Showing posts from April, 2008


This is my column today.

There was a very spirited discussion in one of my e-mail groups a couple of weeks ago that I feel is of interest to all Filipinos.

It was the kind of discussion that was typical among us Filipinos. It was sparked by a seemingly innocuous observation about a local television show and which somehow got blown up into a major argument that hooked people into taking sides. If the discussion were conducted face-to-face, I am sure it would have gotten emotional and probably confrontational. Eventually, the topic lost steam and some academics took over to make sense of what just happened. To complete the cycle, I am now mining the discussion into material for a column. The discussion was on the so-called crab mentality that’s supposed to be prevalent among us Filipinos.

What prompted the whole discussion was a comment made about the behaviors of contestants on the local version of the television show Wheel of Fortune. To the uninitiated, the local Wheel of Fortune airs a…

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Conditions at terminals could be better

This is my column today.

For many people, the summer months of April and May are for traveling, mostly to exotic locations—perhaps some secluded beach or mountain paradise. It’s the chance to escape the infernal heat that engulfs Metro Manila this time of the year. I personally schedule most of my lectures during the summer for practical reasons—there are no classes, work is usually lighter, and people are generally more laid back and receptive.

Many people think having the opportunity to travel is a blessing. This is true when one is traveling to certain places for the first time; otherwise, the novelty is reduced. And if one is traveling for work, it can become tiresome. But what really makes traveling tedious and often exasperating is the general pandemonium at our airport terminals. Passing through our airports—especially the ones in Manila because they are, expectedly, busier than those in key cities —is always an exercise in keeping one’s anger and impatience in check. There’s dis…


This was my column last Wednesday. I am currently in Bacolod.

The e-mail that’s currently clogging up networks is yet another hoax entitled Gas Out. It’s a pseudo campaign with a noble objective—to lower prices of oil by forcing a price war with the two major oil companies in the country. It is an e-mail that seems to be generating steam. Friends in the industry have asked me to comment on it since they have noted that many people seem to think that it would work.

It’s one of those pseudo campaigns with a huge potential to hook people in simply because it perpetuates the truism that many people continue to hold sacrosanct: When people come together in unity, nothing is impossible, even slaying a corporate giant. In this particular case, oil companies. Very few are able to resist the temptation to join something so seemingly righteous.

I received the e-mail at least six times in three days. If I had done what the e-mail had asked me to do, which was to forward it to 10 of my friends, I w…

Stupid move

I received a number of text messages from three different cellphones today telling me in no uncertain terms to back out from the Brian Gorrell issue. I didnt bother to respond.

I heard that Magic and the hosts of Good Times have received threats and warnings.

Sigh. Some people simply don't get it still. Threatening people only make things worse. For example, I didnt have plans of writing about the Brian Gorrell issue again after my last post. As someone pointed out to me in this blog, there are other things to write about in this country.

But now that I've been annoyed, I might just decide to write about it again. And again.

Catch 22

This is my column today.

I have absolutely no doubt that the Arroyo administration is deliberately taking advantage of the rice crisis to deflect attention from the accusations of bribery and corruption that have bedeviled it in the last three years. It can be pointed out of course that the inordinate focus on the scandals is also on the wane as people have eventually gotten tired of waiting for the smoking gun that never came. Apparently there was… none, zilch, nada. Yet again. What an utter waste, indeed, to see that all that screaming and wailing in the Senate has yielded nothing again. Nothing works better than a crisis to get people preoccupied. And if the crisis has to do with something as basic as staple food—and therefore survival—of course people are bound to forget everything else and focus on the crisis at hand. Naturally. So of course, this whole rice crisis is a proverbial blessing in disguise for this administration. At the very least, the rice crisis provides opportunit…

"What's 70,000 dollars?"

I've written about the Brian Gorrell blog in the past. Although I did provide a link to Gorrell's blog here, I was very careful not to mention DJ Montano's name nor the title of the blog in my column.

I empathized with Brian's situation, particularly since he is living with HIV. And as many of my readers know, I am President of Remedios AIDS Foundation and helping people living with HIV/AIDS is one of my pet causes.

I must admit that I tended to take Brian Gorrell's accusations against DJ Montano and the so-called Gucci Gang with a grain of salt. No, make that bushels of salt. I am aware that the kind of thievery alleged by Brian Gorrell does happen in this world. However, I thought it was important that people keep an open mind about the veracity of the allegations particularly since DJ Montano's version of the events has not been heard yet. I figured the guy deserved to be heard first.

Which is why I made it a point to watch that particular interview last Friday…

Protest, circa 2008

This was my column last Wednesday, April 9.

While on my way to a meeting last week, I came across a motley group of protesters assembling under the scorching heat of the noontime sun.

Their banners were still rolled up and some of them were still disembarking from the jeepneys that ferried them to their assembly point. In the meantime, they occupied a good part of the sidewalk, munching on sandwiches that were being distributed by one of their organizers.
I didn’t know what they were going to protest about, or where they were going to stage their protest.

I know this would come out as grossly insensitive, but then again, aren’t all mass actions essentially about the same thing these days?

The flags that are unfurled and waved at these gatherings are suspiciously the same— be it in terms of colors, logos, and even what is printed on them. It’s the same tired old clich├ęs, which are not necessarily a commentary on the wisdom or relevance of the slogans, but more as validation of the fact that…

Wonders of the world

This is my column today.

I grew up in a household where kids were regularly trundled out to entertain guests.

To prepare ourselves for these occasions when our parents would have guests, we would have “cultural programs” practically every night after dinner. In addition to the singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments for the delight of the grownups, we were also expected to show off whatever could pass off as knowledge that we had acquired by then. This often meant defining acronyms and regurgitating facts. I guess all those mini-quiz bees stoked my interest and continuing fascination with trivia.

Fortunately for me, my maternal grandmother was a teacher who was a voracious reader. She had a lifelong subscription to National Geographic and Reader’s Digest, two magazines that would qualify as my surrogate nannies. Yup, I was the nerd child who could be left alone in a corner for hours and hours with only a National Geographic and a Reader’s Digest to keep me company. I was the ch…

A very public circumcision

This is my column today.

It’s either of two things: Dumb luck or brilliant marketing strategy.

It is possible that the people behind ABS-CBN’s “Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus” simply stumbled into the circumcision issue and made an on-the-spot decision to make a big thing out of it. But it is also possible that they knew about it beforehand and that, therefore, this whole frenzy about circumcision is simply a well-calculated marketing campaign designed to attract attention and audience share.

The latter of course puts ABS-CBN’s screening process for housemates in question. I don’t think it is ethical to ask applicants highly intimate questions such as whether they are circumcised or not. At the same time, deliberately putting the spotlight on a minor for being supot, regardless of the willingness of the adolescent in question to bare it all, hardly qualifies as ethical. Or even fair.

But I would like to give ABS-CBN people the benefit of the doubt. Although I know that PBB’s ongoing …

Impractical nursing

This was my column yesterday, March 31.

The Philippine Nurses Association is up in arms over a proposed nursing curriculum, which institutionalizes through a ladderized scheme, a course called practical nursing.

It is easy and tempting to dismiss the assertions of the association as just another one of those overzealous attempts of a professional organization to protect the integrity and the value of its members’ dear profession. Not that the PNA should be taken to task for doing so; it is its mandate to precisely ensure that nursing continues to be a viable and reputable profession.

But is the PNA just buttressing the “exclusivity” of the nursing profession and thereby discriminating against non-graduates of four-year nursing courses as some critics contend? Or is there more to this latest wrinkle to hit the nursing profession than meets the eye?

Ladderization is this relatively new educational scheme that’s being championed by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. It…