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Showing posts from November, 2009

Elections and Christmas

This was my column last Wednesday, November 25.
I meant to write about the arrival of the grandest circus of all—also called elections in the Philippines. Since last week, we’ve been bombarded with all kinds of amazing stunts such as instant and dramatic changing of political colors, major comedy acts, etc. I’ve taken note of the astounding feats achieved by many of our politicians in the area of logical acrobatics as well as of the incredible turnarounds—in some cases, complete 180-degree turns—in terms of what is being passed off as political ideology. There’s even a lot of drama of the soap opera variety that’s out there; not to mention the antics of the clowns that want to become president of the Philippines even if they have no party, no resources, no qualification, not even fare money to and from the Commission on Elections. It’s a grand circus, indeed.However, commenting on the absurdity of the whole thing seems incongruous at this point given the fact that dozens were massacred…

Farewell, Victor

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This is my column today.
Renato Victor Ebarle Jr. was at the prime of his life; barely 27 years old and just starting to build his career in human resource management. At the time of his death, he was recruitment manager of the Hotel Peninsula Manila. To say that he still had the whole world ahead of him sounds like a cliché but those among us who actually knew him, those among us who were aware of the kind of passion he had for life and for his work, people like me who had the privilege of having been consulted by him on many professional matters, know this with a certain degree of certainty.I was Victor’s professor in three major subjects when he was in college. In each one of them, he sat at the first row, which said a lot about the kind of person he was. Professors know this for a fact: Bullies don’t sit in front of the class where they cannot annoy anyone.I was his thesis adviser and he and his team spent a whole academic school year trying to break new grounds on the question of …

Goodnight, Victor

There was a part of me that suspected it was him. How many people would have the same name?
But it just didn't sound like he would be involved in something senseless like that so I refused to believe it was him. I was in denial.
I interacted with the guy for three years. He was my thesis advisee so I met him practically every other day for a grand total of three terms (about 14 months). Actually he and his team were supposed to work on their thesis for only two terms but, well, I felt they weren't ready so I deferred them for one term. In addition, he had the misfortune of being under me in three other courses.
Because I can only accept one or at most two groups every year as advisees, I end up having this special relationship with my thesis advisees. They become like my own children and I become quite protective of them.
Victor Ebarle Jr was killed Wednesday night in a road rage incident involving the stepson of an official of the Asian Development Bank. I am sure you …

Politics by affinity

This is my column today.
I’ve been traveling to my home province of Leyte a lot in the last few weeks. No, it’s not because I am running for public office although like most everyone else with some kind of pseudo popularity I also have been asked to run by some well-meaning individuals and groups. I’ve been going home mostly for work but these trips have been quite insightful in the light of political developments shaping up in the province in the run up to 2010.It seems this idea of change in politics is something that a lot of people are taking seriously because there seems to be a mad race to get as many “new names” as possible into the political arena. The problem is that many people are taking the clarion call rather literally—they interpret the need for change as the opportunity to recruit fresh faces as candidates, including those without any inclination or aptitude for politics or public service. The general attitude is that anyone who is not a politician or has not run for p…

Bigotry of the highest order

This is my column today.
In 2007, Ang Ladlad, a group fighting for the welfare of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders was denied party-list accreditation by the Commission on Elections on the grounds that it didn’t have national representation. The Comelec required proof that there were lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people across the land. The denial, based on technicality, rankled because surely one has to be blind, deaf and stupid not to realize that Ang Ladlad’s constituency can be found anywhere and everywhere in this archipelago. True, not all of them are registered members of Ang Ladlad; but then again not all Filipinos pay taxes, vote, or get residence certificates to qualify as Filipinos.Last week, the Comelec denied anew Ang Ladlad’s petition for party-list accreditation. This time the poll body didn’t hide behind technicalities. The three commissioners who signed the decision, namely, Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph, didn’t…

Busy

For the third time in three years, I missed a column today. Lonnng story. Sorry

Absurdity

This was my column last Monday, November 9.
As Yul Brynner thundered in the musical The King and I: “It’s… a… puzzlement!”Most can’t wait to get rid of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Yet strangely, there’s also this rather perverse, almost insane attention already bordering on fixation, around her political plans after her term as President expires in 2010.In fact, I would even venture to say that many are indulging her or her allies this fairy tale fantasy that there still remains some semblance of a high-profile political career for her and that she could still continue to wield power after she steps down as President. The initial talk was that of Arroyo becoming prime minister. When that didn’t work, the talk shifted to her becoming Representative of a district in Pampanga en route to becoming presumably Speaker of the House, and in the event Charter change gets through the gauntlet that is the Philippine Senate, prime minister. The buzz last week was that of Arroyo settling for the vice …

MIxed feelings

This was my column yesterday, November 4, 2009.
The ad opens with dried leaves around a bonfire being swept by winds while the first notes of a haunting melody fade in. The camera then focuses on the burning flames, a resplendent conflagration of yellow, as a pensive Regine Velasquez—also in yellow, must I say it—begins to sing about the need for unity in these dark, difficult times.What follows is a montage of shots of various celebrities in trademark yellow—from Sharon Cuneta, to Ai-Ai de las Alas, to Boy Abunda, to Kris Aquino, to Anne Curtis, to Ogie Alcasid (who wrote the song), to Dingdong Dantes, to James Yap and what looks like the Philippine Team (a friend cattily remarked that the only people missing in that ad were the Lopezes, the Gozums and Mother Lily Monteverde)—and people supposedly representing Filipinos from all walks of life passing on the flame from one torch to another until the whole landscape is ablaze with the fire of a thousand torches.At various strategic poin…

Yet another holiday snafu

This is my column today.
Just because some people have had ample experience in administering something does not mean they get better at it; or that they actually learn while doing it. Put another way, some people not only do not learn, they actually get worse each time.In case you haven’t heard, or are still in denial because you have already made plans for Nov. 27 to 30 (such as booking non-refundable hotel and travel arrangements), here’s some news for you: Nov. 27 and 28 are no longer holidays.Yes, you read right. Six months after the fact was announced, Malacañang did a quick turnaround and took it back Friday last week. Nov. 30, Andres Bonifacio Day, is still a holiday, though; and if it wasn’t for the fact that Nov. 30 falls on a Monday, I am sure they would have loved to mess with it, too—moved it to another day or did something totally incomprehensible.Some people in power tried to make light of this recent snafu by saying that the Palace simply shortened the erstwhile four-day…

Yet another holiday snafu

This is my column today.
Just because some people have had ample experience in administering something does not mean they get better at it; or that they actually learn while doing it. Put another way, some people not only do not learn, they actually get worse each time.In case you haven’t heard, or are still in denial because you have already made plans for Nov. 27 to 30 (such as booking non-refundable hotel and travel arrangements), here’s some news for you: Nov. 27 and 28 are no longer holidays.Yes, you read right. Six months after the fact was announced, Malacañang did a quick turnaround and took it back Friday last week. Nov. 30, Andres Bonifacio Day, is still a holiday, though; and if it wasn’t for the fact that Nov. 30 falls on a Monday, I am sure they would have loved to mess with it, too—moved it to another day or did something totally incomprehensible.Some people in power tried to make light of this recent snafu by saying that the Palace simply shortened the erstwhile four-day…