Ship is Sinking II

Working for a multinational company which most people and employees consider as one of the most stable work places in the country then, I can’t help but compare it now to the Titanic. The day it was built and the very day of its maiden voyage, the Titanic was flaunted and described by its engineers and owners as the biggest and as the unsinkable ship. But they soon found out that it wasn’t meant to be. And so are we.

While I’m not about to dwell on what isn’t clear at this moment yet, I’ve been thinking what if we are all in that gigantic ship when it struck the iceberg. What type of passenger or crew would we be?

Are we the night watch crew who trembled in fear when we realized that we missed informing the bridge of the huge iceberg because we’re so busy watching Jack and Rose making out in the cold?

Are we the economy class passengers who remained clueless of what is going outside because we are located at the ships lower deck?

Are we one of the crews who readily handed out life jackets by prioritizing those in the business class and give the remainder to those in economy?

Are we the ones who surrendered our fate and preferred staying with our kids and love ones until the very end?

Are we the captain who tried to shrug off the crash like it was just a bad dream and later on decided to go down with the ship instead?

Are we the crew who in an attempt to control the passengers from stampede accidentally shot one of them and out of desperation and regret turned the gun on himself?

Are we the lucky ones who got hold of the life boats and turned a blind eye to those hopelessly trying to survive in the frigid waters?

Or are we the band that played on so as to make our very best to entertain those who might have shut their mind to the imminent reality?

In our part, I can’t directly relate to the above mentioned characters but if James Cameron could have had a camera zoom more on the people running

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around, we’d be seen just plainly walking around the ship’s deck, taking our time to enjoy the wonderful cold night sky and entering some of the food halls and ordering the most expensive food available (while wondering why the waiters seem pale). We may even be seen inside the car where Jack and Rose were before the tragedy. Hehe.

Tomorrow is D-day. But once again, Que sera sera.

 

One of the Haters

Don’t you just hate it? This is the title of Lester Dizon’s article two days ago in the Motoring section of Philstar.com. Most of the time I visit this site to check reviews of places to go, people behind the motoring scenes, and of course test drive reports from the stereotyped Korean vehicles to the dream cars such as the BMWs and Subarus–most of the time I’d wonder who happens to afford such luxury in this third world country. Hopefully, none of them are politicians.

Anyway, when I read this one yesterday, I can’t help but share it. (If by any chance this reaches the original author, please advise if you want this blog modified or removed)

“Don’tyou just hate it when you get stuck in rush hour traffic and see some MMDA traffic enforcers just chatting at their posts and the only thing they could do to direct traffic is to lazily wave their hands?

Don’tyou hate it more when, to cope with the spiraling fuel prices, you trade your mid-sized sedan for a sub-compact car only to find that they consume the same amount of fuel because of the heavy traffic?

Don’tyou hate it even more when, to cope with the spiraling fuel prices and to get through the heavy traffic, you trade your car for a motorcycle only to get stuck in a traffic gridlock caused by floods and a sudden downpour at a time when you didn’t bring your raincoat because PAGASA predicted good weather?

Don’tyou just hate it when some driving schools seemingly teach their stu- dents the wrong driving habits like driving slowly on the fast lane and park- ing against the flow of traffic among other traffic violations?

Don’tyou hate it even more when most of the instructors of these driving schools aren’t even certified and that their students contribute to the grow- ing number of discourteous and undisciplined drivers on the road today? Don’t you just hate it when jeepneys, FX taxis and tricycles use the corner of a busy intersection as their terminals and block traffic for more than a kilometer?

Don’tyou hate it more when these jeepneys, FX taxis and tricycles use that corner as their terminal and cause traffic under the watchful eye of an MMDA, police or a local traffic enforcer? Don’t you just hate it when heavily-tinted vehicles with the number “8” on their front plates, which are reserved for congressmen, bully their way through traffic using their sirens, the unauthorized use of which in vehicles other than ambulances, fire trucks and police cars in an emergency has been declared unlawful by the Presi- dent in an Executive Order? Don’t you hate it even more that some of these heavily-tinted vehicles with sirens and the number “8” on their front plates are not actually driven or ridden by congressmen but by their immediate families, their staff or by cronies, who act as if they were the ones elected to public office?

Don’tyou hate it even more when Congress needed to “remind” the LTO through a press conference about the unauthorized use of these number “8” plates and the apprehension of drivers using these official plates instead of purging their ranks of abusive congressmen, congressional personnel, family members and cronies?

Don’tyou just hate it when a government VIP convoy consisting of a heavily-tinted vehicle with flashing lights and sirens, two back-up vehicles filled with armed goons and a couple of motorcycle police escorts bully their way through traffic and violate all known traffic laws that they were sworn to protect and obey?

Don’tyou hate it even more when this bullying VIP convoy is merely escort- ing an abusive government official or a crony to his luxurious home, which was funded from the corrupted taxes of the road users they bullied along the way, just so they can get through the heavy traffic that they caused with their graft and ineptness anyway?

Don’t you hate it even more when these road projects are merely repairs or repaving of existing roads and not the design and construction of new ones to alleviate the worsening traffic in the metropolis and the slow traffic flow around the country, which is choking trade, commerce and the national economy?

Don’t you just hate it when Thailand and Vietnam had licked most of their traffic problems with the construction of new roads or multi-tiered highways and are on the road to economic strength while we couldn’t even get our anomalous road repairs done right?

Don’t you hate it more when Singapore and Malaysia are implementing plans to combat the greenhouse effect of air pollution while the bright boys at MMDA are cutting down healthy trees, which can help minimize air pollution, because these plants “interfere” with the overhead electrical wires and cables?”

Well Mr. Dizon, include me as one of the haters. And of course your article awakened some more personal hatred.

Don’t you just hate it when you hear that Vietnam and Malaysia’s economy is growing while some of the senators are trying to become either CSIs (by doing investigations, most of it fruitless) or hotel wreckers instead of enticing investors for the benefit of every Filipino?

Don’t you just hate it even more when these countries pose a threat to your job as your company builds more factories there while the one they have here in the Philippines gets ignored?

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve been reading the motoring section religiously when in fact you don’t even own a car yet?

Don’t you hate it even more that because of the bickering of these politicians, your chance of owning a car gets slimmer and slimmer?

Patience, patience, patience my friend.

Circus Now Showing on TV

“A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Ang hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” – JR

I was coming from our last graveyard shift this week and upon waking up from a 4-hour deep slumber courtesy of the rain and cold weather, I switched on the TV and was surprised by what I saw. I must still be dreaming. Did the cable channel provider changed programming?  Am I on the History channel? Did my remote control conk out?

While trying to make senses of what’s on the tube, the Live caption on the side of the screen made me realize that what I’m watching is indeed happening real time. Standing in front of the camera is Sen. Trillanes flanked by some personnel, a priest who became famous for running, and a lady thanking the media for their perseverance to stay despite the tear gas bombardment–she doesn’t have to say that, these guys will stay like leeches even if a bomb is about to explode.

This scene greeted me from my wonderful siesta like a post-sleep nightmare. Here we go again. Fill in the blanks: EDSA (type number here).

Besides being pissed by what is actually happening hundreds of kilometers from where I am, I recalled of a then angry Jim Paredes’ post Equal Right to Lawlessness on his blog site wherein I placed the commented: “Jim, so what’s next? Edsa 4?”

 Just like Neo who suspects that a déjà vu occurs when someone is tweaking the Matrix, me thinks that someone out there is calmly running his fingers through the rim of a rum glass, massaging his bearded chin just as this event progresses and most likely while doing a revision of his master plan–conspiracy theories entertain me.

I hate to say this but it looks like we are a bunch of people with 64kb memory–we forget too soon.

***

I’m tired of seeing on TV a cliche of events that would humble even the plot of the telenovelas:

  1. People get angry at the President
  2. TRAPOs gather
  3. People + TRAPOs oust the President
  4. TRAPOs hug and attend mass with bishops.
  5. New President
  6. (Repeat # 1 if necessary)

Only in the Philippines.”

Why?

This is because I am now concluding that behind this Trillanes character is a bigger group (or individuals) so eager to topple the current regime so that they can serve the Filipino people. After all, I believe that this senator (sadly, yes) is a coward and should have never been voted in the first place. But again, we tend to forget.

If we rewind what this ex-soldier and coup-plotter has done, we will see that he’s cowered in hotels to make his point–or the lack of it–known to everyone. (I think it is about time that all hotels run a memorandum to close its doors once they see this man coming in.) So far I could not recall that he’s made a good impression for Philippine hotel economy.

Of course to prove that Trillanes is mainly out there to stir the Edsa spirit, tagging along with him are a number of characters to summon the majority–the so called masses–of the short-minded Filipinos and a bunch of media newscasters willing once again to insult if not to challenge the intellect of the resilient pinoys. Interestingly, Jim Paredes has a blog about it also: 23 tools to brainwash and influence people through mass media:

 

  1. Repetition is key. Repeat important messages as often as possible.

  2. Repetition is key.

  3. Repetition is key.

  4. Bypass rationality by any means People don’t need logic to accept information. Belief is emotional. Always remember: WAR=PEACE.

  5. Remember –- two half-truths make up a whole truth….

So yes, repetition is the key. We all know that tiny drops of water will eventually make an impression on a hard stone. Unfortunately, this is being used for the wrong objective.

So while I’m a few hours away from my birthday, I might as well grab the opportunity to entertain myself with the circus on TV. Who knows, the next time I click on the boob tube a new clown is already out there to serve our beloved nation. Mabuhay!

 

 

Jim’s Country

The internet always fascinates me. Gone are the days when one has to travel far, endure a long queue and rub sweaty faces and armpits just to get near a celebrity to brush elbows with them or, if one gets lucky enough, exchange ideas with them. If that happens, usually it won’t even last for several awkward minutes. Nowadays, to get close to the famous would need only a couple of type away.

I got Jim’s site from my wife’s links. She’s a fan of the singer. From then on I return every now and then to read his posts and I discover more about him than reading from the Song Hits magazines or any other newspapers. His site showcases his talents, ideas, spirituality, fantasies and even his temperament, that is if you can read between the lines. Sometimes though it is just too obvious.

Last night right there was anger in his post. Something that I’ve been also frustrated at for several days already. As I browse through it I find that his frustrations (and evil wishes) are just like any other Filipinos. And the thing about it is that he could care less, let the issue die a natural death and enjoy his comfy Australian residence. But nationalism probably does go beyond borders.

Jim is one of those who actively participated in the EDSA 1 revolution. He also composed Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo as the theme for the post-EDSA 1 Filipino. It would be safe to say he is an idealist. So I do understand where he is coming from. The succession of events that have been going on lately appears like the Filipinos have forgotten again. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the current situation would escalate once again to make the people call for reforms, for a President to step down, for a snap election to happen. Again.  Maybe sooner we would be calling the gods to cast fire unto the Philippines. If we don’t get our acts together, we’ll get it sooner than soon.

It’s interesting that even a man like Jim, who may have stuffed his walk-in closet with awards and accomplishments (or even cash) still gives a damn about what is happening to his country, our country. I wish that someone from the millions of Filipinos would step up as a leader of great integrity and courage to face and eradicate the TRAPOs that seems to multiply in numbers every election.

Tomorrow is barangay election day. Let’s see what happens next.

 

The Ship is Sinking

 

After almost a week of rainfall due to tropical storm Chedeng I was amazed to see the sun once more yesterday. So instead of settling on my seat and trying to get some sleep while on the bus to work, I opened the curtains and tried to savor the afternoon sun.

I was anticipating an interesting ride all the way and was already imagining a beautiful sunset on the horizon. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Even if it did, I didn’t notice it anyway. My daydream unfortunately turned neither to fantasy nor something romantic. The sun rays instead opened my eyes to a depressing sight just a couple of meters from departure at the bus stop until I eventually got to work.

It was actually not the first time that I’ve been pondering on the state of our country every time I’m on my way to work. But yesterday I had a handful. Sadly, a handful of bad observations that made me ask the endless whys.

At the first intersection the lights turned red. I saw the pedestrian overpass’ construction is almost coming to its completion. And just while I was about to ask the cliché “will it ever be used?” a familiar ambulance siren grabbed my attention. Well, someone must be hurt. “God bless him,” I softly uttered as I usually do every time I hear one coming. The wish though was gone too soon. It wasn’t an ambulance but it was coming from scooter rider who sped by and turned left ignoring the red light and the police nearby. What’s more depressing, the police didn’t even made a fuss about it. Not even a radio call for help or an obvious effort to apprehend the erring driver. But then again, he may not even have a radio (or the balls to do so) at all. Speaking of being ill-equipped.

A couple of kilometers after the trip resumed, a colorful bunch of things came into view outside my window. I would really have wished it were blooming flowers yet not. It was a pile of plastic bags and trash irresponsibly tossed and accumulated on one corner of the road. Is poverty a good reason for this insensitive act? I just don’t think so.

I thought I was uncontrollably shaking my head in disgust when I realized it was actually the bus bouncing and weaving left and right of the road to avoid the potholes. Damn. One week of rain made all these? Blame it on the rain then? Milli Vanilli would have said it but not me. I’ve been honestly paying taxes and I know where and when some of it should be spent. Most likely somewhere out there, some politicians and/or contractors must be happily drinking booze and probably counting kickbacks. Screw the road. Cheers!

If it weren’t for the seat belt and the person beside me the preceding event would have sent me into a yoga stance right then and there. Now where is my golden sun? It’s getting dark outside. Figuratively and literally. As if all those weren’t enough, we got stuck in traffic. Another intersection maybe? Breathe in, breathe out. Stay calm. But it’s not. Just outside I saw several public jeepneys on the opposite lane idling and vying for passengers unmindful of the long queue of other vehicles behind them. So why is our lane stuck too? That’s because another mindless driver felt smart enough to counterflow. And surprisingly he isn’t a jeepney driver. He’s driving a shining Honda. He’s smartly dressed. I rest my case.

The sky outside was overcast when we reached the front gate of our campus. Despite the poor lighting the worsening condition of the facilities didn’t escape my eye. In photography, enthusiasts use filters and lenses to capture what they want to achieve. My eye and mind yesterday was like that. Only I didn’t do that on purpose. It was as if I have a “bad” filter that was meant to see…well, “bad” things. Paints are peeling off, roofs are rusting, and the once regularly well-trimmed lawn has weeds coming out from everywhere.

The people themselves changed a lot since then. I can count the people who got off the bus with enthusiasm to work for yet another day. The contractors around are working with incomplete PPEs. And a lot of bad sentiments are present anywhere I go. Something is just so wrong. Something must be done.

I got into some discussion with my co-workers about this and there was one phrase mentioned that struck me the most. “The boat is sinking”. Probably it is. Sadly, I’m in it. I’m sending an SOS.