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Showing posts from December, 2010

Traditions

This was my column on the date indicated above.
I am writing this piece in a nipa hut in the middle of rice fields somewhere in the middle of the island of Leyte in the Visayas.That there is Internet connection here is a source of amazement to me. The speed of the connection is horribly slow by Metro Manila standards—it’s the metaphorical equivalent of someone furiously pedaling on a bicycle in an expressway. But the point is that there is Internet connection, thank you very much.My teenage nephews and nieces exchange knowing looks and snicker away, reminding me pointedly that they have been chatting with me and leaving messages for me in Facebook since last year. I’ve always assumed they traveled 60 kilometers to an Internet café in Tacloban City to surf the net and update their Facebook accounts. The observation cracked them up even more. I guess that kind of physical effort is incomprehensible to kids today. They couldn’t believe I used to walk three kilometers to school every day w…

Hope for 2011

This was my column on the date indicated above.
The results of a recent Pulse Asia survey said that roughly nine out of ten Filipinos are hopeful that the coming new year will bring better opportunities for them and their families.Actually, the results of this year’s survey mirrored the results of similar surveys conducted in previous years, which seem to indicate that the holiday cheer may have a dramatic effect on people’s perceptions about their lives and their future. But that, really, is another story. For now, the story is that media actually picked up the results of the survey! And even more surprisingly, media organizations and individuals renowned for being allergic to good news actually went to town with that particular story.I couldn’t help but notice this trend. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, supposedly the daily with the largest circulation in the country, still resembles a huge tabloid on most days but at least it has toned down the negative reporting since their candidat…

In the spirit of the season

This was my column on the date indicated above.
A most recurring observation that I kept hearing from various people in this particular season of peace on earth and goodwill to all men was this thing about how the jolly fat man in a red suit has become the foremost symbol of the season instead of the baby in the manger.The Church has even come out with an official statement admonishing people to put out a belen in their homes as part of their Christmas décor; short of saying that those color-coordinated Christmas trees and those paper mache figures of Santa Claus in various stages of mischief and repose (you’ve seen Santa climbing a rope or aboard a calesa but have you seen Santa on a bathtub?) are trendy and cute but that they miss the real essence of the celebration.I have no problem with keeping our perspectives about Christmas in check. I’ve also been saying the same thing in these last many years. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to compete with the advertising and merchandisin…

Being Mr. Scrooge

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This was my column on the date indicated above.
On the same week that Hubert Webb got acquitted, former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos got vindicated and got some sequestered properties back while the case against Hayden Kho was dismissed purportedly because it was impossible for Katrina Halili - one of many girls who got victimized - not to have noticed that a camera was recording the whole thing.I’ve always been ambivalent about the Webb case because I didn’t – couldn’t – buy the theory that the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case was caused by the influence of former Senator Freddie Webb. There’s only so much influence can do in this country particularly when media attention is focused on a case. Besides, it’s not as if Lauro Vizconde didn’t have influence as well.The former first lady continues to maintain that her family did not steal the government and the Filipino people blind during the Marcos dictatorship. She said that the Olot Tolosa property in Leyte that was returned …

Football and politics

This was my column on the date indicated above.
The Philippine National Men’s Football Team, the Azkals, got into the semifinals of the 2010 Suzuki Cup. It’s the first time the national team advanced to the semis in the 14-year history of the cup. Actually, it’s probably the best performance ever by a Philippine football team.Suddenly, everyone in this country is a football fan. I am not complaining, though. I have always kept the belief that we are better suited for sports like football (or okay, soccer if you think the Americans are correct on this one). Why we continue to be crazy over basketball when we clearly are at a disadvantage because of our height limitations is really puzzling. I’ve always maintained that we have better chances in football.Media has finally taken notice of the Azkals and has deemed the team’s performance front-page material in the last two weeks. About time, really. Unfortunately, and this is a really sad commentary on the way we manage things in this cou…

Holidays and condoms

This was my column on the date indicated above.
I would like to appeal to the bright boys at the Palace to already make a pronouncement this early on whether or not President Benigno Simeon Aquino is inclined to uphold Proclamation No. 1841 issued by his predecessor on July 21, 2009.Proclamation 1841 specified the regular holidays, special non-working days, and special holidays for all schools for the year 2010.Specifically, it set the following dates as holidays during this Christmas season: December 24 (Friday) as additional special non-working day, December 27 (Monday) in lieu of December 30 which is Rizal Day, and December 31, last day of the year. It is important for the Palace to make the clarification this early because the dates are critical. If the Palace intends to uphold Arroyo’s proclamation, then employees are guaranteed two long weekends during the Christmas season: Four days during the Christmas weekend, and another three days during the New Year weekend.Actually, most h…

Man-made

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This was my column on the date indicated above.
We know Christmas is around the corner because there are a lot of things associated with the season that begin to manifest themselves around this time of the year such as those ubiquitous twinkling lights and lanterns. Sadly, no thanks to global warming, we haven’t been waking up to nippy mornings yet despite the fact that we’re almost in the middle of December.But there is one thing associated with this season that has only become more evident and correspondingly, more vexing this year: Traffic! Monstrous, gigantic, humongous traffic jams!It’s the one reminder that jolts everyone to the reality that celebrating this season of love and sharing come with a price. I think it is safe to assume that most are willing to bear the monetary cost. Having the fortitude to endure certain inconveniences—particularly those that are really avoidable—is another thing altogether.We know traffic in Metro Manila shifts from bad to worse around this time of…

Mindboggling

This was my column on the date indicated above.
What would you do with more than half a billion pesos? This was the question that was foremost in people’s minds in the last couple of weeks. I had my own list of stuff I would have done with the money but that’s all really wishful thinking.The final pot reached P741million —the biggest jackpot in the history of Philippine lotto - Monday night. It was won by a single bettor who was supposed to have placed his bet in Olongapo City.The range of reactions to the windfall that befell one person was stupefying. There were those who openly wished that person—whoever he or she is—well and hoped nothing untoward would happen to him or her. Apparently there is not a single person in this country that believes the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office can keep the winner’s identity under wraps. I know some people who felt animosity for the lucky fellow as if that person took away something that had already their names on it.But I guess it is safe t…