The site comprised the people from grocery with their carts walking past to where I was seated.

Finally, I checked the cake for tomorrow's bash. Yes, I love the cakes from Lotus hotel  they're cute and very feminine. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Church and state: Why can't they be friends?

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has made the dangers of secularism a major theme of his pontificate.

And it's a battle both sides take seriously.

On the one hand, the pope warns that societies without the moorings of Christian values will be lost at sea, unaware of or indifferent to the truth that anchors humanity to justice, peace, respect and solidarity.

On the other side are groups and individuals that hold so tightly to the democratic tenet of church-state separation, they don't want any voice tied to religion to be let loose onto the public square.

In many Western, especially European, nations, when a church leader speaks out on the ethical dimension of any issue, "immediately he is attacked as if he is interfering," said an official at the Pontifical Council for Culture.

"Your democracy becomes very selective" and intolerant when a whole sector of the community -- people of faith -- are denied the freedom of speech in the public realm, said Father Theodore Mascarenhas, a member of the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier.

The separation of church and state, which is a hallmark of a democracy, "has also gone onto the separation of God and life unfortunately," in which religious beliefs and values are expected to be left not only out of the process of public decision-making, but out of people's own personal lives, too, he said.

Father Mascarenhas, a professor and biblicist, told Catholic News Service that Europe, seen in its frequent debates on whether to allow women to wear veils or crucifixes on school walls, must be careful not to fall into a kind of "Talibanization."

"The Taliban went and took off all the religious symbols of minorities in an effort to clean up," while it imposed its own belief system on everyone, he said. Cleansing Europe of its cultural, religious symbols is "an expression of fundamentalism in a very subtle form," too.

Meanwhile, in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, there is a genuine fear of religious groups or parties having political control and enacting repressive policies against minority groups.

One key topic, in fact, under discussion at the 2010 special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East was how to promote "positive secularism," a form of separation of government and religion that still allows people's faith to have a role in society without consecrating one religion as the religion of the state.

The church supports a form of church-state separation that ensures religions have a voice in society and that laws reflect moral values -- including laws dealing with life and marriage.

However, when religion becomes the primary source of a country's laws and religious authorities have civil power, members of minority communities end up being seen and treated as second class citizens, the current Maronite patriarch, Archbishop Bechara Rai of Beirut, told reporters during the synod.

These concerns show there are two very different understandings of secularism, Father Mascarenhas said.

In the West, secularism is understood as the problem of God being foisted out of the public sphere; but for the East, it's a positive state of affairs in which governments show respect and protect all religions, letting them have a voice and not treating anyone better than the others, he said.

The Indian priest said an example of how this mutual respect between religion and government plays out was when the Indian government asked the Indian bishops to watch "The Da Vinci Code" and tell them whether they thought the film should be banned, since it is against the law to offend any religion. The bishops did not find the movie offensive and allowed it to be released in theaters, he said.

"A real church-state separation would be that the church can freely express and ask its followers to adhere to the principles it holds dear," Father Mascarenhas said.

Even though there may be movements trying to oppose such freedom, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and East Timor are examples of countries whose constitutions protect the right of every religion to express its beliefs in the public sphere, he said.

"Asia is rather varied, but it is a God culture," he said, "There is a mindset that can't exclude God."

Even while communist movements in Myanmar, Vietnam and China have all tried to eradicate religion, they were never completely successful, he said.

"That is why in China they had to come up with a Patriotic Catholic Church," he said -- since the communists couldn't do away with God, they sought to control it.

The West, instead, saw a brutal severing of spirituality from the material world.

"When the Industrial Revolution took place we slipped, perhaps because we didn't have the strategy to fight extreme rationalization," he said.

"The Illumination actually brought darkness because it forgot that a heart can't rest unless it rests in God," he said.

People are hungry for God, he said, and "I find it funny that Europeans turn to Indian religions when Christianity can provide almost everything," he said.

"Show me one human situation that is not reflected in the Gospel," he said. Not only are the human challenges of death, fear, doubt and persecution detailed in the Bible, it also spells out the solutions, too.

"The answer to death is the resurrection, and the answer to doubt and anguish like Jesus felt in the garden of Gethsemane is give yourself over to the will of God," he said.

"Even the financial crisis has its answer in the Bible: It's a question of gratuity. Had those who have sufficient means remembered Matthew 25 and the Last Judgment where they'll be asked 'What did or didn't you do for those in need?' the world would be a different place and the crisis wouldn't exist," he said. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Central Ladphrao reopens

I got excited when I saw the news ad on Central Ladphrao's reopening last weekend. The shopping mall is one of my favorite hang outs, it is like strolling in two shopping malls as both Union Mall and Central Ladphrao are in the same place. Central was closed for a couple of months due to renovation. This is one thing I like about Thailand by the way, they do renovations from time to time. Other malls have their own improvements as well but they never decided to stop operating unlike Central Ladphrao.

Anyway, I went there to check the new look and if there are something else new aside from the interior design. I got confused at first looking for a place to eat and I was really starving that time. After a few minutes of walking I found the area  on the third floor. I stood for awhile and took the restaurant that was new to me. The name is Bangkok Streetfood. It is streetfood indoor then hehehe!. Anyway, it's buffet and it made me curious why the name is streetfood. Later, I found out that they serve soft noodles which the Thais call "kanom jeen". The kind of food is commonly seen in Bangkok sidewalks where people choose the desired soup along with a serve of soft noodles. The vegetable toppings are of variety which are unlimited and served in every table.

The restaurant however has many other kinds of noodles and some other kinds of food, plus veggies for salad and desserts including ice cream. The buffet doesn't have drinks with it however a cafe is part of the space so anyone can just buy any drinks one wishes in there. I had iced green tea during my meal. One thing about this buffet is affordability. Surprisingly it's just 89Baht which I really think is cheap thinking about the salads, desserts and other food available. The taste isn't that superb but with the price I think it's worth it. The meal cost me   159baht. I finished all my plates and I was really full.

After buffet I walked down and found out that it was Forever 21's opening. It was like oohh yesss! as I like the boutique which I regularly visit in Central World in Rachaprasong. Yes, a bit farther from my home. One thing I love about Forever21 is the accessories, earrings to speak. I like the designs they're so feminine and one can choose a variety of it from studs to dangling. I enjoyed the fashion shown they had, it was my first to see the kind in a boutique, like the fashion show was in the hall way with the theme hip-hop. They had professional fashion models but I think the highlight was the actors and actresses who walked in the ramp. It was all fun with  music  and the spectators  actively cheering their idols. The show started late but it was a success, I thought it was such a good idea to come up with a fashion show during their opening.  It's also great to note the Forever21 now comes nearer to where I live.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant in Bangkok

We went to Los Cobos last night  with bunch of friends for dinner. Indeed, it was a remarkable meal the restaurant has a devouring Fiesta Feast Platter which in fact, we ended getting our second serve.

The place is very accessible to BTS with just a few steps to be exact though it isn't really that easily seen from the (soi) street as there's this typical restaurant that faces right across the intersection. Well, the restaurant is on the opposite side.

The ambiance is good, it seems like the diner is in an old house which the restaurant really is. Its design is of a typical restaurant near the port or seashore as what is commonly seen in Mexico I supposed. We chose the table at the balcony, thought it was nice to get some fresh air. It wasn't that scenic though as the restaurant is surrounded by different apartment buildings and condos. Apparently one can see more balconies from afar.

I love the food, the meat was superb as it's really tasty which one can't just get anywhere else I think. We also had their margaritas as one of their prides and of course, the tacos and salsa.

It was a night of fun and laughter as well as satisfyinging our palates. Los Cobos is highly recommended for meat lovers as the price is really inexpensive. Anyone who is near Asoke or has the easy access to BTS Skytrain can for sure drop by and try what the restaurant can offer.