December 2019 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the December 2019 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
14th Triennial Conference of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS
A total of 136 delegates attended the 14th Triennial Conference of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the Theosophical Society (Indo-Pacific Conference or IPC, for short) held from 9 – 12 November 2019 in Microtel by Wyndham UP Technohub at Commonwealth Avenue UP Ayala Land Technohub, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1121. The largest delegation of 97 came from the host country itself, the Philippines. Of the 39 foreign delegates, Singapore with 15 members was the largest delegation, followed by 7 from Australia and 4 from New Zealand. The Singapore delegates included the President, Vice President, Hon. Secretary, alternate Hon. Treasurer and Hon. Accountant.
Fourteen of us (the 15th went earlier) flew to Manila on Friday, 8 November 2019 and were met by representatives of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines at the airport and we were each garlanded with a beautiful string of Philippine beads.
From the airport, we were taken to the headquarters of the TS in the Philippines where they had just inaugurated the Youth Center. Due to the traffic jam, we missed the actual ceremony but had a briefing by one of the youth leaders. Bro Rosel, the past President of the TS in the Philippines, was waiting for us. We then proceeded to Bro Vic Hao-Chin’s home where all the international visitors were invited for dinner. After dinner, we went to the hotel to check-in.
The IPC was officially opened the next morning, 9 November 2019, with prayers of the major Religions and the Universal Prayer. This was followed by welcome speeches by Bro Charlton Jules Romero (Chally), the President of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines and Bro Gerard Brennan, President of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS. The event was graced by two VIP speakers on the first day. The first was Her Excellency, Maria Leonor (Leni) Robredo, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines who gave a talk in the morning and the Honorable Joy Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City, who spoke in the evening. They were passionate speeches by two remarkable women.
Bro Tim Boyd gave his keynote address on The Strategic Direction of Theosophical Work and Sis Dianne Kynaston talked about Luminaries of the Past on the first day. We were given a Welcome Dinner and an entertaining cultural show in the evening.
The second day started with a talk by Sis Linda Oliveira on A Lamp in a Windless Place. This was followed by Bro Charlton Jules Romero’s talk on The Ancient Wisdom: The Myth of the Prism, the Light Switch and Narnia’s Wardrobe before lunch. The delegates were split into six groups for the Workshop on Making a Real Difference. After the workshop presentations, Sis Marja Artamaa talked about Learning and Unlearning – Freedom to Shine and Bro Pedro Oliveira talked about Daily Life in the Light of Viveka punctuated by hilarious laughter from the audience tickled by his great sense of humour.
The International President, Tim Boyd, gave a public lecture entitled A Mind for Our Time. After dinner, the Venerable Olande Ananda Thera, Buddhist Monk and Patron of the Theosophical Society in Sri Lanka gave a talk on Be a Light to Yourself.
Bro John Vorstermans opened the third day with his talk on Awakening the Heart Mind. This was followed by two short talks, one by Sis Ng Ay Na on Theosophy Moving Forward: It’s Vision, Mission and Goal and the other by Bro Prahlad Debnath on TS and TOS Service Work in Bangladesh. After lunch Sis Nancy Secrest talked about Spreading Light in a Darkened World and Bro K. Sivaprasad talked about TOS Work in India. Following that two parallel meetings were held – the Council Meeting of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS and the Annual General Meeting of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines. At the Council Meeting of the IPF, Gerard Brennan was re-elected as the President of IPF. Chong Sanne declined to stand for re-election for the post of Vice President and instead proposed Charlton Jules Romero to be elected as the Vice President of the IPF.
After dinner, Bro Tang Kwok Choon talked about The Objects of the Theosophical Society which was well received. The last talk of the evening was TS and the Mystery School Tradition: Mystical Teachings and Inner Mechanisms Designed for the Light Within to Shine, a substantial talk well-prepared by Bro Rosel Doval-Santos that commanded the appreciation of the audience.
On the fourth and last day of IPC, delegates were taken to the Golden Link College to see for themselves the Golden Link Activities and Program. Delegates were greeted by delightful students. The genuinely happy children surrounded the delegates to shake their hands and hugged them. It was a heart-warming scene, the sight of ecstatic smiling children welcoming the delegates. We were treated to a concert by the students ranging from pre-school to college students followed by lunch served by the students. Delegates were invariably moved by the candid nature of the children. After leaving the Golden Link College, the delegates were taken to the National Museum of Fine Arts before returning to the hotel for dinner and formal closing of the Indo-Pacific Conference. Closing remarks were given by Chally Romero, Tim Boyd and Gerard Brennan. A professional violinist entertained us in the evening and accompanied aspiring singers showing their singing prowess. Tim Boyd and Vic Hao-Chin, Jr were among those who gamely demonstrated their singing abilities.
The 14th Triennial Conference of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS thus ended on a cheerful note. Till we meet again in 2022, hopefully in Malaysia, subject to obtaining approval from the authorities.