Friday, February 12, 2010

The New Me



This story won second place in the Nuffnang-Glutamax The New Me Blogging Contest. Congratulations to my friend Jonini for conceptualizing the whole thing! Check out his award-winning blog right here.


Kaye Langit - Luistro: My Journey Into The New Me

What is the essence of being a woman?

How does a woman find her true self through years of dealing with life’s tribulations and achievements – at times sacrificing herself for the good of others, such as family and friends?

Join me in my journey of self-discovery. A passage that scales the summits of achievement that most women can only dream of. Feel my descent to the depths of sorrow, grief and guilt. And experience my redemption and transformation through a gift that has given my family so much joy and fulfillment.

My name is Kaye Langit – Luistro, and this is my journey into the new me.





Childhood Days and Dreams

At Grade 2, I already knew what I wanted. I wanted to be in media and to graduate from UP Diliman. A few months after college, I found out that 98.7 DZFE-The Master’s Touch was recruiting new announcers. Since I already was an avid listener, I rushed into this opportunity and thankful that I got accepted. It was one of the best moments in my life!

During my stay at the University of the Philippines, my professors brought out the extrovert – some say, the “kikay” in me. I knew then that I would soon be working with media people I only admired from a distance.

While I was working in the media, I was chosen as the only media practitioner sent as an official Philippine delegate of the 1999 RP-Japan Friendship Programme for the 21st Century formerly known as the Youth Invitation Program sponsored by the Japan Information Cooperation Agency held in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa-ken, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture and Hiroshima, Japan from January 13 to February 9, 1999.

It happened more than a decade ago but I can still feel the clay in my hands while twirling the machine needed for making tobeyaki pottery.

From hosting award-winning radio programs to the overseas seminars in Japan where I learned about Japanese broadcasting and tobeyaki pottery, I felt then that I was molding the very clay of my media career in my hands.


(Problem seeing the video? Try the DailyMotion Link)


Career Opportunities

My 15-year media profession included television news-casting, TV news reporting, magazine writing, voice acting in TV and radio commercials and radio announcing.

One of my most cherished awards was my back to back win in the 1997 and 1998 KBP Golden Dove Awards as the writer and radio host of Concert Hall aired on 98.7 DZFE, The Master's Touch.

On TV, my feature stories have been aired on Studio 23’s News Central. I also enjoyed being a co-anchor of the early morning newscast Balita Alas Singko ng Umaga on ABS-CBN Channel 2.


Something Was Missing

Despite the achievements, I felt that something was amiss.

Life is a great teacher. Just when you think you know it all and have it all, something comes along and changes everything. A lot of people make the faux pas of being overconfident or thinking they are too intelligent or too successful to be lacking.

I was a wife, a caring partner and a close friend to my husband. But the woman in me was craving to cherish someone borne out of our love – our union as husband and wife. Someone whom we could show our unconditional love and be loved in the most unique way.

Somehow, I wasn’t ready to become a mom. I had several emotional baggages to deal with first.



Kaye Langit - Luistro: My Journey Into The New Me from jonnie_anzures on Vimeo.



Guilt and Emotional Trauma

But conceiving a child was not the problem.

The main concern in my spirit was my guilt and the emotional trauma I experienced at the height of my media career.

In 1995, my mom went into surgery to remove a suspicious tumor from her right armpit. Later, the doctor confirmed a horrible truth. My mom had non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, and one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. Proof was that a mere three years later, that spiteful tumor has metastasized into my mom’s spine, stomach, uterus, and intestines.

The next five years became a vicious body-draining and spirit-sucking road to our own Calvary. A barrage of life-changing medical interventions left the family grasping for air on a moment-to moment basis.

My mom underwent an avalanche of laboratory tests including the dreadful bone marrow aspiration, where a gargantuan needle was stuck right through the spine to draw blood, eliciting heart-wrenching cries from her.

Since my father died when I was still very young, I had to be strong on the outside because I was her sole companion through the whole ordeal. But deep inside, the incredulous fear left me shaking and trembling like a rag doll.

My mom’s sun finally set in 2001.

Losing someone you love is never easy. It took me a long time to really recover. Not only from the pain, but more from the guilt of not having the chance to exhaust other possible means to save my mom. I wanted to give more of myself to my mom as her only daughter – her only child.

For the next several months, my husband would see me all curled up, crying on my mom’s bed, where she died. Without judgment, he just allowed me to cry in his arms until I’d fall asleep in exhaustion.

My mental anguish was so strong I literally felt my mind would have just snapped anytime. Daily talks with my husband, prayers and meditations on the Book of Psalms healed me bit by bit. I finally broke free from the reins of depression, a year and a half later.



Overcoming Fears

Looking back, I realized that it was the pain from losing someone I dearly loved that stopped me from pursuing motherhood. I didn’t want to go through with something as painful like that again. But of course, that’s only wishful thinking. Another thing that really scared me was the pain associated with childbirth, not to mention the hormonal changes when you’re expecting. I literally didn’t want to lose control over my own body!

I was really thankful that Randy never asked for a child in all our thirteen years of marriage. Other husbands might not have been that patient. I wanted to thank him so I asked the Lord for a son. Two months before my 35th birthday, I started praying very seriously about this. Every day, I woke up at dawn to pray. I opened my prayer time by singing the worship song “The Power of Your Love,” not in English but in Spanish. I felt that the Spanish version brought out the inner urgency in me.

First, it was just about having a baby. After all, being childless for thirteen years is already considered infertility. But days passed, and something really incredible happened. My prayer time took a different turn. I was no longer praying for a son. I found myself just singing and singing the song in Spanish in tears and with great reverence. Every lyric spoke to my heart and mind as if Spanish is my native tongue.

I also can’t stop William Carey’s quote off my mind either: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God; for we serve a great God.” I did just that. I simply believed. Without any work-up nor any medical intervention of any kind, sometime in December 2008, I discovered that I was already 7 to 8 weeks pregnant.

It was a moment that not only changed my body. It forever transformed the way I saw myself and the world.







Redemption

When Lance Paul came into our lives, he changed us forever.

I've never realized that having a baby would make me feel more fulfilled than having all my accomplishments combined. All the perks associated with my television stint were now inconsequential, compared to holding your baby, cuddling him and seeing him laugh and smile.
Something in me finally made sense. Having Lance Paul in my life completes me not just as a woman but as a person. I feel that I have the strength to raise myself to the standards of being an honorable human being because of him.

Loving my child has finally brought me an opportunity to erase the guilt I felt when my mother died. I can now give myself away to love my child in the same way my mother offered her life for me when I was born into this world. Being a mother has brought me redemption.

My transformation to a career woman and working wife into a mother has dramatically changed my life. I guess I've become more selfless in a way. All those sleep and food deprived days made me feel that I was no longer living for myself, but for another person. Although he takes up most of my time, I would not want it any other way.

Right now, my baby has become the most important part of my life. I have given up my dreams for radio and television and have opted to work home-based.

I am now a freelance media specialist, dividing my day between writing magazine articles, doing voice-over work for TV/radio commercials, corporate AVPs, and being a voice talent for Back to the Bible - Philippines.

Thanks to the loving support of my husband, I've started as an international voiceover artist, operating from a home digital studio in Quezon City. This way, I will still have the chance to see my son grow up to be the person God envisioned him to be. There's really nothing wrong with other moms pursuing their careers. I just feel that this is the right path for me to take. I've decided to follow this conviction and now, I'm reaping the fruits of my labor, one day at a time.

I am now a mother like I always wanted to be. I could die tomorrow and feel completely fulfilled as a woman and as a human being.


The Joy of Transformation

I was watching Oprah one night and she was giving tribute to moms all over the world. One mother said that once you become a mother, you can never go back to your previous life of just focusing on yourself.

I guess she's right.

One time, I was in the mall. My husband and baby were not with me. Instead of feeling free and ecstatic since I can go anywhere without carrying a 30 pound baby and an extremely huge and heavy bag filled with my baby's diapers, bottles and what have you, I felt sad! I wished that they were with me, especially my baby, who smiles whenever he sees lights, babies, and food from just about anywhere.

I can truly say that the life I have now, although extremely difficult, has produced some of my most treasured memories!

So, what makes me a fulfilled woman?

I think Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994, said it best – “Being a woman is a gift of God which we all must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, and is a woman. A woman is one who shares love and who shares and shows a man what love, caring and sharing is all about.”

That, for me, is the essence of being a woman.

Everyone in this world wants a long life. But I want a happy life.


My child has transformed me from being a wife and a woman, into a mother – a giver of life. I can never go back to my previous life. And I will never, ever want to. For my baby has made me the happiest person in the world.









My name is Kaye Langit – Luistro, and this has been my journey into the new me.








This is my official entry to the Nuffnang-Glutamax The New Me Blogging Contest.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

20th Century Finnish Poetry by Kaye Langit-Luistro



Like many geniuses of her distinction, poet Edith Södergran (1892–1923) failed to witness the immense popularity of her poems during her lifetime. Today, however, her works have been embraced anew by Finnish readers and the poet hailed as “one of the greatest modernist poets of the Nordic countries.”

Edith Södergran (1892–1923)

Credits: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/419143.Edith_S_dergran

Strongly influenced by French symbolism, German expressionism and Russian futurism, her poems are exemplified by “a free rhythm and a gentle intimacy that makes them easily accessible to the reader,” Stina Katchadourian explains in her article “Edith Södergran’ Fame is Spreading” for VirtualFinland.com.

In her first work, “Poems,” Södergran wrote some of her most popular love poems after a love affair gone sour. On her succeeding works, however, her poems became intensely prophetic, filled with cosmic visions and exalted strength, explains Katchadourian. “These poems shocked most critics and some even questioned her sanity.”

Life and Literature
Despite the eccentric style and tone found in some of her works, not to mention the illnesses, poverty and defeats in Södergran’s short life, she managed to leave us with poems celebrating “life’s beauty and the triumph of the human spirit,” Katchadourian explains. In her last poems, penned shortly before her premature death at the age of thirty one, “she speaks of a humble and childlike acceptance of God and of a closeness to nature which is free of all artifice,” according to Katchadourian. “It’s an intimate voice, but it has carried far.” Perhaps Södergran’s enduring legacy lies in her poems’ ability to evoke feelings common to all regardless of race and creed. True enough, her works have been translated into all the major languages and managed to create new readers, “even among those who don’t usually read poetry,” Katchadourian explains.

Here’s the poem “My Soul,” taken from “Love & Solitude,” (Bilingual centennial edition) selected poems by Edith Södergran, translated by Stina Katchadourian.

“My soul can tell no tales and knows no truths,
my soul can only cry and laugh and wring its hands;
my soul cannot remember and defend,
my soul cannot consider or approve.
As a child I saw the sea: it was blue.
In my youth I met a flower: she was red.
Now a stranger sits by my side: he is colorless,
but I fear him no more than the virgin feared the dragon.
The knight came upon the virgin, red and white,
but I have dark rings under my eyes.”
Eino Leino (July 6, 1878 - January 10, 1926)

Eino Leino

(Credits: http://www.finlandsinstitutet.se/prog_kalenteri_syksy05.html

If Edith Södergran is viewed as a great modernist poet, Eino Leino is Finland’s most cited poet and the most important developer of Finnish-language poetry at the dawn of the 20th century. A master of song-like poetic forms, Leino mixed “the archaic and mythic tradition, symbolism, and influences from Friedrich Nietzsche with his romantic concept of the poet as a truth-seeking visionary,” scholars explain. His mastery of the Finnish language was beyond amazing for he dared translate Dante’s works in seamless perfection.

His gift of translation, combined with his ability to infuse the modern with Finnish folk elements, have produced a string of works—mainly about nature, love and despair—reminiscent of the Kalevala (Finnish national epic) and Finland’s most beloved folk songs. Here is a sample from Leino’s “Hymn to Fire:”

“Short time’s to us allotted till our urn.
Living, like furnace flames then let us burn,
High let us in the fire be ascending,
Earth stays below, the spirit's heavenward tending.”

Another popular poem, “Nocture,” first published in Talvi-yo in 1905, shows an interplay of modern and Finnish folk elements.
“I have stopped chasing Jack-o’-Lantern,
I hold gold from the Demon’s mountain
around me life tightens its ring
time stops, the vane has ceased to swing;
the road before me through the gloom
is leading to the unknown room.”
Ilmari Iki-Kianto (May 7, 1874 - April 27, 1970)

Ilmari Iki-Kianto
Like Södergran and Leino, Ilmari Iki-Kianto is a beloved poet in his native Finland. He is best known for his books “Punainen viiva” (1909) and “Ryysyrannan Jooseppi” (1924). What makes him immortal however is when his poem “Lastu lainehilla” (Driftwood or Wood in Water) was used as the lyric by celebrated Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957) for the last of his Seven Songs, opus (work) 17 for solo voice and piano finished in 1902.

Today, Södergran, Leino and Kianto’s distinct 20th century poetry is made available to a wider audience in fresh editions and translations. Proof of how much Finnish poetry has enriched world literature through the years.

Think About This
Based on the information found in this article, what do you think is the major reason why 20th century Finnish poetry continues to churn out fresh editions and translations in our time?


Sources:
Edith Södergran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_S%C3%B6dergran
Edith Södergran’ Fame is Spreading by Stina Katchadourian.
http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=25780
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilmari_Kianto
Eino Leino. http://www.answers.com/topic/eino-leino
Eino Leino. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/eleino.htm
http://www.answers.com/topic/finnish-literature
Jean Sibelius. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Sibelius
Lastu lainehilla. http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=3513

This article appeared in the 2007 edition of Magica, a High School REference material published by the Diwa Publishing Group.

Pictures through Words: Imagery In Vietnamese War Poems By Kaye Langit-Luistro



Poetry is rife with imagery to evoke a deeper, more profound sensory experience in the reader. Through a series of words that create a mental image, figure, or likeness of a person, place or thing, poetry is able to send a reader’s interest to new heights and make him or her feel more attuned to the poet’s pulse and state of mind. Poetry written about the Vietnam war is no different. Through imagery, the reader conjures realistic images in his or her mind that trigger painful memories about the war.

Author John Balaban explains this unique trait this way, “The Vietnamese referred to poetry all the time. They would use it in debate; they referred to it to make a point in an argument…” It is not surprising that the use of imagery seems to be an everyday thing for the average Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese Trinh Công Sõn was a living example of this. He has set the most beautiful poetic words in music and for that he became a household name in Vietnam. But there are times when someone from the outside world takes up the same cause and starts fighting for it through the power of words in poetry. And this happened to the British born-American poet Denise Levertov.

Let’s find out how this interesting turn of events took place in the lives of Trinh Công Sõn and Denise Levertov.

Trinh Công Sõn (February 28, 1939 – April 1, 2001)
The most influential poet in Vietnam seems to be Trinh Công Sõn. During the Association for Asian Studies Conference in 2004, guest lecturer John C. Schafer of Humboldt State University explains, “While there are several reasons for Trinh Công Sõn’s popularity, chief among them is the fact that he was a poet and used poetic techniques skillfully.” His poetry set in music talks of love, war, and the human condition. Gifted with the same touch as the American Bob Dylan, Trinh Công Sõn used beautiful imagery in Ướt mi (Tearing Lashes) written in 1957 and Ngủ đi con, a lullaby about a mother grieving for her soldier son.

His poetic songs had moved Vietnam as a whole, making him a well-loved figure everywhere. Today, his antiwar poetry and songs composed in the 60’s still resonate in the minds and hearts of the average Vietnamese. That was why when Trinh Công Sõn died in 2001, Schafer recounts, his passing was deeply mourned throughout Vietnam.

Denise Levertov (October 24, 1923-December 20, 1997)
The Vietnamese were not the only ones who wrote poems about the war. There were western poets, among them Denise Levertov (October 24, 1923-December 20, 1997), a British-born American, who wrote several poems about the horrors of the Vietnam War. Her poems “Poetry, Prophecy, Survival”, “Paradox and Equilibrium”, and “Poetry and Peace: Some Broader Dimensions” talk about war, discrimination, and bigotry.

In her “Life at War,” Levertov uses imagery in her poetry to present the distressing effects of the Vietnam War. A closer look at her poems shows that when she deals with themes like violence and savagery, she also tries to bring grace into the picture. She loves to infuse the beauty of language and the ugliness of human horror.

In her other poem “Staying Alive,” Levertov tackles the repercussions of the war, including the incredible agony the Vietnamese suffered because of it. Levertov’s most famous poetry about the war however, is found in her book “Freeing of the Dust.” This book of poems depicts the experience of the North Vietnamese, and the gnawing distrust of its people.

Think About This

What do you think are the similarities and differences when reading poetry written by a Vietnamese about the Vietnam war and a foreigner tackling the same topic?
Today, there is a trove of poetry written about the War. If you were to choose only one type of poetry, which one would you read: English poetry about the war or a translated work in English from Vietnamese? What do you think would be the differences in the use of language, poetic structure and literary texture between these two kinds of works?

Sources:
Denise Levertov. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denise_Levertov
A Conversation with John Balaban by Donna Seaman.
http://www.johnbalaban.com/triquarterly-interview.html
Session 6: Poetry as a Window on History and Change in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam Related Panels and Paper Abstracts at the Association for Asian Studies Conference 2004. http://www.lib.washington.edu/SouthEastAsia/vsg/org/aas%20abstract_04.html
http://www.geocities.com/tdl.geo/vietpoet.html
A Former Vietnamese Foe, Outspoken on Love, War by Liz Rosenberg, Globe Correspondent, 4/23/2000.
www.wright.edu/~tdung/nguyen_duy.htm
A Century of War in Poetry: 1915-2015 by Kinta Flemming.
teachers.yale.edu/curriculum/units/2005/01/05.01.09.pdf
Vietnam. www.geocities.com/excelchapter345/1vietnam
Poetry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry
Imagery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagery

This article appeared in the 2008 edition of Magica Magazine, a High School Reference Material published by the Diwa Publishing Group.

Propaganda in Advertisements By Kaye Langit-Luistro

Amid the Christmas rush last year, teens in particular were in a frantic mode to buy Close Up toothpaste, not because they want whiter, stronger teeth, and fresher breath, but to have the compilation CD of their favorite bands like Itchy worms, Spongecola and Orange and Lemons, among others, with every purchase of the 160 gram sized toothpaste.

Called the “power of persuasion,” people are lured to buy a particular brand of toothpaste, perhaps even the flavor they are not used to, in gigantic size, not entirely because of the product, but because for P75, you have 5 of your favorite band songs right under your fingertips. In the Philippines, corporations spend billions of pesos in advertising to condition the five senses, in purchasing products, that consumers may not actually need.

Here are four interesting elements present in most advertisements, making you hopelessly in love with a particular product, you would have otherwise ignored, if you haven’t seen it in the latest TV commercial.

1. Perfectly gorgeous models.
Models in shampoo, lotion and soap commercials are always better looking than average consumers; conveying the idea that when you use a particular brand, you will end up looking like these models. Clearly far-out, but subliminally, you believe that “your hair will be silky, wave-free, and will shine with life” just like KC Conception’s, when you use her brand of shampoo with virgin coconut oil. At least, that’s just shampoo we are talking about.

What if the ads prey on the females’ fixation on perfect hair, by suggesting you need a three-step program of a certain brand of shampoo, with matching nourishing conditioner and leave-on to make your brown or burgundy tones “come alive with stunning vibrancy and shine!” Their running ad I think is “Why follow, when you can lead…learn to stand out in the crowd?”

2. Heartwarming spin paired with a memorable song.
Remember the song “True Colors,” originally popularized by Cyndi Lauper? This time imagine the following lyrics being sung by children:

“You with the sad eyes
Enters a close-up of a child, forlorn, unsmiling, with the corresponding tug line: not happy with her skin color. More close-ups of children from varied ethnicity fill the screen with lines: not happy with her smile; her height; her small eyes, while the rest of the song still runs:
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small.”
“But I see your true colors
When you hear this part, the whole ambience changes; the next child now smiles sweetly, with a more positive line perhaps like: A colored kid can still shine! Smiling kids with positive comments fill the screen until the end of the chorus:
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow.”

This is not make-believe; rather it is the commercial splashed on our TV screens a few years back. Dubbed  “The ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, now in its fourth year for Unilever's flagship brand,” writes Randall Rothenberg, author, journalist, and president-CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “celebrates actual women of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors.” He adds, “although it derives from Dove's historic positioning around authenticity, this spin has been credited with boosting Dove sales and share in every country in which it's been launched.” To simply put it, we are drawn irrevocably to products that make us feel good, not just look good!

Here's the commercial in discussion.



3. Latest, most innovative technology.
Ads love to tickle the consumer’s insatiable fetish for the latest in communication technology: Celfones, I-pods, smartfones, computers, cameras, MP3, MP4, and PDA’s. When you discover the latest celfone with better resolution and features, the average young professional (yuppie), makes it his goal to have it, forsaking more pressing matters like bills and other payments. Somehow the public have made billions of pesos for telecommunications companies for the past several years, thanks to innovative advertisements.

The message is cunningly manipulative: “If you want to be in the ‘in crowd,’ you must have the latest model no matter what.” Some may argue of course that subliminal messages such as this is just a marketing strategy and shouldn't be taken seriously.

4. Star Magic.
Ben Chan, owner of BENCH, and The Face Shop certainly knew how to start 2007 with a bang, when he brought Kwan Sang Woo, more popularly known for his alter ego “Cholo” in the Korean TV Drama “Stairway to Heaven,” to the Philippines just to promote the store. The promo: A purchase of any product from The Face Shop entitles you to a pass for the “Meet and Greet.” Chan opted to splash the Korean Star’s face on every billboard in Metro Manila and every mall branch, as a promotional vehicle to lure fans, particularly females, into buying The Face Shop.

Trends in store promotions have definitely skyrocketed! Even Hollywood stars like Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman and Alicia Silverstone have become image models for the local boutique Kamiseta.

There is really nothing wrong with buying hair and body care products, celfones and clothes, because you need them, they are of high-quality and perfect for your budget. The problem arises when you measure yourself against these products, and view yourself as inferior just because you can’t buy them.

Sources:
Lyrics True Colors.
http://lyrics.astraweb.com/displayp.cgi?f=cyndi_lauper..twelve_deadly_cyns_then_some..true_colors
Dove Effort Gives Package-Goods Marketers Lessons for the Future Four Points to Learn From 'Real Beauty' Campaign By Randall Rothenberg
http://adage.com/columns/article?article_id=115370
Comprehensive Study of Asian Women’s Attitudes.
http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.ph/supports.asp?id=3181&length=short§io

This article appeared in the 2007 edition of Magica Magazine, a High Reference Material published by the Diwa Publishing Group.

Do Your Body Good



Learn how dietary supplements can make you healthier and happier! By Kaye Langit-Luistro


Chances are, you have taken several vitamin supplements since childhood. Your parents have probably explained to you that those pills help you fight diseases and make you grow faster, right? How many vitamins are you familiar with? Do you know that there are actually thirteen vitamins classified according to their ability to be absorbed in fat or water? Vitamins A,D,E are called fat-soluble vitamins because they perform best when taken with fat-containing foods. On the other hand, the eight B vitamins and vitamin C are called water soluble vitamins because they cannot be stored in the body's fat.

But which vitamin and mineral should you take as supplements? Medical experts “have whittled down more that twenty-five essential vitamins and minerals to only nine key nutrients you need to zero in on,” writes the editors of Prevention magazine in its February 1997 edition, because they’re likely to come up short in our diets. Check out the back label of your multivitamin (multi) for its Daily Value (DV), the old name for Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA—referring to amounts of vitamins and minerals that should be taken daily.

Iron. Do you know that women who are still getting their monthly period need at least 18 milligrams (mg.) of iron daily? While adult men and women who have stopped having their period (menopausal women) only need between 0 and 9 mg. Research shows that “excess iron raises risks of heart disease and colon cancer, that is why experts now advise men and menopausal women to look for supplements with no or low iron,” according to the February 1997 edition of Prevention Magazine.

Vitamin A or Beta-carotene. Make sure that your “multi” has 5,000 international units (I.U.), which is 100% DV. Remember: It’s dangerous to take more than 10,000 I.U. If taken properly, people who take supplements and whose diets are rich in beta-carotene have lower chances of getting heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin D. Do you know that our bodies can create vitamin D from proper sun exposure? Just limit your intake to 800 I.U. a day from supplements and foods, like cereals and milk, nothing more.

Vitamin B6. You only need 2 mg., and you’re done for the day! Studies show that people with low intake of Vitamin B6 have higher risks of heart attack and poorer immune system, especially among the elderly.

Folic Acid or folate. Search for 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg in any multi because this is everything your body needs daily. Folic acid is amazing because when pregnant women take it, they give birth to fewer babies with serious brain and spine defects. And it even lowers risks of heart disease and colon cancer when taken regularly.

Magnesium. A 100 mg. DV may even prevent diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and migraine headaches. But if taken in excess, magnesium may lead to diarrhea.

Zinc. Studies show that if you take 15 mg. a day, your immune system and wound healing get better in time. But too much zinc may lower your good cholesterol, so ease up!

Copper. Take 2 mg. daily to keep your bone, heart healthy, and regulate blood sugar and iron absorption.

Chromium. You need between 50 and 200 mcg daily to handle blood sugar and risks of acquiring adult-onset diabetes.

These are the usual vitamins and minerals present in any multi, just varying in Daily Value. But there are three important nutrients that are insufficient in “multis,” so they should be taken in single supplements, according to the experts.

Vitamin C. To help fight colds and cough, you need to take between 200 and 500 milligrams a day.

Vitamin E. Your body can’t tell the difference between synthetic and natural vitamin E, as long as you take between 100 and 400 I.U. daily.

Calcium. Make sure you take between 500 and 1,000 mg. to help keep your bones healthy, and to avoid osteoporosis when you’re much older.

Most of the time, our diet does not include all the essential vitamins and minerals our body really needs on a daily basis. Supplements containing 100% DV surely help in filling in the nutritional gap, for a healthier and happier life.

Sidebar:
When you’re shopping for the best multivitamin, check out the following:
• Expiration date.
• Ability to dissolve. Look for the letters USP on the label, because this means the supplement should dissolve inside you.
• Ability to be absorbed. It’s up to you whether to buy minerals in “chelated” or “colloidal” form, because experts say that there is no significant difference between them.
• Natural vs. synthetic. It’s your call! Either one will do you good.
• When to take with meals. Eat a small portion of fatty food when you take vitamins A,D,E, K and beta-carotene for maximum absorption. On the other hand, never take multivitamins with iron and calcium supplements at the same time. Studies show that calcium may interfere with iron absorption.

Sources:
“Does Your Multivitamin pass Our Test?”, February 1997 edition of Prevention Magazine. Rodale Press, USA.
“Miracle Vitamins,” December 1998 edition of prevention Magazine. Rodale Press, USA.
"Vitamin," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This article appeared in the 2005 edition of Buhawi Magazine, a High Reference material published by Diwa Publishing Group.

An Inside Look at Gagaku



In a world where pop music and rhythm and blues top the charts, there’s a different kind of music reserved for the discriminating few. Find out how gagaku keeps the mood on a high note during state parties in Japan. By Kaye Langit-Luistro

Does the name “Gagaku” ring a bell? Perhaps not, because it is a form of Japanese classical music heard only at Shinto-shrines, Japanese style wedding ceremonies or court events. But since 1956, the Imperial family (the Emperor, Empress, the Crown Prince and Princess), Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Prefectural Boards of Education have treated the public to gagaku recitals and performances once or twice every year, just to keep the music alive!

What’s special about gagaku is that it shows how and where Japanese music really came from. When you listen to it being played by the Japanese Imperial Household, you hear remnants of Korean, Chinese and Indian music, because gagaku evolved from these nations between the 3rd and 8th centuries. And then it was standardized (conformed to prevailing standards) during the 9th century. Like any other Asian music, it gave birth to more interesting styles.

The Togaku, or T'ang.
When you listen to gagaku sounding like music played in Central Asia, South East Asia and India, gagaku is said to be of T’ang style. Today, Togaku can be performed as kangen, (instrumental or concert music for winds, strings and percussion) or as bugaku (dance music but without the string section).

The Komagaku
Do you know that its name actually came from one of the three ancient states of Korea? Yes, that shows how Korean culture and tradition helped shape Komagaku. During the Heian period (794 AD), both Komagaku and Togaku were treated as chamber music (full ensemble of winds and strings) and a highly-favored dance accompaniment, at least by the nobility. Today Komagaku is enjoyed only as dance music, for chamber music performances were abolished during that period.

Can You Feel the Beat?
Gagaku is performed in three ways: Kangen (Instrumental), Bugaku (dances and music), and Kayo (songs and chanted poetry). Among the most popular vocal music around are Roei (Chinese poems), Saibara (gagaku-style folk songs), Enkyoku (banquet music), and Imayo (lyrics set to gagaku melodies).

But what really sets gagaku apart from other Asian musical styles is its use of “Jo-ha-kyu,” a notation (guideline) that determines when instruments should play and stop, when to quicken and slow down the tempo. For the past eighty years, gagaku’s tempo quickened a little, but it is still very, very slow by today’s standard. But gagaku won’t be gagaku without its trademark tempo. How else can it re-create the elegant atmosphere of the ancient courts, with a much faster pace?

What are the instruments used for Gagaku?
Musicologists explain that Gagaku’s musical structure is a combination of long, fixed rhythmic patterns (beat) and long melodic patterns played by the percussion instruments. They say that such technique brings out the grace reflective of the ancient courts. Very carefully, instruments were selected to achieve this effect. Among them were Japanese instruments, Wagon (6-string zither) and Kagura-bue (transverse flute), foreign instruments like the Sho (mouth organ), Hichiriki (oboe) and flute as wind instruments, the So (Japanese harp, or Koto), and Biwa (lute) as string instruments and the Kakko (drum), Taiko (drum), Shoko (Bronze gong) and San-no-Tsuzumi (hour-glass drum) as percussion.

Indeed, Gagaku was successful in importing the best in Korean, Chinese, Indian musical styles and mixing them with authentic Japanese instrumentation and rhythms, to produce some of the most unique Japanese singing style and vocal arrangements since the 9th century. In fact, the Roei, Saibara, Enkyoku, and Imayo are so great that musicians today base some of their songs and compositions from them. Who knows, Gagaku may find itself alongside Celtic or Irish music, and Jamaica's reggae, in the hearts of world music fans pretty soon?


Sidebar:
Do you know that Gagaku made its debut overseas in 1959? It first resonated at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York, and has since been performed on 33 occasions in seven cities in the United States.
Gagaku is often played during state visits done by the Imperial Family. Since 1962 when the Crown Prince and Princess visited Europe, and in 2000, on the occasion of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress' visit to the Netherlands and Sweden, a total of eight performances have been held in five cities in Europe and in Egypt.


Sources:
http://aris.ss.uci.edu/rgarfias/gagaku/music.html
Illustrated: A Look Into Japan. Japan Travel Bureau: Japan, 1997.
http://www.gagaku.net/index.ENG.html
http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e08/ed08-01.html

This article was published in Buhawi Magazine (2005), a High School Reference Material by the Diwa Publishing Group.

Rediscover the Beauty of Japanese Gardens



Awaken your senses to their undeniable charm and elegance that continually astonish millions of people across the world. By Kaye Langit-Luistro

Just walking down the streets for 10 minutes leave you coughing from all the fumes and smoke around. You sometimes wish that you can go somewhere without the alarming noise and pollution of the city. But where can you find such a place? Thank goodness we still have the Parks and Wildlife at the Quezon Memorial Circle and the infamous Luneta Park in Manila for those craving for a quick rendezvous (RAN-DE-VU, French for meeting or date) with nature.

But what if you don’t want to leave the sanctity of your own home? You can still find what you’re looking for by simply redecorating your garden. Why not pattern it after the world-famous Japanese gardens? Once you get your parent’s permission, begin your research, to help you learn everything there is to know about them.

When It All Began

During the Edo (Old Tokyo) period (1603), the rich known as feudal lords or Daimyos in Japanese, used their money and influence by building intricate, lovely gardens. They did not only use trees but also landscaped stones into mountains, created miniature rivers, ponds and bridges done in a harmonious fashion. Today, there are three styles of Japanese gardens that you can see all over Japan. They are:

The Tsukiyama-style

This arrangement shows nature like hills, ponds and streams in miniature. A tea-house is also present for that all too important “tea ceremony” (art of preparing, serving and drinking tea) done to keep the Japanese culture alive in families and guests.

In Tokyo, the Kiyosumi Garden follows the Tsukiyama style. It showcases a small pond with some 10,000 carp (large freshwater fish) surrounded by landscaped huge rocks brought from all parts of Japan. This scenic spot is located near the Tokyo City Air Terminal and is open everyday between 9AM and 4:30 PM for a minimal fee, according to the Japan National Tourist Organization.



Credits: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/kiyosumi_teien_garden


The Karesansui-style


This particular type was developed during the Muromachi era (1338 AD) to represent Zen spiritualism, a method or sect dedicated to rid oneself of worldly cares to achieve spiritual enlightenment. That’s why Karasansui-style is known both for its simplicity and force, seen in the use of sand and gravel to represent rivers or the sea.

The stone garden in Ryoanji temple in Kyoto, (west of Tokyo) constructed in the 15th century is an excellent example of the karesansui-style, according to the booklet “An Illustrated History of Modern Japan.” The garden is filled with sand and stones to show water flow.


Credits: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3909.html

The Daisen-in Temple, still in Kyoto also follows in the tradition of the
Karasansui. It has a large boulder to represent a waterfall, a rock to represent a boat, and another rock to represent a mountain.

Credits:http://www.phototravels.net/kyoto/garden


The Chaniwa

This is usually a garden put side by side to a ceremonial teahouse, according to the book Illustrated: A Look Into Japan. This style downplays showiness and strives for simplicity and naturalness by using 5 main features:

• Ishidoro which is a stone lantern, in Japanese.
• Tsukubai refers to a stone basin and ladle used by guests to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths before entering the teahouse.
• Kakei is a bamboo pipe through which water flows.
• Sekimori-ishi is a small round stone bound with straw rope in the shape of a cross; meaning guests are not permitted beyond this sign.
• Tobi-ishi refers to stepping stones.

A Japanese garden may just be the haven you’ve been looking for to escape from an avalanche of school deadlines! Ask your parents if you can look for cheap materials to create a Tsukiyama, Karasansui, or Chaniwa-style garden at home. Better yet combine all three for a “sanctuary” of your very own!

Sidebar:
Approximately 360 kilometers west of Tokyo, or about three hours’ ride aboard the Shinkansen (or bullet train), lies Kyoto, one of the largest cities in Japan. Here, the Kinkakuji Temple or Golden Pavilion prides itself of a Tsukiyama-style garden surrounding the whole temple. The pond is so clear, you can actually see the temple’s reflection! The garden also shows lush trees planted on grayish rock formations, which seem to float gently on the pond. It is not surprising to know that ever since the Kamakura period (1192 AD), the Kinkakuji Temple’s garden has been designated as a national scenic spot and a special historic monument.


Sources:
Japan Tokyo Guide. Japan National Tourist Organization: Japan, August 1997.
Illustrated: A Look into Tokyo. Japan Travel Bureau: Japan, 1997.
Illustrated: A Look Into Japan. Japan Travel Bureau: Japan, 1997.
An Illustrated History of Modern Japan. Japan International Cooperation Agency: Japan.
Kyoto: The Friendship Programme for the 21st Century. Japan International Cooperation Agency: Japan.

This article appeared in Buhawi Magazine (2005), a High School reference material published by Diwa Publishing Group.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Discover the Secret of an Effective Critique

Writing a critique is easier than you think. All you need to do is to ask all the right questions. By Kaye Langit-Luistro

Your classmates are abuzz with eagerness about an upcoming play. Your teacher wanted you to watch it and write a critique afterwards. You protested but to no avail. Hey, stop pouting! Don’t let this assignment, rob the joy out of watching. Make a decision to enjoy it no matter what. And believe me, you can!

Just look for the following elements, and ask yourself these questions to help you write an informative and insightful critique.

The Characters. They refer to the roles, actors play. And to fully understand them, you must answer the following questions honestly, according to Eric W. Trumbull, writer and professor of theatre arts.
• Are the characters clearly defined? Are they realistic or symbolic? Can you remember people from real life who act, think and talk the way they do? Or maybe the characters symbolize the downfall of aristocracy like in the play “Larawan” an adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Filipino Artist.”
• Which characters are in conflict? How do minor characters talk to and treat the major ones? Do they react in the same manner (mirror images), complete opposites (contrasts) or having the same tendency and aspiration in life (parallels)?

The Plot. Characters bring life to the story through their actions and dialogue. For starters, describe and analyze the content and plot structure of the play, Trumbull writes, by asking these:
• Is it serious or comic? If serious, is it tragic or more down-to-earth? If comic, is it plain comedy or farcical. Is the play realistic, meaning the characters and dialogue mirror everyday life? For instance the play “Leona” by Ruth Mabanglo is realistic because it showed the main character’s faith, sacrifices and sufferings, which are familiar to us all. Or is it fantastic, because certain scenes can only happen in our imagination, just like in the Trumpets production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” based on a best-selling novel by C.S. Lewis? Animals talking and dancing are really out-of-this world, but still very entertaining, right?

The Themes. They make the plot interesting and full of zesty twists. How do they do that? To find out, think about these:
• What is the play about? Is it easy to understand or not?
• Does the play show the theme clearly through the acting, dialogue, and set design?

The Acting of the Characters. We can’t help it if some performers steal our hearts and others don’t. To find out why you really like some, and dislike others, Trumbull prompts us to answer these:
• How was the performer's voice, movement, interpretation of the role?
• How did the performers interact with one another? Did they listen and respond naturally, or did they look like they were "acting?"

The Directing. The director is like a pastry chef. He makes sure that all the right ingredients are mixed, baked and arranged properly. Ponder on these questions to find out if everything was set in the right temperature.
• Are entrances, exits and scene changes smooth?
• Is the stage space used well or were there some areas ignored?
• Does the pace and rhythm seem right? Does it drag or move swiftly?

The Set Design, Lights and Costume. These things are like spices sprinkled on dishes. They are meant to enhance the flavor but never to stand out by themselves, or do they?
• Are all actors properly lit, meaning can we see their faces while they were speaking? Was the light used to symbolize something? In the play M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang, directed by Tony Mabesa for Dulaang UP’s 15th season, lights were used to create a prison cell onstage. This way, there were less props to handle, thus making the play more fast-paced.
• Do the costumes express the individual characters’ personality, station in life, and occupation accurately? For example in the one-man show “Rabindranath Tagore,” performed by versatile actor Robin Ramsay here in the Philippines in 1990, he expressed Tagore’s life as a young man by wearing an elegant robe, while he put on Indian shoes, as a sign that he was shifting characters, from the young Tagore to the old one.

Now, all you need to do is answer these questions in brief and concise sentences. Don’t forget to mention the title, director and cast in your heading. From the start, grab the reader’s interest by quoting a few lines from the play, and maybe you can also share how you felt when they were spoken. Happy writing!

It’s Your Turn
What is Your Theatre Viewing Quotient?
Since you are about to watch a play, you need to discover some things to help you make the most out of this new experience. Take this pop quiz, and find out how well you adjust to theatre norms. Answer yes or no to the following statements:
1. I agree that I should not talk with my friend while the play is running.
Yes No
2. I take down notes silently when I watch the play in progress.
Yes No
3. I will not make fun of the play’s mistakes.
Yes No
4. I am not ashamed to give a standing ovation if the play is really fantastic.
Yes No
5. I know that the cast worked hard that’s why I won’t hesitate to applaud them if permitted.
Yes No
Answers:
• If you’ve answered mostly yes, there’s no doubt you are a genius! You won’t have a hard time adjusting to theatre norms at all.
• If you’ve answered mostly no, your viewing quotient is below average. Chances are, you are likely to offend a fellow theatre-goer or even the production people, by your lack of decorum. Don’t despair. Just give yourself time to adjust by watching more plays, whenever you can.

Sources:
Eric W. Trumbull. Introduction to Theatre Online Course.
http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/thcrtq.htm
Personal Notes from Art Studies 104 (Performing Arts), Humanities Department, UP Diliman.
Langit, Ma. Catherine. A Critique: Tagore and Leona. In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of AS 104, September 1, 1990.
Langit, Ma. Catherine. A Critique: M. Butterfly. In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of AS 104, September 17, 1990.


Footnote: This article was published in Magica, a High School learning reference material of Diwa Publishing Group in 2005.

Break through “The Wall” of Skepticism

Improve your chances of getting meaningful answers during an ambush interview. By Kaye Luistro

You open your door and voila! Your porch is swarming with reporters, recording your every word, facial expression. Remember what Julia Robert’s and Hugh Grant’s characters did in the box-office hit “Notting Hill?” Will you also throw tantrums and storm out of the house with escorts by your side? I won’t blame you. But that is what an ambush interview looks for: sensational comments and reactions worthy of primetime news, and tomorrow’s headlines.

What an Ambush Interview is All About
Television reporters have used, abused it through time. Radio and print reporters have their share too. Though the interviewee says “no comment,” the reporter still had him! Just listen to the terror, anger in his voice; coupled with remarks on how frightened and guilty he looked, writes Clarence Jones, author of the Defending Yourself chapter from the book “Winning with the News Media.”
Why do reporters use the ambush interview so much? They count on it when they want their source to look bad. Think antagonist in a “telenovela.” (soap opera) The more irritated he appears, the better it would be for their story. Sounds rough, right? But if reporters do feel an ounce of guilt, they completely shrug it off, and mutter “It’s for the service of the Filipino people for they deserve to know the truth.”

At times, “journalists are also plain lazy,” write Jeff and Marie Blyscal, authors of ‘PR: How the Public Relations Industry Writes the News.’ “They didn’t have enough knowledge about the subject to ask probing questions, so he or she played it safe and wrote a laudatory ‘puff piece.’”

No matter what they say, this technique is still unfair and unreliable. Mike Wallace, reporter of one of the most influential news programs in America, “60 Minutes,” seems to think so. “He now uses the ambush technique only if the target refuses to give him an interview,” writes Jones.

Developing a conscience is clearly not the only cause for this change. The audiences have become more matured, observes Jones. There’s a higher percentage of being switched off when you pick on a defenseless guy in a news story. The audiences now believe that television holds enormous power to make, destroy a person. If newsmen abuse their authority, the audience will definitely side with the underdog. Expect complaint letters to overflow in newsrooms when this happens.

We can’t deny that “television is words and pictures — mostly pictures,” writes Jones. “If they are to write words about you, they must have your picture.” That’s the lifeline of investigative journalism. They will hunt you down until they get a “sound bite.” (words, reactions worth airing)

Common Tracking Devices
The Dreaded Camera
You will be amazed on how experienced politicians, taipans try to wiggle out of interviews once the camera is turned on. Have you seen how business tycoon Lucio Tan evades the camera time and again? But it is fascinating to watch how a newspaper reporter can get comments armed only with a shorthand pad. Interviewees dread the camera to death. But is it the only reason?

Perhaps it is because “newspapers do much more investigative reporting than television,” writes Jones. “Their investigative teams spend months, sometimes years, on one story. Newspaper investigations are much more tenacious and persistent than those in radio and TV.” Television news does not have this luxury. Reporters go to their beats (assigned stories) in the morning; investigate until 3 in the afternoon; write the story on their way back; look for sound bites in the video; finalize the story, in time for the 6:30 news.

The Lethal Hidden Camera
Some reporters use it to track down a suspected law offender, just like what we usually see in the programs “Imbestigador” and “Magandang Gabi Bayan.” But TV news is not the only culprit. “Newspaper reporters usually don’t have a camera in their hands…but they have a camera in their heads,” writes Jones. “As they sit there, making notes, they’re often not writing what you’re saying. They’re writing what you’re showing. Body English. Eye contact or movement. Fidgets. Sweat. How you reacted to that last question. They will go back to their newsroom and create a picture of you with words. And that can be more distorted than videotape.”

Despite the bad press against reporters, they still have to talk to people to learn what's really going on. But is there a better way to do ambush interviews, when sources remain evasive?

Here is a starter kit on how to do an ambush interview that may generate positive feedback.

The Dignified Ambush
1. Choose unexpected sources, people who usually surround your target, or to get the usual suspects to say unexpected things, says Jones. Ask questions based on the following:
• Who is most directly involved in this story?
• Who is the central character?
• Who is most affected by what is happening in this story?
• Who is in conflict in this story?
• Who might have more information about this story?
• Who could help me find the right person to speak to for this story?
2. Tell a reluctant source that you’ll drive to work with them in the morning, and talk along the way. Limit the questions. Don't use the "interview" word. “Just say you want to talk to them, but be clear that it will be on camera,” writes Jones.
3. Appeal to a source’s sense of importance. Explain how much his comments will make your story look and sound balanced.
4. Ask yourself: What is your end goal? “Do you need factual information, or the person's reactions to a situation, or are you looking for a deeper understanding of the person?” writes Jones. These questions will help you get an ambush interview that sparkles!

It’s Your Turn
It’s your turn to do an ambush interview. Below is an excerpt from a piece of information that your school editor wanted you to follow through. It involves the case of one of your school faculty. Make a list of possible sources, and interview questions to prepare you for the exhausting ambush interview. Apply what you learned about the Dignified Ambush.

Danielle David filed a suit against the Department of Education three months ago after it ruled that she had to quit work because she was pregnant. Current rules state that women must leave their jobs after they reach their fifth month of pregnancy. They may return to work after a six-month leave of absence. Mrs. David filed a suit against the Department, demanding the right to continue teaching as long as she was physically able. Her case was scheduled for a court hearing at 10:15 am today. She did not appear in court, and her case was postponed indefinitely. Her legal counsel explained that Mrs. David had been admitted to the Makati Medical Center at 10 PM yesterday and gave birth to a 6 pound boy at 3 AM today.

Sources:
http://www.winning-newsmedia.com/defend.htm
Defending Yourself chapter of Winning with the News Media by Clarence Jones
http://www.newslab.org/resources/interview.htm
Jeff and Marie Blyscal, authors of “PR: How the Public Relations Industry Writes the News.”

Footnote: This article was published in Magica, a publication of the Diwa Learning Group in 2005.

Drink-Up! My Child Is Thirsty

You can’t ban juices and caffeinated drinks but you can do so much to nudge your child in drinking water all day. By Kaye Langit-Luistro

Everyone says that is it important for your child to drink lots of water everyday. But why is plain water better than juices, coffee, or soda? Truth is, these drinks also contain a certain amount of water. But what makes water better is that “it contains no calories,” says Neil Izenberg, MD, Chief Executive of the Nemours Center for Children's Health Media, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. Fruit juices although packed with vitamins like vitamin C, contain sugar and calories. Too much juice intake may even cause weight problems later on in your child. Soda, iced tea, and coffee are not beneficial either, Dr. Izenberg says, because they contain caffeine which induces frequent urination, a source of dehydration in children if not replenished with enough fluids.

THE DEAL WITH DEHYDRATION
When your child gets dehydrated, “it means that the amount of water in his or her body has dropped below its adequate level,” explains Kathleen M. Cronan, MD, Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When this happens, the body and brain’s temperature levels surge and overheat, according to experts. Children are more prone to experience this problem than adults because their thirst mechanisms are less developed.

HOUSE RULES
Recent research studies show “65% of school aged children between the ages of five and fourteen, drink less water than they should.” To solve this alarming problem, encourage your child to drink water even if he or she is not thirsty. By the time he feels thirsty, Dr. Cronan observes, dehydration might have already set in. As a parent, be in the know of telltale signs like dizziness, headaches, irritability, having a dry or sticky mouth in your child, advices Dr. Cronan.

Another reason why more children today are getting dehydrated is because they have lost the desire to drink plain water, experts say. Fortunately for Nicole Erika Magay, aged 2, “she drinks water after taking milk and her favorite munchies and anytime in between, even without our prompting,” Mommy Bing confides. She knows how vital water is to her daughter’s health that’s why even in her lullabies, “it’s still about how water can make Erika fight cough, cold and skin allergies,” Bing explains.

SCHOOL TIES
Unfortunately not all schools have sufficient water resources. A simple solution would be for your kid to bring a jug or flask of drinking water to school. This way, he or she can drink water during class and after participating in any sports activity for proper hydration.

If your child is properly hydrated, he becomes hale and hearty and right on track with school work. Do you know that when he or she loses 2% of his or her body fluids, his or her performance of any physical and mental activity is reduced by 20%? Much worse, dehydration in excess of 3% may lead to heat stroke, experts say, a condition to which children are more susceptible than adults.

HOW MUCH WATER TO DRINK
“Determining appropriate water intake isn't an exact science,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “How much water your child needs depends on his or her physical condition, activity level, locale, and unique physiology.” That’s why medical opinions vary on this issue.

“Some scientists have studied how many cups of water are necessary to drink per day,” Dr. Izenberg explains, “and the general consensus seems to be that if we respond to our sense of thirst, we will get what we need.” There are experts who say, “a boy between the ages of 11 and 14 needs to drink 3.3 liters of water per day, and a girl the same age needs 2.8 liters per day.”

But for Dr. Cronan, drinking 1.4 to 1.9 liters of water a day (6 to 8 cups) most especially on hot, dry, windy days, is enough. If your child struggles with obesity, Barton D. Schmitt, M.D., Director of General Pediatric Consultative Services, The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, and author of “Instructions for Pediatric Patients” advices him or her to drink six glasses daily.

What if your child is active in sports? Dr. Cronan advices him or her “to drink some fluids before the activity begins…drink at regular intervals during the course of the activity and after the activity ends.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a guideline that children should drink fluids (preferably water) every 15 minutes during outdoor activities.

If drinking enough water becomes a part of your daily ritual at home, there is a better chance for your child to take to guzzling water, anywhere he goes.


SIDEBAR 1:
If you still find it hard convincing your kid to drink water, try these simple suggestions to make water better tasting:
• Freeze fruit juice in cubes and add them to plain or sparkling water, recommends the American Diabetes Association.
• Mix a teaspoon of your child’s favorite flavored syrup such as Vanilla, Hazelnut, Almond, Caramel, Mint, Raspberry, or Irish Cream and another teaspoon of Maple syrup or honey to a glass of iced cold water.
• For fresher alternatives, put cucumber, lemon or apple slices in separate pitchers, add ice and serve.

SIDEBAR 2:
If your child is active in outdoor sports and is not fond of drinking water, dehydration poses a threat to his or her health. When he or she feels faint after standing up and has little urine, Dr. Cronan advices you to consult a doctor right away. If the case is not severe, the doctor will prescribe that your child drinks more fluids, preferably water, than usual. But if he or she is seriously dehydrated, Dr. Cronan explains that he or she “may need to receive fluids through an intravenous tube or IV (tube that goes directly into the vein) to speed up the rehydration process.” Don’t worry. Dehydration is preventable as long as you drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water daily.

Sources:
Bing Magay -c/o Sound Design
Barton D. Schmitt. Instructions for Pediatric Patients 2nd edition, MD. W.B. Saunders Company, 1999.
Neil Izenberg, MD, Chief Executive of the Nemours Center for Children's Health Media, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.
Kathleen M. Cronan, MD, Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/expert/body/drink_water.html
http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/misc/reviewers.html
http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education/water-children.htm
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06060/662529.stm
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:nClvK7-NIZwJ:www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/SM00037+how+to+encourage+your+kid+to+drink+water+by+the+american+academy+of+pediatricians&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=7
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-prevention/nutrition/july2003.jsp

Teach your Child How to Handle Money

It is never too early to talk to your kid about money. Learn some simple principles that will help secure his or her future. By Kaye Langit-Luistro


In most households, money talks are usually forbidden at the dinner table, observes Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling book “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” Perhaps parents are afraid that such chats will make their kids materialistic. On the contrary, children get more confused, turning them into slaves of media advertisements and peer pressure.

In time, they may even believe that such products will make them happier, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). And if this false impression remains uncorrected, your kid may resort to shady deals to raise money and buy random things.

Redefine Identity
Tell your child that “he isn’t what he drives,” write Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D., authors of the bestselling book “The Millionaire Next Door.” This means that he should not mind status symbols, explains bestselling author Francisco J. Colayco in the book “Making Your Money Work.” “If you think people will respect you because you have the newest and most expensive material possession,” writes Colayco. “you are setting yourself up for financial trouble.”

Rosanna Sorella, a working mother relates that both she and husband Arnold have taught their daughter Arra Nikola, aged 10, the value of this principle all her life. She recalls that when Arra was 4 years old, her dad brought her to the office. During lunch hour, his father’s officemates teased her that she should ask daddy to treat her to a popular food chain store. To that, Arra said, “That’s not included in my dad’s daily budget.” She was not ashamed to tell the truth at all, says Mommy Rosanna.

Until today, her daughter makes decisions based on what she believes is right, not on other people’s standards. Just recently the whole family went to the mall. Arra told them that her school shoes have tiny holes on them. The couple decided to buy her a new pair. Arra tried on several pairs but later abandoned that idea. Despite her parent’s prompting, she said, “buying a new pair is not that urgent and I can always buy new ones next semester.”

Redefine Money
When most parents talk money matters, says Kiyosaki, their usual advice is “stay in school, study hard and get a good job.” They forget that their child may graduate with excellent grades, land in a well-paying job yet struggle financially all his or her life. He or she can make more money but barely have enough left, thanks to future credit card debts, house and car loans, vacations, and groceries. “This is the ‘Rat Race,’” explains Sharon L. Lechter C.P.A., co-author of the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”

Redefine Savings
To get out of this impending ‘rat race”, Colayco advices your child to start early and begin saving, investing money from cash gifts during his or her birthday, graduation and Christmas. How much should he or she save? Drs. Stanley and Danko recommend that he or she should start at “15 percent” for it is the simplest strategy for becoming affluent. Over ten years or 120 months, saving P5.00 a day makes him P219,000 richer—and that’s without interest!

Ida Jean Cordon, aged 7 knows this fully well. Her mother Wilma relates that her daughter has two piggybanks at home. One is for her cash gifts during Christmas and the other one for her savings from her daily allowance. “She knows the value of saving money because I always tell her that I don’t just gather money at work,” says Wilma, “I work hard for every centavo.”

If your child continually saves 15% of her money, he or she is on the road of acquiring wealth. “The real beauty of having material wealth,” explains Oprah Winfrey in the November 14, 2005 issue of Newsweek, “is that you don’t have to worry about paying the bills and you have more energy to be concerned about the things that matter…”

Redefine Sharing
And for Arra it is the knowledge that even as a little girl she can make a difference in someone’s life, relates Rosanna. She regularly visits the orphanage and talk to younger girls while brushing and fixing their hair. Rosanna says that during their recent trip to the “Home for the Aged” Arra helped out in making name plates for all the participants. At a very young age, she knows that money is not just for saving but also for sharing. Aside from her time, she also gives money to charity cans at the mall, relates Rosanna.

When you give money, you don’t lose it. Giving actually unlocks the door to financial riches. “Giving money is the secret to most great wealthy families,” relates Kiyosaki. Organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, Kiyosaki adds, are “designed to take their wealth and increase it, as well as give it away in perpetuity.”

Redefine Investing
Another secret in securing your child’s future is the power of investing. He or she can start using his or her savings, says Colayco, to finance forays into small businesses he or she is really good at and truly enjoys. For Ida, it is selling. Every summer, both she and her mother make and sell yummy delights like fish balls, squid balls, noodles, siomai, “turon” (fried banana slices in a wrap) and cheesticks in front of their house.

Redefine Frugality
Mommies Rosanna and Wilma say that both their daughters are also frugal in consuming electricity and water to help save money. Arra makes sure that when she goes out of any room of the house, the electric fan, and television are turned off. She limits her playing computer games to an hour, says Rosanna, and is very particular, about making the most of used water. “After laundry, she uses the final rinse to clean the garage and waters the plants from the remaining water from drinking bottles.” Ida, on the other hand, regularly checks whether the refrigerator door is shut, according to Mommy Wilma, and the air-condition is turned on only during the hours allowed by her.

“Kids are very smart,” write Drs. Stanley and Danko, “they won’t follow rules that their parents don’t follow.” Since Mommies Rosanna and Wilma have taught by example, their children have learned by example.

It may be complicated at first when you try to teach these smart beliefs in your kid. But if you make teaching fun, exciting and live by example, you will help your child have a brighter future!

Sleep When You Want…For As Long As You Want!



You can stop the two most popular sleeping monsters from scaring off ‘sound sleep.’ To tame them, follow these simple suggestions. By Kaye Langit-Luistro


Now that you are expecting, you seem to look at situations through “rose-colored glasses.” You may feel as regal as the “Queen of England” with all the pampering given by your partner, family members, relatives and friends, during this exciting phase. But what may ruin your “reign” is lack of sleep at night. “I have this patient, who tells me that no matter what she does, she still falls asleep at around 12 or 2 am,” relates Ann C. Natividad, MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist and Sonologist at Dr. Jesus Delgado Memorial Hospital.

Sleep Monster 1: The Sleep Robber

It is very stressful when you can’t doze off, no matter what sleeping position you take or how many ‘sheep jumping off the fence’ you have counted! For sure you will become irritable, get tired easily and experience mood swings the next day. Grace Tolentino-Castillo knows this fully well. On her second and third pregnancies, her physician put her on a complete bed rest because her cervix was already open. Starting from 6 months, she was only allowed to stand up for her bathroom breaks. It is true, she says, that although you are lying down, you don’t automatically enter dreamland! And when I did want to fall asleep, my baby was on a different schedule—he wanted to ‘practice his kicking and swimming skills inside my belly,’ Tolentino-Castillo adds.

Potion #1: How to Induce Sleep

When patients ask Dr. Natividad how to treat this problem once and for all, she recommends getting down and active in the day. Schedule errands, finish chores and other responsibilities from 8am to 5pm, for instance. “Don’t nap during the day so you can sleep soundly at night,” advices Dr. Natividad. “Most moms can no longer sleep at night, because they slept for hours during the day.”

Sleep Monster 2: Oversleeping

For Lerna Sabado, fighting off sleep, especially during working hours, was her biggest problem. “During my first pregnancy, I went to work at 5:30 in the morning so I woke up at 4 or 4:30.” When 7 or 8 am hits, Sabado’s eyelids seem to have a mind of their own—they closed automatically. She fought hard against sleep during the first 7 months of pregnancy.

Our grandparents refer to it as part of “paglilihi” or ‘infanticipating.’ But in reality, Dr. Ann explains “there is a hormone secreted during the first five months of pregnancy called “B HCG that increases a mother’s need for sleep.” But after the sixth month, it starts to fade away. Another reason is that a pregnant woman’s heartbeat works for two people—hers and the baby. That’s why the mother gets tired easily and prefers to rest all the time.

Potion # 2: Balance sleep and activity

Your metabolism really slows down when you sleep, explains Dr. Ann. Pregnant women who do are not involved in any aerobic and weight training programs, and clock in more than 8 hours of sleep, are expected to add a few extra pounds, beyond the required weight gain.

How to solve the problem? Opt to wake up and sleep at regular hours. This might sound cruel, but this simple practice helps ward off oversleeping. With a little help from your partner or family member, you can greet the sunshine peering through your window panes, with a perky “Good morning!” Saying no to naps during daytime and restricting sleep at night, may just be the best way to tame those pesky sleep monsters, after all.

Sidebars:
How to achieve the perfect sleeping position?
Authors Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandy Hathaway of the bestselling book “What to expect when you’re expecting” write that you need to obtain the best positions when sleeping and getting out of the bed, to keep body aches and accidents at bay:

1. “Sleep on a firm mattress, or put a board under an overly soft one. A comfortable sleeping position aided by a body pillow-one that’s at least 5 feet long will help minimize aches and pains when you’re awake.”
2. “When getting out of bed, swing your legs over the bed to the floor, rather than twisting to get up.”

Day Sleep?
Now that more and more moms are entering the “call center workforce,” their sleeping patterns have gone haywire, because they work on graveyard shifts. “I’ve lots of patients from call centers who have erratic sleep patterns,” relates Dr. Natividad. “I advised them to have their shifts transferred in the morning so as not to alter their normal sleeping time. Because if you work at night, and sleep in the morning, you won’t get enough rest because the house is usually abuzz with activity.”

A regular sleeping pattern is not only helpful to the mother’s energy level but also to the baby’s growth and development. But if you really can’t get out of that set-up, aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep everyday, and you’ll be okay, explains Dr. Natividad. “But I still prefer that the mother sleeps at night, not during the day for better health.”

Footnote: I was given this assignment by my editor at Moms and Babies Magazine. When the magazine changed image, unfortunately, my article was never published. But why waste a good article, right? Hope you liked it!