Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will."

"For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." -- Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas to everyone! (I'm going home!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back from Vietnam

Back from Ho Chi Mih City last night...

(All pictures courtesy of my friends —these are from KT— because I took no camera there!) More to come soon.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Going on a holiday, sort of

I'm off to Vietnam tomorrow morning for a week. Be back with more pictures and stories!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Drawing lines

This evening, browsing Google News, I clicked on a story headline simply because its title is so arresting: "Bush got it right on stem cells". Before this evening, I did not know who is Charles Krauthammer, the author of the story; so I didn't know whether he falls under the 'conservative', 'neocon' or 'leftist' inclination, but the title itself is simply provocative. It is very rare to hear President Bush being praised for anything these days.

In the last few weeks, anyone who's watching the bioethics field, or is simply curious about the latest scientific breakthrough, must have heard of some wonderful news about IPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells)—which are essentially stem cells that did not come from embryos and therefore did not involve killing of anyone.

Soon after this breaking news, there came another piece of even better news: IPS cells that were not created using a protooncogene, which earlier was used and was feared to induce cancer in the subjects.

Since I'm not American and do not pay taxes to the US, I have no comments regarding her president; only that Bush was right to make the stem cell issue a moral issue and draw a line. The Catholic Church, whose teaching I subscribe to, is unambiguous on this issue: life begins at conception, therefore harvesting stem cells from embryos is equivalent to killing of innocent lives, always an intrinsically grave evil.

While Krauthammer himself is in favor of a more 'liberal' policy on ESC research, he rightly pointed out that the slope is very slippery. He reiterated the need to draw a firm line, and pointed the dubious examples of 'populist' politicians who kept continuously re-drawing and 'retreating' their positions. If nothing else, Bush earned a place in American history through this one policy.

What, thought, what if, the IPS breakthrough had not come about? Prior to them, there have always been other sources of "adult" stem cells, such as those that are obtained from umbilical cord blood cells. Bottomline is, no good end can ever justify evil means.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Friendship just isn't what it used to be...

... in fact, Anthony Esolen proclaimed it dead here.

Since the topic of friendship is still fresh in my mind, this brilliant article pinpointed exactly at what's ailing our friendships today and struck a chord. He warned about the loss of friendship, especially amongst men today. Genuine, affectionate friendship has become a victim to political correctness that changes the semantics of the communal language we use in the society. Gone are the days where men form friendships like Sam and Frodo, or King David and Jonathan.

No doubt about this: If you are a modern man, a half-man, many such ideas and loves have already died in you. For as much as you can admire them wistfully, from a half-understanding distance, you can be neither Frodo nor Sam, nor the man who created them. You dare not follow Agassiz, alone, to the Arctic. You will not weep for Jonathan. You once were acquainted with Enkidu, but that was all. Do not even mention John the Apostle.

While my short reflection about friendship doesn't run along the same thread as Esolen's, I realize that many times, our "lack of availability" stems precisely from a distorted notion of friendship and ultimately, of ourselves. During my teenage days, there were those amongst my friends who suddenly became 'unavailable' because they fancied themselves in love with the person they started 'going steady' with. Everyone else in the world is expendable except for that (current) special one, and friendship suffers as a result:

The libertinism of our day thrusts boys and girls together long before they are intellectually and emotionally ready for it, and at the same time the defiant promotion of homosexuality makes the natural and once powerful friendships among boys virtually impossible.

Go read the entire article here.