Different worlds within hours
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2018 - 12:00am

In the last few days, I realize we live in different worlds simply hopping in a plane in an hour. Foremost in my mind was the condition of the Rohingya refugees who live in squalor at the fringes of Bangladesh after they were driven from their homes in Myanmar with the world knowing about their condition. Both Burma and Bangladesh are in Asia. The women are fighting for the rights and security of women in both countries.

The women, all Nobel laureates – Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) joined together for the Nobel Women’s Initiative to let the world know what is happening. To the women in an exodus. I have a personal closeness because my daughter, Veronica was asked to help with the publicity of the issue of the Nobel Women’s Initiative as it is conducted. She was with the delegation to Bangladesh between Feb. 24 and March 2, to investigate the situation of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, particularly the violence against Rohingya women – including high levels of sexual violence.

“A demonstration at Balukhali refugee camp against repatriation was mostly by children who have seen things no child should ever see. They shouted in their high voices like this was a kind of game but what they said was as serious as it gets: “Ara Bashar sai!” “We want justice!” writes Veronica. How can we help?

A Nobel Prize awardee Aung San Suu Kyi herself who was once admired as a woman for the downtrodden when Myanmar was ruled by the military government has been silent.  

She has now been stripped, claiming the awarding institution was “misled and exploited.”

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum announced it was rescinding the prestigious Elie Wiesel Award granted to Suu Kyi in 2012 because she had failed to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country’s northern Rakhine State. She has now been stripped claiming the awarding institution was “misled and exploited.”

In a statement, Myanmar’s embassy in Washington, DC, said “we immensely regret that the Holocaust Museum has been misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in making fair judgment on the situation in Rakhine State.”

MISCELLANY: More pleasant was a visit I made to Macau to see what the “City within the city” of Macau. I had been to Macau. But that was years ago and gaming and entertainment was a small but rising industry. I remember only a few buildings scattered at distances. But for my husband and I, it was a day trip and the best part of it was an Italian restaurant outside of Italy. Last week’s visit was exceptional. There are other such gaming and entertainment complexes but Galaxy takes the crown. I wish I had come here when my knees were still strong and survive the long walk around 200 shops around the Galaxy Mall.  But I tried walking at first then decided I better take the buggy to see the entire mall.

At the center of this mall is what they called “the diamond fountain,” a spectacular show at the entrance. It was crowded with shoppers and ordinary people just taking a walk and a look see at the shops, needless to say very elegant shops. As in casinos in Manila the casinos are scattered throughout the mall for those who want to shop and try their luck at the games tables. But the favorite game I was told was baccarat and the slot machines were not too popular. We were accompanied in the tour by the top officials of the company including the son of the owner.

Such a huge complex that the father was already passing it on to his son.”My father is only 62 he said but he had a vision and realized it in a short time. Galaxy Macau resort is the first integrated leisure and entertainment resort in Macau. At the moment it was The Venetian. Galaxy will be the top integrated tourism destination when it finishes the second and third phases. We were only seeing the first. It has over 500 world class guest rooms and suites over six luxury hotels.

Consolidating the strengths and commitments to future growth Galaxy went public and became the first gaming operator to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In short, we saw how a first-class game and entertainment can be run and managed to make both money and do it responsibly.

They are eyeing the development of Boracay because its beauty is world-renowned for its mountains and pink-sand beaches. It is right that the Duterte administration has taken a hand in making sure that the beauty of the island is preserved. Galaxy will build their complex on the southwestern side of the island. First on the list of improvements is to modernize the Caticlan airport, the officials said.

*      *      *

I think Stephen Hawking was more than a unique individual. Despite his physical defects, he had a soaring intellect and a mischievous sense of humor that made him an icon.

He died recently a the age of 76 years.  

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.  Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

ROHINGYA
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