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Just Peace - self-adjustment

Posted on August 3, 2018 at 9:22 PM Comments comments (21)
I am having to adjust to a bump in my career, which has naturally put a monkey wrench into my finances . Due to a lack of enrollments, I am no longer employed by the English-as-a-foreign language program where I have been working since last November. This is a start-up program initiated by people running a tutoring service and investors. Management has traveled extensively and carried out an elaborate marketing strategy without attracting participants. Yesterday was my last day of work there. I leave in good standing.

The job search is arduous. In the first place, employment in EFL/ESL tends to be precarious since it is usually irregular, most frequently providing merely part-time and contract positions. Secondly, competition in this field is fierce in this city. I can always get something because of my credentials, but weekly hours are usually inadequate or jobs temporary. As proof of that, I have had three English teaching jobs since last year. Thirdly, many Canadian employers in the field require Canadian certification and turn their nose up at international certification. That requirement constrains my eligibility and I do not want to invest the time and money to get Canadian certification.

Luckily, I received notice of dismissal in time to apply for autumn term positions. The first positive response I got to my renewed job search was occasional tutoring sessions. I have been applying to several institutes looking for instructors and education administrative support or coordinators. I can only keep trying and hope for the best.

Actually, I feel I won't miss the last job--only the paycheque. I was isolated being surrounded by Chinese speakers. With so few students, and the students being of low level and motivation, it was dull.  In fact, I had been searching on and off for something else before I received the dismissal notice. Of course, one prefers to have an offer somewhere else before leaving, but, other than the occasional tutoring contract, I did not get one for a proper job. One wants the income, after all. In the end, I left the boredom and demoralizing situation at work for the boredom and demoralizing situation of being stuck at home on weekday afternoons. 

I have the time, but little money. My options for keeping myself busy are limited because of the lack of pay. I am forced into very conservative spending, yet again. It has been necessary to apply for unemployment benefits.  (I do not want to use savings, though I'll have to dip into some.)

The circumstances call for a concentrated effort to keep the spirits and energy up. I have to get back to a focus on positive thinking.

It takes some effort especially since my predicament is an echo of my past life in Vancouver. I survived through years of precarious employment, constantly struggling to bring in income, swinging from studies to stabs at demeaning work. Constantly defending myself, fighting to scrape a living together while feeling more compelled to participate in mass struggle for a new way.

I returned to Canada after years of stable income, a solid career reference and a small nest egg. After a bit of shuffling to get resettled, for which I was prepared, I was fortunate to get into steady work and keep it for nearly one year. I guess I am used to more security than what I currently have as an unemployed person. That means I should be grateful for the privilege and advantages I have.

I should recall that I wanted to change jobs, anyway. I was hoping to get into something more interesting, and better paying. The failure of the program to provide students in the next term for me is an opportunity for me to keep growing. The prospects can be stimulating and heartening.

As an officially recognized "senior" citizen, I can enjoy some advantages. Just last week, actually, I was offered a small bachelor suite in a lower income complex for 55+, though I chose to refuse it for the time being because like the spacious and pleasant living arrangement I have at present. My name remains on the waiting list there. In the meantime, I am applying for a seniors' housing subsidy, as I now meet the eligibility criteria to receive one.

Further to that, I am fortunate in that I have over a year of employment in Canada behind me, and can qualify for unemployment benefits, which are calculated at 50 per cent of the previous employment income.

Also, some of my savings securities are maturing this fall, freeing up cash and giving me more options. I may be able to by an apartment in a rural town and rent it out for additional income.

Anyway, it is summer, a perfect season to have free time. I should be grateful and make the most of my free time in the summer weather. This is what I told myself last summer when I was getting anxious about the lack of employment security and substantial income. I let myself enjoy the summer season last year, and things worked out eventually, at least for a few months. I should relax. Something will work out again.

In fact, while writing this blog entry, I just got an invitation to a job interview. While it is only for subbing, it is a job interview. More than that, it is about a position in a program similar to the type I have been working in this year. Things are showing signs of success already.

I am fit again to get out a enjoy the outdoors. Though walking is not the best way to enjoy nature and warm weather because my knee still gets aggravated, I am in better physical condition now. I have completed 15 sessions with a personal trainer and achieved some benchmarks of individual fitness for a female my age. I can go on lengthy bike rides again. I went across town into Vancouver last week, and I rode from my place through two municipalities yesterday. Those trips were 20 and 35 km each, accomplishments for me.

Inside or outside, I must keep up my exercise one way or another. Now I have the time to keep up a few trips to the gym plus a bike ride here and there every week.

I can do useful projects in my free time. Planning bike rides is one kind of project. Another is planning for the tutoring prospects. I am looking for teaching materials. Today I went to a bookstore and a library. I bought a new appointment book. I'll continue the search tomorrow.




Just Peace -decision

Posted on July 18, 2018 at 10:48 PM Comments comments (3)
I made a loose 1-yr plan for 2018 but have been unclear as to how to carry through most of it until very recently. I have already reported that I have kept my pledge on the health, political, employment and social fronts, doing particularly well on the health and political decisions, though merely satisfactorily on the social and employment activities. I also made pledges about finances and transition to retirement, and this is where my vision was blurry. However, a review of my finances and a little impromptu research gave rise to an epiphany.

Just yesterday, some fog lifted and my sight into my future cleared up. At the end of 2017, I penciled in a couple of decisions for fall of this year. One is whether to take a step toward retirement, and the other is what to do when some of my savings are unlocked around that time. Noting the release date of some funds and prompted by some new knowledge, some ideas for solutions to both these questions hit me this week. 

After starting to feel constrained by circumstances and unsure of what I was doing at this stage, I now feel more liberated by the prospects. I can see much more potential. I can get a sense of adventures to come, which excites me. It is good! The boost of optimism energizes me.

The picture now seems brighter and I now feel confident on how to act in the coming months. I will pool the unlocked funds and see if I can't apply them to a new investment that should provide more steady income, plus widen the avenue into a future position and  lifestyle. Whereas my prospects seemed dimmer and the vision of my life as a senior hard and dull, I now see a happier and more interesting life ahead because I have realized I have more options. 

This is an uplifting experience also because I can see the fruit of much saving and scheming starting to form. In this fresher light, the benefits of having worked to set aside funds and conserve my spending, and thereby my pleasures and whims, shine through.

Just Peace -new things

Posted on June 29, 2018 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (4)
Again working on maintaining a positive outlook, I make an inventory of the new experiences I have had over the past year. It is the anniversary of my moving into this apartment, so I review the past year. Here is a list of things I had not experienced before the past 12 months.

-this apartment
-having a balcony with the apartment
-my current job
-editing novels
-starting a Just Peace Committee locally 
-starting this Just Peace blog
-joining a local ILPS committee of activists
-participating in a national assembly of activists in Canada
-joining a national committee of activists in Canada
-using a local car share service
-joining in protests against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion
-getting to know local indigenous leaders and visiting their protest camps
-learning new songs
-singing in concerts with community choirs I had not sung with before, one time at a venue that was new to me
-having a personal trainer
-learning new physical exercises
-developing and trying out in practice some new kinds of teaching activities
-working in an English for Academic Purposes programme
-seeing relatives I had not seen in person for a decade and a half
-using certain software programs and services for the first time
-sleeping on a Thai futon
-having a smart TV
-setting up hanging baskets
-setting up a hummingbird feeder
-seeing species of birds and flowers I hadn't seen before, and outside my place
-developing new friendships
-ordering food using my mobile device
-trying some new types of food
-getting groceries delivered to my door
-writing and distributing a newsletter to neighbours
-using health and beauty products I hadn't used before
-hiking to Port Moody from my home
-cycling in this area
-ordering groceries online

That is all I can think of, for the moment. I may have missed something, but the list is already long. The range and number of new experiences is a kind of wealth, in my opinion. This long list is thus a sign of my wealth and means that my life is thriving. I should be conscious of this truth and rest easy in this awareness, for I am living well and continuing to make the most of this life on Earth.


Just Peace - good life

Posted on June 28, 2018 at 12:22 AM Comments comments (6)
This blog continues to serve the propagation and practice of positive thinking. I still must pause and count my blessings in order to keep peace of mind. Positive thinking can help one find a more peaceful path by cultivating a more peaceful and satisfied soul.

I've been a bit bored lately. I live simply on a confined budget, which sometimes makes me feel confined. The fact that money owing to me is delayed makes me feel even more disgruntled. 

When I stop and take stock of the good things about my life, though, I am reminded I have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. For example, I look out my window beyond my pretty little porch and see trees, flowers and a patch of the ocean. During the day, all sorts of birds sing and chirp, and flutter around just outside my living room. Hummingbirds sip from my flowers and special hanging feeder. Last night at this hour, I could sit and, through the tree bows and between the pointed rooftops, watch an astoundingly beautiful sunset of brilliant rouge-tangerine glow with yellow and rose edges. Stunning!

The house is in reasonably good condition and the apartment is a pleasant, large space, for which many other people are paying much more. The neighbourhood is green, calm and friendly. Basic services and supplies are close by, and I can access some home delivery services. I have access to a vehicle of a car-share cooperative nearby. What's more, it is familiar to me and holds many fond memories.

I have a suitable job that demonstrates my best knowledge and sills in the field of English education. The employer is fare, kind and the hours are regular. I have a straightforward commute of around 40 minutes each day. It is an undemanding schedule and workload. I am not poor. I live a high standard of living.

I know a lot of people in various social circles in this area. Family members are around, as are a few good friends. 

I live in a community with many public services. Health care is guaranteed. Libraries offer lots to read. Transportation is generally convenient. Parks and recreational spaces are numerous.Stores are full with a wide array of food, housewares and supplies, the necessities and luxuries. 

I possess a good advanced education. I am in very good health for my age. I can speak more than one language and sing competently. I have met a lot of very interesting people in my life and many of them have been generous, open and kind. I have traveled widely.

After returning from many years abroad in a foreign land with a lower living standard and fewer freedoms, I am enjoying life in a modern, wealthy and democratic country in an extended time of peace. I can participate in raising questions, calling for improvements, sharing opinions and discussing options with near impunity, activities not everyone can do everywhere.

In sum, I have a lot to be grateful for.

One can get distracted and pulled off course. One can cave into petit-bourgeois yearnings and habits, and start to whine and complain if one does not pause and realize what one has going for herself. It pays to slow down and be more mindful, conscious of all that the Earth and the human world have to offer. There is so much beauty and magnificence to wonder at. Despite all the conflicts and problems, the human condition has been rising, overall. 

Just Peace - health maintenance

Posted on June 22, 2018 at 9:48 PM Comments comments (3)
Health maintenance is necessary for a person to be an effective and productive citizen. It is necessary to be able to maximize one's potential while alive. It is necessary to take care of oneself well in order to help others, be active in the community and contribute to society.

I see comrades, family members, co-workers and friends who ignore common knowledge about health and nutrition and let their bodies deteriorate. I shake my head. Most people are aware that fresh fruit and vegetables are healthier than processed foods and that exercize optimizes the body's ability to fend off disease and run well for them. I know these are habits rooted in culture and culture defies logic, but there is a lot of education on this topic and people have choices.

I don't tell these people in my life what I think they should do. I just share what I am doing and hope that presenting myself as an example will have some influence.

Everyone is vulnerable to health problems. It does take time, money and effort to keep up good health practices. Slacking off is easy to do. 

I know I was not getting the all-round exercise that I should have and could have gotten last year. Given that situation and the fact that I qualify as a senior citizen now, several symptoms of aging caught up to me last fall: inflamed and sore joints, hemorrhoids, increased susceptibility to minor infections and chills, weight gain, defective balance, dehydration, muscle cramps... I was most worried about my knee, which was collecting fluid, swelling and being sore frequently. I faced the possibility of having mobility issues in the near future.

After reviewing x-rays of my knees, the doctor had positive news: she said exercise was the solution to reduce the knee aggravation and generally sore joints. I made an appointment with a physical trainer immediately after leaving the doctor's office. I am now seeing a trainer twice a week and going to the gym four times a week. He first made an assessment, something the doctor did not do, I might add; verdict? --weight a bit high, bp a little high and dehydration, potassium deficiency but body fat proportionately okay. We started on the arms, then moved into steps and leg raises and are now doing steps together with weighted arm raises. I also do 15 minutes on the stationary cycling machine. After eight sessions, my joints hurt less, my muscles don't cramp so much, and I am basically stronger. 

The regime includes adjustments to my diet: I drink coconut water for the potassium and electrolytes; I eat bananas for the energy and potassium; I drink less coffee and black tea but more plain water; I drink diluted fruit vinegar, which deters the hemorrhoids and little infections. 

A prescribed nasal spray has been effective, and I thank the doctor for that. I have no more headaches and there is much less congestion.

Regarding my health, in sum my outlook is much brighter now. I feel more confident about my body. I have regained some energy. I am able to lead a busy and productive life as a peace and social justice activist, a teacher, a woman, a family member and a community member.



Just Peace - my progress

Posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:01 PM Comments comments (14)
This is the semi-annual check of my progress according to my own goals set at the start of the year. I am living up to them, generally, though my 5-year picture remains feint.

Health and fitness

I finally got a doctor to examine my problem knee. No treatment other than exercise is recommended. I therefore joined a local gym a month ago, and enlisted a personal trainer to work on specific exercises to strengthen my shoulder and knee joints. All the while, I have been taking a glucosamine compound daily, which is supposed to rebuild cartilage. After some weeks of both therapies, the joints, even the thumb joints, hurt less and my knee does not swell so much. These are costly remedies but well worth the investment, I feel, so that I can keep mobile and function normally.

Activism

I lead the founding of the Just Peace Committee in Vancouver and it is growing. We have made solidarity statements and attended solidarity functions, attended the national assembly of the International League of Peoples' Struggles as a full voting member, and planned a series of fora. I was nominated and elected as a member of the national coordinating committee of the ILPS. Also, I have kept involved in the Solidarity Notes Choir, and sung at major events recently. Finally, I have been active in the opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and terminus expansion in this province, British Columbia.

Work

I have succeeded in getting work both in teaching English to young adults and writing and editing education and other materials. I have kept my job at the institute, though it is on a part-time (29 hours) schedule and still at the starting wage. I have been asking for a wage increase, and expect one especially since the employer was impressed with my writing and editing of textbook materials. I edited another novel; however, the author does not want to pay me fairly. Communications with him got unpleasant as he showed no appreciation for my labour and tried to rationalize paying me little. I must send him another notice. I may receive more academic work to review--possibly a book by a retired professor on women and French literature, and a journal article by a linguistic professor on the Vietnamese language.

Housing and finances

I am looking into selling a small investment property; unfortunately, the value has remained near the price I bought it for. I am starting a second year in this apartment and must pay a increase of $35. I am looking into my options later this year for some term savings accounts will mature in the fall. I should get a tax refund this summer, which will pay for the personal trainer and other bills.

Family and social life

I went to a birthday party for my uncle who turned 90. At this party, I got reconnected with cousins and had a nice visit with my brothers and sisters-in-law. I continue to visit and offer help to a disabled brother and his wife, and they are doing well. The sister-in-law's family is in closer contact with her, which is a relief to both of them. Furtnermore, I have deeper friendships with fellow singers and activists. 




Just Peace - Life Force

Posted on May 13, 2018 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (10)
A robin sings outside. He is so full of life and so persistent that he begins a new musical phrases every 3 to 5 seconds and sometimes sings for hours at a time from the same perch. I believe that birds sing for three reasons: to attract mates, claim territory and to express joy. This robin sits on some tree or wire next to my building and sings his heart out at dawn, after breakfast, in the middle of the afternoon and in the evening. It is amazing.

Following an extraordinarily wet winter, the May vegetation looks very lush and full. Bushes have been sagging under the weight of boughs laden with blossoms--rhododendron, camilia, bridal veil, lilac cheery and plum blossom, and some unidentified golden pom-poms. Flocks of birds were hanging around this neighbourhood in early spring. Some of the robins appear very husky and strong, no doubt from a big feed of worms produced by the moist atmosphere and soil. The wrens and towhees, partners in survival, have moved on, but the crows, flickers and jays remain. Bush tits, chickadees, robins and starlings arrived in flocks. 

Now it seems that the birds have spread out as the males determine their territories, find mates and begin to raise offspring. At least two pairs of starlings have moved into this building, making nests in the eaves. I hope they do not get washed away in the next rainfall. I have already  heard choruses of starling chicks calling out from the eaves of other buildings. Jays are not seen much around here nowadays, except that individuals come snooping around, peering into carport rafters and house eaves probably hoping to discover eggs to eat. Flickers also perch on wires and branches to sing. Earlier in the spring they were hammering objects a lot, most notably the metal covers of vents and street lamps' I suppose the reverberations were meant to attract females. By now the flickers have also established their domains and found mates, so they have spread out. The robins arrived in great numbers, but have dispersed. 

The bounty of spring is so great that the birds do not need supplements provided by humans on balconies and in gardens. However, a dry spell is under way, so I have placed a bowl for drinking and bathing on the porch. Having heard and seen hummingbirds, I have hung up a special feeder filled with sugar water.

Humans are gifted with the capacity to make more choices about how they live than other creatures. The growth and spirit of spring reminds them to live life fully, and in a life-affirming, life-sustaining, socially and naturally productive way.We must persist in living and defending life.



Just Peace - self-exploration

Posted on January 25, 2018 at 10:51 PM Comments comments (2)
I wrote some advice for my nephew. Recently leaving secondary school, he is flummoxed about what to do with his life. He had some sketchy idea about pursuing one of the sciences, probably pushed a little by his parents, but backed out, taking a retail sales job instead. He does not know what to do.

I think he is hiding things on/ in his mind but not telling his parents. Sometimes I think he is just saying something to provided an expected answer, and sometimes maybe what he thinks others think he should be saying.

Whatever my nephew's situation, I always recommend committing time for reflection. In the case of making appropriate and satisfactory career and life path choices, self-exploration is paramount. So many people follow some occupational or industrial trend, perhaps pursuing what seems prestigious and lucrative at the time, without looking at their own identity, assessing their own best skills and aptitudes, tallying up their accomplishments and experiences, translating experiences and abilities into skills and qualifications, and making a conscious choice for something fitting. Taking the time and making the effort to search one's soul and assess oneself can save a lot of grief and stress in life. For the sake of one's own peace of mind, I strongly suggest the following steps, as I laid out for my nephew a couple of weeks ago.

Just working on a resume and searching the job postings, even with a little research into career and industry profiles, is not adequate. Maybe reflecting on oneself seems a scary proposition to some people, at first, yet it can be fun and uplifting to explore likes and dislikes, become more aware of one's own leanings, and know well your best attributes and abilities. It can be a relief to go through the process. One comes out not only with a better sense of one's identity in terms of career, but identity as a person, and with clear goals. This is also a motivating process.

My notes to my nephew:

The self-exploration phase is about making some basic decisions about the life you want and who you want to be. To make the decisions, a person needs to learn more about himself and build self-awareness. That way, he'll have more control over his life, have clear goals, be confident about who he is, and remove a lot of anxiety about life choices and purpose, etc. It also means becoming more true to oneself (being real, authentic) instead of trying to be someone else, and having a solid self-identity, which in turn means being with people and living a way that are better for you .

I'll describe the process and tell you about some online resources in the next message.
main steps of the process:
a. Find out more about yourself. (Keep these lists and re-do them a few months later)      1.brainstorming: a) write down all the dreams that appeal to you, no matter how crazy or impossible they seem                                 
 b) write down some adjectives to describe yourself                               
  c)write down all your favourite things                                 
d)write down what your goals are at this time
      2.Get more clarity on who you are. Use several online questionnaires about               a)your interests and preferences   (Out of lists of stuff, what seems the most interesting to you and what do you like the most?                   b)what can you do? 
               1.Use online tools to find out more about names of skills                                    2.write a list of your experiences: activities at home, at school, travels, work (paid or unpaid)...                                        
             3.write a list of all the things you think you can do  "I can (verb)."                      4.From all the above, put names to the things you have done and can do

      3.What kind of person are you? Use online tools to help you discover it. With this information, and summing up your dreams, skills and interests, decide who you are. (This will change over time, so it is good to review and re-do the process once in a while over the years.) 
       4. What kind of lifestyle do you want? This includes income, household, schedules and more. Use online tools to explore the kind of life styles that are possible. Read, talk to people, look around to find out. Then try to create a picture of how you wish to live your life. Reading or watching  biographies of or interviews with various people will help. Reading or watching personal testimonies and life achievements or transformations will also help.

b.Goal-setting
Now that you are more aware of yourself, re-write your goals. Write 3 sets: short term (this year) and long term (5 and 10-year goals), and life goals (where do you wish to end up in life? What do you want to achieve?)

c.While you are doing this, try different experiences such as making things, traveling, hobbies/ pastimes, meeting different people, listening to /watching speakers or documentaries on different topics. As you know, there is a wide range of pastimes and hobbies available to most people these days. Examples are collections, music, body movement (exercise, dance...), writing, stand-up comedy, getting out in nature somehow, study, volunteering in community or social services or fundraising for some cause, public speaking, ....
Keep a journal. I cannot over-emphasize the value and usefulness of keeping a private journal to write down observations and thoughts as you are going through this, and generally through your life. Write daily or weekly.
Travel. This is an excellent way to give yourself time and space to get inspiration, talk to a variety of people and think.
Read. Make use of the local library, which has lots of career and self-improvement/ development resources, as well as books on industries, careers, biographies,..

d.Research industries, economic trends, change and career profiles. Don't start out with this, or you could end up in the wrong situation for you. As a youth in Canada, in your situation, you have a lot of opportunities and choices, and the luxury of time to figure things out. 

THERE ARE NO SHORT-CUTS  to this process. It is good to repeat this process a few times during your life time.

Just peace: my 2017 in review

Posted on January 1, 2018 at 3:41 PM Comments comments (7)
Keeping in tune with positive thinking, I will review the past year of my life. (I have not come to any summary of the political world of 2017 yet.) In sum, it was a time of successful growth and more new experiences.

The biggest thing, of course, was packing up my life in Korea, moving to Canada and creating a new home. That was a major transition; hence, the theme of my blog in 2017, which started out, by the way, on my 60th birthday.  Well prepared and optimistic, I made a smooth transition. I carried through the steps of landing regular employment and settling into a long-term living arrangement.

I arrived with a temporary living arrangement set up in a friend's home and  was soon rooming in a kind of boarding house as I extended the employment search. Within a short period, I got a bit lucky when I was offered a lease with soft and affordable terms for a decent apartment. I got regular part-time teaching and full-time summer relief work, with a little editing on the side. Though I'd had to reach into my stashed resettlement funds, by November, I had begun teaching in a new institute with a timetable substantial enough to cover the monthly bills.

Living and livelihood basically taken care of, I was able to pay more attention to social groups, activism and family matters. I rejoined a singing group and the dragon boat club. They involve social activities and political causes in addition to their main foci. I thus reconnected with colleagues, friends and associates, making new friends and associations along the way. I returned to local boating competitions and choir performances. 

What's more, I rejoined a local activist circle with the national and international connections I've been immersed in for several years. That has meant staying connected with activists and causes abroad, and those in south western BC and central Canada. Coming from human rights activism at an early stage some 20 years ago, 35 years of anti-war activism in Canada and overseas, and as certain tensions and military actions intensify around the world, my part in progressive activism has evolved to my present focus on just peace.

What  positive and new experiences did I have in 2017? 

Technology: I downloaded mobile phone apps, started using cloud software at work, bought a new laptop and got tech support with it, and extended the content, appearance and tools on my website. I also acquired a wide-screen, smart TV. As well, my phone has a new service plan with features new to me. Oh, yes--I also tried online dating, a little.

Family: With birthday and Christmas events recently, my relations with siblings and adult nieces and a nephew have developed. We've had some very enjoyable times together, we're planning more.

Romance: Though the online dating has bombed, I got out and tried it. Anyway, I've been getting to know single, eligible men through mutual friends and hobbies.

Health: I manage to keep my weight under control. After dragon boating, basic yoga routine, biking and hiking in the summer months, I found some symptoms of pre-arthritis stages, so I cut down the sportsy activities, even day-to-day walking. However, I seem to be adjusting. I can alter physical activities and pace them appropriately to avoid the inflated knee and sore appendages. For example, I have changed the exercises at home, and returned to some moderate walking from day to day. As an example of the walking, I sometimes walk the distance a few bus stops to catch a bus farther away, and walk around to do errands near my workplaces. I recently tried a session of curling for the second time in my life. I want to do some short hikes and get back on the bike when the weather is more conducive to outdoors exercise. 

Writing: After editing another academic article, I reviewed a novel for the first time. I just started editing another novel last week. Obviously, I have kept up the blogging and moved into a new theme for the current year. As for my creative writing, I've only written a couple of poems. I started a new non-fiction project, which is on hold at the moment.

Activism: I attended an international conference to build an anti-imperialist movement against wars of aggression, state repression and militarization last summer. I then created the petition opposed to a military solution to Korea and other conflicts, getting a few hundred signatures all on my own. For the 10th anniversary of the Great October Revolution in Russia, I worked with the local committee and coordinated the planning of a special event, which turned out to be a well-attended and informative occasion. I presented on a dual theme of socialist women and a stance against imperialist war in a presentation on Rosa Luxemberg's contributions. After building a network out of these activities, I just recently proposed a new committee to establish the Just Peace Movement in Greater Vancouver. There has been some positive response from people interested in pursuing this movement.




Transitioning-2018 theme of just peace

Posted on December 9, 2017 at 9:02 PM Comments comments (4)
The next phase of this blog begins around my birthday, which is next week. I have decided on the angle of "just peace" for the next phase of my blogging project. I explained my definition of just peace in the last entry. Now I want to explain how I intend to treat this subject, remain consistent and build on my previous themes of positive thinking/optimism and transition-making. 

I will still reflect and comment on the meaning of positive thinking, relate some of what is happening in my life, chew on the process and value of journal-writing as I tackle the problem of just peace. I will do so by employing a broad lens.

Using a broad lens, I'll be able to talk about the peace of the soul, peaceful family relations and other personal association, peace at work and in the community, as well as peace in the region and the actuality or threat of armed conflicts in terms of crimes against humanity and other crimes, aggression and domination in international relations. 

I'll argue for supporting struggles for peace in the name of saving life while promoting ways of life that ease suffering and enhance life. The struggle for peace will be framed as anti-imperialist struggle; from this angle, I'll not only protest military weaponry, spending and certain policies. I will speak against domination, aggression and the aim of conquest or regime-change when the people in one region do not request foreign intervention to assist them. I'll argue for intervention against true dictators that use state repression and political persecution in defiance of civil and human rights, and counter to democratic practice. For example, I would object to President Duterte's violent reign against the peoples in the Philippines, and the extra-judicial killings, methods of terror, and deceit. I would object to Israel's aggression against Palestine and its expansion into Palestinian territories and military policies and actions that carry or support these objectives.

Yeah, I'll be getting more specifically political. We must do that. I hope I arouse others to take political stands, even if they don't jive with mine. In this business of working toward peace, I hope to inspire, even unsettle the reader, to take action his/herself. We urgently need a large and broad-minded active movement of all sectors of the people working together on common causes with common aims, sharing the larger general aim of altering the course of human civilization toward new relations and concepts of global trade and values.

I can also use this approach to venture into questions concerning chauvinism and discrimination, and conflicts among factions within societies. I can address all the above through an understanding of imperialism with respect to politics, culture, economics and expansionism, the class system with its monopolies and patriarchal relations, and the exploitative nature of this system that is inherently violent.

I can also address environmental destruction wrought by imperialism and war. Military activities require vast amounts of energy, especially oil, and they often contaminate the air, ground and waters where they take place. They leave behind a lot of junk including marine and space junk, as do industrial monopolies, which they balk at cleaning up.

With a broad approach, I will develop my knowledge and skill at interpreting society in a positive way, with examples from my life and excerpts of my readings. I'll continue to share this kind of information and thought. I'll tackle problems on micro- and macro-scales. The main aim is contributing to efforts find a better way that enriches and eases the lives of the people. I will strive to be understanding and forward-looking.

Thinking and Doing It Positively

Household Treasures

11 January 2021

I heard an interviewee speaking over the radio talk about cherishing items in the home. It is one way to explore and enjoy surroundings without traveling, he said​I'll try it.


A lot of objects on display in my apartment are artifacts from my travels, ironically. They refresh my most poignant memories of precious and mind-opening explorations.


Sitting atop the filing cabinet next to my desk are to souvenirs from South Korea, where I worked and resided for 10 years. After such a lengthy stay, I have loads of memories prompted by numerous artifacts of my experiences in that country. These two are among the best reflections of cultural and historical particularities of South Korea. They are a framed photo of a hero central to the labour and national democratic struggles and an ornament from folk culture in the countryside of the southern part of South Korea.


Jun Tae-Il was a courageous student activist leading actions against the last dictatorship in his country. He represents the heart of the movement and the victory for democracy. He became a martyr when the police fatally shot him while he was demonstrating in the street in Seoul, the capitol. The ornament is an ceramic fertility fetish, an image of a penis from one of several such parks in the southern region where I used to live. This part of the country remained tribal longer than other parts, so folk traditions such as shamanism and superstitions have endured. Fertility monuments were erected (pun intended), of course, bring about more healthy children. The foreigner exploring such parks giggle at the sights. 


Next to the filing cabinet is a bookshelf. One of the most noticeable objects near the top of this piece of furniture is a tacky, plastic, white alarm clock. It is significant because I bought it to ensure I woke up on time on my last morning living in South Korea. I had an early flight. As a small travel alarm clock had recently failed, and I was not sure my phone alarm would wake me fully, I picked up a cheap clock at a local general store. I don't use it as its ticking is noisy, but I have not thought to give it away. It remains perched on the shelf, deprived of a battery, as a reminder of my departure from the ex-pat life and return to Canada. 


I also have items saved from two trips to Cuba, one in 2003 and one in 2019. Both trips were organized political events. The first took me there with a political choral group to meet Cuban choirs, learn some of their songs, perform with Cubans, attend the May 1st rally, meet labour associations and tour the island for two weeks. I am looking at a typical replication of a sketch of Che Gevarra which one can find easily in street markets. Our choir, supportive of the Cuban revolution, valued the Cuban revolutionary democracy, social arrangements and political principals which that image, the most famous in all the world, represents to millions of people. It inspires and gives hope. I remember strolling through the streets, visiting markets and restaurants, chatting with locals and attending all the meetings on our hectic schedule. I have other little treasures such as a ceramic, hand painted ashtray, photos of our Cuban comrades, and an African-Cuban, wooden statuette.


Above my desk hang a pair of water colour paintings in wood frames. They portray sites in southern Manitoba in the general area where my grandparents met, married and bore my mother. They feature two views of the banks of the Red River, a river highly important to Canadian history. There were battles against invading Americans launched there and a key struggle of the Métis nation. The city of Winnipeg lies nearby, which used to be the industrial hub of Canada until the Panama Canal opened up and undermined the Canadian railway system. I have only passed through Winnipeg by car. This area is not one I remember, for I have never visited it. 


On the floor near my desk lies a wicker hamper. I have mixed feelings about it, but it has been very useful, so I have kept it. You see, it belonged to my father's second wife. My father remarried this odd, older person rather quickly after my mother passed, which denied her children necessary time to adjust. I carried resentment about her, but chose to avoid them rather than say anything or show my negative feelings. As I said, it is a practical item for it holds linens and Christmas stuff and allows aeration through the woven stems.


I originally bought the filing cabinet to organize research, not academic information but information found in the course of activism and stabs at political journalism. It therefore stores records of several international and regional conferences. Though I purge it once in awhile, there are still clippings, leaflets and pamphlets. They cover issues such as Canadian mining firms abroad, human rights cases, privacy rights, student concerns and transportation. I have been replacing old articles and folders with my own writing pieces. Among them are also old, self-published newsletters addressing local and international issues, some of my published articles and unpublished poems. 




Conversational News

10 January 2021

It is so good to be able to express myself and have contact with readers through this blog again. The loss of the access to my blog along with other aspects of confinement and restrictions really affected me. There were added unsettling restrictions due to circumstances, even including access to my games when Adobe Flash Player was removed. I was feeling the mounting stress of rising COVID cases and the awareness of the damages inflicted by this disease as well as the damage inflicted by states that remain focused on helping profitable enterprises more than addressing the disease and health care and financial interventions fully and equitably. Most such as Canada are handing the responsibility of pandemic management to individuals. Very unjust!


I had been handling the conditions of the pandemic fairly well, but emotions were catching up to me in December as I personally began to feel tired and stressed. I started to feel irritable and alarmed. I looked forward to two weekends at home over Christmas and New Years, but the employer wanted me to work on the Saturdays. Saturday being the heaviest work day for me with five hours straight teaching and two hours travel, I had been wanting relief to get a chance to rest and calm down. I ended up taking the Saturday following NY Day off, which certainly helped. I am much better now.


I did not carry through with my usual practice of personal assessment and planning in December as is my habit. I was too agitated. I did not want to reflect on this past year, actually. Not then.


Anyway, there is not any change in my goals. I generally carried through with financial, livelihood, social, family, health and growth goals. However, the social and family goals were frustrated by Covid-19 rules. However, there are elder relatives with multiple health problems whose mental health was being upset by the situation, so I have been visiting with them in cafes and such. They are better now. I have also been aiding an elderly neighbour whose health, already in decline this year, was getting worse partially because of Covid-related restraints. (Her degrading sight and hearing, as well as shaking and loss of balance, caused her to stop driving permanently, and skeletal issues caused her to stop regular exercise. She is worried she will be forced to consider entering a facility while many care homes are in crisis!) My exercise regime was also compromised. The local fitness center remains open but I perceive it as risky, so I do not go there. Aside from some hiking and walking to accomplish transit and errands, I haven't been exercising much until recently. Now I do some yoga, lunging, stretching and weighted arm raises sometimes. I am prevented this week because of an inflammation (hemorrhoid caused by lengthy sitting!).


 One big factor affecting stress and anxiety levels is news reportage. State and private corporate news services, like most enterprises today, try to streamline by relying more on tech and web browsing to find news topics. There are fewer reporters and there is less extended, investigative reporting. For the past decade at least, such services have resorted to "conversational journalism." It is an adjustment to distrust of news and official authorities during a trend of democratization, I feel. However, it tends to keep popularity and viewer or reader stats in mind. Topics can be sensationalized by rehashing events and speculation. Commentators are brought in to discuss as are senior reporters, but the discussion is not very productive in that it does not lead to increased knowledge. Rather, it keeps generating more questions. Conversations often entertain unanswerable questions, particularly because there can be no resolution. They just push the topic and stimulate possible answers to stir up controversy and alarm in order to improve ratings. Pertinent information might be omitted if it actually answers a question. Once audiences abandon a thread, they turn to some other topic and start over. It is really unconscionable because of the innuendo, speculation, rumour, omission, lack of investigation, assumptions and biases.


The COVID coverage is a clear case in point. Partial information is supplied, such as a medical official's announcement that is partly based in some truth. The announcement is questioned. Opponents are recruited to present the false arguments. Sideline topics are raised to create more friction. Proper sources are ignored. Questions are recycled and spin round and round with no conclusion. The affect is understandable: alarm, anxiety, fear, stress, accusations, complaints, etc.


I follow a couple of doctors who produce daily videos to update viewers on scientific developments and explore reasoning behind government and medical decisions regarding the pandemic. I rely on Dr. John Campble and Doctor Moran. Find them on Youtube. Campbell is the most digestable, for he uses plain English, which Moran is more technical. The latter seems to be addressing people in the medical field. By following Campbell, in particular, I can see the gaps in the regional and national news reporting. I can see that they are lagging behind the news by ignoring or failing to search for reliable information.

We're Back

07 January 2021

Apologies to my followers and viewers. You have been very supportive and encouraging for many years. I might have disappointed some of you who were looking for new entries from me. 


Let me explain. VISTAPRINT changed its platform last year. When they did that, the method for making blog entries changed. I had no information from them about what to do. It simply appeared that I know longer had any blogging service. 


However, I just spoke to a VISTAPRINT rep who guided me. I can now write blog entries, as you can see.


It was a strange year all the way around. Things seemed kind of more chaotic than usual. I felt agitated and stressed last month for no definite reason. I had trouble sleeping. I felt exhausted.


My general astrology reading asserted that the pulling away of Jupiter, one of my planets and a very powerful one, from Saturn would make Sagitarians feel exhausted by the end of December. Despite the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, it does indeed feel like I worked and accomplished a lot (activism, teaching, writing). Things are supposed to get easier for us Sagges. 


There was added stress because of the effects of the pandemic. Not only that but worse, state aggression seemed to increased around the world, causing civilian mass responses. Though I had handled it pretty well until the end of 2020, I guess it finally got to me and I started soaking up some of the stress and anxiety emitting from my region and beyond.


2021 is starting out a bit weird, too. Just look at yesterday's events. U.S. Whitehouse invasion. Solar flare sending rays that caused several storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. More lockdowns. 


I wish all my readers well. I will resume entering focused pieces when I have more time. Please stick with me. Thank you for your comments to date.


Ed Wise

TEST

15 January 2020

THIS IS A TEST OF THE NEW PLATFORM FORMAT AND BLOG ENTRY SYSTEM.