Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Letter from Takeo, Cambodia

TO THE ONE WHO CONQUERS 
by DR. Norberto L. Mercado 
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 12:02 AM 

Letter from Takeo, Cambodia: A Cambodian Lady Pastor Told Me Her Story As A Child During the Rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge

Thank you for praying for me in my trips. Lots of adventures
happened.

But God saw me through all of these.

I'm here in the Takeo province, Kingdom of Cambodia .

It is educational and fruitful to immerse one's self with the people in the countrysides.

They have simple lives.

This afternoon, we had a fellowship beside a lake here in Takeo. This is the province where the murderous KHMER ROUGE (Khmer reds or communists) began their movement.

Not far from the place where we had fellowship near the lake is the mansion of Tamuk, built by forced labor in 1975-1976, upon the victory of the Khmer Rouge when they ousted Lon Nol from power.

Tamuk was the right-hand of Pol Pot. He controlled the army in five provinces, including Takeo, and shared power over the army in all provinces. He died in 2007 at the age of 70. He was the most murderous, most ruthless, among Pol Pot's lieutenants.

This afternoon, I interviewed a woman here in Takeo who is now a lady pastor. I want to write her story in a book. She is married to a pastor, and they have three children (all boys) . One died in a car accident .

She was born in 1970, and was around six(6) years old when the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot came to power. She was about ten (10) years old when the Khmer Rouge were ousted by the Vietnamese Army.

Her story is funny and horrifying at the same time.

She told me that all the children in her village, and she was one of them, were assigned by the Khmer Rouge to gather human dung everyday.

The Khmer Rouge soldiers would wake them up at 4:00 AM, sometimes 3:00 AM, DAILY.

THE CHILDREN WERE GROUPED INTO 12 MEMBERS EACH GROUP - 6 GIRLS and 6 BOYS. Their assignment by the order of the Khmer Rouge : To gather human dung up to 12:00 PM, have lunch, and then gather dung again from 1 PM to 6 PM. Dinner would be at 7 PM.

They would do this everyday, from Monday to Sunday, week after week, month after month, year after year during the rule of the Khmer communists(Khmer Rouge) under Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Non Chea, Tamuk and all the other communist murderers.

And you know what the Khmer communists did to the human dung those children gathered everyday?

They ordered the children to mix them with the food the people were erating everyday! Human dung became an added food for the people because there was less food to eat !!!

So, in every meal that the people in their village in Takeo ate, human dung was added!!!

The lady pastor (who was a child then) was one of those assigned to taste the food. She said the Khmer Rouge would not want to taste it.

Many of the children who gathered human dung day after day died.

In her group of 12 , 9 died - 6 boys and 3 girls. Only three (3) survived. She was one of the three. Two of them are in Cambodia. One is in the US - she married an American when she grew up.

She said that if the children would cry, the communist would tie their hands to the back, and kill them.

"Ï didn't cry,"she told me.

The children were separated from their families. They were allowed to join their parents only for one hour, once a week.

Then, the Khmer Rouge expected them to return to duty and work. Otherwise, they would be taken from their parents and killed.

She said that hunger was so bad they would eat leaves of trees, and grasses - anything they could eat. But they would eat only as a group - not alone.

Anyone caught by the Khmer Rouge soldiers eating leaves or grass all by himself or herself was killed for disobeying the order of the communists.

Out of seven million Cambodians, the lady pastor told me that more than three(3) million died during the rule of the Khmer communists. Not two million as reported in the past. They died of execution by bullets and sickles, famines, sicknesses such as cholera,malaria, and diarrhea, and simply exhaustion from daily farm - communal work.

She said that the Khmer Rouge soldiers were so young - mostly only young boys and teen-agers. They all wore black uniforms.

You know, if I stay long here in Cambodia, I could write more books and novels out of the people I am interviewing.

I'll be back to the Philippines via Saigon on Friday.

Hugs,

Norbert


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Monday, December 12, 2011

God Can Give Us The Serenity To Accept The Things We Cannot Change

Our basketball team, the AMWAY BLUE BEES A calls him "Awee". He lives in a squatter area in Quezon City, and he loves basketball. He is the captain ball of our team, and I'm the coach.

He is young, fast, agile, and full of hopes. He is the highest pointer in all our eight games; we won seven (7), and lost one (1). He dreamt of becoming the "Most Valuable Player(MVP)" in the Third Conference of the Sunday Basketball Association(SBA) Philippines, Col. Norberto L. Mercado MNSA Cup (See SBA CHANNEL - www.youtube.com/sbaitv)

The AMWAY BLUE BEES A team ranked second in the "Round Robin Games". The GSG Builders ranked first (undefeated, 8-0).

Eight (8) of the 10 teams would enter the semi-final games last December 4, and they were pitted by drawing game lots. That means whichever two teams would pick up the "Game 1" rolled sheets of paper would play "Game 1", and so on and so forth. The AMWAY BLUE BEES picked up "Game 3". The other lower-ranking teams ( from third to eighth-ranking teams) got "Game 2" and "Game 3".

The first in the Round Robin Games ( GSG Builders) got "Game 3". This meant our team would play against GSG Builders last Dec. 4.

We did, and we lost. We were eliminated from the "SUPER 4" teams which would vie for the TOP 4 positions on December 4 and 11,2011. (My other team, AMWAY BLUE BEES B, won against RED TIERRA. I'm their playing coach).

Our team's defeat means the death of Awee's dream of becoming the MVP of the Sunday Basketball Association(SBA) Philippines for the year 2011.


DREAMS CAN DIE

Each one of us has a dream.
Some of us have small dreams, some have grand ones.

Awee, the young man from the slum area, just want to be the 2011 MVP in the SBA Third Conference. Basketball is his sport, and succeeding in it means a lot to him.

Other people have bigger dreams - becoming mayor, congressman, governor, senator, even president of the Philippines.
Still others want to be successful businessmen, actors, actresses, lawyers, doctors,Supreme Court justices, world champions in boxing, soccer, basketball, and other sports.
While some do succeed in their dreams, many others fail.
Victory or defeat, success or failure, glory or shame can come to any man - rich and poor alike.

This is the irony and reality of life.
Take President Noynoy Aquino as an example. He won the highest office of the land, which is a big honor indeed. But to his chagrin, while in his second year in office, he and his family lost Hacienda Luisita.
Or Senator Manny Villar. With more than P1-billion in his campaign "war chest", bigger than any campaign fund of any 2010 presidential candidate, he dreamt of becoming the next president of the Philippines after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, only to land a poor third to Joseph Estrada.

Aquino got 15,208,678 (42.08% of the total votes cast). I am one of those who campaigned and voted for Noynoy Aquino for President. Estrada had 9,487,837 votes(26,25%), while Villar only got 5,573,835 (15.42%). The other presidential candidates - Teodoro,Villanueva,Gordon,delos Reyes, Madrigal, Perlas, and the COMELEC -"disqualified, then qualified, then disqualified" Vetallano Acosta - got the remaining votes.

If DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima will look at these figures and be honest to herself, she will have to conclude that her boss does not really have the " majority " of the registered Filipino votes, but just the "plurality" ( 42.08% of the total votes cast in 2010).

On the other hand, when the 1987 Philippine Constitution (also called the "Cory Constitution") was presented to the Filipino people for ratification, if my memory does not fail me, it was overwhelmingly voted for by eighty seven (87%) of the Filipino voters at that time.

Now, this is the highest law of the land which defines the kind of government this republic should have - a government of three equal branches (executive, legislative, and judicial).

The 1987 Philippine Constitution declares that the President and the Vice-President of the Philippines (executive), and the members of the Philippine Senate and Congress (legislative) should be directly elected by the Filipino voters.

On the other hand, the members of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice, must be appointed by the President of the Philippines .

This is what the "majority of the Filipino people want", as enshrined in the highest law which they approved. They don't want the SC Chief Justice and the Associate Justices to be directly elected by the people, but to be appointed by the President of the Philippines whom they elected. This is the will of "the majority".
This is the "majority of the people" that want the Supreme Court to be the ultimate interpreter and arbiter of the laws of the land, the legislative branch to be the crafter of the law, and the executive branch to be the implementor of the law. This is the "will of the majority", so that there will be order and unity in running the government.

While CJ Renato Corona is considered a "midnight appointee" by GMA, the validity and efficacy of his appointment was already resolved and approved by the august body.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution was overwhelmingly approved by 87 % of the total number of Filipino voters ( a truly majority vote), while President Noynoy Aquino only got 42.08 %
of the total votes cast (plurality vote).

This fact really shows where the love, respect, and sympathy of "the majority" of the Filipino people - in the Philippine Constitution.

Any persona or group, therefore, that says it wants to serve and follow the will of the majority of the Filipino people should work within, and must respect and follow the Philippine Constitution.


PRESIDENT AQUINO'S DREAM

President Benigno Aquino III has a noble dream - to uplift the welfare of the majority of the Filipino people who have been suffering from economic malaise and other manifestations of social injustice. It is a dream which we should all fully support, whatever political fence we belong to if we are true to our claim that we are serving the interest and will of the majority of our people.

But P-Noy, in the pursuit of this dream, should work within the parameters of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. He should reject the temptation of a short-cut, no matter how resplendent the short-cut is.

The militants in congress and on the street who claim that they are serving the majority of our people, should obey and respect the Philippine Constitution, everything which states and not just a paragraph or two. They should help President Aquino improve the lives of our people instead of shouting the perennial "isms" which they don't even fully comprehend.

President Aquino needs and deserves our support - the support of the "plurality" that voted him into office, and the "majority" that overwhelmingly approved the 1987 Philippine Constitution. If P-Noy fails in his dream, though I hope he will not, then that's the reality of life. He has a successor in 2016 , as the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides, who will continue the unfinished job of lifting the lives of our countrymen. I hope that P-Noy, in his anger and frustration over what has been happening to his programs of government, will pray the prayer of the Rev. Reinhold Niehbur in Nazi-occupied Germany during the Second World War:

"Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things
I can not change, the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know their difference."

We Filipinos will continue to dream.
Those of us who believe in the God of Israel, the real Creator and power of the universe, will continue to put our hope and faith in Him, even if the dream of one leader dies.

Today is today. Tomorrow is another day!



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Saturday, November 19, 2011

God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!

Dear Doreen, Brethren, and Friends,

I'm here in Moncada, Tarlac, visiting my relatives. I spent the night here. I boarded a bus from Metro Manila last night, and I arrived here in Moncada at almost 10 PM, more than three hours trip.

From here, I'll take a bus to my hometwon, San Manuel, Tarlac, this morning, to visit the graves of my parents - Aureio and Francisca Mercado.The are both believers in Christ.

I preached Christ in the moving bus. My message is about the certainty of death for all men, due to sin. We will all die, I told the passengers, and that's the bad news.( Though people who are in Christ won't experience death when the rapture of the church takes place.) While physical death for all men is the bad news, the good news is that Christ our Lord came to earth, the God-incarnate, in the form of a baby, the baby Jesus, to save every man(and woman of course), who receives Him as his/her Saviour and Lord.

Before I got off the bus, I prayed the "Sinner's Prayer", and I asked those who wanted to repent from their sins and receive the Lord Jesus Christ to pray that prayer.

I don't know how any prayed. What's important is I gave the message, and an opportunity for them to receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

This is what I often do when I ride in buses to the provinces. I ask and encourage all believers to do the same - bus evangelism - wherever it is possible. Don't be shy or scared, but rely in the Lord to give you the boldness and peace.

The Lord told us that "he who is ashamed of Him and His Word", He will also be ashamed of him. And that's tough indeed!



In Christ,

Dr. Norbert Mercado

Monday, November 2, 2009 9:51 AM



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Thursday, October 13, 2011

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FILIPINO TOURIST IN BANGKOK,THAILAND


ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FILIPINO TOURIST IN BANGKOK,THAILAND
(With apology to Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 1:15 AM
 
 
 
           I woke up at around 9 AM today due to tiredness and lack of sleep. I usually sleep at past 12:00 in the morning, and its not a good habit.  Last night(or this morning), I slept at 3:00 AM.
 
                                  ****************************************
 
           I thought I was in the Philippines. A score of  seconds after I opened my eyes, I realized that I am in Bangkok,Thailand. I'm staying in Pluem Dee 32 Hotel at 271 Sutthisan Road,Phayathai,Bangkok.  It's a budget hotel. But the rooms are big, and they have individual toilet and bath, as well as big TV . 
 
                                  *****************************************
 
           My breakfast is very simple - Thai noodle.  It has fishballs,some meat, garlic,kangkong, and spices. No coffee. It was only later when I could take coffee at their MRT station.
 
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           Bangkok is expensive for tourists. But if you know what to do, where to eat, what to ride on, then you can possibly survive on a US$15 a day. If you don't, even US$100 a day is hardly enough.
           My daily budget in this 17-day trip is US$15. Oftentimes, I overshoot my budget.
          
                                  ****************************************
 
           If you ask me which city is more expensive, Kota Kinabalu or Bangkok, my answer is it depends.
           In Kota Kinabalu(Sabah), a budget hotel may cost you around US$6 per day. At least that's what I paid my hotel while I was there for three nights.So, you still have US$9 to spend, that is if you are on a $15-budget. But food is Kota Kinabalu is  generally more expensive than in Bangkok. A good lunch or dinner there will cost you US$4. So, if you take three meals a day on that average budget per meal, you consume US$12, plus other expenses like buying this and that, and your fares, then you will really overshoot your budget.
           In Bangkok, however, budget hotels are more expensive. My hotel room costs me US$10 per day. Food can be expensive or not, depending on what you eat.
            A Thai noodle can cost you from 20 baht(Thai currency) to 35 baht. Therefore, if you are really budget-oriented, a 100 baht a day is possible.
 
                          ************************************************
 
           Can a tourist live  in Bangkok  or in Kota Kinabalu on a US$100 per week budget? Yes, it's possible. Even in Kota Kinabalu. Pero sobrang tipid na yun!    Hotels can eat a big piece of your daily budget.
 
                            **********************************************
 
           Bangkok is generally clean. Cleaner than Metro Manila. Their tributary rivers have garbage, and some corners of the city which I saw have uncollected garbage. Still, it's generally cleaner than Sampaloc,Quiapo, Sta.Cruz or Binondo.
           The city,however, is polluted, just like the Espana or Quiapo area.It's not good for asthmatics to live here. In the countrysides of Singapore, yes it is.
 
                            *********************************************
 
           The best way to tour Bangkok with just a little expense is by bus.
           If you're here, just take any bus(remember the bus number), and it goes  through and around the city proper. The fare is just a minimum of 7 baht, or 10 pesos. In Manila, the minimum fare is P7.50.
           By bus, I toured Bangkok  today.  Buses here are numbered. They are either air-conditioned or not, just like in Manila.
           I went to Chulalongkorn University campus and met students there.
           Chulalongkorn University(CU) is the University of the Philippines of Thailand. The best minds of Thailand are educated at CU. Some children of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit studied in this school.
           The student population, both undergraduate and graduate students, is more than 32,000 .  Foreign students compose between 5 to 10 per cent of the whole student population.
 
             ***************************************************************
 
            A student accompanied me to their main library where I donated some of my books. The library staff entertained me, and thanked me for the donation.
            It is good to donate some copies of one's books to school libraries.
            I have donated my books in the main libraries of four  universities- Unibersidad du Macau(University of Macau), National University of Singapore, Chulalongkorn University(Thailand), and the University of the Philippines main library. . Each of these universities are considered number one school in the country where these are established.
 
                          *************************************************
 
            
           This evening, two funny things happened to me in Bangkok.
           First, I got lost. I had to ask Thais for direction. And they are helpful,generally speaking. Most of them are just like Filipinos.
           Second, I got "severe punishment" in a Thai restaurant for ordering authentic Thai food.
            The foods are either very hot or very salty. Hindi ko natapos yung dinner ko.(I didn't finish my dinner).  Ang anghang!!! (Too hot!)Para akong nasa final initiation ng Sigma Rho - noong neophytes pa kami. Pinakain kami ng katakot-takot na siling labuyo!
             I was charged 200 baht for the unconsumed food.
             Before I left, the Thai waitress came to me, and with a smile she said,"Come again, okay?" And she meant what she said.
             But I have decided not to eat there again even if the food is given to me for free!!! Ito ang pinetensiya!




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Thursday, September 29, 2011

WHO MOVED THE STONE?


 by Dr. Norberto L. Mercado
            Today is Palm Sunday. It is the "first day" of the Lenten Season.
            Today, we commemorate the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, on a lowly donkey, not on a conqueror's white horse.
            But when He will come again, He won't ride on a donkey anymore. He will ride on the most powerful white horse (Rev. 19).
           
            LIFE AFTER THE PRESENT LIFE

            I am deeply convinced that of all the religious leaders who walked the face of this earth, Jesus Christ is the most unique of them all.
            Buddha, Mohammed, Marx (Marxism is a religion - the worship of human leaders), and all religious leaders died and their bodies decayed.
            But Jesus was buried after He was crucified by the Roman soldiers, and He rose again on the third day (Sunday). He was crucified on a Friday.
            And after He rose again and showed Himself to more than 500 witnesses, the Bible declares that Jesus ascended into Heaven. 
            He showed us that there is life after this present life!

            THE ENEMIES OF JESUS KNEW THAT THE MESSIAH WOULD RISE ON THE THIRD DAY AFTER HE WAS KILLED
      
            The Old Testament books prophesied that the coming Messiah would be killed, but He would rise again on the third day.
            The Pharisees (the enemies of Jesus) knew this prophecy because they all studied the Old Testament.
            So, when Nicodemus asked Pontius Pilate permission to bury Jesus' body in his (Nicodemus') tomb, a request which was granted, the High Priest of the Pharisees, Caiaphas, also went to Pontius Pilate afterwards and asked the Roman Procurator of Judea to assign Roman soldiers to guard the tomb.
            Why?
            Caiaphas told Pontius Pilate his fear that the disciples might steal the body of Jesus, and then they would  say that Jesus rose from the grave in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy.
            Therefore, the tomb must be guarded.
            Pontius Pilate granted the request of Caiaphas. He assigned an elite company of Roman soldiers - ready to kill and be killed - to guard the tomb.
            Nicodemus and his assistants hauled Jesus' body from the cross after sunset. This was on a Friday.
            Caiaphas should have gone to Pontius Pilate immediately after.
            The following day was a Saturday, the Sabbath day of the Jews.
            It was the day of rest.

            THEN SUNDAY CAME

            Early Sunday, Mary Magdalene and her companions went to the tomb where Jesus was laid. 
            The tomb was open.  The large stone which shut it was moved.
            Who moved the stone?
            Why was the tomb empty?

            THE SUSPECTS:

            1. It  was probably Peter and the apostles who went to the tomb on Saturday night, or at dawn on Sunday and stole Jesus' body. But wait a minute.
How could Peter do this when he was so scared when Jesus was arrested that he denied Him three times before the cock crew? And the Four Gospels recorded that Peter himself run to the tomb when Mary Magdalene told him that the body of Jesus was missing. When he entered the tomb, indeed, Jesus' body was not there. So it could not be him who stole the body.
             2. If it was not Peter who led the apostles, it could be Thomas. But wait. When Jesus had already risen from the dead and He had shown Himself to several of His disciples, it was Thomas the Apostle who said, "Unless I see His pierced hands and His wounded body, I will not believe!"  So it could not be Thomas.
             3. Any of the apostles and disciples. But wait a minute. They were all scared to death and were hiding from the Roman soldiers and from the Pharisees.
             4. Mary Magdalene and the other women. But they themselves wondered who stole the body.
             5. Mary, the mother of Jesus. Or Mary and Martha. But wait a minute. Were they physically strong enough to overpower the fully armed Roman guards?
             6. What about the Roman soldiers who were assigned to guard the tomb? But wait a minute. Pilate ordered that the Roman Imperial seal be marked on his written order that the tomb be guarded by the Roman soldiers.  The soldiers knew what disobedience to authority meant  - death!  If they were remiss of their duty, and the apostles succeeded in stealing the body, they knew that they would all receive the death penalty for their disobedience. So it could not be the soldiers.
             5. What about Pontius Pilate or Caiaphas? But what will they do with the body of Jesus? They were not deranged men to do this. They were the enemies of Jesus!
             So, who moved the stone?  Who stole the body of Jesus?

             THE ROMAN SOLDIERS TESTIFIED BEFORE CAIAPHAS

             Right after the resurrection of Christ in the early moment of the third day after He was crucified, the Roman officer and his soldiers rushed to Caiaphas the High Priest and told  Him a scary but wonderful story -  Jesus rose to life!
             The Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb told Caiaphas that there was an earthquake, and then an angel appeared. And then the tomb opened.
             The scared soldiers told Caiaphas that it was most likely the angel who moved the large stone and opened the tomb! And they all fell to the ground, scared to death at what was happening.  And they said that Jesus' body was gone!
             The soldiers were so scared even after the incident because they knew the penalty they will receive  -  death!
             It was the Roman soldiers who testified before Caiaphas : the body of Jesus was missing!  
             The Roman soldiers knew that what Caiaphas feared would happen came true :  
JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!!!
             Hallelujah!!!!!
             And because Jesus has risen, there is life after death!
             And our lives can have meaning!
             Hallelujah!!!!!
             Jesus Christ has conquered death!
             THE LORD IS RISEN!!!!


                                                   Written on Palm Sunday, 8-9 PM,April 1,2007
                                                   In an Internet Cafe at Tandang Sora, Quezon City
                                                   Philippines




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DATELINE TRAT,THAILAND 3: OBSERVATIONS IN THAILAND


Most of the animals,plants,fish,flowers which are in the Philippines are also here in Thailand.
 
                                           +++
 
      There are a little differences. The chico here is elongated and has a yellowish color. Its sweet. They call it "lamut". "Lamut" in Ilocano means "food".
 
                                           +++
 
      There is lanzones here. A lot of pineapples. They have guavas here which are like green apples. There are bananas which are so big.
 
                                           +++
 
      They also have mudfish(dalag) and catfish(hito).  They have litson-manok. Their bagoong is different.  They have "patupat" ( an Ilocano  sweet ricecake wrapped with young palm leaves).
 
                                           +++
 
       There are fruits here which I don't see in the Philippines.  The  fruit which I call "snakefruit" because the peeling is scaled like the scales of the snake, is also found in Kota Kinabalu.
 
                                           +++
 
       Martial law in Thailand is generally accepted by the people because King Bhumibol Adulyadej has thrown his support to the "coup" makers.
 
                                           +++
 
        The king of Thailand has great influence over his people. The people think he is a good king.  His picture is printed in all paper money as well as some coins in Thailand.  If the king has not supported the coup, the coup makers would have self-exiled abroad like the past coup plotters.
 
                                           +++
 
         There are two major English newspapers here : The Nation and The Bangkok Post. I buy and read them.
 
                                           +++
 
         Yesterday, The Bangkok Post reported that ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra is in Hong Kong, seen shopping with his wife.  He joked that he is now unemployed.
 
                                           +++
 
          The operator of the tourist inn where I stayed in my first night here is a Thai lawyer who left her lawyering career  to operate a tourist inn. She has a daughter. Her husband is a border policeman.  She told me that she makes more money by operating the inn than by lawyering. She knows Imelda and the Marcoses by name, and compares them to Thaksin Shinawatra.  Of course, I told her two versions about the ill-gotten wealth. And I said that I don't know which one to believe as of now.
 
                                           +++
 
           The Lord  Jesus said :"Judge not lest you be judged...But if you judge, judge righteously."(The Lord meant here that if you are a judge(in court), then judge righteously, i.e. after all the facts are presented).
 
                                           +++
 
            Thais in the South are more Malay and Indonesian in features. Thais in the North(near China), and in near Cambodia are more Chinese in features.
 
                                          +++
 
            Trat, Thailand used to be under the French during their time as colonizers of French Indochina. French Indochina has disintegrated to three countries : Cambodia,Vietnam,and Laos. Plus Trat which is now a part of Thailand.
 
                          
 
                                       
 
                                            Trat, Nov. 16,11:30 PM

Dateline Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia: The Legend of Mount Kinabalu

Written on Thursday, November 9, 2006 10:09 PM



Hi Everyone!
 
     Thank you for praying for my safe trip to Kota Kinabalu. I arrived three hours ago at the Air Asia Airport or Terminal 2. I checked in here in The Beach Lodge which is in the city proper of Kota Kinabalu. There is an "Internet Cafe" at the lobby, for about US$1 per 30 minutes of use.
 
      I have not gone around the city because it is already night time. I have not eaten my dinner, but after I send this e-mail,  I'll look for a seafood restaurant.
 
      Kota Kinabalu got its name from Mount Kinabalu, which is near the city.
 
      Kota in Malay means "town".
 
      Kina is the name of a woman.
 
      "Balu" in Malay means a widow.  I surmise that it is also an Ilocano word.
 
      . 
      "Balu" in Ilocano also means a widow.
 
      Kinabalu, therefore, refers to Kina the widow.
 
      Now, here is the story, the legend of Mount Kinabalu
 
      It is a love story.  It can be written to a novel.
 
      This is the story in a nutshell based on my conversation with two AIR ASIA stewardesses while we were airborne. 
 
       As a journalist, it is my training to ask for the five Ws : Who,What,Where,When,Why.
 
 
        THE LEGEND OF MOUNT KINABALU
(Based on the Account of Air Asia Stewardesses as Related to Norbert Mercado on November 9,2006 During the Air Asia Flight from Clark Air Base to Kota Kinabalu)
 
 
        Kina is a woman so much in love to her husband.
 
        They have just gotten married.
 
        And they settled at the foot of a high mountain.
 
        She was simple and beautiful. She had long and wavy hair.
 
         Her lips were like strawberries.
 
         Her eyes had the color of the emerald.
 
         Her hands were soft and gentle.
 
         Her skin was light and fair.
 
          And she loved her husband.
 
          And her husband loved her.
 
          They lived a simple and tender life.
 
           Until the time of war came.
 
           And the Sultan of the state had to call on all able-bodied man to meet the enemy.
 
           And  Kina's husband answered the call to arms.
 
           The parting of the new couple was painful.
 
           In tears, Kina told her husband that she would wait for him however long it would take. 
 
           And she would be faithful to him, promising affection until the grave would claim her body.
 
           And the husband went to war.
 
           She waited.
 
           And waited.
 
           And waited.
 
           But he never came back.
 
           She later learned that her husband was killed-in-action.
 
           People living near their place tried to comfort her. 
 
           Kina  became  "balu"    - widow.
 
           She now had to live life alone.
 
           And she had to be brave.
 
           Instead of feeling self-pity, she tried to help the children of the people living near the foot of the mountain.
 
           She taught them songs. She taught them  to live life bravely and fully.
 
            But one day, her "pupils" found her lifeless body at the foot of the mountain.
 
            Kina is gone.
 
            The parents of her "pupils" wanted to honor her by naming the high mountain "Mount Kinabalu".
 
            For the memory of  a great woman.  A great lover.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saigon Poem

(For June)


I still think of Mui Ne
and the nice people I met there,
the locals, and the strangers
who walked the beaches,
and spent precious time with me...

I met a young couple
from Shanghai,
we talked in the late of the night,
as the waves pounded the shore,
about Chinese culture and politics,
how the military there today
hates Mao,
and the young generation empty
in soul and spirit despite
the progress of the body...

I met a lady from Slovenia,
and her boyfriend,
and how they wish so much
to visit the Philippines:
and  I told them how beautiful
our islands are -
Palawan and Boracay,
and Hundred Islands,too,
and a lot more of places to see...

I met a couple from France,
they are touring Vietnam
from Hanoi to Saigon;
I invited them to the Philippines,
and they wish to visit
our heritage someday...


I met other people,
some of them were not
as tender and joyful as the rest,
proving what humanity is,
and what they can become.

I still think of Mui Ne
as I write this poem in Saigon,
my cycling hours in the afternoon,
to see the yellow sanddunes and
the fishing village,
and the ball of fire slowly sinking
in the cold, eternal sea...
I wish you are with me...


Norbert L. Mercado
Saigon, South Vietnam
November 17,10:00 PM

Autumn Poems from Pnom Penh

Poem 1 :  Poem At Sunset in Pnom Penh

Pity the man,
and also the woman,
who does not have the time
to see the beauty of sunset,
when life to him is all work,
and days are dull and boring,
and the endless nights bring moments
of dread...

Pity the man,
and also the woman,
who can not feel the joy
and peace at the sinking of the sun
into the kingdom of the sea,
but instead worry at the coming
terror of the night,
as a consequence of the sins
of yesterday...

Pity the man,
and also the woman,
who thinks of sunsets
as just ordinary times,
and can fathom
neither the meaning of the day,
nor the hue of the coming night...


Poem 2 : Live Only For Today

Yesterday,
I rented a bicycle for
two US dollars a day,
and biked around Pnom Penh...

I visited the parks along the Mekong River,
and rested under the ever green trees,
I biked through avenues
and streets of this old city,
shattered by the horrors of the past,
but alive again!!!
I went around the Royal Palace
where the new king Ranaridh resides,
the younger son of Norodom and Monique.
and marvelled as its unique magnificence...

Yesterday,
I saw the laughters of the Khmers,
victims of Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary,
helpless souls under the  terrifying shadow
of Marx and Lenin,
and the Chinese dictator named Mao...
Oh! how they laughed at the start of
celebration of the "Water Festival",
as the boatmen gird for the water race,
hoping to win through gut and grace...

Yesterday,
I visited the Royal Institute of Foreign Languages,
and the Cambodian Institute of Technology,
with the purpose of sharing my faith in Christ
to the students...
And I met several of them,
and they were eager to know more
and to correspond...

Yesterday,
it rained...
but I thought the rain would also pass,
like before,
for  it does and will not rain always...
And true,
after an hour or two,
the sun showed its splendour again,
and the temporal dark clouds are gone with the rain...

Yesterday is a day gone,
and we can not change what was.
The Master of the Storm
taught us
to focus on life
just for today,
and not to brood on the failures
and flaws of yesterday,
or worry about what tomorrow will bring forth.
Let us live then the best of life
today...


Poem 3 :  I Think of You
( A Poem for June)

I think of you
there in Mui Ne
as I beheld the sinking sun...

I think of you
there in Saigon
as I walked the streets
when the day was gone...

I think of you
here in Pnom Penh
as the ephemeral hours run...

I think of you...always.


NORBERT L. MERCADO
Pnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
November 20,2010, 1:35 PM

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tourists in Green Kuala Lumpur

Notes from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 9:09:54 PM


My wife June (architect June Morales-Mercado,UAP), and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last night to see some changes.

The old Puduraya bus station, where buses from Singapore and Thailand, as well as the buses coming from the different states of Peninsular Malaysia, is under renovation. The bus station was temporarily transferred to a place far from the city proper.

So we had to take a taxi from there to the city. Before we reached the city proper, the taxi conked out, and so we had to take another cab. Fortunately, we reached the city proper safely. It was already past 11:00 PM.

We stayed in a hostel called "Backpackers' Hostel", just opposite the old Puduraya bus station which has been undergoing renovation for a year.  My, it is really having a "facelift". So different from it was in 2009 when I was here. I have been to KL more than 10 times. This is the second time my wife visited this city.

In the morning, around 7 AM, we took a taxi to the world-renowned "Petronas Twin Towers", and had a simple breakfast there.

We went out of the building afterwards, and had photos with the "twin towers" as background.

Outside the building, we met four Filipino tourists( all Muslims from Marawi City), and befriended them. Two of them are medical doctors, a couple. The two others are females, working with PhilHealth.

From the Petronas Twin Towers, we took a cab to the Kuala Lumpur Tower. I have been there twice. So I told June to just take the lift to the peak, while I read "The Sun", a Malaysian daily.

My wife met two Filipino women at the peak of the KL Tower. She said they are OFWs.

From the KL Tower, we boarded bus No. 79, and journeyed to the Chinatown. The bus ticket costs us only one(1) Malaysian ringgit each. On the other hand, a taxi from Backpackers Hostel to the twin towers cost fifteen(15) Malaysian ringgit, and from the Petronas Twin Towers to the KL Tower is another 15 Malaysian ringgit.

Lesson : If you wish to go around a foreign city, and you can help it, take a bus.

We took our lunch at a nearby McDonalds  in Chinatown, afterwhich we came to this internet cafe for a rest and to communicate to the outside world.

Here in Kuala Lumpur , we are tourists. It's a green city, and I wish Metro Manila is as environment-friendly as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

It's also a relatively peaceful city.

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Even The Grass Bleeds Abridged Edition

The Last Romanov



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The Winter is Young


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The Winter Is Young - Norbert Mercado

Josephine's father is an active Major in the military. Dante, her boyfriend, has joined the forces against the government. The rebel controlled bombers swooped over Malacañang Palace on the first day of the bloodiest military rebellion in Philippine history. The Aquino administration fought for its life, a nation shook, and the fate of an unspoiled love stood still.

The Winter Is Young... a love story challenged by a country's crisis. From the pen of Norbert Mercado.

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Windflowers



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WINDFLOWERS is a novel which gingerly shows the atoning nature of pure love, and the destructive power of selfish ambition.


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WINDFLOWERS is a novel which gingerly shows the atoning nature of pure love, and the destructive power of selfish ambition.

Unchained Melody



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Vivian and Remedios have begun a new chapter of their lives in a strange foreign land. What struggles will they face as they try to secure a better future?

Beyond the darkness lies the rebuilding power of love.

A novel about the struggles and sacrifices of working women abroad in their quest for a better life.

Three Cornered Sun


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THREE CORNERED SUN This is another collection of socio-political essays in relation to the problem of communist insurgency in the Philippines.

A Thousand Summers


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A THOUSAND SUMMERS. This is a novel in poetry form about Gregoria Serra-Morales, a native of San Joaquin, Iloilo. She is a nurse who graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1939, and the mother-in-law of Dr. Norberto L. Mercado.

Some Winds Blow Forever


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Cara, a well traveled Lithuanian-American businesswoman, has uncovered the truth she was asked to search for in Macau. Ecological destruction results in a terrifying natural disaster.

SOME WINDS BLOW FOREVER is a social novel which shows the tragic consequences of ecological destruction. It appeals to the present generation (through the presentation of a horrifying incident in the Philippines - the Ormoc flashflood which killed more than 8,000 people) to help in the preservation of the environment.


Ronald Reagan: Profile of a President

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The Protracted War and the Quest for Peace


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THE PROTRACTED WAR AND THE QUEST FOR PEACE. An anthology of socio-political essays.

One Love, Three Summers




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Father Rex is a priest involved in the communist movement. Because of Annabelle, he begins to question the ideology he has followed for years. This novel spurns and condemns a bloody revolution as a solution to the problems of society, and gives an unapologetic argument that compassion rather than the pursuit of power is the noblest of human aspirations.

The Last Romanov


Written by Norbert L. Mercado in 1992, the author takes us on a journey of possibilities about the tragic story of the last Romanov family - that of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra - after the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution.


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THE LAST ROMANOV is the tragic story of the last Romanov family - that of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra - after the end of World War l and the Russian Revolution.
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