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Showing posts from November, 2008

Fascination with vampires

This was my column last Wednesday, November 26.

Twilight, the movie based on Stephanie Meyer’s bestseller book, opens today in most theaters in the country. I expect long, very long lines at the box office. A group of people I know camped out last night at SM malls as it was the last full feature in most theaters last night.

In case you’ve been living under the proverbial rock in the last year, Twilight is turning out to be the next big thing after Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings. Potter fans, however, need not feel threatened. The Twilight book has spawned into a series composed of four books so far (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn) have sold a phenomenal 17 million copies worldwide; quite a feat actually, but nowhere near the almost half a billion copies of Harry Potter books sold in the last few years.

I’ve read the first two books in the series and yes, I intend to read the two others over the long weekend. I make it a point to read whatever it is that my kids a…

The herd mentality

This was my column last Monday, November 24.

I have written about the nursing profession and the challenges it faces a number of times in the past. My interest in the issues is both personal and professional. Many members of my family are nurses—an older sister, two aunts and a number of cousins are nurses. My son is in nursing school—he chose the course on his own and I’m hoping that he will eventually proceed to medicine, which should be the normal career path rather than the other way around (i.e., fully-trained and certified doctors going back to nursing school to get employment abroad as nurses). A great number of nephews, nieces, relatives, and children of friends and former classmates are in nursing schools all over the country.

My professional interest in the issues emanates from my being a human resource management professional and academic who is gravely concerned about the mismatch problem in this country between what the academe produces and what industry needs. It’s a probl…

Hostage to politics

This is my column today.

What kind of citizen would not wish progress for his hometown?

Progress is the first thing anyone who has been away for quite some time watches out for the moment he or she sets foot in his or her hometown.
So why then is the citizenry of my hometown Tacloban City seems to be torn over the issue of whether or not the city should become a highly urbanized city? Ordinarily, being conferred the title of HUC would be a source of pride. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be true in this particular case.

Tacloban City, being the premiere city in Eastern Visayas has already attained the basic requirements to become HUC as provided for in the Local Government Code. To qualify, a city must have a population of at least 200,000 and an annual income of P100 million. Tacloban has a population of more than 217,000 and an annual income of P500 million. Thus, on Oct. 4, President Arroyo signed Presidential Proclamation 1637, making Tacloban City a highly urbanized city. Howeve…

An utter waste of time

This is my c0lumn today.

I hate to say it, but here it is just the same: I told you so.
I knew nothing would come out of the Senate hearing on the fertilizer scam. Like most everyone else, I didn’t want to have expectations that the hearing would yield anything productive.

We’ve had more than enough experiences with Senate hearings in the past, from the Brunei beauties, to the jueteng scandals, to the Garcia scam. We know that not a single one of them has ever resulted in a conviction. We’ve never had a Senate hearing where some guilty person was forced to admit culpability for some shenanigan. Experience has shown us that these hearings tended to degenerate into shouting matches, scolding sessions and occasions for displaying the incompetence of some of our leaders.

But this one offered some possibilities. Or at least that was what we wanted to believe. After all, it’s been a couple of years since the scandal broke out. Our senators and their staff, presumably, had more than enough time …

Another madcap idea

This is my column today.

In my column last Monday, I wrote about how the proposal to require drivers to undergo neuro-psychological testing as precondition before driver’s licenses can be granted or renewed was an impractical idea, particularly in this country where almost everything carries a tag price and those with money get away with practically anything. If implemented, the proposal will simply open another window for corruption at the Land Transportation Office, one of the government agencies notorious for corruption.

Also on Monday, a news article was published in this paper about the Vatican’s move to re-allow psychological testing for seminarians who wish to become priests of the Catholic Church.

As I wrote last Monday, what makes psychological testing impractical is the fact that in order for results to be reliable and valid, they need to be conducted properly. This means strictly observing a number of testing protocols. The conduct of the test, the interpretation of the result…

A mad cap idea

This was my column last Monday, November 10.

Road safety is something that we all need to be concerned about. God knows there are just too many crazy people out there who simply should not have been given a license to drive a car, much less a public transportation vehicle. They cause monstrous traffic jams either because of their sheer recklessness, their utter disregard for road courtesy, or just by unadulterated stupidity. In the process, they inconvenience hundreds of thousands unnecessarily. Worse, they endanger lives. In fact, many lives have been lost to road accidents caused mainly by incompetent or unqualified drivers.

So yes, our quest for road safety should begin with a thorough review of the manner in which we grant driver’s licenses in this country. By all means, we should make it more difficult for people to get a driver’s license. We should put in place better, perhaps more stringent measures to ensure that applicants for a driver’s license understand the responsibility in…

The migrant worker phenomenon

This is my column today.

I am sure that most of us have an idea of how the phenomenon of Filipino workers overseas is making dramatic impact on the life of the nation. Many are aware of the economic value that the Filipino diaspora provides. I have this nagging suspicion, however, that many among us simply look at the OFW phenomenon as just another source of livelihood rather than as national issue that deserve urgent and critical attention.

We know that the main reason why our country has not gone belly up despite the succession of global, regional and national crises that we’ve had to go through in the last decade is because regardless of what they have to put up with in the process, our migrants have continued to send money home to their families in the country. As long as the dollars, the dinars, the euros and the other forms of payment for our countrymen’s very hard labor abroad continue to flow into the country, and we know they will for as long as our workers have jobs—any job—ab…

Halloween stories

And this is my column today.

The disc jockeys of the FM station we were tuned in to were gleefully greeting their callers “Happy Halloween.” Almost everyone responded by echoing the greeting except one grouse that dared to ask the question on air: “Why do we greet each other Happy Halloween—what is supposed to be happy about it?”

The disc jockeys were thrown off the wall and were momentarily stupefied, while I did the metaphorical equivalent of doing cartwheels inside my car. I wish that there really are more Filipinos who stand up to media personalities, ask sensible questions, and dare to challenge the status quo.

After lots of hemming and hawing, the disc jockeys finally managed to come up with something that they thought was an adequate answer: What’s happy about Halloween are the candies! Of course Halloween is when kids in the United States consume in one night their complete sugar dietary requirement for the rest of their lives, thanks to the trick or treat tradition that we know …

Streetchildren, carols and Christmas

This was my column last Wednesday, October 29.

We don’t really need reminding—after all, Christmas is probably the most anticipated season in this country, and is so for various personal reasons.

We all have our own personal indicators of the arrival of the season. Unfortunately, most of the signs today have been created by commercial considerations rather than by religious or at least altruistic reasons. Global warming and the current financial meltdown have done away with nippy mornings and peace and goodwill to mankind. So we are left with the Christmas carols, the Christmas decorations, those ubiquitous Christmas lights, and of course, the carolers.

My own personal and amusing reminder of the impending season happened yesterday as my friends and I were driving on Adriatico Street in Manila after lunch. As usual, we got stuck in traffic right before Quirino Avenue (whatever they are doing at Quirino Avenue and why it is taking so long are questions that don’t seem to have answers at a…