Showing posts from February, 2009

Helpless and hopeless

This is my column today.
There are many problems plaguing the educational system in our country, but two of these have been on top of everyone’s mind lately because they have been the subjects of intense media attention in the last few weeks. And rightly so because these two problems are indicative of what’s seriously wrong with our educational system. The problems are the erroneous textbooks for elementary pupils and high school students and the rising cost of education in the country. Actually, what is really worse is that the government agencies that are supposed to have oversight functions over textbooks and tuition increases seem helpless and hopeless and have been repeatedly caught on television wringing their hands in frustration and openly admitting that they can’t do anything about these problems. It’s bad enough that we have these problems. Now we have government people openly saying there is nothing they can do about them. Let’s first discuss this embarrassing problem wit…

Not all gloom and doom

I’ve been forewarned that there will be times when as a columnist I would make a stupid error of fact – one that is so blatantly erroneous I would feel like banging my head against any hard surface.I just did in my column today.And I am so mortified by it.It actually hit me when I woke up today and I felt like I had a heart attack.What can I say.I don’t know what I was thinking.There’s no justification for it – even the fact that I barely had 30 minutes of sleep Saturday night and I wrote this column while running a training program (during the times when participants would be doing workshops or group discussions).I really meant EDSA DAY, not EDSA DOS.And what I really meant to say was that I don’t think Cory Aquino is still affected by it all anyway and the non-declaration of EDSA DAY as a holiday makes the President look ungrateful.I apologize.Sincerely. I’m going to bang my head against the wall again now.What follows is my embarrassing column today.
Now that media has stopped sensa…

25 Random Things

I posted this in my Facebook account after being poked and tagged so many times to do it. Since a number of bloggers also tagged me for this meme, I decided to post it here too.

1. I can be obsessive compulsive about certain things such as finishing tasks on time, or producing outputs that are more than what is expected. Sometimes people kid me that I have the tendency to go overboard with certain things. For example, I think at least 10 people have tagged me for this 25 random things (in Facebook and in my blog) but I didn’t want to do it until I had the time to give it a real effort. Fortunately, midterms sa Benilde so I had time to do it while my students labored over their exams. Hehe.

2. I love pets and I don’t discriminate. I love dogs and cats (I have a black Labrador – Altus; and a white pusakal- Fluffy); I also have an aquarium with parrot fishes and an albino oscar fish, a pair of breeding African lovebirds (they produced a lone offspring which died of loneliness, I …

Dad at 13

This is my column today.

As I write, I am trying to rack my brains trying to remember what I was doing when I was 13 years old.

I am going to spare you the details of my quick trek down memory lane and just be really candid and admit that although I am sure I didn’t have sex with anyone when I was at that age yet, neither was I really that innocent or na├»ve about matters relating to the birds and the bees. Sure, I was also preoccupied with schoolwork, and bicycles, and ballgames; but I also remembered having raging hormones at that age. Come to think of it, what 13-year old wouldn’t be?

It wasn’t the topic of our every conversation, but I remember that most conversations I had with my friends when I was 13 eventually meandered on to, what else, sex of course. The Internet was still a fragment of someone’s imagination, but there were lots of books and magazines and betamax tapes with adult content that we had access to. Before you start accusing my parents and authority figures of permiss…

Love in the workplace

This is my column today.
The generally accepted norm in the workplace when it comes to matters of the heart is that romantic relationships are not the company’s business. Romantic relationships are personal in nature and business organizations cannot interfere with them, unless of course there are negative consequences that affect the workplace. Many among us may secretly enjoy the occasional gossip about an office love affair gone awry, but I still have to meet a manager or supervisor who derived some form of enjoyment from being forced to manage the complications brought about by feuding lovebirds. I tell you, these kinds of problems are the worst. I’ve met far too many human resource managers who would gladly volunteer to mow the company’s front yard lawn than serve as counselor, mediator, arbiter, or just plain conciliator for a bickering couple, particularly when there are third parties, in-laws, properties, financial problems, and yes, a child on the way in the picture. Arrggg…

Happy valentines day

It must be age. Or simply because I happen to be romantically uninvolved at the present.  Or just plain laziness.  Whatever.  I'm staying home the whole day today, catching up on my reading.  I already left house very early in the day to attend the graduation ceremonies of my students anyway, and even attended the reception at Kamayan.  
My friend JT, very typically, rubbed it in by sending me this valentines day greeting (if you can call it that):  HAPPY STATUS AWARENESS DAY.   
Anyway.  I recently discovered this wonderful gadget called a card reader that simplified the ways in which the contents of cellphone memory card can be downloaded directly into a laptop. As a result, I was able to empty the memory cards of my cellphones. I discovered quite a number of photos that I didn't even remember taking.  Some of them were quite interesting, such as these ones. 
The first photo comes from a set taken in 2007 at the Mall of Asia.  I was waiting for some colleagues to finish their s…

Including the excluded

This is my column today.

One of the most difficult challenges in the world today is how to be more “inclusive.” Put another way, the challenge that face many among us, particularly those who have the means or the power to build all sorts of walls around them, is how to be more accepting of diversity issues and in the process include the excluded. Sociology might tell us that we have a collectivist culture; that we tend to do things in groups rather than as individuals. Unfortunately, this also seems to apply in the way we tend to exclude others “who are not like us” using the flimsiest excuse or reason. As it is, our social structures already provide more than enough demographical divisions that are sadly often used as walls to insulate or isolate people, or put them into specific hierarchical classifications. It is as if some people are made of better stuff than others. There’s economic status, of course. Let’s face it, despite all that gobbledygook about how everyone is supp…

Can you relate?

While waiting for my class to begin, I decided to pop the DVD into my MacBook and promptly got hooked on "The Big Bang Theory."  I don't remember laughing as hard over a sitcom since...well, probably Absolutely Fabulous.  Big Bang Theory is about four nerds trying to cope with the mundane aspects of life.  
I was a certified nerd in College (I probably still am today, hehehe) and could relate with many of  the situations in the sitcom.  I'm probably Sheldon.


This was my column yesterday.
Too much attention, most of it fully deserved, is now being heaped on The Reader—both the film starring Kate Winslet, David Kross, and Ralph Fiennes, and the book written by Bernhard Schlink and translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway. Winslet won an acting award for the film at the recent Golden Globes Awards and is a shoo-in for the Oscars. The book was an international bestseller and was one of Oprah Winfrey’s picks for the year. I read the book over the holidays and looked forward to the film mainly because I wanted to find out if another art form would be able to provide better treatment of such a complex material. I watched the film over the weekend and while I was awed with the astounding filmmaking, I came out of the experience more troubled—and with more questions. Of course it can be argued that this is probably the exact reaction that the film intended to create among its audience. If so, then the film succeeded. The Reader is not a fil…

Slumdog millionaire

I watched two films over this weekend: The Reader starrring Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes and David Kross, and Slumdog Millionaire starring Dev Patel. I meant to write about both films for my column tomorrow, but I got carried away with my reactions to The Reader. Before I knew it, I had already written enough for a column. So my column tomorrow will just be about The Reader.

Which doesn't mean Slumdog Millionaire is less affecting compared to The Reader.

A friend told me last week that he had watched Slumdog and immediately felt bad because he know the film would create a splash at the Oscars. "Maiiwanan na naman tayo ng India" was his lament. I still had to watch Slumdog at that point, so I held back on the commentary.

I got to watch Slumdog Friday night and was promptly blown by the visual feast. I had one word for it: Kaleisdoscope that actually works. How the director, the cinematographer, the production designer, and the editor managed to produce a coherent piec…

Despair and liberation

This is my column today.
If we are to believe the daily dose of bad news issued by the Department of No Labor and Unemployment, we are still losing a lot of jobs every day and a lot more will be lost in the next few months. Oh, they do go through the motions of assuaging our fears and frustrations by saying that some jobs are available. And then they go back into prophet-of-doom-and-gloom mode by declaring that the number of jobs that will be lost will far outnumber the available jobs, so far. I have already ranted about this kind of defeatist attitude in the past. Difficult times like these require transformational leadership. Instead, we seem to have leaders who may as well be progenies of Ziggy, the cartoon character with the “We’re not gonna make it, we’re going to fail” mantra. Fortunately, we still have the likes of National Economic Development Authority Secretary Ralph Recto who seems to be the only Cabinet member in this administration with something else between his ears ot…

Flash Gordon

This is my column today.It’s been quite some time since I last heard Senator Richard Gordon deliver a formal speech. Like most everyone else, I’ve only been catching snippets of the Atenista senator in television coverage of some Senate hearings, which unfortunately, often shows the senator in various stages of agitation and exasperation. Needless to say the images are often unflattering because quite frankly, very few people look good—or for that matter, dignified- when they are about to commit the equivalent of verbal homicide.If it is any consolation, at least Senator Gordon has not been caught throwing a monstrous tantrum, flailing around like a spoiled child, and striking blindly at anyone within reach. Or, okay, at least not yet.I have forgotten just how eloquent and engaging he is or can be as a public speaker. Or how infinitely more intelligent—at least sensible—he is compared to the other people who walk the corridors of power in this country, including his colleagues in the …