Thursday, April 20, 2006

The American Way, Osama, and Truth.

Today I wrapped up a business trip in India and had the pleasure of visiting the Taj Mahal with a colleague. I also had the pleasure of talking about the world at large with Sanjay, our tour guide in Agra. Sanjay shed new light on my knowledge of the American Revolution. He said that many in the world greatly admired the United States after it successfully gained independence from England in 1776. And the US inspired many other countries, like India, to also seek independence.

I wish the US could continue to inspire people rather than hurt them.

In Greg Mortenson's book "Three Cups of Tea", one Pakistani says regarding the US-Iraq war "I'm a moderate Muslim, an educated man. But watching this, even I could become a jihadi. How can Americans say they are making themselves safer? Your President Bush has done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years."

In response to Greg's retort saying "Osama had something to do with it, too." The Pakistani goes on to say "Osama, baah! Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.

These words ring true whereas much of what President Bush has had to say has not.

I highly recommend that everyone buy a copy of Greg's book and read it. It is chock full of insights and real truths. Please read it and let ignorance fade away in the light of reason and accurate information. The truth shall set us free.

Tim Oey

Friday, April 07, 2006

Longevity, durability, and death...

I was very pleased to learn from Blogger Support that their intent is to retain information on blogspot "forever" (must fall within their TOS -- which means it basically must be legal -- and, of course, they have to stay in business).

This is quite reassuring. As a historian and archivist, I value permanence and durabilty. Plus I would really like my writing to stay around for a very long time, so that others may learn about me and what I think. Here is the email I got from the blogger folks.

Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 17:39:54 -0700
From: "Blogger Support"
To: "Tim Oey"
Subject: Re: [#443986] Longevity, durability, and death...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for writing in. Blogger will never delete or remove any blog
content unless the blog violates our Terms of Service. We intend to retain
content "forever," even after the author dies. Please let me know if you
have any further questions or concerns, and thanks for using Blogger!

Blogger Support



Sunday, April 02, 2006

Death is hard...

Today was a hard day. Actually this whole week was hard.

Young people think they are invincible or simply don't think about death because they have so much life in front of them. They are lucky. They deserve to enjoy their youth as much as they can; before they become more burdened with other realities of life.

I am no longer as young as I once was. As you get older, you are exposed more to death. While my educated philosophical perspective says that death is as natural as life, death still hurts. A lot. Especially for those of us left behind.

This past week, Ben Sumner, the 20-year-old son of a good friend of mine, hit a tree and was killed while skiing. My wife and I attended his memorial service today. It was a beautiful service full of his friends, family, and wonderful memories. He was a fantastic guy -- bright, witty, and full of life. As a parent of two growing sons, I am heartbroken over this tragic loss.

Also this past week, we lost Karen Ballantine, one of our good family friends, to cancer. She was a mother of two children just a bit younger than our own. Our families are both a part of the Minnows Mariner group at the Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. As a part of this group we got to know each other before any of us had kids, and our families grew up together. Her memorial service will be in a few weeks.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, we lost another good friend to cancer: Lonnie Toensfeldt. She was older with two grown daughters. She had accomplished much for hundreds, even thousands of kids through her outstanding work in the California 4-H program. She was my mentor as a 4-H leader during my adult involvement in the program. I had the good fortune to get to know her well and to share memories with her at a celebration of her life hosted by her friends last summer when we learned her cancer had taken a turn for the worse.

Life is so delicate.

These recent life passages make me appreciate more fully the short, precious time I spend with my kids, as well as with my friends, my family, and my wife. Here's to them and to all of you reading this. May all of us enjoy each others company while we have the chance. And remember the good times and friendships of those who go ahead of us.