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Showing posts from February, 2007

The Oscars Show

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

Let’s take a break today from politics and the usual social issues and talk about what was the biggest event last Monday—the Oscars.

The big stories at this year’s Oscars were that Martin Scorsese finally won as Best Director for “The Departed” and Al Gore made a political comeback via Hollywood.

I am not sure if many Filipinos still watch the annual Academy Awards. But if advertising load is any indicator, it seems it is still one of RPN-9’s biggest moneymakers (I guess second only to the annual Miss Universe pageant, which has always been an exclusive franchise of the station). Since watching the live telecast at 9 in the morning was out of the question for work drones like me, I got to watch the primetime telecast of the Oscars last Monday. It still was overloaded with advertisements although the people at my house said the advertising load was already much lighter compared to the morning telecast. What can we …

Forsaking the spirit of EDSA

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

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of Edsa 1.

I was fresh out of college during those fateful events of February 1986 when Filipinos linked arms and stood up together in a proud moment of national unity. In those few glorious days, we showed the world the real stuff that Filipinos were made of.

For a few years after 1986, Edsa 1 was a beacon that guided us in charting our path toward building a better nation. I remember volunteering for many causes including conducting training programs to professionalize government institutions. I was, like many, only too willing to do all these things for free. For a few years, it seemed there was nothing we could not do.

The spirit resurfaced briefly in Edsa 2 when people took to the streets once again to denounce another corrupt president.

Eventually, though, that beacon dimmed. Or perhaps we simply lost sight of it. Whatever the reason, we have not since been able to re-claim …

vanity

For quite sometime now, well-meaning friends have been egging me no end to go see a dermatologist to have the "unsightly" fat deposits on my countenance removed. I finally run out of excuses last week when a dear friend gave me a "gift certificate" and booked the appointment. Contrary to what many think, I am not a vain person. Really. If someone were to come up with words to describe me, "metrosexual" will not be one of them.

But since I did not want to disappoint my friend who seemed pretty much convinced that he was doing humanity a great favor (I never realized my mug is really worth all that trouble), I relented and went off for my session with this doctor who, I realized later when it was too late to back out, must have trained at one of the Nazi camps during the Holocaust.

She took one look at my mug. Took out a magnifying glass (at least that is what it looked like) and promptly began applying some ointment on the fat deposits in question. S…

Tales from the idiot box

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

Television enables people— particularly candidates during an election—to reach more people faster and more efficiently. However, it also magnifies defects and can produce mixed results. Television can be a cruel medium.

Because most households in this country own a television set, we already expected candidates for national positions to take their cause to the people via the idiot box. I guess what we did not expect was the level of gimmickry and absurdity that would be used in this effort. In an ideal world, our politicians should be harnessing the awesome power of this medium to convey their platforms and define who they are.

Too bad our politicians seem more bent on entertaining us and showing off whatever miniscule talent they have in comedy, dancing, or acting.

Thus, watching the first cuts of our politicians’ television ads is really anything but enlightening or educational. The current campaign ads are, a…

killing the movie industry

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

‘Please patronize pirated Filipino DVDs and VCDs so that the Philippine movie industry will die and we will no longer have actors and actresses and their spouses running for public office. Please pass.”

This is a text message that has been going around since Thursday last week. I do not know what to make of the fact that this message was forwarded to me at least seven times. It is possible that the reason why people sent the text message to me is because I have been very vocal about my reservations regarding celebrities who throw their hats into the political ring armed with nothing else but their showbiz popularity. It is also possible that the text message is really going around in certain circles because there are many people out there who believe that it is high time for some drastic measures.

There is a part of me that wants to endorse this recommendation. As I wrote in my blog (www.bongaustero.blogspot.com)…

More than what I needed to know

I came to know about the latest wrinkle on Kris Aquino's life last Friday at the birthday party of my best friend. I was amazed to discover that on something so private, there was just so much that was known to people outside of showbiz. From the snippets that I got last Friday, the marriage is allegedly going through a major crisis supposedly because James had an affair with someone who works at this business chain known for cosmetic enhancements.

I've written about Kris Aquino in this blog before. Actually, the post was really more about that magazine (K) that is a copycat of Oprah's O magazine. Along the way, people got the impression that I am rabidly anti-Kris. There's this Kris Aquino fan that continues to leave messages in this blog accusing me of being envious and jealous of her (or his) idol. I normally wouldn't mind publishing the comments if only this fan does not have this notorious habit of repeating the comments - as in this fan repeats the sa…

Tempting...

If anyone out there is looking for a perfect example to illustrate "mixed feelings" here's a text message that does just that:

"PLEASE PATRONIZE PIRATED FILIPINO DVDs and VCDs so that the Philippine movie industry will DIE and we will no longer have ACTORS and ACTRESSES or their spouses running for public office. Please pass."

Really, really tempting.

Motivation and rewards

I spent yesterday afternoon in the company of fellow HR practitioners. It was a "fast track" forum on Cashless Rewards and Motivation which surprisingly attracted quite a sizable number of participants - more than 70, which is not so bad considering that participants had to shell out a few thousand bucks for the event. Some of the participants were even CEOs. There were five speakers - I was the third.

I talked about myths and metaphors in rewards and motivation and tried to link theory and application. It was fun although I got the feeling that many people still do not get their science right.

This really makes me wonder - what is it that people get from all those years in school if they don't get the theories right? Is it a problem of teachers' dismal failure in "selling" the value of the theories? Are teachers simply asking students to memorize "theories" without making any attempt to link these theories to actual real-life applications? …

The season of madness

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

The campaign period for the senatorial elections has officially started. Very, very soon, the campaign floodgates will be wide open. All hell will break loose as candidates for various elective posts join the fray and make a mad scramble to make an imprint on the consciousness of the electorate.

What this means is that the season for tall tales and preposterous claims of valor and heroism, of make-believe accomplishments and expertise, of empty promises and assurances, and outlandish declarations of love for country has come.

Whether we like it or not, billboards of all shape and sizes showing our candidates in various stages of repose will dominate our thoroughfares pretty soon. All available walls will be plastered with all kinds of posters and stickers showing prettified mugs all of which will bear little or no resemblance to the candidates. Electric posts and whatever few trees still standing will groan with …

Happy Valentines

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Sometimes you just have to let the child within us go out and play.

Some romantic souls at the office decided to make a big deal out of Valentines Day this year so they took it upon themselves to hang hearts all over our office and paste cutouts of cupid (am sure you remember those cutouts from grade school days). Initially, we felt it was...well, mushy.
But looks like those hanging red hearts have created a positive effect on people at work. Everyone seems to be more fun-loving lately and generally more tolerant and accepting.
I know Valentines is a commercial holiday. It's a ploy created by the people who stand to make a profit from it and designed to appeal to the little child within each one of us who just wants to be loved (all together now... awwwwww!).
Well, if you don't have a date tomorrow (I have classes until 9:15pm and I have decided to let out the little child in me as well, the one that likes to annoy everyone else, teehee. I have decided to give out loonnngg unit t…

lesser evils and dubious records

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

Today is the deadline for the filing of candidacies for senators. The guessing game and the attendant speculations as to who will jump fences, stick to principles, or do a Judas Escariot and sell his or her soul to the highest bidder will finally be over. Frankly, it’s a wonder why we even bother with the whole rigodon when we know that it’s a farce. We all know that any alignment or realignment that is going to happen will be purely for convenience purposes and not grounded on principles or ideologies.

What makes the whole thing confounding is the fact that both the administration and the opposition are led by individuals with tarnished reputations. So in the end, it’s a choice between two evils. It is really sad that our choices have boiled down to a question of who is the lesser evil. I know that choosing between two evils is the supreme test of democracy, but surely we deserve better.

Nevertheless, the questio…

A Heartless GSIS

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

I have an aunt who retired from government service a few years back after many years of slaving it out as a public school teacher in Malabon. Just like most other retirees, she is entitled to a pension from the Government Service Insurance System. She started receiving her monthly pension a couple of years ago.

As fate would have it, her petition to migrate to the United States got approved the other year so she has been residing in the US since then. She has petitioned the US government to have her children granted emigrant status as well. The catch is that while the papers are being worked out, she cannot leave the US.

In the meantime, the family needs her monthly pension. Unfortunately, that source of money has been cut off because the GSIS has now decreed that all pensioners, regardless of physical or medical condition, must go to a GSIS office personally to prove that they are still alive and breathing. On th…

Going progressive

My image as a geek was sealed the moment my doctors insisted that I wear eyeglasses. This was back in third year high school. Unlike others I never really wanted to wear eyeglasses, specially since my very first pair made look like a dork. Had I kept that pair, it would have been quite handy today since the design (rectangular with a thick black plastic frame) is now back in fashion. Anyway.

For some strange reason, I can't wear contact lenses. I tried. I more than tried, I suffered for weeks in the vain hope that my eyes would be able to adjust to those blasted contraptions that felt like sandpaper rubbing on my eyes. For weeks, I looked like the classic illustration of someone perennially high on weeds - bloodshot eyes, unsteady walk, etc. So I went back to wearing glasses.

Now that I need reading glasses as well, I have gotten used to carrying two pairs: one for reading and the other for, well, driving and walking. It's been such a hassle having to change glasses every single…

The taste of vomit

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

I still have to meet someone, anyone, who has something nice to say about it. Everyone I know only bears repulsion to the idea. The vitriol being spewed by pundits in both the mainstream media as well as in blogosphere has reached unprecedented levels. And yet, amazingly enough, our leaders are still bent on drafting celebrities, has-been politicians, or relatives of incumbent politicians as candidates for the May elections. It is annoying, exasperating, and insulting.

My initial reaction to our leaders’ obstinacy was to heave a sigh of resignation and to mutter “wala, lokohan na talaga ito” [there’s nothing we can do, we’re simply being taken for fools]. But on second thought, why should we allow our leaders to screw us? Just because our leaders are already deaf and numb to the revulsion that we are feeling doesn’t mean we simply capitulate. We just have to keep on hammering away until the electorate gets the me…

Dealing with the water crisis

This was my column yesterday, January 31, 2007 at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today. Sorry for the late post. I was in meetings the whole day and got home dead tired.

NOW that Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes has officially sounded the alarm, I hope that most Filipinos, particularly those who are in a position to do something about it, will finally sit up and acknowledge the urgency and gravity of the water crisis that is about to hit us. The water crisis is a global phenomenon, but one that hits third world countries like the Philippines more brutally. In reality, the water crisis is already being experienced daily by many sectors of Philippine society, particularly by those in the slum areas. The major impact on the country, according to Reyes, will be felt starting 2010. That’s barely three years from now.

A water crisis is an unimaginable catastrophe. Forget about not having crude oil, or about not having electricity or telephone. But not having water? Arrrgh.

Next to …