Charlie Hebdo, Boko Haram & The Greatest Victims Of Terrorism

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It’s been eight days since the Paris headquarters of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was attacked, claiming 12 lives. Less than a day after the barbaric slaughter, a Kosher supermarket was held by terrorists, killing four hostages and two police officers when the ordeal finally ended with a shootout. The days that followed were filled with funerals and rallies – including one that united world leaders to publicly stand together against Islamic extremists.

French President Francois Hollande has iterated the truth about the perpetrators of the tragic events. “These fanatics have nothing to do with Islam,” he said in a televised statement. The suspects in the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks were promoting a twisted and perverted ideology that has claimed the lives of the very people they claim to defend. Terrorism, in the form of Islamic extremism, has killed more Muslims than anyone from the west. Continue reading

Word Of The Year 2014: Repositioned

In December 2013, our pastor invited a group of us from church for a Christmas dinner at his family’s place in Harlem. It was an incredible time of fellowship with some of my closest friends, all of whom were God-fearing individuals determined to make a positive impact in the world. While we were at the living room, sharing stories of what God has done in our life, Pastor Kaz asked each of us what one word would best describe the year 2013, based on what we’ve gone through and learned. At that time, the word that summed up the year for me was “restored.”
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Thank God For These People In Manila

This year has been anything but easy. It was a transition year for me, as my best friend would describe, filled with many things expected. The biggest would be my moving back to the Philippines after seven years of living abroad.

But though the past 12 months have been challenging, there were tons of people in my life – here in the Philippines – whom I’m eternally grateful to have. My family would definitely be one of them, together with many old friends and new ones – all of whom have been instrumental in being reminded that I am exactly where I need to be (for now) and I’m blessed to be here.

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What A Boring Preacher Reminded Me About God’s Word & What Not To Do Before Attending A Church Service

I was ready to walk out of church, not because I wanted to make a scene or hated the message, but because I really needed to pee. Fifteen minutes into the preacher’s message and my urinary bladder was ready to explode. I was unfortunately seated right smack at the middle of the congregation making it look too obvious to the hundreds around me if I make the exit.

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COMING SOON: TEDxOrtigas

TEDxOrtigasA cunning development researcher very subtly got me involved to organizing an event. I didn’t know that when I met him, I was basically enlisting myself to be a key organizer to a very exciting project. Less than a month after getting to know the guy, I saw myself in a room with his friend being interviewed for a TEDx franchise! Truth be told, it was more than a privilege to get involved with this guy and a peer of his in bringing this independently organized TED event in the Ortigas Central Business District.

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How To Love A Place You Don’t Want To Be In: Be Still, Shut Up & Plow Ahead

My sentiment towards not wanting to be in Manila is not exactly a secret. The few friends I have here know that my heart is somewhere else (read here to know where). But despite me not wanting to be where I am, I’m more than conscious that it’s where I need to be. By the grace of God, I’ve learned to understand my life’s seasons and at this point, I know I’m exactly where I need to be.

In many ways, I know I am where I am right now out of need; it’s for a purpose. And I’ve decided to fully embrace what’s ahead of me since day one. Below are three things that have helped me adjust when I moved back.

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The Virtue Of Shutting Up

We all want to express ourselves. We consider it a right and a necessary form of behavior to speak up and verbalize what’s on our mind. And yes, for all of us, to talk for the purpose of venting, informing or simply throwing a joke is a need. The desire to share our thoughts is natural. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But when we speak up, it’s important to consider that the timing of when to speak up and when not to saying anything is essential in making our point effectively and also not looking stupid. We need to learn to incubate our thoughts, allow our minds to process further what we’re about to say and not just irresponsibly exercise the right to express ourselves. Every word we say can have a tangible consequence, good or bad, thus we ought to be more careful. Continue reading

Elusiveness Of Peace In A Connected World

The word peace has become more important, more valuable, and unfortunately in some parts of the globe, more rare. According to a recent study released by The Institute for Economic and Peace (IEP), a leading think-tank which develops one of the world’s primary gauge of “global peacefulness,” only 11 out of 162 countries in the world today are not involved in conflict of one kind or another.

The study also noted that as a whole, the globe is becoming less peaceful every year since 2007.

A Wars in Progress list updated on July 2014 by Professor Joshua Goldstein shows that there are currently 10 wars and 8 serious armed conflicts at present. The ongoing war in Syria being the most deadly, claiming an estimated 170,000 lives in the past three years. Continue reading

On Goals and Gratefulness

Source: Flickr/Linus Bohman

Source: Flickr/Linus Bohman

“Humans are insatiable,” I remember hearing this from an economics professor, who then explained to our class of newly minted eco majors what the term means. He explained that it’s basic human behavior to never be satisfied, especially with money.

He then went into a diatribe explaining the concept of utility, which is a measure of satisfaction, and how our fixation or desire for something can wane over time. In reality, it’s only because we choose to want more or something else. Continue reading