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This is a very intriguing mathametical riddle that my teacher gave me.  He says he found if in an American text book.

Two long-lost friends, A and B, meet one day on a street.

A: I am married and have 3 children now.

B: Tell me how old they are.

A: The product of their ages is 36 and the sum is your house number.

(B thinks for a while.)

B: Still don’t know … Gimme one more hint.

A: The youngest likes chocolate.

B: Ah, I konw!  They are …

How did B find out the children’s ages?  And how old are the children?  Here’s a hint for you: two of the children are twins or are of the same age.

Brainstorming

Think, think, think of evey possible thing!

I’ll post the answer as a comment, but perhaps you can figure this out on your own.  This is indeed a very beautiful riddle or whatever if may be called!

COURAGE & ITS CAUSE

This is an SAT essay that I wrote.  The rubric asked if sacrificing our priorities is courage.  I misunderstood the question and wrote out an irrelevant essay which states what true courage is.  Still it is a good essay, so …

The words “brave” and “courageous” are used with much frequency these days when in fact, it is not at all easy to tell who is or not worthy of praise for the meaning these words hold.  Those among us who seek the pleasure of an adrenaline rush are merely adventurers, while – on the other hand – those who can accomplish things despite the hampering obstacles cannot be generally called brave.  There are certain factors which contribute to the bravery of an individual.  A brave person must be more than dauntless, indomitable or heroic.  Besides, true courage can only be recognised only under the right circumstances.  However, such circumstances don’t necessarily include our priorities being at risk.

If somebody fights for something just because it is important to him, that doesn’t make him brave.  We should consider what he wants or needs it for.  He could be sacrificing all he has for a mindless obsession or some egocentric satisfaction.  Or what if the thing he defends so much harms society in his possession?  We had demagogues like Hitler during World War II.  Hitler had so strong a will to form the Third Reich and went to the extremes to realize it.  Just because he was working consistently for founding of the Reich doesn’t mean he was a brave man; he had not a good cause.  Nowadays, we have the Taliban.  These Islamic fanatics have been terrorizing the Middle East, fighting relentlessly over a decade to preserve their provincial and traditional beliefs and customs – which are not compatible with modern societies – and they still haven’t given up.  They have gone as far as killing who are non-Islamic.  Trying to preserve their failing political system because it is more important to them doesn’t bring them the honour of courage.

Determination itself can be courage though.  When we crave for something very strongly and passionately, the desire just gets so strong that it becomes what we call a “burning ambition”, forming a vision real enough to be felt.  Under such a condition, an aim or a goal is sure to be achieved, if carried out in the right way and with a good motive.  We will find the strength in ourselves to overcome any obstacle or knock down any barrier.  Our hopes and dreams beget determination and that determination gives us courage to go through anything.

There have been many remarkable human beings in history who found courage out of determination.  Mother Theresa went to in India – which, for her, is a new land with unfamiliar faces of different faith – in order to help the underprivileged people there.  She encountered various adversities but ultimately succeeded.  Similarly, Rachael Carson who publicized environmental issues was confronted with severe criticism from chemical industries when her books on the environment care were released.  However, since she could prove what people have been doing to the environment, her books got great appeal and people started caring for the environment.  U Kyi Pwayt of the Bagan Era was an illiterate up to a very old age, but out of determination, he stated his education and became a much revered academic.  Such determination brings about sweeping changes in the world, and I would attribute true courage to it.

Not many people are brave, and fewer get the chance to show this special quality of theirs.  However, this courage does not need external provocation to be known to the world.  It is revealed under a certain circumstances, especially when these intuitively brave people start to have strong and burning determinations and take action.

This is a chant that I learnt several years back … It’s fun and I think it’s got a message; try to find it out.

Miss Susie had a baby
She named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bath tub
To see if he could swim

He drank up all the water
He ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bath tub
But it didn’t go down its throat

Miss Susie called the doctor
Miss Susie called the nurse
Miss Susie called the lady with the alligator purse

“Mumps,” said the doctor
“Measles,” said the nurse
“Hiccups,” said the lady with the alligator purse

Miss Susie thanked the doctor
Miss Susie kicked the nurse
Miss Susie thanked the lady with the alligator purse

Anïas Nin

The French Hottie!

Anïas Nin (1903-1977) was a French writer famous for her published journals and is probably is the best remembered diaristShe was born to artistic parents of Cuban, Danish and French ancestry, her father being a pianist and composer and her mother a classical singer.  She started writing at the age of 11She has also worked as a model and is probably the first prominent woman to write erotica in Europe.

  1. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
  2. Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source.  It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
  3. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
  4. If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness.  For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation.
  5. For me, the adventures of the mind, each inflection of thought, each movement, nuance, growth, discovery, is a source of exhilaration.
  6. It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers.  And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.
  7. How wrong is it for a woman to expect man to build the world she wants, rather than set out to create it herself.
  8. Creation which cannot express itself becomes madness.
  9. Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.
  10. Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry.
  11. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
  12. The only abnormality is the inability to love.
  13. I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.
  14. Each friend represents a world in us, a world not possibly born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
  15. I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason.  I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.  Reality doesn’t impress me.  I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another.  No more walls.
  16. We don’t have a language for the senses.  Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds.

    Anïas Nin

    Anïas Nin (1903-1977)

  17. The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.
  18. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.
  19. Dreams are necessary to life.
  20. Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
  21. The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment with it, that was the miracle.
  22. Love is the axis and breath of my life.

NOTE: This post is an excerpt from Wikipedia (free online encyclopaedia).

Leona Lewis is one of the phenomenonally greatest voices of our generation, and there are only a few other rising stars who can sing like her – Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks.  They are the ones from whom we can expect great music. “Happy” is the leading single of Leona’s second album “Echo”, and had the power to get to my heart even with its first few words.

Happy - Leona Lewis

Happy - Leona Lewis

Someone once told me
That you have to choose
What you will not lose
You cant have everything
Don’t you take chances
You might feel the pain
Don’t you love in vain
‘Coz love wont set you free
I could stand by the side
And watch this life pass me by
So unhappy but safe as could be

So what if it hurts me
So what if I break down
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound

Don’t care about other pain infront of me
‘Coz I’m just tryna be happy
Just wanna be happy

Holding on tightly
Just can’t let it go
Just tryna play my roll
Slowly diasappear … Ooh
Well, all these tears
They feel like they’re the same
Just different faces, different names
Get me outta here
Well, I can stand by the side … Ooh, no
And watch this life pass me by … Pass me by

So what if it hurts me
So what if I break down
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain infront of me
‘Coz I’m just tryna be happy
Just wanna be … Happy

Oh, happy … Oh, ooh

So any turns that I cant see
I’ll count a stranger on this road
But don’t say victim
Don’t say anythng

So what if it hurts me
So what if I break down
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
I just wanna be … happy
Oh, yeah … happy
Oh, ho … happy
I just wanna be … happy
Ah … happy

This is what a dear friend of mine (with whom I have shared the longest friendship) forwarded me by mail.

I Believe…
That just because two people argue,
It doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue,
It doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if
We understand that friends change.

I Believe….
That no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow,
even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe…
That you can do something in an instant
That will give you heartache for life.

I Believe….
That it’s taking me a long time
To become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe….
That you can keep going
Long after you think you can’t.

I Believe….
That we are responsible for what
We do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe…
That either you control your attitude
Or it controls you.

I Believe…

That heroes are the people who do what has to be done
When it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe….
That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing
And have the best time.

I Believe…..
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down
Could be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry
I have the right to be angry,
But that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe….
That maturity has more to do with
What types of experiences you’ve had
And what you’ve learned from them
And less to do with  how many
birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I Believe….
That it isn’t always enough, to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That no matter how bad your heart is broken
The world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I Believe….
That our background and circumstances
May have influenced who we are,
But, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe…
That you shouldn’t be so eager to find
Out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe….
Two people can look at the exact same
Thing and see something totally different.

I Believe…..
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours
By people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give,
When a friend cries out to you,
You will find the strength to help.

I Believe…
That credentials on the wall
Do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life
are taken from you too soon.

I Believe…
That you should share this with
All of the people that you believe in.

I Believe…
The happiest of people don’t necessarily
have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything they have.

My mom got this little poem by Gabriel Mistral in a medical lecture about pneumonia and children.  It’s beautiful!

Baby

A child ...

We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
But our worst crime is abandoning the children,
Neglecting the fountain of life
Many things we need can wait
But the child cannot. Right now is the time;
His bones are being formed,
His senses are being developed
His blood is being made
To him, we cannot answer, “Tomorrow”,
His name is “Today”.

A child dies unnecessarily every 3 seconds because of extremely poverty, every 15 seconds because of scarcity of pure water, and more are every moment of time for many other causes.  What do we do?

SOURCE: Jokes from Reader’s Digest

A man who had just died, arrived at heaven’s gate. Before allowing him entry, St. Peter asked him if he’d ever loved a woman.

“No,” the man replied, “not a single one.”

“Did you have a friend you cared for?”

“No.”

“Perhaps you loved a pet?  Did you not feel a love for nature?”

“No, not at all”

“What took you so long to get here?” asked St. Peter in exclamation.  “You’ve been dead for ages!”

This is an essay adopted from Henry Shefter’s “Shefter’s Guide to Better Compositions”.  A  Myanmese (Burmese) language teacher of mine made us read this in the class before writing an essay.  It has a subtle start and surprisingly startles the reader with a touching twist in the ethereal end.  Enjoy…

“SHADOWS”

Shadows

Shadows in the Night

The child is in bed, awake, frightened by the howling wind and the shadows dancing on his walls.  His toy animals seem enormous as they are magnified on the ceiling by the dim light outside room. His clothes, laid carelessly on a chair, also throw off peculiar shadows.  He sees witches and goblins, dragons and giants.  The child is afraid of what he sees.  I would not be afraid.

The young woman hurries along, alone in the dark.  The only light is a dim street lamp.  The buildings all around her seem huge and horrible; their shadows fill her with fear.  She imagines terrible things and begins to run.  The only sound is the noise of her heels tapping on the sidewalk.  She is afraid of what she sees and what she doesn’t see.  I would not be afraid.

The soldier waits anxiously at the door.  Though the window shades he can see the fingers of a man and a woman, with shades he can see the figures of a man and a woman, with their heads bent as if they were whispering.  It is difficult to determine to whom the shadows belong.  He prays that his sweetheart has not found someone new during his long absence.  He hesitates before ringing the bell.  He fears what he sees.  I would not be afraid.

I would not fear the shadows on the walls.  They would be my friends.  I would watch them dance and dance with them.  O, what beautiful shadows I would see!

I would not fear walking in the dark and seeing ht e shadows of tall buildings.  The buildings would protect and keep me warm.  They would be friendly shadows.

I would not fear seeing the shadows of two people through a window.  They are my friends waiting for me.  They would be happy shadows.

I would not fear shadows. I pray for them instead.  I would love to see a shadow, any shadow – big or small – for just a moment.  I am blind.

What I Think: Well, this is really beautiful … I consider myself as an aesthetic artist but such an idea would not have sprung from my mind.  But I don’t like the idea of a blind wanting to see shadows; it would be preposterous for a person who is visually disadvantaged wanted to see shadows, which are anonymous with the dark or blindness.  However, I would not be able to comprehend a blind individual’s thoughts even if I had the power to read their minds.

I still consider a part of me to still be a child; and may it be a child for all times’ sake.  I have found an affinity within myself with little kids while teaching them.

While preparing for college applications, I inevitably had to engage myself in some community service as a volunteer to show to the college as a particularly activity I did for the community before joining any schools.  I had been meaning to do that for some time.  However, I had a hard time deciding what to do for there were so many options:  I could look for the senior citizens at a home for the elderly, take care of sick monks and nuns in a Sasana hospital, teach orphans in an orphanage, etc.  I just wanted a change in my routine and so badly wanted to try something new.  At last, I finally arrived at the decision to teach little children for the summer at the English language school I used to go to.  The teacher invited me there.  He is not my old-time teacher, but I accepted the invitation because I like the ambiance of the school and the payment didn’t matter.  The wages for the teachers weren’t high (That’s why I didn’t mind); the school was small with only 3 head teachers and many other teachers of lower ranks.

So, I went there on the first day of the summer classes.  The little children came in with time accompanied by their parents.  They started to arrive before 9 in the morning and till 10 o’clock, they’re pouring in.  There were tiny ones – 4 to 6 year-olds – and the eldest were just above 10, altogether about 300.  Watching them gather in the hall, I was reminded of Michael Jackson’s spoken intro to “Heal the World”: “Think about the generations so that they wanna make a better place for the children and the children’s children … so that they can make it a better world for them.  I think they can make it a better place.” It’s just simple utter but it means a lot to most who have heard the song.  Parts of the first verse from Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” also came to mind …
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier …”

And on a board on the wall wields the motto of the school, which is a quote by the American educator and astronaut Christa McAuliffe which reads, “I touch the future.  I teach.

Then, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is gonna be a wonderful summer – probably one of the most memorable in my life!

It’s been about a month since the classes started, and so far, I am right.  I was a part time teacher, so I don’t have to teach a particular class.  I was everywhere, helping the teachers who need help.  At the beginning of the classes, I had only thought about teaching, not the children, because I have firmly kept in mind that the greatest good one can do for others is to help them discover what they have within themselves.  It is correct; that’s what all great people have done for those around them.  Day by day, I came to develop an affinity for the children, not only my students but for the whole student body at school.

Children in the world

Honestly, I have always loved children.  But previously, I saw them only as little animals (humanlings), like kittens, puppies and chicks – nothing more.  I’d play with them, make them smile and “let bygones, be bygones”Animals (beasts) in the Burmese language are defined as creatures that care only for three things, namely food, sleep and sex.  Well, I was kind of wrong to think that children think about eating, sleeping and having fun (For them it’s fun, not sex, coz you know they don’t …).  My attitude changed.  I found hundreds of them coming together for language classes during the summer when they should be playing 24/7.  And they had either acquiesced to their parents’ demand or come by their own free will – which is very appreciable.  The head of the school arranged a lot of play things for the students for this particular reason.  Teaching little children, even for an assistant teacher, can be tough because the children no matter what the age are all over the place, running around, screaming and laughing for one instance and crying the next.  From teaching the correct spellings and pronunciations to making them memorize and recite require arduous efforts, and unsurprisingly, at the end of the day, all your energy is sapped.

Yet it is thinking about them before going to bed can be of a most subtle and pleasant feeling.  Not that it’s intense but it makes me feel euphoric and make me soft squeals and giggles before falling asleep just to think about a little boy coming to say hello to me, a girl who got cross because a teacher made her correct the mistakes, a boy whose pronunciation cannot be corrected even after trying for more than 20 minutes, a girl colouring a cow red, a boy crying because he had left his pencil case at home.  All of the small things come to my mind to be recorded down in my journal.  Well, these are “Small Gifts” to me from fate of my karma, and I’m glad I enjoy every bit of it.

For the children, we – as teachers – are to give all we have to educate them and nurture them in every possible way we can.  They truly are our future and the next generations need them …

Tomorrow’s sad …  it’s Saturday and I don’t get to see the children.  It would be a SADurday.  They are wonderful, they are more than “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”: they are what they are … CHILDREN!