Short Story about Mother Teresa

Biography Mother Teresa

MotherTeresa_ Mother Teresa (1910–1997) was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor and destitute around the world. She spent many years in Calcutta, India where she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation devoted to helping those in great need. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became a symbol of charitable, selfless work. In 2016, Mother Teresa was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa.

“It is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.”

– Mother Teresa. From: No Greater Love

Short Biography of Mother Teresa

mother teresa Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Little is known about her early life, but at a young age, she felt a calling to be a nun and serve through helping the poor. At the age of 18, she was given permission to join a group of nuns in Ireland. After a few months of training, with the Sisters of Loreto, she was then given permission to travel to India. She took her formal religious vows in 1931 and chose to be named after St Therese of Lisieux – the patron saint of missionaries.

On her arrival in India, she began by working as a teacher; however, the widespread poverty of Calcutta made a deep impression on her, and this led to her starting a new order called “The Missionaries of Charity”. The primary objective of this mission was to look after people, who nobody else was prepared to look after. Mother Teresa felt that serving others was a fundamental principle of the teachings of Jesus Christ. She often mentioned the saying of Jesus,

“Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.”

As Mother Teresa said herself:

“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service .” – Mother Teresa

mother-teresa She experienced two particularly traumatic periods in Calcutta. The first was the Bengal famine of 1943 and the second was the Hindu/Muslim violence in 1946, before the partition of India. In 1948, she left the convent to live full-time among the poorest of Calcutta. She chose to wear a white Indian sari, with a blue border, out of respect for the traditional Indian dress. For many years, Mother Teresa and a small band of fellow nuns survived on minimal income and food, often having to beg for funds. But, slowly her efforts with the poorest were noted and appreciated by the local community and Indian politicians.

In 1952, she opened her first home for the dying, which allowed people to die with dignity. Mother Teresa often spent time with those who were dying. Some have criticised the lack of proper medical attention, and their refusal to give painkillers. Others say that it afforded many neglected people the opportunity to die knowing that someone cared.

Her work spread around the world. By 2013, there were 700 missions operating in over 130 countries. The scope of their work also expanded to include orphanages and hospices for those with terminal illnesses.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

—- Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa never sought to convert those of another faith. Those in her hospices were given the religious rites appropriate to their faith. However, she had a very firm Catholic faith and took a strict line on abortion, the death penalty and divorce – even if her position was unpopular. Her whole life was influenced by her faith and religion, even though at times she confessed she didn’t feel the presence of God.

The Missionaries of Charity now has branches throughout the world including branches in the developed world where they work with the homeless and people affected by AIDS. In 1965, the organisation became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

In the 1960s, the life of Mother Teresa was brought to a wider public attention by Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote a book and produced a documentary called “Something Beautiful for God”.


In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.

In later years, she was more active in western developed countries. She commented that though the West was materially prosperous, there was often a spiritual poverty.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

-— Mother Teresa

When she was asked how to promote world peace, she replied,”Go home and love your family”.

Over the last two decades of her life, Mother Teresa suffered various health problems, but nothing could dissuade her from fulfilling her mission of serving the poor and needy. Until her very last illness she was active in travelling around the world to the different branches of The Missionaries of Charity. During her last few years, she met Princess Diana in the Bronx, New York. The two died within a week of each other.

Following Mother Teresa’s death, the Vatican began the process of beatification, which is the second step on the way to canonization and sainthood. Mother Teresa was formally beatified in October 2003 by Pope John Paul II. In September 2015, Pope Francis declared:“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,”“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”

Mother Teresa was a living saint who offered a great example and inspiration to the world.

Awards given to Mother Teresa

  • The first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. (1971)
  • Kennedy Prize (1971)
  • The Nehru Prize –“for the promotion of international peace and understanding”(1972)
  • Albert Schweitzer International Prize (1975),
  • The Nobel Peace Prize (1979)
  • States Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985)
  • Congressional Gold Medal (1994)
  • U Thant Peace Award 1994
  • Honorary citizenship of the United States (November 16, 1996),

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Mother Teresa”, Oxford, UK., 18th May 2006. (Updated September 2016)

Living in cities of future

Future Cities

The building that houses both the Masdar and International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters will have stores and restaurants in addition to office space, powered by 1,000sqm of photovoltaic panels. While no residential buildings beyond dormitories have been built, they are in the works. “There are various residential plots around the city, and over the coming years they will be tendered out to global architects,”Zaafrani explained. The city’s economic free zone “ with zero taxes, import tariffs or restrictions on foreign hires “ is set up to specifically attract clean energy and tech companies, clustering them together in incubator office buildings. “The number one target is people who work in Abu Dhabi and around the UAE,” Zaafrani said. “We are trying to make sure as we build up the city, there will be demand for both commercial and residential spaces. “Currently, a four-bedroom villa in central Abu Dhabi rents for around 200,000 dirhams a year, while a two-bedroom flat in Reem Island rents for around 100,000 dirhams. Over the next two years, 45,000 new flats and houses will come available.The National: English-language daily covering news, features, arts and culture across the Emirates Related article: The futurist “ Masdar City

Former Expo Site, Shanghai
Rather than building an entirely new city (although China is doing that too, by the dozens), Shanghai is taking the area that housed the 2010 Shanghai World Expo on the Pudong and Puxi sides of the Huangpu River and turning it into a city-within-a-city. While the Expo originally displaced 18,000 families, it was themed around urban sustainability and efficiency, and the city invested heavily in the sites infrastructure so it could be redeveloped after the fair was over and the pavilions dismantled. Parks, green space, water features and cultural institutions such as the large red China Pavilion, now a museum – were left to be incorporated into mixed-use projects containing apartments, hotels, offices, shopping malls and restaurants. By 2016, two hotels and some office and retail space will be completed, and in May 2013 the 50,000sqm Green Valley project broke ground. Near the China Pavilion, the project will form the central axis of the overall site with sustainable commercial space, restaurants and offices, all linked by open courtyards, gardens and other green spaces.The Shanghai housing market is rising quickly, and recently the government reacted to fears of a bubble by directing banks to stop giving mortgages to people buying their third home. The median house price in the city centre is currently 42,500 renminbi per square metre, and a new-build, two-bed flat in Pudong can start at 8 million renminbi. A one-bedroom city centre flat rents for about 6,000 renminbi per month, and a three-bed in the centre rents for 14,500 renminbi.

Victoria, British
This Canadian city across the Puget Sound from Seattle, Washington, has created an urban experiment within its borders with the Dockside Green development on the city’s harbourfront. The three neighbourhood master plan is based on the tenets of New Urbanism, with its focus on density, community and sustainability.
Dockside Wharf has been completed, and Dockside Commons and Dockside Village are not yet under construction. Streets are walkable, housing is diverse and energy efficient, and residential and commercial spaces are densely packed but close to nature trails and ponds. The three developments and 26 buildings, designed by Perkins + Will Architects, are LEED platinum certified and built on a former industrial site. Strong eco-credentials include the fact that the buildings use 55% less than water than traditional condos and were constructed using low VOC paint and eco-friendly materials such as bamboo flooring and carpets made from recycled material.Western Morning News: News and events from around Devon and the West Country
Song Do,Korea
Photo by Robert Koehler/getty

Song Do
Photo by SJ Kim/getty

Incheon Bridge
Photo by SJ Kim

Masdar City
Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty

Photo by Tony Burns/LPI/Getty

Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP?Getty

Photo by Feng Li/Getty

Photo by 2013

Photo by 2013

Photo by 2013


Zhu GeLiang Looking for a Wife Story

Description Zhuge Liang story, looking for wife
The Legend of Zhuge Liang Seeking a Wife

Illustration of Zhuge Liang by Sng Chen Chen/Epoch Times.

When Zhuge Liang was about 17 to 18 years old, he went to Wolong Gang in Nanyang City, Henan Province, and built a thatched cottage. There, he ploughed the field and studied hard.

A squire named Huang Chengyan lived under the Wolong Gang Ridge. He took a liking to Zhuge Liang when he saw that Zhuge was a wise and upright person, and he often visited Zhuge. As Huang was very knowledgeable, Zhuge looked up to him. He often sought Huang’s advice and asked him to go through his writings.

It was only after some time that Huang decided to offer his daughter’s hand in marriage to Zhuge. Zhuge did not accept the offer, since he had heard that Huang’s daughter was ugly, but neither did he reject it upfront. The marriage proposal was shelved.

From then on, Huang and Zhuge only shared their knowledge, and not a word about the marriage proposal was mentioned when Huang visited Zhuge.

One day, Huang said to Zhuge, “I often visit you, but you never call on me.”

Zhuge responded: “Please forgive me for being impolite. I’ll visit you the next time.”

A few days later, Zhuge indeed called on Huang. When he told the guard at the door who he was, the guard said: “The squire has given the instruction that if Master Zhuge is here, he should be led into the house right away. Please come in!”

Zhuge stepped inside and saw that the second door was closed. He knocked gently on it twice, and it opened. After he went in, the door closed automatically. Zhuge could not help feeling strange.

Just when he was going to look around, he suddenly heard a sound, and two dogs ran toward him. The dogs, one jet black and one white as snow, barked and lunged at him. Zhuge wanted to turn back, but the door would not open. He panicked as he tried to dodge the dogs.

At that moment, a maid ran out and patted the dogs heads. They immediately sat still. She then twisted their ears, and they ran off behind the flowerbeds. Filled with curiosity, Zhuge followed them to take a closer look. He realized they were made of wood and covered in dog skin. He asked the maid who had invented the mechanical dogs, but the maid just smiled and ran off.

Zhuge walked further into the house. When he came to a third door, two tigers ran out and lunged at him. Zhuge thought, They are probably fake too. He patted on the tigers heads, but to his surprise, the tigers pounced on him with opening mouths.

The tigers pinned Zhuge down tightly and refused to release him. Just then, the maid came over again and said: “You are trying to be smart. How could you use the way you deal with dogs to deal with the tigers?”

As she spoke, she patted their bottoms, and they sat still.

Zhuge felt embarrassed and sighed. “It’s so difficult to enter this huge courtyard. Please show me the way in!”

The maid said, “I’m busy milling the noodles!”

Zhuge saw a mill with a wooden donkey running in circles. He was dumbfounded. He exclaimed: “Ah! I only know that Master Huang is knowledgeable. I’m surprised he can make this!”

The maid laughed and said, “Master doesn’t care about this!”

Zhuge asked anxiously, “Who is it if it’s not the squire?”

“Please enter. You will find out,” the maid replied.

Zhuge thought: “Each time I open a door, I’m greeted with a new device that causes me a lot of trouble. What should I do?”

As he hesitated, the door opened, and out came a lady. The lady was tall with a gentle and dignified demeanor, except that her face was slightly dark and had a few pockmarks.

She came to the passageway and asked the maid, “Who is this guest?”

Before the maid could reply, Zhuge bowed and answered: “I’m Zhuge Kongming* from Wolong Gang. I’m here to pay a visit to Master Huang!”

“Please enter!” the lady said immediately, and then she turned back in.

The maid saw that Zhuge was still rooted to the ground, and she urged him: “Follow her! The door has opened, and the lady will stop all things from coming out. Nothing will come out and scare you again!”

Zhuge proceeded with caution. After he turned a few corners and entered a few more doors, he finally came to a building.

Huang led Zhuge upstairs, and when they finally sat down, Zhuge could not wait to find out the inventor of those devices. He said, “It’s not easy to visit Master!” He then told Huang what had just happened.

Huang laughed loudly and said: “That ugly daughter of mine is always working on such stuff. It’s disrespectful to frighten you!”

Upon hearing Huang’s explanation, Zhuge blushed and started grumbling to himself: “Zhuge Liang! You are so muddle-headed. The squire offered his daughter’s hand in marriage, but you despised her ugliness. Where could you find such a person who is so extraordinarily talented? Where’s the ugliness?”

At that moment, he blurted out, “Miss Huang’s wisdom exceeded the rest, and I admire her very much!”

Huang said, “My daughter is very ugly. I’ve tried to offer her hand in marriage to someone, but …”

Before Huang could finish, Zhuge said, “I’m here specially to visit my father-in-law!”

With that, he kneeled down and kowtowed to Huang.

Huang laughed and helped him up.

Zhuge and Lady Huang eventually got married. They helped and learned from each other. It was said that many of Zhuge’s ideas came from his discussions with Lady Huang.

In ancient books and legends, there were stories of Zhuge’s invention a wooden ox that could walk on its own by maneuvering the gears. In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, there was a description of Zhuge using seven-star lamps to extend his life. There was also a story of Zhuge praying for the Eastern Wind.

Miss Huang made moving dogs and tigers with wood. The ancient books also recorded that Lu Ban, a great carpenter, created a wooden bird that flew in the sky for three days and three nights.

Science in ancient China was very advanced and went beyond modern science. Since the divinely imparted culture was passed down by deities to humans, it carries supernatural power that is beyond the reach of modern science.

*Zhuge Kongming, Zhege Liang’s style name.

Story of Shih Ming-Teh, Taiwan Opposition Leader Part 4

Shih Ming-Teh Escape

Shih Ming-Teh (Nory)
Leader of people opposition in Taiwan.

Look shy, but fierce in action
Shy looks but powerful in act

The Dark Years
In prison Shih met two other detainees whom he recognised from his military training, and lost what little cheer he had left when they told him that the minimum sentence that such prisoners received was two years.’Two years!’ the thought seared his mind. For a young man experiencing the most delicious period of his life, it might as well have been two hundred.

When the other two inmates hatched a plan to escape to the nearby mountains where one of them had a relative,Shih was right there in the front row.But the map showing the way to rendezvous house fell into the hands of the guards.

Escape attempts breed wrath.Shih was sent with his fellow collaborators and 17 other prisoners to the Taiwan Garrison Command’s Security Centre-the army’s favourite torture house – in the heart of Taipei. Their heads shaved,the prisoners were shackled together at the ankles and squeezed into a small cell.Given the opportunity to bathe only twice a week,the odour that reeked from the cell became positively dreadful.

The new interrogators said little,preferring to deal out slugs and kicks. Shih was led to the interrogation room with his hands cuffed behind him.The same questions were put to him again.”What was the Taiwan Independence League all about? growled a scruffy looking questioner.

Previous Story of Shih Ming-Teh, Taiwanese Politician against Oppression.

Outside Taiyuan was altogether another world. Taiwan’s economy was expanding eapidly,with the GDP showing annual increases of eight to ten per cent.The GNP per capita had bounded from US$50 in a once soporific,agrarian society to USS$ 2,500 in an economy that had become a redoubtable trading juggernaut.With much fanfare,the Republic of China gloated over its economic accomplishment at the expense of those less sophisticated political infidels across the Taiwan Straits.

But all was not sunshine and Shaoxing wine for Taiwan, still labouring under martial law. With intellectual and economic attainment, the middle class became more assertive. The benshengren had no special affiliation with China, and that ‘glorious return to the mainland’ had all but become a fatuous fantasy of a dislocated band of Kuomintang soldiers. To the Taiwanese,the island was home and no nationalistic exhortation was going to alter that fact. Meanwhile many of them were becoming restive at being shut out of the governing process.

Half a world away, embarrassed by its ally’s authoritian streak, the United States mounted pressure on Chiang Kai-shek to introduce political reforms. In order not to ruffle feathers in Washington — which Taiwan depended on for its defence weaponry

Story of Shih Ming-Teh, Taiwan Opposition Leader Part 3

Nori (Shih Ming-Teh) Story

Shih Ming Teh
Shy looks but powerful in act

Masters of our own fate
Meanwhile on the mainland,Mao Zedong,driven by the rubric and revolution of Marx,came out of his historical Long March and led a ruthless onslaught on Chiang’s troops, taking city after village.Humiliated and emaciated,the Kuomintang army fled to Taiwan in 1949. Chiang Kai-shek declared that the island would be used as a base from which to launch the recovery of China from the communist. What was left unsaid was that Taiwan was not home to the Kuomintang. As far as Chiang and his army were concerned, it was nothing more than a military base, a political outpost.This callousness was to have far-reaching consequences for the later development of the Beautiful Island.
When the Communist Party took over China, Chiang Kai-shek knew that the war was well and trully lost. To save himself from complete loss of face, the leader of Kuomintang relinquished his post of President of the Republicof China as proclaimed by Dr Sun Yat-Sen when he overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911.
Ever the impresario of modern Chinese politics, Chiang left the lame duck presidency to his deputy Li Chung-ren while he quietly staged a massive haul of national treasures from the motherland. A total of 151 crates of gold,silver and cash from the central bank were shipped off to Taiwan.Chiang was also prescient enough to take pricelessrelics and museum treasures along with him. President Li Chung-ren,assailed by thoughsof being dragged from pillar to post by the communists,had in the meantime resigned the presidency and escaped to the United States.

Once in Taiwan,Chiang’s appointed National Assembly, according to script,pleaded with the Generalissimo to resume the presidency of China. The stage was set for the former President to take control again. In 1949 he declared Taipei to be the temporary capital of all China and vowed that the Kuomintang would one day ‘make a glorious return to the mainland’.
The 2-2-8 Incident had lit the flame of independence in the hearts ofagroup of young Taiwanese whom Shih was to later lead–a flame that burned unstoppably in the decades that followed.More than anything else,Shih wanted the Taiwanese people to be able to defend themselves against foreign powers.Resisting the mainland rulers would be an arduous task.But for every journey af a thousand miles,someone had to nurse the anxious hope that someone else would take that first fearless step.

Shih was a thin,timid man who never looked like a leader of his people. With a stick of a body,he was not disposed to grandiloquent displays of wit and oratory.His preferred method of leadership was to work in the background and influence his contemporaries with quiet diligence.
He quickly developed a zest for philosophy, politics and law, and participated in discussion groups organised by students. Wherever these groups gathered together,there would also be talk about social issues, with poverty and discrimination against the locals being the leitmotif. The meetings were conducted in different places,including the Shih’s family run hotel.

Shih was determined tolead inspite of himself.Firstly,he had to overcome his aversions to everything from public speaking to darkness,which triggered phobic reactions. With a single=mindedness that proved to be his greatest source of strength in his struggle

Previous,part 2

Story of Shih Ming-Teh, Taiwan Opposition Leader Part 2

About Shih Ming-Teh.

Shih Ming Teh was born on 15 January 1941 into a wealthy family in Kaohsiung, a city in southern Taiwan.His father,Shih Kuo-tsuei, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine as well as a believer in the Roman Catholic faith,was rather successful in his medical practise which very quickly translated into several pieces of ral estate. His wife had given birth to three sons and five daughters, with the sons all dying when they were still infants.
Notwithstanding his Christian beliefs and in full observance of that most contentious of traditions where boys are preferred, Shih Kuo-tsuei took a young second wife, who bore him another six children,this time all but one of them boys, Shih Ming-teh squeezed in at number four.
The Portuguese had named Taiwan ‘Formosa’, or Beautiful Island,when they first set foot there in the eighteenth century.Long considered an inconsequential island compared to the vastness of the Asian continent,Taiwan lies like loose change falling out of the hip-pocket of motherland China. With a mountain range fo a spine, the island is muscularised with fertile pockets of loam on the coasts.
As early as the Ming Dynasty, peasants from Fujian province on the mainland came across in search of arable land. Since then,generations have settled on the western half of the island, with few traversing the mountain range to the eastern coast. Taiwan was already inhabitated by natives of Polynesian stock,who possessed a darker complexion and altogether distinct culture. For centuries these shandiren, or mountain people as the Taiwanese call them,coexisted peaceably with the early settlers.

Someone in Taipei hit the plunger and the bomb went off on 28 February 1947 with such fury that its effects are still left half a century later. An elderly woman was hawking contraband cigarettes when police officers accosted her and tried to confiscate her goods,whereupon she put up a fight.
The officers, unaccustomed to such effrontery,charged her with resisting arrest,convicted her of the offence and sentenced her to a beating (though not necessary in that order) which they proceeded to administer on the spot. Bystanders came to woman’s aid, and a scuffle developed. Suddenly a shot rang out and before anyone could make sense of the situation, a civilian lay dead.

This event, which came to be known as the 2-2-8 Incident (named after the date on which it occured), triggered widespread protests among the Taiwanese. The disquiet between the locals and their mainland rulers now turned into hatred,and rapidly engulfed the major cities.

Governor Chen Yi cabled the mainland Government for reinforcements for his diminutive garrison. When they arrived, the full force of the military was unleashed on the people.The bloodletting spread mercilessly across the country;by the time situation was brought under control, it was estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 civilians had been killed.

Martial law was imposed and the army like a hateful headmaster, set out to teach the locals a lesson that they would remember forever. Those convicted of taking part in the uprising, often in dubious legal proceedings, were publicly executed.The grisly show-and-tell became a routine event across the whole country.Before each execution, a gong would be sounded to signal that class was about to begin.
When he was six years old,Shih Ming-teh slipped out of his house to witness one such session.The executioner steppedup to the condemned man, who was kneeling with hands bound behind his back, pointed the rifle to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Bones and brain littered the pavement. One eyeball flew off and impaled itself on the branch of a tree close to where Shih was standing,staring bitterly at him and permanently scarring his psyche.

His own father was not sparedthe Government’s wrath. Suspected of taking part in the uprising,Shih Kuo-tsuei was imprisoned and subjected to interrogation which maimed him physically and psychologically. He was released a few months later when no evidence was found against him, but never recovered from the trauma and died two years later.
With martial law,political parties were banned as they had been under the Japanese,even more books were deemed ‘undesirable’ and declared illegal, and Mandarin became the official language which, like the Japanese language,was not the mother tongue of the Taiwanese who spoke Taiyu, aprovincial dialect.’When we were in school,we had to wear a big label which read:”Please speak Mandarin.”Those who used Taiyu were fined,” my Taiwanese mother-in-law recalled.

Story of Shih Ming-Teh, Taiwan Opposition Leader

Politic People Articles

Nori (Shih Ming-Teh) Story

Shih Ming Teh
Shy looks but powerful in act

The Escape

‘Nori!They’re here to arrest you!’ Linda screamed.
It was just a few hours since he first dozed off at about midnight,after returning home from meeting with his compatriots. He was in a daze, having woken to the choleric ring of the doorbell and the fretful screams of his wife.
He instinctively reached for the telephone to warn the others. The line was dead. He put on his clothes and ran to the living room where Linda was frantically barricading the door with sofas,shelves and just about anything else she could find.
‘Quick! Run!’ she shouted.
Nori was desperately trying to figure out what to do but his thoughts were aggravatingly uncooperative.
The doorbell continued.Linda ran to the back door to see iftheir neighbours could help. Suddenly,the front door shook with an angry pounding.
‘Mr Shih, open the door.’
The pounding continued
‘Who are you?’ Linda cried out
‘We’re from the local police.’
‘I know the local police officer. Don’t lie to me,’Nori replied.
‘I’ve just been posted here yesterday.’ Without waiting for a response, the officer started kicking the door down.
Nori returned to the bedroom and switched off all the lights.
He fumbled his way to the kitchen and went out through the back door. His apartment was on the second storey with a fire escape that led to the flat below, but experience told him that intelligence agents would have already surrounded the ground floor. He found the wall that formed the outer fencing of the block apartments and half-slipped, half-groped his way along the narrow strip of moss-covered concrete which led to the roof of the neighbouring flats. Overhanging branches of a tree reached out to lend a chivalrous hand and Nori grabbed them appreciatively.
At 39 years of age, he surprised himself with his nimbleness and strength, despite the less than graceful trek across the concrete ledge.The military training in his younger days was coming in handy.After a couple of feet, he heard Linda scream. The officers must have broken the door down,he thought. Nori looked back but saw only darkness, He was confident that she would not be harmed as she was an American citizen.

Nori continued crawling until he reached a four storey building.The whole area was dark and he couldn’t see how high he was. He looked up the wall for a second appraisal.
His legs hit the ground hard.The pain spread through his body and for minutes he lay unable to move or to yell out.Slowly he picked himself up and took refuge in the shadows. He saw that his left thumb was cut and bleeding profusely. Strangely —and thankfully—he felt no pain.

As he emerged from the alley, he saw intelligence agents milling around in the distance. He knew that he had to get out of the area before daylight. It was one of those times when morning wasn’t welcome. Just as he was about to make a dash for it, a policeman suddenly appeared around the corner of the block.Too late,the officer had spotted him.
He sensed that this policeman didn’t recognise him.’Good morning, officer,’Nori Gambled.He risked a radiant smile as he pretended to perform callisthenics, while doing his darnedest to hide his bleeding hand. His heart was pounding, but it assuredly wasn’t from the morning exercise.

‘Good morning,’the officer paid Nori his winnings and walked on. Nori closed his eyes and let out a huge sigh of relief. He started walking towards the main thoroughfare and flagged down a taxi.That was the easy part, now he had to decide where to go. As taipei yawned with the breaking of a new day,Nori looked out the window and smiled wistfully at his fellow citizens going about their day’s activities. His mind raced back to the time when he had first been arrested 18 years ago.

The Chrysanthemum: Symbol of Strength and Resilience

A detail from an ink-wash landscape painting, in which artist Du Jin portrays poet Tao Yuanming strolling through the mountains and admiring the chrysanthemum blossoms. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Public Domain)

A detail from an ink-wash landscape painting, in which artist Du Jin portrays poet Tao Yuanming strolling through the mountains and admiring the chrysanthemum blossoms. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Public Domain)

The Chrysanthemum: Symbol of Strength and Resilience

BY  CORA WANG October 15, 2020 Updated: October 15, 2020

As the chill of autumn sets in, trees begin to  lose their vibrancy, and plants begin to wilt. However, one particular flower prevails—the chrysanthemum. While its surroundings fade away, defeated by the frigid winds, this resilient flower starts to bloom. Since ancient times, the chrysanthemum has been admired by Chinese scholars and literati, inspiring countless poems, stories, and artworks. Besides praising it for its beauty, they celebrated it as a symbol of vitality and tenacity.  

Humble Origins

One of the earliest instances of the chrysanthemum being referenced in poetry is in Qu Yuan’s famous poem “Li Sao,” composed during the Warring States period. In it, he writes: “Dew from magnolia leaves I drank at dawn, / At eve for food were aster petals borne.” 

Aster refers to the Asteraceae family of flowering plants, to which the chrysanthemum belongs. Chrysanthemums were commonly used for medicine. In just a few lines, Qu Yuan conveys that what matters isn’t one’s wealth, but rather the purity of one’s one’s heart.

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As the poem suggests, the chrysanthemum was a relatively unremarkable flower, frequently used by the common people. In the “Compendium of Materia Medica,” a Chinese herbology volume written in the Ming Dynasty, numerous species of chrysanthemums were documented. One may wonder how such an ordinary plant acquired such cultural significance. 

The chrysanthemum’s escalation in status didn’t occur until the Jin Dynasty, when it was brought to prominence by the poet Tao Yuanming. Much of his poetry described his simple life of reclusion in the countryside. He often drew inspiration from the beauty and serenity of nature, with the chrysanthemum being a frequent motif. In one of his most famous poems, “Drinking: No. 5,” he wrote: “I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge, / and gaze afar towards the southern mountains.” 

Du Jin portrays poet Tao Yuanming strolling through the mountains and admiring the chrysanthemum blossoms
In this central panel of an ink-wash landscape painting, artist Du Jin has portrayed poet Tao Yuanming strolling through the mountains and admiring the chrysanthemum blossoms. Yuanming was known for his love of the flower, and often alluded to it in his poetry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Public Domain)

The 4 Top Artificial Intelligence Trends For 2021

Bernard MarrContributorEnterprise Tech


Before the global pandemic struck in 2020 and the world was turned on its head, artificial intelligence (AI), and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), were already causing widespread disruption in almost every industry.

The 4 Top Artificial Intelligence Trends For 2021
The 4 Top Artificial Intelligence Trends For 2021 ADOBE STOCK

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of how we do business, but it hasn’t diminished the impact AI is having on our lives. In fact, it’s become apparent that self-teaching algorithms and smart machines will play a big part in the ongoing fight against this outbreak as well as others we may face in the future.

AI undoubtedly remains a key trend when it comes to picking the technologies that will change how we live, work, and play in the near future. So, here’s an overview of what we can expect during what will be a year of rebuilding our lives as well as rethinking business strategies and priorities. For You

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During this ongoing pandemic, we’ve seen first-hand the urgent need to quickly analyze and interpret data on the spread of viruses around the world. Governments, global health bodies, academic research centers, and industry have come together to develop new ways that information can be collected, aggregated, and worked with. We’ve become used to seeing the results of this on the news every night, when the latest infection or death rates are given for our own regions.

Technological advancement is the main reason that this pandemic hasn’t (yet) killed as many as, for example, the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak that claimed up to 50 million lives. From advancement in medical technology and standards of care, to advances in communication technology that enabled outbreaks to be spotted more quickly and lockdowns imposed. Over the next year, AI will be added to the list of technological developments that are enabling us to more effectively deal with pandemics.

The growth in the amount of scientific and medical literature alone is enormous, with more than 28,000 papers published by April this year relating to Covid-19. A dedicated search engine powered by natural language processing (NLP) algorithms has already been made available, so anyone can get AI assistance when investigating this massive dataset.

Work is also ongoing to develop AI solutions to help deal with the huge backlog of other medical issues, such as cancer, where treatment has been affected as resources are diverted to fight Covid-19. Over the next year, we are likely to see the accelerated adoption of AI across many other areas of healthcare, not only related to tackling viruses.

 By developing our ability to apply machine learning problem-solving to these massive, real-time global datasets, we will spot outbreaks more easily, track contact between infected people, enable more accurate diagnoses, and, by predicting ways that a virus might evolve in the future, develop more effective and lasting vaccinations.

Automated Detection and Prevention

We have already seen the use of drones in several jurisdictions, including the US, to at least test the possibility that they can be used to monitor whether social distancing guidelines are being followed. More advanced applications are on the horizon – such as drones with the capability of detecting COVID symptoms such as high temperature in individuals within a crowd. These systems use computer vision technology to analyze data captured by cameras on the drones and inform authorities or local administrators of statistics and probabilities around the spread of the virus. 

Another related growth area will be the use of facial recognition technology, also powered by computer vision algorithms. Somewhat more controversial as it focuses on the identification of individuals, rather than patterns among groups of people, facial recognition has been used by police to detect lockdown and quarantine-avoiders, as well as to track the movements of individuals displaying symptoms within a crowd.

The evidence seems to suggest that the public has become more tolerant of surveillance tactics that would previously have been considered overly draconian, due to the health risks posed by the virus. This tolerance is likely to be further tested over the coming 18 months as technologists become more adept at AI-driven surveillance and even enforcement.

Business on the rebound – predicting behavioral transformation

The way we live, work, and socialize has been hugely impacted by the spread of Covid-19. While there has been a steady, strong trend towards digital in many aspects of society, this year, we’ve witnessed a stampede. Amazon’s sales during the second quarter of 2020 were up 40% on the same period last year, as even those who have so far shunned online retail were forced to re-assess their options.

AI tools and platforms are already in place to help businesses understand the way their customers are adapting to a new reality. Organizations that were previously lagging in their uptake of digital channels for commerce and relationship nurturing have come to understand the urgency of the situation and are quickly getting to grips with concepts such as behavioral analytics and personalization. Tools providing organizations with self-service access to this technology will become increasingly prevalent throughout 2021, as small and medium-sized enterprises are seeking to establish their competitive edge.

Shutting down the next pandemic before it even starts

Most AI algorithms are geared towards prediction, and the holy grail of AI-assisted epidemiology will be to build systems that can accurately predict when and where future outbreaks will take place. This research has been ongoing for some time, and in fact, some of the earliest alerts about the current outbreak were generated by AI. Toronto-based BlueDot’s tool was already scanning 100,000 governmental and media data sources daily when it issued an alert about a potential outbreak in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019.

We can expect AI research to yield further breakthroughs over the coming 18 months that will increase our ability to spot and react to the danger of viral outbreaks. For this to happen, though, it will also require ongoing global cooperation between governments and private industry. How this plays out will most likely be affected by global politics and legislators, as well as the course of technological development. For this reason, issues such as access to medical datasets and barriers to the international exchange of information will also be hot topics over the coming year.


How do pandemics usually end?

How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish?

A group of nurses wear face masks during the 1919 Spanish Flu outbreak.
Masks were a common sight during the 1918 influenza pandemic, and again now, just over a century later.(State Library Of Queensland)

Just over 100 years ago, a new strain of influenza infected a third of the world’s population — but within just three years, the threat of this deadly flu had all but passed.

This was a time before modern medical care and even before humans understood what viruses were. So what’s changed since then?

It’s a question plenty of you have asked in recent months: how do pandemics end? And how will the one we’re currently living through end?

Three ingredients for a pandemic

An infectious agent needs three conditions to cause a pandemic, says virologist Kirsty Short from the University of Queensland:

  1. 1.It needs to cause disease in humans
  2. 2.It needs to be highly transmissible
  3. 3.We need to have no pre-existing immunity to it

“For example, we live with MERS today,” says Dr Short, referring to Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, a coronavirus that is related to the one that causes COVID-19.

“It hasn’t caused a pandemic yet because it’s not highly transmissible from person to person.

“In contrast, the seasonal coronaviruses that we get, probably at one point were a pandemic, and they’ve just become these seasonal colds that we don’t really care about because we’ve evolved immunity to them.”

In terms of the three ingredients that make a pandemic, when it comes to COVID-19 there’s not much we can do to stop the coronavirus from infecting us, because that’s based on the biology of the virus and us as humans.

With physical distancing and masks, we are somewhat able to pull that second lever of not allowing the virus to transmit as much.

But the big thing that stops a virus becoming a pandemic — that is, a large-scale outbreak affecting multiple countries or continents — is the third factor: immunity.

“Herd immunity can be achieved through natural infection or vaccination,” Dr Short says.