Reflect on the good and positive

PACIFIC DAILY NEWS
December 24, 2008

Reflect on the good and positive

A. Gaffar Peang-Meth, Ph.D.

If you didn’t pay attention to the findings published in the British Medical Journal earlier this month — noted in my column last week — happiness is contagious; if you are connected to unhappy people, this is likely to increase your chances of being unhappy by about seven percent, on average.

Since smiling, singing and laughter tune up the positive emotions of the people near and around you, you can make this season the “most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes.

The holiday season is also a time of reflection. Every year I replay memories of the past, near and distant. I sigh at some, shake my head at some, smile at some. And I remember the wise counsel: “Learn from the past, but don’t live there!”

I give thanks to all that happened, the good and the not-so-good — from the not-so-good I learned the good. And I follow the wise counsel: “Live life rather than let life live you.” Make life what I would like it to be; take ownership of my actions rather than blame or praise karma.

I dust off writings by Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) who teaches that we can live “sanely, happily, intelligently,” even in a world of conflicts inside ourselves and a world of frictions outside, at work, in the community, or in the world, by living the present “in goodness.”
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Three Events Tell a Tale of Two Indias

Three Events Tell a Tale of Two Indias

David J. Karl (dkarl@pacificcouncil.org) is director of studies at the Pacific Council on International Policy and project director of the Bi-national Task Force on Enhancing India-U.S. Cooperation in the Global Innovation Economy.

The new Global Trends 2025 report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council highlighted the ascent of China and India as part of a fundamental global power shift that will play out in the coming decades. A series of events occurring within a week of one another in October sharply illustrated India’s potential for great-power status as well as the distance the country still has to travel to fulfill its global ambitions. The events also threw light on the U.S. strategy, so evident during the Bush administration, of building up New Delhi’s capabilities to serve as a geopolitical hedge against Beijing.

The first event, the successful launch of India’s first unmanned lunar mission, literally signified the country’s upward technological trajectory. Designed to create a sophisticated atlas of the Moon’s mineral resources, the mission propelled India into the very exclusive fraternity of space-faring countries. Both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency approached India to collaborate on the mission, granting New Delhi an important seal of foreign validation. To Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the launch “demonstrated the nation’s growing technological potential.” From the perspective of Barack Obama and the editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal, the mission was a wakeup call that the U.S. was in danger of losing its scientific edge. The newspaper even went so far as to fret that India may be “going to the moon just as the U.S. is headed into the sunset.”

Coming in the wake of the country’s successful delivery of 10 satellites into orbit on a single rocket in April 2008, the lunar mission underscored India’s emergence as a major competitor in the lucrative satellite-launch market and satellite manufacturing industry. On the heels of the lunar mission, the Indian Space Research Organization, which operates the world’s second largest fleet of remote sensing satellites (behind the United States), announced the launch of an online satellite imagery service. Dubbed Bhuvan (Sanskrit for Earth), the project will reportedly provide much sharper and fresher satellite images than offered by Google Earth.

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Why education is the only answer to Cambodia’s problems

Working for Cambodia’s future
Written by SOVACHANA POU
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Why education is the only answer to Cambodia’s problems

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Photo by: SOVACHANA POU

Cambodian students at Phnom Penh’s Wat Ounalum.

LIFE is calling. Cambodia is calling.  Being back home makes me think in a different perspective. I feel as an outsider stepping into, and an insider stepping out of, the same country. I look forward to contributing to the educational wealth of my beloved country through teaching. I am at the stage of my life where my primary goal is to help develop the younger generation to lead useful lives for the benefit of human kind.

I feel my work has just begun.

As any patriotic Cambodian, I am proud of my heritage and my tradition.  After many wars, our country and our people suffered enormously and faced many setbacks, such as deep-rooted mistrust, Khmer killing Khmer, grinding poverty, injustice, greed, corruption, land grabbing, nepotism, a culture of impunity, oppression of thoughts and actions, fear, destruction of our natural resources, safety, security, education, lack of respect of the rules of laws, etc.

Poverty is rampant all over the world, but there is nothing like being poor in Cambodia. It is very fashionable to talk about the poor so the top leaders can get more foreign aid.  Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with the poor to find out the reality of their sufferings. The environment most Cambodians are living in now is hurting the next generation. We have lost many traditional values.

The reality is Cambodia is still a very poor country, plagued by uncertainties and a mess of contradictions. I don’t have all the answers to the complex problems. I am far from perfect, but as a teacher I learned early that I can’t fix everything but can help most things.  I know I cannot offer material goods or gifts to the children but I always can offer pieces of my love through teaching and learning.

I cannot erase all the dark sides of the current government, but I can change the way I deal with it. I can rise above it and stay strong and true to myself by applying the teachings of Buddha: “abstain from all unwholesome deeds or do not engage in any harmful actions; always perform only wholesome ones, those that are good, subdue and purify your own mind”. By practicing Sila (morality) and following the five precepts (refrain from killing, stealing, telling lies, all intoxicants and immoral sexual activity) I can inspire others to think and act with integrity and vision for a sustainable and just society.
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Animals and Plants as National Symbols of Cambodia

Animals and Plants as National Symbols of Cambodia

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Photo: thavrakhuon.blogspot.com

1- គោព្រៃ= Kouprey (Bos sauveli): The National Mammal of the Kingdom of Cambodia

The Kouprey, an original Khmer species, has been recognized worldwide and named in Khmer version by international biologists even though English, Spanish and French call it Kouprey. Its scientific name is “Bos sauveli” with a size: HB: 2100mm-2300mm; H: 1700mm-1900mm and W: 700-900 kg. The Kouprey is similar to the gaur or banteng but they are unique in having a very long dewlap hanging from the neck, in old males almost reaching the ground. The bull and cow horns are distinctly different. In the bull Kouprey, the horns have cores which are closer together and considerably larger; the horns form a convex curve for the basal half of the horns, dropping below the base, then rising upward and forward, extending slightly above the head with split at the tips. The horns in the female are lyre-shaped, corkscrewing upward, the tips are never shredded, and the cores are thinner and farther apart than in the male. The lower legs of the Kouprey are white or grayish and dark grayish at old age. In the pre-war period, hunting of the Kouprey was prohibited by declaration No. 191 dated January 20, 1960. After the Pol Pot regime, hunting was again prohibited by declaration No. 359 dated August 01, 1994, issued by Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries. Kouprey was classified as a critical endangered species according to the IUCN Red List. International Trade of this species is banned, following Appendix I of the CITES Convention and Migratory Species Convention.

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