The Password

“Have You Change The Password?”

I could hardly hear him say in his airy weak voice as I leaned towards him.

Grandpa was two months shy of his 89th birthday when he breathed his last breath and I was 9 years old.

Grandpa lived through two world wars and four industrial revolutions. Most his age struggled with technology but grandpa kept up with times – well, mostly.

I guess he knew that his memory was fading the day he passed me the password in a small piece of paper with his frail hand.

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I entered a new password the second time as required for confirmation. A few seconds later, I became the owner of his social networking account. Fond memories flooded my thoughts as I went through the many moments he had shared on his timeline, feed, wall or whatever it is called. I could only wish that he had more time to document his interesting life but those who knew him in person knew all the accolades and accomplishments that he had achieved. And we are very proud of him.

How much time has changed I thought to myself and I wondered most about the concerns of people from his generation. I am sure most of their actions paved the way for a better future. A future their descendants will be able to build upon.

There were also a lot of emphasis on inheritance – properties, gold, and riches.

I am sure that has not changed but instead, expanded.

Our lives are so well documented and preserved even to the smallest bit. We are leaving behind our memories in the form of digital storage.

There isn’t much storage capacity back in grandpa’s time. We were all his little “memory cards”. Our minds stored more than just bits and bytes. Our memories include values and emotions. The images are embedded with feelings of nostalgia and feasts for the senses.

Grandpa left behind more than just physical inheritance. He passed on values, virtues, and life lessons. He passed on wisdom that empowered his descendants.

The thought of grandpa reminded me that we should not emphasize on documenting our lives on social networking sites but instead make every interaction with our children count. Each interaction should embed in the minds of our children the virtues, values, wisdom, and emotions.

Being in the moment is more meaningful than capturing the moment.

Perhaps the day will come when I lay on my deathbed and as my daughter leaned towards me, I whispered in her ear for the very last time.

“Do You Remember?”

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Happiness & Joy

The four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas are given each a virtue – Hope, Love, Joy, & Peace. Some churches practice the lighting of four candles on the Christmas wreath representing each virtue.

There is a sense of expectancy, anticipation and waiting during the season of Advent for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. And we’ve entered the 3rd week of Advent which is represented by the virtue of Joy.

I have always wondered the difference between Joy and Happiness because very often, I have written notes on greeting cards using these two words in the same sentence.

Fr. Michael defined it most accurately for us in his sermon last weekend.

“Joy is the contrast of Happiness”

Happiness comes from the outside while Joy is from within.

And he gave a few examples of how we are happy when we obtain and receive certain material things or when we receive compliments from someone.

I am unable to recall the examples he gave for joy but I guess it was along the lines of joy being permanent and comes from our inner soul. Joy can come from how much we understand ourselves – our self worth, purpose, and etc.

It is midweek and the fourth Sunday of Advent will soon be upon us. For some of us, we might be spending most of our weekend in church for 4th Sunday of Advent and also Christmas Vigil since both fall on the same day.

Nonetheless, I would like to wish you Merry Christmas! May you be blessed with Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and Happiness (fellowship, food, and gifts being external factors)!

Why

Like. Follow. Trending.

It feels strange that living in today’s world, it is all about volume. Regardless of quality, quantity seemed to be the key to everything and anything. The larger the following, the higher the value certain things are perceived to have.

Are we really that caught up and into trends that we have stopped asking “why”?

Yes, we are bombarded with so many things in the span of a day and we are so busy “keeping up” or chasing what is perceived as of value that we have forgotten to pause, reflects, and to simply ask “why?”.

If we would look at the season of Advent differently, it should be an opportunity for us to “slow down” or even to pause and ask “why?”.

Why are we liking certain trends?

Why are we following certain trends?

Why are we contributing to what’s trending?

Why do we like certain things packaged differently when they function just the same?

We seemed to be going in an unending circle of re-packaging things differently and call them a “face-lift” version with renewed promises of better or bigger advantages.

There are so many questions we need ought to ask ourselves before drifting through life blindly. We need to first take responsibility of our lives and stop depending on others to fulfill our destiny. We must make use of this one brain given to us. We should exercise our brain powers by asking questions and learning new things in the process.

Most pertinently, why be followers when we can be leaders?

War Between Organic & Digital

My idealism tells me that we are all born to be creative. No matter what, we are all here to build rather than destroy. Somewhere along the way, we have picked up the habit of discarding rather than fixing things.

This weekend I spent some time building yet another Christmas decoration – The Nativity Scene. It took me just 30 minutes turning a box into a crib.

Making a crib

Crib

Instead of using the traditional characters to represent the 3 wise men, shepherd, Mary & Joseph, and baby Jesus, I wondered how a new age Nativity scene would look like. Thus, I used some toys from my collection as a representation of the characters.

Cybertronian Crib

New Age Crib

And that got me thinking about the eventuality of our world being taken over by robots and everything digital, perhaps if robots are still believers, this could well be how a “Cybertronian” Nativity scene looks like.

And that brings me to what seems to me a grave situation for mankind.

Let’s begin with two words – PERCEIVED and ACTUAL.

Call me ignorant, call me old fashioned, or call me dated, call me shallow, call me whatever, I still cannot wrap my head around the fuss of cryptocurrency and here’s why…

I am suppose to be from this generation in between the Gen-Y and Millennial. I work with computer software. I suppose to be all excited about these sort of stuff. But I really don’t dig this sort sh*t.

I simply cannot see substance in it.

This world is mutating in such a way that it appreciates the superficial instead of tangible values.

If you invest in gold, you have a piece of gold. If you invest in currencies, you have bank notes.

You have something physical that counts for something.

But, the hype now is around believing a number (even binary – 0s and 1s) stored in a server which its physical location is unbeknownst to us! Oh yeah, it’s call cloud and it’s another IN thing!

Rightly so, Wikipedia have this to say about the origin of one such cryptocurrency – “…was invented by an unknown person…”

But who cares when the bottom line is someone’s making money right?

It truly is a matter of principles.

The past few days, we spent a lot of time at the hospitals. I observed the nurses working very long shifts. There are genuinely hard working people out there!

Sugar coated and sophisticated technological terms like cryptocurrency and their hype and PERCEIVED value are nothing but insults to hard working people investing their precious time for physical and ACTUAL bank notes!

The point is, there are things digital will never win over the ORGANIC.

We need a different level of connection digital will never ever be able to provide. In terms of nurses at hospitals, we need the emotional connection – empathy, compassion, and love.

For me, cryptocurrency is nothing but a fad and hype. The more the following, the higher its value. Therefore, our support or rejection of such scheme will directly impact its value. Medias can now be manipulated to make anything an IN thing and that helps boost the following that ultimately increase its PERCEIVED value.

I am a true believer of substance and ACTUAL values.

Like MLMs, it feeds on the huge network and only the few at the TOP benefits the most out of all the people at the lower bottom of the food chain.

Surely, the early adopters and those who jump on the bandwagon earliest will benefit the most.

I believe in the hardworking nurses, farmers, and all who bust their ass off but sadly being exploited by those who cut edges just to make a dollar.

I believe in the ORGANIC and I hope you will too!

Paths

I have been thinking of life’s progress and especially the evolution of mass media throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the millennium (and beyond). In terms of movies, I realized that there has been many reboots, remakes, and the realization of the visions that was conceptualized in those eras. We are seeing a lot of cartoons from the 80s being made into movies. Some were made possible only because of the availability of current technologies and that in itself proves how ahead of time the ideas were back then. It is very difficult to find a movie that is made out of an original idea at the present time. In other words, we have not progressed much in terms of creativity and originality.

The only reason that I can think of is that we live in a highly digitized world with every information we need at our fingertips – accurate and inaccurate information alike. Our generation do not really THINK anymore.

Because of this convenience of having information at our fingertips, we no longer think about how we should live a unique and different life. There seemed to be a “playbook” for every aspect of life. We can almost raise a kid successfully by just searching for a “remedy” or a “guide” for every challenge expected from a child. We have a template or a mold so to speak.

Situations that we are facing are no longer unique because for every issue we face, there are already 10 or more solutions or workarounds available in this great big thing called the Internet.

Life is a Journey, not a destination ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is so instantaneous that we no longer care about “how well” we get something done but instead, we applaud the “it is already done”. Quality is no longer an emphasis but instead, speed of delivery is what matters and important.

But we really are dynamic beings and we are built for the unknown and for the surprises of life – they make living life interesting and unique.

“Fear Is Always In The Future – Not In Past or Present”

As part of his sermon this past weekend, the priest said something very true – “fear is always in the future”. And how enlightening that is!

We are always making our present decisions based on the failures of our past experiences as well as the fear of the unknown future.

As such, we must have faith that the future will take care of itself and always remember to live in the present moment. We must embrace the many surprises and unknown. Perhaps be a little more spontaneous and be comforted that it is alright to take a little time to first internalize a situation before deciding on the best solution moving forward. We do not need to be instantaneous all the time.

Our capabilities and talents will help us in carving our paths in life together with the people we meet will complement us wherever we fall short. But at the least, we must first live a life that is not defined by a blueprint. There simply is no blueprints or templates when it comes to life. We are here for very unique reasons and no two people are the same.

And perhaps by doing so, I hope that one day, this world will once again be teeming with creativity and visions. We have lost many generations of visionaries and creative minds to industrialization, globalization, and the many “tions” that cripples and suppresses creative thinking.

I am not writing this as a self-help solution for anyone facing problems or issues. No one is in the position of solving someone else’ life problems. I do not have a template for you to live your life. And I sure hope that you live a “google-less” life when and where it matters most – at times when integrity and honesty must win the day. There are innate intuitions and conscience that cannot be taught or found in search engines.

Just as every human have unique fingerprints, so must we leave a special imprint on this earth while we are still alive.

May you be led to the path less traveled and enjoy every mile of it!

Mindfulness

The season of Advent starts today and over the past 3 weeks, the theme seemed to be in between “Be Prepared” and “Stay Awake”. Rightly so because we are waiting in anticipation to welcome Jesus once again. Not physically but spiritually.

Just what exactly are we suppose to keep awake and prepare for?

The opportunities to love and be loved.

Since thanksgiving, we started putting up the Christmas decorations – the Christmas tree, made a replica of a fireplace, and listening to various Christmas songs.

And as we setup the place and enjoy the festives vibe, being mindful helps in identifying what the heart yearns most.

In between Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas To Me and NewSong’s The Christmas Shoes lies the true meaning of Christmas to me.

Prince of peace, Wonderful Counselor, Redeemer, and so many titles given to the one who brings so much joy on his “birthday”.

I guess we are all called to be that person who brings joy to others. As much as we like to receive during this festive season, we should think about bringing peace into our homes, community, and perhaps the world.

We should think about how we can bring joy to those around us. Maybe paying it forward or doing something special for someone in need.

The birth of Christ has shown us how it is done.

And it is very simple.

It is to LOVE…