Howdy, people

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The story of William Kamkwamba

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Yes, I know. Yes, I realized. Yes, I’ve been awfully quiet for way too long. So, what motivated me to break this long silence? Well, somehow this story about “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”, Mr. William Kamkwamba, made me felt that it would be a good share.

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When William Kamkwamba was just 14 years old, his family told him that he must leave school and come home to work on the farm – they could no longer afford his fees. This is his story of how he found a way to make a difference, how he bought light to his family and village, and hope to his nation.

Malawi is a country battling AIDS, drought and famine, and in 2002, a season of floods followed by the most severe famine in fifty years brought it to its knees. William Kamkwamba’s family were farmers, and relied on their maize crop to feed them for the year and bring in money by selling the surplus. But after many lean years, finally there was no more. By Christmas 2001 they were running out of food – with months before they could harvest their crop again.

At 14 years old, William had been forced to leave school as there was no money to pay the fees. Borrowing library books to continue his education, William picked up a book in English about energy, with a picture of a wind turbine on the front cover. Fascinated by science and electricity, William decided to build his own.Ridiculed by those around him, exhausted from his work in the fields every day, slowly he built it with scrap metal, old bicycle parts and wood from the blue gum tree. It has changed the world in which William and his family live.

Only 2% of Malawi has electricity; and the windmill now powers light bulbs and a radio at their compound, and he has built more windmills for his school and village. When news of William’s invention spread, people from across the globe offered to help him. Soon he was re-enrolled in school and travelling to America to visit wind farms. This is his story – his attempts to teach other Africans to help themselves, one windmill, one lightbulb, at a time.

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It’s great to see how people get their revelation when they are young. William got his when he was 14. Mine came at that same age too. How have I been doing lately? Well, life’s been real good for I feel like I am a fish who finally found the right place with the right water for me to swim in. Working life is not bad at all and to be honest, it is far much better than my years in engineering studies. It could be true after all that business and finance is the thing for me. I will try my best to update as much as possible from now on. Alright, people, have a good life. Peace.

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Kanji of the Year

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Kanji for the year 2008 : 『変』

For further informaton, check the Wikipedia.

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Kanji of the Year 1995 - 2008

In Japan, they started using a 漢字, 【Kanji】 (which means Chinese character)

to represent the whole year from 1995.

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For this year, the keyword is “change” as in the frequent changing of the Japanese Prime Ministers (Abe to Fukuda to Aso), Mr. Obama winning the American Presidency elections spreading the word ‘change’ globally and also the obvious and serious economical and ecological changes around the world. The word “変” is read as “hen” (for the Chinese reading 音読み) and “kawari” (for the Japanese reading 訓読み). It mainly means change but it also means weird. There were many changes in this year and of course, a very weird year indeed as well. Anyway, we all are hoping for better changes in the world, no matter where we are. What will year 2009 have in store for us ? Let’s get surprised. Hopefully, surprised in a good way.

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What a waste

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Namdaemun
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The famous Korean “Great South Gate – Sungnyemun”, better known as the Namdaemun (南大門) to Koreans and tourists, was swallowed up by fire after some lousy 69 years old man named Chae, blazed it up in flames. When I saw this on news, I was like, “What a waste of a beautiful national heritage of Korea.” I visited it before when I went for a trip visit to Seoul and am glad that I’ve got a shot of it while it was still standing boldly, reflecting its time with the world for 6 centuries. It is said that it will take 3 years and $21 million to rebuild the structure. Here’s a simple explanation of the Namdaemun. Sigh, I hope nobody would be that dumb to destroy such important treasures to us.

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Namdaemun, made of wood and stone with a two-tiered, pagoda-shaped tiled roof, was completed in 1398 and served as the main southern entrance to Seoul, which was then a walled city. It was the oldest wooden structure in the country, an iconic reminder of old Korea in this modern Asian city, the capital of South Korea, and a major tourist attraction. The site is surrounded by a bustling commercial district. Lately, homeless people had sought shelter there. The gate survived the Chinese and Japanese invasions that devastated the city. It was repaired several times, most recently after the Korean War of 1950 to 1953. When the South Korean government cataloged its national treasures in 1962, it gave the gate the No. 1 ranking. Some historians opposed that designation because Japanese invasion forces had passed through it in the late 16th century to destroy Seoul.”

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