Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kung hei fat choi/恭喜發財

Congratulations on the New Year and be prosperous!

Chinese New Years is when people travel for days to be with their family for this lunar celebration. There are special foods, special greetings and different activities scheduled for the different days. The Chinese New Year starts today, and the new year is The Year of the Rat.

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Those born in The Year of the Rat from Wikipedia:

Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiacs, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat’s natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.

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Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.

Rats consider others before themselves, at least sometimes, and avoid forcing their ideas onto others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relation to their friends or in their career. But as the years pass, they will become more idealistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.

According to tradition, Rats often carry heavy karma and at some point in life may face an identity crisis or some kind of feeling of guilt. Rats are said to often have to work very long and hard for everything they may earn or have in life. However, a Rat born during the day is said to have things a bit easier than those who are born at night. Traditionally, Rats born during the night may face extreme hardships and suffering throughout life. Rats in general should guard themselves against hedonism, as it may lead to self-destruction. Gambling, alcohol and drugs tend to be great temptations to Rat natives.

Traditionally, Rats should avoid Horses, but they can usually find their best friends and love interests in Monkeys, Dragons, and Oxen.

Professions include espionage, psychiatry, psychology, writing, politics, law, engineering, accounting, detective work, acting, and pathology.
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One of the best part of Chinese New Years – if you are a young person – is the RED Envelopes, full of money. One of the worst parts of Chinese New Years if you are a grown up is passing out all the RED envelopes, full of money (groan!)

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February 7, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Holiday, Social Issues | | 8 Comments

When the Wicked Prosper

I learn so much listening to my Kuwaiti friends. The other night, over dinner, a good friend explained to me about how Islam teaches you that if someone slaps you, you are supposed to turn the other cheek. That is exactly what Jesus told us to do, and I had NO idea it was also in the Qur’an.

So here is my question for today: What does the Qur’an have to say about people who appear to prosper, even though they are bad, through and through.

In my culture, many times I have heard people ask how people who do such evil can also appear to be so blessed? The question crosses all the boundaries of church alliance, religion, morality. Isn’t good supposed to be rewarded? Why do the wicked appear to have abundance, and to be kept safe, while bad things happen to good people?

Psalm 37 has all the answers. My favorite is line 13 – The Lord laughs at the wicked; he knows their day is coming. I think I’ll write it out and put it on my dashboard, and instead of cursing when some yahoo cuts me off with only a millimeter to spare, I will repeat that verse.

Today’s Psalm from the readings of The Lectionary is about that very subject.

Psalm 37

Of David.
1Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.

3Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6He will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.

8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
11But the meek shall inherit the land,
and delight in abundant prosperity.

12The wicked plot against the righteous,
and gnash their teeth at them;
13but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that their day is coming.

14The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to kill those who walk uprightly;
15their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

16Better is a little that the righteous person has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will abide for ever

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Lent, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Spiritual | 16 Comments

Qatteri Cat Enjoys Winter Sunlight

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Nothing like a snooze in the winter sunlight for the Qatteri Cat. He keeps track of everything going on in the neighborhood until the sleep waves overcome him, and then he just kicks back a little. It’s a great life, being an indoor cat.

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Relationships | 7 Comments

Diet Soda Problems

In a recent blog entry Gout and Soda frequent commenter Abdulaziz speculated that there is also a link between diet soda and over eating. Today I found an article in the New York Times that substantiates his gut feeling.

From The New York Times in an article entitled Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda

. . . Over all, a Western dietary pattern — high intakes of refined grains, fried foods and red meat — was associated with an 18 percent increased risk for metabolic syndrome, while a “prudent” diet dominated by fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry correlated with neither an increased nor a decreased risk.

But the one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none. . . .

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Cold Drinks, Diet / Weight Loss, Eating Out, Health Issues, Statistics | | 3 Comments

Sunrise 7 February 2008

It was a very very pink sunrise this morning, so glowing soft pink that the camera couldn’t even pick it up. When God gave us eyes, he gave us an amazing gift – the subtleties our eyes can capture.

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February 7, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 3 Comments