Showing posts from March, 2011

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Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines

A noted blog commentator once made an assertion that the Philippines will never be a great nation unless Filipinos learn to live by the principle of the "rule of law". Indeed, some people even insist that none of the calls by certain sectors of Philippine society for a system change like a shift from a Presidential to a Parliamentary system or even constitutional amendments will work to uplift the status of the nation because Filipinos simply cannot follow the "rule of law."

A scenario where Filipinos can aspire to world domination

Our minds are wired by millions of years of evolution to react to vermin with very primal -- often reflexive -- responses. Not only do we recoil in horror at the sight of decomposing biological matter our other senses are exquisitely attuned to detecting evidence of vermin infestation -- the smell of rotting flesh elicits the gagging sensation, bitter tastes repel us, touching something slimy or squishy disgusts us. All of the chemical agents that oppress our senses are the products of decomposition caused by vermin (of both the microbial and multi-celled varieties).

Nuclear energy: too hot to handle for "macho" Filipinos

In the aftermath of the 11th March super-earthquake that devastated Japan and caused a health and environmental crisis after damaged nuclear reactors started releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere, the Philippines remains mired in a too-little-too-late soul searching along two key areas: (1) its capability to respond in the event of a similar-sized disaster hitting its main population centres, and (2) the future of its nuclear energy program.

Population and disaster preparedness: still part of the poverty equation

Recall in the whole debate on over-population in the Philippines and how we've established the logical link between population increase and poverty through our simple, robust, and scalable definition of poverty: "a habitual entering into commitments that one is inherently unable to honour". The spectre of the scale of death and destruction that could slug the Philippines in the event of a strong earthquake occuring near or within Metro Manila demonstrates how even more impoverished we are than conventional measures indicated.

Doom and gloom - the best of times for religious enterprise!

Now is a great time to start a business! As evident in the raft of information "products" being churned out by that well of reliable factoids, Philippine Mainstream Media, doom and gloom sells like lechon manok in an ignorant medieval society such as the Philippines. The earthquakes that recently struck Japan and New Zealand, the prospect of a "big one" striking the Philippines itself, the spectre of radioactive clouds descending upon most of East Asia, civil war in the Arab world displacing thousands of henceforth unemployable Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs), "super moons" unleashing super storms and even more natural disasters over the face of the planet, even alien species threatening to overrun the archipelago -- the possibilities and opportunities are infinite!

Japan after the earthquake: no need for our prayers

I keep reading about people encouraging one another to "pray" for Japan in this time of great tragedy after a massive earthquake and accompanying tsunami devastated its coastline and killed hundreds of her people. I'm not quite sure Japan needs our prayers. Japan is regarded as the country in the highest state of constant preparedness for earthquakes. As such, the disastrous earthquake that struck Japan is a tragedy, but one that is not tragic in the sense of it being a preventable loss of life.

Google Philippines' Top 20 most influential Filipino women

I recently got a load of Google's list of most "influential" Filipinas (Filipino women) for 2010. The list is utterly dominated by performers along with a handful of notable exceptions: Senator Miriam Santiago (no. 10), Doris Dumlao (journalist, no. 12), Monique Lhullier (designer, no. 17), and Korina Sanchez (journalist, no. 19). These 20 ladies supposedly "grabbed the greatest online mindshare in 2010". So presumably, they reflect the substance of the Filipino collective mind.

Where none exists

The human brain is a wondrous instrument. It starts out as a blank data processing device that is wired to five data collection channels -- our senses. From the minute we are born, our senses kick into operation, collecting information about our environment and feeding it to the brain.

One can't really imagine what it is like receiving such a deluge of data with no starting point to work with.

Most likely the first image to be captured by the eyes of a newborn baby would be its mother's face. But then how does its brain make sense of a face when it does not have any prior concept of an eye, a nose, a mouth, much less the entire package these elements comprise -- said face?

Simplifying the unknown

While people seek comfort in religion for assurance that they simply wouldn't blink out when they finally croak, religion for its part has dismally failed to deliver on its end of the deal and provide a convincing concept of eternal existence that the modern human mind could at least explore in the way that it does best.

Instead of a coherent framework to simplify the unknown, we get an appeal to the mysteriousness of the unknown. Not satisfying to say the least. This appeal quite simply no longer cuts it in a modern society (which last I heard, Filipinos aspire to becoming).

Security, empowerment, and access

Oftentimes it is the most mundane of things going on around us -- things we take for granted as business-as-usual that, when regarded from the point of view from a lateral thinker so effectively highlight some the most disturbing aspects of our society.

Picture these scenes, for example:

- The ubiquity of heavily armed uniformed private security personnel detailed at every other corner shop, bank branch, and entrance to residential enclaves.

- Stonewalling automaton-like sales clerks and bank tellers trained in a narrowly-defined transactional scope; police officers fearful of applying the law to what may turn out to be a high-ranking politician or government official.

- Homeowners -- from the wealthiest down to even lower-middle-class families -- cloistered in gated communities that require specially issued passes for outsiders to enter.

These are but a small subset of a vast landscape of what are mere symptoms of the underlying deeply-entrenched rot in Philippine society.

False anger: to the Filipina on International Women's Day

[Reviving this gem in commemoration of International Women's Day.]

Rape cases often boil down to a her-word-against-his and a his-word-against-hers battle. As if that weren't enough, in the Philippines, the pervading primitivism brought about by our cultural baggage routinely adds a thick wrapper of moronic drama around rape, reducing the facts-and-logic component of most rape cases to an insignificant nucleus within a thick morass of "public scrutiny".

A shared sense of belonging

At the coffee shop where I routinely get my morning fix, customers mill around the counter in a way that often makes it difficult to distinguish those who are (a) in the process of ordering and paying, or (2) waiting for a concluded order to be served. So it is a normal and routine courtesy to politely ask: "Where do I get in line?". The remarkable thing here is that even where a queue is not readily apparent, one actually exists. Each person just makes a mental note of who came first -- and the collective outcome simply comes together in a natural way.

Crock for the flock: The official communication strategy of the Roman Catholic Church

How I choose to exercise my spirituality is a personal matter. However, what can be readily observed from the ideas I make public in what I write and what I say to family in friends makes evident my lack of respect for the Roman Catholic Church. I do not differentiate between individual officers within this institution. If a person sees himself or herself as an officer of this institution (a priest, a brother, a nun, or whatever title that implies position within its hierarchy), it pre-supposes his or her adherence to its dogma. So to the argument "not all priests think like that" whenever another instance of moronic ideas propagated by the Church makes headline news, I say I don't think so.

English opens doors

We'd like to believe that we deserve a society that treats people fairly regardless of how well they speak and write English and regardless of whether they speak it with a regional accent or not. We think, if we continue stomping our feet enough in a loud appeal to nationalist sentiment, that we could one day see a society where people with a fourth-grade level of English language proficiency are as well-regarded as those of us who are privy to the kind of thinking and knowledge that only the English language (as well as the languages of cultures with extensive track records of achievement) can efficiently convey.

Unfortunately what we think we deserve is not usually what we actually get.

Winds of protectionism

[I wrote this article in June of 2009 as the world reeled from the aftershocks of the 2007 to 2008 global financial meltdown. It remains relevant today as we evaluate development paths we need to take as a nation in a world that is undergoing fundamental change in economic order. It is relevant because Filipinos continue to foolishly look to foreign capital and import-driven consumption as a source of its economic salvation.]

Bottled water: suckering an entire generation

Imagine getting your power supply from big 220-volt cylindrical batteries that are charged at power generating plants and then delivered to you every week by truck to be hooked up to your home's wiring. You then load the spent battery from the previous week onto the truck which then hauls it back to the nearest power plant to be re-charged.

Doesn't this sound like a ridiculous way of being supplied electrical power?

The bullshit of "Earth Hour"

Why subject yourself to an hour of unsustainable inconvenience (and maybe have to miss a favourite TV show while you are at it) when leading a life that quietly reduces your "carbon footprint" on an on-going basis without all the grandstanding involved in half-arsed spectacles like "Earth Hour" (to be observed 26 March of this year, 2011) is simple, easy, and sensible.

What it takes for Filipinos to learn from the presidency of Noynoy Aquino

It's been eight months and there have been soooo many complaints about the performance of Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. From his dud of an inaugural speech, his misinformed State of the Nation Addresss, the litany of gaffes and debacles in his handling of relations with erstwhile friendly foreign governments, his oft-exhibited bratty politicians' son behaviour, his broken promises, etcetera, etcetera... -- the list of things to complain about with regard to Noynoy's administration is long, and getting longer by the week. Perhaps there will come a time when a critical mass of gaffes and no-results outcomes is reached and a tipping point crossed. When that happens, talk of impeachment will surely come or, worse, winds of fiesta revolution.