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Showing posts from August, 2010

If, when, and how I pray is nobody's business

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Add to that who and what I pray for. That's what went through my mind while reading about how the Inquirer.net found some perverse newsworthiness in a bunch of Filipino Catholic Bishops' urging that Pinoys "storm the heavens with prayers for healing and forgiveness" in the aftermath of the August 23 Mendoza hostage crisis.

Hopefully we've heard the last of that pompous battle cry "Media kami!"

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We are seeing today a milestone in the history of Philippine journalism. These days are seeing the end of a quarter-century reign of unfettered self-righteousness in the Philippine Media that began in 1986 when the Filipino "journalist" became a "hero" and self-styled symbol of this "freedom" we had imagined ourselves to have "won" back then.

Ironic indeed, that this same once-venerated Media now figures majorly in an appalling incidence of gross incompetence and ineptitude showcased in its greedily intense coverage of the Mendoza hostage crisis, an incident that resulted in the deaths of eight foreign tourists. It can be said that in a single act of collective stupidity within its ranks, the Philippine Media almost single-handedly had plunged the Filipino back into the Dark Ages.

Mendoza hostage investigation: What can be learned from Korean Airline disasters

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As investigations begin into the horribly bungled handling of the Mendoza hostage crisis that resulted in the deaths of eight foreign tourists, it is worth revisiting the impressive turnaround of South Korea's flag carrier Korean Airlines. In the 1980's and 1990's, Korean Airlines (KAL) had become a case study of deadly dysfunction. Many innocent passengers had died in air disasters involving KAL aircraft as a result of appalling cases of human error -- deadly lapses in judgement, failures in communication among cabin crew personnel, and a lack of commitment to international standards.

Hong Kong government is Filipinos' only hope for REAL change

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Interesting, that among the list of sites labeled under "You might also like" at the bottom of my recent article on AntiPinoy.com (AP), Comparing apples to oranges: The Madrigal murders and the Mendoza hostage affair, is one of my oldies-but-goodies How I became a 'Get Realist' which (after re-reading it) is uncannily relevant today.

Filipinos are at their best when answerable to foreign powers

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And they used to call her the "Lame Duck President". Former President Gloria Arroyo seems to be stepping up in the way only a seasoned high-level government officer could as she "moved to calm tensions between the Chinese government and the Philippines over Monday’s hostage incident which killed 8 Hong Kong tourists".

Where Asia wears a smile

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Filipinos have always prided themselves in being a "resilient" people. So resilient, in fact, that even the worst disasters and tragedies couldn't wipe our silly smiles off our faces. Smiling is so ingrained in our character as a people that I dare say President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III couldn't really be blamed for the reflexive smile plastered on his face as he delivered his official statement on the 23rd August hostage crisis that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists. He is Filipino after all. And that is what Filipinos do -- smile.

Ten things that could have saved eight Hong Kong tourists' lives

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A British security analyst with experience working in counter-terrorism spelt out no less than ten things that the Philippine police got wrong in the handling of the 23rd August bus siege that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

In the following, I quote the items verbatim from the report and snippets from what the analyst -- Charles Shoebridge -- had to say about the assault force...

Our jocular regard for our national problems, great crimes, villainous scams and calamities

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This is a photo originally posted by a certain Dan 周董 on his Facebook profile. You can access the photo at its original location in this Facebook album. It shows what looks like a gang of college students giddily posing for photos in front of the wreckage of the bus that was the scene of the recent siege that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists.

A nation of fatal failures

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You come to a country expecting to have a nice time. And then you end up dead. What is the name of this country you took a chance on that cost you your life? The Philippines.

The above script of an internal conversation is the sorry outcome of my own personal failure to even begin to imagine what it might be like to be the father of one of the eight people killed in last night's hostage drama. It pretty much sums up the gray light shining upon the Pearl of the Orient from a global perspective.

Filipino bus drivers - just how crazy are they?

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As far back as I can remember, Philippine buses have always been reputed road-bound killers. My earliest memory of a firsthand sighting of the aftermath of a bus crash was when I was in grade school. On the drive home after a week's vacation in Baguio City with my family, I remember traffic slowing to a crawl somewhere in Pangasinan. We eventually came up to the source of the road blockage -- two wrecked PANTRANCO buses (if I recall right) in what looked to me like a violent head-on collision.

Philippine Tourism: monumental challenges

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Quite ironic that in the scheme of challenges Filipinos face in their efforts to bolster our anemic tourism industry, an initiative to entice tourists to "linger a little longer" in Manila is is being highlighted as a key thrust of the government of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. This is quite a tough challenge, one akin to putting lipstick on a pig. The conclusion of the AFP report pretty much summarises the monumental effort required to do a makeover of Manila...

Filipinos' imagined virtues of "generosity" and "love of country"

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Some non-debatable facts that Inquirer.net columnist Jose Ma. Montelibano dropped in his recent piece on the economic might of Filipino-Americans (figures that follow presumably are estimates or averages): on an annual basis (1) Filipino-Americans spend $50 billion in personal living activities and purchases, (2) they remit $8 billion to the Philippines. To highlight the scale of these numbers, Montelibano shows that the total expenditure is double the budget of the Philippine Government and the remittance figure accounts for 60 percent of total remittances to the Philippines by Pinoy expatriates.

Brother of Conrado de Quiros appointed to head SSS

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The brother of Conrado "Noynoy is Aragorn" de Quiros has been appointed by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to the position of President of the Social Security System (SSS) according to this report...

Sharon Cuneta: the new Martha Stewart of the Philippines

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I read today that Sharon "The Megastar" Cuneta is going to be billed as "the Philippines' Martha Stewart" in the new "lifestyle" show Sharon at Home to be launched by the Lifestyle Network. Presumably, the Megastar's mass appeal is seen to be a guarantee that the new show will hit it big...

R.I.P. FilipinoVoices.com?

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The corner of the Philippine blogosphere that I am aware of is a small place. It is that part where ideas to do with "local and foreign issues" is the dominant currency, covering a scope closely approximated by that PinoyExchange.com section appropriately named with the same phrase. In that small space there is a big elephant in the room whose presence nobody seems to want to acknowledge. That elephant is the festering shell that was once the venerable blog site FilipinoVoices.com (FV). This is a blog that was voted into the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2008, a writing project organised by noted Digital Filipino Janette Toral.

Official Website of the Philippine President: designed by jeepney mentality

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Jeepney mentality is how I'd sum up the "thinking" that went into the design of the Official Web site of the Office of the Philippine President. Blogger Rom Sedona calls it a "webGASM" and I agree. It still looks and feels like the same platitude-infested campaign site that helped rocket Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to the presidency. The site is a Noynoy site and NOT a site that informs the public about the Office of the President. Note the URL: President.gov.ph. The site is supposed to be about the Office and not the man.

Hacienda Luisita: everyone is accountable - except P-Noy, that is

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Recall how President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III vigorously campaigned under the banner of a pedigree platform. In his campaign for the presidency -- now considered by some to be the biggest political swindle in Philippine history -- he piggybacked on the names of his illustrious "hero" parents, the late "martyred" Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr, and former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, as well as the celebrity of his sister Kris Aquino-Yap.

I wrote back in September of 2009 how...

Divorce: not a moral, but an ethical debate

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In the debate on the issue of the legalisation of divorce for which a bill was filed by the women's issues advocate party Gabriela, the Philippine Catholic Church, as expected has its say. EurasiaReview.comreports that Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the Church had this to say on the matter...

Lipotomy: a one-session non-invasive procedure - but read the small print

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I recently read -- with horror -- about a procedure called "lipotomy" recently "brought to the Philippines" by a certain "Doctor" Aivee Aguilar Teo. In an article on the Inquirer.net author Kinny Sales related how she lost two pounds in two weeks as a result of undergoing this "non-invasive one-session procedure". Sales endured this supposedly easy procedure to "look good on [her] birthday".

Indeed the procedure involved only one session. But just reading about the subsequent recovery period was by itself quite painful, so I can only wonder about the actual experience Sales went through...

Were we who we are now at the time we were gestating in our mother's womb?

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Behold the tragedy that is Philippine society. People wonder how a relatively educated country (by Third World standards) with a high literacy rate (by most standards!) can be, at the same time, such a wretchedly backward society.

It comes down to how our society allows undebatable dogmatic concepts to infest the secular debate. What use is modern education (that best serves a modern secular discourse) when conversation-enders coming from primitivist dogmatic concepts are allowed to foul up the elegance of enlightened discussion?

Is "Brother" Armin Luistro a moron?

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That's pretty much the question esteemed blogger Rom attempts to answer in her recent blog. She refers to the Philippine Government proposal to extend basic public education by two additional years for a total 12-year "basic education cycle" which effectively increases the financial burden of supporting kids through an additional two years of unemployed dependence (in principle) on both the average Filipino family and the public eduation system.

Worries mount on the health of the U.S. economy

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The United States as a society is not about to collapse any time soon. But there are worries more around its future place the world's primary economic driver. Arianna Huffington goes as far as warning how America may be in danger of becoming a Third World nation. She cites instances of state and county governments curtailing even the most basic services -- closure of libraries and public schools, paved roads being allowed to degenerate or allowed to "return to nature", etc.

Filipinos could face mass starvation unless domestic rice production shapes up

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According to a study published in a National Academy of Sciences journal, rice production in Asia is set to grow more slowly in the coming years owing to increasing global average temperatures. An Associated Pressreport highlights that this study is built upon an already identified trend over the last 25 years that shows a 10 to 20 percent reduction in the rate of growth in rice farm yields in some parts of Asia.

The real essence of deep critique on P-Noy delivered by the truly cluey

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In his initial stocktake of the general landscape of ciriticism routinely lobbed onto President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, John Nery identifies what he thinks are three key classes of critiques against the President which he labelled in with words usually construed as slurs: politico, inglisero, and hacendero.

Politicians' names on public works: a reflection of the character of the Filipino

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People miss the point that the whole brouhaha about politicians' names embellishing public works projects revolves around. It's not about the lack of delicadeza surrounding the way politicians exploit available white space, say on a pedestrian overpass, to splash images of themselves and verbage about their involvement in the erection of said structure. It's about how the ordinary Pinoy, in all the renowned clueless and vacuous ways that we regard our politicians have exhibited a pathetic tolerance for such practices stretching back decades.

Conrado de Quiros: No "vested interest" in Noynoy (a President he did not "campaign" for)

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Columnist Conrado de Quiros of the Inquirer.net goes on record with a pile of intellectual diarrhoea aimed at implying that he (1) did not campaign for Noynoy and (2) did not have any vested interests in an Aquino win. That is, of course, if you happen to be aligned with how he defines "campaign" and "vested interest" in this latest of moronisms he has come to routinely subject the hapless Inquirer.net reader to.

Why "Senator" Trillanes should remain in jail

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Columnist Ramon Farolan of the Inquirer.net laments in his latest piece the "harshness" of the no-bail imprisonment of his hero Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV. Farolan begins his piece with two irrelevent factoids: (1) that "Sonny" spent his 39th birthday in prison, and (2) that his "last seven years have been spent in prison on charges that the average citizen would find difficult to understand and appreciate". Buried in this emo article is what seems to be the only relevant fact about Trillanes's case that Farolan himself cannot escape (and, as such, needed to be stated)...

Call centre workers - lifestyles outside the "moral" framework of the Philippines

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While the Catholic Church and its morality police recruits among government policy makers continue to deadlock debate around reproductive health and abortion, an entire generation of Filipinos are coping as best they can with the extreme work environments offered by the call centres and other BPO operations that employ them, not to mention the unconventional lifestyles these workers lead as a result. As the outsourcing operations hosted in the Philippines start to catch up in terms of total value contributed to the economy, social services that support the special needs of its workers need to be boosted.

Filipino motorists instructed to use their headlights when driving at night

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Apparently, an obvious safety measure flies over the heads of the average Filipino motorist, as Quezon City Councilor Jaime Borres observes that "driving with the headlights dimmed or not in the appropriate brightness is a major cause of road mishaps, especially during heavy rains at night"...

Philippine employment dilemma: Dumb down the jobs? Or smarten up the workforce?

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The Philippines is imprisoned by a deep systemic inability in its people to extricate themselves from poverty. It is a problem that is an outcome of (1) the sheer number of Filipinos that inhabit the planet, (2) the average productive output of each warm Filipino body earning (or seeking to earn) a living, and (3) the general attractiveness of quality of life outside of the Philippines. The following challenges with respect to these three aspects of our dire situation easily reveal themselves...

Conrado de Quiros starts to focus on the droll, unintelligent, trivial, and irrelevant aspects of P.Noy

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Undoubtedly failing in a monumental effort of scrounging around for anything of substance and relevance to trumpet as evidence of "progress" in the administration of President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III, chief administration publicist Conrado de Quiros turns to the trivial and irrelevant for salvation, highlighting P.Noy's use of Tagalog in his speeches as a sign of great things ahead...

P.Noy eats his words and recognises Corona as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

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So much for big words coming from The Man of a Thousand Gaffes. President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III eats his words yet again as he goes on record to categorically recognise Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. The Inquirer.net reports on this day, the 4th of August 2010 (my boldface for emphasis)...

Who fed P.Noy moronic information that he then used in his SONA?

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That is what a group of lawyers are asking now. They challenge President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III to reveal and hold accountable the people he relied on for vital information that was used as bases for making key assertions in a State of the Nation Address (SONA) he delivered to Congress on the 26th of July this year. These assertions have been under fire point-by-point in the days following the SONA with Malacanang hard-pressed but pathetically unable to put up a convincing rebuttal to any of the counter-assertions offered by Administration critics.

P.Noy now thinks there is too much "entertainment" in Philippine Media

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Funny, how a President whose campaign surfed upon a popularity wave powered by the awesome influence of his showbiz sister, the backing of a cadre of celebrities, and the Jedi mind tricks played on the public by the biggest media conglomerate in the country now appeals for more intellectual content to balance against mere entertainment. Observed by an Inquirer.net "reporter" at the end of an address given by President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III during GMA 7's 60th anniversary party on Friday at the Makati Shangri-La...

Abortion suffering and death in the Philippines: time for the Catholic Church to own up

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Yet again, a beholdenness to religious edict -- specifically the stand of the Medievally powerful Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines -- is at the centre of a heated debate between the forces of progress and the Forces of Primitivism. What is in effect a "total ban" on all forms of abortion in the Philippines is resulting in a nightmarish world of death, suffering, and despair for many poor Filipinos -- the very people whose welfare the Catholic Church presumes itself to be the guardian of.

A Sage among Fools

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I found the following poem authored by a regular AntiPinoy.com (AP) commentor who goes by the handle Aegis-Judex. It was posted as a comment to the article "Noynoy Aquino: Being President is no longer a popularity contest". I think it encapsulates in lyric form the character of the presidency that currently imprisons Philippine society.

Despite control over Big Media, Kris appeals for praise for P.Noy

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You gotta wonder how, despite all the Kamaganak Inc resources at their disposal, specifically that which affords control over the Philippines' biggest Mainstream Media outlets, Presidential sister Kris Aquino still finds the need to issue an appeal for the public to highlight the "good things" that her brother, President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III, does and make sure that "the world could hear it"...

Mass commemorating Cory turns biblical

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It is an address that encapsulated much of the collective character of Philippine society. It is a society where a complex of self-righteous religiosity, pompous displays of seniority, and presumptuousness in the delivery of unsolicited "advise" under a perverse sense of paternalism describes a palpable backwardness that stands out in a region of stoic stolidness and quiet achievement.

Retaining Filipino professionals with the luxury of choice

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First it was a mass exodus of senior weather forecasters from the Government-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Then it was pilots resigning en masse from flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).