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15
Mar
14

Latems creatief: When pictures become art paintings

Between the 31st of January and the 2nd of February there was an exposition of paintings at the “Hof Van Ryhove” in Gent, Belgium.

Monk with cat

Monk with pet

It was a group of art painters, grouped as ‘Latems Creatief’ who organized this exposition and who exhibited a large number of art works.

Young monk

young-monk-in-myanmar

Eight of the paintings were for sale, and all profit was foreseen for the Kalyan English Secondary School in Lalitpur, Nepal.

Touareg

Tuareg

These eight paintings were based on my photography, and I was very much honored by the request of their teacher Johan Morel to have some of my portraits selected to transform into art paintings.

Sadhu

sadhoe

Here you can see the transformations.

Inle Lake

rowing-during-sunset

To all members of the art group named ‘Latems Creatief’ I want to express my special thanks for their organization and for their donations to the Kalyan School in Nepal.

Red cap

red-cap

Monk with bowl

Ananda

Bandana

bandana girl

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19
May
12

May 1st: a public holiday, named “Labour Day”

‘May Day’ is a name that relates to some public holidays that occurs in many different countries in the world, for some May 1st is ‘Labour Day’, for others 1st of May is ‘Workers Day’ but for many it’s also the day of the Lily of the Valley flower that is supposed to bring happiness to those who get a bunch of this lovely flower. To honor this holiday, I’m publishing some pictures of people at work in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Republic of Nepal.

In many European countries, May 1st is ‘Labour Day’, which is a bank holiday. Workers will take part to ‘Labour Day’ parades, political demonstrations and special celebrations with Trade Unions.  Let’s take the example of May 1st events in Belgium, which is my home country. Christian and Social Union members will gather in the morning or in the afternoon. Their ‘Labour Day’ activities include walking down the streets, holding red, orange or green flags (colors of their Trade Unions or political parties), claiming more rights for workers, requiring solutions to overcome the financial and economical crisis. At the end of the day, they will end up drinking a beer and meeting some of our politicians.

In some other countries, May 1st is ‘International Worker’s Day’ instead, as their own ‘Labour Day’ occurs on another day of the year. But then again, political and union celebrations will take place. ‘Labour Day’ history is quite different in all countries but May 1st mostly celebrates workers and is internationally observed.

While ‘Labour Day’ is mostly a public holiday, some countries don’t allow their workers to take the day off. ‘Labour Day’ was born in the 19th century, when workers had enough of working too many hours and demanded a decrease of their working time. From a strike movement, it quickly became a popular holiday celebrated by and for the workers all over the world.

While some countries don’t celebrate ‘Labour Day’ on May 1st, it’s interesting to learn how some occidental countries celebrate this day. In the United Kingdom, ‘Labour Day’ occurs on the first Monday of May. Ireland also celebrates this day on the first Monday of May. The United States and Canada will celebrate their ‘Labour Day’ on the 1st Monday of September, however, they observe ‘International Workers’ Day’ on May 1st.

25
Mar
12

21st of March: the start of the meteorological springtime

Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn and winter. These are demarcated by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months. The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter, and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn. Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions. In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May, although differences exist from country to country.

“The flowering of love is meditation.”

 

Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

The phenological definition of spring relates to indicators, the blossoming of a range of plant species, and the activities of animals, or the special smell of soil that has reached the temperature for micro flora to flourish. It therefore varies according to the climate and according to the specific weather of a particular year.

“Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

 

Ramakrishna

 
Extreme weather conditions characterize the spring season. This is due to the fact that during this season the warm winds coming from the lower regions are accompanied by the cold air which originates from the Polar Regions. During the spring season the weather can be severe. The seas and rivers are full because the snow begins to melt. Rainfall is also heavy often leading to serious flood situations. Floods are most common in the hilly areas. In addition to all this, tornado, hailstorms and heavy downpour are also common features during the spring season.

 

“A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.”

 

 

Dogen

Next time when you notice a newly budding leaf, be sure that spring has arrived.

 

 

“Earth laughs in flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 
24
Mar
12

23rd of March 2012: ‘Vikram Samvat’ or Hindu New Year

Hindu New Year , also known as ‘Vikram Samvat’ is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar. In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon and days both sun and moon. This era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. To correspond with the solar calendar, 57 years are subtracted from the Hindu Year. Thus, the New Year begin with the first day of Kartik Maas following Deepawali Amaavasya.

“It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it.”

Ramakrishna

The origin of Hindu New Year relates to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya in 57 BC. According to the legend, King Gardabhilla abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk looked for help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released, but Gardabhilla retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, who was brought up in the forest, later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.

 

 

“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

 

Mao Zedong
 

On this occasion people decorate their houses by lighting and flowers decorations of varied colors like pink, blue, yellow, red and purple, etc… People also designed rangolis. Rangolis are the main attraction of the decoration part.

 

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”

Mother Teresa
 

On that day it is a tradition to wake up early in the morning. People take a bath and they wear new clothes. Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and to god Ganesh. Flowers, fruits and Prasad are offered to God. After the worship, prasad and fruits are distributed among the family members and neighbors. Prasad is a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed.

 

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

The birth of a New Year is a whole new beginning and marks the time when the world awakens from its wintry slumber. So almost all the Hindu New Year festivals fall on the beginning of the spring months when nature turns bountiful and blesses the earth with fruitful greenery. The beautiful flowers that bloom in spring, the early bird songs, the fresh harvests which are the fruits of past labor and the commencement of a new agricultural cycle . All these symbolize the dawn of another year. Thus, every colorful spring festival of the Hindus, with all the expectations, apprehensions, hope and joy woven in the festivities, is essentially for a New Year celebration.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Albert Einstein
18
Mar
12

Wisdom from Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.  The word Buddha is a title for the first awakened being in an era.

“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker.”

Buddha

In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha of our age, “Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”Siddhartha Gautama may also be referred to as Gautama Buddha or as Śākyamuni. The Buddha found a Middle Way that ameliorated the extreme asceticism found in the Sramana religions.

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”

Buddha

The time of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as 563 BCE to 483 BCE.

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”

Buddha

UNESCO lists Lumbini, Nepal, as a world heritage site and birthplace of Gautama Buddha. There are also claims about birth place of Gautama Buddha to be Kapilavastu in Uttar Pradesh, or Kapileswara in Orissa. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala.

“The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.”

Buddha

Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

Buddha
11
Mar
12

Wisdom from Confucius

Confucius (28 September 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period.

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” 

 Confucius

The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty. Confucius’ thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.

 “I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

 Confucius

Because no texts are demonstrably authored by Confucius, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC, many scholars are very cautious about attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius, a collection of aphorisms, which was compiled many years after his death.

 “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”

Confucius 

Confucius’ principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, one of the earlier versions of the Ethic of reciprocity.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Confucius
08
Mar
12

March, 8th: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. It is the story of ordinary women as makers of history and it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for “liberty, equality, fraternity” marched on Versailles to demand women’s suffrage.  The idea of an International Women’s Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies.

“Every moment is an experience”

Jake Roberts

In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home”

Mother Teresa

The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty.In many countries, International Women’s Day is an occasion to honor and praise women for their accomplishments. In 2012, Oxfam America is inviting people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women’s Day e-Card or honoring a woman whose efforts make a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty with Oxfam’s International Women’s Day award.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them”

Mother Teresa

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2012, the ICRC is calling for more action to help the mothers and wives of people who have gone missing during armed conflict. The vast majority of people who go missing in connection with conflict are men. As well as the anguish of not knowing what has happened to the missing person, many of these women face economic and practical difficulties. The ICRC underlines the duty of parties to a conflict to search for the missing and provide information for the families.