On April 23,2018, a white van (driven by an incel enthusiast Alec Minassian) ploughed through Toronto’s longest street Yonge Street, killing mainly female pedestrians and bystanders (10 in total) on a sunny spring day here in Canada. The entire crime scene encompassed 2 kilometers in length. A  makeshift memorial site for the victims was set up at the junction of Finch Street and Yonge Street(Olive Square specifically).

The culprit was successfully caught without being shot by a nearby police officer(Constable Ken Lam) who confronted him.

Because of this, safety precautions have already been set up around the city of Toronto(Canada’s largest city–located in the province of Ontario) as if a potential terrorist attack would strike anytime.

Even other parts of the country, such similar security measures are up in case any copycats would try to do so.

Canada’s innocence has gone. Other  similar van attacks which happened in Europe sprang from terroristic aspirations.  Here in this Canadian van attack, it sprung from Mr. Minassian’s  extreme misogynistic views and his hate for women who rebuffed him which led to his deprivation of his sexual needs– ( incel—–involuntary celibate). He also idolizes another incel enthusiast —Elliot Rodgers who served as his inspiration for the Toronto van attack.

An editorial cartoon drawn by our local Maritime cartoonist–Michael De Adder depicts 2 boys sitting on park bench ,their backs to the readers, each holding a hockey stick and their jerseys emblazoned—the taller boy had HUMBOLDT and the shorter boy had TORONTO on their respective jerseys .

It depicts the prevailing mood that Canada still hasn’t recovered from the Humboldt  Broncos bus attack in April 6,2017  and now, Toronto has its own tragedy.

It’s the new reality indeed.

My thoughts and prayers to all affected !!!




Whenever I think of Paris in the country of France, thoughts  come out like the City of Lights, where the Eiffel Tower stands tall, the city where haute couture originates from as well as Cordon Bleu cuisine,croissant. and foie gras,etc.

If I were to describe Paris as a person, I would think of the city as a woman specifically a femme fatale aka bombshell. I would envision her dressed in the latest Parisian haute couture, fully coiffed,wearing stiletto heels and displaying a voluptuous figure in spite of feasting on highly fattening French cuisine. She would appear worldy,sophisticated,assertive and displaying a mentality of joie de vivre(joy of life). In essence, she would appear as if she owns the world as her oyster.

In spite of this, she does maintain some degree of innocence beneath that exterior which unfortunately came out and was shaken when on Nov. 13, 2015(Friday the 13th in fact), some Islamic extremists groups began bombing and shooting throngs of people enjoying the essence of Parisian leisure in specific venues like the outdoor cafes,stadiums,theatres,restaurants,etc.

All the news updates that followed through were very unsettling which shows that we now live in a new normal that is, being aware that terrorism continues to exist.

I just hope that the country of France especially the city of Paris would pick up the pieces and soldier on. I would like to see the Eiffel Tower be lighted again and the mentality of joie de vivre return, perhaps not totally  the same as before ,but stronger and more refined for today’s times.

My prayers go out to them!

Vive le France,mon ami!



They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice on anyone nor anything.

Then why does another Asian airline get struck twice with 2 airliners missing without a trace in that part of Southeast Asia? It was deja vu once again for me once the saga of Asia Air QZ8501 came about on Dec. 28,2014.

I couldn’t help but remember the still mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 on March 8,2014 which remains unsolved up to now.

With our high-tech world and the ability to track almost anything, I find it quite insane that we couldn’t even find 2 jumbo airliners with an adequate tracking system. GPS on a plane,anyone?

This QZ8501 apparently disappeared in the midst of heavy monsoon weather after an initial request from the pilot to fly to a higher altitude and a route change was rejected at air traffic control in Indonesia from where the plane flew out from.

As of this time, the search for the plane is still ongoing. The chain of events is similar to what had happened in Malaysia last March, that is,search teams, airline officials communicating to the media and the passengers’ families and friends waiting in angst  and despair for any developments.

These events of course bring back the events of what had  happened to MH370.

One thing’s for sure. Nothing has changed in terms of improving the airplane tracking system .Will it have to take a 3rd missing plane to get anything into action at all?

God help us all!

I just hope that QZ8501 will be found and would in a way after learning any details about how it disappeared would also help find MH370 .

In both cases,closure for the families and friends of the passengers would occur whatever the outcome would be.



July 17,2014 will go down in aviation history as the date when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 aka MH17( flying from Amsterdam towards Kuala Lumpur)had flown over Ukrainian air space amidst an ongoing war zone between  eastern Ukraine and Russia. The airline unfortunately became collateral damage when alleged pro-Russian separatists shot the airline down, thinking that it was a Ukrainian plane,resulting in the sudden loss of lives of 295-298 lives(both passengers and crew),all because of politics and secession issues in the Russian/ eastern Ukrainian landscape. In my opinion, such a tragedy is a war crime.

Ongoing bickering and fingerpointing between Ukraine and Russian authorities/politicians naturally came out. This is a Shakespearean tragedy of utmost proportions with ensuing geopolitical implications as well as possible aviation changes in terms of flight rerouting and resulting airline navigational costs which probably will make the ongoing debate of the logic of flying over a war zone feasible/logical worth the cost of saving the airlines some money. Penny wise,pound foolish?

For Vladimir Putin, the tragedy of MH17 will  unfortunately be part of his legacy and it makes me wonder if he’ll ever survive or even talk his way out of this. It reminds me of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Waterloo. His notoriety will only be reinforced especially if he continues to support those pro-Russian rebels for his own political aspirations and survival. With his reputation as a political bully, I wouldn’t be surprised if this former KGB agent remains stubborn and defiant.

For Malaysian Airlines, its future in the aviation world only became more tenous with this current tragedy. It hasn’t solved the mystery of the still missing MH370 since March 8,2014. Being hit twice with 2 high-profile tragedies in the same year is really too much for this airline. Its reputation with a now wary flying public isn’t too good nor promising unless specific rectifying measures have been implemented to ensure future patronage or else,face probable financial demise.

For the families and friends of the deceased, it’s an unfortunate,senseless  and unexpected event which they will carry and mourn forever.

How all the governments of this world (especially for the various passengers of different nationalities and citizenships) will deal with this tragedy,we’ll only know in the coming hours,days,weeks and even months. Just watch out how the United Nations and the diplomatic corp of various countries will deal with Russia in the coming days.

For the European countries who have tight economic ties with Russia, it remains to be seen if they’ll have to reconsider if they’ll follow the United States’ initiative  for economic sanctions with Russia in light of this tragedy especially if it’ll be proven that  pro-Russian  separatists were really involved.

Hopefully, recovery efforts will not be affected in that ongoing war zone so that even the investigators and rescue/recovery team’s lives will not become casualty figures as well. In addition, I hope that no tampering of forensic evidence from the crash site will occur (for purposes of a coverup) since that’s now one hell of a crime scene.

My thoughts and prayers are with the deceased. Hopefully , something good and substantial will come out from this and that they didn’t die in vain. I hope that justice will prevail. They were all just going about their daily lives and have no connection nor desire to get involved with Russian/Ukrainian politics before their lives were unfortunately snuffed out.




Ever since the ongoing saga of the still missing  Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 plane which started on March 8, 2014, the entire world had been constantly entranced with the ever constant changing details of a massive investigation / search  which involved at least 8 countries pooling together all their latest technology resources and agencies like the intelligence services,military,navy,etc.

The fight to run against the clock especially in trying to find a plane that’s  missing without a trace inspite of today’s high-tech world and possible survivors make this entire scenario look like  riveting episodes of a Hollywood movie thriller.

While the media coverage has been constantly updated as soon as available information comes in , all kinds of speculations,arm-chair experts,conspiracy theories,security concerns  also come into the mix.

In a post-Sept. 11 world , it’s to be expected now that all possibilities have to be ruled in .No stone will be left unturned especially when the plane isn’t found yet.

A lot will be learned from this very unfortunate episode and for sure, the entire airline industry and its security details will have to be modified and updated.

Another aspect that we have to consider is the ongoing grief,angst,anger and despair of the flight crew and passengers’ loved ones and friends dealing with this ongoing tragedy and the worst part is not knowing what really happened…no answer…no means of closure , affirmation nor reassurance which adds a huge salt on their emotional/mental wounds. They don’t deserve that nor even the flight victims.

I pray that the plane will be found. Only then will the process of closure whether good or bad will start for everyone’s sake.

I pray for everyone involved in their ongoing search for answers in this gripping mystery.


I recently was visited  by my brother and his family to my neck in the woods. I had a great time going around with them in taking some of the sights and sounds of a place that I had lived in for a considerably long period of time.

It’s funny how as I think back  now that I see my home turf with a new perspective, probably from a new set of eyes i.e., my family’s eyes. It made me know more of the place that I call home. Not only that, it also made me know more of myself as  a person especially as to what made me think in terms of my views and comfort level in living here.

Of course, as some say, before you travel around the world, you should travel as a tourist in your hometown first. I now could see the logic regarding this.

Traveling is a learning experience and it rings so true. When one has a sense of his home turf and goes traveling outside of it, it gives one a new appreciation of the whole world and one’s place in it, home turf or not.

Any place on this earth is a reflection of the folks who live in such places and its corresponding cultures/norms.

Food for thought!



Here in Canada,mon ami,the first Monday of August is a holiday depending on which part of Canada one lives in.

It’s called either of the ff: Civic Holiday,Provincial Day  or the August Holiday.

Various low-key,local events celebrate each Canadian province and territories’ local culture. Many consider this as an extra summer holiday to catch up on one’s individual routine.

There’s no overt symbol for each province/territory for this particular holiday but they do each have its own flag and coat of arms. In terms of overall provincial/territorial symbols, each place has its own provincial/territorial tartan,trees,flowers,gemstones /minerals and birds.

The ff. provinces /territories consider the August Holiday as a statutory holidayBritish Columbia(BC Day),New Brunswick(NB Day),Saskatchewan (SK Day),Nunavut(Civic Holiday),Northwest Territories(Civic Holiday).

The ff. provinces/territories consider the August Holiday a holiday but not necessarily a statutory one depending on their locality: Alberta(Heritage Day),Manitoba(Civic Holiday),Newfoundland and Labrador(Civic Holiday),Nova Scotia(Natal Day),Prince Edward Island (Natal Day),Ontario(Civic Holiday,Simcoe Day or Colonel by Day).

Only the province of Quebec and the territory of Yukon do not celebrate this particular holiday.

Quebec has its own holiday called Quebec Day/National Holiday(La Fete nationale Du Quebec) which is celebrated every June 24,known as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day or the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. it’s a paid statutory holiday celebrating French Canadian culture by holding festivals.

Yukon on the other hand, celebrates its special day every 3rd Monday of August ,known as Discovery Day aka Klondike Gold Discovery Day,commemorating the anniversary of the discovery of gold in the Yukon.

Wherever a Canuck lives in Canada(including moi), make the  most of this holiday and definitely enjoy it!


Both my sister and my niece had recently traveled abroad to attend an event there. For my niece specifically, it probably was a learning experience for her in more ways than one. Not only did she get to know a country by being physically there but also to meet some relatives from our side of the family still residing there as well. It’s like getting to know some branches of your family tree in a way.

I could tell from their travel pictures that both my sister and my niece enjoyed about the overall trip.
I have yet to talk to my niece about her specific viewpoints on this very recent overseas trip of hers.

One thing’s for sure. She is able not only to learn more about the world around her but also more about herself in relation to this world.

This particular viewpoint can also apply to all of us,not only to those bitten by the travel bug.


On my 9/9/12 Blog, I mentioned about my local transit bus strike which had been actually on lockout by city hall since late June. It was just announced this past Friday that the tentative agreement which came out this past Tuesday has already been voted by the bus drivers union by a big majority.

It was a great relief for me since I often use public transit to get around. I’m lucky though that I live in a residential area surrounded by numerous businesses especially big box stores to fulfill my essential needs of daily living.  My local Walmart is only a 5 minute walk from my humble maison,mon ami. Dealing with this strike was tolerable for me but I can just imagine  how some folks who live in the outskirts had to deal with this either by walking long distances, taking a cab or hitching a ride.

The buses are currently being inspected before they officially start running again. It’ll happen before Christmas for sure, probably to help give the stores a last minute surge of Christmas shoppers to help boost their yearend profit. As a token of goodwill,  the bus company will  offer for a limited period of time, free bus rides to the public.

Thank God, both sides of the 2 involved parties had reached an agreement! We, the taxpayers pay for their service. With the upcoming Canadian winter season , it is really unimaginable as to how people can cope without bus service especially if they don’t have a car. Getting and maintaining a car is costly nowadays, no bones about it.

Bus service for sure isn’t the be- all and end- all in any society but definitely, it contributes a great deal in more ways than one in terms of  service for anyone’s personal and commercial reasons.



The Canadian shopping scene is becoming more Americanized especially these past 2 years in my opinion. Proof is their coinciding with Black Friday sales in the United States. In my previous blogs, I had discussed about early Christmas mindset and shopping, even about the US Black Friday and now Black Thursday deals. Well, here in Canada, we don’t yet see the stampeding crowds grabbing the last sale item or the long overnight queues outside the stores. Black Friday in Canada is mainly about a barrage of sales not only on Black Friday but for the rest of the 3 day weekend in sync with the US Thanksgiving weekend. Some even make it a 4 day weekend to coincide with Black Thursday in the US.

With the recent increase of exemption limits of duty-free products that a Canuck can bring back from abroad,Canadian retailers are forced to compete with their American counterparts to try to keep the price-conscious Canucks from going down south of the border to spend their money to bolster the US economy instead of the Canadian economy.

But some experts think that all this Black Friday hype in Canada will eventually fizzle down. With the influx of some American retail stores already setting up shop here in Canada,bringing with them the same promotions and strategies that they show in the U.S., the need to go down south will die down to a degree.

Seriously, I doubt it and it remains to be seen how price regulation in Canada will continue. Even if an American store sets up shop here, if they’re going to be bound by  Canadian tax regulation similar to the Canadian stores, then it’ll still be expensive to shop at that American store which opened on Canadian soil.

Therefore,Canadian retail and taxation need to be evaluated further for any possible reform if they want to be at par with their American counterparts.

Today’s reality is that the Canuck will always look for the best deal whether here or outside Canada. Saving a few extra dollars will always take top priority as much as possible.

By the way, since today’s Saturday, it’s also known as Small Business Saturday wherein during this start of the Christmas shopping season, we’re being encouraged to support small and independently-owned stores(known as “mom and pop’ stores) by patronizing their business so as to boost the local economy. It emphasizes the need for small business owners to survive in this crucial time and not only the big box stores.

Happy shopping!