Celebrating water element in sistership between cities

Ainu mythology tells of a culture closely connected to the water. The sculpture to the lower left, with the four supports, symbolizes the ocean. To the right of this, three pairs of poles, and a single pole represent the orca, god of the sea. The sculpture on the far left points to the West, symbolizing the bridge of friendship that connects the sister cities of Kushiro and Burnaby. (these two cities are located in Japan and Canada)

 

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Brazilian notes of the multiculture & edu ministry

Meet Gilberto Gil. And step into the awsome colorful deep world of Brazil, one of the most spiritual and complex counties of the world.  His ex ministry of Education (2003-08) is also a heart warming musician with wide social and political views, a struggling past and a bright present. (

Small step in maturing as a big toy company?

Toy companies have to find their way and their magnetism from inside. A very famous one got some good advices. I also left a comment to that post where i explained what was the end of all my Barbie dolls during my sweetheart childhood~

Well i know this is old song, nothing original and creative just like most of the toys on the market and this boring doll. Okey you have no time to go and see my comment into tht blog so i will explain it also here: every time they gave me a Barbie as gift (coz my mom never got it for me, she preferred me to play with “Cicciobello” better, which i truly enjoyed guess why) i promptly used to break it in pieces and use her legs and arms as chicken legsto be cooked into the toy-kitchen :p

 

Asians ripped off by westerners promising enlightenment and improvements in life

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Spiritual teachers, sound shamans, crystal healers, general healers, no idea how much rubbish there is also in Asia. They come from Europe or America  and start estabilishing themselves in China, Thailand, Indonesia…they even succed in opening retreat or healing centers with the sole scope to earn money and live their life. They are very clever and organize lots of workshop using the words: WISDOM – ENERGY – MEDITATION – RELAXING – CREATIVITY – SECRET – CONSCIOUSNESS – SUBTLE – POWER – HEALING- DIVINE SELF – EXPERIENCE TO EVOLVE – MIRACLE – CREATION.

Be careful. And be smart.

Here in Hong Kong they plan saturdays 7 hours workshop for 1.111 HKD and will promise to make you familiar with the keys to success and power, an easy guide to create your own life and improve it in all kinds of aspects.

Be smart and be alert.

They will tell that gratitude is the attitude and that money in this materialistic society is not leading to anything. On the other hand they will charge you a lot of money for a workshop and for 1 hour session (here in HK 800 HKD) of consultation, healing or astrology.

They will come up with some secret code or secret book that will want to teach you about, recalling some master or knowledge from the ancient times. Sometimes they dont live in Hong Kong and travel here in the weekend just to collect the money of their students. But once they go back home their students (are you or have you already been one of them??) are left in a transitive happy mood which will last only for some hours, then it will vanish and again there will be the need to go back to another workshop, and another and another. But the reality of life and the true joy cannot depend upon a workshop or a weekend seminar. It depends only on you.

So be smart and good luck.

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How much childlike is the soul of folks involved in toy industry

Working with toys is one of the most exciting  and creative thing.  Behind each design and project it is moving a vibrant mixture of  all the qualities enclosed into a child himself. Infact toys are directed to children and they are created for their evolution and wellbeing, fun and growth. Nowaday the attention towards children’s positive maturation is becoming  bigger and bigger. All parents and educators want to put their best effort to give a life of great quality to their children. What is great quality? The answer is easy. Like the seven basical musical notes do re mi fa sol la si do create wonderful melodies and songs, at the same way these seven qualities create  a wonderful lifepath. 

And to have them expanding from inside out will enable anybody to develop the best stuff for any child. 

  • innocence
  • creativity
  • dharma
  • love
  • collectivity
  • balance
  • joy

Last year i experienced a couple of seminars in toy exhibitions  directed to foster connections between all kinds of folks involved in making toys at different levels, also from different countries. When listening to their speeches i was wondering how truly childlike is their nature.

 

Give Thanks & Enjoy Life

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by Chief Oren Lyons

Two things were told to us: one was to be thankful, so we built nations around it, and you can do that. And the other thing was enjoy life. That’s a rule, a law. Enjoy life. You’re supposed to. You can only do as much as you can do and then when you do that, you’re supposed to get outside and enjoy life.

…And an extract of his speech at UN in New York in 1993

Our societies are based upon great democratic principles of the authority of the people and equal responsibilities for the men and the women. This was a great way of life across this Great Turtle Island and freedom with respect was everywhere. Our leaders were instructed to be men of vision and to make every decision on behalf of the seventh generation to come; to have compassion and love for those generations yet unborn. We were instructed to give thanks for All That Sustains Us.

Thus, we created great ceremonies of thanksgiving for the life-giving forces of the Natural World, as long as we carried out our ceremonies, life would continue. We were told that `The Seed is the Law.’ Indeed, it is The Law of Life. It is The Law of Regeneration. Within the seed is the mysterious force of life and creation. Our mothers nurture and guard that seed and we respect and love them for that. Just as we love I hi do’ hah, our Mother Earth, for the same spiritual work and mystery.

We were instructed to be generous and to share equally with our brothers and sisters so that all may be content. We were instructed to respect and love our Elders, to serve them in their declining years, to cherish one another. We were instructed to love our children, indeed, to love ALL children. We were told that there would come a time when parents would fail this obligation and we could judge the decline of humanity by how we treat our children.

We were told that there would come a time when the world would be covered with smoke, and that it would take our elders and our children. It was difficult to comprehend at the time, but now all we have to do is but to walk outside to experience that statement. We were told that there would come a time when we could not find clean water to wash ourselves, to cook our foods, to make our medicines, and to drink. And there would be disease and great suffering. Today we can see this and we peer into the future with great apprehension. We were told there would come a time when, tending our gardens, we would pull up our plants and the vines would be empty. Our precious seed would begin to disappear. We were instructed that we would see a time when young men would pace back and forth in front of their chiefs and leaders in defiance and confusion.

There are some specific issues I must bring forward on behalf of our Nations and Peoples.

(full speech)

 

10 spectacular places i’ve been in the past 10 years

Mostly a tribute to flickr either because i am writing this post between home (where my pics are stored) and office and because soft copies of the pictures are only available from the last five years. I didnt follow a meaningful order, just browsing in my memory: 

1. Aragonese Castle, Italy

A unique place with an awsome history connected also to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s life. It shall deserve a rich post asap. castle(image by me)

2. San Francisco Aquarium by flickr

Even though Hong Kong and Genoa Italy aquariums are two of the biggest and most beautiful, i still loved Frisco one. why? Because you walk under real tunnels of the Bay Area!

frisco3. Pan de Azucar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by flickr

A combination of spirituality and cable car is the most thrilling experience for me!

panazucar4. Big Buddha, Lantau Island

This other combination of spirtuality&cable-car is really close to my home and I could potentially get the experience every weekend. Last month with a friend from Vancouver we went up for two consecutive days just for tasting the feeling to fly higher and higher into the mountains and have the majestic Buddha waiting for us on the other side!  You may also want to enjoy a more accurate post about it soon. (image by me)

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5. Jamaican beach

It was a lovely family tour during my stay in US. Bathing in the warm Caribbean waters every morning and chatting with the locals on the beach all day long until evening. We also met a direct friend of Bob Marley living upon discographic projects and hand making palm leaves hats for tourists. Most hospitable place. (photo flickr – my dad keeps all the real pics)

502826054_dab3769fdbjama6. Havana de Cuba downtown

Harmony of colors and extreme relaxation and freedom in the streets. On our fly-route back from India e Moscow with my friend Maneesha, we took loads of pictures and then… lost the camera. Ahahahh. I just remember we were in ecstasy for the whole day spent there. A most welcoming taxi driver strolled us everywhere and gave us contact number in case we’ll be back. If anybody interested.  (photo flickr)

varadero7.  Parque Chicaque, Colombia

The most vivid nature, the real “selva Colombiana”.  An amazing day trekking in the jungle, few of us, completely absorbed by beauty and silence in the country Garden of the world. There is an Indian story about Shri Vishnu, He had to leave India  because in trouble and went seeking refuge with Garuda precisely in Colombia, chosen because it was the only place on Earth so much rich in plants and fruits.  

chica8. Faraglioni, Italy

Did you know it’s the Zen Garden of Italy? Have a look, it’s my home. Really.

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9. Beihai park in Beijin, China

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A remarkable park to understand the lifestyle of old emperors. Many of them have written lovely poems to their own mothers, whose words are often engraved on marble pillars around.

10. Elephanta caves, India

I was speechless here I was totally stunned by the grandness of majestic Lords Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu.

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I just realized there are more than 10 spectacular places i’ve seen but for now i will just confine into the maryadas of this TAG. And yes you have been tagged too! Which one are your most spectacular visits… 5, 10, 15 you number them. And leave me a message below when you have done the post, and please tag more people. Let’s travel all together! Do you know something shocking about travelling? I know it cause my sis is a travel agent in Italy. Last week she spoke over the phone that Italians are so crazy about traveling and holiday that despite of the economy struggle they are  paying rates for their vacation even if it’s just for few days!

Source of much of Chinese culture

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When I came to the United States I was surprised that there were so many translations of the I Ching in English. I cannot immagine how these translators all found the I Ching scholars and did the decades of study necessary to truly learn the I Ching.

To the Chinese, the I Ching is like a Holy Bible written by the four most honored sages in our history – Fu Xi, King Wen, the Duke of Zhou and Confucious. The Chinese translation of Holy Bible is Sheng Ching. Sheng is equivalent to holy, and Ching means classic. Chinese understand that Ching is the Tao, the Truth, the holiest of the ancient books, and because they revere and respect the sacred writings of the Jews and the Christian church, they honor the Bible by calling it Ching.    

The I Ching is truly a profound book.  It is the source of much of Chinese culture. Originally, the I Ching was a handbook for divination. After Confucius and his students had written the commentaries, it became known as a book of ancient wisdom. It is a book that not only tells one who consults it about the present situation and  future potential but also gives instruction about what to do and not to do to obtain good fortune and to avoid misfortune. But one still retains free choice. The guidance is based upon comprehensive  observations of  natural laws by ancient sages and their profound experiences of the principle of cause and effect.

These are excerpts from the Preface of The Complete I Ching by Taoist Master Alfred Huang. Before coming to China I used to consult I Ching alone or with friends, in Italy for example this book is definitely appreciated and studied by people who meditate and seek for self knowledge in their daily life.  Here in Hong Kong i still did not find anybody who throughly knows about it and some local people often comment not really positively about it. 

This master suggests that the best English versions of I Ching are: Richard Wilhelm’s and James Legge’s although westernized.  He adds that

… the ideal translation should be English but Chinese in essence. As a book of divination, Confucius’s commentaries are crucial. The Chinese call Confucius’s commentaries the Ten Wings. They believe that the I Ching depends on the Ten Wings to be able to fly. In other words, without Confucius’s commentaries the I Ching cannot be understood.

I felt I had no choice because the more I meditated the more I felt that I had an obligation to work out a translation of the I Ching based entirely on Chinese concepts. I began to realize that during his last years, Master Yin’s proposal to teach me the I Ching was not accidental. There was  a reason. I sense now that in this great time of change, when people are longing to transform and the situation is ripe, a new translation of I Ching based upon ancient Chinese wisdom and experience might be helpful for those making their own choices to enter the twenty-first century with confidence.

the kiddin Vibration in your head

friend: this thing is …
me: ?
friend:  not cool
friend: i mean
friend:  the toy
me: yes
friend:  no words
me:  i know
friend:  why do they have to make it
me: i posted in my blog and left coments to the others
me: but it shows how they are making all kinds of experiments
friend: ya
me:  without knowing anything for real
me:  that s the main point actually
friend:  ya
me:  they are trying and trying
me: in the maze of their mind
friend:  this will take them nowhere or perhaps somewhere
friend: it proves the capacity of brain waves
me: we dont know where, we just know where we are going for sure eheheh
friend: ya

At the recent Toy Fair 2009 in New York a company presented this head belt which is supposed to covert the mind energy (the tester said “vibrations”) into movement of the ball you guide with an hand remote control. They are doing a lot of experiments in Toy industry, some of them are quite fun and thoughtless / mind blowing, others a big waste of skills and talents; i want to give you some updatings in the next post since at my office our team is focused on electronic game designing. Cool stuff!

World’s 50 safest banks – 2009

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New York, February 25, 2009 — Such has been the turmoil in the world’s banking industry that, for the first time, Global Finance magazine is publishing a mid-year update of its much respected Safest Banks listing. A full report on the list will appear in the April issue of Global Finance. The “World’s 50 Safest Banks” 2009 were selected through a comparison of the long-term credit ratings and total assets of the 500 largest banks around the world. Ratings from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch were used. Global Finance has published its “World’s Safest Banks” listing for 17 years and this ranking has become a recognized and trusted standard of creditworthiness for the entire financial world.

“The rating agencies have determined these banks have demonstrated a more prudent and sustainable approach to risk than their peers,” says Global Finance publisher Joseph D. Giarraputo. “More than ever customers all around the world are viewing long term creditworthiness as the key feature of the banks with which they do business.”

1. KfW (Germany)

2. Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) (France)

3. Bank Nederlands Gemeenten (BNG) (Netherlands)

4. Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (Germany)

5. Rabobank (Netherlands)

6. Landeskreditbank Baden-Wuerttemberg- Foerderbank (Germany)

7. NRW. Bank (Germany)

8. BNP Paribas (France)

9. Banco Santander (Spain)

10. Royal Bank of Canada (Canada)

11. National Australia Bank (Australia)

12. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)

13. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) (Spain)

14. Toronto-Dominion Bank (Canada)

15. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (Australia)

16. Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)

17. Banco Espanol de Credito S.A. (Banesto) (Spain)

18. ASB Bank Limited (New Zealand)

19. HSBC (United Kingdom)

20. Credit Agricole (France)

21. Wells Fargo (United States)

22. Nordea Bank (Sweden)

23. Scotiabank (Canada)

24. La Caixa (Spain)

25. Svenska Handelsbanken (Sweden)

 

26. US Bancorp (United States)

27. Banco Popular Espanol (Spain)

28. DBS Bank (Singapore)

29. Pohjola Bank (Finland)

30. Deutsche Bank (Germany)

31. Société Générale (France)

32. Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy)

33. Bank of Montreal (Canada)

34. DnB NOR Bank (Norway)

35. The Bank of New York Mellon (United States)

36. Caixa Geral de Depositos (Portugal)

37. United Overseas Bank (Singapore)

38. OCBC (Singapore)

39. Axa Bank Europe (Belgium)

40. Credit Suisse Group (Switzerland)

41. Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany)

42. Nationwide Building Society (United Kingdom)

43. CIBC (Canada)

44. National Bank Of Kuwait (Kuwait)

45. Barclays (United Kingdom)

46. UBS (Switzerland)

47. JPMorgan Chase (United States)

48. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Japan)

49. Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel

50. Credit Industriel et Commercial (CIC) (France)

 

 

(BFCM)  (France) 

Slowing down to accept beauty: an experiment

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time which was the rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
 
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the case and without stopping, continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
 
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy.    His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist.    Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time.    This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. 
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while.    About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.    When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it.    No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.


 
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua D. Bell, a Grammy Award winning and one of the best musicians in the States.    He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a 300-year old violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats average $100.  
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.   
 
The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

Kogi natives of Columbia: the mother of our songs

The Kagaba (Kogi) people of Columbia in South America have a belief in Aluna, ‘my Mother’, as creator.

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The mother of our songs, the mother of our seed, bore us in the begining of things and so she is the mother of all types of men, the mother of all nations.

She is mother of the thunder, the mother of the streams, the mother of the trees and of all things. She is the mother of the world and of the older brothers, the stone-people. She is the mother of the fruits of the earth and of all things. She is the mother of our youngest brothers, the French and the strangers. She is the mother of our dance paraphernalia, of all temples and she is the only mother we possess. She alone is mother of the fire and the Sun and the Milky Way. . . . She is the mother of the rain and the only mother we possess. And she has left us a token in all the temples . . . a token in the form of songs and dances.

She has no cult, and no prayers are really directed to her, but when the fields are sown and the priests chant their incantations the Kagaba say, ‘And then we think of the one and only mother of the growing things, of the mother of all things.’
One prayer was recorded: ‘Our mother of the growing fields, our mother of the streams, will have pity upon us. For whom do we belong? Whose seeds are we? To our mother alone do we belong.’

 

 

 

 

Dad’s letter

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I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you’ve had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That’s why I’ve taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.

                                                                                                                         Love, Dad

 

[the full version]

Sound of integration in the skyes and streets of New York & Hong Kong

It is been a week now that i am shivering at moments and crying rivers having incredible tears into my eyes no matter where i am located, if at my desk at office, if on the bus, if at home doing something. As soon as the attention is on America the emotions come flowing strong. This is Michelle Obama the way she talked about her brother, the parents, the daughters and the husband. Importance of family, of bounding and connecting beyond diversities. Importance of finding common points to share and on which to build up the oneness of a country. So boundlessly inspiring!

Before coming to stay in HK, exactly 3 years ago, I did not know anything about this city and never was attracted by learning more about it. After having had a two years experience in NY between 1999 and 2002 first thought was: well, it’s gonna be the same, maybe few more Chinese faces but the level of integration and internationalism will be moreless as in NY. And since i already got the experience for me it will be super easy and smooth. Poor little girl! How wrong she was!

Listening to the keynotes addressed by Obama’s wife I immediately get the feeling of what an ardent desire for integration of a place, whether a country or a city, is. And Hong Kong is strongly lacking this feeling in the deep of the heart of her people. This city seems to have an extremely long journey for integration ahead. Integration now here sounds like a cute little bell of the size of the ones used to tie around a cat’s neck, whose jingling is too weak and imperceptible. Instead thru Michelle Obama’s message integration looks resounding like festive fireworks on a busy night where everybody attention is only waiting to turn in that direction. But the little cat walking along the sidewalks in Hong Kong: who will listen to it?