I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize: gentleness, frugality and humility

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others and keeps me from thinking more highly of myself than I should. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among people.”

Lao-Tzu

Girl
From Twinkle Life

THE END

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Frugality for happiness, contentment and liberty

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Elise Boulding

frugality
from I’m a Frugal Girl

One of my favorite words is frugality – a psychological trait shaping how resources are allocated between consumption, savings and investment over time. As it is pointed out in the ‘Essays on Management’, frugality lies at the heart of good household, business and organisational management. Frugality however should not to be confused with selfishness or “meanness.” Frugality requires a mind-set limiting small pleasures today with a focus on a better future. It implies an eye for micro-detail where decisions to save, conserve or consume matter. It implies observations of both social complexity and ecological systems and how components work together. It suggests searching for the simplest way of doing things.

In personal life, frugality brings simplicity, happiness, contentment and freedom from following the trends of the consumption society. As best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson demonstrates in his memoir “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt kid”, frugality also stimulates creativity and sense of humour. Check out the following excerpt from his memoir as an example:

“All our meals consisted of leftovers. My mother had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of foods that had already been to the table, sometimes repeatedly. Apart from a few perishable dairy products, everything in the fridge was older than I was, sometimes by many years. Her oldest food possession of all, it more or less goes without saying, was a fruit cake that was kept in a metal tin and dated from the colonial period. I can only assume that my mother did all her cooking in the 1940s so that she could spend the rest of her life surprising herself with what she could find under cover at the back of the fridge. I never knew here to reject food. The rule of thumb seemed to be that if you opened a lid and the stuff inside didn’t make you actually recoil and take at least one staggered step backwards, it was deemed OK to eat…

Both my parents had grown up in the Great Depression and neither of them ever threw anything away if they could possibly avoid it. My mother routinely washed and dried paper plates, and smoothed out for reuse spare aluminium foil. If you left a pea on your plate, it became part of a future meal. All your sugar cam in little packets spirited out of restaurants in deep coat pockets, as did our jams, jellies, crackers, tartar sauces, some of our ketchup and butter, all of our napkins, and a very occasional ashtray; anything that came with a restaurant table really. One of the happiest moments in my parents’ life was when maple syrup started to be served in small disposable packets and they could add those to the household hoard.”

I grew up in a frugal household. Even after having worked his way up to a high level managerial position, my dad continued bringing home various ‘treasures’ spotted in the rubbish container conveniently located nearby our apartment block. With regard to frugal cooking, only Bear Grylls‘ mum (whom he thanked profoundly for developing his unique  ability to eat anything on earth) could outdo my grandma. My grandma’s cooking motto was the famous saying of Jerome K Jerome “What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over”. That kept me well away from the kitchen with all grandma’s behind-the-scene wizardry,  though it did not put me off the frugal lifestyle.

Let’s not be those who do not economize. Then we won’t need to agonize and waste our life on things we do not need to impress people we do not like.

I am

THE END

Heroism and Compassion: John Rabe

Test

Heroes in real life rarely look like the all-mighty supermen or superwomen from books and movies. They might speak different languages, live in different parts of the world, wear different clothes, belong to different generations.  What is common between all heroes is their belief, that with their microscopic efforts and stubborn persistence they can make this world a better place; their devotion to something bigger than them.

On my blog I like collecting stories of compassions featuring real heroes. My collection includes a few stories from the World War 2, such as:

However heroism and compassion are not confined to wars, as demonstrated by numerous examples from all over the world, including the following:

Over the Christmas holidays I was reading diaries of John Rabe (November 23, 1882 – January 5, 1950) – a German businessman who is best known for his efforts to stop the atrocities of the Japanese army during the Nanking Occupation and his work to protect and help the Chinese civilians during the event. Truly amazing man whose brave actions touched my heart.

220px-JohnRabeFrom Wikipedia

According to Erwin Wickert, the editor of John Rabe’s diaries, “John Rabe was a simple man who wanted to be no more than an honest Hamburg businessman. He was always ready to help, was well-liked, showed good common sense, and maintained a sense of humor even in difficult situations, especially then… He earned people’s highest admiration for the way that his love of his neighbor, of his Chinese fellow men in their plight, grew and ourgrew itself, for the way he not only rescued them as a Good Samaritan, but also displayed political savvy, a talent for organisation and diplomacy, and unflagging stamina in their cause. Working closely with American friends and often at the risk of his life, he built a Safety Zone in Nanking that prevented a massacre and offered relative security to 250,000 Chinese during the Japanese occupation… He was highly praised by his friends, revered as a saint by the Chinese, respected by the Japanese, whose acts of misconduct he constantly resisted. And yet he remained the same modest man he had been before, who nevertheless could lose all his gentle humility when he saw wrong being committed.”

It is impossible to fully comprehend the significance of Rabe’s heroic actions without knowing all the atrocities committed by Japanese during Nanking Massacre, that killed hundreds of thousands of people. An accurate estimation of the death toll in the massacre has not been achieved because most of the Japanese military records on the killings were deliberately destroyed or kept secret shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945. That makes Rabe’s diaries particularly important.

In his diaries Rabe documented Japanese atrocities committed during the assault upon and occupation of the city. Nanking was a true hell on earth at that time. Below are just a few examples of what John Rabe saw with his own eyes in Nanking over those weeks:

“The Japanese March in: the atrocities begin… We saw how the Japanese had tied up some thousand Chinese out in an open field… They were forced to kneel and were then shot in the back of the head.”

“Dr. Wilson used the opportunity to show me a few of his patients [at Kulou Hospital]… Among them, a civilian with his eyes burned out and his head totally burned, who had gasoline poured over him by Japanese soldiers. The body of a little boy, may be seven years old, had four bayonet wounds in it, one in the belly about as long as your finger… I have had to look at so many corpses over the last few weeks that I can keep my nerves in check even when viewing these horrible cases… I wanted to see these atrocities with my own eyes, so that I can speak as an eyewitness later. A man cannot be silent about this kind of cruelty!”

ChildChild killed in the massacre

“As we learned from on of the survivors, they were taken to a vacant house, robbed of all valuables and clothes, and when completely naked, tied up together in groups of five. Then the Japanese built a large bonfire in the courtyard, led the groups out one by one, bayoneted the men and tossed them still alive on the fire…”

“At the American Mission Hospital women are constantly being admitted… who have suffered grave bodily harm from rape committed by packs of men, with the subsequent infliction of bayonet and other wounds. One women had her throat slit half-open… Many abused girls still in their childhood have likewise been admitted to the hospital… On 12 January, my English colleague, Consul Prideaux-Brune… visited the house of Mr. Parsons of the British-American Tobacco Company and discovered there the body of a Chinese woman into whose vagina an entire golf club had been forced.”

NankingRape victims. Nanking.

“While we were aboard the British gunboat Bee… the Japanese rear-admiral Kondo declared to Holt, the British admiral, that on a large island downstream from Nanking there were still 30,000 Chinese soldiers who would have to be removed. This removal or “mopping up”, as it was called in Japanese communiques, consists of murdering what are now defenseless enemies and is contrary to fundamental principles of humane warfare. Besides mass executions by machine gun fire, other more individual methods of killing were employed as well, such as pouring gasoline over a victim and setting him afire…”

Nanking_bodies_1937Massacre victims

Humane warfare? Is there such a thing?
What can be humane in a warfare?

THE END

The Man in a Suit

ManFrom Pooky’s Poems

What do you see
When you look at me?
Asked the husband of one,
And father of three.
Do you see a good husband?
The love of a Dad?
Or grey hair,
And wrinkles,
And fun times not had?
Or a man in a shirt
And a tie and a suit,
Who’s cold blooded and vengeful
In his hot pursuit,
Of a spot at the top,
And a big leather chair,
Leaving no time for family,
Though their picture will stare
Back at him daily,
From its bright silver frame,
As it sits on his desk,
By the plaque with his name.
The picture grows old,
And the children do too,
And the wife grows more distant,
The marriage is through,
As he’s married to work,
Not his wife and his kids,
And his love of his work,
Means he gradually bids
Farewell to the things
In life that he should love.
Less responsive to family,
Than calls from above.
But he thinks that he does it
To make things at home better,
He thinks that each phone call,
Each meeting, each letter,
Are helping his prospects of
A better job,
And that each increased pay cheque
Will help him to bob,
In a tide of big bills
And of school fees and fares.
And as he works on,
He does so unaware,
That the more that he tries,
To help those back at home,
The more likely he is,
To end up alone.
He awakes from his daydream,
This man in a suit,
Considering life,
As he made the commute,
From his workplace to home,
And as he arrives,
He makes a decision,
And with gusto decides,
That his wife and his kids
Are important to him,
And with less pay it might be
A bit harder to swim,
In the huge tide of bills,
But what does he care
If it means that his loved ones,
Know that he’s there.
Knows that he loves them,
And love him in return,
They’ll love him regardless
Of how much he earns.
And so from that day,
He determines that he
Will be a husband of one,
And a father of three,
Not a man in a suit
And a shirt and a tie,
That’s just Monday to Friday
But the rest of the time,
He’ll devote to his loved ones,
Now he’s home with a smile,
And he cuddles his wife,
For the first time in a while.
She knows that he’s changed
Though he says not a word
And from that day forever,
His family come first.

By PookyH

Family
From One Big Happy Family

THE END