Give The Dirty Finger

Few more days and Filipinos will give these politicians the dirty finger.

The Squatters Mentality

Demolition. Scarborough. Demolition. Scarborough. Demolition. Scarborough. These continue to flood the news and both have something in common. I realized that the slums is a microcosm of the ongoing conflict that is happening between us and our neighboring countries who claim that they too own Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys Island. This local and international news mixed up has been so strong that I think that there are things from the steadfast squatters that every country uses too to strengthen their own claim of the disputed Islands in the South China Sea:

1. Our parents said it’s ours, so it’s ours. (According to web references, the Chinese believe that these islands are theirs since 200 BC.)

2. We were born here, so it’s ours.

3. We’ve already built a house here, so it’s ours. (Several claimants have built their own structure in Spratlys.)

4. No relocation, no deal. (Personal appeal: please relocate me to the West before you guys resort to #5.)

5. Mess us and we’ll mess with you. (This can get ugly…or stinky at the very least. Let’s avoid this at all cost.)

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Hot Monday morning but wifey and Marcus don’t seem to care—they’re still in bed.)

Filipino Pride

This is another time I will deviate from my blog rule of not jumping to the bandwagon. I’m so sure that after watching the boxing match between the Golden Boy and the Pacman, the internet is abuzz with the result of the recently concluded match. I can count right now things that boxing enthusiasts might be doing at this very moment—there are just two.

Some might still be reeling from the unbelievable (yet, predictable somehow) ending of the De La Hoya and Pacquiao fight. Mexicans in general I’m sure are disappointed that another of their boxing hero has fallen into the hands of the Filipino sensation and needless to say, most Filipinos are celebrating another victory that our homegrown hero, Manny Pacquiao, has once again stood against all odds and let his hands do the talking inside the famous MGM arena.

On the other hand, there might be another good thing that I’m quite sure of is that whatever camp one is in, and either one is celebrating or lamenting, the chances of being with a beer and a couple of friends to be with is just high. Unfortunately, I’m in no position to be in that kind of scenario right now. I wouldn’t trade any celebration besides one at home with my wife and baby and watch the fight live on TV courtesy of our Barzaga friends – Congressman Pidi and Mayor Jenny.

Efforts by Barzaga
Another “effort” from our Congressman, Pidi and wife, Mayor Jenny Barzaga.

I realized that this is the second time in a row I’ve enjoyed watching live boxing feed (last one was between Pacquiao and Morales) and both of which were sponsored by these friends. I can’t seem to think what to make out of it  except to enjoy the free live feed, as the efforts of our friends don’t actually come free after all. I know for a fact that to watch this match live means that some sort of amount of money had to be shed. And that money might have been spared at the expense of our town’s road improvement and/or maintenance. It’s pathetic, but then again who knows Dasmarinas will produce more Filipino pride whom our baby will be cheering for when he eventually gets to appreciate the sports of boxing.

So while I can’t have any influence yet on how our town’s budget is spent, I just might as well enjoy what is presently being celebrated by millions of Filipinos worldwide. Manny, you’re the man! You’re indeed aFilipino pride.

Small boxing fan
Big and small boxing fans (Taken just before the Golden Boy called it quits.)

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks!

Postscript: It’s a coincidence, but I clicked my mouse to Arnel Pineda’s album in my My Music folder while drafting this blog. I’m thankful, that there’s another Filipino pride other than Manny. Lastly, another one I can think of right now is another singer Charice Pempengco (did I get the spelling right?). At least, I got three on my list. Ti abi.

 

Itsy Bitsy Sunday

There are so many things going on inside my head that posting tid bits of info would be best for today. So before I dig into the fridge and search what’s for lunch, here we go.

Short term and long term plans

As I’m finally counting down to the inevitable bumhood, I now have the following plans:

Short term:

  1. Prep up the sofa for employment
  2. Polish the remotes (TV, audio, aircon).
  3. Upgrade the PC
  4. Blog, blog, and blog.

Long term:

  1. Learn, learn, and learn how to raise a kid.
  2. Fix the leak in the roof.
  3. Find a job.

***

Writer’s cramp

While reading my favorite newspaper, The Philippine Star, I can’t help but notice that Francis J. Kong and Bum D. Tenorio, Jr. just posted email clippings for most of their articles. These two are among the daily’s writers whose articles I usually read before the others. Sometimes, however, it intrigues me to see them cut and paste forwarded emails as if just to make the required word count and get paid for it. Is this their workaround to writer’s cramp?

***

Philippine F1, anyone?

The recent F1 Singapore which is F1′s first night race shut my hopes for the Philippines to get significant publicity over our Asian neighbors. Well, I’d like to help raise this bid to conquer the F1 scene like nobody has done before. Why not have the first real live F1 street race in the Philippines. This time there would be no modification on the roads or clearing up of vehicles on the streets. Imagine how these F1 cars perform against our buses, jeepneys, some mad motorcycle drivers and our suicidal jaywalkers.

Paging FIA, interested? Oh by the way, no more G. H. Mumm ceremony, let’s use San Miguel Grande beer at the podium.

***

Misery loves company

There are days I would ponder if who else got problems besides me. Here are some of the people and their problems they’re facing right now.

George Bush: America’s economy. If this doesn’t make one stutter, what will?

Benjie de Lara: A 6-year-old boy with a fourth stage cancer. Want to help? Contact his mother Elenita at 09293289591 or donate thru the Star’s Operation Damayan. Call 527-7901 and look for Millet Dioso.

Filipino veterans: They’re not getting their pensions. I assume that one American congressman’s grandfather might have been in hand to hand combat with a Filipino during the Filipino-American war.

Senator Manny Villar: Questionable double funding for a C5 project. So what’s new? I think he can handle that.

Chinese milk manufacturers: Does Melamine rings a bell? And count me in as one of those angry at this SNAFU. Now I’d have to think twice before I eat my favorite White Rabbit candy. At least the female cows in China are free from breast suction gadgets for the meantime. The male cows I know are now smiling broadly. Mooooo.

Fat policemen: The new PNP chief Jesus Versoza is out to revive fitness consciousness to these pugad baboy characters. Any tremors on the next few weeks won’t come from below. Its origin will most likely be from PNP camps around the nation.

Philippine Olympians: Most of the officials are staying put especially Aventajado who is running for another term as the Philippine Olympic Committee’s chairman. Where was he when our athletes went down on bended knees during the recent Beijing Olympics? I bet Aventajado was beside the Chinese team during the awarding thinking that these are our tsinoy delegates.

Jessica Zafra: Her laptop keyboard is filled with cat fur. I’d like this to be my problem.

Tanya T. Lara: Sunburn while in Manhattan. Let this one also be mine.

Obama and McCain: Waiting game for the U. S. presidential seat.

Kimi Raikkonen: Hated the rain. Hated the night race. My wife still likes him though. Is this a sign that I should block all Kimi tags and searches in our computer? Damn, she’s got her own laptop.

Tingting Cojuangco: Freaking out over wrinkles and Alzheimer’s.

Lucy Torres-Gomez: Misses having dates with Richard Gomez. Hmm.

Hagar: Helga

Archie: Veronica and Betty

Mr. Wilson: Dennis theMenace

Hey, I must have skipped the other sections and got stuck in the Philstar’s comic section. The last three people I posted with problems are comic characters. Sorry about that. Time to have lunch.

 

Heroes Wanted: Dead or Alive

Just like any other typical Sunday at home, I once again savor the fact that today is another day off after a stressful week at work despite taking a leave last Thursday to finish a painting task at home and several other business in preparation for “the baby.”  And so, as predictable as clockwork I was out of bed early to send my wife to work and soon found myself in front of my beloved sunny side up breakfast and Sunday newspaper.

I’m not really sure if today is some sort of holiday to honor our heroes but the main section of the Philippine Star has its editorial regarding heroes in our midst. It mentions that today is Ramon Magsaysay’s 101th anniversary. While reading it something captured my attention:

“…This year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees include two from the Philippines…”

This line made me paused for a moment as I can’t seem to gather the relationship between the words Ramon Magsasay awardees and the phrase include two from the Philippines.

Correct me if I’m wrong but a Filipino awarding body will of course give honor to Filipinos, right? Well, after flipping more pages later, another article titled “Touching History” (by Michael Charleston B. Chua) washed away my inch-deep knowledge of this award. I learned from this article that the Ramon Magsasay Awards is an international body that honors not only Filipinos but other Asian heroes as well. So that explains it.

What I find alarming though with those articles is the fact that the majority of recipients of this award are not Filipinos. Even more troublesome is that those Filipinos being honored are not even popular in the Philippines. Do the names Gov. Grace Padaca and Jaime Alip ring a bell? If you’re not an elementary student who has current events or history subject, I doubt that these names are in one of your brain neurons. That’s how serious is our need to have a hero–a Filipino hero. Do you think we have one? Is it Ninoy?

During my elementary days, and despite the innocence, I can still somehow recall the emotions of so many people from the news about the assassination of this opposition senator. The major effect of this event took 3 more years before most Filipinos got grumpy and fed up, marched to the streets, formed the famous People Power, ousted the Marcos dictatorship and eventually seated to presidency Ninoy’s housewife, Cory. I knew from then on that hope for a better Philippines has blossomed… or so they say. Like most pinoys during that time, Ninoy was my hero, too.

Ninoy
I’m also Ninoy.

But once I graduated from college, started to work and had my own time in front of the TV, I began to learn further about the Philippine political scene. I soon realized that the yellow ribbon song, Ninoy, Cory and the People Power at EDSA were nothing but hype and it worsen when EDSA became synonymous with civil disobedience and short term memory loss. I suspect that it may even be a creation of some spin doctors trying to insult the minds and hope of most Filipinos. The reality is, I figured, Philippines is going nowhere. The crooks were never gone; they just changed form, political parties, and surnames.

That’s how pessimistic I’ve become when it comes to politics. Actually, I’ve been pessimistic on most aspect of the Philippines – should I say, just like most Filipinos do? I’m wondering now who’s to blame for all this. And the answer is? It’s not Erap. Not FVR. Not even GMA. Then who? Surprise! No one but us. Yes, us. Everyone has their own share of this downturn we are experiencing for years now. Everything we did, like paying bribes, not paying the proper taxes, buying pirated items, refusing to register and vote during elections just to name a few, are factors that bad politicians (is this an oxymoron?) and their evil allies enjoy. One way or another we are guilty. We are feeding their greed.

As much as I’m tired of reviving (my own) hope over and over and over again, I still guess that it’s about time that we bring back the slogan”Tama na, Sobra na (enough is enough).” Everything we do right now has its effect and every contribution even in small ways will help in the recovery of our nation. My mind is holding me back from saying this, but let’s start believing that change is possible…let’s cross our fingers, exhale deeply and let’s do our part – consistently.

So in order to do my part right now, I’m setting aside at least some part of pessimism especially now that some group started this advocacy to bring back the spirit of heroism by founding the iamninoy movement.  This is long overdue but I consider this a good move and a good start. I do hope that this gets a good media exposure. I hope the media (especially TV) stop their senseless, exaggerated news. Most people are bored of negativity. It’s high time we discover more heroes, dead or alive. From them, let’s look back, review and learn from our past mistakes. Let’s move on.

 

We are Damned

donut choices
Damn centerpiece. (Photofunia done by wifey)

Whoever coined the phrase “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” is just damn right. In our elementary science class, we were told that we humans actually belong to the animal kingdom but what sets us apart from our crawling, flying, swimming and walking brethren is the ability to make choices, not instinctively, but intelligently. (Although the bible is one proof that our great great great ancestor Adam might have instinctively given in to Eve’s temptation to take the supposedly fruit of knowledge. The irony. Whatever the real reason is, I think we won’t know, but I have a hunch. Hint: they were fully naked.)

I find this capacity to think and to decide a double-edged sword. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Each action we make right after a decision would be understood differently by different people. Reminds me as well of Newton’s third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. Remember? So does it mean that Newton may have been the man behind the damned phrase? Possible. Whoever it was, he has my respect because such is so short yet full of meaning. It summarizes one lifetime of decision making into just eight words.

So why the fascination with this damn phrase lately? Here are some reasons that it’s just damned if you do, damned if you don’t:

  • Bayani Fernando who has been in the news, forums and FM radio more often recently. Ever since I learned about this guy’s work, principle and vision, my admiration for him started. I’m one of those Filipinos who look up to a strong leadership that have become so scarce for years here in the Philippines. I read from one survey that he’s not winning approvals from most people because of the way he operates–i.e., quick and he doesn’t care who gets in the way. Although he’s got some kinks to work out within the MMDA, I believe that his personal policies are firm and he’s just the type of leader WE NEED. By the way, he has mentioned that he’s running for president in 2010.
  • Motorcycles. Due to new LTO guidelines, frequent accidents involving motorcycles, and wifey’s protests, this is hot topic. It’s now a fact that with the current gas prices up and will go up again, which is a prediction that doesn’t need a Nostradamus, everyone now thinks of an alternative to go around. Those who used to take the public transport (e.g., buses, jeepneys) and even with their own cars are now considering buying scooters or underbones. It’s a no-brainer. With the almost unstoppable gas price hike, an alternative transport is a must have. However, if a motorcycle is your choice, it requires a fully functioning brain to drive it defensively. Brain drives rider. Helmet protects brain. Take note.
  • And then this. Company business updates that gets majority of the employees jumpy and It’s just same story with a title that changes every time, as I always tell those I usually converse with about this topic—that’s 15 directly under me, and several other colleagues. At times I find this topic dragging which makes me think of recording my replies for the next similar discussion. Sooner than soon, this story will end but I can’t divulge just yet. I’d rather do it as a Grinch-who-stole-Christmas type story. You’ll read about it soon.

So are we damned? You’re guess is as good as mine.

***

 

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.