Real Charm over Race, Religion and Poverty

Since I read James McBride’s “The Color of Water” that touched me so much a few weeks ago, I stopped blogging and posting on social media to review my goals on peace and doing good through writing.

The Color of Water

The mother was a Jewish immigrant who was sexually abused by her own father and then disowned when she married a black man later turned pastor. She married another black man after her first husband died. Altogether she had twelve children with varying shades in skin color. They all turned out well in career and life due to her focus on their education and taking responsibilities in their upbringing.They all loved her dearly despite of her poor cooking and her having very little time to spare on each of them.

Her life of intense conflicts better illustrates the  teachings of Chuang Tzu that I have tried so hard to share on the Free Easy Mind book site, Freeasypeace blog, facebook and twitter. She just ignored any discrimination and got on with what needed to be done at the moment, providing the best examples of Chuang Tzu’s “treat the opposing as non-opposing” and the way of Zen.

Real life stories provide better insights than teachings of any kind. Though the life story of Su Shih’s conflicts, migration, love and loss or living in poverty had helped me to understand my roots in Chinese culture, tradition and mentality that I want to share with the world in the Millennium Charm book site, but the mother’s life is a better illustration.

The decapitation of a four-year-old girl near a Taipei MRT station had stirred a frenzy on local social media as well as the general media in  Taiwan from death penalties to revenge and locking up the mentally ill. Despite her grief, the mother was very sensible  and wise to state that legislation for death penalty or punishing the killer would not do any good and pleaded that netizens or the public to stop consuming her dead daughter on social media or any media. She called for all donations to be directed to charities instead of her family as well as Taiwan’s society, communities and families to work together to make random killing and violence disappear.What a strong and wise mother of charm!

I have been procrastinating on this post to wrap up my blogging until the final wake up call of the decapitated girl.Conflicts and violence affect us financially, emotionally and maybe sooner or later physically around the world. (See another post on Freeasy Peace Blog) I need to align my writing passion, bilingual competence and the real needs in the world to do good that can really make a difference and use more time and efforts more effectively.

Will stop posting and focus  on writing a novel to figure out how to do good more effectively when we don’t know what we can do to change that seems impossible for us to change. Meanwhile I will also keep my eyes open on more practical and feasible opportunities to make a difference in doing good locally or internationally as well as acquiring better knowledge on more effective social media posting and blogging.(However if I do come across a book or anything that compels me to share, I might blog once in a blue moon.)

Thanks for all your visits, likes and follows, but I will read the blogs I follow to gain better understanding of the blogosphere. May you all have freeasy peace and daily living charm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Can We Do in Human Disasters?

We have been suffering tremendous loss this Chinese New Year from the collapsed apartment building in southern Taiwan due to earthquake. Over ninty people had died as of today’s statistics. The bright yellow lanterns with the slogan of “nation prosperous,people safe” written in red hanging in front of the collapsed building right next to the tin cans stacked up inside the pillar are most ironic. It is a human disaster surfaced by a natural disaster.

The developer and architects were swiftly arrested due to international reporters’ wide coverage of the tin cans. There were reports that the developer ran out of money before the building completion and then changed his name a couple of times to avoid the debtors, but he has been the developer for many other buildings in the area under different names. He claimed the building is over twenty years old and he cannot be held responsible for the earthquake induced collapse, the architects brushed off responsibility saying they were not involved in the building process and just loaned their licences to the developer.How can justice ever be served for all those who lost their lives or loved ones and homes even if all three were sentenced for life?

Back in 1999 another serious earthquake, pillars were also found to be made of cooking oil containers and styrofoam, yet a few days ago a professional organization leader in building construction still claimed that they were legitimate because the pillars were merely decors and would be too heavy if concrete were used. A whole wall was later found to be made of styrofoam inside.

.      Taiwan-Earthquake-660x400   taiwan-lies-in-the-pacific-ring-of-fire--where-90-of-the-planets-earthquakes-occur

taiwan-earthquake (2)  taiwan-earthquake (1)

Local news also reported the landlady  who owned first to fourth floors had removed many pillars and walls to facilitate renting to large outlets.The renter, a huge chain of electronic outlets like Best Buy or Fry’s in US, made official statements that they had not changed any structures in the rented space.

Public safety has always been a big issue in Taiwan. From time to time, we have had human disasters such as the water park (June,2015) or the gas pipe (2014) explosion with hundreds injured and many dead.Yet only one person who organized the event was sentenced to just a few years but the water park owner got away without a hair touched and the penalties for those responsible for the gas pipes were probably so light that I could not even recall if they were penalized or not.

Corporations have always been generous in disaster donations, this time  ranging from a million to fifty millions (USD 30,000 to 1.5 million). There were conflicts between the ones paying and families of water park explosion victims who were accused as greedy, just hope money matters would not be so ugly this time. But over a hundred households lost their homes, some were first-time owners with mortgage to pay. It would be a very difficult legal process even though the assets of the developer and architects were already frozen by court order but they would amount to nothing compared to what all of them lost.

Many  donated food, water,clothes or volunteered to help in the rescue. The people in charge had to broadcast in the media for people to stop donating food because there was a surplus.An Italian journalist commented on the kindness of Taiwanese offering him free water and food, yet a woman volunteer from Rotary Club was attacked on social media for wearing red on such tragic occasion but in tears she defended herself for shooting a video fundraising with international Rotary clubs. There were conflicts between the family members and rescue team on strategies as well.

Medical support seemed more organized than the water park explosion(that sparked fierce accusations of an oncology hospital refusing to accept burnt patients even though they don’t have the facilities or means), but there was little mention on emotional or pyschological support and assistance.Some nearby hotels were very generous in offering accommodations for the families and rescuers.

Back in the 1999 earthquake, I had a great urge to do something to help and called up many organizations to see if I could avail myself to help but regretfully ended up doing translation for a Buddhist organization that just wanted to propagandize their relief merits internationally.Though every time I watch the news on TV in the past week, my heart cries for the deceased and family, I keep asking myself what are some needs that I am capable of offering help. I envied a seventy-year-old lady who was a victim in the 1999 earthquake she could really help with charm because she had experienced it first hand. Frankly I wrangled my brain and hated to conclude I would be more a burden than help in the rescue.

The media uncovered a report on many districts with soil liquidification problems that needs to be addressed in order to withstand earthquakes or floods. May be how to prevent human disasters in future would be just as crucial. The Taipei mayor elected last year was as popular as Bernie Sanders and went after a developer of a coliseum project like  Sanders on banks yet the whole matter is still dangling for months with insurmountable issues and continuous financial losses assumed by all taxpayers.

The key is how to restore the conscience of the developers, bankers or business people despite the need to pursue profits as well as workers fulfilling responsibility for what they are paid to do. When they have so much power in covering up that even the handful of government officials who really wanted to do something about it were at a loss and had to let it go. What can the public do even they have the right to vote or protest?

Is there a magic charm to awaken the conscience?

Maybe one heart or mind at a time. Unfortunately it might be faster through international pressure.

 

 

Drowning Strangers

X’mas Eve I watched a re-run of CNN heroes and was really inspired by Maggie Doyne, an eighteen year old who became a mom of fifty kids in Nepal from her US$5,000 savings of babysitting money. But the street doctor Dr. Wither’s  “I didn’t go under bridges to save homeless people. I went there to  save myself and perhaps my profession” really stuck to my mind.

I was shocked to find Maggie Doyne’s adorable baby Ravi whom she saved a year ago died from an accident just around New Year. Loss would be too painful to bear at her young age and yet Ravi was very fortunate to have her lavish motherly love at least for many months. Her natural role becoming a mother with a large family of children makes me jealous, since junior high I had always been attracted to volunteering at orphanages and a few years ago went to Africa to help start a school at an orphanage.But J.K.Rowlings’ work of deinstitutionalization of children in the world at her Lumos charity would be my choice after what I experienced. Not everyone has as much love and energy as Maggie.

Ravi

I blogged about the homeless in the library but the other day a librarian was beaten by a reader. A nun has been hallucinogenic and yelling loudly from time to time.There are many people with mental illness at the library, some homeless, some angry and disturbed, some schizophrenic. Most of them are babyboomers and once in a while there are students breaking down from the pressure of exams,mumbling and walking back and forth in the courtyard.I wish there were street psychiatrists who would help treat them at the library.Unfortunately psychiatry resources are inadequate even in Taiwan’s medical facilities.

Before the new year, I was struggling to decide if I should continue with my plan to combine writing and doing good through donations of book sales (that do not seem to be working) or do some actual good that would benefit people immediately around me. The homeless and the mentally disturbed would be closest, yet I must admit I am afraid of them and don’t know how to handle them let alone help.Homeless and elderly resources are very limited in Taiwan.

I visited a young couple who started a very successful community on reading and doing good according to the media only to find their target audience of millennials hardly read books and they have trouble paying even their project workers from income on classes for corporations.

The mayor commented he could not understand why seniors  account for almost 25% of traffic accidents. I blogged about seniors getting run over before. After talking to some friends at the senior center about my advocating for seniors on safer traffic regulations or public health and safety in urban living, they all feel it will amount to nothing given the Taiwanese mentality and bureacracies and encourage me to keep on going with my writing projects. Senior welfare though loudly promoted, it’s window dressing in reality.

Book reviews of Larissa MacFarquhar’s “Drowning Strangers” on doing good came to the rescue. Hope my recommendations for purchase at the library will come through soon.

Strangers Drowning Morality ExtremityDrowning Strangers
“Keep yourself well before you keep others well.”Chuang Tzu.

 

 

Love and Loss, Signature of Life

The charm of the lady flooded the lines in a touching article “Four Weddings and One Funeral”written by violinist Jimmy Lin Cho-Liang in a Taiwanese magazine “Wealth”.

Cho Liang Lin

She married in her forties and had three weddings in three cities all in two weeks  just for significant family members who could not travel. (Sydney where she lived for years, Munich where her mother-in-law was and then Taiwan where her dear uncles were.) It must have been exhausting. She became a mother five months later and her relatives heard about her lymphoma before their baby gifts even arrived in her hands. Her chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant all failed. His brother held a simple wedding in the hospital so her sister could attend. A few days later, she passed away. The baby was not even one-year-old. Her funeral was like a carnival, nobody wore black according to her request. She was a bright meteorite that swept through the sky. The most important events in life she went through fast forward in a year or so.

“Everything has a reason for being so. Everything has a reason for existence to be possible. ” Chuang Tzu

In contrast below a very slow film “Amour” that won numerous awards but the Guardian called it an ad for euthanasia. The film stripped aside all the glamour of long careers of the octogenarian actor and actress. Beauty faded , they glow from within, accepting stark reality of age, failure and ego disintegration.

“Nature gives us form, belabors us with living, eases us with old age and lets us rest with death. Therefore if life is good, death is good as well.  ” Chuang Tzu

Finally for any love and loss. Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto Second Movement played by  Lang Lang
The melancholy music filled with feelings of ineffable blessings, a beautiful signature of life. For any musician, loss of hearing would render him or her useless , a disability discriminated and doomed in any music career. Blessed with the profound sound of silence, Beethoven’s true nature emerged.

“Use of No Use is Great Use” Chuang Tzu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free from Conflicts and Loss with 8 Steps of “Do Without” Charm

Conflicts arise when people have different views and then we are trapped in a tug of war. We are trapped in loss when we attach, would not let go or associate with whatever or whoever we are dealing with.

The meaning of Hanji or Chinese Characters of “Danshari” is detach, let go and dissociate.(Some parts are similar to Chuang Tzu’s teachings and Zen).

Problem at Hand : (e.g.Conflicts and Loss)

Free Easy Ways of Danshari

  1. What am I determined to do?
  2. Identify problem, understand cause and nature of things? 
    Problem: Conflicts and Loss
    Cause and Nature of Conflict: (Zen and Chuang Tzu)
    Cause and Nature of Loss:
  3. What cannot be changed?
    Identify. Accept. (Chuang Tzu) Detach, let go and dissociate .
  4. Rise beyond and view from above.
    (Chuang Tzu. Also remember “See one and not the loss”)
  5. What can be done?
  6. How to innovate unique interpretation?
    New Unique Interpretation:
    Need (Is there a real need?)
    Fit (Does it fit?)
    Comfortable (Do you feel at ease with it? Chuang Tzu)
  7. Self-reliant, free and easy (Chuang Tzu)
  8. Love and affirm