Sunday, October 14, 2007

For The Record VI - Of Turbulent Weathers & Human Events

I have not been in the right condition recently to read as much as I desired. Some events had occupied my mind and since taken much of my mental strength to delve into other issues and matters.

While one may read secular events of worldly nature without much burden, to press on and reach out for these reports when encountered with resistances requires additional conscientious efforts. I do believe though that it is right at this critical juncture that those who are submerged in their personal worries would come to be separated from those who struggle to keep their life-condition afloat and buoyed. The seed of victory or defeat is planted in a single moment of conscious decision.

15 September, 2007 - Tropical cyclone WIPHA, a woman's name in Thai, of category 4 passed over Ishigaki (Japan) and headed for Taiwan and Shanghai, a city of 35 million. 1.8 million were evacuated thereafter by the Chinese government in preparation for one of the strongest storms seen in years.

16 September, 2007 - Against a weather backdrop of heavy rain, strong wind and dark skies, a Thai passenger plane, operated by budget carrier 'One-Two-Go' (or 'One2Go') and carrying 123 passengers and 7 crew, crashed and burst into flames as it landed on the resort island of Phuket, killing 87 people including foreigners.

18 September, 2007 - more than 300 monks took to the streets of Myanmar's main city Yangon, drawing hundreds of other people, in a rare display of defiance against the ruling government of Junta, which had placed Myanmar under their militaristic ruling since 1962. In the same breadth of courage, the monks were led by one who had his begging bowl upturned, and of which all refused alms from senior military officers, sending a strong dissenting sign of protest to the government.

Termed as <<袈裟革命>> by the media, or 'Buddhist-Robe Revolution' literally, the monks, who are deeply respected as parents and teachers to the lay believers, were armed with nothing but their robes and chanting prayers, some carrying religious flags. Traveling barefooted for almost 10 miles, some 1,500 monks marched through the flooded streets of Yangon, sometimes in knee-deep water, sometimes in raging tropical downpour.

22 September, 2007 - Some 500 monks were given an unexpected allowance in marching past the house of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been placed under house-arrest in 11 of her 18 detained years. Appearing 'fit and well', this 62 year-old Nobel peace laureate came to her gate and greeted the Buddhist monks with pressed palms and smiles, while the monks, in response to this serene gesture, offered this indomitable leader with chantings of Buddhist prayers. In a defining moment, the secular heroine and the religious warriors exchanged their heartfelt sentiments through the air, carving out a grand, picturesque scene of humanistic dignity and compassion.

26 September, 2007 - Crackdown was launched, where at least three monks were killed and others badly beaten, including hundreds arrested in Yangon and Mandalay. At least two monasteries were reportedly raided, including one in Yangon's northeastern satellite town of South Okkalapa, where about 100 Buddhist monks were arrested and eight people shot dead after protesting the action. Innocent citizens and other monks were believed to be brutally gunned down or savagely beaten or tortured.

27 September, 2007 - Mr Kenji Nagai, a 50 year-old Japanese video journalist of a video and photo agency based in Tokyo, was reported to be killed in protests in Myanmar by a stray bullet. Video footage and post-mortem however showed otherwise, where he was seen to be shot intentionally point-blank of about one metre, resulting in an instant-death situation. In his final few moments, this heroic champion of journalism attempted to take a few last shots at the crackdown with his camera before slipping away into eternity, displaying an almost super-human strength of courage and spirit.

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