on justice -Benedict/James Orbinski

''Justice only fails when we fail to imagine that it is possible. But like so many things, it depends not only on imaginings but on what we do.'' - James Orbinski

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post before 2009 comes to an end...

.... and 2010 begins a whole a new chapter.

just realized that i've been reading a lot on depressing topics, most of it involving inhumane acts such as genocide, civilian shooting, ineffective policies on human rights..

But yesterday I started a book that is definitely one of the most uplifting, encouraging I've read in a while:


I'm only on pg. 44, but it's just an easy read, that I think I might just finish this by the end of the day. Or I could try to savour it, and distract myself with some other books.

(Shopping at Amazon.ca really paid off. I'm getting all these awesome books for such a good deal...!!)

A new one just arrived today - Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. (I bet the content is just as cheerful as the title sounds.)

And I'm ready to immerse myself in Korphe village on the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan again.

'When it is dark enough, you can see the stars'.
-Persian Proverb

HAPPY NEW YEAR...! cheers to a new beginning in TWO-THOUSAND AND TEN!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Month of December has proven itself to be a truly eventful one.... hectic application preparations aka headache magnets, fighting off holiday flus (to no avail), and hunting for cheap flights to Tanzania/applying IVHQ for volunteer trip to Tanzania.

And now finally, I'm in my final stage applying for grad schools, and I received my confirmation e-mail from IVHQ. Looks like I'll be making a stop in Africa in June 2010!

Aside from all the excitement, there is one thing for which I'm not exactly leaping for joy...

You should talk to your local health doctor as to what vaccinations you will require. Some you may have had in the past.

Further information about vaccinations are provided in the info booklet but you should consider the following.

Immunizations – Legally Required
- Yellow Fever

Immunizations – Recommended
- Polio
- Hepatitis A
- Diphtheria/Tetanus
- Typhoid
- Malaria
- Hepatitis B
- Tuberculosis (when epidemic)
- Cholera (when epidemic)

But anyhow, I'll leave that to later. and try to spread out the shots or something.

For now, I'm in an excellent mood, with this particularly cheerful song stuck in my head:

just in case they're wondering
they've got us pinned terribly
they don't believe our love is real
cause they don't know how real love feels

you should know, its true, just now the part about my
love for you and how my hearts about to
bust into the thousand pieces so it
must be true and they'll believe us too soon

they may say some awful things
but there's not point in listening
your words are the only words
that I believe in afterwards

baby, its fact our love is true
the way black is black and blue is just blue
my love is true, its a matter of fact
and you love me too, its as simple as that

Saturday, December 26, 2009

tis the season of .... holiday flu.

Before my little pictorial review of my fond winter memories of 2009 - I have to say...

that i have to be more health-alert when it comes to my sleeping habits, diet, weekly exercise.
i spent the entire day just resting, not being able to move because of my headache and sore body. when i originally planned to be extra productive on my applications, and then having some fun at night in downtown vancouver, where the streetlights/Christmas lights shine an inviting, welcoming light... Here I am instead, wearing my bum clothes, [trying] to sleep, re-watched You've Got Mail (it's now a Christmas ritual, this epic romance flick), and playing with Yueyue, my hyper dog.... and now writing this blog. i guess my mind and body need a rest from all the Christmas festivities, food, and applications (im guessing this is whats causing the headache, no doubt).

but definitely, i need to improve my health. there's really nothing one can do when one is bedridden and homebound. hey, i guess that's going on my 2010 must-do list!

So without any further ado.... here are the eventful pictures of my winter 2009:

Miss May's surprise Party organized by moi. Successful party! :) countless mini-lies and fake phone calls to make this night possible.

Halloween 2009

let's see.. what do we got here. two ninjas, Dwight from the Office, an asian dude (he's actually white, this is why it's a costume)..

And Eddie C from Twilight, feasting on a geisha, apparently.

hey hey, this is where Olympic Speed Skating 2010 is taking place. too bad they're tearing the place down after the games.

St-Paul's hospital. This is such a hopeful building.

Decorated by volunteers.

Each stars represents a donation from an organization/company who are caring and generous enough to make health services accessible to the public.

Stars of hope... no doubt!

This amazing Tart - busy with blackberries and raspberries is just about the most delicious tart I have ever tasted... for a while... for $4.99. I justify my spending on just how expensive fruit, especially berries are nowadays, and so, I allowed myself to indulge for 3 days in a row in that one week.

The ''imagine banquet'' crew. Our church's youth group [Flux] organized and hosted a banquet for parents and families with disabled children. it was such an amazing night, and just to see our efforts realized with our awesome crew was an unforgettable experience. This is us saying 'CHEERS!' with yogurt drinks bought from T&T.

And yes...! SNOWSHOEING on Mt. Seymour :)
Joel, our patient and professional guide.

Oh, he's also over 6 feet tall, but in this picture it looks like we are the same height.

now...... 6 days countdown before YEAR TWO-THOUSAND AND TEN!

Am i ready for a whole year of craziness and exciting challenges?

may-be. i will say yes for now. because according to Telus, the future is friendly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

on good/$$$ movies

I just watched what is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made in the 21st century.


a great movie, and I'd definitely watch it again - that and Black Hawk Down back to back (oh, and I need to pick up The Thin Red Line).

after IMDB-ed the movie (a habit I got into after viewing any film), I discovered some disturbing facts...

The OMUHA beach scene alone costed $11 million.
This is also the first DreamWorks film to cross the $100 million mark.

These are scary numbers. A good film - nonetheless, scary, outrageous numbers...

This is western media for us: worldvision showing victims of post-war devastation/screwed-up colonization and at the same time showing commercials of blockbusters that cost............

go figure.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

holiday season calls for.....

....something red!

(and Jesus, of course Jesus.)

I just spent the last 7 hours or so on the computer, trying to figure out my other options if I don't get accepted into SFU or UBC for MA... and I can't think straight.

My passion ...
My goal ...
My academic pursuits ...
My vision for the next year ...

Ultimately, all can be summed up with one great quote, so great that I feel almost guilty quoting it. But the heck with it, I'm going to quote it anyway:

''Be the change you want to see in the world.''

What if I hand in my letter of intent with this one single sentence:

''I want to be the change I want to see in the world.''


I think I'd get points for being creatively lazy.

--now back to work.

Friday, December 18, 2009

a good read

This is Benedict (Dr. Orbinski's mentor)'s response to him when he thought that 'justice is an illusion' when he returned from Rwanda and Zaire in 1996, during the genocide:
''Not when you know what injustice is,'' Benedict replied immediately. ''The victim is someone quite concrete. Justice only fails when we fail to imagine that it is possible. But like so many things, it depends not only on imaginings but on what we do.''

What a good read, 'An Imperfect Offering' by James Orbinski.
I wish I was starting the book again from the beginning, instead of finishing it off, with less the 1/4 of the book left. I'm currently reading the chapter called ''The Politics of being Apolitical: Humanitarian Action in North Korea, Kosovo and the Sudan''. I'm still at the beginning of the chapter, where the author, the amazing Dr. Orbinski is struggling with just how cruel and obscene humans can be, and what atrocities we are capable of. This is such a powerful book, with personal accounts of what happened in Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Zaire/Congo.

On a side note, during my volunteer shift today, Bob, a patient I was visiting was telling me his life story (in the span of 45 minutes, it was pretty amazing. I wanted to sit longer but then his son's family dropped by, and my shift was over before I knew it.) and he mentioned how his family was caught in the war in Yugoslavia when he was 12, 13. Then without going into too much details, but enough to make my heart skip a beat and tears well up in my eyes, he told me how he had evacuated the former Yugoslavia with his brother and mother. They basically had to board a ship, which was getting fuller by the minute, to seek refuge in Egypt. Then when it was his turn to go, one of the guard onboard refused to take his mother. 12 year-old Bob then stay put and insisted that unless his mother gets onboard, he won't. Another guard who saw this, couldn't bear the sight of a family being separated, pulled his mother in and managed to get his entire family out of the war-torn country.

My guess is the second guard was empathetic to the situation, and wondered what he himself would do if it was his family standing on the other side of the dock, and if he had to choose survival over family. And at the end of the day, isn't it just all that simple? Injustice, violence, rape, theft, genocide, state-imposed starvation, and all the undesirable terrors of the entire war package -- if the same crime, pain, suffering were to be inflicted on our own mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers... how would each and everyone of us act in the face of the same plight?

Human rights have a chance to be protected when we think clearly, calmly and empathetically.