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Showing posts from August, 2011

Women in the workplace

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
I was asked by Zontians to sit at a panel to discuss education and the job market for women at their international conference last week at the Hotel Sofitel. The main speaker at the panel was renowned advocated of women’s issues, Commission on Higher Education chairperson Patricia Licuanan. Three of us—an academician from the Ateneo de Manila University, a science and technology advocate, and myself—were asked to pick points from Licuanan’s talk and to present what we feel were the challenges facing women in the area of education and employment.The consensus derived at the discussion was that women have indeed come a long way in their struggle to achieve equal opportunities in education and the workplace, but that a number of challenges remain.In response to a comment from one of the participant, I (as the only male panelist and in fact the only male person in the whole room aside from the production people of the c…

Up close, not personal

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
Last Monday I wrote about my impressions of the Kadayawan Festival held in Davao City last week. The occasion also provided an opportunity for me to observe at close range the public behaviors of certain politicians who have been in the news lately.I was actually in Davao for a conference where the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies was the honorable mayor of the City, Sara Duterte, more popularly referred to as Inday Sara (for those unfamiliar with the nuances of the Visayan culture, Inday is both an honorific and endearment title. Thus it denotes both social status and supposedly a measure of charisma). Duterte shot to national prominence a couple of months ago on account of a very public display of temper—she pummeled a sheriff in front of her constituents and in full view of television cameras who were more than happy to record every single millisecond of the incident. What triggered the incident was the …

Notes on the Kadayawan

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
Climate change—and its profound impact—was an issue that was palpable all throughout the celebration of the Kadayawan festival over the weekend in Davao City. I was in Davao City for a conference, which luckily for me, coincided with the celebration of what is dubbed as the “king of festivals” (what can I say, even the various festivals in the country have to have their own advertising taglines nowadays). Secretary Lualhati Antonino of the Mindanao Development Authority was asked to speak at the conference about the business outlook for the island and she devoted a considerable amount of time talking about the impact of climate change on a land that is mostly agricultural. She eventually talked about her pet project to save the environment, which I hope to write about in the near future. Of all industries, it is agriculture that is probably affected the most by climate change. Plants suffer the most from prolong…

Postscripts to a resignation

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.

Parts of this piece were written two weeks ago. However, I didn’t submit it for publication immediately because as you will discover, my reaction to Juan Miguel Zubiri’s resignation as senator was not really nice. Iit bordered on disgust, and I didn’t want to rain on the parade the senator organized for himself. Although I knew it was going to be a Herculean task, I wanted to try to keep an open mind. I tried to see the silver lining that some people kept chirping about. I truly wanted to give Zubiri the benefit of the doubt. I even tried to empathize with the melodramatic posturing of the Zubiri womenfolk.Unfortunately, his resignation rankled because it dripped of hypocrisy.He thundered pompously in his farewell speech: “Without admitting any fault and with my vehement denial of the alleged electoral fraud hurled against me, I am submitting my resignation as a duly elected Senator of the Republic of the Philippine…

A splendid production

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.Someone once told me that there are no coincidences in life; that everything happens for a specific reason. So perhaps it was destined that on the same week that the Cultural Center of the Philippines was forced to close down its Main Gallery where Mideo Cruz’s art installation Poleteismo was on exhibit, the two cultural productions that were onstage could also be interpreted as scathing commentaries on religious or clerico-fascism.Showing at the Little Theatre until August 28 is the musical adaptation of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere (music by Ryan Cayabyab, libretto by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, costume design by National Artist Salvador Bernal, direction by Audie Gemora). Everybody in this country knows what the Noli is about and its role in inspiring a revolution against the abuses of Spanish friars and the subsequent call for freedom against all kinds of oppression including religious.We are celebrating…

A test of faith

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.

I got caught up over the weekend in a really emotional discussion about “Polytheism,” the art installation currently on display until August 21 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was a lopsided discussion, with me being the sole person who had an “open mind” about the art installation.As can be expected, the discussion really didn’t turn out well with two of my friends taking “personal offense” at several issues: First, at what they believed was a blasphemous attack on their faith; Second, at the seeming disrespect for the sensitivities and feelings of many—not all, certainly—Catholics who have made their objections to the art installation; and third, at the blanket denunciation of their inability to see things from a wider, more-encompassing and inclusive perspective.I was sorely tempted to get personal as well; enough to mention that among everyone present in that discussion I was the only one who actua…

A series of unfortunate events

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
Before August 3, 2011, Christopher Lao lived a normal existence. He lived a relatively quiet life as just one among us ordinary mortals. He was simply a guy trying hard to balance the many demands of being a law student, frantically reviewing for the Bar exams, being a husband and a father. On that fateful Wednesday, he was just a motorist trying to get to someplace else when forces of man and nature threw him a challenge that unfortunately didn’t turn out to be an opportunity for him to showcase his better side. He tried to maneuver his car across a flooded street, got hopelessly caught in the floodwaters. To add to the aggravation, had his misfortune recorded by a television reporter who serendipitously happened to be in the same place at the same time.Nobody really knew what triggered the outburst that made him an instant Internet sensation - probably embarrassment, helplessness, fury, rising sense of futility. T…

Poisoned blood

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.

I don’t want to cause unnecessary panic by focusing on this piece of news that some dailies picked up over the weekend, but it’s a piece of news that is quite alarming for many reasons.The Department of Health has revealed over the weekend that 32 out of 118 donated blood packs—that’s 27 percent of blood donations made to the national blood donation program last month—tested positive for HIV. The results were confirmed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, which acts as the country’s main research and laboratory center for HIV/AIDS.Let me be very clear about this though: I do not think that we should start worrying about possible HIV infections from blood transfusions sourced from the blood donation program of the DOH. This should not be the cause of alarm.If we really come to think about it, that piece of news validates something that should assuage our fears: The government is doing a good job in terms …

An exhaustible source of magic

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
It all ends. This was the main blurb—and the whole essence—of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which opened in theaters worldwide the other week. This movie had farewell written all over it and did so with a flourish.The movie brought to an end a phenomenon that has preoccupied billions of people for almost two decades now. Harry Potter is considered the most successful franchise in history. The mere wait for all seven books to come out one after the other was already a major story in itself worth telling and retelling—I know quite a number of people who counted the days and the hours for each of the book to be released. As can be expected, the making and the subsequent release of each of the eight movies were also widely anticipated. Thus, the reverential attention to Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part 2, at least among loyal muggles (non-magical creatures; and if you needed the translation, …