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28 February 2016

FOCAL POINT : Pia Andrade, “Being Free”

THIS YEAR makes the thirtieth year of the People's Power Revolution that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. In commemorating the milestone event, the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked my niece Pia Andrade, one of their junior writers, for her thoughts on freedom. Pia wasn't born yet when the peaceful revolution occurred, but her thoughts capture the essence of freedom with universal truth.

We can maintain freedom by using it wisely and not abusing it. We can say anything or do anything, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody. Do not bully others and do not let yourself be bullied.

Trust and respect everyone the same way. Be fair, just, and do not take sides. Love the country where you are born and raised.


26 February 2016

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers”

THIRTY SIX years ago tonight, I tuned in to the live telecast of the Grammy Awards in Manila, and I watched the mesmerizing and unannounced performance captured on this video. Thus began my unending enthusiasm with the incomparable artistry of Barbra Streisand. Watch the video and believe. It doesn't get any better than this anymore.

Festival of Ayyám-i-Há

THIS YEAR'S festival of Ayyám-i-Há has five days of fellowship amongst Bahá'ís on account of leap year. Translated from Persian as "days of joy" or "days outside of time", Ayyám-i-Há brings Bahá'ís together in in a global spirit of goodwill, performing acts of charity, giving gifts to friends and family, and attending social gatherings before the annual Bahá'í Fast begins.

Bahá'u'lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá'í Faith, said of Ayyám-i-Há:

"It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name."

Happy Ayyám-i-Há to Bahá'ís around the world!