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Showing posts from December, 2011

Unfinished business

This was my column on December 28, 2011. This post is antedated in the interest of keeping this blog better organized. The interlude between Christmas and New Year is opportune time to look back on the year that was and to ponder what is in store for the coming year. Around this time every year I usually reflect on the great and the not-so-great things that happened during the year and try—the operative term is try—to come up with resolutions.A number of great things did happen in 2011 despite the lackluster performance of the Aquino administration in the areas of pump-priming the economy, getting critical programs the necessary boost, and even in terms of getting important legislation passed.A number of global experts has offered relatively grim prognosis for the Philippine economy in 2012 on account of a combination of global and domestic factors although the government has remained oblivious to the threat and to the projections. We are being told that the government will hit the gr…

Remembrance and thanksgiving

This was my column on December 26, 2011. This post is antedated in the interest of keeping this blog better organized.I personally get a little emotional during Christmas Eve and upon waking up on Christmas day itself because it’s when the memories of Christmases past come rushing back.There is something about family gatherings on Christmas Eve that bring a tear to the eye even in the midst of the pandemonium and chaos of ensuring that the dinner table is groaning from the weight of the feast and that the gifts under the tree are all accounted for. These are the moments that make all the aggravations of the season—the traffic, the long lines at the mall, the crazy schedules—all worth it.No matter how late we stay up on Christmas eve for the traditional Noche Buena and for the merrymaking that usually follows the feast, I have always woken up very early on Christmas morning because that was when my beloved grandmother and I would spend our special time together—just her and me, her fav…

Christmas amid a tragedy

This post is antedated.I know people who still cannot comprehend how the flash flood in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City in Mindanao and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental in the Visayas that claimed hundreds of—perhaps even more than a thousand—lives could have happened. The death toll has been steadily rising and grim pictures of the devastation are making people shake their heads in disbelief. That the tragedy happened in the run up towards Christmas magnifies the pain. This is supposed to be a season of joy and rejoicing; this is not supposed to be a time of tragedy.My friends from Cagayan de Oro recounted how unprepared everyone is in this city for this kind of tragedy. I know. We are a country that does not believe in preparations; but our brothers and sisters in Mindanao even more so. Cagayan de Oro—and the whole of Mindanao—is not usually along the path of typhoons. Of course some people have been giving dire warnings about flash floods being a possibility in an area where f…

Neither black nor white

This post is antedated. That was quite a mouthful the irrepressible Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago unleashed last week during a confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments.Of course we have come to expect the senator to constantly amaze, dumbfound and even amuse us with her trademark feistiness and distinct eloquence. But last week’s lecture on theology, Manichean philosophy and populist philosophy during the confirmation hearing of Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman was classic.We are truly going to miss Senator Santiago when she packs up and relocates to the Netherlands in March next year, when she assumes the highly coveted post as one of six judges of the International Criminal Court. Santiago is the first Asian woman from a developing state to get a seat in the ICC. The woman is in a class all her own, and no one has yet come close to duplicating her famous outbursts. We will just have to get used to seeing the dour faces and monotonous drawl of our other senator…

Because they can

This post is antedated.I’ve been asked many times this question in the last few weeks: Where do I stand in the midst of all these frenzied efforts to exact judgment at whatever cost and through whatever means possible?The honest answer, which I have so far kept unarticulated until this writing, is that I view the whole sordid chain of events with pained resignation.We’ve been down this road before and so far I haven’t seen any indication in the last few weeks that things would be different this time around. We still saw the same tactical mistakes that were committed in the past. They painfully illustrated just how easy it is for people in this country to bend rules in their favor when the situation calls for it and rile and flail around when others do it to benefit themselves. To my mind, it is the same kind of power play that marked the mad rush to judgment was still prevalent; the same smug attitude of the victors gloating over the prospects of seeing a vanquished foe reduced to a p…

Breaking traditions

This post is antedated.The season for partying, exchanging gifts, and endless binging on food and booze is upon us.We’ve read all the dire warnings from experts: More cases of cardiac arrests, hospitalization for hypertension, and ironically, suicide, happen during this season of merrymaking.Unfortunately, resisting temptation is particularly more difficult during a season when everyone makes an effort to be nicer and more generous.How exactly do you say no to bosom childhood friends you only get to see once a year?How does one disengage from a reunion with relatives who travel kilometers to bask in the warmth of familial ties?Who has the heart and the, well, stomach to say no to former officemates who made life under the worst kind of boss more bearable?So we show up at parties, line up at buffet tables, play yet another round of Pinoy Henyo and yet another variation of musical chairs, and yes, guzzle vats of alcohol like there’s no tomorrow; diets and medical conditions be damned. A…

Happy Holidays

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.When a friend groaned last year about how the movable holidays that produced long weekends—which, by the way was yet another one of the long and growing list of “sins” of the Arroyo administration—have become a thing of the past given the Aquino administration’s supposed adherence to stronger work ethics, I told my friend not to fret. I assured him that it was just a matter of time before the practice got resurrected in some form.I am a human resource management professional whose job description includes keeping a keen eye on holiday proclamations because of their impact on compensation and work schedules. Based on experience, I know that no leader can keep his or her hands off from tinkering with holidays. Our leaders may hem and haw and go through the motions of bal…

Oblivious and prejudiced

This post is antedated. This was my column December 5, 2011.I have long ago stopped listening to Abigail Valte, supposedly deputy presidential spokesperson, because I still have to catch her saying something that makes sense, or failing that, at least something that I don’t already know from reading the papers or watching the news.Every single time the woman is asked a question, she prefaces her answer with “as far as I know” or “based on what I know” which, if we really come to think about it doesn’t really inspire confidence. This is particularly since half the time she is simply regurgitating stuff that has already been said by another government official. The rest of the time, Valte tries to “think aloud” by issuing motherhood statements that doesn’t really reveal anything newsworthy, or every remotely noteworthy. Her stock answer amounts to something like “As far as I know, that topic is of major concern for the government and of course we will look into that.”Of course many peo…