Showing posts from June, 2007

A citizen's view on the role of media

(This was my column last June 25, Monday. I was rushed to the Makati Medical Center Monday morning and underwent emergency surgery, thus the absence. Will try to resume posts when I am recovered.)

Sometime last week, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, for the nth time, appealed to certain sectors of media for more balanced and more positive reportage. In so many words, the President asked media to do its share in sustaining the economic momentum. The subtext was: If you can’t support the administration, then at least stop sabotaging the strides we are making in the economic front by playing up nothing but scandals and negative news on your front pages.
It is sad that the President of the country has to practically fall on her knees to ask almighty media to do what is right. I have been ranting in my blog about the way certain sectors in the media think that progress should take a back seat to personal advocacies (i.e., animosity toward the President). Fortunately, I don’t have to this t…

Painful reality check

This is my column today.

We already know that truth is stranger than fiction because there is no soap opera in this country that’s more riveting or bizarre than what we see in the news.

So when reality television shows hit our local idiot boxes, we knew it was going to be a fad because the possibilities were simply endless. We happen to be a country with a very high threshold for the absurd. We put up with all kinds of shenanigans from our leaders. We find something to laugh at even amongst the gravest life and death situations. We do not stone to death government officials who have the audacity to stand by implausible election results.

We know that simply watching real people in a glass house can be entertaining because those people are Filipinos and therefore expected to be funny, dramatic, crazy, opinionated, etc.
It’s a small wonder then that “Pinoy Big Brother” is a hit in this country.

The second “regular” season of the show is currently running and is scheduled to end in two week’s …


This is my column today.

The long drawn out trial of Joseph Ejercito Estrada finally came to an end last Friday when the prosecution and the defense panels summed up their arguments on the P4.1-billion plunder case against the former president.

The oral summation was not really necessary and was in fact an oddity in the Philippine legal system. But then again, the case is historic. It’s not every day that a former President of an Asian country has been tried—and jailed, although that multi-million mansion complete with ponds and hectares of vegetable farms can hardly be called jail at all—for plunder, or anything for that matter. Besides, the all-star cast of lawyers, government officials, politicians, and relatives needed to perform for their audience. Lest we forget, this is the Philippines where everyone hams it up for the almighty television camera.

Some sectors in media who thrive on tabloid trash also needed something, anything new they can splash on the front pages. Truth is, sin…

A still heartless GSIS

This is my column today.

I had second thoughts about bringing up my rant against the Government Service Insurance System at this particular point when the institution is being raked over the coils for its supposed nefarious role in the last election.

As many of us know, the contest between Jose de Venecia and Pablo Garcia for the post of speaker of the House of Representatives has made a turn for the worse. They are now hurling unsavory accusations at each other. It’s a rather absurd situation, one that easily brings to mind the cliché “the pot calling the kettle black.”

I suppose this kind of behavior among people who are usually addressed as “honorable” are par for the course in Philippine politics. When our leaders compete for certain positions, they automatically assume the role of gladiators locked in a vicious fight. It gets dirty. It gets bloody. People don’t fight a fair and principled contest. The only consolation we have left is that so far, it hasn’t gotten physical yet, and I…

Family feud

This is my column today.

The rich and famous are not different from you and me—this much we know from the very acrimonious and very public war that the Crespos and the Bektases have been waging for a few weeks now. Of course, instead of a mere handful of nosy neighbors and interfering kith and kin, they have the whole media and the whole country as witnesses to their emotional hara kiri.

Family members fight. We all know this. There is no familial bond—yes, not even the deepest and most profound affection—that is strong enough to withstand the corrosive power of greed, or hatred, or hurt. The most cohesive family can blow up into smithereens when a property dispute rears its ugly head. The most ideal couple with marriages seemingly made in heaven could go kaput when irrational jealousy comes into the picture.

A family feud is not an unusual thing. But a family feud gone public is one of the ugliest things in the world. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Even if the emotional screeching and the t…

Mindless and aimless


I thought I already posted my rant about Pinoy Big Brother. It turns out the piece was consigned to the draft folder. It was a good thing someone posted a comment to remind me about it. I have updated the piece.

Picture this: you are in a party where the guests are mildly interesting but on closer observation are revealed to be just like you and me - people who are prone to some emotional outbursts every now and then, but in general have personalities that are as colorful as a an ordinary towel.

However, the party has been overly hyped to be fun so you expect fireworks to explode, you expect emotional hara-kiris to be unleashed, you expect something out of the ordinary. What you get though is the same stuff that you would normally get from your friends and family. In fact your friends can be more interesting without trying. And there's definitely more drama in your family.

The party is getting to be boring and you wanna tune off. The hosts try to liven up the party wi…

Desecrating the Philippine Flag

My column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Since elected officials make it a point to implement projects that distinguish them as the exact opposite of their predecessors—especially if they belong to opposite sides of the political fence—I hope that they will make it a point to stop practices that violate laws and promote disrespect for our national symbols.

I have one suggestion to newly elected Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila: Please stop the desecration of the Philippine flag which your predecessor, Lito Atienza, loved to do. My friends think this is a wild shot, given Mayor Lim’s renowned stand on vandalism.

However, Mayor Lim is also known for being a stickler for what is right so I think there is reason to hope.

Around this time of the year when the country celebrates Independence Day, the City of Manila becomes abloom with Philippine flags hanging at practically every streetlamp at Roxas Boulevard and on every pillar of the LRT on Taft Avenue down to Avenida …

Working to live

Advocates of work-life balance recently got a boost from an e-mail that has been circulating among various groups. Written by Ng Wan Ching, the article appeared in Singapore’s The New Paper on May 1, 2007.

The article, entitled “Dead after eight hours on Laptop,” narrated the story of May Leong, 29, who succumbed to what was generally believed to be work-related stress. A few days before her death, she was slaving in front of her laptop, trying to cope with an impossibly heavy workload. She had been working nonstop for eight hours immediately before her death.

The cause of her death was deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot on her legs that shot to her heart.

Deep vein thrombosis is common among those over 60 years old, but people who are inactive for long periods of time such as those on long-haul flights or those who work in front of their computers day in and day out are also at high risk. The blood clot can be fatal as it can break free and travel through the veins. It can reach the …