Thursday, January 25, 2018

Family Day in a Zoo (Article in Progress)

Dr Abe V Rotor 


Missing Link of the Phylogenetic Tree.

Once in a while, go somewhere far away.  Feel free.
Fill up the missing link of the Phylogenetic Tree.~
Dr Abe V Rotor 

Trixia rides a minibike her guests applause at her game,

And think she is like human sane. 
Would she in her forest home be awed and praised the same?
Ask not what it means to be sane.

Light moments at the Avilon Zoo, Rizal

Mimicking is simpleton's wit, joke, and vanity;
a good break from the doldrums of work and duty;
once in a while, go somewhere far away, feel free.
fill up the missing link of the Phylogenetic Tree.~

Frolic - Children's Game

Dr Abe V Rotor

Frolic, Photo by Choanne Nikki Sucgang

Fight for joy or fight for gain,
     It is everybody's game,
victory or loss, or pain,
     children in frolic the same. 

Wish yesterday were today
     the child grownups envy,
with all the days of play,
     to keep the peace in me.~   

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

When does a bath tub become a helmet?

A child's curiosity becomes a comedy to us adults
 Dr Abe V Rotor

Mark and his Bath Tub

Take time out and attend to a crying child.
    not asking why, or telling him to stop. 
a test in child psychology - if you can pass,
    if you can bridge a generation gap.  

Mark, typical of postmodern children,
    needs nonetheless the old love -
concern and attention many of us forgot.
    and all he needed is his bath tub.

That's what he needed all right, it's fine.
    But Mark didn't stop crying;
there's more than bath - it's the tub!
    and to war (gasp!) he was going.

A child soldier ready to face the world;
    or retreating to womb's comfort;  
the young generation scared, unprepared,
    Oh, it's all but laughter we sought. ~

The Art of Loafing

Dr Abe V Rotor

Also visit my other Blog
[Living with Nature]

Univwersity of Santo Tomas graduate students on a field trip, 
PeƱablanca, Pampanga, 2010

Be like Thoreau and Darwin,
world's greatest loafers,
toying ideas that shock the world
Of Civil Disobedience,
and Survival of the Fittest.

For the mind soars to the sky
by imagination more than reason,
and time is kindest
when the body stops working
and the spirit calm,

To nurture the hidden genius,
in sparks and spurts,
otherwise spilled to waste
in worries and cares,
and undue haste.

Churchill by the Thames,
painted peace,
when the sky was burning,
and thunder and bomb
were one sound.

Audubon's birds were real
like living specimens,
with time at his command;
and Solomon halted his army
to let the ants pass in band.

Loafing, the habit and the art,
robs and rewards:
he by the hearth falls asleep
in spring; and who fishes ideas
with a fishing pole. ~

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

24 Postulates to Build a "Children of Nature" Culture

Our children will clean the land, water and air which we the generation before littered. They will heal the earth we defaced, damage. With generation gap closed, the task will be shared by all.
Dr Abe V Rotor
  Young biologist studies a specimen. Tree planting and home gardening 
 Summer painting workshop for kids.

1. Our children need to know the true meaning of biodiversity. Four attributes - richness in kind, population, interrelationship, ecosystem area.

Biodiversity per se does not guarantee sustainability unless integrated with functioning systems of nature.

2. Our children’s development must be holistic In all four stages: genetic, childhood, lifestyle – and fetal (in the womb). Sing, talk to your baby while in the womb.

3. Our children are at the front line and center of people’s revolution spreading worldwide.

Arab Spring is still sweeping over North Africa and the Middle East, The Syrian crisis has escalated and drawn US, Russia and other countries into the conflict, while terrorism has spread into global proportion, which covers our own Mindanao, amid threat of a nuclear war spawned by North Korea. In the US mass demonstrations are denouncing the present leadership. 

4. Our children become new heroes – heroes for the environment, martyrs for Mother Earth. Heaven is in a regained Paradise on earth.

The coming of a universal faith, irrespective of denomination is becoming a popular idea. To many, to be saved is not by faith and promise. Heaven starts here on earth.

5. Let’s prepare our children to face the consequences of loss of privacy and secrecy, from personal to institutional transparency.

Janitor fish - subject of kids' curiosity, an introduction to biology.  

“You can no longer hide. There is no place you can remain with anonymity.” Wikileak unveiled classified information about the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Bank secrecy laws and safeguards are changing. Citizens have the right to know many hidden financial transactions.

6. Our children’s involvement in social media makes them actors and not mere spectators. They become involved, concerned with issues, local and far reaching.

There is need to strengthen Development Communication (DevComm) over conventional entertainment and reactionary media.

7. Our children will inherit our aging infrastructure. Aging Infrastructure pulls down the economy, increases risk to disaster, creates ghost cities and making life miserable.

A new field of biodiversity has been born in deserted towns, on the 38th Parallel between South and North Korea, in land mines areas, ghost towns, among deserted high rise buildings, in high radiation areas like in Chernobyl (Russia) Three-mile Island (US) and Fukushima (Japan).

8. Our children are deprived of natural beauty and bounty with shrinking wildlife, conversion of farms and pastures to settlements, and destruction of ecosystems.

“Canned Nature” (delata) has become pseudo Nature Centers. Gubat sa Siyudad, Fantasyland, Ocean Park, Disneyland

9. Our children, and succeeding generations are becoming more and more vulnerable to various infirmities – genetic, physiological, psychological, pathologic.

Computer Syndrome is now pandemic, and its toll is increasing worldwide. South Korea is the worst hit. The Philippines is not far behind.

10. Our children’s learning through codification defeats logical thinking and creativity. Thus affect their reasoning power, judgment and decision, originality of thought and ideas.

More and more children are computer-dependent. They find simple equations and definitions difficult without electronic gadget.

11. Our children face the age of singularity whereby human and artificial intelligence are integrated. Robotics robs human of his rights and freedom – new realm of curtailment and suppression. (2045 – The Year Man Becomes Immortal – Time Magazine). This is falsehood!
 On-the-spot painting; wall mural painting 
12. Our children finds a world of archives - memories, reproductions, replicas – of a real world lost before their own time.

We are making fossils, biographies, dirges and lament, as if without any sense of guilt.

13. Our children will realize that optimism will remain the mainstay of human evolution, rising above difficulties and trials. Hope is ingrained in the human brain that makes vision rosier than reality.

Anxiety, depression will continue to haunt, in fact accompany progress, but these all the more push optimism up and ahead.

14. Our children are overburdened by education. They need freedom to learn in their own sweet time and enjoy the bliss and adventure of childhood and adolescence.

E-learning is taking over much of the role of schools and universities. Open Universities, Distance Learning will dwarf classroom instruction, the beginning of a new University of Plato’s dream.

15. Our children will witness in their time the beginning of a post-capitalism order, environmental revolution, rise of growth centers and shift in economic dominance and order, more green technologies, and space exploration.

This is Renaissance in in the new age.

16. Our children will continue looking for the missing links of science, history, religion, astronomy etc, among them the source of life itself and its link with the physical world.

Linking of disciplines, narrowing down the gaps of specializations, making of a new Man and culture.

17. Our children become more and more transient in domicile where work may require, and for personal reasons, and when given choice and opportunity in a global perspective, intermarriages notwithstanding.

“Citizen of the world” is a person without a specific country. He is therefore, rootless.
Humans since creation are rooted politically, culturally – and principally biologically.

18. Our children will have a family size of ideally 2 or 3 children, enabling them to achieve their goals and dreams in life. They will strengthen the middle class the prime mover of society.

A natural way of family planning and population planning, trend of industrialized countries.

19. Our children will clean the land, water and air we the generation before littered. They will heal the earth we defaced, damage. With generation gap closed, the task will be shared by all.

We must be good housekeepers of Mother Earth now.

20. Our children will be part of devolution of power, decentralization of authority, a new breed of more dedicated leaders.

Natural History exhibit at the former St Paul University Museum QC

Children hold the key to change. It’s the Little Prince that changed and saved the pilot in an ill-fated plane crash in the Sahara Desert.

21. Our children face acculturation and inter racial marriages. Melange of races is on the rise – Eurasian, Afro-American, Afro-Asian, etc – a homogenization process that reduces as a consequence natural gene pools.

Culturally and scientifically, this is dangerous. Homogenization leads to extinction of races and ultimately the species.

22. Our children will live simpler lives, going back to basics, preferring natural over artificial goods and services. In the long run they will be less wasteful that us.

There is always a hidden desire to escape when things get rough. This is instinct for survival either by detour or turning back.

23. Our children face the coming of the Horsemen of Apocalypse – consequence of human folly and frailty (nuclear, pollution, poverty). More than we grownups, they are more resilient to adapt to the test.

History tells us that this is true.

24. Postmodernism may do more harm than good for our children in a runaway technology and culture. They cannot and will not be able to keep with the pace and direction of change.

This is not true. “I am the master of my fate, I’m the captain of my soul.” (From Invictus, by William Ernest Henley).  And this is what we want our children to become – but only when they are CHILDREN OF NATURE.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Who is Lola Basyang? Folklores and Legends in Philippine Literature

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Severino "Lola Basyang" Reyes statue, Bagac, Bataan  

Myths and legends are most popular on the grassroots, enjoyed by both young and old, with the latter usually taking the role of a narrator of “once upon and time” and “in the land of fairies and giants” stories. And not enough they fill the imagination, proceed to tell hair-raising stories in the world of monsters and spirits. A dog howls, a bat swoops down in high pitch notes, the audience huddles closer.
Imagine Lola Basyang seated in an armchair beside a flickering hearth, children of all ages (and adults, too), begging for more stories – stories so powerful the bond of generations becomes closer and stronger. In make-believe stories the imagination is more powerful than reason, which paves to a realm of mystery and fantasy.  

Myths and legends open the gate to freedom from realities of life, seeking relief in another world, and when we return, we are transformed and humbled, we are stronger in our resolve and task.  Legends make us giants, and myths give us wings.  

We imagine our ancestors huddled around a campfire exchanging knowledge and recounting experiences, with spices of imagination and superstition. It was a prototype open university.

Throughout the ages and countless generations a wealth of native knowledge and folk wisdom accumulated but not much of it has survived.

Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were carried by oral tradition of storytelling, so with Aesop’s fables, surviving many centuries and finding immortality in books and media today. And would we look farther than the timelessness of Christ lessons in parables? The Sermon on the Mount, The Prodigal Son, the Sower, The Good Samaritan. These and many more, continue to live in the home, school, and pulpit as they persisted in the catacombs in the beginnings of Christianity. Because Homer, Aesop, Christ and other early authors did not write, it is through oral history, in spite of its limitations and informal nature that these masterpieces were preserved and transcended to us - thanks to our ancestors, and to tradition itself.

Just as the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans – and even the remote and lesser ancient civilizations like the Aztecs and the Mayas had their own cultural heritage, so have we in our humble ways. Panday Pira attests to early warfare technology, the Code of Kalantiao, an early codification of law and order, the Herbolario, who to the present is looked upon with authority as the village doctor. And of course, we should not fail to mention the greatest manifestation of our architectural genius and grandiose aesthetic sense – the Banawe Rice Terraces, which through centuries spawned legends, folklores and myths unique in the culture of the place..

On the lighter side, who of us don’t know Lam-ang, our own epic hero, the counterpart of England’s Beowulf? Juan Tamad, the counterpart of Rip Van Winkle? Who would not identify himself with Achilles or Venus? Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, Lapu-Lapu, Angalo – how could boys be more happy and become real men without these and other legendary characters? And we ask the same to girls becoming women without Cinderella and Maria Makiling? On my part, like other boys in my time, boyhood could not have been spent in any better way without the science fictions of Jules Vernes – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Eighty Days Around the World – and the adventures of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It is the universality of human thoughts and values that is the key to the timelessness of tradition – indeed the classical test of true masterpieces.

And would we say the least about children stories? We can only wonder with awe at the determination of the Grimm Brothers going to the villages of Europe soon after the Dark Ages began to end, and the light of learning began to dawn again, the two scholars retrieving the fragments and remnants of stories surviving the darkest period of history of mankind. And what do we know? These stories, together with the stories from the 1001 Arabian Nights, have kept the flame of human hope and joy alive in cradles, around the hearth, on the bedside – even as the world was uncertain and unkind.

We ask ourselves, if it is only truth that can withstand the test of time. Or if it is only events that really happened constitute history. And if there were any tinge that these stories were based on the culture of a people in their own time, would we not find them, we who live on the other side of the globe and in another time, find them strange?

Rediscovering indigenous knowledge and folk wisdom enlarges and enhances our history and tradition and contribute immensely to the quaintness of living. It is to the old folks that we owe much gratitude and respect because they are our living link with the past. They are the Homer of Iliad and the Odyssey of our times, so to speak. They are the Disciples of Christ’s parables, the Fabulists of Aesop. They are the likes of the natural healers of Fuga Island, a certain Ilocano farmer by the name of Juan Magana who recited Biag ni Lam-ang from memory, Mang Vicente Cruz, an herbolario of Bolinao, Pangasinan, whom I interviewed about the effectiveness of herbal medicine. It is to people who, in spite of genetic engineering, would still prefer the taste of native chicken and upland rice varieties, old folks incanting “baribari” as they walk through the thickets to appease the unseen. ".