Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I got this from an e-mail:

1) garcify
a) to distort results
b) to cheat in an election

Used in a sentence: "The president was unable to evade allegations that she garcified her way to the highest office in the land." Or, "There are claims that the Philippines has become irreversibly garcified, claims which are becoming increasingly difficult to refute."

2) norberse
a) to be purposely obtuse
b) to obfuscate in an attempt to hide the truth

Used in a sentence: "The official remained norberse all through the hearing, leading many to think he was clumsily trying to protect someone." Or, "There is no truth to the claim that norbersity can be cured through the slow ingestion of potassium-laden bananas."

3) miriamphony
a) a verbose and lilting discourse during which the speaker drifts in and out of reality

Used in a sentence: "The senator perorated in the expected miriamphony as she once again sought to prove to all and sundry that she was not insane." Or "Her miriamphony fooled no one - she swiftly erased all remaining doubts about the state of her reason with her diatribe."

4) nogralese
a) manner of political discourse in which a speaker pretends to agree with one side for as long as they are useful to him.

Used in a sentence: "Day after day, the congressman mollified his opponents with his smooth and unctuous nogralese, catching the unwary by surprise when he later removed them from their posts." Or, "Even his friends begin to flee to remote locations once he starts spouting his nogralese."

5) joedevivre
a) a lifestyle which is devoted to always attempting to please others and never having to choose between right and wrong

Used in a sentence: "His joedevivre caused his eventual downfall, as the electorate finally saw him for what he truly was." Or, "His joedevivre forced him to consistently refuse to play a simple game of chess, because there are no gray areas on a chess board."

6) dequirose
a) having a Quixotic bent
b) used to describe one who is constantly vilified by critics for his insistence that all public officials must be held accountable, regardless of which sector of society they belong to or who they are connected to.

Used in a sentence: "Despite virulent ad hominem attacks, the writer remained dequirose, steadfast in his convictions."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Call for Innovative Ideas to Promote Development with Equity

In the Philippines, many are excluded from social and economic development because of their disadvantage in terms of income, assets and opportunities. Thus, the need for "Development with Equity", which means reducing inequality in order to provide greater opportunities to those with the least resources. Beyond income distribution, "Development with Equity" is also about greater access to services, infrastructure, power, influence and participation.

Panibagong Paraan (the Philippine Development Innovation Marketplace) is a multi-partner program that encourages and supports innovative ideas to promote "Development with Equity" in the Philippines. The program has two competitions:

Expression of Ideas Competition
Share your views on bringing about "Development with Equity"! Entries may be submitted in the form of policy proposals, essays, poetry, art work, song compositions, or multimedia presentations. Guidelines for the Expressions of Interest Competition will be announced later by the Panibagong Paraan 2006 Secretariat.

Project Grants Competition
Put your ideas to action! We are looking for innovative projects that address specific inequity issues. Winners will be provided grant funds of up to PhP1 million, to implement their projects over a one-year period. Guidelines for the Project Grants Competition are described below:

Who can apply?

* People's organizations, including community-based groups, sectoral associations and cooperatives
* Non-government organizations, foundations, civic organizations, faith-based and inter-faith organizations, and other civil society organizations (CSOs)
* Private and public research and academic institutions, in partnership with people's organizations or CSOs
* 5th and 6th class municipal LGUs (including barangays therein), in partnership with local people's organizations or CSOs

Panibagong Paraan 2004 and Global Development Marketplace winners are eligible to apply provided the proposed project is different from the previously-awarded project.

Categories (Equity issues to be addressed):

* Increasing incomes/income opportunities
* Improving access to social services, infrastructure and utilities (e.g., energy)
* Improving access to/control of land and other assets
* Improving access to/ensuring fairness in market and financial structures and systems
* Strengthening participation in decision-making (voice and influence)
* Improving access to/ensuring fairness in political and justice systems

Special award categories:

* Advocacy or Policy/Action Research on Population and Development
* Basic Infrastructure and Equipment for Education or Health

Target Groups:

* Indigenous peoples
* Women, men , and youth in difficult or disadvantaged situations
* Elderly
* Children
* Persons with disabilities
* People living with HIV/AIDS
* Commercial sex workers
* Farmers and fisherfolk
* Formal and informal laborers, migrant workers
* Communities in remote areas or that are usual victims of disaster

Project ideas will be judged on the basis of: Innovation, Scalability and Replicability, and Potential Impact.

Initial proposals should be in the form of a brief concept paper (maximum of four pages). A multi-sectoral technical working group will evaluate eligible concept papers.

Deadline for submission: November 30, 2005

Concept papers must be submitted with one or two reference documents (e.g., SEC registration, certification from the local government unit, accreditation with a regulatory agency) establishing proof of the organization's identity. Concept papers in English, Filipino or other major Philippine languages can be sent by mail or hand-delivered to:

Panibagong Paraan 2006 Secretariat
23/F Taipan Place, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City

Finalists will be notified in February 2006 and will be asked to submit full proposals by April 2006. Finalists will be invited to participate in an Exhibit and Social Policy Forum to be held in May 2006 (details to be announced later). A board of distinguished jurors will determine the winners.

For further information, contact the Panibagong Paraan 2006 Secretariat at telephone numbers 917-3047 or 637-5855 local 3047.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fiction magazine launching

Come to the STORY PHILIPPINES launch--Friday, October 14 at 6 pm onwards, A DIFFERENT BOOKSTORE, EASTWOOD City, Libis, QC. The launch is part of a Book Fair hosted by A Different Bookstore. The event will also feature a poetry reading by poet Marjorie Evasco and others. Be there and buy a copy of Story Philippines and get a chance to snag a shopping spree at A DIFFERENT BOOKSTORE.

STORY PHILIPPINES is the first magazine of its kind in the country. It offers the Filipino reader the most entertaining and interesting new short fiction by Filipino writers, presented in an intriguing tabloid format that boasts cutting edge design, illustration and photography.

The maiden issue features 7 new Philippine stories: a moving story of love, illness and death ("Losing Mac")by the famed Gilda Cordero- Fernando, an account of a healer "dwende" and his psychic handler ("The Life and Loves of Doc Dwende") by Sarge Lacuesta, and a stunning tale of a town blighted by a tragic curse ("Natakdan"), by David Hontiveros, among others.

The maiden issue of STORY PHILIPPINES is already in bookstores and newsstands around the metro.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Web prowl

Read about the moral decadence and sexual perversity of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre and how they toyed with other people's hearts a la Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Vote for your favorite public intellectuals in this online poll sponsored by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect. From Nerve.com, an essay on why Nabokov's Lolita endures. The Financial Times profiles Paul Wolfowitz's work at the World Bank. The Ateneo de Manila University launched its "Discussing Politics" essay series with: Beyond Mere Leadership Change: Reviewing and Redesigning Electoral Institutions (pdf) by Millard Lim, From ‘Hello Garci’ to 1-800 COMELEC: Reinventing Electoral Administration in the Philippines (pdf) by Melissa Jayme Lao and Education for Sale (pdf) by Anne Candelaria.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sukarno in his own words

I had no idea until today that Sukarno had an autobigraphy. But reading the following hilarious excerpts from it, where Sukarno refers to himself in the third person, I have to add it in my (alas, ever-lengthening) must-read list:

"The simplest way to describe Sukarno is to say that he is a great lover. He loves his country, he loves his people, he loves women, he loves art, and, best of all, he loves himself."

"Now, I must admit that in my youth I was so terribly handsome that I was almost girlish-looking. Because there were few female intellectuals in those days, there weren't many girl members and when Young Java put on a play I was always given the ingenue role. I actually put powder on my face and red on my lips. And I will tell you something, but I don't know what foreigners will think of a President who tells such things … Anyway, I will tell it. I bought two sweet breads. Round breads. Like rolls. And I stuffed them inside my blouse. With this addition to my shapely figure, everybody said I looked absolutely beautiful. Fortunately my part didn't call for kissing any boys on stage. I couldn't waste any money so after the show I pulled the breads out of my blouse and ate them."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Web prowl

The Cato Institute has released its Economic Freedom of the World report. Walden Bello and John Rees discuss America's vulnerabilities. The novelist Carlos Fuentes on Cervantes, Kafka, and the saving grace of literature.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

OJT at the ABS-CBN

ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc. is accepting OJTs with the following courses:

Communication Arts
Business Management
Marketing/ Advertising
Psychology/ Behavioral Science
Industrial Engineering

These are for our Editorial, Circulation, Finance, Marketing, Ad Sales, Business Development and HR Departments.

Kindly ask your referrals to forward their resumes, certificates of good moral character and recommendation letters to the ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc. office, located at the 4th floor of the ELJ Bldg. Mother Ignacia, Quezon City

Bingle E. Villanueva
Human Resources, ABS-CBN Publishing Inc.
4152272 loc 4666

Monday, September 12, 2005

Malaysian politics for dummies

I'm presently reading Cities of the Hot Zone: A Southeast Asian Adventure by Greg Sheridan, who writes for The Australian, and here is his "all-time disco guide to Malaysian politics and sociology":

PAS [Islamic Party] members don't go to discos, ever. Keadilan [Justice Party of Anwar Ibrahim] goes but doesn't drink alcohol. The DAP [Democratic Action Party of the Chinese] works hard all day, goes to the disco at night and gets drunk. The MIC [Malaysian Indian Congress] works in the disco. The MCA [Malaysian Chinese Association] owns the disco. UMNO [United Malays National Organization] owns the building the disco is in.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Now that it's (all but) over

I know that not a few people are relieved that the impeachment complaint against the president has finally been junked, not because they harbor a special fondness for Mrs. Arroyo but simply because it has all gone, er, tiresome. Sadly, even the quest for justice is susceptible to ennui. Ask Don Quixote.

For the opposition and its many supporters, their defeat is almost inexplicable, like like death--natural, yes, but still incomprehensible. How did they lose when they had almost everything one can wish for in impeaching a president? The Garci tapes are like manna from heaven PR-wise; the only thing that could possibly have topped it was a VCD sex scandal with the president in bed with a man not Mike A. (to which effect some in the opposition tried to insinuate, describing in one scandal sheet the sexual adventures of the allegedly nymphomaniac GMA).

What is so goddamn hard about ousting GMA? The extreme left and the perfumed class combined couldn't budge her. The Cory magic disintegrated before her. Even our hyperventilating and incendiary national dailies failed where in Erap's time they were execeptionally successful. Why, not even a daily-updated PCIJ blog with links to all and sundry revelations against Mrs Arroyo achieved quite the same impact as the outfit's erstwhile revelation of Erap's mansions. Why? Why, Oh why is Mrs. Arroyo so seemingly impregnable, like an unmoveable little barnacle off the bank of the Pasig River?

Simply because it is hard to vilify her. And you need this to manufacture outrage that can propel a People Power revolution(which FVR understood only too well). If anyone will bother to look inside the capital's student campuses, the present Anti-Gloria movement has failed to deliver enough buzz. Not enough students are talking about it. And you need students for People Power because they swell the crowds at a cheap cost and they don't need to go to work.

By President Arroyo's seeming weakness, it is hard to recruit forces against her (I think there is a suitable passage from the Tao Te Ching about this, which I'm too lazy to look for at the moment). Outrage is reserved for powerful personages. If you're small, people only laugh at your foibles (or make your embarrassments ringtone for their cellphones).

Personally, I am resigned (okay, I'll admit it, even a little elated) that this episode is finally winding up or at least not proceeding with the same crescendo as before. Unlike the Anti-Erap movement where some of us ended up looking good with our idealism, the anti-GMA is only portraying all of us in a bad light. Rather than leaving our hearts with comforting assurance as to the innate goodness of men, the anti-GMA alliances are only leaving a especially disturbing bad taste in the mouth: Ping Lacson linking arms with priests, Satur Ocampo dissuading proletarian farmers of Hacienda Luisita from protesting against their landlord, various socialites pretending to be "civil society," Butz Aquino invoking the memory Ninoy while sharing spotlight with the latter's murderers.

What now for the opposition? If God is truly on their side, as they claim He is, surely one year would not be so hard to bear before filing another impeachment complaint. Or if they really find Mrs Arroyo insufferable, well, I guess, they can always try a more adventurous-- and final--solution to the nation's predicament.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Jop opening

DLS-CSB is looking for design and arts professionals

As it prepares to expand its degree programs, the School of Design and Arts (SDA) of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde is in search of professionals who enjoy interacting with creative young adults as mentors and as fellow designers and artists. The SDA needs men and women with competence in any design and arts field and preferably in the following areas:

• Graphic Design
• 2D and 3D Animation
• Web Design
• Interactive Authoring
• Photography
• Technical Theater
• Philosophy of Aesthetics
• Production Design
• Fashion Design
• History of Art and Design
• Professional Practice for Design and Arts
• Sound Design

Qualifications: A Bachelors Degree from a design and arts field, preferably with a Masters degree plus a minimum of three years professional experience. Contacted applicants should present a portfolio of works and be available for a teaching demonstration.

Please send an application letter, curriculum vitae, copy of transcript of records and 3 pcs. 2x2 photos to:

Tet Lamarca
School of Design and Arts
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
2544 Taft Avenue, Manila
Telefax: 526-7441 loc. 181 / 123

Saturday, September 03, 2005

'Separate but equal' Mangyans of Mindoro

At the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, Mangyan patients are maintained in a separtate ward because other patients complain of their presence (and their allegedly foul smell).

Upon first hearing this, we, of course, thought this was an unforgivable instance of racial discrimination, reeking of American "separate but equal" maintainance of exclusive facilities for blacks. But the doctor assured us that this arrangement worked for the advantage of the Mangyans: They ended up getting better service. True enough, the Mangyan ward, which sits on top of a hill, is more airy, more spacious, and better maintained than the regular wards which are cramped, dank and altogether not that well-ventilated. The Mangyan ward even has its own kitchen!

I still don't know what to think of this arrangement. Is this patronizing for indigenous peoples? Or are we just over-politicizing an arrangement that people of Mindoro otherwise find natural? In any case, Mangyans in that hospital seem to be enjoying quite a preferential treatment that people of lighter color should probaly complain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Web prowl

The World bank has started blogging on Private Sector Development. From the New York magazine, here's Bill Clinton's plan for world domination and a profile of James Goodrich, the doctor who operated on the Aguirres, the Filipino craniopagus twins. Jeffrey Sacks asks in the Scientific American: Can Extreme Poverty Be Eliminated? The edited confeence papers from The Future of Globalization conference at Yale are now published online, including presentations from De Soto, Stiglitz and Bhagwati. If you are looking for Chinese, Korean and Japanese videos, music, books and comics but don't know where to look, despair no longer for here's yesasia.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Turd world service

Last week, I requested via Singapore's tourism website some materials on the country's tourist attractions. I was planning to see Singapore for two days (as a side tour from Malaysia) and was trying to work out a time-efficient itinerary.

I filled up the online form on the website on a Sunday night. I wasn't really expecting they would take my request seriously; I even had doubts whether the online form would actually reach someone on the other end. On Tuesday night, upon arriving at home, I was dumbfounded to receive a big pouch of Singapore guidebooks, various pamphlets (of excellent glossy quality) on the city-state's parks, walking guides to Chinatown and Little India, a complete guide to cultural events for the whole year of 2005, and a map of Singapore. I've read many things about the ruthless efficiency of the Singaporean government, but I didn't know it was this efficient. Imagine if you were to request the same information from our own Department of Tourism, do you think you'll get the same efficiency? I bet the only reply you'll get is that your e-mail has bounced.

I was thinking about Singaporean efficiency because of what happened yesterday. I called the Bills and Index section of the Philippine Senate to request copies of three bills. The man on the other line told me that, no, they don't e-mail and neither fo they fax copies. If I want them, I should go to the GSIS building myself. I was so shocked that I couldn't speak. Perhaps the other man on the phone sensed my shock because he said, in a consoling tone, that, in any case, the copies are free, I only need to get there personally.

An officemate said she would try to get copies through the committee. The committee was hesitant to send at first because it said it already sent copies to some NGO people. But after some chika and cajoling and beseeching, she was able to secure a promise from the committee that it would at least try to send copies. During that same afternoon the copies did arrive--personally delivered. Not faxed nor e-mailed, but personally delivered.

I really felt sad about this. In order to get copies, must we necessarily invoke special privilege or express a special request, and appeal to the better nature of the staff at the Senate? Why can not the Bills and Index section provide copies as a matter of course to any citizen that may register a request.

What if, for example, someone from Mindanao want those copies, must he go to imperial Manila just to get them? The committee also could have simply e-mailed them. There was no need to personally deliver them at the office. It was one big waste of time for the Senate's courier.

Why can our government not be more like Singapore's in providing efficient service? Singaporeans, in general, are brighter than us, I know, but surely we could do something to become comparable if not equal. Oh, well, I should probably stop making this comparison. It just keeps making me feel wretched. Aargh.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The caretaker government of a thousand days

Earlier this afternoon, I attended a forum at Miriam College on the caretaker government being proposed by some sectors calling for the ouster of President Arroyo. Among the panel of discussants were Liwayway Vinzons-Chato, representing the Unity for Truth and Justice and Carol Araullo of BAYAN. The audience was more or less of the leftist persuasion.

According to Vinzons-Chato, the caretaker council, which will exercise executive and legislative functions, would last, a la Arabian Nights, a thousand days and no more. The people who will sit in the council will be determined based on their performance in the anti-GMA struggle. Araullo said she envisions a multisectoral caretaker council, with 100 members more or less. Vinzons-Chato, however, seems to prefer a leaner caretaker council. The council, according to the coalition's primer, would institute "essential reforms that are the precondition for the holding of free and fair elections, and urgent economic and social reforms." Vinzons-Chato also referred to the council's drafting a temporary proclamation akin to President Aquino's Freedom Constitution during her 1986 transition government. The members of the council would disqualify nor seek a cabinet position in the government that will be ushered by the council through fair and free elections.

Personally, I have serious doubts that a caretaker government will do the trick and save the Filipino people from its dysfunctional politicians, and, in the words of the Unity for Truth coalition, "clean up the mess Gloria will leave behind." The Unity for Truth's proposal for a caretaker government would probably go the way of SANLAKAS's Resign All call during EDSA 2--that is, ignored and marginalized. And the Unity for Truth, of course, is working under the presumption that President Aroyo can indeed be ousted--which is, to be honest about it, not yet a foregone conclusion, making the caretaker council harder to sell to the Filipino public.

And speaking of the sellability of this caretaker council--its proponents, alas, do not have a concrete platform of action. The caretaker council will only be convened after Arroyo has been ousted. When people buy something, they naturally would want to see its specifications. For people to want a revolutionary caretaker council, they must know who will make it up and what are they going to do. To present a nebulous platform of reform is not enough especially for a coalition aiming to transform the politics in the country. This is a very serious strategic problem proponents of the caretaker council should remedy at the soonest possible time. We have had Cory Aquino's revolutionary government before, and pray tell, where did it take us?

Also, are a thousand days enough? Sheherezade might have managed to save her pretty head in that time span, but a thousand days seem to be such a short time to institute essential reforms, especially given the intractability of the country's problems. If it is serious in transforming society, the caretaker council would need a lot more time than a thousand days.

Vinzons-Chato says that the primary goal of the council would be to insititute truly free and fair elections. I honestly don't see how free and fair elections would be able to make dramatic political change. While irregularities are quite numerous in Philippine elections, it is not true that elective positions are habitually stolen or bought. How else are we going to explain our colorful and heated campaign season if election results are indeed made-to-order?

The problem is that people keep on electing officials who steal from them because of our perverse patronage system. I remember one household help who had this rather intense hatred against Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City, a local government superstar and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service, simply because Villafuerte, Robredo's rival, paid for her sister's hospital fees and burial.

As long as people think of politicians as social insurance, we would have no peace in this country. The more important reform, in my opinion, would be the strengthening of our social insurance institutions so that our people are weaned from their dependency on politicians for their KBL needs. President Arroyo followed Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's "one village one product" concept, but she missed his populist 100-baht universal hospital charge for the people. (Well, she distributed Philhealth cards alright, but that hardly counts.)

It is doubtful that a caretaker government would be effective in pursuing its goals. Its purported future members would, I presume, come from so-called untainted members of the civil society. The problem with civil society members as governing council is that they are inexperienced. They may think they know all the ropes, but so did Aprodicio Lacquian who famously quipped he has seen all politics. Governing is simply not the same thing as advocacy. Exhibit number one: Jimmy Carter--disastrous president, exemplary advocate.

Come to seriously think about it, a caretaker government would be a hard sell for the Unity of Truth coalition. But, I guess, as the Bible says, those who toil will be rewarded.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Opposition, we have a problem

The joke around town is that the opposition has a witness training academy and that the Arroyo administration has a witness prevention program. With witnesses dancing the cha-cha-cha--although unfortunately not in the way FVR had in mind--what are we to think? Bearing witness in this country, law on perjury and libel notwithstanding, is taken so lightly that I would not be surprised if any moment now someone turn up in the Senate and testify to Garcillano's having been abducted by an alien spaceship. Where the hell is that man anyway?

Whether the opposition would admit it or not, it is now President Arroyo who has the upper hand. Back from the abyss of that week when Cory Aquino and the Makati Business Club called for her resignation, President Arroyo's strategy--including her rather exemplary witness prevention program--seems to be doing just fine.

The slow trickle of witnesses being presented in the congressional investigations only tend to contribute in the public perception that the opposition has indeed a witness training academy. It would be better for the opposition to present these other corroborating witnesses during the impeachment trial itself where they would produce the necessary "damning effect" against the president. Right now, the slow parade of witnesses is only immunizing President Arroyo against other future accusations. When and if the impeachment trial comes, the middle-class urbanite public may be so fatigued by the same accusations rehashed for the trial that the outrage prequisite to a People Power demonstration --the opposition's preferred option of unseating President Arroyo-- may simply not materialize at Ortigas.

The impeachment kindling point for President Arroyo, the opposition discovered too late, is much higher that that of Estrada. The middle classes and the conservative forces in Philippine politics started with much prejudice against Estrada that they were only too glad to find a valid reason to wash their hands of him. PR-wise, it is simply much easier to caricature as evil a corpulent mustached actor with a legendary libido than a diminutive lady economist with a cute voice on the phone.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A good man in politics

Today's Philippine Daily Inquirer has for its front page a rather large picture of Senator Raul Roco gesticulating behind a lectern, with the following words from the late senator prominently superimposed on the picture:

When I was 20, I wanted to change the world; at 30, I wanted to change my country; at 60, I realized I wanted only to change myself.

The news report didn't say specifically during which occasion Senator Roco uttered the words. But what could he have meant with that cryptic statement? Did Sen. Roco grow old to be a selfish man ? Because if you seek the literal meaning of the sentence, that's what it says. Was Sen. Roco's political life a case of narrowing altruism?

I think Sen. Roco must have wanted to to use the verb can rather than the verb want, but settled on the latter because using the former would sound defeatist for a presidentiable. The sentence, as I think Sen. Roco must have truly meant, is:

When I was 20, I thought I could change the world; at 30, I thought I could change my country; at 60, I realized I could only hope to change myself.

The Filipino people should have elected Sen. Roco as president back in 1998 when he was still healthy. Among our politicians in the national stage, it's only Roco--only he--who has managed to emerge as a decent and magnanimous man. It is the saddest commentary on our country's politics that a man who seemed infinitely superior could miserably lose to petty middlings. Think about it: A good man in politics is a failure.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Romeo and Juliet jologsified

Working from the Filipino translation done by the late Rolando Tinio, Tanghalang Pilipino presents R’meo luvs Dew-Lhiett, a jologsified version of the classic play by Shakespeare. The play is set in the slums of Barangay Verona, the characters don ukay-ukay clothes, and the fights are done with balisong and chako. And Dew-Lhiett soliloquizes thus:

Nakita mo sanang pag-blush ko kung di lang madilim Sa dami nang narinig mong sinabi kong sweet nothing. Wish ko lang sana makapagpakipot— Wish ko lang nabawi pa ‘yung love quote, Pero what’s the point, pa-cute pa ba ang emote?

I'm curious how this presentation will integrate the presence of cellphones (it says in the Manila Times report that cellphones will feature in the play). I have always thought that the tragedy (some say the farce) in Romeo and Juliet would have been easily solved had the lovers only been equipped with mobile phones--a couple of text messages and the fatal miscommunication between the two lovers is gone. If you are interested to watch the play--I myself am seriously thinking of hauling myself to Manila--here's the info you need:

R’meo luvs Dew-Lhiett goes on stage on August 5, 6, 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m., with matinee shows on August 6, 7, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at the Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). It goes on a second run on September 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m, with matinee shows on September 10, 11, 17 and 18 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater). For tickets, call Tanghalang Pilipino at 832-3661, 832-1125 or TicketWorld at 891-9999.

Regular P300
Student P200
Senior Citizen P240

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Web prowl

The East-West Center opens its 2006 United States-East Timor Scholarship Program for undegraduate studies of qualified East Timorese. Should Hillary Clinton run for president in 2008? From the Washington Monthly, Yes and No. Foreign Affairs, in an article co-authored by the economist Dani Rodrik, outlines steps on How to Help Poor Countries. The conservative weekly Human Events list the Ten Most harmful books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. And from Uganda, a good reason to be a virgin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New poem by Sappho

Last year, scholars identified a papyrus at the Univeristy of Cologne as containing a poem by Sappho. The poem was recovered from the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy and was identified because it matched a smaller scrap known to be by Sappho found in 1922 during excavations of a rubbish dump in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. This newly-discovered poem, thought to date from the first part of the third century BC (which means it's 2,600 years old), is the oldest of all remnants of her poetry. Here are three translations of the same poem:

The untitled
translated by Martin West

You for the fragrant-blossomed Muses' lovely gifts
be zealous, girls, and the clear melodious lyre:
but my once tender body old age now
has seized; my hair's turned white instead of dark;
my heart's grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.
This state I oft bemoan; but what's to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there's no way.
Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world's end,
handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o'ertook him, husband of immortal wife.

Sappho to Her Pupils
translated by Lachlan Mackinnon

Live for the gifts the fragrant-breasted Muses
send, for the clear, the singing, lyre, my children.
Old age freezes my body, once so lithe,
rinses the darkness from my hair, now white.
My heart’s heavy, my knees no longer keep me
up through the dance they used to prance like fawns in.
Oh, I grumble about it, but for what?
Nothing can stop a person’s growing old.
They say that Tithonus was swept away
in Dawn’s passionate, rose-flushed arms to live
forever, but he lost his looks, his youth,
failing husband of an immortal bride.

Sappho and the Weight of Years
translated by Edwin Morgan

Girls, be good to these spirits of music and poetry
that breast your threshold with their scented gifts.
Lift the lyre, clear and sweet, they leave with you.

As for me, this body is now so arthritic
I cannot play, hardly even hold the instrument.
Can you believe my white hair was once black?

And oh, the soul grows heavy with the body.
Complaining knee-joints creak at every move.
To think I danced as delicate as a deer!

Some gloomy poems came from these thoughts:
useless: we are all born to lose life,
and what is worse, girls, to lose youth.

The legend of the goddess of the dawn
I’m sure you know: how rosy Eos
madly in love with gorgeous young Tithonus

swept him like booty to her hiding-place
but then forgot he would grow old and grey
while she in despair pursued her immortal way.

Strong(er) women, effete men ?

Last Saturday, finally, I made it to the Bahay Tsinoy museum in Intramuros. The tour was very informative, and we had such a nice knowledgeable tour guide. It was the very first time I learned about the Sultan of Sulu who went to Beijing during the Ming dynasty to visit the Chinese emperor, and about the Filipino-Chinese who joined Mao Zedong's revolution and became a confidante of the Great Helmsman and served in a Cabinet position during Deng Xiao Ping's term.

After the tour, we attended University of Massachusetts Professor Richard Chu's lecture on Strong(er) Women and Ineffectual Men? Negotiating Tsinoy Identity in the Philippines at a Time of Transnationalism. The lecture's take-off point was the portrayal of strong Tsinoy women and effete Tsinoy men in the films Mano Po 1, 2 , 3 and in the Crying Ladies. Chu's contention is that the films accurately portray a facet of social reality among the Tsinoy community, that power is currently being re-negotiated in Tsinoy families with the rise of its women and the decline of its men.

Are Tsinoy women really getting stronger at the expense of the men? One can, of course, argue that this power shift is the general trend in society at large, not just in the Tsinoy community. I remember my sister telling me that in their STS class at UP, their professor, a man no less, announced in rather triumphant tone the coming obsolescence of males in the propagation of the species (hmm, disturbing shades of Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge, don't you think?).

I really have nothing significant to say about this gender power relations, except that Professor Chu may be reading too much from films that portrayed strong women rather than strong men simply because of commercial considerations: Actresses, not actors, have the bigger drawing power in Philippine box office. It could very well be that the proper title to Prof. Chu's lecture should have been Strong(er) Actresses, Effete Actors. Well, I honestly do not know.

What I know is that I immensely enjoyed listening to the exchange of views that followed the lecture. There was an eldery Chinese man who was telling us how sexist the Hokkien language is. There was a Japanese lady in the crowd who asked exactly what are the marks of masculinity among the Tsinoys in the Philippines. After an exchange of views, the group seemed to have reached the conclusion that for the Tsinoys in the Philippines the number one mark of masculinity is success in business. The effete Tsinoy man is one who is not in business and is exerciing a profession instead. At this point, former Dean Aurora Roxas- Lim of the Asian Center interjected and asked, "How about being a senator? Does this mean the Tsinoy community does not consider being a senator honorable and manly?"

After this rather dismal point of impasse in the discussion, Teresita Ang See, who was then staying in the sidelines reading Amy Chua's World on Fire, joined the discussion to point out the many inaccuracies with which the Mano Po films portrayed the local Tsinoy community. She said she was also disappointed that the Mano Po films overshadowed the more excellent Panaghoy sa Suba and Dekada Sitenta. Our tour guide Ivan also pointed out that no Tsinoy, or very few, actually wear cheongsam in special occasions, contrary to the wedding scene in Mano Po. Of the actors in the films, it was also pointed out, it was only Kris Aquino who resembled the Tsinoys' way of speaking: Tagalog, English and Hokkien all jumbled in one sentence.

Given the inaccuracies of these films, a friend asked whether the Tsinoy community really needs films depicting them. Do films like Mano Po do the Tsinoy community any good ? The possibility of an unintended backlash was raised. Prof. Chu said that it was only of late, after the Mano Po films, that he experienced racism in the Philippines, when the taxi driver refused to make a U-turn to bring him nearer his gate to avoid a downpour. By portraying Tsinoys in the stereotypical mercantilist way, films like Mano Po could actually be building resentment among the Filipinos rather than building cultural gaps beyween Pinoys and Tsinoys.

All in all, that Saturday was quite a new experience for me. Everytime I've been with exclusively Tsinoy gatherings, the discussions were invariably about loans that hadn't been repaid, absconding business partners, and, in the rare event that discussions veered toward the personal, disappointing daughters who marry their Filipino boyfriends. It is therefore infinitely refreshing to see and listen to intellectually conversant Tsinoys discuss gender, globalization, racism, alll things you very seldom hear from a community that is always preoccupied with practical matters.

I highly recommend the Bahay Tsinoy tour. If you're bringing some friends with you, call the museum beforehand so they could provide you with a guide.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Zheng He the Explorer

Quick: Name one great Asian mariner. Chances are you would be unable to name even one. The vast oceans seemed to have intimidated the Oriental people--either that or wanderlust at the high seas was simply a peculiar trait of the Western man. Was it?

Perhaps, but there was one great Asian voyager that predated the exploits of Magellan and Columbus: Admiral Zheng He who six hundred years ago (the anniversary was last July 11) set sail to see the world. Beijing Review has a cover story commemorating the coming 600th anniversary of the ocean expeditions of Zheng He.

What was remarkable about Zheng He's expeditions?

1) The size of his fleet was unparalled in world history and would not be seen again until World War II. While Magelan had five ships, Zheng He had 240 ships in each of his voyages, carrying about 27,000 men. And his voyage took place 87 years before Columbus, 92 years before Vasco da Gama and 116 years before Magellan.

2) He didn't conquer. Unlike the Western voyagers who laid claim to the lands they "discovered,' Zheng He didn't require the natives to pledge allegiance to Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty. In fact, the main reason for Zheng He's voyages was simply to showcase the power of China and develop cordial relations with other countries. It was simply a trip of good will and he brought gifts to the countries he visited. Everywhere he went, he left good impressions of the Middle Kingdom.

3) Zheng He was a eunuch--and a Muslim.

China has an ulterior motive in trumpeting the expedition of Zheng He and its 600th anniversary. It is pointing out that there is no need to fear China as a rising world power because when it was powerful and had the opportunity to conquer, it didn't.

Taiwan, I guess, is another matter altogether.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The Effect of Transparency on Incumbent Performance: A Theoretical and Empirical Exposition using Philippine Data

Speaker : Rommel F. Rabanal (Ph.D. Student)
Date : July 15, 2005

The UPSE Friday Seminar Series (UPSE FSS) is a weekly forum for scholarly research on the workings of the local and international economy. It is regularly held on every Friday of the week at UPSE room 301 or Madrigal room, 4:00 in the afternoon. Please call telephone no. 927-9686 local 232 (c/o Ms. Odie) to confirm schedule. Cocktail follows after the open forum. Everyone is invited on a first-come first-served basis due to limited seats available. (It's FREE!)


Summit Media is the leading magazine publisher in the Philippines with over 20 best selling magazines (e.g. Top Gear, FHM, T3, Cosmopolitan, Preview, K-Zone, Total Girl, etc.)

We are looking for college students who need practicum hours for their internship.

What you'll be doing:
- Attending events
- Encoding documents
- Assisting in photo shoots
- And everything editors do when putting together an entire magazine.

Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from the school and their resume.

Address: Level 1 Robinsons Galleria, EDSA cor., Ortigas Ave., QC
Email: Mr. Gami Padillo (Human Resources Assistant), gami.padillo@summitmedia.com.ph
Call: The Human Resources Department @ 638-5704
We also accept other college students for internship in Marketing, Advertising, Human Resources, Information Systems, Accounting, etc.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Call for abstracts

December 7 - 9, 2005, Islamabad. Pakistan.

Technical Sessions: Childrens health and environment

Three pillars of the sustainable development are society, economy and environment; the Heart of the sustainable development is the future generation. Children represent the future of our societies, and therefore it is essential to protect the health of children and ensure that children live in safe environment, allowing them to reach their full potential. However, children happen to be the most vulnerable group to adverse health consequences of environmental factors such as polluted air, contaminated and polluted water, food and soil, radiation risks, chemicals, unhealthy housing, environmental noise, risks related to transport, and the consequences of armed conflict and environmental disasters and poverty. According to the WHO (2003) report, approximately 3 million children under the age of five years die every year due to environmental hazards. In South Asia, the average infant mortality rate (IMR) is about 70 per 1000 live childbirths (UNICEF 2000). The governments and stakeholders have a responsibility to take action to reduce the sources of chemical and other risks and prevent childhood exposure.

The Eighth SDC will look at the ways in which governments cooperate and exercise power over natural resource management (NRM) in their respective countries and in the region. The participants of the Conference will share their experiences and discuss national and regional environmental and health issues with a focus on the childrens health. These, among others, include monitoring and situation evaluation of children of different age groups and toxic chemicals, preventive and educational activities for promoting safe use of chemicals and national environmental and health policies.

Abstract: A soft and printed copy of the abstract of not more than 400 words should be submitted directly to Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja (khwaja@sdpi.org) by Monday, 15 August 2005. It should clearly state the title, theme, objectives, sources of data, and major expected findings. It should include the authors full name, a brief bionote as author of no more than 30 words, complete contact address (email as well as postal), telephone and fax numbers.

SDC 2005 details also available at WWW.SDPI.ORG

Sponsorships: SDPI would sponsor speakers for presentation of their papers of accepted abstract with the cost of travel, accommodation & meals for the entire period of the conference.(December 6 - 10, 2005).

Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), P.O. Box 2342, Islamabad. Pakistan
Hello: 0092 51 2278134 & 36; Fax: 0092 51 2278135; e-mail khwaja@sdpi.org web www.sdpi.org.

The loyal Cabinet

Depending on which side of the political fence you stand, the banner picture in todays' Inquirer (and other papers)of President Arroyo's loyal Cabinet must either be heartwarming or gut-wrenching (see the Inquirer and the Manila Times frontpage pdf). But one thing is beyond doubt: Patricia Sto. Tomas has the most shapely legs for a labor minister in the whole wide world. Take a good look at the picture again. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

What should be on GMA's Ipod?

Here's some:

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
It Aint Over Till It's Over by Lenny Kravitz
Only God Can Judge Me by Tupac Shakur
Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Stuck in a Moment by U2
Don't Stop Me Now by Queen
Me Against the World by Tupac Shakur
Against All Odds (Mariah Carey/Westlife version)
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club
Everything's Gonna Be Alright by Bob Marley
Scream by Michael and Janet Jackson

The rise (and still unabated) fall of Dinky Soliman

As if Dinky Soliman hasn't embarrassed herself enough already, here's this Inquirer news of her eagerly offering to snitch on her former boss. President Arroyo must be seriously regretting now her ever yielding to Dinky Soliman's tears to maintain the DSWD portfolio, especially in light of Noli De Castro's hitherto intransigent loyalty.

I can understand the label "traitor" especially as it applies to Ms Soliman. She, after all, led in the mawkish singing of "If We Hold on Together," (a rather dreadful song fit only to be sung at veterans' reunions and mahjong associations) and it took only, what, five short days, for her to break hold. People would probably have been more kind to Ms Soliman had she simply resigned and issued a press release stating her principles. But no, she had to make political capital out of it and announce to the whole country how clean and how principled she is --perhaps to ease her re-joining the civil society again.

I can understand why Butch Abad needs that press conference to announce his formal breaking of ties with the Arroyo administration. Abad is a politician and a politician can only do good to a society via a public office. A calculation of the political weather vane is essential for the survival of a politician if he is to do good to his country. But Ms Soliman is not a politician. She need not appear heroic to gain public office or popular acclaim. She could easily work anonymously and join civil society once again without the need for much grandstanding or, as is the wont of our politicians, shoulder-patting. Oh well, what can we do, if you hang around with dogs, don't expect not to learn how to lick your balls. And from the odiousness of such practice, Ms Soliman, no hair highlight can save you.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Volunteers for program for the deaf in Cebu

Volunteer Program is now accepting short-term and long-term volunteers to help or assist in programs and concern such as...

Managing Deaf Ministries
Deaf Community Organizing
Capacity building of Deaf Organizations
Deaf Rights Advocacy
Deaf Education (formal, non-formal & catechism/religious instructions)
FSL Interpreters of the Deaf
Liturgical and Religious Activities for the Deaf
Human Resource such as facilitators, logistics, coordinators for seminars, workshops, retreats and recollections and Deaf camps

for more inquires kindly contact:
The Program Officer
Gualandi Volunteer Service Programme, Inc. (GVSP)
Gualandi Mission for the Deaf
# 5 Emerald Street, St. Michael Village,
Banilad, Cebu City

P.O. BOX 650
Tel. No. 032- 231-2601
Fax No. 032- 231-2118
Mobile No: +639173888883/+639276138645
Email Address:gualandivolunteers@yahoo.com, gualandivolunteers@gmail.com

A house divided

I'm currently listening to Mayor Atienza and Congressman Andaya score the Liberal Party's volte-face. Congressman Andaya said that the Liberal Party was the first to go to Malacanang to express its support to the President . It is unbecoming for the Liberal Party to abandon its position simply because the clouds looked darker than before. Mayor Atienza said he, as chairman of the party, was not even invited. Mike Defensor who was present in the meeting that decided the volte-face, was there as a gate-crasher, not as an invitee.

Mayor Atienza was rather lively and spirited in denouncing what he called an undemocratic decision-making process that some of his colleagues at the Liberal party undertook. He reminded the people that LP stands for Liberal Party, not LL for Lipat-Lipat.

Currently reading:

A Model World by Michael Chabon

Friday, July 08, 2005

@rte Attack! A Digital Art and Digital Photography Competition

Who can join: Enrolled college students in the Philippines. Professional graphic artists and designers may not.

Details: The entry must creatively and skillfully realize the theme,"Art and Technology United." There are two categories you may join,Digital Art and Digital Photography. Entries must be at least 6x8inches with a resolution of 300 dpi. For Digital Art, accepted nativefile formats are Adobe Photoshop (.PSD) and Corel Painter (.RIFF). ForDigital Photography, entries must be from a digital camera, notscanned, and should not be digitally modified except for basiccropping and resizing.

What you need to submit: For Digital Art, the native, "raw" file withall used fonts, pictures, etc., plus a "flattened" version in .JPG or.PNG format; for Digital Photography, the photo in .JPG or .PNGformat. All entries must also include the accomplished entry form(attached) and a 100-word essay explaining your entry's relevance tothe theme. There is a registration fee of P100 for each entry, whichmay be deposited at this BPI account: Account # 2569013383, Name:Maricon Manso.

How to submit: Entries may be submitted through email at arte.attack@gmail.com (just be sure to include all the requirements;the entry form may be submitted as a modified soft copy). Also includeproof of deposit (transaction no., scan/hard copy of deposit slip,etc). They may also be submitted in CD-ROM format at the CURSORTambayan, 3rd Floor, Melchor Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Paymentsmay also be made up front; be sure to ask for a receipt.

Deadline: August 9, 2005
Creativity and Originality: 40%
Difficulty of Work: 20%
Relevance to the Theme: 30%
Overall Presentation: 10%

What you can win:
Digital Fine Art
First Prize: Php 7,000, a Wacom Graphire tablet, and a plaque
Second Prize: Php 7,000 and a plaque
Third Prize: Php 4,000 and a plaque

Digital Photography
First Prize: Php 7,000, a Microtek scanner, and a plaque
Second Prize: Php 7,000 and a plaque
Third Prize: Php 4,000 and a plaque

For more information: Visit http://upcursor.org/arte or email arte.attack@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The People Power Hustle

Admit impediments: We were probably wrong to have trooped to EDSA and asked for Estrada's resignation on account of an unopened envelope. In hindsight, the wiser action should have been to see the impeachment trial to the finish and accept whatever verdict it may have decided later.

Estrada was corrupt--there is no quibbling about that. He was then a president clearly not in control of his appetites--for money, for food, for power, for sex. His ouster in any possible way-constitutional or not-was a moral imperative for any decent man in the country. But when we marched to EDSA, we were not simply ousting Estrada then. We all wanted him out of the presidential palace, but our collective political action at EDSA took on another meaning far larger than our own moral indignation. We not only voted with our feet against Estrada at EDSA, we also gave our political institutions a no-confidence vote.

That we now come to the current impasse is therefore only fitting. We should reap what we have sown. The Pulse Asia survey shows President Arroyo's popularity has taken a nosedive, but buried beneath the screaming headlines is the far more disturbing decline in the popularity ratings of our political institutions. To hear Mayor Binay, for instance, talk of our Constitution and the irredeemable inadequacy of our political institutions is hairraising. That he gets away with it without so much as a ribbing in the press is a testament to how this poison of the irredeemability of our political institutions is gaining ground. Various sectors are calling to dump the constitution. President Arroyo herself wants it in the trash bin. The law doesn't get any respect in this country. Those who swore to defend it find it too easy to bewail it.

This disrespect for insitutions is disturbing because any enterprising would-be dictator with half a brain knows that the key to seizing power without the pesky requirement of an electoral mandate is through the wholesale trashing of democratic political insitutions. Once the people cease to believe that the institutions could be made to work, they are more receptive to the idea of a political Messiah of unlimited power to redeem the political arena.

No president lives forever, chief executives come and go, but at the end of the day what remains are our political institutions. This gradual, almost imperceptible, decline in the esteem with which Filipinos hold their institutions must be arrested now before it falls any further, before Samuel Huntington's men on horseback grab power.

If President Arroyo must leave, it is an imperative to the health of our political instituions that she do so through resignation ot through the decision of the Philippine Senate in an impeachment trial.

We must learn to distinguish between the end and the means, and recognize how sometimes amidst great peril how we do things is as crucial as what ends we pursue.

We Filipinos live in shitty times for a very long time now that the corruption of our democracy has seemed so banal and hackneyed. But as current events in the country progress and as more and more people lose their fate in the viability of the competitive model of our pluralist democracy, the banal qualities of our sorry tale may just reach the proportion of a Greek tragedy: in our sincere efforts to obviate a perceived evil in the palace we may be led to a far greater one.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Currently listening to:

Bach's Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould

Looking for alternatives

After Gloria, What's Next?"
A discussion of alternatives to the current political stalemate

10 am-12:00 nn
July 7, 2005
Faculty Center
Claro M. Recto Hall
University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC

Invited guests and speakers are Brother Eddie Villanueva, BAYAN National Chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo, UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, Former UP Pres. Francisco Nemenzo, Jr., UP Student Regent Ken Ramos, college deans and representativesfrom the faculty, staff and REPS of the University.

UP AWARE is an alliance of UP faculty, students,research and extension personnel, staff and alumnicalling for the removal of Gloria Macapagal Arroyofrom Malacanang.Photo opportunities will be available. Questions from media will be entertained during the discussion.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Disturbance in the social weather station

If President Arroyo indeed cheated in the presidential elections, then the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which has hitherto prided itself for having accurately predicted the winners for the two top positions in the country beginning with the election of President Ramos in 1992, finally made its first inaccurate calculation of the national public pulse (see its May 1-4, 2004 final pre-election survey). And all the while people thought Mr Mangahas was biased in favor of his cousin, the late Fernando Poe.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Calculating the ousting of a president

The Institute for Popular Democracy offers some information to aid people in forming their opinion:

•Based on the official result of the May 10, 2004 election, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) got 12,905,808 votes while Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) got 11,782,232 votes.

•The overall winning margin of GMA over FPJ is 1,123,576 votes.

•Out of the 1,057,458 registered voters in the ARMM only 942,633 voters have actually voted for president (or 89% voters turn out).

•The share of votes by candidate in the ARMM: GMA 59.2%, FPJ 32.1%, Lacson 5.1%, Roco 2.8% and Villanueva 0.8%.

•The winning margin of GMA over FPJ in the ARMM is 256,322 votes.

•In Camarines Norte there are 216,275 registered voters but only 174,755 voters have actually voted for president (or 81% voters turn out).

•GMA lost to FPJ in Camarines Norte. The share of votes of the candidates are: GMA 26.7%, FPJ 40.4%, Lacson 7.6%, Roco 21.7% and Villanueva 3.7%.

•The votes garnered by GMA in ARMM is 558,454 and in Camarines Norte is 46,641.

•Combining the ARMM and Camarines Norte, GMA got 605,095 votes which is 54% of her overall winning margin.

Was GMA wrong to say she's sorry?

In hindsight, it appears that President Arroyo's apologia was a bad move. Rather than easing the pressure on her to step down, it had instead intensified it. Golez abandoned ship, Susan Roces fumed in anger, mass protests only got bigger. Because President Arroyo did not say what she was specifically apologizing for, many people assume she is guilty of the worst things alleged against her. Max Soliven writes:

It’s increasingly clear that her . . . uh, confession was a mistake. Confession may be good for the soul. It is the kiss of death in politics.

An incomplete confession is even worse. It sounds insincere and phoney while giving enemies and critics the opportunity to attack more fiercely. For every "admission" creates a crack, which can be pried wider to demolish the defense.

In the words of Mike Defensor, the events had entered a Chapter Two as far as the opposition is concerned, but, arguably, had President Arroyo only kept her lips sealed, the story would have been stuck to Chapter One.

So was GMA wrong to make her quasi confession?

Not really, says Julius Fortuna:

[ The pseudo-confession ] was not so much to appease the opposition but to maintain her alliances, who were beginning to get irritated by her silence about the tapes. There was no way she could convince the opposition, but her allies in the Church and in big business had to be saved.

It seems that the President’s "I am sorry" was able to buy her time. President Cory Aquino continues to give her the benefit of the doubt and the business community in Makati is not about to jump to the opposition.

I had the inital feeling that GMA's apology was a bad move on her part. But we'll see. If her alliances hold and the Church is reigned in, it may be a strategic advance. The opposition can protest to high heavens, but in a politically conservative country like ours, without the Church's blessing, the People Power tipping point can hardly be reached.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

It ain't over till the short lady leaves?

It was an apology that fell short of being a mea culpa. Understandably, many people are unsatisfied with President Arroyo's address to the nation yesterday. She didn't name Garcillano; she didn't say what she was specifically sorry for; she didn't even appear sincere reading her apology, the grave face she tried to effect notwithstanding.

What will happen next? The ball is back in the opposition's court. The (allegedly defective) impeachment complaint against the President which was filed by Atty. Lozano has now been endorsed. It will be interesting to see, given the tight control of the House of Representatives by Arroyo sympathizers, how the opposition will muster the required number of congressmen (1/3 of the total number) to send the impeachment rolling into the Senate. If the opposition succeeds-against great odds-to transmit to the Senate a resolution for impeachment, then who knows? Perhaps by February of next year, we'll have Vice President Noli De Castro as our new president.

The buying of America

Paul Krugman has an interesting thing to say about China's recent buying of chunks of corporate America, in light of the brazen Chinese all-cash bid to take over the American company UNOCAL. He thinks that while Japan's buying spree of American companies in the 1980's proved ultimately harmless to America's larger geopolitical interests, China's bid for UNOCAL highlights an important qualitative difference between the Japanese investment in America fifteen years ago and the Chinese investment now. According to Krugman, China, unlike Japan, really does seem to be emerging as America's strategic rival and a competitor for scarce resources. And China is pursuing the less costly option of taking over an oil company rather than invading one whole Middle East country. Hmm, kung-fu masters are probably not quite up to the task yet.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Updates on the Philippine Nonprofit Sector

The Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy
The Philippine Association for Volunteer Effort

invite you to

Citizen Action and Good Governance:Updates on the Philippine Nonprofit Sector
June 30, 2005 (thursday), 3:00-5:30pm
Assembly Hall (second floor, library)
National College of Public Administration and Governance
Univ. of the Philippines, Diliman, QC

For more info, please contact:Kristine Follosco, 0917.2770553/ 981.8500 loc 4159.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Currently reading:

Winners in Peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan

Children and parents

I heard it said before that the hardest thing about being a parent is letting your children make their own mistakes so they can learn from them. Corollarily, the hardest thing about being a child is watching your parents commit the same mistake over and over again as if they have learned nothing from their youth.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The brutal truth, and nothing but?

Everybody seems to have a newly-discovered affection for the truth. Ping Lacson enjoined the people to be not afraid of the truth for, according to him, it will set us free. Samuel Ong says his interest is only in wanting the truth come out. So does Rep Clavel Martinez.

I have no doubt of the sundry liberating effects of the truth. Honesty, Benjamin Franklin is right, is indeed the best policy. However, I have serious doubts on our capacity now as a people to handle truth lock, stock and barrel. To be brutally honest about it, if truth, by some work of divine intercession, were to be released in full force, with all the floodgates opened, we would be finally free, yes, but also inundated. This probably explains why the so-called United Opposition is selectively presenting the truth to the public. When Sandra Cam was asked why Mikey Arroyo seemed to have trusted her so much when she handed over money to him, she said she didn't know. Oh yes, she does. It's because she has been involved in this ugly business all her life she's virtually a fixture in the industry.

Garcillano may indeed have cheated for President Arroyo. That's partial truth. The unadulterated complete truth is that it may also be equally true that he did the same for the opposition that claims to be so innocent and clean and so alternative now. That's why Jarius Bondoc is asking for the other half of the wiretap.

Truth hurts, Marichu Villanueva writes today for the Philippine Star, what the country needs now is more than the truth. The truth may set us free, alright, but with liberators like Ping Lacson, who needs freedom? Give me liberty, or give me, er, death ?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Web prowl

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars presents a collection of essays on George Bush and East Asia: A First Term Assessement (pdf). The World Bank has created a new Energy and Mining Website for East Asia and Pacific. TIME draws up its list of 50 coolest websites on the web. If you want to feel a little bit lighter and get away from the tediousness of our local politics, check Overheard in New York, a blog for conversation vignettes overheard in New York. And surprise--Karl Marx seems certain to be voted the world's greatest philosopher in a BBC poll that closes two weeks from now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Going gently into the good night

Cardinal Sin is dead. (Read the obituaries from the Inquirer, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the BBC.) Just when the opposition is calling for another People Power to topple yet another president, Cardinal Sin, a pivotal figure in the two previous mass demonstrations, has chosen to leave us. Does the death of the cardinal foretell that this time those who clamor for People Power will fail?

The Church is hesitant to call for the ouster of President Arroyo and has been at pains to point out in the media that it is not. Even Archbishop Oscar Cruz, the Manila Times reported a couple of days ago, is having second thoughts about unveiling his witness who will further incriminate the First Gentleman. Archbishop Cruz is rightly considering the possibility that he is becoming an unwitting tool for the destabilizers greedy to grab power for themselves. For it could very well be that apres Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, le deluge.

Currently listening to:

The Eight Dimensions by Zhou Jie Lun

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How a president who cheated, and whose fraud is subsequently uncovered, can nevertheless preserve her principality and govern

A candidate cheated, some people sardonically aver, doesn't deserve to hold public office in the first place--for how can he be expected to safeguard the public interest when he was incompetent in guarding even his own interest at the polls? Reasonable enough, I think, but nonetheless does not make the cheater any more legitimate. And there lies the president's predicament.

But fortunately for the president, the present crisis is merely a predicament, not the kind of stuff that can unmake her. It is a predicament though of the highest degree, one that I imagine would require the sagacity of Machiavelli to successfully traverse (and Manolo Quezon has some relevant excerpts from Machiavelli for President Arroyo ).

President Arroyo is presently doing well managing this most significant challenge to her presidency. Her deafening silence, which most commentators criticize, is in fact the most astute thing she can possibly do right now. Like any guilty client advised by a competent lawyer, President Arroyo has wisely taken a vow of silence. She can only damage herself further by opening her mouth. Omerta is also highly advisable for the rest of the cabinet, save a few inane meaningless statements from her spokesperson just to keep journalists from rumbling.

What can Arroyo do to preserve her presidency?

1) Being a political leader means her vow of silence is unsustainable in the long run. She would have to speak sooner or later (although preferably later). But before she do so, it is wise to survey first the extent of dirt the opposition has on her, on her husband, on Iggy Arroyo and on her son. It is essential that her comments on the matter be the final say, that there would be no further reveation, no further transcripts and audio mp3s to be downloaded in the PCIJ blog. The public, once fatigued by all these revelations, would all be too glad to forget about the matter.

2) The picture that appeared on the Inquirer--President Arroyo flanked by politicians bearing the letters PEACE and UNITY on their shirts--while cute and heartwarming for the president is nonetheless in the grand scheme of public relations quite useless. Estrada had the same protestations of undying fealty from the governors and look where he is now--stinking and getting fat in Tanay. The picture that President Arroyo needs now is one with lots of white robes in the background; robes accented by red belts preferred but not required. The President may have a problem asking bishops to meet her and have a photo taken of them now, but she can still try. She can also pay the ailing Cardinal Sin a visit. A picture at Cardinal Sin's bedside would be fine. Or confess her sins to Archbishop Rosales and get the latter's support in exchange (remember Michael Corleone and his successful corporate takeover after his confession?) .

3) To fire or not to fire Mikey, that's the question. It is easier to see your husband executed than your son pilloried. Queen Elizabeth I was infinitely wise to boycott the delivery room. If Mikey Arroyo is to resign, President Arroyo will appear weak. Garcillano is now out, but Garcillano, no matter how influential a powerbroker during the elections, is merely a government bureaucrat. Mikey Arroyo is different. If he resigns, the opposition would only be emboldened to demand the head that they really want: President Arroyo's.

In the game of chess, in order to trap the Queen, her enemies need to first engage her in combat. How? By first removing the pawns and lower personalities that cover her. Put yourself in the place of the opposition for a while. With damning tapes that detail how the president cheated in the elections, why would there still be a need for you to air out revelations about jueteng which at best only obliquely point to the president? To take out the men that prop the Queen. With the Arroyo men immobilized by the jueteng allegations, the tapes and the transcript should take care of President Arroyo. That's the master plan.

It was wise for Mikey Arroyo to take a leave. Iggy Arroyo should also do the same. Take a leave, but not resign. To not resign is crucial in order for President Arroyo to maintain an image of strength for the presidency.

4) Now with regard to rumored coups: The reason why there are always these rumors is because the Philippine government has historically dealt with coup plotters too kindly. The proper thing to do with any soldier who has been involved in a coup is to throw him out of the military/police permanently, banished from public life forever, BUT not jailed, because that would be an injustice and Heaven may hear the soldier's cry. General Douglas MacArthur knew the importance of handling miscreant soldiers. In postwar Japan, the Japanese military that prosecuted the world war was heavily purged, almost decimated after MacArthur done all his firing of its personnel. Trying those soldiers as war criminals would have been divisive; simply defrocking them as soldiers neutralized them. (Akio Morita, the man who transformed Sony into a global company, was one of those soldiers jobless after the war, fired by the "heavy-handed" MacArthur.)

In the Philippines, soldiers who plot coups are reinstated and are allowed to get even higher positions. Look at Admiral Tirso Danga, the man suspected of wiretapping President Arroyo. Had Corazon Aquino dealt with him properly in 1989, he would not be here in 2005 using his public power as ISAFP chief satiating his voyeuristic inclinations with the phone.

4) President Arroyo can also deal the Luli trump card to remind the civil society, which may grow restive, how infinitetely more desirable her administration is compared to the pretenders to her throne. The soft-spoken, decent Luli Arroyo can do a lot of damage control, cleaning the mess left by her inept brother. More importantly, with Luli on her side, President Arroyo can spin the machismo culture in Filipino society on its head. For this is a crucial and politically useful prejudice in Philippine society: While we all too readily believe the evil ways of our men, we at the same vehemently preserve the myth of the virtue of our women.

Had President Arroyo only governed well, scandals like these she could have brushed aside easily. But her popularity was at its all-time low even before these scandals were injected. There was no stock popularity to draw from. Thaksin Shinawatra survived corruption scandals some years ago because the Supreme Court simply was not prepared to pit itself against the immense popularity of the prime minister for fear it may disintegrate in the clash. A calculating populist politician, loved by the masses, can deflect all kinds of criticism with the same ease a Jedi deflects gun blasts with his lightsaber (e.g. Erdogan of Turkey who made a stunning political comeback after being constitutionally banned to ever hold public office again).

Now that she has been shown to be a fraud, nothing more than a conspiring queen who usurped the power of an elected King, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must look for another base on which to found the legitimacy of her reign: good governance. In the confused world of Third World democratic politics, it is not only election results that bestow legitimacy. Performance too; just ask General Pervez Musharaf of Pakistan.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Volunteer work for CINEMANILA

If you want to meet interesting people, see award-winning foreign films and get your adrenaline pumping from working at a crazy festival pace, volunteer for the 7th Cinemanila International Film Festival, to be held this year from August 4-16. We are looking for bright and mature individuals who don't require a lot of hand-holding to join this year's team.

Interns are responsible for a wide range of clerical/administrative assisting duties, in addition to a bit of fact checking, online research, and occasional writing. Because we are a relatively small organization, interns have the opportunity to get to know all of our staff, and to really see how a film festival is put together. You will also get the chance to meet filmmakers from all over Asia and Europe and see Cinemanila movies for free. We can offer students at any stage of their college experience academic credit for their internship. We also accept recent graduates.

Qualifications: Writing, editing, research, interviewing and phone skills relevant. Basic computer proficiency important. Internships are available in the following departments: Marketing, Film Traffic, Guest Services, Theater Coordination, Promotions and Publicity, Editorial, Creative, Photography and Administration.

Requirements: To apply, please send your resume with a cover letter specifying which department you are interested in working as an intern/volunteer. PLEASE SEND ALL RESUMES DIRECTLY to miff@cinemanila.com.ph or cinemanila@hotmail.com.

NOTES: This internship may qualify for academic credit. Please check with your school. This is a non-paying internship. Small stipends are available under certain circumstances and for published work. Inquire for details (through email only, no phone calls please).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Invitation to a Book Discussion

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
June 11, 3 PM
Datelines Bookshop
Marikina Shoe Expo Complex
Cubao, Quezon City

Discussion Questions:
Exactly what are the things that fell apart? How, when and why did those things fall part?

What caused Okonkwos downfall? In what ways did his downfall mirror that of the demise of his village? In hindsight was the fall of Mbanta and Umuofia inevitable? Could Okonkwos fall have been averted?

As the major identity conflict develops between the British/Christians versus the 'Traditional' Ibo, how does each side view the other? How do these views contribute to how each side treats the other? With which side do you sympathize ?

The last paragraph related how the District Commissioner was going to title his work The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Niger ? What is the significance of this ending?

Things Fall Apart, a novel about how one man confronted the English colonial powers and was ignominiously defeated, was nevertheless written by Achebe in English. Is this appropriate?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Currently reading:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Monday, June 06, 2005

Web prowl

Find out what songs were inspired by literary works here. For people in love with lists, here's another: Time Magazine's 100 best films. If you want a Star Wars wallpaper for your desktop, some fine ones can be found here. Join Cuke Skywalker, Obi Wan Cannoli, Princess Lettuce, and other lovable (and hilarious) organic characters in their epic supermarket battle against Lord Tader and his pesticide-covered, genetically modified cohorts in the Store Wars. The Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh relates how he fell in love with books and world literature in The Testimony of my Grandfather's Bookcase.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

From Medea by Euripides:

When love descends on man in brash excess
Hot past all limits
Nothing of glory nor good will come of it
Though if love's queen in gentleness approach,
Moderate, restrained,
No goddess is so full of starry charm.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Israeli aggie scholarships for Mindanao graduates

The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) of the Israel government is looking for as many as 25 agriculture-related graduates from Mindanao who will qualify for an 11-month Work-Study Program in Arava, Israel.

Backed by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture of Israel, the AICAT has been introducing representatives from developing countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Tibet (Tibetans who live in India) and the Philippines to modern agricultural methods for the past decade. Its Work-Study program, which benefited the first batch of 18 participants from Mindanao in August last year, will take effect for an entire agricultural season, from September 2005 to August 2006.

With "learning by doing" as its guiding theme, the program involves on-the-job training, which uses sophisticated agricultural technologies with Arava farmers and field trips to agricultural spots such as farms, irrigation equipment factories, agricultural products processing facilities and historical sites such as Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Galilee, the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

To qualify, interested parties should be graduates of any agricultural course, not more than 35 years old, and preferably employed in any of the prestigious companies in Mindanao. Interested parties may send their Letter of Intent and resumé, not later than June 2, to Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, Chairperson, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), 4F SSS Building, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City.

For more information, they may also contact Ms. Carla Mae Zamora of the MEDCo Secretariat at (082)221-1345 or (082) 221-7060 (telefax).

Friday, May 27, 2005

Currently listening to:

Specialist in All Styles by Orchestra Baobab

Other people aren't hell

I was about to go home when a heavy downpour set in. Not wanting to waste time staring at the swarthy rainwater gathering at the gutter, I decided to go to a secondhand bookstore. Skimming the titles of the stacks, I saw a book by the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. It seemed to be a random collection of his rather disjointed thoughts in prose, moments of poetical insights inspired by daily observations (like a literary blog, if you will).

I'm not a great fan of poetry in general and I've never read any Zagajewski before (I have a copy of his Canvas, but I never read it), but while browsing this book called Another Beauty, I came to read his poem also entitled Another Beauty, which served as the epigrammic introduction for the book , and I was instantly converted:

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others'
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren't hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.

Salvation lies with others, though solitude may taste like opium. Other people aren't hell if you glimpse them at dawn, when their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams. The importance of social community; to get to the City of God, you must first pass through the City of Man. Come to think of it, Robert Putnam said the same thing in Bowling Alone.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Web prowl

The BBC has an online poll on who's the world's greatest philosopher. Fareed Zakaria writes about the need to not think about China's rise in exaggerated terms--at least not yet. If you want to do some serious reading but are wondering where to start, here are reading guides to the liberal arts (don't miss Harvey Mansfield on political philosophy and John Lukacs on history). With the internet eroding the Communist Party's monopoly of information and making the traditional policy of "nei jin wai song" (cracking down at home while pretending to foreigners to be wide open) unsustainable, China may not survive death by a thousand blogs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Job opening

Program Development Specialist

Job Summary: Develops proposals, implements and monitors programs and projects in support of the Networks overall strategy

Principal Duties & Accountabilities:

1. Develops and writes project proposals and modules
2. Prepares and writes technical reports required by donors, partners and other organizations
3. Prepares process documentation reports for major VOICE interventions and activities
4. Conceptualizes and implements resource generation strategies
5. Provides technical assistance and support in program/project implementation and management
6. Conducts researches and trainings
7. Performs other related tasks as may be assigned from time to time

At least a Bachelors Degree
Preferably one year experience in development work
Experience in proposal and technical report-writing
Very good writing and communication skills
Excellent skills in computer operations (MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
Must be able to work with minimum supervision

Application Requirements:

Application letter addressed to the Managing Director
Curriculum Vitae
Transcript of Records
ID Picture

Please send your requirements to the VOICE Office: 2/F Benton Hall, UP Diliman, QC or email them at enational@yahoo.com on or before June 10, 2005. For more information, you may contact (632) 9288969 or (0922) 8121924.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

BIKE for BURMA protest on May 30

Join the BIKE for BURMA protest on May 30!!!
On 30 May 2003, the military government of Burma organized truck-loads of hired thugs and carried out a premeditated attack on members and supporters of the National League for Democracy, including its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
These juntas paid goons attacked the local population, who came out to welcome Suu Kyi and the accompanying NLD members, using violence and terror, with the intention of causing injuries and death to a large number of innocent and defenseless civilians.

From the women victims who had fallen to the ground, they pulled their blouses and sarongs, and they wrapped the hair around their hands and bumped the faces against the tar road. They rudely and savagely attacked causing fatal injuries. They even looted personal belongings and cash from the victims.

Two years after that bloody massacre, ambush victims still demand justice and prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack. Since then, the military regime has done nothing to shed light on the incident. Up to now, the junta continuously violates the fundamental rights of its people and its poor human rights record is a testimony that it is not sincere to fulfill its promised democratic reforms.

On May 30, 2005, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) and the Free Burma Coalition Philippines would like to invite you to join the BIKE FOR BURMA protest action.

The bike protest will start at Welcome Rotonda (9:00 am) and will proceed to the Mendiola bridge. We will also demand to the Philippine government and to the international community to support the call to block the Burma's scheduled chairmanship of the Asean in 2006.

For those who are interested to join the Bike for Burma protest please call the IID office at telephone numbers 435-2900 or 911-0205. Look for Gani or Noel. ###

Rock en espanol

For about two weeks now, I've been listening to the music of this Argentinean band called Los Enanitos Verdes. If you are a fan of rock en Espanol, then, chances are, you'll love the songs of Enanitos Verdes. Check the band's Guitarras Blancas, Lamento Boliviano, and Es Por Ti. My personal favorites now are Eterna Soledad and Una Cancion de Despedida.

And while I'm at it, let me recommend my favorite rock band in the whole wide world: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. You may want to check their song El Matador, the band's triumphant homage to Victor Jara, the Chilean poet whose hands were amputated by police before thousands of horrified onlookers at a packed soccer stadium after General Pinochet took power. (Victor Jara is generally regarded as the first international star of Nueva Cancion, remembered for his line, "The guitar becomes an instrument of struggle, so that it can also shoot like a gun.") Los Fabulosos Cadillacs has many great songs (they're like the Beatles in their prolific output): the infinitely danceable Gitana, the memorable duet with the Cuban salsa superstar Celia Cruz in Vasos Vacios, Algo Contigo, Mal Bicho, Por Ese Palpitar, Demasiada Presion, Carnaval Toda La Vida... Los Fabulos Cadillacs also has a tribute to Che Guevara--a song named Gallo Rojo-- although I haven't heard it yet. It doesn't matter if you don't understand a single Spanish word; the music is so good it transcends language barriers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The last Star Wars

Time magazine's Richard Corliss (sub needed) called the Revenge of the Sith the best of the three Star Wars prequel movies . Now comes this review on the New York Times saying it's the best Star Wars George Lucas has ever directed. Oh, dear. Must remember to buy a ticket today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Should we raise the minimum wage ?

The Manila Times quotes Dennis Arroyo, assistant director of NEDA’s National Planning and Policy Staff, as saying any increase in wages will worsen the county’s labor competitiveness. "... [A wage increase] would further worsen our competitiveness, inflation, unemployment and gross domestic product," Arroyo said.

Some quick thoughts on the matter:

A fact sheet from the National Statistical Coordinating Board points out that the present minimum wage for the National Capital Region (NCR) of $5.54 is actually higher than Vietnam ($0.93), China ($0.31 to $1.28), Indonesia ($1.36) and Thailand ($3.36 to $4.25). Any further increase will make Philippine labor more expensive compared to our neighbors of comparable economic development. I buy this argument, alright, but I wonder how can people in Vietnam and China cope on so little? If ever there is a pressing need for legislative inquiry, it is for this one: to know the best practices of the Vietnemese and Chinese on scrimping. In the face of the massive discrepancy between the country's present minimum wage and the living wage (as calculated by the government itself here), I find it cruel to dismiss demands for minimum wage increase by saying there are people more hard up than we are. By the way, did you ever wonder why the onus of productivity is always on labor? What about that other means of production--capital ?

Will increasing the minimum wage cause people to lose jobs? Economic orthodoxes would answer yes. It is natural for businesses to retrench following increased wage costs, right? Wrong (or at the very least not as decisively correct as Arroyo would have us believe). There is a justifiable place for economic agnosticism in the issue of minimum wage and unemployment. In the case of Indonesia, for example, in the early 1990s, the minimum wage was doubled in real terms (tripled in nominal terms) and yet that dramatic wage hike had no effect on over-all employment (See The consequences of doubling the minimum wage: The case of Indonesia. Martin Rama, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Ithaca: Jul 2001, Vol.54, Iss. 4; pg. 864, 18 pgs). What explains this ? Joseph Stiglitz thinks a mandated wage increase would be expected to raise productivity by almost enough to offset the higher cost of labor, so the status quo ante, prior to the wage increase, is preserved.

So what are we to do? What is my point? Only this: Contrary to what people like Arroyo of NEDA says, economics presents no decisive answer on the issue of the effects of raising the minimum wage. It is not necessarily an economist's nightmare. A moderate minimum wage increase is workable and there is room for maneuver. Too bad though that President Arroyo, a Ph. D. economist, prefers to leave the hard decisions on the regional wage boards instead, the members of which, I presume, know less economics than herself.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Wanted: Mga bagong makata ng LIRA

Para sa taong ito, muling naghahanap ang Linangan saImahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) ng mga bagong fellow na mapapabilang sa poetry workshop o palihan sa pagtula.

Itinatag noong 1985 ang LIRA ng Pambansang Alagad ngSining para sa Panitikan Virgilio S. Almario, kilalasa mundo ng panitikan bilang Rio Alma. Ipinagmamalaking LIRA, isang organisasyon ng mga makatang nagsusulatsa wikang Filipino, ang taunang palihang humubog samga premyadong makata at manunulat ng ating panahon.

Kabilang sa 20-taong tradisyon ng kahusayan ng LIRAang kanilang miyembrong sina: Roberto T. Añonuevo atRomulo P. Baquiran, Jr., mga makatang Oragon atprolipikong awtor; Rebecca T. Añonuevo, premyadongmakata, kritiko at guro sa Miriam College; Vim Nadera,performance artist at kasalukuyang direktor ng UPInstitute of Creative Writing; Nicolas Pichay, abogadoat awardee ng Centennial Literary Prize; Ariel Dim. Borlongan, mamamahayag at naging Makata ng Taon;Michael Coroza, guro sa Ateneo de Manila University at pabliser; at si Edgar Samar, kasalukuyang pangulo ng LIRA na nagtuturo rin sa ADMU at manunulat ng mga akdang pambata.

Ang palihan o workshop para sa taong ito ay binubuo ngmga lecture ng mga respetadong makata at manunulat,pagsuri at pagbasa ng mga tula. Isa sa mga paksangtatalakayin ay ang mayamang tradisyon ng panulaangFilipino. Ang palihan ay gaganapin mula Hunyo hanggangHulyo 2005, tuwing Sabado at Linggo sa CAL New Building, UP Diliman.

Para sa lahat ng interesado, maaaring magpasa nglimang tula at resumé na may retrato sa LIRA c/o UPInstitute of Creative Writing, 2/F College of Arts andLetters, UP Diliman, Quezon City o sa hulingiyama@yahoo.com. Ang huling araw ng pagpapasa ay sa Mayo 27, 2005. Parasa karagdagang impormasyon, i-text si Bebang sa0919-3175708.