Friday, December 05, 2008

The Filipino films that were

I don't know if Sky Cable carries the channel but at over at Destiny Cable, there's a new channel called GPC (Global Pinoy Channel)which is having a test broadcast--and is showing some wonderful Filipino movies.

Last night, when I accidentally tuned into it, there was Nora Aunor, pre-Flor Contemplacion, playing an abused maid. Tonight, I caught Celso Ad Castillo's Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan in medias res with Christopher de Leon playing an inchoate communist agitating for agrarian reform and suffrage. The movie has such gorgeous shots of Philippine countryside of Nueva Ecija.

Himala starring Nora Aunor has recently been honored in Australia as the best Asian-Pacific film, besting Kurosawa, Ang Lee and Wong Kar Wai (even Himala's writer Ricky Lee was incredulous). I think it's a signal time that we should all rediscover the best of Philippine cinema.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are you Eco Active?

Wear Green and come to the UP Diliman Eco Active Day

DECEMBER 2, 2008
UP Diliman Grandstand
*Registration starts 8 am

Mini Program (8:30-11:30am) featuring award-winning environmentalists Ms. Chin-chin Gutierrez and Mr. Von Hernandez of Greenpeace

Go Renewable March (2:30-4:00pm) with the Firefly Brigade, Miss Earth candidates, E-Jeepneys, Padyaks and more Ban the Styro Human Formation (4:00-5:30 pm) at the UP Sunken Garden

Eco Active is a project of the University Student Council (USC), uniting all environment protection efforts in the University, and promoting practice of a greener lifestyle towards a more sustainable UP Diliman.

For more information, visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What to do

Here's Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Review of Books, on what to do to avert the next financial crisis:

...anything that has to be rescued during a financial crisis, because it plays an essential role in the financial mechanism, should be regulated when there isn't a crisis so that it doesn't take excessive risks. Since the 1930s commercial banks have been required to have adequate capital, hold reserves of liquid assets that can be quickly converted into cash, and limit the types of investments they make, all in return for federal guarantees when things go wrong. Now that we've seen a wide range of non-bank institutions create what amounts to a banking crisis, comparable regulation has to be extended to a much larger part of the system.

Interestingly, he is also advocating long-term restriction in the movement of international capital flows, saying that the lesson learned during the Asian crisis (i.e. shoring up foreign exchange reserves) is not enough.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Huli man at magaling maihahabol din?

Now, Former Speaker De Venecia is talking. Had he done this earlier, when he was being forcibly removed from the leadership of the House, we probably would have seen another president booted from Malacanang. But now, with almost just a year before the national elections, people might not be in the mood to shake things up. Why bother to forcibly remove the president when she will surely disappear in a year's time?

De Venecia should have fought earlier and showed all he's got instead of delivering that soliloquy at the floor which only betrayed his age. Machiavelli said that fortune is a woman and she favors the adventurous than the cautious. "She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her."

I have always felt that if one were to fall, one must fall with all guns a-blazing. (This brings to mind a film I want to recommend which gloriously illustrates the point: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.) Had De Venecia fought back earlier, he probably would still have fallen, but he would have had the satisfaction of seeing the whole House of Representatives fall down with him. If the president ruined his legacy as a great consensus-builder, why not be remembered as a great destroyer instead? As Abraham Lincoln said, great men of history build things, but lacking an opportunity to build, must destroy. De Venecia had a glorious chance to destroy, but he blew it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is Somali piracy a retaliation for toxic waste dumping?

For quite sometime now owing to the presence of many Filipino sailors, we have been hearing all about the tanker ships being commandeered by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year. Now a new angle of the story has appeared: the pirates are hijacking the ships and asking for ransom to partially pay for the cleanup of toxic waste being regularly dumped off the coast of Somalia.

The UN envoy for Somalia confirmed that toxic waste dumping does happen and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that when the tsunami hit in 2004, rusting containers of toxic waste were washed ashore. UNEP says that "Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there."

Al Jazeera has this very interesting story here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You know you are getting old when...

you go to a club and, instead of a condom as a freebie, you get a free tablet for arthritis, as we did get last night when we went to RJ TV bar on Jupiter Street, Makati. We all had such a good time, although half of the time I was dancing to tunes I never heard before in my life.

I've always wanted to go to RJ for so long, until last night we finally had an excuse as a colleague from the US was in town. If you want to have good clean fun and enjoy a trip down memory lane to the good old days of rock'n roll, RJ Bar is for you. And since smoking is not allowed inside, you wont get home with emphysema to aggravate your arthritis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Job opening: ChemSafe Program Coordinator

The EcoWaste Coalition is looking for a part-time staff person who will facilitate and oversee the implementation of the five-month program dubbed as Enhancing Consumer Knowledge and Action towards Chemical Safety or ChemSafe.

The ChemSafe program aims to launch a creative awareness-building efforts on the safe and ecological alternatives and strengthen the awareness of civil society groups towards chemical safety advocacies and appropriate policy development.


1.Organize a national NGO/CSO workshop on "Chemical Safety: Protecting the Filipino Consumers from Toxic Harm".
2.Organize public information, education and communication (IEC) activities on chemical safety issues.
3.Prepare IEC materials and press releases.
4.Liquidate project expenses and prepare necessary reports.
5.Participate in strategic meetings on chemical safety issues and policy development.

Job requirements:

* With experience in environmental, health and related work, either as staff or volunteer
* With leadership qualities and "people skills"
*Good oral and written communication skills, including writing of press releases and reports
* With project management skills
* Knowledge of financial management and financial report preparation
* Proven ability to work independently and in close coordination with a team
* Ability and willingness to travel

To apply, please send your resume to Rei Panaligan at ecowastecoalitionATyahooDOTcom not later than 18 November, 2008. For inquiries, please contact the EcoWaste Coalition at 9290376 or 09209062348.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red Cliff

You should not miss Red Cliff (see Wikipedia entry about the film here), John Woo's first Chinese film after he went to Hollywood and did titles such as Mission Impossible and Face/Off. The film stars Tony Leung, Takeshi kaneshiro and Zhao Wei (from So Close).

Even sans flying, the fight scenes are superior, as can be expected from John Woo. The story is akin to that of the Trojan War, with talk about the need for a balance of power. The second part of the movie is coming in December and I can barely wait to see the second part. See trailer below:

She reached for the stars and fell back to earth

Senator Miriam Santiago really really wanted to be at the International Court of Justice. But she lost her bid and now she's back to the muck of the Senate where she has to share space with obviously lesser mortals.

So what went wrong? Several news reports said her election was assured as nine members of the Security Council gave written promises of support. But Senator Santiago said only five ultimately supported her; the other four reneged.

The reason for Sen Santiago's failed bid is simply our country's lack of political clout in the international community. And we were beaten by Somalia no less.

Why is this so? Because President Arroyo is perceived as weak in the international community. Even ASEAN, our very neighbors, almost brothers to us, did not solidly support Sen Santiago's bid. Utterly unacceptable. If we can not expect ASEAN to help us, who will? Now, we hear even Barack Obama does not return the calls of President Arroyo.

We as a country do not actively collect IOU's from other countries. When another country asks us a favor, we just do it. Despite the high calibre of our foreign service officers, it's embarrassing that we don't have a foreign policy. We never find a treaty we don't like(except the Rome Statute which we didn't sign because US told us not to). People in our embassies, demoralized as they are by events back home, just attend cocktails and wait for a Filipina maid to be executed to get busy doing what Filipino diplomats do best: supplicate.

Senator Santiago, in the greater karmic logic of the universe, is also not blameless. A justice in the ICJ is supposed to uphold the law. In her analysis of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, she said the treaty was unlawful and yet she championed it in the Senate nonetheless. In pushing for the JPEPA, she played power politics to her advantage. But at the United Nations, other countries played power politics on her and, this time, she lost.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dos Palmas in Batangas

Dos Palmas, that resort of the Abu Sayaff kidnapping fame, is now operating a resort in Isla Verde, Batangas. It's quite a nice place and there are still very few people. The resort is still sort of on trial mode (soft launching was four months ago) so some amenities are not yet available, but, guests can snorkel and dive all they want. During the weekdays we were there, we had the place all to ourselves. The people are very friendly and the assistant cook (from Camarines Sur)was a wild dancer.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The blogger from Malaysia

In case you don't know it yet, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been blogging for some time now, commenting on the many political issues in Malaysia and continuing his crusade against Anwar Ibrahim. The blog,, has legions of fans and Mahathir even finds time to respond to comments, I'm told. New York Times's Seth Mydans has a write-up on Mahathir's blog, Malay Blogger Fights a System He Perfected.

Given the insecure state of freedom of speech in Malaysia, I often wonder what would happen if Mahathir gets arrested for his blog posts. It would definitely make for some riveting political drama.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What is your favorite film from Asia-Pacific?

CNN's Screening Room is having an online poll for the "favorite Asia Pacific movie of all time." The winner will receive the CNN APSA Viewers Choice award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards on November 11.

From the Philippines, there's Ishmael Bernal's Himala, which, really, is probably the best Filipino movie of all time, although Oro, Plata, Mata comes close. But judging from the stampede that happened at UP when its sequel premiered at the UP Film Center, Scorpio Nights is close to many Filipino hearts (or loins). (I also saw the Korean remake of Scorpio Nights and it is also quite good, but not many Filipino have seen it.)

Among the nominated films for the poll, the two best for me are Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express. I can still vividly remember the communal awe of the audience at the theater when Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi started leaping over walls and fighting for the possession of Chow Yun Fat's sword. Chungking Express is also a gem of a movie, Wong Kar Wai's best work before his artistry got the better of him and he started producing smoky films with extended soundtracks.

Infernal Affairs
is also really good. I liked it so much I refuse to this day to watch Scorsese's The Departed, its Hollywood remake.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Recto's racist remark

NEDA Secretary Ralph Recto could have just said Secretary Margarito Teves was tired after a long day. It would have been perfectly understandable. But instead he explained Secretary Teves's prematurely telling President Arroyo of a US$ 10 B World Bank support fund by saying that the latter was probably confused who the white guy he was talking with in Washington DC. After all, according to Secretary Recto, "They're Caucasians and they look alike."

I think such a comment is racist. You often hear it from wisecrackers who dismiss Asians. There are even some people who seriously suspect that this "they all look alike anyway" mentality also partly explains why the United States chose to drop the atomic bomb in Japan and not in Germany.

I bet Secretary Recto would also feel bad if Caucasians confuse him with, say, Secretary Romulo Neri, his predecessor at NEDA, when he goes abroad. We don't like it when we hear Caucasians say we Asians all look alike. We also should not say it about them. Because, truth of the matter is, Caucasians don't look anywhere alike. One would have thought Secretary Recto knew better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Charge it on the general's card

This is the second time a general's wife is travelling with too much cash. First, there was General Garcia's wife; now, there's Gen. Eliseo de la Paz, his wife and P6.93 M in St Petersburg. In what seems to be an overreaction especially given Secretary Puno's assurance that nothing was irregular, Gen. Verzosa is suspending all foreign travel by our police. What if there's an important urgent foreign travel that needs to be done?

Really, the solution to this "contingency fund" problem is simple. The PNP should issue an expense account credit card for the the generals travelling. That way, all expenses are easily accounted for and no need to carry too much cash.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mikee Arroyo breaks rank with Malacanang

Funny thing happened the other day. We were approaching congressmen at the House to have them sign a petition asking the Austrian parliament to cancel an onerous incinerator loan. The petition was launched by Cong. Edcel Lagman and Cong. Risa Hontiveros-Baracquel a week ago. Guess who agreed to sign it? Mikee Arroyo.

President Arroyo vetoed the cancellation of payment for that loan in the 2008 national budget.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Job opening

Wanted: News Researcher

GMA News Research's primary task is to beef up the content of GMA News and Public Affairs programs with comprehensive and accurate information. We provide daily research support and generate content for GMA-7 and QTV-11 newscasts including Balitanghali, 24 Oras, News-on-Q and Saksi.

We are looking for a news researcher.


* Attend to research requests from news reporters, writers, and producers
* Write, edit and upload content to an electronic database of reference materials
* Generate supplementary content for GMANews.TV, GMA Network's official news website
* Write special reports for GMANews.TV and produce stories for the newscasts
* Train and mentor new researchers


* Experience in working for a media organization or related field
* Bachelor's degree in social sciences or related fields
* Excellent general knowledge
* Strong interest in news and current events
* Strong research and writing skills
* Ability to gather, understand and interpret data
* Internet and social media savvy
* Knowledge in website creation and maintenance
* Unfazed by multi-tasking and able to work under time pressure
* Avid reader
* Willingness to learn

If you'd like to apply, kindly e-mail your resume to For more info about GMA News Research, please visit

What does the Bible say about contraceptives?

No, there is no mention of condoms and the IUD in the Bible.

There is, of course, the first ever command uttered by God to man to go forth and multiply, but arguably with more than 6 billion people in the world (spewing greenhouse gases and destroying the environment), that directive has already been accomplished. God killed Onan for coitus interruptus, but also arguably he probably was killed not for his pioneering the withdrawal method but because of his shirking of the responsibility under Levirate marriage to raise a child for his brother with his brother's widow.

Marriage, the Bible says, is for the raising of children but Proverbs 5:18-19 also instructs the couple to delight in each other without mentioning children (so probably it's okay for a married couple to have sex even if they don't plan a pregnancy anytime soon).

As in many other issues, the Bible is not really explicit in its condemnation of contraceptives and most Filipinos probably do not find the responsible use of contraceptives by a married couple morally reprehensible. They probably are railing against the RH bill not so much for the bill itself as for the suspicion that it might usher in down the road legalized abortion, which is universally detested in the country even by, surprisingly, the feminists. I once saw an interview of Cong. Liza Masa and she says she personally does not countenance abortion. This is, of course, quite surprising because you would expect a feminist to say it's all up for the individual woman to decide.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Targeted charity for the deserving

It was quite weird to see last night a representative from the Catholic charity organization Caritas criticized the government's Ahon Pamilyang Pinoy program for being, he said, a dole-out to the country's poor. After all, isn't charity, by definition, nothing more than a dole-out?

The government's plan, with DSWD Secretary Cabral as the implementor, is to allocate some fifty billion pesos to be handed out in increments to 300,000 poor families in the poorest provinces as reward for the good school attendance of their children.

What makes this plan good? The government will be able to target its subsidies to the deserving poor. By rewarding school attendance of the children, the government is not so much doling out money as making an added investment on the education of the country's poorest, which has the happy consequence of increasing the country's future productivity. This is an infinitely more effective way to use public money than, say, price supports.

Again, of course, there is the dreaded possibility of scheming thieves in the government running away with the money. But taken in itself, the Ahon Pamilyang Pinoy is a good reasonable plan that could work.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The national health budget and the debt issue

The People Against Illegitimate Debt* Health Care Without Harm*Eco Waste Coalition*Freedom from Debt Coalition*Philippine Heart Center

In celebration of the World Health Day

Invite you to a forum on the

The National Health Budget and the Debt Issue

(the case of the Austrian medical waste project)

April 8, Tuesday, 9:00-11:30 AM
Atrium 1, 8th Floor, Medical Arts Building
Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City

Please confirm your attendance to

Yhet Garcia
Eco Waste Coalition
929-0376 / 0918-5023659

Ronnel Lim
Health Care w/o Harm
928-7572 /0918-9850130

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The music of the Beach Boys

If you're like me, you probably know the Beach Boys only from their song Kokomo. Since summertime has come I was looking for some new music to listen to and I got the collected hits of the Beach Boys called The Sound of Summer. And now I'm extremely glad I did because I discovered songs I really really like. Everybody should check out the the premonition of coming danger in the song Don''t Worry Baby, the nostalgic looking forward to adulthood in When I Grow Up (to be a man), and the declaration of needful love in God Only Knows.

God Only Knows is probably in the top five of my all-time favorites. Honestly, it's number one in my list now. Here's why:

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
Ill make you so sure about it

God only knows what Id be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nominations for the Civil Courage Prize

Nominations for the Civil Courage Prize are now being accepted to honor persons who have fought for civil rights in various parts of the world.

"The Prize of $50,000 honors steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk. It has been awarded annually since 2000 by The Train Foundation (formerly known as the Northcote Parkinson Fund)." - quote taken from Imprisoned in China for 15 Months for Aiding North Korean Defectors available at

Deadline for nominations: March 3, 2008

More details below:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Erap chooses sipag at tyaga

If he were forced to make a choice today and assuming he has the clout to do it, it is very obvious President Estrada would choose Senator Many Villar as the opposition's standard bearer. During last week's trip to Bataan, the hometown of Villar's mother, Estrada said Villar is the "better candidate,'" although he hadn't made up his mind yet on who to support in 2010.

There is, however, also talk in the media that Sen. Mar Roxas wants Estrada's support in 2010, some of the media reports quoting Roxas as intending to invite Estrada to his hometown too in the Visayas although "much later."

Plenty can happen before 2010, but Villar seems to be the natural inevitable choice for Estrada. Like many gamblers, Estrada likes supporting the llamado from the start, and no one is more llamado than Villar now, not only because Villar has the best popularity ratings but also because he has a fortune to spend in a close race.

Mar Roxas, I guess, could still persuade Erap to support him, but it is difficult to see how he could manage to do it. Estrada's camp is too different in style and disposition to Mar Roxas's camp that it is difficult to engineer their effective coalition. They simply don't jibe, walang kemistri. Picture this: Erap's drinking bouts with buddies versus the Liberal Party's cocktails with piped-in music.

And Roxas has an obvious problem building bridges: To become the president of the Liberal Party, he had to oversee its meiosis and have the issue brought to the Supreme Court for resolution. It could very well be the fault of Sec. Lito Atienza that the two wings of the Liberal Party don't get along together (perhaps all those Hawaiian shirts made the old man too ornery), but democratic politics, sadly, is all about addition. The more people you have on board, the more people there are to vote for you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Singapore with a happy ending

Singapore is supposed to be a nanny paternalistic state, affluent, dull and uninteresting. Well, it may be that, but at least some of its establishments are refreshingly honest and frank:

BJ Massage is near the Geylang District and just a few meters away from the Kallang train station.

Of course, when talking about Singapore, there is no way of skirting the obligatory polemic on the so-called Asian values. All I can say is that it's mostly hogwash. Men are ruttish wherever you go. And in Singapore that's the most ironically comforting thought of human solidarity I have ever had.

Religion and the formation of new publics

A Mid-term International Conference

January 24 - 25, 2008
University of Santo Tomas
Espana, Manila

For the first time, an international conference on the sociology of religion will occur in the Philippines. “Religion and the Formation of New Publics: A Mid-term International Conference” will be held on January 24-25, 2008 (Thursday – Friday). This international conference will be hosted by the oldest Catholic university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Manila.

The speeches and sessions of this conference intend to draw attention to the role of religion in fostering these “formations of new publics,” as the impact of religion goes beyond the boundaries of its accepted turfs and forges new bonds, aspirations and problem-solving perspectives in society. This international conference is organized by the International Sociological Association (ISA) - Research Committee (RC 22) on Sociology of Religion and the Philippine Association for the Sociology of Religion (PASR) in cooperation with UST’s Institute of Religion (UST-IR).

RC22 was founded “with the intention of opening up a broader range of opportunities for participation in the activities of the ISA in the field of the Sociology of Religion.” For more information about ISA and RC22, go the ISA Home Page at

PASR aims to pioneer the institutional practice of the sociology of religion in the Philippines through research, publications, conferences, and forging international linkages. This professional association also intends to bring the sociology of religion and its broader implications on cultures and social worlds to public awareness.

PASR members come from the ranks of the different disciplines in the academe, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), all motivated by the interest to explore the dynamics of religion in the different facets and areas of Philippine society. PASR’s Founding President is Prof. Esmeralda F. Sanchez, Ph.D. (faculty, UST-IR). The other Founding Board Members of PASR are the following: Vivencio O. Ballano, M.A.; Emmanuel D. Batoon, M.A.; Patria Gwen M.L. Borcena, M.A.; Emanuel C. De Guzman, M.A.; Alon D. de los Reyes, M.A. Cand.; Eduardo M. Domingo, Ed.D.; Cristita A. Mallari, M.A.; Virgilio A. Rivas, M.A.; Manuel Victor J. Sapitula, M.A.; and Precious E. Velasquez.

Prof. Bryan S. Turner, PhD. will deliver the ISA-PASR Conference’s key note address, “Public Space and Social Conflict: Some Sociological Approaches.” Dr. Turner was a former professor of sociology at the University of Cambridge (1998 - 2005) and is currently professor of sociology in the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS).

During this international conference, sociologist Prof. Emma Porio, Ph.D. (faculty, Ateneo’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology), as a Member of ISA’s Executive Committee, will give the opening remarks. One of the Plenary Speakers, anthropologist Jesuit priest Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J., Ph.D. (Director, Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue, Ateneo de Davao) will be give a talk about “Religion and Corruption in Philippine Church and Society.”

Participants from the Philippines are required to pay the Conference Fee which covers the conference kit and meals for 2 days. The fees are as follows: PhP 3,500.00 for residents of Metro Manila and PhP 3,000.00 for residents outside Metro Manila. Registration will begin at 8 in the morning of January 24 (Thursday) at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center (TARC), UST, Espana, Manila. Other information about the upcoming ISA-PASR Conference 2008 (i.e. Conference Programme) and other activities of PASR are available in the following website,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where are the engineers and scientists?

A letter to the Inquirer's editor by Flor Lacanilao, a retired professor of marine science at the University of the Philippines, has this to say:

"The rapid growth of China is not surprising because so many Chinese leaders are scientists and engineers by training,” a science publication noted in its Dec. 7, 2007 editorial. Whereas in our country, even leading officials of the National Research Council of the Philippines, National Academy of Science and Technology, and the Department of Science and Technology have been mostly nonscientists.

The problem, however, is that our present scientists and engineers are just not interested in government or anything else outside the confines of their own narrow professional field. If scientists/engineers are not heading the National Research Council or the Department of Science and Technology, they only have themselves to blame if you ask me.

In a democracy where the ultimate arbiter in the allocation of resources are the people, power and position are to be fought for; they cannot be expected to be handed down to our scientists by an all-knowing central committee. If scientists and engineers want to head agencies or occupy public office, they must first offer themselves in the public sphere, declare themselves available so to speak by engaging in the conversation of governance.

Most of our scientists, however, are too condescending to bother themselves with such mundane things as explaining themselves to the people. For instance, during a heated public dispute at the DENR with regard to a particular set of emission tests, one senior scientist, a vice-president of a national professional organization, haughtily declared she wouldn't want to talk with the opposing panel because she would be talking "way above their heads." Even the great Richard Feynman took the trouble of explaining science to the masses.

Our scientists and engineers are now marginalized because they are uncomfortable in a democratic setting where their ideas have to be argued and vetted publicly, and judged by people whom they consider are their intellectual inferiors. I once heard Sen. Pimentel complaining that one of the reasons why the government is not supporting local science is that when scientists come to the Senate to promote their projects, they are incomprehensible - plus, they dress and look weird.

As long as our scientists don't address this handicap, we will never see more of the likes of Engr. Bayani Fernando or Dr. Juan Flavier in the public sphere.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The miserable treatment we get from our own people

Chief Justice Panganiban for two consecutive columns now (read here and here)in the Inquirer has been writing on the miserable treatment OFW's get from the POEA. The first one was triggered by his daughter's problems getting an exit clearance during the holidays. Panganiban admitted, rather embarrassingly, that he had to personally seek the help of Secretary Brion just so his daughter would not miss the flight back to the US.

Imagine yourself at the airport, your flight three hours away and you are informed haughtily by the almighty civil servants of the POEA/OWWA that sorry you have to line up at the EDSA Office for a clearance.

Apparently, even if you are a direct hire (meaning you didn't go through an employment agency or the POEA), you still had to go to POEA and seek clearance. According to POEA Administrator Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, the POEA processes are required to monitor the OFW's and facilitate helping them in time of crises. Noble objective really, but is a waiver of government support available somewhere for those who need to catch a flight?

If it's any consolation, Luli Arroyo also got the same shabby treatment from people at the airport so the grumpiness of the people there is just about fairly distributed (unless, of course, you're white, but that's another story).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tearing up in a campaign

Most polls projected Hillary Clinton as bound to lose the New Hampshire primary bigtime, with Obama leading her as far as thirteen points, capitalizing on the massive momentum he got in the Iowa caucus. But thanks to an emotional moment where Clinton almost cried when asked how she manages to muster the energy and who does her hair (see Youtube video here), the women voters rallied for her and made her the winner in New Hampshire.

According to some, the emotional Clinton on the verge of tears looked so genuine she must have rehearsed that moment for hours. The woman won a Grammy before for the audio version of her book and now should be up for an Oscar: Who else could choke up and still manage to stay on message?

Richard Nixon realized the great political value of such lachrymal displays. In order to secure the nomination for Eisenhower's vice-presidency, he cried and hugged the general in public. Crying in public is so effective Nixon claimed he never cried in private.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Women against Hillary

Hillary Clinton has always tried to project herself as the champion of women. She has ads with her mother and daughter, she appears most often with women in discussions, when she got clubbered in the debate she sought solace at Wellesley College complaining that the men are piling up on her. But in Iowa it is said the women went for Obama instead. (One reason I guess is the attraction to Obama by some women like Youtube's Obama girl.) Why do some women not like, even loathe, Hillary Clinton?

Many years ago, I met a Chinese American lady who was denouncing Hillary Clinton so vehemently one would think Clinton was guilty of murder or some unspeakable heinous crime. Clinton, she said, is so ambitious and doesn't know where her proper place should be.

In the now infamous video footage one septuagenarian woman also asked John McCain "How do we beat the bitch?" McCain didn't ask back who was the bitch the old lady was referring to but just laughed. Watching that video, I couldn't help but think how could women be so cruel to other women. Perhaps women didn't so much need to be free from the tyranny of men as they need to be free from the vile opinion of their very own sex.