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Showing posts from October, 2011

When there is smoke

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
The rumor that was spreading like wildfire last week was that certain elements in the military were restive and were on the verge of staging a coup d’etat. I know. How very eighties, right? Uso pa ba yun? (are coups still in vogue?)When someone sent me a text message “warning” me about an impending coup d’etat, my immediate reaction was to dismiss the rumor as the brainchild of someone with too much time in his hands. I figured that a coup is not very likely under the current dispensation because of a number of reasons.First, regardless of how anyone feels about the competency level or the sincerity of this Aquino administration, it is difficult to argue with its current popularity. It’s just unthinkable for anyone to even try to wrest control from a government that has achieved, and continues to achieve, approval ratings that reach the stratosphere.Of course, cynics raise an eyebrow and ask what exactly is the subj…

Foolish beyond words

This post is antedated.I am trying to recover the online version of my columns before the Manila Standard Today deletes the archives for 2011.I made the mistake of assuming the archive will be online for five years.Sigh.The norm of reciprocity is clear: You reap what you sow. If you submit a clearly ridiculous idea, of course you get pilloried and ridiculed in the process.So I don’t know what Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto and her minions are complaining about. She was all over television last week expressing exasperation (in Tagalog nanggagaliiti) over what she thought was an “overreaction” to what she thought was a brilliant proposal: Putting up a sign on the slopes of Taal Volcano that proclaims to all and sundry that the volcano and the whole area around it belongs to the province of Batangas.The proponents of the preposterous idea said it was about time that tourists who view Taal volcano from the slopes of Tagaytay City, which offer the best view of the “island within a la…

Saving the towns of Laguna

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.I have been shuttling to San Pablo City and nearby towns in Laguna in the last month and while I continue to be captivated by the many charms of Nagcarlan, Liliw, Majayjay, Cavinti, Luisiana, Los Banos, Bai and Calamba, there is very little doubt that development has arrived in these once rustic towns.There was a time when traveling to, say, Pagsanjan was a relaxing drive across rolling plains of green, or when the ricefields were ripe for harvesting, swathes of orange and gold. I remember having gone with friends to the town of Liliw some ten years ago to frolic in the cold waters of a river that, we were told, was then still safe to drink. Back then, people dipped right into the river, not in some man-made pool where water from the river had been diverted into by some enterprising person.The changes brought about by development are becoming more and more evident each day, in a pace that has become faster and faste…

Wake up call

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.I was deeply immersed in preparations for a national conference in the last two weeks and I didn’t have time to think about anything else. I still have tons of emails to wade through, but there is one thing that I needed to get out of the way. So to the many friends and readers who cared to send me emails and the links to Geoffrey James Quartermaine Bastin’s scathing blog on Manila, yes, I got your ardent pleas for me to weigh in with my own two cents’ worth.For those happily unaware of this latest tempest to hit the blogosphere, Bastin is a British economist who “has been traveling to the Philippines since 1991.” He recently wrote a scathing piece on Manila in a recent post in a blog (the original link of which, for some strange reason, has been inaccessible since Saturday night). The post went viral and seemed to have hit a raw nerve among many fellow Filipinos who felt that Bastin committed the most grievous of m…

People first

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.Barring any act of God, forces of nature, and other unfortunate events, human resource managers from all over the country will converge at The Atrium of the Limketkai Mall in Cagayan de Oro City at 3:00 in the afternoon today for the annual conference of the People Management Association of the Philippines. The event is the biggest gathering of people managers in the country. This year marks the 48th year that the association is mounting the conference.There are a number of interesting issues that the conference is tackling but before we get to these issues, allow me to tell you about how particularly challenging it has been to put together this year’s conference.First, there were the problems brought about by the visitation of the trio of unwanted visitors, namely Pedring, Quiel, and Ramon. The frustrating part was that we actually chose to hold the PMAP conference in October this year (it used to be held regularly…

Thank you, Steve

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
Add this piece to the thousands of tributes the world has heaped on the memory of Steve Jobs – visionary, marketing genius, innovation guru, maverick businessman, father.“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want the chance to change the world?” he once asked John Sculley, Vice President of Pepsi Cola (Sculley resigned from Pepsi to join Steve Jobs at Apple).Steve Jobs didn’t invent the microcomputer, or digital audio, or even digital video. But there is very little doubt in the world today that he pushed the boundaries and expanded technological frontiers. He changed people’s listening habits with iTunes and iPod, broke new grounds in digital filmmaking through Pixar, introduced products that didn’t pander to populist demands but instead catered to what he thought people needed, etc.Of the many tributes made to the man, the one that probably struck a chord was this eulogy, repo…

Flooded

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.A friend who was recently on board a plane that passed through Central Luzon told me that he almost broke into tears when he saw the extent of the flooding from high up. It looked really sad and desolate, he said. Large swathes of Luzon looked like giant lakes and in many parts one could only make out a few forlorn-looking roofs and the tips of some trees protruding from the waters.We know the flooding in Central Luzon in the last few days has been the worst we’ve seen so far. We know this because we have seen the pictures, we have viewed the videos, and we have heard the plaintive cries for help and deliverance from thousands of victims - many of them soaking wet to the bones, hungry and thirsty, and with fear and panic written all over their faces. I saw this video of a grandmother who was rescued after having been trapped inside her house for two days while the floodwaters were rising around her. She couldn’t …

Not an ordinary labor dispute

This was my column on the date indicated above.This post is antedated.
One of the most frustrating things about the media coverage—and consequently, public perception—of the ongoing Philippine Airlines debacle is the effort to oversimplify the conflict as a simple labor-management dispute.Bias, haste, inability to see the total picture, and just plain lack of information or resourcefulness are just some of the reasons why some media people tend to oversimplify the issue.Of course the Philippine Airlines Employees Association wants to reduce the issue to a few simple and dramatic sound bytes. They know that for as long as they can project the impression that they have been oppressed, that their rights have been wantonly violated, that they just wanted to protect their jobs against the evil machinations of uncaring management, a significant part of the population will take their side. The wildcat strike they pulled off last week, which left thousands of people stranded during a typhoon, …