Understanding Hurakans

Hurricane Isabel (2003)

Few natural phenomena can bring a civilization to its knees. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and mud slides tend to come to mind. The Caribs, a West Indian tribal people, called them ‘Hurakan’ possibly adopted from the Mayans to describe a mythological “god of evil… who blew his breath across the chaotic water” leading to devastation. The Chinese referred to them as “tai feng” for great wind. I’m talking hurricanes. Known in meteorological parlance as tropical cyclones (or typhoons in the West Pacific), they arrive ceremoniously, so humanity can witness and experience the raw power of nature. The Southeastern United …

The Swaying Bauhinia

Flag of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the archetype of a global city. The city commands immense geopolitical power, and it remains one of the most internationally connected cities in Asia. Its very name is synonymous with international business and global trade. Long before cities like Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, Taipei, or even Seoul, Hong Kong was the mega city in East Asia. But this week, that position may have started to take a dramatic shift. China’s president, Xi Jinping, visited the semi-autonomous region, marking the 20-year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty to mainland China. Many of the people living in the city are …

Reflecting on America’s Maverick

Sen. John McCain

Honor. Integrity. Grit. Candor. Respect. Courage. These were words that John McCain exemplified while representing the Grand Canyon State. From decorated POW to a member of Congress to presidential candidate to eminent statesman, he continued his family’s storied tradition of service to country. Few politicians’ words carried weight like McCain’s, and now the nation has lost a vital voice in statecraft and in our everyday political life. May his example be the guiding star for all of us in our lives and in our continuing discourse. Thank you, Senator McCain for offering such a historical and political legacy. You will …

Goodbye, Queen of Soul

Young Aretha

Few singers come to mind who have had a deep and lasting cultural impact worldwide—Edith Piaf and Umm Kulthum do. Yet, Aretha Franklin must count among them. She penetrated the very heart of us with her raw talent, grace, finesse, and unmatched musicianship. Crossing multiple genres, Aretha took us there emotionally, allowing us to see just a hint of the power and the glory. Thank you Aretha for time and time again making me feel like a natural woman.

No More Promises

Stop me if you heard this one before. I can almost hear the Smiths ebbing out of nothing, naysaying how I starting the blogging bit all over again. Yeah, that sounds about right. Once again I’m starting over. Why? Even I don’t exactly know, but the seduction of putting “pen to paper” is all too alluring. The last time I took this helm, I did so thinking I should establish a more relaxed, “peaceable disposition” (Title of a previous blog entry from a couple years ago): Where I thought I would garner peace from my writing in this medium, I …