Entries from June 2009 ↓

Victor Bout

Victor Bout

I recently saw yesterday on TV, the development of the case of Victor Bout. I believe that he is still in Thailand waiting for extradition. The extradition process has been more complicated than forecasted it would seemed. He will appear in court in Thailand on the 11 August 2009 following his arrest on March 6, 2008.

You will recall that I blogged on this case earlier in mid March.

More than a James Bond thriller, the story of Victor A Bout arrest which I saw on TV and fully described by BBC seemed to me unreal.

I am keen to see the unwinding of this story which later might be taken as a base story for a thriller or a big screen film.

a latest blog written on Bout:

Those who do not know are

Those who do not know are the bread and butter of the regimes that aim to dominate the world; regimes like the United States and previously the Soviet Union. Both want to dominate and exploit with the differences of ideology, slogan, and propaganda. The US-style democracy is no different than the Soviet-style socialism; well with the exceptions of McDonalds and slavery consumerism.

As to Viktor Bout matter, those who are wasting band-width on repeating the left-over of Bush propaganda are blessed with ignorance. They talk as they were well-informed while in reality what they now is nothing. Here’s a quiz for your basic knowledge:

When was Viktor Bout arrested? If you say March 6, 2008 you are wrong! He was arrested on April 29, 2008 – about two month after his illegal detention. Need evidence? See the request of the request for extradition submitted by the US Embassy in Thailand….. The type of March 6th illegal detention handed to Bout, is what await all of those supporting the US definition of democracy should they decide to be “unslaved” from “consumerism.” Here another quiz:

What did the US government do to cause Bout illegal arrest on March 6th? They either conspired or “officially” lied to the Thai government by telling them that Viktor is a terrorist! Still need to see evidence, suite yourself and see a copy of the letter sent by the US Embassy in Thailand to cause the arrest of Viktor. (source: Victorbout.com) Need More? Here’s more

Did Robert Zaharievitch the “DEA Lead Agent” lied under oath in his Thai court testimony? Say “YES” with 1000% confidence (see highlighted paragraph in page 4.) One “unquestionable” lie is said to be concerning whether Viktor had a business registered in the United States. The US government acting outside the US legal system by OFAC seized a CPA accounting practice, used-car dealership, and a swimming pool cleaning business among others from a US Army veteran named Richard Chichakli and claimed that Chichakli’s businesses belong to Viktor Bout! Evidence… they provided none but they wanted you to take their word for it. So he is Bout cleaning swimming pool and selling used cars, and …… perhaps if you are lucky enough you may get Viktor Bout to prepare your next tax return pretending to be your trusty CPA.

Art of entrepreneurship

I obtain the following article from UCT graduate school of business where I had the opportunity in my earlier days (1987) to hone my skills in Marketing. UCT I consider as one of my Mater Almas, if it was ever possible to talk of several Mater Almas.

I found the content of Elaine Rumboll’s writings very fitting as far as my career is concerned. As much as you may think that entrepreneurship as a science, I had always considered my entrepreneurship skills as an art. Psychological profiling I had undergone pictured me as a right brain thinker and placed me in the box of a creative artist. Have I been the business savvy artist?

Early in my business life career, I was lucky to have had a serious assessment of my psychological traits and preferences determined. I knew where were my strong hands and perhaps more importantly where were located  my weaker hands. I had learned to bank on my strengths whilst acknowledging on my weaknesses and delegating some of my unressourceful  duties and tasks. Later as I climbed the ladder of the corporate world, I made sure that I was supported by a team that made up for my deficiencies. I have always been a wholesome person or if you prefer, a big picture person, performing tiny detail tasks pumped up my energy. I make sure that my direct assistants were detailed and sequential oriented persons. Susan, a thorough and precise operator was always at hand. Cynthia another orderly organiser assisted me for years. I thus manage with a two brains tandem: my rightful own right brain and the left brains of my associates.

I also learnt early that success comes faster with creativity. I spend a fair amount of my time in observing changes that was operating on the business scene and anticipate speedily ahead of the trend. I often with a bout of humour asked: Whilst may be you know what you know, how do you know what you do not know? The answer came in often by asking the question: what if? I have to bless my parents, my educators for having instilled in me this craving for creativity. These creativity skills were later improved by the NLP training I had the opportunity to follow.

I would recommend to you to read: Enjoy your inner artist- Improving your Creativity with NLP by Luis Jorge Gonzalez.

The art of entrepreneurship


by Elaine Rumboll: Executive Education Director at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

It’s often been said that there is an art to doing business, but conversely not much has been raised on the business of being an artist. That’s not surprising given that the words “artist” and “profit” have never traditionally been associated with each other. In the 21st century, however, things are beginning to change.

There is an increasing attention on the concept of artists as entrepreneurs emerging globally – artists are becoming more business savvy and finding new ways of sustaining their artistic livelihood. Artists of all kinds are applying their creativity in new ways as businesspeople, and proving that it is possible to leave the “starving artist” notion behind in favour of the “business savvy artist”.

In the US, the New York Times recently picked up on this trend, and in a feature presented some successful artists changing the game. According to Elliot McGucken who teaches the course Artist Entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina, the advancement of business skills “rests on the principle that those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it and protect it”.

“It’s about how to make your passion your profession, your avocation your vocation, and to make this long-term sustainable,” he says.

This business imperative to the world of the arts has become all the more important in the past year, as the recession has not left the art world unscathed – while most of the media attention is on corporates, the plight of the arts is an important issue that needs addressing as well.

A study conducted by Arts & Business in the UK, for example, found that many UK arts organisations are already feeling the pinch of a shrinking economy. Released in April, the survey, titled Market Trends 2009, found that the majority (63%) of respondents are “experiencing a substantial decrease in business investment”.

In this tougher market context, the need for artists to become more self-sustaining and business savvy, and to find new ways of sustaining their artistic livelihood in the long-term, has become much more critical. It’s a realisation that has begun to permeate many individual artists and educational institutions.

Pioneering the way for artists as fully-fledged entrepreneurs are several leading business schools and universities. In many of these business schools, business and the arts are no longer mutually exclusive, but in fact mutually dependent disciplines that need each other to survive – and thrive.

With this in mind, the University of Michigan recently announced plans to offer a dual programme that will combine a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration degree later this year. New York University and Yale University already offer similar joint programmes.

This trend of two worlds merging, from a business point of view, also highlights a growing realisation that success in the 21st Century will depend on creativity more than ever before. This increasing link between business and the arts was massively popularised by author Dan Pink and his bestseller A Whole New Mind, in which he argues that people with right and left brain skills, or creative and analytical abilities, will be very much in demand in the years ahead.

As businesses globally seek to now be more creative and innovative in their search for increased market share, creative people are in turn learning that it is possible to make a sustainable living out of their talents with a little business savvy.

While there is a lot of untapped potential for success for South African artists of all kinds – painters, designers, writers, photographers and performance artists – many are not yet astute enough in business matters to move into the entrepreneurial realm with confidence. New innovative courses will help to close this gap.

Here in South Africa, the UCT Graduate School of Business’ Executive Education unit has for the past two years offered a Business Acumen for Artists programme to help local artists step into the world of business by teaching subjects like marketing, negotiation and intellectual property, as well as financial skills and presentation techniques – the course has been described as a revelation by many artists who have attended.

Simon Taylor of Periphery Films, who completed last year’s Business Acumen for Artists, described the course as a profound learning opportunity and a chance to connect with other artists experiencing similar difficulties.

“I went into the programme feeling like I was on an island. I felt really lonely as a creative entrepreneur, so to connect with people feeling the same way was amazing. It was almost like a support group and the experience was on the level of mind and heart adjustment, it was not just about learning new things.”

Tracy-Lee Scully, a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and writer, also from the 2008 programme, agreed.

‘I went to the course expecting to learn some basic business skills, but I finished having learned so much more than that. I learned the value of my work and to let go of my creative insecurities. I gained a whole new perspective on my reality – largely as to what was holding me back from following my dreams to succeed as an artist in a commercial world.”

As these statements demonstrate, artists need to find inventive ways to market themselves and price their goods competitively, without underselling their services and products. This is where marketing know-how and negotiation skills, as well as a good grounding in financial management, for example, could make all the difference.

Reflexion dominicale

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 5:21-43.
When Jesus had crossed again (in the boat) to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet
and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?'”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. (At that) they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.


We had a good gathering at the mass in Ming Tek centre. Not only the whole YIPTONG family were gathered to pray, were also present old friends and acquaintances of Yook Souk. Of the number of people present I recognised Liliane Sew Hee and her sister in law, Paul Sin chan, the wife of Miang Kwong Ng Wong Hing.

I found that the reading of the day to be appropriate: an extract of Mathews about the miracle of the daughter of Jairus from her death. “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” As much as we can be sad to acknowledge the departure of Yook Souk to his eternal abode, we have faith in the timeless world, that he is risen in our lord.

I would like to share with you today, the meditation of St. Peter Chrysologus on the reading of the day.

“The child is not dead but asleep”

Every gospel reading, Beloved, is most helpful both for our present life and for the attainment of the life to come. Today’s reading, however, sums up the whole of our hope, banishing all grounds for despair. Let us consider the synagogue official who took Christ to his daughter and in so doing gave the woman with a hemorrhage an opportunity to approach him… Christ could foresee the future and he knew this woman would approach him. Through her the Jewish official was to learn that there is no need to move God to another place, take him on a journey, or attract him by a physical presence. One must only believe that he is present in the whole of his being always and everywhere, and that he can do all things effortlessly by a simple command; that far from depriving us of strength, he gives it; that he puts death to flight by a word of command rather than by physical touch, and gives life by his mere bidding, without need of any art…

So when Christ reached the house and saw the mourners lamenting as though the girl were dead, he declared that she was not dead but sleeping, in order to move their unbelieving minds to faith and convince them that one can rise from death more easily than from sleep. «The girl is not dead,» he told them, «but asleep.»

And indeed, for God death is nothing but sleep, since he can raise the dead to life more quickly than we can rouse a sleeper… Listen to the Apostle Paul: «In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead will rise» (1Cor 15,52)… How could he explain its swiftness verbally when divine power outstrips the very notion of swiftness? How could time enter the picture when an eternal gift is given outside of time?

Mariage Chretien

Demain nous arrive les futurs mariés. Le jour est arrivé enfin.

Voici le texte du message que j’avais envoyé à Olivier dès son annonce de se marier. Je me réjouis de savoir qu’ils ont suivis le cours de préparation de Mariage pour un mariage chrétien.

Je suis déjà dans l’euphorie de la fête… à une semaine de la date. Chaque mariage que j’assiste et une occasion de me remettre en question mon mariage et le renouvellement de mon sacrement que je partage avec ma femme.

Nous avons en vu plusieurs mariages dans la famille. Déjà au mois de décembre, deux mariages sont annoncés : fils du cousin à Singapour et quelques jours après Daisy à Maurice. Et encore d’autres mariages dans la proche année dans la famille seraient en préparation. Olivier en juillet 2009.

Le mariage est il qu’une affaire entre les futurs époux? Pourquoi alerter toute la famille et faire de l’événement une grande jouissance ? Quel est le but ‘d’officialiser’ l’alliance de deux êtres qui s’aiment et qui se promettent l’un à l’autre pour la vie ? Le mariage est ce qu’un acte juridique seulement ? Qu’a-t-il derrière cette promesse solennelle devant les hommes et Dieu ? Quels sont les engagements pris devant la société et Dieu ? Quel impact sur les engagés, la famille, la société, l’église ?

Dans la tradition le mariage était un événement purement familial dans la mesure où les mariages sont arrangés pour unir deux familles, c’est à dire deux patrimoines. Rétrospectivement, cela apparaît aujourd’hui comme une mutualisation reconnue par les familles des deux époux.

Au delà de la tradition, le mariage chrétien est avant tout un sacrement. La vie mariée n’est pas moins que la vie monastique, une vocation spécifique, requérant un don particulier, ou charisme, du Saint Esprit, don octroyé dans le Saint Sacrement du Mariage. Le mystère Trinitaire de l’unité dans la diversité s’applique à la doctrine du mariage, comme il le fait pour l’Église : une communion sans fusion, respectant la différence des personnes. La famille créée par ce Sacrement est une petite église.

L’Église enseigne que l’homme est créé à l’image de la Trinité, et que Dieu ne l’a pas voulu vivant seul, mais en famille, sauf dans des cas spéciaux. A l’image de Dieu bénissant la première famille, commandant à Adam et Eve de porter du fruit et de se multiplier, l’Église donne à présent sa bénédiction pour l’union d’un homme avec une femme. Le Sacrement du mariage Chrétien, dans l’Église, donne à un homme et à une femme la possibilité de devenir un seul esprit et une seule chair d’une manière qu’aucun amour humain ne pourrait réaliser. Le Saint Esprit est donné de sorte que ce qui a été commencé sur terre s’accomplisse et continue de manière plus parfaite dans le Royaume de Dieu.

Le mariage est un sacrement et non la simple bénédiction d’une union, encore moins la simple reconnaissance formelle, “officielle” d’une union déjà préexistante. Ceci montre la spécificité du mariage à l’égard des autres actes de la vie quotidienne, pour lesquels nous avons toujours besoin d’une bénédiction et d’une aide spirituelle. “Car un sacrement (…) implique nécessairement l’idée d’une transformation, se réfère à l’évènement ultime de la mort et de la résurrection du Christ, est toujours un sacrement du Royaume. Le fait que le mariage soit est sacrement, montre que l’Église y voit l’un de ces actes par lesquels Dieu nous transforme, nous aide à participer de sa nature divine. Le mariage à l’Église ne signifie donc pas le simple engagement à respecter un ensemble de règles sur comment bien gérer, raisonnablement, une vie de couple (morale sexuelle, épargne, etc.), mais plus profondément la participation, la réception d’une grâce donnée par Dieu.

Sans cette grâce, “le mariage, comme tout le reste dans ce monde, est un mariage déchu et dévié, et (…) il a besoin, non point d’être bénit et “solennisé” – après répétition de la cérémonie et avec l’aide du photographe – mais d’être restauré. De plus, cette restauration est dans le Christ, ce qui veut dire, dans sa vie, sa mort, sa résurrection, son ascension, dans l’inauguration pentecostale du “nouvel éon”, dans l’Église comme le sacrement de tout ceci. Finalement, cette restauration transcende infiniment l’idée de la famille chrétienne et confère au mariage ses dimensions cosmiques et universelles. Selon ce point de vue, le mariage ne concerne pas seulement ceux qui se marient, mais engage aussi l’Église, et concerne par elle le monde entier.

Le modèle de l’amour conjugal

Dans l’Ancien Testament déjà, la relation entre Dieu et Israël est exprimé dans les termes de l’amour conjugal. Dans l’Épître aux Éphésiens (5, 22-32), saint Paul affirme la correspondance entre l’union dans le mariage de l’homme et de la femme en une seule chair, et le grand mystère de l’union du Christ à son Église : “Maris, aimez vos femmes, comme Christ a aimé l’Église, et s’est livré lui-même pour elle, afin de la sanctifier par la parole, après l’avoir purifiée par le baptême d’eau, afin de faire paraître devant lui cette Église glorieuse, sans tache, ni ride, ni rien de semblable, mais sainte et irrépréhensible. C’est ainsi que les maris doivent aimer leurs femmes comme leurs propres corps. Celui qui aime sa femme s’aime lui-même. Car jamais personne n’a haï sa propre chair ; mais il la nourrit et en prend soin, comme Christ le fait pour l’Église, parce que nous sommes membres de son corps. C’est pourquoi l’homme quittera son père et sa mère, et s’attachera à sa femme, et les deux deviendront une seule chair. Ce mystère est grand ; je dis cela par rapport à Christ et à l’Église. Du reste, que chacun de vous aime sa femme comme lui-même, et que la femme respecte son mari.”

L’amour conjugal est un reflet de cet amour du Christ pour l’Église, cela signifie selon une échelle de degré :

* 1) nous pouvons entrevoir concrètement cet amour du Christ pour l’Église d’après notre expérience de la vie conjugale
* 2) mais surtout notre amour conjugal doit être compris à la mesure de l’amour du Christ et doit le prendre comme modèle
* 3) tout amour, s’il veut se réaliser, demeurer véridique, doit s’enraciner, prendre source dans l’amour du Christ.

Le monde, restauré dans l’Église, est destiné à devenir l’épouse de Dieu ; restauration permise par la Marie, la Mère de Dieu. La vocation du mariage concerne le monde et l’Église, car elle concerne la vocation du monde et de l’Église, de tout chrétien : suivre le Christ.

Jay Owens

I am so pleased that I picked up an article where  my old friend Jay Owens is mentioned.  I have not seen for over 5 years: since my last visit to South Africa.

It looks like Jay is still active in training and running seminars and conferences.

Before retiring, Jay was running the Covey Leadership center in  Park Wood ,South Africa. He was of great help to me, he was sorting out the profiling of the participants of the Covey week end seminars I was conducting for a number of years. The center in South Africa was very convenient, the processing was faster and cheaper that sending off the documents to Utah, USA.

Thanks to Jay that I was given the opportunity to run a Covey seminar in Guinea Conakry. I took up the challenge of conducting a seminar with half of the audience speaking English and the other half speaking French. The Malaysian Telekon had taken over the national telephone company in Guinea and wanted to train all its managers on time managment the  Franklin Covey way.

Resolving business issues through crucial conversations


There are crucial conversations that we all tend to avoid. Our lives are poorer and our businesses less profitable because of it.

The need for crucial conversations in business covers a wide area of possibilities. They are the many topics we would rather avoid. In your place of work they could look something like this:

  • Issues that involve gender, racial, cultural or other controversial factors
  • Dealing with the poor performance of a subordinate, like giving an unfavourable performance review
  • Talking to a co-worker, perhaps a manager, who behaves offensively or makes suggestive comments
  • Disagreeing with a management decision
  • Dealing with a serious disagreement between two or more departments in your business
  • Resolving a serious disagreement between business partners
  • Critiquing the work of an equal or someone senior to you
  • Confronting a partner or manager who is contravening the company’s financial code
  • Talking to a colleague who is hoarding information or resources
  • Dealing with a difficult BEE or employment equity decision.

Most of us would rather avoid this sort of thing altogether. That is the comfortable route to take, but we follow that path to the detriment of our businesses and our relationships with other people.

The authors of Crucial Conversations – Tools for talking when stakes are high, say that no more than 10% of our daily conversations cover crucial issues. These are the pivotal issues, which if handled well make an immense difference to any organisation.

When facing difficult issues people react in one of three ways: we avoid them, handle them poorly or face them and handle them well. Jay Owens of The Human Edge, who will be hosting a Crucial Conversations workshop later this year, suggests three factors in which crucial conversations are most necessary. They are: high stakes matters on which results depend, differing opinions on which the parties involved feel strongly, and other matters that produce high emotions.

“Powerful emotions are the cause of most inability to communicate well,” says Owens. “Physiologically we don’t handle strong emotions well. To overcome this inherent human weakness a distinct skills set is needed. There are a few people who have it naturally. Most of us have to learn it.”

Owens teaches that our ability to influence other people, and therefore important outcomes, depends on how well we hold our crucial conversations. “Too often when crucial matters are raised people go over to silence, not contributing to the group’s understanding of the problem.”

Some endure the silence until eventually they can no longer contain themselves. Then they go over to violence, trying to control, compel and coerce others into their way of seeing things. “Silence and violence are the twin enemies of the productive sharing of information,” says Owens. He talks about the silence in the meeting room, followed by the violence in the corridor – people who do not contribute in the meeting, gossiping about the resultant decisions in the corridors.

The objective of Owens’ training is to create an environment where the best ideas can be put forward without fear. And fear is the fundamental problem when trying to get to the core issues that are holding back a company. People are afraid that the ideas they raise may meet with ridicule, tarnishing the image they have. Some may not want to leave a meeting to attend to something else that may have arisen for fear of being blamed while they are not in the room. Everyone may hold back on suggesting a new project for fear of it failing. Better for someone else to go first – in case it turns out to be a disaster. Under these conditions when people do not feel safe enough to air their views an environment exists in which people do not contribute towards the development of the company.

“An environment has to be created in which people feel free to put forward their best ideas,” says Owens. “We must guard against the reasons for silence in any staff member. This is the barrier that stops him or her from contributing.”

According to the authors of Crucial Conversations, two vital elements in resolving any issue are mutual respect and mutual purpose. Without the former, any sort of dialogue will be artificial and without the latter there is no point in even resolving the issues.

Owens’ first step towards holding a crucial conversation is to identify where you are stuck. Ask what the issue is that you are dealing with, that you also had to deal with yesterday and the day before yesterday. Once you have identified it, step away from the issue and ask yourself what the conversation is that we are not holding.

Once you have stepped out of the issue and into the process of dealing with it, three hard-hitting skills are recommended.

  1. Apologise when appropriate. When you have made a mistake that has hurt others, start with an apology.
  2. Contrast to fix misunderstanding. When someone may feel disrespected, but that was not your intention, step away from the argument and use a skill called contrasting. In it, you confirm your respect for the person and clarify your real purpose.
  3. Employ CRIB:
    • C – commit to seeking mutual purpose
    • R – recognise the purpose behind the strategy
    • I – invent a mutual purpose
    • B – brainstorm new strategies.

In all of this the word purpose comes up again and again. Without a mutual purpose, there is no point in resolving anything.

If agreement exists on a mutual purpose, you will almost certainly need crucial conversations to deal with the issues that are bound to arise among human beings. Even the most talented among us need the co-operation of others.

Source: Succeed Magazine, www.succeed.co.za


C’est avec un plaisir immense que j’ai revu un reportage ‘Envoyé Spéciale’ sur le café.

Du petit jus au grand cru.

Un reportage de Laurent Hakim, Jean-Pierre Métivet et Frédéric Capron

Découvert il y a plus de mille ans en Ethiopie, le café est l’une des boissons les plus populaires dans le monde : 12 000 tasses sont ainsi bues chaque seconde dans le monde entier, soit 400 milliards chaque année. Mais le petit noir du comptoir est en pleine révolution. Le café est désormais synonyme de terroirs et de grands crus. Le café, c’est aussi le boum de la dosette pour un expresso à la maison ; c’est la mode du café à emporter sur le chemin du bureau, et des salons de café très « tendance » à l’américaine. Comme le thé ou le vin, le café acquiert ses lettres de noblesse.

Un monde fou, quand on pense aux dégrées de sophistication apportée à une boisson banale. Mon intérêt sur le café était surtout éveillé par ma récente visite aux Costa Rica où j’ai eu l’occasion de suivre histoire et la culture du café de l’Amérique du sud et centrale. J’avais pris conscience de l’ampleur de l’industrie du Café. Café Colombie, café Costa Rica ou café Guatemala ?  Plus qu’un Café produit, café boisson c’est  un phénomène de société ?

Je dois avouer que j’apprécie un bon café mais par contre j’appartiens à cette infime partie de la population dont le système digestif rejette les éléments du café par une allergie … C’est vraiment dommage ! Je me dois seulement de humer le parfum…

James Fallows

On watching James Fallows’ interview he gave to Harry Kreisler of the University of California in September 2008, I realised how the economy of China is so closely linked to the US. China is caught in a jam with the present financial crisis as the Chinese wealth and reserves are invested in the US. China is locked in and can only bear the brunt.

I also liked and fully subscribed to James Fallows’ views, who is of opinion that the Chinese are completely different in mentality in comparison to Japanese. Chinese are more individualistic. The former will not toe the line blind folded as would the Japanese.

James is an accomplished journalist and author. It was very interesting to hear the opinion of an American who was an advisor of Jimmy Carter, and now living in China, giving his views on China.

I knew that the US were overspending and could do so, mainly because China and other countries were having their reserves kept in US in dollars and US securities. The reckoning is now here, yet countries like China just cannot get out of the system without hurting themselves. Moving away from the US will cause further drop of the securities and result in higher losses.

The explanation of James Fallows was expressed in a clear and plain understandable language. I was immediately prompted to read more from James Fallows. His latest comments on the position of China, Iran written on the 22 June is very interesting. Truly, since the last couple of days watching the world news, I have to admit that somehow, the western media is framing our mind on the present Iran situation. Should we not take the Chinese stance on this issue instead of interfering in their domestic cooking?

James Fallows article in the Atlantic Monthly: Iran in China

“It is worth remembering that the elements of the Iranian story that give it such drama and importance in much of the world are less automatically resonant in China.”


Q: Is there any research showing
that Transcendental Meditation,
by itself, can improve health?

Gary Kaplan, M.D, Ph.D., neurologist, New York
University School of Medicine: “Yes, extensive research
published in peer-reviewed medical journals shows this
technique markedly improves overall health. If you can
do something for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day that reduces
stress and allows you to be more creative and dynamic in
your activity—you have a key to better health.”

I watched last night on youtube David Lynch and a video by Fred Travis on the effects of TM on the brain.

Q: What is the difference between TM and Christian Meditation as taught by followers of John Main?

I have been practising Christian Meditation for a number of years; I can see hardly any difference in the practice between TM and Christian Meditation.

“Meditation is to the spirit what food and air are to the body.  We must come to
peacefulness, serenity and our capacity for true vision if we are to live in the
light of God.  Again and again the New Testament tells us that the light shines in
our hearts.  So we need only be open to it in humility and love.”
John Main OSB

However the intent of the meditation could be different. Both meditations are means to an end.

As stated in the catechism of the Catholic Church

  • Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the “today” of God is written.
  • To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
  • There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire to meditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower. But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus.
  • Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.”

Louise Richardson Expert on Terrorism

Terrorism may well be the word that has dominated the final years of the tenure of President Bush Jr. I asked myself recently after listening to what is happening in Iran last week and the mounting actions taken by the extremists of the Islam: how do I define a terrorist?

Perhaps a better understanding of the terrorist and his motivation could help us curtail the rise of terrorist’s action. Have there been serious studies thereon?

For sure the actions taken by the Bush administration have not reduced terrorist growth. In the contrary, I am inclined to think that the radical actions taken have created more terrorist activities. Muslim extremists’ actions may be one of the terrorist’s actions in operation, but there are far more happenings in the world, like the Irish IRA, the Basque movements, the Tamil Tigers…. In fact each time an individual feels oppressed beyond a limit he cannot sustain, the seed of becoming a terrorist is germinating.

I came across a document and book written by an academic who has studied terrorism and worth listening to.

Louise Richardson is one of the relative handful of experts who have been studying the history and practice of terrorism since the cold war.

Born in Ireland to Catholic parents, she experienced the seductive nature of terrorist groups at an early age. From the society she grew up in, she learned a remembered history of Ireland’s long struggle with England that was full of heroes and villains, and was oversimplified to motivate the next generation. The facts didn’t seem to matter so much.

After the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972, in which 26 Irish protesters were shot by British troops in Derry, Northern Ireland, Richardson would have joined the IRA “in a heartbeat,” she writes.

But she was only 14, and as she attended university and learned the real story behind some of her childhood myths, she became more interested in understanding terrorism than in joining it.

Eventually she received advanced degrees in government from Harvard University and began teaching international security classes. Today she is executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among other academic posts.

She has interviewed all the terrorists she can contact, as well as pored over transcripts of captured terrorists and other source material. From this, she’s determined, she believes, this important point: They’re not nuts.

The popular picture of terrorists as insane radicals isn’t true, she insists. “Terrorists are human beings who think like we do. They have goals they are trying to achieve, and in a different set of circumstances they, and perhaps we, would lead very different lives,” she writes.

But they do have distinguishing, abnormal characteristics.

“Terrorists see the world in Manichean, black-and-white terms; they identify with others; and they desire revenge,” according to Richardson.

Lots of people are called “terrorists” by their enemies, of course. That doesn’t mean they all are. Terrorism’s true definition, Richardson writes, is “deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political purposes.”

Terrorists want change, but lack the strength to prevail in other political or military ways. Individual terrorists are generally disaffected people, from any level of society. They encounter an enabling group (such as radical Islamists at a local mosque) who spout an ideology that purports to justify violent actions.

Their motivations can be summed up in a three-word phrase, according to Richardson: “Revenge, Renown, Reaction.”

Louise may be viewed on youtube too!

Reflexion Dominicale

Mc 4,35-41.
Ce jour-là, le soir venu, il dit à ses disciples : « Passons sur l’autre
rive. »
Quittant la foule, ils emmènent Jésus dans la barque, comme il était ; et
d’autres barques le suivaient.
Survient une violente tempête. Les vagues se jetaient sur la barque, si
bien que déjà elle se remplissait d’eau.
Lui dormait sur le coussin à l’arrière. Ses compagnons le réveillent et lui
crient : « Maître, nous sommes perdus ; cela ne te fait rien ? »
Réveillé, il interpelle le vent avec vivacité et dit à la mer : « Silence,
tais-toi ! » Le vent tomba, et il se fit un grand calme.
Jésus leur dit : « Pourquoi avoir peur ? Comment se fait-il que vous n’ayez
pas la foi ? »
Saisis d’une grande crainte, ils se disaient entre eux : « Qui est-il donc,
pour que même le vent et la mer lui obéissent ? »


Avoir peur équivaut à ne pas avoir la foi ? Ma mère avait toujours cette réflexion. Dans ses moments de doute et de peur elle me disait souvent, je demande au Seigneur d’augmenter ma foi.

Il faut se dire que ma maman a été élevée dans une ambiance avant Vatican II où un enseignement chrétien axé sur la terreur été de mise. La peur d’aller aux enfers était la motivation première du chrétien. La méconnaissance ou l’incertain donnait lieu à des doutes et des peurs que bon nombres de personnes exploitaient pour promouvoir des pratiques que nous pouvons qualifier pour le moindre en pratiques occultes ou de superstitions.

Exemple : les chrétiens allèrent à la messe chaque dimanche, parce qu’ils étaient sous peine de commettre un péché, ils s’acquittaient d’une obligation à ma messe dominicale. Les chrétiens ainsi vivaient sous la crainte et la peur de déplaire Dieu et les règlements prescrits par l’Eglise.

Par contre, nous pourrions voir la pratique d’assister à la messe dominicale comme le bonheur de répondre à une invitation de notre Seigneur de célébrer avec lui le grand bonheur de son amour avec mes coreligionnaires.

Qu’une espérance et qu’une foi infinie dans notre Seigneur m’habite pour m’armer contre mes moments d’angoisses et de peurs. L’Evangile de ce jour me redonne une confiance dans mon doux et généreux Jésus, qui me demande de me plus avoir peur, Lui mon Dieu qui commande la nature et toute chose, Lui l’omnipotent , Lui en qui je dois m’abandonner.