March 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 4

An Internet Newsletter publication for all CIM Alumni and friends.

    Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.

    Ma. Belen Rosales, M.D.
        Associate Editor

     Ray Castillejo, M.D.
    Binisaya Section Editor

    "If it had to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas." ---Jean Cocteau


Unsettling Vision of War

by:marie belen c. flores-rosales, md mph cim ‘70

     The deployment of the USS Nimitz, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS Princeton, was a sight to reckon, as it was heralded at every news channel broadcast this morning and repeated throughout the day. The aerial shot of the roads leading to the US Naval Station in North Island in San Diego packed with every kind of vehicle one can imagine, was a sight to reckon, too. In the background were shots of families huddled in every inch of space available at the loading dock. One can feel the anguish and pain in the faces of every wife, father, mother, fiancée, brother, sister, son and daughter of each of the 8,000 soldiers on board as the three battle ships started to pull away and start their journey to join the rest of the US Armed Forces already anchored somewhere in the Persian Gulf. It was a heart-wrenching sight watching little boys and girls waving sad goodbyes to their Dads and Moms clutching tiny American flags with their tiny hands. Invasion of Iraq seems imminent, and each day the world watches as we edge closer to war.

     The invasion of Iraq (when it happens) has been called a “preventive” war.  In initiating preemptive war, there is strong moral presumption that war is an act of lawful self-defense, a legitimate defense, from damages inflicted by an aggressor. Right now, we know that there is an alleged threat of mass destruction in America and elsewhere by the Iraqi government. However, the US government has yet to offer any conclusive evidence of imminent danger to national security. Where lays the justification for this prevention? How can one justify a war without any concrete reason for being other than conjectures and theories?   Prevention, as we know it, is a very relative word, subject to varying self-serving interpretations and does not have a limit.

    This is a tough statement to say. However, a question is brewing in my mind. How is this war any different from the war waged in Vietnam in 1965? An American invasion in Iraq parallels the American intrusion into Vietnam where American ideologies of the powers-that-be were willing to bomb and kill to re-shape Vietnam according to the American image. Thirty eight years after the US involvement in Vietnam, and twenty eight years after the end of the war, Vietnam is still Vietnam, proud of its own culture, heritage and way of life. One important element was certainly missed out – that the people’s pride in their country will make these people resilient and they will sacrifice to keep what is rightfully theirs. The same would hold true in Iraq. It held true in the Philippines in World War II.

    The fixation of this administration on a regime change is a mystery that will hang like a curse in a mystery novel. The image of a blooming democracy of a new Iraq with a 10-year American military presence, a US–led development of Iraqi oil fields and adjoining Arab states converted to American way of life will remain an image, a vision that will never happen. 

    The realities of this war will not be images zapped on a video screen. It will be images of bloodied people dead, not only American or Iraqi soldiers scattered in the battle field, but old men, women and children in mosques, hospitals, schools and even bunkers.   In the Vietnam War, the courage of every American soldier who died in battle is etched in a monumental memorial in Washington DC, while at the same time rendering invisible the memory and courage of the thousands of Vietnamese men, women and children who suffered a similar fate.

    The realities of this war does not exclude the possibility that Saddam Hussein, with his back to the wall, will fight the American homeland – you and me, our parents, our children in the middle of it all.

    There is nothing but deep compassion in my heart for those who perished in 9/11. Is it possible, then, to have compassion, too, for those who perished in Afghanistan and Pakistan from America’s bomb? How is it that we only see the atrocities done to us, and we can not see the atrocities we do to others? Does the Golden Rule still apply?

    I tend to think that violence is a physical act. I have forgotten that hate, prejudice, racial bias, greed, even name-calling can lead to violence. I have forgotten that any kind of oppression, be it political, economic or cultural can lead to violence.

    Aron Gandhi, the grandson of the great Mahatma Gandhi, was in San Diego recently to award San Diegans who were recipients of the “2002 Gandhi Non-violence Award”. His words echoed very clearly as he said ,”In our response to 9/11, we have created a cycle of violence that will come back to destroy us. Nine-eleven was not the time for US to seek revenge. It was a time for introspection, to learn why other people hated us”.

    Is it too late to give peace a chance?

    I wonder….



    "One of the hardest things to do in life is to listen without intent to reply." -Unknown

    "Good listeners are not only popular everywhere but after awhile, they know something." -- Unknown

    "I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." -- Albert Einstein

    "How do you know so much about everything?' was asked of a very wise and intelligent man; and the answer was 'By never being afraid or ashamed to ask questions as to anything of which I was ignorant.' " --John Abbott

    "I live by this credo: Have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough." -- Red Skelton 1913-1997, Comedian



by Ray Castillejo, CIM Class 1972

    Tingali matingala kamo nga naghug-ma si Cle ug Binisaya nga parte sa atong mantala-an. Kadaghanan nato dugay-dugay na diri sa Amerika ug hanas na kaayo moinenglis. Pero sa kadaghanan nato, ang atong namat-an nga sinulti-an ma-o ang Binisaya o Sinugbua-non nga ma-o ang sinulti-an sa atong mga ka-apohan sukad pa sa panahon ni Lapu-lapu ug Humabon.

    Ang Binisaya o Sinugbua-non usa sa ka pinakamatahom nga sinultian sa kalibotan. Wala ba mo makahinumdum sa mga Balak ug mga diskurso nga nabati nato kaniadtong bata pa ta? Tingali niadtong panahona ma-uwaw kitang moangkon nga interesado kita sa Binisaya kay gi-isip man nga mas edukado ka kung magineng-lis. Apan wala gayud ma wala ang akong pagmahal sa atong lumad nga sinultian ug siguro ako nga kamo nga makasulti ug Binisaya mao sad.

    Bisan ug pito ako ka tu-ig nga nagto-un ubos sa mga Hesuitas nga gidili man gani pag sulti ug Binisaya sulod sa eskwelahan, wala gayod mukunhod ang akong gugma sa Binisaya. Usa sa among maestro sa Iningles sa Sacred Heart School, si Jesus Jesswani, puerting pagkahigugma sa Binisaya nga usa ka adlaw nagdala siya ug “song hits” sa among klase ug ang mga Binisaya nga kanta ma-oy among gitun-an nia-nang adlawa.

    Busa gi-awhag nako ang mga sakop sa atong kapunongan nga musuway ug sulat ug mga artikulo sa Binisaya sa atong mantala-an. Mas lisud tino-ud kay sa Iningles kay wa man tay pormal nga kurso nga giku-ha sa Binisaya sa mga tulongha-an. Pero mas ta-as ang atong kalipay kay na mogna nato ang lisod pero lumad. Dili kinahanglan nga seryoso ang inyong isulat, puedi sang mga kataw-onon. Bahala nag dili magka dima-o ang “spelling”, masabtan ra bitaw ka. Makaplagan nato nga ang sinultian sa atong handurawan puerte diayng kamatahom.

    Ani-ay mga pipila ka mga pakatawa:
    Pasiyente: Dok, na-a lagi plema inig kalibang nako!
    Doktor: Oke lang na, ang delikado kung inigsikma nimo, na-ay ta-i !

    Himatyon nga Intsik: Malia akong asawa, hapit na ko patay, sulti tinu-od, kinsay tinuod amahan sa atong kamanghuran? Siya ray ngil-ad sa atong mga anak!
    Maria: Ayaw ug kasuko ha, ang kamanghuran ma-o ray imong anak!

    Asawa : Ming-goy, ang imong ubo puerting gahi-a pero ang imong kinataw-han puerting humuka, Sunod nimong ubo, ipaa-gi sa imong kinataw-han!

Bulawanon nga Pulong:

    "ASPO, Bulawanon ka-ayo ang laraw ni Ray Castillejo mahitungod sa pagsulat ug mga lindog nga binisaya sa atong "newsletter." Mora ug ma-o ni makapapukaw sa mga nahikatulog natong mga mata sa atong gigikanan, nga tungod sa kadugayng panahon sa pagpuyo dinhi sa Tinupong Kanasuran, medyo gilubong na lang gani sa kalimot sa uban natong mga kauban kanhi sa saring sa CIM. Motampo ko sa ginagmay ug mga sensiyo nakong mga hunahuna, agi ug palabay sa panahon ug sa pagba-id sa nahibilin nakong kahibawo sa paglitok sa atong pinulongan aron dili sad kini malubong na lang sa kalimot. Imong ubos nga higala, ASPO pareha kanimo." --Hector Vamenta, M.D. Class 1972, ASPO (Anak Sa Pobreng Otin)


The Healing Wonders of Banana

From the E-mail Circulation

Sent by: Anny Misa-Hefti

BANANAS?   THE  CURE  FOR  ALL  ILLS!    Believe It  or  Not:If you want a quick fix for flagging energy levels there's no better snack than a banana. Containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose - combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proved that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must to add to your daily diet.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect food for helping to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: Two-hundred students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heart-burn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body so if you suffer from heart-burn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness:Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:
    Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods such as bananas every two hours to keep levels steady.

PMS: Forget the pills eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronic ulcer cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking:Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking, as the high levels of Vitamin C, A1, B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress:Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water-balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, there by reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in 'The New England Journal of Medicine' eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts:Those keen on natural alternatives swear that, if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So you see a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-know phrase so that we say, "A Banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


Safety and Security Tip!

    This security tip is courtesy of Vic H. Brimmer, Lieutenant in charge, Sheriff's Office of County Safety and Security, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino, Calif. "The most important personal safety tip, whether at work or any other location, is: Always look 180 degrees -- from shoulder to shoulder -- before releasing the door knob when exiting a building. Danger could be in front of you and safety behind you. If you close the door and it locks, you may be trapped on the dangerous side. By taking a moment to look around instead of making a beeline to your car, you get a feel for the safety of the parking lot or yard. If anything seems out of place, or you feel that something just is not right, go back inside the building. Remember, if a situation feels wrong, it usually is."


    Several weeks after being hired, the young man was called into the personnel manager's office. "When you applied for this job, you said you had a degree of English language from Cambridge plus five years experience in this line of work. Now we discover that you have absolutely no qualifications and that this is your first job of any kind. What do you have to say for yourself?"
    "Well, your ad said you wanted somebody with imagination!"


     A woman watched a dog go into a butcher's shop.
    "What is it today?" asked the butcher. "Pork?"
    The dog shook its head.
     The dog shook its head.
    "Lamb chops?"
    The dog wagged its tail furiously.
   The butcher wrapped up two lamb chops, gave them to the dog and the dog trotted out. The same thing happened the following day and the woman was so intrigued she decided to follow the dog out of the shop. She saw the dog walk up the steps of the house, stand on his hind legs and ring the doorbell with his nose. A man answered the door and immediately started shouting angrily at the dog.
     The woman was incensed. "You should be ashamed of yourself," she told the man. "That is the cleverest dog I've ever seen. He goes to the butcher's, fetches your dinner, brings it home and rings the doorbell. And you treat him like that!"
    "Maybe," said the man, "but it's the third time this week he's forgotten his key."


     Late at night, a drunk was on his knees beneath a street-light, evidently looking for something. A passer-by, being a good Samaritan, offered help.
    "What is it you have lost?" he asked.
    "My watch," replied the drunk. "It fell off when I tripped over the pavement."
    The passer-by joined in the search but after a quarter of an hour, there was still no sign of the watch.
    "Where exactly did you trip?" asked the passer-by.
    "About half a block up the street," replied the drunk.
    "Then why are you looking for your watch here if you lost it half a block up the street?"
    The drunk said: "Because the light's a lot better here."


ASOCIMAI Potpourri


Alumni Reunion 2003
     Our alumni reunion this year 2003 will be at The Westin Horton Plaza, 910 Broadway Circle, San Diego, California. To reserve for a hotel room, call 1-800-937-8461 (1-800-WESTIN-1) and mention American Society of the Cebu Institute of Medicine to get a rate of $165/night for single and double. For this rate, you can choose either one single king-size bed in a room or two double bed. Additional $20 for every extra occupant. This doesn't include tax that runs around 10.25%. California's sales tax is probably the highest in the U.S. But as they say, the only permanent things in this world are death and taxes. California is in bad economic condition like many states in the U.S. these days. But among governors, Governor Davis has the worst job performance of only 27% approve with 64% disapprove. If this will continue for the next few years, the next governor of California will be Arnold Schwarznegger. If Schwarznegger runs and wins the election, he'll likely say to Mr. Davis: "Mr. Davis, you are now erased."

    For those alumni who are not familiar or still being intimidated by the Internet, if you want to surf and get more information about San Diego, California, here are the simple steps you need to follow: Go to Near the bottom of the yahoo Internet page, click on Travel. Then on Travel Guides. You will see a map on this page. Click on North America in the map. Then click on United States, then on California, and then on San Diego. On the left side of the page of San Diego, you can click on whatever you want to know about San Diego like the Shopping, Recreation, etc. So surf and don't let the computer intimidate you. It's only a machine, but it does what you want it to in just a click of a mouse. Hope to see many of you in San Diego. Got my hotel reservation already.

     There is a planned China tour after the reunion. For those who are interested, call our President Dr. Doming Ong for information. Or check out our ASOCIMAI web site every so often from now on.

Officers' Spring Meeting
     The ASOCIMAI officers' meeting will be on May 24 in Philadelphia at El Presidente's residence. The weather should be a lot warmer by that time. With the snow and ice we have had this winter, it's time to get out of hibernation and start to have some fun.

     This year's winter is the worst I've ever experienced since I came to the U.S. in 1975. Oh, how I envied those of you in Florida or California. While we were having icicles on our shrubs and trees, yours were having birds and flowers. Those of you in the Northeast must have a hard time with the snow and ice that seemed to come regularly every weekend in February. Some of you must have 2-3 feet or even more of snow accumulation at one time or another. Hope none of you had injured your back shoveling snow, let alone ended up with a broken bone or twisted knee from slipping on the ice. Two of my co-workers had their knees twisted slipping on the icy parking lot. I slipped on the ice years ago and it was so fast with nothing to grab to hold on to. I swore to myself that I would not have that kind of accident again. I was lucky to fall on my shoulder and sustained no broken bones. Anyway, I would love to see most if not all of you in San Diego not limping and still able to bend to touch your toes and then stand up straight without this: "Oouch! That hurts."

    Well, those officers, board and committee members who plan to attend the meeting in Philadelphia, please notify El Presidente soon so he can plan for our activities. If there is any issue you want to add to our agenda, please send it to our sweet secretary Epi Aranas. Anyway, El Presidente wants to know how many of us can attend so he can rent a van like the last time if he needs to.

Luck of a Draw
     Many of you must have either read it on the newspaper or heard it on radio or on TV about those Yale University students killed in an accident. I think it was in Hartford, Connecticut a month or so ago. My nephew Kenneth Estrera, the youngest son and the pride and joy of Aaron Estrera of Class 1966 and Marietta Estrera, is a student at Yale University. He plays football as a tackler or one of those linebackers and he is good at it. He has the highest number of tackles among Ivy Leagues' football players. It's not that he is big, but at a little over 6 foot, his body is made up of hard, thick muscles with an oak for a neck, and he is quick. He also has lots of brains, and he loves the game. In high school, he was a black belt in judo and traveled everywhere including Korea to win so many tournaments. He played all kinds of sports like he was preordained for them, and he develops his own technique of playing and winning. As evidence of how good he has been, his trophies and medals occupy the biggest glass cabinet in my brother's house in Dallas, Texas. None of the Estreras has that kind of talent. That's why we, in the family, joke that it must have come from Marietta because Marietta has always been the champion of every talkathon. Just kidding. Pssst!….. Don't tell Marietta about it. She is afraid or intimidated by the computer and hasn't started using it yet.

     Anyway, it was Thursday night when Kenneth was supposed to go with his friends and fellow athletes to attend a party for the athletes of Yale. He was supposed to drive them with his huge 1999 Chevy Tahoe, but he declined because he had an exam the following day and he was also tired helping someone moved to another apartment that day. Being a good friend, what Kenneth did was to give the keys of his Tahoe to his friends and let them use his SUV.

     Coming back from the party early in the morning the following day Friday, the road was icy at around 5:00 A.M. The designated driver did not have a drink, because that was their rule or agreement. But about 40 or 60 miles to school, there was an accident like a chain reaction in which two huge trailers were involved. One of these huge rigs had a cargo of a heavy generator. The generator fell off, flew and hit the Chevy Tahoe of my nephew, crashing it. Four of his friends were killed, one is still in coma and two survived but on physical therapy. The Tahoe was totaled, crushed and crumpled like an aluminum beer can squeezed by the hand of Hulk Hoggan. It was hard for my nephew, but it was devastating to the parents of the kids. My nephew did not talk for a week. His mind was numbed and shocked by such tragic event. He lost his friends who were closed to him and who looked up to him for help every time they needed one. He was always there for them.

     Devastating events like this convince at least some of us that we definitely have no power over our fate. Death can claim anyone's life anytime, anywhere and any place once we get into this world or since we were born. We should never assume that our kids, just because they are young, are exempt from the grasp of the ugly claws of death. Thus if you are one of those parents who haven't told your children that you love them, better tell them now. Do not assume they know. They want the words coming from you, not just loving gestures. If you feel awkward to say these words because your children are old or mature already and you're not used to saying these words, send them an e-mail. This is my suggestion of what to say: Son/Daughter, I've been struggling to write this message because I'm not used to expressing my feelings with words that I want to express now. Perhaps my age is catching up on me, but I just don't remember if I have ever told you that I love you. I have always assumed that you know. Now I want to make sure that you know. I want you to know that I have always loved you, Son, and always will.

     So don't just close your eyes and hold it in. Reach out to your kids. Open your heart. Tell them. Come on. Take a chance. Don't be afraid or feel awkward. It's only love. But they deserve to know.


    "The greatest regrets I heard were not from those who had taken a risk and lost. Invariably, they felt proud for having dared, and even educated in defeat. The real regret, bordering on mourning, came from those who hadn't taken chances they'd wanted to take and now felt it was too late." -- Ralph Keyes, author of Chancing It: Why We Take Risks

The Editor Unplugged

Clem S. Estrera, Jr., Class 1972
    "Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." ---Benjamin Franklin

Merci Beaucoup
     Because I believe that expectations are almost always the sources of disappointments, I've learned long ago to expect the worst and hope for the best in any endeavor I'd embark on or in anything I'd do. Since then, my disappointments have been very minimal if any. That's why I've never really thought, let alone expected, that a significant number of you particularly in the alumni read our newsletter. It's the main reason why I did not give you the direct link to the previous issue so I could have an idea of the number of those who read. I'm amazed to know that even with your limited time and with so many good reading materials out there, many of you still find the time to read our newsletter. You just don't know how much this means to me in particular, with the time and effort I've spent. It really doesn't matter if you simply just scroll our newsletter down the screen. At least you check it out. However, for those of you that scroll it down fast, I prefer to think that you have taken a course on Speed Reading. Well, it's definitely encouraging. On behalf of the Brain Waves' staff, a million thanks to all of you. Now allow me to quote few lyrics of one of the songs in the soundtrack, What Women Want:
    You know what?.. You're lovely.
    You know what?.. You're so lovely.
    Merci beaucoup!..

A few good friends
     I can understand if some of you in the alumni are disappointed with the move of Brain Waves I decided to take. You deserve an explanation. Believe me. The move is mainly strategic. I want our association and Brain Waves to be free of each other, yet continue working together just the same. It's like an independent contract. As I stated previously, it has been my intention for our newsletter to be different if it is to have an impact on our association. For if all we do is send every one the news and update of our association's activities, then a newsletter is not necessary. E-mail and our web site are more than enough. But then, there would be nothing unique about it, nothing to distinguish our alumni association from other associations except perhaps the dates of the calendar of events, and nothing to move our association beyond the status quo. Yet I'm not the kind of person who would settle for a status quo, and who would be satisfied being nothing more than a newspaper delivery boy. When I'm given a job, by force or by choice, I want to give my best shot because that's what I have always believed everyone deserves - the best. I'm not the kind who would be contented with my own mediocrity. I want to contribute what I believe is something of significance to our association whose leadership I'm being part of. I want to add some class.

     Suffice it to say, I take chances or take risks even in writing, for I believe that taking risks is the best way of discovering new ideas or learning new things. But I always give everything I do a hard, honest effort and I rarely if ever give up or give in. I can play rough, I can be tough, just so that one doesn't mistake me for someone who does something only for laughs. So every now and then, I may turn down to a complicated road, and to paraphrase some lyrics of a good song: "If I should lose my way along this road, all I need is a hand to hold, not another road, and for others to simply wait for me come-what-may." I need only few good friends I can count on to help me through, to give me the energy to stay strong in hard moments and to keep on going when the going gets tough. I need only few good friends or at least someone who is not afraid to put his/her weight behind me and has the empathy to whisper words of wisdom and encouragement. Or I need someone like in the song of Linda Eder called Someone:

We all lose our way sometimes
get caught out in the rain
blue skies turn to gray sometimes
we've all heard that refrain
as long as there's someone
who will take you as you are
you'll never need a lucky star

'Cause when someone's there who will listen
someone's there who won't judge you
and who'll care and just love you
you'll make it through
and when there's a shoulder to cry on
someone you can rely on
be there for that someone there for you..

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
     Friendship and leadership have significant differences. The leaders of the association are concerned primarily of the welfare of the association. Good friends are concerned primarily of the welfare of a friend. Even if the leaders are good friends, when something the leaders think is wrong, they are likely to consider first the welfare of the association. You cannot blame them for that, because that's a basic principle that the leaders have to follow. Unfortunately, it often results to a difference of opinion. That's when difficulties develop for someone who is considered to have created the problem or the conflict. That someone would become torn between different opposing opinions when all that someone needs is only a little boost to his confidence to solve the problem himself. He is already feeling down and thus what he needs is "help to put his feet back on the ground." As the song goes: "Help me if you can, I'm feeling dooown!!!"

     Nevertheless difference of opinion cannot be avoided because we are humans, not robots. But sometimes we react, not respond, allowing our reflexes to dominate over reasons, making us lose our focus. We would no longer become interested in trying to understand each other, let alone in helping to solve the problem together, but in pushing our desire to impose our opinion on each other. For when a situation arises that we have to choose between being right and being kind, it's our human tendency to choose being right over being kind. The problem with this choice is that we are likely to insist on being right like it's a life-and-death situation.

Fear + Paralysis = Perfection
    Unwittingly, we often fail to consider that if we are right, then someone must be wrong. And nobody likes being wrong. Do you? That's when the struggle starts, conflict would deepen and the situation would only get worse as we fight our way to being right. This choice would make us either an irresistible force or an immovable object. It would lead many of us to the temptation of having to bring up someone's past mistakes or transgressions we could think of in order to justify our opinions and strengthen our position on being right. Being right becomes more important than maintaining harmony and being happy. Thus instead of supporting each other, we sabotage each other by passing judgment. And instead of helping figure out a solution to the present problem, our focus is to avoid such problem in the future, not understanding that if our response is mainly to avoid problems, we would ultimately stop doing anything. For anything we do could create a potential problem. Then what we are into is basically a quest for perfection that takes nothing more than an illegitimate fear and paralysis to achieve. If our intention is solely to give the best we've got, then we should not feel threatened by anything or anyone. Otherwise we become nothing more than a brass without balls - a weak, whiny person always looking for a safe harbor, out of the line of fire. Any sign of trouble would be enough to loosen our sphincter muscle.

     But what deepens every human conflict and worsens the situation is our readiness to dwell on the negatives and let them dominate the situation. Many seem to use these negatives to sort of settle the score. But they would only lead to trading blames and accusations, and to bringing back to life the past events and problems that were supposed to be dead or resolved. Sometimes a problem is like water. One would want it cool so one can drink it with ease and quench a thirst. You can help and make it more satisfying by providing ice cubes. If you put fire underneath it, it would soon boil and make it difficult if not impossible for anyone to drink it without burning one's tongue.

Here comes the sun!
    Although the choice of being kind is not an easy choice to make, it's more humane. As Dr. Wayne W. Dyer advised: "Anytime you have the choice between being right and being kind, always choose being kind." For such choice would make us focus on determining whether or not a problem really exists and if it does, we would at least try to understand it and become more emphatic to the ones involved. Our emotions are not cocked, locked and ready to rock someone's confidence. We keep our mind open to be able to see the situation on a proper perspective. Our focus is on resolving the present situation, not on avoiding such situation in the future. It's like being together with everyone involved sitting on the same side of the table looking at a solution together, not on the opposite side of the others looking like each of us is ready to declare: "I win, you lose." The choice of being kind makes us understand that it takes courage to realize and accept the fact that we are greater than our moods and smarter than our thoughts because we can control them.

    There is no question that the greatest and toughest battle one has to fight is in the deep, dark chambers of one's mind. It's a struggle that sometimes costs sleepless nights and yet it often ends in defeat. For one would unwittingly sacrifice one's good relationship with others all for the choice of being right over being kind. Many good relationships have been broken this way. Furthermore, this choice could easily destroy the harmony and unity of any organization. It could slice, dice and saw right through an organization, and then cut through its unity and harmony like a hot knife cutting through butter. Instead of loosening up to help and support each other and start thinking like one big collective sphincter, the choice of being right could make many in the organization to behave like a bunch of individual assholes.

     But if we do need to choose being right, then we should not fight for it like it's a life-and-death situation. For if we do and we all have different threshold of tolerance, we won't be able to avoid hurting each other's feelings. And when feelings are hurt, in some people, they often stay hurt for quite a while like the first ice in the middle of winter. When this happens, the only thing you can do is sing:
    Here comes the sun
    Do da doo doo
    Here comes the sun,
    And I say, it's alright.
    Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
     Little darling, it seems like years since it's been there;
    Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

    Brain Waves is meant to be a tool for everyone's intellectual expression, not a source of one's discomfort and other unpleasant emotions that result mainly from misunderstanding or confusion. Confusion is a term invented to describe an order of things that is not yet understood. That's why our newsletter preaches for understanding, not judging; tolerance, not dominance, and it is intended to serve as a beacon, not a barrier to our friendship and fellowship. But since it looks like it could also become a potential source of conflict and pain, then for Brain Waves to go on, it is better to get it out of the way before feelings are badly hurt. One cannot stop, let alone dictate someone the choice of what to feel. Also, I'm not comfortable anymore with discomfort.

I wanna get lost in the rock and roll
     Of course, I'm one of the leaders of our association. But I'm also the editor and publicist of Brain Waves, and thus I'm totally responsible for it. I have to think and decide what's good for our newsletter because I'm writing for it regularly to keep it going. Our association has other leaders who would think and decide what's good for our association and are responsible for it. If Brain Waves is constantly attached to our association, every now and then, there are things that we write or I publish in our newsletter that the leaders of our association may not approve or are uncomfortable with. Sooner or later, these things would lead to proposals for guidelines or regulations that we, in Brain Waves, don't want. We are amateur writers and guidelines or regulations would make it so hard for us particularly for me to think of what to write. After all, this is purely voluntary. We provide something for nothing. We are not getting anything even a cup of coffee from anyone, let alone from our association. We write our best, our expectation is modest, our intention is noble, and our goal is as simple as our hope that our friendship and fellowship would grow stronger if we can help in making us all understand each other better.

     After thinking it through, I'm convinced that it's better to make Brain Waves and our association free of each other. Even the ice in the Antarctica breaks itself free from being attached to something that limits or regulates its existence. It wants to see the world, and it floats as an iceberg. When my mind is free, ideas easily move in. When it's not, I begin to think of giving it up. Now let me paraphrase another good song: "Give me the chance, people, and free my soul. I just wanna get lost in the rock and roll of my thoughts, and write away.."

Break it to me gently
     If you are one of the few who are still disappointed with this arrangement, then you just have to express yourself. After all, how in the world would we be able to strengthen our friendship and fellowship if we cannot express ourselves to each other? How in the world would we be able to think of other possibilities if you keep what you want to say in your mouth? How in the world would we be able to improve our newsletter if you keep your feelings about it to your heart? As long as you still like to read Brain Waves and we love to write for it, then Brain Waves is both our world. Your comment or opinion may completely change that world and make it better for all of us. If you think that such comment may only hurt me personally in particular being the editor, let me quote a lyric of another beautiful song: "Then break it to me gently, even if it gently breaks my heart…" However, I have to warn you that if you break my heart bad, I may have to sing one of the Bee Gee's songs:
     How can you mend a broken heart..
     How can a loser ever wins;
     Please help me mend a broken heart
     And let me write again…"

     Yet if you are one of those who are emphatic, understand the advantage of making Brain Waves free and would rather face the music with me if need be, then let's quote the Mambo lyrics:
     Like a flower bending in the breeze
     Bend with me, sway with me;
    When we dance you have a way with me
     Stay with me, sway with me…."

    By the way, if you're interested in listening to beautiful songs, I would recommend Linda Eder's CDs. Linda Eder is not a popular singer, but she is great at least to me. She has the voice that is a mixture of Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion. And like Streisand and Dion, her voice soars and floats to defy gravity. It is electrifying. She is one of those God's creations that I imagine God was having His best day. Although I listen to all kinds of music and songs, I mainly listen to jazz after I graduated myself from listening to classical music many years ago. Linda Eder is not a jazz singer, but she sings some jazz songs. She is more of a Broadway singer and she sings best with Broadway songs. I like listening to her songs particularly when I'm alone. Good lyricists like the ones writing her songs, write songs that carry powerful messages. They not only touch your heart and tame your emotions, they also captivate your mind and challenge your way of life. They stimulate your imagination and make you dream pleasant dreams. Linda Eder's CDs have songs in various tempo. They can make you sing with her, dance by yourself, or make you simply sit back, relax and be absorbed by your own pleasant thoughts.


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