Hunger Games and our daily fight for survival.

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Last night me and my friends watched Hunger Games in cinema. This movie I read has been reaping big bucks at the Box Office and is already the 3rd highest grossing film opening weekend only behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Batman “The Dark Knight”.

The movie is about a fictional nation called “Panem” (which is where the previous North American countries were located) holding an annual game called “The Hunger Games” wherein each of the 12 districts shall pick 2 representatives (1 male and 1 female aged 12-18) by lottery. The persons who were picked are called “tributes”.  They are sent to the ultra-modern Capitol and they have to fight the other tributes to death in order to win the game and earn the honor of being called “victor”.

Each of the tribute has to gain the viewer’s support and admiration to gain sponsors which will help them to survive the game by sending foods, medicine or tools. The main character, Katniss Everdeen from District 12 can be considered fierce and elusive. However, because of these characteristics, people loved her and was even called “The Girl on Fire”. To add more drama to the games, she and the other tribute from District 12, Peeta Mellark were made to act like the “star-crossed lovers” which eventually Katniss decided to follow this calculated ploy in order to stay on in the battle.

The rules of the game was changed several times. When only Katniss and Peeta survived at the end of a few days battle, they changed the ruling and state that only 1 person must be the victor.

Upon hearing this, Katniss convinced Peeta not to let the Gamemakers and the audience have 1 victor and it’s better to have none. Peeta agreed to eat a poisonous berry called “nightlock” which Katniss got from one of the tributes who died eating the said fruit.

But before they were able to commit suicide, the Gamemakers announced that the rules were amended and that both of them were the victors. The movie ended showing the 2 victors returning to District 12 to the delight of the people.

This movie is actually taken from the highly successful Trilogy novel by Suzanne Collins which also includes “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”.

At first, I didn’t intend to watch the movie because as I read the plot it seems the movie promotes violence due to the brutal fighting till death. However, as the movie progresses, I find there are still some redeeming values in the storyline:

1. Family is important and invaluable.
2. We need friends and alliances. As the saying goes, “No man is an island”.
3. We must know our strengths and maximize it, acknowledge our weaknesses and try to improve it.

In our daily lives, there are times that we are like tributes and we are participating in a very big hunger game. A lot of people are hungry for power, fame or fortune while many others are hungry for love and affection. There is nothing wrong in being hungry for these things. What’s wrong is if we already have more than what we can chew but we are still asking for more.  That’s called GREED already and is considered a deadly sin.

That’s all for now folks. May the odds be ever in your favor!

P.S. It is the Lenten Season next week. It’s time to fast, repent and reflect on God’s ultimate love for us. Less of us, more of God.

Bad days in Bangkok…

I planned watching Fast and the Furious 4 this long weekend because first, I watched all the installments of this movie in the past and would like to see the latest sequel and second, I had been very busy these past weeks with work and all the stuff.

So after going to the church for Easter Sunday Mass, my friends and I troop to Central World Mall to have lunch and watch movie. The movie started at around 4:00.  The early part was quite impressive with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and their gang trying to hijack a truck full of petrol. Next scene is Paul Walker chasing a thug in the streets of Los Angeles. Then the screen stopped…my friends and I thought it was a technical problem.

Suddenly, a lady popped out and is speaking in very fast Thai something that seemed urgent. Finally, all the people in the cinema stood up and headed to the nearest exit. Naturally, since no announcement was made in English, I had to ask someone what happened. The moviegoer said they announced that the entire mall will be closed in a while because there was a mob between the  Red Shirt demonstrators and the police only a short distance away from where we are located and there were some army tanks nearby. There was a sense of panic from all people as they rushed out of the mall. Suddenly, in a supposed busy Easter Sunday and pre-Songkran (Thai New Year Festival) Holidays, the Central World Mall,  the biggest in Bangkok– is like a ghost town.

We rushed back home and checked the news. Only then that we found out some Red shirted demonstrators tried to seize an Army tank. And so the tension in Bangkok escalates especially after the PM declared a State of Emergency.

This blog features various posts about the situation in Bangkok: http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/04/13/escalating-political-violence-in-thailand-shuts-down-summit/4946/

Today is supposedly the first day of the Songkran Festival but the festive atmosphere is dampened by what’s happening. Many tourists who planned their holidays in Bangkok had to cancel because of some travel advisories issued by their countries.

I’ve longed anticipated celebrating Songkran here in Bangkok to experience not only the fun of splashing water to others which is the main activity of Songkran but also to embrace a bit of culture of this country I’ve learned to like in a short time that i’ve been staying here.

It’s so sad these recent incidents happened to Thailand, a country known to have peace-loving, kind hearted and joyful citizens. What’s even disheartening is the long term effect to the economy and tourism industry of these events.

I would love to see the day for Thailand to be back in its usual form and living up to its popular tag “The Land of Smiles” as its citizens, “adopted citizens” and tourists wearing a big smiles in their hearts for the joy this land brings to them.

UPDATE: Demonstrations have ceased in Bangkok or other areas and the Songkran Festivities have continued since Tuesday afternoon. Those who are avoiding Bangkok or Thailand earlier, I hope you could re-consider going ahead with your trip to Thailand.

Where is the Best Holy Week (or Summer) Hideaway?

Holy Week is almost 2 weeks away. I heard there are many resort destinations that still have vacant rooms for Holy Week. This is really strange considering that traditionally, Lenten Season is a super super super PEAK season even before our generation was born. The Global Economic Recession is really pinching its way to all sectors of the society and Tourism is the most volatile of them all.

Anyway, for the Sun, Sand and Sea lovers- Holy Week is the best time to relax and do some rest and recreation. Going to the Beach and stuff doesn’t mean we forget the essence of the Lenten Season which is commemorating our Savior Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to die on the cross to redeem us from all our sins.  I would like to think that this season (being a Long Holiday) is the best time to reflect, spend precious time with loved ones and repair or take back some broken or lost relationships.

Now the question is, Where is the Best Holy Week (or Summer) Hideaway? I’ve made some random choices for you to select. Once you select the best destination, share to us why you consider it on top of the list.

Hope you will have a memorable Holy Week this year!