Showing posts from December, 2006

Three hours in a convent

I spent the whole morning today with the Daughters of Saint Paul, also called the Paulines. Most of you probably know them as the sisters that publish some of those really great value-formation books and magazines and run the Daughters of Saint Paul Bookstores. (I had the great fortune of having lived in Tacloban City a few houses away from their Tacloban branch - so there were days when I practically lived inside their bookstore just browsing through their books).

I was invited to give a "situationer" on the real state of the country. It's something that I normally don't do primarily because I think there are other people who are more qualified to talk about economics and politics; but the sisters were able to convince me that they wanted to listen to the points of view of an "ordinary man." Besides, how do you say no to nuns?

It was my first time inside a "convent" although I do not think that the Paulines consider their Pasay compound as su…

Delightful and disturbing

This was my column last Wednesday, December 27. The same internet difficulties you have been experiencing caused the delay of the post.

Trying to decide the other day which movie to watch among the nine entries in the Metro Manila Film Festival, my friend Emer and I went into a spirited discussion. It was a tough call because none among the entries seemed to warrant the spending of time and money. Patronizing the filmfest, however, was an annual tradition for me and my friends. Our reasons were more altruistic than artistic, or even affective. Finally, we decided to heed the advice of the Film Ratings Board who gave three films (Ligalig, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, and Kasal Kasali Kasalo) A ratings.

Deciding exactly which one among the three films to see was a little easier. We simply picked the movie with the shorter queue. Expectedly, the Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo film Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo was making a killing in the tills so we figured watching it didn’t fit well into our reasons …

Ten things you can do today

Merry Christmas everyone! This is my Christmas day column at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

You probably woke up a little later than usual today. And if it weren’t for the fact that some relatives will most likely drop by at some point during the day or you need to be somewhere else in a few hours “perhaps your parents’ house for the traditional Christmas reunion” you probably would have preferred to curl up in bed some more and sleep off the hangover from last night’s revelry. But the kids in the house are most likely already creating a ruckus, running around playing with their new toys, so it is difficult to be grouchy today. It is Christmas.

It’s that one day in the year when we’re supposed to feel a little better despite the many uncertainties of the times we live in. A quick glance at your cellphone tells you that your inbox is overflowing with all sorts of Holiday greetings, some original, some creative, and the others a repeat of the same text messages that have…

Christmas presents

This is my column today, December 20, at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

If you are on the brink of having a nervous breakdown, going nuts trying to figure out how to complete your shopping list with barely six days to go before Christmas, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Going by the number of harassed people who are still converging in the malls and the tiangges (according to the household help who was in Divisoria yesterday, it is sheer bedlam out there), you are definitely in good company.

I still have to meet someone who can categorically declare that he or she is finally done shopping for gifts this year. The task seems daunting: choosing gifts, lining up to pay for the items, and wrapping them, and making sure the tags are correct. We all know how it goes. No matter how many times you check and recheck that darned list (assuming that you had a list in the first place), there is always someone, or worse, a number of your kith and kin who somehow sl…

The self-destructing administration

The following was my column last Monday, which I failed to post in this blog due to various reasons which I can't go into right now. But am okay.

The potent combination of outrage and sense of betrayal coupled with simmering discontent and long-dormant animosity finally came to a boil in the political event of the season that was the prayer rally held yesterday at the Luneta. For quite sometime now, many have been wondering what would finally make people snap out of their collective apathy. We know the answer now.

The throngs of the betrayed have been galvanized into action, their anger ignited by the brazen and callous post-midnight conspiracy of the administration congressmen in the House of Representatives to change the Constitution through a constituent assembly.

What is truly sad about the whole sordid turn of events is that all these are reminiscent of previous chains of events that consequently threw someone out of MalacaƱan Palace. Frankly, we’ve been there before; didn’t …

Surreal but real

This is my column today, December 13, 2006 at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

The title is not original. It is a dialogue from the movie Notting Hill. But it’s a phrase that has been coming to mind as I watch in utter amazement, and complete horror, some of the events of the last two weeks.

The House of Representatives stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to flex its muscle and flaunt its power to bully anyone that stands on its way—the opposition, the Senate, the Filipino people. I actually stayed up until around midnight watching the live proceedings on local television. I was initially annoyed and upset, but I eventually ended up laughing myself out at the sheer brazenness of the administration representatives who were vainly trying to conjure a logical case for their audacious move. It was pure madness. I knew what was at stake was no laughing matter, but I was 100 percent certain that they were doomed to fail. Surely, such wanton and reckless disregard for d…

Responding to the labor mismatch

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

The mismatch between what the academe produces (graduates) and what industry needs (jobs) has been a cause for concern for decades. In the past, however, the issue has not merited serious attention. There have been many reasons for our utter inability to nip the problem in the bud, so to speak. The practical reason has been the passivity of industry: it simply accepted whatever the academe produced. It merely trained (or in some cases, totally re-trained) new hires to fit the requirements of the jobs.

I think, though, that the most important reason has been our inherent trust in our educational system. After all, it is the same system that produced us and made success stories of our own selves. How can something that produced us be so wrong?

What could have been the first major sign of trouble went largely ignored for, again, social reasons: The emergence of underemployed Filipino workers locally and abroad. Altho…

Congratulations, mau!

My friend Jerome has been rooting for her all this time - he even went out of his way to have his picture taken with her (that's him in green shirt and the photo was filched from his own blog, teehee).
Well, she made it. After all that has been said and done, talent prevailed. For a while there, I was skeptical about her chances because she clearly did not have the machinery - even her own grandmother does not have a cellphone - and she has a humble background. But what do you know, Pinoys do know talent when they see one. So in the end, all that machinery and organized campaign by the other parties proved puny compared to the power of the people. Well, I personally voted for Mau 16 times (mahirap pala mag text ng ganun kadami and I did not have the patience to go beyond that) and for Gian 8 times. I felt I had to do my share to make sure the winner was someone who could truly represent the country abroad.
So, what can I say about the finale of the Philippine Idol? It was a good thi…

The power of an organized campaign

I stayed home to watch the final contest of Philippine Idol last night. Overall, I wasn't disappointed because the top three contestants, Mau, Gian, and Jan were all generally talented and performed well. However, I couldnt help but note the impact of an organized "pala" on the overall performance of contestants and the general mood of the contest.

Of the three, Jan Nieto had the better machinery - which probably explains why the judges made the fearless forecast that the first Philippine Idol will be male. Jan's supporters seem more organized and seem to have a better-managed campaign going. This was painfully obvious last night at the Araneta - his supporters had all the works... glittering pompoms, larger tarpaulins, more streamers, and louder shrieks.

If we are to go by the audience reaction at Araneta Coliseum last night, the contest was already won by Jan Nieto. He simply had better connection with the audience, although not with those watching at home. Ja…

This is exactly what I mean...

In my column today at the Manila Standard Today, I maintained that "rape happens and will continue to happen unless we address the power inequities in our society, most specifically, those perpetuated by traditional gender stereotypes that tend to devalue women."

I ran out of column space, which is why I was not able to explain what I meant by "traditional gender stereotypes that tend to devalue women."

Well, what do you know, in some papers today, there are news items quoting Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan saying one of the most outrageous things that bring home my point.

While trying to draw lessons from the Subic rape case, the good bishop has been quoted offering this bit of advice to women "women, most especially, should be taught that 'womanhood is precious and noble, so it is not right for them to be flaunting it around.” "They should not make themselves appear cheap and practically inviting to be violated by men,” he said.

This is e…

Power, politics, and rape

This is my column today, December 6, 2006, at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Sexual crimes such as rape, sexual molestation and even sexual harassment are not really just about sex. They often happen because one party thinks he or she is entitled to certain liberties mainly because of inequities in power structures.

Many studies show that unequal power structures between cultures and between genders are important determinants of sexual crimes. For example, there are many documented cases of sexual crimes being committed by those with economic power, i.e., rape or sexual harassment being committed by people who think that their money can buy almost anything and therefore entitles them to take advantage of others. In addition, traditional negative gender stereotypes, specifically those that tend to devalue women (in the case of the Subic rape case, Filipino women) make them susceptible to sexual crimes.

Thus, was the rape committed because the accused servicemen thought th…

Demystifying job interviews

This is my column today, December 4, 2006, at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

As a human resource management practitioner, I conduct job interviews for a living. I don’t interview people all day long, but conducting job interviews and determining the overall fit between a candidate and a post and between a candidate and the organization is something that I have been doing for almost 18 years now. Those of us in the HRM profession cannot imagine a selection process without a formal interview, which is why I am quite aghast at the refusal of the five associate justices of the Supreme Court to submit to a public job interview. It seems that there are still many people in this country, particularly those in government, who think that submitting to a job interview is beneath them.

I do not actually blame them. There are many misconceptions about the nature of a job interview, foremost of which is that a job interview is akin to an inquisition. It is really unfortunate that in…