Posts

Showing posts from August, 2014

Grace and geeks

This is my column today, August 31, 2014.


I am not a fan of Senator Grace Poe, but I must grant that what she did last Friday gave the concept of “senate investigation” more gravitas. As acting chairperson of the Senate sub-committee on public services which is due to start its investigation on the state of public transportation in Metro Manila, Poe took an MRT train to work Friday.  Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya did the same a few days ago, but he took the easy way out.  Abaya rode the MRT train at about 1:00 pm, which is not rush hour.  He also had aides who made sure the secretary was not unduly inconvenienced (someone reported that ordinary commuters were even asked to wait until Abaya was inside a train).  Unlike Abaya, the senator took the MRT during rush hour.  She lined up for forty minutes at the busiest station, the North Station, bought tickets herself, and boarded the train without the usual “assistance” extended to public officials.  MRT officials tried to …

Pusong Pinoy

This is my column today, August 26, 2014.  We marked another cultural milestone Sunday night when the big winner of a local television show that claimed to celebrate and proclaim everything authentically Pinoy (thus the title of the show Pinoy Big Brother) was… a non-Pinoy!  Japanese-Brazilian model Daniel Matsunaga snatched the million-peso prize money and the title of being the ultimate Pinoy na nagpakatotoo (most authentic Pinoy).  There was much rejoicing… and as people came to their senses, the usual attempt at justifying and explaining what just happened. I like Daniel Matsunaga.  In the few episodes of the show that I watched, he did seem like the most amiable and the most mature person on the show although it can certainly be argued that he probably had the most experience in dealing with different - and difficult - people as a model who had worked in countries not his own.  He was also, I think, older among those that were left in the Big Brother house.  And okay, the chisele…

Exploiting kids

This is my column today, August 24, 2014.


I am surprised that not a single member or faction of the people that comprise the moral police in this country has spoken about the blatant child abuse, the level of duplicity, and the shameless exploitation that is happening in the local television show Pinoy Big Brother.  It is possible that the shenanigans that have been happening in the show are not registering in the radar since I understand many people have already stopped watching the show after the more interesting people were voted out and after that fiasco when a female PBB housemate was “pressured” to pose for a nude painting.  It’s also possible that people are now experiencing moral fatigue given the many morally questionable decisions that have been made by our leaders recently, all in the name of furthering the supposed moral fight. I catch some episodes of the show when I am home and having late dinner or coffee, or when interacting with kith and kin in our kitchen where the t…

Why another six years is a bad idea

This is my column today, August 19, 2014.


We are told that the friends and allies of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III are now laying the groundwork to ensure that the machinations to amend the Constitution and consequently, to enable Aquino to run for a second term, become successful.  Aquino should be very, very wary.  With friends and allies like that, who needs enemies? Quite frankly, Aquino would be crazy to want another term.  The writing on the wall is as clear as day—all the odds are not in the President’s favor this time around.  The friends and allies who want Aquino to remain as President beyond 2016 are not really thinking of what is good for the President, or for the country.  They are simply thinking about themselves.   Let’s be blunt here:  The chances of putative administration candidate Mar Roxas winning in 2016 is very slim.  Thus, the only way they can continue to wield power and influence is to retain Aquino in the Palace.  That is the only logical reason for …

DOTC cannot fix anything

This is my column today, August 17, 2014.


A friend who swears by folk beliefs thinks that we have accumulated quite an enormous backlog of negative karma in the last two years that the ghosts  that are supposed to be rampaging around this time of the year (we are right smack in the middle of the Ghost Month according to the Chinese calendar) are being particularly harder on us.  She thinks that Wednesday’s accident involving a MRT train that got derailed, crashed into a barrier, and barreled down on to street level of a very busy intersection last Wednesday, hurting scores of people and stranding tens of thousands of commuters, was just a harbinger of more unfortunate events that will unfold.  I told her I wished that the complications we face as a country and as a people were truly that easy to unravel and diagnose.  Hungry ghosts we can pacify with offerings of food and prayers. But what do we do with problems caused by a government agency that is simply unable to fix anything? The …

Bullying the Deaf

This is my column today, August 12, 2014.


The latest victim of cyber bullying was Mininio Buhat, a student of the De La Salle -College of St. Benilde, who was crucified in social networking sites last week over a status message she posted in her Facebook account.  The status message was shot through with grammatical errors and people immediately jumped at the opportunity to ridicule, mock, and bash her.  Many people gleefully reposted her status message making various rejoinders that basically turned her into an object of shame and ridicule.  Some comments were downright mean and cruel such as the one that told her to “hang herself.”  The orgy of bashing and shaming could have continued unabated had film director Mike Sandejas not intervened.  Sandejas suspected that Buhat was Deaf based on how the message was constructed.  Hearing impaired people, particularly those who have been born Deaf, stress key concepts rather than use complete sentences.  Obviously, English is something that …

Stories from a medical mission

This is my column today, August 10, 2014.


She sat in the back row and quietly waited for her turn, aided by a badly sunburned young man in tattered shorts and tank tops.  We had actually already stopped taking in new patients because those that were already in line to see a doctor was already more than enough for the remaining hour.  But there was something in her eyes that struck me—she looked like a deeply wounded animal valiantly struggling to get up and live.  The young man was a tricycle driver who had just learned about the medical mission, ran home, bundled her ailing mother to come to the medical mission.  She had been having pain in her belly for almost a year already and since six months ago, she noticed that her lower abdomen was swelling.  She was steadily losing weight and was unable to do certain body functions properly.  The first and only doctor she went to pressed a stethoscope to her chest and abdomen and pronounced that she was retaining water in her system; she was…

Intellectualizing poverty

This is my column today, August 5, 2014.


Since the hoopla over the buzz and the frills around the President’s 2014 State of the Nation Address - such as what was worn by whom, how many times people applauded and for what, and why the Presidential sisters wept, ad nauseum - have now died down, we now witness the attempts to focus on the more substantive parts of the President’s report.  I know that there are sectors who think the post-SONA discussions border on nitpicking, but I think that the discussion over the accuracy of the figures presented and the attempts to separate truth from the embellished facts are all necessary in the exercise of democracy.  Like many others, I am particularly interested in finding out exactly how the government arrived at the 24.9 poverty rate that the President bragged about in his SONA.  Other groups cite higher rates - exactly how much higher seems to be dependent on the particular agenda of the group or person making the claim.  Poverty is obviously …

A work in progress

This is my column today, August 3, 2014.


There were a number of things about the President’s fifth State of the Nation Address last Monday that I felt needed to be rebuffed and refuted – such as the government’s tall tale about quick, effective, and compassionate response during the Yolanda crisis – but I must say that overall, I found this SONA a much improved effort compared to previous ones.  If the President continues with his hopefully newfound stride, the nation should see the rise of Benigno S. Aquino, the statesman and President of all Filipinos.  Of course the President highlighted the supposed achievements of his administration.  What leader in his right mind would deliver a report card that is short on accomplishments?  I am surprised that many people still find this part of the annual SONA objectionable.  I have no doubt that the figures and dates the President cited were all accurate; just that the interpretation of some of the data was clearly skewed and there was lots o…