Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'MY Philosophy in Life'

Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)

'MY Philosophy in Life'

Go not to the temple to put flowers at the feet of God. First fill your own house with the fragrance of love.

Go not to the temple to light candles at the altar of God First remove the darkness of sin from your heart

Do not go to the temple to bow down your head in prayer First learn to bow in humility before your fellow men

Go not to the temple to pray on your bended knee First bend down to lift someone who is down-trodden

Do not go to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins First forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you

- Rabindranath Tagore –

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.

Very inspiring and thought-provoking philosophy that we all must seriously consider adopting as our own too.

He emphasizes on humility and forgiveness,the 2 virtues that are lacking in many of us and that leads to all the problems we face today

How humble are we?
How willing are we to ask forgiveness and forgive others?
Let's reflect and reflect deeply on ourselves
We cannot change the world if we don't change ourselves

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

song of Lord Krishna - a good reflection

Celestial Song of Lord Krishna.

Whatever happened, it happened for good.

Whatever is happening is happening for good.

Whatever that will happen, it will be for good.

What have you lost for which you cry?

What did you bring with you, which you have lost?

What did you produce, which has destroyed?

You did not bring anything when you were born.

Whatever you have, you have received from Him.

Whatever you will give, you will give to Him.

You came empty handed and you will go the same way.

Whatever is yours today was somebody else's yesterday

and will be somebody else's tomorrow.

-Bhagavad Gita-

Yes,we did not bring anything when we came into the world and we are not going to take anything when we leave.

Why the scramble during our short stint here?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thai Pongal

Thai Pongal :An Indian thanksgiving Event

Thai Pongal (celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai),is a harvest festival originally celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.It was one of the most important festivals among peasants in villagers who tilled their land and reared animals. Today it has evolved into a cultural festival of Tamils all over the world, including those who know nothing about farming.

Pongal in Tamil means"boiling over or spill over." The boiling over of milk in the clay pot symbolizes material abundance for the household. Thai Pongal, celebrated at harvest time on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai, is traditionally intended to thank the Sun God,Surya, and farmstead livestock that helped create the material abundance. They thank the solar deity for the good harvest and consecrate the first grain to him

The saying "Thai PirandhalVazhiPirakkum" meaning " the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities" is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival. The festival usually occurs from January 13 — 15 i.e. the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of Thai,this year on February 15.

Thai Ponggal is celebrated for three consecutive days.

The first day it is celebrated for the harvested crops and shared with friends and relatives. The main feature of this festival is the boiling of milk in a clay pot until it overflows when the family members gathered round the pot shouting, ”Ponggale oh Ponggale” then add rice to it. Boiling-over if occurs at sunrise would be sign of blessing from the Sun God,Surya to whom the special day is dedicated.

On the second day known as MattuPonggal, cows are adored and given special offerings. This is the time when villages decorate the cows and also the elders seek God’s blessing for their children. The cows are given a bath, their horns painted and they are decorated with garlands. It is day dedicated to the cow which provided everything they needed to a good living.

The third day known as KanniPonggal is dedicated to young virgins. As virginity used to be sign of purity by honoring such women showed the great importance they attached to this virtue as they would soon be the mothers, who will be looked-up with great respect by both men and women alike. Young women pray for a good life and a dashing great husband. The young unmarried ladies wearing new clothes, gold and silver ornaments will have special prayers for their future marriage.

Ponggal is the only Indian festival that is based on the solar calendar as all other Hindus festivals follows the lunar calendar. It signifies the commencement of Uttarayana, which represents the northward journey of Sun. It other parts of India it is celebrated as MakarSankranti.

Significance of boiling over of spilt milk

The milk is boiled in earthen pots till it spills over.The spilling of milk means prosperity and if the milk spills as the sun rises, it is a good sign for the family. It would mean the blessing of Surya onto the family.

Half of the boiled milk is then scooped for offering to the departed parents and ancestors and remainder for the family and friends to drink. Then sweetened rice is added for cooking. As the sweetened rice(pongal rice) is about to cook, a spoonful of ghee is added. Once the sweetened rice is ready, an offering is made to the Sun God and the ancestors and the remainder shared with neighbors.

Ponggal and its relevance to us today

Pongal used to be celebrated by Tamils of Hindu faith but today it has come to celebrated by Tamils of other faiths as well, particularly the Christians who share common culture and language. Traditionally it used to be a harvest festival for peasants in villagers, who plough their land, plant crops and rear herds of cattle; for them their livelihood depend entirely on these activities.

Today the majority of Tamils are not involved in farming and they have little knowledge of it.Pongal may be irrelevant to them but surprisingly it is being celebrated by more and more of them in our country. It is being celebrated by all Tamils, even those residing in urban areas in high rise buildings and who have nothing in common with those villagers. To Tamils today in urban areas Pongal has become a symbol of their culture and tradition which they want to uphold steadfastly for fear they may soon be forgotten by the future generations. This especially so in countries where Tamils are a minority like in Malaysia.

Thanking Mother Nature for the abundant harvest that gave the peasants and their families good life is indeed a noble one. Sharing their harvest with neighbors is a greater nobility which we should all emulate regardless of our own faith and culture. We too regardless of who we are should all incorporate such good practices into our own lives.

Malaysians should take it as an opportunity to thank the Almighty for the abundant blessings we received either overtly or in disguise. Often these blessings come in disguise which we only realize much later when we get out of the various crises that come our way. It is in sharing our blessings with our neighbors will we be rewarded with more.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Specialists in district hospitals

Specialists in district hospitals

I refer to “Liow: Specialists can help ease shortage in district hospitals” (Star,Jan 8)

The decision of the Health Ministry to have medical specialists serve at all district hospitals is a laudable move that is long overdue. It would not only reduce congestion in general hospitals but increase and improve the services at the smaller hospitals many of which are under-utilised, treating minor ailments only. By having specialists permanently stationed in district hospitals will also allow the training of housemen and even medical students at these hospitals.

The recruitment of foreign specialists to serve in districts may alleviate the problem temporally however it may not be wisest move as experience has shown this practice has failed to uplift the standard of care on a long-term basis. The practice of hiring foreign specialists has been ongoing for many years. It started as s stop gap measure in the sixties and seventies to overcome the shortage of our own specialists then but unfortunately till today they are yet to be adequately replaced by local doctors. After all these years we are still told to be short of not just specialists but medical officers as well. Something must have gone wrong with our system of overcoming the shortage of specialist all these years.

Why are most of our district hospitals still devoid of specialists even in the major basic disciplines of medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and orthopedics? Are we really short of these specialists if so why? Why are they concentrated in the bigger General Hospitals, leaving the smaller district hospitals to be manned by just junior medical offices? These are some of the issues that need to be addressed by the Health Ministry.

Recruiting highly qualified doctors from foreign countries is however not the answer to the perceived shortage of medical specialists. Many of these foreigners are unable to communicate effectively with our patients due to language problems. Moreover not all are fully committed to handle our patients who have become more demanding and whose problems are not familiar to the foreign specialists. Moreover the problem of providing quality treatment to our people is primarily our responsibility which we should not abdicate.

Greater efforts must be made to increase the number of our own local medical specialists and incentives given to retain them locally especially in government service longer. A better working environment, increased remunerations and above all a fairer system of transfers and opportunities for promotions based purely on merit may go a long way to keep these specialists in service locally. Singing the same old song of the shortage of specialists is not going to be accepted by the people who want more effective measures implemented by the ministry to overcome the shortage.

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