Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
The following article is from the 2011-10-25 issue of the magazine of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (《中国人大》杂志) that has been posted on the official NPC website (全国人大常委会办公厅官方网站). In the article, 廖盛芳 argues that the media has unfairly attributed the cause of recent moral apathy 道德冷漠 incidents to the Chinese judicial system. The authour counters that it is the break down of traditional familial social fabric that has contributed to the public's reluctance to offer helping hands to elders in distress.
(图示： 以下這篇文章是来源自《中国人大》杂志 2011 年10 月25 日第20期 - 泛讀隨筆)
扶起陌生老人 (文 / 廖盛芳)
如何對待老人的問題確實與法律有關，全國人大常委會於1996 年通過了老年人權益保障法，並高度關注該法的實施。今年5 月至7 月，全國人大常委會組成執法檢查組，對老年人權益保障法的實施情況進行了檢查，今年8 月，在十一屆全國人大常委會第二十二次會議上，全國人大常委會副委員長兼秘書長李建國代表執法檢查組向會議報告了這次執法檢查的情況。從報告的情況看，有喜有憂，喜的是老年人權益保障法的許多規定得到了較好的落實，各項工作正在有序展開，憂的是許多工作還沒有做到位。全國人大常委會關注的是“大事”，所以報告所講的都是製度、機構、體係等大問題，但是保護老年人也是每個公民的責任，公民作為國家和社會的一個成員，不能只關注“大事”，還應該關註一些細節。當我們把目光轉向生活中的細節的時候，我們就會發現，在對待老人問題上，我們還有更多讓人憂慮的地方，其中就包括“扶”的問題。
9 月2 日，武漢市88 歲的李爹爹在離家不到100 米的菜場口摔倒，圍觀者無人上前扶他一把，1 小時後，李爹爹因鼻血堵塞呼吸道窒息而亡。類似的事件在去年12 月發生了兩起：年已78 歲的深圳市委組織部老幹部肖雨生在小區裡跌倒，保安和路人無一上前攙扶，20 多分鐘後，兒子肖先生外出時發現，老人孤零零趴在地上，額頭磕破流血，鼻子緊貼地面，已沒有了呼吸；福州8 旬老依伯則是摔倒在人行道上，圍觀的五六人沒人出手相扶，有兩名女子試圖將其攙扶起來時，旁人的一句“善意提醒”，又讓她們縮回了手，致使老人躺在冰冷的馬路上直到生命的終結。按照衛生部的說法，跌倒是我國65 歲以上老年人傷害死亡的首位原因。這就足以說明，“扶”的問題在今天已經成為我們這個社會需要認真對待的問題。
許多人眼見老人跌倒卻不上前去扶，據說是受了一些案件的影響。 2006 年11 月20 日，在南京，彭宇將被撞倒摔成骨折的徐老太扶起並送至醫院，後來徐老太指認撞人者就是扶她起來的彭宇，並將彭宇告到法院索賠13 萬多元。一審法院判決彭宇給付受害人損失的40%，共45876.6 元。案件在二審以和解撤訴結案。此後，各地相繼出現不同版本的“彭宇案”。這些案件經媒體報導後，激起強烈反響，一些人公開表示怕惹禍上身而不敢再去扶人，給人的感覺是，形形色色的“彭宇案”導致人們不再扶人。有意思的是，去年11 月河北邯鄲一位七旬老人摔倒被人救起後，所說的第一句話是：“謝謝你，放心吧，我不會訛人！”而李爹爹的妻子週婆婆則寫下了“本人在人行道上摔倒被人施救，施救者免責”的聲明並隨身攜帶。這在某種程度上強化了“彭宇案”是導致人們冷漠的“幕後推手”的說法。但事情的邏輯並沒有這麼簡單。對“彭宇案”的處理會造成社會影響，這是毫無疑問的，這是司法發揮作用必然的結果，但是，“彭宇案”的影響被人為地誇大了。
司法有司法的邏輯，遵循的是先事實後法律的邏輯，而媒體關心的則是所謂的“道義”，往往從“道義”出發，對事實進行選擇，受眾從新聞報導中所了解的只是經過選擇的部分信息，這是社會輿論一邊倒地指責有關司法判決的真正原因。我這樣說，並不表明我認為司法機關關於“彭宇案”的處理毫無問題，我只是想說，“彭宇案”的“負面效應”與其說是司法的效應，不如說是新聞報導的效應。 2009 年11 月14 日，在重慶，初二學生萬鑫扶起摔倒的一名老太，但老人及其子女稱其是肇事者，並訴至法院要求其父母賠償，一審時多人證明少年清白，法院駁回老人訴訟請求，老人不服上訴，二審開庭這天，老人撤訴。萬鑫案的處理表明，“彭宇案”並不是普遍現象，邯鄲那位七旬老人和周婆婆的事例則說明，被扶老人“訛人”也不是普遍現象，過度關注“彭宇案”只會誤導人們的視線，從而忽略導致人們不扶的真正原因。
因此，不管是從道德的角度還是從法律的角度，我們都應該努力減少“不扶”現象的發生，為此，要從改變人們的文化觀念和生存狀況入手，大力發揚我國傳統文化中一些有益於當今社會治理的成分，通過加強城市管理等途徑，讓陌生人之間減少隔閡，相互找到家的感覺，增強責任意識，增強相互間的義務感。有了這些措施，我相信，人們扶人的“意動”和行動都會多起來。References / Photo credit:
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Power Balance filed for bankruptcy in November 2011
According to Wikipedia:
"….. Power Balance is a brand of hologram bracelet once claimed by its manufacturers and vendors to "use holographic technology" to "resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body", and increase sporting ability. Numerous independent studies of the device found it to be completely ineffective at improving athletic performance, and the manufacturer was forced to retract its claims in 2010. …… In January 2011, a suit was filed against the company for fraud, false advertising, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. In November 2011, Power Balance filed for bankruptcy after suffering a net loss of more than $9 million that year…"
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Land of the silver birch
Home of the beavers
Where still the might moose
Wonders at will
Blue lakes and rocky shore
I'll return once more
Bonne d-dee i-dee
Bonne d-dee i-dee
At the time, I had never seen neither a beaver nor a moose and had no clue where this land was.
Many years later, when I was working as a labourer for Canadian National Railway (CNR) near Prince Rupert, I would be humming the tune as I and other steel-gang members were sweating away, replacing old tracks with ribbon-rails under the hot summer sun in the wilderness of northern British Columbia. It was there and then that I finally appreciated the beautiful imagery conjured up by the song and what it meant to be a part of nature in this vast northern country.
This photo is commercially tacky. But the symbol it represents is not.
UPDATED: 2011-11-24: Canada's National Symbol - The Beaver or Polar Bear ?
"Bear takes lead over beaver in battle for online world’s hearts and tweets" by Tamsin McMahon, National Post, Nov 5, 2011 11h00
The polar bear has taken the lead in the online battle that has pitted the man-eating mammal against the beaver in the quest to redefine Canada’s national emblem.
Two weeks ago, Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton caused a stir when she suggested that Canada should turf the beaver as its national symbol and replace it with what she called “Canada’s most majestic and splendid mammal.” That sparked a fierce debate, including on Twitter, which quickly organized itself into #teambeaver and #teampolarbear. Online at least, the polar bear is winning, according to an analysis by Toronto-based market research firm Social Media Group for National Post.
The endangered northern bear has garnered slightly more positive comments on Facebook, Twitter, Internet message boards and blog posts than the ubiquitous vegetarian beaver since Ms. Eaton made her pitch for the polar bear on Oct. 27. It was a reversal of fortune for the beaver, which had been the favourite of the two animals on the blogosphere for most of the year.
Among those who preferred the beaver, 26% described it as a “noble animal,” while 18% called it “industrious.” Within the anti-beaver camp, 31% called it “destructive,” while 17% said the beaver was an “outdated symbol” and another 11% felt it was “anti-social.” Nearly three-quarters of polar bear supporters felt it was a “majestic mammal,” while 4% described the bear as “alarmingly handsome.” Among the anti-bear set, 26% noted its tendency to kill humans, while 21% highlighted the fact that it was endangered. Another 11% noted that unlike the beaver, the polar bear does “not build anything.”
The polar bear seems to have recovered from its public relations disaster in August, when one of the bears attacked a British youth group on a remote Norwegian island in the arctic, killing one. “They might be cute, but they have a nasty habit of killing people sometimes and usually when they do that, people don’t like them very much,” said Brandon Oliver Smith, an analyst with Social Media Group.
Canada never held a referendum on its national symbol when Parliament chose the beaver in 1975, and that decision has been causing us trouble ever since, said Duke Redbird, an acclaimed native poet who has studied and lectured on totems, or symbols. For one, Mr. Redbird notes that the rodent has a tendency to cut down Canada’s other national symbol, the maple tree, a conflict that he argues is reflected in the country’s real-life political tensions. “We’ve had this before in Canada between the French and the English,” he said. “When you choose a totem, you really and truly will take on the characteristics of the totem that you choose.” The beaver’s tendency to dam up streams and creeks has negative connotations for “damming up your creativity, your imagination, your ability to move in a new world,” Mr. Redbird said. The U.S. national symbol, the eagle, is a natural predator for the beaver. But as an endangered species, the polar bear also sends the wrong message for a country marching proudly into the 21st century, he said.
Mr. Redbird prefers the otter, whose affable nature and rare ability to use tools to capture its prey symbolizes intelligence and bravery.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I am posting here two photos in prep for the BYRS running team's 26 km trip on Nov 27, 2011.
Top photo: Route Map of the Osggode Pathway - from 6178 Mitch Owens Road, Greely to Osgoode Main Street 13 km away.
(Please visit: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com?r=5198637)
Bottom photo: Google Earth snap shot of trail head next to Adams & Kennedy (Wood Source) at 6178 Mitch Owens Rd, Greely, looking south toward Osgoode.
The sudden and magical change in scenery marks the arrival of winter at our door steps and reminds us once again that we are living in a northern country.
Here in Ottawa's China town, pedestrians are walking gingerly on the wet and slippery surface, avoiding slushy puddles while dodging splashes from passing vehicles.
A shop keeper from a nearby Chinese Acupuncture & Herbs Centre is shoveling snow in short-sleeve shirt. Caught by old man winter without a jacket, he disappears quickly back into his shop, leaving behind a curse under his frozen breath.
There are still quite a few hardcore cyclists pushing their two wheelers through the snow while motorists are trying to drive around them on the already narrowed street.
I am taking this photo on Somerset Street in sub-zero temperature and will quickly find my way to a near-by Tim Horton for a warm cup of double-double morning coffee.
And by the way: Greetings from the Great White North !!!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
1. Paula Newby Frazier, a world-class triathlete champion, hit the wall during the 1995 Ironman Hawaii. For a while, she seemed disoriented and at one point lied down onto the ground. However, she refused to give up and eventually continued on !!!
2. At a 5K cross-country race, a high school competitor seemed to have hit the wall, fell and could not get up. One spectator was upset that nobody would offer assistance. But like any official races, if he had been helped, he could have been disqualified. In the end, the fellow crawled and collapsed at the finish line. But he completed the race by sheer will power !!!
3. I had tears in my eyes when I first watched this video. They were fighting for .... 4th place !!!
4. And finally: The Spirit of Julie Moss in the 1982 Ironman Hawaii !!!
* Wikipedia / Hitting the Wall: "..... In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glycogen levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity...."
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Gatineau Park Trail Running (Marathon Plus Distance) - Meech Lake P8 / Champlain Lookout / Lusksville Firetower / Return
On Nov 15, 2011, I did a marathon distance (42.2 km) hike/run in the Gatineau Park in Quebec. Here is a description of the route:
From Chelsea parking lot P8, up Gatineau Parkway for abt 1.5 km, right onto Trail #1 (Ridge Road), pass Keogan cabin, cross Fortune Parkway, continue on Trail #1, pass Shilly Shally Shack, pass Huron cabin, turn right at Champlain Lookout intersection (optional side-trip by turning left to the Lookout), continue on Trail #1 going west, pass Trail #9/Western cabin (optional side-trip to Western), continue till McKinstry cabin, then finally the Lusksville Firetower; Return. The route distance as described without the side-trips is abt 42.2 km. But if you take the side trips to Champlain Lookout & Western Cabin, the total distance will be longer than a marathon.
Below are the satellite route map + photos I took along the way.
The mostly uphill route from Meech Lake P8 to Lusksville is abt 21.1 km one-way. The return trip is close to 42.2 km.
I will post some of the photos l took along the way when I have a chance.
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(Update 20180604: The total distance is closer to 42.2 km as opposed to the 44 km originally reported)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
With the western economies in survival mode, consumers would likely hold on tight to their wallets.
I took this photo inside a mall earlier today. There weren't that many shoppers at the time, but hopefully things will pick up as the Christmas season gets closer.
An early snowfall to sprinkle the city white might just do the trick.
Think snow !!!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Running the Camino de Santiago "The Way": Jenny Biondi Anderson 815.6 km, 9 days 5 hrs 29 min (Part 2 of 2)
***** Please also review: Camino de Santiago / The Way of St. James (Part 1 of 2) *****
The Way of Saint James, as it has always been, is a journey.
* World Record: Jenny Biondi Anderson ran and completed the 815.6 km (506.8 miles) trail on March 7 2011 in 9 days, 5 hours, 29 minutes (http://jennyjourney.wordpress.com/; http://www.pilgrimroads.com/2011/02/running-the-camino/ )
* YouTube: Movie "The Way" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hy54CpKeqk
(Please also review Part 2: Running the Camino de Santiago "The Way": Jenny Biondi Anderson 815.6 km, 9 days 5 hrs 29 min)
".... The Way of St. James or St. James' Way (Spanish: El Camino de Santiago) is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried ...."
".... The French Way (Spanish: Camino Francés) is the most popular of the routes of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago), the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It runs from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side and then another 780km on to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and Léon. A typical walk on the Camino Francés takes at least four weeks, allowing for one or two rest days on the way.
Paths from the cities of Tours, Vézelay, and Le Puy-en-Velay meet at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. A fourth French route originates in Arles, in Provence, and crosses the French–Spanish frontier at a different point, between the Pyrenees towns of Somport and Canfranc. This fourth route follows the Aragonese Way and joins the main Way of St. James at Puente la Reina, south of Pamplona, in Navarre, about seven hundred kilometres from Santiago de Compostela ...."
Below is a video with similar description of the French Way:
Camino de Santiago from George Derk on Vimeo.
The Camino Frances is the most popular route along the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage trail with various routes all leading to a 9th century cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, Spain. Photographer G. Derk started the 500-mile trek in a small town in France, tracing the route along northern Spain and finally ending at the magnificent 9th century cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, which is believed to be the final resting place of the apostle St. James. The town is an UNESCO World Heritage Sites, chosen because of its historic importance to Christians in Spain. The pilgrimage route, too, is considered historically significant for its place in linking the Iberian peninsula with the rest of Europe in the Middle Ages. It's a stunning trek and the video only does it further justice.
There are other alternate routes:
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
"..... 和平紀念日（英文：Remembrance Day）訂立於每年的11月11日，為一個紀念在第一次世界大戰、第二次世界大戰和其他戰爭中犧牲的軍人與平民的紀念節日。第一個國殤日於1919年在整個英聯邦舉行，原稱「停戰日」(英文：Armistice Day)，於1919年11月7日由英王喬治五世創立，紀念第一次世界大戰於1918年11月11日上午11時結束。不同的地方對節日有着不同的稱呼：和平紀念日流行於澳洲，加拿大與英國；虞美人花日（英文：Poppy Day）通用於馬爾他和南非；退伍軍人日（英文：Veterans Day）為美國人的稱呼；日本人稱之為國民哀悼日（日文：國民哀悼の日）；在法國、紐西蘭以及其他英聯邦國家則稱之為停戰日（英文：Armistice Day），這也是節日本來的名稱，為國際通用。
和平紀念日一般會配帶一種紅色的虞美人花（和罌粟花同屬不同種），佩帶的原因是一個加拿大的軍醫John McCrae的一首詩《在法蘭德斯戰場》（In Flanders Fields）而來的，虞美人花被選擇是因為第一次世界大戰最慘烈的戰場，法蘭德斯盛開着虞美人花，而且虞美人花的紅色正代表了壕溝中的鮮血。後來有人佩帶白色的罌粟花，他們認為這代表和平。現在用於紀念活動的虞美人佩花多為塑料製品。各個國家的式樣略有不同，比如英國是有綠葉陪襯的。
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Since my Mom's mishap last December, she has not been doing too well. Her cognitive capacity is deteriorating and her memory space has shrunk considerably. Her social life is taking a plunge as friends begin to shunt her. It's a vicious circle: The less she interacts with ppl, the less socialable she becomes, and the less friends. One social worker told me there are many elders who basically are cut off completely.
Plus, I have started a new job abt a week ago and really need to devote time to focus on this new endeavour. Hey, public and private sector employers do not throw away money for free, they want results, esp during this tough economic time !!! Meanwhile, I still want to keep fit by running abt 6-10 km on weekdays and 21+ km on the weekend, every week. That too takes time !!!
And then there are family responsibilities: grocery shopping, paying bills, driving, etc. But one must not see these are pure chores. Indeed, family life must not be taken for granted and are to be shared and enjoyed. And, relationships are integral parts of any work-life balance equation.
Of course, the challenge is to try keeping all the balls in the air, and failing that, prioritizing the number of balls being juggled.
As they say in time-management courses, there is always enough time, it's just a matter of prioritisation.
(posting by remote again !!)
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